Adelaide ruckman Reilly O’Brien has signed a contract extension, reducing the chances of the Crows making a play for Collingwood’s Brodie Grundy. O’Brien, who this season has overtaken Sam Jacobs …
A North Queensland legend could be on the way out due to issues out of his control.
'Matt Scott - the greatest front-rower in the history of the North Queensland Cowboys - is close to announcing his retirement. Scott, aged 33, was keen to play on again in 2020 but nagging neck and shoulder injuries have convinced him that the time is right to hang up the boots. Scott has been an ornament to the game in his 16 seasons with the Cowboys since debuting as a raw teenager in 2004. He broke his leg on debut against Parramatta and his career has been littered by injuries - but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming one of the game’s elite. Scott has played over 250 games for the Cowboys, as well as 22 State of Origins for Queensland and a further 22 Tests for Australia. He will go down as one of the most consistent props of the modern era and an announcement is expected soon.'
The wheels are in motion to find a successor for coach Michael Cheika should the Wallabies not win the Rugby World Cup later this year. Contracted through to the tournament, Cheika said last year he would walk away should Australia not hold aloft
'The wheels are in motion to find a successor for coach Michael Cheika should the Wallabies not win the Rugby World Cup later this year. Contracted through to the tournament, Cheika said last year he would walk away should Australia not hold aloft the Webb Ellis Cup in Tokyo on November 2, believing that anything else would represent a lack of progress after they made the final in 2014. The Wallabies’ stocks have plummeted since then, last year losing nine of their 13 Tests – their worst season since 1958 – including a 3-0 Bledisloe Cup sweep by the All Blacks and defeats to Wales and England on the year-ending overseas tour. New Zealand have already laid out the process for a replacement for their outgoing coach Steve Hansen, who will step down after the rugby showpiece. His assistant Ian Foster and triumphant Crusaders Super Rugby coach Scott Robertson are already pencilled in for December interviews. Rugby Australia director Scott Johnson said the feelers were out for suitable candidates should Cheika leave the role or his contract wasn’t renewed after the tournament. He said he couldn’t speak for Cheika’s post World Cup intentions. “We’re doing our due diligence. It’s not like we’re sitting back and doing nothing,” Johnson said ahead of the Wallabies’ Rugby Championship clash with South Africa in Johannesburg on Saturday. “We’re understanding that we’ve got a process.” After holding coaching roles with the Wales and Scotland national sides, Johnson said it would be “hypocritical” of him to insist the next Wallabies coach be Australian. Former Chiefs coach Kiwi Dave Rennie has been linked to the post, although he is signed with current club Glasgow until mid 2020. “I think we’re after quality,” Johnson said. “I don’t put a nationality next to the next person. It would be nice to have Australians in place but they have to be quality and that is what we’ve got spend some time doing. “There’s everyone in the frame that’s coaching around the world and we’re trying to find someone that suits.” Rennie was also believed to be in the sights of the Waratahs following the departure of Daryl Gibson. Johnson said RA were involved in the appointment of the new Waratahs coach. “The beauty of it is we’re getting a more aligned system here and whilst it’s a Waratahs pick we certainly are being involved in the process.” Meanwhile, RA haven’t closed the door on luring back the likes of Will Skelton for the World Cup, despite the lock signing a new Saracens deal. But Skelton would have to commit to Australian rugby. “There is ongoing discussions with a few players, we’re not just talking about for World Cup,” Johnson said. “Will’s not unlike some others – Australian players will be discussed often to see what’s in the best interest of our Wallabies or pro teams. “We’re trying to pick anyone who we think can contribute to our program that commits to our program, that’s what we’ll pick.”'
Mark Ella played rugby for the joy, captained his country and retired early on his own terms.But being confronted by the haka for the first time left him shaking.
'Mark Ella played 25 times for the Wallabies including 10 as captain.He reflects on his career alongside brothers Gary and Glen with the Australian Schoolboys and beyond in this extract from the Talking With TK podcast . The 1977 Australian Schoolboys side that went invincible through 16 games had 10 full Wallabies and Wally Lewis.Gary, Glen and myself were all part of it, coming from Matraville High, and we had to pay $900 each to go on the tour.In those days we couldn’t do it.We’d had dance parties and the school helped raise the money.Then a person, who I still don’t know anything about, came forward and paid at least half of it for us.Without that contribution we wouldn’t have been on the plane and would have gone back to playing rugby league.It an anonymous donation so we never met the gentleman.We were told his name was Harry Ella, but I don’t even know if he is indigenous, he might not be.It was interesting in the early days playing for Matraville High.Six out of the seven players in the backline were indigenous.Initially we copped a lot of criticism, a lot of racist remarks.But in the early days we literally belted out opposition.After the second or third year they were suffering more when the scoreboard was something like 65-3.We belted the living daylights out of them on the scoreboard so it stopped being a hassle.When we played it was almost like the circus had come to town.We started building this reputation and people would come and see us play.There weren’t a lot of indigenous players playing rugby at that stage.We were playing games against St Joseph’s College and some of the other big private schools, and defeating them.We would turn up and there could be 2000-3000 watching us because ‘look at all these black kids they’re playing rugby and they’re pretty good.’ We just did what we did, and it was the best time of our lives.The first thing you noticed on the Schoolboys tour was how big the place was and how many people were around.It was intimidating and we didn’t know what to expect.They were big boys we were playing against.I thought they were going to run over the top of us.The tour four years before ours, Australia won every game except against England.We got to Twickenham and they were going to call the game off because of fog.We wanted to play to seek revenge for the last time, but it was a pea souper.Luckily it went ahead and for the first time ever they let the crowd come down to the sideline of the field.It was incredible.The first time I got the ball I kicked it.Chris Roche said ‘what the far out are you kicking the ball for you bloody black whatever.’ I said ‘Rochey leave me alone, I know what I’m doing.I kicked the ball out of sight and I’ve never done that before’. It was outrageous but I’m glad they let the game go ahead.If they hadn’t we would have been the Invincibles with a question mark.We never really thought about it too much at the time.Glen has got all the articles and there are probably two or three books of stories about the tour.When we came home, we woke up the next morning and mum gave us the Daily Telegraph.She said ‘you guys have made the paper’. She gave us the sports pages and we read through them and said ‘what are you talking about we’re not in there at all?’ She said ‘turn it over’. Glen, Gary and I were the whole front page of the Daily Telegraph.For rugby that was huge, for indigenous kids that was crazy.That’s when it hit, we thought ‘holy shit, what have we done?’ We were just playing sport because we loved it.It shook us a little bit.We went out and people would recognise us and that was totally foreign to us.When we were overseas it was phenomenal.Again it was a bit like the circus.When we got home we all got approaches from rugby league.I spoke to South Sydney.But we felt obligated.Even though we still played some rugby league we felt obligated because we’d been on this amazing tour.We weren’t going to come back and say ‘thanks very much we’re going to go play rugby league now.’ We felt we’d give it a couple of years, see how it went and if it didn’t work out we’d go back to rugby league. . The post ‘My god, they’re going to kill me’ appeared first on PlayersVoice .'