Sports

Canterbury Bulldogs directors losing patience with struggling coach Trent Barrett


Big-name recruits Viliame Kikau and Reed Mahoney will arrive next year and Kikau has a strong connection with Barrett from their time at the Panthers. The club could also bring in fresh support for Barrett, but he already has the best coaching mind in the game at the club in Gould. While “Gus” has no desire to coach, that may be the best solution in terms of support for the coach.

STATION MAROONED

Triple M may have a task retaining Anthony Maroon after the host and caller was inundated with offers and support following his walk-out a few Sundays ago, which led to co-host Paul Kent leaving his job at the radio station on Thursday.

For those who have not followed the drama, Maroon walked off the show mid-broadcast on May 1 after being badgered about suggestions that the tax office needed to look into his financial affairs. Maroon said on air that he had asked co-hosts Kent, James Hooper and Gorden Tallis repeatedly to stop that line of conversation and revealed he had complained to management about it.

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“Events over recent weeks in relation to the incident on the Sin Bin went too far and we asked Paul Kent to offer an apology,” Triple M said in a statement on Thursday. “Paul has a differing view and, on that basis, has made the decision to part ways with Triple M.”

Maroon is off contract and is set to be a target for other media companies. His wit and calling ability have been noted. Maroon was told not to talk to media when I contacted him for comment about Kent’s resignation and his future.

Triple M does deserve praise for asking its on-air talent to apologise. Hooper took to the airwaves to say sorry and Tallis was in text contact with Maroon. Kent was very strong in his view that he has nothing to apologise for and doubled down on Maroon in the News Corp press in a column where he attacked what he called the “mental health warriors” and “snowflakes”. The best result would be for Maroon to return, as he is the best talent on the show.

SBW BACKS MOVE

Cross-code superstar Sonny Bill Williams has blazed a trail for Polynesian athletes, and now he has heaped praise on the Wide World of Sports’ revolutionary move to appoint a Pacific Nations consultant for its chief winter sports, rugby league and rugby union.

Williams got into television commentary to challenge and improve himself, and to give the Pasifika community a voice.

“As a proud Samoan man, I am so excited that Nine and Stan are working with Dr David Lakisa,” hesaid. “It’s so important for everyone outside of the Pacific community to understand and appreciate our beautiful cultures. For me, every challenge I face in my life is to inspire my Pasifika brothers and sisters, and sport is such a powerful platform to do this.”

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Wide World of Sports is partnering with Lakisa for the next two years. He is of Samoan descent, has a PhD in Pacific Sport and Diversity Management from the University of Technology Sydney and runs Talanoa Consultancy, which has been providing support and advice in the area for two decades.

In the NRL, more than 45 per cent of the playing group identify as Pasifika. In rugby, the number is 47 per cent. The idea is that WWOS will connect with Pasifika players and the community through better understanding of cultural knowledge, spirituality and language. WWOS is owned by Nine Entertainment, which also owns this masthead.

“Our partnership with David is about education and building a stronger connection that will assist us in gaining a deeper understanding of the Pasifika communities and cultures,” Channel Nine director of sport Brent Williams said.

Lakisa was Australia’s first Pacific Islander coaching and development officer for NSWRL in 2007. Lakisa has undertaken PhD research on managing Pasifika diaspora in the sporting workplace, and that is also a global first.

FOWL PLAY

Joey Manu is far more likely than Cameron Munster to be the Roosters’ next playmaker when Luke Keary, now 30, decides to call it quits in the coming seasons.

Keary is privately fuming that stories emerged during the week that he was about to be moved on and that he and coach Trent Robinson were butting heads.

Robinson and Keary speak outside of the team environment and Keary is highly regarded by Roosters chairman Nick Politis. There are not many playmakers in the competition who have three premierships under their belt.

Luke Keary’s future has been the subject of speculation during the week.

Luke Keary’s future has been the subject of speculation during the week.Credit:Getty

Keary’s agent, Paul Sutton, has expressed surprise that Keary is also reportedly earning $1.3million a season. He is not a $1m player. He is still finding his feet after a knee reconstruction last year. As for being pushed out the door?

“No one from the Roosters has ever had that discussion with us,” Sutton said. “And Luke is settled in the east and loves the Roosters.”

SHARK’S SHAME

Greg Norman was good enough to win 10 majors, but he won just two. He is best known for his near misses, rather than being the man who bridged the gap between Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Only Tiger has been a world No.1 for longer than the Shark. It’s quite a record and quite a career, which he is doing everything he can to ruin.

For my generation, Norman was golf. The swashbuckling blond Queenslander made golf relevant and exciting. His contribution to making it the game it is today should not be underestimated or forgotten. In fact, it’s what many are holding on to as he trashes his reputation with his championing of the rebel, Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf tour, and his stunning comments last week about the gruesome death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

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“Look, we’ve all made mistakes and you just want to learn by those mistakes and how you can correct them going forward,” the 67-year-old Norman said on Wednesday when asked about Saudi involvement in Khashoggi’s death.

It’s got to the point where it’s shameful to be a Shark fan. We can cop the near-nude photos and the comeback bids that are done to make him relevant, but swimming with the sheikhs is something all Shark fans are struggling with.

TOP COP OUT

The departure of NRL integrity unit lead investigator Karyn Murphy should be sounding alarm bells for the game, particularly at head office. The NRL has farewelled a host of senior staff since the departure of chief executive Todd Greenberg in April 2020, believing most of them were overpaid and easily replaceable.

However, Murphy is different. Apart from being one of the greatest women players of all time, she also had a distinguished career with the Queensland Police Service, where she was a senior inspector. It meant she was able to secure valuable information from her police contacts, she had credibility with players and clubs due to her on-field record, and her police training meant she could convince victims to speak up.
Those qualifications will be nearly impossible to find elsewhere.

During Murphy’s seven years at the NRL, the integrity unit earned a reputation for getting things right. They are incredibly thorough and their decisions are never overturned by the courts or the appeals tribunal.

If word coming out of NRL HQ is correct, she won’t be the last to leave, with head of media Daniel Meers telling people he is going to Tabcorp.

There is growing disquiet that the game’s leaders have adopted a knee-jerk response to any issue that arises in the game. So, some are becoming disillusioned and have started reviewing their options. In some departments, it won’t make much of a difference if people leave, but the game cannot afford to have a gaping hole in its integrity unit.



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