Wildcats face many uphill battles this high school volleyball season

first_imgBy The Nelson Daily SportsWhat the Mount Sentinel Wildcat lack in experience, the team makes up in hard work.That’s what head coach Glen Campbell witnessed at the opening tournament of the season in Creston.The Cats played hard but inexperience cost the team as Mount Sentinel lost in the semi finals of the Prince Charles Comets Invitational High School Boy’s Volleyball Tournament Saturday in the East Kootenay City.Selkirk Storm of Kimberley defeated the Cats 2-0 in the bronze medal game.“We are a young inexperienced team with only two returning starters from last year’s team,” Campbell said. “One of our returning players is Team B.C. player (Zach Grigg) who gives us that experience and leadership in a re-building year.”Mount Sentinel finished with a 1-2 mark in the four-team tip-off tournament to the B.C. High School Boy’s Volleyball season. Each match went three sets.Mt Baker Wild of Cranbrook defeated Mount Sentinel semi final action for the right to meet host Prince Charles in the final.Next up for the Cats is the UBC/O High School Invitational Tournament in Kelowna Oct. 1-2.sports@thenelsondaily.comlast_img read more

Leafs eager to bounce back after dismal start

first_imgBy Bruce Fuhr,The Nelson Daily Sports EditorAccording to Chris Shaw it’s not about how you start the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season, but what is important is how you finish.So two losses out of the gate, even to rival Castlegar, isn’t going to set the rookie Leaf coach into a state of panic. “We had a late camp and only had two practices before we played our first games and it showed,” Shaw said on the eve of a three-game weekend starting Friday night against the 2-0 Beaver Valley Nitehawks.“We lacked conditioning and it showed because Castlegar was in better shape in the third periods (of both games).”Which is why the players spent most of the week working a little harder than if the team won both games against the Rebels.“We concentrated conditioning Monday and Tuesday and have been working on systematic stuff . . . team stuff to help better prepare the kids on the ice.”After Beaver Valley, Nelson travels to Grand Forks to meet the winless, and hurting, Bruins Saturday. Sunday the Leafs conclude the three-game set against Shaw’s old club, the Penticton Lakers.Shaw promises Leaf faithful there will be a different team on the ice this weekend at the NDCC Arena.“We have 13 new players on the team who had yet to figure out their teammates,” Shaw said. “But I believe we have firepower here and fans will see that once the players start to jell.”Shaw comes with many of the same coaching philosophies the franchise enjoyed under the leadership of former coach and GM Simon Wheeldon.So there will be no revolving door no matter what the result is on the ice.“I may make one or two moves but I definitely won’t be burning through cards,” Shaw admitted. “Once I make a team selection I stick with those players. I’m pretty confident in this group and know what this team is capable of doing.”ICE CHIPS: Defenceman Tyler Parfeniuk is the only Leaf out of the lineup due to injury. The Kelowna product injured a shoulder during the season opener and looks to be at least two weeks away before playing again. . . .Look for goalies Marcus Beesley and Darren Hogg to split the weekend games between the pipes. . . .A new promotion by the Leaf executive has a minor hockey player skating during the National Anthem skate. The promotion called, The Seventh Man, selects players at random. Nelson Minor Hockey players can enter online at the Leaf website.sports@thenelsondaily.comlast_img read more

KIJHL governors in Nelson to map out game plan for upcoming Junior B Hockey season

first_imgTeams play home-and-away within the Conference with the remaining games in the 52-contest schedule played within the division.Saturday the other items on the agenda will be covered.One of those items is a report from the Nelson Leafs on progress of the 2014 Cyclone Taylor Cup.Nelson plays host to the B.C. Championship April 10-13, 2014.If necessary, any unfinished business is handled Sunday morning.New coaches for new seasonThe coaching carousel had begun with a couple of changes behind the bench in the Kootenay Conferene.After taking Castlegar to the 2013 KIJHL title, Steve Junker has resigned his position with the Rebels and is being replaced by assistant Jessie Dorrans.Meanwhile, in Fernie, former Princeton boss Dale Hladun, aka, Duner, has signed on as the Ghostriders new coach and GM.Two Rebels go off to collegeCastlegar lost of pair of key players off the 2013 KIJHL roster when goalie Jordan Gluck and defenceman Erik Alden signed letters with the Arizona State SunDevil’s- Division 1 team and Adrian College Bulldogs in Adrian Michigan, respectively.Leafs goes to howling to WolfpackThompson Rivers GM Chris Hans and head coach Don Schulz are pleased to announce that a second member of the Maple Leafs from 2012-13 has agreed to join the BC Intercollegiate Hockey League club in September.Colton Schell, a 5’11” forward from New Westminster, BC is the WolfPack’s 12th recruit committed for the coming season. The former Nelson Leafs captain will be enrolled in the Police and Justice studies course at Thompson Rivers.Schell joins teammate Cam Weir at the Kamloops-based University. Discipline is the key item on the agenda as the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League brain trust holds its annual general meeting beginning Friday at the Hume Hotel in Nelson.“We’re going to be talking a lot about supplemental discipline,” said KIJHL president Bill Ohlhausen from the league office in Okanagan Falls.“As you know Hockey Canada coming down hard on penalties like checking to the head and checking from behind. So we’ll be addressing those issues during the meeting.”Ohlhausen said each Junior B League in the province has had different ways of dealing with these types of penalties.Now the Junior B Director from the province, a la like Brendan Shanahan of the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety, will be the sole person to determine final suspensions or penalties.“We’re going to streamline all of the discipline handled by three leagues in BC to one,” Ohlhausen explained. “The playing rules are all the same now. Refereeing in all of the leagues will be called the same . . . everything be the same.”The one-fight rule continues in Junior B Hockey.However, players fighting more than twice will receive suspensions for each additional tussle.Other items on the agenda include welcoming the newest team to the fold, the 100 Mile House Wranglers.The Wranglers, formerly the Pentiction Lakers, join Kamloops Storm, Revelstoke Grizzlies, Sicamous Eagles and Chase Heat in the Doug Birks Division.Friday governors take to the golf course for a relaxing start to the meetings before hitting the boardroom to hammer out the 2013-2014 schedule.This season the Neil Murdoch Division — Nelson Leafs, Beaver Valley Nitehawks, defending KIJHL Champion Castlegar Rebels, Spokane Braves and Grand Forks Border Bruins — will play a home-and-away series against the Okanagan Division — Kelowna, Summerland, Osoyoos, Princeton and former North Okanagan while the Eddie Mountain teams cross over to the Doug Birks.last_img read more

OK Tire back on top of Nelson Mixed Slopitch League in 2015

first_imgOK Tire lost to Unknowns in the 2014 finale.OK Tire advanced as the top seed last season before getting blasted by Unknowns in the final.This time around the final score would be different as OK Tire took the title from The Competition.Louie’s, now OK Tire, won the title in 2013.Unknowns, edging out regular-season champion Total Chaos in the semi final round, defeated Molson Finley’s to win the B final while DeVito’s Cardinals defeated Ripping Giraffe for the C-Division Crown.Trailing 2-1, DeVito’s Cardinals scored two five-running frames to blow open the tightly played contest. Louie’s did not win the Nelson Mixed Slopitch title in 2014.However, with a new name Louie’s, now OK Tire, defeated The Competition 20-15 to capture the 2015 Nelson Mixed Slopitch Championship Sunday afternoon at the Lakeside Ball Diamonds.The seesaw battle came down to the final inning with OK Tire leading 20-13.The Competition was able to stage a bit of a rally, but was only able to muster a pair of runs.The Competition advanced to the final with a thrilling 7-6 extra-innings win over Uptown Tavern.last_img read more

Nelson Neptunes BCSSA Results

first_imgKallie Badry 100m Individual Medley,14th 50m Butterfly, 19th 50m Backstroke, 12th 50m Breaststroke, 20thKeira Badry 50m Backstroke, 23rd 100m Freestyle, 24thImogen Cowan 100m Individual Medley, 21st 50m Freestyle, 21st 50m Backstroke, 17thElla Chouinard 100IM,  22nd 50m Backstroke, 21st 100m Freestyle, 23rdEvan Chouinard 50m Freestyle, 23rd 50m Breaststroke, 22nd 100m Freestyle, 22ndElissa Centrone 200m Individual Medley, 24th 50m Freestyle, 23rd 100m Breaststroke, 24thOlivia Cowan 200m Individual Medley, 9th 50m Freestyle, 11th 100m Backstroke, 8th 100m Freestyle, 11thCynthia Pfeiffer 200m Individual Medley, 10th 50m Freestyle, 10th 100m Backstroke, bronze medalLachlan Bibby-Fox 100m Individual Medley, bronze medal 50m Butterfly, 6th 50m Backstroke, 6th 50m Breaststroke, silver medalEnna Cowan 50m Butterfly, 24thMorgan Robterson-Weir 50m Butterfly, 22nd 50m Breaststroke, 23rdJoanna Blishen 100m Butterfly, 24th 100m Breaststroke, 24thJaylen Rushton 100m Individual Medley, 2nd 50m Freestyle, bronze medal 50m Butterfly, bronze medal 50m Breaststroke, 4thRELAYS:4x50m Medley Relay Division 3 Girls, 12th (Ella Chouinard, Morgan Robertson-Weir, Imogen Cowan, Enna Cowan)4x50m Medley Relay Division 8 Girls, 8th (Cynthia Pfeiffer, Jaylen Rushton, Olivia Cowan, Joanna Blishen) 4x50m Freestyle Relay Division 3 Girls, 13th (Ella Chouinard, Morgan Robertson-Weir, Imogen Cowan, Enna Cowan)4x50m Freestyle Relay Division 6 Girls, 12th (Olivia Cowan, Elissa Centrone, Joanna Blishen, Jaylen Rushton)4x50m Freestyle Relay Division 8 Girls, 12th (Cynthia Pfeiffer, Elissa Centrone, Kallie Badry, Keira Badry) The Nelson Neptunes took a core group of swimmers to the BC Summer Swim Association Championships this past weekend in Coquitlam.Here is a capsule look at the Neptune Results:INDIVIDUAL RESULTS:last_img read more

SUPERSTAR MARE BEHOLDER WORKS BULLET SIX FURLONGS WITH STEVENS UP, TWO-TIME ECLIPSE WINNER SET FOR GRADE I ZENYATTA STAKES SEPT. 26; TRIPLE CROWN CHAMP AMERICAN PHAROAH GALLOPS 1 ½ MILES FOR BAFFERT

first_imgARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 18, 2015)–Under the watchful eye of trainer Richard Mandella, two-time Eclipse Champion mare Beholder worked a bullet six furlongs in 1:12.80 under Gary Stevens this morning at Santa Anita–her final work in preparation for the Grade I, $300,000 Zenyatta Stakes on Sept. 26.Owned by B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm, Beholder came on the track at 6:30 a.m. and galloped under the wire, around the Club House turn and was set down by Stevens at the five furlong pole, four lengths behind a stablemate. In-hand throughout, Beholder took command at the sixteenth pole and galloped out seven furlongs as planned.A 5-year-old mare by Henny Hughes, Beholder seeks a record third consecutive win in the Zenyatta, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win & You’re In” prep. Should all go well in the 1 1/16 miles Zenyatta, it is expected Beholder, a smashing 8 ¼ length winner versus males in the Grade I Pacific Classic Aug. 22, will take on Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and others in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland Oct. 31.“She’s super fit coming off the Pacific Classic,” Stevens told Xpressbet’s Millie Ball this morning. “But she needs to run.”Mandella was simply in awe. When asked for his “take” on the six furlong move, he responded, “I haven’t overcome the goosebumps in my eyes, because when I watch her work, it gives me that.”Beholder Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeBH443oY0sWith trainer Bob Baffert away in Kentucky, Triple Crown Champion American Pharoah took the track at 6:30 a.m. under exercise rider Manny Avila and backtracked to the half mile pole. As is his wont, “Pharoah” took a moment to take in his surrounds and on Avila’s cue, turned and galloped a strong 1 ½ miles.Owned and bred by Ahmad Zayat, American Pharoah, who followed up his Triple Crown run with an authoritative 2 ¼ length win in the Grade I Haskell Invitational Aug. 2, has not worked since running a close second in the Grade I Travers Stakes Aug. 29.American Pharoah Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sCYrF23tcMlast_img read more

STAKES QUOTES – SAN VICENTE STAKES (SUNDAY, FEB. 12, 2017)

first_imgNOTES: The winning owner, Kaleem Shah is from San Diego, CA. MARK GLATT, TRAINER LAW ABIDIN CITIZEN, SECOND:  “I’m really pleased with his race, especially because he just ran two weeks ago.  I probably wouldn’t have looked at this race if it wasn’t a short field.  This was just an honest effort today.  He (Jamie Theriot) had to move a little early down the backside because we were inside.  He’s run three really good races since we gelded him (Nov. 26) and I think he’ll stretch out to a mile, no problem.”  TRAINER QUOTES FLAVIEN PRAT, ILIAD, WINNER: “It was a very lucky pick up mount. He’s a very nice horse. He broke well. Actually, he showed a lot of speed today. We were going pretty fast and I was trying to relax him all the way down the backside.“When I asked him, he performed so well.” JOCKEY QUOTES KALEEM SHAH, OWNER OF ILIAD, WINNER: “His last breeze was awesome. I talked with Doug and he had a lot of confidence that he’d run well today and he ran to his works.“We can all hope and pray for horses like this. I’m glad Iliad came along. I hope he continues to move forward. It’s one race at a time in this business, but it looks very promising for now.“I was looking for a great name just like Bayern, which represented a great soccer team. This one, Iliad, represents a great western classic in literature.“I think we stay here and try to run in the San Felipe (Grade II, 1 1/16 miles, March 11) and then hopefully, the Santa Anita Derby (Grade I, 1 1/8 miles April 8).” DOUG O’NEILL, ILIAD, WINNER: “He’s a really nice horse, he has a lot of class. He ran huge today. We’ve just tried to not screw him up. Flavien rode a great race today and got it done.“Going seven eighths can be a grind if you break real sharp and try to run all the way (on the lead). Flavien knew what to do and did a great job.”last_img read more

No. 2 Stephen F. Austin Handles No. 7 Sam Houston State in Opening Round

first_imgAt the 38:18 mark, SFA caught another break when referee Travis Haight awarded a penalty kick after Barker was brought down in the box. Sophomore Mari Gillespie stepped up and confidently put the spot kick away to Hendershot’s left to push the lead to 3-0.SOC: @SFA_Soccer’s Mari Gillespie scores on penalty kick, makes it 3-0 Ladyjacks over @BearkatsSOC. 51:41 mark. https://t.co/FDWfnDejSt pic.twitter.com/7EydU0AtxM— Southland Conference (@SouthlandSports) November 1, 2017 SFA’s offense turned up in the second half, confidently marshaling the midfield and registering nine more shots than the opening period to finish with a 13-12 edge over Sam Houston. The Bearkats struggled to control the central third and failed to cut off multiple Ladyjack runs which proved to be the difference maker on most of the day’s goals. However, SFA responded in kind, almost immediately pushing the lead back to 4-1 behind a 35-yard Carli Arthurs goal with 21:12 on the clock.SOC: @SFA_Soccer answers immediately. Carli Arthurs scores to increase Ladyjacks’ lead to 4-1 over SHSU. 68:48 expired. #SouthlandStrong pic.twitter.com/VIbXhH8Nda— Southland Conference (@SouthlandSports) November 1, 2017 While SFA’s league-best defense held strong, the Bearkats continued to threaten with set pieces, racking up three corner kicks before the first 20 minutes were played. 2017 Southland Conference Soccer Tournament HomepageBox Score | Photo GalleryCORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – In a rematch of their regular season finale, Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston State opened the Southland Conference Soccer Tournament with a high-scoring affair. The Ladyjacks comfortably put away the Bearkats by a score of 4-1. It didn’t take long for SFA to strike again, with Barker finding the back of the net just over three minutes into the second half. The senior weaved her way through the center of the defense and buried a long-range shot into the top left corner from 25 yards out to give the Ladyjacks a quick 2-0 lead.SOC: Hanna Barker makes it 2-0 @SFA_Soccer over @BearkatsSOC. 48:15 expired. Watch https://t.co/FDWfnDejSt. #SouthlandStrong pic.twitter.com/ptjc7wu2ad— Southland Conference (@SouthlandSports) November 1, 2017 After 45 minutes played, Sam Houston State held the edge in shots 7-4 and corners 4-0.center_img With 23:16 to play, the Bearkats would pull one back, with Carly English making her way to the top of the 18-yard box and firing a left-footed shot into the top right corner to make it a 3-1 game.SOC: @BearkatsSOC goal by Carly English, assist by Meredith Carlson. SFA’s lead now 3-1, midway through 2nd half. https://t.co/FDWfnDejSt pic.twitter.com/XQbuMU6m53— Southland Conference (@SouthlandSports) November 1, 2017 Stephen F. Austin (12-7-0) will face the winner of No. 3 McNeese vs. No. 6 Abilene Christian in the first semifinal Friday at 4 p.m. on the Southland Digital Network. The first quality chance of the game came as Midfielder of the Year Hanna Barker was fed a perfect through ball into the center of the box just over five minutes in, forcing a low save from junior keeper Christina Hendershot. Barker would put another shot from long range just wide left at the 12:03 mark as the Ladyjacks aggressively hunted for the opening goal. Stephen F. Austin broke through first at the 25:17 mark with freshman Sophia Fondren feeding junior Breanna Moore straight up the middle, who slotted the opening goal past Hendershot for a 1-0 Ladyjack lead which was carried to halftime.SOC: @SFA_Soccer goal by Breanna Moore at 19:32 mark. Assist Sophia Fondren. 1-0 Ladyjacks over SHSU. Watch https://t.co/FDWfnDejSt. pic.twitter.com/LuToTj9otp— Southland Conference (@SouthlandSports) November 1, 2017 The Ladyjacks held strong to their lead in the final stages, securing the 4-1 victory over their Piney Woods rivals and a spot in Friday’s semifinal. The Bearkats end the season with a 7-9-2 record.last_img read more

Five ways Jose Mourinho has transformed Spurs including hands-on approach

first_imgDESPITE the exceptional achievements of former boss Mauricio Pochettino, there was a feeling that things had gone stale under the Argentine.Having won just six of their 24 Premier League games since February 10, something had to give, and the 47-year-old was relieved of his duties nine days ago.6 Mourinho has changed the atmosphere at Spurs on and off the pitchWithin 11 hours, chairman Daniel Levy pounced to secure Jose Mourinho on a three-and-a-half year deal.And Spurs have instantly reaped the rewards on the pitch, having ended their ten month wait for an away win in the league on Saturday – before sealing qualification for the Champions League round of 16 against Olympiakos on Tuesday night.SunSport take a look at how the Special One has changed things already at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.TRAINING CHANGESWhile players loved Pochettino, there was a feeling that training had become samey and repetitive – as you’d expect after a five-and-a-half years.Without consciously turning on their manager, with whom most were still close to, players noticeably dropped their intensity in training.This lead to increasingly poor performances come matchday, and suddenly motivation became a huge issue for Tottenham’s beleaguered stars.A hallmark of Pochettino’s training sessions is the remarkable intensity – which when lacking motivation, can become a chore.Mourinho has put more on an emphasis on recovery – not working his players too hard between matches.The mood has quickly improved, with players appearing to get their edge back.6 Mourinho has sought to change the mood on the training groundCredit: EPAMAN MANAGEMENTMuch has been made of his first conversation with Dele Alli, when he asked the 23-year-old if he was “Dele or his brother”.And the 23-year-old has responded emphatically, playing brilliantly in the 3-2 win at West Ham, before scoring against Olympiakos on Tuesday night.There has been much debate over Alli’s form, after the England international suffered a year blighted by persistent hamstring injuries.But Mourinho has sought to instantly put Alli at the centre of his plans, placing his trust in a player that three seasons ago scored 22 goals.With Hugo Lloris still out injured, Harry Kane has been wearing the captain’s armband.And his new manager has instantly made an effort to get his star man onside.Kane is desperate to win trophies at Spurs, and Mourinho has given him assurances that he is the man to give him the platform to do so.”Believe in me and we’ll become winners,” the Portuguese declared on his first day.The Special One is also aiming to make key figures like Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen buy into what the club are doing again – with new contracts for the experienced pair not out of the question.6 Toby Alderweireld could now perform a stunning contract U-turnCredit: AFP or licensorsMEDIA MANAGEMENTMourinho’s press conferences in his latter time with Manchester United had become increasingly dour and in some cases, downright bizarre.It was against Tottenham, ironically, that he stormed out of a press conference waving three fingers at stunned reporters – demanding respect despite his side’s embarrassing 3-0 home defeat to Spurs.The 56-year-old has clearly mellowed in his 11 months out of management, however, and has been a charming, positive influence with journalists so far.From his Alli or Alli’s brother quip mentioned above, his joke about Sky being devastated to lose him and how he wanted to invite a smart ballboy into the dressing room to celebrate with the team – the Special One has had people hanging on his every word.The positivity radiated by Mourinho has offered a stark contrast to the often bizarre press conferences given by Pochettino.He often talked about potentially leaving, as well as his baffling cow and train analogy before a Champions League clash with Inter Milan last season.Mourinho’s change of attitude has made a refreshing change.6 Mourinho has charmed everyone in his press conferencesCredit: PA:Press AssociationHands on approachPochettino had become a surly figure on the training ground.This eroded into the fatherly relationship he had previously shared with the players.The Athletic even claimed that players had gotten used to saying: “Don’t look at the boss,” in case they caught his eye and got in trouble.He had stopped taking most training sessions, instead preferring to watch on monitors.The players noticed this lack of engagement on the training ground, and it’s hard to imagine it didn’t seep into their own application.Mourinho, on the other hand, has impressed them with his hands on approach to sessions.His positivity and jokes, coupled with the new voices on his coaching staff, has energised the players.6 Pochettino had become an increasingly grumpy figure around Hotspur WayCredit: AFP or licensorsStreetwiseAt their best under Pochettino, Spurs had developed a nasty side.It bubbled over most famously in the stormy 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge in May 2016.But, having forever been tarnished by a reputation of having a soft underbelly, Tottenham were finally showing that they would not be pushed around.This soft underbelly, however, has crept back in this season.6LATEST TOTTENHAM NEWSHARRY ALL FOUR ITKane admits Spurs must win EIGHT games to rise into Champions League spotGossipALL GONE PETE TONGVertonghen wanted by host of Italian clubs as long Spurs spell nears endBELOW PARRSpurs suffer blow with Parrott to miss Prem restart after appendix operationPicturedSHIRT STORMNew Spurs 2020/21 home top leaked but angry fans slam silver design as ‘awful”STEP BY STEP’Jose fears for players’ welfare during restart as stars begin ‘pre-season’KAN’T HAVE THATVictor Osimhen keen on Spurs move but only if they sell Kane this summerYOU KAN DO ITKlinsmann quit Spurs to win trophies but says Kane’s better off stayingTURBULENT PAIRINGDrogba and Mido had mid-flight brawl after stewardess prank went wrongGossipSPURRED ONTottenham table contract offer for Bayern Munich’s teenage starlet Taylor BoothExclusivePASS THE TESTEngland’s NRL-based stars urge bosses to make room for a Test this yearHaving given up 2-0 leads in away games at Arsenal and Olympiakos – as well as collapsing in late stages of the humiliating 7-2 defeat to Bayern Munich, Spurs had become weak and predictable.Having clearly given detailed instructions to everyone including the ball boys, Mourinho has shown that he will leave no stone unturned in making sure that Tottenham are as strong as possible.With his insistence on ball boys being switched on and alert to the tempo and pattern of the game, the Special One has illustrated the standards that he will demand, for his new club to become successful. Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho praises ball boy at Champions League clash against Olympiakoslast_img read more

Cleary built for Origin: Fittler

first_imgSpeaking to media at a NSW Rugby League pathways program for up-and-coming playmakers, Fittler was hopeful the emerging generation of Blues playmakers would be able to arrest the dominance their Maroons counterparts have exerted in that position over the past decade.While Cleary was absent from the day due to club duties, Fittler also had high praise for Wests Tigers duo Luke Brooks and Mitch Moses, who took part in the session.”Nathan Cleary, he’s the one who actually looks like he handles pressure better than anyone,” Fittler said.”The thing with State of Origin, it’s intense and the whole thing is dealing with pressure. You’ve got to look also at your life off the field as well when you want to start dealing with pressure under that sort of magnitude. He’s a great example of someone who’s shown real signs of someone who should play Origin.”Origin, the centrepiece of the Australian rugby league calendar, was never won by the same state more than three years running until the past decade, in which Queensland have won nine of 10 series.Through that period, NSW have been their equals in the forwards and outside backs on almost every occasion but the gulf between the playmakers has been the difference.Fittler said much of that came down to the fact Queensland – who have had the likes of Darren Lockyer, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith – have boasted the best players in the country in those positions. However with the next best playmakers in the country often hailing from north of the Tweed (in recent years names like Daly Cherry-Evans, Michael Morgan and Ben Hunt have played for Australia) there have been questions around why the Blues haven’t been producing the same calibre of halves.”[Queensland’s] halves have been the best players in the game for a long time. You don’t have to be Einstein to realise that the basis of their team have been our best players,” Fittler said.”We need to put pressure on ourselves on and off the field to be the best players in the NRL competition. That will then show in State of Origin on the bigger stage under pressure.”We need pressure from underneath. If we’ve got all our halves playing good then it’s going to put pressure on the players who were there last time and the incumbents. That is the key, the key is to make all our players good from under and that just puts the quality up.”Fittler refused to speculate on who Blues coach Laurie Daley should or would pick in those positions in 2017 but was adamant that if Cleary was good enough then he’s old enough, while he also backed the two Tigers as capable of making the step up to Origin.”Everyone here at the moment [at the pathways event] we see as showing the habits of someone we want to play State of Origin or will be at the future at some stage,” Fittler said.”[Brooks and Moses] have stepped up at a young age into first grade, they’ve copped a lot so they can share some great experiences about the pitfalls and the goods and the bads of playing rugby league.”They’ve been playing first grade footy since they were 18 or 19 years old so I’ve got no doubt that they should be putting pressure on the players that are there at the moment.”Fittler said the event – which also included tutelage from fellow Blues greats Andrew Johns, Danny Buderus, Anthony Minichiello, Mark O’Meley and Paul Sironen – was “a good opportunity”.”This is part of our pathways program so we’ve seen all these kids come through whether it’s in Harold Matthews, SG Ball, there’s a young fella who’s as young as 14,” Fittler said.”We phoned up Mitchell Moses and Luke Brooks and some of the first graders (such as Cameron McInnes and Connor Watson) and they were only too happy to come down and hopefully they can share also some of their experience because that’s the big thing is taking that next step.”We’re not just dealing with things on the field but off the field as well and just giving them a bit of balance and hopefully giving them some skills to deal with everything that comes along.”last_img read more