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


PNG go down to Tahiti in women’s basketball

first_imgDespite the home ground advantage, the Tahitians were too fast with their footwork leading throughout the match.In the first quarter, Tahiti took the lead by six points however the scoreline extended in the second quarter by 20 points, taking Tahiti’s score to  45-25.Despite aggressive play by home girl Betty Angula and the home crowd on their side, the Tahitians remained fearless and held the lead.In the third quarter, PNG struggled to close the gap with the score 65-37.Tahiti maintained their lead in the final quarter, finishing 90-57 at full time.last_img read more


Meet the Amazon rubber tappers providing forest-friendly condoms for Rio

first_imgAll of the condoms to be distributed are produced by a factory in the western Amazonian state of Acre, deep in the rainforest in Xapuri, near Brazil’s border with Bolivia.It is run by the Acre State Government and uses latex gathered from rubber trees by “tappers”, also employed in a Government-run program designed to protect their traditional livelihood, foster the sustainable use of the rainforest and deter illegal loggers.The tappers see themselves as guardians of the rainforest.On a recent outing, Raimundo Mendes de Barros, a 71-year-old lifelong rubber tapper with a stark white beard, gathered the milky-white latex dripping into metal buckets hooked at the base of countless trees.”It gives the world a product, the condom, that will be very present there in Rio to fight disease and help with birth control,” he said.For several years, Brazil’s Health Ministry has distributed millions of condoms from the factory for free at big events around Brazil, most notably the annual bacchanal of Carnival.And for decades, tappers like Mr Barros have been on the front line of pushing Brazilian leaders to do more to halt deforestation, which is mostly caused by the illegal clearing of forest for ranching, soy farms and timber extraction.The fight has sometimes come at a heavy cost as farmers and loggers have sometimes retaliated with hired guns.Scores of people have been killed over the years trying to protect the forest, most notably the internationally-known environmentalist and rubber tapper Chico Mendes.His 1988 murder in Xapuri, where the condom factory now stands, helped galvanise the Government to take serious measures to battle deforestation and violence against the Amazon’s defenders.Mr Barros spoke with pride about the fierce fight he and other sustainable rubber tappers waged to maintain their craft.”Our condom factory, aside from guaranteeing a fair price for the rubber, employs hundreds,” he said.Rio’s local Olympic organising committee said about 450,000 of the sustainably-produced condoms will be destined for athletes and staff housed in the Olympic Village.The rest will be made widely available to the many visitors who will be arriving in the city in just a few weeks, the Health Ministry said.Reuterslast_img read more


World surf event set for 2017 in Madang

first_imgThe 2017 inaugural PNG-World Surf League Men’s and Women’s Longboard World Championships Tour will take place at Tupira Surf Resort in Madang Province, PNG.SAPNG president Andrew Abel confirmed that the event has been moved from January to March 18-25 with a total of 11 countries participating.This will see 36 male and 18 female of the world’s best longboarders from Australia, Hawaii, Peru, South Africa, France, Great Britain, United States, Brazil, Japan, Reunion Island and PNG take part.It will be televised to 120 million viewers worldwide and will also be seen on EMTV and Kundu TV.It will also include initiatives on empowering women with equal rights and opportunities.Abel said earlier this year that the event will also address violence against women with participation from world champion female surfers who strongly advocate support for SAPNG initiatives.“This event will deliver massive global promotion and will be great for the tourism marketing perspective for SAPNG as we move towards greater focus on product development in growing our tourism sector,” said Abel.last_img read more