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Read Now: DCE's career-defining shot as dethroning looms – 101 Latest News



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Darren Lockyer believes Nathan Cleary is poised to dislodge Daly Cherry-Evans as Australia’s halfback for this year’s Rugby League World Cup.

But of immediate concern to Cherry-Evans is the State of Origin decider on Wednesday night, which Lockyer and fellow Queensland great Sam Thaiday see as a defining chapter in the Manly maestro’s reign as Maroons captain.

Cherry-Evans, installed as Greg Inglis’ successor ahead of the 2019 opener, has only led Queensland to one series win from three attempts.

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However, it was supposedly the worst Queensland team in history that he steered to Origin glory.

That’s certainly the view of former New South Wales skipper Paul Gallen.

While Cherry-Evans might not ever be held in as high regard as legendary Queensland captains Arthur Beetson, Wally Lewis, Cameron Smith and Lockyer, former Maroons forward Thaiday sees qualities in the 33-year-old that could bolster his legacy in the Brisbane finale.

“This is probably one of the biggest tests he has in this State of Origin jersey, to stand up at Suncorp Stadium to lead his team to victory,” Thaiday said on Wide World of Sports’ QLDER.

“I think he’s got those traits of a great captain in him.

“This will be a test for him, but I am sure he will stand up to that test.”

Queensland veteran Papalii under fire

Thaiday and Cherry-Evans were Queensland teammates in five games between 2013, 2014 and 2015.

“It’s his chance and opportunity to really stand up as a captain (on Wednesday night),” Thaiday added.

“If he wants to be known as a great Queensland captain he’s got to lead the Queensland team to victory in this game and really lead by example as a captain.

“I think he’s got it in him.”


READ MORE: Queensland Maroons team list | Origin III

READ MORE: NSW Blues team list | Origin III

The pressure weighing down on Cherry-Evans has perhaps never been greater after megastar halves partner Cameron Munster was wiped from the decider due to a positive COVID-19 result.

Queensland coach Billy Slater is refusing to spill on whether Cowboys youngster Tom Dearden or Dragons captain Ben Hunt will replace Munster at five-eighth.

Sam, Locky and Joey breakdown who wins Game 3: QLDER LIVE from THE CAXTON

“(Cherry-Evans) is in there fighting hard and if they’re able to win on Wednesday that elevates him to a higher status,” Lockyer said.

“A lot of forwards respected (Andrew Johns) because he got in there and tackled as good as they did.

“I couldn’t do that, but I was always willing to get in there and roll my sleeves up.

“I think that’s what most of the forwards want from their halves — getting in there and playing tough.

“I think (Cherry-Evans) is capable of that, and he’ll have to do that on Wednesday night.”

Watch State of Origin exclusive, live and free on Channel 9 and 9Now.

Cleary walking in NSW Immortal’s shoes

Lockyer thinks Cleary has wrestled the Kangaroos No.7 jumper from Cherry-Evans through his recent heroics.

“I think Nathan would be the halfback picked on his performance in game two. Won the (NRL) premiership last year. He’s the best game manager in the game consistently,” Lockyer said.

“Daly has some really comprehensive games at halfback for Manly, but every week Nathan brings (the same level).

“I said it the other day: the thing that scares me the most as a Queenslander is that the two times NSW has won a decider (in Brisbane) was ’94, (when) Ricky Stuart was the halfback, and then 2005, (when) it was (Johns) at halfback. Nathan Cleary, for mine, is going in the same direction as those two.

“So, he’s the guy we have to stop.”

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Read Now: Lions star whacked over 'contact to eye region' – 101 Latest News



#Lions #star #whacked #039contact #eye #region039

Brisbane veteran Dayne Zorko has copped a one-match ban after appearing to make contact with a players’ eye in the aftermath of a dangerous tackle.

The incident occurred in the first quarter of the Lions’ loss to Adelaide on Sunday, when Zorko wrapped up Crows youngster Luke Pedlar in the Crows’ forward line.

After catching Pedlar high, Zorko appeared to rub his right hand in the region of Pedlar’s eye, with the incident catching the attention of the match review officer.

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The MRO assessed the incident as intentional conduct with low impact and high contact, giving Zorko a one-match suspension as a result.

Zorko was not the only star to be given a ban in the wake of Sunday’s thriller, with Crows midfielder Rory Laird handed a one match-ban for a tackle on Lachie Neale.

Laird’s tackle was assessed as careless conduct with medium impact and high contact after he appeared to sling Neale’s head into the turf.

If the two players choose not to contest the bans at the tribunal on Tuesday, Zorko will miss Brisbane’s clash against Hawthorn in round 13, with the Lions having a bye in round 12, while Laird will miss the round 12 clash against the Suns.

Richmond star Dustin Martin was the other player to be charged by the MRO, with the Tigers star copping a $3000 fine for striking Port Adelaide’s Dan Houston.

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Read Now: Kylian Mbappe confirms plan for next season amid Real Madrid interest – 101 Latest News



Kylian Mbappe confirms plan for next season amid Real Madrid interest

#Kylian #Mbappe #confirms #plan #season #Real #Madrid #interest

Kylian Mbappe has confirmed that he will stay at Paris Saint-Germain this summer despite interest from Real Madrid.

The French superstar has been consistently linked with a blockbuster move to Los Blancos over the last 12 months, with reports emanating from Spain recently suggesting that the club were keen to make another approach for Mbappe this summer.

Despite said interest, during Sunday evening’s UNFP awards – in which Mbappe won Ligue 1 Player of the Year for a fourth time – the striker confirmed that he intends to stay at Paris Saint-Germain for the 2023/24 season.

“I am here to talk about the trophy,” he responded to a question about his future. “Next season I’ll be playing at PSG. I have one year left on my contract and I’m going to honour my contract.”

Read the latest PSG news here

Mbappe’s current contract was signed last season at a time when it seemed that the forward was all-set to join Real Madrid. Since signing the contract, PSG have continued to dominate Ligue 1 but also continued to struggle in the UEFA Champions League.

Despite tying down Mbappe and signing Lionel Messi, Les Parisiens have failed to go beyond the round of 16 in the competition since 2021.

Likely with a new manager at the helm, as Christophe Galtier looks set to leave the club this summer, and without Messi, who looks destined to return to Barcelona, Mbappe and PSG will be hoping to finally win the Champions League for the first time next season.

Galtier, however, has stressed that he has earned the chance to stay at PSG and try challenge in Europe, telling reporters: “I deserve a second season at Paris Saint-Germain!

“I repeat it once again because no one wants to hear it but it was a very special season. We had to stay the course even when we thought everyone had their heads under water. I pay tribute to my players who have not given up. I am very happy and I don’t want us to trivialise [this title win]!”


On this week’s edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders is joined by Toby Cudworth and Graeme Bailey to discuss all the latest transfer news. On the agenda: Tottenham’s pursuit of Feyenoord manager Arne Slot, Bayern Munich’s interest in Declan Rice, Joshua Kimmich, Neymar & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

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Read Now: Latrell ruled out, Cleary in doubt for Origin opener – 101 Latest News



#Latrell #ruled #Cleary #doubt #Origin #opener

Latrell Mitchell is out of the State of Origin series opener at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday night with a calf strain.

And it may yet get worse for the Blues, with star half Nathan Cleary also in doubt with a wisdom tooth issue.

Nine’s Danny Weidler reports Nicho Hynes has been told to prepare to play at No.7, and Matt Burton — already on his way to Adelaide as 18th man — would move onto the bench should Cleary be ruled out.

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But Weidler said NSW is currently still expecting Cleary to play.

Mitchell was picked to play in the centres, but has been ruled out after scans revealed the extent of the strain.

He will not travel to Adelaide with the rest of the Blues squad on Monday morning, and has been replaced in the side by Stephen Crichton.

“This is huge … he had build that combination on the left side wth Hudson Young, they had worked out how they were going to play so now Stephen Crichton goes there [and] they’ve got to tweak things,” Andrew Johns said on Wide World of Sports’ Immortal Behaviour.

Watch the 2023 State of Origin series LIVE and exclusive on Channel 9 and 9Now.

“Stephen Crichton is a world-class player, but [Mitchell] is a big loss this close to the game.

“I think it’s only a small strain, but you just cannot risk an outside back.”

The new combination will have just the captains run on Tuesday to gel, before the match on Wednesday night.

Mitchell didn’t finish training on Sunday night, and joked with the Sydney Morning Herald he was “a bit cold”.

‘It’s a big loss’: Latrell Mitchell out of Origin Game I with calf injury

“I thought I’d give Nicho [Hynes] and Critta [Stephen Crichton] a run out there,” he said.

It wasn’t until later in the evening the extent of the injury became apparent.

The injury is believed to be only minor, and his fitness for game two on June 21 is not in doubt.

For Crichton, it’s the second Origin promotion in the space of a week. Having originally been left out of the squad, the Panthers centre was made 18th man after Campbell Graham was withdrawn with a sternum injury.

In a statement the Blues confirmed Bulldogs half Matt Burton would travel to Adelaide on Monday afternoon as the new 18th man.

It’s the second injury scare to rip through Brad Fittler’s camp after Payne Haas spent much of Friday’s training session in the grandstand at Coogee Oval with an ankle injury.

He completed Sunday’s training session, and is not believed to be in doubt for the series-opener.

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