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Author Archive for Matt Cleary

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Greg Inglis: the ‘man among boys’ who dominated rugby league for a decade | Matt Cleary

It’s cruel when champions don’t go out as they should, but GI’s exit shouldn’t tarnish the memory of the manYoung Greg Inglis was beautiful. The way he moved, carried himself, how he burned away from opponents at speed, he was like silky Cronulla Shark…

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Concerns raised over impact of Israel Folau’s exit on Wallabies’ dressing room | Matt Cleary

‘It’s not the kind of thing you can brush under the carpet,’ says former Wallaby Clyde RathboneFolau’s impending exit throws World Cup plans into disarraySuch is the transient nature of professional rugby, players are adept at adapting to change. Fluct…

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What’s the (golden) point of the NRL’s extra-time lottery? It’s not fair | Matt Cleary

A coin toss for two premiership points does nothing to reflect why one team was better than another in normal timeAt some point in each of the last NRL seasons there has been varying degrees of debate around the merits of drawn games being decided in e…

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Roosters’ master manipulators deliver ominous NRL warning | Matt Cleary

Against Brisbane Cooper Cronk and Luke Keary showed just why their team are so highly ratedRicky Stuart was right. When it comes to brickbats and bouquets dished out after games of rugby league, it is the halves who most “own” the result. They are the …

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Tribal nature of rugby league presents barrier to NRL relocation | Matt Cleary

Expansion seems a more palatable solution to TV’s desire to add 80 minutes a week in fresh marketsIt is a truism of professional sport that television gets what television wants. TV is the ultimate arbiter of who plays what, where and when. It is by fa…

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Concussions in sport: I stopped playing after sustaining head knocks | Matt Cleary

The doctor said the blows brought on a form of epilepsy. What advice do I now give my sport-mad kids?I was 63 not out and batting beautifully, flaying Weston Creek fifths all over Rivett Oval. Cut shots, pull shots, mighty heaves down town. I was 16 ye…

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Steve Smith’s media re-emergence is PR but his humility is genuine

The redemption of Australia’s fallen captain is spin but the man himself remains believableWe’re near the training nets at the famous old Sydney Cricket Ground and a bevy of journalists, photographers and sundry lanyard-wearers has come to tell us the …

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Fox edges Seven as Test cricket on Australian TV enters brave new era | Matt Cleary

Blokey banter was minimal and one can only assume there has been word from on highAnd so begins another summer of cricket and the nation can indulge in one of our favourite pastimes – bagging the TV commentary. Who you can’t stand, who you can, and who…

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Australia’s Olympic cuts: ‘Simply not enough money in the system’ | Matt Cleary

There are always winners and losers in the fight for funding and the reality is there is only so much to go around In the post-footy, pre-cricket sporting otherworld of mid-November 2009, a review into public funding of Australian sport landed on the d…

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Jarryd Hayne: the on-field rise and off-field fall of an enigma

Once one of Australia’s biggest sporting stories, Jarryd Hayne has seen his star wane as serious allegations loom once againIn the heady days around his debut for San Francisco 49ers, September 15, 2015, Jarryd Hayne drew as much press in Australia as …

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Tonga Test gives a glimpse of huge potential for the global game

The sea of red at Mt Smart Stadium for the Tonga and Australia game proves more matches between the two are needed Tonga’s population is 109,000 while there are an estimated 80,000 people of Tongan heritage in Australia and New Zealand. According to a …

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‘Drink a lot of tea’: what can be learned from a Kenyan marathon great | Matt Cleary

Australian Matt Fox wanted to discover how top athletes became so good. He learnt a lot from runners such as Eliud KipchogeIn August of 2017 Matt Fox spent a month in the village of Kaptagat in Kenya training with the greatest marathon runner the world…

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Cameron Smith again the circuit-breaker for brutal, beautiful Storm | Matt Cleary

Cameron Munster grabbed the headlines against the Rabbitohs but Smith’s simple execution from dummy half was the keyIt was a simple play, something Cameron Smith has ripped off tens of thousands of times. Yet in execution, aesthetic and, crucially, con…

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Momentum key heading into NRL finals after topsy-turvy last four rounds | Matt Cleary

The bottom eight are playing with stability and confidence while the top eight – with notable exceptions – are limping onOutside of unlikely and ultimately doomed fairy-tale finishes by Wests Tigers and Canberra Raiders, the NRL’s top eight has been se…

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Momentum key heading into NRL finals after topsy-turvy last four rounds | Matt Cleary

The bottom eight are playing with stability and confidence while the top eight – with notable exceptions – are limping onOutside of unlikely and ultimately doomed fairy-tale finishes by Wests Tigers and Canberra Raiders, the NRL’s top eight has been se…

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Jarrod Lyle: the man who had a way with people and was still thinking of others at the end | Matt Cleary

It was impossible not to like the Australian golfer with the beautiful swing and a big heartJohn Daly needed cheering up. It was a Monday morning after a particularly bad missed cut and he was alone on a practice green before a pro-am at Woodlands Golf…

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Referees reach tipping point after revelations about death threats | Matt Cleary

The abuse NRL official Matt Cecchin endured sheds light on a dangerous state of affairsThere are few jobs in the world in which grown men will scream obscenities in your face. Few work places feature missiles being hurled at you as you leave it. Few jo…

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Pursuit of NRL adjudicating perfection damages rugby league | Matt Cleary

Endless TV angles may mean less ‘errors’, but they worsen the game by slowing it downUnlike Australian rules football which is an aerial, 360-degree affair with more in common with Quidditch, rugby league is a linear game. It has a rectangular field, “…

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Queensland revel in unfamiliar underdog status in State of Origin Game I | Matt Cleary

Preparations have not gone smoothly but this fixture has Maroons ambush scrawled all over it Some years ago, the former England rugby union player Stuart Barnes was asked to dissect a State of Origin fixture at ANZ Stadium. While declaring that the com…

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NRL: Canberra’s Viking clap a highlight in a dour round for Raiders

A win is a win for a depleted Cronulla while Manly fans will take any win right nowThey may have ripped it off from the football team of Iceland (and when the southerly comes from Kosciuszko, GIO Stadium can feel like a graveyard in a country founded b…