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Exclusive: Crushing injury blow hits Cowboys young gun

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A potential season-ending injury blow suffered by rising Cowboys second-rower Heilum Luki has marred North Queensland’s phenomenal revival.

Wide World of Sports confirmed with the club that Luki had succumbed to a suspected ACL rupture during the Cowboys’ 31-12 win over the Dragons on Friday night.

The 21-year-old hobbled from the field in Townsville after emerging from a tackle with an injured right knee in the 15th minute.

AS IT HAPPENED: Origin-hit Cowboys topple Dragons

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“He’s definitely going for scans but it doesn’t look great,” said Cowboys coach Todd Payten in his post-match press conference.

“Fingers crossed for him, but we’ll know more in the next 24 to 48 hours.

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

In better news for Cowboys supporters, another young North Queensland back-rower in Jeremiah Nanai revealed at half-time that his injury suffered during the State of Origin opener wasn’t serious.

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Nanai was felled by an injury to his right ankle during Queensland’s 16-10 win over New South Wales on Wednesday night.

The 19-year-old left play and made a miraculous return to the field, but he wasn’t named for the Cowboys’ match against the Dragons.

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“Fingers crossed on Tuesday I’ll find out if I can play next week,” Nanai told Johnathan Thurston on Nine’s coverage.

“It’s just a minor injury.”

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Exclusive: Dalot's ready to roll – TalkOfNews.com

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Dalot's ready to roll

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United Daily | Diogo Dalot on pre-season, David May’s favourite goal, and a classic tour clip that ends up in the bin…

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Exclusive: The 30-year Origin hoodoo haunting New South Wales – TalkOfNews.com

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It’s almost 30 years since a Blues team came back to win a State of Origin series after losing the opener in Sydney, but two stars of that memorable NSW team of 1994 have laid down a blueprint for Brad Fittler’s men to follow.

Brilliant fullback Tim Brasher and giant back-rower Paul Sironen admitted things looked bleak for the Blues when Mark Coyne scored the famous last-minute try to win the Queenslanders an epic Game One that series.

“I know how this team feels – because it’s the same way we felt back in ’94,” Sironen, now a member of the Blues’ management team, told Wide World of Sports from Perth.

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“When you have game one at home you just have to win it – and we blew it.

“We didn’t play as well as we could have and we didn’t execute the way we trained and we knew we were really going to be up against it for the rest of the series.

“But what we did was turn that to our advantage by using that frustration, disappointment and anger at ourselves to spur us on.

“We levelled the series in Melbourne and it then all came down to the decider in Brisbane.”

Brasher has vivid memories of the lead-up to the all-important third match at Lang Park.

“Everyone was telling us about Lang Park being the cauldron and how we would cop it up there and I must admit I wasn’t all that confident in the week leading up to the game,” Brasher said.

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“But then on game night, as our team bus went down Caxton Street and they came out of the pub and shook the bus and threw bottles at us, I think that actually did us a favour.

“It galvanised us, gave us a siege mentality and we were determined to go all the way.”

The Blues won the decider 27-12, with a young Brad Fittler playing in the centres.

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Exclusive: Playing minus two starters, Magnolia routs Phoenix – TalkOfNews.com

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Playing minus two starters, Magnolia routs Phoenix

#Playing #starters #Magnolia #routs #Phoenix

Magnolia’s Jio Jalalon (second from right) splits the Phoenix defense to finish in double figures. —PBA IMAGES

Magnolia did the math and figured a few people short did not exactly mean a disadvantage in manpower.

“Coach told us that there are only five of us on the floor at a time, so it doesn’t matter if we’re missing some of our key players,” said veteran playmaker Mark Barroca, who keyed a 95-77 rout of Phoenix on Friday in the PBA Philippine Cup at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

“As long as the five on the floor is solid, we’ll be fine,” added Barroca, who finished with 21 points, five rebounds and six assists to help the Hotshots fill the void left by Paul Lee and Calvin Abueva.

Magnolia also drew double-digit outings from Aris Dionisio, Jio Jalalon, Jackson Corpuz and Ian Sangalang to bury the Fuel Masters in holes as deep as 27 points on the way to rising to 3-3 (win-loss).

And that was exactly what the doctor ordered, according to Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero.

“We talked about it before the game—that we’re now in the middle of the tournament,” he said. “It’s time to level up our game, level up our execution, our being smart. That’s why we had a good start.”

Magnolia—finalist of last year’s all-Filipino conference—came out the gates hard, using an 11-0 run to open the contest and take the wind out of Phoenix’s sails early despite the absence of its key starters. Lee was out of the game due to a back problem while Abueva was serving his one-game suspension for his behavior in a victory over Barangay Ginebra last week.

Also out for the Hotshots was backup guard Jerrick Ahanmisi.

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“Hopefully, before the elimination round ends, we are able to be complete. That’s only going to improve our run,” said Victolero.

Javee Mocon led Phoenix with 19 points while Sean Manganti added 11 as the Fuel Masters dropped to 2-3.

Later in the night, Barangay Ginebra got 20 points and 10 rebounds from Christian Standhardinger to stop San Miguel Beer, 75-72.

The Gin Kings hiked their record to 4-1 while dealing the Beermen their first loss in four games this conference.


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