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Exclusive: NRL veteran's cheeky message to coach Benji – TalkOfNews.com

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Sharks captain Wade Graham plans to head down the path of rugby league coaching — and he’s sent Benji Marshall a cheeky message.

Almost a month after Marshall was announced as Wests Tigers’ head coach from 2025, Graham has revealed he’s working through his coaching accreditation with the 37-year-old.

Graham doesn’t have an NRL contract beyond this season and, although he’s in talks with Cronulla to sign a new deal, the 31-year-old is readying himself for life after football.

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“I’m doing my (coaching) accreditation now with Benji Marshall. He’s already got a job. I might get him to hook me up and try to be one of his assistants (at the Tigers) over the years,” Graham said with a laugh.

“It’s certainly an option. I do enjoy that part of the game.”

Graham has played 270 NRL games with the Panthers and Sharks.

He was a member of the Cronulla side that defeated Melbourne in the 2016 grand final.

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The utility has also represented New South Wales and Australia.

“I don’t sense that I’ve lost my love for the game or my passion for the game, so it would be crazy as a 32-, 33-, 34-year-old to, in my opinion, go and try something completely different (after my playing days),” Graham said.

“This is what I know, so I’d just stick at it and hopefully be able to give the game back something after all these years of service.”

Stream the NRL premiership 2022 live and free on 9Now.

Why Sheens has faith in Benji the coach

A rejuvenated Sharks outfit is gunning for the club’s second NRL title.

In his first season as a head coach, Craig Fitzgibbon has Cronulla sitting in third ahead of round 22.

Graham isn’t thinking more than one year ahead.

“We’ll go one year at a time. I’m comfortable with one year and then you never know,” he said.

“If I get to this stage next year and I’m still feeling good, we’ll see how we go.”

Graham’s checkered history with head knocks could see him retire earlier than he once anticipated.

Roosters legends Jake Friend and Boyd Cordner retired prematurely in 2021 due to severe battles with concussion.

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Exclusive: PVL: Cignal nails first finals berth despite Petro Gazz victory – TalkOfNews.com

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Cignal HD Spikers PVL Reinforced Conference

Cignal HD Spikers. PVL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Cignal lost to Petro Gazz, 14-25, 21-25, 27-25, 19-25, but still clinched the first Finals berth in the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference by virtue of superior set ratio on Tuesday at Philsports Arena.

The HD Spikers finally made their finals breakthrough after the Angels blew a 24-21 advantage in the third set. Petro Gazz, which drew a game-high 30 points from Lindsey Vander Weide, needed to beat Cignal in straight sets to clinch a championship berth.

The Angels and the HD Spikers ended the semis round with similar 2-1 slates.

Tai Bierria willed the HD Spikers scoring four of her 15 points down the stretch in the third set to lift her team ahead, 26-25, before Ria Meneses drilled the winning attack which sealed Cignal’s first-ever PVL finals.

The HD Spikers celebrated inside the court after winning the third, knowing that incase of a triple tie at 2-1 and six points, they would still come away with the highest set ratio with seven set wins against four losses.

Petro Gazz still has a chance to arrange a best-of-three finals against Cignal on Thursday if Creamline loses to Chery Tiggo or if the Cool Smashers and Crossovers’ duel reaches five sets.

A win by Creamline in three or four sets will clinch an eighth straight finals appearance for the Cool Smashers at the expense of the 2019 Reinforced Conference champion Petro Gazz.

The Angels fought back from a 14-15 deficit in the fourth set as Vander Weide ignited their 5-0 run for a 20-15 lead before Bierria trimmed it to a two-point game, 21-19, but Petro Gazz scored four straight points capped by the 30th point of its American import to win the game.

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“Cignal was obviously fighting for it. They didn’t wanna let us have it in three sets. There were also some errors that I personally made that kinda happened out of just pure too much energy,” said Vander Weide. “But, we bounced back in the fourth, obviously, and that feels good. But of course, we would have loved to do it in three.”

With their fate still hanging on the result of the ongoing second game, Petro Gazz coach Rald Ricafort accepted the result after a convincing win, where his locals also stepped up.

“We’ll take it as long as we win.  Sayang but we’re really eyeing to win this game. We’ll just wait for the result of the second game,” said Ricafort in Filipino. “Our fate is no longer in our hands. But at least we worked hard. The expectations were high. We needed to win in straight sets but even if we didn’t achieve it at least we won.”

MJ Phillips also stepped up for the Angels with 13 points on seven blocks, four attacks, and an ace. Aiza Maizo-Pontillas had 10 points, Remy Palma added seven markers, and setter Djanel Cheng also scored seven on top of 16 excellent sets.

Cignal was carried by Bierria’s 15-point effort. Meneses had eight markers, while Rose Doria and Ces Molina had seven markers each with Gel Cayuna dishing out 22 excellent sets on top of six points from three aces.

Even though they are bound to the Finals, the HD Spikers coach Shaq Delos Santos begged off from an interview through their team manager Ken Ucang.

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Exclusive: Joe Rodon ready for challenge of facing 'world class' England captain Harry Kane – TalkOfNews.com

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Joe Rodon ready for challenge of facing 'world class' England captain Harry Kane

#Joe #Rodon #ready #challenge #facing #039world #class039 #England #captain #Harry #Kane

Wales defender Joe Rodon is relishing the task of facing off against England captain Harry Kane as the two teams meet in the World Cup on Tuesday night.

Rodon and his Welsh teammates have disappointed at the tournament so far in Qatar, taking only one point from two games against the United States and Iran, and face elimination from the competition if they fail to beat their British rivals. Even then, their fate would depend on the other result in the group.

There has been some doubt about whether Kane should feature from the start against Wales with England comfortable in Group B and set for the knockout stages unless they remarkably lose by a four-goal margin. But Rodon, who played with Kane at Tottenham before going out on loan to Rennes at the start of the season, is up for the challenge of facing what he calls a world class striker.

“I’ve played against him maybe a million times in training. He is a top player, one of the best in the world,” Rodon said of Kane.

“Training with these players for the last couple of seasons has improved me as a player. In a competitive game it is going to be another big challenge – he is a top player who has done it for many years and I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to train with players like this.

“It is going to be a brilliant challenge for me and one I am very excited about. He is a brilliant finisher with both feet – he’s scored many goals and is a world class striker.”

Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders and Toby Cudworth to look back on South Korea/Japan ’02 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us!

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download or listen to the episode in full!

Rodon is spending the season on loan with Ligue 1 club Rennes, who have the option to make the deal permanent should they wish as part of the deal. But another player Rodon used to play with at Tottenham, Gareth Bale, will line up alongside the centre back as Wales fight for their lives to stay in their first World Cup in 64 years on Tuesday night.

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The two have a strong relationship, and Wales will need to display unity and togetherness if they are to get a result against England – especially in light of the last two results and the criticism the likes of Bale has taken because of the performances in Qatar. But Rodon insists Bale plays a crucial part in taking the edge off in pressure situations in camp – to Wales’ advantage.

“He is a superstar and I think me knowing him, what he is like, he is always joking around,” Rodon said of the Wales captain. “Him being the player he is, he always takes the pressure off the group.

“You have seen he has delivered time and time again. For us to have him as a country it is unbelievable – we are delighted to have him and hopefully we will have him for many years.

“We all know what he is capable of as a player and we look up to him and respect him.”

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Exclusive: NBA: Kristaps Porzingis sets career-high 41 points, Wizards best Timberwolves – TalkOfNews.com

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Kristaps Porzingis Wizards NBA

Kristaps Porzingis #6 celebrates after hitting a three pointer in the first half with teammate Kyle Kuzma #33 of the Washington Wizards against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Capital One Arena on November 28, 2022 in Washington, DC. Rob Carr/Getty Images/AFP

Kristaps Porzingis scored 29 of his career-high 41 points in the first half as the Washington Wizards led wire-to-wire in a 142-127 win over the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday.

Porzingis was 6 of 10 from 3-point range for Washington, which recorded a season-high point total and snapped a three-game losing streak.

Kyle Kuzma added 23 points, eight rebounds and nine assists for the Wizards, while Bradley Beal scored 22 points, Corey Kispert had 11 and Jordan Goodwin 10.

Minnesota has lost three straight following a five-game winning streak. Anthony Edwards scored 29 points, Jaylen Nowell added 23 off the bench, Rudy Gobert had 19 points and seven rebounds and D’Angelo Russell scored 17 points.

Washington led by as many as 27 in the first half and held a 77-58 advantage at the break. Minnesota quickly pulled within striking distance after opening the third quarter on a 16-5 run.

The Wizards responded with an 11-2 run and led 93-76 after Kuzma’s 3-pointer with 5:25 left in the third quarter.

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Minnesota forward Karl-Anthony Towns exited the game late in the third quarter with a right calf strain and did not return. He had eight points and four assists in 22 minutes.

Washington led 109-97 to start the fourth quarter and remained in control throughout the final period.

The Wizards have won six straight against Minnesota, which committed 18 turnovers and shot just 7 of 27 (25.9 percent) from 3-point range.

Porzingis opened the game with back-to-back 3-pointers as Washington bolted to a 23-8 lead. The 7-foot-3 center finished with 16 points in the first quarter.

The Wizards carried a five-point lead into the second quarter and stretched their lead to 73-46 on Porzingis’ trey with 2:16 left in the first half.

Porzingis’ 29 points before intermission marked a career high for a single half. Washington shot 63.4 percent from the field in the first half and 8 of 14 (57.1 percent) from beyond the arc.

Washington played without Rui Hachimura (right ankle soreness) for the fifth straight game, while Minnesota’s Jaden McDaniels missed his second straight game due to illness.

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