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  4. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has become the first Warrior to win the Dally M medal as the Kiwi fullback heralded a new generation of talent in the NRL. Tuivasa-Sheck polled 29 votes to win the league's player-of-the-season award by two points from Newcastle's Kalyn Ponga, with Cronulla's Valentine Holmes in third. In a sign of the changing times, none of the top five -- which also included Luke Brooks and Mitchell Pearce -- have previously polled in the top five positions at the Dally Ms during their career. The Warriors fullback trailed by one vote with a round to go, but polled three points in the final round against Canberra while Ponga remained on the sideline injured. In doing so, he became the first fullback to win the award since Ben Barba in 2012, as he averaged 167 metres a match and busted through a total of 92 tackles. "He's had a wonderful year for the footy club so he has to be a chance," Warriors coach Stephen Kearney told AAP earlier on Wednesday. "Everyone knows Rog for his attacking abilities but I thought a number of times this year he has saved tries for us. I thought that was a really good part for us." Meanwhile Pearce's effort to finish fifth -- and just six points off the pace -- in his first year at Newcastle is most impressive considering he missed nine games through injury in the middle of the season. In other awards, Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith won captain of the year, South Sydney's Anthony Seibold was coach of the year and Brisbane's Jamayne Isaako was the rookie of the year after leading the point-scoring race. Symbolic of the closest competition in the NRL's history, no club had more than one starting player in the Dally M team of the year. Sunday's grand finalists Melbourne and the Sydney Roosters both had one pick, with Cameron Munster at five-eighth and Blake Ferguson as winger. Meanwhile South Sydney's Damien Cook picked up both the Dally M hooker of the year award and the Provan Summons people's choice medal. Brisbane's Brittany Breayley was the NRL women's player of the competition, while Gold Coast captain Ryan James won the Ken Stephen medal for his community work. Meanwhile Dragons flyer Steve Morris was retrospectively awarded the 1979 Dally M , after it was never officially awarded. DALLY M CLASS OF 2018 Dally M, Fullback: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Warriors) Captain: Cameron Smith (Storm) Coach: Anthony Seibold (South Sydney Rabbitohs) Winger: Blake Ferguson (Roosters) Centre: Joseph Leilua (Raiders) Five-eighth: Cameron Munster (Storm) Halfback: Luke Brooks (Wests Tigers) Lock: Jason Taumalolo (Cowboys) Second-rower: Josh Jackson (Bulldogs) Prop: Andrew Fifita (Sharks) Hooker, Provan Summons People's Choice: Damien Cook (Rabbitohs) Interchange: Jazz Tevaga (Warriors) Rookie, top pointscore: Jamayne Isaako (Broncos) Top tryscorer: David Fusitu'a (Warriors) Female player: Brittany Breayley (Broncos) Ken Stephen medal: Ryan James (Titans).
  5. OUT with the old and in with the new — Optus Stadium was transformed today from football ground to cricket field. A little more than a week after the stadium hosted the WAFL grand final and the Eagles preliminary final, five giant slabs of turf were lifted out of the centre of the ground and replaced with clay-based cricket pitches. The process was painstakingly slow as a 40-tonne wicket transporter crawled across the outfield and one by one removed and replaced 25-tonne sections of the centre wicket block. WACA turf manager Nathan Saville said it was similar to how drop-in cricket pitches were prepared and installed at other grounds around Australia. “The machine comes in over the top and there is a hydraulic lift,” he said. “It lifts up the wickets that are prepared in trays in our nursery and places them in the holes where the other turf has been removed.” The clay pitches are prepared and maintained at a nursery just outside stadium. The process is a full-time job for WACA ground staff who ensure the pitches are in optimal condition before the move. “The biggest thing for us when we move the wickets in is making sure the moisture content is right,” Mr Saville said. “We can test moisture content and we don’t want them too dry when we lift them up. “The grass here is exactly the same as the WACA, the clay is the same and we are trying to replicate how the WACA performs.” Mr Saville said the trays of regular, sand-based turf that were removed from the ground yesterday would be kept and maintained until next year. “We take them out to where the clay ones were in the nursery and then we swap them back for footy,” he said. “A fair bit of planning goes into this and we only get one crack at it. This will make our summer if we do it right.” A one-day international between Australian and South Africa on November 4 will be the first official game of cricket at Optus Stadium this summer.
  6. What an incredible defensive effort we saw from the Sydney Roosters in the grand final against the Storm. They faced one of the most lethal attacking teams of the past 10 years and no matter what was thrown at them, the Chooks held firm. It was made all the more incredible by the fact that one-armed Cooper Cronk was part of the line. Cronk's defensive contributions were mainly a case of getting his body in the way while his teammates swarmed in to complete the tackle. His wealth of experience allowed him to be in the right place at the right time, and he was never really isolated. If anything, the Storm failed to send enough work his way. One simple example of how the Storm could have tested Cronk further came with their kick-offs. Generally the halves position themselves under kick-offs before dishing the ball off to a rampaging prop. All of the Storm's first half kick-offs went to Luke Keary's side of the field. Cronk may have planned to have someone take the kick-offs for him, but we'll never know because the Storm failed to test him. It was also noticeable that the Storm never lined their big men up for consistent charges at Cronk out wide. Whenever he was called on to contribute in defence it was usually a smaller back running at him. Did the Storm have too much respect for their former teammate? Regardless, the whole Roosters team deserve accolades for their efforts in defence. The inaugural Women's Premiership was won by the Brisbane Broncos in a convincing 34-12 display against the Sydney Roosters. Broncos team members and staff danced around the field in jubilation following the well-deserved win. The Broncos went through the four-week competition undefeated and were clearly the best team. Considering what a success the first season has been, it can only be hoped that they expand the number of teams involved sooner rather than later. Otherwise we could continue to see the biggest trophy ever awarded for the amount of wins needed to win it. Third tackle: Smart move with Martin The 30 seconds Rhyse Martin spent on the field back in August to qualify for the Intrust Super Cup finals series certainly paid dividends for the Bulldogs. Martin's hard running, solid defence and accurate goal kicking played a vital part in them progressing to and ultimately winning the title against Newtown Jets. In the State Championship final on grand final day, Martin scored the Bulldogs' first try after charging onto a cut-out pass before beating three defenders. He then slotted the conversion to give his team an early 6-0 lead. He was one of the stars for the Bulldogs as they went on to crush the Redcliffe Dolphins 42-18. Fourth tackle: Big bucks for impossible task At halftime in the grand final, the ground announcers declared that match-day sponsor Chemist Warehouse was about to give away $1 million to one lucky member of the crowd. All that person had to do was kick five goals from 40 metres out, within 50 seconds. The breathless hostess spoke to the elderly gentleman on the 40 metre line and asked him if he was confident of achieving the task at hand. He said he was very confident and confirmed that he had no footballing background. The five Steedens awaited on kicking tees, lined across the 40 metre line, slightly off centre field. Now 40 metres is further out than any first grader will place a ball to attempt a conversion. First graders can kick penalty goals from that distance, but they rarely do. It is not an easy task, especially with the pressure of $1 million on your shoulders and a pair of dress shoes on your feet. Before the person with the microphone started the countdown, he yelled that the lucky gentleman would receive $10,000 for each successful kick, if he didn't kick all five and take home the big prize. The lucky contestant took a four-step run up, swung his foot and the ball dribbled off the tee all of two metres. He lined up the next and it dribbled ten metres. The next two didn't travel much further, and his final attempt actually left the ground momentarily before crossing the 20 metre line. Never mind, it was a great effort, said the female announcer, even consoling him with the suggestion that even she would probably struggle at that distance. Fifth and last: Novelty oversized cheques are back It was good to see the novelty oversized cheque making its presence felt on grand final day. The man-of-the-match award winners in the first two grand finals were presented with hilariously large pieces of cardboard. The funniest however, was the cheque presented to the eight-year-old between games for winning a junior rugby league award. The poor little guy was nearly blown away by the stiff southerly as he battled to carry his cheque off the field. Hopefully his parents brought a car with plenty of cargo room for the trip home. Handover: Ears are still ringing The PA system at ANZ Stadium is either specially designed to accommodate the hearing impaired, or cruelly intended to add to the numbers of people who suffer such an impairment. The ground announcer made it worse by screaming his every word into the microphone to the point where his voice was literally painful.
  7. SYDNEY, Australia -- The stage was set at 6:25pm when the ground announcer confirmed that Cooper Cronk would take his place in the Roosters starting line-up. The largely Roosters-biased crowd roared its approval. Shortly after, as a list of retiring players was read out, a deafening boo greeted Billy Slater's name. It would be a classic clash between hero and villain. Two great mates who have shared so much success over years, pitted against each other on the NRL's biggest stage. Opposition fans always target the players most likely to do damage to their team's chances, but this was different. Slater's mid-week reprieve from a shoulder charge suspension intensified the ill-feeling towards one the best fullbacks to ever play the game. Meanwhile, Cronk's status was elevated to superhero after he somehow managed to overcome what was later revealed to be a fractured scapula to take the field. Cronk didn't touch the ball during the Roosters' first two sets of six. He defended one in from the right wing and his left arm was stuck noticeably at a ridged angle beside his body. The Roosters led 2-0 and Cronk hadn't made a tackle either. Five-and-a-half minutes into the game and he joined a three man Roosters tackle to drive back a Storm ball-runner. Seven minutes into the game and Cronk was hit late after putting up a kick. The crowd winced, then booed, but the veteran playmaker climbed to his feet to continue. At the other end of the field the villain was receiving ear-rattling boos every time he handled the ball, the cheers were even louder every time he was slammed into the turf. After their first try, the Roosters fans even started a chant once reserved for Wally Lewis at State of Origin time. After 15 minutes Cronk put up another high kick, again he was punished in the tackle, but the Storm fumbled and shortly after the Roosters were in for their second try and a 12-0 lead. The Roosters were well on top, powering through the middle with the ball and punishing the Storm in defence. Cronk wasn't touching the ball as much as he would normally, but he was doing plenty of talking and pointing with his good arm. He was being well guarded in the defensive line by centre Joseph Manu and the man in the No.7 jersey Mitchell Aubusson. At times towards halftime Cronk was dropping out of the line in a sweeping role on that right side. With 10 minutes to go in the half, Jake Friend scooped up the ball from a Storm mistake and raced away. Cameron Munster ran back to cover in defence but held Friend down too long, earning himself 10 minutes in the bin. The crowd roared again. The Roosters went to halftime with a 14-0 lead on the back of an incredible defensive effort; the Sydney defenders were swarming and hitting the Storm runners in numbers. The Storm started the second half with much more intensity and looked dangerous at times, but still the Roosters withstood their charges. Ten minutes in, the Storm worked the ball wide on halfway and Cronk had to combine with Manu to make a solid tackle. His left arm still rigid at his side. The Storm needed to score first in the second half, but the only way through the Roosters line was for Nelson Asofa-Solomona to obstruct Cronk, allowing Cameron Munster to cross for a try that was disallowed. Their only try came through a Josh Addo-Carr intercept on his own 20-metre line.
  8. Boyd Cordner is poised to cap a dream season with an unprecedented feat after being handed the Kangaroos captaincy following Greg Inglis' brief, ill-fated tenure. The 26-year-old Cordner can become the first person to captain NSW to a State of Origin series victory, lead his club to an NRL premiership and steer his country to a Test win all in the same year. Just two days after skippering the Sydney Roosters' NRL grand final triumph, Cordner was named Australia's latest captain on Tuesday after newly-appointed Inglis was suspended for Australia's tour of New Zealand following a mid-range drink driving charge. Dane Gagai is set to claim Inglis' centre spot after being recalled to the Kangaroos 19-man squad by coach Mal Meninga. Cordner was long-serving captain Cameron Smith's deputy during last year's World Cup success, and has been the Blues' Origin captain since last season. "Both Boyd and Greg were strong candidates for the captaincy so clearly Boyd was next in line," Meninga said. "Boyd has had exceptional success as a leader this season. "He skippered NSW to a State of Origin series victory and also captained Sydney Roosters to a Premiership. "Being able to captain the Kangaroos will cap a great year for him." The announcement makes Cordner the first NSW captain to lead the Kangaroos since Danny Buderus in 2005, and the first Roosters player since Brad Fittler in 2001. It comes after he'd joined an illustrious group earlier this week, with Steve Mortimer the only other NSW captain to have won an Origin series and premiership in the same year in 1985.
  9. After an offseason holdout, trade-baiting, a few missed practices and three interceptions in the Seattle Seahawks' 2-2 start, Earl Thomas appears to be done for the season after he broke his leg Sunday in a win over the Arizona Cardinals. Reactions from current and former NFL players after the injury quickly became a referendum on long-term contracts, the goals of holding out and Thomas' legacy as a feared member of one of the league's best-ever defensive units. The injury also was relevant to Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell, who continues to hold out, seeking his own long-term contract from the Steelers. Bell commented on an ESPN Instagram post with his feelings.
  10. THE Joeys had only just secured qualification for next year’s Under-17 World Cup in Peru, via a hard fought 3-2 victory over Indonesia … and coach Trevor Morgan’s phone was already ringing. It’s Socceroos boss Graham Arnold. “You’re going to win the Asian Cup, aren’t you?!” quips the most highly regarded boss in the land, “Well, that’s what we’re here for,” comes the response from the Joeys mentor. This exchange speaks volumes. Morgan explained to foxsports.com.au, “The national team staff at all levels is a bit of a family.” “I think the most important thing is communication. So we’re constantly speaking about players coming to each other’s camps, watching what’s happening above you or below you, that’s the most important thing because you can have a path or a plan but players develop at different rates. “So him [Arnold] and his staff were all on the phone straight away, messaging, they’ve been watching the games; they’re very interested in the kids.” Youth development has been a big talking point in Australian football in recent times, and this qualification, achieved amid a hostile environment and a tricky set of opponents, was ‘vital’ especially considering our unique geographic situation. “Of course it’s important, we have the isolation as a country so we don’t have what European nations have where they can cross a border on a bus and play a different style of football and a different culture,” Morgan said. “So qualifying for these major tournaments is invaluable experience for our young players and to qualify, it’s certainly not easy. The Asian teams are very well prepared, they put a lot of money and resources into what they’re doing to try and improve and also it’s on their circumstances and their pitches. It’s a huge challenge for us, it’s not easy but it is vital for us to qualify because the kids need the experience if they’re going to progress to the Socceroos.” The 23-man squad will take on Japan in a semi-final on Thursday night, after two wins was enough to secure a group stage progression despite a loss to South Korea. However, this young group is by no means locked in moving forward, with Morgan asserting the importance of a door open policy in the search to uncover as many potential future stars as possible – and the best way of doing so. “The most important thing while they’re young is that we keep our door open and look at as many kids as possible and the good thing is that we’re constantly in contact with the senior national team staff, the U20 national team staff, so if a kid is doing well someone will know about it,” he said. “Everything can improve, and as I’ve said before, the most important thing is to look as widely as possible because young kids change so much. We’re looking, in the Joeys age group, to try and do as much collaborative scouting of players using top people where the kids are playing in member federations, states and clubs. Asking constantly who is improving and running what we call elite matches where we get the best 20-25 kids together for a match once a month in each state, and we’re looking to keep making opportunities for kids to step up and the cooperation across the country is vital to that being successful.”
  11. OLIVIA Cotter’s plea for gender neutral cricket gear has paid off, with Cricket Australia and merchandise company Kookaburra hearing her requests. Figures reveal more girls are now signing up to play cricket than boys, with six in 10 registrations being female. The 12-year-old made headlines last month after posting a letter to social media, addressed to Kookaburra, calling for more gender neutral cricket gear. On Monday, she was presented with a Kookaburra bat, pads, gloves, bag and a signed Cricket Australia shirt. Australian cricketer Alyssa Healy was on hand to present the shirt ahead of the second International T20 match at Allan Border Field. Her mum Deb Cotter said her daughter was overwhelmed by the gesture. “She said it was the best day of her life,” Ms Cotter said. “It was so wonderful for Alyssa (Healy) to take the time out to present Olivia with the gear. “It was very encouraging.” The National Cricket Census last month revealed 60 per cent of new cricket participants were female in the 2017/18 season, and research by Commonwealth Bank suggests this figure will continue to grow. CBA research found that 70 per cent of Aussies believe that if there was more women’s sport on TV, more females would continue or take up competitive sport. Cricket Australia’s community cricket general executive manager Belinda Clark said the success of the WBBL and national women’s side was helping increase female participation. “There’s just been a lot greater awareness made of the opportunities for girls,” she said.
  12. THE feud between Shane Warne and his former captain Steve Waugh has again reared its ugly head, with explosive claims in a new book. Warne has hit out at Waugh in his latest book, ‘No Spin’ suggesting Waugh was selfish and only concerned with keeping his average above 50. Warne pointed to the 1999 tour of the West Indies as evidence for his claims, after Waugh led calls to drop the leg-spinner, who was also vice-captain at the time. Warne was struggling to get back to his best after major shoulder surgery and after being dominated by Brian Lara in the previous Test, Waugh thought his deputy should be stood down. Warne recalls the incident as the tipping point in the relationship breakdown between the pair. “Anyway, we were 2–1 down,” Warne writes. “I was vice-captain and bowling pretty ordinary and Tugga [Steve Waugh] opened the selection meeting between the two of us and Geoff Marsh, the coach, by saying, “Warney, I don’t think you should play this next Test.” (Remember the selectors on tour were the captain, vice-captain and coach.) “Silence. “Er, right,” I said. “Why?” “I don’t think you’re bowling very well, mate.” “Yes . . . fair call,” I admitted. “My shoulder [after surgery] is taking longer than I thought but it’s close now. The feel is slowly coming back and then the rhythm will come, mate. I’m not worried.
  13. IT’S finals time for the JLT Cup with the round robin stage of the competition done and dusted. Western Australia topped the table with 23 points and will go into the finals unbeaten, with five wins from as many games. But how does the JLT finals system work and who stands in Western Australia’s way for the 2018-19 title? This year, each team qualifies for the finals, but the road to the grand final for the top-placed teams is far more simple. The two sides that finished first and second after the round robin stage, Western Australia and Tasmania advance to the semi-finals, while the bottom four teams square off in two qualifying finals. Third placed South Australia will take on sixth placed Queensland at North Sydney Oval on October 3 in the first qualifying final. The second qualifying final will see fourth placed Victoria play fifth placed NSW at Drummoyne Oval on October 4. Drummoyne Oval will host the first semi-final between Tasmania and the winner of the first qualifying final on October 6. Junction Oval will host the second semi-final on October 7 between Western Australia and the winner of the second qualifying final. Junction Oval will also host the final between the two semi-final victors on October 10.
  14. ON Sunday morning (AEST) the Wallabies lost their sixth match from eight starts in 2018, after they were kept scoreless by the Springboks in the second half to lose 23-12 at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. And one 10 minute period highlighted the Wallabies’ struggles more than any other as Australia remains rooted to the bottom of the Rugby Championship ladder after five rounds. Unfortunately, from an Australian perspective, it was a 10 minute spell the Wallabies should have dominated and used as the catalyst for victory. Leading 23-12 after 65 minutes, Springboks winger Aphiwe Dyantyi paid the price for his side’s ill-discipline and was shown a yellow card for playing the ball off his feet at the breakdown. The numerical advantage should have been the leg-up the Wallabies needed to close the margin and get back into the match. What occurred instead was a bumbling mistake-a-thon. The Wallabies completed just 11 phases in the time Dyantyi was off the field. They lost the ball once at the lineout, twice at the breakdown, made three handling errors and gave away one penalty. Adding to the frustration, six of the seven blunders came in the Springboks’ half. But it was Brandon Paenga-Amosa’s lost lineout throw in the seconds after Dyantyi’s yellow card that was the telling moment and triggered a litany of mistakes. After already turning down a number of shots at goal, the Wallabies kicked for the corner and found touch on the Springboks’ 5m line. Instead of throwing short or to the middle, Paenga-Amosa goes to the back of the lineout — the hardest target, but the one that gives the Wallabies the most options should they wish to spread the ball and give the backs space, or drive with a rolling maul. The Wallabies fake the jumper in the middle pod, Adam Coleman — the Wallabies’ lineout caller — retreats back, but is slower into the air and further back than opposite Franco Mostert and is beaten to the ball. Soon after, Springboks halfback Faf de Klerk clears via a box kick. His kick, however, is deep and Israel Folau — positioned on the right wing — easily takes the ball. In front of him, retreating back onside are four of his teammates — backs Bernard Foley, Will Genia and Reece Hodge and hooker Paenga-Amosa — while just behind them are three Springboks forwards in Malcolm Marx, Marco van Staden and Siya Kolisi. But none of the surrounding Wallabies protect the ball-carrier at the ruck as Hodge attempts to block the opposition, Genia goes into scrumhalf, Foley retreats into position and Paenga-Amosa mistakenly stands back ready to truck the ball forward. The Springboks, on the other hand, pile into the breakdown and by the time Michael Hooper arrives, the ball has been turned over. Already, the Wallabies have turned the ball over twice in less than a minute. Two minutes later, the Wallabies are hot on attack inside the Springboks’ 22m after winning possession back from a Hooper kick and Genia regather. The Wallabies put together five phases — but fail to get quick, clean ball on any occasion — and had David Pocock not shown ridiculous strength at the ruck, they would have lost the ball one phase earlier. After managing to secure the ball by the skin of their teeth, Will Genia is tackled at halfback. Foley is standing less than a metre behind Genia, but waits a split second, hoping another teammate will protect the ball at the breakdown. But that is all the time Springboks prop Steven Kitshoff needs, as he races to the ruck, puts his hand over the ball, wins possession and by the time Foley and Coleman arrive at the breakdown it’s too late. Compounding the Wallabies’ third turnover, the Springboks spread the ball to the right edge and winger Cheslin Kolbe races away downfield before being tackled high by Folau 44m out. The Wallabies, however, earn a reprieve as Handre Pollard kicks the ball dead in goal and therefore get a scrum feed inside the Springboks’ half. Once again though, the Wallabies fail to make the Springboks pay as Folau drops an offload from Kurtley Beale on the first phase. Already, five errors in as many minutes. Almost three minutes later, with time fast running out, Beale gets on the outside of his man and runs over the Springboks’ 10m line. But once again the Wallabies turn the ball over as Rory Arnold — fresh on the field — drops the ball cold. It was just the second phase. The Wallabies’ nightmare period with a numerical advantage comes to an end in the 76th minute as Nick Phipps — with no protection — is tackled when clearing the ball from the ruck and loses possession. If ever there was a period that highlighted the Wallabies’ lack of confidence and clarity, this was it.
  15. ADELAIDE is preparing to play hardball with Carlton over a move for Mitch McGovern. The contracted forward has nominated the Blues as his club of choice ahead of this month's NAB AFL Trade Period, having requested a move away from the Crows in September. However, tied down at West Lakes until the end of 2020 after signing a three-year contract extension midway through last season, Adelaide list manager Justin Reid says the club will not let McGovern leave unless Carlton pays what it believes is due compensation. Adelaide and Carlton have history during the exchange period, with the Blues holding Bryce Gibbs to his contract in 2016 – despite the midfielder requesting a trade to South Australia. Prior to Gibbs ultimately moving to the Crows last year, Blues list boss Stephen Silvagni had said: "When a player is in contract for two years, you have to pay overs. They're difficult to get out of clubs and they're important to the clubs they belong to." However, Reid does not believe that comment will come back to haunt Silvagni this year. "I think that statement is pretty consistent with all clubs," Reid told NAB AFL Trade Radio. "We work hard to develop players and to get players to the club. We're not in the business of just letting players walk out of the footy club. "We've sat down with Mitch and his management and we've got a really mature approach about it. I think you've seen that with a lot of clubs this year.
  16. TOM LANGDON has finally received a contract offer from Collingwood but has had no choice but to consider options from other clubs, his manager Scott Lucas says. Lucas said Langdon had to carefully weigh up his future given the Magpies had prioritised other players earlier in the year – hinting at the Magpies' pursuit of Gold Coast captain Steven May. AFL.com.au reported on Monday the Magpies had shown interest in Western Bulldogs defender Marcus Adams in a bid to bolster their tall defensive stocks. Langdon, 24, had a superb end to the season, culminating in a standout performance in Collingwood's Grand Final loss to West Coast. Langdon received one Norm Smith Medal vote and was close to best afield at half-time, finishing with 23 disposals and seven marks (three contested). "We have received an offer for Tom so that's something for Tom to consider," Lucas told Macquarie Sports Radio. "The reality is when a club that a player is at delays that (negotiations) for so long we need to be proactive and discuss his options elsewhere." Lucas said there was no doubt as to why the Magpies had waited this late in the season to offer something suitable to Langdon. Langdon's ability to take intercept marks and play on tall and small opponents makes him a player of interest for opposition clubs looking to bolster their backlines. "I think it's fair to say they've been into other players from other clubs," Lucas said. "Tom has finished the year off so very well and that certainly doesn't hurt and we've got to weigh that all up. "We couldn't get to this stage of the year and Collingwood say, 'Unfortunately we don't have an offer,' therefore we start our work then. "Our work needs to start a long time ago." Langdon's brother Ed plays at Fremantle and despite being contracted is expected to garner interest from Victorian clubs given the Dockers' interest in Melbourne star Jesse Hogan. Tom Langdon has played 80 matches for Collingwood after being taken with pick No.65 in the 2013 NAB AFL Draft.
  17. BRISBANE utility Ryan Lester will continue playing an important leadership role with the Lions' exciting batch of youngsters after signing a one-year contract extension until the end of 2019. The 26-year-old, who qualified as an unrestricted free agent, will enter his ninth season at the Lions next year, having played 117 games since arriving at the club as the 28th selection in the 2010 NAB AFL Draft. Lester was in and out of the senior side this year, averaging 16 disposals in 15 games, but is an important mentor for the club's emerging stars. "I just feel very lucky and I really love the club," Lester told lions.com.au. "I'm excited about 2019 and believe in the young group we are building. "We're a young, emerging team and I enjoy being able to have an impact on some of those younger players and guide them in the right direction." Lester has been a part of the Lions' leadership group for the past two seasons. Lions general manager of football David Noble said Lester's leadership was highly valued. "Ryan has showed his leadership this year through not only his actions, but his behind the scenes influence with some of our emerging talent," Noble said. "He is always putting the team first as has been demonstrated by the versatility of roles for our team in the last couple of years."
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