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Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett calls for introduction of grand final replay after hitting out at golden point result

Consoling coach: Wayne Bennett with Jack Reed. Photo: Brett HemmingsAs it happened: NRL grand final live blogMatch report: Thrilling end to thrilling gameAnalysis: A finish the game will never forget
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Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett has again hit out at the golden point extra time rule, declaring he would have preferred to replay the grand final next weekend.

Bennett, a long-time critic of extra time, watched on as Johnathan Thurston slotted the field goal that sank his team’s premiership hopes. While Bennett was full of praise for North Queensland’s efforts, he urged the NRL to reconsider its position on the way matches are decided if they are even after 80 minutes.

“I’ve never been a fan of golden point,” Bennett said. “[It changed because] we had a drawn game in a State of Origin. It’s a lottery. It’s unfair on everybody. [It was] most unfair here tonight. I’m happy to come back next week and play. I don’t see what’s wrong with the draw. The game lived for 100 years [with draws]. I would be happy to come back next week. You’re talking about a grand final, everything on the line. It’s not the way I want it decided.

“I’m not bitter. We had a wonderful grand final. It takes two teams to do that. The glory goes to the winners, I’m happy with that.”

Before leaving the press conference, Bennett wanted to emphasise his praise of the Cowboys. Bennett said both teams gave their “everything”.

“Bottom line is it was an outstanding game of football,” he said.

“The game is designed for you to lose. We got beaten by a field goal. Do we feel beaten? No we don’t. It’s not about winning or losing all the time. They’ve been brave all season. The Cowboys weren’t better than us. The end result at full-time was 16-all. It was decided in golden point.”

Bennett would not reveal what he said to halfback Ben Hunt when the veteran mentor picked up his shattered playmaker from the ANZ Stadium turf at full-time.

Hunt dropped the ball from the kick-off of golden point extra time to allow Thurston the chance to steal the show.

Brisbane skipper Justin Hodges said there was no need to rally around Hunt.

“It’s not Ben’s fault,” Hodges said. “Benny Hunt thought he cost us the game. Without Benny Hunt we wouldn’t have been here today.”

Thurston’s successful field goal also caused Hodges’ career to end on a losing note. Hodges said his teammates were the “best blokes” he had played.

“We didn’t get the result,” Hodges said. “My dream was to get back here. We did get back here. Sometimes in a game you need a bit of luck. They got a bit of luck in the last play. We beat ourselves. I couldn’t be prouder.”

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NRL Grand Final 2015: North Queensland Cowboys star Johnathan Thurston shows fairytales can come true

Fitting reward: Johnathan Thurston celebrates victory with his fiancee Samantha Lynch and daughter Frankie. Photo: Cameron SpencerAs it happened: NRL grand final live blog
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Albert Einstein once said – “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairytales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairytales”.

If ever there was a fairytale that could deliver a message to our children about tenacity, sacrifice, and the fact that success smiles on effort, then Johnathan Thurston’s golden point moment in Sunday’s  grand final is that fairytale.

I don’t want to talk about the football or the strategy that took place on Sunday night. I want to talk more about what it taught us. You could sit kids down in front of a replay of that game and teach them lesson after lesson about sport and about life.  Words cannot do justice to what we witnessed. It had everything.

Rugby league is a team game and it’s the spirit of the team that makes the individual. People perform at their best when they are part of a team; when they feel committed to each other and a common cause. But every now and then, there comes a player who makes a team.  Thurston is such a player.

His perseverance on Sunday  under intense pressure was extraordinary. Even when time was running out and it would’ve been easy to start thinking the football gods were against him, Thurston and his teammates found a way to keep going.

In the end, Thurston and his team of Cowboy mates found a way to impart their desire and their will on the final result. It was a brilliant game of rugby league football. The 2015 NRL Grand Final was a tremendous exhibition of all that is good about our game.  To be honest in saying that I don’t like a lot of the football we’ve seen this season. I don’t agree with the way a number of teams in the NRL go about their work. It’s all too structured, awfully repetitive and completely lacking in creativity. There – I said it.

Brisbane and North Queensland have produced two tremendous finals games in the last month which have really restored my faith in our code. These matches have been played with great intensity, skill and spirit. The quality of football players has been a credit to both clubs and both coaches.

There were no losers in this match.  No one failed. No one let themselves or their teammates down. The fans of both clubs can be proud of the efforts of their respective teams.  We could continue playing this game for another three days and I don’t think we would find one side gaining ascendancy over the other. Neither side would ever give in. The moment one team got to the front, the other would come roaring back.

However, the rules say we have to give the trophy to the team in front on the scoreboard after 80 minutes of play. In this instance, it took 82 minutes of play.   Courtesy of a Thurston field goal in golden point extra time, this year it was the Cowboys.

To the victor go the spoils. The feelings of elation and achievement. The rewards for months and sometimes years of effort to get to this pinnacle of performance.  The sheer joy of success, unbridled excitement and celebration belongs to the Cowboys.

By comparison, the agony of defeat is debilitating. Your legs give way as you slump to the ground. Your emotions spill over into tears of pain. You didn’t try any less than your opponent. Like them you gave as much as you had to give. There wasn’t a whole lot of difference on the scoreboard. But the way you feel in defeat, compared to the celebrations going on around you, are really galaxies apart.

Players are often lost for words to explain what winning a grand final means to them. There are no words to explain what it feels like to lose one. But that’s football.

To back up my thoughts about the quality of the contest and the special place this game will have in our rich history, consider the fact that not one spectator left the ground at full-time. Normally fans make their way to the exits to get a head start on the traffic. Losing fans need to get away from the scene.

Not so on Sunday. Everyone stayed around until the presentation was complete. They all wanted to pay their respects to the teams. Something makes me think that everyone, including Bronco fans, wanted to be there when Johnathan Thurston lifted that premiership trophy.

I’m glad I was there to see it.

Well done JT. Well done North Queensland. Well done rugby league.

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2015 NRL grand final: A top night for Queensland and an even better one for rugby league

Try-time: Kyle Feldt scores to level the game in the final minute. Photo: Cameron SpencerAs it happened: Broncos v Cowboys
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This night was always going to be about more than just rugby league. It was about, Chisel! Well no, even if Jimmy Barnes’s reinterpretation of the ‘traditional softening-up period’ was a hard act to follow. Perhaps the AFL’s pattern of never risking an Entertainment that can upstage the entertainment is not a lapse of taste but a masterstroke. Chisel left it all on the field, including five or so years off their lives. They left a 15-minute silence in their wake, and a question: how could rugby league live up to that?

It was about, Queensland! Well almost. The national anthem did sound strangely neutral, when this was not a night for Australia as such. Perhaps something by the Go-Betweens or the Saints, or Reg Lindsay’s ‘Beautiful Queensland’ (‘the most wonderful state that I know’). Anyway, maybe that was down to Chisel too.

No – it really was about rugby league, this inward-looking, quarrelsome, brutally simple football code that is capable of magic and drama and athleticism and endurance that takes the breath away, as it repeatedly did in this sublime grand final. The greatest ever? There’s an argument.

Right up to the flight of Johnathan Thurston’s 80th-minute conversion – no? yes! Upright! Noooo!! – the roaring of the crowd scrolled from end to end of the Olympic stadium. Then the despair of Ben Hunt dropping the first ball of extra time, Brisbane repelling the Cowboys’ manoeuvres, and Thurston’s last word, the incredible climax a microcosm of the larger contest. From the opening, Cowboys supporters were still spending their bellows on a big tackle on Brisbane’s Adam Blair when Blair’s freakish pass set up a length-of-the-field try to Corey Oates. Then the Broncos were still rubbing their stomachs with that satisfied feeling as they were turned inside out by Jake Granville’s buttery-smooth scrumbase move to put Justin O’Neill over for the Cowboys.

And so it kept coming, impossible to keep up with or turn away from. James Tamou spinning out of his Australian teammate Sam Thaiday’s tackle to score the Cowboys’ second. A Thurston error, pounced on by the Broncos, set up another change in the lead. Thurston then setting up a long break and near-redemption. A white-knuckle second half with tiny moments heaving with the weight of an entire season and, in the Cowboys’ case, the tantalising lure of history. Only the final siren could offer the Broncos safe harbour, and then not even that.

Tough night: Justin Hodges consoles Ben Hunt after the game. Photo: Brett Hemmings

Two more observations. For all the theatrics of Origin football, nothing beats a grand final between two thrilling, enterprising club teams such as these. What made this a great game was the teamwork, the individual skills and the willingness to take risks – and in this the old guard were often outshone by the new generation of Hunt, Anthony Milford and Granville. It was also the two teams’ defiance of the vogue idea that momentum is everything and once started cannot be stopped. Momentum in this match changed by the minute, by the play, by the pass. Both teams looked likely winners at every moment, and neither, when it hit the lead, looked safe. A truly great final minute was the last of 80 great minutes.

League would do well to remember this, amid the distractions of the next Origin season. And in an unexpected way, it was also a great night for Sydney.

Most of the 82,758 at the stadium were Queenslanders of course, but thousands of others were proudly wearing the jerseys of the other 14 NRL teams; thousands more were locals. Many, many New South Wales people screamed themselves hoarse. When Queensland presses its claim to host this festival, it might be asked, could it embrace two out-of-state teams quite so warmly, not out of love for the state but love for the game? It deserves its chance.

This game gave them plenty to love. It’s hard to imagine, let alone remember, a better grand final. A top night for Queensland and an even better one for rugby league.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Tasmanians shine in AFL curtain-raiser

SIX Tasmanian footballers were part of the Allies versus the Australian under-17 side in the curtain-raiser match before Saturday’s AFL grand final at the MCG.
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The Allies team defeated the AFL Academy side 13.10 (88) to 12.2 (74).

Lauderdale’s Nick Dodge, Tigers’ Kieran Lovell, Clarence’s Mitch Hibberd, Glenorchy’s Mitch Rainbird and Burnie’s Ryan Gardner were part of the Allies team, while Lauderdale’s Ben McGuiness played for the AFL Academy.

The Allies were made up of the best under-18 players from NSW-ACT, the Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania, all of whom are eligible for this year’s AFL draft.

The Australia under-17s side was selected from the NAB AFL Academy – Level 1 (players eligible for the 2016 AFL draft).

State Academy coach Adam Sanders said the curtain-raiser was a fast and competitive game, and the Allies team played well to win in what was a great experience for the young players at the MCG on grand final day.

“Ryan and Mitch Rainbird were named as emergencies but came into the Allies team and played,” Sanders said.

“The Allies led all day and it got out to five goals early in the last quarter but then the Academy stormed back and got to within seven points before losing by 14.

“Mitch Hibberd was our best and had a very good second half which would have enhanced his draft prospects.

“Ryan was really good down back playing as a key defender and Nick Dodge kicked two goals as a small forward and Ben McGuiness was pretty good down back for the Academy team.”

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Call to keep Cadbury experience alive

TOURISM operators have been presented with a chance to run one of state’s most iconic family-friendly attractions with the closure of Cadbury’s visitor centre.
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The Museum of Old and New Art has already registered interest in approaching the operation, but Glenorchy Mayor Kristie Johnston said there may be others keen to weigh into the deal.

Alderman Johnston said the disappointment of the centre’s closure could now bring new life to their municipality.

“Obviously MONA is a major tourism player in the state and in our municipality,” she said.

“They do provide an excellent, internationally-renowned tourism experience, but equally so do a number of experienced groups who may like to move into the space.”

Although demand for the Cadbury experience still exists, the council’s desire is to see the factory focus on its core business – producing chocolate.

“I think it’s an excellent opportunity, we certainly know there is demand for it,” Alderman Johnston said.

“It’s a great family experience, and there’s room in the market for it.”

MONA business manager Mark Wilsdon told media over the weekend that they were open to discussing opportunities with Cadbury.

“Our focus is on MONA and its sustainability, but we would welcome a new operation at Cadbury’s and would be happy to discuss opportunities,” Mr Wilsdon said.

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Idea given the stamp of approval

FOND memories of Japan, a passion for Tasmanian landmarks, some artistic flair and obsessive dedication are seeing Hobart artist Kaye Green’s name branded across the state.
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In a moment of morning ingenuity, Green said she finally knew how she could merge her passion for sharing and creation.

It was stamps.

‘‘I lived in Japan when I was about 17 and there are stamps everywhere,’’ she said.

‘‘You have a little book that you can print each one in – I really enjoyed collecting them.

‘‘I woke up a couple of years ago one morning and thought stamps would work really, really well for Tasmania.’’

The Spirit of Tasmania, Pennicott Wilderness Journeys and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery are just some of the parties to request their own Green-made stamp for visitors.

A special booklet and a guide to stamp locations are part of Green’s master plan.

‘‘Today I’ve driven up the East Coast and then to Launceston,’’ she said.

‘‘I’ve seen quite a few places along the way and thought ‘oh, they might like a stamp’.

‘‘Tourists can go around with their booklet and find where the stamps are. It’s a nice little guidance for them to find places to go.’’

She said a sum of $60 for a stamp, ink pad and her own time was asked for those who wished to join her push.

With 200 drawings and 70 stamps ready to go, Green said anyone interested in having one made could call her on 0412 440 364.

Kaye Green, of Austins Ferry, with her Tiger Track stamp book – an idea that she developed from her time in Japan. Picture: PHILLIP BIGGS

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Hunter drivers win praise for good behaviour

POLICE have cautiously praised Hunter motorists after reductions in drink driving and speeding offences for the first half of the notoriously busy October long weekend.
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The end of the spring school holidays brings huge amounts of traffic along the major thoroughfares, with highway patrol officers still on their toes with two days of footy grand finals.

But Sergeant Tony Grace said the region had experienced improvements in all major offence categories.

“Any time we do not have any fatalities and are writing less tickets then we are happy,” Sergeant Grace said.

“We just need motorists to continue to comply with the road rules and common sense for the rest of the weekend.”

It was unclear whether the death of a woman in a crash south of Sydney on Sunday afternoon would be counted on the official road tolls.

Police said the woman, believed to be aged in her 50s, died after a four-wheel drive was driven off a cliff and into a gorge at Wilton.

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Mt Arthur mine rehabilitation examined

BHP Billiton’s Mt Arthur coal mine, near Muswellbrook, is required to comply with upgraded rehabilitation requirements known as micro-relief.TWO NSW Government departments are reviewing whether BHP Billiton’s Mt Arthur coal mine is complying with more demanding rehabilitation requirements.
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The Department of Planning and Department of Industry’s division of resources and energy are responding to a Muswellbrook Shire Council complaint that Mt Arthur has failed to comply with amended rehabilitation conditions, despite the risk of compliance action.

The reviews come only three months after Mt Arthur was ordered to pay nearly $100,000 in penalties and costs, in addition to its legal costs, after Land and Environment Court action following a blast incident that sent a toxic cloud over Muswellbrook industrial estate.

In a statement, the Department of Planning said the mine must comply with upgraded rehabilitation requirements known as micro-relief.

The Mt Arthur coal mine was allowed a time extension until December to submit a revised rehabilitation strategy which incorporated micro relief.

A separate rehabilitation management plan had to be submitted to the division of resources and energy, which was reviewing a recently-submitted annual environment management report to ensure the upgraded rehabilitation requirements were being met, the department of planning said.

In a statement last week, Muswellbrook mayor Martin Rush said Mt Arthur had “serious questions to answer about” rehabilitation.

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Grain handling – Plains shire to support scheme trial

LIVERPOOL Plains Shire has agreed to support a scheme improving productivity within the grains industry, but only while the council’s satisfied the roadnetwork is not suffering.
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Council will continue participatingin the Grain Harvest Management Scheme, which is being trialled by the state government until June next year.

The scheme allows eligible heavy vehicles to legally exceed the regulated total mass limits by up to 5 per centwhen delivering loads to participating grain receivers.

Its gives farmers and transport operators the reassurance that if they misjudge when loading on the paddock, they are not going to be turned away at receival sites or breached for going over general mass limits.

Council’s director engineering and technical services, Greg Tory, said considering Liverpool Plains’ position within the farming belt and the high level of industry compliance, the council should continue its participation.

“Consultation on this issue has included grain growers, grain haulage operators and drivers, management of grain receival facilities, transport companies, government agencies and industry associations such as the Farmer’s Federation and the Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association,” he said.

Mr Tory said there had been concerns regarding potential damage to the shire’s roads and bridge network due to increased masses.’

However, initial findings indicated the scheme was meeting its aim of balancing productivity with the impacts on infrastructure.

“And industry compliance is very high with 1.6 per cent of deliveries falling outside the allowable 5 per cent increase,” Mr Tory said.

Roads and Maritime Services will conduct a review of the scheme.

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Thurston the hero as Cowboys win first NRL premiership

Champions: North Queensland celebrate their first premiership. Picture: NRL南京夜网.RUGBY LEAGUE
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It will go down as one of the greatest grand finals of all time.

The North Queensland Cowboys claimed the first premiership in the club’s history with an epic 17-16 victory over the Brisbane Broncos.

Cowboys captain Johnathan Thurston won the game with a field goal after they took the game to golden point extra time thanks to a Kyle Feldt try after the full-time siren that levelled the score at 16-all.

Thurston had the chance to win the game with a conversion from the sideline but hit the post.

Brisbane had led 16-12early in the second half and looked like they would win their seventh premiership with a minute to go.

But Broncos halfback Ben Hunt was penalised for a lifting tackle on Cowboys centre Kane Linnett that allowed the Cowboys to march downfield and, on the final play of the 80 minutes, for Michael Morgan to take the biggest gamble of his young career.

One to remember: Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt scores in the corner on the stroke of full-time. Picture: NRL南京夜网.

The five-eighth ran into a three on three situation 20 metres out from Brisbane’s line with only seconds remaining, on what he knew would be the last play of the game.

Morgan dummied and poked his nose through the line before finding Feldt with a one-handed flick pass for the winger to score in the right-hand corner just as the clock struck 80 minutes.

Thurston, who was named the NRL player of the year season earlier in the week when he was awarded his fourth Dally M medal, then had the chance to win the game with a kick from the sideline.

It was every rugby league player’s dream, the chance to win their team a grand final with a kick from the touchline after the siren.

Thurston’s kick looked good all the way. The champion halfback even had an arm in the air in celebration.

But the ball crashed into the right-hand upright to send the game to golden point.

Legend: Cowboys captain Johnathan Thurston celebrates. Picture: NRL南京夜网.

There was then to be more heartbreak for Hunt as he dropped North Queensland’s kick-off to restart the game in extra time.

The Cowboys took their time and after two aborted attempts at field goal, it was third time lucky for Thurston.

Earlier, Brisbane had opened the scoring through a Corey Parker penalty goal before Corey Oates scored the opening try.

Brisbane took a 14-12 lead to the break and Jordan Kahu extended itto 16-12 with another penalty goal early in the second half.

First try: Brisbane celebrate Corey Oates’ opening try. Picture: NRL南京夜网.

For the neutral it was a spectacle every bit worthy of a season’s showpiece game.

It was fast, furious and full of quality.

There was not a hint of wrestling or the myriad of negative tactics that have blighted some grand finals of the recent past.

And the finish was some way to mark a historic grand final – the first to be played by two Queensland teams and the first to be settled by golden point extra time.

In the early games, Penrith claimed the Holden Cup under-20s grand final with a 34-18 win over Manly while the Ipswich Jets won the State Championship match 26-12 over Newcastle.

Leader Scoreboard

North Queensland Cowboys 17 (Justin O’Neill, James Tamou, Kyle Feldt tries. Johnathan Thurston two goals. Thurston field goal)

Defeated

Brisbane Broncos 16 (Corey Oates, Jack Reed tries. Corey Parker, Jordan Kahu goals)

In golden point extra time

At ANZ Stadium

Crowd: 82, 758.

Clive Churchill Medallist: Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland)

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