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Sport NRL round 19: The untold stories from Friday's press conferences

13:46  18 september  2020
13:46  18 september  2020 Source:   sportingnews.com

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Round 19 NRL team lists. League 26m ago. NRL round 19 : The untold stories from Thursday' s press conferences .

Round 19 got underway with one of the biggest upsets of the season, seeing the Bulldogs claim a stirring win over Souths and leaving the Broncos in the box seat for their first-ever wooden spoon.

The result even sparked wild conspiracy theories suggesting Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett wanted to heap more misery on his former club.

Unfortunately, there was more controversy after the officials missed Jaxson Paulo's foot going into touch as he scored a try. Expect to hear more on that one.

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NRL 2020: Round 19 team lists. The untold stories from Wednesday' s press conferences . League 16/09/20.

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart and captain Josh Hodgson reflect on their Round 19 clash against the Sharks at Southern Cross Group Stadium, Cronulla.

Meanwhile, Sam Burgess got tongues wagging when he admitted he'd thought about a comeback , James Tamou found a new club and Trent Robinson defended the Roosters' approach to head injuries.

Those are the headlines, but for all the stories you might have missed, read on.

Check out Thursday's untold stories here.

HOLBROOK: CARTWRIGHT WON’T BE IMMEDIATELY REPLACED

Now that Bryce Cartwright’s departure from the Gold Coast Titans – and release from the final year of his contract – have been confirmed, the Titans have money to spend.

“Now that the Carty one is resolved it’s great for us and Bryce,” Titans coach Justin Holbrook said Friday. “We’ve said all along he’s a really good person and I hope everything works out okay for him.”

The Titans have a promising fullback, an emerging halves duo and a stacked pack, but Holbrook kept the cards close to his chest on who the Titans will target for 2021.

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“In terms of our situation and having an extra spot to fill, the recruitment team will have a look into that over the next couple of weeks, but there’ll be nothing short term,” he said. “It [Cartwright's release] just got finalised the other day and we didn’t know how it was going to go, so we’ll look into it now.”

“To be honest I’m really happy with all the positions that we’ve got covered for now and, more importantly, next year.

“We’ll just see where we need to have more depth over the next couple of weeks but, off the top of my head, I’m happy with where we’re at with the playing roster.”

As for Cartwright, Holbrook remains on good terms with his former charge and remains hopeful there’s a future in the NRL for Cartwright – should he pursue it.

“I gave him [Cartwright] a ring the other day, which was great,” he said. “We had a good chat and I told him I’d give him a ring in a couple of weeks. He’s in a good enough headspace and obviously he’s just got to decide what he wants to do next.

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“If it’s rugby league, I hope he gets picked up by another club because he’s a very talented player.

“It’s just the situation that it’s probably best for him in Sydney but, in terms of how he’s going, he seemed good to me.”

- Chris Danks

BARRETT LANDS ASSISTANT COACH AHEAD OF BULLDOGS REBUILD

Incoming Canterbury Bulldogs head coach Trent Barrett has landed a major coup, with Knights assistant coach David Furner set to join the club in 2021.

The former Raiders boss has been working under Adam O'Brien this year, and was in the running for the Dragons job recently before the Red V opted to go with Anthony Griffin.

The 49-year old said he is impressed with the direction of the Bulldogs moving forward, but is committed to the Knights run into the finals for now.

“I have been impressed with the vision that the Bulldogs have for the future and the plan that they have put together to get there. They are a proud club that are looking to re-build and I am excited about what lies ahead for them," he said.

"I am looking forward to working with Trent and the rest of the staff that are arriving for 2021 and I know that there is a strong will to turn the club around to create the results that the Members and fans expect.

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I appreciate the Knights for their support through this process and I have a job to do for the rest of this season that is crucial and where my focus will be 100 per cent.”

- Liam O'Loughlin

'ULTIMATE CLUBMAN' AUBUSSON LAUDED AHEAD OF MILESTONE GAME

Roosters favourite Mitch Aubusson will chalk up a club-record 303rd game when he runs out on Saturday night against Cronulla.

The versatile veteran has played in four grand finals for three premierships in his time in first-grade, earning a reputation as one of rugby league’s best blokes along the way.

Ahead of his record-breaking game, Aubusson’s coach Trent Robinson couldn’t speak highly enough of his impact on the club.

“Aubo is the ultimate clubman. I’ve never seen someone as selfless as Aubo,” Robinson said.

“He thinks more about the club than he does about his own personal game, which is pretty tough as an elite athlete, but that’s who Aubo is.

“He feels almost uncomfortable about these days, but he deserves to move to 303 on Saturday.”

The 32-year-old has already confirmed 2020 will be his final season, but Robinson said he has left a significant mark on everyone at the Roosters.

“He is that clubman, where people didn’t change clubs, like people of the past that stuck solid where they were and there was that loyalty to their mates and to their club,” the coach added.

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“There’s also this new-age style of Aubo - he’s a respectful person, he’s a really honest human being and he’s got a good moral fibre and he really wants to uphold that and he’s pushed us all to become better as a club.”

- Tom Naghten

SHARKS COACH RULES STAR PLAYMAKER OUT FOR FINALS RETURN

Matt Moylan has had a pretty tough couple of years, with soft tissue injuries crueling any chance he had of locking down consistent game time for the Cronulla Sharks.

And for those hoping he would make a comeback in the finals, that unfortunately won't be the case.

Speaking to the media on Friday ahead of their round 19 clash with the Roosters, head coach John Morris confirmed the 28-year old won't be back in the playoffs and their spine would be set.

“I don’t think he will be ready. It’s another hamstring, it’s a good 4-6 weeks which just puts him too far behind the eight-ball," he said.

"I think Connor Tracey is doing a fantastic job for us, he played a really good role for us on the weekend. Even with Chad (Townsend) back in the side, we’ve still Connor there as that utility.

"Will Kennedy has done a great job for us all year at the back. I think we are locked in there for our spine for the rest of the season."

- Liam O'Loughlin

OVERSIGHT, NOT DEMOTION, TO BLAME FOR TITANS' TEAM LIST ERROR

Keen eyes may have noticed that Titans forward Kevin Proctor was named as captain for his return from suspension . Instead, Jamal Fogarty, who has been captain for the four weeks that Proctor has been out.

Instead of it being a passing of the guard, Titans coach Justin Holbrook said it’s just a clerical error.

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“We just forgot to change it when the team sheet went out,” Holbrook said Friday. “Obviously, Jamal had the C next to his name for the last four weeks and we just forgot to change it.

“It won’t change the way either of them play, but Kevin’s been captain all year so he deserves to finish the season. Jamal’s done a fantastic job as an interim while KP has been out, though.”

While Proctor has re-signed for another year on the glitter strip , it’s unclear whether he’ll be captain again.

“It’s still to be decided,” Holbrook said. “He’ll come back in this week and captain for the remaining two games but we’ll reassess that in pre-season.”

Proctor’s role in 2021 is likely to include mentoring the Titans’ enviable batch of tearaways, as the senior member of the pack.

“He’s definitely that, whether he likes it or not,” Holbrook said. “He’s getting towards the back end of his career; that just happens with age. Knowing KP, he’s just as excited about the young guys joining him. He was saying that he’ll learn a lot from the young guys as well so it’s not like it’s just him helping them out.”

- Chris Danks

MORRIS FEELS 'NO SYMPATHY' FOR STAR-STUDDED ROOSTERS

Saturday night's clash between the Cronulla Sharks and Sydney Roosters will be a major test for John Morris' side - even though the hosts will be without some superstar talent.

James Tedesco, Siosiua Taukieaho and Boyd Cordner are all out for the round 19 encounter, leaving them without three key threats on both sides of the ball.

But for the Sharks, they are missing some big names as well - which is why Morris doesn't feel any sympathy for the reigning premiers who will have the likes of Sonny-Bill Williams at their disposal.

“They haven’t played that many games without Teddy at the back. They have got a few players there that aren’t playing – but I think they’ve got 10 internationals out there and another State of Origin player," he said.

"We’ve got no Wade Graham, no Chad Townsend and no (Matt) Moylan ourselves – I’m not going to feel too sorry for them that they’ve got a few players out. They’ve still got a fantastic side that is in, and a side full of big-game players. There will be no complacency around that.

“They’ve got some really good depth there with Sonny-Bill, he is looking better every minute that he plays. Last week he played 30 minutes and had 100m with three offloads.

"We expect Sonny to come into the game even more this week. He is a massive threat – he is Sonny-Bill Williams, he is a fantastic player and has done amazing things in this game."

Cronulla will be hoping to get in striking distance of South Sydney after their shock loss to the Bulldogs on Thursday night.

- Liam O'Loughlin

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