Stats Insider: Roster theory that explains Canberra Raiders’ shocking record in close matches

first_imgThe unstoppable grunt factory led by massive front-row pairing Shannon Boyd (122 kilos) and Junior Paulo (123 kilos) routinely won the battle of the middle of the field that year.Throw Josh Hodgson’s wily dummy half play into the mix and a powerful, athletic backline and Stuart had found an intoxicating recipe for rampaging attacking football that took his side to second on the ladder and a preliminary final with the Storm.They could easily have won it too, if not for a couple of individual errors and 50/50 calls when the game was hanging in the balance in the last 15 minutes.Fast forward 18 months and Canberra’s formula since that game is largely unchanged: they rely on some very big men to get them on the front foot and hope they can beat their opponent into submission.It’s a formula that must start facing fresh questions with a sense of deja vu washing over Raiders fans who became used to losing cliffhangers in 2017 and watched it happen again on Sunday.The game plan was looking slick in the opening 15 minutes when Canberra scored three quick tries on the back of a mountain of possession.But by the end of the contest Stuart’s men were gasping for air after defending for the majority of the second half. The possession swung right around, with the Titans having 59 per cent of the ball over the 80 minutes and the seemingly inevitable dagger blow was delivered by a home side riding a wave of momentum.Any coach will tell you it’s tough to win a game without the ball but regardless the Raiders routinely find themselves within a score of victory in the last 10 minutes. Over the past four years they’ve become the worst team at getting over the line.Including Sunday’s two-point loss to the Titans, the Raiders have lost 24 games by six points or less under Stuart. Over the same period they’ve won just nine by a converted try or less. Throw in one draw over the same period and you get a dismal 26.5 per cent win rate in close matches under the premiership coach.That’s the worst in the competition over that period by a decent margin, with even the Knights boasting a better record in tight ones — a 30 per cent win rate.Of course luck plays a part in the close ones but there comes a time when a statistic like that starts to scream ‘something’s wrong’.And while every other forward pack in the competition is trimming down to combat a game that’s got faster over the last few years, Canberra still have the bulkiest big men in the NRL.The Raiders are the only team with two props tipping the scales at over 120 kilos and are one of the very few who ever field a pack with three men — Paulo, Boyd and the 112 kilo Josh Papalii — weighing more than 110 kilos.It’s difficult if not impossible to find objective evidence that the reason for the Raiders’ tight losses is that they’re too heavy and run out of gas before their opponents but what’s the alternative theory? That they’re mentally weak?Given it’s a very similar roster to the one that marched to within an inch of a grand final in 2016, that’s a tougher theory to stand up but it’s possibly an easier problem to fix.The selection of Stuart’s starting side on Sunday could be interpreted as a concession that the balance of his pack is askew, with the 100 kilo Sia Soliola starting alongside Boyd, while Paulo was relegated to the bench.If it’s true that the NRL has moved on from a brief time of nostalgia when massive packs were king then the Raiders have missed the bus, at least for 2018.They’ve been all-in on the ‘bigger is better’ strategy since Stuart arrived and it’s a roster blueprint that can only be redesigned by going to market and investing in players who offer something different.As fate would have it, Canberra’s three heavyweights are all off contract at the end of this season. That puts the club’s recruitment team in a good spot to change the focus; strip some weight from their scrum and start on the path to a game plan that values mobility over power.Will they take that chance? Only time will tell.In the meantime the Raiders, like every other team, will have their chances to win tight games.Fail to turn around the current trend and any argument against drastic changes will fall by the wayside.last_img read more

Ffriend guilty again, will appeal

first_imgJamaican basketball player Kimani Ffriend was once again found guilty of vehicular manslaughter in a Serbian Court yesterday. Ffriend, now 36, was being retried on the charge of being responsible for the death of Nevena Dragutinovic, a 30-year-old account executive, on November 3, 2012. He was first found guilty of the charge in September 2014 for the woman’s death and sentenced to serve three years in prison. However, an appeals court ordered a retrial, citing several mistakes made by the presiding judge. Ffriend, who has five months left on his sentence, will once again appeal the verdict, and this time, the appellate court’s decision will be the final verdict in the case. He will remain free until the appellate court makes its decision. FINAL APPEAL A date for the final appeal will be determined once the judge submits a written verdict explaining her latest decision, including why she chose to ignore the court-appointed expert’s testimony that, having reconstructed the scene of the incident, that the Jamaican’s explanation was plausible and that it was possible that he was not guilty. The judge had based her initial guilty verdict on the expert witness’ testimony, but this time chose to ignore it. “It’s just sad, man. It feels like somebody just took the air out of me,” said Ffriend in reaction to the verdict. However, he remains hopeful, as his lawyers have said that they now have a stronger case to take to the appeals court. During the first appeal, the court ruled that there were six mistakes that needed to be addressed during the retrial, and even suggested that the scene of the incident be reconstructed. During the retrial, the scene of the incident was reconstructed, during which Ffriend testified about what occurred on that fateful night three years ago. The court-appointed expert testified on his new findings, which corroborated with the Jamaican’s testimony, but the judge chose to ignore the new information he provided to the court. She claimed that she would not accept the verdict of the expert, as he had changed portions of his testimony from the first trial and that she was not obligated to accept his findings. In her opinion, Ffriend was guilty. – Leighton Levylast_img read more

March Madness: Top 32 PH high school teams battle it out in 11th NBTC season

first_imgIn Liverpool, Man United sees the pain and path to recovery Tim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown After that, a single-round knockout tournament will be observed, with the first round victors advancing deeper in the Division 1 tournament. The first round losers, meanwhile, will be demoted to the Division 2 tournament.All games will be played at Mall of Asia Arena and Cuneta Astrodome.“If there’s anything about the SM NBTC tournament that I want to stress and point out, it is growth,” shared Altamirano. “We started this as a program to grow the sport of basketball and help the kids grow. After all, we also like to say that we are building leaders and communities. We at NBTC closely mirror that as well. We have grown from a few cities to a nationwide program, and now, an international one as well.”The action-packed week will culminate on March 23 at the Mall of Asia Arena with the All-Star Games and the championship game for the two divisions.ADVERTISEMENT Recto seeks to establish Taal rehab body to aid community, eruption victims Scarlett Johansson, Sterling K. Brown among SAG Awards presenters The Pingris effect: Hotshots draw inspiration from injured teammate Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew LATEST STORIES View comments Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. center_img Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina SPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkAlso qualified in the first round are the top eight regional champions from last year’s NBTC tournament, which are seeded from spots 17 to 24.But the international teams from the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand which are occupying seeds 9 to 12, the NCR wildcard teams which are slotted at 13 to 16, and the remaining eight regional champions which occupy places 25 to 32, will all first go through the seeding round on March 18 at One E-Com Center in the Mall of Asia Complex to determine their first round assignments for the next day. Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Cabuyao City rising above the ashes through volunteerism High school champions, regional crews, and international groups test each other’s mettle when the 2018 Exped SM SM-National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) National Finals rolls on from March 18 to March 23.After 835 teams across 76 cities nationwide which featured over 12,000 players battled it out the last few months, the 32 best teams remain as they dispute the right to be called as the best high school team in the Philippines.ADVERTISEMENT Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil MOST READ Conor McGregor seeks to emerge from controversy in UFC comeback “This is our 11th year, and it is extremely gratifying that we have become a top event in the Philippine sports landscape,” said NBTC program director head Eric Altamirano.UAAP champion Ateneo, NCAA titlist La Salle Greenhills, MMBL kings Chiang Kai Shek, and NBTC-Cebu lords University of Visayas banner the top slots as they, together with their bridesmaids, are already seeded in the top eight slots in the first round.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownlast_img read more

Buxton Pump Station construction is a failure

first_imgDear Editor,In a news article which appeared in Guyana Times on May 23, Engineer Charles Ceres during an address at the opening of the University of Guyana’s School of Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation Inaugural Conference held at the Ramada Georgetown Princess Hotel, stated that the recently constructed $240 million pump station at Buxton on the East Coast of Demerara is an “engineering failure” since too much money was spent to build it with no instrumental benefits to residents.The newly constructed pump station has not technically proven a failure as yet in its operation as its objective is to alleviate the flooding of Buxton and its environs which is yet to be proven. It seems, however, that Engineer Ceres’ grouse is that the pump station has been over-designed with a piled foundation although in his opinion the soil which was removed to grade was heavier than the structure placed on it and therefore the underlying soil layer could have supported the pump station complex handily without additional expensive piling to reinforce the foundation of the pump structure against any anticipated settlement.I presume the design engineer for this pump station had carried out a site investigation to determine the soil characteristics for its foundation design and found it to be silty clay with low shear strength at 20 foot depth as this was the soil type I had observed at this location during the years I spent building the adjoining sea defences.Silty clay soils with a high-water content have complex consolidation/settlement characteristics whose load-bearing capacities are difficult to predict and design for. Therefore, any experienced design engineer out of an abundance of caution will use piling as a foundation for structures housing machinery on this type of soil since any settlement could cause misalignment of the pump and its motor with serious consequences. Further, vibration of the machinery during operation could cause consolidation of its clay foundation resting on an RC [reinforced concrete] slab.Engineering is not an exact science and therefore education, training, experience and good judgement are important traits of a competent design engineer. Hence what has appeared as an over-design by Engineer Ceres was in reality necessary to take care of unknowns and this is not uncommon in the engineering profession.Engineers are fully aware that if structures are not designed to generally accepted standards and they fail during their warranty period, they could be fined/jailed for negligence and be barred from practicing their profession. Therefore, no engineer should take chances to prepare sloppy designs nor to cut corners to reduce costs just because they are hungry. The recent collapse of the Palmyra Monument on the Corentyne Coast clearly bears this out.Finally, Engineer Ceres informed attendees that the Buxton Pump Station was equipped with a 70.6 cubic foot/second discharge capacity pump, but he did not state at what differential head. He would have observed from the pump’s characteristics that its discharge capacity could have been greater at the same rotational speed had the differential head been reduced since the existing layout (allows for this) is wasting a lot of energy and hence incurring additional operating costs to lift flood water to a higher elevation from the drainage channel onto the foreshore.Yours truly,Charles Sohanlast_img read more

Former coach gets 17 years for molesting 9 school boys

first_img (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4496 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! PASADENA – A judge sentenced a former part-time Rio Hondo Preparatory School coach to 17 years in state prison Thursday for molesting nine middle-school boys and attempting to molest another in 2005. As part of a negotiated settlement to avoid trial, Jonathan Robert Poyner, 21, of Glendora, pleaded guilty on April 12 to eight counts of lewd acts upon a child, one count of a forcible lewd act upon a child and one count of an attempted lewd act upon a child. The crimes occurred between June and December 2005 during school activities. Police have said the victims were all 13 years old at the time. Poyner was arrested in December 2005. He has remained in custody in lieu of $1 million bond. Thursday afternoon, Pasadena Superior Court Judge Leslie E. Brown’s courtroom was packed with about 60 people including the victims, their parents, Poyner’s family and his supporters. Poyner was dressed in a blue jumpsuit, looking tired and pale. Several cried as two of the boys and their parents spoke to Poyner, expressing their anger. “Jon, you killed me inside,” one of the victims said from a podium in the courtroom. “My soul’s gone. You touched me inappropriately, and that’s wrong.” Poyner’s aunt, mother and sister also spoke, maintaining his innocence and saying he only took the plea agreement to avoid life in jail. “I know you have never hurt anybody and would never hurt a child,” said his mother Mary as her son wiped tears from his face. last_img read more

Donegal Garda banned for drink-driving

first_imgA retired Donegal Garda has been banned for drink-driving.William Vincent Burke, of Donegal Road, Ballybofey appeared at Dungannon Magistrates Court. The 65 year old was stopped by the PSNI in Ballygawley on November 1st last and was found to be 61 mcgs per mls of breath over the legal limit of 35mcgs when tested.Burke pleaded guilty with excess alcohol and was fined £150 (€175) for drink driving.Donegal Garda banned for drink-driving was last modified: November 29th, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegaldrink drivingGardaNOrthern Irelandlast_img read more


first_imgDDTV VIDEO: DONEGAL manager Jim McGuinness is officially fed up with Rory Gallagher – the singer that is, not his No2 coach.At least that’s the impression he gives in this tongue-in-cheek video for the RTE Sports Awards! Neither Rory Gallagher nor Rory Gallagher were available for comment.But it’s good to see Corkman Brendan O’Connor know the words to the best GAA song ever……Click to Play.VIDEO SHOCKER: WHEN JIM McGUINNESS GOT FED UP WITH ‘JIMMY’S WINNING MATCHES’ was last modified: December 12th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:VIDEO SHOCKER: WHEN JIM McGUINNESS GOT FED UP WITH ‘JIMMY’S WINNING MATCHES’last_img read more


first_imgLifford AC’s Ann Marie McGlynn was in superb form yesterday, winning the Ladies Race in the Waterside Half Marathon in Derry.Ann-Marie Mc Glynn of Liford AC. Pic Gary Foy.McGlynn is making a name for herself as one of the county’s premier female athletes both on the track and on the road.With national senior medals both indoor and outdoor, Ann Marie has extended these performances to the roads, winning the Tullamore Half Marathon only two weeks ago. The Waterside Half Marathon win, in a special year for Derry City, is another prestigious title added to the many accolades already collected this year.While McGlynn was collecting the Ladies prize, her fellow club athletes were also out in force in yesterday’s race, with over 30 athletes taking part.In the Mens 45 category, Bill Duncan was in fine form finishing in second place, while Danny Burns was also to the fore finishing second in the Mens 65 category. For some of the club’s more experienced athletes, there were personal best performances to enjoy at this stage of the season.Many club athletes were also taking part in their first Half Marathon, which for most was only a distant dream a few short months ago. The ability to get both to the start and finish lines is a credit to the stewardship of Danny Burns of an incredibly successful Fit4Life group. With over 100 such runners in the club, there is an old saying in athletics, you’ve got to walk before you can run. It is this philosophy of working each and every athlete step by step towards the best of his/her ability that has marked the Lifford club as one of the premier athletic clubs in the county.Around the course, there was a huge Lifford AC support, cheering each and every athlete towards home. Such support is invaluable, plays a big part in performances, and a big part of the journey home for every athlete.A few sore legs today but mixed with great sense of satisfaction from all the finishers. Well done to all.LIFFORD ACs McGLYNN WINS WATERSIDE HALF MARATHON was last modified: September 9th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Ann Marie McGlynnWaterside Half-Marathonlast_img read more


first_imgA man killed by a drunk-driver had pleaded with him to slow down just minutes before he was killed.Stephen McElwaine, 34, died after the car being driven by his friend Barry McFadden, 34, crashed near Stranorlar in June last year.The friends had been working plastering all day and McFadden had decided to go for a drink. McFadden, of Drumkeen, admitted being drunk, causing death by dangerous driving, and a number of other motoring offences.Another friend in the car, Jason Ward, later told officers that McFadden was speeding and that Mr McElwaine had pleaded for his to slow down.Sgt Kevin Lynch said none of the three had been wearing seatbelts and McElwaine was trapped under the van when Gardai arrived at the crash in Ballynaglack.He was taken to Letterkenny General Hospital but he died there on June 18.Forensic experts found the van was travelling at 104km/hr in an 80 kph zone with a bald tyre.Members of Mr McElwaine’s family sat in the court but refused to give evidence.“They wish to keep their grief private,” said Patricia McLaughlin, prosecuting.Defence counsel Brian Walsh said the incident had “blown” two families apart.The court heard McFadden accepted full responsibility for the death of his friend and was deeply remorseful.Judge John O’Hagan said he accepted that McFadden had shown genuine remorse.“He has sentenced himself. Every waking day for the rest of his life he is going to have to live with this. He is going to have that sense of guilt and remorse forever.”The judge jailed McFadden for four years for causing death by dangerous driving but suspended the last year.He was also given two concurrent six month jail terms for drink-driving and driving whilst disqualified and banned him for driving for ten yearsMcElwaine’s family wept as the sentence was passed.MAN PLEADED WITH DRUNK DRIVER TO SLOW DOWN MOMENTS BEFORE DEATH CRASH was last modified: November 7th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Barry McFaddendeathdrink drivingLetterkenny Circuit CourtStephen McElwainelast_img read more

Virgin Australia rebadges economy legroom seats

first_imgVIRGIN Australia has rebadged its Extra Legroom product as Economy Space + and added new options to make it more enticing to passengers.Passengers who shell out as little $10 one-way for the new product on domestic flights will receive priority boarding, at least 25 per cent more legroom in exit or first row seats along with “preferred” overhead lockers.A spokeswoman said the preferred lockers would likely be badged but customers taking the new option would also get early access because of the priority boarding.Choosing the option on short-haul international flights gets access to dedicated check-in facilities and  a more expansive flagship package on the airline’s long-haul Boeing 777-300ERs starts at $50 one-way.In addition to exit rows, the long-haul product is available in five rows of Economy Space + seating in a secluded cabin area behind premium economy. It also includes premium noise cancelling headphones and a guaranteed first meal choice.The price will vary by route, market, fare type and time of purchase with the long-haul option costing as much as $165 one way for last minute travellers booking within six days of departure. The option will appear as an extra during the booking process and will be cheaper for those booking further ahead. Passengers can also use Velocity points.The move follows overseas trends to boost revenue by offering passengers extras for which they are willing to pay and comes as Virgin is changing its fare structure.Virgin is expanding its ticket options from September 7 in a new “Fares For You’’ structure but unlike US airlines, it is not remove existing domestic flight entitlements such as complimentary baggage, food and entertainment.“We believe Economy Space+ provides great value and will be very popular with travellers in the main cabin,” said Virgin Australia chief commercial officer Judith Crompton.last_img read more