Phil Jones wants Manchester United’s players to stand up and be counted

first_img “We might be playing well, or playing well in patches, or not scoring or whatever it may be, but we need to stick together and us as players need to take responsibility for that. There’s no two ways about that. “We just have to keep plugging away, keep creating chances and hopefully we’ll hit someone four or five nil, but we just have to get back to the drawing board again and pick ourselves up.” United were booed off after the Canaries loss, but Jones hopes the fans get behind the team as they bid to recover form and confidence. He said: “We need them more than ever now. We have got to pull through and we will.” However, Jones claims the mood at the club was worse during David Moyes’ ill-fated season in charge two years ago. The defender said: “I wouldn’t say it’s the lowest moment. I think it became pretty glum, if you like, under David Moyes and it was unfortunate. We weren’t playing well at the time. “There’s no point saying we’ve played some good football this season because ultimately we’ve lost three games in a row – but we have in patches. We need to stick together, there’s nothing else you can do.” United, who have not won in six games in all competitions, have slipped to fifth in the Barclays Premier League and Jose Mourinho, who left Chelsea last week, has been linked with Van Gaal’s job. But Jones insists the players are backing the Dutchman to turn the situation around and are also determined to pull their own weight. The 23-year-old said: “The manager is doing all he can and is doing a terrific job. It’s not even questionable in the dressing room. The lads are absolutely fully focused on performing well for the manager, the fans, ourselves week-in, week-out. “The players in there aren’t hiding behind anyone. We know full well we have to take responsibility. “There’s no other way. The manager picks the team and the team has got to go out and do its best. Phil Jones has called on Manchester United’s under-performing stars to pull together to ease the heat on manager Louis van Gaal. The Dutchman has come under increasing pressure and faced the wrath of discontented fans amid a dismal run of results and some insipid performances at Old Trafford. United’s 2-1 loss to Norwich in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday was their third successive defeat in a sequence which also saw them eliminated from the Champions League. Press Associationlast_img read more

Tyson-Thomas, Syracuse look to continue strong start against Wagner

first_img Published on December 3, 2012 at 10:11 pm Contact David: dbwilson@syr.edu | @DBWilson2 Carmen Tyson-Thomas is still adjusting to her role.It doesn’t matter that she’s come off the bench in two of her three seasons at Syracuse. It still takes some getting used to.“It’s kind of tough with the expectation,” Tyson-Thomas said. “I would like to be starting. To embrace it is a bigger step; it’s a bigger role, so I guess outside of it all I’m adjusting. It’s been two years now, so I’m still adjusting.”First instinct would have pegged Tyson-Thomas as a starter for the 2012-13 season. The guard started 29 of 37 games last season and was one of just three Orange players to average double-digit scoring and play more than 30 minutes per game. But with the arrival of the best freshman class in SU history, the senior headed back to the bench as three rookies entered the starting lineup.Still, Tyson-Thomas has been invaluable during Syracuse’s start to the season. Tyson-Thomas looks to keep the Orange’s (7-1) strong start going as SU faces Wagner (2-4) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textDespite coming off the bench, Tyson-Thomas ranks second on the team with 11.9 points per game and third with 5.3 rebounds per game.“Carmen could easily be a starter, without a doubt,” Syracuse center Kayla Alexander said. “She’s a talented player. She can knock down shots. … She is very athletic, she can shoot the outside shot, she can get in there and do a pull up jumper, she attacks, so she can do a lot for our team.”Tyson-Thomas’ ability to do it all was on full display during the Orange’s 80-39 victory over St. Joseph’s. Alexander called it “the Carmen show” as the guard dominated all facets of the game.Tyson-Thomas led all scorers with 23 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. The guard also got it done on the boards, hauling in a game-high 11 rebounds.“She killed it that game,” Alexander said. “She was incredible.”It’s performances like that one that separate her from a typical bench player. She’s led the Orange in scoring twice this season and has been held to single digits just twice as well. Nights where she takes over a game — like she did against the Hawks — prove that she’s more than just a bench player for SU.“She’s obviously a great player that can obviously start, and has started,” Syracuse guard Elashier Hall said. “But it’s great that she’s embraced the role as sixth man.“I mean obviously she could win sixth-man award right now.”Alexander has been the Orange’s most valuable player so far in this young season, but head coach Quentin Hillsman points to Tyson-Thomas’ willingness to come off the bench as what could be the difference this season for SU.Tyson-Thomas was arguably Syracuse’s third-best player last year, after Alexander and Iasia Hemingway. Now she brings that complete skill set off the bench for a second unit that has dominated so far.“She’s a very important part of our puzzle and she can play almost four positions for us,” Hillsman said. “So her versatility allows her to come off the bench and play every position.”She’s still adjusting, but she’s becoming more and more comfortable with her bench role.Her 22.1 minutes per game rank fifth on the team — the equivalent of a starter. The second team that she plays with during practice often beats the first team. When that unit gets on the court, she said they “like to kick it up a notch” and wreak havoc.It may not be the starting role that she wants, but it’s an opportunity she’s relishing.“We’re a team and we win together, we lose together,” Alexander said. “So I feel like at the end of the day all we want to do is win, so all of us will take our roles and do what we have to do to get our Ws.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

2nd-half run by substitutes helps Syracuse pull away from Cornell in 76-59 win

first_img Published on December 28, 2014 at 10:02 pm Contact Sam: sblum@syr.edu | @SamBlum3 Facebook Twitter Google+ Related Stories Sykes returns to action, starts to re-develop chemistry with Syracuse teammatesSykes starts in season debut against Cornell after recovering from torn ACL, meniscuscenter_img First Quentin Hillsman sent Taylor Ford to check in. Then Bria Day. Then Diamond Henderson. By the time the second whistle of the second half blew, the Syracuse head coach motioned to all five of his players on the court. “Everybody out,” he repeated numerous times. “It was a possession where they had too many offensive rebounds and people weren’t crashing,” SU guard Brittney Sykes said. “He got frustrated with us not having our effort when he just told us in the locker room to crash the boards and play hard.” And the change worked. After SU went down nine points early in the second half, its subs rallied for the first nine points of a 12-0 run. That eventually stretched to 22-4, and No. 22 Syracuse (9-3) came back to blow out Cornell (6-5), 76-59, in the Carrier Dome on Sunday in front of 649. Cornelia Fondren started the comeback with an old-fashioned three-point play off a rebound from a missed shot. Then Maggie Morrison hit a 3 from the corner 26 seconds later. Two possessions after that, Henderson hit an and-one and the game was tied for the first time in 16 minutes.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“That group turned the game around,” Hillsman said. “I thought they did a really good job of getting us playing fast.” In the first half, Hillsman said his team was sloppy. It couldn’t find a tempo and was controlled by the Big Red, which was making crisp passes and hitting its shots on the other end.Syracuse couldn’t get into an offensive rhythm, nor could it disrupt Cornell from its own runs. With SU down 21-16 and two seconds on the shot clock, Megan LeDuc caught an inbounds pass from the left key and swished a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired. Hillsman swung his head away from the play in frustration, walking down to the other end of his bench as the Orange drove the ball up the court. In the second half, though, the Big Red didn’t make a single 3. Hillsman said the Orange slowed down the Cornell offense and didn’t let it get the same good looks that it had in the first 20 minutes. “We forced tempo on the offensive end,” Hillsman said. “We got the ball off the glass, we really pushed and got down the floor. We got some easy baskets, we got some layups.”After Henderson’s three-point play tied the game, a Brianna Butler 3 gave the Orange the lead. Four minutes later, the lead had stretched to nine. The Orange is a team — armed with a roster of 3-point shooters and strong press defenders — built to make quick and forceful runs. Last season it became a theme. Down 64-58 against Clemson on Jan. 23, Syracuse reeled of 18-straight points to punctuate a nine-point win. Three days after that, SU used a 33-11 run to pull away from Virginia after falling behind by 11. On Sunday, Syracuse showed the contrast of its abilities for the first time in nonconference play. It’s capable of being the team that goes on a seemingly unstoppable runs, but it also has the capacity to be the team that turned the ball over 11 times in the first half against a much smaller Big Red squad. “We weren’t really playing our game, weren’t really floor transitioning, wasn’t getting after it on defense,” Henderson said. “You just have to change your mindset.” Hillsman said his team’s first two practices coming back from the holiday break were sluggish, and it translated to the first half, and even the first possession of the second half. His team lacked energy. But the run, started by his reserves, was finished collectively by his 10-woman rotation and made those issues moot. “In the first half we were missing chippies, we were missing layups,” Hillsman said. “We were missing shots we normally don’t miss. “It was a different game in the second half.” Commentslast_img read more

“Cheating against Mary Kom; Conspiracy against India”: Sushil Kumar

first_imgLast Updated: 12th October, 2019 20:54 IST “Cheating Against Mary Kom; Conspiracy Against India”: Sushil Kumar India’s two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar has made strong allegations of “cheating and conspiracy” done against legendary boxer MC Mary Kom and India READ | Dutee Chand breaks her own national record on her way to goldREAD | F1: Japanese GP could be postponed as Typhoon Hagibis looms large Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00Loaded: 0%Duration 0:00Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedSubtitlessubtitles settings, opens subtitles settings dialogsubtitles off, selectedAudio TrackQuality LevelsFullscreenThis is a modal window. This video is restricted from playing on your current domain Error Code: PLAYER_ERR_DOMAIN_RESTRICTED SUBSCRIBE TO US Session ID: 2020-09-09:61ab54dc51bb3327f7b82e21 Player Element ID: video_player_5f5763233221b OK Close Modal DialogBeginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreen Recalling earlier instances, Sushil said in the wrestling and boxing these things keep on happening against India and must stop. “We have seen it earlier as well. It happened with top wrestlers and boxers in the past. I appeal to the World bodies to review this decision and earlier decisions.”READ | Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju calls for a ‘sports culture’ in IndiaREAD | Mary Kom controversially loses WC semi, still bags record 8th medalMary Kom clinches record 8th medalMary Kom still became the most decorated and successful boxer (men/women) in the history of World Championship when she lost the semi-finals and clinched the bronze, though the result was anything but controversial. In a split verdict, Mary lost 1-4 to Busenaz Cakiroglu of Turkey in the semi-finals to clinch the bronze. Despite landing in more and clean punches, the judges differed in their opinion and finally, 1:4 decision was given in favour of her Turkish opponent. Mary Kom still made an appointment with the history and rewrote it by clinching 8th World Championship medal. The Manipuri legend had targeted an unprecedented eighth final gold overall. WATCH US LIVE Written By India’s two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar has made strong allegations that legendary boxer MC Mary Kom was a victim of ‘cheating and conspiracy’ saying, “an intentional wrong decision was given by the referees against her” in the 51 kg semi-final of the World Boxing Championship today.center_img India had raised a Yellow Card but as per AIBA’s instruction in a Team meeting this morning; it was informed that protests will be granted only if scores read 3:2/3:1. Our appeal to protest was hence turned down and the Yellow Card was not accepted by the technical committee. The result will stand the same; Mary Kom ends her campaign in the 2019 edition with a Bronze medal. First Published: 12th October, 2019 13:38 IST COMMENT LIVE TV “Its a clear cut cheating against her and a conspiracy against India. I have seen the video. The whole world has seen it. You can see more punches. You can also see more clear punches hit by her,” Sushil Kumar told Republic TV in an exclusive interview from Delhi’s Chhatrashal Stadium today.”It has become a norm these days. The marginal points always go against India and in this case it it was a one sided show. Mary Kom had dominated the bout. Its a clear cut conspiracy to prevent her from getting a 7th World title,” Sushil added. Suman Ray FOLLOW USlast_img read more

#Donkomi: Callum Hudson-Odoi agrees new Chelsea deal

first_imgEngland international, Callum Hudson-Odoi has reportedly agreed to terms for a new five-year deal to stay at Chelsea.The 18-year-old will earn £100,000-a-week at the London based club after months of speculations that he will be leaving his boyhood club.The teenager was eager to move away from the Chelsea as Bayern Munich expressed interest in him.Chelsea turned down two transfer bids from the German champions which were reported to be in the region of £40 million.The arrival of Frank Lampard has proved pivotal to the winger staying at the club for another five years.Lampard, 41, is believed to have had a private talk with Hudson-Odoi after taking the reins at Chelsea.The Chelsea manager has also openly expressed his interest in the youngster and believes the 18-year-old will be an important player at the club.The teenager who is currently at rehab after sustaining a ruptured Achilles injury will miss the start of the season as The Blues faces The Red Devils on opening day.last_img read more

Clippers drop Game 3 to Thunder, fall behind in series 2-1

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Griffin finished with 34 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Crawford, who had just seven points in Game 2 on 2-of-13 shooting, still did not shoot well. He was 6 of 18, but he had 20 points in part because he was 7 of 7 from the free-throw line. Chris Paul had 21 points and 16 assists, Matt Barnes scored 14 and DeAndre Jordan had 10 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks.“Blake was efficient, we got him in the right spots,” Rivers said.As for OKC coach Scott Brooks, he had nothing but high marks for his team. Esepcially its toughness in a game that featured five technical fouls – three on his team, two on the Clippers.“One thing I’ve always said is we’re a very competitive team,” he said.Durant led everyone with 36 points, Westrbook had 23 points and 13 assists and Serge Ibaka scored 20.“Russell was really good,” Brooks said. “He had control and command of the game.”Westbrook also had eight rebounds, leaving him two shy of a triple-double.Griffin got it going right away, scoring the first five points of the game on two free throws, a basket and another free throw. DeAndre Jordan made it 7-0 when he took a lob and powered down a monster slam dunk. After Serge Ibaka and Durant scored consecutive baskets, Griffin had a layup for a 9-4 lead.Ibaka hit a 15-footer, but there was the aggressive Griffin again, getting fouled and making two more free throws for an 11-6 Clippers cushion.Durant began to heat up not long after. His team trailing 14-8, he buried a 3-pointer and came back with a dunk to pull his team within 14-13.With the Clippers still ahead by just point, Griffin made a 15-footer, Durant responding with two free throws.Consecutive blocks by Griffin on Kendrick Perkins and Matt Barnes on Westbrook brought the fans out of their seats. Their joy was short-lived as Durant threw down yet another resounding dunk for a 19-18 Thunder lead.Paul came back with a 16-footer for a 20-19 L.A. advantage, but Mr. Dunk – AKA Durant – had another with 2:42 left in the quarter and OKC led 21-20.Back and forth the teams went. A 3-pointer by Paul and two free throws by Griffin, and the Clippers were up 25-21. No problem, said the Thunder, who quickly tied the game on a put-back dunk by Steven Adams and layup by Westbrook.The Clippers ended up with a 33-29 lead at the end of one quarter. That was quickly erased by Caron Butler, who sank an 18-footer then three consecutive free throws.OKC eventually built a five-point lead at 46-41 with 5:59 to play in the half. The Thunder still led by five at 48-43 when the Clippers went on an 8-0. That onslaught was finished by a steal and driving left-handed dunk by Barnes that filled the arena with as much electricity as it had seen thus far in the game. The Clippers led 51-48 at the 3:36 mark.Griffin scored his only points of the second quarter with two minutes left to gives his team a 55-52 lead. Then, at the 1:43 mark, Durant and Paul received double technicals.OKC took a 59-57 lead on a layup by Westbrook, Barnes made a 3-pointer, Westbrook scored and Paul sent his team into the locker room with a 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds left for a 63-61 lead.The Clippers, who at one time were shooting in the 35-percent area, ended up shooting 46.8 percent from the field in the half. They shot 40 percent – 5 of 15 – from 3-point range.However, the Thunder shot 54.8 percent overll and outrebounded the Clippers 23-15. The rebounding was a problem for the Clippers in Game 2. Reggie Jackson then – for all intents and purposes – sealed the Clippers’ fate with two free throws for a 115-107 lead with 22.7 seconds left. J.J. Redick, who did not have a good game, made a 3-pointer with five seconds to play to pull the Clippers within 116-112, but that was as close as they would get.OKC leads the Western Conference semifinals series 2-1. Game 4 is Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at Staples Center.“Our defense, I didn’t think it was there,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said, when asked the difference in the game. “They shot over 50 percent (55.7), we didn’t (the Clippers shot 45.2 percent). They made every big play down the stretch.”Rivers took a lot of the blame for his team’s defense, saying he has to coach it better.“We put way too much presssure on our offense,” he said.center_img The Oklahoma City Thunder had two big things going for them in a Game 2 victory Wednesday over the Clippers in Oklahoma City – Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The Clippers were missing a couple of things – such as the typically outstanding play of Blake Griffin and the solid bench contribution of Jamal Crawford, who just won his second Sixth-Man of the Year award.The Clippers, it seemed, needed to find a way to turn some of that around in order to give themselves a better shot to win Game 3 on Friday.They indeed turned some of it around, but they still lost. Courtesy of some clutch play down the stretch by that two-headed monster that is Durant and Westbrook, the Thunder defeated the Clippers 118-112 before 19,530 at Staples Center.Griffin, who scored just 15 points on Wednesday, had just pulled the Clippers within 108-107 with a layup with 2:30 to play. Back came the Thunder, and Westbrook hit a 3-pointer for a 111-107 lead. The Clippers could not score their next time down, and then Durant made an incredible 18-foot turn-around over Chris Paul for a 113-107 lead with 1:23 left.last_img read more

Two-car accident results in minor injuries this morning east of Wellington

first_imgby Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — A two car injury accident occurred today at 7:34 a.m. on 700 E. U.S. 160.According to the Sumner County Sheriff press release, a 1986 Chevrolet, driven by Ryan Olson of Wellington, was stopped waiting to turn left onto North Seneca Road from U.S. 160 Highway.A 2002 Saturn, driven by Sydney Palmer of Wellington, struck the Chevrolet in the rear. The Saturn continued to move into the oncoming lane. Both vehicles were off the roadway when they came to a rest. Palmer was charged with following too closely. A passenger, who was a minor and not named by the press release, sustained whiplash injuries to her neck. Palmer also suffered a concussion and whiplash injuries to her neck. Both were taken to Sumner Regional Medical Center where they were treated and released.Follow us on Twitter.last_img read more

Russian club trolls itself in its Twitter bio for being an easy CL draw

first_imgAdvertisement 9bNBA Finals | Brooklyn Vs8f6ezxnWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre E4kx( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) wfxpaWould you ever consider trying this?😱wvCan your students do this? 🌚rqzhtRoller skating! Powered by Firework FC Zenit was placed in pot 1 of the UEFA Champions League as they were the Champions of Russian Premier League in the previous season. However, the English version of the official club Twitter handle trolled itself in its Twitter bio for being an easy CL draw.Advertisement All the clubs in the other pots was wishing to have FC Zenit in their group as they were the easiest of all teams in pot 1. The admin of the English Twitter handle of FC Zenit wrote in the bio – “The Club They All Want In The #UCLDraw.” With this bio, the admin of the official English Twitter handle of FC Zenit literally mocked their own club in front of the whole world.Advertisement However, in the final draw of UEFA Champions League, FC Zenit got the easiest group of all in this season. They have been placed with the likes of Benfica, Lyon and RB Leipzig. FC Zenit have a great chance to go through to the next round of the Champions League in this season. Benfica, Lyon and RB Leipzig will now think that all have the equal chances of qualifying to the next round of the competition. The matches of this group are going to be really interesting.Rivaldo: “Messi deserves Ballon d’Or”Advertisement Advertisementlast_img read more

Cowboys overpower Souths in Cairns

first_imgIt was the first time the club has won three straight games without their inspirational playmaker, and suggests their premiership chances aren’t over yet despite losing both Thurston and co-captain Matt Scott to season-ending injuries.The win came despite a second-half breakdown in discipline and ball-handling from the Cowboys, with their completion rate dropping from 85 per cent to 76 per cent by the end of the game. They also appeared to have continued their unlucky run of injuries, with winger Antonio Winterstein sidelined with a calf injury while Scott Bolton and John Asiata both had scares but returned to the field.An opening salvo penalties saw both teams given perfect attacking opportunities, with the Cowboys denied by a fast hand on Jake Granville’s arm at dummy-half before Lachlan Coote defused Adam Reynold’s grubber, only to be tackled high and earn a penalty.It was the Rabbitohs who scored first, when an error followed by a penalty from the Cowboys gave Souths the attacking field position. Two right-foot steps from Adam Reynolds close to the line created some space on his inside and the halfback sent Cody Walker through to dive over between the posts.The Cowboys immediately struck back, with Jason Taumalolo taking a short ball from Granville to crash over and post North Queensland’s first points.Despite several penalties going against them the Cowboys managed to take some form of control of the game, and they took the lead when a cut-out ball from Lachlan Coote found Kyle Feldt unmarked for his team’s second try.Granville notched up his second try assist in much the same way as his first, feeding a short ball to Coen Hess who crashed over to make three unanswered tries for the Cowboys leading into half-time.It was end-to-end football for the first five minutes of the second half, but once again Reynolds’ kicking game wasn’t up to scratch, with his high kick being fielded by Feldt in-goal. On the ensuing set Cowboys pivot Te Maire Martin went within a metre of the line, and soon after Sam Burgess made his second error of the afternoon, knocking on as he worked it out of his own end. Cowboys hooker Jake Granville didn’t waste any time making use of the field position, catching Reynolds out of position to scoot through a gaping hole and claim a try to go with his two assists.Souths seemed to spot a golden opportunity when Martin knocked-on in the face of the Rabbitohs defenders, but they spilled the ball a metre away from the Cowboys’ line as their completion rate fell to 50 per cent.It finally came together for the Rabbitohs after a strong set resulted in Braidon Burns crossing out wide when Cowboys’ defensive line, absent an injured Winterstein, was caught out by a fast pass from Robert Jennings. The errors for both sides began to pile on, with the Rabbitohs losing the ball through Robbie Farah before Scott Bolton did the same to bring the second-half errors to eight each. The Cowboys eventually put consecutive sets together and Coote decided to get some finals practice in, taking the opportunity to slot a field goal and take the Cowboys’ lead to 13 points. Cowboys 23 (Jason Taumalolo, Kyle Feldt, Coen Hess, Jake Granville tries; Ethan Lowe 4 goals) def. Rabbitohs 10 (Cody Walker, Braidon Burns tries; Adam Reynolds 1 goal) at Barlow Park. Half-time: 16-6. Crowd 11,217NRL.com unofficial votes: 3 points – Jake Granville; 2 points – Scott Bolton; 1 point – Kylelast_img read more

Warriors star Shaun Johnson out of Dragons clash

first_imgThe third-placed Warriors announced Mason Lino would start at halfback, with Anthony Gelling to make his season debut for Solomone Kata.The clash will lose some of its lustre because of Johnson’s injury, with the words “blockbuster”, “Dragons” and “Warriors” traditionally not belonging together.The two clubs – or three if you include the four years of the Warriors’ existence before St George and Illawarra merged – have made the finals just five times in the same season.They have never met in a finals match.This makes tonight’s match the biggest played between the two sides.And despite them sharing just one loss between them this year – in the Warriors’ nine-point defeat last week to Brisbane – it’s potentially crucial to shaping their seasons.Stephen Kearney’s men have a difficult run ahead with games against Melbourne, the Wests Tigers and Sydney Roosters, and can ill afford to hit that patch off two-straight losses.This has also historically been a defining point in the Dragons’ season over the past few years.The Red V’s fall from the top of the ladder has started around Anzac Day in two of the past three years, and coach Paul McGregor has already spoken at length about why he believes 2018 will be different.Essential to that is the Dragons’ spine of youngster Matt Dufty, star recruit Ben Hunt, last year’s Dally M five-eighth of the year Gareth Widdop and NSW State of Origin hopeful Cameron McInnes.”They’re probably the form spine of the competition,” Kearney said.”They’re putting real pressure on opposition teams with the way they attack.”The Dragons have averaged a league-best 32 points a game over the first six rounds, while Widdop leads the in try assists and line-break assists.At the back, Dufty’s speed and step have brought him six tries, a figure bettered only by the eight of Warriors winger David Fusitu’a.For Kearney, the best way to defend against the 22-year-old Dufty, who heads the NRL in line breaks, is to avoid giving him the ball. Failing that, stay switched on.”We’ve seen what he’s capable of,” he said.”We just have to make sure that, when he does carry the footy, we’re all alert because he catches the ball on one side of the field and he’s on the other side of the park very quickly.”St George lllawarra have won 13 of their past 14 matches against the Warriors, and 21 of the 26 the teams have played.The Dragons (79.8 per cent) and Warriors (79.7 per cent) have the best completion rates in the competition.The Warriors are making the most offloads with 16.5 per gamelast_img read more