It’s a new pipeline, but that same old Santa helper.Yours truly, Fuhr Thoughts, is back to share a few presents with Nelson Sports Nation on this festive eve.For the past two decades I’ve been able to send a little cheer to the movers and shakers on the local sporting scene.However, with the closing of the Nelson Daily News . . . boy it’s tough to say those words without a little tear showing around the eyes, I’ve had to ply my trade online as part of the Lone Sheep paper train, The Nelson Daily.My colleagues, Tim Schafer, ad rep Peter Sheets and I decided there was something missing from reader’s daily routine, hence the creation of this five-day-a-week online gathering of news, sports, arts, community, etc.And if you notice there’s no ink stains on the fingers and recycling is not necessary. Good clean information.But enough of my rambling. Let’s get to the opening some presents.Nelson LeafsEvery time at this season I tend to focus on the Nelson Leafs Hockey Club. While there’s not much of a change off the ice — as a matter of fact new president Russell Stocks has seamlessly taken over the top job — it’s been a different show on the ice.However, before Leaf faithful Carol James new coach and GM Chris Shaw with a Baker’s Dozen coup of their own, let’s cut the guy some slack.I mean who in their right mind would have thought the transition behind the bench from Simon Wheeldon to anyone in hockey short of Tom Renney, would have been smooth?So for Mr. Shaw, a nice multi-game winning streak starting Wednesday in Castlegar, followed by a long run into the post season would be the best present for the former Okanagan Hockey Association coach.Now let’s cut the guy some slack.Selkirk College AD Kim Verigin Kim has been ripping his hair out of late trying to find a way to put varsity sports back on the calendar at Selkirk College. The sudden departure this fall from the B.C. College Athletic Association by the volleyball teams at Selkirk was a huge blow to the Castlegar-based school.For Verigin Santa, maybe a surge in participation at the West Kootenay high school level would best serve Mr. Verigin this Christmas. Because unless the programs turn around soon at the high school level, finding talent that even wants to make a commitment to play in the collegiate ranks will be like finding a basketball at Mount Sentinel High School.Mitch Popadynetz, Cormac Southam, The Chopin boys, Andrea, Taylor, Brittany. . . and the list goes on.These rising soccer stars have decided to push the envelope when it comes to the sport of roundball.See a soccer pitch and witness first hand one of these players plying their trade.See an indoor game, watch them dazzle the opposition. So Santa, seeing how this is a season of giving, maybe a few breaks, and scholarships for post-secondary, would be appropriate presents under the tree Christmas morning.Competitive curling in the KootenaysNice try Curl B.C. It used to be the norm that every late November or early December was set aside for the West Kootenay Men’s and Women’s Zone championships. The Cominco Shield for the Men. A long standing tradition that was unceremoniously killed by Curl B.C. in favour of two interior playdowns — one in the north and one in the south.The new format was created to givbe rinks two chances to qualify for the Provincial Championship.However, all the Curl B.C. plan did was to curtail the number of rinks from the Kootenays that normally enter under the old format?Before this season, say, at least 20 rinks started down the Brier trail in October.Now? Maybe five to seven rinks that decided to head to the southern interior playdown in Kamloops. And almost no one to Prince George.A local curling guru told me before we know it the competitive curling scene will be as popular as Sarah Palin’s reality television show.Toss a bucket up brains under the tree Santa for these jokers at Curl B.C. Maybe a few of them will fall into the right place.Geoff Kinrade . . . a call up to the NHL to for a shot with the Senators; Isaac and Alex MacLeod . . . continued success on the college hockey circuit; to the L.V. Rogers Bombers Basketball team I coach, maybe a few of the old stars coming out of retirement; and to the Jackson’s Hole Men’s soccer team . . . hoping I don’t come out of firstname.lastname@example.org
By The Nelson Daily SportsL.V. Rogers Bombers continue to beat up on Kootenay competition.LVR came close to hitting the triple figures as the home squad dumped district rival Mount Sentinel Wildcats 90-55 in the final game of the Bomber Classic High School Boy’s Basketball Tournament Saturday at the Hangar.The victory gave the Bombers a 3-0 record and the overall title in the four-team tourney.LVR went on a 14-6 run to end the first period and never looked back building a 29-16 lead at the break. The Bombers increased the margin at recess, leading 50-20.Seniors Jason D’Andrea and Clay Rickaby led the Bomber charge with 24 and 21 points, respectively. Garrett Perry added 12 while John Zak and Adam Grace each scored six points.Replying for the Wildcats were Kyle Dodds with a game-high 26 points while Steven Hernandez had 10.Mount Sentinel played the game minus starter Zack Grigg who was in Penticton at the B.C. Volleyball U17 Provincial Team tryouts.LVR opened the tournament playing in front of the student body by slamming Selkirk Storm of Kimberley 66-52. It was the third victory of the season by LVR over the Storm.LVR led from wire to wire, 19-11 after one quarter, 39-16 at the half and 51-31 at three quarters.Zak, named LVR’s game star, led the Bombers with 21 points. D’Andrea had 12 while Rickaby’s checked in with 11 points.LVR then blasted Kalamalka Lakers of Vernon 73-56 Saturday afternoon.Rickaby, named the team game star, led the squad with 20 points. D’Andrea had 16, including four three pointers. Zak added 15 points, which two conversions from downtown.LVR held period leads of 36-19, 53-49 and 65-53.The Bombers return to the court Tuesday in Trail when LVR meets the J. Lloyd Crowe Hawks in West Kootenay High School Boy’s Basketball League email@example.com
Mitchell Popadynetz scored twice to spark Here for the Beer to a 4-1 victory over In Deep in the final of the Soccer Quest Christmas Co-Ed Tournament Sunday at the Soccer Quest Indoor Facility.Popadynetz, back in town to spend the holiday season with family, helped UBC Thunderbirds capture the CIAU Men’s Soccer championship in the fall.Here for the Beer, going through the tournament undefeated, scored early and never looked back in winning its fifth game of the tournament. Ryan and Kevin Lewis each scored singles for Here for the Beer.Marlesa Manson scored the lone goal for In Deep.Oriano DiRuscio was solid between the pipes for the Here for the Beer to register the win in goal, out dueling Jan Williams.In the 35-plus division, Abacus defeated Coco Pops 4-1.The Christmas Indoor Tournament is an annual event that attracts past and present players from Nelson Youth and Soccer Quest association.
Bryce Winters scored a game high 16 points to spark the L.V. Rogers Bombers to a 44-30 West Kootenay Junior Girl’s Basketball victory over the visiting Grand Forks Wolves Monday at the LVR Hangar.The game was one of three contests during a three-game set between the two schools.Grand Forks defeated LVR 64-33 in Junior Boy’s action while the Wolves also took care of Trafalgar in Grade 8 Boy’s play.LVR outscored the Wolves 21-6 during the latter stretch of the game to claim the victory.Camryn Parnell added 12 points for the Bombers while Ohia Wintraub added six points. Tara Makorkoff had 14 points for the Wolves.In the Junior Boy’s contest, Grand Forks jumped to a 17-4 first quarter lead before coasting to the double digit win.Jairo Mangapot led LVR with 12 points while Thomas Baxter added eight.LVR Junior Boys finished third at the Stanley Humphries Rockers Tournament Saturday in Castlegar.The Bombers opened with an overtime win over Boundary Central of Midway before dropping a pair of games to Mount Sentinel Wildcats and host SHSS Rockers.Game stars for the Bombers were Ben Hradil-Kassecker, Mangapot and Max Spielmal.The Junior Bombers travel to Trail Friday to meet the Wolves again in the opener of the J. Lloyd Crowe Hawks tournament.
William Spawr3585423%49%$226,897 HOFMANS UNDECIDED ON MELATONIN’S NEXT RACE Melatonin, who won the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap as the lightweight under 115 pounds, was doing well Thursday morning at The Great Race Place but trainer David Hofmans said he had no specific race in mind for the gelded son of Kodiak Kowboy.“The horse looks great and he goes back to the track tomorrow, but I don’t know where he’ll run next,” said Hofmans. “I’ll know more in the next four or five days.”Melatonin won the mile and a quarter Big ‘Cap virtually wire-to-wire, romping home by 4 ¼ lengths at 16-1.After the race, Hofmans credited Talamo and his agent, Scotty McClellan, for entering.“They were insistent that we go,” Hofmans said. “Joe was convinced after his last race. He said the horse loves this track and wants to run farther. I was convinced he was a miler.”The Grade I, $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita, to be run at a mile and a quarter on June 25, could be a race under consideration for the Big ‘Cap champ. Jerry Hollendorfer12319121515%37%$1,226,771 Peter Eurton8213211116%55%$964,977 Doug O’Neill15824212215%42%$1,234,793 Santiago Gonzalez24343313018%43%$1,741,741 David Lopez13822101816%36%$656,651 Victor Espinoza76119614%34%$814,655 George Papaprodromou4484618%41%$234,680 JockeyMts1st2nd3rdWin%ITM%Money Won Drayden Van Dyke1371315219%36%$845,817 John Sadler75129616%36%$765,379 Edwin Maldonado15027151518%38%$943,550 Tyler Baze22823343410%40%$1,272,766 Joseph Talamo20123232511%35%$1,764,949 Philip D’Amato12225212220%56%$1,381,655 SANTA ANITA STATISTICS FINISH LINES: Champion Songbird, prepping for the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks on April 9, worked four furlongs Wednesday in 48 seconds flat, breezing. Dan Ward, assistant to Jerry Hollendorfer, termed the move “beautiful.” Songbird’s fractional times were 24.60 and 36.40, with a five furlong gallop out time of 1:00.60 . . . Doug O’Neill has champion Nyquist scheduled to work a mile tomorrow for the April 2 Florida Derby, while Richard Mandella plans to breeze three-time champion Beholder at 7:45 a.m. . . . Barbara Kelly, owner and breeder of the California stallion Fullbridled and a longtime member of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association, passed away last Friday. Fullbridled, a 15-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song, stands at Daehling Ranch. His top runners include multiple stakes-placed Wonforgus and Full Dancer, winner of 13 races at $256,165. Services for Ms. Kelly will be at 12 noon Saturday at Forest Lawn in the Hollywood Hills . . . Tom Quigley’s guests this weekend will be Jonathon Kinchen, 2015 NHC Tournament champion, and Ruben Mendez, Santa Anita Wagering Ambassador, Saturday and Sunday, respectively, 11:20 a.m., in the East Paddock Gardens . . . In today’s third race, jockey Flavien Prat rides Midnight Swinger for trainer Mark Glatt. If the horse wins, it would be poetry in motion (Prat-Glatt: get it?). Richard Baltas9617141318%46%$1,145,059 Mark Glatt7598612%31%$406,825 Fernando Perez1491416209%34%$775,169 Kristin Mulhall4496320%41%$364,955 Martin Garcia11317111115%35%$984,949 (Current Through Sunday, March 13) SMOOVE IT MAKES FIRST START SANS SUPER MARIORecords are made to be broken and one will go by the boards Saturday when, after all 22 career starts, Smoove It will have another rider other than Mario Gutierrez. The 2012 Kentucky Derby winner aboard I’ll Have Another rides at Oaklawn Park Saturday, so Doug O’Neill has engaged Flavien Prat to pilot Smoove It in the $100,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes for older fillies and mares in the Golden State Series going about 6 ½ furlongs on turf.“Mario’s out of town, but the horse continues to do well,” O’Neill said of Smoove It, a five-year-old California-bred Square Eddie Mare owned by Reddam Racing.Super Mario has won four times aboard Smoove It.“It’s a short field and she’s going from a Grade II last time (the Buena Vista at a mile on a ‘good’ turf course Feb. 20) to a Cal-bred race,” O’Neill said.“Not that this is an easy race by any means, but she’s doing well. I give her a chance.”The Irish O’Brien, race two of 11: Demonica, Santiago Gonzalez, 12-1; Nite Delite, Edwin Maldonado, 4-1; Smoove It, Flavien Prat, 5-1; Qiaona, Victor Espinoza, 5-2; and Velvet Mesquite, Kent Desormeaux, 4-5. Martin Pedroza83119713%33%$311,110 TrainerSts1st2nd3rdWin%ITM%Money Won PLANS FOR MELATONIN’S NEXT RACE ON HOLDGRADE I OPPORTUNITY AWAITS TARIS SATURDAYNEW FACE ABOARD SMOOVE IT IS FLAVIEN PRATTURKISH-BRED HORSE SCORES AT SANTA ANITACHAMPS NYQUIST, BEHOLDER WORK TOMORROW SEVENTH SENSE PROVES HE’S NO TURKEYA racing rarity, if not a first at Santa Anita, occurred when Seventh Sense captured Saturday’s fifth race by two-and-a-quarter lengths under Kent Desormeaux for Jerry Hollendorfer, who trains the three-year-old son of City Zip for owner Arif Kurtel.Seventh Sense was bred in Turkey and believed to be the first horse bred there to win at The Great Race Place.“He’s a full brother to Reneesgotzip,” said Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward. “I met the owner one time last year. He came here looking to buy Jenny Craig’s place (in Rancho Santa Fe), and he had a filly that was a full sister to Shared Belief that didn’t make it to the races.“I don’t know what happened to her, but the owner’s got a lot of horses in Turkey.“Seventh Sense is a very nice horse. He might have needed his first race. He had been working at Los Al and we couldn’t get him as fit as we do when they work here, so he came up a little short first out. But blinkers really focused him and put him right out on the lead.”Seventh Sense led all the way going 6 ½ furlongs, paying $17 to win. Mike Smith851181413%39%$1,546,415 Vladimir Cerin4295521%45%$324,934 Peter Miller11212111711%36%$572,010 TARIS EYES FIRST GRADE I WIN IN SANTA MARGARITATaris seeks her first Grade I victory when she runs in Saturday’s $500,000 Santa Margarita Stakes, a race trainer Simon Callaghan has been pointing to unequivocally since winning the Grade II La Canada Stakes by 5 ¼ lengths on Jan. 16.“She couldn’t be training any better,” Callaghan said of the five-year-old Flatter mare owned by John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor. “She’s got a good post. She relaxed well in the La Canada and I couldn’t be happier with the way she’s going.”Taris drew the outside post in a field of seven older fillies and mares going a mile and an eighth. The Kentucky-bred bay has won seven of 11 starts and been out of the money only once, earning $807,700.The Santa Margarita: Living The Life, Flavien Prat, 8-1; Tara’s Tango, Rafael Bejarano, 5-2; Penwith, Mike Smith, 5-2; $10,000 supplemental nominee Lavender Chrissie, Victor Espinoza, 10-1; Moyo Honey, Drayden Van Dyke, 12-1; All Star Bub, Martin Pedroza, 15-1; and Taris, Gary Stevens, 8-5. Rafael Bejarano23254422323%51%$2,262,112 Flavien Prat22338393417%50%$2,336,771 Steven Miyadi551012918%56%$337,317 Mario Gutierrez16920302212%43%$1,233,884 Gary Stevens58129821%50%$1,449,548 Bob Baffert8818141320%51%$1,399,060 Kent Desormeaux9816231816%58%$1,415,805 Agapito Delgadillo871110813%33%$323,622
NOTES: Winning owner/breeder Nick Alexander is from Los Angeles. NICK ALEXANDER, OWNER OF ENOLA GRAY, WINNER: “This may have been her best race. It was the one I was most nervous about. We had Desert Steel on the other side of us. We had her pinned down the last two times and this time, she was on the outside of us. There was also a lot more speed in there today than in the last few races. So I was nervous, but she’s getting better.“I think Tyler knows that what he does best is to just barely put any pressure on the reins. He’s pretty much loose reining her now. She can go so fast early and not get tired. If you saw her in the Winner’s Circle, she wasn’t blowing real hard. She has such a light touch on the ground. It’s not taking a lot out of her. I’m not an expert but she’s the damndest horse I’ve ever had.Alexander was asked if he feels Enola Gray is living up to the high expectations he and others had for her sire, Grazen: “Mike Mitchell, Phil and I were Grazen’s biggest fans. That was the worst day of my life when he broke down here. I’m really excited that he’s got a huge book this year. People are finally starting to pay attention. His numbers keep getting better.“He had that same speed that could go two turns. If they went with him, they got tired. If they waited for him to get tired, he didn’t. I can remember Garrett Gomez telling me, ‘this horse has another gear if I need it, but so far I haven’t needed it.’ He never was really laid down hard. He’s a cool stallion. He’s in my backyard six to eight months of the year and he’s getting them in foal 98 percent of the time.” JOCKEY QUOTES TYLER BAZE, ENOLA GRAY, WINNER: “This filly, she loves the hill. She loves the grass. She was just out there having fun. It takes her a few strides to get going but once she does, it’s like riding on a cloud. “This filly is unbelievable. I can’t wait until next time.”TRAINER QUOTES PHIL D’AMATO, TRAINER OF ENOLA GRAY, WINNER: “I’m dying to run her a mile on grass. The way she galloped out today, Tyler couldn’t hardly pull her up. If she comes out of this good, we’ll look at the Royal Heroine (Grade II, one mile turf on April 8).” -30-
Young, a sophomore linebacker, is the Defensive Player of the Week and teammate Gino Garcia, a freshman kicker, is the Special Teams Player of the Week. The Huskies defeated Northwestern State, 48-21, snapping a 19-game conference losing streak. HBU wraps up its non-conference slate against Texas Southern at 6 p.m. Saturday in Houston. FRISCO, Texas – Sam Houston State quarterback Eric Schmid and Houston Baptist’s Brennan Young and Gino Garcia earned Southland Football Player of the Week honors, the league announced Monday. All weekly awards are presented by MidSouth Bank. Schmid was named Offensive Player of the Week after compiling 531 yards through the air, the second-most passing yards in a single game by a Bearkat. SHSU opened Southland Conference play on the right foot with a 45-6 win over in-state foe UIW and look to improve to 2-0 in league action on the road against McNeese at 6 p.m. Saturday. Special Teams Player of the Week: Gino Garcia – Fr. – Kicker – Richardson, TexasGarcia split the uprights eight times in Saturday’s win, converting all six extra points and booting field goals of 33 and 51 yards, a career-long and the sixth-longest in school history. His 33-yarder in the second quarter pushed the Huskies’ lead to 24-0 going into the break. Honorable Mention: Carlos Blackman, Central Arkansas; Julien Gums, Nicholls; Chason Virgil, Southeastern Louisiana. Offensive Player of the Week: Eric Schmid – R-So. – Quarterback – The Woodlands, TexasSchmid connected on 29 of his 44 pass attempts for five touchdowns and a career-high 531 yards, becoming just the sixth Bearkat to eclipse the 500-yard mark. At the halfway point in the game, he had already racked up 371 yards and four scores, leading SHSU to a 31-0 advantage. All five touchdown strikes went for 20 yards or more, and three were from at least 49 yards out. Defensive Player of the Week: Brennan Young – So. – Linebacker – Conroe, TexasYoung tallied nine tackles, including three solo stops, and picked off two passes in the Huskies’ 48-21 win over Northwestern State. With the Demons down at HBU’s two-yard line, he took a Shelton Eppler pass back 48 yards to midfield and kept NSU off the board. Young’s second pick also came with the Demons threatening in the red zone and marked just the second multi-interception game in program history. Honorable Mention: Austin Dunlap, Southeastern Louisiana; Bailey Giffen, Lamar; Storm Ruiz, Stephen F. Austin; David Stone, Abilene Christian. Honorable Mention: Hunter Brown, Sam Houston State; Josh Carr Jr., Southeastern Louisiana; Jeremiah Chambers, Abilene Christian; Laryon James, Nicholls. Southland weekly award winners are nominated and voted upon by each school’s sports information director. Voting for one’s own athlete is not permitted. To earn honorable mention, a student-athlete must appear on 25 percent of ballots.
Most Read In SportTHROUGH ITRobbie Keane reveals Claudine’s father was ’50-50′ in coronavirus battle’I ACCEPT’McGregor accepts Silva fight at UFC catchweight of 176lbs in huge super-fightTOP SELLERGavin Whelan has gone from League of Ireland to David Beckham’s InstagramPicturedA CUT ABOVEMike Tyson shows two-inch cut ‘picked up in training’ ahead of boxing returnPicturedAN EYEFULMeet Playboy model and football agent Anamaria Prodan bidding to buy her own clubI SAW ROORodallega saw Rooney ‘drinking like madman’ & Gerrard ‘on bar dancing shirtless’Rose then delighted hospital staff by paying out for mountains of Dominos pizzas and potato wedges just days later.A video clip showed boxes of food stacked up in the hospital for hard-working staff battling coronavirus.The hospital tweeted: “Thank you Danny Rose for the hundreds of Dominos pizzas.”England defender Danny Rose delivers hundreds of Domino’s pizzas to NHS staff days after £19k donation to aid coronavirus fight 2DANNY ROSE has donated £10,000 to two domestic abuse charities days after giving £19k and hundreds of pizzas to a London hospital.The generous Newcastle star, on loan from Tottenham, split the donation between SafeLives and Chayn after Refuge, the country’s largest domestic abuse charity, reported an increase of 120 per cent in helpline calls.2 Danny Rose was the mystery donor of £19,000 to North Middlesex University Hospital – and sent them hundreds of pizzas from Domino’sCredit: Getty⚠️ Read our coronavirus in sport live blog for the latest news & updatesRose said: “If you’re worried about a neighbour or a friend being abused, if you’re a child worried about your parents, I hope you know that response services will still come out.“There are still people out there want to help.”Rose’s gift comes after he anonymously donated £19k to North Middlesex University Hospital in London.The hospital tweeted: “Our super sleuths have scoured the evidence and identified that Danny Rose is our incredibly generous mystery donor.”Rose replied: “I just wanted to say a huge thank you for everything you’re doing – for the hours you’re putting in and, more importantly, for putting yourself at risk to treat everybody“I wanted to say, on behalf of all my colleagues, that you are the heroes.CORONAVIRUS CRISIS – BE IN THE KNOWGet the latest coronavirus news, facts and figures from around the world – plus essential advice for you and your family.To receive our Covid-19 newsletter in your inbox every tea time, sign up here.To follow us on Facebook, simply ‘Like’ our Coronavirus page.“You’re probably not getting as much recognition as you deserve so I just wanted to say ‘thank you very much’.“I’ve chosen your hospital because I’ve been there a couple of times through Spurs, so it makes sense to go to you first.“You are the heroes and the work and the hours you are putting in are not going unnoticed.”Give now to The Sun’s NHS appealBRITAIN’s four million NHS staff are on the frontline in the battle against coronavirus.But while they are helping save lives, who is there to help them?The Sun has launched an appeal to raise £1MILLION for NHS workers.The Who Cares Wins Appeal aims to get vital support to staff in their hour of need.We have teamed up with NHS Charities Together in their urgent Covid-19 Appeal to ensure the money gets to exactly who needs it.The Sun is donating £50,000 and we would like YOU to help us raise a million pounds, to help THEM.No matter how little you can spare, please donate today herewww.thesun.co.uk/whocareswinsappeal
A Grafton junior who had gone off and completed a teaching degree at the University of Newcastle, Don broke all kinds of try-scoring records playing for the Ghosts in Group 2 before being picked up to play Intrust Super Cup with Burleigh in 2012.Those try-scoring exploits carried through to the top grade with the Bears and he was offered a ‘train and trial’ contract with the Gold Coast Titans.Right now across all 16 NRL clubs there are hopefuls busting their guts in the hardest training sessions of their lives hoping, like Don did, to show the coaching staff enough to be invited to become a permanent member of the NRL squad.At the Titans this year former Shark Pat Politoni, former Titans 20s forward Hayden Schwass, 25-year-old Tweed Heads lock Sam Saville and highly-regarded former Rooster Tyler Cornish are all mixing it with the likes of Jarryd Hayne, Konrad Hurrell and Ryan James endeavouring to prove their worth.In recent years Agnatius Paasi and Cameron Cullen have turned short-term contracts into NRL starts and Don knows all too well what this year’s crop are going through.”For me personally I was pretty nervous and I’m a pretty shy bloke when I first meet someone so I was just scared trying to talk to all the high profile players like ‘Birdy’ (Greg Bird), Luke Bailey, Jamal Idris and Dave Taylor,” Don said.”I was mainly petrified even trying to strike up a conversation with someone but you’ve just got to put in on the field each week and do your best and hopefully the coaches like you.”I remember when I was doing it as well you’re trying to impress and you’re getting here early and trying to do everything right.”They put in every session just like the senior guys so collectively it’s a group of men that’s trying to achieve as much as they can in the training time that we’ve got.”With places in both the top and second tier of his playing roster still to fill, Titans coach Neil Henry knows the value of inviting players in to fight for an opportunity in the big time.Politoni and Schwass were both key figures in Burleigh’s drought-breaking Intrust Super Cup title this year and with very little back-up for hooker Nathan Peats, Politoni especially shapes as a future Titan.”With the train and trial guys there’s certainly an opportunity for some of these players to step up and probably earn a full-time contract,” Henry said.”We’ll reserve our judgement there until we see how they go before Christmas and the trial period.”Pat Politoni had a good year at hooker and it’s a role that we need some depth in within the club.”Obviously ‘Peatsy’ wants to play 80 minutes so he’s been training quite well. Young Max King out of our 20s program has been working hard and Hayden Schwass who had a full year at Burleigh in the back row straight out of 20s has been working really well as a young player coming through.”He’s got a good motor and he plays big minutes. He played mostly 80 minutes on the edge although he’s got that versatility playing edge back row.”In 66 games across four seasons Don has now scored 40 tries in the NRL but is still pushing to become a permanent member of the 17 each week.For the first time in his career the 29-year-old played a Round 1 fixture in 2016 and featured in 22 of the Titans’ 25 games but still feels he has to prove himself throughout pre-season to be on the wing for the first game of the season in 2017.”Throughout my career I’ve never really had a spot cemented for the whole season so I’m not going to get ahead of myself,” Don said in the wake of David Mead, Josh Hoffman and Nene Macdonald all leaving the club in the off-season.”I know I’ve still got to compete hard to try and get a spot and hopefully I can do that through my pre-season form and throughout the trial games and start of the season.”There are a lot of guys there that can play those positions so it’s still going to be a tough pre-season and a lot of competition for spots.”
While the Cowboys got the result courtesy of a late sideline conversion from Johnathan Thurston, the Tigers controlled most of the game despite missing several key players.Taylor said his side would take plenty of positives away after competing well with the full-strength Cowboys team. “They made some mistakes and I think they would be pretty disappointed because they let the pressure off us a few times with some simple errors,” Taylor said.”I was really happy with how we defended when they attacked our line and I think we forced a few of those errors as well.” Star fullback James Tedesco showed no ill effects since breaking his jaw at the same ground last year and looked sharp at the back with some dangerous carries throughout his 60-minute stint on the field. “I thought he did well, he looked dangerous right from the start of the game and he worked hard for the time he was out there,” Taylor said. “We got him off in the middle of the second half which was the plan.”There were no injury concerns to come out of the match for the Tigers, however a number of players are still racing the clock to be fit for the opening round of the season against South Sydney. “There’s a hamstring injury with Brooksy (Luke Brooks) and we wouldn’t push him if he wasn’t 100 per cent and it wasn’t today. He’s back training and heading in the right direction.” “Mitch (Moses) has got a sore foot which is only bone bruising and in the end it is something we can push so he’ll just have to toughen up to get through it.”Cronulla recruit Matt McIllwrick did his chances of a club debut no harm with a solid showing in the No.9 jersey, as Matt Ballin (knee) and Jacob Liddle (shoulder) sat on the sidelines through injury. “Matty was really good. We were looking for a strong performance from him, he tackled well and carried the ball well out of dummy half so that’s good for him to get ready for Round 1.”