Don feels the pain of Titans on trial

first_imgA 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.”last_img read more

Researchers Discover Wreck that Could Finally be Amelia Earhart Plane

first_imgThe disappearance of famous pilot Amelia Earhart as she tried to circumnavigate the world in 1937 has obsessed many for years, with theories ranging from Earhart and her navigator dying on an island after they crashed in the ocean to being imprisoned by the Japanese military, suspected of spying. Now a group of researchers say they’ve found a wreck off Buka Island, Papua New Guinea, that could provide the longed-for answers.Divers from Project Blue Angel say they first located the wreckage in August 2018, and identified several characteristics of Earhart’s plane, most significantly a glass disc that could be a light lens from the plane.Amelia Earhart, Los Angeles, 1928 X5665 – 1926 “CIT-9 Safety Plane”Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan were last heard from on July 2, 1937, during the final stretch of the circumnavigation, stretching from Papua New Guinea to Howland Island in the Pacific.Earhart had left Oakland, California, on May 20, 1937, for Miami (with stops along the way), where she announced her intention was to circumnavigate the globe.Then they flew across South America, Africa, India, Southeast Asia, arriving at Lae in New Guinea on June 29, 1937. With 20,000 miles behind them, they had only 7,000 left to go over the Pacific Ocean.Amelia Earhart in Hawaii. Photo by Pacific Aviation Museum CC BY 2.0On July 2nd, Earhart and Noonan took off from Lae, planning to land on Howland Island.  A ship, the USCGC Itasca, was stationed at Howland Island to help Earhart navigate landing her plane.At 7:42 a.m., she radioed: “We must be on you, but cannot see you – but gas is running low. Have been unable to reach you by radio. We are flying at 1,000 feet”At 8:43 a.m., Earhart reported, “We are on the line 157 337. We will repeat this message. We will repeat this on 6210 kilocycles. Wait.” And a few moments later: “We are running on line north and south.”She was never heard from again.Diver examining the wreck. Photo Credit: Stephani Gordon, Open Boat FilmsThe searchers of Project Blue Angel took a different approach to solve the mystery. “The Buka Island wreck site was directly on Amelia and Fred’s flight path, and it is an area never searched following their disappearance,” said William Snavely, Project Blue Angel director, in a statement. “What we’ve found so far is consistent with the plane she flew.”Most of the searches have concentrated on the area of the ocean near Howland Island. But what if, worried about fuel running low and facing headwinds, she turned around?Buka Island from SpaceDivers from Papua New Guinea surveyed the site several times for Snavely. Last year Project Blue Angel divers personally investigated the site, about 100 feet below the ocean’s surface.“While the complete data is still under review by experts, initial reports indicate that a piece of glass raised from the wreckage shares some consistencies with a landing light on the Lockheed Electra 10,” explains the Project, in its statement.Buka Island. Photo courtesy Blue Angel Project (Stephani Gordon, Open Boat Films)“Amelia’s Electra had specific modifications done to it for this specific journey, and some of those unique modifications appear to be verified in the wreckage that’s been found,” added pilot and aerospace engineer Jill Meyers, who is Blue Angel’s publicity manager.According to Live Science, Snavely was following up on a story heard in the 1930s. “A little boy on a Papua New Guinean island saw a plane — its left wing engulfed in flames — crash onto the beach. The little boy told his elders, but they didn’t believe him.”The tide dragged the plane offshore and underwater, and it became covered with coral.Getty Images“We’re still exploring to try to find out whose plane it is. We don’t want to jump ahead and assume that it’s Amelia’s,” said  Snavely. “But everything that we’re seeing so far would tend to make us think it could be.”Read another story from us: Examining Claims that Bring Into Question Amelia Earhart’s Piloting SkillsThe glass discovered will be further analyzed.“It’s obviously glass that appears to be old and covered significantly with barnacles,” Snavely told Live Science. “It has a rough shape and diameter that appears to be relatively consistent with lights that were on the plane back in the 1930s for Lockheed. But we don’t know for sure if it’s a Lockheed light. That’s what we’re getting checked right now.”last_img read more