Titans jump into NRL top eight

Gold Coast have jumped into the NRL top eight after beating Canterbury 28-14 in a thriller on Sunday at cBus Super Stadium.

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After a first-half arm wrestle, the Titans dazzled their home crowd of 10,645 with a stretch of three unanswered tries to run away with the game and book their second straight win.

Canberra-bound pivot Aidan Sezer had a huge hand in the result, continuing what must feel like an excruciating farewell season on the tourist strip for Titans fans.

Not only did he kickstart their surge with a brilliant 40-20 just before the halftime buzzer that resulted in a try to Kevin Gordon, he helped set up their next four-pointer and converted four of five attempts in a tireless performance.

Coach Neil Henry described Sezer’s 40-20 as the turning point for the Titans, who are clinging onto eighth spot on the ladder by points differential.

“It was a real boost for us – it had been a bit of a grind until then,” Henry said.

“It was one of those games where you couldn’t really rest in defence, they’re a hard team to contain.

“It’s good to get that one done and in the end be reasonably comfortable at the back end of the game, which is fantastic – but every week’s a new battle.”

Boom youngster James Roberts also celebrated his two-year contract extension with the Titans by scoring two tries to take him to 13 for the season.

But the win came at a cost for the Titans, with their shortage of hookers exacerbated by a medial ligament injury to Kierran Moseley.

With fellow rakes Beau Falloon (wrist) and Matt Srama (ankle) already sidelined, Moseley was the player that the Titans could most ill afford to lose.

“I don’t know how bad it is – he’s in a brace, and he’ll get some scans done,” Henry said.

“I imagine he’ll be out for a few weeks.

“We’ll be looking at the Q-Cup to get another hooker.

“We might have to be creative again.”

The Bulldogs were 10-4 up at one stage after Sam Kasiano rode an offload from Tim Browne to go over just before the half-hour mark.

Canterbury coach Des Hasler said his side “butchered” their chance to win the game with handling mistakes.

“We were just really sloppy with the ball, it’s been an issue for us all year,” Hasler said.

“The game was there for the taking for both sides, they capitalised on our errors we turned up.”

Canterbury’s Corey Thompson had a night to forget, with his two glaring errors under the high ball in the 40th and 59th minutes both punished by tries to Gordon and Josh Hoffman.

The visitors attempted a late comeback with Curtis Rona crossing for his second of the afternoon but it was quickly snuffed out, as Roberts responded in kind and then came off the field to a warm round of applause.

Dalai speaks of peace despite WA protest

As the Dalai Lama spoke in Perth about happiness and peace, protesters stood metres away desperately trying to gain attention about the plight of minority Shugden Buddhists.

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About 14,000 people gathered to hear His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, speak at Perth Arena on the final stop of his Ocean of Wisdom tour of Australia.

The 79 year old spoke about having the right “mental attitude” to balance a healthy mind and body, adding that he had always found his best adviser to be his heart and mind.

He joked you could not walk into a shop and buy peace of mind – you had to achieve it within yourself.

“From the birth, we all want a happy life, even in the mother’s womb,” he said.

“We all have the right to be a happy person.”

His Holiness also spoke in detail about science and the importance of education.

About an hour into the event, His Holiness had only answered one question despite host Rick Ardon having two pages full of questions from people seeking spiritual guidance.

But his lengthy speech did not seem to deter the audience, who listened intently to his wise words and laughed with every joke he made.

The Dalai Lama also talked about respecting all religions and non-believers, adding that compassion was important for happiness.

But since arriving in Australia, the spiritual leader has been followed by protesters calling for an end to the persecution of Shugden Buddhists.

At a peaceful rally before and during his talk, about 50 protesters held signs that read “False Dalai Lama. Stop Lying” and “Give religious freedom”, while his followers stood on the other side of the road with their own signs of support.

The Shugden Budhists have repeatedly asked the Dalai Lama for equality, but feel he has ignored their plight.

Tibetan monk Sonam Lama told AAP he was forced to leave India in 1996 and now lived in New Zealand.

International Shugden Community spokesman Nicholas Pitts told AAP the group was seeking freedom.

“We want everyone to have the freedom to practice the faith of their choosing without being at risk of repercussions,” he said.

“At the moment, anyone who practices Shugden openly is immediately rendered a pariah, they’re thrown out of their community, they’re completely ostracised.”

The Dalai Lama will wrap up his tour of Australia on Monday.

Hasler blasts NRL over Origin scheduling

Canterbury coach Des Hasler has implored the NRL to fix the scheduling issues surrounding State of Origin after a depleted Bulldogs side crashed to the Gold Coast Titans on Sunday.

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In a canny post-game deflection that would have made Wayne Bennett proud, a fuming Hasler said the NRL has been rendered “irrelevant” during the Origin period.

The Bulldogs were without representative stars Trent Hodkinson, Josh Morris, Brett Morris, Josh Jackson and David Klemmer, while skipper James Graham is injured.

They put up a strong first-half fight against a Titans side missing only one player – captain Nate Myles – to Origin duty, but fell away as the hosts turned on the dazzle in the second half and won 28-14.

Hasler said it was “embarrassing” for the competition to be “ravaged” with 34 of its best players unavailable.

“We all know the reason why – it’s the broadcasters and it’s this and it’s that,” he said.

“Well the NRL, that’s their job. That’s what they’re on the big money for, to come up with the solution, and they haven’t.

“All you hear about is how they’re at loggerheads and in blues with their 16 stakeholders.

“They’ve got to get their act together.”

Calls for State of Origin to be played on standalone weekends have come year after year, but the NRL is reportedly nearing a solution.

NRL head of game strategy Shane Richardson is conducting a whole of game review, with the intention of an entirely new structure for the rugby league calender when the next broadcast deal begins in 2017.

That may not be quick enough to please Hasler.

“I know people talk up Origin, it’s a great event and a wonderful thing,” he said.

“We’re not the only side to be victims.

“This year it’s us, in the years past it’s been the Broncos and the Storm and other sides.

“Everything has to stop for it.

“We’ll leave it to the powers that be but the sooner they fix the format up the better.

“But that’s not the reason why we lost today.”

Manus Island refugee ‘in hiding’: report

A refugee is reportedly in hiding on Manus Island after allegedly being tricked by Papua New Guinea immigration officials into making an advertisement promoting resettlement.

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Haider Khan, 33, told the ABC other refugees have threatened his life after he appeared in a newspaper ad holding a sign saying: “Thank you for helping us.”

Mr Khan said he did not agree to the campaign and asked PNG officials not to use his image publicly.

“Many refugees said, ‘Everyone witness, if I see his face, we are kill him’,” he told the ABC.

He has been in hiding with a local resident since he fled the Australian funded transit centre three days ago, and has been subsisting on biscuits and bread.

Mr Khan said PNG immigration officials paid him $303 and promised him a meeting with the immigration minister, as well as refugee status, if he agreed to go on a trip to Port Moresby for the photo.

An advertisement was later published in two national newspapers, and reportedly included his name, nationality and occupation.

“The government of PNG has permitted refugees to live and rebuild their lives in PNG,” the advertisement said.

“Let’s give them a positive start.”

No refugees have been resettled in PNG in the almost two years since it signed the deal with Australia, nor does the Pacific island nation have a resettlement policy.

A spokesman for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton declined to comment.

Earlier this month an Iranian refugee was allegedly beaten up and threatened with death by three PNG immigration officers after he missed a 6pm curfew.

The trio have been charged and are expected to appear in Manus Island district court on June 26.

Swifts too strong for Magic

NSW Swifts set up a trans-Tasman netball league grand final re-match with Queensland Firebirds when they closed out the Magic 60-52 in a see-sawing semi-final on Sunday.

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The Swifts, who lost 44-55 to the Firebirds in last week’s elimination semi-final, secured their first trans-Tasman league grand final in seven years with the patchy win in Hamilton.

Neither side managed to deliver a consistent performance, but the Swifts’ variety and pace on attack and accuracy in the shooting circle proved decisive.

Swifts skipper Kimberley Green, who played only the last quarter as she continued her comeback from a calf injury, was satisfied with her team’s overall effort.

“We always knew the Magic had a lot of heart – they’re a classy outfit and we knew they were going to keep pushing us,” she said.

The Swifts would have to step up again against the Firebirds in Brisbane next Sunday, she added, after the Queenslanders thumped Northern Mystics 60-44 in the other semi-final.

“They went really well today – we had a little bit of a view of that. They’re a classy outfit as well, so it’s going to be really tough.”

Magic captain Leana de Bruin said her team had done well to battle back from a significant half-time deficit.

“When you’re 10 down, you’ve got nothing to lose so you might as well just play the game,” she said.

“I think we did that well, but unfortunately we couldn’t do it again in the last quarter.”

Strong circle defence from Julie Corletto and Sharni Layton featured throughout for the Swifts, particularly in the first quarter.

Jo Harten shouldered most of the shooting responsibilities, sinking 14 from 16 while goal attack Malia Paseka was restricted to one successful shot from just two attempts.

But while the danger signs were there for the Magic, they maintained composure and timing on attack lead 15-14 at the first break.

The Swifts stepped up the defensive pressure in the second spell, dominating the quarter 17-6 to lead 31-21 at halftime.

Magic coach Julie Fitzgerald, who coached the Swifts to the league’s inaugural title in 2008, benched Paseka at the break and the introduction of Ellen Halpenny at goal attack changed the game’s dynamic.

Between them, Halpenny and Harten sunk 19 from 19, hauling back the Swifts’ lead to 42-40 at the three-quarter mark.

Swifts coach Rob Wright’s tweaked midcourt, with Stephanie Wood now at wing attack and Paige Hadley at centre, couldn’t recapture the pace and flow of the opening half and Wright again rejigged his line-up for the last quarter.

With Clarke back at centre and Green at wing attack, the Swifts looking more composed in the attacking third, delivery better quality ball for Caitlin Thwaites (33 from 36) and Susan Pettit (27 from 29) to convert.