Video: 'That's what hurts the most, we let down our country' - Shaun Johnson on Kiwis early RLWC exit

Devastated Kiwis star half Shaun Johnson couldn't pinpoint exactly where his side went wrong and said letting down the nation was what hurt the most after losing to Fiji 4-2 in their Rugby League World Cup quarter-final in Wellington tonight.

Johnson admitted the hurt of being kicked out of the RLWC was crushing.

We couldn't deliver what I thought we could deliver - Kiwis half Shaun Johnson

"I guess the most disappointing thing for me is everyone who doubted us – the fans, media, you got your way," said Johnson.

Adam Blair tried his best to keep his composure during a post-match interview after his side’s 4-2 loss in Wellington. Source: 1 NEWS

"We couldn't deliver what I thought we could deliver and that's what burns.

"That's what hurts the most that we let down our country."

The Kiwis half was in shock after his side were unable to overcome Fiji in Wellington. Source: 1 NEWS


Topics



Sam Burgess likely to play semi after NRL boss says investigation into sexting scandal won't be rushed

South Sydney star Sam Burgess appears set to play in Saturday's grand final qualifier despite being involved in a sexting scandal that the NRL integrity unit is investigating.

The Rabbitohs were rocked last week by a woman's allegations that a social media account owned by Burgess was used to communicate lewd video of two players to her in May.

There were fears the matter would result in a player being suspended from the rest of this year's finals series, including their preliminary final against the Sydney Roosters.

However, NRL boss Todd Greenberg said while the case is expected to be finalised as soon as possible, he would not be rushed into a decision on potential bans.

"We've made a consistent approach to these things, we've been doing it for a number of years now," Greenberg said on Thursday.

"We'll deal with the details and issues in the investigation, we won't make decisions on the run."

Greenberg refused to address speculation that the woman, who is believed to have initially taken her concerns to the club before going public, is refusing to be interviewed by the integrity unit.

"I'm not going to comment specifically on who's being interviewed and who's not," he said.

"But I will say to you is for us to be able to land at a conclusion and complete the investigation it requires us to try our very hardest to talk to as many people as possible.

"And that's what the integrity unit are doing at the moment."

It is the second off-field incident to embarrass the NRL since the end of the regular season, with Canterbury being fined for their ill-advised Mad Monday behaviour.

Greenberg admitted the damaging headlines have taken the gloss off what has so far been one of the closest finals series in recent memory.

"I'd much prefer to be talking to you today about what will be a full house in Sydney at Allianz Stadium to farewell what's been a great stadium, and a full house in Melbourne," he said.

"But I'm also a realist.

"I understand that, from time to time, issues will come on our table and you will judge us on two things: on the issue itself and how we deal with it.

"We've got a pretty strong track record in rugby league and (as) an integrity unit, to deal with those issues methodically, professionally, appropriately and then hand a decision."

Sam Burgess of the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Source: Photosport


Topics
NRL

TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy defends Storm from Sharks 'grubs' attack

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy says Cronulla's verbal attack on his team is laughable, adding further spice to their NRL preliminary final tomorrow night.

The AAMI Park clash is threatening to erupt after barbs were launched this week from the Sharks, prompting Bellamy to defend his team today.

Sharks prop Matt Prior claimed the Storm practised ugly, niggling tactics.

"Most other clubs in the competition would be sitting back laughing about them calling us grubs," Bellamy said.

"They're trying to make out they're holier-than-thou and they're the squeaky- clean Sharks.

"Well, we all know better than that."

No love has been lost between the two sides since Cronulla's drought-breaking 2016 grand final win, with the Sharks dominating Melbourne since.

Bellamy said the Storm needed to put the blinkers on and focus on playing their own game.

"Whatever that record is we haven't had the best of it but the games have always been close," he said.

Craig Bellamy coach of the Melbourne Storm. Source: Photosport

"We haven't changed things too much, some of our starts have been pretty poor when we've played them but we need to stick to what works for us and stick to the plan."

The Storm were preparing for Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen to play in the grand final qualifier despite a serious shoulder injury.

Gallen's inclusion will set the scene for another round with Storm centre Will Chambers, who was suspended for a grapple tackle on the Sharks forward earlier in the season.

Chambers hasn't played for the past month due to a three-match ban with his Storm coach saying he wanted controlled aggression from the Test and State of Origin centre.

"He's been training hard so hopefully he will be OK," Bellamy said.

"He's played a lot of big games, it's not like he's a 21-year-old coming in.

"Hopefully he's learnt from a couple of games this year when he's been suspended.

"We don't need that from him.

"We need him to go and get his job done and be aware when it's the right time to do certain things and when it's the wrong time."

Billy Slater. Vodafone Warriors v Melbourne Storm, NRL Rugby League round 19, Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland. 22 July 2018. Copyright Image: Renee McKay / www.photosport.nz
The Storm celebrate in their 12-6 win over the Warriors. Source: Photosport


Topics
NRL

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

'We went away from game plan' - Warriors women eager to bounce back in must win Broncos match

The Warriors women face a tough task ahead of them tomorrow night, as they come up against premiership leaders the Brisbane Broncos in Melbourne in a must win match to keep their finals hopes alive.

Warriors hooker Krystal Rota says her team have learned from their Dragons 22-10 loss in Sydney last week and that her side need to return to what worked for them in their round one win over the Roosters.

"I just think we went away from game plan," said Rota.

"The first game we stuck to our game plan and defensive structures, when we played the Dragons we went away from that and obviously it didn't work for us."

The Warriors have to win tomorrow night's game by a big margin, to secure themselves a spot in next week's grand final.

Onjeurlina Leiataua on attack. Roosters v Warriors, NRL Holden Women's Premiership.  ANZ Stadium, Sydney, Australia. 8th Sept 2018. Copyright Photo: David Neilson / www.photosport.nz
Warriors women player Onjeurlina Leiataua on attack against the Sydney Roosters. Source: Photosport


The Brisbane Broncos women are undefeated in the competition and are guaranteed a spot in the final.

Warriors hooker Krystal Rota believes her side will learn from their 22-10 loss to the Dragons as they prepare for Brisbane tomorrow night in Melbourne. Source: Te Karere


Jared Waerea-Hargreaves says Roosters in fine form without enforcer Dylan Napa ahead of NRL finals

The numbers show Jared Waerea-Hargreaves won't rest without front-row starting partner Dylan Napa, but the Sydney Roosters hard man insists it's not a one-man job to uphold a perfect record without the Queenslander this year.

The Roosters will play without Napa for a third straight game in Saturday night's grand-final qualifier against South Sydney, after he was suspended last month for the knock out blow on Brisbane's Andrew McCullough.

Having battled injuries both during and after Queensland's State of Origin campaign before the latest suspension, Napa has missed six games this year - of which the Roosters have won all six.

And he largely has Waerea-Hargreaves to thank for it up front.

The Kiwi prop's top three running games this year have all come while Napa has been missing for either all or the majority of those games, including his herculean 215-metre effort against Penrith in round 15 when his Queensland front row partner had left the field early.

But he maintained it wasn't just he who had stood up this year during any absence in the pack.

"Obviously when you have players like Napa, Sio Siua (Taukeiaho), Zane (Tetevano) in the team with experience, you share the workload," he said.

"When you get these younger boys and they don't play as much time, obviously statistically you are going to do more work because you are out there longer.

"But we have guys in the team like (bench forwards) Lindsay (Collins), (Nat) Butcher and Ryan Matterson that I've really enjoyed their growth this year."

"To see them grow with the confidence they have now 26 rounds in, you build that relationship and trust."

Waerea-Hargreaves and the Roosters' pack have had their help too in terms of the territorial battle.

Cooper Cronk is ranked second in the league for average kick metres, while the 688 metres he booted against Cronulla in week one of the finals was the most by any player in any game this year according to Fox Sports Stats.

Blake Ferguson and James Tedesco are also the NRL's two leading metre-eaters in the competition this year, while Daniel Tupou is ranked sixth to make for the best running and most powerful back three in the NRL to kickstart their sets.

"For myself and Fergo we just love doing it," Tupou said.

"We know it helps the forwards out and puts them on the front foot.

"That helps out not just the forwards but the whole team, especially with Cooper and his kicking game."

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 18: Jared Waerea-Hargreaves runs the ball during a Sydney Roosters NRL training session at Kippax Lake Oval on September 18, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves runs the ball during a Sydney Roosters NRL training session at Kippax Lake Oval in Sydney. Source: Getty


Topics
NRL