Watch: 'There's no way in the world you don't look at it' - Tonga's coach on controversial ref call

Mate Ma'a Tonga's head coach Kristian Woolf was baffled as to why officials didn't check with the Television Match Official to see whether his prop Andrew Fifita had scored at the death of Tonga's Rugby League World Cup semi-final in Auckland against England tonight.

Fifita looked to have scored the match winner with the final play of the match, only for the referee to rule a knock-on.

Woolf said he wasn't sure whether his front rower had scored.

"When the game was on the line, I don't know if it was a try or not because I haven't seen it again," said Woolf.

The Tongan coach believes the final play of the game should have been reviewed with what was at stake.

"I would have thought that in those circumstances there is no way in the world that you don't have look at it.

"That really surprises me."

It appeared the ball was stripped in a one-on-one by English second-rower Elliott Whitehead, rather than knocked on - allowing Fifita to continue.

But Fifita was called back by referee Matt Cecchin.

England defeated Tonga 20-18 at Mount Smart Stadium and will face Australia in the final next week in Brisbane.

Kristian Woolf said he was baffled as to why the TMO wasn't used in the final moments of his side's RLWC 20-18 loss to England in Auckland. Source: 1 NEWS


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Ozzy Osbourne confirms two New Zealand shows as part of farewell world tour

Ozzy Osbourne has confirmed two final shows in New Zealand in March 2019 as part of his farewell world tour, No More Tours 2.

The former Black Sabbath singer will play shows in Christchurch at Horncastle Arena on March 13 and Auckland’s Spark Arena on March 16.

Heavy metal legends Judas Priest, who are on their first New Zealand tour, will open for Osbourne.

The 69-year-old will celebrate a career which began in 1968 when Black Sabbath was formed alongside long-time collaborators, guitarist Zakk Wylde, Blasko on bass, drummer Tommy Clufetos and Adam Wakeman on keyboards.

Ozzy Osbourne.

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'The public's only heard one side of the story' - Bunnies coach defends Sam Burgess over ongoing sexting scandal

South Sydney coach Anthony Seibold says people will soon be able to make up their mind on the sexting scandal that has embroiled Sam Burgess, claiming they had only heard one side of the story.

Seibold was also adamant the off-field controversy had only made the Rabbitohs tougher ahead of Saturday night's NRL preliminary final against Sydney Roosters.

The NRL integrity unit's probe into allegations lewd images were sent to a young woman from one of Burgess' social media accounts are expected to conclude by Thursday despite reports of a setback.

An emotional Burgess addressed the scandal on Tuesday, repeatedly saying he would be "happy for the truth to come out" without going into specifics.

Seibold echoed Burgess' thoughts after saluting his team's resilience for overcoming the off-field distraction in their dramatic 13-12 semi-final win over St George Illawarra.

The allegations were made public on the eve of the Rabbitohs' clash with the Dragons although the alleged incident occurred back in May.

"The public has only heard one side of the story," Seibold told Sky Sports Radio.

"The investigation will hopefully conclude today or tomorrow and then people can make up their own mind on the story that has been out there.

"Obviously it wasn't ideal having the club on the front page and being the lead story on most of the news agencies across the country on Friday and Saturday last week but I thought the guys showed a lot of resolve."

The Rabbitohs may be expecting a verdict before the grand final qualifier however reports suggest the NRL's investigation hit a snag.

Fairfax reported the woman at the centre of the allegations had refused to speak with investigators from both the Rabbitohs and the NRL when contacted while on holiday in South Africa.

Either way, Seibold said the ongoing scandal compounded by back to back one point finals finishes had only steeled his side ahead of their clash with the minor premiers.

South Sydney No.7 Adam Reynolds' three field goals helped the Rabbitohs pull off a stunning one point win over the Dragons a week after falling short 29-28 to Melbourne in a qualifying final.

"I think the hard football is making us tougher," Seibold said.

"And we've shown we can handle pressure. I think we have shown a lot of resolve and resilience.

"We are not fatigued by any means. We are really confident heading into the Roosters game."

Sam Burgess of the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Source: Photosport


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Panthers set to stick with stand-in coach Cameron Ciraldo for 2019 NRL season

Penrith are set to install Cameron Ciraldo as head coach for next year's NRL as they continue to be linked to Ivan Cleary in the long term.

Panthers boss Phil Gould suggested that Ciraldo would remain in charge in 2019 after guiding the Panthers through the final six weeks in a caretaker capacity.

The 33-year-old was handed the reins after Anthony Griffin's sacking four weeks out from the finals and Gould said the club had no reason to bring in anyone else.

"I don't see any need to change anything we've been doing for the last five or six weeks," Gould said on the Six Tackles with Gus podcast.

"I've been very impressed with Cameron Ciraldo and the academy staff and we threw everything in our academy at the NRL preparation.

"They did an outstanding job, I was really impressed with them."

Ciraldo is contracted for next season after serving as an assistant under Griffin.

On Wednesday it was reported that the club's board had rubber-stamped his ascension to the top job on a full-time basis.

The club's move to oust Griffin so late in the season resulted in speculation Cleary was set to exit the Wests Tigers, with two years still to run on his contract.

Cleary stated his promise to "honour" his deal with the joint venture, however, has since refused to answer questions.

It's believed that the Panthers are readying to offer Cleary the role for 2021 - which is viewed by many as an attempt by Penrith to force the Tigers' hand and release him.

Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe has been contacted for comment though the club has, until this point, flatly refused to entertain the idea of Cleary leaving early.

NRL clubs are not allowed to negotiate with players more than 12 months before their contract expires.

The NRL said that chief operating officer Nick Weeks was set to examine a request from some clubs to alter the laws governing coaching negotiations so that they be brought in line with those that regulate player rules.

Gould denied any knowledge of any negotiations between Cleary and his club.

"I have nothing to do with the Ivan Cleary situation at all," he said.

A return to the Penrith job, from which he was axed in 2015, would allow Cleary to team up with his son Nathan, who is expected to sign a rich multi-year contract extension.

The NSW playmaker has reportedly been offered a lucrative deal until the end of 2023 and has stated his desire to sort out his future in the next few weeks.

The 20-year-old returned to Panthers headquarters on Tuesday and Gould said he was confident of getting an agreement over the line.

"No confirmation but I'm confident we'll get a deal done and he'll be at Panthers for a fair while," he said.

Nathan Cleary. Vodafone Warriors v Penrith Panthers, Round 19 of the 2017 NRL Rugby League Premiership season at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand. 14 July 2017. Copyright photo: Renee McKay / www.photosport.nz
Panthers half Nathan Cleary in action against the Warriors. Source: Photosport


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Auckland boy who lost his dad to cancer thriving through programme helping young rugby players

A programme in West Auckland is coaching rugby coaches to help young players develop life skills to deal with big challenges.

Jonesy's Youth Foundation was set up by Michael Jones - who shares his name with the legendary former All Black.

"The idea came to me through Massey Rugby Club. There was a boy who's mum got killed about 14 years ago, and for some reason it stuck with me all that time, 'what did the rugby club do to help him after the situation?'" Jones told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp. 

Through the foundation, men run courses for coaches of junior rugby players.

"What the courses will do is it'll teach the coach to be able to integrate rugby skills with character development and life skill development," Mr Jones said."

It's about developing the young players "as people first," he said.

Ben Allen - or 'Pies' as he's known coaches schoolboy rugby player Connor O'Donnell. Connor's Dad, Shaun, died four years ago from cancer.

Mr Allen said he teaches Connor, "things like communication and talking to his teammates and encouraging each other which are all important traits that you need in life".

"I'll never replace Shaun. He was an amazing Dad and and an amazing guy."

He's really good and he's helped me with confidence and things like that. - Junior rugby player Connor O'Donnell

Connor reckons 'Pies' is an amazing coach.

"He's really good and he's helped me with confidence and things like that."

Connor's Mum, Helen O'Donnell, said she promised his Dad before he died that she'd keep his love and passion for rugby going, but struggled with how she'd do that. She said Shaun would be "absolutely over the moon" that she's been able to keep that promise.  

The foundation has had some high-profile helping hands like former All Black Josh Kronfeld. 

Kronfeld said the coaches help the players with, "how to deal with pressure, how to deal with the bad moments, and loss, all those things".

Jonesy - who's also a Dad - says the foundation is there for for the long haul.

"We're here forever. We want to see him develop and grow [into] that 18 and 20-year-old when he gets a job."

Jonesy's Youth Foundation is having a Gala Dinner this Saturday. If you want tickets, the details are on Seven Sharp's Facebook page.


Jonesy's Youth Foundation is there for Connor O'Donnell, and others, in their time of need. Source: Seven Sharp