NFL is holding open try outs in NZ this week as they scour the Pacific for athletic talent

Are you among the best athletes in New Zealand? If you are, the NFL wants you.

The highest echelon of American football is offering the best athletes from across NZ and the south Pacific an almost once-in-a-lifetime shot at potentially playing in the NFL.

Athletes will be given until virtually the last minute to register for testing days that are being held in Auckland (August 29) and Wellington (September 2) this week (full details at the bottom of the story) with try outs also being held Fiji, Samoa, Brisbane and Sydney.

With the likes of former rugby or league players Jordan Mailata, Jarryd Hayne and Paul Lasike recently having made it to NFL rosters, the league is scouring the south Pacific for athletic talent.

Registrations are open to any athletes aged between 21 and 25 in the year 2019 with applicants to be put through the five drills that are used to test NFL hopefuls at the pre-draft combine.

Those drills are the 40-yard dash, the vertical jump, the broad jump (jumping horizontally from a standing start) and the shuttle drill and three-cone drill which are both used to evaluate an athlete’s explosiveness and ability to change direction.

The best 75 athletes from those testing days will be brought to the Gold Coast for the combine in October.

From there, up to five athletes will enter the NFL international pathway program that includes a fully-funded three-month training program at the IMG Academy in Florida.

The athletes will then enter the NFL draft or be placed with an NFL franchise.

A premium will be put on size, speed and agility with the combine website listing physical attributes for each position group.

Defensive or offensive lineman in the league are typically 188cm (6 foot 2) and above and weigh between 125 and 150kg while still being able to move short distances relatively quickly.

Conversely speed and agility are highly valued commodities in receivers and defensive backs, with players in those positions typically between 180 and 196cm with a weight between 85kg and 105kg.

Running back is the other position listed on the combine website, with the guidelines saying backs in the NFL are typically between 178cm and 188cm and weight 95 to 105kg with an emphasis again on speed and an ability to change direction quickly.

Giving applicants some hope will be the fact that several current NFL players grew up primarily playing other sports including Green Bay tight end Jimmy Graham, who played basketball in college, and New England special teamer Nate Ebner, who grew up playing rugby and even competed for the USA at the Rio Olympics in sevens.

Full details for the New Zealand testing days below. 

Auckland

Date: Wednesday 29th August

Time: 9am Registration / Testing beings at 10am 

Wellington

Date: Sunday 1st September

Time: 10am registration / 11am testing begins

Venue: Wellington College  - 15 Dufferin street, Basin Reserve, Wellington 

Former Australian rugby league player Jordan Mailata, who was recently drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles, fronted the video for the NFL International Combine.



North and South Korea confirm joint bid for 2032 Summer Olympics

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in a statement today that the countries planned to jointly bid for the 2032 Summer Olympics.

At a major summit, the two leaders gave no details of which cities might host certain events at the games, or how advanced the plans were.

The International Olympic Committee traditionally does not announce host cities until seven years ahead of the games. That would give the Koreas until 2025 to put together a joint bid.

Germany has already announced plans for a multi-city bid for 2032, as has Brisbane, Australia. The India Olympic Committee has also indicated its interest in hosting the 2032 Games.

A successful bid by the Koreas would mark the second time South Korea hosted or co-hosted the Summer Games, the first being 1988 in Seoul. South Korea also hosted the Pyeongchang Winter Games in February.

Asia also features in the next two Olympics — the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo and the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, which also hosted the summer version in 2008.

The joint statement today also said the Koreas would look to cooperate in major sports events such as the 2020 Games, also without elaborating.

South Korean President Moon Jae In (R) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un take part in a pine tree planting ceremony in the border village of Panmunjeom on April 27, 2018. (Korea Summit Press Pool) (Kyodo)
==Kyodo
(Photo by Kyodo News via Getty Images)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) and South Korean President Moon Jae In took part in an historic meeting in April. Source: Getty


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Reality show doctor and woman allegedly used 'good looks' to lure victims into California drug rapes

A California physician who appeared in a reality TV dating show and an alleged female accomplice have been charged with drugging and sexually assaulting two women, and authorities said today there could be many more victims.

Orthopedic surgeon Grant W. Robicheaux, 38, of Newport Beach and Cerissa Laura Riley, 31, of Brea were arrested September 12 after being charged with rape by use of drugs, oral copulation by anaesthesia or controlled substance, and other crimes, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas told a news conference in Santa Ana.

Investigators were meticulously going through "thousands and thousands of videos and images on Robicheaux's phone, many also including Riley," Rackauckas said.

Some videos show women who "appear to be highly intoxicated beyond the ability to consent or resist, and they're barely responsive to the defendant's sexual advances. Based on this evidence, we believe that there might be many unidentified victims out there," he said.

The district attorney showed reporters video of Robicheaux from a now-cancelled Bravo TV show called "Online Dating Rituals of the American Male" in an episode titled "Three's A Crowd."

"We believe the defendants used their good looks and charm to lower the inhibitions of their potential prey," Rackauckas said, releasing an array of information about many locations and events associated with Robicheaux and Riley.

The defendants, who were released on $US100,000 bail, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Grant W. Robicheaux and Cerissa Laura Riley. Source: Associated Press

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Eden Park's new Our Wāhine mural showcases iconic female athletes to celebrate women’s suffrage anniversary

Auckland sports stadium Eden Park has unveiled a new mural dedicated to iconic New Zealand sportswomen as part of celebrations of the 125th anniversary since Kiwi women gained the right to vote.

The mural, which spans multiple areas of the stadium, includes Yvette Williams (track and field), Suzie Bates (cricket), Farah Palmer, Fiao'o Fa'amausili (rugby), Ruia Morrison (tennis), Dame Valerie Adams (shot put) and Lisa Carrington (kayaking).

Eden Park commissioned Kiwi artist Kate Hursthouse for the artwork.

Hursthouse says 'Our Wāhine' was a special piece for her.

"It's great to have such an iconic venue in my local neighbourhood celebrate New Zealand sportswomen, acknowledge Suffrage 125 and additionally make these seven women a permanent feature of the stadium," she said.

Eden Park CEO Nick Sautner said inspiration for the mural came from last month's Black Ferns Test match against the Wallaroos.

"My great grandmother signed the scroll to get women the vote," he said.

"It's important to celebrate the women who are pushing limits and breaking boundaries in both the professional and sporting worlds. Most of those featured have long affiliations with our stadium."

Dame Valerie Adams and Yvette Williams feature among the seven chosen for the piece. Source: 1 NEWS


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Wellington bus network changes to be reviewed after council bombarded with complaints

Wellington's new bus network will be independently reviewed after ongoing complaints of buses being late, too full to board or not showing up at all.

The regional council today voted today to have the system reviewed and the results reported back by December.

Since the system was changed in July the council has been bombarded with complaints.

Councillors have also asked officers to change a route so that it began and ended in Kilbirnie, as it previously did, and for feedback on whether some other routes can be changed.

Regional council chief executive Greg Campbell said he took full responsibility for fixing the network's problems.

He said the review needed to be done quickly.

"Any commuter that is left stranded, or a bus that is late, that is of extreme concern. We have to get a clear view of what is happening. What an independent review can really do - particularly for management and council - is give a view of what has happened and articulate that well."

At the beginning of the meeting several Wellington residents addressed the council to let it know they were still unhappy with the new bus routes.

A Wellington principal said the recent re-jig of the routes was making his students late for class and putting them in danger.

St Patrick's College, Kilbirnie's rector Neal Swindells told this morning's meeting about 100-150 boys were using the new service.

"Currently our two 753 buses from the station in the afternoon are significantly overloaded and are unsafe. On Monday this week, they were both loaded to the gunnels and there were 30-odd students who couldn't get on. So what they do is they cross the road to catch the new 24 bus, which by the time it leaves St Pat's now is also overfull."

rnz.co.nz

Commuters at a bus stop in Newtown. Source: rnz.co.nz