2022 Rugby Championship Round 2 match previews

After the opening round of the 2022 Rugby Championship Australia’s Wallabies lead the tournament with South Africa hot on their heels. Australia will be without again without mainstay captain Michael Hooper, who has returned to Australia for personal reasons, as well as Quade Cooper who has been ruled out through injury – most likely for […]

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Season over as young star eviscerated

A thrilling third quarter saw them surge back to life and put the Lions to the sword. But when it mattered most, they fell apart.Watch every blockbuster AFL match this weekend Live & Ad-Break Free In-Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >The Saints had ample opportunities in the final quarter to run away with the contest, but continually threw it away in front of goal.Young star forward Max King was the prime culprit, finishing the night with five behinds to his name as his set shot routine abandoned him.The yips looked to have taken ahold as his routine changed on multiple occasions.At the other end of the ground the Lions capitalised on their opportunities. The Lions‘ last five scoring shots netted them four goals and one behind. The Saints’ last seven scoring shots were all behinds.St Kilda fans in the stands were routinely spotted by the cameras with their head in their hands after each miss in front of goal.“The set shots were relatively easy, they weren’t on tight angles. You just have to go back and suck up the pressure and put them through the big sticks,” Jonathan Brown said on Fox Footy.Former St Kilda great Nick Riewoldt said King had zero confidence in his kicking by the end.“He’s had four shots from directly in front and in the end he just looked completely devoid of confidence, his routine was broken,” he said.“To the point that we watched him pretty closely the last five to 10 minutes and I don’t think he wanted the ball.”Garry Lyon added: “That’s a horrible night. I agree that in the end he was saying I don’t want to go near it.”Footy fans watching on were quick to lambaste King for his horror night out, when St Kilda were desperate for the win.CODE Sports’ Daniel Cherny wrote: “There is no more excruciating sight in football than watching Max King kicking for goal.”St Kilda will now need a minor miracle to qualify for the finals after losing to the Cam Rayner-inspired Brisbane Lions by 15 points.Brisbane opened up a 26-point buffer late in the second quarter, but for the third game in a row, they either gave up a sizeable lead, or had one eaten into significantly, as the Saints exploded in the third quarter to lead by five points, putting the Lions’ top-four ambitions in peril.The Saints will likely drop to 10th this weekend, meaning they will have to not only beat the Swans in Sydney in the final round next week, but will also need a raft of other results to go their way to make the finals.The win launches Brisbane into second spot on the ladder currently and keeps their hopes alive of securing a home final.- with Ronny Lerner, NCA Newswire

Young AFL star axed after brazen act

North Melbourne’s decision to drop the number one draft pick ahead of his first AFL game back in South Australia, his home state, left fans around the league scratching their heads.Watch every blockbuster AFL match this weekend Live & Ad-Break Free In-Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >On Friday night however the reasons behind the decision to axe him where detailed by Channel 7 journalist Mitch Cleary.Cleary said the 18-year-old was left out of North Melbourne’s squad for “disobeying his coach” last weekend.“The star teenager was called out by interim coach Leigh Adams and senior players on Sunday for failing to complete his proper ice baths and recovery in front of their very eyes,” Cleary reported.“He spent this morning with a dozen teammates training in Melbourne (instead of travelling with the squad).”Horne-Francis will now run out in the VFL after failing to live up to the club’s “Monday to Friday” expectations.Former North Melbourne great Brent Harvey opened up on the Horne-Francis axing.“There’s some stuff that we call Monday to Friday, it’s preparation stuff – you need to tick the boxes,” Harvey said on RSN Radio.“This is not just about Jason … (Caretaker coach) Leigh Adams has got very good standards, I’ve got to be a little bit careful … but we’ve got players not playing in our team and I’ll name one right now: Kayne Turner.“He would run through brick walls for every single one of his teammates and every single one of his supporters – he does everything right.“If he’s not playing, he’s playing in the reserves at the minute, you’d want to be doing everything right to make sure you’re holding up your end of the bargain. We call that Monday to Friday and if you haven’t got your Monday to Friday in order, that’s just not good enough right now.“Was it good enough in Round 3, Round 4, Round 5? Maybe.“But with Leigh Adams in charge, the standards have gone to another level and players have to play their part. Monday to Friday is just as important as performing on game day for us.“There’s not just one incident where we’ve just said (to Horne-Francis): ‘Nah, you’re not playing because of this’. It’s not that at all, everything comes into calculations, the form side of it, what he’s doing after stoppage. There’s so much that comes into it.”Horne-Francis immediately postponed contract extension negotiations after he was drafted by the club last year.His two-year draft deal expires at the end of the 2023 season and both Adelaide and Port Adelaide are said to be heavily circling the teenage star.