MATAWAN Matawan Regional High School’s football teams in past seasons were well-regarded, even feared at times, because of their explosive offenses.Nearly midway through this season, however, the Huskies’ leading scorer is their kicker, Mike Creamer, who has 22 points. Nobody has scored more than one touchdown through four games.Matawan, at 2-2 and coming off a bye week, faces a crossroads situation when it travels to Wall High School on Oct. 18 for a Shore Conference B North Division battle at 7 p.m.Although his only seniors are on the offensive line and at two defensive starting positions, coach John Kaye feels his young team can contend for a state playoff berth. He said he is not looking to next season with this group. “I don’t like to think that way,” Kaye said. “We’re playing for now.” The Huskies hope to make their game against Long Branch High School on Nov. 1 meaningful as it has been in the past, perhaps with an NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II playoff berth still on the line. It all depends on whether Matawan can break out of a two-game losing streak against a Wall team that already won three games, followed by a game against Red Bank Regional High School on Oct. 25.“The Wall game is critical for the playoffs,” Kaye said of the team that was a three-time state finalist through the 2011 season. “We have to get wins against quality opponents. We have to be strong defensively. We have to be able to attack and be more successful in the pass game.”“We’ve played really well, but our youth is showing up a little bit,” Kaye added.That was evident when Matawan lost a 3-0 lead over Ocean Township High School with two minutes left, when Ocean Township scored on a long screen pass for a 7-3 victory. The Huskies also could not hold a 13-7 halftime lead in a 23-13 loss to Neptune High School. Creamer hit two field goals — 43 yards and 46 yards — in that game.“He’s really a special kicker,” Kaye said of Creamer. “And it’s not just his field goals, but he’s also our punter and is averaging 44 yards a kick. It’s the way he directs them.”Creamer had two punts against Neptune that pinned it inside the 5-yard line and inside the 18.Quarterback Jim Pierce led the team well in opening victories over Bishop George Ahr High School, 17-7, and Freehold High School, 31-13. But the junior still has to improve on getting the ball out there in passes to standout receiver DeJohn Rogers, the cousin of former Matawan star Charlie Rogers. Devon Spann, a junior, leads the rushing attack.There’s good blocking up front, led by center Chris Veary. The Weber brothers, Jake and Doug, are the tackles. Brandon Murphy and Sultan Abdel-Aziz are the guards. All are seniors except for Jake Weber, who is a junior.Defensively, Lameen Spann, an outside linebacker who is Devon’s older brother, and safety Juan Gonzalez are the only seniors. Lameen Spann and sophomore middle linebacker Aliem Shaw lead the defense in tackles.“The defense has been good,” Kaye said. “They’re causing turnovers and sacking the quarterback. We have to score more points.”Junior Nick Tompkins is a solid, rounded player at tight end and defensive end. A lot of players rotate on the defensive line, including the Weber brothers and sophomore Charlie Beatty. Sophomore Isaiah Philip is the other linebacker in the 4-3 formation. Along with Morales, the other three defensive backs are sophomores — safety Shawn Ramcheran and cornerbacks Khalil Hakins and Rogers.“We’ve made our share of mistakes on defense, but we were able to overcome them,” Kaye said.The Huskies’ play can uphold the field position dictated by Creamer’s long, wellplaced punts. By WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent
By TIM MORRIS Staff Writer Since breaking the 37-year-old Triple Crown curse with his wire-to-wire win at the Belmont Stakes June 13, American Pharoah has become an American folk hero.The 3-year-old thoroughbred has become a nationwide star, and that has brought increased attention to the sport.As a result, all eyes will be on Monmouth Park Aug. 2 when American Pharoah returns to the racetrack for his first challenge since the Belmont Stakes to run in the $1 million William Hill Haskell Invitational.The Oceanport racetrack, which is celebrating its 70th year of racing, is expecting the biggest day in its history. American Pharoah will be the first Triple Crown winner to ever race at Monmouth Park.“We are preparing for 60,000 [fans],” said John Heims, director of media relations at Monmouth Park.The single-day attendance record at Monmouth is 53,638 in 2003 to see Funny Cide, who had won the first two legs of the Triple Crown that year: the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.It would be an understatement to say that Monmouth Park is delighted to have the sport’s 12th Triple Crown winner. “Everyone here is beyond excited that [owner Ahmed Zayat and trainer Bob Baffert] have chosen Monmouth Park for the next start for American Pharoah,” Heims said. “The anticipation is building, and there is a tremendous buzz surrounding the entire event.”American Pharoah was expected to arrive at Monmouth Park July 29 and will be stabled in trainer Kelly Breen’s barn.Monmouth Park has set aside a time slot for the Haskell participants July 30 and 31 and Aug. 1. It’s anticipated that American Pharoah will run between 7:30 and 7:50 a.m. on the main track — the time slotted for the Haskell horses.On July 31 and Aug. 1, the Clubhouse will be open to the public for free from 7-8 a.m. to watch the Haskell horse.It looks like it will be a six-horse field for the $1 million William Hill Haskell. Mr. Jordan, Competitive Edge, Keen Ice, War Story and Tekton are expected to challenge American Pharoah.The Haskell will be telecast live on NBC from 5-6 p.m. Gates will open at 9 a.m. on race day with first post set for 11:30 a.m. Post time for the Haskell is 5:52. Baffert is quite comfortable at Monmouth Park, having won the Haskell a record seven times, including last year with Bayern.In anticipation of its biggest day, Monmouth Park is turning the Haskell into a three-day celebration with what it is calling The Pharoah Phan Phestival.Included in the Phestival will be a giveaway Aug. 1 with a baseball jersey commemorating Baffert’s seven Haskell victories that will be available as long as supplies last.Baffert will also be inducted into Monmouth’s Hall of Fame during the weekend.On July 31, an American Pharoah button and magazine giveaway courtesy of the Daily Racing form is on tap. American Pharoah is also scheduled to school in the paddock with the horses from that day’s races.When racing is completed Aug. 31, the track is hosting its Third Annual Joes vs. Jocks Mini Golf Phestival at the Bluegrass Miniature Golf course on the racetrack grounds.Fans can join their favorite jockeys for a round of miniature golf and help raise money for the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund.
Results from the Wimbledon Men’s Singles Quarterfinal matches on Wednesday 8-Milos Raonic (Canada) beat Nick Kyrgios (Australia) 6-7(4) 6-2 6-4 7-6(4)4-Roger Federer (Switzerland) beat 5-Stanislas Wawrinka (Switzerland) 3-6 7-6(5) 6-4 6-41-Novak Djokovic (Serbia) beat 26-Marin Cilic (Croatia) 6-1 3-6 6-7(4) 6-2 6-211-Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) beat 3-Andy Murray (Britain) 6-1 7-6(4) 6-2
By Pritha SarkarSTAN Wawrinka and his wondrous one-handed backhand managed to pull off a feat no man outside tennis’s Big Four had achieved in the past 40 grand slams – to wintwo major titles.It has been ten long years since anyone not named Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray had been able to boast of being anything other than a one-hit wonder.Even the one-hit wonders have been a rare commodity, with only Juan Martin del Potro, Wawrinka and Marin Cilic bursting the Big Four’s bubble from May 2005 to May 2015.On Sunday, Wawrinka finally broke rank as he added the French Open trophy to a collection that already includes a Norman Brookes Cup from the 2014 Australian Open.So how did he pull off the impossible – and that too by toppling overwhelming favourite and world number one Djokovic in the final?“I was relaxed on my backhand side and I could hit some wonderful backhands,” Wawrinka summed up simply.It was a shot that left others purring.“Wow! Just wow! I wanna play like that!” women’s champion Serena Williams exclaimed on twitter while former professional-turned-coach Ivan Ljubicic added “Holly Swiss cow. That was something #bullets.”But no one had a better view of the backhand bullets than the man on the opposite side of the net on Sunday.“He has probably the best one-handed backhand on the tour. No question one of the best one-handed backhands that I have seen in tennis,” Djokovic said after Wawrinka crushed his dream of completing the career grand slam.“Very powerful and can create a lot of spin, a lot of rotation on the ball. He can hit it flat down the line. He can block the ball very well. He has a short slice, long slice. He has a lot of variety from that part of his baseline game.”The most spectacular of those eye-popping shots was unleashed towards the end of the third set, with Wawrinka curling a backhand down the line around the netpost to polish off one of the 60 winners he produced on Sunday.So does Wawrinka think he can now bully his way to more major titles and herald the disbanding of the Big Four?“I’m not as strong as the Big Four. They are winning everything,” said the Swiss, who overcame the world’s top two players to triumph in Paris as he also beat fellow Swiss Federer in the quarters.“But I’m strong enough to win some big title sometimes during the years.“I’m not as good as the Big Four. But I’m quite good enough to win two grand slam tournaments. I can beat them in major tournaments, in a semi-final, in a final. But once again, the Big Four will always be the Big Four.”As far as Federer was concerned though, there was only word needed to describe Wawrinka on Sunday: “CHAMP”.
Manchester City made it five wins out of five in the Premier League and Cristiano Ronaldo scored five goals for Real Madrid but Chelsea and Juventus continued to struggle at the weekend as the Champions League looms.ENGLANDA last-minute goal by substitute Kelechi Iheanacho earned Manchester City a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace to maintain their 100 percent start to the campaign but defending champions Chelsea’s nightmare start continued.City have 15 points, four more than Leicester City, who came back from two goals down to beat Aston Villa 3-2 on Sunday.Manchester United beat Liverpool 3-1 to end the weekend in third spot — Anthony Martial scoring his first goal for the club. Chelsea went down 3-1 at Everton and have just four points on the board.Arsenal are fourth following a 2-0 win over Stoke City.SPAINLionel Messi came off the bench to earn champions Barcelona a 2-1 victory at Atletico Madrid on Saturday, when Cristiano Ronaldo hit five goals in a 6-0 romp at Espanyol to become Real Madrid’s record La Liga scorer.Barca’s victory preserved their perfect start to the season and they lead on a maximum nine points from three matches.Real, who have yet to concede a goal, have seven points in second place after Ronaldo took his tally in Spain’s top flight to 230, overtaking former Real striker Raul’s total of 228.Villarreal and Celta Vigo also have seven points after Villarreal won 3-1 at Granada and Celta squandered a 3-1 advantage to draw 3-3 at home to 10-man Las Palmas on Sunday.Villarreal and Celta were joined on seven points by Basque club Eibar, who missed a chance to make it three wins out of three when they drew 0-0 at Malaga.GERMANYBorussia Dortmund set a club record with a ninth straight win in all competitions when they beat Hanover 96 4-2 with two goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to stay top of the Bundesliga.The fourth straight win in the league kept them ahead on goal difference of champions Bayern Munich, who needed a controversial late penalty to edge past Augsburg and keep their 100 percent record intact.Referee Knut Kircher conceded after the game that he had made a mistake when he ruled Bayern winger Douglas Costa was fouled but Thomas Mueller made the most of it with his penalty to see Bayern also on the maximum 12 points.VfL Wolfsburg dropped four points off the pace in third after a goalless draw at promoted Ingolstadt.ITALYInter Milan are the only team with nine points from three games after Fredy Guarin’s second-half strike gave them a 1-0 win over struggling neighbours AC Milan at San Siro.Titleholders Juventus continued their poor start when they needed a late penalty, converted by Paulo Dybala, to draw 1-1 at home with Chievo, their first point of the campaign.FRANCEChampions Paris St Germain dropped their first Ligue 1 points of the season on Friday when they were held to a 2-2 home draw by Girondins Bordeaux.Stade Rennes are a point behind in second place after a 2-0 win over nine-man Nantes on Sunday — Georges Ntep and Giovanni Sio scoring in the second half.GREECEA woeful mistake by goalkeeper Luke Steele accounted for Panathinaikos’s first defeat of the season as they were beaten 1-0 by Panionios on Sunday, allowing Olympiakos to open up a two-point lead at the top of the Super League.Englishman Steele fumbled a tame long-range free kick from Anastasios Bakasetas into the net as the visitors fell to third in the table with six points from three games.Leaders and reigning champions Olympiakos are the only team left in the league with a 100 percent record following their straightforward 3-1 home win over Skoda Xanthi.AEK Athens are second on seven points.
Jurgen Klopp has emerged as the clear front runner for the Anfield hot seat, with Liverpool hoping to appoint the German as a replacement for sacked manager Brendan Rodgers by the end of the week, British media reported.The former Borussia Dortmund coach is favourite to take over from the Northern Irishman, with ex-Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti also in the frame.Klopp is understood to be open to the idea of a move, the reports said, adding that talks between Liverpool and his representatives were progressing well.The 48-year-old has been out of work since leaving Dortmund in the summer.Klopp won two German Bundesliga titles at Dortmund and led the club to the finals of the Champions League in 2013, but lost the German Cup final to Wolfsburg in his final game in charge at the end of the 2014-15 season during which his side struggled in the domestic league, eventually finishing seventh.Klopp is understood to have spoken to former Liverpool and Germany midfielder Dietmar Hamann about the club, the city and the fans, the BBC reported.Former Germany midfielder Stefan Effenberg believes Klopp will be back coaching “very, very soon” and thinks he is suited to Anfield.“He gave me this answer a couple of weeks ago. He said, ‘I’m ready for a team that’s not on the highest level, to create something, to build something up’. This could be Liverpool, right?,” Effenberg, who has played 35 times for Germany, told the BBC.“Liverpool is one of the greatest atmospheres. It’s pretty much the same as Dortmund. The fans stay with everything behind the club and this is what Jurgen Klopp likes and what he needs,” the BBC quoted Effenberg as saying at the ASPIRE4SPORT conference in Berlin.“So maybe, very soon, we’ll hear something from Jurgen Klopp, to make a decision, maybe, for Liverpool.”In a statement issued by the League Managers’ Association on his behalf, Rodgers, who was sacked after Sunday’s 1-1 Merseyside derby draw at Everton, said he was ‘incredibly disappointed’ his 3-1/2 year tenure at Anfield was over.Negotiations will now take place over his severance package, which could reportedly cost Liverpool in excess of seven million pounds.
By Mark Hosenball and Joshua FranklinFOOTBALL bosses from across South and Central America were among 16 people charged by U.S. prosecutors on Thursday with multi-million dollar bribery schemes for marketing and broadcast rights to tournaments and matches, a widening of a corruption probe into the sport.Court documents showed that the heads of the CONMEBOL and CONCACAF associations running football in the Western Hemisphere were charged along with current and former chiefs of the Brazil Football Confederation (CBF), which hosted the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals.CONCACAF acting president Alfredo Hawit of Honduras, a vice president of world football’s governing body FIFA, and CONMEBOL head Juan Angel Napout of Paraguay were arrested in a pre-dawn raid by Swiss police at a hotel in Zurich near the headquarters of FIFA, which has been in turmoil since a first round of indictments and arrests last May.The new indictment identified Brazil Football Confederation chief Marco Polo del Nero and former CBF head Ricardo Teixeira in the list of defendants, both former FIFA executive committee members. Texeira is the former son-in-law of long-time FIFA president Joao Havelange. In 2012, Swiss prosecutors said Texeira and Havelange took millions of dollars in bribes in the awarding of marketing rights for World Cup finals tournaments.“Two generations of football officials abused their positions of trust for personal gain, frequently through an alliance of unscrupulous sports marketing executives who shut out competitors and kepty highly lucrative contrats for themselves through the systematic payment of bribes and kickbacks,” the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.It said that 27 people in all have been charged since May, accused of running ran schemes designed to solicit and receive more than $270 million in bribes and kickbacks to sell media and marketing rights for soccer tournaments and matches.Ironically, a FIFA executive committee approval of a package of reforms in Zurich to clean up the scandalised organization was overshadowed by the arrests and new charges.The former head of Panama’s federation, Ariel Alvarado, was among those charged, according to the indictment. Alvarado led football organisation in the Central American country from 2000 to 2011 and served on the executive committee of CONCACAF.Argentine nationals Jose Luis Meiszner and Eduardo Deluca, current and former secretary generals of South America’s confederation, were also charged.CONMEBOL said it would “continue co-operating at all times with the investigation of authorities, and will continue deepening administrative reforms…”In a similar statement, The Confederation of North, Central America and the Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) said the developments strengthened its “resolve in continuing to enact significant structural and governance changes…”In Miami on Thursday, FBI agents searched the office of Media World, an affiliate of Spanish media giant Imagina Group. Media World was one of the unidentified sports marketing companies mentioned in a U.S. indictment in May as having agreed to pay a bribe to a high-ranking football official in the Americas, sources told Reuters in July.
Rod Griffin has been named in the 17 while young Lachlan Lam who had an outstanding debut last weekend against USA has been included in the extended 21 man squad.Garry Lo has been named however will be given until the weekend on his ankle injury.The 21 man squad is:David MEAD – CaptainJustin OlamKato OtioNene McDonaldGarry LoAse BoasWatson BoasMoses MeningaJames SegeyaroLuke PageRhyse MartinWillie MinogaPaul AitonKurt BaptisteStargroth AmeanStanton AlbertRod GriffinEnock MakiWartovo PuaraThompson TetehLachlan LamThe PNG LNG Kumuls meet England in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup quarter final at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium 4pm on Sunday November 19, 2017. Picture source: NRL – National Rugby League Facebook page
It felt like the end of a surreal journey as Leicester City’s ‘miracle men’ bowed out of the Champions League on Tuesday with their heads held high and applause ringing in their ears.Despite a 2-1 aggregate defeat by Spaniards Atletico Madrid, the way Leicester tore into Diego Simeone’s team in the second half of a 1-1 draw at the King Power will be the abiding memory of a thrilling European campaign.Manager Craig Shakespeare spoke afterwards of the desire of his players to experience more such nights.The reality, however, is that for the likes of Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and Danny Drinkwater, their chances of further Champions League adventures will be greatly improved by moving elsewhere once the season is over.Vardy, whose goals propelled Leicester to the most unlikely of Premier League titles last season – a year after the club narrowly avoided relegation – has rediscovered his fire after a post-title funk that cost manager Claudio Ranieri his job.A hat-trick against Manchester City in December aside, Vardy had all but disappeared this season.But since he scored in the 2-1 away defeat at Sevilla in the Champions League last 16, first leg – Ranieri’s last game in charge – the England forward has been irresistible.He scored seven in his last nine appearances, and his 61st minute strike on Tuesday threatened to prolong Leicester’s European adventure before Atletico shut the door.Mahrez, too, has shown a return to the form that earned him the Player of the Year award last season. Like Vardy, he will attract interest from Champions League clubs when the dust settles on the season.The club could also come under pressure to hold on to the dependable Drinkwater and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.“I’ve said to the players that they should want more of this and they’ve agreed that that’s what they want,” said Shakespeare, whose contract only runs until the end of the campaign. “All players want to play at the highest level, and the Champions League is the highest level.”With N’Golo Kante having joined Chelsea at the start of the season, Leicester fans will fear the break-up of the side that made dreams become reality.Sheakespeare’s immediate priority is to make sure Leicester stay in the top flight after a long flirtation with relegation. After that, who knows?“I’ve enjoyed it, pitting your wits against one of the best coaches in the world, one of the best sides in the world,” Ranieri’s former assistant said.“I’m sure at the end of the season I’ll be able to reflect on my own performance as well as the clubs.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger refused to blame forward Alexis Sanchez’s performance for the goalless draw at relegation-threatened West Ham United on Wednesday, saying the entire team must improve after a lacklustre display.The Chilean has been one of Arsenal’s most potent weapons in recent seasons but has scored just four Premier League goals this campaign, the latest in last month’s win over Huddersfield Town.Arsenal’s form has mirrored Sanchez’s, with the north London side winless in their last three league games and slipping to seventh in the table after managing to keep just three of 22 shots on target at the London Stadium.“He is very ambitious but in situations like that, you do not want to focus on one player. You focus more on the collective attitude of the team to keep them focused on the quality of our game,” Wenger told London’s Evening Standard newspaper.“We create chances. The goals will come. It’s difficult to say he’s had a dip. He tried tonight, he did fight. It was difficult because they defended very well as well.”Wenger also said that the defeat to second-placed Manchester United earlier this month and a lack of preparation time were also factors in Arsenal’s meek display during the stalemate.Arsenal host 16th-placed Newcastle United, who are winless in eight league games, on Saturday.