OCEANPORT – A flurry of activity was on the agenda of the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) Nov. 13 for one of their last monthly meetings of 2019. All properties in play are located in the Oceanport section of the former Fort Monmouth. The same evening, FMERA voted to extend Oceanport Partners’ due diligence period on the 14-acre Warehouse/ Post Office parcel for 90 days to complete its investigation of the suitability of the property for redevelopment. Engineering and environmental studies are ongoing, officials said. The firm, which anticipates a total capital investment at that site of over $31.4 million, plans to use it for office, research and related product storage and distribution with a focus on medical, biotechnology and software development within three Class A office buildings. The extension lasts until Feb. 23, 2020. Noting there has been “a lot of trepidation” over the project locally, Coffey said, “RPM has done a lot to assuage our concerns in the past couple of months. We are ready to move forward but will be looking long and hard at it.” OCEANPORT PARTNERS EXPANDS ITS REDEVELOPMENT SCOPE By unanimous vote, FMERA made this 79-acre parcel along the New Jersey Transit railroad tracks and Parkers Creek, within a portion of the Horseneck area, available through its Offer to Purchase Process. Located one-half mile from the Little Silver Train Station, the site is designated for redevelopment as the borough’s “town center” community hub, with mixed uses including residential, retail, commercial and civic/institutional. NURSES QUARTERS 400 AREA Fort Monmouth’s Commissary is among the key former U.S. Army buildings developer Oceanport Partners is in the process of acquiring for redevelopment.Photo courtesy FMERA RPM Development, LLC will invest a minimum of $6.69 million to renovate and reuse the fort’s former 24-unit Nurses Quarters following last week’s unanimous approval of a Purchase and Sale Agreement for the 3.75-acre site. RPM, which purchased and renovated the fort’s former Officers Housing area as the East Gate residential project, now nearing completion, proposes to turn the Nurses Quarters into 24 one- and two-bedroom rental apartments. In addition, 10 three- to four-bedroom owner-occupied townhomes will be constructed. Seven of the apartments will be designated as affordable housing. The plan is subject to FMERA’s mandatory conceptual review and Oceanport’s Planning Board review. By Laura D.C. Kolnoski The bid package should be released next month with a deadline for submissions in late March. IN OTHER NEWS “It’s a fairly major development,” said Bruce Steadman, FMERA executive director. “We are making the Request for Offers to Purchase very broad. We want Oceanport’s approval.” Developer Oceanport Partners, an entity of Denholtz Management Corp., has entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement to redevelop the fort’s former Commissary and PX (Post Exchange) complex, along with a 6-acre parking area. The firm, which will pay $3 million for the property, is already working toward redeveloping the adjacent former Post Office area and Warehouse District. Oceanport Partners will be responsible for all demolition and associated costs, and its total capital investment will be no less than $23 million, officials said. The Commissary building is slated for rehabilitation. Intended uses include retail, office, recreational, entertainment, craft production, research and development and culinary-related. The company estimates creating 111 part-time and/or full-time permanent jobs within 24 months of the project’s completion or pay a penalty of $1,500 per job not created as per FMERA rules. FMERA has said the parcel is well-suited for the development of “a vibrant, transit-oriented development” with 234 residential units and a Main Street character. Sixty-three buildings on the site, which the U.S. Army used for residences, administrative buildings, warehouses, research and development, and general purpose, are deemed obsolete. Alternative development scenarios will be considered, but all proposals must embody the transit-oriented development concept. “Oceanport can see the finish line at this point,” said Mayor Jay Coffey, a voting FMERA member. “This has been subject of a great volume of discussion in our town. There is no train station here. Horseneck Point residents are anxious to see what comes in and what transpires.” “I reached out to (RPM CEO) Ed Martoglio and tried to outline Oceanport’s concerns,” Steadman said. “Ed was 100 percent willing to take responsibility.” The project is expected to create a minimum of 38 part-time or full-time temporary construction related jobs and a minimum of one full-time or part-time job upon completion, or pay a penalty of $1,500 for each job not created. FMERA bid adieu to its director of real estate development of seven years, David Nuse, but not really. Nuse is returning to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority in Trenton, where he previously worked for 25 years. The EDA oversees FMERA operations. Nuse will remain a presence at FMER A’s monthly meetings, taking on the role of the EDA’s voting representative to the authority’s board. “Our time with Dave has been outstanding,” Steadman said. “He is a man of integrity, character and has legions of fans. He’s done great work here and we’ll miss his daily input.” Nuse said that he plans to stay “deeply involved” in the fort’s redevelopment.
The Nelson Curling Club put a ribbon on a great season at the Heritage City facility with its annual Club Championship Saturday.Champions were crowned in the Ladies, Men’s and Mixed Leagues.Marla Dreher edged out Allison Sutherland to claim the Ladies League title.Dreher, third Deena Cownden, second Shadow Biln and lead Gloria Beecham defeated the Sutherland rink of third Deirdre Lang, Tracey Mozel and lead Sheila Ryan. In Men’s Final, Brett McLellan put a steal of three on the board in the fifth end to double Fred Thomson 6-3.McLellan added another steal of one in the sixth end to build the insurmountable lead.Team McLellan included third Chris Osborne, second Devon Duncan and lead Shane Learmont.Team Thomson included third Kevin Thompson, second Chad Staten and led Eric Thompson.For the final spares Jamie Tedesco and Corey Anderson filled in for the Thomson rink.In the Mixed League Final, Rick Cutler needed an extra end to lead his rink to a win over Team Douglas.The Cutler rink includes Cutler, third Jana Bidwell, second Mike Brennan and lead Danyell Rosenbaum.Peter Douglas is the skip, Karen McGinnis is third, Tammy Douglas is the second and Andy Gullen is lead on Team Douglas.
JOCKEY QUOTES JERRY MOSS, OWNER, ROYAL MO: “This has been an amazing experience. We haven’t had two horses (Gormley and Royal Mo) in this position in a long time and it’s fun. We’re going to keep those two horses separated as long as we can. I’ll have to talk to John (Shirreffs), but I think we’ll go to Arkansas with one and stay here with the other. (Royal Mo) is almost 17 hands, but he’s still got some growing to do…We really don’t see anyone else coming up that scares us…This horse has been working great and the Derby is a great thing to dream about.” JOHN SHIRREFFS, ROYAL MO, WINNER: “I was very happy with how he ran, the pace, the fractions, having that horse (Irap) outside of him, hooking him a little bit, so I think he showed a lot of character.“You take it as it comes (when asked if he would keep Royal Mo and Gormley, ticketed for the San Felipe Stakes March 11) apart. Obviously you don’t really want to run them together. We’ll just have to see how it goes. I haven’t spoken with Mr. Moss about that, so we’ll see.” DOUG O’NEILL, IRAP (2ND), TERM OF ART (4TH), DANGERFIELD (5TH): “Royal Mo just ran lights out. I think pace makes the race and the first half wasn’t overly quick. When you give a horse like Royal Mo an uncontested lead you’re going to be in trouble.“We were curious how Irap would be with the blinkers and he was rank, so we answered that question.“With Term of Art, it was the first time that Tyler has been on him and he suggested that he would be better with blinkers, so we’ll put them back on and I think Dangerfield just got caught behind a slow pace. He’s more of a one pace horse and in hindsight we should have used him a little more early in the race. So I think we got answers on all three.” TRAINER QUOTES NOTES: Winning owners Jerry and Ann Moss are from Beverly Hills. VICTOR ESPINOZA, ROYAL MO, WINNER: “He’s such a big, heavy horse. He doesn’t have that quickness for the first couple of strides. As soon as he gets into a rhythm though, he’ll keep going.“I drew the inside. I wanted to be on the outside so I could track the leaders but I didn’t want to take any chances so I went to the front. I knew there wasn’t going to be much speed. The fractions weren’t too quick so I took advantage.“There’s a big difference. He’s improving a lot. From the last few races to this race, he’s really coming along. He’s going in the right direction. Hopefully, we keep going all the way.” -30-
FRISCO, Texas – Northwestern State’s E.C. Delafield and Stephen F. Austin’s Kassidy Wilbur are the Southland Conference Softball Players of the Week, the league announced Monday. Southland Conference Players of the Week are presented by MidSouth Bank.Delafield headlined Northwestern State’s (13-13, 5-1 SLC) three-game sweep of Abilene Christian over the weekend, where she produced a .667 on-base percentage and a 1.625 slugging average. The NSU sophomore logged five hits on eight appearances at the plate to finish the week with a .625 batting average. Delafield also brought in six RBI while launching a pair of homers against the Wildcats.Wilbur scorched the plate helping the Ladyjacks (15-12, 3-3 SLC) to a pair of wins in their three-game series against McNeese over the weekend. The freshman registered a pair of complete games, giving up just two runs throughout the series, while dealing 17 strikeouts.The award marks the first of the season for Delafield and the second of the year for Wilbur.Northwestern State will travel to McNeese for a three-game series beginning this Friday, March 22 at 6 p.m. CT.Stephen F. Austin is slated for four games this week beginning with a trip to College Station to face off with Texas A&M. First pitch against the Aggies is slated for 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 20.Softball Hitter of the Week – E.C. Delafield, Northwestern State – DP – So. – Stonewall, La.Delafield went 5-for-8 in the weekend sweep of ACU. Delafield knocked in the first two runs of the contest with a two-run triple. The home runs were the first of her career. In game one, Delafield’s two-run triple were the first of the contest. Up 5-2, her two-run home run effectively ended ACU’s comeback bid as she went 3-for-3 with four RBIs in the series opener. Delafield began the third game with a solo home run shot and added another RBI in the run-rule conclusion. Two of the Lady Demons’ three wins were decided in five innings.Honorable Mention: Margarita Corona, Stephen F. Austin; Brooke Malia, Sam Houston State; Shaina Amir, Lamar.Softball Pitcher of the Week – Kassidy Wilbur, Stephen F. Austin – Fr. – Bridge City, TexasFreshman righty Kassidy Wilbur continued her outstanding rookie campaign by nearly tossing a no-hitter against McNeese Friday in a series-opening one-hit complete game shutout (7-0). Her third complete game shutout of the season, Wilbur gave up just one hit in the top of the seventh inning and fanned nine of 25 batters faced with just three walks. She followed up that performance by claiming her eighth complete game win of the season Saturday as SFA earned its first Southland series win of 2019 with a 4-2 victory in the decisive game three. Wilbur notched eight strikeouts in 29 total batters faced, allowing just two walks and two earned runs for her ninth win of the season.Honorable Mention: Lindsey McLeod, Sam Houston State; Samantha Guile, Northwestern State; Erin Kyle, Lamar; Alley McDonald, Southeastern Louisiana.Southland weekly award winners are nominated and voted upon by each school’s sports information director. Voting for one’s own athlete is not permitted. To earn honorable mention, a student-athlete must appear on at least 25 percent of ballots.
“I know we’re facing competitive challenges from the Dubai World Cup and the Saudi Cup, but I am grateful that The Stronach Group has found a way to keep innovating the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series. It gives all of us a chance to keep our older, champion horses in training and competition here in the United States, which is great for the sport and for the fans,” said Bob Baffert, who trained Arrogate to win the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Invitational in 2017. “I find it an interesting concept, the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series with no medication and I’m excited to be part of it,” said Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella. Mandella trains Omaha Beach, owned by Fox Hill Farm. It was announced in November that Omaha Beach will retire after the 2020 Pegasus World Cup Invitational.The Pegasus World Cup Invitational will be run on the dirt at 1 1/8 miles and will offer a $3 million total purse with 2 percent of the purse donated to Thoroughbred aftercare. The Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational will be run on the turf at 1 3/16 miles and will offer a $1 million purse with 2 percent of that purse also donated to Thoroughbred Aftercare. The $4 million total purse contribution is entirely provided by The Stronach Group.In addition to the sponsorship of the 2020 Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series, and the sponsorship of the Runhappy Malibu Stakes (G1) taking place on Opening Day at Santa Anita Park on December 26, Team Runhappy and The Stronach Group will work together to further invest in and promote North American Thoroughbred racing in California, Florida and Maryland by rolling out the Runhappy Matchmaker Series. The Runhappy Matchmaker Series will feature a prestigious race at The Stronach Group owned Gulfstream Park (Florida), Santa Anita Park (California) and Pimlico Race Course (Maryland) with the winner of each race in the series receiving a free breeding, valued at over $25,000, to the great Runhappy at Claiborne Farm.The 2020 Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series presented by Runhappy will be broadcast live on NBC from 4:30-6:00pm EST on Saturday, January 25.Tickets are available online at www.pegasusworldcup.com, or by calling the Pegasus World Cup box office at Gulfstream Park at 1-833-464-7924 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily. Tickets range from $49 to $1000+ per person and offer something for every race-day enthusiast and entertainment seeker. New ticket options for this year’s Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series include an Early Bird Classic General Admission for $49+ if purchased before December 25 and General Admission for children 12 and under for $23.Xpressbet.com is proud to be the official online betting platform of the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series.Follow all of the news and excitement of the 2020 Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series presented by Runhappy on Twitter and Instagram @PegasusWorldCup and on Facebook at Pegasus World Cup. RUNHAPPY’S LEGACY TO BE CELEBRATED WITH A NEW SERIES AT STRONACH GROUP TRACKS ACROSS THE COUNTRYHALLANDALE BEACH, FL – December 21, 2019 – The Stronach Group announced today that it has secured Runhappy as the presenting sponsor for the 2020 Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series taking place on January 25 at Gulfstream Park.On December 14, the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series introduced a new era in the sport of Thoroughbred racing in North America with the announcement that the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) and the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) stakes races will be run medication-free, providing a new and lucrative opportunity for horse owners to showcase their equine athletes by competing free of any medications on race day.In 2015, Runhappy, an American Thoroughbred race horse, won six consecutive races including the King’s Bishop Stakes, the Phoenix Stakes, the Breeders’ Cup Sprint and the Malibu Stakes without use of the common race day medication, Lasix. He was later named as the 2015 American Champion Sprint Horse and retired with seven wins in 10 lifetime starts, earning close to $1.5 million having never raced on medication. He has been retired to stud at the legendary Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky and occupies the same stall as the great Secretariat. Runhappy’s first foals will be 2 year-olds of 2020 and will make their racing debut next year.“We are thrilled to have Runhappy as the presenting sponsor for the 2020 Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series,” said Craig Fravel, Chief Executive Officer, Racing, The Stronach Group. “The legacy of Runhappy coupled with this year’s medication-free platform is a fitting partnership as we set a new competitive standard while featuring the finest Thoroughbreds in our game.”“Team Runhappy is proud to be the presenting sponsor for the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series,” said Jim McIngvale, owner of Runhappy. “The Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational have become highlights on the racing calendar and to be the presenting sponsor for the 2020 medication-free stakes races is the perfect partnership for us as we honor the great Runhappy.”This year’s medication-free format for both the Pegasus World Cup Invitational and Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational is consistent with the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities (IFHA) standards and will go one step further by giving back two-percent of the purse winnings to Thoroughbred aftercare.
Harris Farms’ Homebred Fashionably Fast All Heart In Winning $100,000 Tiznow Stakes By One Half Length Under Pereira
Harris Farms’ Homebred Fashionably Fast All Heart In Winning $100,000 Tiznow Stakes By One Half Length Under Pereira; Trained By Pederson, He Gets One Mile In 1:36.64 RACE IS PART OF LUCRATIVE GOLDEN STATE SERIES FOR CALIFORNIA-BRED OR SIRED HORSESARCADIA, Calif. (March 1, 2020)–Harris Farms’ homebred Fashionably Fast stretched out to a flat mile off of five consecutive sprint victories with aplomb on Sunday at Santa Anita, as the 5-year-old gelding by Lucky Pulpit pressed the pace and registered a half length win while hand ridden late by Tiago Pereira in the $100,000 Tiznow Stakes at Santa Anita. Trained by Dean Pederson, he got the distance in 1:36.64.Breaking from post position three in a field of five California-bred or sired older horses, Fashionably Fast, who’s last three wins had come in California-bred stakes, sat just off the early pace set by Tiger Dad, who was drawn to his immediate inside and overhauled him in mid-stretch.“I thought the number two (Tiger Dad) would go and he did,” said Pereira, who has been aboard Fashionably Fast in his last 10 races. “When we got by the two (leaving the furlong pole), he saw the one (Oliver) coming and he’s just a fighter. I hand rode him and he’s so game. He likes to win.”With good support coming for runner-up Oliver, Fashionably Fast was off as the 6-5 favorite and paid $4.40, $2.60 and $2.40.Owned by John Harris, Per Antonsen and John Nicoletti, Fashionably Fast, who is out of the Forestry mare Fall Fashion, posted his fourth consecutive stakes victory and his seventh overall from 16 starts. With the winner’s share of $60,000, he increased his earnings to $449,745.“His last couple of works, Tiago has worked hard on getting him to relax in the first part but still finish,” said Pederson. “To me, that was the key to the race today. If he relaxed, he himself a chance. If he didn’t relax, you get back to the barn and get the bathwater ready. He’s just confident, mature and he has always had talent, but he was his own worst enemy early on.”Oliver, who stalked both Tiger Dad and Fashionably Fast while saving ground inside, angled out turning for home and made the winner hustle late while finishing second, 2 ¼ lengths clear of Tiger Dad.Ridden by Abel Cedillo, Oliver was the second choice at 2-1 and paid $2.80 to show.Tiger Dad, who had the misfortune of drawing inside the winner, finished 2 ¼ lengths in front of Posterize and paid $2.80 to show while off at 7-2 with Victor Espinoza up.Fractions on the race were 23.28, 46.66, 1:11.13 and 1:23.54.Named for the California-bred 2000 Horse of the Year and two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, the Tiznow is part of the lucrative Golden State Series. Sponsored by the CTBA, the Golden State Series is for eligible California-bred or sired horses.
Big Sweep Beats The Boys, As She’s Up To Win $150,000 Echo Eddie Stakes By A Head Under Prat; Trained By Glatt, She Gets Six Furlongs In 1:10.23
BIG SWEEP BEATS THE BOYS, AS SHE’S UP TO WIN $150,000 ECHO EDDIE STAKES BY A HEAD UNDER PRAT; TRAINED BY GLATT, SHE GETS SIX FURLONGS IN 1:10.23 SPONSORED BY THE CTBA, RACE IS PART OF LUCRATIVE GOLDEN STATE SERIESARCADIA, Calif. (May 16, 2020)–In just her second career start and the lone filly in the lineup, Big Sweep came rolling from off the pace to take Saturday’s $150,000 Echo Eddie Stakes by a head under Flavien Prat. Owned by Red Baron’s Barn, LLC and Rancho Temescal and trained by Mark Glatt, the 3-year-old daughter of Mr. Big got six furlongs in 1:10.23.Sponsored by the CTBA, the Echo Eddie is part of the lucrative Golden State Series, for eligible California-bred or sired horses.Breaking from the number seven post position in a field of eight sophomores, Big Sweep had two horses beat a half mile from home, but was on the move while fourth, two off Better Trip Nick and Rookie Mistake a quarter mile out.From there, Rookie Mistake took the lead at the furlong marker and Big Sweep was all out to collar him on the money.“She ran really well,” said Prat, who had guided Big Sweep to a 2 ¼ length first-out score versus state-bred fillies going six furlongs here on March 14. She settled nicely behind the speed and she handled the kick-back like a pro. She’s got a lot of heart.”Off as the even money favorite, Big Sweep paid $4.20, $3.40 and $2.60.With the victory, Big Sweep, who is out of the City Zip mare Misszippityslewda, picked up $90,000, bringing her earnings to $130,000. Bred in California by George Krikorian, she sold for $40,000 at the Barrett’s October, 2018 Sale of Yearlings.“The race unfolded totally different than what we thought,” said Glatt. “We didn’t expect to be that far back, but she handled the dirt in her face very well. To be able to show a totally different dimension in only her second start, is pretty amazing. We did nominate to both stakes (including the Evening Jewel for fillies) and it looks like we made a good decision. We’ll see where we go from here.”A Reddam Racing homebred colt by Square Eddie, Rookie Mistake ran too good to lose while finishing 2 ½ lengths clear of Club Aspen. Ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Rookie Mistake was off at 13-1 and paid $7.00 and $4.80.Club Aspen, ridden by Jorge Velez, was off at 5-1 and paid $3.00 to show.Fractions on the race were 21.56, 45.21 and 57.58.
TOTTENHAM ejected a 13-year-old Burnley fan from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday for allegedly racially abusing Heung-min Son.The young supporter was seen by stewards appearing to have been discriminating against the South Korean during Jose Mourinho’s side’s 5-0 win over the Clarets.1 Tottenham have launched an investigation after a 13-year-old allegedly racially abused Son Heung-minCredit: AFP or licensorsDuring the game, Son had scored one of the goals of the season after running the length of the field to slot past Nick Pope.It is unknown whether the alleged racial incident happened before or after the 27-year-old’s strike, with both Spurs and Burnley confirming that they are seeking more information.In a statement released on their website, Sean Dyche’s side wrote: “Burnley Football Club is aware of an incident during the Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley game on Saturday, December 7.”During the Premier League game, a 13-year-old Burnley supporter was ejected from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium following an alleged racist gesture towards Spurs player Heung-Min Son.”The minor, who was accompanied by a guardian, is now under investigation by the Metropolitan Police, with help from Lancashire Police and the two clubs.”In the meantime, Burnley Football Club will be contacting the teenager and his family, with a view to an enforced educational programme, run in conjunction with Kick It Out and Burnley FC in the Community.”Burnley Football Club would like to reiterate its zero-tolerance policy towards discrimination of any kind.”The sickening abuse was part of a shameful weekend in English football, when a fan was arrested following an episode in the Manchester Derby.A disturbing video posted on social media showed Anthony Burke appearing to make monkey gestures towards United midfielder Fred during the Red Devils’ 2-1 victory over rivals City at the Etihad.The 26-year-old was also pelted with missiles as a bottle of water and several lighters were hurled from the stands, with one object striking the midfielder on the back.The FA are investigating both incidents, while City have released a statement vowing to issue lifetime bans to any supporters found guilty of racist behaviour.Most Read in FootballTHROUGH ITRobbie Keane reveals Claudine’s father was ’50-50′ in coronavirus battleTOP SELLERGavin Whelan has gone from League of Ireland to David Beckham’s InstagramPicturedAN EYEFULMeet Playboy model and football agent Anamaria Prodan bidding to buy her own clubExclusiveRIYAD RAIDMan City’s Riyad Mahrez has three luxury watches stolen in £500,000 raidI SAW ROORodallega saw Rooney ‘drinking like madman’ & Gerrard ‘on bar dancing shirtless’NEXT STEPJonny Hayes set to move to English Championship having been let go by CelticBurke, meanwhile, insisted he was innoncent, writing on Facebook: “Listen, I’m only [a] racist c*** because I had a screenshot that made me look it.”However, I ain’t racist, watch the match half of it was me with me putting my hands in my pants. I know the true.”Greater Manchester Police confirmed a man has been detained although they offered no further details.José Mourinho compares Son wonder-goal vs Burnley to legendary Ronaldo Nazário strike for Barcelona
Photo: Scott Davis. Copyright: NRL Photos. Dylan Napa ahead of his first Origin appearance for Queensland. Brought across to Brisbane along with Mark Graham by new Norths Devils Coach Graham Lowe for the 1980 season, the ferocious nature of Napa’s defence left an impression on many opposition players, not to mention his captain.Queensland’s first Origin halfback Mark Murray was skipper of Norths in 1980 and witnessed first-hand Napa’s propensity to stomp all over the line between aggression and foul play, which is why he is so excited to see Stan’s son Dylan make his debut for Queensland in Game One of the Holden State of Origin Series on Wednesday night.Like his father, Dylan has established himself as one of the most brutal defenders in the NRL, making a point of picking out the biggest, baddest hombre on the other side of the field and sitting them fair on their backsides.He ripped a much vaunted South Sydney forward pack to shreds virtually by himself in Round 6 last year and in his last start for the Roosters waged a one-man war against Bulldogs and New South Wales behemoth David Klemmer.When Dylan came through the Aspley Devils juniors Murray was still heavily involved at the club and said the similarities in the way he and his father approached the game were obvious from day one.”He’s certainly got his mother’s colouring and he’s a lot taller than Stan was but there is something in his DNA that makes him play the game in a very similar way to how Stan played,” Murray told NRL.com.”I remember seeing Dylan play as a junior and there was certainly something about him that stood out. We played an under-17s semi-final at Langlands Park against North Queensland I think and he came off the bench and completely changed the game with his defence.”If he doesn’t play we don’t win that game.”I got in touch with Stan and his mother Karen and suggested we have lunch to talk about his future with a view to getting him to the Broncos but unfortunately that lunch never happened.”The Roosters had expressed some interest and he ended up going there instead.”With the way teams are taught to defend these days there aren’t any big-hitters in the game any more so I’m excited to see what Dylan’s going to do on Wednesday night.”After a short stint with the Devils, Stan made the move to Sydney to play with the North Sydney Bears where he played four games in the then New South Wales Rugby League in 1983 before a knee injury brought his career to an end.”The thing with Stan was that he played with plenty of aggression and he often liked to tackle above the shoulders,” Murray recalled.”The sin bin had been introduced at that stage and Stan was quite a frequent visitor. The thing I remember most about playing with Stan is that I often saw the back of him as he was walking off the field.”But he was a great character to have around the club, he was the perfect build for a ball carrier in the forwards and he was very intimidating.”As Stan did more than 30 years ago, Dylan’s aggressive way of defending can sometimes land him in trouble with the match officials but his teammates this week have no fears that he will be in any way reckless against the Blues.Having conceded 11 penalties in 23 games for the Roosters last season Dylan has been penalised just once in nine games in 2017, prompting fellow Maroons front-rower Jacob Lillyman to give him the all clear to give the Blues his best on Wednesday night.”I don’t think he is at risk of doing something silly. Everything will be within the rules of the game, but he will be looking to bring that physical side of things,” Lillyman said.”He is such a big body, he is a massive bloke and plays the game hard. Added to that, he is so pumped and fired up and ready to go.”There is going to be some artillery flying around. He is a real physical player, he brings that presence and he will look to assert that.”Two years his senior, fellow Aspley Devils junior Josh McGuire knows exactly what it feels like to be on the end of a Napa bell-ringer and the Maroons lock believes the Origin debutant can have a major influence on the outcome of Game One.”He’s not a silly football player and he knows what’s at stake. I’m very excited for him and he wouldn’t be picked if he wasn’t going to do the job,” McGuire said.”He just has to do what he’s been doing at club level, playing good solid footy, running hard and hitting blokes and I’m sure if he does that he’ll play a good game.”He’s a guy that I don’t want to run at in a game but you do your best not to hit him front on because he can definitely pack a punch.”He’s a very good competitor and the Roosters forward leader to be honest. He really leads by example and when he decides to play good footy that team usually wins their game.”
Running the rule over all 16 clubs ahead of the 2018 season, the former Dragons and Panthers star also named Knights recruit Connor Watson as the man under most pressure to perform at the club, even ahead of high-profile signing Mitch Pearce.Soward also backed young Storm half Brodie Croft to seamlessly slip into Cooper Cronk’s shoes and help the club press for back-to-back titles.n terms of the Warriors, Soward identified Green as the man to reverse the problems that have dogged the talent-laden, but underperforming, team in recent years.”[The Warriors] have picked up Tohu Harris, Gerard Beale, Peta Hiku [and Adam Blair] who are all internationals [but] the big question every year is ‘can they get it right’,” Soward told NRL.com.”Can they get this mix of talent versus game management versus control versus flair right, because if they do they’re going to be lethal.”They have a big out in Matulino going to the Tigers. Picking up guys like Tohu Harris is important. If they can get all this right the guy who can take them over the top is Blake Green.”He was so pivotal last season for Manly and the style they played. He potentially could be the buy of the year. He’s not as big a name as other guys that have moved clubs like [Matt] Moylan and [Cooper] Cronk and [Mitchell] Pearce but he provides an important stability to what is an unpredictable team in the Warriors.”Warriors predicted Round 1 line-upSoward said if the Warriors could get the best out of what was likely to be a rotating cast of bench forwards and utilities – names like Agnatius Paasi, Leivaha Pulu, Albert Vete, Nathaniel Roache, Ata Hingano, Ligi Sao and Mason Lino – that would provide the platform for Green to combine with the likes of Shaun Johnson and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and spark the Warriors into form.”If they can … get that mix right and Blake Green providing the game management and allowing Shaun Johnson to go and just play rugby league – they could push for a top-eight spot,” Soward said.Green could prove a better foil for Johnson and Tuivasa-Sheck than what Kiwi Test pivot Kieran Foran did in his one underwhelming season at the club, Soward added.”Blake Green provides a steady hand, understands when to kick, when to be able to make changes to the game plan on the run. That’s because he’s been in systems like Melbourne.”He’s been successful in England, been successful over here, got the best out of his body and game management style. I think he provides the key to getting the best out of Tuivasa-Sheck and Johnson.”Soward predicted another pair of halves – Titan Kane Elgey and Raider Aidan Sezer – would face immense pressure to keep their spots if they didn’t recover from some middling 2017 form early in 2018.Soward’s view on Raiders Round 1 line-upAt the other end of the spectrum, Soward reckoned young Storm half Brodie Croft would slip seamlessly into Cooper Cronk’s shoes and even suggested the Storm could be the first team to win back-to-back titles since Brisbane in the early 90s.”This could be the year we finally see someone go back-to-back,” Soward said.”Everyone will talk about the change from Cooper Cronk to Brodie Croft but you’ve still got Cameron Smith and Billy Slater, around them guys like Will Chambers and Ryan Hoffman coming back, and they pick up a guy like Sam Kasiano. There’s no real weakness in this side.”Croft will obviously have questions asked of him early on in the year but from everything we’ve seen of him he’s a Cooper Cronk clone. Melbourne are looking formidable heading into the 2018 season.”Melbourne Storm predicted Round 1 line-upAt the Knights, Soward expected it would be new five-eighth Connor Watson – rather than high-profile recruit Mitch Pearce – under the most pressure given his relative lack of experience in the position and competition from young gun Brock Lamb.”It’s going to be interesting what Nathan Brown does with Connor Watson going forward, whether it’s Brock Lamb to start because Watson is so versatile and can come off the bench and play hooker and give that spell,” Soward said.”Whether Brock Lamb starts on the bench some weeks and comes on at six and Watson goes into nine to give Danny Levi a break, we’ll have to wait and see.”Probably the guy under the most pressure is going to be Connor Watson. He’s coming to a new club, hasn’t played a lot of six where he’s the guy every week at six so there’s going to be a lot of pressure on him to run the ball and create points outside Mitchell Pearce.”