Forgive the comparison, but Central Arkansas’ use of Jordan Howard is similar to Golden State’s deployment of Stephen Curry. He’s a fantastic screener for his size and is far more lethal slithering off ball than he is handling action from the top of the key. “It’s really funny, people ask me, ‘How many plays do you run for him?’” says UCA head coach Russ Pennell. “And I say, really not very many. What we do is, we put him in situations to let him use his own knowledge and IQ of the game.”Read the full story: http://sland.social/SportsIll
This is the first weekly award of the season for Lamar. Honorable Mention: Hortense Boscher, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi; Stephanie Barnett, Nicholls; Khee Yen Wee, Sam Houston State. Vossgaetter and teammate Jasmin Buchta clinched the doubles point for Lamar on Saturday with a 6-4 defeat over Nicholls’ Stephanie Barnett and Lingfeng Gu, playing at the top line. The freshman from Langenfield, Germany, then squeezed out a close back-and-forth match against the Colonels’ Mariia Kozachok on court three. Vossgaetter took the first set 7-6 (7-2) but dropped a tough second set 7-6 (7-5). She swung a 10-8 deciding set to take the match. Lamar (4-13, 2-6 SLC) scored a crucial 6-1 win over Nicholls (11-9, 2-7 SLC) on Sunday to keep its 2018 Southland Tournament hopes alive. The Cardinals are taking on McNeese in Lake Charles in a match that began at 1 p.m. CT today, making up a match that was originally scheduled for this past Saturday. The game was postponed due to weather. Women’s Tennis Player of the Week – Amelie Vossgaetter, Lamar – Fr. – Langenfield, Germany FRISCO, Texas – Lamar’s Amelie Vossgaetter is the Southland Conference Player of the Week, the league announced Tuesday. Southland Conference Players of the Week are presented by UniversalCoin.com. 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.
Name School Cl. GPA Major Camry Grigsby* Sam Houston State Sr. 3.08 Public Health Samantha Brashears Stephen F. Austin So. 3.91 Accounting Alanna Arvie McNeese So. 3.72 Biology Pre-Med McNeese led the way on the men’s side with six total selections, followed by Abilene Christian, UIW and Stephen F. Austin with four each. Lamar and Sam Houston State each garnered three selections while Central Arkansas had a pair. Houston Baptist, Northwestern State and Southeastern Louisiana earned one honoree each. Six student-athletes across both all-academic teams posted 4.00 GPAs. McNeese senior Fisher Hamilton registered a perfect GPA with a major in business administration while fellow Cowboy Nemanja Kovilijac posted a 4.00 in chemical engineering. Jessica Coleman Northwestern State Sr. 3.31 Biology Kerry Gleason*3 Stephen F. Austin Sr. 3.23 Kinesiology Halie Daniel Sam Houston State Jr. 3.95 Criminal Justice FRISCO, Texas – UIW junior Garett Cortez and Northwestern State senior De’Shalyn Jones are the 2018 Southland Conference Outdoor Track & Field Student-Athletes of the Year, the league announced Tuesday in conjunction with all-academic selections. Southland yearly awards are presented by Ready Nutrition. Ryan Cleary*2 Abilene Christian Sr. 3.82 Accounting Jasmyn Steels Northwestern State So. 3.56 Psychology Gabrielle Estrada UIW Sr. 3.94 Communication Arts 2018 Southland Conference Men’s Track & Field All-Academic Team Alex Hanson* Central Arkansas So. 3.22 Marketing Clarissa Smith2 Southeastern Louisiana Sr. 3.89 Biology/Chemistry John Lemke* McNeese Gr. 3.33 M.B.A Southland Conference Track & Field All-Academic Teams are selected by a 50% rule. Of the total number of nominees, half are named all-academic selections. Honorees are nominated and voted upon by head coaches, sports information directors, and academic staff members from each university. Student-Athletes of the Year are voted on by the Southland awards committee, consisting of one administrator from each member school. Kai Schmidt* Abilene Christian Sr. 3.63 Tyler Adams*3 Sam Houston State Sr. 3.42 Engineering Technology Maverick Bowleg* Southeastern Louisiana Sr. 3.20 Marketing Kaylee Bizzell* Stephen F. Austin So. 3.63 Nursing Allyson Girard* Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Jr. 3.73 Health Science Nathan Jones McNeese Sr. 3.41 Health Education On the women’s side, Abilene Christian collected seven spots to lead all schools. UIW, Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin earned five all-academic honorees each, followed by Northwestern State (4), McNeese (3) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (3). Cormac Kelly* Lamar Sr. 3.00 Kristine Hanks* Sam Houston State Sr. 3.33 Criminal Justice Myah Antwi UIW Sr. 4.00 M. Health Administration Fadeke Adeola New Orleans Gr. 3.81 Ma. Biological Science Sophie Morrow Abilene Christian So. 3.87 Lentz Similien McNeese Jr. 3.45 Health & Human Performance Garrett Larson Sam Houston State Sr. 3.25 Construction Management Lonnie Smith Abilene Christian Jr. 3.08 Kinesiology Name School Cl. GPA Major Rodney Littlejohn UIW Jr. 3.39 Rehab Science Chad Horstmann Stephen F. Austin So 3.87 Sports Business Keith Fallon Lamar Sr. 3.83 Grace McKenzie* McNeese Jr. 3.74 HHP – Exercise Science De’Shalyn Jones*3 Northwestern State Sr. 3.20 Psychology Carnley Graham2 Abilene Christian Sr. 3.92 Environmental Science Blaze Brownlow* Abilene Christian So. 3.81 Finance Jones, a three-time all-academic selection for the Lady Demons, earned her second consecutive Southland Conference Female Athlete of the Year Award and Runner of the Year honor following the 2018 conference outdoor meet, where she again swept the 100m and 200m dashes and was part of the winning 4x100m and 4x400m squads. She helped NSU reach the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 4x100m, the first time the program has qualified a women’s relay for the national meet. Jones capped her career with 11 Southland golds. She set three school records (100m, 200m, 4x400m) in 2018, raising her total to five that she holds (100m, 200m, 400m, 4x100m, 4x400m). Alexandria Hackett* Abilene Christian Gr. 3.97 Accounting Hannah Noble* Central Arkansas Jr. 3.85 Marketing Sierra Bennett Abilene Christian Jr. 3.97 Tristyn Allen*2 Sam Houston State Jr. 3.50 Mass Communication Garett Cortez*2 UIW Jr. 3.86 M.B.A Men’s Outdoor Track & Field Student-Athlete of the Year: Garett Cortez, UIWWomen’s Outdoor Track & Field Student-Athlete of the Year: De’Shalyn Jones, Northwestern State Morgan Woods*2 McNeese Jr. 4.00 Elementary Education Farydah Inoussa New Orleans Sr. 3.07 Biological Science Natalia Redondo Southeastern Louisiana Sr. 3.66 Spanish Four women earned 4.00 marks – McNeese junior Morgan Woods (elementary education), Stephen F. Austin sophomore Taryn Surratt (music), Houston Baptist junior Ana Kriletic (psychology) and UIW senior Myah Antwi (M. health administration). Dakota Mayr Stephen F. Austin Sr. 3.20 Business Administration Joshua Hernandez* Sam Houston State Jr. 3.47 Kinesiology Jamie Eckford* Sam Houston State Jr. 3.04 Public Health Sashane Hanson*2 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Jr. 3.44 Biomedical Science Taryn Surratt Stephen F. Austin So. 4.00 Music Ryan Simmons2 Abilene Christian Sr. 3.86 Accounting Daniel Shelton2 Houston Baptist Sr. 3.32 Kinesiology 2018 Southland Conference Women’s Track & Field All-Academic Team Ana Kriletic2 Houston Baptist Jr. 4.00 Psychology Hannah McWilliams3 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Sr. 3.73 Marketing Jacqueline Rushford Northwestern State Sr. 3.97 Health & Exercise Science Charles Fentress* Stephen F. Austin Sr. 3.40 Kinesiology Antonio Ruiz* Stephen F. Austin Jr. 3.20 Engineering Physics Hiram Morales McNeese Sr. 3.45 Health & Human Performance Fisher Hamilton McNeese Sr. 4.00 Business Administration Brian O’Bonna*2 Lamar Sr. 3.26 Caitlin Lennon Stephen F. Austin So. 3.42 Accounting Clinton Cole UIW Jr. 3.10 Rehab Science Irene Akwitti Abilene Christian So. 3.79 Nursing Ceaser Stephens Northwestern State Jr. 3.19 Fine & Graphic Arts Sarea Alexander* UIW Sr. 3.17 Athletic Training Cortez, a Schertz, Texas, native, has a 3.86 GPA in sports management in the Masters in Business Administration program with a minor in communication arts. He won the 1,500m at the Southland Outdoor Championships in 2018 with a new personal best time of 3:46.95. His championship victory was one of five wins for the junior, who earned two third-place finishes (3,000m and 5,000m) at the 2018 indoor championships. Cortez has made the Dean’s List at UIW every semester. Hannah Naquin Nicholls Sr. 3.58 Psychology Nemanja Kovilijac McNeese So. 4.00 Chemical Engineering Keri Banks Lamar Sr. 3.66 Zachary Jewell Central Arkansas So. 3.54 Environmental Science Colin Sepulveda UIW Jr. 3.37 Biology Victoria Jackson UIW So. 3.65 Biology Michaela Hackett* Abilene Christian Gr. 3.97 Accounting Danielle Martinez2 UIW Jr. 3.84 Marketing Rachel Durler Central Arkansas Sr. 3.87 Marketing * Automatic selection2 Two-time all-academic selection3 Three-time all-academic selection
FRISCO, Texas – Following the last regular season games and resulting tie-breakers the seeds and bracket for the 2020 Hercules Tires Southland Conference Basketball Tournament have been finalized. MEN’S TOURNAMENT SCHEDULEFirst Round – Wednesday, March 11, 20205:00 PM – Game 1 – No. 5 Northwestern State vs. No. 8 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (ESPN+)7:30 PM – Game 2 – No. 6 Lamar vs. No. 7 McNeese (ESPN+)Second Round – Thursday, March 14, 20205:00 PM – Game 3 – No. 4 Sam Houston State vs. Winner Game 1 (ESPN+)7:30 PM – Game 4 – No. 3 Nicholls vs. Winner Game 2 (ESPN+)Semifinals – Friday, March 15, 20205:00 PM – Game 5 – No. 1 Stephen F. Austin vs. Winner Game 3 (ESPN+)7:30 PM – Game 6 – No. 2 Abilene Christian vs. Winner Game 4 (ESPN+)Championship – Saturday, March 16, 20208:30 PM – Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6 (ESPN2)Saturday’s championship will tip off at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN2. Each of the opening-round matchups will be available on ESPN+. Tickets for next week’s tournament can be purchased via Ticketmaster and all Ticketmaster outlets. Reserved tickets for each session are $25 each, while general admission tickets are $20. MEN’S SEEDS Tournament Central | Tickets The tournament champion will receive the league’s automatic bid for the 2020 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball tournament. No. 1 – Stephen F. Austin (28-3, 19-1 SLC)No. 2 – Abilene Christian (20-11, 15-5 SLC)No. 3 – Nicholls (21-10, 15-5 SLC)No. 4 – Sam Houston State (18-13, 11-9 SLC)No. 5 – Northwestern State (14-15, 11-9 SLC)No. 6 – Lamar (16-15, 10-10 SLC)No. 7 – McNeese (15-16, 10-10 SLC)No. 8 – Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (14-17, 10-10 SLC)
KANTHAKA SEEKS KONA GOLD GOLD SATURDAYBAFFERT GOES WITH THE FLO WITH ROADSTERGIFT BOX TO BREEZE FOR GRADE I GOLD CUPKANTHAKA DRAWS OUTSIDE FOR GRADE II KONA GOLDKanthaka, third in the March 30 San Carlos Stakes at seven furlongs after breaking from the rail, makes a relatively quick turnaround Saturday for the Kona Gold Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs, drawing the outside, but Jerry Hollendorfer seemed more concerned about pace than post.“We’re happy with the post; we just have to see if the race sets up,” the Hall of Fame trainer said. “He can sit a little closer if he has to.”A four-year-old chestnut son of Jimmy Creed owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, Kanthaka has been out of the money only once in seven starts at Santa Anita, that a troubled eighth in the Grade I Malibu Stakes last Dec. 26. He was installed the 2-1 second choice on Jon White’s morning line for the Grade II Kona Gold.In other Kona Gold news:Well-traveled All Out Blitz seems poised to make his presence felt in the race after winning a restricted stakes at Sunland Park on March 24.A son of Concord Point, All Out Blitz has raced at Santa Anita, Del Mar, Los Alamitos, Zia Park and Oaklawn Park, in addition to Sunland, winning four of 14 starts overall.“This horse is getting better,” said Simon Callaghan, who trains the four-year-old colt for owner/breeder Kaleem Shah. “He’s made good progression each time in his last few runs and I think he’s got a chance.”After racing 19 times in 24 career starts on turf, the last 12 in a row, Cistron returns in the Kona Gold on the main track where he has one win in five outings.“He won a stake at three on the dirt,” pointed out John Sadler, trainer of the five-year-old son of The Factor for principal clients Kosta and Peter Hronis, who supplemented the full horse to the Kona Gold for $4,000.“He’s been on the grass kind of ever since, but we thought we’d try him back on the dirt. He’s doing real well, he’s a good horse, so we’ll see how it goes.”The Kona Gold, race five with a 1 p.m. first post time: $4,000 supplemental nominee Dr. Dorr, Joe Talamo, 9-5; $4,000 supplemental nominee Cistron, Victor Espinoza, 5-2; All Out Blitz, Tyler Baze, 4-1; Zatter, Drayden Van Dyke, 10-1; and Kanthaka, Flavien Prat, 2-1.BAFFERT GOES WITH FLO (GEROUX) FOR KENTUCKY DERBYAnyone who’s been in racing for any length of time understands that loyalty is not always the game’s highest priority.So when Mike Smith opted to ride Arkansas Derby winner Omaha Beach for Richard Mandella in the 145th Kentucky Derby on May 4 rather Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster trained by Bob Baffert, for whom he captured the Triple Crown aboard Justify last year, jaws weren’t exactly dropping to their chins.Baffert recognizes it’s business, not personal, and the two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer (also American Pharoah in 2015) wasted little time in going to plan b and engaging Florent Geroux to ride Roadster in the Run for the Roses, joining two other Baffert contenders, champion Game Winner and Arkansas Derby runner-up Improbable.“Every summer when I go to Kentucky, he helps me out and breezes a lot of horses for me,” Baffert said of the 32-year-old Frenchman. “We’ve won races together. When he comes out here, I put him on horses.“I have a good relationship with the guy . . . He knows Churchill really well. I wanted to go with somebody who’s very familiar with Churchill Downs, and after discussing it with the owners (Speedway Stable), we were all in agreement about Flo.”LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV:McKinzie works 5 furlongs (Baffert) 4-19-19Bellafina likely Kentucky Oaks favorite works 4 furlongs (Callaghan) 4-19-19Weekend Watch: Weekend Action at Santa Anita Park Starting 4-19-19A Day in the Life: with Equine Therapist Tyler Cerin at Santa Anita ParkCandid Conversation Part 1 with trainer Richard BaltasCandid Conversation Part 2 with trainer Richard BaltasRijeka (Outside) & Desert Stone work 4 furlongs (Baltas) 4-17-19Marley’s Freedom (Outside) & Nero work 4 furlongs (Baffert) 4-15-19Dr. Dorr (Outside) & Show Me Da Lute work 4 furlongs (Baffert) 4-15-19 Zatter (Outside) & Hot Sean work 4 furlongs (Baffert) 4-14-19Secret Spice works 4 furlongs (Baltas) 4-14-19Roadster galloping in preparation for the Kentucky Derby (Baffert) 4-14-19FINISH LINES: Prepping for the Grade I Gold Cup at Santa Anita on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, Santa Anita Handicap winner Gift Box will work at 6:30 Saturday morning for John Sadler under assistant trainer Juan Leyva . . . Big ‘Cap runner-up McKinzie worked five furlongs for Bob Baffert Friday in a bullet 1:00 flat with Joe Talamo up for the Grade II Alysheba at Churchill Downs May 3 . . .With owner Kaleem Shah looking on, Santa Anita Oaks winner Bellafina breezed four furlongs in 48 seconds for the Kentucky Oaks on May 3. “Really good,” trainer Simon Callaghan said of the drill under regular rider Flavien Prat. The filly will have one more breeze here before flying to Kentucky on April 29 . . . John Shirreffs has multiple Grade I winner Paradise Woods set to work tomorrow for the Grade II Santa Margarita Stakes the following Saturday, April 27 . . . Jerry Hollendorfer has Instagrand ticketed for the Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs May 4, while plans for California-bred Galilean are undecided . . . Santa Anita offers one of four Easter Sunday Brunch packages on santaanita.com, while kids at The Great Race Place Sunday can enjoy a fun-filled afternoon hunting 33,000 eggs in the Infield during the races . . . Dan Blacker will be but one of several trainers looking for fresh, young stock at next week’s spring Ocala Breeders’ Sales event in Florida . . . Workout analyst and publisher of Winner’s Card Toby Turrell will be Tom Quigley‘s guest handicapper Saturday, 11:50 a.m., in the XBTV studios.
IRISH-BRED TRUE VALOUR RALLIES TO WIN GRADE II, $200,000 CITY OF HOPE MILE (TURF) BY A HEAD AS VAN DYKE & CALLAGHAN TEAM FOR WIN IN 1:32.82 ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 5, 2019)–Idle since Feb. 9, trainer Simon Callaghan’s Irish-bred True Valour unleased a furious stretch rally to prevail by a head in a thrilling five-horse photo in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 City of Hope Mile at Santa Anita. Ridden for the first time by Drayden Van Dyke, the 5-year-old full horse by Kodiac got a mile on turf in 1:32.82.Midpack while fifth in the run up the backside, Van Dyke saved ground at the rail around the far turn, split horses two deep turning for home and outran Restrainedvengence, Prince Earl and Kingly for the money.A winner of the Grade III Thunder Road at one mile on turf Feb. 9, True Valour was off at 16-1 in a field of 11 three year olds and up and paid $35.80, $16.20 and $7.00.Owned by Qatar Racing, Ltd., True Valour, who was making his third start of the year, picked up $120,000 for the win, boosting his earnings to $355,112 while improving his overall mark to 19-5-2-6.Restrainedvengence, fresh off a facile win in the $50,000 Rolling Green Stakes at Golden Gate Fields Sept. 2, pressed pacesetter Kingly throughout and outlasted favored Prince Earl by a nose for second money.Trained by Val Brinkerhoff and ridden by Martin Garcia, Restrainedvengence was off at 43-1 and paid $38.00 and $18.00.California-bred Prince Earl, third the entire trip, just missed while finishing a head in front of Kingly. Trained by Phil D’Amato and ridden by Geovanni Franco, Prince Earl was off at 5-2 and paid $3.60 to show.Fractions on the race were 22.58, 45.50, 1:09.04 and 1:20.82.
JOCKEY QUOTES ABEL CEDILLO, LAURA’S LIGHT, WINNER: “Pete told me to play the break. It looked like there was other speed in there and if they went, he said to let them go and if they didn’t, to go ahead and put her on the lead. So, my plan was to break and go!”OWNER QUOTESGARY BARBER, LAURA’S LIGHT, WINNER: “I think this course is playing pretty quick but I think we slowed it down in race (2) and we were able to get an easy lead. Abel did a terrific job of just putting her on the lead and she was very relaxed. At the quarter pole when someone came to her she let out a notch and she was gone.“2019 was (Abel’s) breakout year. A couple of Grade I’s or more-a terrific rider.“Look at this setting, you have the San Gabriel Mountains in the background, it is The Great Race Place. The turf course is fantastic and the dirt course looks tremendous as well, we love it.” NOTES: The winning owner is Gary Barber who resides in Los Angeles.
MICK McCARTHY hopes that Jose Mourinho is true to his word and gives youth a chance.Mauricio Pochettino’s sacking by Tottenham and replacement with Mourinho looks ominous for Troy Parrott, just as he seemed on the cusp of a breakthrough.1 Mick McCarthy is hopeful Parrott will get opportunities under MourinhoMourinho has a poor record when it comes to promoting home-grown players but McCarthy said: “He’s come in talking about the academy, so if that’s the case he’ll be quite pleased because he will get games.”But I bet Mourinho doesn’t know him.”MOST READ IN SPORTTHROUGH ITRobbie Keane reveals Claudine’s father was ’50-50′ in coronavirus battle’I ACCEPT’McGregor accepts Silva fight at UFC catchweight of 176lbs in huge super-fightTOP SELLERGavin Whelan has gone from League of Ireland to David Beckham’s InstagramPicturedA CUT ABOVEMike Tyson shows two-inch cut ‘picked up in training’ ahead of boxing returnExclusiveRIYAD RAIDMan City’s Riyad Mahrez has three luxury watches stolen in £500,000 raidPicturedAN EYEFULMeet Playboy model and football agent Anamaria Prodan bidding to buy her own clubParrott, 17, made his Ireland senior debut against New Zealand last week and was an unused sub against Denmark before scoring for the Under-21s against Sweden 24 hours later.Pochettino handed him a Spurs debut in a League Cup tie against Colchester in September and later had him on the bench for a Premier League match with Everton.McCarthy expressed hope he could force his way into the first-team reckoning between now and the Euro 2020 play-offs.
They now have a one-nil lead in the three-Test series.The first half at Eden Park was a tight affair, but the British and Irish Lions were not able to capitalise on their opportunities in the second period.The All Blacks survived an early scare after a Jonathan Davies line-break and a good run by Conor Murray, but Israel Dagg was able to hold Elliot Daly off the line with a superb tackleFirst blood went to the All Blacks when the Lions were pinged at the ruck. Beauden Barrett kicked the penalty to put the first points on the board.A few minutes later Aaron Smith made the most of a quick tap, then Dagg sent a pinpoint pass out to Codie Taylor, who scored the first try of the game.Barrett’s conversion gave the All Blacks a 10-0 lead.Full-back Ben Smith had to leave the field with a suspected concussion, which meant Barrett shifted back, and Aaron Cruden came on at first-five.In the 30th minute the Lions got on the board, courtesy of an Owen Farrell penalty.All Black Ryan Crotty had to limp off with a hamstring injury and was replaced with Anton Lienert-Brown.Barrett landed another penalty to give the All Blacks a 13-3 lead.The Lions then executed a glorious try, which started with a Liam Williams break and was finished off by Sean O’Brien.The All Blacks had a 13-8 lead at half-time.Just after the break, the Lions went on the counter-attack after Williams made another impressive break and the Lions created a couple of opportunities early, but failed to finish them off.In the 54th minute, rookie Rieko Ioane scored the All Blacks’ second try, which was set up by a superb scrum and the All Blacks extended their lead to 20-8.Minutes later Barrett kicked another penalty and the Lions started to struggle, holding off a relentless All Blacks attack.Ioane put his blistering speed to full use when he scored his second try off a turnover, and with Barrett’s conversion the All Blacks went up 30-8.In the last minute of the game, Rhys Webb scored a consolation try for the Lions.After not having played in almost two months, captain Kieran Read made an outstanding return.Hansen told reporters the performance was proof the All Blacks could find multiple ways to win – from razzle-dazzle to tactical nous and front-row muscle.They’d also neutralised the Lions’ much-vaunted line speed by playing astutely off halfback Aaron Smith, which tired their opponents.The Lions made 165 tackles to the All Blacks’ 97.”I always find it amusing when everyone tells us they’re going to beat us up in the tight five, because we’re not just a team that can play flashy rugby. We can play down-and-dirty rugby too if we have to,” Hansen said.”Since Adam was a cowboy, if your tight five do a job, everyone else can play – tonight’s Test was always going to be won in the tight five and I think we won that battle, but that doesn’t guarantee we’ll win it next week.”While the Lions failed to seize on their 20 minutes of ascendancy, the All Blacks ruthlessly took their opportunities.Codie Taylor emulated incumbent No.2 Dane Coles by collecting a pass off his bootlaces to score the side’s first five-pointer in the 18th minute, before freshly introduced props Wyatt Crockett and Charlie Faumuina helped create Ioane’s first by monstering their counterparts at an attacking second-half scrum.Ioane, in his first Test start, then capitalised on a Liam Williams dropped ball to streak away and place the match beyond the Lions’ reach.They’ll need to find a second attacking gear – and quickly – to turn the three- Test series around next week in Wellington.Hansen expected that to be the case.”So many times in sport, the winning team gets knocked over the next week. So, this team has always worked on the mantra that we want to be better, and we don’t always achieve that but that’s what we strive to do,” Hansen said.”The team executed the plan very, very well. It wasn’t perfect but it is only our second Test for the year, so we’ll build from that.”However vice captain Ben Smith and centre Crotty are injury concerns for the rest of the series.Fullback Smith failed a head injury assessment during the first half, while Crotty limped off later in the spell with a hamstring injury and will definitely miss next week’s test in Wellington, coach Steve Hansen said.”Ben Smith failed a concussion test and he will go through the protocols,” Hansen told reporters. “Ryan Crotty has pulled his hammy, so we already had Jack Goodhue in as a replacement to help him out with his ribs.”Jack will be staying with us, and we will try to get Ryan ready maybe for the last test if we’re lucky.”Hansen said earlier on Saturday that hooker Dane Coles had been ruled out of the series due to fitness issues after he had been unable to train since March with knee and calf injuries and then concussion symptoms.The Lions play the Wellington Hurricanes on Tuesday before the second test next Saturday in New Zealand’s capital.The series concludes on July 8 with the third test in Auckland.
Cleary had missed the past seven matches with a knee issue but set up a first- half try and broke three tackles in a strong performance against his dad’s Tigers side.He has now won both contests against father Ivan but, more importantly, took a step towards a possible NSW debut two weeks before teams are selected for the State of Origin opener.The halfback combined well with veteran James Maloney in a dominant first half at Penrith Stadium, where the hosts enjoyed triple the amount of plays inside the opposition 20-metre zone.While Penrith were unable to convert their dominance into points, they were largely untroubled in defence as the Tigers were held tryless for the first time in a year.The win, in front of a crowd of 15,081, lifts the Panthers to 16 points but below top-placed St George Illawarra on points differential.The Tigers – early-season surprise packets – have lost four of their last give games and are in danger of slipping out of the top eight for the first time in 2018.Both teams traded early penalties but when Panthers forward Trent Merrin was marched for repeated team infringements in the 22nd minute his exit only sparked Penrith into an attacking frenzy.Cleary set up Tyrone Peachey with a well-timed grubber not long after, before Maloney followed it up with a two-man cutout for an acrobatic finish by Tyrone Phillips and a two-try lead at halftime.The Panthers had numerous opportunities to extend their advantage in a controlled second half, which included Tigers forward Alex Twal being sin-binned for repeated team penalties.Viliame Kikau, Christian Crichton and Phillips all appeared set to score but were denied by a valiant Tigers defence on each occasion, before the Panthers held on for their sixth win in eight matches.Panthers coach Anthony Griffin said it was a solid effort from Cleary.”Obviously it’s hard coming back after you’ve been out for eight weeks,” he said.”I thought he did a great job. His kicking game was good and he made a few half- breaks. He was incisive with the ball and he was trying in defence.”Tigers coach Ivan Cleary bemoaned a poor kicking game from his playmakers, as well as an 11-11 penalty count that denied his team the chance to gain any traction in attack.”The rush of penalties didn’t allow us to find rhythm and after that, their line speed did the same thing. We got to halftime and we just hadn’t really found any rhythm,” he said.”They just got a sense that they could smell the game from there. We just spent the whole second half in our end.”