Taylor dismisses Benji return to Tigers

Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor has poo-pooed talk of Benji Marshall making an emotional return to the club as he digs in to retain NRL young guns Mitchell Moses and Luke Brooks.

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With Marshall’s negotiations with St George Illawarra at a standstill, it’s been speculated the Tigers’ 2005 grand final hero could finish his career back at the joint venture after an acrimonious departure in 2013.

“It’s fairly unlikely that one,” Taylor said on Friday, ahead of Brooks’ return from suspension for the Tigers’ showdown on Monday night with Manly at Leichhardt Oval.

Taylor is more intent on keeping exciting halves Moses and Brooks at the Tigers than trying to entice prodigal son Marshall back.

Moses and Brooks, both 21, are two of the hottest talents off contract at season’s end, but the Tiger cubs and long-time friends and teammates accept salary-cap constraints may make it difficult extending their partnership in 2017.

Taylor insists any contract negotiations won’t be a distraction for the Tigers, who made a flying start to the season with a big win over the more-fancied Warriors in round one last weekend.

“It’s just part of the game these days. We aren’t the only club that’s got key players who are off contract,” the coach said.

“It’s just a matter of managing it. The players are positive. They’re enjoying what they’re doing and everything that’s happening around here is positive so that can only help the guys want to stay and that’s what we’re working towards.

“Both of those guys we would love to stay and that’s a genuine possibility so we’ll see where we get to down the track.

“We’ll work hard to put a good team around them and we’ve talked to them about the future here and what we’re building towards.

“I think they can see it. It’s really clear to all of us that the club’s heading in a great direction.

“I’m sure they’ll want to be part of that and there’s no reason why they won’t be.”

Brooks is said to be in the sights of influential Canterbury coach Des Hasler, but insists his immediate focus is on his long-awaited comeback from a suspension carried over from 2015.

“I’m not really thinking about the contract too much. I just want to get out there on Monday and play my first game (of 2016),” he said on Friday.

“It’s all up in the air. I just want to concentrate on footy. Obviously I missed last week and I’m keen to get back onto the field.”

But the halfback did admit it would be a wrench breaking up his union with Moses.

“I don’t know what will happen, but I’ve played with Mitch my whole life so it would be hard to not play with him,” Brooks said.

“But I guess that’s footy.”

Ancestry website releases more Irish records

Just in time for St.

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Patrick’s Day.

Genealogical research website Ancestry杭州桑拿会所, is making 10 million Catholic parish records from Ireland – some dating to 1655 – available online to help people trace their Irish heritage.

The goldmine of information includes baptism, confirmation, marriage, and burial records from more than 1,000 parishes in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

“This will really help people reconstruct their family story,” said Lisa Elzey, a family historian at Ancestry, which now offers access to 55 million Irish records. “There’s all kinds of mysteries within these records.”

The documents, usually in English but sometimes in Latin, and dating from 1655 to 1915, had already been digitised by the National Library of Ireland, but Ancestry took the information and indexed it, making it possible to do much quicker and more efficient searches using names, places and dates.

The trove contains information on prominent Irish citizens as well as the forebears of famous Irish-Americans.

Included is the 1828 marriage record, in Latin, of President John F Kennedy’s great-great-grandparents: Edmundus FitzGerald and Maria Lenihan.

The records also include baptism records of author James Joyce and Irish-born White House designer James Hoban.

They tell not only the stories of Irish families, but help explain the cultural and religious fabric of the island, said the Reverend Oliver Rafferty, a professor of history and Director of Irish Programs at Boston College.

The older records in particular, he said, are fragmented.

“There are enormous gaps in Catholic records, especially the older ones, much of it because of the periodic persecution of Catholics at various stages of Irish history,” he said.

The records from parishes in the towns tend to be more complete that those from churches in remote rural areas, said Rafferty, who is familiar with the records because of their availability from the national library.

Perusing the documents can help researchers make connections through maiden names, godparents’ names, and marriage witnesses’ names.

“It’s absolutely key to look at things like witnesses and to study the people around a family in order to build context and the bigger picture,” said Michal Brophy, a Massachusetts-based member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, who says Irish-American research is one of his specialties.

“This will be exciting to see,” he said.

Zampa ready to turn tide at World T20

Adam Zampa subdued South Africa in Cape Town, now Australia’s legspinner has set his mind on worrying the best batsmen at the World Twenty20.

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Zampa went wicket-less in Australia’s 2-1 T20 series win over the Proteas but tidy figures of 0-23 changed the course of the series decider at Newlands.

The hosts were 1-68 after six overs before Zampa helped trim the run-rate and restrict them to a total of 4-178.

“He bowled really well. I was really impressed with his consistency,” Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis said.

“It’s exciting to see they’ve also got a really good legspinner. I feel that in T20 cricket you need a legspinner. It’s worth gold if you have a guy who can spin the ball both ways.”

The tune-up and praise will boost Zampa’s confidence ahead of his first major international assignment, this month’s World T20 in India.

But the 23-year-old isn’t exactly short of self-belief as his side prepares to launch their campaign against New Zealand on March 18.

“I’m always pretty confident in myself,” Zampa said.

“I’ve done pretty well the last couple of years in this format, so I’ll always be pretty confident.

“At the moment (there are no nerves), it’s just excitement. I’m pretty excited about going to India.

“We’ve all been there a few times each and I’ve been there for an (Australia) A series so it’s nothing unexpected.

“It’s going to be interesting for me, first time (at a major event).”

Zampa impressed on ODI debut last month in New Zealand, convincing selectors he should be picked in Australia’s World T20 squad ahead of fellow legspinner Cameron Boyce.

The tweaker, who prides himself on accuracy and competitiveness, will play a crucial role in Australia’s hopes of winning an event they never have.

Zampa will be charged with drying up the runs after the opening six overs, when the field is up and his pace colleagues will almost always cop a hammering.

“I know my role pretty well at the moment. I try and target the stumps the best I can and make it hard to score and wait for a mistake,” Zampa said.

“I always have pretty good plans and they won’t be changing over in India I don’t think.”

Australia face West Indies in warm-up game on Sunday in Kolkata before shifting to Dharamsala for their tournament opener against NZ.

Griffin to persist with Wallace at No.9

Penrith coach Anthony Griffin is set to persist with Peter Wallace as his fill-in hooker after an encouraging performance in their heartbreaking 18-16 NRL loss to Canterbury on Thursday.

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Having initially named utility Tyrone Peachey at No.9, Griffin instead shifted him to six and handed the hooking duties to stand-in skipper Wallace.

And the move provided instant dividends, as Wallace’s calm demeanour helped the Panthers to a 14-0 lead by the 20-minute mark, and an eight-point advantage at the break.

But the Bulldogs then clawed their way back into the match, limiting the home side to just two points in the second half and then scoring on the buzzer to steal a stunning victory.

“Obviously it’s heartbreaking tonight, we got beaten at the death. But as a team, we’re getting a little bit better every week and learning the lessons that we need to learn,” Griffin said.

“I can’t wrap us enough about our effort and the way we’re going about things.”

It wasn’t the first time Griffin had pulled the former NSW State of Origin No.7 out of the halves, with the former Brisbane coach making a similar call in Wallace’s final year at the Broncos in 2013.

“I don’t think he liked it as much back then, when I put him there,” Griffin recalled.

“But at this moment, at this team, once we lost (James) Segeyaro, it was the best solution for us.

“We could’ve thrown a kid in there that wasn’t ready and in that out there tonight – that was a real heavyweight slugfest – so we needed some experience in there.

“I thought the team functioned really well and part of the reason they functioned really well was we had a really cool head in there making the decisions at dummy half, which was good.”

Wallace, who was also replaced as captain of the club by Matt Moylan in January, described Griffin’s decision to move him into the scrum was the correct one.

“I thought with the way we wanted to play, I thought it was really good for the team. It was the right decision for me to play there, so I’m happy to do it,” Wallace said.

Asked whether he would persist with Wallace at No.9, Griffin said: “We’ll have just have a look at tonight and see how it went. I thought Pete did a great job there. I thought we had really good control. I just thought he steadied the team down a lot.”

Hurricanes put bodies on line to win first game

Vito also scored a first-half try while flyhalf Beauden Barrett slotted a conversion and two penalties.

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Rene Ranger and George Moala scored tries for the Blues. Flyhalf Ihaia West slotted three penalties.

Television match official Sean McDermott, however, earned the ire of the Blues fans with two decisions, that while correct, were howled by the Eden Park faithful watching on the big screen.

McDermott first ruled Hurricanes flanker Ardie Savea had not knocked the ball on before he fed Perenara for his second try then overturned a Tevita Li try for a forward pass after the winger had carved open the Hurricanes defence.

The Blues had dominated the first 20 minutes as their forwards crashed the ball up at pace to commit tacklers and when the gaps opened they spread it wide, but were only able to convert that pressure into a West penalty and Ranger’s try.

The Hurricanes finally got their hands on the ball and began to punch holes in the Blues defence, with Vito crashing over from an attacking lineout before Perenara capped off a sweeping movement from halfway.

Barrett then slotted a late penalty to give their side a 15-8 halftime lead.

Moala brought his side back into the game after the break, before Perenara’s second try gave the visitors a 23-13 lead, the largest of the match.

The Blues had the better of the final quarter but only got two further penalties from West as the Hurricanes defence held firm, with every man putting their body on the line after the final hooter.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)