Honorable Mention: Siri O’Donnell, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi; Amelia Fullmer, Lamar; Keely Morrow, McNeese. FRISCO, Texas – Houston Baptist’s Talin Rizo, Abilene Christian’s Michelle Mulrooney and Lamar’s Sandra Nygard are the Southland Conference Soccer Players of the Week, the league announced Tuesday. Southland weekly awards are presented by MidSouth Bank. Honorable Mention: Rubi Villegas, Lamar; Addison Urbanus, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi; Morgan Middleton, McNeese. Goalkeeper of the Week: Sandra Nygard, Lamar – Fr. – Sola, NorwayThe freshman from Sola, Norway, was nearly perfect in two home wins this past weekend. In Friday’s 3-1 win over Central Arkansas, Nygard stared down 27 shots en route to avenging last year’s loss. She came right back two days later to record a shutout against Northwestern State, recording 11 saves. Defensive Player of the Week: Michelle Mulrooney, Abilene Christian – Jr. – Lodi, Calif.Mulrooney led a backline that produced back-to-back shutout wins in league action this weekend. The junior from Lodi, Calif., helped limit Southeastern Louisiana and Nicholls to five shots on goal and 16 shots overall. The Colonels were only able to take two shots Sunday with neither one on target. Mulrooney and the ACU defense has now tallied six shutouts on the season, one away from matching its Division I record set in 2013. Offensive Player of the Week: Talin Rizo, Houston Baptist – Fr. – San Antonio, TexasNotching her first collegiate goal, Rizo doubled the Huskies’ lead over Stephen F. Austin in Friday’s dual against Stephen F. Austin. The freshman midfielder squeezed a header in with 21 seconds left in the first half. She turned around and came up big with the equalizer Sunday against Sam Houston State in the 70th minute to earn the team a point at home. The Huskies (4-5-1, 2-0-1 SLC) stayed at home this past weekend, shutting out Stephen F. Austin (3-4-1, 1-1-1) 3-0 before playing to a 1-1 draw with Sam Houston State (1-7-2, 0-2-1). The Wildcats (7-3, 2-1-0) took a one-goal win over Southeastern Louisiana (4-3-2, 1-1-1) and Nicholls (2-7-0, 0-2-0). The Cardinals (6-3-0, 2-0-0) pushed past Central Arkansas (6-3-1, 1-1-0) 3-1 and defeated Northwestern State (6-5-0, 0-3-0) 1-0. Honorable Mention: Erin Smith, Abilene Christian; Emma Roccaforte, McNeese; Abbie Flax, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi; Nadine Maher, 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 25 percent of ballots.
The victory gives O’Callaghan his second win of the season and fourth straight top 10 finish in as many contests. Honorable Mention: None Men’s Athlete of the Week: Grant O’Callaghan, Southeast Louisiana – Jr. – Flowery Branch, GeorgiaO’Callaghan won the Mississippi College Invitational in Clinton, Mississippi, on Oct. 13, defeating a field of 162 runners from 22 different schools. FRISCO, Texas – Southeastern Louisiana’s Grant O’Callaghan and New Orleans’ Arina Kleshchukova are the Southland Conference Cross Country Athletes of the Week, the league announced Tuesday. Southland Athletes of the Week are presented by MidSouth Bank. Women’s Athlete of the Week: Arina Kleshchukova, New Orleans – Fr. – Bishkek, KyrgyzstanRunning in only her fourth cross country competition, Kleshchukova finished second at the Mississippi College Invitational with a time of 18:12:00 over 5 kilometers. Southland weekly award winners are nominated and voted upon by each school’s sports information director. Voting for one’s own athletes is not permitted. To earn honorable mention, a student-athlete must appear on 25 percent of ballots. The junior covered the 8K course in 25.02 for his second race win in four outings. His win fueled the Lions second-place team finish. The freshman has finished no lower than fourth in her four career races with a pair of second-place performances on the season. The Lions and Privateers will see action next at the 2018 Southland Cross Country Championships, set for Friday, Oct. 26, at the Enos Derbonne Sports Complex in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The men’s and women’s races feature athletes from all 13 league institutions and 26 teams. Honorable Mention: None
5 5 9 6% 5 33% 42% 6 6 $379,448 LEAVE IT TO EDDIE HASKELL IN CLOCKERS’ CORNER 4 ITM% 9 Vladimir Cerin24 5 $425,661 12 47% 8 6 44% Win% 6 16 Joel Rosario94 52% 16 14 SOME 100 BETTORS BENEFIT FROM THE STRONACH 5 Joseph Talamo68 18% Steve Knapp22 $427,253 12% 20% $91,194 2 $109,465 23% 4 $799,110 40% 18% 7 8 38% 6 $522,614 4 16% Richard Baltas55 4 6 $143,843 58% Martin Pedroza31 $362,524 9 13 20% 3 BAFFERT SAYS ‘EVERYTHING WORKED’ FOR JUSTIFY $174,849 $466,177 $491,761 59% SANTA ANITA STATISTICS 35% 8 8 16% 17% 4 5 Mike Smith35 Hector O. Palma24 Peter Miller50 11% 10 1 27% 11 $584,513 7 4 15% 3rd 23% Money Won 4 Tiago Pereira55 $328,540 6 $185,437 41% 8 Jeff Mullins28 7% 5 4 2 William Spawr10 13% 24 $187,762 16 $516,653 Flavien Prat88 4 47% JUSTIFY AMONG THE ‘VERY ELITE’ IN RACING HISTORYBob Baffert was back on the beat at Clockers’ Corner Saturday morning, less than 48 hours after his undefeated Triple Crown winner Justify was named Horse of the Year for 2018.“He’ll go down among a very elite group of horses,” Baffert said of the son of Scat Daddy, who numbered the Santa Anita Derby among his six career victories that included the Triple Crown sweep before his untimely retirement.“I’m happy for the connections and happy for the horse. I’ve been around a lot of talented horses and he’s one of the best that I’ve trained. What he did was pretty incredible, in that short period of time (his career began with a 9 ½-length maiden win at Santa Anita on Feb. 18 and concluded with his front-running Belmont Stakes triumph by 1 ¾ lengths on June 9).”In retrospect, however, Justify’s accomplishment did not shock Baffert.“We knew before he ran he was something special, but they have to prove it in the afternoon,” he said. “After he won his second out (a 6 ½-length score March 11 on a muddy track at Santa Anita), I knew right then.“I kept telling myself, ‘Don’t mess it up, Bob,’ and I was fortunate everything worked.”Meanwhile, McKinzie, heralded as the Kentucky Derby favorite before he was injured and Justify came along to inherit that role, is scheduled to head a talented field in this Saturday’s Grade II San Pasqual Stakes, a steppingstone to the Grade I, $600,000 Santa Anita Handicap March 9.The son of Street Sense trained by Baffert is likely to breeze tomorrow morning. Mike Smith would have the mount in the San Pasqual, for older horses at 1 1/8 miles. Other candidates include Battle of Midway (Flavien Prat) and Giant Expectations (Joel Rosario).Giant Expectations worked five furlongs Saturday for Peter Eurton in 1:00.80.TRAINER HOPES EDDIE HASKELL STAYS ON MARK SUNDAYWith three wins from five starts since being claimed for $50,000 last April 12, Eddie Haskell has proved to be a profitable purchase.Mark Glatt hopes the six-year-old gelded son of Square Eddie continues to pay dividends in Sunday’s $70,000 Clockers’ Corner Stakes for older horses at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf.“He’s done well for us,” the trainer said. “We’ll see if he can continue on his streak (he’s won two in a row for new owners Phil Wood and Jim Hailey). In the past, he hasn’t been as effective down the hill as he is at five-eighths (sprinting on Del Mar’s turf course), although he’s finished very close down the hill as well.“We’re hoping to get the money.”The field for the contentious Clocker’s Corner, race eight of 10 with a 12 noon first post time: Regal Born, Mario Gutierrez, 30-1; Cistron, Tyler Baze, 12-1; Eddie Haskell, Kent Desormeaux, 4-1; Secretary At War, Rafael Bejarano, 4-1; Hunt, Flavien Prat, 3-1; Pubilius Syrus, Geovanni Franco, 20-1; Conquest Tsunami, Drayden Van Dyke, 5-2; Blended Citizen, Joel Rosario, 12-1; and Calculator, Joe Talamo, 6-1.$2 MILLION GUARANTEED RAINBOW PICK SIX JACKPOT UP FOR GRABSWith a mandatory payout looming on Saturday, Feb. 2, Santa Anita Park will again guarantee $2 million in today’s 20 cent Single Ticket Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot.The Grade I, $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational highlights a tremendous card from Gulfstream Park, while Santa Anita’s live racing is headlined by a total of four stakes restricted to California-bred or sired horses, with the 11th and final race, the $200,000 Unusual Heat Classic, for older horses at 1 1/8 miles on turf, the marque attraction.With $218,436 in “new” money wagered into Friday’s Rainbow Six, the live money pool reached $1,453,831 and produced six consolation winning tickets, each worth $19,448.60.Leg one in Saturday’s Rainbow Six is race six, which has an approximate post time of 2:06 p.m. PT. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.FRIDAY’S STRONACH 5 RETURNS $1,314.90Friday’s Stronach 5, the national pick 5 with an industry-low 12-percent takeout, rewarded 97 bettors across the country $1,314.90 each.The shortest price winner came at Gulfstream Park in Uno Mas Modelo ($3.40) and the longest price occurred in the final leg at Golden Gate Fields in Classy Chasie ($22.60).Friday’s Stronach 5 sequenceLeg One – Laurel Park 9th race – The Mason Factor $4.60Leg Two -Gulfstream Park 10th race – Uno Mas Modelo $3.40Leg Three -Santa Anita Park 4th race – Ostini $8Leg Four – Gulfstream Park 11th race – Yako $12.40Leg Five – Golden Gate Fields 5th race – Classy Chasie $22.60The minimum wager on the multi-race, multi-track Stronach 5 is $1. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool will be carried over to the next Friday.For the Stronach 5, if a change in racing surface is made after the wagering closes, each selection on any ticket will be considered a winning selection. If a betting interest is scratched, that selection will be substituted with the win pool favorite when wagering closes.The Maryland Jockey Club serves as host of the Stronach 5.LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV:PATH TO PEGASUS: EPISODE 1PATH TO PEGASUS: EPISODE 2PATH TO PEGASUS: EPISODE 3PATH TO THE PEGASUS: EPISODE 4BOB BAFFERT SHEDROW STROLL: GET TO KNOW HECK YEAHMICHAEL MCCARTHY SHEDROW STROLL: GET TO KNOW CITY OF LIGHTIMPROBABLE WORKING 5 FURLONGS FOR TRAINER BOB BAFFERTMULTIPLE STAKES WINNER BELLAFINA WORKING FOR TRAINER SIMON CALLAGHANNOLO CONTESTO(OUTSIDE) & FOXTAIL WORKING 5 FURLONGS FOR TRAINER JOHN SADLERFINISH LINES: Beach View, fourth in the Grade II San Antonio Stakes on dirt Dec. 26, returns to turf Saturday in the Grade II San Marcos Stakes at 1 ¼ miles for trainer Leonard Powell, who will give Rafael Bejarano a leg up for the fourth consecutive time on the six-year-old Giant’s Causeway horse owned by Levy Racing.Photo of Justify and Bob Baffert from Belmont Stakes, June 2018 – Zoe Metz Photography Edwin Maldonado32 7 58% 6 13% 28% Ruben Fuentes47 12 61% 8 17 Drayden Van Dyke62 6 4 60% 18 2nd 50% 4 4 Money Won $200,050 2 Agapito Delgadillo25 1 7 6 2 Assael Espinoza52 13% 1st 40% 52% 2 $690,372 18% 42% 15% Tyler Baze93 $285,241 $507,106 $609,013 Richard Mandella16 10 25% 9 19% 54% $1,061,803 J. Keith Desormeaux29 16 $165,199 4 31% John Sadler33 $87,407 34% 12 TrainerMts 34% 13 7 $213,056 4 42% 11 Mark Glatt28 13 42% Jerry Hollendorfer43 William E. Morey26 10 Kent Desormeaux43 Win% 19% 1 Doug O’Neill66 4 $102,611 7 1 12% 44% 3 Bob Baffert31 9 11 9 13% 5 49% 11 17% $1,467,119 3rd 17% 14% 4 1 Geovanni Franco76 Heriberto Figueroa84 5 JockeyMts 38% $472,720 4 2nd 5 4 1 41% 5 ITM% 8 $550,349 18% (Current Through Friday, Jan. 25) 5 71% Rafael Bejarano62 40% $2 MILLION RAINBOW PICK 6 JACKPOT UP FOR GRABS 3 1st 59% $105,376
name a better love story .. spurs & var pic.twitter.com/PrJOlHttdB— Ayamas (@AyamasMerah) September 21, 2019 Best signing we ever made #VAR #COYS— Keiran Pedley (@keiranpedley) September 21, 2019 TOTTENHAM were initially saved by VAR against Leicester – and football fans were quick to point out that it wasn’t the first time.Wilfred Ndid thought he had put Leicester into a 1-0 lead in the early kick-off, before it was correctly ruled out.2 Wilfred Ndid thought he had put Leicester ahead – but it was correctly ruled out for offsideCredit: Getty Images – GettyVAR & Spurs are Bestfriends.— Isiah Madrigal (@Realisiah1) September 21, 2019 Funny how VAR works in Spurs’ favour all the time— Tom (@AFC_Gooner92) September 21, 2019 As many as five Leicester players were in offside positions.But it wasn’t lost on some that Tottenham were again the benefit of video tech – before they missed out through the same system later on.In the 2-2 draw with Manchester City earlier in the season, Gabriel Jesus’ late winner was ruled out and Spurs earned a share of the spoils.Man City fan Paul David wrote: “Do Spurs own VAR”, while Curtis Jones added: “VAR is saving Spurs again”.Isiah Madrigal wrote on Twitter: “VAR & Spurs are best friends.”Another posted: “Name a better love story… Spurs and VAR.”Even Keiran Pedley admitted that VAR was “the best signing we have ever made” as he celebrated being let off the hook.Latest Tottenham NewsHARRY ALL FOUR ITKane admits Spurs must win EIGHT games to rise into Champions League spotGossipALL GONE PETE TONGVertonghen wanted by host of Italian clubs as long Spurs spell nears endBELOW PARRSpurs suffer blow with Parrott to miss Prem restart after appendix operationPicturedSHIRT STORMNew Spurs 2020/21 home top leaked but angry fans slam silver design as ‘awful”STEP BY STEP’Jose fears for players’ welfare during restart as stars begin ‘pre-season’KAN’T HAVE THATVictor Osimhen keen on Spurs move but only if they sell Kane this summerOthers described VAR as being “Spurs’ 12th man” while Arsenal fans were seething that the tech “always seems to work in their favour”.But VAR became their enemy when they denied Serge Aurier a goal to make it 2-0.Heung-min Son was deemed offside by the smallest of margins in the build-up.2 Son was deemed offside by the smallest of margins, denying Spurs a secondOnce its against Spurs VAR will see everything. pic.twitter.com/RTjGqkpYaW— King DND (@lildiology) September 21, 2019
Pochettino recognised that he had got pretty much everything out of his players 15 months ago.Remarkably, he was able to squeeze a little bit more from the pulp last term, with that fourth place finish and Champions League Final appearance.But Pochettino saw the dying of the light in Toby Alderweireld two years ago.Was happy to let Danny Rose go for two straight summers.Was waiting for someone to make a bid for Christian Eriksen through June, July and August.And decided something was awry with Jan Vertonghen from the moment he reported back for pre-season training.All of them still at the club and in his first team squad. None of them performing anywhere near the required or expected level.4 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are 12th in the Premier League table after eight gamesCredit: Getty Images – Getty4 Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping his side can bounce back against WatfordCredit: AFP or licensors The Spurs chairman has been the beneficiary of Pochettino’s handiwork but failed, or was unable, to heed the warnings the Argentine was spelling out for public consumption in the summer of 2018. IT was a weekend which brought the opposite of bragging rights. More like unbragging rights.But there is one thing on which Tottenham and Manchester United fans will be agreed – their teams are BOTH in a mess.4 Manchester United and Spurs both lost their Premier League matches this weekendSpurs’ pitiful capitulation at Brighton, suggesting Mauricio Pochettino’s side had simply not recovered mentally from their mauling by Bayern Munich, was a Saturday lunchtime horror show.There was no impetus, no pressure, no passion, no conviction.It was a throwback to the bad old days, pre-Poch Tottenham.When they were not just “soft Spurs” but “very soft Spurs”.There are big issues, bigger questions, that have to be resolved, with the onus on Daniel Levy to make a decision. It seems abundantly clear that some of Pochettino’s most trusted and long-term troops have stopped listening to his voice.That, or they just cannot play his way any more, drained by four years of intensity.But it is why Levy must make that big call.Either back the manager and allow him to begin the overdue renewal process now, by making big changes and taking the short-term hit, or call a halt to all of it – and watch Pochettino walk into the grateful hands of another club in a matter of weeks.NO HEART OR SOULYet while Spurs are in trouble, United look like a team and a club in complete crisis.Eight points from eight games, already 16 points adrift of Liverpool – who will come calling, ravenous to feed on the United carcase, in the first game after the international break.More worrying, a side that seems to have no heart or soul. That is going through the motions.That level of failure was evident at Newcastle on Sunday, a display that had some United fans genuinely worrying if, like the side that was taken over by Tommy Docherty mid-way through the 1972-73 season, might actually be heading out of the top flight.That seems unlikely. Then again, the same fears prompted the Chelsea board to sack Jose Mourinho a couple of hours after the Chelsea Christmas party in 2016.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may not even get to celebrate Thanksgiving with the Glazers, let alone Christmas, the way things are going.Solskjaer may have had sound reasons for letting Romelu Lukaku go – getting rid of Alexis Sanchez was, despite everything else, a no-brainer – but the failure to get a replacement in first bonkers.Marcus Rashford is clearly struggling for confidence and behind him United looked listless and lightweight, far too easily shoved aside by Newcastle’s Longstaff brothers.4LATEST MAN UTD NEWSLive Blogunited newsMan Utd news LIVE – Latest updates from Old TraffordMAN DOWNUtd and City face TWO-WEEK summer if they reach Euro finals before new Prem seasonDEPAY CHARTMan Utd flop Memphis used computer data and analytics to quit Old TraffordODS ON?Ighalo to leave Man Utd TOMORROW unless dramatic extension can be reachedPEA SHOOTERHernandez: Man Utd ‘still haunted’ by ‘mistake’ of Moyes replacing FergusonDEVIL’S ADVOCATEEx-Man Utd star Chadwick dreaded being picked for Keane’s team in trainingPicturedTRAINING DAYFernandes back in his Mini while Pogba arrives for training in yellow FerrariMARCSMANWatch Rashford floor Man Utd team-mates with ‘naughty’ bit of skill in trainingPicturedHOMER WINEngland and Dortmund star Sancho shows off new Simpsons and Sonic tattoosGossipBERN IT UPMan Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea on alert after Bernardeschi reveals Prem plansIf performance is not there, attitude has to be. Both Spurs and United were a million miles off.Both are in trouble, no question.It is hard to believe both Pochettino and Solskjaer will still be in their current jobs by the turn of the year.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says sorry to Man Utd fans after Newcastle loss
Sanzaar has announced the May 5 match would switch from the regular Allianz Stadium in Sydney to Brookvale Oval, home of the NRL’s Manly Sea Eagles.The Waratahs requested the change due to the possibility Allianz Stadium will host the A-League grand final that day.The kick-off time has also changed.Scheduled for a mid-afternoon kickoff, it has moved to 7.45pm.The changes was carried out in consultation with the Blues.SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos said, “Sydney’s busy sporting calendar has unfortunately necessitated this move but the Waratahs have made a sensible decision in taking the match into one of its rugby strongholds in the Northern Beaches. The change of kick-off time is sympathetic to the requirements of grass roots rugby and should also ensure a healthy turn out at the Waratahs versus Blues match later in the day.”
The Kiwi NRL club has advised long-serving playmaker Johnson to test his value on the open market, even though there’s a year to run on his contract.The timing and public nature of the Warriors announcement was criticised by Nikorima, coming midway through New Zealand’s three-Test series in England.He said his room mate Johnson was caught off guard, days out from Sunday’s second Test in Liverpool.”I’ve spoken to Shaun about it. I thought it was pretty harsh the way it all came out and him being on the other side of the world, not having any control over that,” Nikorima said.”I just told him, ‘Stay focused, you’re part of this team now and the rest will just take care of itself’.”The most influential player at the Warriors since his debut in 2011, Johnson is reportedly in Canberra’s sights.The Raiders are believed to have requested the 28-year-old cut his contract short and cross the Tasman as soon as next season to resolve a shortage of options in the halves.Nikorima didn’t think the uncertainty surrounding his teammate would prove a distraction as the tourists seek to reverse last week’s 18-16 loss in Hull.”He doesn’t show too much and he’s still the same Shaun Johnson that first came over here before all that came out,” Nikorima said.The Broncos playmaker believes his combination with Johnson has taken great strides since last year’s failed World Cup campaign.The pair impressed in last month’s upset of the Kangaroos and aren’t as restricted in their roles under Michael Maguire as when they oversaw a stuttering attack in the quarter-final loss to Fiji.”If you look back at the World Cup, we both stuck to one side. Instead of now, we’re roaming,” he said.”I think we’re getting a really good combo happening. We haven’t played that much games (together) but the fact that we’re room mates now helps out a little bit – getting to know each other’s personalities.”I’m a bit of a clown and he’s the more serious one.”
Opener Riley Hekure was the star with his knock of 115 off 64 balls. Hekure smashed 10 fours and 6 sixes for PNG to set the target at 176.Tonga’s openers in Aloisio Pau’u (13) and Nikolasi Moala (16) got Tonga off to reasonably good start.The dismissals of the pair brought on to the crease Maamaloa Kuluka who top scored with 41.But Kuluka eventually ran out of partners to help chase down the target as wickets fell in close succession. Tonga’s innings came to an end at 5/108 after 20 overs.Joel Tom for PNG took 2/16 off his three overs.PNG A will play Vanuatu for gold at 2pm while Tonga plays New Caledonia for bronze.
This is probably the biggest funding in sports for any district in the country. And the United Resources Party leader has hinted further increase in funding during the presentation of all Duma sponsored sporting codes in Mt Hagen recently.All sporting codes assembled at the Queen’s Park in an unprecedented gathering, never seen before in the history of sports in Mt Hagen were they were recognised in their efforts to represent Mt Hagen.During the presentation of cheques totalling K340,000 to three ‘Duma off-season rugby league competitions, soccer and basketball, Duma announced a K200,000 for 22 other sporting activities which come under the new Hagen District Sports Association as well.The MP promised additional funding of K70,000 each to soccer and basketball who received cheques of K30,000 respectively while the three rugby league competitions – Gomis League, Komkui Duma off-season, Hagen Urban Settlers Duma off-season, received a total of K280,000.At the Provincial level, Team Western Highlands would receive a major boost of K150,000 for the November PNG Games in Kimbe.Duma has nurtured sports men and women at the local community level competitions up to the top at Provincial and National level as is evident with his continues support not only the off-season competitions but the Mt Hagen Eagles, Team Western Highlands, Hagen League, Referees Associations, Judiciary, individual clubs and the provincial teams in the various codes.As if these are not enough, the Minister has hinted a sports stadium to cater for all codes was in the pipeline as the current venues like the Popes’ Oval and Queen’s Park where games were held were reserved city parks.Duma who sponsored the off season competitions in the city when he was a private barrister well before he became an MP called on all sports officials to work together with the new City Commission and help keep Mt Hagen clean.‘This is all I ask of you, keep our city clean. As sports men and women, you’ll lure respect so let us show by example and lead the others in supporting the City Commission.’ Duma said.He said sportsmen and women were the pride of communities and were looked upon as heros and these should be translated to benefit the communities.Well known sporting personnel John Passingan, John Waka, Simon Kama, Billy Noi Jr and Susan Nabaur thanked Duma, adding it was new era in sports for Mt Hagen.Picture: Mr Duma presents the trophy for the Komkui Offseason league to officials.
The challenges come two-fold for both players. Hughes will step up from the fullback position at Intrust Super Cup level to the front line at NRL level, while Hess’ physical challenge shifts from playing second row in the under-20s to a front-row or lock role in top grade.Both will line up in their second NRL games, with Hughes making his debut as an 18-year-old with Gold Coast and Hess arriving onto the scene for the Cowboys in Round 25 last year against the Warriors.Five-eighth Hughes predicts a Dragons parade down his side of the field as they look to test the youngster’s mettle.”They are probably going to throw heaps of tackles down my end and I’m just going to have to keep making them and making them. But I’m happy to do that, I’m sweet,” he said.”I don’t mind defending. Obviously it’s going to be a bit different to defending in the Q-Cup, but I’ve just got to get my body in front and help out the edges.”I think they will see me and Ray named in the halves and I think they will try to target us, but we’ve both going to play to the best of our ability and the boys around us are going to help us so we will be all right.”Over the last couple of seasons the Cowboys have done a good job protecting playmakers Johnathan Thurston and Michael Morgan, with workhorse back-rowers Ethan Lowe and Gavin Cooper ranking sixth and seventh respectively in total tackles by a second-rower in the NRL.That ‘bodyguard’ role has been a staple of the Cowboys’ defensive system, and Hess says his halves can feel safe again this week.”The systems we have in place in defence always cover the halves in general, so we just follow our systems and hopefully guys like Jahrome can get protected,” he said.”I guess being a younger fella, all the old heads want to get one on you.”Jahrome, being in the front line of defence might be a bit different for him.”At just 19 years old, Hess in particular has been touted as one of the key players of the Cowboys’ next generation, with Saturday seen as a gauge as to the progress of the Junior Kangaroo.”I’ve been pretty happy with my form recently, so I will be looking forward to taking that into this weekend. I’m playing in the front-row or in the lock position this week, so it’s a different role,” he said.”I’ve packed on two or three more kilos since last year, and I feel a lot fitter, so that’s a credit to the pre-season that we do here.”I feel pretty comfortable at the weight I am now, and my fitness.”[NRL] is a lot faster and everyone’s a bit bigger… the bigger bodies, the bigger hits.”A few more bumps and bruises the next day.”