Ex-Jillaroo Amelia Kuk comes home to PNG

first_imgRugby League By KEVIN TEME PNG international and Brisbane Broncos premiership winning women’s player Amelia Kuk has switched sides. She does not want to play for Australia anymore and has teamed up with the PNG Orchids for the clash at the Oil Search National Football Stadium tomorrow. Amelia has decided to realign her allegiance to her country of origin after representing Australia in the women’s national rugby league team known as Jillaroos. The 22-year-old from Mt Hagen in Western Highlands Province, said the decision she made was her own, something that she felt representing her country in Oil Search PNG Orchid team was much more influential than representing Australia. “I looked pretty ordinary playing for Jillaroos and am just like any other player wearing that number but when I am with the Orchids, I am being seen as a leader and a role model. I have bigger impact here in this team than with the Jillaroos,” she said. Kuk said after the World Cup playing in the green and gold jumper for Jillaroos she made up her mind to be committed to the Orchid going forward in her rugby league career. “I contribute better to this team and I have a bigger impact so my duties with Australia are gone,” Kuk said. She said she was lucky growing up in Australia and got the chance to represent that country, however, something that inspired her also to switch alliance was because of the young girls that look up to her. “I grew up in Brisbane and was lucky enough to get to represent Australia (Jillaroos) last year in the World Cup but ever since the World Cup I am fully committed to the Orchid and I will be for the future as well leading into the next World Cup,” she said. Kuks said the Orchids are fresh new team and this is an opportunity to help grow the game here in PNG and give some hope to some of the girls around the country. “I grew up playing every sport under the sun and I play rugby also. My dad played rugby league when he was young as well but for me I saw rugby as an opportunity to make a difference and to influence people through sports in a more positive way,” she said. “Especially coming from PNG with all the cultural barriers, I want to use rugby league as an opportunity to make a difference and show that women can play just as good as the men or if not better and they are capable of playing at the same level so my inspiration is the future – the young girls that are coming through and they inspire me.” She said playing in front of the home crowd is unreal. “I am so excited to come and I can’t wait to get out there and play. Last time I was there but played in Jillaroos colours. This time I will be in PNG colours and in the right home colours, in my home ground and I am really excited to go out there and play with the girls.”last_img read more

Only a win will do for APOEL in Amsterdam

first_imgBy Andreas VouAPOEL travel to Amsterdam to take on Dutch champions Ajax on Wednesday (9.45pm) knowing that only a win will do in order to remain in European competition beyond the new year. Giorgos Donis’ side are bottom of Champions League Group F, one point behind their Dutch counterparts. A win for APOEL will see them leapfrog their opponents into third place which will hand them progression to the knockout phase of the Europa League.Despite their valiant performances, APOEL have amassed just one point so far in the competition and have lost three games in a row without scoring a goal since their only draw this campaign – that point came against Ajax in Nicosia, where the two sides played out a 1-1 draw.Gustavo Manduca’s penalty, APOEL’s only goal so far in the competition this season, leveled the game just four minutes after Lucas Andersen had put the visitors ahead.Two defeats against Paris Saint-Germain as well as a heavy 4-0 home loss at the hands of Barcelona have left APOEL with the tough task of defeating Ajax on their own patch – the Cypriots have never won a Champions League match away from home.Club captain Constantinos Charalambidis continues his road to recovery while Argentine midfielder Tomas De Vincenti is undergoing individual physiotherapy and gym exercises but both will not make the squad for Wednesday’s game. John Arne Riise will also remain in Cyprus after coming down with symptoms of gastroenteritis.Brazilian centre-back Carlao has been one of APOEL’s top performers in this year’s competition and his return to training is a major boost for the Cypriots, especially as his defensive partner Guilherme misses out through suspension following his red card against Barcelona.Ajax will be without Kolbeinn Sigthórsson after the Icelandic international suffered an ankle injury in his side’s 5-0 drubbing of Willem II over the weekend. The striker managed to bag Ajax’s opening goal on 14 minutes but was forced off just five minutes later.Ajax will qualify for the knockout stage of the Europa League as long as they avoid defeat but Dutch legend Johan Cruyff has warned his former club that playing for a draw could bring negative consequences.“Against APOEL, there could be unfortunate surprises. It is true that, for Ajax, a point is enough but if they play for a draw they may have a problem.“Therefore I suggest they play attacking and intelligently. APOEL defend very well and the best way of approaching them is to be clinical,” Cruyff concluded, speaking to De Telegraaf. APOEL go into their do-or-die match in high spirits following a 0-1 away win against Anorthosis which, coupled with Apollon’s 3-1 defeat against AEK Larnaca, gives them a five-point lead at the top of the Cyprus standings.The scorer of that vital goal was Rafik Djebbour who expressed his delight via his personal Twitter account and also stated his intention for the upcoming European match.“Victory time for APOEL. I’m so glad for giving a goal to my team. Let’s win again against Ajax! Go APOEL.”last_img read more

Exclusive – Rodgers: Balotelli can shake off bad boy image at Liverpool

first_imgLiverpool manager Brendan Rodgers claims Mario Balotelli can shake off his ‘bad boy’ image and emulate Daniel Sturridge’s amazing turnaround.The Italian striker, who joined the Reds from AC Milan for £16million earlier this week, is known for having an erratic off-field lifestyle and regularly fell out with Roberto Mancini during his time at Manchester City.Sturridge struggled to secure a starting XI place at both the Blues and Chelsea, and, following his 2013 switch to Anfield, was facing an uncertain future.But, under Rodgers’ tutelage, the one-time outcast is now one of England’s leading strikers, following a superb season last campaign.And the Northern Irishman insists the same can happen with the 24-year-old.“There’s a lot of background noise with Mario Balotelli,” he told Call Collymore. “He’s a good kid and I really like him. He knows what his flaws are but he’s maturing.“It was the same situation when Daniel Sturridge came to Liverpool. Everyone said what he couldn’t do, that he wasn’t a team player and his attitude wasn’t right. He’s been brilliant since he’s been here.“It’s the same when you look at Mario. He’s got a long way to go but understands he’s at a club now where it’s all about the team.”last_img read more