Trifiro brothers’ dream could have a twist

Brothers Jason and Glen Trifiro were almost inseparable throughout the course of their long and arduous road to professional football but on Saturday night the two will be forced to square off against another.
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From playing junior football in Winston Hills to moving interstate in hope of turning pro, the pair were side by side as they strived to achieve their joint goal of reaching the A-League. But less than two months after the younger Glen followed his brother into the top flight competition, the brothers will become rivals if they are selected to go head-to-head when Central Coast Mariners host Western Sydney Wanderers.

The Trifiro brothers were late arrivals on the A-League stage as neither made their professional debuts until the age of 24 when Jason joined the Wanderers in 2012, while Glen was a deadline-day arrival at the Mariners in February. For seven seasons, they toiled in the state leagues but now have a chance of sharing the field in the A-League, something that was once a dream.

“it will be a pretty special moment because it’s taken us a while for us both to get to this professional stage. It’s my brother’s first season and my second season. It took longer than others that we grew up playing with but it will be a very proud moment, and I’m sure my brother feels the same way too,” Jason said.

Since their junior years, the two always tried to play in the same team and alongside each other despite the age gap. Glen, a year younger than Jason, would often play up a grade until separated in their more formative years. The two reunited once eligible for all age competition and even selected clubs on the basis of their willingness to let the two play together in the midfield.

“We grew up playing all our junior football and then went our separate ways in a senior environment because everyone said we’re too similar,” Jason said. “It helps when you have your brother alongside you, the times we played each other were enjoyable but now we might be coming up against each other.”

Given their years of developing alongside one another, it’s no surprise that the two midfielders are almost identical in their style of play. They are industrious while technically strong and possess a good passing range but their determination to play together conflicted with their similar on-field persona in many coaches’ eyes.

“We both moved to Melbourne because we thought that here in NSW we weren’t given the opportunity because nobody wanted to play us together because we were too similar. We went to Victoria and found a coach that wanted to play us together, and we both went really well. Jase won the gold medal in the VPL and I got the gold medal in the Mirabella Cup,” Glen said.

The two run a football academy together in Sydney despite Glen moving up the coast. However, come Saturday, their partnership will be put aside. Both Wanderers coach Tony Popovic and his counterpart at the Mariners, Phil Moss, are yet to name their squads so the Trifiro family will wait in hope until Saturday, but Jason already has an idea of how he can gain an advantage over his younger brother.

“If he misses a pass or something I can get in his ear a little bit, it might tick him off but he’s pretty calm so he might just laugh it off,” Jason said. “We’ll try a few little things but we know each other inside-out.”

If the two are selected to play each other for the first time in the A-League, it will be a just reward for years of labour.

“If we’re both selected and we’re both part of the match, I look forward to it. I haven’t played against my brother in professional football before, and to do it in the A-League in front of my family will be very special, not just for us but everyone involved in us when we were growing up.”

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India wants looting scandal statues including Dancing Shiva returned in 30 days

The Dancing Shiva statue in the National Gallery of Australia earlier this month. Photo: Jay CronanTwo statues allegedly looted from temples in India and later bought by Australian galleries are likely to be repatriated within 30 days.
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The Indian government formally requested the return of a 900-year-old Dancing Shiva statue from the National Gallery of Australia and a stone sculpture of the god Ardhanarishvara from the Art Gallery of NSW last week.

The Attorney-General’s Department issued a statement on Wednesday saying that the Art Gallery of NSW had “voluntarily removed” its sculpture from public display – one day after it was announced the National Gallery would remove its allegedly looted statue from exhibition.

Both artefacts were bought from antiquities dealer Subhash Kapoor, who is on trial in India for looting and wanted in the United States for allegedly masterminding a large-scale antiquities smuggling operation.

A first secretary of India’s High Commission, Tarun Kumar, said it was “our expectation” both statues would be returned to India. “We expect a decision in that regard will be taken within the next month,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Attorney-General’s Department said on Wednesday that there was no time limit in the legislation for responding to the Indian government’s request.

The Canberra-based National Gallery paid $US5 million for the Dancing Shiva statue in February 2008. The statue was one of 22 items it bought from Mr Kapoor’s Art of the Past gallery for a total of $11 million between 2002 and 2011.

The Art Gallery of NSW bought six items from Mr Kapoor, including the Ardhanarishvara sculpture for $300,000 in 2004, as well as others that lack an ownership history.

A spokeswoman said the gallery would co-operate fully with the government to resolve issues concerning the provenance of its collection.

The Indian government is not obliged to compensate the two galleries for the return of the two statues.

Mr Kumar said further requests for the return of antiquities would depend on the investigating agency, the Tamil Nadu police.

Duncan Chappell, a Sydney University criminologist who specialises in art crime, suggested the galleries should voluntarily return any objects in their collections that are found to be stolen.

“I think the more rapidly this occurs the better,” he said. “They shouldn’t have to wait for formal requests to be made if there is evidence these are objects of very dubious if not false provenance.”

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History on Manly’s side in grand final rematch

Roosters players celebrate during last year’s grand final win over Manly. Photo: Brendan Esposito Roosters players celebrate during last year’s grand final win over Manly. Photo: Brendan Esposito
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Roosters players celebrate during last year’s grand final win over Manly. Photo: Brendan Esposito

Roosters players celebrate during last year’s grand final win over Manly. Photo: Brendan Esposito

Year            Reigning Premiers                 GF rematch result

2013              Melbourne                         Won 22-18 v Bulldogs

2012                 Manly                              Won 26-20 v Warriors

2011               Dragons                            Won 28-6 v Roosters

2010              Melbourne                        Lost 24-10 v Parramatta

2009                Manly                              Lost 22-8 v Melbourne

2008              Melbourne                              Won 26-4 v Manly

2007               Brisbane                           Lost 28-18 v Melbourne

2006               Tigers                               Lost 32-12 v Cowboys

2005              Bulldogs                             Lost 29-16 v Roosters

2004              Penrith                               Won 22-6 v Roosters

2003              Roosters                            Lost 26-24 v Warriors

2002              Newcastle                          Won 28-14 v Parramatta

2001              Brisbane                             Lost 20-18 v Roosters

2000             Melbourne                           Won 70-10 v Dragons

1999              Broncos                              Lost 20-16 v Bulldogs

If the history of grand final rematches is anything to go by, Manly should produce another backs-to-the wall type performance and knock over the reigning champions on Friday.

Since the introduction of the NRL in 1998, most of the reigning premiers have lost against the runners-up in the grand final rematch the following year.

Eight of the past 15 teams that have fallen at the final hurdle have managed to exact revenge on the champions in their first meeting the following year.

However, that trend is beginning to turn –Melbourne, Manly and St George Illawarra, the last three premiers, have all won their grand final replays the following year.

The Roosters can make it four on the trot, but as an understrength Manly showed against South Sydney in Gosford a fortnight ago, they won’t be rolling over.

Coach Geoff Toovey wouldn’t delve into last year’s grand final heartache, adamant this was a different football team at his disposal.

“A third of our side wasn’t there last year so there’s no use bringing up stuff from the past,” Toovey said on the eve of the clash at Allianz Stadium.

“As I said, we’re pretty confident. We seem to rise against the challenges this year … Souths a couple of weeks ago. We’re hoping we can get that same performance this week.”

The two teams met on four occasions last year, with the Roosters walking away victorious in all the physical and gruelling confrontations.

During the regular season, Trent Robinson’s men claimed hard-fought 16-4 and 18-12 wins, before an epic 4-0 struggle in the first week of the semi-finals.

The Roosters then made it a perfect four from four with a 26-18 win in the decider at ANZ Stadium.Skipper Anthony Minichiello saidhe expected another closely contested game as Manly looked to atone for their grand final disappointment.

“We’ve had some great games against them and it’s always a tough, physical battle,” Minichiello said.

“It’s going to be wet and that brings the physicality out in the game and that is a separate challenge in itself.

“We had some close tussles against them last season, some real low-scoring games. If our defence is on, then we believe we can hold them out again.”

There is a question mark over the fitness of Manly five-eighth Kieran Foran, who missed the previousweek’s last-ditch victory against Parramatta with a calf injury.

While Foran is unlikely to return against the Roosters despite being named, Toovey believes the Sea Eagles can cover his absence.

“It’s not ideal,” Toovey said.

“You’d like to have the team as stable as possible. but Jamie Lyon can play anywhere. He’s a great player and he did a good job last week.

“The Roosters have quality players right across the board and have a very balanced side. One of the best games of last year was the 4-0 victory to them [in the semi-finals] which could have gone either way. I think a close game is what we can expect this Friday as well, and hopefully we’ll get up this time.”

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Artie Beetson juggernaut rolls on

Beetson in action for Eastern Suburbs in 1976. Photo: Fairfax Archive
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Beetson in action for Eastern Suburbs in 1976. Photo: Fairfax Archive

Beetson in action for Eastern Suburbs in 1976. Photo: Fairfax Archive

Ultimate League: It’s not too late to sign up for our Fantasy NRL game 

In life, Artie Beetson was a giant of the game. In death, he has become, in the words of brother Barry, a ”juggernaut”.

The Queensland league great, who died in 2011 aged 66, will have his No.11 jersey ”retired” at the first State of Origin on May 28, a match that will mark 100 interstate contests since the first clash at Lang Park in 1980.

Beetson captained the Maroons to victory that night, spawning the modern Origin concept. He could never have known that 34 years later, the rivalry would engulf the game and cast its shadow over the entire rugby league season.

As a mark of respect, no Queenslander will wear No.11 as the Maroons begin their quest for a staggering ninth consecutive series victory.

There was much fuss made as NRL boss Dave Smith and a host or Origin greats from both sides of the border launched the official countdown at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday.

The funny thing was, Barry said, that he doubted his brother would have even shown up if was still alive.

“A lot of people have asked me what he’d think, but I don’t actually know whether he would have come today. He was very low key. He didn’t have an ounce of vanity about him. But he had that great aura,” Beetson said.

The Beetson family has been humbled by the tributes to the ”Godfather of Origin” since his death. Beetson was a friend and mentor to Maroons coach Mal Meninga, while players such as Justin Hodges looked upon him as a father figure on and off the field.

Barry said his brother’s legacy had grown momentum in the past two years, and the gesture of ”retiring” his No.11 jersey was another touching moment for the family and Beetson Foundation.

“It’s a juggernaut, you could say. It’s been unstoppable since his death. He’s done more for league, I think, since his death. He did a lot when he was alive but it’s just the way things have gone,” he said.

“On behalf of the Beetson family, we’d like to thank the QRL and NRL for this honour. It’s just another accolade for him. It shows respect and recognition of the great man that he was.”

NRL chief executive Dave Smith said it was a fitting tribute for Beetson, whose legacy should live on through younger fans of the game.

“Arthur is the father of Origin and deserves to be recognised for his contribution to the concept,” he said. “When children ask why there is no No.11 for Queensland this year, their mums and dads will explain that the jersey belongs to Arthur Beetson.”

Meninga featured in several memorable Origin moments but rates playing in that first game, a 20-10 Maroons victory, as the standout.

“I can’t remember too much about the game, to be honest,” Meninga said. “But I just wanted to play well for Arthur.”

It all adds more fuel to the Queensland fire. For the Blues, who must win at least one game in Brisbane to break their drought, the hill only seems to get steeper.

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