The entire Sharks squad were hauled into Cronulla HQ for a 5am "penalty" session last Friday after an unnamed culprit breached a minor team rule by failing to record training related data on a club computer system.

In a one-for-all punishment, Morris summoned his team for a pre-sunrise session in what he thought would be an unpopular move.

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He was wrong.

To Morris' surprise the team liked the early session so much they asked if they could make it a regular thing. The coach known as "Bomber" obliged and every Friday session for the rest of the pre-season has been scheduled for 6am.

 

Check out all the latest NRL and sports chatter in Summer Buzz

 

SAINT

Toby Price. While a shocking accident denied him another Dakar Rally title, the dirt-bike star confirmed himself as one of Australia's most courageous athletes by tackling the Saudi desert for the first time since he attempted to save the life of a fallen rider. Price (pictured) performed CPR on fellow rider Paulo Goncalves in 2020 following what tragically became a fatal accident.

 

Australian motorcycle racer Toby Price pictured in hospital after his crash in the 2021 Dakar Rally. Picture: Twitter/@tobyprice87
Australian motorcycle racer Toby Price pictured in hospital after his crash in the 2021 Dakar Rally. Picture: Twitter/@tobyprice87

 

SINNER

Those suggesting Tim Paine should lose the Australian captaincy for sledging the Indians. While his batting may be questionable at times, his leadership is not. Regardless,
the spotlight is firmly on the Australian skipper at the Gabba this week.

 

SHOOSH

Which Supercars team had a verbal agreement to bring a new manufacturer to the sport? Set to be a two-way fight between Ford and GM, there would have been three makes on the grid had COVID-19 not ruined the deal.

 

SHOOSH II

A competition wide pay cut of seven per cent is looming for the NRL - and few are happy. We are hearing there could be a stink with several senior players complaining about not being consulted during the bargaining process. They are claiming the NRL and the players association are doing the COVID-19 forced deal without input from those set to be stung. A seven per cent cut would mean a player on $500,000 a year would forgo $35,000.

 

SPOTTED

Tim Tszyu back at training at the Tszyu Academy in Rockdale after taking his first days off in 12 months. Yep. That's right. Tszyu trained 365 days straight before his round-one knockout win over Bowyn Morgan. Tszyu is ready to conquer the world after reluctantly taking a two-week break. No wonder he will soon be a world champion.

 

 

The yabbies caught Jack Wighton.
The yabbies caught Jack Wighton.

 

 

SPOTTED II

Jack Wighton catching yabbies at Gilgandra in NSW's Central West. The Dally M Medal winner headed bush to spend time with his pop ahead of what will no doubt be another stellar season for the Canberra Raiders and NSW Blues.

 

SPOTTED III

Josh Dugan getting some sun at North Cronulla beach following a gruelling Sharks pre-season session. Dugan is looking as fit as ever following a rare full pre-season and will start the year in the centres alongside Jesse Ramien.

 

SPOTTED IV

The great Freddy Fittler, lunching with former Panthers teammate Peter Tunks and 'The Mole' at Kanteen in Warriewood on Thursday.

 

MITCHELL PUTS HIS HAND UP FOR ALL-STARS

 

Latrell Mitchell has made himself available for the NRL All-Stars clash in Townsville on February 20 following an ahead-of-schedule return from injury.

In a huge boost for the clash and for rugby league, Mitchell will once again lead the Indigenous war-cry as he proudly pays tribute to his heritage before the match against the Maori All-Stars.

Mitchell is raring to go following his first full pre-season with South Sydney.

 

BUBBLE BLOW FOR SIXERS

One unexpected challenge of 'bubble life' for the BBL leading Sydney Sixers has been shrinking playing shirts. With players now into their seventh week on the road and living in hubs, washing and drying of playing kit in hotels have seen the playing shirts shrink and have to be replaced.

So much so that when staffers went to have special jerseys printed for Saturday night's charity match that raises funds for the Sony Foundation's You Can Stay program they had run out of inventory and had to send an emergency party out to Rebel to buy new kit.

 

 

Sydney Sixers sport inspirational messages on their shirts.
Sydney Sixers sport inspirational messages on their shirts.

 

 

 

 

This is the 10th year of the 'Sixers Can, You Can' campaign where player's names are replaced by inspirational words from cancer patients on the back of their jerseys.

Funds raised will provide desperately needed emergency accommodation for regional youth cancer patients. You can bid for a signed jersey in the online auction at www.sonyfoundation.org/sydneysixers

 

GIANTS LOOK TO EXORCISE 2019 DRUBBING

While on jerseys, we can reveal GWS Giants have binned the white strip they wore during their 2019 grand final drubbing.

Evoking memories of rugby league's "white boot affair", the Giants have followed the lead of league legend Graeme Langland's who trashed his white boots after Easts beat the Dragons in a shock grand final defeat back in 1975.

 

TRAILBLAZING FEMALE REF FEELS NO FEAR

Meet the women who is on track to become the NRL's next female referee.

Inspired by the success of Kasey Badger and Belinda Sharpe officiating in recent NRL seasons, Karra-Lee Nolan is on track to become the game's next leading lady after earning her way into the NSWRL referees squad.

And in an early warning to NRL players, Nolan is already regarded as a ref that "doesn't take any shit".

"I grew up with two brothers and my dad is ex-military," Nolan says. "So yeah, not a lot intimidates me."

She has proved to be a fearless trailblazer in her young refereeing career. Last season she became the first female to take charge of a NSWRL grand final - the NSW Women's Premiership decider - and she created Country Rugby League history by officiating the Group 7 decider in 2018.

 

Karra-Lee Nolan was on track for the Olympics before an injury ended that dream.
Karra-Lee Nolan was on track for the Olympics before an injury ended that dream.

 

 

 

Nolan, who hails from Warilla on the south coast of NSW, has a Bachelor of Physical and Health Education from the University of Wollongong and works as a high school teacher.

One of the fittest in the match officials squad, the only female in the elite NSW referee team is considered a serious talent and is being mentored by former top-grade referee Steve Clarke and referees boss Stuart Raper.

Nolan also played rugby league for Warilla-Lake South and Albion Park-Oak Flats in Group 7 before retiring in 2014.

She was on track to realise her childhood dreams of representing Australia at an Olympic Games before a mishap at 15, but now the goal she's driving towards is to one day take charge of an NRL grand final.

"Originally I was a national hurdler then I got a knee injury," Nolan says.

"My dad is also a ref himself and he said I should give it a try. It all started from there."

 

Originally published as Saint, Sinner, Shoosh: Sharks bask in penalty pain

Karra-Lee Nolan is the only female in the elite NSW referee team
Karra-Lee Nolan is the only female in the elite NSW referee team

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