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SIDELINES:Stubbins steps up

IT was a case of old bull versus young bull at Jets training on Tuesday.
Nanjing Night Net

Winger Andrew Hoole was practising taking penalties against youth team goalkeeper John Solari at the end of the session when coach Phil Stubbins intervened.

A challenge was issued and Hoole accepted.

Showing his experience, Stubbins went first and sent Solari the wrong way. Hoole replied in kind. The coach stepped up again and tucked a left-foot shot inside the right post.

Then it went horribly wrong for 20-year-old Hoole. Needing to convert to stay in the game, he blazed over the bar.

GRIFFITHS brothers Joel, Adam and Ryan are as tight as they come. But the siblings, who all played for the Jets, don’t mind taking the mickey out of each other either.

Ryan, who plays in Malaysia for Sarawak FA, didn’t miss a chance to have a dig at older brother Joel after the striker and former Jets golden boy’s debut off the bench for new club Wellington.

A regular on social media, Ryan jumped on Twitter after Phoenix’s 3-2 win over Melbourne Victory and posted: ‘‘@billygriff29 good game! The jets are undefeated since u left! #justsaying.’’

Ouch.

MOVE over Jarryd Hayne.

The former Parramatta Eels superstar is not the only Aussie to crack a start in the US playing gridiron.

Former Jets media manager Gerard Laws has signed a deal as a kicker for the California Sharks in the third-tier AAA Professional Football League.

Laws called it quits at the Jets in January hoping to fulfil a dream.

Deadly from up to 60 metres, the Campbelltown boy had been working with an Australian-based gridiron coaching and scouting company in Melbourne.

After training for three months, he received the offer from the Sharks last week.

His recruitment may not have created the same hype as Hayne’s deal with the San Francisco 49ers.

His wage is also significantly less than Hayne’s $100,000 futures contract. But we are told his deal covers accommodation and includes match payments.

HE has played against the likes of Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimović and Thierry Henry, and, at age 27, Garry Kenneth is preparing to represent Adamstown Rosebud in the Northern NSW National Premier League.

But, despite the drop in class, the former Scotland international is committed to his campaign in Australia.

Just three days after arriving, Kenneth travelled with Rosebud to Port Macquarie for trials against Port United.

The 193cm central defender played first grade, helping Adamstown to a 15-0 win.

For Kenneth, the lopsided trial result was a long way from marking Ibrahimović in a friendly between Scotland and Sweden five years ago or Messi (pictured) and Henry in a friendly between Dundee United and Spanish giants Barcelona seven years ago.

A serious knee injury in 2012 started a steep drop in Kenneth’s career, but he is keen to return to the professional ranks.

So much so he is missing his daughter Colby’s first birthday while spending his first two months in Australia without her, fiancee Charlene Buist and his eldest daughter, Miley, 5. To help make up for it, Kenneth is planning an Australian birthday party for Colby via Skype with family and friends here. Kenneth’s family will join him in Newcastle in June, a week after Colby’s birthday.

JUST when you thought Merv Hughes was stuck in the wilds of deepest, darkest Africa with Marcia Brady, Barry Hall and Andrew ‘‘Freddie’’ Flintoff on a celebrity television show, it seems he is safe and sound and in our midst.

Well, almost.

The former Australian fast bowler and former Test selector will be special guest at a sports lunch at the Squire’s Maiden at Honeysuckle between noon and 3pm on Thursday, March 26.

After comparing moustaches, master of ceremonies and former NBN television sports guru Mike Rabbitt will come off the long run to fire a few short-pitched questions around Big Merv’s chin about his colourful career and the climax of cricket’s World Cup.

Tickets, including a two-course meal and James Squire beers, are $100 each.

FORMER NSW and Western Australia Sheffield Shield fast bowler Burt Cockley has never forgotten it all began at Waratah-Mayfield.

The strapping right-armer’s junior club has been saddened in the past week due to the death of former seamer and secretary Wes Nichols from skin cancer at 36.

Nichols’ funeral was held in England, where he has lived since 2006, but his former Waratah teammates held a celebration of his life at Mayfield Hotel on Saturday night.

Perth-based Cockley could not attend but posted a heartfelt message about his old opening bowling partner on the club’s Facebook page. ‘‘Hard to believe this great man sadly passed away! I think anyone who knew Wes or had the chance of meeting him are better off because of the experience. A great man and a pleasure to have played along side him.

‘‘And to be honest, some of my fondest cricket memories have this man in it. RIP my friend! Wish I was closer to home to have a beer with the cricketing family.’’

CENTRAL winger Josh Neilson is fast becoming the ‘‘Mr Exclusive’’ of the Real NRL.

The weekly Butcher Boys TV web show pulled off a coup on Friday when the New Zealand Warriors trained at Central’s St John Oval.

Golden boot winner Shaun Johnson, Kiwi legend Ruben Wiki, Ryan Hoffman, Simon Mannering and Nathan Friend all chatted to Neilson on camera.

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