Hess leads Cowboys to win over Titans

first_imgFor the fourth week in succession the Titans dawdled out of the blocks and while the Cowboys completed at 100 per cent with 80 per cent of the ball the home side could complete only one of their first four sets of the game.It allowed the Cowboys to race out to a 10-0 lead after 19 minutes but the Titans made good use of the little football that they had to score two tries of their own and actually lead 12-10 after 32 minutes.Tries to Gideon Gela-Mosby on debut and Kalyn Ponga saw the Cowboys take a 20-12 lead into half-time but it wasn’t until two barnstorming efforts from Hess in the space of 10 minutes late in the second half that North Queensland sealed the two competition points.After a perfect first half with the ball the Cowboys’ error rate invited the Titans back into the contest early in the second half and a superb cut-out pass from Tyrone Roberts saw Tyronne Roberts-Davis score millimetres inside the sideline to get his side back within a converted try in the 55th minute.A Kane Elgey grubber that went dead in-goal released the pressure the Titans were mounting heading into the final quarter and after Kyle Feldt got the Cowboys on the front foot from the restart Hess wrestled through the attempted tackle of four Titans defenders to plant the ball with his left hand outstretched in the 61st minute.He was at it again 10 minutes later when with a head of steam and running of Johnathan Thurston Hess steamrolled his way over three Titans players who simply didn’t have the manpower to stop him.Dale Copley completed his Titans debut with a second try in the 75th minute and Daniel Vidot dived on a spilled Ash Taylor bomb as the full-time siren sounded but for the third time this season they simply gave themselves too much work to do after such a poor start.The Titans made a number of changes to their line-up prior to kick-off with Tyrone Roberts shifting from hooker to take the place of Tyler Cornish at fullback and Ryan Simpkins coming into the starting side at dummy-half but they barely got their hands on the football for the first 20 minutes of the game.In the fourth minute a Jake Granville grubber was unable to be grasped by Roberts and Johnathan Thurston did what he always does, following the play to collect the crumbs and open the scoring with his first try of the year.A 5-0 penalty count running the way of the Cowboys enabled Thurston to extend the lead to 10-0 courtesy of two penalty goals from close range but when the tide eventually did turn the Titans had no problems scoring points of their own.Showing remarkable resolve and on the back of an Ash Taylor-earned repeat set the Titans tested the Cowboys’ left-edge defence time and again before a late offload from Leivaha Pulu down the Titans’ left edge allowed Ryan Simpkins to hit Copley out wide, with the new recruit stretching out with the left hand to score just inside the corner post.Earning their second penalty of the half, the Titans ventured into Cowboys territory for only the second time in the game and again came away with the points. A sublime set play that started on the left before switching to the right put Roberts in space who passed off to Pulu and then doubled around to take the return offload to dive over and take an unlikely lead after 32 minutes.The Cowboys were gifted another shot at the Titans courtesy of a Ryan James error and finished their 16th successive set with Ponga and Gela-Mosby reigniting a combination that proved fruitful in the 20s for Gela-Mosby to score on debut.When Gela-Mosby received Ponga’s cut-out pass wide on the left there were plenty of blue shirts ahead of him but he used his blistering speed and evasive skills to elude them all and put his side back in front four minutes from half-time.Ponga sparked another Cowboys raid from the very next set with a break from mid-field and although his first claims to a four-pointer were denied by the Bunker the 18-year-old trailed Thurston in the ensuing set to race across untouched and register his first try in the top grade.North Queensland Cowboys 32 (Coen Hess 2, Johnathan Thurston, Gideon Gela-Mosby, Kalyn Ponga tries; Thurston 6 goals) def. Gold Coast Titans 26 (Dale Copley 2, Tyrone Roberts, Tyronne Roberts-Davis, Daniel Vidot tries; Ashley Taylor 3 goals) at Cbus Super Stadium. Crowd: 17,647. Intrust Super Cup: CQ Capras 30 def. Tweed Heads 16.last_img read more

Venezuela on edge as Maduro unveils raft of economic reforms

first_imgRelated posts:Venezuela opposition drops deputies to break deadlock Venezuela pro-government political figure shot dead Venezuelan protests seek Maduro’s ouster Venezuelans fume after Nicolas Maduro filmed dining with celebrity chef ‘Salt Bae’ in Turkey CARACAS, Venezuela—Uncertainty reigned in Venezuela on Saturday after President Nicolas Maduro unveiled a major economic reform plan aimed at halting the spiraling hyperinflation that has thrown the oil-rich, cash-poor South American country into chaos.Ahead of a major currency overhaul on Monday, when Caracas will start issuing new banknotes on Monday after slashing five zeroes off the crippled bolivar, Maduro detailed other measures he hopes will pull Venezuela out of crisis.Those measures—revealed in a speech to the nation late Friday—include a massive minimum wage hike, the fifth so far this year.But analysts say the radical overhaul could only serve to make matters worse.“There will be a lot of confusion in the next few days, for consumers and the private sector,” said the director of the Ecoanalitica consultancy, Asdrubal Oliveros.“It’s a chaotic scenario.”The embattled Maduro, a former bus driver and union leader, said the country needed to show “fiscal discipline” and stop the excessive money printing that has been regular in recent years.The new currency, the sovereign bolivar—to distinguish from the current, and ironically named, strong bolivar—will be anchored to the country’s widely discredited cryptocurrency, the petro. Handout picture released by the Venezuelan Presidency showing President Nicolas Maduro presenting fresh currency in the framework of new economic measures, in August 2018. AFP Photo / Venezuelan PresidencyEach petro will be worth about $60, based on the price of a barrel of Venezuela’s oil. In the new currency, that will be 3,600 sovereign bolivars—signaling a massive devaluation.In turn, the minimum wage will be fixed at half a petro (1,800 sovereign bolivars), starting Monday. That is about $28—more than 34 times the previous level of less than a dollar at the prevailing black market rate.Maduro also said the country would have one fluctuating official exchange rate, also anchored to the petro, without saying what the starting level would be.As it stands, the monthly minimum wage—devastated by inflation and the aggressive devaluation of the bolivar—is still not enough to buy a kilo of meat.‘Plots’The International Monetary Fund predicts inflation will hit a staggering one million percent this year in Venezuela—now in a fourth year of recession, hamstrung by shortages of basic goods, and crippled by paralyzed public services.Maduro blames the country’s financial woes on opposition “plots” and American sanctions—but admits that the government will “learn as we go along” when it comes to the currency redenomination.Electronic transactions are set to be suspended from Sunday to facilitate the introduction of the new notes.Oil production accounts for 96 percent of Venezuela’s revenue — but that has slumped to a 30-year low of 1.4 million barrels a day, compared to its record high of 3.2 million 10 years ago. A customer shows Bolivar bills while at a gas station in Caracas where people queuing for petrol on August 17, 2018. AFP Photo / Federico ParraThe fiscal deficit is almost 20 percent of GDP while Venezuela struggles with an external debt of $150 billion.Venezuela launched the petro in a bid for liquidity to try to circumvent US sanctions that have all but stamped out international financing.But there’s a good reason the redenomination hasn’t generated renewed hope or investor confidence: Venezuela has done this before.Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez stripped three zeroes off the bolivar in 2008, but that failed to prevent hyperinflation.Oliveros warned that the new bank notes will crumble “within a few months” if hyperinflation is not brought under control.According to economist Jean Paul Leidenz, Venezuela is trying to emulate Brazil, which replaced its old cruzeiro currency with the real in the 1990s after the former was destroyed by hyperinflation.But he said that will not work because of the government’s lack of fiscal discipline and financing.Cryptocurrency confusion Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro(C) speaks in front of a computer used to mine crypto currency Ethereum at the International Science and Technology Fair (FITEC) in Caracas on December 3, 2017. AFP Photo / Venezuelan PresidencyCryptocurrency rating site ICOindex.com has branded the petro a “scam,” while the US has banned its nationals from trading in it.“Anchoring the bolivar to the petro is anchoring it to nothing,” said economist Luis Vicente Leon, director at polling organization Datanalisis.Right from the outset, it has not been clear how the petro would operate, nor what being backed by oil actually means.Maduro’s government is desperately grasping at straws to try to fix the country’s economic meltdown.Earlier this week, he announced a curb on heavily subsidized fuel in a bid to prevent oil being smuggled to other countries.Subsidies would only be available to citizens registering their vehicles for a “fatherland card” — which the opposition has decried as a mechanism to exert social control over opponents.Fuel subsidies have cost Venezuela $10 billion since 2012, according to oil analyst Luis Oliveros, but without them, most people would not be able to buy fuel. 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