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Live: Ugly scandal hangs over semi


Welcome to our live coverage of the NRL’s second semi-final.THE fight to the final four is on with the Rabbitohs going head-to-head against the Dragons for a chance to play minor premiers the Sydney Roosters next week.A hot run of form for each side will see a rough and tumble 80 minutes at ANZ Stadium, but St George may just have the upper hand as South Sydney battles through a public sexting controversy involving veteran Sam Burgess.The action kicks off at 7.50pm (AEST).6.30pmScandal hangs over NRL semiA sexting scandal will hang over embattled South Sydney when they attempt to keep their NRL premiership dreams alive in Saturday’s semi-final against St George Illawarra.The Rabbitohs are in the throes of an investigation into a star player’s involvement in an alleged sex video during an online chat with a young woman in May.

News Corp Australia reported verified social media accounts belonging to star forward Sam Burgess is at the centre of the saga.There was no suggestion Burgess was involved, however it is alleged multiple Rabbitohs players exposed themselves to the 23-year-old woman after a win over the Warriors.The club revealed that it had contacted the woman on Friday, and that a panel had been established to co-ordinate the investigation alongside the NRL integrity unit.South Sydney also confirmed that police have laid multiple charges on prop Zane Musgrove over a domestic assault matter.The developments came less than a day before the Rabbitohs face the Dragons in a final-six clash, with the winner to advance to a grand final qualifier. Rabbitohs coach Anthony Seibold admitted he was only made aware of the sexting drama on Thursday and that it was up to him to ensure the players’ minds were on the job.“They’re professional athletes. I’m a professional coach. So that’s our job,” Seibold said.“We’ve got to make sure that we have a really competent session (on Friday) in the team meeting room, and it’s led by me.“I need to make sure that I’m across what we need to do for tomorrow night’s game. We’ve had a really good preparation so far.“Obviously it’s not ideal that these accusations have come out and they’re front page news. It’s not what anyone wants, it’s not what I want. It’s not what our game needs.” Rabbitohs pair Adam Reynolds (shoulder) and Greg Inglis (ribs) are both set to play despite carrying minor injuries from last week’s qualifying final loss to Melbourne.For the Dragons, skipper Gareth Widdop (shoulder) is missing and centre Euan Aitken (hamstring) also remains sidelined.The winner will meet minor premiers Sydney Roosters for a spot in the grand final.A sexting scandal will hang over embattled South Sydney when they attempt to keep their NRL premiership dreams alive in Saturday’s semi-final against St George Illawarra.The Rabbitohs are in the throes of an investigation into a star player’s involvement in an alleged sex video during an online chat with a young woman in May.News Corp Australia reported verified social media accounts belonging to star forward Sam Burgess is at the centre of the saga.There was no suggestion Burgess was involved, however it is alleged multiple Rabbitohs players exposed themselves to the 23-year-old woman after a win over the Warriors.The club revealed that it had contacted the woman on Friday, and that a panel had been established to co-ordinate the investigation alongside the NRL integrity unit.South Sydney also confirmed that police have laid multiple charges on prop Zane Musgrove over a domestic assault matter.The developments came less than a day before the Rabbitohs face the Dragons in a final-six clash, with the winner to advance to a grand final qualifier. Rabbitohs coach Anthony Seibold admitted he was only made aware of the sexting drama on Thursday and that it was up to him to ensure the players’ minds were on the job.“They’re professional athletes. I’m a professional coach. So that’s our job,” Seibold said.“We’ve got to make sure that we have a really competent session (on Friday) in the team meeting room, and it’s led by me.“I need to make sure that I’m across what we need to do for tomorrow night’s game. We’ve had a really good preparation so far.“Obviously it’s not ideal that these accusations have come out and they’re front page news. It’s not what anyone wants, it’s not what I want. It’s not what our game needs.” Rabbitohs pair Adam Reynolds (shoulder) and Greg Inglis (ribs) are both set to play despite carrying minor injuries from last week’s qualifying final loss to Melbourne.For the Dragons, skipper Gareth Widdop (shoulder) is missing and centre Euan Aitken (hamstring) also remains sidelined.The winner will meet minor premiers Sydney Roosters for a spot in the grand final.— with AAP6pmHolmes out to end Slater fairytaleHe craves being remembered among Cronulla’s all-time greats but Valentine Holmes is putting his long-term future on hold as he focuses on ending the career of superstar friend and foe Billy Slater.Holmes’ fullback duel with Slater shapes as a highlight of Cronulla’s blockbuster NRL preliminary final showdown with Melbourne as the 2016 grand finalists and arch rivals clash for a place in the 2018 title decider. After a scintillating first season in the Sharks’ No.1 jumper, Holmes has emerged as Slater’s heir apparent for Queensland and possibly Australia when the retiring world player of the year hangs up his boots this season. Without a pang of guilt, Holmes hopes that comes at AAMI Park on Friday night. “He’s obviously had a marvellous career. I don’t think he’d be too disappointed,” Holmes said when asked if he minded spoiling Slater’s party. “He’s obviously won three or four grand finals, World Cups, Dally Ms, Origins, so he’d probably be a bit cut he’s not in the grand final but I’m sure he’d be happy with the career he had.“And we’ve got ‘Lewie’ (Luke Lewis) retiring so we’ve got to think about guys like him and send him out the way he deserves.” Holmes maintains the greatest respect for Slater.“I’ve idolised him since I was a kid. He’s obviously from up north as well where I’m from,” he said after Cronulla’s heart-stopping 21-20 semi-final win over Penrith on Friday.“It’s been pretty cool to play alongside him. I’ve learned a lot.” Such as the Slater-like play the 23-year-old produced in a game-changing flash of brilliance against Penrith.When the Panthers drew level at 20-all with 12 minutes remaining, having trailed 18-0, Sharks fans feared the worst against the league’s comeback kings. Holmes, though, spied an opportunity and regained possession from his own kick- off to kill Penrith’s momentum.“I didn’t tell anyone,” Holmes said of the bold play minutes before Chad Townsend clinched Cronulla’s victory with the winning field goal. “We needed the ball back and I backed myself and was lucky enough to pull it off.” Cronulla are facing an almighty battle retaining Holmes beyond 2019 as North Queensland try to lure him back home to Townsville.“I’m not too worried about my future at the moment. I’m still secure for next year so I’ve still got a job,” he said.Cronulla’s’ best hope of keeping their try-scoring machine rests with Holmes’ desire to to rank alongside the club’s legends.“There’s some pretty great players who have played in the Sharks,” he said. “It’s going to be hard to beat. There’s the Rogers boys, Ettingshausen, obviously, so I’d love to be noticed in that calibre.“But I’m still only young. I’ve got a lot to work on.”


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