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  • 11 Apr
    James Maloney knows plenty about grand finals and the Cronulla star reckons his halves partner Chad Townsend is primed for the game of his life in the NRL decider against Melbourne.Townsend bounced back from his week one finals sacking in emphatic style, starring in Fridays win over premiers North Queensland.Maloney will play his third decider in six seasons on Sunday and he says Townsend is ready to lead the Sharks to their maiden premiership win.He had one game that wasnt perfect, (but) I dont think it was as terrible as everyone was saying, Maloney said.We knew hed been outstanding for us all year so I had every faith he was going to come back and do the job. Hes very important to this side and no doubt hes got another big 80 in him.Maloney said Townsend had shown his character by not letting the hooking by coach Shane Flanagan in their qualifying win over Canberra affect him.He was in a good space, I just had a chat to him to make sure he was sweet and he was, he said.I wanted to make sure he realised how important he was to the team and he did.He knew that and he knew exactly what he had to do and he came out and did it tremendously against the Cowboys and hell come out and do the same next week.The Sharks lost 26-6 to Melbourne in a round 26 battle for the minor premiership - on a night Maloney admits the Sharks were not at their best.While the scoreline looked pretty convincing I thought we played good footy, we created opportunities, we just didnt finish them. 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HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The judge who has presided over Jerry Sanduskys criminal case for five years issued a sternly worded order on Friday removing himself from the former Penn State assistant coachs appeal.Judge John Cleland said he was taking himself off the case because Sanduskys lawyers have raised objections to Clelands role in a December 2011 meeting in a hotel the night before Sandusky waived a preliminary hearing.The defendants attorneys have impugned the competence and integrity of essentially everyone associated with the grand jurys investigation into the defendants conduct, the defendants trial and conviction, and these post-conviction proceedings, Cleland wrote. Now they have chosen to impugn the integrity of the court itself.Cleland said the accusations against attorneys, judges, jurors, investigators and victims were outside the bounds of the legal profession and should be reviewed by the state board that handles matters of lawyer discipline. Sanduskys appeals lawyer, Al Lindsay, declined to comment, as did a spokesman for the state attorney generals office.Sandusky, 72, was convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of child sexual abuse and is serving up to 60 years in prison. He has previously lost a round of appeals to the state Superior and Supreme courts and is currently seeking a new trial under the states Post-Conviction Relief Act, which is limited to claims of constitutional violations, newly discovered evidence or ineffective counsel. His appeal involves all three types of claims.At issue is a meeting held at the Hilton Garden Inn in State College the night of Dec. 12, 2011. In attendance were Cleland, Sandusky lawyer Joe Amendola, state prosecutors Joe McGettigan and Jonelle Eshbach, and District Judge Robert Scott, who had been appointed to preside at the preliminary hearing scheduuled for the next day.ddddddddddddIn an account he issued in May, Cleland wrote that his appointment to handle the matter as a common pleas court judge, made after all the Centre County jurists had recused themselves, included administrative oversight for the site of the preliminary hearing. He said he was having dinner in the hotel when Amendola and prosecutors asked to meet with him and Scott.It surprised him, Cleland wrote, to find out the topic was an agreement to waive the hearing as long as prosecutors would not seek higher bail if more charges were filed. Sandusky did waive the hearing, which he now argues was a mistake because his lawyers lost a chance to pin down witnesses and learn details about their version of events.Cleland said neither he nor Scott had any role in negotiating the agreement made between Amendola and the prosecutors. Amendola has recently testified that he proposed the deal to McGettigan to keep his client out of jail and that it was explained to Cleland and Scott rather than submitted to them.Cleland pointedly objected to a characterization by Sanduskys lawyers in a recent filing that it was an off-the-record night time meeting and that Sanduskys absence from the hotel conference violated his due process rights.Counsel has argued not only that the meeting between the lawyers and Judge Scott and me was unethical, but has also cast it in tones that would lead one to believe it was somehow sinister, Cleland wrote.He also said, in a footnote, that hes studied the 34 issues Sandusky has raised and concluded that no grounds raised in the petition merit relief.His order asks court officials to request another judge be appointed to replace him. ' ' '