Month: September 2019


AFL win earns North’s Scott a big tick

At halftime of Saturday night’s AFL elimination final, former Carlton great Mark McClure spoke about the enormous challenge facing North Melbourne coach Brad Scott.


“Sometimes, you have to be half a con,” McClure said on the ABC, suggesting it didn’t always pay to rip into your team when it was losing.

After a poor second term the Kangaroos lifted to win an enthralling clash by 12 points – a massive tick for Scott’s coaching.

North only kicked one behind in the second term and were 33 points behind Essendon early in the third.

According to Sam Wright, Scott seemingly followed McClure’s suggestion and didn’t blast them at halftime.

“He was really calm and collected,” the North player told AAP.

“He really knows when to give you a bake and when to stay calm.

“He just reminded us of the way we play and we got back into the game and finished strong.

“He’s the kind of coach who really knows how to coach the individuals and the team, how certain players react.

While he changed their forward setup, Scott did not make wholesale positional changes.

Instead, the Kangaroos coach kept faith in his players and they repaid him in spades.

Everyone knew North has been one of the best sides in the second half this season.

Everyone knew of Essendon’s inconsistency during matches.

Scott undoubtedly reminded his players of those facts during the long break.

When asked if this was the best win of his coaching career, Scott replied simply: “yes”.

“That’s a standout, just because of the stakes,” he added.

One of the biggest media focuses ahead of Friday night’s semi-final against Geelong will be that this is the first time that Brad and his identical twin Chris coach against each other in a final.

It could not interest the Scotts less.

“We’ve coached against each other enough now that it’s sort of old hat,” Brad said.

He said Lachie Hansen (hip) remains unlikely to return and is also uncertain whether Leigh Adams (concussion) will be available for a possible recall.

26/09/2019 0

Bailey quits as Australia T20 skipper

The 32-year-old batsman, who has also captained the Australian one-day side this week in Zimbabwe in the absence of injured skipper Michael Clarke, said he struggled with the transition between the different formats of the game.


“It took a lot of thought and a lot of time,” he told Cricket Australia’s website.

“I had a good think about what I wanted to do in the next four years and I’m really passionate about playing the best four-day and one-day cricket that I can.

“I guess the very end goal is to play test cricket, but more than that it’s just about playing the best four-day cricket I can.

“It’s the format I find the most challenging and the format that I get the most enjoyment from – it’s where my real passion lies.

“Whether concentrating on that ends up in me getting back into the test squad, it doesn’t worry me too much.”

Bailey made his ODI debut in 2012 but he really came to prominence when he stood in as captain for the injured Clarke on the tour of India last year.

That ODI success earned him a test call-up for the return Ashes series around the end of last year, despite his extremely modest record in Sheffield Shield cricket.

Although Australia destroyed England 5-0, Bailey was not a great success batting at number six with an average of 26.14 compared to his one-day average of nearly 50.

He was dropped for the test tour to South Africa in the New Year.

Appropriately, Bailey, who had never previously represented his country, took over as captain of the Twenty20 side after Clarke decided to drop the shortest format of cricket to concentrate on his own test and one-day form in 2011.

He led Australia to the semi-finals of the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in 2012 but they bowed out in the Super 10 group stage in Bangladesh earlier this year.

That the next World Twenty20 in India was just two years away in 2016 was a consideration when Bailey decided to step down.

“I wanted to give a new captain an opportunity to find his feet and put his mark on that team for the World Cup,” he added.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

26/09/2019 0

Dogs won’t dwell on Titans loss: Hasler

Canterbury coach Des Hasler has urged his team to forget their second-half collapse in Sunday’s golden point loss to Gold Coast.


A week out from the NRL finals, the Bulldogs blew an 18-0 halftime lead to fall 19-18 to an undermanned and lowly Titans outfit.

Compounding the defeat, wrecking ball back-rower Tony Williams was placed on report for a shoulder charge on Titans five-eighth Aidan Sezer in the game’s dying stages.

Hasler said there were no excuses for the visitors’ capitulation.

“We had the game within our grasp,” Hasler said.

“It was certainly nothing like the footy we played last week against Souths but it’s just something that we’re just going to have to let go, not dwell on and move on pretty quickly.”

Hasler said he was unconcerned about Williams’ report, believing the NSW representative had done enough to attempt a tackle on Sezer and the on-field penalty should be sufficient punishment.

Gold Coast coach Neil Henry, in his first game since being appointed on a permanent basis, said the win would be a boost after a tough year for the club.

The victory, sealed by a William Zillman field goal, was the Titans’ first in seven matches and just their third at home this year.

Henry said a bizarre moment just after the halftime siren when Josh Reynolds was penalised for a deliberate forward pass after throwing the ball to Titans’ winger Anthony Don on his way across the touchline shouldn’t gloss over the home team’s efforts.

With departing foundation player Mark Minichiello scoring an inspirational second-half try, the Titans crossed four times in the second half to provide the perfect send off for Minichiello and retired club stalwarts Luke Bailey and Ashley Harrison.

“They stood up,” Henry said.

“It’s just satisfying for the fans and players in particular to get a result.”

Titans pair Tom Kingston and Dave Taylor were both placed on report for first-half dangerous tackles, with Taylor’s head-slam of Bulldog David Klemmer leaving the visitor dazed and facing concussion tests next week to prove his fitness.

The Titans also had injury concerns with Kingston and Paul Carter both suffering knee injuries while hooker Beau Falloon damaged a kneecap.

26/09/2019 0

Roosters went too far: coach Robinson

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson has conceded banned duo Aidan Guerra and Dylan Napa overstepped the mark in Thursday’s win over South Sydney and deserve to miss the first week of the NRL finals.


Robinson confirmed on Sunday that Guerra will accept his one-match ban for a chicken wing tackle on Kyle Turner.

The premiership winning mentor also confirmed Napa will fight the grading of his grade two shoulder charge on John Sutton at Wednesday night’s judiciary in a bid to have the young prop free to play in the Roosters’ third finals game.

A grade one shoulder charge accrues 200 penalty points, which equals a two game ban for Napa if he is successful in seeking the downgrade.

“We did go a bit too far, and we are going to cop it for it and we should,” Robinson told Triple M.

“We were pretty aggressive. We wanted to go after them and for the most part we did a good job of it.”

Robinson said he wasn’t happy with Queensland back-rower Guerra’s actions.

“I hated seeing what Aidan did,” he said.

“We talked about it straight away after the game. I can honesty say it isn’t something we go close to (coaching).

“He just should have let go of the arm.

“Aidan just said ‘I don’t know what I was thinking there’.

“We don’t consciously go anywhere near anything that is going to hurt an opponent.

“He should cop the suspension for it and Dylan also.

“We will fight Dylan’s charge of the shoulder because we think it is a harsh charge but he needs to calm his tactics too.”

Robinson said young front-rower Kane Evans will come in for Napa for their opening finals game.

“He has been training hard, he will be ready to come in,” he said.

Robinson indicated Frank-Paul Nuuausala was unlikely to return from a foot injury which could open the way for Jack Siejka or Siosiua Taukeiaho to make their NRL debuts.

Hooker Jake Friend is also sidelined indefinitely for the world club champions.

The Roosters will likely host a qualifying final on Saturday night at Allianz Stadium in week one of the finals, with the opponent to be confirmed after the result of the final round game between Penrith and the Warriors.

26/09/2019 0

Aust-China on track for free trade: Bishop

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has welcomed her Chinese counterpart to Sydney and says the two nations were “on track” to sign a free-trade agreement this year strengthening their relationship.


Foreign Minister Wang Yi is in the country for the second annual Australia-China Foreign and Strategic Dialogue, which comes ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Brisbane for the G20 summit in November.

“The Australia-China relationship is strong, it is mature, it is growing,” Ms Bishop said at a media conference with Mr Wang on Sunday.

“China is Australia’s largest two-way trading partner. We are on track to sign a free-trade agreement with China later this year which will further strengthen this relationship.”

The trade talks began in 2005, but stalled last year over agriculture and China’s insistence on removing investment limits for state-owned enterprises.

Over the past year Australia has sealed free trade deals with Japan and South Korea.

The bilateral talks follow Australia’s push to forge closer ties with Japan, China’s regional rival. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a historic visit to Canberra and Perth in July.

Speaking through a translator, Mr Wang acknowledged that China “may not be Australia’s closest friend at the moment, but we can surely become your most sincere friend”.

He added that Australia was a “key co-operation power” for China in the Asian region.

“China welcomes and supports Australia to further understand Asia and to integrate into Asia,” he said.

“And of course, we would also like Australia to play an active role as a bridge and as a link between the East and the West.”

Ms Bishop said the bilateral talks came at a time of “great global challenge” and were an opportunity to discuss the movement of citizens from the two countries to Iraq and Syria to fight for violent jihadist groups such as the Islamic State.

“The conflict in Syria and Iraq affects both our nations, for foreign fighters are leaving our shores to take part in the brutal and bloody conflict in the Middle East,” she said.

“Our meeting together affords us an opportunity to discuss ways that we together can combat terrorism and extremism such as we’ve seen with the emergence of ISIL,” she said.

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