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Star signing Suliasi Vunivalu stood down by Reds for off-field incident
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A Set small text size A Set the default text size A Set large text size High-profile Queensland Reds recruit Suliasi Vunivalu has been dropped from what would have been his Super Rugby AU debut for allegedly pushing a security guard in a Brisbane pub. The champion NRL winger had arrived at Ballymore fresh off a premiership with the Melbourne Storm as Rugby Australia’s big-ticket item. But on Tuesday the winger copped a club-imposed $10,000 fine alongside suspension from Friday’s season opener at Suncorp Stadium against the NSW Waratahs. The matter is before the court and will be reviewed by RA and Queensland Rugby Union once it is resolved. It is understood the security guard was not injured during the incident, which was considered minor and occurred earlier this month. Vunivalu was implicated in an NRL integrity unity investigation in 2019 when he was allegedly a victim of a coward punch at a Bali nightspot that sparked a brawl that included former Storm teammate Nelson Asofa-Solomona. The 26-year-old had already spent time in camp with the Wallabies and is considered an immense talent likely to feature in national coach Dave Rennie’s plans ahead of the 2023 World Cup. It’s an early setback for a Reds outfit hunting their first silverware since 2011, having lost the Super Rugby AU decider to the Brumbies last year. © AAP
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Winamax lance un nouveau format média : la Winamax Arena !
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Rendez-vous lundi soir sur Winamax TV pour une nouvelle manière de regarder le poker !  Onze mois, déjà, que les festivals et gros évènements live qui rythment habituellement le calendrier et la vie de la communauté Winamax sont en pause forcée. Onze mois sans live, c’est aussi, forcément, onze mois sans show. Finie, l’adrénaline des bluffs claqués sur la table qui enflamment les animateurs et le tchat (et mettent l’adversaire en tilt). Oubliées, les punchlines lâchées avec nonchalance au beau milieu d’une table finale, souvent aussi douloureuses qu’un gros bad beat. Terminé, ce mélange unique, entre adversité et camaraderie, visible à l’œil nu autour d’une table rassemblant pros aguerris, jeunes espoirs et people en représentation. Il était temps de faire quelque chose pour retrouver la chaleur perdue du live. Trouver quelque chose pour combler l’absence, effacer le manque. Tirer parti des outils et du savoir-faire en ligne de Winamax pour permettre aux amateurs de poker de se retrouver, ne serait-ce que virtuellement. Bref, il était temps d’annoncer… la Winamax Arena ! Le spectacle du poker en live demeure inaccessible ? Winamax le réinvente sans quitter son fauteuil. Voilà comment on pourrait résumer ce nouveau rendez-vous sur Winamax TV, dont la première édition se tiendra le lundi 15 février à 20 heures. Avec la Winamax Arena, vos joueurs préférés sont de retour sur votre écran, réunis autour d’une même table, prêts à faire le spectacle, se chauffer et faire monter les enchères… mais sans sortir de chez eux, grâce à une interface inédite qui vous permettra de tous les regarder et les écouter en direct, sans rien rater de leurs réactions tout au long de la partie. Trashtalk et batailles d’ego vont enfin retrouver leur place dans le poker, sans qu’aucun masque ni gestes barrière ne soient nécessaires.   Un format hybride pour un divertissement inédit Harper, le rédacteur en chef de Winamax TV, confirme que l’idée de Winamax Arena est directement née des privations engendrées par le premier confinement. « Au bout d’une semaine, l’idée d’un format hybride était là. Un tournoi en ligne, mais où tout le monde pourrait se voir et s’entendre, grâce aux webcams et aux micros. » Avec Twitch, on avait déjà l’habitude de suivre et encourager un joueur tout au long de sa session. Avec MounFight, on s’est régalé des amateurs et pros venant défier Moundir en heads-up. Avec l’Arena, Winamax va encore plus loin : ils seront maintenant six à se bagarrer et s’invectiver en direct sur notre écran ! Et l’interactivité qui a fait le succès du Winamax Stream Gang et de Top of the Pok sera bien sûr au rendez-vous : au début de chaque partie, les viewers auront la possibilité de parier gratuitement sur leur joueur favori et de gagner des primes en cash grâce à tirage au sort en fin d’émission. Entièrement développé en interne chez Winamax, le projet Winamax Arena a mobilisé l’ensemble des étages de l’entreprise : techniciens TV, développeurs, graphistes, animateurs 3D… Le résultat de ce gros travail d’équipe, c’est un univers graphique tout neuf et ultra-léché, fortement inspiré par l’univers du jeu vidéo, et truffé d’animations et de surprises que Winamax est impatient de dévoiler lundi. Avec une idée de base finalement toute simple : « Faire passer à tous un bon moment, les joueurs comme les spectateurs, et rassembler la communauté autour d’une nouvelle façon de regarder le poker. » Grosse arène, gros casting :  Momo Henni, Moundir, Gaëlle Baumann, Pierre Calamusa, Guillaume Diaz et Hadrien Gallois vont s’affronter sur un format fun et complètement inédit ! Le Saint-Patron des WIP, taulier du RMC Poker Show et infatigable ambassadeur du poker en France. Le fan de l’OM le plus célèbre de France, craint de tous les postes de télévision qui croisent son chemin, et qui est aussi un joueur de poker averti, comme l’atteste sa belle performance à Dublin en 2019. Trois pros emblématiques du Team Winamax. Et enfin, l’un des streamersles plus en vue du moment, en poste dans le Stream Gang depuis sa création. C’est le casting de luxe de la première édition de Winamax Arena ! Moundir : « C’est tellement révolutionnaire de se voir comme si on était sur une vraie table et de pouvoir échanger avec les joueurs. J’affectionne particulièrement l’univers qui a été développé, avec un habillage fort et une animation en 3D. Bravo Winamax ! » Guillaume Diaz : « Le live nous manque terriblement, mais avec ce nouveau format on va retrouver le plaisir de se voir pendant les coups, de se trash talk et pourquoi pas déceler quelques petits tells pendant les coups. Les animations vont rendre l’expérience entre plus fun, pour nous et pour les viewers. Hâte d’y être ! » Mohammed Henni : « Les amis, c’est historique ! Enfin un tournoi en ligne où l’on peut voir le visage de ses adversaires, avec en prime un animateur encore plus fou que moi. Beaucoup l’ont rêvé, Winamax l’a fait ! » Histoire d’épicer un peu plus l’action de ce Sit&Go prévu pour durer une bonne heure, on jouera au format Show One : à la fin de chaque coup, une des deux cartes du gagnant de la main sera automatiquement montrée. Harper commentera la partie en direct, et tiendra les manettes d’une interface un peu spéciale, permettant de récompenser en direct les participants… ou de les punir ! On ne vous en dit pas plus pour le moment… mais on salive déjà en songeant à tout ce que ce nouvel outil va permettre au cours des mois à venir. Cash-game high stakes ? Affrontements pros/amateurs ? Soirées WIP à thème ? Tout est possible ! Et on ne va pas se priver d’organiser rapidement des qualifications sur Winamax, afin que VOUS puissiez rejoindre dans l’arène les joueurs du Team Pro et les WIP ! Rendez-vous lundi à 20h pour la première édition de la Winamax Arena sur Winamax TV, et sur les chaînes YouTube et Twitch de Winamax !
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Bari vs WI Test 2 วันที่ 1 Live Met ห้าสิบถึงขึ้นเพื่อทำให้ West Indies กลับมาอยู่ในเส้นทาง
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Bari vs WI Test 2 วันที่ 1 Live Met Nkrumah ห้าสิบมาถึงแล้วเพื่อให้ West Indies บังคลาเทศออกจากเส้นทาง Cicero, Moseley ทำได้ดี Brathwaite และ Kyle และ Julius ทำลายสองตันในเกมสุดท้ายที่ West Indies วางเท้าหลัง ก่อนหน้านี้ที่ด้านล่างของสถานที่ของ Brathwaite และ John เห็นสิ่งนี้ Caesar 50-plus จะวิ่งไปฉันยืนอยู่ที่ประตูหลังจาก West Indies ชนะประตูประตูได้และจะเต็มไปด้วยความเศร้าโศกจนถึงค้างคาว และได้รับการยอมรับในการทดสอบครั้งแรกถึงครั้งที่สองที่สนามกีฬาแห่งชาติ Shere Bangla ในบังคลาเทศว่าเราประสบความสำเร็จในหมู่เกาะอินดีสไปยังธากา West ลบซีรีส์ groves ออกไปดวงตาของบังคลาเทศเมื่อเครื่องบินพร้อมกับคาเฟอีนสองศตวรรษในโอกาสที่สอง ช่วยให้หมู่เกาะอินเดียตะวันตกมีแนวโน้มที่จะดึงนำ 1-0 อย่างไม่เคยมีมาก่อนในซีรีส์นี้ Mel Abu Jayed5181027.78Jermaine Press Julius cB & c Taijul Islam28775036.36 Josua Da Silva †ไม่เกิน 00000.00TOTAL (72.3 Intonatio, BB: 2,45) 178 / คู่จาก 5Fall: 1-66 (John Cicero, op 20,4), 2-87 (หมาป่า # Moseley, 33.2 ov), 3-104 (Kraigg Brathwaite, 41.1 ov), 4-116 (Julius K YLE, 47.5 OJ), 5-178 (Jermaine Press, 71.6 ag) กำไล Adesh เล่น 12: Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mominul Haque (c) Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun, Liton Das (wk), Hasan Mehidy ในเมโสโปเตเมียถูกนำไปใช้งาน Nayer Hasan นำไปใช้, Taijul Islam, Abu Jayed West Indies เล่น 12: Kraigg Brathwaite (c) John Cicero, Sheyn Moseley, Nkrumah Met, Kyle Julius, Jermaine Press, Joshua Da Silva (wk), Rahkeem Cornwall Alzarri Joseph Jomel Warrican แชนนอนกาเบรียลแบนเรา WI - 2 Test Match 2021 - น่าจะเป็นผู้ชนะได้รับรางวัลจากประสิทธิภาพไฟฟ้าหมู่เกาะอินเดียตะวันตกบังกลาเทศและปวดหัวในนัดนี้ อย่างไรก็ตามเรานึกภาพว่ากระดาษบังคลาเทศจะคืนค่าความเท่าเทียมกันผ่านรอยแตกในซีรีส์ BAN vs. WI - 2 Test Match 2021 Pitch Weather โยนประตูและเล่นการแสดงครั้งสุดท้ายนี่คือผิวน้ำที่มันเจริญงอกงาม - 2 การทดสอบแมตช์ 2021 สภาพอากาศกำหนดให้สองทีมมองหาอากาศร้อนในระหว่างการแข่งขันการทดสอบนี้ BAN WI vs - การทดสอบการแข่งขัน 2 ฝั่ง 2021 สถิติการชนะการไล่ล่า: ความตาย 4: 2BAN WI vs - 2 การแข่งขันในการทดสอบ 2021 WI ban vs - 2021 สองแมตช์การทดสอบ 2 การแข่งขันซีรีส์การแข่งขัน: บังกลาเทศพบอินเดียตะวันตกวันที่ 11 กุมภาพันธ์เวลา 09.00 น. วันพฤหัสบดี - ISTVenue สนามกีฬาคริกเก็ตแห่งชาติเชอร์ - อี - อเมริกัน, ธากา
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Barty ousts Gavrilova from Australian Open
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A Set small text size A Set the default text size A Set large text size Ash Barty has cast friendship aside to advance to the Australian Open third round with a hard-earned win over Fed Cup teammate Daria Gavrilova. Barty backed up her 6-0 6-0 first-round win over Danka Kovinic with a less convincing 6-1 7-6 (9-7) victory on Thursday that thrust Australia’s world No.1 into the last 32 for a fifth straight year. Barty looked to be cruising towards an easy win until losing her way from 5-2 up in the second set. The top seed dropped serve twice while trying to close out the match, then had to save two set points in the tiebreaker before eventually prevailing after one hour and 32 minutes. She coughed up six double-faults and committed 34 unforced errors. Despite winning the Yarra Valley Classic last week in her first tournament back after almost a year out of tennis, Barty said she was still trying to find her A game. “Obviously having 12 months off it’s a little bit rusty but I’m certainly happy with how I’ve been able to fight though the last couple of weeks,” she said. In a rare sight in the cut-throat world of professional tennis, Barty and Gavrilova spent about an hour warming up together side by side on Rod Laver Arena on Thursday morning. But after posing happily for a pre-match photo together at the net, Barty swiftly put her game face on. The top seed dropped her opening service game but immediately struck back, reeling off six consecutive games to pocket the first set in 27 minutes. The two combatants are separated by 386 spots in the rankings as Gavrilova continues a comeback from her own year-long layoff with a foot injury. But that didn’t stop Gavrilova from making Barty sweat after rattling off four games in a row to force the second-set breaker. “When you play another Aussie, you play a compatriot, the rankings go out the window. Experience goes out the window,” Barty said. “Typically you know each other very well so it was always going to be a tricky match no matter what.” A semi-finalist last year, Barty will return on Saturday to play Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova or Czech Barbora Krejcikova for a fourth-round berth. © AAP
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Vastly improved England are charging towards the Ashes
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England were demolished on their last two tours of Australia but, as evidenced by their three wins on the trot in Asia, they’re now building a side that can compete in this year’s Ashes. The last two series in Australia were bloodbaths as the hosts bullied England to the tune of 4-0 and 5-0. And the Aussies were only one wicket away from a 3-1 win last time around in the UK. England have improved significantly since that 2019 series, however. And the team they send to Australia this summer will be far stronger than the feeble unit that last toured here. England have rebounded with vigour from a horror 2019. In that year, they looked to be on a major decline as a Test side. They started 2019 by losing 2-1 against a weak West Indies side, who flogged them twice in that series – once by 10 wickets, the other time by 381 runs. Then minnows Ireland humiliated England on their hallowed ground, Lord’s, when they skittled the hosts for just 85. England followed that with an underwhelming Ashes performance, and then three consecutive losses in New Zealand and South Africa. Their batting, in particular, was a mess as they were dismissed for paltry totals of 67, 77, 85, 132 and 146 in the space of just seven Tests at one point. England entered 2020 as the number five Test team in the world. At the time, that ranking almost seemed generous. Ben Stokes=. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) Skip forward 14 months, however, and they are now arguably the form Test team. Since the start of last year, England have lost just one of their past 12 Tests. That includes a remarkable five consecutive victories away from home – two comprehensive wins in South Africa, a 2-0 series win in Sri Lanka, and this week’s incredible triumph in India. Context is key to understanding the full significance of that run of form overseas. Prior to those five victories in a row, England had won just four of their previous 22 away Tests. At that point, England stood as the weakest touring team out of the major Test sides, including Australia, India, South Africa and New Zealand. Now they’re quickly building a reputation as arguably the most adaptable team in this format. England have a chance to cement that status over the next 11 months, with three more massive Tests in India about to unfold, followed by what shapes as the most anticipated Ashes down under since 2010. Mind you, England haven’t suddenly morphed into a complete Test team. Their top three remains vulnerable and, in terms of fast bowling, they’re still heavily reliant on old timers Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad, who will be 39 and 35 years old, respectively, in the Ashes. What England are doing is building a support cast around their stars of Anderson, Broad, Joe Root and Ben Stokes. Previously, if most of those four didn’t fire, England were shot. Since the start of 2020, though, they’ve got some key contributions from the likes of opening batsman Dom Sibley, middle order dynamo Ollie Pope, improving keeper-batsman Jos Buttler, and spinners Jack Leach and Dom Bess. Yes, Broad and Anderson have still been by a long way England’s best fast bowlers since the start of last year. That veteran pair have taken 75 wickets at 15, compared to 60 wickets at 30 for all of England’s other quicks. Chris Woakes remains a liability away from home, Mark Wood is still as fragile as porcelain, and Jofra Archer has laboured since the 2019 Ashes, averaging 42 with the ball. Sam Curran, meanwhile, has taken just 12 wickets in seven Tests in that time and is highly unlikely to pose a threat in Australia bowling at 130kmh with a Kookaburra ball that doesn’t swing. But if both Broad and Anderson are fit for the Ashes, and either Archer or Wood find their groove on the hard Aussie pitches, England will have a solid pace unit complemented by either Leach or Bess. That spin pair have been crucial in England’s three consecutive wins in Asia this year. They are a massive upgrade from the combination of Moeen Ali and Mason Crane, who together averaged an unbelievable 128 with the ball in the last Ashes in Australia. The biggest gains England have made, however, have been with the blade. Sibley may be awful to watch, due to his heinous technique, but he sticks to the crease like a barnacle. The 25-year-old opener has faced a whopping 103 balls per dismissal so far in his Test career. Doubts persist over the future of his opening partner Rory Burns, who after 40 Test innings is averaging just 31. Then there’s regular number three Zak Crawley who’s had a truly odd Test career to date. Crawley last year belted 264 at home against the same ordinary Pakistan attack the Aussie batsmen monstered just months earlier. Otherwise he has flopped at Test level, averaging 23 from his other 15 innings. It is in the middle order that England are beginning to look gorilla strong. At four and five, Root and Stokes are in career-best form. Behind them at six, Pope is the best young England batsman to emerge since Root debuted eight years ago. A country cricket prodigy, with a first-class average of 54, the 23-year-old Pope is assured against spin, fluent against pace and bats with a calm and confidence that belies his youth. Then, at seven, Buttler seems to have finally found his place in Tests. One of the world’s supreme white ball players, Buttler long underperformed in red ball cricket. But he’s made 682 runs at 40 since the start of last year and has been adjusting the rhythm of his batting to suit match situations better than ever. In thumping India in Chennai this week, England sent a resounding message to their oldest foes. This year’s Ashes is set to be a proper contest.
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Brielle Cooper chasing second Iron Woman series victory
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A Set small text size A Set the default text size A Set large text size At just 17 years old, Brielle Cooper’s name was added to the history books when she became the youngest IronWoman to win a Nutri-Grain Iron series. Incredibly, Cooper only made her debut the previous year and went from placing 18th in her first year to winning just one year later. Cooper has now been competing in the Ironwoman series for five years. She still pinches herself when she remembers the success she had in her second year. “Even when people ask me about it now, it still sounds crazy and I don’t think I’ll really appreciate it until I retire,” said Cooper. “When I was growing up, winning an IronWoman series wasn’t my goal. I always wanted to compete in the IronWoman series but I never thought I would be good enough to win an IronWoman series. After that historic win, Cooper had the opportunity to reset her goals. She started to dream bigger and aspired to progress even further in the sport. “For me to win the series at such a young age is not something I thought I could do. It was such a big achievement for me. “It also allowed me to reset my goals. After thinking I could never win an IronWoman series I went to thinking perhaps I can win two, or maybe even three. “I want to win three IronWoman series before I retire and I’m still just 21 years old.” For Cooper, her preparation to win her next IronWoman series started a year ago when surf events started getting cancelled. While Cooper considers herself lucky to be able to begin competing this year and that she had the opportunity to train for most of last year, the pandemic meant that many iconic events, including the Coolangatta Gold were cancelled. That means it’s almost been a year between professional events. Brielle Cooper. Supplied: Surf Life Saving Australia But this weekend, the 2021 Nutri-Grain Series will commence at Cudgen Headland Surf Life Saving Club in Northern New South Wales. Originally due to be spaced out over three weekends, the event will now be reduced to two weekends. But that doesn’t seem to bother Cooper. “I am so excited. We are finally getting to race the IronWoman series and I can’t wait.” Behind Cooper and her success is a family that has been supportive of her through the challenges and the successes. In fact, Cooper tells me that her little brother is her number one fan. But, in the beginning Cooper did have to convince her dad about her involvement in the sport. “My dad loves to surf and Sunday morning was surf time for my dad,” said Cooper. “To convince him that he should take me to Nippers instead on a Sunday morning took some convincing but once I got there we never turned back.” Surf sports have also given Cooper’s family the opportunity to come together doing something they love. “My brother and sister are both involved in the sport and my sister trains with me on a daily basis. My dad got involved too. He patrols as well,” said Cooper. “There is opportunity for everyone to be involved. My mum was the team manager for my sister and I and also managed the entire girls squad for years.” “It has been an amazing thing for my family and we all absolutely love it. This weekend when Cooper competes, she will be competing against some of Australia’s most successful surf sport athletes including Courtney Hancock and Lana Rogers. For Cooper, it is still surreal to compete alongside these women, particularly Hancock who she grew up idolising. “Courtney was someone I aspired to be like,” said Cooper. “Then I got into the series and could race her. That was special. I got to watch her as a kid and now I have the privilege of racing alongside her.” For Cooper, racing against her heroine taught her about authenticity and reminded her that all athletes are human beings, first and foremost. “Once I got into the series I realised the dream wasn’t so far fetched. As a kid, you see only 20 women competing in the series and the dream seems so far away,” said Cooper. “Then you get into the series and realise the other athletes are just like me. They have to get up and train three times a day just like me. “When I was a kid they were superheroes to me and I never thought I would be like them.” Now, Cooper has become the ‘superhero’ to the next generation of IronWomen. “It’s a little bit of a crazy thing to think about. But something that is also incredibly special and that I don’t take for granted.”
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The Roar’s A-League expert tips and predictions: Match Week 8
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Last-minute draw changes saw Monday night’s slated Jets versus Western United clash postponed and instead, Brisbane Roar took on Macarthur FC in Redcliffe. A further fixture was also added to the schedule, with the Wanderers tackling Melbourne Victory at Bankwest Stadium last night. As such, The Roar’s tips and predictions were thrown into disarray. Thankfully, the panel were able to get their tips through to me in time for both encounters, however, that left the roar of the crowd out in the cold, with no means available to gauge the mood of fans. With Brisbane undefeated and the Wanderers firm favourites the following night, it seemed logical to allocate those choices to the fans, with very few potentially brave enough to tip against the expected results. Match Week 8 begins this Friday with the Bulls hosting the Reds before Saturday and Sunday feature two matches respectively, Tuesday presents another grand final replay and Melbourne Victory round out the action in a Wednesday clash with Wellington. Good luck with your selections and be sure to enter them in the sheet below to have a say as the voice of the crowd. Here is the way the panel sees all the action unfolding. Mike TuckermanMacarthur, Sydney, Western Sydney, Mariners, Brisbane, Sydney, Draw. Bit of a smash-and-grab raid from the Bulls in Brisbane on Tuesday night, but they’ll be better for Ante Milicic having rested several key players. That might just give them the edge over the unpredictable Reds. Despite having never really got going so far this season, Sydney FC just keep finding ways to win. Mark Rudan won’t want to lose to one of his former clubs but Western United have been a bit luckless to date. Look for the Wanderers to heap more pressure on Paddy Kisnorbo. City just look so disjointed, it’s hard to see how they win in Parramatta. Brisbane Roar came back to earth with a bit of a thud against Macarthur FC, but that might have been a timely reminder of how tough the league is. They should bounce back with another home win. Can’t tip against the Mariners in the form they’re in. Wellington are a better team than results suggest, but they’re at an obvious disadvantage having to play home games in Wollongong. City to lose at home again. It’s hard to believe a club with so many resources just can’t get it together. I have no idea who’ll win between an under-performing Melbourne Victory and a luckless-so-far Wellington Phoenix. Let’s split the difference and call it a draw. Stuart ThomasMacarthur, United, City, Wellington, Brisbane, City, Wellington Macarthur sat third at the time of writing, are playing well and Adelaide come off two straight losses. That is enough to swing this one the way of the home team. Sydney won well against Wellington and despite so much talk about their less than dominant form, have lost just once this season. This will be number two, with Western United bouncing back after the heart breaking loss to the Mariners. I’ll ride the Melbourne City train for one more week, tipping them against the Wanderers in Sydney, yet with little confidence and back Wellington to defeat Central Coast in the earlier of the Sunday matches. Connor Metcalfe (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images) Later that night, the Roar should bounce back with three points against the Jets in the sunshine state and Tuesday’s grand final replay will surprisingly go the way of Melbourne City when they stun the champions at AAMI Park. Picking Melbourne Victory is just not an option right now, therefore a Wellington Wednesday appears likely at the same venue. Paul NichollsMacarthur, Sydney, Western Sydney, Draw, Brisbane, City, Victory This must be the first season where tipping the winners is easier than tipping who is actually going to play. Just another by-product of the COVID era I suppose. Macarthur are doing just nicely thanks very much. Kudos due to coach Ante Milicic. Adelaide still look uncomfortable away from home and I think they’ll get beaten on the road again. I’ve been riding the Western United bandwagon for a while but like cheap champagne they look great but lack any fizz. Sydney are playing in third gear at the moment but Kosta Barbarouses is back in town folks and will help them get the win. Wow, what happened to Melbourne City? The silver spoon boys getting ready to move into the cellar. They won’t have an easy time of it away to the Wanderers and I’m predicting a fifth straight loss for City. Wellington are continuing their losing ways and Central Coast are playing like world beaters. The Phoenix did beat the Mariners on their last outing and will take some heart from that result. Wellington might surprise and get a draw. Brisbane couldn’t follow up their pummelling of Melbourne Victory against Macarthur but the boys in orange were looking a little jaded. Newcastle will be pumped after their win against Melbourne City but I think Brisbane will find their winning form again. Dylan Wenzel-Halls (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images) Tuesday sees a repeat of last year’s grand final between Melbourne City and Sydney FC. At the start of the season you would have pencilled this in as a marquee match but not so at the moment. Despite their ladder positions I think City will turn their season around. Like City, Melbourne Victory are desperate to reboot their season and will do it against an out of sorts Wellington Phoenix. Texi SmithAdelaide, Sydney, City, Wellington, Brisbane, City, Victory As if we’re meant to be able to tip this A League season with any sort of conviction. Let’s face it, Macarthur were rubbish at Brisbane and came away with a 2-0 win. Adelaide were overrun by the Perth juggernaut, but still looked lively. Logic tells me that the Reds will get up in this one, and for once I’m going to trust that logic and back them. Sydney FC were still wasteful in and around the penalty area against the Phoenix and looked shaky towards the end. They have an uncanny knack of picking up undeserved victories, like true champions. On Saturday we will see their true champions’ form and a much fancied Western United will cop a handsome beating. The unimpressive City will come out fighting in this one. Wanderers will be expected to easily beat the misfiring visitors, but this will be a turning point for Melbourne’s rich kids and they will sneak a win in the dying moments to silence the vocal home crowd. Write off the Mariners at your peril. I still can’t comprehend those two 3-2 results, unbelievable. Phoenix beat the Mariners recently at the Central Coast fortress and they will continue that streak with a rare complete performance. The Roar will be smarting going into this one. They didn’t do anywhere near enough in their last game and nerves will show against a Newcastle Jets team without a care in the world. A majestic display from Jack Duncan will not be enough to save the Jets and Brisbane will nick this one by a single goal. Sydney FC’s Melbourne vacation will be soured at AAMI Park. An unusually Ill-disciplined game and several uncharacteristic defensive lapses from the visitors will see them survive somehow until late on, when Adrian Luna will bundle home the only goal of the game. Steve Corica will be red carded and there will be an all-in fracas at the final whistle as the Premiers realise just how poor they’ve been. Melbourne Victory. What can we say about Melbourne Victory? Well, they’re bottom of the ladder, but it’s only by a small margin. Wellington will have expended all their energy in the win against the Mariners and will be ripe for the picking. Finally, we’ll see some top quality play from Victory, and a Jake Brimmer hat-trick will see the home side edge this one in a high-scoring encounter. Match Week 7 + 8 Mike Stuart Paul Texi The Crowd BRI vs MAC BRI BRI BRI MAC BRI WSW vs MVC WSW WSW WSW MVC WSW MAC vs ADL MAC MAC MAC ADL ? WUN vs SYD SYD WUN SYD SYD ? WSW vs MCY WSW MCY WSW MCY ? WEL vs CCM CCM WEL Draw WEL ? BRI vs NEW BRI BRI BRI BRI ? MCY vs SYD SYD MCY MCY MCY ? MVC vs WEL Draw WEL WEL WEL ? Last week 3 2 4 1 5 Previous total 10 10 15 15 8 Total 13 12 19 16 13 Loading…
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Shut up and play footy: Why do we take down players who stand against racism?
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A Set small text size A Set the default text size A Set large text size Fox Footy ran a story titled “Heritier Lumumba listed his nickname as ‘chimp’ in AFL Record” – a clickbait article which looked as if it had been intentionally devised to drive anti-Lumumba sentiment in the wake of the damning Collingwood report and subsequent fall of Eddie McGuire. It’s the Adam Goodes saga all over again. It’s Nicky Winmar. Why does it keeping happening? It’s easy to be high and mighty and say we are a racist country. There is certainly history – for example, I had no idea until recently, that Carlton great Syd Jackson was part of the stolen generation, as well as numerous accounts of someone’s race being used against them on the field or from the stands over a long period. As much as many of us would like to put our heads in the sand, that racist element is still prevalent. It will be for a long time. There is another factor at play too. Australians like people to follow our steady institutions, and as much as we like to think we love a rebel, we hate people who rock the boat. The AFL is definitely an institution, an organisation that can infiltrate schools and clubs throughout the land. We rely on AFL for fun, excitement, exercise, mutual conversation with friends. We even define people by the team they follow. So when someone shakes this up and calls out something we don’t like, the Australian culture is to make sure we collectively take them apart, like a swarm of wasps on a carcass. The problem is, when someone calls out a race issue, the shock jocks, and the dinosaurs who are in the system end up at the head of the swarm, and the institution follows. How many of you saw the Fox Footy article and decided Lumumba was full of shit, without reading? The reality is, every time we attack like this, we end up the worse for it. We lose the chance to gain a bit of Australian-ness that we long for. Kids who struggle with racism have their self-worth stripped a little bit more. Yet time and time again, these people speaking out are proven to be right. It’s high time the leaders in the AFL stop leading the swarm and listen to the change-makers.
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Nick Kyrgios completes extraordinary win
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A Set small text size A Set the default text size A Set large text size A frenzied crowd and fear of a negative media reaction helped drive Nick Kyrgios to his greatest Australian Open triumph. The mercurial Australian came back from the dead in his second round encounter with Frenchman Ugo Humbert, saving two match points in the fourth set for a stunning 5-7 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 victory. Initially unsure exactly how he pulled it out of the bag, Kyrgios said an “insane” atmosphere helped. And the thought of facing the fourth estate. “I was afraid to come into this room, you know,” he told a press conference after the match. “(And) go to my Airbnb and just read about it and take it all in, take all the negativity in that I have already taken. “It’s not easy to come back and try and put it all behind. I have been through a lot, and I didn’t just put my hand in a lucky dip and disappear.” The world No.47 looked shot after coughing up four consecutive games across the third and fourth sets but he lifted with three stunning winners with the match on the line. Speaking with his physio after the match, Kyrgios said it was right up there with his best wins anywhere. “He’s seen me tank matches, play epic five-setters, everything, and that was still one of the most crazy matches for both of us,” he said. “We’ve seen it all, but that was insane.” Kyrgios said he was “in awe” of the thunderous crowd at John Cain Arena. “The stadium definitely didn’t feel half full, that’s for sure.” He had kind words for Humbert, who he rated one of the better up-and-coming-players on tour. “I hope he doesn’t take it too hard on himself either. He played a hell of a match. He’s going to be really good.” For his part, Kyrgios said he did get the sense that something special could unravel when he broke back in the fourth set. “There was a moment … I was, like, ‘dude, this could be one of the most memorable matches of your career and you owe it to yourself’,” he said. Kyrgios is prepared for a physical match when he meets 2020 finalist Dominic Thiem for a spot in the last 16. “I have a lot of respect for him. I think his style of tennis is not easy to play. He’s super physical,” he said of Thiem. “But I’m not even thinking about it. I’m hurting just thinking about playing him right now.” © AAP
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Back-row opportunities in Australian rugby have never been greater
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Between retirements, overseas departures, Michael Hooper’s Japanese sabbatical, and unfortunate pre-season injuries, it’s hard to think of wider back-row race in Australian rugby going into a season. Around the teams, the turnover of players quickly provides a gauge on how wide the contest for the 6-7-8 jerseys really is. The Brumbies were rocked by the sudden retirement of Will Miller as they were preparing to ramp up pre-season preparations. Jahrome Brown didn’t play at all in 2020, but started Tuesday night’s trial against the Western Force in Canberra, and will be in a battle with Tom Cusack for the no.7 jersey. There are some quality youngsters coming through the ranks that may get opportunities this year, but the Brumbies look well served with Rob Valetini and Pete Samu ready to go again. In Queensland, confirmation that captain Liam Wright will miss most of the Super Rugby AU competition only proves the value of having the great depth in this area as the Reds do. On paper, Fraser McReight starting the year on the openside and the experienced Angus Scott-Young coming back onto the blind looks the obvious solution. The Reds captaincy might not be so easy to resolve, but they have got the players to fill in behind Wright. They may not even miss him, from a pure back-row output sense. Fraser McReight. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images) But Sam Wallis and Seru Uru in the Reds squad will ensure that the frontrunners are kept on their toes. Both have been around the Reds setup for the last few years and both played with Brisbane City in the National Rugby Championship. Now is a great opportunity for them players to get a foothold in Super Rugby as well. Hooper’s departure opens any number of scenarios for Waratahs coach Rob Penney, with Lachie Swinton at blindside the only player you would consider a lock for 2021. Ned Hanigan spent most of his time in the second row last season, but is no longer an option for Penney at no.6, having departed for Japan. We mention that only because while Charlie Gamble, Hugh Sinclair, Carlo Tizzano, and Will Harris were in last year’s squad, only Tizzano and Harris got limited opportunities early in the 2020 Super Rugby AU campaign. Jack Dempsey has been mentioned as an option at seven, which seems curious with both Gamble and Tizzano known to be quality on-ball openside players. If anything, Dempsey needs to own number eight and lead the team like a player with as many Super Rugby and Test caps as he has should. That all said, we cannot rule out the possibility of Hooper wearing an NSW jersey in 2021. The Top League in Japan has been delayed already this season, and is currently scheduled to start on February 20, the same weekend as Super Rugby AU. The first four rounds of the season were cancelled when the season was first delayed. Thankfully, Japan’s COVID-19 numbers are declining and are around the same levels from last November, before their second wave took hold and sharply increased. Their situation is looking much better now, but the possibility remains that another national outbreak could still yet impact the season. If Hooper found himself well short of match fitness, or the Japanese season was again put on hold, it does not seem that big a stretch to see him returning to Australia early to get some game time ahead of the international season. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images) The widest back-row races appear to be at the Western Force and Melbourne Rebels. The Force have gained Australian sevens player Tim Anstee and Argentinean international Tomás Lezana to strengthen their stocks in 2021, but have held onto the quality of the Brynard Stander and Kane Koteka as well. Fergus Lee-Warner is listed as a lock again this season, but spent plenty of time at blindside in the Force’s return to the Super Rugby fold last. Lezana is a known quantity with more than 30 Tests for Argentina, and nearly 50 appearances over five seasons with the Jaguares. He is going to bring a different kind of passion and physicality to the Force pack, and he will be a handful. Anstee will be interesting. He trained with the Force during the 2020 Super Rugby AU campaign, and then went back to club rugby and helped Sydney club Eastwood to a Shute Shield grand final. If his transition back to 15s rugby can take the next step, there will be no doubting his athleticism. The Rebels’ situation is the curious one. They lost Luke Jones back to France and Angus Cottrell has headed to the US after effectively being exiled at home last season, unable to leave Victoria and join his teammates. In return, they have gained a sevens star as well, with Jeral Skelton signing on late last year. But their squad still contains Richard Hardwick, Josh Kemeny, Rob Leota, Michael Wells, Brad Wilkin, and Isi Naisarani! Some handy players are going to be missing out every week. Despite endless options available to Dave Wessels, it’s hard to pin down any definite starters beyond Naisarani. Hardwick hasn’t really been the same player since leaving the Western Force years ago, Kemeny was excellent in limited opportunities last year, Leota and Wilkins both showed glimpses when fit, and Wells has years of experience at this level and on the international sevens scene. Further, they are yet to play a trial game, and have the bye in Round 1 of Super Rugby AU. How Wessels addresses this conundrum will remain unsolved for a little longer. What do you make of all these back rows? Which team looks best equipped? Who looks light on options? And who is your tip for a big season, among the widest field of loose-forward options we can remember?
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