• I can live up to the hype: top AFL draftee


    The AFL’s most-coveted youngster, Tom Boyd, says he’s ready to live up to the hype of being the top selection at this year’s national draft.


    Boyd was snapped up with the No.1 selection by Greater Western Sydney at Thursday night’s draft on the Gold Coast, with the Giants using pick two on midfielder Josh Kelly.

    Reigning premiers Hawthorn threw a lifeline to troubled Dayle Garlett, who has pledged a new-found maturity after burning clubs in the past.

    The Hawks used pick 38 on Garlett, rated a top 10 prospect last year but was overlooked after missing meetings with clubs amid a spate of boozy nights out.

    But Hawthorn recruiting manager Graham Wright said the 19-year-old had since turned his life around.

    “He has certainly been able to put a lot of controls around his life,” Wright said.

    “Dayle should come in with a clean slate … he has got that history, but we trust our players to give him every opportunity.”

    Garlett’s future was far less certain than top pick Boyd, who was touted pre-draft as a certain No.1 selection.

    The 18-year-old forward, at 201cm-tall and weighing 102kg, said he would thrive in the pressure associated with being the first selection.

    “I’m still a bit dizzy from the experience,” Boyd said.

    Asked if he was ready for AFL ranks, Boyd said: “I feel like it … but you can never be fully prepared without actually ever experiencing.

    “I’m not naive enough to think that it’s going to be easy.”

    St Kilda claimed half-forward Jack Billings with pick three while the Western Bulldogs used pick four on midfielder Marcus Bontempelli.

    Gold Coast took Tasmanian Kade Kolodjashnij with pick five. He will be separated from his twin bother Jake, who went to Geelong with pick 41.

    But two other sets of brothers will be reunited – Adelaide claimed Matt Crouch, brother of Brad, while Essendon took Zach Merrett, brother of Jackson.

    Adelaide’s sanctions for the Kurt Tippett controversy ended after the draft – they were banned from the opening two rounds last year and again this year, but traded back into the second round and secure Matt Crouch.

    “It was an awkward, difficult situation that we had to cope with,” Adelaide’s list manager David Noble said.

    Essendon were also trying to overcome draft penalties for the supplements saga – they lost round one and two picks this year, and next.

    “This year, we had a few weeks to get our house in order – got out of it okay in the end,” Essendon’s list manager Adrian Dodoro said.

    Reading More >>

  • Broad gets Ashes last laugh


    If only Australia had known that tests had scientifically proved that English quick Stuart Broad lifted when sledged.


    Instead they found out the hard way when the much maligned Broad (5-65) tore through their top order to reduce the hosts to 8-273 by stumps on day one of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane.

    Broad was always going to be public enemy No.1 after refusing to walk when playing a key innings in England’s first Ashes Test win at Trent Bridge in July.

    Yet coach Darren Lehmann still felt compelled to later brand Broad a cheat and ask the Australian crowds to “get stuck into him” Down Under.

    And the Gabba crowd duly delivered on Thursday.

    There were boos, plenty of damning banners and the inevitable “Broad is a wanker” chant.

    It was later revealed one bloke even smuggled a pig into the venue with claims it had “Broad” written on it but was arrested before he could release it onto the ground.

    Little did they know it was all music to Broad’s ears.

    “In our medical assessments the psychologist did tests on personality and said there were three guys in the side who would thrive properly on getting abuse – KP (Kevin Pietersen), myself and Matty Prior,” Broad said.

    “So they picked a good man to go at.

    “And there’s something about Ashes cricket that brings the best out of me.”

    Broad provided more evidence that he revelled in a fight when he walked into the end-of-day press conference.

    Tucked under his arm was the Brisbane News Corp paper that had needled him in the lead-up, even refusing to use his name on Thursday.

    “A couple of mates had mentioned it (newspaper’s ribbing) but I saw this outside and it made me smile,” Broad said.

    It remains to be seen how long the paper can maintain their stance after Broad’s day-one demolition job.

    One wag later changed the Brisbane paper’s editor’s name to “Stuart Broad” on Wikipedia.

    “So what are the Aussie papers going to say tomorrow,” tweeted former England paceman Matthew Hoggard.

    But at first the ribbing seemed to take its toll.

    Broad’s first ball was pulled to the boundary by big hitting David Warner – and called a no ball.

    Only something special was going to silence the fired up crowd.

    And Broad produced, at one stage boasting 4-38 off 11 overs.

    “There was a bit of banter, but we had the best of it today,” Broad said.

    Asked about being called “a word that rhymes with banker”, Broad said: “I am pleased my mum wasn’t in the stadium.

    “But to be honest at one stage I was singing along. It gets in your head and you find yourself whistling it at the end of your mark.”

    Broad added: “We almost feel like silent assassins on this trip.

    “Just going under the radar focusing on what we had to do.

    “Now we are here and in for the fight.”

    Reading More >>

  • Showdown in Senate for carbon tax laws


    The Abbott government has cleared the first hurdle in getting the carbon tax scrapped, but is now set for a hostile showdown with their opponents in the Senate.


    The government used its numbers in the House of Representatives to pass a package of laws to abolish not just the carbon tax, but the Climate Change Authority and Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

    But while the bills were destined to clear the lower house without much fuss, the real battle to axe the tax will begin in the Senate in early December.

    Labor and the Australian Greens have vowed to stop the legislation from becoming law, and they collectively hold the balance of power until the upper house changeover in July.

    The government knows this, and started ramping up the pressure on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten the moment the bills passed on Thursday.

    “If Labor decides to vote against the repeal in the Senate, it will be clear proof that Labor hasn’t changed under Bill Shorten,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said told supporters in an email.

    “I want the repeal of the carbon tax to be passed by Christmas, and to give Australian families and businesses the help they need.”

    It doesn’t look likely that the bills will pass parliament before it rises for the summer, but the government isn’t going to walk away from its signature election promise in a hurry.

    Environment Minister Greg Hunt reminded the MPs the coalition had a contract with the Australian people, and this bill was about “honouring one’s words”.

    “They determined the result of this election clearly and comprehensively and unequivocally,” he said.

    “They voted for a government which proposed the repeal of the carbon tax.”

    Opposition climate change spokesman Mark Butler tried to turn the spotlight onto the government’s so-called direct action policy carbon abatement policy by moving an amendment.

    Speaker Bronwyn Bishop ruled against it, sparking an intense war of words that stalled proceedings in the lower house and delayed a vote until after 3pm (AEDT).

    Mr Butler said the environment minister didn’t want to discuss direct action because it was a “stinking dead albatross hanging around his neck”.

    “We know the minister doesn’t believe this is going to make any effect to reduce carbon pollution,” he said.

    There was no shortage of hot words exchanged, notably Labor MP Graham Perrett’s wish that the grandchildren of his opponents would track them down in old age and “give them a good head butt”.

    Greens MP Adam Bandt said the government had chosen cowardice over courage, saying the country needed a Churchill on climate action but had got a Chamberlain instead.

    The government wants a Senate inquiry into the carbon tax repeal legislation to report back by December 2, and it could get Greens support, but Labor is pushing for a later date.

    Reading More >>

  • Heat hammer Magic by 28 points in NBA


    LeBron James had 21 points and seven assists, and Chris Bosh scored 18 as the Miami Heat beat the Orlando Magic 120-92 on Wednesday for their fifth straight NBA victory.


    James Jones scored 14 of his 17 points in the third quarter, when the Heat turned what was a five-point game into a runaway.

    All five Miami starters sat out the fourth quarter for the second straight night, and Dwyane Wade sat out the whole game again to give his knees more rest.

    Arron Afflalo scored 20 of his 30 points in the first half for Orlando and went 7 of 9 from three-point range. Victor Oladipo added 20 points but had eight turnovers.

    Indiana’s Paul George made three free throws to level the game with 5.2 seconds left in regulation, then scored nine of his season-high 35 points in overtime as the Pacers downed the Knicks 103-96 for New York’s sixth straight defeat at home.

    At Dallas, Monta Ellis had a season-high 37 points and assisted on the go-ahead basket as the Mavericks spoiled Dwight Howard’s best offensive night in Houston’s 123-120 loss.

    Dallas was down one when Ellis drove and zipped a pass to Shawn Marion in the corner for the go-ahead three-pointer with 47 seconds left.

    Dirk Nowitzki finished with a season-high 35, including 14 in the fourth, and passed Reggie Miller for 15th on the NBA scoring list. Nowitzki has 25,298 points, 18 ahead of Miller.

    The Portland Trail Blazers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 91-82 for their eighth straight win after LaMarcus Aldridge scored 21 points.

    Wesley Matthews had 15 points, all in the first half, to help Portland complete a sweep of a four-game Eastern Conference road trip. The Trail Blazers have won 10 of 12 to start the season.

    Tony Parker scored 19 points as the San Antonio Spurs beat the Boston Celtics 104-93 to win their eighth straight overall and remain undefeated at home, while DeMar DeRozan scored 33 points to help the Toronto Raptors down the Philadelphia Phillies 108-98.

    The Washington Wizards beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 98-91 thanks to Bradley Beal’s 26 points and Nene’s 24, and Kemba Walker scored a season-high 31 points to lead the Charlotte Bobcats over the Brooklyn Nets 95-91.

    In other games, the Atlanta Hawks downed the Detroit Pistons 93-85, the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 102-98, the New Orleans Pelicans were 105-98 winners over the Utah Jazz, the Memphis Grizzlies overcame the Golden State Warriors 88-81 in overtime and the Los Angeles Kings had a 113-106 victory over the Phoenix Suns.

    Reading More >>

  • Bjorn, Streelman feel love for Royal Melbourne at World Cup


    The 42-year-old Dane carded a five-under 66 to earn a share of the lead with American Kevin Streelman, the pair stealing the limelight from the likes of favourites Adam Scott (75) and Matt Kuchar (71) at the famed sandbelt course.


    Designed by renowned course architect Alister McKenzie, Royal Melbourne’s layout of short holes has become vulnerable to modern golf’s long hitters, but continues to punish risk-takers severely for the slightest of transgressions.

    With fluky breezes and a warm sun baking the greens into flint-hard frying pans, most of the 60-man field toiled through bogey-strewn back nines, but Bjorn was a model of control as he drained seven birdies.

    “You know, you wake up in the morning and when you are 42-years-old it’s not every time you wake up and think, ‘I am going to go and play golf today’,” Bjorn told reporters.

    “But when you are going to go and play Royal Melbourne you kind of get excited about it.

    “It is, in my eyes, probably the finest golf course you can ever play… You can’t get carried away. You have got to play smart golf and I could play (it) every day for the rest of my life.”

    Streelman was also singing the course’s praises, despite being burnt with bogeys on the treacherous 16th and 18th holes after having roared into a two-stroke lead with a run of five birdies in six holes prior to his first dropped shot.

    “It’s just an incredible golf course. It’s a treat to play. I really love it and was able to keep the ball below the holes,” said Streelman, who upstaged fellow American Matt Kuchar after the world number seven warmed up for the tournament with a runner-up finish at the Australian Masters at the same course on Sunday.


    “Some of those pin positions were rather difficult and it is a course you have to be so careful on and I was able to put the ball in the right position and make some really nice birdie putts and also some par saves as well. So it’s a nice start.”

    Streelman revealed that he had been given an insider’s guide to Royal Melbourne by a local teenager, who had followed him around the course in the lead-up.

    “Darcy, a 19-year-old, grew up out here,” said the 35-year-old, who invited him inside the fairway’s rope to be an impromptu caddy.

    “He just knew every break on these green so we kind of picked his brains a little bit, where to leave shots and where you can’t leave shots. He helped out a lot so it was fun having him with me.”

    Streelman and Bjorn hold a one-stroke lead in the revamped tournament, with individual honours the main focus after being solely a team event in past editions.

    Their rounds also put Denmark and the United States on level pegging in the team component, three strokes above Portugal. Team honours go to the best aggregate scores after four rounds of individual strokeplay.

    Twenty-six two-man teams are competing for their nations.

    Both Bjorn and Streelman agreed patience would be key over the remaining rounds.

    “(U.S. Masters course) Augusta National is what it reminds me of as far as having the angles into certain pins and attacking when you can and just saving par bogey when you can and being really smart,” Streelman said.

    “The smartest patient golfer is going to win – and team – is going to win this week.”

    (Editing by John O’Brien)

    Reading More >>

  • McKenzie makes eight Australia changes for Scotland test


    Adam Ashley-Cooper and Nick Cummins were two of the six suspended for the ‘inappropriate levels of alcohol’ meaning Joe Tomane and Chris Feauai-Sautia will be the starting wingers in Edinburgh.


    Tomane will win just his eighth cap while Feauai-Sautia earns his second.

    Front rowers Tatafu Polota-Nau and Benn Robinson lost their place on the bench with Saia Fainga’a and Ben Alexander taking over, while openside flanker Liam Gill was replaced by Ben McCalman.

    Waratahs prop Paddy Ryan was the only one of the six sanctioned players named in Saturday’s squad with McKenzie forced to put him on the bench because of a lack of front row numbers in his tour party.

    He will serve his one-match ban in the test against Wales in Cardiff next week.

    McKenzie’s squad was hit further by a hamstring injury to Matt Toomua and a five-week ban for Tevita Kurirani after a dangerous tackle in Dublin, meaning goalkicker Christian Leali’ifano will form a new centre pairing with the versatile Mike Harris.

    Harris has played eight tests in a variety of positions for the Wallabies.


    Despite its relative inexperience, the backline boasts Israel Folau at fullback and the accomplished halfback pairing of Will Genia and Quade Cooper. Understudies Nick Phipps and Bernard Foley were further changes named on the bench.

    Despite the high number of changes, McKenzie remained confident of a win over the struggling Scots.

    “We’ve made some difficult selection decisions this week and now I’ll be looking to see how those individuals with an opportunity respond to the challenge,” McKenzie said in a statement after announcing the team on Thursday.

    “All Spring Tour, I’ve been impressed by the competition we’ve been able to create in a number of positions. Now, some of those guys get a chance to impress in new roles this week.”

    McKenzie, who took over from Robbie Deans after the home series defeat by the British and Irish Lions in July, has enjoyed a promising European tour after a tough opening against Southern Hemisphere opposition in the Rugby Championship.

    A narrow 20-13 loss to England was followed by a blow out 50-20 win over Italy in Rome before the Wallabies cut open Ireland with ease in their four try success in Dublin.

    Scotland were beaten 28-0 at home by South Africa last week but are aiming for three straight wins over the Wallabies following a 9-8 home victory four years ago and a surprise 9-6 success last year in Newcastle.

    Team: 15-Israel Folau, 14-Joe Tomane, 13-Christian Leali’ifano, 12-Mike Harris, 11-Chris Feauai-Sautia, 10-Quade Cooper, 9-Will Genia, 8-Ben Mowen (captain), 7-Michael Hooper, 6-Scott Fardy, 5-James Horwill, 4-Rob Simmons, 3-Sekope Kepu, 2-Stephen Moore, 1-James Slipper.

    Replacements: 16-Saia Fainga’a, 17-Ben Alexander, 18-Paddy Ryan, 19-Sitaleki Timani, 20-Ben McCalman, 21-Nic White, 22-Nick Phipps, 23-Bernard Foley.

    (Writing by Patrick Johnston; Editing by John O’Brien)

    Reading More >>

  • Kallis returns to South Africa ODI squad


    Jacques Kallis was recalled to South Africa’s one-day squad on Thursday for two home series against Pakistan and India, putting the veteran allrounder in line to play his first ODI in nearly two years.


    The 38-year-old Kallis appeared in the last of his 321 ODIs at home against New Zealand in February 2012 and has been rested from the short format since, part of South Africa’s plan to manage his workload ahead of a likely swansong at the 2015 World Cup.

    Kallis replaced Twenty20 captain Faf du Plessis in a 14-man squad named by Cricket South Africa for three one-day games against Pakistan this month and three against India in December.

    Pakistan-born legspinner Imran Tahir was also retained at the expense of left-arm slow bowler Robin Peterson.

    Opening batsman and Test captain Graeme Smith returned to the ODI squad after leaving the tour of United Arab Emirates with post-concussion syndrome as a result of being hit on the head by a bouncing delivery from giant Pakistan fast bowler Mohammed Irfan last month.

    Smith was advised to rest after experiencing delayed symptoms of blurred vision and dizziness. Cricket South Africa said Smith had now made “a complete recovery.”

    Kallis returned after a long absence, underlining South Africa’s intention to keep him in contention to play at the World Cup in two years, when he will be nearly 40.

    Kallis has defied talk of retirement and continues to be one of South Africa’s most consistent performers in Test cricket, while making rare appearances for his country in the 50- and 20-over formats. He has said winning a 50-over World Cup is his last ambition.

    Kallis is considered South Africa’s greatest cricketer of the modern era and has made more Test and ODI runs than any other South African.

    He is also fifth on the country’s list of Test wicket-takers and third in ODIs, placing him as one of the game’s outstanding allrounders.

    Reading More >>

  • Suck it up, McKenzie tells Dublin Six


    Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has demanded his banished players suck up their disappointment as Australia prepare for one of their “greatest challenges” at Murrayfield.


    Bans to the ‘Dublin Six’, combined with a tour-ending injury to Matt Toomua and suspension to Tevita Kuridrani, will see the Wallabies sport a patched-up backline against Scotland at the end of a tumultuous week.

    They will miss the entire three-quarter division that starred in the 32-15 win over Ireland, forcing McKenzie to manufacture playmaker Christian Leali’ifano into an outside centre.

    Leali’ifano, normally a No.12, has been selected to partner Kiwi-born Mike Harris in a makeshift midfield combination while rookie Chris Feauai-Sautia will make his run-on debut on one wing and Joe Tomane on the other.

    The changes and the drama surrounding the decision to stand down six players and warn nine others for their late-night drinking session in Dublin means Sunday morning’s (AEDT) encounter looms as a pivotal moment in McKenzie’s reign.

    “It will be one of our greatest challenges, given we have a bunch of changes,” he said.

    “The guys are going to be hungry for different reasons, so if you don’t get the best out of them now I don’t know when you will.

    “This is a test of character for everyone, for all of us, the coaches, the whole lot. It will be an important moment.”

    The fallout of the team sanctions – which has been criticised by the Rugby Union Players Association – has rubbed extra salt into the wounds of banned players.

    But McKenzie has told disappointed players – Adam Ashley-Cooper, Nick Cummins, Benn Robinson, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Liam Gill and Paddy Ryan – to get back on the horse.

    “I’m sure plenty of guys will wish they could have their time again, but that’s the spent arrow, it’s gone,” he said. “Nothing’s going to change so we have to suck it up and get going.

    “What we can change is how we function as a group so we’ll pulled together. You circle the wagons and get on with it.”

    McKenzie admitted he briefly considered calling in France-based forwards Peter Kimlin and Dan Palmer to bolster his squad but their lack of recent match experience stopped him.

    It’s out wide where the Wallabies are most struggling for troops but the coach ruled Digby Ioane and Drew Mitchell, also playing in France, as ineligible because they chose to head overseas when they were still wanted, unlike Brumbies duo Kimlin and Palmer.

    The threadbare depth left in the backline stocks is shown by third-string halfback Nick Phipps selection on the bench as a back-up winger.

    Toomua’s hamstring strain couldn’t have been more untimely, especially with Kuridrani slugged with a five-week suspension for his tip tackle on Irish flanker Peter O’Mahony.

    McKenzie felt Kuridrani was harshly treated, hinting at inconsistencies within sentencing from previous cases, but was also cautious about rushing into an appeal.

    Wallabies: Israel Folau, Joe Tomane, Christian Leali’ifano, Mike Harris, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Ben Mowen (capt), Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy, James Horwill, Rob Simmons, Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore, James Slipper. Res: Saia Faingaa, Ben Alexander, Paddy Ryan, Sitaleki Timani, Ben McCalman, Nic White, Nick Phipps, Bernard Foley.

    Reading More >>

  • Managers of Australia’s detention centres blasted by UK MPs


    The Public Accounts Committee called on the executives to explain themselves after a series of multi-million-dollar blunders.


    The British investigations are unrelated to their outsourcing operations in Australia but a member of the British Public Accounts Committee says people in Australia should be concerned.

    Like in Australia, an increasing number of government services, including prisons, detention centres, schools and hospitals, are being managed by private companies.

    UK Opposition Labour MP Austin Mitchell says Australians should be concerned by what has happened in Britain.

    “A lot of things that have been made worse under this government were started by the Labour government, that goes for privatisation and outsourcing like this, it goes for reducing the functions of the state.

    “The Labour government did a lot of good but because spending was so high, it tried to economise in this fashion, and therefore it opened the door for the conservative government which believes in reducing the power of the state as an ideology, it opened the door for the conservative government to do it on a much bigger scale.”

    Listen: Serco/G4S wear blame for UK scandal, Stefan Armbruster reports


    Independent journalist Antony Loewenstein has been following the activities of multinational companies G4S and Serco in running detention centres in Australia and the UK.

    He has told SBS that the developments in the UK have significant implications for the management of Australia’s detention centres.

    “Most people don’t even know what they do here. They don’t get a lot of press, which is how they want it,” Loewenstein says.

    He says the track record of Serco’s management of detention centres in Australia and overseas in the past year is revealing.

    “Human rights abuses, understaffing, undertraining, [there’s] a lot of abuse going on, both towards asylum seekers but also the guards themselves are often mentally traumatised and the Australian government is well aware of this. This is a bipartisan issue.”

    Despite the documented incidents of poor management and transgressions, Loewenstein says G4S and Serco have shown little accountability and continue to receive contracts.

    “Serco has been running the Australian detention centres since 2009 in the Kevin Rudd Labor government. The contract then was $370 million roughly. 2013, we don’t have an exact figure but roughly $1.86 billion plus. Of course there’s been a massive surge in boats in the last year so there’s more people in detention.

    “And one of the things that is not examined enough is the fact is that it is known that the record of G4S and Serco, particularly in Britain for juvenile justice prisons, prisons in general, immigration detention centres is bad.”

    Listen: Antony Loewenstein speaks to SBS reporter Stefan Armbruster

    He says the Australian government still sees the benefits of outsourcing and privatising the management of detention centres outweighing the disadvantages.

    “There is a weird disconnect. And I think both sides of politics in Australia and the UK somehow believe that is more efficient, so to speak, or cheaper, or better to have a private corporation managing the most vulnerable people. And the record shows the exact opposite.”

    Reading More >>

  • Key A-League trio back for Roar


    Livewire striker Besart Berisha is set to come straight into the starting line-up in his return from injury for Brisbane’s A-League clash with Western Sydney.


    The Albanian marksman had been sidelined for the Roar’s past four matches with a hamstring strain but coach Mike Mulvey labelled him a near-certain starter for Friday’s top-of-the-table clash.

    “We don’t want to put too much expectation on him but the thing I do know is he’s done the preparation,” Mulvey said.

    “He’s looking good. He’s looking sharp.”

    The Roar will also welcome back Socceroos pair Matt McKay and Ivan Franjic, with international commitments keeping them out of last week’s loss to Newcastle at a sodden Hunter Stadium.

    Franjic has pulled up well despite playing the full 90 minutes against Costa Rica midweek while McKay is “fresh as a daisy” according to Mulvey.

    McKay’s return means Jade North will move back from midfield to central defence with youngster James Donachie dropping to the bench.

    It caps a mixed week for Donachie, whose poor pass gave the Jets the ball for their winning goal last Sunday but the 20-year-old has signed a contract extension keeping him at the Roar until the end of 2017.

    The Wanderers, unbeaten in their past 18 regular-season matches, made the most of the Roar’s slip-up last week to move two points clear at the top of the ladder.

    Striker Youssouf Hersi is poised to return for the Wanderers after a foot injury, giving coach Tony Popovic a near full squad to choose from.

    The Roar are yet to beat the Wanderers and had their season ended by the Sydneysiders in last year’s finals campaign.

    “It’s been a short turnaround but we’ve spent our time recovering well for a formidable opponent,” Mulvey said.

    “They’re very well drilled … we need to make sure we’ve organised well.

    “If we can get an early goal and get the crowd behind us anything’s possible.”

    Reading More >>