100% Australian

members login

Forgot Password?

Betezy News


WANDERERS defender Matthew Spiranovic could be available for this weekend’s trip to the Central Coast despite limping off the field on Sunday with a tight hamstring.

Spiranovic’s second-half injury was the only dampener in the Wanderers’ 3-0 win.

Coach Tony Popovic insists Spiranovic was taken off as a precaution, with the talented centre-back struggling to keep up with his packed schedule. The 25-year-old played for the Socceroos in their friendly game against Ecuador earlier this month and Popovic says he still hasn’t fully recovered.

“He came to us on a very low base, no pre-season, no fitness, and it’s taken a while to get him where we want him,” Popovic said.

“He played three games in a week, went and played in the national team — that was four games in 10 days. Since he’s come back his body hasn’t been great, that’s the reality of it. His body isn’t used to playing that many matches and we’ll do everything we can to get him up to speed.”

Meanwhile, Popovic has cautioned against hyping up his young striker Tomi Juric.

The 22-year-old has had an injury-disrupted season, yet he is still the club’s leading goalscorer.

“He’s a talented young boy, but a long way to go, so I hope you guys don’t hype him up too much,” Popovic said.



Mitchell Starc has showed he's ready to lead the Australian attack at the Twenty20 World Cup, piloting the side to a six-wicket win over South Africa.

Australia ended their tour of South Africa the same way it started - with a left-armer named Mitchell wreaking havoc in a resounding triumph at Centurion.

Mitchell Starc went for the throat as Australia made it five Twenty20 wins on the trot, wrapping up a 2-0 series triumph with a comfortable six-wicket victory on Saturday morning (AEDT).

Starc helped restrict the Proteas to a total of 7-128, while quick-fire knocks from Aaron Finch and Shane Watson helped Australia chase the modest total down in 15 overs.

Like Mitchell Johnson in the 281-run win in the first Test a month ago, Starc started with a fiery opening spell.

It begun with a maiden over, the last ball of which thundered into Quinton de Kock's throat at almost 140 km/h.



Adam Scott's respected caddie Steve Williams has told the Australian golf ace that 2014 will be his last full year on tour.

He's already been told to lose the broomstick and now Adam Scott may have to ditch his caddie as well after Steve Williams revealed 2014 will be his last year carrying golf bags fulltime.

Williams and the controversial long putter have been Scott's two most trusted allies over the past three years, helping transform the Queenslander into a major champion and heir apparent to Tiger Woods' world No.1 ranking.

But with putters anchored to the body banned from 2016 and Williams deciding to scale back after a celebrated career caddying for Scott, Woods, Greg Norman and Raymond Floyd, the Masters champion may be without his most important accessories before too long.

"Adam knows my intentions. He knows that 2014 will be my last year of doing it fulltime so he knows that if I'm going to carry on in 2015 it will be on a limited basis," Williams told The Golf Show on Fox Sports on Tuesday night.

"So we're just trying to focus on having the best year that we can in 2014 and then we'll discuss it at the end of the year."

Williams said three-and-a-half decades on tour was enough.


Warner to marry and become father 11/03/2014 1:27:18 PM


David Warner's purple patch has extended, with the in-form opener announcing that he is to marry partner Candice Falzon and that the couple are expecting a baby.

Warner finished as the leading run-scorer in the Test series win against world No.1 ranked side South Africa, with 543 runs at 90.50, including twin centuries in the decider in Cape Town last week.

That performance came on the back of 523 runs at 58.11 in the Ashes whitewash where he scored another two centuries.



Adam Scott says he has plenty of practice to do before his Masters defence after struggling at the WGC tournament in Miami. Adam Scott says his five over-par performance at the World Golf Championships event in Miami proves he needs to practice more as his Masters title defence looms in one month. Scott failed to break par in any round as he finished tied 25th in the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral, nine shots behind winner Patrick Reed. The Blue Monster course has undergone a significant revamp in the last 12 months under owner Donald Trump and it caused many of the world's best golfers plenty of headaches, with only three players finishing under par. But it was still an unacceptable week for world No.2 Scott. "I won't take a lot out of this week other than I need to practice more," said Scott. "I will work on the usual stuff, trying to tighten things up as always." After his third round Scott spent significant time on the range practicing alignment and posture but seemingly struggled with it further on Sunday as he shot one-over 73.


The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs are believed to have masterminded a multimillion-dollar raid on the Cronulla Sharks, with sources at Belmore suggesting the Dogs have snared not only Origin prop Andrew Fifita but also talented young hooker Michael Lichaa.

And the Dogs' recruitment drive is still not over, with strong rumours they are in negotiations with a fullback at a rival club, who, it is believed, could join them "in a matter of weeks".

The 20-year-old rake was pursued by a number of NRL clubs after being rated the hottest young talent on the open market, and had been on rival club's radars since he made his debut in Cronulla's under 20s at 17.

While the Sharks tried hard to retain him, it is believed Canterbury have won out with a three-year deal worth $300,000 a season and a vision for his future.



FAMED champion jockey Roy Higgins has died after a short battle with illness. He was 75.

Higgins was admitted to hospital in the last month fighting a number of issues. His condition deteriorated quickly in the past 48 hours.

Born in 1938 at Koondrook, on the Victorian side of the Murray River, Higgins began riding in 1953 and rode more than 2300 winners.

His first ride was in August of that year at Deniliquin, on Cherry Girl and finishing last. Two months later, he broke through for his first win at the same course on Statutory.

Higgins was leading apprentice in southern NSW and northeast Victoria, though it would be 958 before he made an impact in Melbourne, riding a winning double at Flemington in April, 1958.

With saddle he travelled to France, Belgium, Hong Kong and South Africa, but it was riding for trainers such as Bart Cummings, Tommy Smith and Angus Armanasco between 1963 and his retirement in October, 1983, that Higgins’ brilliance shone through.

Dubbed ‘’The Professor’’ as his middle name was Henry as in the leading male character in My Fair Lady, Higgins won two Melbourne Cups, a Caulfield Cup, a WS Cox Plate, four VRC Derbies, five VRC Oaks and four Blue Diamond Stakes


Souths run Roosters ragged 7/03/2014 11:19:08 AM


The highly anticipated 2014 season opener lived up to its billing as the two cross-town Sydney rivals traded a series of massive hits for 80 minutes, with the Rabbitohs eventually claiming a very physical match 28-8 on the back of a Greg Inglis hat-trick.

Overall the Rabbitohs dominated possession with a 57 per cent share, ran a whopping 2049 metres compared to the Roosters' 1595. They made five line busts, with the Roosters failing to register even one.

The Roosters had to make 105 more tackles than their opponents.

The referees showed they will continue their crackdown on shoulder charges with Ben Te'oDylan Napa and Sonny Bill Williams among those penalised for the offence.





Wales sweeps home after long absence 6/03/2014 12:00:00 AM


Wales overcame an absence from competition of nearly two years to overwhelm his rivals with a big finish to land Wednesday's Catanach's Jewellers Handicap (1400m) at Sandown Park - Sandown Hillside.

Wales had raced only once before, when winning the Listed Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield in April, 2012.

A series of niggling problems have kept the son of Redoute's Choice away from the racetrack but he showed he has retained plenty of ability when powering home to score.

Wales's jockey Steven Arnold was happy to race wide with cover, a little worse than midfield to the home turn.

Once into the home straight Wales ($7) came widest of all to swamp Final Jest ($13) and score by a short-head. Edgewood ($15) was a half-length off third.

"It's a super effort to score over 1400 metres at just his second start and after a long break and against seasoned horses," Arnold said.

Despite the long absence from the racecourse, Arnold said the team at Macdeon Lodge had not lost faith in Wales.

"Lloyd (Williams) really likes his ability but it's a bit hard to be confident after two years off," Arnold said.

Wales is out of Valkyrie Diva, a well-performed half-sister to Makybe Diva and Arnold said Wales has plenty of potential.

"He's a lovely horse, he's well bred, got a lovely attitude. He's still a bit raw but the ability is there," he said.

Wales is unbeaten in two starts and Arnold said the four-year-old can keep on improving.

"I think he has good improvement of that today and he can reach stakes level again." Arnold said.

 


David Warner enters record books 5/03/2014 8:56:30 AM


DAVID Warner is in the company of legends after he wrapped up his batting contribution for the series against South Africa with a superb hundred at Newlands. The rampaging opener belted a belligerent 145 off just 156 balls, helping Australia set an imposing target of 511 for the Proteas to chase in the third and deciding Test

Graeme Smith announces retirement 4/03/2014 9:01:07 AM


While the announcement that Graeme Smith was walking away from international game surprised the cricket world with its timing, it did not come as a complete shock to those who had been closely following the South African team of late.

Indeed, whispers began to surface following the first Test against Australia at Centurion last month that the 33-year-old had considered making the move even before the current series was over.

Those close to the inner-sanctum spoke of Smith’s frustration that flowed from the loud and, in some cases, personally pointed criticism that accompanied the Proteas' thumping 281-run defeat to Australia and the dual failures the skipper endured in both innings.

Not just the fact that he was dismissed for just 10 and 4 in his two trips to the crease.

To the same bowler – Mitchell Johnson.

Having faced a sum total of 18 deliveries for the match.

It was as much the manner of his dismissals, in particular the first innings when he was completely turned over by a fearsome Johnson bouncer that left a clear impression of a batsman whose capacity to cope with hostile fast bowling – stock in trade for an opener – has passed him by.

A proud and fiercely competitive man who remains the only player in the 137-year history of Test cricket to captain his country on more than 100 occasions, Smith was apparently stung by the latest round of criticism aimed at his batting, his captaincy and the performance of his team.



THE Football Association has charged Newcastle manager Alan Pardew with improper conduct for headbutting an opposing player during a Premier League match.

Pardew is facing a lengthy ban following his confrontation with Hull midfielder David Meyler during last weekend’s match. He has until Friday morning (EDT) to respond to the charge.

Pardew has already been sanctioned by Newcastle, accepting a formal warning and a $A194,000 fine.

At the KC Stadium, Meyler initially barged into Pardew as he looked to retrieve the ball for a throw-in. After squaring up to Meyler before moving his head in the direction of the player’s face, Pardew was sent to the stands.

Newcastle won the match 4-1.



AFL Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick made the announcement during a packed press conference at AFL House on Monday morning. 

Demetriou said he had no regrets about the decision. 

"I advised Mike officially when we were both over at the Super Bowl that I intended to announce my resignation in early March," Demetriou said. 

"I've always said it's an honour and privilege to serve in this role, but any organisation needs renewal and needs a new set of eyes. 

"I also believe the time is right. The growth of the game has been extraordinary.



Retired jockey Rodney Quinn has joined Racing NSW as a mentor for apprentice riders.

Quinn will start his new role at Kembla Grange on Saturday, eight months after his final race ride.

He joins a Racing NSW team of ex-jockeys that includes Ron Quinton and Malcolm Johnston.

Quinn won more than 2000 races during a 37-year riding career and said he was looking forward to continuing his involvement in racing.


2014 AUSTRALIAN CUP 28/02/2014 12:00:00 AM


Victorian greyhound tracks host many race meetings that are tailored for the entire family, but none more so that the Maurice Blackburn Lawyers Australian Cup, to be run this Saturday night, 1 March.
 
Geelong’s AFL Captain Joel Selwood & teammate Tom Hawkins will headline a list of sports stars and celebrities at the Cup that also includes Billy Brownless, Andrew Gaze and Aussie netballer Madison Browne.

Someone on course will walk away with a $20,000 Ultimate Sporting Holiday voucher, to go towards the global sporting event of their choice, by simply selecting the winner of the Australian Cup.

There’ll also be a chance to compete in The Meadows obstacle course to win $1,000.

Entry is free and includes live music, while kids will receive free showbags and entertainment courtesy of Kelly Sports.

 

AUSTRALIAN CUP FIELD
1.  KISS ME KETUT (David Burnett, VIC)
2.  KEYBOW (Darren McDonald, VIC)
3.  DYNA NALIN (Paul Stuart, WA)
4.  INNOCENT TIL (Jason Thompson, VIC)
5.  HALLELUJAH HENRY (Darren McDonald, VIC)
6.  MUSQUIN BALE (Andrea Dailly, VIC)
7.  BUCKLE UP WES (Ted Medhurst, TAS)
8.  MARCUS JOE (Barry Moloney, VIC)
RESERVES
9.  PUNCH ONE OUT (Jason Mackay, NSW)
10. CRAWF'S BREAD (David Crawford, VIC)



Johnny Murtagh, five-times Irish Champion Jockey and winner of more than 100 Group One races during a 26-year career, has quit the saddle to concentrate on training.

Murtagh, 43, said: “I’ve done extremely well and when you look at the list of those I have ridden, there have been some brilliant horses.

“It would be unfair to pick out one, but there were a number of special days.

“My first Derby win aboard Sinndar was obviously a huge thing and then Yeats was an incredible horse to be associated with.

“Riding and training Royal Diamond to win on Champions Day last year at Ascot (in the Long Distance Cup). That was something very special as well. 


Australia wilted under pressure 25/02/2014 12:00:00 AM


Michael Clarke lamented Australia's inability to stand up to South Africa's attack after collapsing to a 231-run defeat in the second Test. After being set an unlikely 448 to win, Australia started well with an opening partnership of 126 between Chris Rogers (107) and David Warner (66). However, Warner's dismissal sparked an astonishing slump that saw the remaining nine wickets go down for just 64 runs as South Africa levelled the series with one game to play.


The nominations are now available online for the full support program at Saturday’s Group I Australian Guineas (1600m) meeting at Flemington.

A field of 19 three-year-olds remains in contention for the $500,000 Australian Guineas, including leading fancies Hucklebuck, Eurozone and Solicit with the field to be declared on Wednesday morning.

The first day of the Flemington autumn carnival also features the Group III TAB Rewards Stakes (1400m) and Frances Tressady Stakes (1400m) as well as the Listed Festival Of Racing 1000 (1000m) and Listed Roy Higgins Quality (2500m).

Caulfield Cup winner Fawkner is one of 20 entries for the TAB Rewards Stakes with his rating of 112 leaving him four points clear of the next best runner, Darley galloper Pinwheel.

Tony McEvoy has nominated import Mouro for the $120,000 race while Peter Moody has entered Fat Al, Floria, High Esteem and Strawberry Boy.

Nominations for the Frances Tressady Stakes have been extended until 10am on Tuesday after the $150,000 contest attracted 12 early entries.

The Mick Price-trained Power Princess is the top-rated runner on 104 while Peter Moody’s last-start winners A Time For Julia and Sino Eagle are also entered.


Ryan McLaren out of second Test 19/02/2014 12:00:00 AM


South Africa all-rounder Ryan McLaren has been ruled out of the 2nd Test against Australia  due to a mild concussion. He received a hit on the head from a bouncer sent from Mitchell Johnson on the 4th day of the Centurion Test, which resulted in South Africa losing by 281 runs.

The selectors have decided not added a player to the squad as a replacement for McLaren for the match that begins in Port Elizabeth on February 20.

"Ryan was admitted to a Johannesburg clinic on Sunday evening suffering from suspected concussion-related symptoms including worsening headaches and nausea, which started approximately 30 hours after the blow to his head," South Africa's team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee said. "His condition improved overnight and he was re-assessed by a neurologist as well as a leading sports physician with a special interest in concussion, Dr Jon Patricios. But from a medical protocol point of view, any form of concussion is concerning enough to rule him out of the next Test match.

"He will be monitored over the next four to five days and will have further assessment done next week Monday to decide whether or not he can join up with the squad prior to the third Test in Cape Town."



One part of Snitzerland's autumn campaign became clear when the mare was an absentee from Tuesday's first acceptances for next month's Group I Newmarket Handicap (1200m).

Snitzerland scored her maiden Group I when she beat a smart field in last Saturday's Lightning Stakes but Gerald Ryan noted the mare would receive a hefty weight if she progressed to the Newmarket Handicap.

While Snitzerland was missing from the Newmarket Handicap first acceptances, the Lightning Stakes minor placegetters Shamexpress and Samaready are both among the 30 sprinters left in contention for the March 8 event.

Samaready is one of three Mick Price-trained gallopers left in the $1 million event with Lankan Rupee and Lion Of Belfort chances to run in the Newmarket Handicap.

CF Orr Stakes winner Moment Of Change is one of four remaining Newmarket contenders from the Peter Moody stable.



A dual European Group I winner has had a change of stable and is to receive another chance on the track before heading to stud.

Voila Ici is now with Saab Hasan at Flemington having previously been with Peter Moody and although a nine-year-old entire, he is enjoying his new location.

"He’s settled in magnificently, you would not know he’s nine, let alone still a bull, he’s very quiet and has a terrific temperament.” Hasan said.

Voila Ici won the 2011 Group I Gran Premio di Milano (2400m) and the 2009 Group I Premio Roma (2200m) in Italy before being purchased by a group headed by Glenlogan Stud to race in Australia.

For Moody, Voila Ici finished runner-up to Ocean Park in the Group I Underwood Stakes (2000m) in 2012 but his form tapered off and following an unplaced effort at Moonee Valley at his last start on October 26 last year Hasan hatched a plan.

"One of my owners Dennis Stogryn of Crown Valley Lodge has been a great supporter and together we have always said that we’d like to breed and race stayers.

"With Voila Ici’s race record, pedigree and looks we thought he would be ideal and made an approach to purchase the horse.” Hasan said.

And while the negotiations to purchase are still ongoing, Hasan’s proven record with older tried horses like Shoreham and his enthusiasm for Voila Ici convinced the present group of owners to send the son of Daylami to Flemington.

"He has a little problem that we have treated and will require some ongoing treatment but otherwise he’s in great shape and I can’t believe how well he has settled in here.” Hasan said.

The near white entire is one of the first horses on the track at 4am and while quiet, has his own way of doing things.

"He doesn’t like to be rushed and prefers to do things in his own time. He swims every day, we work around him and he’s responding to that.” Hasan said.

"We wanted to give him an Australian type of break but he just ran around in the paddock so we brought him into the stable and he’s much happier. He’s had three weeks of cantering and we’ll start to step him up to pacework next week and go from there.”

Hasan is looking to get Voila Ici competitive again when the tracks get softer.

"His best form is on softer ground so we’ll wait until April and then aim some of the country cups and if he shows his old form then he’s ideal for the Brisbane winter carnival.” Hasan said.



Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger has a few selection dilemmas on his hands this week. Youngster Yaya Sanogo (Striker) is still not available to play after five months out with a back injury following is summer switch with French Football Club Auxerre.

Mathieu Flamini will serve his final game of his 4 match suspension after he receive a red card against Southampton. Other players that will be absent include; Aaron Ramsey (thigh), Kim Kallstrom (back) and Thomas Vermaelan (calf) who are all injured.

T. Walcott & A. Diaby are long-term absentees but Arsenal could change up the side that were punished by Liverpool 5-1. Tomas Rosicky, Lukas Padolski & Kieran Gibbs are all looking to make a return to the team’s starting line-up.

Manchester United’s David Moyes will look for a victory this week to put his team back on track to return to their winning ways. Moyes will have Phil Jones (Calf) and Marouane Fellaini (Groin) unavailable once again.

Jonny Evans (calf) is also set to miss out, but Rio Ferdinand is once again included in the squad despite not featuring since last month's FA Cup defeat to Swansea.

                                                                                                                                             



A field of eight top class mares have been assembled for Saturday’s Group II Breeders Classic (1200m) at Rosehill where the fields and form for the eight race card are online.

Warwick farm trainer Guy Walter will resume a multiple Group I winning-mare for the second time in as many weeks with Streama carrying the number one saddlecloth in the Rosehill feature.

Free-running mare Steps In Time has drawn barrier six and looks the obvious leader in the 1200 metre contest with the Gai Waterhouse-trained Driefontein in behind her from barrier two.

The Group I placed Catkins will resume for premier trainer Chris Waller with the undefeated White Sage bringing "residual fitness” to the race despite a short let-up following her win in the Festival Stakes last December.

Waterhouse’s Group I winner Romantic Touch and stablemate Aussies Love Sport will face off with Kiwi three-year-old El Roca in the Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m).

Guelph’s little brother Ghibellines has drawn the inside gate in the Canonbury Stakes tackling the likes of Fighting Sun and Delectation.

The well-bred Twirl finished second to Rubick on debut and has six opponents in the Widden Stakes including the undefeated Alpha Miss.

The track was rated a good (3) at acceptance time and the rail on Saturday will be in the true position.



A field of eight top class mares have been assembled for Saturday’s Group II Breeders Classic (1200m) at Rosehill where the fields and form for the eight race card are online.

Warwick farm trainer Guy Walter will resume a multiple Group I winning-mare for the second time in as many weeks with Streama carrying the number one saddlecloth in the Rosehill feature.

Free-running mare Steps In Time has drawn barrier six and looks the obvious leader in the 1200 metre contest with the Gai Waterhouse-trained Driefontein in behind her from barrier two.

The Group I placed Catkins will resume for premier trainer Chris Waller with the undefeated White Sage bringing "residual fitness” to the race despite a short let-up following her win in the Festival Stakes last December.

Waterhouse’s Group I winner Romantic Touch and stablemate Aussies Love Sport will face off with Kiwi three-year-old El Roca in the Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m).

Guelph’s little brother Ghibellines has drawn the inside gate in the Canonbury Stakes tackling the likes of Fighting Sun and Delectation.

The well-bred Twirl finished second to Rubick on debut and has six opponents in the Widden Stakes including the undefeated Alpha Miss.

The track was rated a good (3) at acceptance time and the rail on Saturday will be in the true position.



Sydney trainer David Payne says "maximising our opportunities" is the reason his promising three-year-old Rock Hero has landed in Melbourne and on Saturday will contest the Group II Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.

Rock Hero created a good impression during the spring when thumping his rivals by 6-1/4 lengths at Canterbury before overcoming a slow start to score a breathtaking win in the Listed Dulcify Quality (1600m) at Randwick.

That performance saw Rock Hero start a $5 chance in the Group I Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) seven days later but Payne conceded "it all happened too quickly" for the son of Fastnet Rock, who was beaten 3-3/4 lengths by Complacent.

Five months later and Rock Hero is set to kick off his second racing campaign.

"He's massive," Payne said. "He's always been a big strong horse but now he's grown into himself."

The Rosehill-based horseman said Rock Hero is a hard horse to get a guide on at home leaving him unsure of what to expect when he resumes at Caulfield but two Barrier trials at his home track have him forward enough for the 1400 metre test first-up.

"He's not a horse that shows you too much on the track so we're going into Saturday a bit unsure," he said. "It's hard to know with these types of horses until they do it on raceday.

"I'm happy with him, he's fit enough, but he's a lazy bugger."

Payne said the lure of possibly two Group I starts over 1600 metres against his own age group is the reason that Rock Hero will kick off 2014 in Victoria.

"We are down there for the (Australian) Guineas," he said. "He's a colt by Fastnet Rock so we're maximising our opportunities.

"Time will tell if he's good enough but that's why we've gone to Melbourne first and if he's good enough we can always come back for the Randwick Guineas."



The Australian Turf Club has released its campaign for the 2014 Sydney Carnival aimed at attracting "a diverse range of racing and social groups” to the club's premier racing carnival of the year.

The slogan for this year's Sydney Carnival is "it's going to get racy” and ads will run on TV, radio, newspaper and billboards from March 22 until April 26 featuring 13 characters.

The ATC says it commissioned the campaign following extensive research found racegoers and potential customers "wanted a range of experiences including betting, dining, socialising and flirting, as well as watching the action on the track”.

"People's reasons for attending the races are different. It's that exciting melting pot that we've tried to portray as glamorous and worthy of your curiosity, all in a format similar to a trailer for a Hollywood film,” ATC executive general manager of sales and commercial Tony Partridge said.

"Our new campaign intends to appeal to traditional racing enthusiasts while introducing the fun and glamour of racing to a new audience.

"There is something for everyone at the races and we want people from around the country to join us at Royal Randwick and Rosehill Gardens for the BMW Sydney Carnival and beyond.”

The 2014 Sydney Carnival starts on Saturday, March 22 at Rosehill and will run each Saturday until April 26 when proceedings close at Randwick.



Despite reports earlier in the night, Floyd Mayweather did not place a bet on Super Bowl XLVIII. 

Lucky for him. If he had bet $10.4 million on the Denver Broncos like NFL Access tweeted, he'd be out a lot of money right now.

Mayweather took the time to correct those claims. Not only did he deny placing a bet, but he also claimed that he would have bet on the Seattle Seahawks. His reasoning makes sense given his defensive fighting abilities and the Seahawks' tough defense.



Despite reports earlier in the night, Floyd Mayweather did not place a bet on Super Bowl XLVIII. 

Lucky for him. If he had bet $10.4 million on the Denver Broncos like NFL Access tweeted, he'd be out a lot of money right now.

Mayweather took the time to correct those claims. Not only did he deny placing a bet, but he also claimed that he would have bet on the Seattle Seahawks. His reasoning makes sense given his defensive fighting abilities and the Seahawks' tough defense.



Triple Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Glen Boss has secured two key rides at Sunday’s Hobart Cup meeting.

Boss won the 2013 Hobart Cup on the Darren Weir-trained Hurdy Gurdy Man but will partner the Julie Richards-trained Relentless Pursuit in the 2014 edition of the race.

Relentless Pursuit finished third to Gee Gee’s La Quita in a $50,000 race at Hobart last Sunday but drops from the 59kg of the weight-for-age event to the 54kg limit in the Hobart Cup.

Boss will also ride At The Weekend for trainer Adam Trinder in the Listed Strutt Stakes (2100m).

At The Weekend won a maiden Launceston on December 11 before running a solid second to Iggimacool in the Tasmanian 1000 Guineas (1600m) on January 22.

 



Triple Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Glen Boss has secured two key rides at Sunday’s Hobart Cup meeting.

Boss won the 2013 Hobart Cup on the Darren Weir-trained Hurdy Gurdy Man but will partner the Julie Richards-trained Relentless Pursuit in the 2014 edition of the race.

Relentless Pursuit finished third to Gee Gee’s La Quita in a $50,000 race at Hobart last Sunday but drops from the 59kg of the weight-for-age event to the 54kg limit in the Hobart Cup.

Boss will also ride At The Weekend for trainer Adam Trinder in the Listed Strutt Stakes (2100m).

At The Weekend won a maiden Launceston on December 11 before running a solid second to Iggimacool in the Tasmanian 1000 Guineas (1600m) on January 22.

 



The events in New York City and New Jersey have been safe, smartly coordinated and well-attended. The weather has cooperated as well. The frigid cold earlier in the week has given way to weekend temperatures hovering in the neighborhood of 50 degrees. Super Bowl XLVIII has represented a vicious body blow to the reputation of the Farmers' Almanac.

John Mara, the New York Giants co-owner who played an instrumental role in luring the big game to the region, said he'd like to see a Super Bowl sequel in New York/New Jersey.

"Based on everything that's happened so far, yes," Mara said Sunday onESPN Radio's "The Ian O'Connor Show." "If we can be assured that we'd get the same cooperation from all the different government entities that were involved, which has been tremendous so far, I don't see any reason why we shouldn't consider doing it again.

"I think that when the NFL owners that are here, when they leave MetLife Stadium tonight after this game, I'm pretty confident that most of them will say to themselves that it was a great idea to have this event in this area, New York and New Jersey, and why not come back here again. It's good for the league."

Mara believes the success of the week will help other cold-weather cities make their case for theSuper Bowl -- to a certain extent.

The Around The Leagueteam hits all the NFL's hottest topics in its award-winning podcast. Join the conversation. Listen 

"I think it will open up some people's eyes as to why not at least consider other areas and I think we will do that," Mara said. "But let's face it, there is only one area like this one with the number of attractions and venues and all that New York and New Jersey have to offer. But I certainly think it does open the door a little bit for other venues."

Want a quasi-criticism of this Super Bowl week? It hasn't set the city on fire in the way that it did in New Orleans and Indianapolis, to cite the two most recent examples. New York is just a different animal -- a complete outlier, really -- and using it as a gauge for other cities is pointless.

We're not even sure that counts as a criticism. It's just ... different.



Hawkesbury chief executive Brian Fletcher says the track has benefited hugely from the de-thatching of the track ahead of Thursday’s return to racing at the western Sydney feature.

The Hawkesbury Race Club spent $30,000 on the course proper during the summer break. De-thatching is carried out to improve the health of a lawn. A lawn that feels spongy or has a springy feel will often have a thick thatch layer.

"The track is in excellent condition and the response from trainers to our first meeting back has been outstanding," Fletcher said.

"With the new lengthened home straight settling in now, I am looking forward to a great year. Hawkesbury Race Club is in excellent shape."

The rail will be in the true position on Thursday and the track is currently rated a good (3).

A total of 4mm of irrigation was put on the track in the last 24 hours and 12mm for the week.



The Victorian Government and Racing Victoria have combined to provide more than $1 million to fund a major upgrade of the Colac racecourse.

Colac last hosted a meeting in September 2013 with the course deemed unfit for racing because of drainage issues but RV expects the track to reopen "next summer”.

Local MP Terry Mulder said the Napthine Government would provide $735,000 of the $1.05 million required to complete works including:

-geometrical investigation to fully locate existing sub-surface drains;

-manually remove deeper drains and compact area;

-rectify and replace the four main culverts;

-grade and re-align the track to improve drainage and increase width in narrow sections of the track;

-re-seed turf; and

-consolidation and maintenance of turf

The 2014 Colac Cup meeting will be held at Camperdown on February 23 while the Colac Racing Club’s March 22 and April 7 fixtures have been transferred to Edenhope and Ararat respectively.



ENGLAND'S tour down under has been nothing short of disastrous but Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad is confident his squad can salvage something from the final three matches.

Whitewashed 5-0 in the Tests to hand back the Ashes and thumped 4-1 in the one-day series, the tourists' last chance of gaining some respectability starts Wednesday night at Blundstone Arena in the first of three T20s.

One of the few players who has held his own throughout the summer, Broad takes control of a squad which has a slightly understrength home outfit firmly in its sights.

Australia will be without key linchpins David Warner and Shane Watson, star all-rounder James Faulkner will miss the match with a knee injury while Mitchell Starc won't feature until at least the second clash at the MCG on Friday.

The visitors boast a power-packed top order containing No.1 batsman in the world Alex Hales, Luke Wright - who has 275 runs in the Big Bash League at a strike-rate of 151.9 - and Michael Lumb, with heavy hitters Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler to follow.

It is a batting brigade which has Broad upbeat, despite the torrid past three months.

"There's a lot of confidence in our group, certainly with our batting line-up with the power and skill we've got," Broad said.

"There's a real hunger in this group to finish this tour well. Obviously Australia have had the better of us for three months, and for the four guys who've been involved in all three squads it's been a really tough time for us.

"But we've got an opportunity in a strong team to really leave this tour with a little bit of happiness.

"England cricket's been through a tough three months, with a lot of hurt players because we've not done ourselves justice on the field.

"We are desperate to win, there is no doubt about that, but we have been desperate to win every other game and we haven't.

"We've got some unbelievable strikers in our side. If we can lay a platform with the likes of Lumb, Hales, Wright - you see how they strike a ball - and then you've got Morgan and Buttler coming in it's a pretty scary batting line-up.

"Hopefully we can let our skills do the talking."



Victoria Derby winner Polanski and Cox Plate champion Shamus Award head the 85 nominations for the 2014 edition of the Group I Australian Guineas (1600m).

Shamus Award’s trainer Danny O’Brien won the Australian Guineas with Shamrocker in 2011 before the filly went on to claim the Group I ATC Australian Derby (2400m) in Sydney.

The colt is one of two O’Brien stable entries with the recent impressive maiden winner Second Bullet, a son of the former top racemare Private Steer, also a candidate for a start in the Australian Guineas.

Randwick trainer Anthony Cummings has nominated 11 three-year-olds for the $500,000 contest, including Drago and Smart Missile’s three-quarter brother Surge Ahead, a winner at Listed level during the Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington.

Kiwi trainers Andrew Campbell and John Bary have nominated Cauthen and Recite respectively as chances to cross the Tasman Sea to take on the Australian three-year-olds.

Recite recorded her second Group I win when she took out last Saturday’s Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham.


Gerrans takes early TDU lead 22/01/2014 12:00:00 AM


Simon Gerrans' team boss is far from worried about defending the Tour Down Under race lead all the way to Sunday.

Gerrans continued his outstanding start to the year when he outsprinted German Andre Greipel to win stage one on Tuesday at Angaston.

Time bonuses mean the Orica-GreenEDGE team leader leads Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) by six seconds ahead of Wednesday's tough 150km stage from suburban Prospect to Stirling in the Adelaide Hills.

More importantly, Gerrans has stolen a break on fellow title favourites Cadel Evans (BMC) and Richie Porte (Sky) in the six-day Tour.

Evans is ninth overall, 11 seconds behind Gerrans, and Porte is 29th at 15 seconds.

Given this Tour is often decided by a handful of seconds, they are important time gaps.

Immediately after his outstanding ride, Gerrans admitted it might have been better for Greipel to lead the race for a day or two.

Now Orica-GreenEDGE have to work hard to protect Gerrans' advantage.

But team director Matt White is rapt with their start.

"Nothing has changed for the top contenders expect we got a little 11 seconds head start - but we got the jersey and we plan on keeping it," White said.

"It is a morale boost.

"This tour is won by bonus seconds and we are off to a great start already."

 


Three riders suspended at Caulfield 16/01/2014 12:00:00 AM


Apprentice Patrick Moloney booted home a winning double but the youngster was one of three jockeys suspended for careless riding at Wednesday’s Caulfield meeting.

Moloney won the Guinot International Handicap (1000m) on Lord Of The Sky before claiming the BMW Handicap (1800m) on Try Pickle but the latter ride drew attention from stewards.

Stewards charged Moloney after deeming he caused interference to Balayeu and Signoff when he allowed Try Pickle to shift out at the 200 metres of the race.

Moloney pleaded guilty to the charge before stewards handed him a 10-meeting ban, which will begin at midnight on January 18 and end at midnight on January 27.

Craig Newitt will also be out of the saddle until January 27 after he pleaded guilty to careless riding charge for causing interference aboard Makeadreamcometure, also in the BMW Handicap (1800m).

Earlier, veteran jockey Darren Gauci received his first careless riding suspension in more than six years after he pleaded guilty to a charge after his ride on Ali Vital arising from the Salt & Pepper Plate (2430m).

Gauci will also miss 10 meetings for causing interference to Callmedan and Alexa Cee.


Benji Marshall v NSW Waratahs 16/01/2014 12:00:00 AM


BENJI Marshall's return to Australia headlines a bumper list of Super Rugby pre-season fixtures for 2014.

With the Super Rugby season just a month away, Australia's five franchises are finalising their preparations - and they'll ramp up the action over the next few weeks with a string of trial matches. 

The biggest match-up sees former NRL superstar Marshall, who switched codes in the off-season to join New Zealand's Blues, take on Israel Folau and the Waratahs at Allianz Stadium on Friday, February 7.

That encounter follows the Tahs' Albury clash against Melbourne Rebels, which has taken on 'grudge match' status following a host of high-profile player switches between the two clubs.

Kurtley Beale and Nick Phipps left Melbourne to link with Michael Cheika's Waratahs at the end of 2013, while Lopeti Timani and Tom Kingston moved from NSW to the Rebels.

That match will be Tony McGahan's first as coach of the Rebels, who will be captained in 2014 by Scott

Higginbotham. Melbourne then host New Zealand's Hurricanes at Geelong and play the Reds in Queensland.

Last year's runners-up the Brumbies will have their first run-out under new coach Stephen Larkham when they take on the Highlanders in Queenstown, followed by a clash against an ACT XV.

Queensland Reds, under new coach Richard Graham, have an intriguing clash with back-to-back Super Rugby champions the Chiefs, to be played in Toowoomba, as well as the home match against the Rebels.

Western Force ramp up their pre-season preparations against international opposition, with Michael Foley's men tackling a Samoa A outfit and Argentinian side Pampas XV.



The fields and form are now available for Saturday’s Listed Kensington Stakes (1100m) meeting at Flemington.

The eight-race card will be run under cooler weather conditions than the heat-affected midweek meetings with the Bureau Of Meteorology predicting a cool change to sweep through Victoria on Friday evening.

Trainers have accepted to run 98 horses at the meeting with a field of 11 to line up in the Kensington Stakes.

Classy sprinter First Command will carry the 60kg topweight in the $120,000 contest, leaving him with 1kg more than General Truce while the Mick Price-trained Loveyamadly is the only other runner weighted above the limit with 55.5kg.

Local trainers Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra have decided to test in-form sprinter Kaiser Sun in stakes class after the son of Danerich blitzed his rivals in his two straight outings.

The $100,000 Craftsman Handicap (1720m) is the main support race on the Flemington card with trainers accepting to run 10 horses in the open-class contest.

The Peter Moody-trained Oregon Spirit will carry the 58.5kg topweight while the impressive last-start winner Prince Of Penzance is one of three horses weighted on the 54kg minimum.

Track manager Mick Goodie posted a dead (4) rating for the Flemington surface at acceptance time while the rail will be out nine metres for the entire circuit.

The Bureau Of Meteorology forecast for Melbourne for the rest of the week is:

Wednesday: Hot. Mostly dry. Max 41.
Thursday: Hot. Mostly dry. Max 41.
Friday: Late gusty cool change. Max 42.
Saturday: Possible morning shower. Max 23.


Bernard Tomic's Early Withdrawal 15/01/2014 12:00:00 AM


BERNARD Tomic has defended his decision to raise the white flag after just one set against Rafael Nadal despite his withdrawal being branded un-Australian.

After shaking hands with his Spanish opponent, he was jeered by the crowd inside Rod Laver Arena, which prompted the 21-year-old to raise his hands and mouth the words: "I'm sorry".

There has been a huge uproar on social media with fans who were hoping for the Aussie to put up more of a fight against the current world Number 1.



The Hawkes Racing-trained Invisible has fractured a splint bone and is likely to miss the rest of his two-year-old season.

The impressive Canterbury debut winner started $7 in last Saturday’s $2million Magic Millions Classic (1200m) before finishing eighth.

The full extent of the colt’s injury won’t be known until further scans are taken in the coming weeks.



Daniel L. Spuck, who is an inmate at the State Correctional Institution at Mercer, Pennsylvania, filed a motion on January 2 against the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell in the US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Spuck wants a temporary injunction over a bad call in a December 29 game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Diego Chargers.

The Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop missed a 37-metre field goal attempt with 4 second on the clock, forcing the game into overtime.

The Chargers won the game 27-24 and advanced to the playoffs at the expense of the Steelers. However the Chargers were in an illegal formation during the botched field goal attempt and should have been penalised. That would have allowed Succop to take another attempt at a field goal from 5 metres closer.

The NFL admitted that the officials should have called a penalty.

Spuck wants the NFL to stop the playoffs, which have already commenced, by 1 week to 10 days. During that time he says either Succop should be allowed to re-kick the ball from where the penalty should have been taken, or have the Steelers play the Chargers for the remaining playoff spot, or simply declare the Chief's the winners of the game against the Chargers and allow the Steelers into the playoffs.

Spuck also believes he should be given $US25,000 ($28,000) in damages and have his legal fees paid.

However given the Chargers won their first game of the playoffs it is going to be a tough case for him to win.

 



Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente will resume in the Group I Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 22 before attempting to establish himself in the top five prizemoney earners to grace the Australian turf.

The son of Monsun gave Hall Of Fame trainer Gai Waterhouse her first taste of Melbourne Cup success last November and hasn’t been seen since.

But punters will get their first look at the striking import in 2014 when he steps out publicly next week.

"He'll trial next Thursday at Randwick and is training fantastically well,” Waterhouse said.

"You've got to see him, he's in magnificent order.”

Waterhouse won the Futurity Stakes with More Joyous in 2011 and said Fiorente would stay in Melbourne for one more run after his first-up assignment.

"Then onto the (Group I) Australian Cup before we bring him home for the ($4 million) Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m)," she said.

"Everything will need to be finalised with the owners but that's the plan at this stage."

Fiorente’s Melbourne Cup win deposed Waterhouse’s former top class galloper Grand Armee from 14th spot in the highest prizemoney earners to race in Australia.

Victory in the Australian Cup and Queen Elizabeth Stakes would net him $3 million in prizemoney and take him past the fifth-placed horse on the Australian racehorse earnings list, the unbeaten queen of the turf, Black Caviar.



Johnson will vault from close to the bottom to the top echelon of Cricket Australia's contract list if he can maintain the form which reaped him 37 wickets at just under 14 runs apiece during the Ashes.

He only just made the last 17-man contract list in April when he was out of favour and not selected for the Ashes tour but he is now the talk of world cricket.

The top handful of Australian players receive about $2 million including bonuses from CA and Johnson's high rankings in all forms of the game could see him ranked as high as number two on the list behind captain Michael Clarke if he closes the summer with a strong Test tour of South Africa.

No matter what his form in South Africa Johnson is poised to at least treble his earnings in the Indian Premier League.

The tournament winning Mumbai Indians paid just $US300,000 (around $330,000) for Johnson when he was injured and out of form in his last IPL deal but he could earn a $1 million deal this time, essentially because of his exceptional bowling form but also because of his considerable batting and fielding talents.

Johnson's dramatic Ashes form surge will make him a headline act at next month's IPL auction if Mumbai cannot secure him on a new contract beforehand.


2014 Magic Millions Guineas 7/01/2014 12:00:00 AM


Sunshine Coast trainer Jason McLachlan will saddle in-form filly Enquare in his bid for a second consecutive win in the Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m) at the Gold Coast.

McLachlan won the $820,000 event with Saluter in 2013 while Enquare will start as one of the leading fancies after her stakes wins at her last two outings.

Gai Waterhouse prepared last year’s third placegetter Driefontein but has two runners engaged in 2014 with Sweet Idea and Northern Glory to face the starter.

Sweet Idea ran second to Real Surreal in the 2013 Magic Millions 2YO Classic but resumed with a win in the Wyong Magic Millions 3YO Stakes (1200m) on December 19.



City manager Manuel Pellegrini said Tuesday that he has been told by doctors that Aguero will be out "at least one month or eight weeks."

If it is the worst-case scenario, Aguero may even be a doubt for the first leg of City's Champions League last-16 match against Barcelona on Feb. 18.

Aguero has scored 19 goals in 20 games for City in all competitions this season.

Pellegrini was speaking after City's 3-1 win at Leicester in the quarterfinals of the League Cup.


Kiwi mixed martial arts hero Mark Hunt is set for a big payday after Brazilian heavyweight Antonio "Big Foot" Silva, who he fought in one of the year's top Ultimate Fighting Championship scraps in Brisbane a fortnight ago, failed a post-fight drug test.

Silva, the fourth-ranked world heavyweight, tested positive for elevated testosterone levels after the December 7 fight at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.

He applied for and received a testosterone replacement therapy use exemption for the fight but was ruled to be above the level deemed fair on the day, the MMAFighting.com website says.

Silva has been suspended from fighting for nine months and has had to forfeit his US$50,000 bonus for winning the fight of the night in the majority draw against Hunt.

Silva's bonus will now be given to Hunt, meaning the Kiwi will receive a total of US$100,000 for the epic scrap.

The result of the fight will now be a non-contest on Silva's record, while Hunt's record will still show it as a draw.

The test is the second Silva has failed in his MMA career after he tested positive for the steroid boldenone in 2008.

UFC supremo Dana White described the bloody five-round Hunt-Silva fight as "the sickest heavyweight fight I have ever seen", and was sighted last weekend wearing a T-shirt hinting at a rematch.

Hunt, who trained for the Brisbane fight in Auckland, suffered broken bones in both hands during the scrap and will be required to serve a six-month medical suspension before fighting again.

 



Brendan Rodgers' side sit just two points behind top-flight leaders Arsenal after their 5-0 hammering of Tottenham on Sunday, and would move top of the table with a win over Cardiff City on Saturday. 

But Suarez, who scored twice at White Hart Lane to take his tally to 17 goals in just 11 Premier League appearances this term, feels upcoming trips to Manchester City and Chelsea will prove the acid test as to whether Liverpool are ready to challenge for the title. 

"I think it's too early to say," said the Uruguayan while talking about his side's title hopes. 

"If we continue at this level the next two or three weeks we can win the league or we can finish in the top four. 

"It's important we concentrate and focus on the next game. We know that after Cardiff we have two very, very big games (at City on December 26 and Chelsea three days later). 

"That will be important to what comes next." 

Suarez, who was speaking after receiving the Football Supporters' Federation Player of the Year Award on Monday, went on to express his gratitude to Liverpool fans for their reaction after his failed attempts to secure a switch away from Anfield in the close-season. 

The 26-year-old publicly stated his desire to move to a club in the UEFA Champions League, with Arsenal having two bids for his services rejected. 

However, Liverpool supporters have backed Suarez fully since his return from a 10-game ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic in April - a fact he considers the highlight of a "difficult" year. 

"I was able to win the supporters back, and that was unbelievable when I came back to play," the former Ajax striker added. 

"They helped me, and that was important for me, for my confidence, and for my family because they are together with me in this."


Luke Nolen taking a break 16/12/2013 12:00:00 AM


Leading Victorian jockey Luke Nolen is taking a short break from riding.

Nolen’s wife Alicia tweeted on Sunday "as of today Luke Nolen is taking a spell from racing & twitter.”

At midday on Monday Nolen tweeted "he’s taking the Christmas break off, back in about 4 weeks.”

Nolen partnered the Tony McEvoy-trained Pelicano to victory in Sunday's Listed Werribee Cup (2600m) and is currently 35th on the Victorian premiership with 20 winners from 220 rides for the current season.


Flipping The Bird 16/12/2013 12:00:00 AM


Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere was caught on camera giving the middle finger during his side's 6-3 loss at the Etihad, according to reports.

According to the Mirror, the reaction came after the midfielder thought he had won a corner, only for a goal kick to be awarded to Manchester City by the referee.

Television cameras picked up Wishere's inappropriate salute allowing for football fans all around the world to see, the report said.

Wilshere appears to flip the bird across the pitch towards an area of Manchester City fans, who were jeering the player for his protests to the linesman, the report added.

It wasn't the only controversial incident involving Arsenal players as Mesut Ozil was also given a dressing down by team-mate Per Mertesacker after failing to applaud the travelling Gunners fans, the report further said.

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez received a one-match ban for the same offense during a league game at Fulham in December 2011.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he didn't see Wilshere's gesture but added "if he did it, we will have to accept it."

Arsenal's lead at the top of the table has now been cut to two points, after their 6-3 drubbing at the hands of Manchester City, and Chelsea's 2-1 win over Crystal Palace, the report mentioned.




Flipping The Bird 16/12/2013 12:00:00 AM


Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere was caught on camera giving the middle finger during his side's 6-3 loss at the Etihad, according to reports.

According to the Mirror, the reaction came after the midfielder thought he had won a corner, only for a goal kick to be awarded to Manchester City by the referee.

Television cameras picked up Wishere's inappropriate salute allowing for football fans all around the world to see, the report said.

Wilshere appears to flip the bird across the pitch towards an area of Manchester City fans, who were jeering the player for his protests to the linesman, the report added.

It wasn't the only controversial incident involving Arsenal players as Mesut Ozil was also given a dressing down by team-mate Per Mertesacker after failing to applaud the travelling Gunners fans, the report further said.

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez received a one-match ban for the same offense during a league game at Fulham in December 2011.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he didn't see Wilshere's gesture but added "if he did it, we will have to accept it."

Arsenal's lead at the top of the table has now been cut to two points, after their 6-3 drubbing at the hands of Manchester City, and Chelsea's 2-1 win over Crystal Palace, the report mentioned.




Hardwick to extend his contract 12/12/2013 12:00:00 AM


Hardwick will remain at Tigerland until at least the end of the 2016 season after guiding the club to their first finals appearance since 2001. 

The 41-year-old had one year remaining on his existing deal but the Tigers hierarchy opted to reward him for his performances in 2013. 

"Having seen the impressive transformation our football team has made in the four years that Damien has been coach, the board had no hesitation in making the decision to extend his contract," said Richmond president Peggy O'Neal. 

"We are convinced Damien has the right attributes to guide our playing group. He is totally driven in his quest to make Richmond the best team in the competition.

"The board and management will provide Damien every support to collectively give us the best chance of success." 

Richmond have made steady progress under Hardwick, who beat Ken Hinkley to the role in 2009. 

After two consecutive 12th-placed finishes, Richmond ended their finals absence last season before eventually losing out to rivals Carlton in the elimination final. 




It’s A Dundeel will race in Arrowfield Stud’s colours n Sydney after John Messara completed a deal to buy a controlling interest in the four-year-old after his spring preparation.

It’s A Dundeel ended Atlantic Jewel’s unbeaten run in the Group I Underwood Stakes (1800m) before feet issues derailed the rest of his spring, forcing him to go into the Cox Plate without a run for five weeks.

The son of High Chaparral endured a tough run before finishing midfield behind Shamus Award but Baker told The Informant It’s A Dundeel has spelled well.

"He’s been spelling at Henley Park and I went out and saw him on Tuesday,” said Baker. "He looks great.

"He’s had a good break and he’s ready do something.”

Baker said It’s A Dundeel would have four runs in the autumn, culminating with the $4 million Group I Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).

"He won’t race here (New Zealand) before he goes over,” said Baker. "The plan is to kick off in the Chipping Norton Stakes at Warwick Farm on March 8. He’ll then have two more runs before the Queen Elizabeth.”

Baker said It’s A Dundeel’s other autumn targets were the Group I Ranvet Stakes (2000m) on March 22 as well as the Group I BMW (2400m) on Golden Slipper day.

The trainer confirmed recent New Zealand 2000 Guineas winner Atlante would join It’s A Dundeel in Sydney.

"He’ll stay out another week or 10 days and he’ll go over to Sydney and run first-up in the Hobartville Stakes,” said Baker.

"Then there’s the Randwick Guineas for him. I’m not sure about the Derby at this stage. I don’t know whether he’ll get the distance. We’ll just wait and see on that one.”

 



Racing Victoria’s head of integrity services Dayle Brown says the organisation had concerns with BC3’s manner of operating more than a year ago.

BC3 Australia has been thrown into turmoil over the last fortnight with the financial problems of former chairman Bill Vlahos coming to light in the NSW Supreme Court.

Racing Victoria announced an investigation into BC3 on Monday, a day after Vlahos was allegedly attacked and his car set alight at the company’s property on Sunday evening.

Brown told RSN Racing Victoria’s licensing committee had not issued BC3 a syndicator’s licence but had questioned Vlahos to address concerns over the structure of the troubled business.

"It (BC3) is not licenced to be a syndicator with us,” Brown said.

"On 21 February 2012, the licensing department interviewed Mr Vlahos when he had the BC3 Racing Club,” Brown said.

"They were concerned with the way the club was offering shares and the way it was advertising.

"As a result of that interview, Mr Vlahos made changes to the (BC3) website and he wound up the BC3 Racing Club.”

Brown said RV stewards would investigate the company’s structure to ensure it still complies with the state’s rules of racing, which are based on requirements of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

"As part of the investigation, if that has changed, the business structure which we were satisfied with back in February 2012 has changed, we will certainly look at that and that will form part of the investigation,” Brown said



The Ararat Turf Club has been asked to explain the unsatisfactory preparation of the track in the wake of the abandonment of Tuesday’s meeting.

Racing Victoria has expressed its disappointment at the abandonment after jockeys determined the track was unsafe for racing.

"It’s unacceptable that we’ve lost today’s Ararat meeting and we’ve commenced discussions with the club and our officials to review the circumstances that led to the abandonment,” RV Executive General Manager – Infrastructure, Jamie McGuinness, said.

McGuinness said RV would also review communication procedures to better understand why the issue that led to the abandonment was not addressed earlier.



The Ararat Turf Club has been asked to explain the unsatisfactory preparation of the track in the wake of the abandonment of Tuesday’s meeting.

Racing Victoria has expressed its disappointment at the abandonment after jockeys determined the track was unsafe for racing.

"It’s unacceptable that we’ve lost today’s Ararat meeting and we’ve commenced discussions with the club and our officials to review the circumstances that led to the abandonment,” RV Executive General Manager – Infrastructure, Jamie McGuinness, said.

McGuinness said RV would also review communication procedures to better understand why the issue that led to the abandonment was not addressed earlier.



Chris Tremlett, Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin were all included to attack Australia, and particularly captain Michael Clarke, with short bowling on hard Australian pitches.

However, at most only one of the trio is likely to play in Perth on one of the most fast bowler friendly pitches in the world, where Australia has an outstanding record and is strongly favoured to regain the Ashes.

England felt that the best way to unsettle Clarke was with short bowling and that worked on the opening day of the series in Brisbane when he fended a Stuart Broad bouncer to short leg for just one.

But Clarke has since smashed two centuries as Australia has crushed England in both Tests with Mitchell Johnson the thunderbolt who has destroyed the tourists.

Tremlett played in the first Test at the Gabba and claimed four wickets for the match but his bowling was generally modest and lacked venom.

He looked a very different bowler to the one who was included for the Perth Test three years ago and claimed eight wickets.

There were times in Brisbane when Tremlett's pace dropped below 130kph, a worrying marker that England's backroom strategists know only too well.

Their detailed research has found that a fast bowler's ability take wickets at Test level reduces once their pace falls below 135kph and plunges below 130kph.

Contrast that with Australia, where Johnson is bowling around 150kph and Ryan Harris 140kph.

Tremlett is now 32 and has played just 12 Tests in a career marred by injury. Brisbane was his first Test in almost two years.



With the game already well in hand thanks to a dominant third-quarter performance — the Knicks outscored the Nets, 34-16, in the period to take a 25-point lead — Bargnani got tangled up on a rebound with Nets forward Kevin Garnett, who had struggled for much of the night. After some light shoving, the two were separated, and each was given a technical foul.

But later, with 8:23 to play in the fourth quarter, Bargnani knocked down a corner 3-pointer over the outstretched arm of Garnett, raising his total to 17 points. As he ran down the court alongside Garnett, Bargnani said something that was overheard by referee Joey Crawford. Immediately, Crawford whistled Bargnani for a technical foul, resulting in his ejection.

Entering the game, Bargnani had just 10 technical fouls in his eight-year career.



Sydney FC captain Alessandro Del Piero has been ruled out of his side's match against Central Coast on Saturday with a hamstring injury.

The A-League star tweeted an update on his situation on Wednesday night. Saying that his hamstring is a little fatigue and he will probably be back for the next home game against Melbourne Heart FC.



Del Piero injured his leg during Sydney FC's 2-0 win over Newcastle last round, hobbling from the field in the first half.

Sydney FC's next home game is on December 15 against the Melbourne Heart.



Better known as the most highly anticipated matchup between two terrible NBA teams in NYC history. ... 

Yay? 


The winner will be crowned the best of the worst. 

The loser? Well, given the disarray and turmoil surrounding both teams, you don't want to be the loser. 

"It's the rivalry and both teams stink," Nets coach Jason Kidd replied when asked if there's more meaning to Thursday night's game given the proximity between the team teams. "The one thing is we have to find a way to get better. It starts tomorrow for us. We have to find some answers as to why we go our separate ways instead of staying as a team. So we'll figure that out, and again, we have to find a way to protect home." 

As of Tuesday night, the Nets (5-13) held a one-game lead over the Knicks (3-13) -- for 13th place in the Eastern Conference. Brooklyn has lost 11 of its past 14 games, while New York will come in riding a season-high nine-game losing streak. 

Prior to Tuesday night's 111-87 blowout loss to the Denver Nuggets at Barclays Center, Kidd decided to reassign assistant Lawrence Frank to a reduced role. 

As for Knicks coach Mike Woodson? Well, his seat seems to be getting hotter with every loss. 

"I think at this point, we are trying to figure out who we are and fix this," power forwardKevin Garnett said when asked about the Knicks. "We are at home getting beat by 30, 40 points, and that’s not what we want. That's not even close to what we predicted where we wanted to be. 

"We just want to understand, and like I said, there's a lot of things going on here, but no excuses. This is a non-excuse league, people don't care about that. They care about performance and coming out and we need to have a better showing at home, we need to have a better showing, period. And we will. We have no choice."



Road reversals at Bendigo and Melbourne after dropping at home to Bendigo has seen Adelaide drop to sixth with a 5-7 win-loss record and away on Saturday to Sydney, the very team which has leap-frogged the Lightning into fifth.

MORE: ANTHONY PETRIE IS THE SIXERS' QUIET ACHIEVER

The Flames are on a four-game winning streak since losing at home to Adelaide.

"I think we were pretty patchy on the weekend," Dickel said, adding his players had bought in to the officiating.

"I think we did (lost focus) with their interpretations and the continuity of it," he said.

"We didn't adjust well enough.

"Bendigo was a little bit different but against Melbourne we got into foul trouble and with seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter, I had Chay (Shegog), Zee (Azania Stewart) and Screeny (Jenni Screen) on the bench."

Expectations were high on Shegog considering the former WNBA centre at Connecticut Sun only arrived in Melbourne and met her new teammates there.

"Chay is a very good low-post player," Dickel said, adding her mid-range was also solid.

She is going to be on a fast learning curve as Sydney will be hellbent on reversing its home loss to Adelaide.

"Sydney is playing well, no question," Dickel said.

"We always knew this patch before Christmas would be very tough indeed."

After hitting the road to Sydney on Saturday, Adelaide concludes its pre-Christmas schedule at home to third-placed Melbourne on Sunday, December 15 and fourth-ranked Townsville on Sunday, December 22



Judges scored the 12-round title match 117-111, 118-110, 119-109 in favour of the 22-year-old Japanese, who nonetheless failed to live up to his overnight promise that he would finish off Naidjala in six rounds.

There was no knockdown in the fight between the two hitherto unbeaten boxers at the Osaka Bodymaker Colosseum.

It was 22-year-old Kameda's first defence of the title that he won by beating Namibian Paulus Ambunda on August 31 in the Philippine city of Cebu.

The two boxers exchanged fast punches early on, but Kameda got the upper hand after waging a fight at close range in the third round.

"I feel happy to have won the fight. I was quite confident this time but I could not fight in my style of boxing," said Kameda whose unscathed record stretched to 29 wins, 18 by knockout.

"I want to fight better next time."

For the 29-year-old Namibian, the sixth WBO contender, it was his first loss in a career studded with 17 wins, 11 of them inside the distance, and one draw.



A Bel Esprit filly formerly trained by Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes looks placed to record her third straight win at Taree on Tuesday.

Munfasla has really found her grade since entering the Port Macquarie stables of Neil Godbolt.

Munfasla had three preparations for Team Hawkes and was placed at Sale and Wyong in her seven starts for one of Australia’s most successful training partnerships.

Munfasla had her first start for Godbolt at Grafton on November 6 and was far too good for a maiden field winning by 3-1/2 lengths before making it successive wins when a 1-3/4 length winner of a three-year-old plate at Taree on November 19 carrying 55.5kg.

The filly gets in on the minimum weight of 54kg when she tackles Sygenta Class 3 Handicap (1250m).

Munfasla has barrier one and jockey Marlon Dolendo should be able to position the filly to get the run of the race tracking the likely leaders Miello and Ivanhoe in a race where the on-pacers are set to dominate.

If there is a negative it is likely to be barrier one at Taree on a wet track where horses tend to get wide when on rain-affected ground but we won't know that until after the earlier races have been run.

It is hard to find a reason to suggest the Munfasla can't win again assuming the track plays fairly and the filly is set to maintain her unbeaten record since entering the Godbolt stable.



The competition was due to be held on December 14 and 15 at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, where tens of thousands of pro-government "Red Shirt" supporters gathered for a rally last weekend.

But violence broke out around the stadium on Saturday involving anti-government protesters and Red Shirts, leaving several people dead and dozens more wounded.

The competition "cannot take place as planned ... due to the current political situation in Bangkok", organisers said in a statement.

"Our thoughts are with the Thai people during this difficult period and we wish that a peaceful solution will be found," it said, adding they would try to hold the event in Bangkok in the future.

More than a month of peaceful rallies against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's embattled government have descended into violence.

Police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon for a second day on Monday in another part of the city, to keep at bay demonstrators who are trying to break through their lines into key government buildings.

The demonstrations, which aim to remove Yingluck's elected government and replace it a "People's Council", come as Thailand enters its peak tourist season.

Foreign embassies have updated travel advisories while the Thai government has expressed concern at the damage the protests may do to the economy and in particular the lucrative tourism sector.

The Race of Champions, which pits top drivers from different motor sports against each other, draws both Thais and international sports fans to the 50,000-capacity stadium.

Reigning V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup was scheduled to represent Australia alongside MotoGP great Mick Doohan, against F1 champions Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen, World Rally champ Sebastien Ogier and Red Bull's "Space Dive" record-breaker Felix Baumgartner.



Luckygray is the favourite in the latest market for the Group I Kingston Town Classic (1800m) following his second Group I Railway Stakes (1600m) triumph over the weekend.

The well-travelled son of Bradbury’s Luck made a successful homecoming when he lumped 58kg to victory, setting a modern day weight-carrying record.

The return to weight-for-age conditions in the $500,000 Kingston Town Classic has Luckygray poised for back-to-back Group I wins.

Luckygray is currently holding favouritism with each of the bookmakers listed while Mr Moet and Ihtsahymn are vying for second spot.



Dandino, Mount Athos, Side Glance and Red Cadeaux have all arrived safely in Hong Kong ahead of their respective races at the Longines international meeting on December 8.

The charter flight from Australia touched down in the early hours of the morning, local time.

Side Glance won the Group I LKS Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on November 2 at his last start and he goes for the Cup (2000m) with Dandino, Red Cadeaux and Mount Athos – who all ran in the Melbourne Cup - entered for the Vase over 2400 metres.

The quartet are the first to arrive ahead of the meeting at Sha Tin.



ENGLAND'S Ashes campaign is in disarray with batsman Jonathan Trott returning home citing a stress-related illness days after David Warner claimed the batsman was frightened.

Trott, who averages 46 at No 3, is understood to have battled with health problems in the past and the England camp said his exit had nothing to do with things said during the Gabba Test.



Black Caviar's half-brother, a two-year-old colt known as Jimmy, appears to be on the mend after a brush with death. The colt, owned by BC3 Thoroughbreds, had a reaction to antibiotics and developed the life-threatening hoof disease laminitis. BC3's Simon Marshall said the horse was eating well and appeared much happier.


Can Billy Return?? 20/11/2013 12:00:00 AM


Billy Slater could pull off a shock return to Australia's Rugby League World Cup squad following around-the-clock physiotherapy on his injured knee.

While it is considered extremely unlikely he will be fit for the Fiji clash, Australian team officials and medical staff refuse to rule out the possibility of Slater playing in the Rugby League World Cup final should the Kangaroos qualify.

The veteran Melbourne Storm fullback was carried from the field in the 42nd minute of Australia's 62-0 defeat of USA last Saturday after aggravating a posterior cruciate ligament tear he suffered in last year's State of Origin series.

Storm and Kangaroos physiotherapist Tony Ayoub said Slater would be re-assessed over the next few days.

"Billy has had quite a bit of treatment over the past few days and the injury has settled quite well," Ayoub told the Storm website.

"He spent probably three or four hours icing and using an electrical stimulat machine together with some exercises I have given him so he is doing everything he can.

"He thinks he is going to work hard and give himself every opportunity, and looking at the MRI, it isn't as bad as we thought.

"We are just going to reassess him over the next 48 hours and see if things continue to improve. If he continues the way he has so far then he is a chance to be available for the final."

Australia face Fiji at London's famous Wembley Stadium for the right to play in the Rugby League World Cup decider.



The premiers this week announced a net operating profit of $3.12 million on the back of record membership, crowds, merchandise and other investments.

And the departure of Franklin to Sydney means the Hawks have about $1 million extra per season to contribute to player payments.

The modern era of free agency makes it is easier for the AFL's rich clubs such as Hawthorn to lure the league's best players with big-money contracts.
Franklin was by far the highest paid Hawk over recent years but Newbold said now that he is gone money would be spread more evenly across the list.

"As a policy setting we don't like having an outlier in our group in terms of someone who is paid well over the odds," Newbold told SEN radio.

"That's a philosophy we will carry through just to keep everyone within the same band of money.

"That has good consequences for your culture and that is something we will be keen to maintain."

Newbold said Hawthorn's financial strength would be used to fund off-field projects.

"We have about $12 million in cash and $27 million in net assets ... so we are in a pretty strong position," he said.

"We have a pretty big focus on renovating our facilities so that's a big enterprise and it's going to cost us a lot of money."

With coach Alastair Clarkson certain to field overtures from rival clubs when his current contract expires at the end of 2014, the Hawks will likely need to boost the dual premiership mentor's wages in order to keep him. 

"We are pretty relaxed about the fact he will stay on beyond (2014)," Newbold said.

"He came out and said he's not going anywhere. He and I are on the same page with that and that will just happen in due course."

Hawthorn's membership tally already stands at 35,000 and Newbold said the Hawks were targeting 65,500 by the start of the season.

"Hawthorn is the place where people want to come. That's what we set out to be - a destination club," he said.

"We are not always going to be winning and we have got to create an environment where members want to be members even though you are not on top of the ladder and sponsors still want to sponsor you even though you are not winning premierships.

"It's not how good you are, but it's how good you want to be and that's our challenge."


KISS ME KETUT MAKES THE MELBOURNE CUP 19/11/2013 11:54:45 AM


One of the best racing stories of the year has materalised with Kiss Me Ketut making it into this Thursday night’s $500,000 Group 1 TAB Melbourne Cup (515m) at Sandown Park.

 

Kiss Me Ketut was sold at the inaugural 2012 Ready 2 Race Sales at Bendigo for $21,000 when he was an unraced 15 month old pup. Since then the son of Bombastic Shiraz and Spiral Siyan has won 15 races from 34 starts and earned over $100,000 in prize money. He will be racing for a mammoth $350,000 first prize in the Melbourne Cup.

 

That a greyhound purchased at the auction is now a finalist in the world’s richest greyhound race is a fairytale for Ready 2 Race Sales organisers.

 

Owner/trainer David Burnett said Kiss Me Ketut - who has a huge following as a result of being named after popular AAMI television commercials featuring Ketut and Rhonda - had been a dream purchase.

 

“I’m having so much fun with him. He’s still only 27 months old and he keeps improving. He ran 3rd in a Group 2 race in Perth in May, was a reserve in the (Group 1) Maturity Classic at The Meadows in July, won the Cranbourne Puppy Classic in August and he made the (Group 1) Adelaide Cup in September.”

 

“He has now made the Melbourne Cup and will be a top age contender in next month’s (Group 1) Silver Chief. And, without getting ahead of myself, he could quite conceivably make next year’s Melbourne Cup given his age”, said the Geelong trainer, who runs two plumbing supplies businesses.

Industry scuttlebutt has it that Kiss Me Ketut and his talented kennelmate Archie Gumballs – a winner of nine races and $46,000 in prize money - were ‘buy backs’ at the Ready 2 Race auction, however Burnett is keen to set the record straight.



Eastern raiders have filled six places in the 16-horse field for Saturday’s Group I Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot.

Only the Gary Kennewell-trained Conservatorium has had a lead-up run in Perth with the durable campaigner winning the Group II Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) on November 9.

Emirates Stakes placegetter Smokin’ Joey has travelled west for the Railway Stakes while Mornington Peninsula horseman Sam Pritchard-Gordon will run imported galloper Mutual Trust in Perth’s showpiece race.

The Peter Moody-trained Plucky Belle is also in the Railway Stakes field as is the impressive Flemington winner Longport, who will have her third start for Danny Bougoure in the $1 million event.

Fire Up Fifi will also run in the Railway Stakes while her Robert Heathcote-trained stablemate Buffering will go around in Saturday’s other Group I race at Ascot, the Winterbottom Stakes.

Below is the field and barrier for Saturday’s Group I Railway Stakes at Ascot. 



Randwick will displace Flemington as the host of the richest horse racing carnival in Australia with a revamped autumn offering more than $18 million in stakes.

In a long-anticipated move, the state government and Racing NSW have injected enough cash to swell the total prize money on offer over an “iconic two days” of racing to $18.2 million.

It is more than the total $17 million up for grabs at the four-day Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington, the crowning jewel of the Victorian city’s racing calendar.

“While it may be true to say that Melbourne owns the spring, at least as an event, from today Sydney unequivocally owns the autumn,” Australian Turf Club chairman John Cornish said at the announcement on Tuesday.

In detailing next year’s ambitious new format named `The Championships’, racing minister George Souris said the prize money would be spread over Derby Day on Saturday, April 12 and Sydney Cup Day on Saturday, April 19.

The meetings will feature eight Group One races.

In terms of prize money increases, The Queen Elizabeth Stakes has received a massive injection.

From a 2013 purse of $550,000, next year’s race will be worth $4 million, making it the world’s richest 2000-metre turf race.

It will become the second richest race in Australia behind the $6.2 Melbourne Cup.



Randwick will displace Flemington as the host of the richest horse racing carnival in Australia with a revamped autumn offering more than $18 million in stakes.

In a long-anticipated move, the state government and Racing NSW have injected enough cash to swell the total prize money on offer over an “iconic two days” of racing to $18.2 million.

It is more than the total $17 million up for grabs at the four-day Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington, the crowning jewel of the Victorian city’s racing calendar.

“While it may be true to say that Melbourne owns the spring, at least as an event, from today Sydney unequivocally owns the autumn,” Australian Turf Club chairman John Cornish said at the announcement on Tuesday.

In detailing next year’s ambitious new format named `The Championships’, racing minister George Souris said the prize money would be spread over Derby Day on Saturday, April 12 and Sydney Cup Day on Saturday, April 19.

The meetings will feature eight Group One races.

In terms of prize money increases, The Queen Elizabeth Stakes has received a massive injection.

From a 2013 purse of $550,000, next year’s race will be worth $4 million, making it the world’s richest 2000-metre turf race.

It will become the second richest race in Australia behind the $6.2 Melbourne Cup.



Strapper ‘king hit’ in mounting yard at Flemington

The female strapper of Black Cash was ‘king hit’ by a male when in the winner’s stall waiting for her horse to return after winning the Subzero Challenge (1400m) at Flemington on Thursday.

Racing Victoria chief steward Terry Bailey witnessed the assault and described the incident as ‘unbelievable’.

"This bloke was just standing behind her and the next thing just king hit her,” Bailey said.

"He just scampered and I got security to chase him down. We called the police and they ended up cuffing him for resisting arrest.”

Bailey said the incident is now a "police matter” but as the alleged assailant is also a registered stablehand, he is also likely to answer charges.

"He was registered so we’ll deal with it after the police do what they have to do,” he said.

Meanwhile, Caulfield Cup-winning jockey Nick Hall has been denied the chance of winning three straight Zipping Classics at Caulfield on Saturday week after being suspended for 12 meetings.

Hall will commence his ban, incurred in the Subzero Challenge, after Saturday’s Emirates Stakes meeting at Flemington.



2013 VRC Sprint Classic - Bel ready to bounce back

Mornington trainer Jason Warren says speedster Bel Sprinter will "shake the life out of " Saturday's Group I VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington.

Bel Sprinter returns to Flemington after two midfield runs at Moonee Valley in the Group I Moir Stakes (1200m) and Manikato Stakes (1200m). Warren said inside draws worked against the son of Bel Esprit in  his last two outings.

Bel Sprinter has had his share of barrier issues in his 18-start career but Warren said drawing gate 10 on the Flemington straight track would help the gelding's chase for a second Group I win.

"He's drawn perfectly, he's trained on well and I'm really happy with him," Warren said. "He'll shake the life out it.

"He wasn't as bad away as he has been in the Manikato Stakes but it was harder because he was in barrier one. He was pretty good at the Valley considering he was first in and stood there for a long time.

"He got trapped on inside there so he'll be much better off down the straight."

The stewards noted Bel Sprinter was "held up for clear running until straightening" before finishing 1.1 lengths from Buffering and Lucky Nine in the Manikato Stakes.

The trio will clash again in the VRC Sprint Classic but Lucky Nine's rider Brett Prebble said the Hong Kong galloper was "right at his top" for the $1 million event.

Prebble said he partnered Lucky Nine in his last gallop before the VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) on Tuesday. Lucky Nine has missed a place at his last two starts on the Sha Tin straight course but Prebble said punters should discount those runs.

"He's been down the straight a couple of times but only over five furlongs (1000m), which isn't really his go," Prebble said.

"He's a healthy and fit horse. I'm very pleased. He'll run a great race over the 1200 metres down the straight."



EWEN McKenzie will take a shock selection gamble against Italy as he attempts to turn the Wallabies' horror year around, naming Rob Simmons as blindside flanker for the first time.

In the only change to the starting side that lost to England last week, Simmons, who has played his entire career at lock, comes into the side at No.6 for the injured Scott Fardy.

It means Australia will start with four specialist lineout jumpers; James Horwill, Sitaleki Timani, Simmons - who missed the England Test with a knee injury - and No.8 Ben Mowen, who retains the Wallabies captaincy.

"We've had a look at Italy and what they're good at, and we want to take them on at what they're good at, scrummaging, lineout and good driving play," McKenzie said.

"As we worked out at training, it gives us an excellent lineout options in attack and pressure in defence, but also gives us a really good scrum outcome in terms of generating power.

"Simmo is in our top two statistically in defence, and probably the second most athletic guy in our forward pack [behind Michael Hooper].

"He played part of a Test match at the World Cup at No.6, it's not like it hasn't been thought about before.

"He hasn't played a lot of football there, but he's got the right attributes.

"He's got a rugby league background, so playing in space carrying the ball, you might be a bit surprised actually.

"In terms of power, he's one of our most powerful behind Sita [Timani] and Tatafu [Polota-Nau], he'd be third in being able to generate power.

"Sometimes you don't see that because he might be stuck at a scrum. He trained really well, I was really impressed, he didn't look tentative at all."

The Wallabies are enduring one of their worst years in recent history, having lost eight of 11 Tests this year, but defeat to Italy this weekend would be most embarrassing of all.

Desperate to avoid becoming the first Australian side to lose to Italy, McKenzie has opted for stability rather than making a host of changes from last week.

Having kept Mowen as his captain - last week he replaced Horwill so the latter could focus on rediscovering form - McKenzie said the role was still a "week-to-week proposition".

"I'm way more interested in individual performance rather than worrying about leadership, because I know there are a lot of leaders there anyway," he said.

"It doesn't matter which you distribute it."



Waller confirms Hawkspur will be prominent in 2013 Melbourne Cup

Trainer Chris Waller has reiterated that Hawkspur will be ridden positively to take up a forward position in the early stages of Tuesday's Emirates Melbourne Cup.

In each of Hawkspur’s five runs this spring the four-year-old has settled back toward the tail of the field, which has been in contrast to his Group I Queensland Derby win, and two Brisbane lead-up victories, when he raced on the speed.

Waller told Racenet last week Hawkspur will " be in the first six for sure” on Tuesday and while the four-year-old has again fared badly at the barrier draw - to jump from 18 - his trainer is remains positive.

"We'll be a little more aggressive than we were in the Caulfield Cup," Waller said. "We decided to ride for luck there and we got absolutely none so we'll take our chance and be in the front half of the field on Tuesday.

"He's won a Derby so he's no problems at that distance, but when you are up against the calibre of horses he will meet tomorrow, plus the extra distance, it will make it tough.

"We've done everything we can to get him there so now it's up to the horse."



Shane Warne hits back at Ricky Ponting after former skipper criticised Michael Clarke in new book

SHANE Warne has rebuked Ricky Ponting as the fallout from the former captain's book turns nasty.

Australia's greatest wicket-taker claimed Ponting, is 'jealous' of Michael Clarke and "beats himself up mercilessly" over losing three Ashes series.

 

In a stinging rebuttal of Ponting following the release of his autobiography 'At the Close of Play', Warne claimed that dressing room secrets should not have been aired in public.

 

A close friend of Clarke's, Warne was responding to Ponting’s claim that Clarke did not buy into the team culture when he was first selected for Australia


"I know he beats himself up mercilessly about being the only Australian captain ever to lose three Ashes," Warne told the English media.



"And I know Ricky made that horrific decision to put England in at Edgbaston in 2005.

 

"I don't want to be mean about Ricky. He's a good guy and he tried to do the best he could.

 

"But to bring up the stuff about Pup (Clarke), maybe there was a bit of jealousy, because Pup was batting so well and Ricky was not making any runs.

 

"To me, Michael's very well respected. The best captains keep stuff in the dressing room. No-one ever finds out about it. That's what good leaders are about. So to hear all this in a book is pretty ordinary."

 

Warne also renewed his attack on England captain Alastair Cook, calling him "negative and boring."


“I don't like that style of captaincy. If you're playing against the best sides in the world under pressure, it won't hold up," Warne said.

Stuart Broad recently accused Warne and Australia coach Darren Lehmann  of 'trash-talk'.

Group I winner earns retirement 30/10/2013 12:00:00 AM


Group I winner earns retirement

A Group I winner that finished unplaced at Moonee Valley last Saturday has run his last race and been retired.

December Draw, winner of the 2011 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington finished seventh of 10 in the Group II Crystal Mile (1600m) last Saturday and trainer Mark Kavanagh has acted in the best interests of the horse and called a halt to his competitive days.

"He is a delightful horse and he’s been a delight to train,” Kavanagh said. "He will go up to Gary Towzell’s (part-owner) farm in Wagga and enjoy himself.

"He came to us a couple of years ago and was purchased to win a Wagga Cup. Fortunately for the connections he was a little better than that and went on win a Turnbull Stakes and at one stage was favourite for a Caulfield Cup.”

December Draw defeated fellow import Glass Harmonium to win the 2011 Group I Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington and then went to post a leading fancy for that year's Caulfield Cup.

"Unfortunately in that Caulfield Cup he got galloped on and he was never quite the same afterwards,” Kavanagh said. "He was a tough, honest player and I’m sure he’s going to have a good life in retirement.”

December Draw retires with a career record of eight wins in 32 starts in Australia and England. In addition to the Turnbull he also won the 2011 Group III Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield.



Ben Barba versus Canterbury Bulldogs grudge match to start new season

THE NRL will launch the 2014 season with the grudge match of the year — superstar Ben Barba against the club he walked out on, the Bulldogs.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal that broadcasters Channel 9 requested the Brisbane-Canterbury blockbuster for the opening Friday night of the season at Suncorp Stadium on March 7. 

It would put the fullback and 2012 Dally M champion up against his old club and many of the players he fell out with during a tumultuous 2013 that included claims of domestic violence as well as gambling and alcohol issues. 

On the Thursday night, March 6, bitter local rivals the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Sydney Roosters will play at ANZ Stadium.

The games will also be shown live in high definition on Channel 9, the station having finally overcome the technical issues that prevented it covering the NRL in HD. 

Nine recently lodged its requests with the NRL for the opening 20 rounds of a fixed-schedule season and expects final approval within days. 

The AFL season draw is revealed on Thursday but the NRL will be at least two weeks later.

Barba’s clash with the Bulldogs will surely sell out Suncorp, ensuring a bumper 50,000-plus State of Origin-type crowd in Brisbane.

The night before, the Roosters and Rabbitohs will get up towards 70,000 at Homebush in what has now become the traditional season kick-off. 


French raider to miss spring carnival 28/10/2013 12:00:00 AM


French raider to miss spring carnival

French raider Trevieres has sustained an injury and will miss the remainder of the spring carnival.

The Markus Nigge-trained galloper finished second in the Group I Toorak Handicap (1600m) behind Solzhenitsyn and was set to contest the Mackinnon Stakes this weekend.

But the six-year-old has fractured his near fore cannon and will be spelled immediately.

Meanwhile, Gai Waterhouse has advised Racing Victoria stewards that Glencadam Gold would also head to the paddock.



Bulldogs recruit Stewart Crameri says he didn't leave Essendon because of the supplements scandal

STEWART Crameri says his friendship with Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney - not the Essendon drugs scandal - led to his defection from the Bombers.

Crameri was traded to the Dogs after a last-ditch effort by new Essendon coach Mark Thompson failed to change his mind about a move to Whitten Oval.

"I was trying to tell Bomber and a few of the other coaches this is what I needed for my football, I needed a fresh start with a coach that I really respect," Crameri said today.

"Obviously through knowing Brendan in the 2011 season with him being the forward line coach at Essendon I've got a good relationship with him.

"The Bulldogs have a good young list of players and I just needed a fresh start and new challenges."

The 25-year-old said the supplement scandal that overshadowed Essendon's 2013 season had played no part in his decision.

"The things that happened at Essendon this year were blown out of proportion a fair bit. The players were fine, this was based purely on what's best for my football and my football development."

Although he is seen as the power forward the Dogs have been craving, Crameri said McCartney had offered him the opportunity to play in other positions.



With the rain arriving, is a new Cox Plate favourite emerging?

 The Murray Baker-trained It’s A Dundeel was installed the clear favourite for the Cox Plate following the scratching of Atlantic Jewel on Tuesday but 15 mm of rain at Moonee Valley has resulted in punters turning their attention to another contender.

It’s A Dundeel was a $4 favourite with the majority of fixed odds operators while Darren Weir’s runner Puissance De Lune trading at between $4.20 and $5 for the weight-for-age championship.

The rain started to fall in Melbourne around lunchtime on Tuesday and fell throughout much of the afternoon and into the night. Moonee Valley is now rated a dead (5) surface with more rain predicted for the rest of the week.

With Betezy you can claim 10% better odds on both of these favourites to give you some more value in this race.



D’Arcy, 26, has slipped out of competitive swimming, quietly announcing his intentions to pursue his medical career. 


“It’s been an honour and a privilege to represent my country over the past eight years,” D’Arcy wrote on social network site, Facebook, tonight. 


“My career wouldn't have been possible without the fantastic support of my friends, family and incredible girlfriend.”

D’Arcy, from the Sunshine Coast, was suspended from the 2008 Beijing Olympics team after he was charged following a brawl with former swimmer Simon Cowley in March, 2008.

D’Arcy pleaded guilty to one charge of recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm and was given a 14-month suspended sentence. D’Arcy was later sued by Cowley and he declared bankruptcy.

D’Arcy made a spirited comeback to qualify for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi and the 2012 London Olympics. 

However, D’Arcy failed to produce his best form in the 200m butterfly in both events and missed out on finals.

D’Arcy enjoyed some international success, defeating Olympic great Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly at the Santa Clara International Grand Prix in June 2011.

D’Arcy trailed Phelps for most of the race, until the Queenslander pipped the Olympic champion on the wall, clocking 1:55.39. He beat Phelps by 0.01sec.

D’Arcy will pursue his medical career in Brisbane.

 


SKD To Recover Early 21/10/2013 12:00:00 AM


SKD To Recover Early

Sydney Roosters gun Shaun Kenny-Dowall is set to be back on the training paddock in just three weeks after undergoing surgery from a broken jaw.

The big utility back suffered a three-quarter fracture on the left side of his jaw about 20 minutes into the NRL Grand Final against the Manly Sea Eagles.

He refused to let medical staff know during the match and played on for 60 minutes carrying the injury.

"I didn’t want to let my team-mates down and that’s all I was really thinking about," he said after the match (according to the Courier Mail).  

"I knew something was wrong - I started spitting out blood. I concentrated on doing my job for 80 minutes and that’s all I was thinking about."

Unfortunately due to the injury, Kenny-Dowall wasn't selected to represent New Zealand in the upcoming Rugby League World Cup.



Silent Achiever still bound for 2013 Melbourne Cup

Kiwi trainer Roger James says Silent Achiever will press on towards the Melbourne Cup despite pulling up with cuts to her legs after Saturday’s Caulfield Cup.

Silent Achiever finished 2-1/2 lengths from Fawkner when eighth in the Caulfield Cup after the mare was involved in a scrimmage that landed her jockey Glen Boss with a 12-meeting suspension.

James said the hard track prevented Silent Achiever from producing her best in the Caulfield Cup but she recovered well from the testing event.

"She’s got stitches in both hind legs and one was a rather nasty cut, but she’s sound and that’s the main thing,” James told The Informant. "I’m not sure where it happened, but it was possibly where Bossy caused the interference.

"Apart from the cuts, she pulled up really well. Ten minutes afterwards you wouldn’t have known she had raced.”

James said Silent Achiever would not start again before the Melbourne Cup but the five-year-old needed to work on Tuesday morning to show she was capable of proceeding towards the first Tuesday in November.

The trainer also said he needed to find a Melbourne Cup jockey for Silent Achiever because Boss has a long-term commitment to ride Puissance De Lune.

James said he hoped to find a rider for Silent Achiever "within the next few days.”

Silent Achiever will carry 52.5kg in the Melbourne Cup.



HEATH SHAW will be at Greater Western Sydney next year.

The Collingwood premiership player last night chose GWS over Geelong and Essendon, a move first revealed in the Herald Sun on day one of trade week. He will sign a five-year deal with the expansion club worth between $675,000 and $700,000 a season. His manager Ben Niall said: ''We have informed Geelong and Essendon that GWS is his preferred club and notified GWS and Collingwood.

''It's now up to them to get a deal done.''

A trade with Taylor Adams, who wants to move back to Victoria, is almost a certainly to take place, as well as draft picks.

''It's been really hard to process,'' Niall said. ''He's pretty emotional. He's been really attached to Collingwood, it's like an end of a marriage.

''But he's very passionate  about what he does and he's very excited about the opportunity.''


Strong formline at Grafton 15/10/2013 12:00:00 AM


Strong formline at Grafton

It is not often a form analyst would declare a horse that was beaten seven lengths at their prior start a good thing but that looks the case at Grafton on Tuesday.

The John Shelton-trained Shipped On Out is the horse in question and will be hard to beat in the Book A Xmas Party Marquee Maiden Handicap (1200m).

The four-year-old son of Hayil began his racing career with a 1-3/4 length fifth to Kapalga at Grafton on March 9 before being spelled.

The debut run had plenty of merit as the gelding was always three wide in the run without cover after starting from barrier nine.

Shipped On Out resumed form a spell at Grafton on October 10 but was unlucky to run into the promising Blackboard Special going down in second place by seven lengths.

The performance of Blackboard Special needs to be analysed when assessing the chances of Shipped On Out in Tuesday’s maiden.

After winning a trial at Grafton by more than 10 lengths Blackboard Special scorched over the Grafton 1100 metre course to win his maiden by seven-lengths running 1.01.83.

This bettered the time of the Marc Quinn-trained Pentasia who ran 1.01.84 when she won her maiden by 13 lengths on October 11, 2011.

Pentasia went on to win a further seven races including a Listed win at Doomben on May 25.

It is worth noting that Shipped On Out was able to get within seven lengths of Blackboard Special which compares favourably to the 13-length margin to the second horse in the Pentasia race.

Shipped On Out has drawn barrier one on Tuesday and will have the services of Ben Looker.

Shipped On Out only has to replicate his first-up run to get the money on Tuesday.



GAI Waterhouse will have Metropolitan Handicap runner-up Julienas as well as Glencadam Gold in Saturday's Group I Caulfield Cup.

The galloper will be ridden by Kerrin McEvoy are Julienas was selected ahead of UK international Forgotten Voice for the final place in the field for the $2.5 million feature over 2400m.

The Melbourne Racing Club said the galloper's excellent recent form gave it the nod.

Peter Moody has two runners - topweight Manighar and My Quest For Peace - and two emergencies in Sneak A Peek and Ibicenco.

Chris Waller has four runners - the favourite Hawkspur, third elect Royal Descent as well as Moriarty and Kelinni.


SBW in the Rugby League World Cup? 9/10/2013 12:00:00 AM


SONNY Bill Williams has declared he is ready to “help the brothers” and represent New Zealand at this year’s rugby league World Cup.

And the New Zealand Rugby League has confirmed they are “exploring options around Sonny’s possible inclusion in the tournament”.

In a stunning turn of events, Williams has decided to make himself available for the rugby league World Cup – barely 24 hours after informing New Zealand selectors he was unavailable.

“After a few tough seasons topped with an amazing one with the boys at the Roosters I was then faced with the opportunity to have a long awaited break and go on holiday with my family,” Williams tweeted on Wednesday morning.

 “Without thinking the whole situation through thoroughly, I eagerly jumped at the chance to chill out and rest. After having some time to really think about how much representing my country means to me I decided to then put my name forward for selection.



International Caulfield Cup contender Dandino ramped up his preparation for Saturday week’s event with his first piece of fast work since arriving at Werribee.

Dandino had the better of Cox Plate aspirant Side Glance in a gallop on Wednesday morning, settling off his workmate before working home well to finish the hit-out a neck ahead of his companion.

The work pleased handler Paul Francis, who is representing Dandino’s trainer Marco Botti. Francis said Botti wanted him to give Dandino a decent gallop but not "overdo” the son of Dansili’s work.

Francis said Dandino relished the chance to work on a racetrack rather than the sloping gallops at home in England.

"He doesn’t work on a track at home so he’s quite lazy,” Francis said. "He was more alert on the track.

"Some horses grow a hand on the track but just go through the motions on the gallops.”

Francis said the Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock-syndicated Dandino had put on the weight he lost on the flight over and continued to thrive since arriving in Melbourne.

"He lost 7kg on the trip over but he managed to put 11kg back on in two days when he got here. He’s now 3kg above his weight when he left.

"He took it (the trip) really well. He ate on the plane and he’s such a good traveller.”

Dandino won his last start in the American St Leger (1m-5-1/2f) at Arlington in Chicago on August 17 while his career has also taken him to Canada, where he ran second in last year’s Grade I Canadian International (12f).

The son of Dansili was also competitive in the Group I Hong Kong Vase (2400m) at Sha Tin last year.

Betezy have Dandino at $9.03 for the Caulfield Cup.



Undefeated superstar Black Caviar had her faultless racing career honoured again when she was crowned the 2012/13 Australian Racehorse of the Year for the third consecutive time.

Black Caviar becomes just the second horse to hold the title three times. Fellow Hall of Famer Sunline, a dual Cox Plate winner won the title in 1999/2000, 2000/01, 2001/02.

Black Caviar claimed two awards at Thursday night's glittering 2013 Australian Racehorse of the Year Awards. The daughter of Bel Esprit was also crowned Champion Sprinter.

The Peter Moody-trained mare beat her four-time Group I winning half-brother All Too Hard in both the Australian Racehorse of the Year and Champion Sprinter categories but the son of Casino Prince gained recognition for his breakout season when named Champion 3YO Colt or Gelding.

All Too Hard beat a star studded line-up to the gong defeating the likes of Pierro, It's A Dundeel, Fiveandahalfstar , Super Cool, Hawkspur and Epaulette.



WHETHER it be down to Graham Henry's influence or natural evolution, the improvement of Argentina's backs is an under-rated threat for the Wallabies in Rosario on Sunday morning.

 

That's the view of Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie, who believes the talents of stars such as his former Stade Francais charge Juan Martin Hernandez, and dangerous types like Marcelo Bosch and Juan Imhoff, can't be forgotten amid all the standard hype about


"Everyone talks about the battle up front but there has been a transition over the last 18 months, there is a lot more effort in expressing themselves with backline play," McKenzie said.

 

"For a long period of time they played a very formula based game, a lot of high balls. They can drop back and play that game, they have some outstanding kickers and catchers.

 

"So they understand pressure that way but they have been backing themselves in the last 18 months to play with the ball in hand.




Monday’s October 7 public holiday meeting at Randwick sees the anticipated return of the newly renovated Kensington racetrack with free entry available to all Navy and Defence personnel in Sydney for Naval Week celebrations.

Jockeys had high praise for the track’s racing suitability back on September 17 when 16 horses were Permitted to gallop on the new surface following an untimely downpour of 80mm in the previous 24 hours.

A $1.7 million grant from Racing NSW helped fund the laying of 40,000 square metres of Strathayr surface, designed to maximize drainage and track cushion. So far, the track has received the stamp of approval from jockeys and trainers alike in the weeks preceding Monday’s opening.

With the official return of the Kensington track to metropolitan race meetings, the ATC now has five tracks at its disposal for scheduling.

ATC Executive General Manager of Racing Matt Rudolph believes having the Kensington track back in full operation will be advantageous over the winter months and allow for greater rotation between the Sydney racetracks.

"We are confident this investment by Racing NSW will set the benchmark for an all weather racing solution on turf and minimize the loss of race meetings to extreme wet weather,” Rudolph said.

"Having all five ATC tracks back in full operation will allow us to space the scheduling of meetings to enable the best racing surfaces, not just for carnivals but also year round.”

The opening of the Kensington racetrack will coincide with an ATC promotion that will allow free entry to all Navy and Defence personnel visiting Sydney this week for Naval Week celebrations.

Any serving member either dressed in uniform or in possession of a defence force card will also be eligible for free entry.



THE Cronulla Sharks' NRL future has received a massive boost with news property developers at their Woolooware home base have offered to throw in an extra $10 million cash.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal Sharks directors have been in finance talks for several weeks to raise funds to pay off a $3 million bank loan and form a war chest to deal with ASADA expenses.

Sharks chairman Damian Keogh says the cash advance is an option the club’s board is seriously considering.

"The offer is there for up to $10 million," Keogh said.

"And there are another couple of possibilities too which we’re currently looking at."

Cronulla was always guaranteed $28 million from sales at the $300 million redevelopment over the next five years.

Under a new arrangement, $10 million would be upfront and then $18 million in stages.

The gain for developers is that the money would immediately clear a $3 million St George Bank debt and release any rights the bank had over land.

Oliver appeals severity of Valley ban 30/09/2013 12:00:00 AM


Jockey Damien Oliver will appear before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board on Monday morning in a bid to ride at Saturday’s Turnbull Stakes meeting at Flemington.

Stewards suspended Oliver for 10 meetings for causing interference on Mr Moet in last Friday night’s Group III JRA Cup (2040m) at Moonee Valley.

Oliver decided to start his suspension immediately, foregoing books of rides atMornington and Caulfield, but his ban was set to end at midnight on Turnbull Stakesday.

Oliver has appealed the severity of the penalty, hoping for the RAD Board to shave one meeting off the suspension to allow him to ride in the Turnbull Stakes.

The RAD Board hearing will begin at 10:30am.



COLLINGWOOD will meet Sydney forward Jesse White on Monday as it steps up plans to find a goal kicking partner for Travis Cloke. 


On Thursday, White told Sydney he was requesting a trade to Collingwood, and he seems likely to get there.

The 25-year-old 196cm key forward kicked 20.12 from 15 games this year after being part of the aborted Kurt Tippett trade. The Western Bulldogs have also heavily pursued White but, given the Pies are in the premiership mode, they the Pies are his clear priority.


Early betting trends – Caulfield 27/09/2013 12:00:00 AM


Punters have latched onto an imported galloper having its first start in Australia at Caulfield’s Sunday meeting.

Sir John Hawkwood will begin his Australian career in the Programmed Property Services Handicap over 2000 metres for Sydney trainer Craig Ritchie.

The Irish import was a four-time winner in the northern hemisphere from eight starts and won a trial win over 1550 metres at Cranbourne on September 9.

Since markets opened Sir John Hawkwood has firmed from $9 into $6.

Meanwhile in the Group I Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) five runners have attracted early support, Solzhenitsyn, Luckygray, Ferlax, Speediness, and Fontelina.

Below are the significant firmers in the early betting on Saturday’s Caulfield meeting.



The Moonee Valley Race Club will stage the running of the feature Moir Stakes (1200m) at the ungodly hour of 10pm tomorrow night.

The move is part of a contentious trial down south to have Group 1s scheduled as the last race of the day.

Tomorrow’s major will be seen at an hour usually reserved for re-runs of Lethal Weapon 4, which will be beamed on Channel 9.

Sergeant Roger Murtaugh, Glover’s character in the Lethal Weapon franchise, was famous for his saying, “I’m getting too old for this s ...”

And plenty of punters are sure to be thinking just that when they scroll all the way to the bottom of the form guide to find the Moir Stakes.

For starters, families will be unable to hang around late enough for the race.

Some trainers at Canterbury admitted yesterday that horses would need to be stimulated given they usually switched off around 10pm.

But MVRC chief executive Michael Browell defended the decision, and claimed it was important to try and build an atmosphere throughout the evening.

Browell said the idea worked a treat when Black Caviar won the William Reid Stakes as the last race in the autumn.

“We’ll have more than 2000 people sit down for dinner, they can enjoy dinner, and then take a seat in the grandstand to watch the feature races towards the end of the program,” Browell said.



THE Cronulla Sharks could be forced to relocate 1450km to central or southern Queensland in 2015 in the wake of the clubs administrative failures when the ASADA investigation is complete.

The Daily Telegraph has learned NRL powerbrokers have held talks about the possibility of the Sharks being moved to Rockhampton or southern Queensland, with the club's financial position expected to become stretched to the extreme if the NRL hits Cronulla with a million-dollar fine for bringing the game into disrepute over the ongoing supplements crisis. 

Under NRL rules, the game’s governing body has the power to rescind any club’s licence if they deem it has become financially insolvent or in "extreme circumstances", such as the black eye the Sharks have caused rugby league due to the club’s controversial supplements program from 2011. 



A trio of international runners are left in contention for a Cox Plate start after Tuesday’s second acceptances for Australasian weight-for-age championship.

Mull Of Killough, Side Glance and Trevieres are among the 58 acceptors for the Cox Plate. The number of acceptors is up 16 from the same stage in 2012.

Pre-post favourites Atlantic Jewel and It’s A Dundeel head the acceptors while last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon is one of those remaining in the event.

Trainers have accepted with 10 three-year-olds with that age group to provide the entire Darley Cox Plate challenge after trainer Peter Snowden paid up for Guelph and Long John.

Premier local trainer Peter Moody still has four horses – Kesampour, High Esteem,Lidari and Strawberry Boy in the Cox Plate while Chris Waller left four runners in the race.

Cox Plate third acceptances will close at noon on October 8.



Steven King makes his return to competitive race riding this Thursday at Seymour where the Melbourne Cup-winning jockey has two rides.

King has not ridden in nine months since winning on the Mark Kavanagh-trained Oltre Finito at Ballarat on April 21.

King was dislodged after the winning post when the horse ducked out a gap, crushing the jockey's right foot in the process and causing bone damage that required surgery.

On Thursday, he will ride Timah in race four and Rivonia in race six, both horses trained by Steve Richards at Flemington, for whom King has been riding trackwork recently.



MELBOURNE coach Paul Roos says he is "absolutely devastated" at the animosity being directed his way from the Sydney Swans, his former club.

The Sydney premiership coach returned fire on Monday night, saying he doesn't understand the level of anger coming out of the Swans after he took the Demons job.

Swans chairman Richard Colless attacked Roos on the weekend, accusing him of attempting to lure Sydney's best academy player Lloyd Perris to the Demons.

"Paul's actions massively devalue his standing at the club," Colless said.

"He led the club to it's first premiership in 72 years. He helped establish the Bloods culture, he is on a pedestal at the Swans and I'm unbelievably disappointed in his actions.

"I consider taking players from the academy he has helped build is an absolute breach of protocol and a gentleman's agreement.


New Zealand trainer Murray Baker admits his latest star It’s A Dundeel faces a challenge to gift him a third win in the Group One race.

Baker has won the Underwood with The Phantom (1990) and Lion Tamer (2011) and has three-year-old triple crown winner It’s A Dundeel moving forward's to its Spring Carnival mission the Cox Plate in Saturday’s race at Caulfield.

It’s A Dundeel will strip fitter from his first-up fourth in the Group One Memsie Stakes (1400m) and while Baker believes 1800m is still short of the four-year-old’s best distance, he anticipates he will be finishing strongly at the business end of this race.

“Whether he’s good enough to beat the Atlantic Jewel remains to be seen.” Baker said.

The unbeaten Atlantic Jewel is aiming for her 10th win, is $1.50 favourite on the back of dominant victories in the Memsie and Stocks Stakes.

Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance de Lune is the only other runner under double figure odds at $7.50 with It’s A Dundeel at $10.

A winner of four Group Ones against his own age last season, It’s A Dundeel is chasing his first elite level victory in open company.

Baker said the we have improved from the first outing where he was blocked on the fence at the 200m after jumping from the inside gate.

Caulfield was rated in the slow range on Thursday, something that doesn’t bother Baker.

The Underwood will provide a guide to the Cox Plate and other spring features as the 14-horse field includes 11 Group One winners.

“Saturday will give a bit of a line on how he’s going but we feel he’s getting fitter,” Baker said.



GREATER Western Sydney has canned talks with Dustin Martin, deciding not to pursue the damaging midfielder.


The decision leaves Martin with dwindling prospects despite deciding him and his manager Ralph Carr wanting to "pursue offers" from rival clubs. 


The blow to Martin's camp heightens the likelihood the No. 3 draft pick will remain at Punt Rd in 2014. Martin has reportedly knocked back Richmond's offer of about $500,000 a year. He is believed to have earned about $450,000 this season.


The Giants met with Martin in Sydney on Thursday, but on Friday announced that would be the end of their discussions.




Another Blow to the Lions 19/09/2013 12:00:00 AM


The Lions are trying to hang onto seven players, with the No.30 pick from the 2011 draft determined to be traded home to Perth.

The Herald Sun understands West Coast is keen and will likely do a deal for the promising midfielder, who played 19 games for the Lions this year.

But while some players were frustrated by the lack of opportunities under Michael Voss, Yeo was impressed by the sacked coach.

Instead the 20-year-old just wants to go home after two years in which he played 28 games for the Lions.


Serena Williams claims fifth US Open 9/09/2013 12:00:00 AM


Serena Williams has won her fifth US Open and 17th grand slam title with a triumph over Victoria Azarenka on Sunday. 

The world number one tightened up in the second set, allowing Azarenka to level the final at one-set all at Flushing Meadows. 

But Williams was back to her dominant best in the third, winning 16 of 22 points on serve as she closed out the match 7-5 6-7 (6-8) 6-1 in two hours and 48 minutes.


The Roosters have returned to form right in time for the finals, beating fierce rivals South Sydney 24-12 to claim the minor premiership in front of a record crowd at ANZ Stadium.

Without four of their top players and trailing 12-10 at the break, the Roosters showed why they have been regarded as title favourites for most of the season as they clinched their first top-place finish since 2004.

The Roosters were led brilliantly by their halves, with James Maloney grabbing two tries while Mitchell Pearce scored one of his own and set up another.

They now wait for who they will play in the opening week of the finals, with a mouth-watering clash against either Melbourne or Manly their next challenge.


Hawks march on to preliminary final 7/09/2013 12:00:00 AM


Hawthorn are just one win away from another grand final berth after grinding their way to an impressive 54-point victory over reigning premiers Sydney in their qualifying final at the MCG on Friday night.

After a tight first half that yielded just four goals apiece, the Hawks blew the game open in the third term with five goals to one before adding another six in the final quarter to cruise to the 15.15 (105) to 7.9 (51) victory.

Missing Lance Franklin through suspension and losing Cyril Rioli (ankle) before the bounce, Hawthorn still had too much firepower for the Swans despite Coleman Medalist Jarryd Roughead restricted to just two goals by Ted Richards.

Skipper Luke Hodge was sensational across half-back as he set up the bulk of his side's forward entries with 25 outstanding possessions.



Andy Murray's US Open defence came crashing to a halt as Stanislas Wawrinka picked apart his game to seal a semi-final berth in New York.

The Swiss raced to a straight-sets victory in two hours 17 minutes to set up a potential semi-final at Flushing Meadows with world number one Novak Djokovic.

Wawrinka's 6-4 6-3 6-2 win on Thursday gives him a sixth triumph over Murray and his second this year. Their only other meeting in 2013 came in Monte Carlo when he won 6-1 6-2 on clay.



The money is coming for South Sydney to win Friday night's much anticipated battle for top spot at the end of the 2013 NRL home and away season, against arch-rivals the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium.

The two foundation clubs are already guaranteed of finishing first and second on the ladder at the end of the season for the first time since 1937 but the winner of Friday night's big clash will claim the minor premiership.

And while the Roosters achieved that feat as recently as 2004 - two years after their last premiership - Souths are aiming to finish top for the first time since 1989 as they bid for their first title since 1971.

However the Roosters appear to have dropped off at exactly the wrong time of year, losing their past two matches and no club has ever gone to win the premiership in the NRL after losing their last three regular season games.



Unbeaten star Atlantic Jewel has returned from an 18-month absence from the racetrack in sensational fashion, winning the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.

The Mark Kavanagh-trained mare won by two-and-a-quarter lengths from Australian Guineas champion Ferlax with another from the Kavanagh stable Super Cool - the Australia Cup winner - rounding out the placings.

But the day belonged to Atlantic Jewel, who is now unbeaten through eight career starts - three of which have been G1 successes.

Kavanagh, known to wear his heart on his sleeve, was emotional after stable jockey Michael Rodd nurtured his superstar five-year-old past the post first.

"Sorry, I'm speechless. I really am," Kavanagh said.

"She's pretty hot, just poetry. She's got so much improvement in her it's frightening."

Atlantic Jewel, unlike now-retired unbeaten sprinter Black Caviar, is not restricted to shorter races, with Kavanagh flagging the Cox Plate as her grand final this spring carnival.


Warner dumped from ODI squad 3/09/2013 12:00:00 AM


Opener David Warner has been left out of Australia's one-day squad ahead of the five-match series against England starting on Friday.

The explosive 26-year-old has had a lean time of it in the 50-over form of the game since July last year, scoring just 201 runs at a measly average of 18.27 with only one half-century to show for his past 11 innings.

And coach Darren Lehmann said that worrying formline was the sole reason behind Warner's omission from the team that will also face Scotland in a one-off clash on Tuesday.

"By his own admission, David would acknowledge that unfortunately he hasn't scored the weight of runs that he would like recently in one-day cricket for his country," Lehmann said.

"Like all selection matters, it was a tough decision, but like all players he understands the situation and knows he needs to get back to playing Ryobi Cup and making a heap of runs that we can't ignore.



Daniel Ricciardo has been confirmed as Mark Webber's replacement at Red Bull and will take over his compatriot's race seat in 2014.

The Australian, who races for Red Bull's sister team Toro Rosso, fills the void left by 37-year-old Webber after he announced his decision to quit Formula One and race in the World Endurance Championship in June.

Ricciardo, who drove for the constructors' championship holders at the Young Driver Test at Silverstone back in July, moves to Red Bull following an impressive 2013 season that has seen him claim four top-10 finishes so far.



Lleyton Hewitt has recovered from his marathon five-set triumph over sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro to advance past Russia's Evgeny Donskoy and reach the fourth round of the US Open.

Donskoy hung in with Hewitt for three sets, forcing a tie-break in the second and claiming the third, before the Australian veteran blitzed the 23-year-old Russian in the fourth to triumph 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 6-1 in just under three hours.

Hewitt, 32, continued his best run at a grand slam this year – after he had failed to go past the second round at Melbourne Park, Wimbledon and Roland Garros – to clinch a fourth-round berth at Flushing Meadows, where he will face either Tommy Haas (12th seed) or Mikhail Youzhny (21st).


Matt Bowen to hang up the boots 31/08/2013 12:00:00 AM


North Queensland stalwart Matt Bowen has confirmed this season will be his last in the NRL.

The 31-year-old is currently in negotiations with an overseas club but may take up an off-field role with the Cowboys if he is unable to secure a playing contract for 2014.

Bowen has played 267 games for the Cowboys since making his NRL debut in 2001, scoring a club-record 127 tries in the top grade.

The electrifying full-back also played one Test for Australia and made 10 appearances for Queensland.

"It was hard getting told I'm not going to be here next year, but it's a good thing, I was lucky enough to play 13 years here at the club," an emotional Bowen said on Friday.

"I've had a couple of offers from overseas and I'm just weighing up my decision now, whether I take that up or start working here.



Essendon chairman Paul Little has confirmed the club will welcome suspended coach James Hird back to the club following his unprecedented 12-month ban for bringing the game into disrepute.

On Tuesday evening there was finally an end to the investigation into the club's controversial supplements program with the AFL handing down their penalties.

The club were expelled from the finals, lost draft picks and hit with a $2million fine.

Hird, who had previously stated his intention to fight any charge against him, accepted his 12-month suspension which was back-dated to begin on August 25.

That means he will be eligible to return to the club in time to coach Essendon for the finals in 2014, should they make it.

Little said the club had already discussed the possibility of a contract extension for Hird, while club legend Matthew Lloyd told Footy Classified the former Essendon champion had already agreed to a deal to coach the Bombers in 2015 and 2016.



Nick Kyrgios is set for the biggest match of his short tennis career this week and the Australian teenager has been given some extra motivation after reports he will be in Australia's next Davis Cup squad.

Kyrgios defeated Tunisian world No.190 Malek Jaziri 4-6 6-3 6-4 to qualify for the main draw of the US Open, where he will take on Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer on Tuesday morning (AEST) in just his third match at a grand slam tournament.

The Canberra-born 18-year-old, who is the top-ranked junior in the world, has received a boost ahead of his clash with Ferrer, with news he will make his Davis Cup debut this year.

Australia's Davis Cup coach Josh Eagle told Fairfax Media Kyrgios is in the five-man squad to play Poland in a World Group play-off tie in Warsaw on September 13-15.



Australia's Adam Scott has enjoyed a remarkable final round to win The Barclays PGA tournament at Liberty National in New Jersey.

Scott was six shots behind joint leaders Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland heading into the final round before a score of five-under 66 allowed him to overhaul his faltering opponents and clinch victory at 11 under for the tournament.

Kuchar and fellow American Woodland were in pole position to start the round, both 12 under, before respective rounds of 78 and 73 allowed the 2013 Masters champion to steal victory.

Scott finished one shot ahead of England's Justin Rose, Canada's Graham DeLaet and American duo Woodland and Tiger Woods.



Michael Clarke incurred the wrath of The Oval crowd after encouraging the umpires to abandon play on the final day of the fifth Ashes Test.

The crowd saw 447 runs scored and 17 wickets fall in an extraordinary last day of the series in London, but roared their disapproval as the umpires called time because of bad light with the home side needing just 21 off 24 balls for an historic 4-0 home win.

They then vented their anger at Clarke, roundly booing the Australia captain during the presentation of the urn to England.

He had earlier accosted umpire Aleem Dar to ask why a light measurement had not been taken.

"I remember Aleem touching me and I asked him politely to not touch me because if I touched him I'd be suspended for three matches," Clarke said.

Clarke insisted that the light was much worse than in other Test matches when umpires had suspended play.


Scott Prince announces NRL retirement 26/08/2013 12:00:00 AM


Brisbane playmaker Scott Prince admitted there were times he thought about giving the game away long before Monday's official announcement he was quitting the NRL.

Prince battled a series of serious injuries before coming out the other side to win a premiership with Wests Tigers and go on to represent Queensland and Australia.

The 33-year-old will call it a day in a fortnight's time, by which time he would have played 300 games at four clubs across 16 seasons.

"There were some dark times when I thought rugby league wasn't for me," Prince admitted after announcing his retirement.

"It's been an incredible, massive journey and one I've been very honoured and proud to take part in.

"Now is the right time (to go). I've done all I can on the field and now I'm just looking forward to finishing in the right manner."


Farah finally inks new deal 16/08/2013 12:00:00 AM


Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah has finally put pen to paper on a four-year contract extension, nearly five months after announcing his intention to remain with the club.

The joint venture club revealed in late March that the 29-year-old had agreed to another four years as a Tiger.

At the time Farah took to Twitter to confirm the news: "So honoured to have been given to (sic) chance to finish my career at the club I love so much @Wests_Tigers. Feels great to be a #tigerforlife."

Farah added that the decision had been an easy one because he has 'total confidence in the future of the club' as it enters what he labelled 'an exciting new phase' with 'success ahead for us'.


Clarke gutted by dismal Aussies 13/08/2013 12:00:00 AM


For captain Michael Clarke, Australia's humiliating 74-run loss to England in the fourth Ashes Test was especially painful as it was a match the tourists should have won.

The skipper made just four in the first innings and was bowled by Stuart Broad for 21 amid another Australian batting capitulation that gifted England an unassailable 3-0 lead and Ashes series victory on Tuesday.

Chris Rogers and Shane Watson rescued Australia from a small total in the first innings and in the second dig it was only openers Rogers (49) and David Warner (71) who stayed at the crease long enough to make an impact at Durham.

Set 299 for victory, Australia went from 0-109 after 29 overs to all out for 224 off 68.3 overs.



The punters have again come for Tiger Woods ahead of a major golf tournament despite having lost a fortune on the world number one in the big events over the past five years.

Woods won the last of his 14 career majors five years ago at the US Open but will start a red-hot favourite for Thursday's US PGA Championship - the final major of the year - in New York.

The 37-year-old has been right back to his brilliant best this year but was beaten favourite in the first three majors of the season to Australia's Adam Scott at the US Masters, England's Justin Rose at the US Open and fellow American Phil Mickelson at the British Open.

However Woods is coming off a dominant seven stroke win at the Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio on the weekend - his eighth win at that event and his fifth on the US PGA Tour this year.

And with 79 US PGA Tour titles now to his credit he is just three short of Sam Snead's all-time record of 82, although he still remains four short of Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major tournament victories.

The bookies are bracing for an avalanche of bets on Woods to win his fifth US PGA Championship and his first since 2007 after he shot a stunning 61 during the second round of his dominant win at the Bridgestone Invitational.


Socceroos slip down the rankings 9/08/2013 12:00:00 AM


Australia have slipped six spots on the FIFA World Rankings following their unsuccessful campaign at the 2013 East Asian Cup last month.

The Socceroos failed to win any of their three matches, with their best result a scoreless draw against hosts South Korea.

But losses to Japan (3-2) and China (4-3) ensured Australia ended up on the bottom of the table with only point which means they dropped from 40th to equal 46th, along with Wales, in the global standings.

Meanwhile, the United States have moved back into top 20 after winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup.



Monty Panesar is being investigated by his County club, Sussex, over reports that he urinated on nightclub bouncers.

Reports claim the 31-year-old left-arm spinner was ejected from the Shooshh Club night spot in Brighton and proceeded to move to a balcony above the entrance and relieve himself on the doormen.

Panesar was called up to the England squad for their third Ashes Test against Australia at Old Trafford, although he did not feature.

A club statement read: "Sussex County Cricket Club can confirm that an incident took place involving Monty Panesar in the early hours of Monday 5th August.

"The matter is under full investigation and the club will make no further comment at this stage."

Sussex Police confirmed that a man had been arrested for his part in the incident.


Clarke upbeat despite Ashes failure 6/08/2013 12:00:00 AM


Australia captain Michael Clarke was in a surprisingly pragmatic mood at Old Trafford on Monday evening after England had retained the Ashes.

England were in deep trouble at 3-37 in their second innings, but only three balls were bowled after lunch due to rain.

The subsequent draw was enough for Alastair Cook's side to keep a 2-0 series lead with two matches to play.

Australia have now surrendered the urn on three successive occasions for the first time since the 1950s but they can still level the series with victories Chester-Le-Street and The Oval.

"That's most definitely our goal. I think if we can level the series we will take a lot of confidence back to Australia," Clarke said.

"We have some work to do the next couple of days to make sure we are as well prepared as we were coming into this Test match – if we play with the same attitude and the same commitment I am confident we can have success.

Clarke was named man of the match for his 187 in the first innings but said he would gladly have swapped it for the chance to keep the series alive.


Jockey Montgomerie dies from fall 6/08/2013 12:00:00 AM


Jockey Simone Montgomerie has died in hospital after being critically injured in a fall during the Darwin Cup Carnival on Monday.

Montgomerie was leading the field on Riahgrand during Race 6 at Fannie Bay when her mount shied 100 metres from the finish line, throwing the jockey to the ground.

Montgomerie was treated at the venue before being taken to hospital but the National Jockeys Trust has confirmed via Twitter she has since passed away.

The Darwin Turf Club has cancelled the last three races, including the Darwin Cup itself, with stewards fearing other jockeys may be emotionally affected by the incident.


Aussie batsmen finally deliver 2/08/2013 12:00:00 AM


Michael Clarke's century helped Australia produce their highest total of the Ashes after the faltering Decision Review System had earlier put England on the front foot.

Australia were 303-3 at stumps after winning the toss on day one of the third Test with Clarke (125) and Steve Smith (70) to resume at Old Trafford on Friday.

Momentum was evenly balanced at tea but Clarke and Smith's 174-run unbeaten stand made England's bowlers toil without reward during the final session.

In a chanceless captain's knock, Clarke has hit 17 boundaries and nullified England's strike weapons Graeme Swann and James Anderson with assurance.

He was the first Australian to reach triple figures this series.

Smith has been an inconspicuous ally to Clarke, but displayed the resilience Australia's batsmen lacked so badly in the first two Tests


AFL flag down to a race in three 31/07/2013 12:00:00 AM


The bookies now have the battle for the 2013 AFL premiership essentially down to a three horse race between Hawthorn, Geelong and Sydney - the three clubs that between them have won five of the last six flags.

Hawthorn and Sydney's emphatic weekend demolition of fellow top eight sides Essendon and Richmond, combined with Geelong's merciless 101-point thumping of St Kilda, means the three heavyweights are now virtually certain to all finish in the top four and earn the double chance in September.

And with no flag having been won by a team outside the top four since the current finals system began in 2000, the bookies have reacted accordingly.

Hawthorn, the 2008 premiers and runners-up to Sydney last season, have firmed even further in betting after thrashing Essendon by 56 points last week


Melbourne Tigers sign Worthington 31/07/2013 12:00:00 AM


The Melbourne Tigers have signed two-time Olympian Mark Worthington for the upcoming NBL season.

Worthington had been playing in Serbia until earlier this year, but a move back to Australia saw the highly rated 30-year-old snapped up by the Tigers.

It will be Worthington's second stint with the Tigers following his efforts with the club during the 2009/10 season and the Western Australian is excited by his return.

"I am very happy to be back in Melbourne and to have my family back in the place that we belong," Worthington said.

"I am looking forward to playing with the club again. There is a lot of emerging talent developing within the club, and it is a great sign that the coaches and club are developing the team for not just today, but for the future."

The Tigers also announced veteran Liam Rush had been released from his contract, with the club set to fill their remaining three positions on their roster in the coming weeks


Buddy helps Hawks demolish Bombers 27/07/2013 12:00:00 AM


An eight-goal haul from Lance Franklin has helped Hawthorn flex their premiership muscle in a big way, the Hawks making a mockery of Essendon's second-placed status in a 56-point thrashing on Friday night at Etihad Stadium.

Essendon have made an art form of responding to controversial weeks with impressive wins, as they did against Adelaide, Fremantle and West Coast earlier this year.

But as story after story emerged this week about Essendon crisis meetings and strained relationships at the club as the supplement scandal starts hitting home, this time the Bombers couldn't respond with an emotion-charged victory as Hawthorn proved a challenge too far.

The Hawks may have made a slow start on Friday night. But after finding themselves 13 points down midway through the first term, Alastair Clarkson's side belted home eight of the next nine goals before half-time to pretty much end the contest there and then on their way to a 22.11 (143) to 13.9 (87) result.


Buddy helps Hawks demolish Bombers 27/07/2013 12:00:00 AM


An eight-goal haul from Lance Franklin has helped Hawthorn flex their premiership muscle in a big way, the Hawks making a mockery of Essendon's second-placed status in a 56-point thrashing on Friday night at Etihad Stadium.

Essendon have made an art form of responding to controversial weeks with impressive wins, as they did against Adelaide, Fremantle and West Coast earlier this year.

But as story after story emerged this week about Essendon crisis meetings and strained relationships at the club as the supplement scandal starts hitting home, this time the Bombers couldn't respond with an emotion-charged victory as Hawthorn proved a challenge too far.

The Hawks may have made a slow start on Friday night. But after finding themselves 13 points down midway through the first term, Alastair Clarkson's side belted home eight of the next nine goals before half-time to pretty much end the contest there and then on their way to a 22.11 (143) to 13.9 (87) result.


Troicki handed 18 month doping ban 26/07/2013 12:00:00 AM


Viktor Troicki has been banned for 18 months after being found guilty of violating the International Tennis Federation's anti-doping rules.

The Serbian was asked to provide blood and urine samples during the Monte Carlo Masters tournament in April, but avoided giving blood after claiming he felt unwell.

However, the ITF have insisted his reasons for refusing to give a sample did not "constitute compelling justification" and have therefore handed out a lengthy ban.

Troicki was knocked out of the Croatia Open in the second round on Thursday, after suffering a straight-sets defeat to Tommy Robredo in what could be his last match until January 24 2015.



Roger Federer's poor run of form continued as he was dumped out of the Suisse Open second round by Daniel Brands on Thursday.

The top-seeded 31-year-old came into his home tournament off the back of shock second-round defeat at Wimbledon and a similarly surprising semi-final exit from the Hamburg Open, but was given even more to think about by his German opponent.

Brands dominated the pair's meeting in the final match of the day, serving 11 aces on his way to a 6-3 6-4 victory that ensured Federer would not feature in the next round of the clay-court ATP 250 competition.

Third seed Janko Tipsarevic also found himself on the wrong end of a surprise loss on Thursday as he went down 6-2 6-2 at the hands of Robin Haase.


Cowboy Johnson announces retirement 24/07/2013 12:00:00 AM


North Queensland forward Dallas Johnson will retire from rugby league at the end of the 2013 season.

The former Queensland and Test lock has decided to call it quits after 11 seasons in the top grade, saying his mind has had enough of preparing for the rigours of the NRL.

"It is a difficult time and decision to walk away from the game, but having played footy since I was just a kid, and having now had 11 seasons in first grade, I have decided that it is time to move on," Johnson said on Tuesday.

"Physically I could probably continue, but mentally I have had enough.

"I'm content with how my career panned out and it is not fair to myself, my teammates or the club to continue if I can't commit mentally to the level required to play in the NRL after this season."

Johnson raised to prominence as part of the Melbourne Storm side that played in three-straight grand finals from 2007-'09.

He has one year in the English Super League with Catalan Dragons before returning to the NRL with the Cowboys in 2011.

In all the 30-year-old has played 221 games in the NRL, 12 matches for the Maroons and a solitary Test for the Kangaroos in 2007


United very short against All Stars 20/07/2013 12:00:00 AM


Reigning English Premier League champions Manchester United are being backed to show their true form when they take on the A-League All Stars team in Sydney on Saturday night.

The Red Devils - with their new manager David Moyes in charge following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson - began their pre-season tour with a shock 1-0 loss to the Singha All-Star XI in Bangkok en-route to Australia.

And United have already lost star striker Wayne Rooney to a hamstring injury and he has returned home to England amidst speculation he could move to EPL rivals Chelsea.

However with United expected to field a far stronger side in Sydney than they did in Bangkok - with first choice striker Robin Van Persie and number one goalkeeper David De Gea both tipped to return to the side - few punters are giving the A-League All Stars a chance of pulling off a shock win


Porte lends helping hand to Froome 19/07/2013 12:00:00 AM


Christophe Riblon took an emotional victory while leader Chris Froome needed assistance from Australian team-mate Richie Porte in a dramatic finished to stage 18 of the Tour de France on Thursday.

Riblon, though, became the first Frenchman to take a stage victory at this year's Tour, and did so after recovering from falling into a ditch with 36km remaining.

The 32-year-old found an extra gear in the final two kilometres to cross the line in first at one of the most iconic venues on the Tour.

Riding for Ag2r La-Mondiale, he ground down the lead established by American Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) in the final stages of the gruelling 172.5km ride from Gap to Alpe d'Huez.

Race leader Froome had a frustrating day though, as he was given a 20-second penalty for an illegal feed towards the end of the stage. Froome sent Australian team-mate Porte back to get an energy bar from the team car as he felt fatigued


Mickelson claims Scottish Open crown 15/07/2013 12:00:00 AM


Phil Mickelson clinched the Scottish Open after a play-off at the 18th hole against Branden Grace on Sunday.

Both Grace and Mickelson produced three-under-par final-day rounds of 69 to finish level at 17 under, with the American missing a golden opportunity to secure the title with a six on the final hole.

Mickelson could only three-putt at the last and had to settle for a play-off after Grace maintained his focus to shoot par at the 18th.

However, the American's quality told in the play-off, the world number eight producing a marvellous chip with his third shot to leave him with a tap-in for a birdie.

South African Grace could not replicate Mickelson's heroics, failing to hole a 25-yard putt to hand the four-time major winner the victory at the Castle Stuart Golf Links course.

The win was Mickelson's first in Europe since 1993 and comes just a month after the 43-year-old finished runner-up at the US Open for the sixth time in his career.


England disappointed with decisions 12/07/2013 12:00:00 AM


England have turned their frustration towards the umpires after three contentious decisions cost them badly against Australia on day two at Trent Bridge.

When key batsman Jonathan Trott was trapped in front with England making up a first-innings deficit against Australia just before tea, on-field umpire Aleem Dar turned down the appeal.

But he was overruled by third umpire Marais Erasmus, leaving England 2-11 and still 55 runs behind in the first Test.

And fast bowler Anderson revealed the England camp was far from happy with the decision.

"Trotty hit the ball and was given not out on the field, I'm not quite sure what went on after that, it's pretty disappointing really," he told BBC Sport.

There was also doubt over opening batsman Joe Root's dismissal.

The Yorkshireman was given out caught behind down the leg side but hot spot technology suggested it was the wrong call.

"Joe Root said there was a noise on his but he didn't really feel anything," Anderson said.

"It's day two isn't it so there's a lot of cricket to be played. It's going be slow scoring but our job is to wear their bowlers down if we can and get a decent lead."



The Grand Prix Drivers' Association says its members could withdraw from this weekend's German Grand Prix over tyre issues.

The mass blow-outs of Pirelli tyres has been a running theme throughout the 2013 season, but the problems came to a head at Silverstone on Sunday when six drivers suffered punctures during the main race.

And the drivers' trade union has now threatened to pull out of the upcoming race weekend at the Nurburgring should the matter not be resolved.

"The drivers of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association wish to express their deepest concerns about the events that took place at Silverstone," a statement read.

"We trust that the changes made to the tyres will have the desired results and that similar problems will not occur during the German GP weekend.

"We are ready to drive our cars to the limit, as we always do, and as it is expected by our teams, sponsors and fans.

"However, the drivers have decided that, if similar problems should manifest themselves during the German GP, we shall immediately withdraw from the event, as this avoidable problem with the tyres endangers again the lives of drivers, marshals and fans."


Lisicki stuns Serena at Wimbledon 2/07/2013 12:00:00 AM


Serena Williams was the latest high-profile Wimbledon casualty as she was dumped out in the fourth round by Sabine Lisicki on Monday.

With third seed Maria Sharapova and second seed Victoria Azarenka having bowed out of the grass-court grand slam last week, it was the turn of the top seed to taste defeat.

Lisicki produced a stunning performance to end the American's career-best 34-game unbeaten streak, prevailing 6-2 1-6 6-4.

The 23-year-old looked to have lost all of her first-set momentum when Williams stormed back to take the second set in just 27 minutes.

But she earned three of the five breaks of serve that occurred in the decider to force an early exit on the pre-tournament favourite.

Lisicki will now face Kaia Kanepi in the quarter-final after the Estonian overcame home favourite Laura Robson 7-6 (8-6) 7-5.


Swans revel in wet as Blues struggle 29/06/2013 12:00:00 AM


Sydney have bounced back from their loss to Port Adelaide with a 22-point win over Carlton in torrential conditions at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

With rain falling throughout making even the basics difficult at times, the Swans were able to survive a second half resurgence from the Blues to run out 8.17 (65) to 5.13 (43) winners.

The win sees the Swans, who were without nine of their Premiership players including Adam Goodes and Sam Reid, move back into the top four at least temporarily with Fremantle to play Geelong on Saturday.

Kurt Tippett had two goals in his first home game for the Swans, with Ben McGlynn also contributing two majors in the tough conditions. Craig Bird and Ryan O'Keefe were influential with 33 and 29 disposals respectively.


Webber happy with F1 retirement 28/06/2013 12:00:00 AM


Mark Webber believes he has made the correct call to leave Formula One after announcing his decision on Thursday.

Red Bull driver Webber has opted to quit F1 to race for Porsche in the World Endurance Championship.

The move marks the end of the Australian's 11-year stint in F1 and the 36-year-old insists the time is right to switch his career path.

"There comes a point where any sportsman or woman wants to call it a day," Webber said.

"I'll be interested to watch Formula One every now and again."

Webber's decision may have come as a shock to some observers, but McLaren's Jenson Button understands why he has opted to make the switch.

"Not really a surprise," Button said. "Mark’s career has been similar to mine over the last few years – trying to find a seat and a drive you think you deserve and can give you victories."

Button's sentiments were echoed by world championship challenger Fernando Alonso, who feels Webber may be able to enjoy himself more in endurance racing.


Rebels take positives from heavy loss 26/06/2013 12:00:00 AM


Melbourne Rebels coach Damien Hill believes his club will receive plenty of benefits from playing against the British and Irish Lions.

The Rebels took on the best of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Tuesday night and took it right up to their more fancied opposition for the majority of the 80 minutes.

The fact that the Rebels failed to score any points in the midweek clash doesn't give a true indication of how well Hill's side performed, with the Lions needing to play close to their best to put them away 35-0.

It was also the first time the Rebels have played at home in front of a sold out crowd and Hill thinks the club will continue to reap the benefits of the match well into the future.


Benji focused purely on Tigers 22/06/2013 12:00:00 AM


Benji Marshall has dismissed conjecture over his future at the club, insisting he is solely focused on resurrecting their seasons and wants to be a Wests Tiger for life.

Marshall still has two years to run on his deal with the club but speculation has been rife he could be on his way out to a rival Sydney club or even rugby union's NSW Waratahs.

It's understood Marshall's contract has a clause which enables his deal to be renegotiated following an increase in the salary cap, with Tigers management hoping to offer their star pivot an upgrade.

Marshall's manager Martin Tauber has been in negotiations with the club for several months without any resolution, only fuelling talk the Kiwi international's future may be elsewhere.

Asked about his future before training on Friday, Marshall said: "My contract negotiations have been the furthest thing from my mind, at the moment.

"My priority is to try and play good for the team and that's my focus.

"So my manager can take care of that side and I'll just worry about playing.

"I signed for five years two years ago, that's been the plan...I'm not sure where the club is now. That's for my manager to deal with."


Kennedy heads Socceroos to Brazil 19/06/2013 12:00:00 AM


A trademark header from forgotten striker Josh Kennedy has booked Australia's ticket to next year's World Cup in Brazil after a vital 1-0 win over Iraq at a packed ANZ Stadium on Tuesday night.

Needing a win to assure a spot at a third straight World Cup, the Socceroos looked like blowing their chance as the stubborn visitors held firm for more than 82 minutes.

But in his first Socceroos appearance in 19 months, Kennedy came off the bench to nod home Mark Bresciano's cross seven minutes from time to send the crowd of 80,532 into delirium.

Australian boss Holger Osieck received a few boos from the home fans when he opted to substitute favourite son Tim Cahill for Kennedy just a few minutes early.

But the decision proved a masterstroke as Kennedy did what he does best, giving Iraq 'keeper Noor Sabri no chance with a well-placed header from just six yards out.

The nail-biting victory means the Socceroos finish second in their group behind Japan and avoid going into the lottery of the play-offs later this year.



US Open champion Justin Rose has jumped to number three in the PGA world rankings following his success at Merion on Sunday.

Rose became the first English player to win the event since 1970 as he held off the challenge of home favourite Phil Mickelson in the final round to seal the first major championship of his career.

The 32-year-old is the first Englishman to win a major title since Nick Faldo won The Masters in 1996, and he moves up two places into the world's top three as a result of his achievement.

Tiger Woods stays at number one despite hitting his worst ever major score of 13 over par at Merion, while Rory McIlroy, who finished one shot behind Woods, remains at number two.

This year's Masters champion Adam Scott drops one place to fourth, and America's Matt Kuchar moves down to fifth.

Sunday marked the sixth time Mickelson had finished as runner-up at the US Open but, despite this disappointment, his showing has seen his ranking rise by four places to sixth.

Australian Jason Day, who ended the event tied with Mickelson, has surged from 26th to 16th.


Australians start well at US Open 14/06/2013 12:00:00 AM


Luke Donald is the clubhouse leader as the Australian contingent made a solid start at the US Open, at a rain-affected Merion Golf Club.

The Englishman was four under through 13 holes when play was called off because of darkess, with about half the field left stranded in their opening rounds.

There is a wave of familiar faces in his wake, however, after Phil Mickelson began his quest for a fifth major title with a solid three-under 67 to be tied for second with US Masters champion Adam Scott (through 11).

Scott escaped sanction for an alleged rule breach, with a viewer call-in suggesting he grounded his club in a hazard on the fifth hole.

Defending champion Webb Simpson began strongly, carding two birdies and six pars to be in the mix in a tie for fourth - alongside Australians Mathew Goggin and Alistair Presnell, who are both through six holes.

Only nine others shot under the card before darkness ensued, among them were England's Lee Westwood - who is one under through 13.


Gower a chance to face Storm 12/06/2013 12:00:00 AM


Newcastle coach Wayne Bennett will wait and see how new recruit Craig Gower gets through a couple more training sessions before deciding whether to throw him straight in for the toughest road trip in the NRL.

Gower completed his first training session with the Knights on Tuesday just 24 hours after arriving in the country from the UK and a stint with the London Broncos.

The 35-year-old, who has signed with the club for the rest of the season, wasn't named in the side to take on premiers Melbourne on Sunday but Bennett said he could still play at AAMI Park.

Gower hasn't played in the NRL for five years since he left Penrith but looked strong in his first session and will some experience and class to the Knights side.

"He looks in great shape, he certainly wasn't over weight … he was the Craig Gower of old," Bennett said on Tuesday.



British racehorse trainer Henry Cecil has died aged 70 after a lengthy battle with cancer, it was announced on Tuesday.

Cecil is a 10-time champion trainer and boasts 25 victories in the British Classics, which comprises of five Group 1 races, including the St Leger Stakes.

One of Cecil's greatest achievements was nurturing the undefeated Frankel, rated the best horse of all time, who retired after winning all of his 14 starts.

Frankel's successes included victories in the 2,000 Guineas and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, and his career ended with victory in the Champion Stakes at Ascot.

Cecil was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2006.

A statement on sirhenrycecil.com read: "It is with great sadness that Warren Place Stables confirms the passing of Sir Henry Cecil earlier this morning.


Nadal claims eighth French Open title 10/06/2013 12:00:00 AM


Spaniard Rafael Nadal defeated compatriot David Ferrer in straight sets to win his eighth French Open title on Sunday.

The number three seed never looked in danger during the 6-3 6-2 6-3 victory against the grand slam final debutant in damp Sunday conditions at Roland Garros.

Despite a couple of breaks for protesters, Nadal held his nerve on Court Philippe Chatrier to seal an easy win on his return from injury and his 12th grand slam title overall.


Maitua boycotts Roosters clash 8/06/2013 12:00:00 AM


Parramatta co-captain Reni Maitua has sensationally pulled himself out of the Eels side for Friday night's clash with the Roosters in the wake of being told he will be shown the door at the end of the season.

Maitua was one of 12 Eels players told on Wednesday they did not have a future at the club beyond the 2013 season.

Shattered that he is unwanted by the club that helped resurrect his career, the 30-year-old has decided to sit out the clash at Parramatta Stadium.

It is unclear if Maitua wants to see out the season with the Eels, although he is expected to return to training on Monday morning


Hayne pain for New South Wales 8/06/2013 12:00:00 AM


Parramatta and NSW superstar Jarryd Hayne is in grave doubt for Origin II after suffering a suspected grade one hamstring tear in Friday's 38-24 loss to the Sydney Roosters.

Hayne suffered the injury in the 74th minute and will have scans to determine the full extent of the damage on Saturday morning.

The 25-year-old was attempting to regather a chip-kick from team-mate Chris Sandow but the bounce of the ball eluded him.

His hamstring gave way as he changed direction in a bid to tackle Roosters captain Anthony Minichiello and the full-back crashed to the ground.

Hayne, who played a starring role in the Blues' 14-8 victory over Queensland in Origin I on Wednesday night, cast a disconsolate figure as two trainers assisted him from the field.

"It's his hamstring, he'll have an MRI tomorrow and we'll find out the extent of it," Eels coach Ricky Stuart said after the match.


Demetriou backs Kennett credentials 8/06/2013 12:00:00 AM


Andrew Demetriou thinks Jeff Kennett has the credentials to steer Melbourne out of their current turmoil, but says it up to Demons members to decide whether he should be the club's next president.

Compounding their on-field misery, the Demons are facing a 2013 loss of close to $3million and will reportedly apply to the AFL for emergency funding next week.

Kennett, a former Hawthorn president, claimed on Thursday that a group of Melbourne supporters had approached him to challenge incumbent president Don McLardy and his board in the wake of its decision to stick by coach Mark Neeld despite the club's pathetic start to the season.

Kennett said he was 'absolutely up for the job'.

Demetriou said Kennett had the 'essential ingredients' to steer Melbourne out of trouble.

"Jeff has demonstrated that he's talented and he's capable of effecting change and delivering on outcomes," Demetriou told on Melbourne radio 3AW on Friday.


Ahmed realistic about Ashes hopes 8/06/2013 12:00:00 AM


Ashes hopeful Fawad Ahmed says he is not getting ahead of himself after his selection for Australia A's tour of Britain.

The 31-year-old leg-spinner has been touted as a late call-up for this year's Ashes, and that speculation has intensified after news on Wednesday that draft laws to fast-track citizenship for athletes were passed in the House of Representatives.

On Thursday Cricket Australia announced that Pakistan-born Ahmed would be included for Australia A's tour matches against Ireland (June 14-17) and Gloucestershire (June 21-23), giving him a chance to impress on English soil.

But despite the possibility of being included in Australia's squad for the five-Test series with England, beginning on July 10 at Trent Bridge, Fawad insisted he would take things one step at a time.

"For the moment, I've now been announced in Australia A, so I'm more concentrating on the Australia A side," Ahmed said at the MCG on Thursday.

"I've just played a few first-class games here in Australia, so I need to perform on that level and to prove myself, that I can bowl well."

Ahmed impressed for Victoria during the Sheffield Competition this year, snaring 16 wickets from three first-class matches.

He arrived in Australia as an asylum seeker in 2010 after his life was threatened by extremist groups in Pakistan for his support of causes to educate women


Carr quits as NSWRL chief 31/05/2013 12:00:00 AM


NSW Rugby League chief executive Geoff Carr has announced he will leave his post at the end of the season.

Carr, who has been involved in sports administration for 25 years, has been at the helm of the NSWRL for the last decade.

He was also CEO of the ARL for 12 years before relinquishing that role back in 2011.

"I've loved every moment but everything has its time," Carr said on Friday.

"I hope to see the Blues win back the State of Origin Series this year and make room for someone else.

"I won't be looking for another full-time role in sport but will certainly be going to a lot of footy."

Carr played for St George, before going on to be CEO of the Dragons for seven years in the 1980s and 90s


Stoke appoint Hughes as manager 31/05/2013 12:00:00 AM


Stoke City are expected to unveil Mark Hughes as their new manager at a press conference on Thursday.

Hughes has reportedly signed a three-year deal to replace Tony Pulis, whose seven-year stay with the English Premier League club ended on May 21.

Former Fulham, Blackburn and Manchester City manager Hughes has been out of a job since being sacked by Queens Park Rangers in November 2012.


Stoke appoint Hughes as manager 31/05/2013 12:00:00 AM


Stoke City are expected to unveil Mark Hughes as their new manager at a press conference on Thursday.

Hughes has reportedly signed a three-year deal to replace Tony Pulis, whose seven-year stay with the English Premier League club ended on May 21.

Former Fulham, Blackburn and Manchester City manager Hughes has been out of a job since being sacked by Queens Park Rangers in November 2012.


Warner determined to make history 31/05/2013 12:00:00 AM


Australia batsman David Warner says the last staging of the ICC Champions Trophy gives his side extra motivation to perform well.

The one-day international tournament, which will be held in England and Wales and begins on June 6, will be staged for the last time this year, with the ICC Test Championship set to replace the 50-over event from 2017.

Australia have won the title on the last two occasions - in 2006 in India and in 2009 in South Africa - and Warner wants his side to make it three in a row and finish the tournament as the best performers in the competition's history.


Bayern drought set to be broken 25/05/2013 12:00:00 AM


The punters are confidently predicting Bayern Munich's recent heartbreak in UEFA Champions League finals will come to an end when they face Borussia Dortmund in the first all-German final of the world's biggest club competition on Sunday morning (Australian time).

London's famous Wembley Stadium will be the scene of the historic match as the top two teams in the Bundesliga go head-to-head for the title of the best team in Europe.

But with Bayern having already regained the Bundesliga title from Dortmund this season - finishing an incredible 25 points ahead of their second-placed rivals - as well as knocking Dortmund out in the quarter finals of the German Cup, the betting on the Champions League final is distinctly one-sided.

Bayern are aiming to become the first German club ever to win the prestigious treble of the Bundesliga title, German Cup (they face Stuttgart in the final next weekend) and the Champions League in the one season.


Ablett backed for Brownlow 24/05/2013 12:00:00 AM


Gary Ablett is the new Brownlow Medal favourite as Gold Coast's rapidly improving form gives their champion skipper more opportunities to grab the all-important three vote games in this year's count.

Ablett, the 2009 Brownlow Medal winner when playing with Geelong, has polled 23 and 24 votes in the past two seasons since joining the Suns but has finished equal fifth behind Collingwood's Dane Swan and sixth behind Essendon's Jobe Watson respectively.

The champion on-baller, while polling consistently, has struggled to attract the best afield three vote games that usually go to a player in the winning side given Gold Coast won just three games in each of their first two seasons.

But after just eight rounds this season the Suns have already won four games and have just completed successive wins - over Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs - for the first time in their history.

Ablett starred with 38 and 31 disposals in those games and could have as many as four best afield performances already in Brownlow counting given he had 34 disposals and kicked four goals in the opening round win over St Kilda and had 32 disposals and three goals in the Round 5 win over the Giants.


Heat tipped to win NBA title again 22/05/2013 12:00:00 AM


The Miami Heat remain unbackable favourites to win back-to-back NBA titles, ahead of the start of their best of seven Eastern Conference final against the Indiana Pacers in Florida on Thursday morning (Australian time).

Led by superstar LeBron James, the Heat not only finished top of the Eastern Conference at the end of the regular season but have dropped just one play-off game so far in dismissing Milwaukee 4-0 in the first round of the play-offs and then the Chicago Bulls 4-1 in the semi-finals.

And they will host four of the seven games against the Pacers, whose only appearance in the NBA Championship play-off series was in 2000 when they went down to the LA Lakers


Serena ready to break French drought 22/05/2013 12:00:00 AM


Her sole French Open success may have been over a decade ago but Serena Williams is set to start the 2013 tournament - beginning at Roland Garros on Sunday - as a dominant favourite following yet securing yet another title in Rome on the weekend.

The veteran world number one has not won the French Open since 2002, in stark contrast to her dominance of the other Grand Slam events which has seen the 31-year-old win five Australian Opens, five Wimbledons and four US Opens.

But after winning clay court tournaments in Charleston, Madrid and now Rome in recent weeks, this appears to be Williams' best chance of winning that long-awaited second French Open.


Nadal very short for Rome title 14/05/2013 12:00:00 AM


The Rafael Nadal clay court show is tipped to roll on this week at the Rome Masters but those ready to take the short odds on an incredible 41st career title on clay for the powerful Spanish left hander should be wary.

Fresh from having just secured the Madrid Masters to go with a record eighth Barcelona Open, Nadal is now aiming to win the Rome Masters - the last big clay court tournament before the French Open gets underway in a fortnight - for the seventh time.

After missing the second half of last season and this year's Australian Open due to knee tendonitis, Nadal has made a stunning return in 2013 and has already won five tournaments for the season including the Indian Wells Masters on hard court in March.


Nadal wins Madrid Open title 13/05/2013 12:00:00 AM


Rafael Nadal secured the 2013 Madrid Open title with a straight-sets victory over Stanislas Wawrinka on Sunday.

The Spaniard made short work of his Swiss opponent, winning the first set 6-2 and needing just a solitary break to take the second 6-4 in the ATP 1000 event, which he has now won three times.

Nadal was in impressive form on his favourite surface, winning his fifth title of the year since returning from a left knee injury.

"Maybe this win is even more special given where I have come back from," Nadal said in an interview with local television broadcaster La Sexta.

"Playing in Madrid is always very exciting for me and the tournament couldn't have worked out better."

Monday's final came two weeks before Nadal begins the defence of his French Open title, a tournament he has won seven times before.

The 11-time Grand Slam winner extended his record to 9-0 against Wawrinka, beating him in an hour and 11 minutes.



Mark Webber's future at Red Bull has become more uncertain following some scathing remarks from team boss Christian Horner.

Webber finished fifth behind Sebastian Vettel at the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday night and now finds himself 47 points behind his Red Bull team-mate in the race for the drivers championship.

The relationship between the two drivers has never been great and worsened last month when Vettel defied team orders to win the Malaysian Grand Prix, prompting speculation the Australian will not be at Red Bull in 2014.

And Horner only added further spice to the rumours when he claimed Webber 'is in the autumn of his career and no longer in the spring' in German newspaper Welt am Sonntag on Sunday.


ATP president Drewett dies 4/05/2013 12:00:00 AM


The ATP executive chairman and president Brad Drewett has died at the age of 54, following a battle with motor neurone disease.

The Australian has been credited for making a number of changes within tennis such as securing a greater share of grand slam tournament revenue for players as well as growing the sport in Asia.

He was also a major part of the success seen in the ATP World Tour Finals, while he helped to build the organisation’s commercial strength through a number of key deals and partnerships.

Most recently, the Sports Business Journal listed Drewett among the 50 most influential people in sport, the first time an ATP executive had been included on the list.

Several stars have paid tribute to Drewett, who reached a ranking of 34th in the world during his own playing career.



he British and Irish Lions have opened as favourites to enjoy their first successful southern hemisphere tour for 16 years after naming their 37 man squad to face Australia in the three Test series in June and July.

The Lions - a team which is made up of players from Six Nations countries England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland - tour each of the main southern hemisphere rugby nations every four years.

This will be their first visit to Australia since losing 3-0 in 2001 while since then they have succumbed 3-0 in New Zealand in 2005 and 2-1 on their last tour to South Africa in 2009 - with their last success being a 2-1 win over South Africa in 1997.

However that has not stopped the Lions from opening as the $1.75 favourites Betezy to claim the eagerly anticipated series, while the Wallabies are at $2.15.


Soliman suspended for nine months 29/04/2013 12:00:00 AM


Australian boxer Sam Soliman has copped a nine-month ban from the sport for testing positive to an illegal stimulant.

Soliman tested positive to the illegal drug methylsynephrine after his IBF elimination win over Germany's Felix Sturm in February.

As a result of his victory he was set to fight fellow Australian Daniel Geale for the world title.

But the Bund Deutscher Berufsboxer (BDB), the local commission that sanctioned Soliman's fight against Sturm, handed down the ban on Monday.

Soliman was notified of the positive test last month but refused to have the B sample opened at the same laboratory that checked the A sample, demanding that it be opened in Australia instead.

That move has backfired for Soliman, with his A sample result now confirmed which has resulted in the nine-month suspension.


Gayle hits fastest ton ever 24/04/2013 12:00:00 AM


West Indies batsman Chris Gayle has set a new record for the fastest century in the history of professional cricket with an astonishing ton in the Indian Premier League.

Gayle reached triple figures off just 30 balls for Royal Challengers Bangalore and then went on to make the highest score ever seen in Twenty20, ending unbeaten with a staggering 175 off 66 balls.

Suarez accepts violent conduct charge 24/04/2013 12:00:00 AM


 

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has accepted the charge of violent conduct brought against him by the Football Association.

However, the Uruguay international does not accept the intention to hand him more than a three-game ban for biting the arm of Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic during their Premier League clash at Anfield.

A statement from the FA confirmed that the incident was not seen at the time by referee Kevin Friend and his assistants but has been retrospectively reviewed by the officials.

Mr Friend has confirmed that had he seen the incident he would have issued the striker with a straight red card, an action that enables the FA to raise the charges.

Due to the circumstances surrounding the incident the FA have asked for a heavier punishment than a three game ban to be considered when the case is heard by an Independent Regulatory Commission on Wednesday.


Pierro the pick in Doncaster 20/04/2013 12:00:00 AM


Gai Waterhouse and her superstar three-year-old colt Pierro are hot favourites to create history in Saturday's Group One $2 million Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick.

Pierro, who is unbeaten in 10 starts in Sydney, is set to start little better than even money in one of Sydney's biggest races despite having to set a modern day weight carrying record for a three-year-old to win the race.

And should Pierro be successful, it will give Waterhouse a record eighth win in Australia's premier 1600m race.

Despite being one of just a trio of three-year-olds in the race, Pierro will carry equal second top weight of 57kg under the handicap conditions of the race - a weight no horse of his age has carried to victory in the Doncaster since metric weights were introduced in 1973.

Tontonan set the previous benchmark in 1974 when he carried 56kgs to victory.

But after Pierro drew perfectly in barrier four, the punters are already coming for Pierro to continue his unbeaten record in Sydney and give Waterhouse her second straight win in the race after her champion mare More Joyous took out last year's event.


Alonso the bet in Bahrain 19/04/2013 12:00:00 AM


For once reigning triple world champion Sebastian Vettel will be the underdog ahead of a Formula One race, with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso set to start favourite in Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix.

Alonso and his Ferarri team re-ignited interest in this year's Formula One title race when he upstaged Vettel and the dominant Red Bull team by winning last Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix after Vettel and his Red Bull teammate in Aussie Mark Webber had run one/two in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

And with Webber retiring in China and Vettel finishing off the podium in fourth spot, betting on the Constructors' Championship has again been thrown wide open, with Red Bull having won the past three titles.

Alonso has a magnificent record in Bahrain, having won the event a record three times although Vettel is the defending champion.

And Ferrari have also won in the Gulf State a record four times since the race was first held in 2004.


Uphill battle for Kiwis in Anzac Test 17/04/2013 12:00:00 AM


An injury-hit New Zealand line-up has been all but written off by the bookies ahead of Friday night's Anzac Test against Australia in Canberra.

There is no NRL action scheduled this weekend due to the Test with the Kiwis to go into the game without playmaker Benji Marshall and Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson while in a massive blow returning rugby league star Sonny Bill Williams has also been ruled out due to a knee injury.

In contrast the Aussies have their big guns available including Melbourne Storm's superstar trio Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater, Cronulla's Paul Gallen and Souths' Greg Inglis while Justin Hodges, Luke Lewis, Anthony Watmough and Sam Thaiday return after missing last October's Test against New Zealand due to injury.

The Aussies won that clash 18-10 in Townsville and also won last year's Anzac Test against 20-12 in Auckland.

But with the Kiwis fielding a weakened side on this occasion, the Aussies are hot favourites to not only win on Friday night but win easily.


Shark backs Scott to win more majors 16/04/2013 12:00:00 AM


Former world number one Greg Norman believes Adam Scott can use his Masters victory to propel his career to even greater heights.

Norman, a two-time runner up at Augusta, was singled out for praise by Scott after his dramatic playoff win and Norman returned the favour to the new hero of Australian golf, saying that the 32-year-old fellow Queenslander could surpass Peter Thomson's Australian record of five career major wins.

"Adam is a great player and I'm confident this victory will catapult him to win more Majors. It will not surprise me if he wins more major championships than any other Australian golfer in history," he said in a statement.

"Adam's an incredible competitor. He's not a guy that wants to sit back and relax and rest on his laurels. He has incredible fire within his system. And a victory like this is going to give him tremendous confidence as he moves forward in his career."

Norman said it is hard to compare he and Scott at their best but admitted that Scott has a superior game tee-to-green than he ever had.


Essendon firm for the flag 16/04/2013 12:00:00 AM


They may be under the scourge of a drugs investigation but Essendon are the big movers in AFL premiership betting following their unbeaten start to the 2013 season.

The Bombers endured the week from hell last week as coach James Hird was accused of taking a performance enhancing drug, leading to calls for the club's favourite son to step down as coach.

But instead Hird led the Bombers to one of their best wins of recent seasons - a four-point win over Fremantle in Perth despite trailing by six goals at half-time after kicking just one goal in the first half.

The victory keeps the Bombers on top of the ladder on percentage from the other four unbeaten teams in Port Adelaide, Sydney, Richmond and Geelong.


Popovic in awe of Ono 13/04/2013 12:00:00 AM


Western Sydney coach Tony Popovic says he is continually amazed by the class of Shinji Ono after the Japanese midfielder's wonder goal helped the Wanderers book a spot in the A-League grand final.

Ono put an incredible exclamation mark on what's been a fairytale debut season for the Wanderers with a sublime strike to ensure a 2-0 win over Brisbane Roar on Friday night.

Picking up possession after a flick-on from Croatian striker Dino Kresinger, Ono controlled the ball with a feathered touch before spotting Roar goal-keeper Michael Theo slightly off his line and curling a chip over his head.

It will go down as one of the A-League's great goals and ensured the Wanderers have the opportunity to add the championship to the Premiers' Plate they wrapped up a fortnight ago.


Late goals sink Mariners 10/04/2013 12:00:00 AM


The Central Coast Mariners surrendered a one-goal advantage to go down 2-1 to Guizhou Renhe in the AFC Champions League on Tuesday with a largely second-string side.

Mitchell Duke's first-half penalty looked to have sealed a crucial, and perhaps unexpected, three points for the Mariners, until two quality goals inside two minutes lifted under-fire Guizhou to a vital win.

Zlatan Muslimovic lifted spirits among the frustrated hosts when he fired into the far corner on 84 minutes and substitute Qu Bo completed the turnaround with the winner from a tight angle two minutes later.

The win moves Guizhou off the foot of the table and level with the Mariners on four points in Group H, six behind leaders Kashiwa Reysol, who were held to a goalless draw by Suwon Bluewings (three points).


Aguero fires City to derby win 9/04/2013 12:00:00 AM


Manchester City ensured rivals Manchester United would have to wait a little longer to claim the Premier League title as they secured a hard-fought 2-1 win at Old Trafford, though Sir Alex Ferguson’s team remain 12 points clear at the top.

City took the lead through James Milner, whose powerful shot wormed its way past David de Gea, before a Vincent Kompany own goal restored equilibrium just minutes later.

But it was the away side who struck the decisive, final blow through substitute Sergio Aguero, whose vicious near-post effort rocketed into the top corner to earn Roberto Mancini’s side victory.


Djokovic counts cost of victory 9/04/2013 12:00:00 AM


Novak Djokovic could be facing a spell on the sidelines after badly rolling his ankle in Serbia's Davis Cup clash with the USA.

The world number one suffered the injury in just the third game of his 7-5 6-7 (7-4) 6-1 6-0 victory over Sam Querrey, which booked Serbia's place in the semi-finals of the tournament.

Djokovic said the ankle was swollen and painful after the match, and the 25-year-old is now in doubt for the ATP 1000 Monte Carlo Masters, which begins on Sunday


Punters stick with McIIroy in Texas 5/04/2013 12:00:00 AM


The punters are sticking with the struggling former world number one Rory McIlroy ahead of Thursday's Texas Open - the last event on the US PGA tour ahead of next week's US Masters.

The Northern Irish whiz kid has surrendered his number one ranking this year to a revitalised Tiger Woods, who is set to go into the year's first major as a firm favourite at Augusta next week having already won three tournaments on tour this year.

In contrast McIlroy has struggled following his much publicised switch to new clubs as part of his new multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with Nike.


Demons shortening for the spoon 5/04/2013 12:00:00 AM


It seems the punters have made their minds up about Melbourne after just one round of the 2013 home and away season with the money now coming for the Demons to win the wooden spoon this year following their dreadful season-opening loss to Port Adelaide.

However it is not just the Demons' abysmal 79 point loss at the MCG on Sunday that has convinced punters that Melbourne will finish on the bottom of the ladder this season but also the better than expected efforts from the other leading contenders to pick up the wooden spoon.

While the Demons, in coach Mark Neeld's second season in charge, produced one of their worst performances in years - wooden spoon favourites GWS were pushing reigning premiers Sydney all the way while Gold Coast, Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs all recorded surprise first round wins.

As a result wooden spoon betting has been totally transformed.



It has taken just one narrow win over Carlton for the money to start flowing for the AFL's perennial heartbreak team Richmond, with the Tigers backed for a fortune to beat St Kilda at the MCG on Friday night to open Round 2.

The Tigers beat the Blues in their traditional season opening clash at the MCG for the first time since 2008 last Thursday night but only by five points, after almost squandering a six-goal lead at three-quarter-time.

St Kilda, in contrast, opened their campaign with a shock 13-point loss to lowly Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium on Saturday night so have also had two less days to prepare for this clash than the Tigers.

But punters are obviously basing their confidence of Richmond on last week's form rather than recent history between these clubs after the Tigers finally ended a run of 14 games without a win against the Saints - stretching back to 2003 - when they won an epic Round 10 encounter at Etihad Stadium last season by eight points.


Selwood credited for Geelong winning 2/04/2013 12:00:00 AM


Geelong coach Chris Scott has likened his captain Joel Selwood's performance against Hawthorn on Monday to that of Gold Coast skipper Gary Ablett's match-winning effort in the Suns' win over St Kilda.

After the Cats trailed by 30 points late in the second quarter, Selwood rolled his sleeves up and played a huge role in Geelong not only staying in touch with the Hawks but going on to record a stirring come-from-behind seven-point victory.

Selwood ended up with 33 possessions (11 contested) and a goal in the third quarter to be his team's best player in what was their 10th win in a row against Hawthorn.



The Roosters have delivered another strong message that they are the real deal this year, belting a disappointing Parramatta by a record 50-0 at Allianz Stadium.

It's the biggest win by the Roosters over Parramatta in their 66-year rivalry, eclipsing the previous best of 43-2 set in 1973 at the old Cumberland Oval.

While the standard of the opposition needs to be taken into account, the way the Roosters went about dismantling the Eels was all class, power and precision before a good Easter Monday crowd of over 18,000.

Sonny Bill Williams continues to improve with his each outing, scoring a try and setting up at least two more with his clever offloads


Murray hangs tough in Miami 1/04/2013 12:00:00 AM


Andy Murray claimed his second Sony Open title on Sunday, outlasting David Ferrer in a gruelling final in Miami.

In humid and windy conditions in Key Biscayne, it was Murray who eventually prevailed in a thriller, winning 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7-1) in two hours and 45 minutes.

The victory will see Murray leapfrog Roger Federer to number two in the world when the latest edition of the ATP rankings are released, and it was his second triumph in Miami after he defeated Novak Djokovic to win the title in 2009



They have won three in a row and are sitting pretty in the top four but Gold Coast coach John Cartwright is not yet classing his side as up there with the NRL's elite.

The Titans continued their early season promise with a well-earned 28-10 win over a disappointing Penrith at Centrebet Stadium on Sunday.

While the Titans have always possessed the attacking threat throughout their line-up, it was their defence that again impressed in the five-tries-to-two victory.

It was the third straight game Cartwright's troops had kept the opposition scoreless in the first half.

The Titans boss is delighted with how his side are travelling but says there is still plenty of work to do to compete with the likes of Melbourne, South Sydney and Manly


A League title a three horse race 30/03/2013 12:00:00 AM


Heading into the final round of the A-League season, the race for the championship appears to be a three-horse race with Western Sydney, Central Coast and Melbourne Victory dominating the betting.

With four of the six finalists already guaranteed, punters believe the champions will come from one of those three sides.

The Wanderers, who's amazing debut season has them poised to win the Premiers' Plate, and the Mariners have already secured a top-two finish, which guarantees them a home semi-final.


Clarke in doubt for Ashes tour 27/03/2013 12:00:00 AM


Michael Clarke is in doubt for the first Ashes Test after scans revealed the Test captain has aggravated an old spine injury.

The skipper underwent scans in Sydney on Tuesday and will be sidelined for seven-to-10 weeks, placing his hopes of playing in the opening Test at Trent Bridge on July 10 in real jeopardy.

A hamstring injury suffered in the Australian summer is an added complication for the 31-year-old, who has 14 weeks to recover before the first ball is bowled in Nottingham.


Rebels stand down Beale and Vunu 26/03/2013 12:00:00 AM


Rebels duo Cooper Vuna and Kurtley Beale have been sent home from the two-match tour of South Africa after allegedly coming to blows on the team bus following the club's record 64-7 defeat to the Sharks in Durban.

The Wallabies pair will miss the Round 7 clash against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein next Sunday morning (AEDT) and could face further sanction from the Australian Rugby Union upon their return.

Vuna made the incident public when he took to Twitter at 1.27am local time on Sunday morning: "I need to leave right now, this ain't for me! I tried to help someone but got punched so instead of putting him in hospital il [sic] leave!"

The former NRL player then identified Beale as the culprit in a second tweet, calling the Wallabies superstar a 'grub'.


Woods back on top after Bay Hill win 26/03/2013 12:00:00 AM


Tiger Woods reclaimed the world number one ranking courtesy of a two-stroke victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Monday.

Woods carded a two-under-par 70 final round at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge to finish on 13 under overall, ahead of Justin Rose.

The American's third win of the season - his 77th PGA Tour victory - sees him overhaul rival Rory McIlroy in the rankings, nearly three years since he last held top spot.

The 14-time major winner began the final day's action three shots clear after inclement weather forced organisers to suspend play on Sunday.


Socceroos prepped for Oman test 26/03/2013 12:00:00 AM


Australia can take a big step to securing their passage to Brazil in 2014 when they host Oman in a crucial World Cup qualifier at ANZ Stadium on Tuesday night.

The Socceroos have struggled so far in the fourth round of qualifying with just one win and two draws from their four matches to date, although the majority of these have matches have been on the road.

They are in second place in Group B with five points, only ahead of Iraq and Oman on goal difference, while Jordan are still in the mix a point behind.

Runaway group leaders Japan are all but assured of qualification with four wins and a draw from their five matches.

But working in Australia's favour is they have played a game less than their rivals and a victory over Oman will give them some much-needed breathing space in the group.


Watson favourite for Brownlow 26/03/2013 12:00:00 AM


Fresh off his best-on-ground performance in the season-opener against Adelaide, Essendon captain Jobe Watson has been backed into outright favouritism for the Brownlow Medal.

After an off-season from hell where the club was embroiled in an ASADA investigation, the Bombers showed tremendous character to beat the Crows by 35 points on Friday night.

And the win was achieved thanks largely to Watson, who led the team superbly with a virtuoso performance in the midfield.

He picked up 34 touches, had seven clearances, seven inside 50s and also chimed in with a goal in the last quarter that assured his side of victory.


Hawks still No1 with punters 20/03/2013 12:00:00 AM


The punters it seems are taking little notice of pre-season form when it comes to assessing the AFL premiership market with last year's beaten grand finalists Hawthorn to enter the home-and-away season as favourites despite their winless NAB Cup campaign.

The Hawks were the only team that failed to record a win during the pre-season but even more significantly lost highly-skilled defender Matt Suckling to a season-ending knee injury.

However while the Hawks' odds of avenging last year's heart-breaking grand final loss to Sydney have eased slightly, they still remain the clear favourites to win the 2013 flag - with the home-and-away season to get underway this Friday night when Adelaide host Essendon.


England firm for the Ashes 20/03/2013 12:00:00 AM


England's chances of winning the Ashes have firmed as the Australian cricket team continues to struggle in India.

With Michael Clarke's side on the verge of a humiliating 4-0 defeat in India – they trail 3-0 with the final Test beginning in Delhi on Friday – punters at Betezy have almost no interest in taking the Aussies to topple their arch-rivals later this year.


Coote to miss rest of NRL season 19/03/2013 12:00:00 AM


Penrith star Lachlan Coote will miss the rest of the NRL season after being scheduled for surgery on a pectoral injury suffered in Sunday's loss to Wests Tigers.



Sydney Kings legend Damian Keogh will head up a rebel ticket to challenge the Cronulla board at next month's elections.

Keogh has been put forward as a potential chairman of the Sharks as part of a challenge that includes John Dunphy, the former head of Shimano in Australia, and human resources professional and De La Salle rugby league president Darren McConnell.





SUPER Rugby title-winning coach Ewen McKenzie will quit the Queensland Reds at the end of the year to "pursue new challenges".

The Reds' director of coaching will be in line to replace Robbie Deans at the helm of the Wallabies, especially if Australia fails against the Lions this season.

McKenzie said he was committed to completing his fourth season with the Reds before bringing to an end his highly successful tenure which delivered Queensland Rugby its first Super Rugby championship in the professional era and back-to-back Australian conference titles in 2011/2012.



Australia's Mark Webber was fifth fastest in Friday's first free practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne.


MICHAEL Clarke has lined up squarely beside Mickey Arthur in the face of ridicule from former players after Australia banned four players for one-Test.

The quartet, which includes vice-captain Shane Watson, has been stood down leaving the touring party in crisis just two day before the third Test against India with the home team leading the series 2-nil.


McIlroy at good odds 6/03/2013 12:00:00 AM


The punters have abandoned world number one Rory McIlroy ahead of Thursday's World Golf Championship tournament - the Cadillac Championship in Florida - following his meltdown in last week's Honda Classic.

The 23-year-old walked off the course halfway through his second round of the Honda Classic at a time when he was seven over the card during his second round.

The shock early exit - which the reigning US PGA champion blamed on a toothache - continues a disastrous start to 2013 for McIlroy, following his multi-million dollar switch to Nike during the off-season



The money is coming for Cristiano Ronaldo to make a memorable return to Old Trafford on Wednesday morning, with Real Madrid now favourites to eliminate Manchester United from the Champions League in the most eagerly anticipated game of this season's competition to date.

After the first leg ended in a 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu three weeks ago, United were favourites to progress to the quarter-finals - particularly with the second leg to come at home.

Even a 0-0 draw on Tuesday night would be enough to see 2008 champions United progress to the last eight, at the expense of the record nine-time competition winners.


All Too Hard primed for Guineas 1/03/2013 12:00:00 AM


It looks like it is going to be all too hard for All Too Hard's rivals in Saturday's $500,000 Group One Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington with the superstar three-year-old colt set to start the shortest-priced favourite in the history of the race.

Black Caviar's younger half brother – last year's Caulfield Guineas winner and Cox Plate runner-up – has already beaten the older horses twice at weight-for-age this campaign and now drops back to his own age group and at set weights.

After winning the Group One Orr Stakes (1400m) first-up at Caulfield on February 9, the Team Hawkes' trained colt – who is valued at least $25 million – then downed last year's Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon to add another Group One to his growing list of honours in last week's Futurity Stakes, again at WFA over 1400m at Caulfield.


More pain expected for Pakistan 1/03/2013 12:00:00 AM


South Africa's total dominance of their three-Test home series against Pakistan is tipped to continue in the two-match Twenty20 series, starting in Durban early Saturday morning (Australian time).

The Proteas, after beating Australia in Australia earlier in the summer and then thrashing New Zealand at home, again showed why they are the world's top ranked Test nation by clean sweeping the recent Test series 3-0.

Such was South Africa's dominance that they won the third Test by more than an innings and the first Test by 211 runs after bowling Pakistan out for just 49 in the first innings.


Carlton NAB Cup favourites 26/02/2013 12:00:00 AM


The Carlton bandwagon under new coach Mick Malthouse is up and running with the Blues now the new favourites to claim the NAB Cup after winning both their opening matches in the pre-season competition.

The Blues beat reigning premiers Sydney and last year's wooden spooners GWS in shortened matches on Sunday as the triangular stage of the competition concluded.

All teams will now play two full scale matches against rival clubs over the next fortnight before the top two sides on the NAB Cup mini ladder contest the final on March 15 or 16.


Punters desert Aussies in Chennai 25/02/2013 12:00:00 AM


India are now the odds-on favourite to continue Australia's dismal record in Chennai and win the first Test of their four Test series.

Heading into day four, which gets underway at 3pm (Australian time) on Monday, India are leading by 135 runs in the first innings - with captain MS Dhoni having scored an unbeaten double century.

India, who are 8-515 in their first innings in reply to Australia's first innings total of 380, are expected to bat on early on day four to build their lead.


Neill waits for Heart ATTACK 23/02/2013 12:00:00 AM


Melbourne Heart look poised to take revenge on Socceroos' captain Lucas Neill for snubbing the club in favour of Sydney FC when the two finals contenders clash in a hotly anticipated Round 22 A-League clash on Sunday.

This game was already an important one given the Heart are in eighth place on the table with six rounds remaining but still well and truly in the hunt for a top-six finish and a finals berth given they trail the fifth-placed Sky Blues by just three points.


Folau to shine 23/02/2013 12:00:00 AM


The money is coming at odds for Israel Folau to make a winning start in his much-anticipated debut in his third major football code - rugby union - when his New South Wales' Waratahs travel to Brisbane to face the Queensland Reds on Saturday night.

Folau's rugby union debut is the clear highlight of Round Two of the 2013 Super Rugby Season with the former NRL star and AFL failure set to debut in New South Wales' colours on the Suncorp Stadium ground where he used to light it up for Queensland in league in state-of-origin.

The Reds opened their season last week with a disappointing 24-6 loss to the Brumbies in Canberra, with just two matches being played in the first round.


Money comes for Pies in NAB Cup 19/02/2013 12:00:00 AM


Collingwood are now challenging Hawthorn for NAB Cup favouritism after the Magpies were the only team to emerge unbeaten from the weekend's opening round of matches.

The Pies downed both Essendon and the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Friday night and now sit clear on top of the NAB Cup mini-ladder, from which the top two teams will contest the pre-season grand final on either March 15 or 16.

Every other team in action on the weekend recorded one win and one loss from their two matches, with the exception of the Western Bulldogs - who are the only team definitely out of contention to make the NAB Cup grand final after losing to both the Bombers and Magpies on Friday night.


Moment Of Change the one to beat 19/02/2013 12:00:00 AM


He may have ruled out a start for his wonder mare Black Caviar but leading Victorian trainer Peter Moody still has the favourite for Victoria's premier sprint race - the $1 million Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 9 - in the exciting Moment Of Change.

Bookies are reporting heavy support for Moment Of Change - who ran a superb second behind his unbeaten stablemate Black Caviar as the world's best sprinter broke the track record in last Saturday's Group One Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington.

The four-year-old gelding is already a Group One winner - having won the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at handicap over 1400m at Caulfield back in late September - and now clearly looms as the horse to beat with Black Caviar officially ruled out of starting in Australia's premier handicap sprint race.


Magpies backed to win easily 15/02/2013 12:00:00 AM


With Essendon in crisis following the much publicised ASADA and AFL investigation into the alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs at the club, the money has come in for Collingwood to get their NAB Cup campaign off to a flyer in Friday night's opening round of matches.

The Magpies, winners of the pre-season competition in 2011, will face the Western Bulldogs and Essendon at Etihad Stadium with all three teams playing shortened matches of two quarters against their rivals.

And the Magpies are not just heavy favourites to win both their matches on Friday night but have also been heavily backed to win their second NAB Cup in three years.


Punters wary of T20 Aussies 13/02/2013 12:00:00 AM


The punters are not nearly as certain of Australia winning their one-off Twenty20 international against the West Indies on Wednesday night in Brisbane as they were the recent one-day international series.

Australia produced a clean sweep of the five-match ODI series against the Windies and on the back of that lop-sided contest have been installed as favourites for Wednesday night's final international match of the home summer.


Six Nations favouritism up for grabs 9/02/2013 12:00:00 AM


Ireland and England will slug it out for Six Nations favouritism when they lock horns in Dublin on Sunday in the key match-up of week two of the northern hemisphere's annual rugby championship.

Both teams recorded wins in the opening round last weekend with England, as expected, comfortably defeating a modest Scotland 38-18 at Twickenham while Ireland continued Wales' miserable form with a 30-22 win on the road in Cardiff.

However the big shock of the opening round was perennial strugglers Italy shocking France 23-18 in Rome - a result which leaves France and Wales to meet in a must win game for both nations in Paris on Saturday - while in the other game this weekend, the Italians will fancy their chances of causing another upset when they face Scotland in Edinburgh


England T20 favourites against NZ 9/02/2013 12:00:00 AM


England are warm favourites for their three-match Twenty20 series against New Zealand, beginning in Auckland on Saturday night, despite the return of former Kiwi skipper and the country's best batsman in Ross Taylor.

The three-match Twenty20 series will be followed by a three-match ODI series and then three Test matches, with England in New Zealand for nearly two months following their recent marathon tour of India.

England are coming off a memorable first Test series victory in India since 1984 while they also squared the two-match Twenty20 series in the sub-continent and only went down narrowly 3-2 in the five-match ODI series.


All Too Hard looks the goods 8/02/2013 12:00:00 AM


The punters are climbing over themselves to back boom colt All Too Hard to make a winning return to racing as Melbourne's autumn carnival kicks off on Saturday with the running of the $400,000 Group One Orr Stakes.

All Too Hard, the younger brother of the world's best sprinter in unbeaten megastar Black Caviar, is already worth a reported $25 million after his spring exploits in which the Team Hawkes-trained horse won the prestigious $1 million Caulfield Guineas (1600m) before finishing second in Australia's WFA championship the Cox Plate.

Winner of nearly $1.5 million in prizemoney from just nine starts, All Too Hard will be having his first run since finishing a brave second behind Ocean Park in the Cox Plate and is on course for a possible Australian Cup showdown with Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon in early March.


Clean sweep on the cards 8/02/2013 12:00:00 AM


Australia may have taken an unbeatable 3-0 lead in their one-day series against the West Indies but the big question now from a punting point of view is 'can the Aussies clean sweep the series?'

Thanks to Shane Watson's devastating return from injury, as he scored a majestic 122 off just 111 balls, Australia won a high-scoring game three in Canberra on Wednesday night by 39 runs to clinch the five-match series.

This came after Australia humiliated the Windies in the opening game in Perth, where the tourists produced their worst ever performance in an ODI against Australia after being bowled out for just 70 inside 24 overs.


Nadal back in the swing 4/02/2013 12:00:00 AM


He may not have played competitively for seven months and is coming off the longest break of his glittering career, but that has not stopped punters from installing Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal as the hot favourite to win his comeback tournament in Chile this week.

The South American clay court season - which dominates February on the ATP tour - is not normally a leg of the tour that attracts the world's elite players.

However, after finally overcoming the knee injury that has sidelined him since Wimbledon last year and then the stomach virus that saw him skip the Australian Open, the VTR Open in Chile gives Nadal the opportunity to return on his preferred surface.


Buddy causes Hawthorn drift 4/02/2013 12:00:00 AM


The shock decision by superstar Hawthorn spearhead Lance Franklin to put contract talks on hold until the end of the season has resulted in the Hawks easing in premiership betting although they remain flag favourites for the upcoming 2013 season.

Franklin, the 2008 and 2011 Coleman Medalist, stunned the club when he announced he would not discuss a new contract until the end of this season even though he will become a restricted free agent at the end of 2013.

The news come amidst reports that Fremantle is preparing a massive offer to lure the AFL's number one forward back to his native Western Australia at the end of this season


Money flows for Victory 2/02/2013 12:00:00 AM


Melbourne Victory enter Saturday night's third and final derby of the season against Melbourne Heart as not only favourites to win their crucial Round 19 clash but as the new favourites to win this season's A-League title.

The Victory moved up to second spot after last week's 3-1 win over Sydney FC at a sold-out AAMI Park and with one of their chief title rivals in Adelaide United imploding during the week - following the shock resignation of veteran coach John Kosmina - the money has really started to come for the Victory to win the this season's grand final.


QPR facing must win clash 2/02/2013 12:00:00 AM


Harry Redknapp's bid to rescue yet another club from relegation - this time QPR - gets serious on Saturday with Rangers facing a must win home game against Norwich in their bid to retain their Premier League status for next season.

And despite QPR sitting four points adrift in last place in the table, punters have not lost faith that Redknapp can rescue the West London club from relegation just as he did at Bournemouth, West Ham, Portsmouth and Tottenham



They will no doubt be written off by many heading into the 2013 AFL season as past their prime but Geelong could well be the value team in betting to win the NAB Cup.

The Cats won the 2007, 2009 and 2011 AFL premierships - also doing the double in 2009 when they won the night flag that year - but experts believe their era of dominance ended last year when they surprisingly bowed out to Fremantle in the first week of the finals and lost champion defender Matthew Scarlett to retirement.

However, one benefit of exiting the finals much earlier than usual was the fact the Cats have had three extra weeks of training heading into the new season with coach Chris Scott even organising secret sessions with rivals North Melbourne - coached by his twin brother Brad - to sharpen up his team.



There is no rest for England's weary cricketers, who now travel to New Zealand for a near two month Test, ODI and Twenty20 series following their long tour of India.

But despite already having been on the road for three months - save for a brief return home over the Christmas/New Year period - England have been installed as the clear favourites to make light work of the battling Kiwis in their upcoming three match series in all three forms of the game.

England completed a memorable tour of India by winning game five of the ODI series on Sunday night and while they lost the series 3-2 - and in the process surrendered top spot in the ICC ODI rankings to India - it was still a tour to savour for Alastair Cook's team.


Australia still favoured by punters 28/01/2013 12:00:00 AM


Australia's disappointing performance in the opening Twenty20 international against Sri Lanka has not deterred punters from again installing the home side as favourites for the second and final game in the series at the MCG on Monday night.

Having drawn the recent five match ODI series 2-2 - after game four was washed out - Sri Lanka can clinch the two-match Twenty20 series on Monday night after having won the opening game in Sydney by five wickets.

Australia made only 3-137 off their 20 overs in that match - with opener David Warner starring (90 not out off 62 balls) - but Sri Lanka chased down the modest target with seven balls to spare thanks to a late unbeaten 35 off 27 from vice-captain Angelo Mathews


FA Cup destined for Manchester 28/01/2013 12:00:00 AM


Manchester United and Manchester City are now duelling for favouritism to win this year's FA Cup following the shock eliminations of Liverpool, Tottenham, Aston Villa, QPR and Norwich by lower division clubs in the fourth round.

The few remaining big guns that reached the round of 16 were kept apart in the fifth round draw made on Monday morning with United getting a home tie against EPL battlers Reading while City will host Championship side Leeds - who knocked out Spurs.

But current holders Chelsea - who barely managed to scrape a replay against League One team Brentford - will face another tricky trip in the fifth round to Championship side Middlesbrough, if they can see off the plucky Bees in a replay


Miracles Of Life the one to beat 28/01/2013 12:00:00 AM


Boom Adelaide filly Miracles Of Life is now the clear favourite for Victoria's richest two-year-old race - the Group One $1 million Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) on February 23 - following her dominant win in Saturday's fillies' preview at Caulfield.

Despite winning her first two starts by a combined total of more than 14 lengths in Adelaide, punters and bookmakers weren't convinced the Not A Single Doubt filly was the real deal ahead of her Victorian debut.

Also troubling punters is the fact she is prepared by little-known Adelaide trainer Daniel Clarken and is ridden by the even more anonymous Adelaide apprentice Lauren Stojakovic.


Form says back Li Na 26/01/2013 12:00:00 AM


The underrated Li Na is well worth a small punt at odds to upset world number one and defending champion Victoria Azarenka in Saturday night's Australian Open women's singles final.

The Chinese number six seed is set to start a clear underdog in the title decider at odds of $2.10 with Betezy,while Azarenka is odds on at $1.75


Aussies a risky Twenty 20 bet 26/01/2013 12:00:00 AM


Australia are risky favourites to win the opening match of their two-game Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka in Sydney on Saturday night despite going into the clash with momentum.

After a 3-0 clean sweep of the Test series, Australia managed to level the five match one-day series with Sri Lanka at 2-2 by winning the fifth game in Hobart after game four had been washed out.

But when it comes to the shortest form of the game, the Twenty20 format is where historically Sri Lanka are at their strongest and Australia are at their weakest.


Federer worth a shot 25/01/2013 12:00:00 AM


Andy Murray is the clear favourite for his much-anticipated men's singles semi-final against Roger Federer at Melbourne Park on Friday night.

But despite having the tougher path to the last four, the Swiss veteran makes great appeal as the underdog to maintain his grand slam dominance over Murray.

It is also a big day for the locals at the Australian Open on Friday with Casey Dellacqua and 16-year-old Ashleigh Barty in the women's doubles final up against top seeds in Italian pair Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci.


Sri Lanka to pile on Aussie misery 23/01/2013 12:00:00 AM


Sri Lanka are tremendous value to complete their second ODI series victory over Australia in Australia in three seasons when the fifth and deciding game is played in Hobart on Wednesday.

The tourists lead the series 2-1 after the fourth match in Sydney was washed out on Sunday night.

However all the momentum is with Sri Lanka after they thrashed Australia in game two in Adelaide, humiliated them in game three in Brisbane - when the Aussies were bowled out for just 74 - and had them on the ropes in Sydney when rain intervened to save the home side


Chelsea good value to make final 23/01/2013 12:00:00 AM


Chelsea's remarkable away record in recent times makes the Blues an attractive bet not to just to win Wednesday night's second leg League Cup semi-final against Swansea but also to turn around a two-goal deficit from the first leg and qualify for yet another Wembley final.

After winning the first leg 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, EPL surprise packets Swansea are the favourites to qualify for the final - even though reigning European and FA Cup champions Chelsea are the clear favourites to win the second leg on Wednesday night.

But with their great recent away record, combined with Swansea's undoubted nerves given they are so close to the first major cup final appearance in their history, the Blues are more than capable of not just winning at the Liberty Stadium on Wednesday night but also overturning the 2-0 deficit from the first leg.


Punters cannot get enough of Serena 16/01/2013 12:00:00 AM


Serena Williams begins her Australian Open campaign on Tuesday as one of the hottest favourites to win the women's singles crown in history, with not even Maria Sharapova's devastating start to the tournament on Monday having an impact on Williams' dominant favouritism.

The 31-year-old is one of the hottest streaks of her incredible career as she aims to win a sixth Australian Open and 16th career grand slam singles title over the next fortnight.

Williams has lost just one match since her shock first round exit at last year's French Open - the first time she had ever bowed out in the first round of a major tournament - and during that time has captured the Wimbledon, Olympic and US Open titles.


Jennings coup for Roosters 16/01/2013 12:00:00 AM


Bookmakers have dramatically cut the price of the Sydney Roosters winning the 2013 NRL premiership after punters le Roosters announced on Tuesday afternoon the NSW centre had agreed to terms after being formally released by Penrith following a fall-out with club boss Phil Gould.

Jennings' arrival has increased expectation the Roosters can turn around two years of failure and make an immediate impact under new coach Trent Robinson.oaded up following confirmation Origin star Michael Jennings is headed to Bondi on a four-year deal


Tomic form has punters in frenzy 11/01/2013 12:00:00 AM


The Bernard Tomic bandwagon is gaining momentum as the Aussie young gun attempts to win his way into his first ATP tour final at the Sydney International on Friday.

Tomic is not only favoured to win Friday afternoon's semi-final against Italy's No.3 seed Andreas Seppi but also the tournament itself while the money is also coming for the 20-year-old to win the upcoming Australian Open.

The huge betting surge behind the dual junior Grand Slam champion comes after his stunning start to 2013 when he went unbeaten at the Hopman Cup - including a win over world No.1 Novak Djokovic - while he has reached the semi-finals of his first ATP tour event of the new season in Sydney.


Australia B still hot favourites 11/01/2013 12:00:00 AM


Australia are heavily fancied to continue Sri Lanka's summer of misery in the five-match one-day international series, beginning at the MCG on Friday, despite the Aussies deciding to rest key players for the first two matches.

The home side, fresh from a 3-0 clean sweep of Sri Lanka in the Test series, will go into the opening two games without captain Michael Clarke, exciting opener David Warner, first-choice keeper Matthew Wade as well as injured vice-captain Shane Watson and recently retired Test star Mike Hussey - who was overlooked by the selectors.

Sri Lanka are still without injured star batsman Kumar Sangakkara but their one-day team looks significantly stronger than their Test team for the inclusion of fearsome slinger Lasith Malinga.

Malinga, who has been dominating for the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League, has retired from Test cricket and these days only plays in the shorter forms of the game for his country.


Stosur a risk at short odds 7/01/2013 12:00:00 AM


Punters could have got rich backing against Australia's top female tennis player Sam Stosur over the past year and once again the mentally fragile Queenslander looks a shaky odds-on favourite in her first round match at the Sydney International on Monday.

Stosur, who has so far failed to build on her stunning 2011 US Open title, has won just one of her past five matches in Australia.

After bowing out in the second round in Brisbane last year and then the first round of both the Sydney International and Australian Open, Stosur's 2013 campaign also started with a first-round loss - again as a hot favourite - in Brisbane last week.


Crows the big firmer 7/01/2013 12:00:00 AM


They may have lost star forward Kurt Tippett to the reigning premiers Sydney and received fines and loss of draft picks for next season as a result of salary cap breaches but that has not stopped the money coming for the Adelaide Crows to win the 2013 flag.

With all clubs now back in pre-season training and the start of the NAB Cup little more than a month away, betting interest in the 2013 season is beginning to build and it is surprisingly the Crows that are being tipped to challenge reigning premiers Sydney and last year's beaten grand finalists, the 2013 flag favourites Hawthorn this season.

The Crows went within a whisker of upsetting Hawthorn in last year's preliminary final at the MCG and punters don't believe the loss of Tippett (39 goals in 21 games last year) will have a major impact on their chances in 2013.


The beauty of the FA Cup 5/01/2013 12:00:00 AM


Aston Villa and Newcastle look to be the two EPL teams most in danger of a potential banana-skin FA Cup tie when third-round action gets underway on Saturday.

The third round of the FA Cup is the most romantic day on the English footballing calendar when the big boys of the Premiership take on the lower division teams in the round of 64 with 29 matches set down for Saturday.

There are just three all Premiership ties on Saturday meaning there is plenty of opportunities for the kind of upset results that have long made the FA Cup such a famous and watchable competition.


Plenty of value in Big Bash 4/01/2013 12:00:00 AM


The battle for what appears to be the one remaining spot on offer in this season's Big Bash finals series could well be decided in the next two days with the Perth Scorchers and Adelaide Strikers facing crucial matches.

With the second season of the competition now reaching the pointy end, the battle to be crowned champions increasingly appears a race in three between the Melbourne Renegades, Melbourne Stars and the Hobart Hurricanes with either the Scorchers or the Strikers likely to grab the remaining semi-final berth.



It's not a matter of if Australia will win the third Test against Sri Lanka at the SCG but when they will that is set to attract plenty of betting interest.

Australia have already clinched the series 2-0 after totally humiliating Sri Lanka in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG, when the home side clinched victory inside three days.

Sri Lanka, which have still never won a Test on Australian soil, also left Melbourne battered and bruised with their best batsman, Kumar Sangakkara, ruled out of the rest of the tour with a broken hand - courtesy of a Mitchell Johnson thunderbolt


Serbia tipped to reach final 4/01/2013 12:00:00 AM


World No.1 Novak Djokovic is being tipped to bounce back from his shock loss to Bernard Tomic and lead Serbia to this year's Hopman Cup final when the round robin stage concludes on Friday night.

Serbia face the winless Germany in their last remaining tie of the preliminary stage knowing a win will send them through to Saturday night's final against Spain.

However, should Serbia lose to Germany, then Australia will finish on top of Group A and face Spain in the final.


Hussey the hero at the SCG 1/01/2013 12:00:00 AM


Will Australia's 'Mr. Cricket' Mike Hussey end his decorated Test career with a bang in his farewell Test against Sri Lanka at the SCG, starting on Thursday?

Hussey has surprisingly announced his retirement from all international cricket at the end of this summer, in the lead-up to the Sydney Test, bringing to an end a fantastic eight-year career at the highest level in which the late bloomer has scored 6,118 runs at an average of 51.41 from 77 Tests.

The 37-year-old has scored 19 Test centuries, including 115 not out against Sri Lanka in the first Test in Hobart.


Money flows for Djokovic 1/01/2013 12:00:00 AM


Novak Djokovic is now barely better than even money odds to become the first man to win three successive Australian Opens in the modern era following the shock withdrawal of Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal.

The 2009 Australian Open champion and 11-time grand slam singles champion withdrew from the tournament citing a stomach virus, which prevented him from gaining sufficient practice ahead of a warm-up tournament in Doha.

However, there is growing speculation Nadal is still being troubled by the knee injury that has prevented him from playing since Wimbledon this year.


Back Munce at Doomben 29/12/2012 12:00:00 AM


Renowned big race jockey Chris Munce looks set to land an important double at Doomben on Saturday as the build-up to the prestigious Magic Millions meeting on the Gold Coast in a fortnight's time hots up in Brisbane.

Munce - one of the select few jockeys who has won the 'Grand Slam' of Australian racing by winning our four biggest races in the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Golden Slipper - is aboard the favourites for the key final lead-up races at Doomben on Saturday ahead of the Magic Millions Classic and Magic Millions Guineas on the Gold Coast on January 12.

Munce will ride the favourite in Sir Luminar in the Group Three B.J McLachlan Stakes (1200m) on Saturday at Doomben for the two-year-olds and then back up a race later on the favourite in the Group Three Vo Rogue Plate (1350m) for the three-year-olds aboard Sizzling.


Upsets tipped in Premier League 29/12/2012 12:00:00 AM


Both Manchester clubs could be vulnerable at short odds as the non-stop festive period continues in the English Premier League with another eight matches set down for Saturday.

United opened up a seven-point lead at the top of the table over arch-rivals and defending champions City on Boxing Day despite trailing three times at home against lowly Newcastle before finally prevailing 4-3.

City suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat away to Sunderland, which followed on from a lucky last-minute win against bottom side Reading in their previous outing.


Clarke confident of strong 2013 29/12/2012 12:00:00 AM


The brutality Australia showed in the Boxing Day Test has captain Michael Clarke convinced his side will thrive when they tour India and England in 2013.

Australia's innings-and-201-run win, completed within eight sessions, gave Clarke's men an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-Test series.

Sri Lanka were pathetic from start to finish, compiling scores of 156 and 103 while allowing the merciless Aussies to pile on 460 at the MCG.



Australia's dismal Hopman Cup record is not being tipped to improve when the annual mixed teams event gets underway in Perth on Saturday to mark the start of Australia's summer of tennis and the 2013 season.

It will be the 25th staging of the tournament, which Australia has won just once - way back in 1999 when Mark Philippoussis and Jelena Dokic combined to lift the trophy.

However, as Australia's dismal tennis stocks continue to struggle on the world stage, punters have made the Aussies the rank outsiders to win the latest Hopman Cup among the eight competing teams.


Australia clinch series with big win 28/12/2012 12:00:00 AM


Fierce bowling from a revitalised Mitchell Johnson powered Australia to an innings and 201-run victory over a hapless Sri Lanka in a Boxing Day Test that ended inside three days.

Johnson captured 2-16, injured two top order batsmen and affected a run out on Friday as the tourists were skittled for 103 at the MCG.

Sri Lanka had lost seven wickets midway through day three's second session but with Prasanna Jayawardene and Chanaka Welagedara unable to bat, along with Kumar Sangakkara unable to return having retired hurt, the Aussies enjoyed a swift kill.


Punters do not fancy United 22/12/2012 12:00:00 AM


Manchester United have eased dramatically in betting to win this season's Champions League after being paired with Spanish giants Real Madrid in the round of 16.

The draw for the knockout stages for the Champions League was held in Switzerland on Friday morning (Australian time) with United's two-legged clash against record nine-time winners Real Madrid the stand-out tie.

The clash will also see Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo return to his former club with United to host the second leg at Old Trafford


Victory tipped to end Heart streak 22/12/2012 12:00:00 AM


Melbourne Victory are warm favourites to end an embarrassing run of five matches without a win against local rivals Melbourne Heart in the second Melbourne derby of the 2012/13 A-League season on Saturday night.

The Heart might live in the Victory's shadow off the field given Victory is the biggest supported club in the competition and has already won two titles - but Melbourne's second club have owned their bigger neighbours since joining the competition in 2010/11.

In seven meetings to date the Victory have won just once - a 3-1 triumph in their second meeting just over two years ago - with Heart having won three and the other were draws.


Mr Moet leads the way at Ascot 22/12/2012 12:00:00 AM


The in-form Adam Durrant-trained galloper Mr Moet is a hot favourite to continue his stunning WA summer carnival form by winning the Group Two weight-for-age Cox Stakes (2100m) at Ascot on Saturday.

The Cox Stakes is traditionally the key lead-up race to the $500,000 Group Two Perth Cup on New Year's Day, in which Mr Moet and dual Kingston Town Classic winner Playing God are expected to be allocated the equal top weight of 59kg when weights for Perth's biggest race are issued after the Cox Stakes.

Mr Moet was a shock winner of the Group One Railway Stakes (1600m) as a $20 outsider in late November with just 53kg but then showed he could cut it at WFA when he carried 59kg in running second to Perth's best horse Luckygray in this year's Group One Kingston Town Classic (1800m) a fortnight ago.


England tipped to triumph 11/12/2012 12:00:00 AM


The money is coming for England to complete a first series victory in India since 1984 when the fourth and final Test gets underway in Nagpur on Thursday.

England were as much as $15  to win the series after copping a nine-wicket hiding in the first Test in Ahmedabad after being forced to follow on.

However thanks to the heroics of Kevin Pietersen (186) in the second Test and skipper Alastair Cook (190) in the third plus the spin bowling of Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann (33 wickets between them for the series) - England head into the final match with a 2-1 series lead.



The Hobart Hurricanes are the new favourites to win the 2012/13 Big Bash League.

The first round of matches has resulted in a huge swing in betting markets across the country with the Hurricanes, Sydney Sixers, Melbourne Renegades and Adelaide Strikers the big firmers in betting - after all getting their campaigns off to the perfect start with wins on the weekend.

However the pre-tournament favourites in Shane Warne's Melbourne Stars are the big drifters in betting after copping a first-up hiding from the Renegades


Opinions divided on Folau impact 11/12/2012 12:00:00 AM


The arrival of former NRL star and AFL failure Israel Folau in rugby union has done little to inspire confidence that his new team - the Waratahs – can turn around their fortunes in the Super Rugby competition next season.

Folau, the former Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos rugby league star, has signed a one-year deal to play union with the Waratahs after walking away from his lucrative deal to play in the AFL with the GWS Giants after just one season at the highest level.

However, with opinion varied as to whether Folau will succeed or fail in his third top-level sport, punters are wary of his impact on the struggling Tahs next season.



Australia are being heavily backed at short odds to bounce back from their disappointing series loss to South Africa and crush Sri Lanka in their upcoming three-Test series.

Sri Lanka begin their tour on Thursday with a three day warm-up game against a Chairman's XI but have been all but written off ahead of the Test series, which begins in Hobart on December 14.

Punters not only believe Australia will win the series but that they will produce a 3-0 clean sweep, including in the traditional Boxing Day Test in Melbourne and the New Year's Test in Sydney.


Wallabies drifting for World Cup 6/12/2012 12:00:00 AM


Australia are set to be one of the outsiders to win the 2015 Rugby World Cup with bookmakers quick to react to the Wallabies' horror draw for the tournament.

The Wallabies have been placed in Pool A along with hosts England and reigning Six Nations champions Wales - whose home ground of Millennium Stadium in Cardiff will also be a match venue - as well as two qualifiers.

Only the top two in each of the four groups will reach the quarter-finals with Australia's group looking by far the hardest.


India firming for third Test 6/12/2012 12:00:00 AM


.

India remain solid favourites to win both the third Test in Kolkata and the four-match series against England despite their heavy loss to the tourists in the second game in Mumbai.

While South Africa retained the ICC's No.1 Test ranking following their 1-0 series win over third-ranked Australia in Perth, the other Test heavyweight battle of the summer is still very much up for grabs between second-placed England and fifth-placed India.

It is a series with huge interest in Australia given Michael Clarke's team travel to the sub-continent for a four-Test series in February and March ahead of the Ashes in England during the Aussie winter.


Socceroos sneak past Hong Kong 4/12/2012 12:00:00 AM


Australia opened their East Asian Cup qualifying campaign with a shaky 1-0 win over minnows Hong Kong.

The Socceroos, ranked 139 places above their opponents, were unable to break the deadlock until the 84th minute in Hong Kong, when captain Brett Emerton found the net with a brilliant finish.

Hong Kong did their best to frustrate the inexperienced Aussies and far exceeded expectations in front of a vocal home crowd, with a calm and disciplined approach on a dreadful pitch at Mong Kok Stadium



With Australian skipper Michael Clarke all but assured of top-scoring in their Test series with South Africa, the main betting interest heading into the third and deciding Test in Perth is in the leading wicket-taker markets.

With the two teams heading to Perth on Friday still locked at 0-0 after two Tests, South African paceman Morne Morkel is the leading wicket-taker for the series with just 11, two ahead of Australian pair Nathan Lyon and Peter Siddle, followed by Ben Hilfenhaus (six) and Proteas spearhead Dale Steyn (five).

However with doubts over the make-up of the Australian attack - with the possibility both Lyon and Siddle will be rested after their exhausting spells in Adelaide - Morkel heads into the final Test as the clear favourite to end the series as the No.1 wicket-taker.


Swans flag defence gaining support 29/11/2012 12:00:00 AM


With the Kurt Tippett saga expected to see the star forward getting his way and moving to Sydney, the money is coming for the reigning premiers to go back-to-back in 2013.

Tippett will face the AFL Commission on Friday along with Adelaide officials as the club defends charges of draft tampering and salary cap breaches relating to Tippett's contract.

Adelaide voluntarily gave up their first two picks at last week's national draft but are set to face further punishment after it was revealed they had a secret deal with Tippett to trade him in exchange for a second-round draft pick as well as paying him extra money outside the salary cap.



Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting Thursday announced his retirement from Test cricket with this week's Perth Test against South Africa to be his last.

"A few hours ago I let the team know that this upcoming Test will be my last," he said at a hastily-called press conference.


Serena still the one to beat 27/11/2012 12:00:00 AM


The start of the 2013 Australian Open may still be seven weeks away but already punters believe Serena Williams is a good thing to win a sixth women's singles title at Melbourne Park.

Williams ended the 2012 season by winning the WTA Tour Championships final for the third time, capping off a year in which she became the first female tennis player to have amassed more than $40 million in career prize money.

Along the way the 31-year-old not only won her 14th and 15th Grand Slam singles titles, by claiming Wimbledon and the US Open, but also captured the only major trophy to have eluded her throughout her decorated career - the gold medal in singles at an Olympics tennis tournament.


Clarke regains No 1 Test ranking 27/11/2012 12:00:00 AM


Michael Clarke has regained his ranking as the No.1 Test batsman in the world after his record breaking performance in the second Test against South Africa in Adelaide.

The Australian captain has returned to the top of the official ICC rankings on the back of his first innings 230 in the exciting draw.

It was Clarke's fourth double hundred of the year, the first time the feat has been recorded


Punters keep Sky Blues faith 16/11/2012 12:00:00 AM


Sydney FC might be in crisis following the departure of head coach Ian Crook on the back of disastrous back-to-back losses to Central Coast and Melbourne Victory but that has not stopped the Sky Blues from being supported at good odds to upset Brisbane Roar in Friday night's A-League clash.

The match is being played in Brisbane but the Roar are actually faring worse than Sydney right now with the reigning back-to-back championship winners struggling to adapt to life without the man that led them to consecutive titles, Ange Postecoglou.

The Roar's plummet down the table - under new manager Rado Vidosic, who took over after Postecoglou moved to Melbourne Victory - has been one of the surprises of the season so far.


Czechs favourites in Davis Cup 16/11/2012 12:00:00 AM


The Czech Republic are favourites but far from good things to land their first ever Davis Cup when they host Spain in Prague in the 100th final of tennis' premier team event, starting on Friday.

It is a repeat of the 2009 final won by Spain at home but with the Czechs this time enjoying home advantage, the bookies have been quick to install them as favourites.


Vettel set to clinch title 16/11/2012 12:00:00 AM


Germany's Sebastian Vettel is set to wrap up his third successive World Drivers' Championship at this weekend's penultimate race of the 2012 Formula One Season at the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.

At least that is the view of bookies, who have installed the Red Bull driver as an overwhelming favourite to win both Sunday's US Grand Prix and the title, ahead of the final race of the season in Brazil next weekend.

Vettel has won four of the past five races to be heading into the second last race of the season on 255 points in the overall standings, ten points clear of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso - the 2005 and 2006 world champion - on 245.



Serbian superstar Novak Djokovic looks set to start a short-priced favourite to win his fourth Australian Open in six years come January following his season-ending ATP World Tour Finals triumph over Roger Federer.

Djokovic confirmed his status as the world's top-ranked player by beating the Swiss master in straight sets in London on Tuesday morning (Australian time) to win the most important tournament outside of the four grand slam events for only the second time.

And with the short tennis off-season now underway before the start of the 2013 tour in Australia in January, Djokovic is shaping as clearly the man to beat at Melbourne Park this summer.


Punters like the look of South Korea 13/11/2012 12:00:00 AM


Holger Osieck's baby Socceroos squad is given little chance of upsetting Asian heavyweights South Korea when the two teams meet in Hwaseong on Wednesday night in an international friendly.

With this game squeezed in either side of a full round of club fixtures in Europe, Osieck has elected to rest most of his big guns from the match with only a handful of first choice players including Mark Schwarzer, Lucas Neill, Archie Thompson, Carl Valeri and Luke Wilkshire named in the 19-man squad.

In fact five members of the squad are yet to make their Socceroos' debut - including exciting Central Coast Mariners playmaker Tom Rogic - while a further six have less than 10 caps to their name.


Kangaroos written off once again 13/11/2012 12:00:00 AM


They have made it a habit of defying the doomsayers over the past 20 years and it seems punters are again falling for the trap of writing off North Melbourne ahead of the 2013 AFL season.

The Kangaroos might be one of the AFL's poor relations when it comes to financial strength but their on-field performance can hardly be questioned considering the club has reached the finals in 13 of the past 20 seasons, including the premierships of 1996 and 1999 and a preliminary final appearance as recently as 2007.

Last season the Kangaroos again performed above expectations to win 14 of their 22 home and away games to finish in eighth spot before copping a 96-point hiding from the West Coast Eagles in Perth in the first week of the finals.


Djokovic all the rage 12/11/2012 12:00:00 AM


World No.1 Novak Djokovic has been installed as a firm favourite to deny Swiss master Roger Federer an incredible seventh victory at the annual season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London.

Djokovic has already ensured he will end the 2012 season as the world No.1 ahead of Federer as the pair lock horns for an astonishing 29th time in their careers with Federer currently leading 16-12 in their head-to-head meetings.

But the Serbian superstar is unbeaten this week in London in what is the biggest tournament outside the four grand slams - featuring the world's eight best performed players this season.


Toughest test left to last 9/11/2012 12:00:00 AM


As is the case seemingly every year, the feature race on the final day of the four-day Flemington carnival – the Group One $1 million Emirates Stakes (1600m) – is shaping as the toughest race of the entire spring for punters.

The race has a history of attracting upset winners such as when Chris Waller won last year with $17 chance Albert The Fat while who could ever forget the amazing win of Tears I Cry at 100/1 in 2007.

This year's race is shaping as one of the best of the spring given it has attracted the first three placegetters from both Group One 1600m races earlier this spring in the Toorak Handicap and Epsom Handicap.


Roar looking for Heart starter 9/11/2012 12:00:00 AM


The punters are sticking with defending A-League premiers Brisbane Roar to emerge from their slump when they take on the equally out-of-form Melbourne Heart to open Round Six on Friday night.

The Roar, bidding to become the first club to win three successive championships, head to Melbourne off the back of two 1-0 home losses in a row to Western Sydney and then Adelaide last week.

In all the Roar - who have slumped to second last on the table with just four points from five rounds - have not tasted success for three matches since thumping former dual premiership coach Ange Postecoglou's new team Melbourne Victory 5-0 in Round Two in their only win of the season to date.


Blues firm for flag 2/11/2012 12:00:00 AM


Carlton are the big firmers in AFL premiership betting for season 2013 after being handed a dream draw at the official release of the fixtures for next year's home and away season.

The Blues, who slumped to 10th in 2012 after making the finals for the three previous seasons, were already being spruiked as the big improvers next season after securing former West Coast and Collingwood premiership coach Mick Malthouse to take over from the axed Brett Ratten.

And while the Blues have a tough start to the season with a clash against Malthouse's former club Collingwood in Round 2 and then 2011 premiers Geelong in Round 3 and West Coast in Perth the week after that, from then on the Blues' draw becomes a dream



Australia and South Africa are set to head into their eagerly awaited three Test series, starting in Brisbane on Friday week, as virtually equal favourites.

South Africa became the world's top ranked Test nation following their 2-0 series win over the previous top ranked England during the Australian winter while the Aussies have moved back up to No.3 in the ICC's official Test rankings after routing India 4-0 last summer.

However it was South Africa which famously ended Australia's 16-year unbeaten run at home in Test series when it won 2-1 on its most recent visit in 2008-09.


Boss tipped to feature in Cup 1/11/2012 12:00:00 AM


Leading jockey Glen Boss is currently without a Melbourne Cup mount but punters expect that to change with the in-form big race jockey a hot favourite to win Saturday's Group Two $250,000 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington with Geelong Cup winner Gatewood.

The winner of the Lexus is assured of a start in Australia's greatest race and all 13 entrants in Saturday's race are currently outside the top 24 in order of entry and thus need to win to be assured of a start in the race that stops a nation.

Boss, who along with Craig Williams has dominated the spring so far by winning his third Cox Plate aboard Ocean Park as well as the Geelong Cup with Gatewood and Wednesday's Bendigo Cup with Puissance De Lune, has pinned his hopes of gaining a ride in this year's Melbourne Cup to English galloper Gatewood.


McIlroy edges Woods in China duel 30/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Rory McIlroy shot a five-under 67 to beat Tiger Woods by one stroke in their 'Duel at Jinsha Lake' exhibition in China on Monday.

The one-off event saw the world's top two golfers play against each other in an 18-hole medal-match at Jinsha Lake Golf Club in Zhengzhou.

World No.1 McIlroy got off to a bright start with two birdies on the first three holes and did not look back, shooting a bogey-free 67 to edge past Woods, who had two bogeys and six birdies on his way to a round of 68.


Brown departs Boomers 30/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Brett Brown has quit as coach of the Boomers because he wants to return to the United States to spend more time with his family.

Brown led Australia for the past four years, including at the 2012 Olympic Games in London where the Boomers were knocked out by eventual gold medallists USA and finished seventh.

Basketball Australia reportedly hoped he would lead the Australian team for another four-year stint ahead of the Rio Olympics in 2016.


Equal favourites for Cup 30/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Americain has joined Dunaden as equal favourites for this year's Melbourne Cup.In a wide betting race both horses head the betting at $6.

Heat primed to sizzle again 30/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


The Miami Heat are being tipped to win back-to-back NBA titles for the first time in their history as the 2012/13 season gets underway on Wednesday with the Heat hosting the Boston Celtics.

Miami, home of the league's best player in reigning MVP LeBron James, won their second ever NBA title last season by defeating Oklahoma City Thunder in the play-offs.

But this season it is tipped to be 11-times champions the LA Lakers to be the biggest threat to the Heat's bid to win successive titles for the first time - something the Lakers achieved as recently as the 2008/09 and 2009/10 seasons.


Its A Dundeel still fancied for Derby 30/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Exciting New Zealand colt It's A Dundeel is an easing favourite for Saturday's three-year-old classic the $1.5 million Victoria Derby despite suffering the first defeat of his career in Saturday's Group Two Vase at Moonee Valley.

It's A Dundeel was into even money or shorter to win the Derby at most betting outlets before suffering a shock loss as a long odds-on favourite to the Mark Kavanagh trained Super Cool in the Vase at Moonee Valley on Saturday.


United favourites for EPL title 30/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Manchester United are the new favourites to win the 2012/13 English Premier League title following their thrilling 3-2 win away to title rivals Chelsea on Sunday.

The Red Devils moved to within a point of previously unbeaten league leaders Chelsea with the win after the Blues had recovered from going 2-0 down to get back to 2-2.

However United scored the winner in the 75th minute despite Javier Hernandez appearing to be in an offside position.


Wade gets nod for the first Test 29/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Brad Haddin's international career appears to be over after Victorian Matthew Wade was installed as Australia's wicketkeeper for the first Test against South Africa.

The 12-man squad was named in Sydney on Monday ahead of the three-Test series against the number-one ranked Proteas starting Friday week.

The choice between Wade and Haddin was the major decision for John Inverarity's National Selection Panel over the past few weeks, with the top six virtually locked in since Australia's last Test six months ago


Serena clinches WTA Championships 29/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Serena Williams clinched her third WTA Championships title on Sunday with a commanding victory over Maria Sharapova in Istanbul.

The American defeated Sharapova 6-4 6-3 just a day after the Russian world number two had stunned top seed Victoria Azarenka 6-4 6-2 in the semi-finals.

Williams, who had not dropped a set all tournament, maintained her impenetrable game and was near unstoppable on serve.


Sixers take out Champions League 29/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Sydney Sixers have claimed their maiden Champions League Twenty20 title with a 10-wicket win over the Highveld Lions on Sunday.

Electing to field first, the Sixers were on top from the start in the final in Johannesburg as they dismissed the local outfit for 121 at the end of the 20 overs with New Zealander Nathan McCullum (3-24) and Josh Hazlewood (3-22) doing most of the damage.

The Australian side then chased the target down comfortably with Michael Lumb making 82 off 42 balls and Brad Haddin giving him good company with a 33-ball 37.


NRL axe Harrigan and Raper 26/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


NRL referees' co-coaches Bill Harrigan and Stuart Raper have paid the price for a season of refereeing howlers and controversy, sacked from their posts on Friday.

The Australian Rugby League Commission conducted a full review into the officiating system and decided to restructure the refereeing department, with Harrigan and Raper shown the door.

Former Test referee Russell Smith has taken on the position in an interim role until a new elite performance manager is appointed.


Stoner set for emotional swansong 26/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Casey Stoner hopes his deteriorating ankle injury will not stop him from clinching a sixth straight win at the Australian MotoGP on Sunday.

The Australian heads to Phillip Island, the second-last race of his career, with the romanticised notion of a final win on home soil but knows the state of his ankle continues to impair him.

Stoner suffered ligament and bone damage at the Indianapolis MotoGP in August but the reigning world champion vowed to attack as always and cherish the last moments on his favourite track.


No interest in Kewell 26/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Harry Kewell's impending return to Melbourne has not attracted the attention of his former club Melbourne Victory, who insist they are not interested in the man who walked out after just one season.

Kewell, who played 25 games for Victory last season, told the club in July he was returning to the UK for family reasons and Victory acted quickly to secure the services of Marcos Flores as a replacement.

While 14 months ago he was hailed as 'the biggest signing in the history of the A-League' according to club CEO Anthony Di Pietro, the club's love affair with the 58-time Socceroo has gone cold, with coach Ange Postecoglou reportedly telling Fairfax that he was not interested in re-signing the 34-year-old.


Wests Tigers appoint Potter 24/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Michael Potter is confident Wests Tigers can recover from a tumultuous off-season and mount a premiership challenge next year after he was handed the coaching job for the next two seasons.

Potter held off challenges from Matt Parish and Kevin Walters to land the Tigers gig after Tim Sheens was removed as head coach last month.

The former Canterbury and St George fullback inherits a squad ripped apart by the departures of popular duo Chris Heighington and Beau Ryan to Cronulla and rumours of unrest among senior players.


Armstrong stripped of Tour titles 23/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Lance Armstrong has officially been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after the UCI ratified the US Anti-Doping Agency's decision.

UCI president Pat McQuaid announced on Monday that the international cycling body would uphold USADA's life ban for doping and not appeal to the Court of Arbitration.

"We will not appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and we will recognise the sanction that USADA has imposed," McQuaid said during a lengthy press conference at the governing body's headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland


Renegades sign up Samuels 23/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


The Melbourne Renegades have completed the signing of West Indies all-rounder Marlon Samuels.

Samuels starred in the recent ICC World Twenty20 and will add a wealth of experience to the Renegades squad for their upcoming Big Bash League.

The West Indian came third in the runs tally at the tournament, scoring a total of 230 runs at 38.33 with an impressive strike-rate of 132.94.


Dunaden slapped with extra kilo 22/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


French galloper Dunaden will have to carry the highest weight to victory in the Melbourne Cup in 43 years after being hit with a 1kg penalty by Racing Victoria chief handicapper Greg Carpenter, following his win in Saturday's Caulfield Cup.

The reigning Melbourne Cup winner will now carry 59kg in the race that stops a nation this year, with the last winner to carry such a weight being Rain Lover with 60.5kg in the second of his back-to-back Cups wins in 1969.

Dunaden carried 54.5kg to victory in last year's Melbourne Cup but was allocated 58kg - the equal top weight with 2010 Melbourne Cup winner and fellow French galloper Americain - this year


St Kilda handed pick 13 for Goddard 22/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


St Kilda have received a first-round draft selection as compensation for losing Brendon Goddard to free agency, while Port Adelaide were a big winner with two extra second-round picks.

The Saints will get pick 13 in the national draft for losing 203-game veteran Goddard, who joined Essendon on a four-year deal on the opening day of the free agency period.

The Power will now have pick 30 and 31 after losing Danyle Pearce and Troy Chaplin to Fremantle and Richmond respectively.


Scorchers sent packing by Delhi 22/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


The Perth Scorchers have been eliminated from the Champions League Twenty20 after they lost to the Delhi Daredevils by three wickets in Cape Town on Sunday.

Chasing a modest total of 8-121, Delhi looked down and out despite a chancy 44-ball 52 from Virender Sehwag before Ajit Agarkar (11 off seven balls) and Pawan Negi (seven off seven) took the side home with three balls to spare to keep their campaign on track.

On a wicket that wasn't easy for batting on, the Scorchers began their defence well with Joe Mennie (2-21) sending back Mahela Jayawardene (four off seven) in the second over.


Pedrosa wins shortened GP 22/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Dani Pedrosa won a rain-shortened Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang to close within 23 points of MotoGP championship leader Jorge Lorenzo.

Despite starting from second on the grid, Pedrosa kept pace with his fellow Spaniard before passing him on the final corner of the tenth lap, with Lorenzo powerless to respond as the Repsol Honda rider pulled away.

Australian Casey Stoner ended the race in third after surging to challenge Lorenzo for second once Pedrosa made his move on the soaked Sepang track as torrential rain hammered the circuit.


Wozniacki trumps Stosur in final 22/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Caroline Wozniacki has clinched the 20th title of her career with a tough three-set victory over Sam Stosur in the Kremlin Cup final.

The Danish former world number one fought back from a break down in the final set to finally clinch the 6-2 4-6 7-5 victory in two hours and 14 minutes.

The result leaves Stosur without a title since her triumph at the US Open last year.


Top award for Storm skipper 18/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Cameron Smith has capped the biggest season of his career, named the international player of the year by the Rugby League International Federation.

The Melbourne, Queensland and Kangaroos captain was also named hooker as one of seven Australian players chosen in the international team of the year.

Smith's mentor at the Storm, Craig Bellamy, was handed the coach of the year gong while team-mate Cooper Cronk is halfback in the team of the year.


White sacked by Cycling Australia 18/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Cycling Australia have formally sacked men's professional co-ordinator and national coach Matt White after his admission to doping.

The CA board met on Tuesday, and also discussed the findings of the United States Anti-Doping Agency's 1000-page dossier of evidence against Lance Armstrong, who has been alleged to have used illegal methods during his run of seven Tour de France titles.

But the main point of discussion was the future of now ex-OricaGreenEDGE sporting director White, who was formally stood down after confessing to doping while on Armstrong's disgraced US Postal Service team from 2001-2003.


Roosters part ways with CEO 15/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


The Sydney Roosters have continued their off-season cleanout after sacking CEO Steve Noyce.

Noyce was given the news on Monday morning, just six weeks after coach Brian Smith was shown the door after a disappointing 2012 campaign.

The former Wests Tigers boss joined the Roosters in 2008 and endured a roller-coaster ride that included a grand final appearance in 2010 and Todd Carney's tumultuous two-year stint at the club.


Henriques stars for Sixers 15/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Moises Henriques ensured the Sydney Sixers claimed a 14-run win over the Chennai Super Kings in the Group B encounter of the Champions League T20 at the Wanderers.

The Super Kings were restricted to 9-171 after Henriques' three-wicket haul dented the batting charge severely. Earlier, he contributed with 49 off 23 balls to post a 186-run target against the IPL outfit.

Openers Michael Hussey (16 off 19) and Murali Vijay (1 off 5) struggled to get past the Sixers' pacers early in the innings. But Chennai looked set to chase the total down with Faf du Plessis (43 off 25) and Suresh Raina (57 off 33) scoring the bulk of the runs


Mixed emotions for Webber 15/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Mark Webber admits he had next to no chance of overtaking Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel at the Korean Grand Prix.

The Australian finished second behind defending champion Vettel, who assumed the Formula One championship lead with his third consecutive victory.

Webber started from pole position but lost the lead almost at the first turn and could take few risks in a bid to conserve his tyres.


Fletcher to play on in 2013 15/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Essendon veteran Dustin Fletcher will play on for a 21st season in 2013 after signing a one-year contract with the Bombers.

The evergreen defender announced his decision to club officials and is set to climb even higher than seventh on the list of most games played for a VFL/AFL player.

The 37-year-old has a staggering 365 games to his name after debuting in 1993 and has lost none of his consistency after finishing third in the club's best and fairest count this year.


Warriors turn to Elliott 12/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Former Penrith boss Matt Elliott has been unveiled as the new Warriors coach, having been handed a two-year contract with the New Zealand club.

Elliott was announced at a packed media conference in Auckland on Friday morning, bringing to an end weeks of speculation over the vacant role, although he clearly wasn't the club's first choice.

The Warriors had been hoping to lure Melbourne premiership-winning mentor Craig Bellamy across the Tasman on a reported deal worth $4million over three seasons.


Manighar out of spring carnival 11/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Peter Moody's stayer Manighar has been ruled out for the entire spring after picking up a knee injury.

Manighar, who was set to start in Saturday's Caulfield Stakes and the Group 1 Cox Plate in a fortnight, has been sent straight to the paddock and will not be seen again this year.

The extent of Manighar's injury is unknown, but Moody said the seven-year-old would require an operation and will be spelled


Bellamy knocks back Warriors 11/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


An audacious bid by the Warriors to lure premiership coach Craig Bellamy across the Tasman has failed after the Melbourne mentor rejected a mutli-million dollar offer.

The Warriors originally offered Bellamy a three-year, $4million deal starting in 2014.

However, it is understood they upped the ante and tried unsuccessfully to convince the master mentor to take the reins from next month.


Woods may join European Tour 11/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Tiger Woods says proposed changes to the European Tour's qualification rules might tempt him to join.

The European Tour has come under pressure to change its qualification rules and allow players to count the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup and Seve Trophy towards the 13 events they must play to be eligible for membership.

The US-based PGA Tour requires members to play 15 events but team events do count to that tally.


New evidence against Armstrong 11/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Lance Armstrong has been accused of being part of the 'most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program' in sports history.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) have released information to prove to cycling's world governing body that Armstrong and his former team, US Postal Service Pro Cycling, systematically used performance-enhancing drugs.

The dossier has also revealed 11 former team-mates of Armstrong have testified against the seven-time Tour de France winner.


ICC suspends accused umpires 11/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


The International Cricket Council have suspended six umpires alleged to be involved in a match-fixing scandal.

Sri Lankan umpires Gamini Dissanayake, Maurice Winston and Sagara Gallage, Pakistani duo Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui and Bangladesh's Nadir Shah have been named as the umpires under investigation after allegations were broadcast on India TV on Monday.

The TV channel alleged that the umpires agreed to give decisions on demand for money, with the ICC immediately announcing they had launched their own investigation


Woods sorry for Ryder Cup letdown 9/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Tiger Woods has accepted the blame for the US team's dramatic Ryder Cup loss to Europe and apologised for his lacklustre showing.

The 14-time major champion failed to win a match at the tournament in Chicago and has since apologised to first-time team-mates Brandt Snedeker, Webb Simpson, Jason Dufner and Keegan Bradley after the loss to Europe.

Woods lost each of his first three games in partnership with Steve Stricker, before gaining a half point against Francesco Molinari which he deemed irrelevant after Europe had already completed a sensational comeback from trailing 10-6 to retain the trophy.



Leeds Rhinos won their sixth Super League title in eight years with a sensational 26-18 triumph over Warrington at Old Trafford.

In front of a 70,000-strong crowd in Manchester, the Rhinos once again produced their best on the big stage to continue what has been a stunning era of dominance.

Only six weeks ago Warrington thumped Leeds 35-18 in the Challenge Cup final and the Wolves – who have not been crowned champions of England since 1955 – were stronger than Leeds during the regular season.



Next year's Australian Open will offer a total prize pool of AU$30 million, an increase of $4 million on 2012.

The increase means the prize pool up for grabs will be the biggest in the history of the sport.

Prize money for this year's Wimbledon was around AU$25 million, while the US Open offered a pool of AU$24.6 million.


Four Storm stars in Kangaroos squad 2/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Veteran forward Ryan Hoffman is one of four Melbourne Storm players named in Australia's side to face New Zealand in the one-off Test in Townsville on October 13.

Hoffman, who last represented Australia in 2009, joins Melbourne's big three of Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Clive Churchill Medallist Cooper Cronk, in Tim Sheens' 17-man squad.

Wests Tigers captain Robbie Farah has recovered from a broken hand and will fill the utility role after edging out Canterbury five-eighth Josh Reynolds and Melbourne's Ryan Hinchliffe


Bailey backs pace attack 2/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


Captain George Bailey has backed Australia's fast bowlers to make an impact in Tuesday's ICC World Twenty20 Super Eight clash with Pakistan.

Pakistan overcame Australia 2-1 at a recent T20 series in the United Arab Emirates, though were bowled out for just 74 in the third and final match, with seamers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins claiming three wickets each.

"We saw in the UAE our fast bowlers can certainly shake them up," Bailey said.


Saints confirm Goddard exit 2/10/2012 12:00:00 AM


St Kilda have confirmed that Brendon Goddard will leave the club after choosing not to match Essendon's offer for the veteran Saint.

The Bombers tabled a four-year contract for Goddard on Monday morning, a deal believed to be worth $800,000 per year, giving the Saints 72 hours to decide whether they would match that offer as Goddard is a restricted free agent.

But the Saints have confirmed in a media release they will not go beyond the three-year contract they have previously offered Goddard, with head of football Chris Pelchen saying the club refused to compromise its pay structure even if it meant losing the 205-game veteran.


Terry found guilty of racial abuse 28/09/2012 12:00:00 AM


Chelsea captain John Terry has been banned for four games after being found guilty of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.

Terry was acquitted of abusing Ferdinand by Westminster Magistrates' Court in July, but the FA's disciplinary committee announced that the 31-year-old was guilty of abusing Ferdinand on the balance of probabilities, rather than beyond reasonable doubt. He was also fined 220,000 pounds.

The offence took place at Loftus Road in October 2011, when Terry and Ferdinand became involved in an on-pitch altercation during QPR's 1-0 win over Chelsea.


Inglis signs new deal at Rabbitohs 28/09/2012 12:00:00 AM


South Sydney star Greg Inglis has committed his future to the club, signing a deal that will keep him at the Rabbitohs until 2017.

The 25-year-old, who began his league career with the Melbourne Storm, said he was delighted to re-sign with the club, who this year made the preliminary final for the first time in 25 years.

"I couldn’t be happier to have sorted out my future for the long term, and to be part of the Rabbitohs' plans for the next five years or more is very special for me," Inglis said.


Black Caviar to race on in 2013 28/09/2012 12:00:00 AM


Unbeaten superstar mare Black Caviar will race again, after trainer Peter Moody revealed she will be set to resume in autumn 2013.

The six-year-old's most recent run was her heart-stopping win in the Diamond Jubillee Stakes at Royal Ascot in England in June.

Moody has reportedly revealed the Bel Esprit sire will spell for several weeks, ahead of her preparation for March/April racing next year.


Primus joins Suns as assistant 26/09/2012 12:00:00 AM


Former Port Adelaide coach Matthew Primus has joined Gold Coast as an assistant ahead of the 2013 season.

Primus, who was sacked by the Power midway through his second year in charge, will primarily focus on the Suns' midfield.

The 37-year-old will officially join the Suns prior to their altitude training camp in Arizona on October 28


Tests stars prepare for Shield battle 26/09/2012 12:00:00 AM


Much attention is still on the football codes ahead of the AFL and NRL grand finals, but the stars will be out a few days early for the BUPA Sheffield Shield clash between NSW and Tasmania starting Wednesday.

No less than seven current or former Test players including captain Michael Clarke and his predecessor Ricky Ponting will be on show at Bankstown Oval.

Clarke will lead the Blues into battle for the second time after overseeing an eight-wicket win over Western Australia at the WACA last week.


Sheens cuts ties with Tigers 25/09/2012 12:00:00 AM


Little-known Manly assistant coach Matt Parish is the front-runner to replace Tim Sheens after the veteran mentor parted ways with Wests Tigers on Monday night.

Sheens is expected to join the Warriors after negotiating a payout from the final two years of his $450,000-a-year Tigers deal.

The 61-year-old's future was sealed last week after long-serving duo Beau Ryan and Chris Heighington were allowed to depart Concord for Cronulla.



Australia batting coach Justin Langer says he is excited about what the future has to offer for the team after watching Glenn Maxwell's rapid rise.

Australia has undergone a rebuilding process in recent years following the retirements of a number of key personnel.

The likes of Michael Clarke, Shane Watson and Mike Hussey have stepped up but performance's from youthful players such as Maxwell has helped improve the national team's depth


Hodge to return for the Grand Final 25/09/2012 12:00:00 AM


Luke Hodge is confident he will recover from a stomach virus in time to lead Hawthorn out against Sydney in Saturday's grand final.

Hodge was a late withdrawal from the preliminary final win over Adelaide last weekend after succumbing to illness on Thursday.

But the Hawks captain, who was bedridden, quarantined and only returned to the club for a light training session on Monday, believes he will be fully fit for the premiership decider at the MCG


Slater expecting tough battle 21/09/2012 12:00:00 AM


Melbourne Storm full-back Billy Slater is expecting a physical encounter when his side take on the Manly Sea Eagles in a cut-throat preliminary final at AAMI Park on Friday night.

The two fierce rivals have played out some memorable matches over the years, with the infamous 'Battle of Brookvale' in 2011 remembered for an all-in brawl that saw Brett Stewart and Adam Blair sent off.

And Slater is preparing himself for another tough battle on Friday night as the clubs reignite their rivalry with a place in the 2012 grand final at stake.


Heskey in line to be a Jet 19/09/2012 12:00:00 AM


England striker Emile Heskey has been linked with a move to A-League outfit Newcastle.

The 34-year-old centre forward – who has played for Leicester City, Liverpool, Birmingham City, Wigan Athletic and Aston Villa in an 18-year career – has also travelled to three FIFA World Cups with England, winning 62 caps for the national team.

But after Villa announced they would not renew his contract at the end of the 2011-12 season, Heskey has been searching for a new club.


Toovey bullish about Manly 19/09/2012 12:00:00 AM


Manly coach Geoff Toovey has backed his side's big-game temperament to outweigh Melbourne's home ground advantage in Friday night's blockbuster preliminary final at AAMI Park.

Whilst declaring the Storm favourites to advance to the NRL decider, the rookie Sea Eagles boss knows his side won't freeze under the finals furnace in Melbourne like South Sydney did a fortnight ago.

Much of Toovey's confidence comes from his side's wealth of finals experience over the last five years as well as the club's extraordinary record in preliminary finals, winning their last 11 in a row since a 1975 loss to Eastern Suburbs


Waratahs confirm Cheika as coach 18/09/2012 12:00:00 AM


The Waratahs' search for a new head coach is over, with the embattled club confirming the appointment of Michael Cheika on Tuesday morning.

Cheika, who played for NSW in the late 90s, will take over from Michael Foley who controversially defected to the Western Force in July.

Ironically, the former Australian Under-21 representative turned down an offer from the Force before Foley took over in the west.


Ryan heads to Sharks 18/09/2012 12:00:00 AM


Cronulla have snared Wests Tigers utility back Beau Ryan on a three-year deal, continuing their impressive build-up to the 2013 season.

Ryan had verbally agreed to a new deal at the Tigers but hadn't signed a contract, leaving the door open for the Sharks.

He will join fellow new recruits in Canterbury centre/winger Jonathan Wright and Penrith duo Luke Lewis and Michael Gordon


Final failure fires Bunnies 14/09/2012 12:00:00 AM


South Sydney coach Michael Maguire believes his side can use last weekend's embarrassing loss to Melbourne as perfect on-the-job training for how to handle finals football and ensure they show what they're really made of this weekend.

In the club's first finals appearance in five years, the Rabbitohs were given a lesson in how to play September football by a clinical Storm side who cruised to a 24-6 win last Saturday night.

While the Bunnies have enjoyed a bumper season to finish in third spot, the heavy defeat has left serious question marks over whether they have the ability and temperament to take the next step and win the premiership.


Jordan stun Socceroos 12/09/2012 12:00:00 AM


Australia's hopes of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup suffered a setback as Jordan recorded a famous 2-1 win in Amman on Tuesday.

The Socceroos had the best chances on goal but were unable to convert as the home side capitalised on 90 minutes of relentless pressure at the King Abdullah International Stadium.

Hassan Abdel Fattah and Amer Deeb scored for Jordan in the second half, with substitute Archie Thompson pulling a goal back for the visitors in the dying stages.


Arthur backs T20 pace attack 12/09/2012 12:00:00 AM


Australia coach Mickey Arthur believes seamers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins have plenty to offer at the ICC World Twenty20, regardless of the conditions in Sri Lanka.

Starc (3-11) and Cummins (3-15) were on song in Monday's third and final T20 game against Pakistan, who slumped to their lowest-ever total of 74 in Dubai.

While dry and dusty pitches are expected in Sri Lanka, Arthur believes the pace of Starc and Cummins should not be discounted in favour of spinners.


Murray breaks through at US Open 11/09/2012 12:00:00 AM


Andy Murray has broken through for his first major title with a stunning five-set triumph over Novak Djokovic in the US Open final.

Murray won the first two sets before holding off a spirited fightback from second seed Djokovic to finally clinch the match 7-6 (12-10) 7-5 2-6 3-6 6-2 in four hours and 54 minutes, the equal longest US Open final.

The third seed, who had lost his previous four Grand Slam finals, is the first British man to taste major success since Fred Perry won the last of his four titles at Wimbledon in 1936.


Buckley pays tribute to McCarthy 11/09/2012 12:00:00 AM


Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said the club is still coming to terms with the death of former player John McCarthy.

With an impending semi-final clash against West Coast on Saturday night, Buckley said he was looking out for the welfare of his players, some of which were very close to McCarthy, who tragically died in Las Vegas on Sunday.

"I think anyone that's a brother, or a son or a close mate, and they're not sitting beside you any longer, that's what some of our boys are feeling," Buckley said at the Westpac Centre on Tuesday


Malthouse sets eyes on Cloke 11/09/2012 12:00:00 AM


Mick Malthouse wasted little time after being unveiled as Carlton's new coach by declaring he will 'absolutely' target out-of-contract Collingwood power forward Travis Cloke.

Malthouse was unveiled by the Blues at Visy Park on Tuesday morning, with president Stephen Kernahan confirming the three-time premiership coach will be in charge for at least the next three years.

A prickly Malthouse became testy when challenged on exactly when he had first met with Carlton, insisting that he had had no contact with the club until eight days earlier, after they had moved on his predecessor and club great Brett Ratten


Barba takes out Dally M 5/09/2012 12:00:00 AM


Ben Barba has become Canterbury's first Dally M winner in 28 years after streeting the field to register a massive victory in the 2012 medal count.

Barba's electrifying form in the backend of the season saw him collect 16 points over the final nine rounds to finish on 32, well ahead of Matt Bowen (26), Cooper Cronk (25) and Johnathan Thurston (24).

The livewire No.1 also took out fullback-of-the-year, the Provan/Summons Medal (fan vote), equal top try-scorer (21) award and Peter Frilingos Headline Moment for the incredible try he set up for Josh Morris against the Storm.


McDermott to coach Ireland 5/09/2012 12:00:00 AM


Former Australia paceman Craig McDermott will be Ireland's bowling coach for the World Twenty20, beginning later this month.

He will join the team for the pre-tournament training camp in Colombo ahead of the tournament in Sri Lanka.

McDermott, who earlier this year quit as Australia's bowling coach for personal reasons, called the assignment an "exciting opportunity" that would help his coaching career.


McIlroy extends lead in rankings 5/09/2012 12:00:00 AM


Rory McIlroy strengthened his grip on the top spot in the world golf rankings with victory at the Deutsche Bank Championship, while Australian Adam Scott moved from ninth to sixth.

The Northern Irishman trailed by as many as three strokes in the final round at TPC Boston before squeezing past South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen to win by one shot.

The victory came less than a month after McIlroy claimed the PGA Championship, which saw him reclaim the number one position in the rankings.


Owens signs one year Stoke deal 5/09/2012 12:00:00 AM


Stoke City have confirmed the signing of Michael Owen on a one-year contract.

The 32-year-old, who was released by Manchester United in the off-season, will join Tony Pulis' side subject to approval from the Premier League.

The striker moved to Old Trafford back in 2009 as Sir Alex Ferguson looked to bolster his attacking options following Cristiano Ronaldo's 80 million pounds to Real Madrid.



Australian Samantha Stosur's US Open title defence ended with a third-set tiebreak loss to world number one Victoria Azarenka in their quarter-final on Tuesday.

Stosur went down 6-1 4-6 7-6 (7-5) to the Belarusian in two hours and 23 minutes on Arthur Ashe Stadium at Flushing Meadows.

The Aussie had her chances throughout the contest, but converted just four of 11 break point opportunities.


Webber hoping to avoid penalty 5/09/2012 12:00:00 AM


Australian Mark Webber is confident he will avoid punishment for an incident involving Ferrari's Felipe Massa during Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver came into close contract with Massa in the pair's final pit-stop on lap 27.

Stewards at Spa-Francorchamps are probing the incident, and trying to determine whether Webber was released in a dangerous manner ahead of Massa


Sheedy to coach Giants next year 28/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


Kevin Sheedy has been reappointed as coach of Greater Western Sydney for another season.

The veteran coach, who turns 65 in December, has signed a one-year contract extension after overseeing the Giants' debut season.

While GWS are rooted to the bottom of the ladder with just two wins and are guaranteed this year's wooden spoon, the fledging club have shown some promise both on and off the field under Sheedy's guidance.


Victorious Ko makes history in Canada 28/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


Teenage sensation Lydia Ko became the youngest ever winner on the LPGA Tour, and the first New Zealander, as she blitzed a field of experienced professionals to win the Canadian Open.

Ko went into the final round with a one-stroke lead and produced a stunning five-under 67 at the Vancouver Golf Club to win by three.

Two early birdies kept the 15-year-old ahead of her nearest chaser, South Korean Chella Choi, although a bogey at the par-three seventh saw the pair tied at nine under at the turn.


Longmire has faith in Swans 27/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


Saturday's loss to Hawthorn leaves the Swans with a simple equation this weekend - beat Geelong at Simonds Stadium and they will secure a home final in Sydney.

The Swans have no option but to move on from Saturday's heartbreaking defeat, which knocked them off the top of the ladder - a position the Sydney side had occupied for much of the year.

Despite losing three of their last four matches heading into the final round, coach John Longmire isn't buying into claims his team lack a killer instinct


Australia fall to India in Cup final 27/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


India captain Unmukt Chand scored a magnificent century to guide his side to victory against Australia in the 2012 ICC Under-19 World Cup final on Sunday.

Chasing 226 to win at Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville, Chand (111 not out) and Smit Patel (62 not out) combined for a 130-run partnership for the fifth wicket as India won the tournament for the third time.

Both Chand and Patel gave Australia chances though, with the former dropped on 38 and 84 by wicket-keeper Jimmy Peirson and captain Will Bosisto respectively.


Armstrong stripped of Tour titles 25/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


The United States Anti-Doping Agency have stripped Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and banned him from cycling for life.

With Armstrong having announced he will not contest the USADA's charges of blood doping and use of performance-enhancing drugs, the US Government-funded organisation has annulled his record seven overall Tour de France victories and given him a life ban from the sport.

"USADA announced today that Lance Armstrong has chosen not to move forward with the independent arbitration process and as a result has received a lifetime period of ineligibility and disqualification of all competitive results from August 1, 1998 through the present," the USADA said in a statement.



Australian star sprinter Ortensia has unleashed a dramatic late run to win the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at York.

The Paul Messara-trained mare sat at the rear of the field in the 1006-metre sprint (five furlongs), but stormed home late with local jockey William Buick aboard to pip the well-backed Spirit Quartz on the post, with the official winning margin a neck.

It was the seven-year-old's third career G1 win, and she has now won 10 times in group and listed company from 30 starts, and has 13 wins from 34 starts overall.



Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy says he won't even begin considering a possible big-money offer to coach the Warriors until the end of this season.

Reports on Friday indicated the Warriors may be preparing a $4 million deal to bring Bellamy to Auckland after the New Zealanders and former coach Brian McClennon went their separate ways last Tuesday.

Other clubs such as St George Illawarra and the Sydney Roosters are also thought to be interested in Bellamy's services, but the former New South Wales mentor said he won't start thinking about his future until after the finals, as he is contracted to the Storm until the end of 2013.


Gallop takes over from Buckley at FFA 22/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


Former NRL CEO David Gallop will replace Ben Buckley as FFA CEO in a stunning change at the top of Australian football.

Gallop, who left his position at the NRL in June this year, will assume the role once Buckley completes the new broadcast deal in the next two months.

FFA chairman Frank Lowy said Buckley had offered to step aside for Gallop, but that Lowy wanted him to complete the broadcast deal before his departure


Federer builds lead in rankings 22/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


Roger Federer consolidated his grip on the world No.1 ranking following his most recent win over world No.2 Novak Djokovic.

Federer secured a record 292nd week in top spot after beating Serbia's Djokovic in the Western and Southern Open final in Cincinnati on Sunday (local time).

The Swiss star, who leads Djokovic by 895 points in the ATP rankings released on Monday, is guaranteed to hold his position for three more weeks, regardless of his performance at the US Open.


Armstrong fails in bid to block probe 22/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


Lance Armstrong's latest attempt to stop investigations into whether he used performance-enhancing drugs has been dismissed.

Armstrong's legal team have claimed the US Anti-Doping Agency threatened to ruin the careers of other cyclists in order to gain testimony against the seven-time Tour de France champion.

But US district judge Sam Sparks rejected Armstrong's complaints for the second time on Monday


Hornby calls it quits 21/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


Premiership-winning St George Illawarra captain Ben Hornby has confirmed he'll retire at the end of the NRL season.

The 32-year-old still had a year to run on his contract but has decided to call time a year earlier than planned after a disappointing 2012 campaign.

"It is a difficult time and decision to walk away from the game but having played footy since I was nine and had 13 seasons in first grade I have decided that it is time to move on," Hornby said


Garcia wraps up Wyndham win 21/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


Sergio Garcia's four-year wait for a PGA title has come to an end as the Spaniard claimed a two-shot victory at a rain-interrupted Wyndham Championship to earn a Ryder Cup berth and a first PGA Tour title since 2008.

Despite finishing with a bogey, Garcia carded a four-under 66 to finish on 18 under overall at the rain-delayed event in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Rod Pampling was the highest-placed Australian, finishing in a tie for 28th on eight under, while Nick O'Hern was three shots further back in 46th


South Africa seal Test top spot 21/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


South Africa have climbed to the top of the ICC Test rankings after a 51-run victory over England saw them claim the three-match series 2-0.

England wicketkeeper Matt Prior (73) led a final-session fightback as the hosts gave the Proteas a fright on day five of the third Test at Lord's, scoring 72 runs in 12 overs after tea to reach 8-293 and move within 53 runs of victory.

But England only scored one more run before Vernon Philander took two wickets in consecutive deliveries to dismiss Prior and Steve Finn, wrapping up South Africa's victory on Monday.


Title slipping away from Stoner 20/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


Australian world champions Casey Stoner was putting on a brave face as he slipped further behind in the MotoGP standings despite a courageous ride at the Indianapolis GP.

A fall during qualifying left a battered Stoner with a variety of fractures to his ankle, tibia and fibula and little chance of matching his main rivals in Sunday's race.

But the 26-year-old battled valiantly to finish fourth behind eventual winner Dani Pedrosa


Pocock in doubt for Auckland Test 20/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


Scans have revealed a serious knee injury to Wallabies captain David Pocock, who was injured in their 27-19 loss to the All Blacks in Sydney on Saturday.

It was not the start Australia wanted to their Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup campaign, with the loss compounded by news of Pocock's injury, as scans on Sunday confirmed cartilage damage to his right knee.

Monday's consultation will reveal Pocock's prognosis


Federer tops Djokovic 20/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


Roger Federer secured his fifth Western and Southern Open title with a commanding win over Novak Djokovic on Sunday.

The Swiss world number one, winner of 17 grand slam titles, produced a stunning display to beat Djokovic 6-0 7-6 (9-7) at the ATP 1000 event in Cincinnati.

Federer has now won 76 career singles titles, including six this year, following his fifth triumph in eight years at the hard-court tournament in the United States.


Genia worries All Blacks 17/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


All Blacks ace Dan Carter has been around trans-Tasman rugby long enough to recognise the threat that Australian halfback Will Genia represents.

Carter has been in Crusaders and All Blacks teams who have leaked devastating runs by the lively halfback which have produced tries and in the absence of Quade Cooper outside him, the pressure goes on Genia to use his genius to lift their side.

"He sparks a lot of their attack and he's shown on many occasions what he's capable of," Carter said


McILroy back on top of the world 17/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


Rory McIlroy has moved back to the top of the world golf rankings after the second major win of his career at the PGA Championship.

The 23-year-old Northern Irishman blitzed the final round at Kiawah Island on Sunday to win by eight shots and has moved up from third to No.1 as a result.

McIlroy has replaced England's Luke Donald, who moves down to second, while Tiger Woods has also been relegated one position to third


Stosur finds form ahead of US Open 17/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


Australia's Sam Stosur moved through to the quarter-finals of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati with a comfortable straight sets victory over Ekaterina Makarova.

The reigning US Open champion was rarely troubled in her third round encounter, cruising past Makarova 6-1 6-3 in a little over one hour and 10 minutes.

Stosur will now face Venus Williams for a spot in the semi-finals, after the American picked up her own straight sets triumph.


Atlantic Jewel out for spring 15/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


Melbourne's spring racing carnival has taken another hit with news that unbeaten mare Atlantic Jewel has been spelled after suffering a tendon injury.

Already without drawcard Black Caviar, who will remain in the paddock until at least the autumn, Racing Victoria were pinning their hopes on Mark Kavanagh's four-year-old mare - who was ruling Cox Plate favourite - to fly the flag.

But a tendon injury to her off foreleg has forced Kavanagh to send her to the paddock, meaning the two most exciting horses in Australia won't be a part of the main event this spring.


Stewart to end career with Manly 14/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


Superstar fullback Brett Stewart will stay a Sea Eagle for life after confirming he is about to sign off on a new four-year deal.

While stressing there were still loose ends to tie up, Stewart is expected to put pen to paper before Sunday's meeting with in-form Newcastle at Brookvale Oval.

The champion No.1's re-signing will come as a massive relief to his legion of Manly fans, who were worried Stewart could be lured away when contract negotiations stalled mid-season.


Black Caviar scoops awards 14/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


The team behind champion mare Black Caviar dominated Sunday night's Victorian Thoroughbred Racing Awards in Melbourne.

Peter Moody's stable picked up the award for Victorian Racehorse of the Year (Black Caviar) while Moody himself collected back-to-back Fred Hoysted Medals for best trainer shortly before the sad news of champion mare Typhoon Tracy's death.

The 2009-10 Australian Racehorse of the Year was retired by Moody in February last year and died shortly after delivering her first foal



Australia finished with three wins from as many matches in Group A at the ICC Under-19 World Cup in Queensland after they beat Ireland by six wickets on Tuesday.

In sunny conditions at Endeavour Park in Townsville, Ireland were bowled out for just 129 in the 43rd over, with medium-pacer Alex Gregory (3-13 off eight overs) and spinner Shane Cassel (3-24 off 10) leading the way.

And despite an early scare, Australian captain Will Bosisto (36 not out) and Sam Hain (26 not out) guided the tournament hosts to another victory as they reached 4-133 with nearly 10 overs to spare


McILroy storms to victory 13/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


Rory McIlroy has won the PGA Championship by a record eight strokes after carding a six-under 66 at Kiawah Island, as Australia's Adam Scott failed to stay with the Northern Irishman in the final round.

Having taken control in the re-scheduled second half of his third round earlier on Sunday, McIlroy extended his lead over the final round to finish on 13 under for the tournament and take the world number one ranking.

The 23-year-old Northern Irishman finished well clear of England's David Lynn, who claimed outright second at five under


Jennings hit with ban 13/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


Penrith's hopes of avoiding the wooden spoon have been dealt a blow with star centre Michael Jennings hit with two separate charges by the NRL's match review committee on Monday.

A feisty Jennings was slapped with two grade one charges from Sunday's 20-10 loss to Canberra at Centrebet Stadium.

The representative back was first reported for attacking the legs of Josh McCrone as he attempted a kick, while the other charge was for a high tackle on Raiders forward Joe Picker.


Aussies scrape into top 10 13/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


Australia finished an underwhelming 10th on the overall medal tally as the Games of the 30th Olympiad drew to a close in London on Sunday.

The Aussies failed to yield a medal on the final day of competition, ending the 2012 London Olympics with seven gold, 16 silver and 12 bronze.

The haul of 35 medals is Australia's worst return since the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, when the team came home with 27 medals, including seven gold.


Pieterson dumped over text row 13/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


England batsman Kevin Pietersen has expressed his disappointment with the decision to drop him for the third Test against South Africa.

Pietersen was left out by the England and Wales Cricket Board following allegations he sent text messages criticising England captain Andrew Strauss to South African players following the drawn second Test at Headingley.

The South African-born batsman, a naturalised Englishman, has endured a tumultuous domestic season, announcing his retirement from limited overs international cricket and hinting at walking out on the Test set-up


Gold at last for Australia 7/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


Australia's nine-day golden drought has ended, after sailor Tom Slingsby prevailed in the men's Laser class off Weymouth at the London Olympics.

Having claimed gold in the pool via the women's 4x100 metres freestyle team, it was a long wait to hear the next rendition of 'Advance Australia Fair' in London, but Slingsby held off Cyprus' Pavlos Kontides to put the gold in 'green and gold'.

The 27-year-old Slingsby, a five-time world champion, had been so dominant in the 10 races prior to the medal event - claiming four wins and three seconds - that his ninth-place finish in the 10-boat medal race was enough to secure him the gold.


Primus out at Port 6/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


Matthew Primus has officially coached his last match at Port Adelaide with Garry Hocking appointed as the club's caretaker coach for the remainder of the 2012 season.

The Power announced on Monday morning that they would not proceed with an optional third year in Primus' contract, with the former ruckman deciding not to coach the rest of the season out.

Primus said that he accepted his fate, although he was disappointed with the club's decision not to renew his contract


Baddeley finishes strongly 6/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


Keegan Bradley sunk a 16-foot putt to win the Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday as a double-bogey on the 18th saw Jim Furyk miss out, while Australian Aaron Baddeley finished nine strokes adrift of the winner.

In a dramatic finish, though, Bradley posted a six-under 64 in his final round, but needed a long-range putt to save par on his final hole and give himself a chance of staying in touch with Furyk, who led by a stroke at that stage.

Furyk, the leader for the first three days following a seven-under 63 opening round, struggled to land it on the green on the 18th, taking four shots to do so, before missing a putt for bogey that would have taken the American pair into a play-off.


Phelps hails rival Lochte 3/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


Michael Phelps has hailed his compatriot Ryan Lochte as one of his toughest rivals after beating him for gold in the 200m individual medley.

Phelps wrote another chapter in his extraordinary career on Thursday in London, when he claimed his 16th Olympic gold medal by 0.63 seconds - becoming the first male swimmer to win gold at the same event in three successive Olympics.

The win came just 48 hours after he won his 19th medal to become the most decorated Olympian in history, overtaking Russian gymnast Larisa Latynina, who won 18.



Allister de Winter has replaced Craig McDermott as Cricket Australia's national bowling coach, and is set to join the side for their tour of the United Arab Emirates in August.

De Winter - assistant coach of the Tasmanian Tigers and Hobart Hurricanes - said he anticipated an exciting future for Australia's bowlers, especially those in the pace attack.

"I don't think it is too complicated – it's about having a strong work ethic, building good relationships and doing things like attacking the top of off stump in Test cricket," he said.



MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner says he is already contemplating his final appearance at Phillip Island after announcing 2012 would be his last year in the sport.

Speaking after securing his fourth MotoGP win of the season in California - a result that moved him just 32 points behind championship leader Jorge Lorenzo - the 26-year-old Australian said his home race has a special place in his heart.

And with the championship looking like it will be close-run affair, Stoner said he hopes to still be in contention when the cavalcade heads Down Under for the season's penultimate race on October 28.


Asotasi back to boost Souths 3/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


South Sydney co-captain Roy Asotasi looks set to make a return from injury, when the high-flying Rabbitohs take on finals aspirants Gold Coast on Sunday.

Asotasi has been sidelined since April with a ruptured pectoral muscle and Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire is hopeful the New Zealand international will get some game time this weekend.

"He's in great shape so we're looking forward to getting him back," Maguire said.


Phelps breaks Olympic medal record 1/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


Four years after he climbed to the top of Olympic achievement, Michael Phelps took the last step he needed to reach the absolute peak.

The greatest swimmer of all time became the most decorated Olympian of all time when he won a record 19th Olympic medal at the London Games this morning (NZ time).

With a little help from his American friends, Phelps won his first gold medal in London in the 4x200 metres freestyle less than an hour after a shock defeat in the 200 butterfly, an event he has dominated for over a decade.

His team mates threw their arms around him and the crowd at London's Aquatic Centre rose to their feet to witness the coronation of the Olympic king.


James Magnussen Qualifies Fastest 1/08/2012 12:00:00 AM


Australian James Magnussen has qualified for the final of the 100-metre freestyle after winning his semi-final on Wednesday morning (AEST).

Magnussen clocked 47.63, which was 0.4 seconds better than his leg in the unsuccessful Australian 4 x 100-metre relay final.

The Australian's time was the fastest in both semi-finals.

Compatriot James Roberts clocked 48.57 and finished sixth in the same semi-final as Magnussen, but will miss out on the final.

Magnussen will swim for gold on Thursday morning, Australian time.


Foley poised for Force move 31/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Waratahs coach Michael Foley is poised to jump ship and join the Western Force on a long-term deal, with a formal announcement expected on Tuesday.

Foley, who led the Waratahs to a disastrous 2012 campaign that yielded just four wins and ended with an eight-game losing streak, has repeatedly denied reports he was considering a move to the west in recent weeks.

However, it appears the former Wallaby hooker has had a change of heart after Michael Cheika, the Force's preferred option as head coach, pulled out of the race.


Magnussen has no answers 30/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


A shattered and disconsolate James Magnussen was unable to explain Australia's capitulation in the men's 4x100m freestyle final on Sunday.

The team of Magnussen, James Roberts, Eamon Sullivan and Matt Targett - billed as the 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' - were hot favourites to win Olympic gold, but missed a medal completely as France prevailed over the United States.

The performance of the 'Missile' Magnussen was the biggest shock after the lead-off swimmer clocked a time of 48.03 seconds - nearly a second above his personal best.


Stoner hits back at Laguna Seca 30/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Defending MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner overcame pole sitter Jorge Lorenzo to win the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.

Australia's Stoner (Repsol Honda) overtook Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) with 11 laps to go, closing the gap on the Spaniard at the top of the championship standings to 32 points.

Stoner's team-mate Dani Pedrosa finished third, followed by Monster Yamaha Tech 3 duo Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow.


Australians falter in Canada 30/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


America's Scott Piercy triumphed at the Canadian Open after carding a final-round three-under 67 on Sunday as the Australian contingent finished off the pace.

Piercy, who started the day in third place, birdied four of his first five holes to prevail by one stroke at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club ahead of countrymen Robert Garrigus and William McGirt.

Garrigus, the leader after 54 holes, missed six putts inside eight feet to finish with an even 70, while McGirt was left to rue three bogeys in his one-under 69.


Roach guides West Indies home 30/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Kemar Roach's five-wicket haul helped the West Indies to a nine-wicket win against New Zealand in Antigua.

Roach (5-60 off 23.2 overs) was the star of the show as New Zealand were bowled out for 272 in their second innings.

That left the West Indies with a target of 102 to win in the last session of day five, with Chris Gayle (64 not out) leading them to victory in his return to Test cricket after a hiatus that stretched over 18 months.


Jackson named flag bearer 27/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Opals star Lauren Jackson has been selected to carry the flag for Australia at the opening ceremony for the London Olympics.

The 31-year-old basketball player will become just the fourth woman to carry the Australian flag in the opening ceremony of a Summer Olympics when she leads the team on Friday.

Jackson was stunned when she was first told she would be Australia's flag bearer, questioning what she had done to deserve the honour.


Stuart wants to keep Origin role 27/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


New Parramatta coach Ricky Stuart said he would only stay involved with the Blues if he was head coach but will leave it up to the NSW Rugby League to decide if he can do both roles.

Stuart will return to club coaching with the Eels in 2013 after confirming a three-year deal with the NRL battlers on Friday.

But the appointment now calls into question Stuart's future with the Blues, with the NSWRL keen to stick with their policy of having a stand-alone coach for State of Origin


Clubs declare Cloke interest 25/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Richmond and Carlton on Wednesday reiterated their interest in securing the services of Collingwood forward Travis Cloke.

Rumours have been circulating all year that Cloke would leave the Magpies at the end of 2012 and the speculation intensified on Tuesday when Collingwood agreed to put his contract talks on hold until the end of the season.

With Melbourne and Fremantle putting together multi-million dollar deals to try and secure Cloke, the Tigers joined the queue on Wednesday with football operations manager Craig Cameron revealing the club could afford to chase the in-demand forward


Button still chasing title 25/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


McLaren driver Jenson Button believes he can still win the Formula One world title after an improved showing in Germany on Sunday.

Button - second at the Hockenheimring - sits seventh in the drivers' standings and is without a victory since the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

The Briton is 86 points behind championship leader Fernando Alonso, but said he was still an outside chance of winning his second F1 world title


Serena excited at Wimbledon return 25/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Serena Williams is relishing the opportunity to return so soon to the scene of her Wimbledon triumph and says the Olympic doubles gold medals she won in 2000 and 2008 represent the most enjoyable moments of her tennis career.

Williams jetted into London on Tuesday with the rest of the US Olympic tennis team including sister Venus, Andy Roddick and John Isner, eager to return to the grass when she claimed her fifth All England Club singles title less than three weeks ago.

Williams said: "I think growing up as tennis players we always dream of winning Grand Slams and doing well at tournaments like Wimbledon.


Steyn takes five 24/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


South Africa drew first blood in their Test series against England, notching an emphatic win by an innings and 12 runs at the Kia Oval.

Needing a heroic effort to salvage an unlikely draw on the final day, England resumed at 4-102 but were dismissed for 240 before tea as the Proteas earned a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series.

Paceman Dale Steyn claimed 5-56 and spinner Imran Tahir took 3-63 to condemn the hosts to their first defeat on home soil since August 2010. It was also England's first defeat by over an innings since suffering the same fate against the Proteas in January 2010


Gayle thunders back into Sydney 24/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


The Sydney Thunder have announced a major coup after retaining the services of explosive batsman Chris Gayle and recruiting star all-rounder Shahid Afridi to play in the 2012/13 Big Bash League.

Gayle's record in Twenty20 cricket is phenomenal, having blasted 4110 runs at an average of 44.19 and a strike rate of 155.38 in his 110 matches.

The West Indian played for the Thunder last season and starred, scoring 252 runs at an average of 42, while he also hit 22 sixes in an always entertaining display of batting.


Tiger up to second in world rankings 24/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Tiger Woods has moved up to second in golf's world rankings after finishing third at the British Open, while Adam Scott is into the top 10.

Woods has replaced Rory McIlroy behind world number one Luke Donald.

Donald finished in a tie for fifth at Royal Lytham and St Annes but despite again missing out on his maiden major victory, the 34-year-old is confident he can break through at one of golf's four main tournaments.


Boomers stun France 24/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


The Boomers have warmed up for the Olympics with an upset 69-67 victory over France in Strasbourg on Tuesday morning.

Australia led by as many as 16 points in the final period, but had to endure a late French fight back to secure the victory.

France drew level with a little over one minute remaining, but Australian big man Aron Baynes hit a crucial bucket to put the Boomers up by two.


Goddard wants to stay a Saint 24/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Out-of-contract utility Brendon Goddard has suggested he intends to re-sign with St Kilda, potentially thwarting interest from the Saints' AFL rivals.

Goddard, a number one draft pick in 2002, is in the last year of his deal with St Kilda, and is reportedly a target for Greater Western Sydney, while Essendon have also been touted as a possible destination.

Speaking ahead of his 200th appearance in St Kilda's match against the Western Bulldogs on Sunday, Goddard pre-empted an inevitable grilling on his future by confirming negotiations with the Saints hierarchy over a new deal were well under way.


Griffin sticks with Broncos 18/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Griffin has agreed to a two-year contract extension, tying him to the NRL club until 2015.

Formerly in charge of the Broncos youth team, Griffin began serving as an assistant to Ivan Henjak in 2010, before replacing him as first-team coach in February 2011.

He led the team to the preliminary final in his first campaign in charge, before losing to eventual premiers Manly



Reds playmaker Quade Cooper will miss Saturday's Super Rugby qualifier against the Sharks after he was handed a one-week ban for a high tackle on Waratah Berrick Barnes.

Cooper was yellow carded and placed on report for tackling his Wallabies team-mate 'above the shoulder line' in the 63rd minute of last weekend's bonus-point win at Suncorp Stadium.

Following a marathon five-hour hearing via video link on Monday afternoon, SANZAR judicial officer Paul Tully delivered the guilty verdict that threatens to undermine the Reds' title defence.


Hussey returns to Australian side 17/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Michael Hussey headlined the inclusions for Australia's one-day and Twenty20 series against Pakistan in the UAE in August and September.

Australia's opponents are still not allowed to stage matches at home, meaning that Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai will be the host venues for three one-day and three Twenty20 internationals in the series.

Hussey was included in both the one-day and Twenty20 squads, as the selectors swung the axe after a disappointing 4-0 series defeat to England in the 50-over game


Error proves costly for Stoner 17/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Casey Stoner was left to rue a mid-race mistake after dropping another 17 points behind MotoGP championship leader Jorge Lorenzo.

Stoner struggled with the setup on his Repsol Honda all weekend and after qualifying fifth was forced to settle for eighth at the Italian MotoGP.

Spaniard Lorenzo (Yamaha) cruised to a comfortable win at the Mugello circuit in front of Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) and Andrea Dovizioso (Tech 3 Yamaha).


Tomic tumbles in Switzerland 17/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Australian Bernard Tomic's horror form on the ATP Tour continued on Monday, as the eighth seed fell in the Suisse Open first round.

Tomic lost his fifth straight match on Tour, as he was comprehensively beaten 6-0 6-4 by Frenchman Benoit Paire on the Gstaad clay.

Paire served at just 43 percent on his first serve, but teenager Tomic could not capitalise, winning just nine points on his opponent's first ball, and 11 on Paire's second.


Bruce calls it quits at Hawks 17/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Hawthorn midfielder Cameron Bruce has announced his retirement from AFL football due to a persistent back injury.

Bruce, 32, told the playing group of his decision to walk away from the game on Monday afternoon, which came after specialists advised him that he risked further damage to his back if he continued to play.

Bruce – who played 224 games for Melbourne and 10 for the Hawks – thanked those who gave him an opportunity to play AFL football


Evans committed to staying in race 14/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Defending Tour de France champion Cadel Evans has vowed to fight on despite losing considerable ground to leader Bradley Wiggins on stage 11.

The Australian's challenge appeared in tatters after Thursday's grueling mountain stage as he not only lost ground, but the mental edge to his Team Sky rival.

Evans dropped down to fourth in the overall classification, three minutes and 19 seconds behind Wiggins, after losing 1:26s on the final climb up La Toussuire on the 148-kilometre stage from Albertville


Hurricanes stun Chiefs after siren 14/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


The Hurricanes have kept their playoff chances alive with a dramatic 28-25 victory over the Chiefs.

The visitors had looked on course for victory after leading 25-21 until the dying minutes of the match at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Friday night.

But the Hurricanes never gave up and hammered away at the Chiefs line well after the 80-minute mark, rewarded by television match official Mike Fraser who ruled Dane Coles had grounded the ball for a late five-pointer to the dismay of the visitors.



Veteran Australian paceman Brett Lee has announced his retirement from international cricket.

The 35-year-old Lee called a media conference for 1pm (AEST) at the SCG but confirmed the news shortly beforehand on Twitter.

"It's official, I have retired from international cricket! Thanks for all your love and support. It's been an amazing 13 years," Lee posted on the social networking website.

Lee suffered a calf muscle strain that resulted in an early departure from Australia's recent one-day tour to the UK, the latest in a long line of injury setbacks.

He also endured side strains, stress fractures, ankle problems and appendicitis throughout a career that netted 310 Test wickets at 30.81 from 76 matches and 380 one-day international scalps at 23.36 from 221 matches.

He was not offered a national contract in Cricket Australia's latest round of agreements, and decided not to take up a deal with NSW.

He finishes up one wicket short of Glenn McGrath's Australian record of 381 ODI wickets.


Cadel falls off the pace 13/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins held off a series of attacks to maintain the yellow jersey after stage 11 of the Tour de France as Cadel Evans' title defence fell by the wayside.

Evans' Tour defence appears in tatters after he lost one minute and 26 second to the Briton on the third and final climb of the 148-kilometre stage from Albertville to the top of La Toussuire to slip down to fourth in the standings.

Pierre Rolland became the third Frenchman in row to claim the stage victory - aside from Wiggins' triumph in the time trial - after a daring break on the final 18-kilometre climb.


Black Caviar back home 11/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Star mare Black Caviar is back in Australia, after her famous victory at Royal Ascot in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

Peter Moody's unbeaten five-year-old endured a long ride home from Newmarket, England, stopping over at Dubai and Hong Kong on her way to Werribee, where she will spend a further fortnight in quarantine.

Black Caviar's racing future remains in the balance after her surprisingly narrow win at Ascot, where she sustained muscle tear injuries during the 1200m race.


Australia end tour with another loss 11/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Australia's miserable one-day tour of England has finished with another defeat as the hosts cruised to a seven-wicket win on Tuesday.

In a weather-affected match at Old Trafford, Australia posted a score of 7-145 from their 32 overs, with George Bailey (46 not out) and David Warner (32) scoring the bulk of the runs.

England's innings was reduced to 29 overs with a revised target of 138, which was passed with 11 balls to spare as Alastair Cook (58) and Ravi Bopara (52 not out) helped their side wrap up a 4-0 series victory.


Webber signs new deal at Red Bull 11/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Australian Mark Webber has signed a new contract with Red Bull for 2013, ending speculation that he will join Ferrari.

Webber, who lies second in the Formula One championship standings behind Fernando Alonso, has won nine races, including Sunday's British Grand Prix, since joining Red Bull in 2007.

The 35-year-old had been linked with a move to partner Alonso at Ferrari next season, but opted to stay at Red Bull alongside reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel.



Former Test cricketer Dean Jones has turned professional golfer and is about to take on the seniors tour.

Jones, 51, begins his new career at a seniors event on the Gold Coast on 23 July. He intends playing about 20 events a year intermingled with his cricket coaching in Bangladesh and other media work.

The two-handicapper has long harboured a dream to play professional golf; he was three times club champion at Romsey and more recently plays his golf at Heathcote, Sanctuary Lakes and Hidden Valley.

"If you have a dream and you want to do something, have a dip, don't be 10 years later having a beer saying 'I wish I'd had a go'," Jones said. "My major problem was 'am I good enough'. But I played the Victorian senior open last year and I finished third. It gave me the belief that I can cut the mustard, that I can compete with these guys."



Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/sport/golf/its-just-not-cricket-jones-turns-sights-to-pro-golf-career-20120711-21v7s.html#ixzz20HcElngl

Wiggins tightens grip on Tour 10/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Bradley Wiggins increased his stranglehold on the yellow jersey after a dominant victory in the 41.5km individual time trial on Monday.

The Team Sky rider clocked 51 minutes 24 seconds during stage nine's race against the clock from Arc-et-Senans to Besancon to claim his first stage win at the Tour de France and edge team-mate Chris Froome into second place, while creating further distance between himself and rival Cadel Evans, who is second in the overall classification.

Australian reigning champion Evans began the day 10 seconds adrift of Wiggins but could only finish sixth in the sprint with 53 minutes 07 seconds, nearly two minutes off the pace, meaning the gap between the two riders widened to 1 minute 53 seconds.


Vettori signs long term Heat deal 10/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


New Zealand all-rounder Daniel Vettori has signed a new three-year deal with Big Bash League outfit Brisbane Heat.

Vettori, 33, played three matches for the Heat in the inaugural BBL last season and was unveiled on Monday as the franchise's first major inclusion when the selection window for the 2012-13 season opened on Monday.

"I had a really good time last season," Vettori said.


Federer wins Wimbledon 9/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Roger Federer has equalled Pete Sampras' record of Wimbledon titles in the Open era, beating Andy Murray by four sets in Sunday's final.

Federer came from a set down to defeat the local favourite Murray, and win his record-equalling seventh title at the All England Club in the process.

The Swiss maestro was broken twice in the opening set but responded in style, winning 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4 in three hours and 24 minutes to win his first Grand Slam since defeating Murray in the 2010 Australian Open final


Webber triumphs at Silverstone 9/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


A jubilant Mark Webber admitted his second triumph of the season was taking some time to grasp.

The Australian, who started from second on the grid, overtook Ferrari's Fernando Alonso with four laps remaining to win the British Grand Prix for a second time.

Webber joined Alonso on two race wins for the season, the only two drivers to do so this year.


Lewis set to quit Penrith 9/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Penrith Panthers captain Luke Lewis is expected to announce he wants to leave the club at a press conference on Monday.

Lewis, who was stripped of the captaincy before the State of Origin Series, was to be offered it back this week, but with interest from the likes of Paramatta, Canterbury and Wests Tigers, that scenario looks increasingly unlikely.

Panthers general manger Phil Gould is scheduled to appear with Lewis when they hold a conference at Centrebet Stadium at 2pm


Final lap costs Stoner victory 9/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Spaniard Dani Pedrosa has won a dramatic German Grand Prix after reigning world champion Casey Stoner crashed out late on Sunday.

Pedrosa came from third on the grid for his maiden victory of the season, while his Repsol Honda team-mate Stoner was left to rue a fall on the final lap.

The Australian, who started from pole position, looked set to overtake Pedrosa before bowing out in his pursuit on the penultimate turn.


So You Think retired to stud 6/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Ten-time Group One winner So You Think has been officially retired to stud and will not race in this weekend's Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park in the UK.

A pulled muscle in his hind quarter ruled him out of the 2km race - which was scheduled to be his last - and the six-year-old will now return to Australia for the southern hemisphere breeding season.

Tom Magnier, of the horse's owner Coolmore Stud, said So You Think had a fantastic journey


Windies crush NZ in ODI 6/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


The West Indies have cruised to a nine-wicket victory over New Zealand in their rain-affected opening one-day international at Sabina Park.

Dwayne Smith and Chris Gayle did the damage on Thursday for the hosts, who reached a revised target of 136 from 33 overs for the loss of just one wicket with 52 balls remaining after a lengthy rain delay.

Smith top-scored for the Windies with 65 not out, while Gayle punished the tourists with five sixes in his unbeaten 63 off 77 balls.


Serena Williams in Wimbledon final 6/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Serena Williams will meet Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska in the Wimbledon final after both won their respective semi-finals on Thursday.

American sixth seed Williams beat Belarusian Victoria Azarenka 6-3 7-6 (8-6) in 96 minutes to book a spot in her 18th career grand slam women's singles final.

Williams has previously contested six singles finals at the All England Club, winning four of them, and she will have another opportunity to add to her trophy cabinet after a brutal performance on Centre Court.


Woods closing in on top three 6/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


American Tiger Woods has closed the gap on the likes of Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy in the latest edition of the world golf rankings.

The 36-year-old won his third tournament in just over three months on Sunday, claiming the AT&T National title by two strokes ahead of compatriot Bo Van Pelt.

His victory took him past Jack Nicklaus and into outright second for most wins on the PGA Tour.


Queensland win series decider 5/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


The Maroons bounced back from their 16-12 defeat in Sydney to maintain their stranglehold on the contest in the 36-year-old Civoniceva's 33rd and last Origin appearance, but it was a close-run thing.

Scrum-half Cooper Cronk was Queensland's hero with a 40-metre drop goal four minutes from the end after New South Wales had fought back brilliantly to tie the scores.

Blues captain Paul Gallen was reduced to tears at the end while the outcome was also tough on try-scoring twins Brett and Josh Morris and hooker Robbie Farah, who overcame the recent death of his mother to create two of his side's three tries with inch-perfect kicks.

But New South Wales always had trouble coping with the creative flair of stand-off Johnathan Thurston and the counter-attacking threat of full-back Greg Inglis, who proved an outstanding deputy for the injured Billy Slater


Spain smash Italy in Euro 2012 final 2/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Spain have been crowned Euro 2012 champions after a record-breaking 4-0 victory over Italy in the final on Sunday (local time).

La Roja's victory at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, added to their Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010 successes, makes them the first team in history to win three major international tournaments in a row.

David Silva opened the scoring after a quarter of an hour with a header, before a lung-busting run and finish from Jordi Alba put Spain two goals ahead by half-time.


Woods salutes at Congressional 2/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Tiger Woods surpassed Jack Nicklaus on the list for most PGA Tour career wins with victory at the AT&T National, while Australians Adam Scott and Jason Day both finished in the top 10 on Sunday.

Woods trailed overnight leader Brendan de Jonge by one stroke heading into the final day but carded a two-under-par 69 to win by two and become the first golfer to clinch a third PGA Tour title this season.

The American's success in Maryland was his 74th career title and sits second on the all-time standings; eight adrift of Sam Stead's 82 wins


England beat Australia again 2/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Impressive efforts with the bat from Ravi Bopara and Ian Bell helped England to a six-wicket win against Australia at The Oval on Sunday (local time).

Shane Watson (66) and George Bailey (65) were Australia's best contributors with the bat, but neither scored quickly, as the visitors finished with a below-par 7-251.

And in response, Bopara (82) and Bell (75) helped England to a comfortable win, achieved with 26 balls to spare


Mixed feelings for victorious Stoner 2/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


A sympathetic Casey Stoner was delighted to win the Dutch MotoGP at Assen as championship rival Jorge Lorenzo crashed out.

Stoner and team-mate Dani Pedrosa made it a Repsol Honda one-two at the Assen track as the Australian drew level on points in the standings with Lorenzo, who was unceremoniously dumped out of the race by Spain's Alvaro Bautista.

Lorenzo started the day 25 points clear of Stoner but his race ended abruptly when Bautista lost control of his Gresini Honda and slid into him



Cadel Evans said he was thankful for the support of his BMC team-mates during stage one of the Tour de France on Sunday (local time).

The defending champion survived a tough 198km first stage from the Belgian city of Liege to Seraing to finish 20th.

German team-mate Marcus Burghardt did his best to prevent a crash, using his front wheel to flick a stray bottle out of Evans' path


Roddick shrugs off retirement talk 2/07/2012 12:00:00 AM


Andy Roddick has again dismissed claims he will retire, following his third-round exit to David Ferrer at Wimbledon on Saturday.

The three-time Wimbledon runner-up was peppered with questions about his future at the post-match press conference but insisted he did not have a definitive answer.

The American returned a quick 'no' when quizzed on whether he would appear at Wimbledon again, aside from the upcoming London Olympics, instead keen to focus on his match with the seventh seed.


Slater out GI to fullback 29/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


Billy Slater's brave bid to play for Queensland in Wednesday night's State of Origin decider has failed.

And the Maroons have also sent Matt Bowen and Dave Taylor back to their clubs for their Round 17 matches this weekend.

That means Greg Inglis will switch to No.1 in place of Slater while Dane Nielsen will play in the centres alongside Justin Hodges and Ben Te'o will make his Origin debut in Taylor's place.


Italy into final 29/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


A brilliant two-goal performance from Mario Balotelli steered Italy into the Euro 2012 final on Thursday.

The Manchester City forward hit the headlines for all the right reasons, opening the scoring with a powerful header before smashing home an emphatic second to clinch a date with Spain at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday.

It was a deserved victory for Italy, who could have added further goals in the second half had they taken one of the numerous chances afforded to them by Germany's rushes forward to find a way back into the match.


Queensland lures Blues duo north 29/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


Top-order batsman Usman Khawaja and spinner Nathan Hauritz, both former international players, have signed with Queensland for the next two summers.

Khawaja, who has played six Tests for Australia - the last of them against New Zealand late last year, approached the Bulls about a move north as he strives to earn a recall to the international arena.

"The decision to join Queensland has been the toughest decision of my career, particularly because I had to leave my home, my mates, my family, and my clubs of Cricket NSW and Randwick-Petersham," Khawaja said.


Genia pumped to return 27/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


Reds half-back Will Genia says he is looking forward to getting back to Super Rugby, with Queensland needing to win their last three matches for a chance to defend their title.

Genia has had four 80-minute test efforts in the past three weeks, but is fighting fit and will take the Queensland captaincy with James Horwill (hamstring) gone for the season.

The Reds' Wallaby contingent of Genia, Scott Higginbotham, Digby Iaone, Rob Simmons, Mike Harris and Anthony Faingaa returned to their Ballymore base on Sunday ahead of Friday night's away trip to Melbourne Rebels.


Webber happy with F1 effort 27/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


Australia's Mark Webber was pleased with his fourth-placed effort at the European Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver started the day 19th on the grid, but worked his way through the field to narrowly miss out on a podium finish behind eventual race winner Fernando Alonso.

"Another crazy day. As we're finding out, it's very different to know what's going to happen on Sundays," Webber said


Blues brothers create history 26/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


They've already played together in a Test match, but twins Brett and Josh Morris say running out side by side for NSW in next Wednesday's Origin decider will be the proudest moment of their careers.

Brett's surprise selection on the right wing at Akuila Uate's expense will see the Morris brothers achieve a lifelong goal that was first born in the family backyard.

While Brett has played five Origins and Josh has worn state colours four times, the sons of former Test and Origin player Steve 'Slippery' Morris have never been selected in the same NSW side



Travelers Championship winner Marc Leishman says he did not expect his first PGA Tour victory to arrive two hours after finishing his final round.

Leishman, 28, began well down the standings at the TPC River Highlands, but a timely eight-under-par 62 saw him reach 14-under overall for the event in Cromwell, Connecticut.

American Charley Hoffman led the field approaching his final two holes, but a double-bogey at 17 and a bogey at 18 cost him three crucial shots.


Stosur survives Aussie carnage 26/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


Australian Sam Stosur made a rare promising start to her Wimbledon campaign with a comprehensive first-round win over Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro on Monday.

The fifth seed recovered from her first-round exit at last week's UNICEF Open with a straight-sets demolition to reach the second round at Wimbledon for only the fourth time in 10 attempts.

Stosur blasted her way to a 5-0 lead before smashing 19 winners past the hapless Spaniard in a 6-1 6-3 victory.


Federer eyes Sampras record 26/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


Roger Federer says he is 'dreaming' of a seventh Wimbledon crown and equalling the record of childhood hero Pete Sampras.

The Swiss world number three must break the run of the two men ranked above him - Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal - who have shared the last nine majors between them.

Federer, 30, last lifted the trophy at the All England Club in 2009, and is eyeing a 17th major title at this year's tournament.



Franz Beckenbauer believes Germany have the quality to beat any team at Euro 2012.

Joachim Loew's men impressed with a 4-2 victory over Greece in the quarter-finals, and have now won 15 competitive games in a row as they have set their sights on lifting the European Championship trophy.

"I can hardly see any weak links in the German team. When you've won all your competitive games since the semi-final at the 2010 World Cup, you don't have to fear any opponent," Beckenbauer said.


Ronaldo fires Portugal into semis 22/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


Cristiano Ronaldo's goal saw Portugal defeat the Czech Republic 1-0 and book their place in the semi-finals of Euro 2012.

A cagey contest at the National Stadium, Warsaw, produced few real chances, with Portugal dominating possession but struggling to break down a stubborn Czech side.

Ronaldo was the chief threat throughout, sending an early bicycle kick wide of goal, before striking the post in each half


Salman Butt released from gaol 22/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


Former Pakistan cricket captain Salman Butt has been released from prison seven months into a two-and-a-half year sentence for spot fixing.

Butt was convicted last year alongside fellow Pakistani cricketers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir and the trio were jailed in the United Kingdom.

Asif and Amir had already been released under the UK's early removal scheme, which allows for the early release of foreign nationals as long as they are deported.


Stosur suffers shock loss 19/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


Australian top seed Samantha Stosur has suffered a shock loss to world number 251 Kirsten Flipkens in the first round at the UNICEF Open.

Stosur, ranked fifth in the world, slumped to a 7-6 (9-7) 6-3 loss at the hands of Belgian qualifier Flipkens, one week before play gets underway at Wimbledon.

The match was Stosur's first on grass since her equally unexpected loss to Hungarian world number 262 Melinda Czink at the All England Club last year


Cricketer Matthew Maynard dies at 23 19/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


Surrey county cricketer Tom Maynard has died, aged 23, after he was hit by a train in London on Monday.

Maynard, the son of former England and Glamorgan cricketer Matthew Maynard, was widely regarded as a future England star.

British Transport Police confirmed a man was struck by a London underground train near Wimbledon Park station in an incident which is being treated as non-suspicious.


Inglis cleared of serious injury 19/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


An entire state can breathe a collective sigh of relief - Queensland superstar Greg Inglis will be right to play in next month's Origin decider at Suncorp Stadium.

Still reeling from the loss of full-back Billy Slater to a knee injury, the Maroons feared the worst when Inglis was forced from the field with an elbow complaint during Souths' win over Parramatta on Saturday night.

But scans on Monday cleared Inglis of serious damage.


Simpson wins US Open 18/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


American Webb Simpson burst out of the pack to become the surprise winner of the United States Open in misty San Francisco today.

The 26-year-old was joint eighth with a round to go, but after shooting a two-under-par 68 for a one-over total he had to wait to see if it was good enough.

Jim Furyk looked the biggest danger at that point, but it turned out to be Graeme McDowell.

Simpson, playing only his fifth major and trying to become the ninth successive first-time winner in them, had become joint leader when compatriot Furyk bogeyed the short 13th.

He then led in front on his own when Furyk snap-hooked his drive down the long 16th and ran up a bogey six.

McDowell, joint leader at the start of the day, was two behind at that point, but when the 2010 champion sank a 10-foot putt at the long 17th he and Furyk both needed to birdie the 335-yard last to tie.

Both found the semi-rough off the tee, but while McDowell hit his second shot to 20 feet Furyk buried his in the sand to the left.

When the 2003 winner sent his play-off attempt off the green and into another bunker it was all down to McDowell, but he sent it wide.

Simpson also became the 15th different winner in a row in the majors and the third successive American after Keegan Bradley - he was in his first major - and Bubba Watson


Germany and Portugal progress 18/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


Germany and Portugal are into the Euro 2012 quarter-finals after they defeated Denmark and Holland respectively in Sunday night's final Group B games.

Lars Bender spared Germany from a shock exit with the winner in a 2-1 victory over Denmark, who had been pushing hard for the goal that would have taken them through to the last eight at their opponents' expense.

The Bayer Leverkusen midfielder, playing as full-back for the national team, struck just after Morten Olsen's side had seen a strong penalty appeal turned down.

Lukas Podolski put Germany in front in the 19th minute, but a goal from Michael Krohn-Dehli five minutes later lifted Denmark's spirits.

Germany controlled much of the game, but were nevertheless made to sweat as Denmark's belief and Portugal's 2-1 win over Holland ensured a tense finale which ended in their favour, clinching them top spot in Group B with a perfect record and a clash with Greece in Gdansk on Friday.

Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Portugal's passage into the quarter-finals with two goals that ended Holland's dismal tournament.

Ronaldo was irresistible throughout as he led his side to a last-eight appointment with the Czech Republic in Warsaw on Thursday.

The 27-year-old responded to criticism of his form with a mesmerising display topped by a goal in each half to ensure Portugal finished the 'group of death' as runners-up


Lorenzo pips Stoner in Britain 18/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo has surged ahead in the MotoGP championship standings with a dominant victory at the British Grand Prix on Sunday.

Lorenzo won his third consecutive race ahead of Repsol Honda duo Casey Stoner of Australia and Spain's Dani Pedrosa in a tight battle at Silverstone.

The win was the Yamaha Factory Racing rider's 42nd in MotoGP - equalling Stoner's record in the premier class - and increased his championship lead to 25 points.


Nalbandian loses it at Queens 18/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


David Nalbandian has been sensationally disqualified from the AEGON Championships final, after kicking out at a linesperson.

Argentine Nalbandian was reacting after losing a point to default winner Marin Cilic during the second set of their title decider at Queen's Club, when he kicked an advertising board that surrounded linesperson Andrew McDougall's feet.

However, in his action, Nalbandian followed through with his foot on McDougall's leg, drawing blood from the official, and causing the tournament officials to disqualify him.


Time still on Tigers side 13/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


Tiger Woods is confident he can still catch Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 majors ahead of this week's US Open.

The American is just four major wins back of his compatriot in the all-time list, but his last success came in the US Open at Torrey Pines four years ago.

At least Woods does go into this year's event in good form - he claimed the 73rd PGA Tour victory of his career at the Memorial two weeks ago.

He also insists that age is no barrier these days in the sport of golf, as Tom Watson nearly proved at the tender age of 59 in the Open at Carnoustie in 2009.

"Well, Jack did it at 46, right? So I've got 10 (years)," the 36-year-old said.

"Watson almost pulled it off at 59. It can be done.

"We can play for a very long time. That's the great thing about staying in shape and lifting weights and being fit - the playing careers have been extended


Manny Pacquiao beaten by Bradley 13/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


Boxing found itself mired in controversy again on Sunday following fierce criticism of the decision to award Timothy Bradley a controversial split decision victory over hot favourite Manny Pacquiao at Las Vegas' MGM Grand.

The Filipino fighter appeared to have done more than enough to take the decision, despite slowing down in the later stages, but was left stunned by the decision which cost him as his WBO welterweight belt.

Two judges scored the bout 115-113 to the unbeaten Bradley and one handed the win to Pacquiao by the same score, the crowd reacting angrily and jeering when the verdict was returned.

Defeat must now place the long-delayed but much-debated super-fight between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr in serious doubt


Cuban Olympic champion passes away 13/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


Cuba's three-time Olympic heavyweight champion Teofilo Stevenson has died at the age of 60, according to reports.

Stevenson, considered one of the greatest ever fighters never to turn professional, won gold at Munich 1972, Montreal 1976 and Moscow 1980.

A hotly-anticipated bout against Muhammad Ali was touted in the 70s but he refused to relinquish his amateur status and the fight never took place.

A statement carried by Latin American news station TeleSUR read: "The Cuban boxer Teofilo Stevenson, one of the leading boxers in the history of amateur boxing, died Monday at the age 60 of a heart attack. The outstanding athlete won the Olympic gold medal three times."


Family first for Hussey 13/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


Australia batsman Mike Hussey has pulled out of the upcoming tour of the British Isles due to family reasons.

Hussey's wife Amy gave birth to the couple's fourth child three months premature, forcing the Western Australian to withdraw from the tour starting later this month.

He will be replaced by Peter Forrest.


Djokovic remains on top despite loss 13/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


Novak Djokovic strengthened his lead atop the ATP World Tour rankings, while Maria Sharapova is the number one woman for the fifth time.

Djokovic lost the French Open final to Rafael Nadal on Monday but still moved further ahead of the Spaniard.

Nadal's French Open victory only protected the ranking points he already held, having also won the Grand Slam last year, while Djokovic went one better, improving on his semi-final exit in 2011.


England open with a draw 12/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


England made a solid start to their Euro 2012 campaign with a 1-1 draw against much-fancied France.

Joleon Lescott came up from the back to nod Roy Hodgson's men into a first-half lead from a Steven Gerrard free-kick but Samir Nasri levelled nine minutes later. Both sides appeared relatively content with a point as the game slowed in the second half in sweltering heat.

England went agonisingly close after 15 minutes when James Milner latched onto Ashley Young's pass and rounded Hugo Lloris, but he then slipped slightly as he shot and could only steer the ball wide of the unguarded net.


Seventh heaven for Rafael Nadal 12/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic in four sets to win a record seventh French Open title.

Nadal's 6-4 6-3 2-6 7-5 victory saw him eclipse Bjorn Borg's six titles at Roland Garros and prevented Djokovic becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four grand Slam titles at the same time.

A double fault from the Serb was an awful way for a classic encounter to be settled, but Nadal had been the better man since the players returned to the court on Monday following the previous day's rain delay.


Katich ends first class career 12/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


 

Former Australia batsman Simon Katich has announced he has quit playing first-class cricket in his homeland.

The 36-year-old is currently plying his trade in England at Hampshire but had been playing in the Sheffield Shield with New South Wales.

Katich, whose international career ended in some acrimony in 2011 when the selectors opted not to renew his central contract despite his impressive form, has not indicated whether he will continue playing first-class cricket in England at the end of his current deal.

Katich, who has scored 7,077 runs in 247 first-class matches, also has a Big Bash contract with Perth Scorchers and may also continue in the shorter format.


Surgery not needed for Didak 12/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


Collingwood forward Alan Didak has suffered a complete tear of his adductor muscle, but will not need surgery to fix the problem.

Didak was injured in the opening minutes of Monday's win over Melbourne and was immediately substituted from the field.

While scans on Tuesday confirmed a complete tear, Collingwood's director of football Geoff Walsh said that will help the 29-year-old's recover quicker than he did earlier in the season when he suffered a similar injury


Croatia sink Republic of Ireland 11/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


The Republic of Ireland suffered a losing start to their Euro 2012 Group C campaign as Giovanni Trapattoni's 14-game unbeaten run ended with a 3-1 defeat against Croatia in Poznan on Sunday night.

Williams heads to Bulldogs 4/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


Manly star Tony Williams has become the first Sea Eagles player to join former coach Des Hasler at Canterbury after signing with the Bulldogs on Monday.

The Test and Origin representative has signed a four-year deal at Belmore which will tie him to the club until the end of 2016.

The 2-year-old had been agonising over his decision for months and it's understood only settled on the switch on Sunday night and said it was a very difficult decision.


Vintage Tiger wins the Memorial 4/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


Tiger Woods produced some of the old magic to match Jac Nicklaus' career tally of 7 PGA Tour wins with his fifth victory at the Memorial Tournament.

The final-day surge up the field, the red shirt, the steely-eyed determination to finish the job - and a defining shot, and celebration, as he holed out from off the 16th green for birdie.

Flopping the ball out of a difficult lie onto the near edge of the putting surface, Woods watched the ball roll dead weight into the right edge of the hole.

His fist-pumping roar of delight rolled back the years, and was soon followed by a calm raise of the club after a birdie putt on 18 which he knew had taken him out of reach of the chasing Rory Sabbatini, who finished two shots back.


Lorenzo extends lead with victory 4/06/2012 12:00:00 AM


Spain's orge orenzo delighted his home fans as he extended his lead in the MotoGP World Championship standings with a battling victory in the Catalunya Grand Prix.

The Yamaha rider started from second place behind title rival Casey Stoner but was pushed hardest for the victory by the Australian's Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa, who profited from a dream getaway at the start to take a well-earned second place.

With Stoner finishing fourth, Lorenzo extended his lead in the riders' standings to 20 points heading into the British round at Silverstone in a fortnight.


Norman axed as International captain 31/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


Greg Norman has been dropped as captain of The Presidents Cup International Team in favour of three-time major winner Nick Price.

Norman oversaw the International Team's unsuccessful campaigns in San Francisco (2009) and Melbourne (2011) respectively and Price will now oppose American captain Fred Couples in Ohio next year.

Couples will be looking to become the first captain to win The Presidents Cup on three occasions when he leads the USA in 2013.


Purtell has heart surgery 31/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


Bradford Bulls have confirmed that former Penrith Panthers centre Adrian Purtell had heart surgery after the club's latest match.

Purtell, who joined the English Super League club from the Panthers last year, told Bradford's staff he felt unwell while travelling back after a 37-22 defeat away to Leeds.

The Bulls' team bus made a detour to a Leeds hospital and the 27-year-old Australian was admitted immediately for surgery


Stosur untroubled 31/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


Samantha Stosur cruised into the third round of the French Open with a straight-sets win against American Irina Falconi on Wednesday.

Stosur – seeded sixth at the event – was on court for just 63 minutes as she notched a 6-1 6-4 victory against the American.

The Australian raced through the first set in just 25 minutes as she converted both her break point opportunities


England coast to victory 29/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


 

England coasted to a series-clinching nine-wicket win in the second Investec Test against the West Indies, wrapping up victory on the fourth evening at Trent Bridge.

Chasing 108 to win, captain Andrew Strauss (45) and Alastair Cook (43 not out) sealed a result - and an unassailable 2-0 lead with one game to play - that was all-but assured by the bowlers on the third evening.

Marlon Samuels, following on from his first-innings century, at least succeeded in frustrating England with 76 not out in his side's 165 all out - a significant improvement on their overnight position of 61 for six.

The day summed up the West Indies' exploits in this game and the tour as whole: a period of defiance against the odds followed by England asserting their dominance at the decisive moments.

Tim Bresnan and James Anderson both finished with four wickets in the second innings, while Strauss took his series tally to 309 runs in four knocks.


Webber becomes sixth winner of 2012 28/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


Mark Webber was crowned Formula One's king of Monaco for a second time in three seasons as a planned protest against Red Bull after the race failed to materialise.

The suggestion beforehand was the team's cars were running with an illegal floor, and that one of their big three rivals in McLaren, Ferrari or Mercedes would lodge a protest with the FIA.

When Mark Webber won the race by 0.643secs from Nico Rosberg in his Mercedes, the feeling at the time was that had increased the possibility of one of the teams taking a stand.

The clock, however, ticked past any deadline and the race result was allowed to stand, giving Webber the eighth win of his career and second around the streets of the principality.

Bar a handful of laps just beyond one-third distance of the 78 overall, the Australian led from pole to flag, that after failing to lead on any lap of the previous five races this season.

No wonder Webber declared himself to "feeling incredible" after his victory, Red Bull's third in succession in Monaco.


Victorious Donald back on top 28/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


Luke Donald turned on the style again at Wentworth to retain the BMW PGA Championship and grab the world number one spot back from Rory McIlroy.

Donald's sixth victory in the last 15 months makes him only the third player - Sir Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie are the others - to win the European Tour's flagship event two years in a row.

After being caught by Justin Rose four holes into the final round, the 34-year-old put his foot on the accelerator to go clear once more.

Once he had gone three clear with a 25-foot putt at the short 10th, Donald, the most reliable player in the game right now with the possible exception of America's man of the moment Jason Dufner, never looked like losing.

Playing with supreme confidence, he ended up taking the first prize of almost £600,000 by four strokes from Rose and former Open champion Paul Lawrie with an accomplished closing 68 and 15-under-par total of 273.

Only a top-eight finish had been required for him to move to number one for the fourth time once McIlroy had missed the cut - by a shocking eight shots - on Friday.


Queensland draw first blood 24/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


Queensland drew first blood in the 2012 State of Origin series with a hard-fought 18-10 victory over New South Wales in Melbourne.

A controversial try from centre Greg Inglis with seven minutes to go settled a bruising battle in favour of the Maroons, who are chasing a seventh consecutive series triumph.


Warriors release Inu to join Bulldogs 24/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


The Warriors have granted outside back Krisnan Inu a release to join rival NRL club Canterbury on a three and a half year deal.

Inu, who has struggled to hold down a first grade spot with the Warriors since his move from Parramatta at the end of 2010, has signed with the Bulldogs until the end of the 2015 season.

Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah says the Bulldogs sought an immediate release because of an injury crisis among their wingers.

While the 25-year-old Inu was contracted until the end of 2013, the Warriors wouldn't stand in his way and had agreed to let him go now, Scurrah said on Thursday.

Despite playing in two of the past three grand finals - with Parramatta in 2009 and the Warriors last season - the talented New Zealand international has struggled in the top grade.

He has spent much of this season playing with the Warriors' feeder club the Auckland Vulcans.

Bulldogs coach Des Hasler welcomed the Inu signing.

'The Bulldogs are excited to have a player of Krisnan Inu's pedigree at the club,' Hasler said.

'Krisnan is an international player and his arrival comes off the back of an horrific run of injuries in our outside backs.

'We certainly think Krisnan's arrival will help fill that void.'


Cook and Bell seal England win 22/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


Alastair Cook and Ian Bell restored order in a century stand which guided England to a five-wicket win over West Indies in the first Investec Test.

The threat of Kemar Roach (three for 60) continued to sow doubts about the superiority of the world number one team on the final morning at Lord's.

But, after England had stumbled to 57 for four - in pursuit of 191 to go 1-0 up with two to play - Cook did not panic as he took England to the brink of victory before falling for 79.

Back-to-form Bell (63 not out) completed his second half-century of the match to help seal the outcome by mid-afternoon after Cook cut Darren Sammy straight to gully to go with only two more runs needed. Roach landed an early blow with the wicket of Jonathan Trott, and Shannon Gabriel also soon eliminated Kevin Pietersen



t's his swansong series, but Petero Civoniceva humbly accepts that Wednesday's opening State of Origin match could be his last appearance.

No other forward has played as many Tests or State of Origin matches as the Fijian-born Queensland giant.

But at age 36 and in his last season, Civoniceva knows the axe may well fall on his illustrious Origin career if the smaller, more mobile NSW pack get the upper hand and the Blues pull off an upset at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium to grab a 1-0 series lead.

"You live by the sword and I've put myself on the line again to go (around) one more time," said Civoniceva on Thursday as he prepared for his 31st Origin match.

"I guess it's in the back of my mind that you run the risk, but for me all I know is that I want to make sure I perform as strongly as possible.

"I've always felt fortunate to be a part of these teams but you know how quickly you can see your demise on the back of one bad performance."

Civoniceva is no different to any player - he fears being axed


Aussie boxer banned for doping 17/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


Australian flyweight boxing champion Bianca Elmir's Olympic dream is in tatters after she tested positive for a banned diuretic.

Elmir had been due to leave with the Australian team to compete at the women's world championships in China beginning on May 21 to fight for a place at London, but she has been replaced in the team by Kristy Harris and faces a two-year ban from the sport.

Reports say Elmir submitted the positive sample while fighting at the Australian national titles in February, where she claimed her third successive 51kg crown


Federer back at number two 17/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


Roger Federer is back up to number two in the world tennis rankings for the first time in over a year after winning the Mutua Madrid Open.

Federer came from a set down to beat Tomas Berdych in Sunday's final and that result put the 30-year-old above Rafael Nadal into second spot on the ATP rankings.

The Swiss tennis star has been below second since March 2011 and will return to world number one if he wins this month's French Open


LeBron falters as Pacers level series 17/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


Miami Heat star LeBron James missed two free throws late in his side's 78-75 loss to the Indiana Pacers in the NBA play-offs on Tuesday.

The Pacers drew level in their Eastern Conference semi-final series by winning game two at Miami's AmericanAirlines Arena, squaring the series at 1-1 after James missed two free throws in the final minute.

James missed from the stripe with the Pacers up 76-75, before free throws from George Hill (15 points) and Roy Hibbert (eight points) sealed the thrilling win for Indiana


Kuchar climbs to fifth 15/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


American Matt Kuchar has moved up 11 places to fifth in the world thanks to his victory at the Players Championship.

Kuchar's win at Sawgrass means there are now six Americans in the top 10 and four Europeans.

However, Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy keeps hold of top spot despite missing the cut.

The English pair of Luke Donald and Lee Westwood both failed to finish high enough to usurp McIlroy from the summit. They remain second and third respectively.

Scot Martin Laird, part of a four-way tie for second at Sawgrass, improves eight spots to 31st.



Sir Alex Ferguson congratulated Manchester City on snatching the Barclays Premier League title in a dramatic conclusion to the season - but warned them it would take a century to match Manchester United's record.

For a fleeting moment Ferguson and his players thought they had pipped their arch-rivals when the final whistle at the Stadium of Light confirmed a 1-0 victory over Sunderland.

However, City, who just minutes earlier had been trailing 2-1 at home to 10-man QPR, won it at the death when Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero scored in stoppage time to claim a first title in 44 years on goal difference.

Ferguson said: "We congratulate Manchester City. Anyone who wins the league deserves to win it because it's a very, very difficult league to win.

"We know that because, as we've experienced today, we've lost on goal difference.

"They [City] can go on as much as they like. That's what you would expect, but the history of our club stands us aside.

"We don't need to worry about that. I think we have a rich history, better than anyone, and it will take them a century to get to our level of history.

"But for us it's still a challenge and we're good at challenges. We'll kick on from here."


Kuchar savours Sawgrass success 14/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


American Matt Kuchar continued a remarkable sequence by winning the Players Championship, golf's richest event, by two strokes at Sawgrass last night.

The sport has come full circle since the days Tiger Woods dominated things - this was the 20th strokeplay tournament on the PGA Tour this season and the 33-year-old became the 20th different winner.

Scot Martin Laird was hoping he would be the one to join the list, but after a bogey at the last he ended up in a four-way tie for second with Americans Rickie Fowler, Ben Curtis and Zach Johnson.

Luke Donald, meanwhile, came sixth after a dazzling finish that was not quite enough to reclaim the world number one spot from Rory McIlroy.

Kuchar leapt from 16th to fifth on the rankings after claiming the first prize of just over £1million with a closing 70 and 13-under-par total


Federer rises after Madrid win 14/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


Roger Federer will move up to second in the world rankings, ahead of Rafael Nadal, after recovering from a shaky start to beat Tomas Berdych in three sets at the Madrid Open final on Sunday.

Federer struggled to settle on the controversial blue clay, but eventually edged out his Czech opponent 3-6 7-5 7-5 in a contest which lasted two hours and 38 minutes.

It was Federer's fourth title of 2012 and stands him in good stead for the French Open, which gets under way on May 27.

Berdych, seeded sixth in the Spanish capital, broke his opponent early to help open up a 4-1 lead, with that single break proving enough to seal the first set.

Federer hit back with a break at the start of the second and, although Berdych levelled things up again, the Swiss star broke again in game 12 to take the match into a final set.

The decider was on an even footing until Berdych found himself facing match points on his serve in the 12th game.

And although the Czech successfully saved three of them, his forehand into the net on the fourth handed the title to Federer.


Maldonado reigns in Spain 14/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


Pastor Maldonado ended Williams' long wait for a Formula One victory by taking a historic chequered flag in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Within a month of founder Sir Frank Williams' 70th birthday, this was the team's first win since the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix, 132 races ago.

Starting the weekend as a 300-1 outsider, Maldonado became the first Venezuelan to savour the winner's champagne, finishing just 3.1 seconds ahead of home favourite Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari.

And for only the second time in F1 - the other occasion in 1983 - there have been five different winners and fiver different constructors winning the first five grands prix.


Falcao inspires Atletico to glory 10/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


Atletico Madrid proved far too good for Athletic Bilbao in the Europea League final as they eased to a 3-0 win in Bucharest.

Colombia star Radamel Falcao was in top form and he curled home a wonderful opening goal within the opening eight-minutes.

He then doubled their lead just after the half-hour and Atletico were well on their way to reclaiming the trophy they last won in 2010.

Bilbao pushed to get back into the game in the second-half, but to no avail as Atletico wrapped up an impressive victory with Diego firing home in the final minutes


Australia welcome back Johnson 10/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


The forgotten man of Australian cricket, Mitchell Johnson, has been named in the 15-man squad for the England tour starting in June.

Johnson, 30, has not appeared at international level since the tour of South Africa last year, on which he sustained a foot injury.

The Western Australian left-armer played 22 one-day internationals in 2011 for a total of 39 wickets, and he has been recovering back in his home state, but is yet to appear competitively since picking up the problem.


Passing of Northerly 10/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


: The Western Australian racing industry is mourning following the overnight passing of arguably its greatest ever racehorse Northerly.

Northerly
Northerly


Bred at Oakland Pak Stud in Busselton by Neville and Sue Duncan, Northerly's fighting qualities captured the imagination of the Australian racing public from 2000 to 2003 where he was virtually unbeatable, defeating the best Australian racing had to offer.

Trained by Fred Kersley, Northerly won nine Group One races from 37 career starts and earned $9,341,850 in prize money.


Record-breaking forward Petero Civoniceva has announced he'll retire from rugby league at the end of the season.

"The time is right," said 36-year-old Brisbane prop Civoniceva on Tuesday.

"It's a hard decision to make. We would all like to continue forever."

Civoniceva has played 45 Tests for Australia and 30 State of Origin games for Queensland - both records for a forward.

He has also played 297 NRL games, including 225 for Brisbane, since he debuted for the Broncos in round 7, 1998.

Civoniceva is still keen to play in one last State of Origin series this year as Queensland pursues a seventh straight series win.


Mayweather holds off Cotto 8/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


Floyd Mayweather Jr added the WBA Super World light-middleweight title to his supreme career roster with a battling unanimous points victory over Miguel Cotto in Las Vegas.

Mayweather, fighting at the 154lbs limit for the first time since defeating Oscar De La Hoya to win the WBC belt exactly five years ago, won favour by margins of 118-110 and 117-111 (twice) on the judges' scorecards to preserve his unblemished 43-fight record.

Defending champion Cotto, unbeaten in his previous three bouts at light-middleweight, enjoyed moments of success with brutal spells of inside pressure, but slips to 37 wins and three defeats as a a professional.

Attentions will once again turn towards the prospect pairing Mayweather with pound-for-pound rival Manny Pacquiao, but the 35-year-old American must first serve a three-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to a domestic violence charge.



CHAMPION sprinter Black Caviar is primed to celebrate her 21st consecutive win on Saturday.

Trainer Peter Moody gave the mare a casual hit-out at Caulfield this morning over 600m before sending her to the Mordialloc beach for a swim.

"She worked lovely, quickening the last 400m and always travelling within herself," he said.

"She has ticked all the boxes and she's off to Adelaide."

Black Caviar, who took the title for the most number of consecutive victories with her 20th success in the Sportingbet Classic at Morphettville two weeks ago, is rated a $1.03 chance to win the Group 1 Goodwood Hcp at the same track on Saturday.


Jennings trouble for NSW 8/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


Another day, another drama for NSW Origin coach Ricky Stuart after he learned centre Michael Jennings had been dropped to the NSW Cup by fed-up Penrith coach Ivan Cleary.

Jennings will turn out for Windsor Wolves against Auckland Vulcans on Saturday instead of playing for the NRL side against St George Illawarra at Centrebet Stadium on Monday night.

Jennings had been considered a near certain selection in the Blues' side to meet Queensland on May 23, but his recent dip in form - and an apparent attitude problem - has placed his spot in jeopardy.


Mickelson inducted into Hall of Fame 8/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


Four-time Major winner Phil Mickelson was one of five people inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on Monday.

Mickelson, 41, has won three Masters titles at Augusta as well as a US PGA title.

He was inducted alongside Scot Sandy Lyle, English player and commentator Peter Alliss, American sportswriter Dan Jenkins and three-time US Women's Open winner Hollis Stacy



Manchester City have one hand on the Premier League trophy after Yaya Toure's double fired them to a 2-0 success at Newcastle.

Having climbed to the top of the table with Monday's derby victory over Manchester United, Roberto Mancini's men remain top on goal difference after the Red Devils defeated Swansea 2-0 later on Sunday.

That means City lead by eight goals at the summit ahead of the final day of the season.

City now know that they will celebrate their first top-flight crown since 1968 if they can overcome relegation-threatened Queens Park Rangers, and former manager Mark Hughes, at the Etihad Stadium next weekend.


Redknapp plays down England snub 3/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has insisted he is not overly disappointed about his unexpected snub for the England manager's position.

Redknapp was made the clear favourite for the post after Fabio Capello quit in February but the Football Association this week appointed West Brom boss Roy Hodgson.

Despite being a popular choice for the job among the fans, Redknapp was not even interviewed or approached about the job but he said it did not concern him.

Redknapp, speaking after Spurs' 4-1 Premier League win at Bolton, said: "I didn't wake up on Monday morning and think, 'What has happened to my life, I'm not the England manager'.

"It has happened. That is how I am. If it would have happened... it saved me making a decision in all honesty. I am very happy at Tottenham.

"I wish Roy Hodgson all the very best, I really do. I am fed up with hearing my name mentioned. I am history with that job.


Pakistans Asif to be released 3/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


Former Pakistan paceman Mohammad Asif will be released from a British prison early on Thursday after completing half of his one-year sentence for spot-fixing, his lawyer said.

The 29-year-old was jailed by a court in London in November last year after he was found guilty of conspiring to cheat and conspiring to accept corrupt payments over deliberate no-balls bowled during the Lord's Test against England in August 2010.

"Asif's release is a matter of few hours and I look forward to meeting him and helping him in his legal fight to restore what was an otherwise brilliant reputation he once had," the player's lawyer Ravi Sukul told Pakistan's Geo television in London.

Asif's friend and coach Mohammad Haroon had previously said the fast bowler would be released on Saturday May 5.

Sukul said Asif could stay in England while he explored the possibility of launching an appeal against his conviction.

"I have a strong belief that if certain procedures had been applied in Asif's benefit at his trial, they could have persuaded the jury to come to a different conclusion," said Sukul.

Besides Asif, Salman Butt, Pakistan's Test captain in 2010, and Mohammad Aamer were also jailed on the same charges. Aamer was released in February after three months in jail. Butt is serving a term of 30 months

Souths sign Teo 3/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


South Sydney are delighted to announce the signing of Ben Te'o for seasons 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Te'o, 25, has played 96 NRL matches since making his debut for the Wests Tigers in 2007, playing two seasons in Sydney before shifting to Brisbane for four seasons with the Broncos.

Te'o, who weighs in at 106kg and stands 189cm tall, represented Samoa at the 2008 World Cup and has been a key member of the Broncos' forward pack in their strong start to the 2012 season. He was also 18th man for the Queensland Origin side in 2011.

Rabbitohs Head Coach Michael Maguire says he's happy to be bringing an experienced and successful forward into the squad in 2013.

"I've met with Ben and he's a highly motivated young man who wants to achieve great heights in Rugby League," Coach Maguire said.

"He's prepared to work hard to achieve his and the team's goals, in terms of premiership success and playing representative football, and it's this drive and work ethic that led us to approaching him about joining the Rabbitohs for the next three years and beyond.

"He will add experience and power to our pack in attack and defence and we're looking forward to welcoming him to South Sydney next year."


With the training camp for his June 2nd clash against unbeaten Lateef Kayode heating up, former light heavyweight champion and current IBO cruiserweight champion/TV boxing analyst Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver took time out from his busy schedule to check in with his thoughts on another high-profile matchup – the May 5th meeting between Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto.

“I think that Mayweather’s coming in with all the natural God-given ability and talent, and Cotto comes in with the physical game,” said Tarver. “But we’ve seen Cotto beat, and beaten bad on two occasions. He was outclassed against (Manny) Pacquiao, and he took a beating against (Antonio) Margarito. We haven’t seen that with Floyd Mayweather yet. I think he (Mayweather) is at the top of the game right now, and he’s gonna have more options to do the things that he does in the ring.”

Yet despite the odds, Tarver doesn’t count the 154-pound world champion from Puerto Rico out against the unbeaten “Money” Mayweather, even though he believes Cotto will have to throw the boxing equivalent of a perfect game in Las Vegas.


Lionel Messi breaks scoring record 3/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick to break the record for most goals scored in a European season as Barcelona claimed a convincing 4-1 win over Malaga.

Carles Puyol fired Pep Guardiola's side in front at the Nou Camp, only for that lead to be cancelled out by Jose Salomon Rondon.

But Messi scored twice from the penalty spot before wrapping up his treble with a low drive to take his tally to 68 goals for the campaign, passing the previous mark of 67 set by Gerd Muller in 1972/73.

The night didn't end well for Barca as Real Madrid won 3-0 at Athletic Bilbao to secure the Primera Division title


City win battle of Manchester 1/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


Vincent Kompany's header was enough for Manchester City to win a tense derby battle with Manchester United 1-0 in the Barclays Premier League at the Etihad Stadium on Monday night.

The inspirational skipper gave Roberto Mancini's team a deserved lead right on the stroke of half-time when he powered home a header from a David Silva corner.

And City protected their lead well in the second period, limiting United to very few openings with Joe Hart untroubled by Wayne Rooney and company.

It all means City leapfrog their neighbours at the top of the table on goal difference, for which they are eight goals better off, with the two teams tied on 83 points.

Manchester United's last two games are home to Swansea and away at Sunderland, with Manchester City away at Newcastle and at home to QPR.


McILroy expects tough Open 1/05/2012 12:00:00 AM


Rory McIlroy is expecting a far stiffer test when he defends the US Open in six weeks' time - but not because he knocked four shots off the championship record last year.

The weather is likely to dictate that the Olympic Club in San Francisco will be fast and fiery for the second major of the season.

McIlroy was 16 under par and eight clear of the rest at Congressional near Washington, and said: "The thing that made the scoring low was the fact they got so much rain before.

"Last year was a bit of an exception. I'm expecting something around level par isn't going to be too far away."

That was the score with which Lee Janzen won the title the last time Olympic staged the event in 1998 - and Jack Fleck and Ben Hogan tied on seven over par back in 1955.


Australia wraps up series win 28/04/2012 12:00:00 AM


 

Captain Michael Clarke took five wickets as Australia wrapped up a 2-0 series win over the West Indies in the third and final Test at Roseau.

The left-arm spinner's second five-wicket haul in Test cricket saw the hosts dismissed for 294 shortly before lunch on the final day, meaning Australia won by 75 runs.

Clarke's captaincy counterpart Darren Sammy counter-attacked in vain with a quickfire Test-best 61 but received little support as the lower order subsided to the spin of Clarke (five for 86) and Nathan Lyon (three for 87).

Slow bowlers had been to the fore throughout, with Dominican Shane Shillingford taking 10 Australian wickets on his home island and Narsingh Deonarine adding three, Lyon scooping seven for the tourists and David Warner removing Darren Bravo in the first innings.


Chanderpaul reaches milestone 27/04/2012 12:00:00 AM


 

Shivnarine Chanderpaul became just the 10th player to score 10,000 Test runs, but his departure in the final over of the day saw the initiative swing firmly back to Australia on the fourth day of the third and final Test against West Indies in Dominica.

Chanderpaul reached the milestone with a single off Michael Clarke in his 140th Test as the 37-year-old became only the second West Indian player to pass the landmark, following Brian Lara who ended his career with 11,953.

However, it was the Australia captain who removed the West Indian with the first ball of the last over to leave the tourists firmly in control


Mayweather wants to stay perfect 27/04/2012 12:00:00 AM


Floyd Mayweather Jr insists he has the ultimate respect for May 5 opponent Miguel Cotto - but is supremely confident he will extend his record to 43-0 as a pro when they clash in Las Vegas.

The 35-year-old has been granted the fight before starting a 90-day jail term on June 1 for domestic abuse and he is determined that he will maintain his perfect record.

But 31-year-old Cotto (39-2 30KOs), at 154 pounds and clearly a bigger fighter than Mayweather has taken on since Oscar De La Hoya exactly five years ago on May 5, is considered a dangerous opponent.


Bayern Munich set up Chelsea final 26/04/2012 12:00:00 AM


Bayern Munich will meet Chelsea in the Champions League final next month after beating Real Madrid 3-1 on penalties.

Bastian Schweinsteiger scored the decisive spot-kick after Manuel Neuer had made two stunning saves to deny Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka.


Rangers given transfer embargo 24/04/2012 12:00:00 AM


Rangers have been hit with a 12-month embargo on signing players and owner Craig Whyte has been banned for life following a Scottish Football Association hearing into the club's financial affairs.

Administration-hit Rangers have also been fined a total of £160,000 while Whyte, who had already been deemed unfit to hold an official position in the game by the SFA, was handed fines totalling £200,000.

The SFA said their judicial panel would issue reasons for their findings in "early course" while both parties have three days to appeal following receipt of those reasons.

Whyte was defiant when asked for his reaction to the punishment on him and Rangers.

He told Press Association Sport: "Tell me how it is going to affect me? I couldn't care less. It makes no difference to my life whatsoever - and good luck collecting the money.


Black Caviar ready for historic race 24/04/2012 12:00:00 AM


LEADING trainer Peter Moody gave champion mare Black Caviar her final hit-out at Caulfield this morning before her trip to Adelaide for her bid to set the Australasian record for the most number of consecutive wins.

Black Caviar worked comfortably over 800m in 50.96s, running home the last 600m in 36.94 on the course proper.

"That just tops her off nicely. She's ready to race now," Moody said.

The champ will overtake Desert Gold and Gloaming with her 20th consecutive win if she is successful in the Group 1 Sportingbet Stakes over 1200m at Morphettville on Saturday.

She is unique as, unlike the other pair, she has not tasted defeat in her career.


Button baffled by Mclaren form 24/04/2012 12:00:00 AM


Jenson Button has been left baffled by McLaren's sudden loss of form that left the team looking like also-rans rather than title contenders in Bahrain.

Throughout the race Button and team-mate Lewis Hamilton appeared to be going backwards at times such was the performance - or lack of it - of their cars at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Hamilton was forced to settle for eighth, with two bungled pit stops also contributing to him being knocked off the top of the drivers' standings by race winner Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull.

Button could potentially have finished fifth, however, a cracked exhaust and late puncture resulted in his retirement a lap from the finish.

Despite the issues, McLaren were found wanting in comparison to Red Bull and Lotus, who had two cars on the podium for the first time since the 1979 Spanish Grand Prix, with Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean second and third respectively.


Nadal beats Djokovic in Monte Carlo 24/04/2012 12:00:00 AM


Rafael Nadal won the Monte Carlo Masters title for an eighth consecutive year with a comprehensive 6-3 6-1 victory over Novak Djokovic.

Nadal had lost his previous seven finals against the world number one, but was in control from the outset here, laying down an ominous marker for the defence of his French Open title.

The 25-year-old did not drop a set all week in Monte Carlo, where he is now unbeaten in 42 matches, to become the first player to win 20 Masters titles.

It was also Nadal's first tournament win since his record-equalling sixth French Open title triumph last year.

In contrast, Djokovic was bidding to win his third title of the season having won the Australian Open and beaten Andy Murray in the final of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.


Village Kid dies 24/04/2012 12:00:00 AM


Thirty one year old champion pacer Village Kid died this morning on the property of his part-owner and trainer Bill Horn.
Village Kid had lived at the property for the past 27 years.
Village Kid retired as the richest standardbred in Australasia and the twelfth richest pacer in the world.
Village Kid was the fastest horse in Australia in 1986, 1988 and 1989 and when he time-trialled in 1:55.1 as a 13yo he not only bettered the World Record for a horse of his age he also became the first horse in Western Australia to run four successive sub 30 second quarters over a mile.
Village Kid remains the only horse to win all three heats of an Inter Dominion Series twice and one of only three Western Australian horses to go through the heats of an Inter Dominion undefeated.
Village Kid retired as the world’s richest pacing gelding with a career record of 160 starts for 93 wins, 24 seconds and 12 thirds for stakes of $2,117,870.He was also the richest Standardbred in Australasia and the twelfth richest pacer in the world when he finished racing.
His winning percentage across 160 starts of 58.1% betters all other horses with more than 100 career starts including other champions such as Pure Steel 52.8%, Gammalite 52.5% and Hondo Grattan 50.0%.
Village Kid’s story is more than a remarkable statistical achievement. It is the story of a truly amazing equine athlete. He was possessed of an incredible will to race against and to beat the very best. He flew in the face of all the evidence that suggested that his career ought to have ended five or six years earlier than it eventually did

Rain reigns in Port of Spain 20/04/2012 12:00:00 AM


Rain put an early stop to the West Indies' chase of of 215 as the second Test against Australia at Port of Spain ended as a draw.

Australia captain Michael Clarke declared his side's second innings at 160 for eight early on the final afternoon, Kemar Roach completing his second five-wicket haul of the match for combined figures of 10 for 146.

The conditions left the Windies uncertain of the time remaining to chase the target but captain Darren Sammy left nobody in any doubt as to their intentions when he came out at number three and smashed a rapid 30 not out, leading them to 53 for two before bad light and rain ended play shortly before the scheduled tea interval.


Kangaroos wary of duo 20/04/2012 12:00:00 AM


Australia coach Tim Sheens has singled out New Zealand halves Shaun Johnson and Benji Marshall as the men to watch when the sides clash on Friday.

The Kangaroos have won the past three matches between the two countries, but Sheens predicts a tough encounter at Auckland's Eden Park.

The Anzac Test will mark the first time the Warriors' Johnson and Wests Tigers' Marshall will have appeared together, and Sheens - who coaches Marshall at club level - is wary of the speed both men possess.

"It's the one (pairing) we have worried about most," Sheens said.

"They have speed. When you get tired and blokes have got speed, they worry you.

"I think everyone's been looking forward to seeing the Marshall/Johnson combination and with young (Kieran) Foran there the Kiwis are well and truly on their way to having a young spine over the next couple of years."


Michael Lynagh admitted to hospital 19/04/2012 12:00:00 AM


Former Australia and Saracens fly-half Michael Lynagh is being treated at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital after falling ill.

Lynagh's family have requested that no details of his condition be disclosed by the hospital.

The 48-year-old, who won the World Cup with Australia in 1991, is reported to have suffered a stroke while visiting Brisbane.

Lynagh won 72 Test caps and retired from international rugby in 1995 as the world record points scorer with 911, a total which remains an Australian record.

An inspirational playmaker, Lynagh made his Test debut in 1984 and he was part of Australia's Grand Slam-winning team later that year.

Lynagh was vice-captain of Australia's World Cup-winning side in 1991 and he scored the late winning try against Ireland in the quarter-finals.

After captaining Australia to the quarter-finals of the 1995 World Cup, Lynagh retired from international rugby and joined Saracens at the start of the professional era.



PLAY has been abandoned on the fourth day of the Second Test at Queen's Park Oval, with heavy rain stalling Australia's bid to set up a last-day push towards a series-clinching victory.

When play was called off at around 4pm after only 30.4 overs of play for the day, Australia was battling at 3-73 in its second innings, effectively 3-127 after the West Indies had been dismissed in the first over of the morning for 257, 54 in arrears.

Ricky Ponting, who may well be batting for his career after two low scores in the First Test in Bridgetown last week, was on 32 and looking increasingly confident at the crease, with Michael Clarke three.

Australia, already one-nil up in the three-Test series, had advanced to 0-26, not without some dramas, when Kemar Roach shook loose Australia's grip on this match with a stunning double-wicket maiden.



Canberra Raiders Captain Terry Campese will miss the remainder of the 2012 season, after surgery yesterday revealed a reoccurrence of an ACL injury.

Scans earlier in the week indicated Campese had only sustained injury to his medial meniscus which is a short term injury, but surgery revealed the worst possible news for the Raiders Captain, a rupture to his ACL.

Campese missed the majority of the 2011 season with the same injury.

Raiders CEO Don Furner said the injury was devastating news for the Raiders playmaker and said the club would stand by him in what is a tough time in his NRL career

Man United the most valuable club 19/04/2012 12:00:00 AM


Manchester United's valuation has soared by 20 per cent to $US2.24 billion ($A2.16 billion) as it was ranked football's most valuable club for the eighth year in a row by Forbes magazine.

Taking into account income, profitability and debt levels, the English champions remain ahead of Spanish rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona despite exiting the Champions League early this season.

United, who has so far fought off big-spending rival Manchester City to remain on course to defend their Premier League title, are mulling a partial flotation on Singapore's stock exchange.

Spanish leaders Madrid remains second in the rankings after their valuation rose by 29 per cent to $US1.88 billion ($A1.81 billion) and Barcelona climbed to fourth after their value leapt by 34 per cent to $US1.3 billion ($A1.25 billion).

Australia claim dramatic victory 12/04/2012 12:00:00 AM


Australia sealed a dramatic comeback win by three wickets in fading light on the final day of the opening Test against West Indies in Bridgetown.

Chasing a teasing victory target of 192 over the final two sessions, the tourists snuck home following a slightly nervy chase that was led by Shane Watson's 52.

Australia bowled out West Indies for 148 on the stroke of lunch, with Ben Hilfenhaus grabbing four for 27, before they initially laboured in pursuit.

Watson and Ed Cowan (34) laid the platform for the chase but, after part-time spinner Narsingh Deonarine claimed four quick wickets, Australia needed Michael Hussey to blast 32 from 26 balls to get them home in the gloom.

It completed a remarkable turnaround after Australia were totally outplayed on the opening three days, before the match turned around skipper Michael Clarke's bold declaration on the fourth day.


Mumbai grab thrilling win 10/04/2012 12:00:00 AM


The Mumbai Indians smashed 21 off the final over to snatch a thrilling five-wicket victory from the jaws of defeat against the Deccan Chargers in the Indian Premier League.

Chasing Deccan's 138 for nine, Mumbai looked set to fall short after being left needing 18 off the final six balls to be bowled by Daniel Christian.

However, new batsman James Franklin took six off the first two deliveries before sneaking a bye that brought his established partner Rohit Sharma on strike with 11 needed off three.

Sharma reduced that target to three off one with a six and a quickly-scampered two before he sealed a stunning victory by clubbing a Christian full toss over the boundary for his fifth maximum of the day.


Bubba Watson secures Masters glory 9/04/2012 12:00:00 AM


Augusta National served up another thriller - and it ended with American Bubba Watson pulling off the fifth win by a left-hander in the last 10 Masters.

The big-hitting 33-year-old stopped Louis Oosthuizen from becoming the third South African to don a green jacket in the last five years - and the first ever to win after producing a magical albatross.

With England's Lee Westwood a nearly man again, Oosthuizen, the runaway winner of The Open at St Andrews two years ago, and Watson, who lost a play-off for the USPGA title to Martin Kaymer a month after that, tied on the 10 under par total of 278.

Watson had missed a 22-footer on the final green and then failed with a nine-footer when they returned to the 18th.

They then switched to the downhill 10th. Oosthuizen bogeyed and Watson, despite hitting into trouble with his distinctive pink driver, conjured up a superb hook onto the green and two-putted for victory


City deny reports of bust up 9/04/2012 12:00:00 AM


Manchester City have denied rumours of a post-match punch-up in their dressing room after the Barclays Premier League defeat at Arsenal.

The aftermath of City's loss, which could spell the end of their title hopes, saw suggestions emerge of a physical confrontation between members of their squad at the Emirates Stadium.

But a club spokesman dismissed that, saying: "It is rubbish."

The result left City eight points behind Manchester United, prompting manager Roberto Mancini to admit their title hopes were "probably" over.

The match also witnessed another meltdown from Mario Balotelli, who was sent off in the dying moments for a second yellow card after getting away with what looked a certain sending-off offence in the first half when he caught Alex Song with a nasty, knee-high challenge.


Chanderpaul boosts West Indies 9/04/2012 12:00:00 AM


Veteran batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul recorded his 25th Test century to help put the West Indies in a healthy position on day two of the opening Test against Australia.

Chanderpaul finished unbeaten on 103 while there were also useful contributions from Darren Bravo (51) and captain Darren Sammy (41) today as the West Indies declared their first innings on 449 for nine in the final session.

That left Australia to face an awkward hour before the close, but openers David Warner (27 not out) and Ed Cowan (13no) safely negotiated the 9.5 overs before light brought a premature end as the tourists closed on 44 without loss.


Stage set for MotoGP opener 5/04/2012 12:00:00 AM


The 2012 MotoGP season powers into life in Qatar on Sunday with riders set to test their 1000cc bikes for the first time.

The Losail circuit under lights will provide the perfect setting for an exciting new era and after a strong winter testing period and four months off, Yamaha riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies will once again go head-to-head in Qatar.

On the back of excellent pre-season form on their new YZR-M1's, the pair will be confident having set competitive times in the break while last year's Qatar winner and reigning MotoGP champion, Casey Stoner, has proved to be the man to beat in pre-season, setting blistering times in both tests in Malaysia and Jerez.


Australia thump Presidents X1 5/04/2012 12:00:00 AM


Australia have completed the perfect preparation for the first Test against the West Indies, thrashing a West Indies Cricket Board President's XI by eight wickets in their three-day tour match on Wednesday (local time).

A stunning bowling display on day two set up the victory for Australia, who cruised to their target of 86 in the first session at Three Ws Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados.

Opener Ed Cowan (28) and Ricky Ponting (23) finished unbeaten as the tourists reached 2-87 in the 23rd over of their innings.

Earlier, Shane Watson (25) and captain Michael Clarke (four) departed.

Ben Hilfenhaus (4-8) and Nathan Lyon (4-17) tore through the President's XI batting order on Tuesday.


Johnson pulls out of Masters 5/04/2012 12:00:00 AM


World number 12 Dustin Johnson has withdrawn from the Masters because of a back injury, the American announced on Tuesday.

A five-time winner on the PGA Tour, Johnson will miss the first Major of the year starting at Augusta on Thursday.

Johnson announced the news via his official Twitter account.


Djokovic wins in Miami 2/04/2012 12:00:00 AM


Andy Murray suffered final heartbreak at the hands of Novak Djokovic as he was beaten in straight sets at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.

The world number one bullied Murray's serve to clinch his first title since the Australian Open 6-1 7-6 (7-4).

Murray was on the back foot from the start, losing back-to-back service games to concede the first set, before relying on his defiance to remain in the contest.

The Scot somehow forced a second set tie-break, despite being taken to deuce in four of his six service games, but Djokovic had enough answers to secure a successful title defence and reassert his dominance over his long-time rival.



Sydney-based England internationals Sam Burgess and Gareth Ellis are both expected to be sidelined for the next six weeks after sustaining injuries in front of England coach Steve McNamara.

McNamara, who is at the start of a 21-day fact-finding trip to Australia, watched South Sydney prop Burgess go off with torn knee ligaments during his side's 17-16 defeat by Wests Tigers.

Former Bradford favourite Burgess played just four games in 2011 because of an ankle injury, which also forced him to sit out England's Four Nations campaign.

Tigers second rower Ellis was forced off midway through the first half with an injury to his left foot.

"It doesn't look good," coach Tim Sheens told the club's website. "He doesn't come off the field easily. The initial prognosis is a fractured foot."

Ellis, who is in the fourth and final year of his spell with Wests Tigers, has signed a three-year contract with Hull from next season


Clarke ranked best batsman in world 2/04/2012 12:00:00 AM


Australia captain Michael Clarke's sparkling form with the willow was rewarded with the No.1 spot on the International Cricket Council's batsmen rankings.

The ICC released their updated rankings on Friday, with Clarke and South Africa's AB de Villiers sharing top spot on the batting list.

Clarke, who will return from a hamstring injury on Australia's Test tour of the West Indies, shot to the top due to his tally of 626 runs in his side's 4-0 home Test series rout of India.

It is the second time Clarke has headed the batting table, having first topped the batting list in August 2009 after he scored 93 against England in Australia's victory by an innings and 80 runs in the Leeds Test.



BANGALORE: The red-hot pairing of Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek, seeded seventh, claimed their second title of the season, winning the ATP Masters event in Miami late on Saturday.

It was a double celebration for the Indo-Czech pair as the win gave the Mumbai-based Paes a milestone 50th title. After blasting past the world No.1 pairing of Americans Bob and Mike Bryan in the semifinals on Thursday, Paes and Stepanek gave a sublime performance to score a 3-6, 6-1, 10-8 win over Belarus' Max Mirnyi and Canada's Daniel Nestor.

Paes, who became the 24th player in ATP Tour history to complete 50 doubles titles, claimed $24,270 in prize money and 250 points. "It's really, really special. 50 tournaments takes a little doing, 600 matches takes a little bit of doing," said Paes


It seemed impossible 12 months ago but Australia can overtake England in cricket's Test world rankings if results go their way during the series against the West Indies starting this week.

Australia plummeted to fifth in the world after last year's home Ashes humiliation while England were on a climb that took them to No.1 following their mid-year thrashing of India.

Since then Australia have risen steadily under new skipper Michael Clarke's leadership, as England were swept 3-0 by Pakistan in the UAE before another defeat in the first Test in Sri Lanka last week.

England must now win the second Test in Colombo to avoid another series defeat and the loss of the top ranking to South Africa. A defeat would open the door for Australia to also move above the old enemy.

A 3-0 series sweep in the West Indies would then move Australia into second on the rankings, above India and England.


Eels Hindmarsh announces retirement 30/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


Parramatta captain Nathan Hindmarsh has announced he will retire at the end of the current NRL season.

Hindmarsh began his career at Parramatta in 1998 and has played 310 games for the Eels as well as 17 State of Origin matches for NSW and 22 Test matches for Australia.

There was speculation before the season that this would be Hindmarsh's last.

The Eels have started the year with four-straight losses and face premiers Manly this weekend.


Man United go three clear at summit 27/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


Manchester United scrambled to victory against Fulham at Old Trafford to open up a three-point lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League.

Wayne Rooney's 28th goal of the season proved enough for the hosts.

Sir Alex Ferguson was clearly not impressed though and his side were nearly made to pay the ultimate price for their profligacy when Michael Carrick bundled Danny Murphy over in the box a minute from time but 27-year-old referee Michael Oliver waved away the penalty claims.

Having witnessed title rivals Manchester City drop points at Stoke on Saturday, Ferguson had gone for the jugular with his team selection.

Five offensive players and two naturally overlapping full-backs was a ploy designed to push Fulham onto the back foot, and so it did as Rooney and Ryan Giggs threatened the visitors' goal.


Woods targets further Augusta glory 27/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


A resurgent Tiger Woods has his sights set on winning a fifth green jacket at next week's Masters after finally ending a 30-month victory drought on the PGA Tour.

The 36-year-old won the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill by five strokes from Graeme McDowell to lift himself back up to sixth in the world rankings.

But Woods exists purely for major championships - of which he has won 14 - and hopes he can maintain his recent upturn in form when he heads back to Augusta.



 

Former New Zealand cricket captain Chris Cairns won £90,000 libel damages on Monday over an accusation of match-fixing which he said turned his achievements to "dust".

The 41-year-old, who notched up the rare double of 200 wickets and 3,000 runs in his 62 Tests, had sued Lalit Modi, ex-chairman of Twenty20 franchise the Indian Premier League (IPL), over an "unequivocal allegation" on Twitter in January 2010.

He was not at London's High Court for the ruling by Mr Justice Bean, who heard the case without a jury.

The judge said that Modi had "singularly failed" to provide any reliable evidence that Cairns was involved in match-fixing or spot- fixing, or even that there were strong grounds for suspicion that he was.


Aussies salvage Series draw 26/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


 

Australia salvaged a 2-2 series draw against the West Indies after withstanding a late onslaught from Darren Sammy to record a 30-run victory in the fifth and final one-day international in St Lucia.

On the back of half-centuries from their top three, Shane Watson, David Warner and Peter Forrest, Australia ran up an imposing 281 for nine batting first and that ultimately proved enough for victory as they dismissed their hosts for 251.

It was a far from comfortable triumph, though, as the West Indies fought hard to keep alive their hopes of a first ODI series win over the Australians since 1995.


Boycott named Yorkshire president 26/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


 

Yorkshire have named former England opener Geoffrey Boycott as their new president.

The 71-year-old will replace Ray Illingworth in the role having earned a majority verdict of 91.09 per cent in a recent members' vote.

The move completes a period of change at Headingley, with former Australian quick Jason Gillespie having been drafted in to coach a side relegated from Division One of the LV= County Championship last season.

In addition, former England captain Michael Vaughan has been added to the county's management board and, with all the alterations complete, Boycott wants to focus on a return to the top division.


Tiger back to winning ways 26/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


Tiger Woods won on the PGA Tour for the first time since September 2009 with a five-shot victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Woods, 35, posted a two-under-par final round of 70 to reach 13 under for the tournament at Bay Hill Club and Lodge.

His nearest rival, Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell, could only manage a two-over 74, finishing eight-under overall to take outright second Orlando, Florida.


Alonso wins Malaysian GP 26/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


Ferrari's Fernando Alonso claimed his first victory in eight months in thrilling style at the rain-interrupted Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Alonso survived a lengthy rain suspension, a rash of spins and mishaps and a strong challenge from Sauber's Sergio Perez to finish ahead of the Mexican driver, with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton third.

Red Bull's Australian driver Mark Webber finished in fourth position, while countryman Daniel Ricciardo finished in 12th.



Pakistan take Asia Cup title 23/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


 

Bangladesh fell agonisingly short of a first Asia Cup title as they suffered a two-run defeat to Pakistan in Thursday's final at Mirpur.

Paceman Shahadat Hossain needed to score four from the final ball from Aizaz Cheema but could only manage a leg bye.

It completed a forgettable day for Hossain after wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed took 19 from his final over of the Pakistan innings to help them to 236 for nine.


Button confident of repeat win 22/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


Jenson Button sees no reason why McLaren will not deliver in the humid heat of Malaysia after enjoying success in the cool climes of Melbourne.

Button scored his 13th victory in Formula One on Sunday when he triumphed for the third time in four years around the temporary 'street' circuit of Albert Park.

As a platform on which to launch a world title bid this year, the 32-year-old could not have wished for a more solid beginning.

For once at the start of a season McLaren have come flying out of the blocks, with Lewis Hamilton underpinning their success with pole on Saturday, but forced to settle for third in the race.


Hay List under injury cloud for Reid 22/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


Odds-on favourite Hay List is under an injury cloud ahead of Friday night's William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley.

Trainer John McNair has advised Racing Victoria stewards that the Newmarket Handicap winner had been treated for a bruised near-fore heel.

Hay List eased marginally to $1.40 favouritism for the Group One after stewards scheduled a veterinary inspection of the gelding for Thursday afternoon.

Buffering, who was beaten in a photo-finish by Hay List in the Newmarket, firmed from $10 to $9.


Windies allow victory to slip 21/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


 

Darren Sammy was run out with just two balls remaining in an incredible finish as the West Indies tied the third one-day international against Australia, blowing the chance to take the lead in the series.

The hosts, who had used a late flurry of wickets to restrict Australia to 220 earlier in the day, recovered from early troubles to close in on their target, needing seven off the final over.

Two quick singles and a four from Sammy gave them three balls to chase the winning run, but with an unlikely victory seeming to be moments away, Kemar Roach got overexcited, calling for an impossible single and leaving his team-mate stranded.

It meant the West Indies had matched Australia's 220 all out while only facing one ball fewer, with the tourists being bowled out in 49.5 overs.

That the West Indies came close to a victory was a surprise after they found themselves at 78 for five after 21 overs.


Nice guy Royce rolls out of town 21/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


He spent only a little over a season in Super League but Royce Simmons will be sorely missed following his surprise sacking by St Helens.

In addition to boasting an impressive CV from a lengthy career in rugby league, the 51-year-old Australian is also one of the nice guys whose dry sense of humour was summed up by his final public comment.

"If I had a neck, I'd probably hang myself," he quipped to journalists as he walked out of what turned out to be his last post-match press conference at Bradford last Saturday.

Simmons would have been at long odds at the start of the season to become the first Super League coach to lose his job.

Although Saints did not win any silverware in his first year as successor to Mick Potter, they enjoyed a successful season by any other measure


Federer equals Nadal record 21/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


Roger Federer became the first man to win the BNP Paribas Open four times with a 7-6 (9-7) 6-3 victory over John Isner in Indian Wells.

The in-form Swiss battled through a flu bug throughout the week to claim his third straight title on the ATP Tour, following on from his recent successes in Rotterdam and Dubai.



Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick to become Barcelona's all-time leading scorer on 234 goals in a 5-3 win over Granada on Tuesday which moved the champions to within five points of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga.

Jim Stynes passes away 21/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


JIM STYNES, the Irish-born former Melbourne champion, Brownlow medallist and club president, has died aged 45 after his two-and-a-half-year battle with cancer.

He died at home at 8.20am on Tuesday with his family around him.

Stynes is survived by wife Samantha, daughter Matisse and son Tiernan.

If a fiction writer was given a blank canvas and asked to create a rags-to-riches sports story, it is doubtful any could create a piece of work as audacious and remarkable as the tale of Jim Stynes.

Stynes travelled from one side of the world to the other to take up a sport he had neither played nor seen and rose to become one of the true champions of the game. Off the ground, he was a high achiever in business, while his philanthropic endeavours and messages of inspiration brought hope to thousands of young people.


Australia spinner Xavier Doherty took four wickets to lead the visitors to a 64-run victory over the West Indies in the first one-day international of their five-match series in Kingstown, St Vincent on Friday.

It was a familiar story of failing with the bat while chasing a modest total for the Caribbean side as they kicked off the series, which also includes three tests, in disappointing fashion.

Australia were restricted to 204 in their allotted 50 overs with only opener Dave Warner, who struck 40 from 55 balls, and George Bailey's 48 on his one-day international debut able to master the tricky conditions for the visitors.

Dwayne Bravo was the most effective of the West Indies bowlers, picking up 3-58, while Kemar Roach's pace and Marlon Samuels' off-spin also helped pin down the tourists on a slow track.


Brad Haddin heading home 16/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


Brad Haddin is set to leave Australia's tour of the West Indies early for personal reasons.

Cricket Australia spokesperson Peter Young confirmed the Test gloveman would leave the Caribbean less than a week after Australia arrived for the six-week tour.

Haddin was set to sit out the initial five-match one-day international series, which begins in St Vincent on Friday, with Matthew Wade having recently taken his place in the 50-over format.

The 34-year-old was expected to keep his place for the three-Test series, which begins in Barbados on April 7, but the uncapped Wade could now get his chance.


Ferguson focused on League 16/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


Sir Alex Ferguson admitted Manchester United have had a disappointing year in Europe after his side crashed out of the Europa League to Athletic Bilbao.

Only Wayne Rooney's late consolation prevented United suffering the worst two-legged European defeat in Ferguson's entire time as manager.

The Red Devils won just three of their 10 games in UEFA competition and suffered a hat-trick of losses for the first time since 2004.

It represents a startling fall from grace for a team that had reached three of the last four Champions League finals and Ferguson admitted he has some work to do to find out where it all went wrong.


Chelsea edge out Napoli in epic 15/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


Chelsea reached the Champions League quarter-finals after a thrilling 4-1 extra-time win against Napoli at Stamford Bridge gave them a 5-4 aggregate triumph.

The Blues came into the return leg on the back of a 3-1 defeat in Italy and took a first-half lead through Didier Drogba.

Chelsea doubled their advantage two minutes into the second period thanks to a John Terry header, which would have been enough to put the home side through on away goals.


Vettel eyes title hat trick 15/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


Double world champion Sebastian Vettel has set his sights on further cementing his place in the Formula One history books.

Far from feeling satisfied with the back-to-back titles he has dominantly won these last two years, Vettel has every intention of a 'three-peat', with his bid for glory starting this weekend as the 2012 season opens in Australia.

It is a feat achieved only twice previously by two of the legends of the sport, initially Juan Manuel Fangio from 1954-1957 and then Michael Schumacher from 2000-2004.

Ahead of unwinding with a game of cricket on St Kilda beach with Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber, and with the setting sun serving as a backdrop, a determined Vettel said: "My target is always to win the world championship.


Chisora hurt by ban 15/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


Dereck Chisora said the British Boxing Board of Control's decision to withdraw his licence had left him "an ex-professional" but vowed to continue his fight to become a world champion.

The Londoner was involved in a number of controversial incidents before and after his WBC heavyweight title challenge against Vitali Klitschko at the Olympiahalle on February 18.

He slapped his opponent at the weigh-in and spat water at the Ukrainian's brother Wladimir just prior to the contest - which he lost on points - before becoming embroiled in a brawl with British rival David Haye at the post-fight press conference.

Chisora, already handed an indefinite ban and fine by the World Boxing Council, was called before the BBBoC in Cardiff yesterday and after a hearing which lasted around four hours, it was confirmed that the 28-year-old's licence had been withdrawn.


Cutting left out of Shield final 15/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


Ben Cutting has been ruled out of this season's Sheffield Shield final after Queensland decided it was not prepared to risk his fitness over the five-day match with Tasmania.

The Bulls host the Tigers at the Gabba in the domestic game's first-class showpiece beginning tomorrow and Cutting's questionable availability was the storyline going into the week after he missed the final league game with a groin injury.

Although the Test hopeful went as far as to have blood injections in his groin to help it heal quicker, his captain James Hopes - who has also struggled with injuries himself this season - believes it was not worth the risk of including him


Stosur beaten by Petrova 13/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


Nadia Petrova upset US Open champion Sam Stosur in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open on Monday.

The Russian, seeded 30, pulled off a shock 6-1 6-7 (6/8) 7-6 (7/5) win the sixth-seeded Australian, who has struggled this season following her triumph at Flushing Meadows last September.

Petrova served 15 aces during the match before clinching victory after two hours and 46 minutes on court.



Manchester United are now top of the Barclays Premier League after they beat West Brom 2-0 and Manchester City lost 1-0 at Swansea on Sunday afternoon.

City dropped off the summit for the first time since October after Luke Moore's late header saw Swansea once again upset one of the top-flight big guns at the Liberty Stadium.


Hay fever strikes with no Caviar 12/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


HAY List is the heavyweight champion without a crown, thanks to a whirlwind he knows only too well as Black Caviar.

He is arguably the best male sprinter on the planet but he has been on the canvas every time in the five confrontations he has had with Black Caviar, officially the world's best sprinter.

But with Black Caviar at home resting in her box, marking time for her next curtain call that will see her bidding for her 20th unbeaten start, Hay List made hay in the Group I Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday.

Hay List's performance under topweight of 58.5kg, the highest carried to win since Gold Stakes (59kg) in 1959, was a run for the ages.

He stood tall at the finish, having clocked the serious time of 1min 8.72sec in claiming the $600,000 prize from 21 others.



The West Indies have suffered an injury blow ahead of the one-day international series against Australia with vice-captain Denesh Ramdin ruled out for at least two weeks.

Ramdin fractured his right thumb while batting in a practice match in Barbados on Saturday and will miss at least the first three matches of the five-game series against Australia starting in St Vincent on Friday (Saturday AEDT).

Jamaican wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh, who scored a century in a regional four-day match against Trinidad last week, has been named as Ramdin's replacement.

Woods struggling with achilles injury 12/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


There are fresh concerns for the career of Tiger Woods after another injury saw him again quit a tournament last night.

A limping Woods withdrew from the Cadillac Championship in Miami 11 holes into a final round where he had fallen out of contention.

"I felt tightness in my left Achilles when warming up this morning," he said in a statement later.

"It felt progressively worse throughout the day. After hitting my tee shot at 12 I decided it was necessary to withdraw.

"In the past I may have tried to continue to play, but this time I decided to do what I thought was necessary.

"I will get my Achilles evaluated some time early next week


Manly Tigers downplay bad blood 9/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


Both teams are playing it down, but there's no doubt when Wests Tigers face Manly, the threat of an incident is never far away. Sea Eagles hooker Matt Ballin did his best, but failed to sound convincing in denying his side don't like the Tigers this week ahead of Friday's NRL clash in Gosford. "I wouldn't say that. They are always competitive games," Ballin said with a wry smile earlier this week. And a huge grin spread across the face of Tigers skipper Robbie Farah when quizzed about why there always seemed to be some sort of flashpoint when his side and Manly went head-to-head.


Game-buster Clint McKay's feats with bat and ball inspired Australia to a 16-run victory over Sri Lanka to claim the tri-series title last night. McKay followed an invaluable batting cameo with a miserly five-wicket haul as Australia, after stumbling to 231 all out, bowled the tourists out for 215 with seven balls remaining at Adelaide Oval. The Australians won the best of three finals series 2-1 despite the absence of captain Michael Clarke, who will miss a month of cricket with a hamstring strain. McKay was the central character in the decider, helping rescue Australia after a middle-order batting crash cruelled hopes of a massive total.

Lionel Messi nets five for Barcelona 8/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


Lionel Messi scored five goals as Champions League holders Barcelona beat unfortunate Bayer Leverkusen 7-1 to confirm their place in the quarter-finals.

Barca had been understated but superior in the first leg in Germany, winning 3-1, and were expected to ease through in Wednesday night's return match.

However, they played with trademark hunger under Pep Guardiola as Messi became the first player to score five in a single Champions League game while substitute Cristian Tello added two in a performance of startling brilliance.

Karim Bellarabi managed a consolation in added time.


Million dollar trot 2/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


It will be harness racing at its very best tonight at Gloucester Park when the majority of Australasia's finest pacers line up in the Inter Dominion Grand Final.The big three,Im Themightyquinn,Smoken Up and Auckland Reactor are undefeated in the series,but for the first time in Perth,they will clash in a $1million Grand Final.Smoken Up has drawn the best of the favourites and his driver,John Justice,is extremely confident the Victorian star can produce his normal courageous race.HE has been consistently faster than Im Themightyquinn and the leading driver suggests that will make his ride tough to beat.

Mayweather wary of Cotto 1/03/2012 12:00:00 AM


Floyd Mayweather Jr insists he will not take Miguel Cotto lightly after agreeing to step up to light-middleweight to face the WBC champion in Las Vegas on May 5.The 35-year-old is excited to be facing Cotto,who has the experience,heart and determination to give the pound-for-pound king the toughest fight of his career.


Veteran wicketkeeper Brad Haddin has been recalled to Australia's squad for five limited -overs internationals in the West Indies next month.After being vice-captain of the test team in last month's 4-0 series sweep of India,the 34-year-old Haddin was dropped from the ODI squad for the on-going tri-series,allowing Matthew Wade a chance at international level.


Jockey Darren Beadman will be sidelined indefinitely after complications arising from a race fall and will have corrective surgery on his fractured cheekbone.The Australian denied reports in local media that he was in a more serious condition.Two weeks ago Beadman left Prince of Wales Hospital two days after falling in a trial at Shah Tin,but he returned less than 12 hours later when he became dizzy at home.Additional MRI scans revealed he had micro bleeds on his brain,and he has remained in hospital since.   

Clarke snares cricket honour 28/02/2012 12:00:00 AM


In his first year as Australian captain Michael Clarke was also proven to be the country's best performer taking out his third Allan Border Medal.Clarke was a runaway winner after also snaring his first Test player of the year award,finishing with 231 total votes,57 ahead of veteran Mike Hussey.The Aussie skipper was also runner-up in the one-day player of the year award having monstered attacks all over the world in compiling nearly 2000 runs at an average of 65 in both forms of the game.    

Carling Cup glory for Liverpool 27/02/2012 12:00:00 AM


Liverpool won the Carling Cup after beating Cardiff 3-2 on penalties following a dramatic 2-2 draw at Wembley.It was Cardiff's Anthony Gerrard,cousin of Liverpool captain Steven,who missed the crucial spot-kick as the Reds lifted their first trophy for six years and a record eighth League Cup.It was cruel not only on the defender-who was consoled by his cousin at the end-but the rest of his team who had seen their early lead overtaken but remained resiliant and found the strength to snatch an equaliser with two minutes of an absorbing final remaining.


Ricky Ponting,the greatest Australian player of his generation,admits his one-day career is over but vowed to continue playing Test cricket.Ponting was dropped from the one day-side for the first time in over a decade after a poor run in the Tri-series against India and Sri Lanka.He played 375 one-day matches,scoring 13,704 runs.Ponting captained the side in 230 games and played some remarkable innings,including a memorable 140no in the 2003 World Cup final against India.Ponting said he also wanted to keep playing cricket for Tasmania.He says he will play Sheffield Shield cricket next season with the Tigers and possibly even club cricket for Mowbray.


British heavyweight boxers Dereck Chisora and David Haye are facing lifetime bans after their ugly brawl.The pair got into a punch-up on Saturday night in Munich during a post-fight news conference following Chisora's defeat to WBC world champion Vitali Klitschko.The German Boxing Federation is pursuing a lifelong ban for both men and contacted the British Boxing Board of Control requesting that Chisora's licence be revoked.    


Sam Stosur received a stark reminder of the gulf between her and the world No1 tennis ranking when she was routed 6-1 6-2 by incumbent Victoria Azarenka.The Belarussian made light of a lingering ankle injury as she extended her career dominance against world No 5 Stosur to 6-0 in the Qatar Open final in Doha.It was Azarenka's 17th straight victory and her first title since replacing Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki as No 1after winning last month's Australian Open.   

Ferguson wants final flourish 21/02/2012 12:00:00 AM


Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson feels he has another two or three years left in the job but would only retire on the back of a success.The 70-year-old Scot had been due to step down a decade ago but has justified his change of heart by winning five more Premier League titles to complement the seven he already had and adding a second Champions League triumph.He has also won the FA Cup and three League Cups during that time and although he knows the end is approaching he is determined to end on a high.


Dereck Chisora claims that Vitali Klitschko will be dethroned when he takes on the boxer this weekend in Munich for the WBC heavyweight title.The fighter from London will be the massive underdog with the boxing odds against a 40-year-old Klitschko who was not close to losing since being stopped on cuts a decade ago by Lennox Lewis.

Jessica Korda wins Australian Open 14/02/2012 12:00:00 AM


American teenager Jessica Korda won the Women's Australian Open for her first LPGA Tour title,holding a 25-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a six-player playoff. The 18-year-old completed a two-sport,father-daughter Australian double with the breakthrough victory in the LPGA Tour opener.Peter Korda won the 1988 Australian Open tennis tournament, also in Melbourne.

Armstrong makes strong start 14/02/2012 12:00:00 AM


Cycling great Lance Armstrong began his campaign to qualify for the Hawaiian ironman triathlon with a second place at the Panama 70.3 race yesterday.The record seven-time Tour de France champion was leading during the run leg of the half ironman event,but New Zealander Bevan Docherty passed him to win by 31 seconds.The 1.9km swim,90km cycle and 21km run was the perfect start to Armstrong's bid to compete at Hawaii in October.The Hawaiian ironman features a 3.86km swim,180.25km bike race and 42.2km run.Australian Richie Cunningham finished third.


New Zealand's hulking former All Black winger Jonah Lomu needs a new kidney after medical tests showed a transplant he received in 2004 had failed.The 36-year-old told the New Zealand Weekly that treatment had not been successful and he was undergoing dialysis to stop his renal system shutting down.He received a kidney donated by radio host Grant Kereama after he was diagnosed in 1995 with nephrotic syndrome but during the Rugby World Cup last year he was admitted to hospital after it started to fail.   


Manchester City are back on top of the Premier League after Joleon Lescott's goal clinched a hard-fought 1-0 win over Aston Villa on Sunday.Manchester City had surrendered pole position to Manchester United after their bitter rivals' 2-1 win against Liverpool on Saturday.However City underlined their determination to wrestle the title from Old Trafford with a gritty victory in freezing temperatures at Villa Park.



Fabio Capello has quit as England manager over the sacking of his captain John Terry,plunging the national team into crisis just four months ahead of Euro 2012.Terry was stripped of his captaincy last week pending his racism trial.Capello,who was set to walk away from the England job following the upcoming Euro 2012 tournament in Poland and Ukraine this summer,voiced his displeasure about the FA's move to demote Terry.


The last time Garth Wood had fought a bout at Sydney Olympic Park,he knocked out Anthony Mundine.He will be aiming to do the same thing against Sam Soliman on Sunday,February 19.Stanmore resident Wood parted ways with his previous trainer Billy Hussein two months ago and has since been working with Umina's Joel Keegan.Wood said Keegan is set to bring about a more thoughtful technique to his fighting style.Despite Wood's confidence,Betezy's boxing analyist has assessed Sam Soliman at $1.70 and Garth Wood at $2.    

Contador suspended for two years 7/02/2012 12:00:00 AM


Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador on Monday received a two-year ban for doping during the 2010 Tour de France and was stripped of his victory in the race.The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Contador's suspension runs through to August 6,2012,which means that the Spaniard loses his 2010 Tour victory and will be unable to take part in this year's race.


Kyle Stanley bounced back from a bitter defeat to win the Phoenix Open on Sunday,erasing an eight-shot deficit to claim a victory a week after his last-round collapse at Torrey Pines.Stanley was brought to tears at Torrey after a triple-bogey at the final hole dropped him into a playoff that he lost.On Sunday,however,he was in a position to strike as Spencer Levin suffered a similar collapse-surrendering a six-shot overnight lead.Stanley capped a bogey-free 65 with a four-foot par putt and finished with a 15-under total of 269.


Pakistan's cricket team put its numerous problems behind them through consistent performances as they wiped out the world's best team England 3-0 with captain Misbah-ul Haq aiming to move on to further heights.Bedevilled by the spot-fixing scandal of 2010,which ended in lengthy bans and ultimately jail terms for three of its key players--Salmon Butt,Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer--Pakistan registered their first-ever whitewash over England on Monday.

Giants break Patriot hearts again 6/02/2012 12:00:00 AM


The New York Giants once again produced a late comeback to break New Englands hearts and win Super Bowl XLV1 in Indianapolis on Sunday night.Four years ago in the Arizona desert Eli Manning hit Plaxico Burress for a last-gasp game winner to end the Patriots' pursuit of perfection in Super Bowl XL11.And this time Ahmad Bradshaw scored on a six-yard run with just over a minute remaining to give the Giants a dramatic 21-17 victory.    

Terry stripped of England Captaincy 4/02/2012 12:00:00 AM


The England Football Association have stripped John Terry of the England captaincy due to his racism court trial and revealed the decision had been taken without Fabio Capello's involvement.The England manager has always insisted he should have control of team matters including the captaincy but the FA board,led by chairman David Bernstein,decided they had to step in after confirmation that the trial will not take place until after Euro 2012.

Craig Gower to lead London Broncos 2/02/2012 12:00:00 AM


Craig Gower will lead London Broncos in his first season in Super League.The former Kangaroo half-back takes over from Rob Purdham,who retired at the end of last season.

Eli out to be the main Man 2/02/2012 12:00:00 AM