Archive for August, 2019

Demons coach blasts player discipline

15/08/2019

Melbourne’s caretaker coach Neil Craig has savaged the lack of player discipline at the AFL club and warned their vacant coaching job isn’t for the faint-hearted.

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Craig says the Demons are stuck in a loser’s rut after Adelaide crushed them by 68 points on Saturday, winning 18.12 (120) to 7.10 (52).

Melbourne were within 23 points of Adelaide four minutes into the final term at AAMI Stadium, but then managed just one solitary point as the Crows booted the last seven goals of the game.

Alarming ill-discipline blighted Melbourne’s performance, evidenced by defender Tom McDonald when outmarked by Adelaide’s six-goal forward Lewis Johnston in the third term.

McDonald inexplicably knocked the ball from Johnston’s hands and was penalised 50 metres, but didn’t even bother to stand the mark as the Crow strolled past him to the goal-line and scored.

“It probably says something is going through their psyche at the moment – the frustration of enormous effort for little return,” said Craig, who is uncertain if he wants to be Melbourne’s coach next season.

“From a coaching perspective, you’re going to need an enormous amount of patience and it certainly won’t be for the faint-hearted. There is a lot of work to do.

“We’re a long way off being a hard-nosed footy club to generate a win. We are a long was away as a total footy club … we have lost for so long that we need to break that habit.

“Whoever is coaching the side will need to make use of absolutely every bit of time that is available for this squad because you can’t waste a minute when you’re where we’re at.”

Melbourne gave away 14 more free kicks than the Crows, who successfully marked their final game at AAMI Stadium ahead of their move to a redeveloped Adelaide Oval next season.

Adelaide’s triumph was built by two scoring sprees: they kicked six unanswered goals in the second quarter and seven majors without reply to the end of the match.

Johnston booted four of his goals in a festive final quarter as the 34,653-strong crowd spent the last 10 minutes performing Mexican waves.

“I would have taken a one-point win to send off a stadium full of fantastic memories for our footy club,” Crows coach Brenton Sanderson said.

“We really built it up internally, that it was a really important game for our club and our fans.”

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Robinson backs Roosters’ big guns to fire

15/08/2019

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson has told his star-studded squad to use all of their big-game experience to secure the NRL minor premiership with victory over bitter rivals South Sydney on Friday.

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In what will be the biggest non-finals match for years the ANZ Stadium encounter is to be a winner takes all affair – but Robinson knows there’s far more at stake than just lifting the JJ Giltinan Shield and pocketing $100,000.

It will be the first time since 1968 the two foundation clubs will face off for the minor premiership and local pride in addition to the perfect boost leading into the finals is very much at the forefront of Robinson’s mind.

“You want to be the best team in the competition, but sadly the way our game has gone we’ve moved away from the traditional models of sporting competitions where first past the post wins,” Robinson said.

“It is decided on one day in October and that’s our focus. We want to win games, and if that means we’ve won more games than others then good.

“But it’s not just about that. There are games coming up that will be just as important as this one.”

However, the 35-year-old is fully aware of the importance of this game to everyone connected to both clubs.

“The rivalry with Souths has been around for a long time,” he said.

“I came here in 1995 as a player as a young guy of 17 and I felt it right back then – as soon as you walk into the place.

“You hear it from ex-players from Souths and the Roosters, we live next door to each other.

“Our fans live next door to each other. There’s a big rivalry there and a respect.

“But you know playing Souths that it’s an important game for our club when it comes around twice a year and we want to win.”

The Roosters will take to the field with 11 of their 17-man squad having played in a grand final compared to just Jeff Lima, Roy Asotasi and Greg Inglis in the Souths side.

And although Sonny Bill Williams and Anthony Minichiello are the only players to have a premiership rings in his team, Robinson believes knowing what it takes to win finals games is priceless.

“The importance of big-game experience is vital to players and we will need to use some of that tomorrow,” Robinson said.

“There will be a lot of pressure on us. We’re going to an away ground with the Souths fans and that will be hard for some players.

“Any guys who have played big games will need to bring that with them.”

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Dockers not scared by AFL history: Lyon

15/08/2019

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon insists the Dockers won’t be spooked by history as they attempt to inflict a rare home defeat on Geelong in Saturday’s AFL qualifying final.

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The Dockers last week labelled the prospect of playing a final at Simonds Stadium rather than in Melbourne “inconceivable”.

Lyon said on Saturday he would have expected to be playing at a world-class venue in a major city, not at a regional stadium.

The Cats have won 43 of their past 44 matches at their home ground and the city of Geelong hasn’t hosted a final since 1897.

But Lyon was focusing on the positives on Sunday, calling the Dockers’ trip to Geelong an exciting opportunity and predicting his side would give the clash a real shake.

“If history was a guide none of us would turn up, it would be Sydney’s premiership this year,” Lyon told the Seven Network’s AFL Game Day.

“It’s all about action, the only thing that counts for me is action and we’re keen to get into action.”

He said the Cats’ record was excellent everywhere, not just at home, during their current dynasty, which has netted three premierships since 2007.

But he noted the Dockers defied history last year, when they were also rated underdogs before they stunned the Cats in an elimination final at the MCG.

It was Fremantle’s first finals win outside Perth.

“We understand what we’re walking into but we’ve really grown as a football club,” Lyon said.

“It’s our first time in the top four for a while and to win a premiership you’ve got to put yourself up there.

“We’re going down to give it a real shake.

“No one really gave us much opportunity last year and we came out and played some very good football, so we know our best is very good.”

Lyon predicted 12 players would return for the Dockers, who fielded a virtual B-grade side against St Kilda on Saturday and rested many of their stars.

Luke McPharlin, Aaron Sandilands, Stephen Hill, Michael Walters and Nick Suban, who all missed the game through injury, are among those expected to return, Lyon said.

He admitted to some second thoughts about such a low-key finals build-up while watching fellow top-four clubs Hawthorn and Sydney slug out a much more finals-like match on Friday night.

“When you saw the Hawks-Sydney game, how intense it was and how they went about it, (we wondered) have we done the right thing,” he said.

“We think we have but time will tell.”

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Cutting aid will diminish security: Carr

15/08/2019

The coalition’s plan to reduce foreign aid spending by $4.

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5 billion will diminish Australia’s security, Foreign Minister Bob Carr says.

“We provide overseas aid because it’s in Australia’s interest,” Senator Carr said at the G20 leaders’ summit in St Petersburg, Russia, on Thursday.

“We use foreign aid as a way of making Australia more secure as a nation.

“To cut back on that means you diminish Australian security.”

The coalition has released policy costings which include a $4.5 billion cut to foreign aid spending over four years.

The funds would be reallocated to three road projects in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The coalition is expected to easily win Saturday’s federal election but Senator Carr refused to be drawn on his own future in parliament if Labor loses.

“I’m only contemplating a Labor win,” he said.

“Yes, against the suggestions in the polls, but a Labor win based on the fact that people will vote for jobs and their economic security not for the cuts that Tony Abbott is promising.”

World Vision Australia chief executive Tim Costello says the coalition’s planned cuts to foreign aid are “really cheap”.

“It’s very short-sighted and pretty devastating,” he told reporters at the G20 where he’s representing civil society NGOs.

“It’s really cheap to say ‘We are just going to look after ourselves – charity begins at home’.

“We can do both. This is not a good global look.”

Mr Costello said the coalition should follow Britain’s conservative prime minister who has said he won’t balance the books on the back of the world’s poor.

“It’s in all of our interests to invest in health and saving lives – particularly Australia’s – because the world’s poor are on our doorstep,” the World Vision chief said, adding increased prosperity benefited Australia through more trade and improved security.

Mr Abbott later denied foreign aid was being cut.

“We’re not cutting foreign aid, we’re just reducing the rate of increase,” he told the Seven Sunrise program on Friday.

“Under us, foreign aid will increase at CPI until such time as the budget is back in a much stronger position.”

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AFL club presidents to meet on Bombers

15/08/2019

AFL Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick has called a special meeting of club presidents for Thursday to brief them on the Essendon supplements crisis.

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Bombers’ coach James Hird says he has been denied natural justice after the AFL on Wednesday released details of charges laid against him.

Next Monday, the commission is supposed to hear the charges against Essendon, Hird, club doctor Bruce Reid, senior assistant coach Mark Thompson and Bombers football manager Danny Corcoran of bringing the league into disrepute.

But that hearing is now highly doubtful, meaning the Bombers go into the finals with the charges unresolved.

Hird and Essendon chairman Paul Little made it clear at a media conference on Wednesday afternoon that they will fight the AFL’s charges.

The AFL announced the charges last week, but on Wednesday released the much more comprehensive summary of the alleged offences.

“The AFL today continued its trial by media of me with the release of the charges against Essendon,” Hird said.

The Essendon coach also accused the AFL of a breach of due process by releasing a letter that club doctor Bruce Reid sent to him.

“The letter, released in isolation, is designed to damage my reputation,” Hird said.

Little said it was no coincidence the AFL released the charge details a day after a media report said the league had known since February that AOD-9604 was not a banned substance.

AOD-9604 is an anti-obesity drug that was administered to Essendon players, including captain Jobe Watson, during last year’s controversial supplements program at the club.

The status of the drug is one of the key issues of the AFL case and an ongoing investigation into Essendon by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.

AFL medical expert Peter Larkins says he feels his friend Reid would be glad his letter has been released, which outlines Reid’s concerns over the use of some supplements.

“I believe he was happy that letter was made public because it clarified that he was not the bad guy behind this science program,” Larkins told 3AW on Wednesday night.

“There are other charges around Dr Bruce Reid’s involvement in this which he’s got to face and they haven’t been made public but I believe they may be made public tomorrow, which will be quite interesting to see the way the AFL is charging a doctor in that role.”

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