Melbourne make winning start in AFLW

Posted on 05/18/2019

Courtney Gum of GWS and Elise O’Dea of Melbourne in action during the AFLW Round 1 match.Skipper Daisy Pearce and forward Richelle Cranston have stood tall as Melbourne clinched a gripping six-point win over Greater Western Sydney in the opening round of the AFLW competition.

The lead changed hands three times during the final quarter at Casey Fields on Saturday but it was the Demons who hung tough to win 7.3 (45) to 6.3 (39) against the luckless Giants, who claimed the wooden spoon in the inaugural AFLW season in 2017.

Pearce had 13 of her 19 possessions after halftime and Cranston booted a team-high three goals for the Demons.

“(Pearce) just competes all day and she’s so critical with her leadership onfield,” said Melbourne coach Mick Stinear.

“The last quarter epitomised what we want to be about as a team.

“The way she started that last quarter with real intent and she inspired the rest of the girls to do what they did.”

After racking up eight early disposals, Demons midfielder Karen Paxman went off with a back injury, which was later diagnosed as spasms.

GWS opened the scoring through the impressive Jacinda Barclay.

The visitors led by nine points at halftime and five at three-quarter time as an upset loomed.

But it was Melbourne – and particularly Cranston – who stood tallest in the fourth quarter before a crowd of 5,100.

Cranston kicked her second goal to start the final term and then slotted her third at the 15-minute mark.

Phoebe McWilliams kicked three of the Giants’ six goals.

Barclay, captain Amanda Farrugia and 36-year-old Irish recruit Cora Staunton were also among the better players for GWS.

“I think (Staunton) got lost a couple of times on running patterns, but it’s not surprising when you’re trying to learn the game in eight weeks,” coach Alan McConnell said.

“She hasn’t had a full pre-season, she missed the first two weeks because her team went all the way through to an All-Ireland final.

“But we’re so glad we have her. She brings something to the team.”

Melbourne return to Casey Fields next Saturday to take on reigning premiers Adelaide while the Giants host Carlton at Drummoyne Oval in Sydney on Friday night.

Bryce Cartwright quits Panthers for Titans

Posted on 05/18/2019

Bryce Cartwright has quit the Panthers on the eve of the NRL season to head to the Gold Coast.Gold Coast boss Graham Annesley says he is happy to back the gut instinct of his rookie NRL coach Garth Brennan and offer troubled Penrith star Bryce Cartwright a lifeline at the Titans.

Cartwright has left Penrith effective immediately and will arrive next week on the Gold Coast on a four-season deal, reported to be close to $3 million.

A member of one of the Panthers’ great rugby league families, he will link with his former under-20s coach at the Titans, despite having four years left to run on his contract.

Cartwright has endured a difficult 12 months of media scrutiny relating to off-field matters in Sydney, and it’s understood they have taken their toll on the 23-year-old and prompted his departure from the city.

Brennan has built a workmanlike spirit at the club since arriving in October, with the Titans CEO happy to take a punt on Cartwright on the advice of his first-year coach.

“Garth has known him since he was a 17, coached him right through the lower grades and is absolutely confident he’s got the character required to do well here,” Annesley told AAP.

“He’s young and has a chance to be a big part of this club’s future.”

Annesley said the deal was negotiated by new Titans head of football Phil Moss, despite him not officially starting at the club until Monday.

It comes just three months after fellow Panthers star junior Matt Moylan had been released to join Cronulla, also part-way through a contract that would have expired in 2021.

It also casts doubt over the proposed acquisition of fellow Panthers utility Tyrone Peachey, who has been linked to a move to the Titans in 2019.

“It’s obviously disappointing to be releasing a player like Bryce Cartwright, however, we appreciate his desire to seek such a change,” Panthers general manager Phil Gould said.

“We hope that this move proves successful for Bryce, both on and off the field.

“Hopefully, some time in the future, he finds his way back to the Panthers. We wish Bryce and his young family all the very best.”

Cartwright played 69 games for Penrith since making his debut in 2014, scoring 12 tries.

His uncle John, who won a premiership with Penrith in 1991, was the Titans’ inaugural coach but left the club in 2014.

Brennan praised the utility, hoping to mould him into a State of Origin and Test star.

“I’ve seen him develop over the past seven years and I believe he is one of the most-skilful players I’ve seen on a football field,” Brennan said.

“He is a massive signing for the club and I look forward to seeing him in Titans colours.”

Cartwright will join former Panthers teammates Mitch Rein and Leilani Latu this season at the Titans.

Mostert steals pole for Bathurst 12hr race

Posted on 05/18/2019

Supercars driver Chaz Mostert (C) has won pole position for his team for the Bathurst 12 Hour race.Chaz Mostert has ended a golden Audi run by stealing pole position for Sunday’s Bathurst 12 Hour race.

The Supercars young gun edged out South African Kelvin Van der Linde’s Audi R8 by two tenths of a second in Saturday’s top-10 shootout, becoming the first driver of the weekend to break into 2m:01s barrier.

Mostert has declared his team every chance of claiming the race for BMW Team Schnitzer 26 years since they last visited Mount Panorama.

The German squad’s history spans 50 years, with DTM titles accompanied by world, European, British, Italian, Japanese and Asia-Pacific touring car crowns, and success in a string of major sportscar races.

Charly Lamm’s outfit last visited in 1987 to contest the Bathurst round of the World Touring Car Championship. Mostert is teamed up in the factory team with Brazilian Augusto Farfus and German BMW works driver Marco Wittmann.

“It’s pretty surreal … for me it’s probably one of the best pole positions I’ve ever had,” Mostert said.

“There were some pretty quick Audis so I knew we had to step it up. To do it here amongst all of this amazing talent is unreal. I am just the Aussie bogan having a go.”

Starting on the front row of the grid gives Mostert and his teammates a key advantage with the race set to start in darkness at 5:45am.

“It reduces the risk completely,” Mostert said. “In the dark here with the lights and stuff, the risk is much higher to end up out of the race.”

The Audi of Van der Linde, Garth Tander and Frederic Vervisch had been dominant after the early practice form of Farfus in the BMW.

“I have a theory that when the weekend starts well, you can really keep the momentum going,” Van der Linde said. “We have every chance tomorrow. We have a good car and a good team.”

Reigning Supercars champion Jamie Whincup had a tough day in the Mercedes AMG and will start from 16th on the grid.

Lee Holdsworth became a casualty in qualifying when he spun his Audi R8 on the way up the mountain, causing a lengthy red flag. Despite the heavy crash, the team has declared the car a starter for Sunday, starting from 20th on the grid.

Germany grab 2-1 Cup tie lead over Aussies

Posted on 05/18/2019

Germany have claimed a doubles victory and a 2-1 lead in the Davis Cup tie against .The stage is set for Nick Kyrgios to step up for after Germany grabbed a 2-1 lead in their Davis Cup first round tie in Brisbane, team captain Lleyton Hewitt says.

World No.14 Kyrgios and rookie Alex de Minaur must win their reverse singles rubbers on Sunday for to qualify for April’s quarterfinals after Matthew Ebden and John Peers lost the crucial doubles clash in five sets on Saturday.

The visitors sprung a late change, replacing Peter Gojowczyk with Jan-Lennard Struff but it was doubles partner Tim Puetz who proved the difference in the 6-4 6-7 (1-7) 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 win at Pat Rafter Arena.

Germany team captain Michael Kohlmann revealed he was convinced Kyrgios would play doubles and admitted to breathing easier when the n No.1 was officially omitted on Saturday.

While Kyrgios didn’t appear in the doubles, Hewitt warned the dual grand slam quarterfinalist was ready to make his presence felt on Sunday.

In what Hewitt predicted would be a five-set clash, the tie will go on the line when Kyrgios takes on world No.5 Alex Zverev in Sunday’s opening reverse singles rubber.

If Kyrgios is triumphant, 18-year-old debutant de Minaur will then need to step up and seal the tie against power-serving world No.58 Struff – ranked 81 spots higher than the plucky n.

“They are two of the young, talented players on the tour – it’s going to be a great match over five sets,” Hewitt said of Kyrgios’ much anticipated clash with German star Zverev.

“I am glad I have got Nick on my side.

“He has played so well for me in the past – hopefully he can go out there and do it again.

“We are a long way from beaten, that’s for sure.”

Former world No.1 Hewitt had hinted that he may play on Saturday but resisted the temptation, pairing Ebden with world No.4 doubles specialist Peers.

Kohlmann revealed he expected Kyrgios to be the man injected into the doubles after the n No.1 needed barely 90 minutes to brush aside Struff in straight sets in Friday’s singles.

“When I heard didn’t make a change I had a very good feeling,” he said.

“I thought Nick was playing for sure. He played one hour 30 minutes yesterday – I don’t even know if he was sweating.”

Ebden and Peers looked to have justified Hewitt’s selection, showing tremendous fight to come back from two sets to one down and force the Germans to scramble.

But it was 30-year-old journeyman Puetz – in just his second Cup tie – who stood tall, thrashing forehand winner after winner as Germany prevailed in a rubber lasting almost four hours.

Ebden admitted they had been “quietly surprised” by Puetz, a lowly No.144 in the doubles rankings who only made his Cup debut last year.

WBBL ready to step out of BBL shadows

Posted on 04/18/2019

Perth Scorchers captain Elyse Villani (L) says the WBBL is ready to step out from the men’s shadows.The captains of the WBBL finalists say the women’s competition is ready to step from the shadows of men and run on its own.

The Sydney Sixers meet the Perth Scorchers in Sunday’s final at Adelaide Oval in a fixture starting before midday as a prelude to the men’s BBL finale.

Sixers skipper Ellyse Perry and her Scorchers counterpart Elyse Villani believe their tournament is ripe to become its own stand-alone competition.

“I definitely do,” Villani told reporters on Saturday in Adelaide.

“Heading towards the (women’s) T20 World Cup in 2020, that is a stand-alone competition.

“I think that is a move that I think Cricket (CA) make soon.

“We’re definitely ready for it and looking forward to the challenge of continuing to create our own brand.”

Perry said having the WBBL as a stand-alone tournament was on the agenda of CA hierarchy.

“I know they have got plans to potentially make this competition a stand-alone competition,” Perry told reporters.

“But at the same time, we want to make sure that this is built on really strong foundations; that there’s a wonderful support and following of the game; that people are interested and want to turn up and watch it.

“And I think we have shown that a number of times this year – and the same with the (women’s) Ashes series and the amount of people that came out to that.

“The more we keep growing, the more opportunities we have to showcase the game; the more and more it’s going to turn into its own product.”

Sunday’s final is a rematch of last year’s decider won by the Sixers.

But the Scorchers have downed the Sydneysiders this season in their two minor-round meetings.

“We have got a really good history with Perth now,” Perry said.

“They play an outstanding brand of cricket. They have got some exceptional players in their squad … they’re a great challenge.

“The two sides match up pretty well and we have probably struggled against them this year.

“So it’s a great test to come up against them in the final and have another crack.”

A-League: Jets hold out Victory to strengthen grip on second

Posted on 04/18/2019

DROUGHT BREAKER: Skipper Nigel Boogaard celebrates after scoring his first goal in 15 months to help steer the Jets to a 2-0 win over Melbourne Victory at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday. Picture: Darren Pateman (AAP)SKIPPER Nigel Boogaard ended a 15-month drought and Riley McGree opened his goal-scoringaccount as the Newcastle Jets beat Melbourne Victory 2-0 in a tense clash at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday night.

Boogaard ends drought as Jets soar past Victory TweetFacebookErnie Merrick praises @NewcastleJetsFC defensive effort in 2-0 win over @gomvfc. @[email protected]苏州美甲/Nb0fy4Az3W

— James Gardiner (@JamesGardiner42) February 3, 2018

Boogaard, Nikolai Topor-Stanley and the midfield pair of Ben Kantarovski and Steve Ugarkovic were also strong, especially in the opening 45 minutes.

The Jets just shaded Victoryin a tense first half. The visitors had59% of possession but the Jets had the upper hand on the scoreboard.

Roy O’Donovan was pitched into the Jets starting side after missing eight games with a torn groin and the Irishman had a golden chance to put the home side ahead in the 16th minute.

Petratos took a quick freekick after Kantarovski was fouled and swung a wicked cross to the far post. O’Donovan got in behind the defence but his header flashed past the right post.

It had been a cagey opening up until that point.

Victory are lethal in transition and nearly made the Jets pay for a sloppy turnover in the 19th minute. Kosta Barbarouses exploded down the right and fired a stinging shot which was well saved by Jack Duncan at the near post.

Rhys Williams blazed a volley wide in the 29th minute as the visitors started to build pressure.

But the it was the Jets who opened the scoring a minute later.

Nabbout was fouled five metres in from the left touchline. With a southerly at his back, Petratos whipped a cross into the penalty area for Boogaard, who muscled in front of Williams and glanced a header into the right corner.

The Jets needed another brilliant save fromDuncan, dropping low to his left to denyBerisha, to ensure they went to the break in the lead.

In a helter skelter start to thesecond half, Victory keeper Lawrence Thomas was carried off on a stretcher with a head injury after a collision with Nabbout.

They both were going flat out for a Petratos through ball. The keeper got their just ahead of Nabbout and punched the ball and then collided with the Jets player.

Thomas received treatment but couldn’t continue and was replaced byMatt Acton.

There was no intent by Nabbout, but he was given a yellow card by referee Shaun Evans.

With Victory winning ascendancy in the middle of the park, Jetscoach Ernie Merrick introduced McGree for a tiring O’Donovan.

Berisha, who has only scored two goals in 10 visits to Newcastle, had a header slip past the far post as his chances continued to rack up.

Then, against the run of play, the Jets struck in the 72nd minute.

Jason Hoffman, breaking on the counter, threaded a ball forward for Nabbout, who cut back a cross from near the byline for McGree to slot home at the back post.

* Western Sydney Wanderers beat Melbourne City 3-1 in extra-time to win the final of the National Youth League championship at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday.

Phone radiation linked to male rat tumours

Posted on 04/18/2019

Male rats exposed to radiation from mobiles have been found to be at risk of developing tumours.Male rats exposed to very high levels of the kind of radiation emitted by mobile phones developed tumours in the tissues around their hearts, according to a draft report by US government researchers on the potential health risks of the devices.

Female rats and mice exposed in the same way did not develop tumours, according to the preliminary report from the US National Toxicology Program (NTP), a part of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

The findings add to years of research meant to help settle the debate over whether mobile phone radiation is harmful.

Although intriguing, the findings can not be extrapolated to humans, NTP scientists and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Friday.

They noted that the animal studies were meant to test extreme exposures to mobile phone radiation, and that current safety limits on mobile phone radiation are protective.

However, the two 10-year $US25 million ($A35 million) studies – the most comprehensive assessments of health effects and exposure to radiofrequency radiation in rats and mice to date – do raise new questions about exposure to the ubiquitous devices.

In the studies, about six per cent of male rats whose entire bodies were exposed to the highest level of mobile phone radiation developed schwannomas – a rare type of tumour – in nerve tissue near their hearts, while there were no schwannomas in animals that were not exposed to radiation.

“The intriguing part of this is the kind of tumours we saw were similar to tumours noted for quite some time in some epidemiological studies in heavy duty mobile phone users,” John Bucher, a senior scientist with NTP, said in a telephone interview.

“Of course, these were in the nerves in the ear and next to the brain, but the tumour types were the same as we saw in the heart.”

Dr Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, noted that the studies were negative for common tumours.

“These draft reports are bound to create a lot of concern, but in fact they won’t change what I tell people: the evidence for an association between cellphones and cancer is weak, and so far, we have not seen a higher cancer risk in people,” he said in a statement on Twitter.

Brawley said if mobile phone users are concerned about this data in animals they should wear an earpiece.

Unlike ionizing radiation such as that from gamma rays, radon and X-rays, which can break chemical bonds in the body and are known to cause cancer, radiofrequency devices such as mobile phones and microwaves emit radiofrequency energy, a form of non-ionizing radiation.

Morton, Glaetzer win cycling sprint golds

Posted on 04/18/2019

Amy Cure (file) has won the 25km women’s points race at the track national cycling in Brisbane. Cyclist Stephanie Morton (file) has easily defended her women’s national sprint title in Brisbane.

More than two hours of heavy lifting in an early morning leg session at the gym wasn’t enough to slow Stephanie Morton as she charged to back-to-back national sprint crowns in Brisbane.

Morton was too quick for Caitlin Ward in Saturday night’s final at the Anna Meares Velodrome, defending her national title with ease on the same track she’ll aim for back-to-back Commonwealth Games sprint titles in April.

Ward had upset 13-time national champion Kaarle McCulloch, who had beaten Morton in Friday’s 500m time trial final, to reach the final.

But she was no match for Morton despite the fatigue, with the race-day gym session a clear indication of where the focus was.

A full house cheered Morton’s name as she won in the velodrome named after the five-time Olympic medallist many hope she can succeed.

“It’s always leg day for us,” the 25-year-old quipped of her pre-race activities.

“We had some pretty big lifts … your body’s telling you ‘no I’m tired’ but your mind’s saying ‘no you’ve got to come out and win a national title tonight’.

“(At an Olympics or Commonwealth Games) your body can be screaming from four days of racing and you’ve got to tell it to shut up and that you’ve got a job to do.”

Also on Saturday, Matthew Glaetzer added another highlight after Thursday’s record-breaking time-trial win with a commanding victory in the men’s sprint over Jacob Schmid.

The men’s sprint field was thrown wide open after reigning champion Pat Constable was caught off guard by Victorian Tyler Meunier in Friday’s qualifying stage.

“It’s the big one; it’s the blue ribband of track sprinting and it’s one I really wanted to win,” Glaetzer said.

Earlier, defending champion Amy Cure held off surprise packet Kristina Clonan to win the national 25km, 100-lap points race title in a thrilling last-lap sprint finish.

Clonan won the 90th-lap sprint to edge within three points of the 2014 world champion and Rio Olympian and set up a two-woman tussle for the title.

The crowd favourite had a chance to steal the win on the second-last turn, with double points on offer, but missed her narrow opening on the inside and was boxed out as Cure enjoyed a clear run to the line.

Cure finished with 25 points in 31:46.72 minutes, five ahead of Clonan with Ashlee Ankudinoff third a further two points back.

Joshua Harrison capped a big day at the track with a gutsy win in the men’s 15km scratch race ahead of Stephen Hall and Rohan Wight.

The South set the early pace then out-sprinted a pack of five in what were a brutal final few laps.

Zverev first impression not good: Kyrgios

Posted on 04/18/2019

Nick Kyrgios admits his first impression of Germany’s Alexander Zverev wasn’t that glowing.At just 20, world No.5 Alex Zverev has been hailed by Boris Becker as the man to lead Germany out of the tennis wilderness.

But ‘s Nick Kyrgios has revealed his first impression of Zverev wasn’t as glowing.

Kyrgios, 22, will resume what has the makings of one of tennis’ great rivalries against German No.1 Zverev in their key Davis Cup reverse singles clash in Brisbane on Sunday.

The n No.1 admitted Zverev posed a tough challenge but wasn’t as complimentary about their first meeting back in junior tennis.

“I would have been 17 or 18. I played him in London in a juniors event, the final of a tournament before Wimbledon,” Kyrgios said.

“Honestly, if you want to know my honest thoughts, when I played him in the final I didn’t know he was going to be that good.

“I broke him first game and he was just carrying on.”

World No.14 Kyrgios now says he is not surprised that Zverev is one of the game’s best.

“I knew he was going to be decent though. He was always pretty confident,” he said.

The first meeting didn’t stop the pair becoming mates – a friendship that will again be tested at Pat Rafter Arena on Sunday.

Kyrgios holds a 3-1 head-to-head record against Zverev – all matches played last year.

“I guess for us it doesn’t matter what our rankings are – we played juniors together, we grew up together,” Kyrgios said of the German star.

“And we’re good mates. Rankings go out the window with us.

“I don’t mind playing him. We both know what we bring.

“I had some luck against him last year and that’s all it is.”

Zverev showed why he has been celebrated as the future of German tennis by six-time grand slam champion Becker in the first round tie’s opening singles rubber in Brisbane.

The 20-year-old’s booming serve proved the difference, finally silencing a raucous Aussie crowd when he prevailed over plucky rookie Alex de Minaur in a four hour, five set epic on Friday.

Zverev has emerged as a shining light for Germany which won the last of their three Davis Cup titles back in 1993.

They have lost in the Davis Cup World Group first round the last three years.

The once mighty Germany are now ranked 14th in the world.

“I think German tennis is coming back,” said Becker, now the German head of men’s tennis.

“We have had some years it has been not as good but Sascha (Zverev) is leading the way.

“And he is only 20. I am happy he is committed to Davis Cup, because these days they have so many other options.”

Centrelink consultancy spend in spotlight

Posted on 03/18/2019

The government is under fire for paying a US firm $430,000 to improve Centrelink call centres.The Turnbull government is under fire for handing over $430,000 to an American consultancy firm for ideas about resolving problems with Centrelink call centres.

Centrelink telephone services have attracted sustained criticism in recent years, with more than 55 million calls met with an engaged tone in the past financial year.

Telephone wait times also ballooned over the year, with people calling the welfare agency waiting on average 15 minutes and 44 seconds to speak with someone.

Pressure on the system prompted the federal government to team up with outsourcing group Serco late last year to help operate the service, taking on an extra 250 staff to cut through the backlog of calls.

Now, in a development first reported by The Guardian, the federal government has brought in a foreign consultant to improve the call centre’s operations.

The contract was awarded on a limited tender to US-based consultancy Brad Cleveland Company LLC for $430,000.

Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Nadine Flood described the spend as an outrageous waste.

“This is an absolutely outrageous amount to spend for this American consultant to tell us what any Centrelink call centre worker or customer already knows,” Ms Flood told AAP.

“DHS desperately needs more permanent staff to provide the service standards that ns need and deserve.”

Labor human services spokeswoman Linda Burney said throwing money at consultants and outsourcing groups would not fix the problems at Centrelink.

“Turnbull cut 1200 jobs from Centrelink at last year’s budget, and unanswered calls doubled to 55 million,” Ms Burney said.

“Centrelink needs permanent, full-time staff, who are qualified and familiar with the often complex issues facing ns who require income support.”

However, Human Services Minister Michael Keenan said the coalition was cleaning up a mess created by Labor.

“The previous Labor government slashed the department’s average staffing level and caused call-wait times to balloon,” Mr Keenan said.

“The coalition government is investing in major business and IT projects to modernise services, making it easier for people to interact with the department.”