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AFL Big Sticks: Tribunal intrigue, it must be finals time

AFL Big Sticks: Tribunal intrigue, it must be finals time

15/09/2019, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29486071

In an age where the match review officer decides most AFL penalties and clubs generally accept them, this week sees a return to the once all-too-familiar blockbuster tribunal hearing.

Greater Western Sydney star Toby Greene and Geelong’s Tom Hawkins were involved in controversial incidents on the weekend, both copping a one-week ban that will need to be overturned by the tribunal.

Greene was suspended for one game after being charged with making unnecessary or unreasonable contact to the eye region of Brisbane midfielder Lachie Neale.

Greene was referred directly to the tribunal on a serious misconduct charge a week ago after he made contact with the face of Western Bulldogs star Marcus Bontempelli in their semi-final.

He pleaded guilty and was fined $7500.

The Cats will also try to get Hawkins off after he was charged with striking and handed a one-match ban.

His case is set to be heard on Monday night.

The Giants play Collingwood in a twilight preliminary final on Saturday at the MCG, the day after the Cats and Richmond clash for the other grand final berth.

Cotchin says don’t mention 2018

Richmond captain Trent Cotchin says the club’s upset exit in last year’s AFL preliminary final will not be a factor in trying to topple the Cats.

The 39-point loss to Collingwood in 2018 brought an end to the Tigers attempt at back-to-back flags but Cotchin said that wasn’t “relevant” this week, instead emphasising focus on “little moments” within Friday’s game.

“You have to be at your best for the majority of the game to give yourself an opportunity, but you need to focus on the little moments,” Cotchin told reporters on Sunday.

Jordan De Goey
Magpie Jordan De Goey turns the screws on Richmond in 2018. Photo: Getty

“They’re the ones that you want to control going into a clash against a great team.”

Cotchin said he couldn’t remember his initial reaction to last year’s loss.

“There’s obviously a little bit of disappointment and frustration,” Cotchin said.

“But the reality is I think as a football club and team, we’ve just celebrated the journey for a long period of time now.

“And that’s what we get our enjoyment from – all the little moments, the nuances that make football and being part of a special organisation is what we love about it.

“We won’t be dictated to by a result or an outcome. We just want to make sure we give our best in each moment.”

Giants have winning form against Magpies

Greater Western Sydney has now made three preliminary finals in four years and go into its game against Collingwood knowing they can beat the Pies.

In their only clash this year the Giants smacked the Magpies by 47 points in Round 18 in Sydney.

Their last finals loss to the Pies was by 10 points in an MCG 2018 semi-final.

“It’s a completely different side and we’re a much more mature group, a much wiser group,” GWS midfielder Matt de Boer said.

A few changes to the game plan since then as well, so we go down with that much confidence.’’

GWS has welcomed back players from injury in recent weeks, knocking off the Western Bulldogs and Brisbane Lions in a Gabba thriller to give themselves a shot at making a maiden grand final.

“There’s a significant belief in the group that we don’t hold any fear anywhere and we’ve got effort and stars across every line,” de Boer said.

While GWS has a three-15 overall record at the MCG, de Boer said the ground held no fears for the Giants.

“We might train this week and make the ground a little wider, but we’re confident we can go anywhere,” de Boer said.

Coach Leon Cameron rated gun midfielder Stephen Coniglio, who has been out of action and required surgery since he hurt his knee in the Round 17 loss to Richmond, is an outside chance to return in Saturday’s game.

“If there’s any doubt we will not be taking him into any game,” Cameron said.

-with AAP

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NRL Straight Six: Sydney Roosters crowing as Storm clouds gather

NRL Straight Six: Sydney Roosters crowing as Storm clouds gather

15/09/2019, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29486072

The first week of NRL finals did not disappoint, with smashing and upsets in equal measure.

Sydney Roosters put on an absolute clinic in smashing their old rivals South Sydney 30-6 on Friday night.

The Chooks played an almost-perfect first half of footy, running out to a commanding 26-0 lead at half-time.

Luke Keary ran rings around his old club, with Joseph Manu and Latrell Mitchell dominating on the edges.

The Bunnies had no answers whatsoever, with coach Wayne Bennett admitting afterwards he was to blame for switching fullback Adam Doueihi to an unfamiliar position on the wing.

The defending premiers were completely flawless as they squeezed the life out of their neighbours.

They are now just one more win away from returning to the grand final.

Are the Raiders Melbourne’s bogey team?

For the second time this season Canberra have fought back to stun Melbourne Storm, recording probably the biggest shock of the weekend.

Melbourne has been the best team all year, but it mattered little to the Raiders as they stole a win in the 78th minute, thanks to a try from John Bateman.

Ricky Stuart’s men are tough, gritty and just won’t go away.

Pinged: Storm’s Justin Olam is caught in a Raiders tackle. Photo: Getty

They started the game on fire and edged 6-2 ahead at the break.

Storm staged its comeback and got ahead 10-6.

But a number of mistakes and penalties handed the initiative to Canberra and the Raiders did not disappoint, with BJ Leilua’s flick pass setting up Bateman’s try.

Melbourne tried to grab a last-minute try and was left incensed when the touch judge incorrectly ruled that Suli Vunivalu had gone into touch, preventing them from a final attack.

It was ultimately a great night for Green Machine and sends Storm back to the pack, for now.

Pyro problem
 throws a ‘rock’ at Leilua

Canberra’s victory over Melbourne had a touch of the bizarre before kick-off when centre Leilua suffered an eye injury from pyrotechnics as he ran onto the field.

Leilua was unable to start the match and had some plastic removed from his eye before coming on in the 20th minute.

He eventually came on and made a telling contribution to the Raiders winning the game.

“It felt like a rock in my eye, because your eye is so delicate,” Leilua told NRL.com after the match.

“I was thinking there had to be something in there.

The staff kept saying ‘there’s nothing in there’ but then finally they saw it right up the top of the eye – a little piece of ash.

“He checked to make sure my eyeball wasn’t scratched. It still took a couple of attempts to get it out, but then I was good to go.”

Sea Eagles give Cronulla a lesson in desperation

Injury depleted and down on form, Manly was expected to be up against it when it tackled Cronulla in their semi-final.

But the Sea Eagles forgot to read the script and pulled off one of the club’s best backs-against-the-wall results.

Despite being without the likes of Tom Trbojevic, Martin Taupau, Curtis Sironen and Joel Thompson, Manly romped to a 28-16 win to eliminate the Sharks.

Daly Cherry-Evans was superb and Addin Fonua-Blake provided the power in the middle as they rocked Cronulla.

The Sea Eagles will play Souths next weekend, with the winner facing off against the Roosters.

The way Des Hasler has got his team firing against all the odds, you just can’t write off Manly.

Moses is the mount
ain top

Brisbane has been battered, bruised and bashed after a powerful Parramatta side put it to the sword 58-0 in what was a history-making massacre.

The Eels watched the Roosters and Sea Eagles do a number on their opponents and seemed then to say ‘We can do better than that’.

It was half Mitchell Moses who did most of the damage, inspiring his team to a tremendous victory. In a towering performance he scored tries and set them up in a scintillating solo display.

But he wasn’t the only one in blue and gold putting on a show, with  Michael Jennings brilliant, Shaun Lane damaging, Dylan Brown dynamic, Maika Sivo strong and Blake Ferguson fantastic flying down the wing.

The Broncos were utterly dominated in a dreadful night for the Queensland outfit.

Parramatta will take on Storm next, full of confidence the Eels can knock off Melbourne.

Mary escapes the axe

St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor has been spared a sacking after a review by Phil Gould.

The former Panthers boss was brought in to look at the Dragons’ operations after they went through their worst-ever season.

St George Illawarra finished second from bottom and won only eight of 24 matches.

McGregor is under pressure to get the axe, but Gould has surprisingly recommended the coach keeps his job.

But ‘Gus’ has not ruled out joining the Dragons on a permanent basis.

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Nathan Burke: Trust me, forget stats when looking for a final winner

Nathan Burke: Trust me, forget stats when looking for a final winner

15/09/2019, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29486073

I’d like a dollar for every person who asks me ‘Who do you think will win the AFL Grand Final?’

The truth is, I have as much insight as the next footy lover.

In the absence of a firm answer I try to sound intelligent and compare players, game styles, home-ground advantages, all the time looking for a weakness one team can exploit over the other.

The reality is that none of that stuff really matters either when trying to work out who will win and who won’t.

To get into a preliminary final you have to be a good team with few weaknesses.

The real determining factors of how you go beyond that are difficult to identify and you certainly will not find them on any stats sheet.

Mostly they are impossible-to-measure intangibles to do with mental agility.

Finals are, as Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge noted, a ‘whole new ball game’.

Sure you still have to kick goals and stop the opposition from kicking goals, but it is what goes on between the players’ ears that makes all the difference.

Finals are won and lost by the mental strength or fragility of the majority of your players, not by pure talent alone.

As yet no one has come up with how to measure the confidence levels of a team.

Successful teams believe that if they play the way they want to play, it doesn’t matter what the opposition do to them they will prevail.

That preliminary final feeling: Geelong players celebrate their win over the Eagles. Photo: Getty

This is a hallmark of all great teams and the job of any coach is to instil this kind of belief.

After a great start on Friday night you could tell the Geelong players believed in themselves and the plan.

The fact that they lost a large lead and still came back to win is evident that they believe they are a good team that can take those knocks and still prevail.

I didn’t get the same sense that the West Coast Eagles thought this was their year.

If you can combine belief with intense focus, then you are well on your way to winning finals.

There are a lot of things that could potentially float through a player’s mind when he is playing in a sudden-death game in front of a huge crowd.

When the scoreboard isn’t in your favour, it is easy to start to think about the repercussions of losing and the impending devastation that is about to hit the club and everyone in it.

These thoughts can’t help but take you out of the moment and distract you from the game itself.

In the increased pace and ferocity of a finals match you cannot afford to think about anything other than where your next kick is coming from or what do you need to do to stop your opponent.

A single momentary lapse of concentration can have major consequences.

The reason why we have a lot of blowouts in finals games is that one team gets to the realisation that it is going to lose sooner than the other one.

The sharp focus needed to compete erodes and the downward spiral begins.

This year it seems that Greater Western Sydney is focused on what it has to do to win. You get the sense the Giants believe it is their time and nothing will put them off.

Giants players celebrate after putting the Western Bulldogs to the sword in their elimination final earlier this month. Photo: Getty

The other intangible you can’t measure is the level of trust throughout the team.

And, no, this isn’t trusting that your teammate won’t knock off your socks from your locker when they forget theirs.

It’s trust that they will do the right thing on the field, which allows you to be proactive about how you play.

You will not be a great team if you wait until things happen before you move on the field.

The top-line teams anticipate what their teammates are going to do and then get a jump on their opponent by leading early, leaving their man to run off or simply being confident enough to play in front, knowing you have help from behind.

You can’t win finals by being reactive as you will constantly be chasing the ball, your opponents and your tails.

Richmond personifies playing with trust. The way the Tiger players shoot off from their opponent can seem almost reckless at times.

That style only comes when you trust your teammate to look after you.

So really if you want a definitive answer as to who will win the big one, look for the team with the most belief, the sharpest focus and the highest trust in each other.

Throw the stats books away this weekend and trust me on this.

Nathan Burke is a former St Kilda captain who played 323 AFL games for the Saints, winning three Trevor Barker Awards as best-and-fairest player.

The post Nathan Burke: Trust me, forget stats when looking for a final winner appeared first on The New Daily.



https://thenewdaily.com.au/sport/afl/2019/09/15/nathan-burke-trust-me-forget-stats-when-looking-for-a-final-winner/
Basketball: Spain wins World Cup, Australia blows bronze

Basketball: Spain wins World Cup, Australia blows bronze

15/09/2019, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29486512

Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis insists the belief remains but is bracing for the inevitable backlash after Australia coughed up another big lead to finish fourth at the basketball World Cup.

The Australians lost to France 67-59 in the bronze medal game in Beijing on Sunday, giving up a 15 point lead when they appeared in complete control in the third quarter.

The loss was compounded hours later by watching Spain win the World Cup over Argentina 95-75, the Boomers having controversially lost to the ultimate champions in a double overtime semi-final on Friday.

It is the fifth time the Boomers have lost a bronze-medal game, the four previous coming in Olympic competition and most recent a one-point loss to Spain in Brazil three years ago.

Andrew Bogut of Australia drives against Rudy Gobert of France. Photo: Getty

The Boomers were humming in the third term when Ingles’ (17 points) three-point play over Utah Jazz teammate Gobert put them up by 15.

But he went off briefly thanks to the blood rule and it all fell apart, France heating up after a 25 per cent shooting effort from the field in their worst World Cup first half since 1963.

Turnovers, 19 in all, were again the killer while four-of-17 shooting from long range left them with nothing to counter France with when they finally woke up.

Andrew Albicy’s nine points came at all the right times for France, while Nando de Colo’s 19 points cancelled out Patty Mills’ 15.

Aron Baynes entered with a groin injury but played through the pain in a shortened 13-minute stint, having starred against the French in Monday’s 100-98 win in Nanjing.

Lemanis said fatigue played into their poor execution down the stretch in both losses, pointing out they had played well in clutch moments earlier in the tournament as they built a 6-0 record.

“I don’t know; I guess we’ll find out in time, right?,” he said when asked if the side had a monkey on its back.

“I guess that’s what everybody will talk about, but you play the game as it unfolds in front of you .

“You can’t question the effort and I think there’s certainly belief in the group that we’re good enough to go get a medal.”

The entire team refused to address media as they left the court, many heading to the dressing room with tears in their eyes after another near miss.

“We just sat in the change room and you could hear a pin drop until we walked out here,” bench utility Mitch Creek said in the press conference later.

For everyone in Australia. … everyone that supported us and backed us in … it means the world to us. We gave it absolutely everything we had.”

It is more heartbreak for Lemanis and the core group that came within one basket of Olympic bronze against Spain at the 2016 Olympics.

“The sorrow comes from the effort that the boys put in,” he said.

“Them not being rewarded for the sacrifices and commitment to them and playing the right way.”

It had hardly been the ideal lead-in with Andrew Bogut only cleared to play in the hours leading up to the match after a foul-mouthed spray in the aftermath of Friday’s double overtime loss to Spain.

Bogut was reported as saying: “We all know where FIBA’s headquarters is. It’s a f–––ing  disgrace. Cheating ass motherf–––ers… Google where headquarters of f–––ing FIBA is … f–––ing disgrace”.

He had also rubbed his fingers together in a money gesture after a dubious foul was called on him that allowed Spain to take the lead in the final seconds of regulation time.

It was expected the former NBA star would face a fine or suspension, but he was ultimately cleared to play.

In the grand final Spain never looked like losing.

Tournament MVP Ricky Rubio scored 20 points and Sergio Llull added 15 for Spain (8-0), the ninth team to make it through a World Cup or world championship unbeaten, while Gasol scored 14 for the winners, who never trailed on Sunday.

For Marc Gasol, it was historic. The Toronto Raptors centre becomes the second player to win an NBA title and a FIBA world gold medal in the same year, joining Lamar Odom, who did it for the Los Angeles Lakers and USA Basketball in 2010.

Gasol also became the 19th player to win either an NBA or WNBA crown along with a gold medal, either of the Olympic or World Cup variety, in the same year.

And he’s the first to accomplish that feat while representing a nation other than the US.

“NBA champion and a World Cup champion as well,” Gasol said.

Spain’s Marc Gasol with the World Cup trophy. Photo: Getty

“What can I say? How does it sound to you? I feel very fortunate to be in this position and be able to play this game and help these guys be part of history of Spanish basketball.”

Gabriel Deck scored 24 points for Argentina (8-1), who got off to a slow start and played uphill the rest of the way. Luis Scola was held to eight points, shooting 1 for 10 from the floor.

“We’re sad right now. We’re very sad,” Scola said.

“But I feel confident, in hours, we’ll be able to look back and be very proud. They just played better than us. They were better. They deserved to win. They were the better team in the game and the tournament.”

Spain led 43-31 at intermission, after putting together a 14-2 run to open the game and a 17-1 run later in the half.

“This is basketball,” Argentina coach Sergio Hernandez said.

“If you play better than the other team, you win the game. And Spain was the best team today.”

BOOMERS BRONZE-GAME WOES

* 1988 Seoul Olympics: Lost 78-49 to USA

* 1996 Atlanta Olympics: Lost 80-74 to Lithuania

* 2000 Sydney Olympics: Lost 89-71 to Lithuania

* 2016 Rio Olympics: Lost 89-88 to Spain

* 2019 China World Cup: Lost 67-59 to France

-with AAP

The post Basketball: Spain wins World Cup, Australia blows bronze appeared first on The New Daily.



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Basketball World Cup: Australia blows bronze medal-winning lead

Basketball World Cup: Australia blows bronze medal-winning lead

15/09/2019, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29485920

Australia has coughed up another big lead to finish fourth at the basketball World Cup, losing to France 67-59 in the bronze medal game.

The Boomers led by 15 points in Sunday’s third quarter but, just as they did against Spain in Friday’s semi-final, couldn’t land the killer blow as their wait for an international medal continues.

It is the fifth time the Boomers have lost a bronze-medal game, the four previous coming in Olympic competition.

Joe Ingles (17 points) took hold of the early scoring, gliding to the basket for a lay-up before his tough step-back made it 12 first-half points.

Andrew Bogut drives against Rudy Gobert. Photo: Getty

Rudy Gobert was kept scoreless and frustrated in the first half, sending his wild hook shot over the backboard to bring in the break.

The Boomers were humming in the third term when Ingles’ (17 points) three-point play over Utah Jazz teammate Gobert put them up by 15.

But he went off briefly under the blood rule and it all fell apart, France heating up after a 25 per cent shooting effort from the field in its worst World Cup first half since 1963.

Andrew Albicy’s nine points came at all the right times for France, while Nando de Colo’s 19 points cancelled out Patty Mills’ 15.

It continues Australia’s long wait for an international medal and does so in brutal fashion, especially given it came so close to securing silver or gold in a double-overtime loss to Spain – having also led by 11 – in the semi-final just two days ago.

BOOMERS BRONZE-GAME WOES

* 1988 Seoul Olympics: Lost 78-49 to USA

* 1996 Atlanta Olympics: Lost 80-74 to Lithuania

* 2000 Sydney Olympics: Lost 89-71 to Lithuania

* 2016 Rio Olympics: Lost 89-88 to Spain

* 2019 China World Cup: Lost 67-59 to France

-AAP

The post Basketball World Cup: Australia blows bronze medal-winning lead appeared first on The New Daily.



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Super Netball: Swifts shock Lightning to win grand final

Super Netball: Swifts shock Lightning to win grand final

15/09/2019, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29485541

The New South Wales Swifts have upset two-time premiers Sunshine Coast Lightning to win the Super Netball grand final 47-64.

With Sarah Klau driving the Swifts forward and Trinidadian shooter Sam Wallace in fine form, the underdogs established an early break and held off several Lightning fightbacks.

The third quarter was key, with Lightning getting back into the game before a Swifts blitz in the final minutes which saw them take a 10-goal lead into the last quarter.

Lightning went into the final on a nine-game winning streak, which itself was off the back of striking twice for titles in 2017 and 2018.

Swifts Paige Hadley, who came back from her own run of bad form, told Channel Nine it was an amazing achievement after 11 years without a flag.

“I’m just so, so proud of these girls,” Hadley said. “We came out all year and we said that we could do this and here we are.”

More to come.

 

 

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Super Netball: NSW Swifts shock Sunshine Coast Lightning to win grand final

Super Netball: NSW Swifts shock Sunshine Coast Lightning to win grand final

15/09/2019, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29485694

The New South Wales Swifts have upset two-time premiers Sunshine Coast Lightning to win the Super Netball grand final 64-47 at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Sunday.

With Sarah Klau driving the Swifts forward and Trinidadian shooter Sam Wallace in fine form, the underdogs established an early break and held off several Lightning fightbacks to secure their first Super Netball flag.

The third quarter was key, with Lightning getting back into the game before a Swifts blitz in the final minutes saw them take a 10-goal lead into the last quarter.

Lightning went into the final on a nine-game winning streak, which itself was off the back of striking twice for titles in 2017 and 2018.

On target: Swifts’ Sam Wallace reaches for a ball. Photo: Getty

Swifts Paige Hadley, who came back from her own run of bad form, told Channel Nine it was an amazing achievement after 11 years without the club winning a title.

“I’m just so, so proud of these girls,” Hadley said. “We came out all year and we said that we could do this and here we are.”

Natalie Haythornthwaite of the Swifts is just ahead of Lightning’s Madeline Mcauliffe. Photo: Getty 

Lightning’s goal attack Stephanie Wood had a poor game and was emotional afterwards, saying her team had just had an off day.

“When it rains it pours. The Swifts put out a brilliant performance and we weren’t up to it,” Wood said.

“I was probably more nervous today than previously had been.

“We did everything we could in the lead up. Just wasn’t our day.”

It was an empty farewell for Sunshine Coast’s founding coach Noeline Taurua, whose tenure at the expansion club is also over.

The defeat may also be the final act in Australia’s national league for off-contract Lightning star Laura Langman, who has yet to declare her plans for 2020.

Klau started the premiership surge with a whopping 11 gains and five intercepts while the polish was added by goal shooter Wallace, who finished with 40 goals from 44 attempts.

Diamonds defender Klau and her defensive partner Maddy Turner never allowed Lightning to click in attack, and their teammates were just as disciplined.

The Swifts landed the first blow of the day when they forced one of Lightning’s prime movers Wood to the bench before quarter-time.

Wood, a mainstay in the national team and a leader for her club side, couldn’t make an impact under immense pressure from Swifts defenders Klau and Turner.

The balance of power hinged on an epic duel between centres Langman and Hadley.

They pursued each other from one end of the court to the other like angry swallows.

Swifts captain Hadley had the edge for much of the first half and that was reflected on the scoreboard when her team stretched its lead to eight goals at the break.

The demands of running with the world’s best player took a toll on Hadley as Lightning skipper Langman hauled her side back into the contest in the third quarter.

Yet, as hard as Langman ran, she couldn’t will her side any closer on the scoreboard.

-with AAP

The post Super Netball: NSW Swifts shock Sunshine Coast Lightning to win grand final appeared first on The New Daily.



https://thenewdaily.com.au/sport/netball/2019/09/15/super-netball-swifts-shock-lightning/
The Ashes 2019: Fifth Test frustration fuels a storm of snipes and sledging

The Ashes 2019: Fifth Test frustration fuels a storm of snipes and sledging

15/09/2019, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29485049

A prickly Tim Paine has launched a fierce defence of his teammates conduct after Australia lost control of the fifth Ashes Test on day three at the Oval, where England marched to 8-313 at stumps to hold a 382-run lead.

Paine’s team, needing to avoid defeat to record Australia’s first Ashes series triumph in England since 2001, have looked off from the moment the captain opted to bowl when coach Justin Langer thought batting first made more sense.

England are now in the box seat to record a consolatory victory that would draw the series, with Australia already facing a chase more intimidating than that which Ben Stokes completed in Leeds.

The highest successful chase at the Oval is England’s 9-263 against Australia in 1902, while the overall record in England is Australia’s 3-404 at Headingley in 1948.

Australia created a collapse of 6-91 in Saturday’s final session, the highlight of which was a spectacular diving slips catch from Steve Smith, but were left to rue a couple of game-changing reprieves during Stokes and Joe Denly’s 127-run stand.

The chirping of Paine and Matthew Wade also attracted plenty of interest as tempers frayed between the rivals, including a tense exchange as played filed off for lunch in which Stokes allegedly called David Warner a “f***ing pr**k”.

Australian skipper Tim Paine has defended his teammates’ conduct. Photo: Getty

Wade was rebuked by umpire Marais Erasmus in the morning session, during which England captain Joe Root told the Tasmanian he “can’t have it all” his way.

“There was nothing in it at all,” Paine said, denying that Erasmus cautioned Wade about his chatter.

Stump microphones later picked up one of the Australians uttering “yeah, Bristol!” while Stokes was at the crease, a reference to the infamous Bristol nightclub incident in 2017.

Denly, who rode his luck to top score with a career-best knock of 94, was at the non-striker’s end and denied hearing the word “Bristol”.

“You tell me? I think we’ve been fantastic,” Paine said, when asked about his team’s behaviour.

“It’s competitive Test cricket and people are going to talk to each other. I don’t know why it’s such an issue. It’s fine.

“They are grown men having a conversation, no-one is swearing, no-one is abusing anyone.

“I don’t understand why so much is made of something so little, particularly given the standard of cricket being played.”

Australia looked physically exhausted and were uncharacteristically sloppy, their best fielder Smith clutched four catches but grassed a chance offered by Stokes on seven.

Stokes went on to score 67, sapping the tourists’ morale.

Denly, who was dropped on one by Marcus Harris during Friday’s final over, would have been out on 54 if Paine reviewed an lbw shout.

“There’s always going to be a bit of niggle but nothing over the line … Stokesy deals with that pretty well,” Denly said.

Fatigue after an intense six weeks in England – or four months for those stars backing up after the World Cup – is presumably to blame for Australia’s malaise but Paine declared “it’s not an excuse for anyone”.

-AAP

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The Ashes: England set Australia 399 to win fifth Test

The Ashes: England set Australia 399 to win fifth Test

15/09/2019, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29485936

England has set Australia an unlikely 399 runs to win the fifth Test at The Oval.

Joe Denly top scored with 94 in England’s 329, with only 16 runs added to the overnight score of 8-313.

Australia’s openers managed to survive the first three overs without loss, with Jofra Archer looking to make the most of the big lead.

Out of form David Warner was off the mark with two.

On Sunday morning (AEST) a prickly Australian skipper Tim Paine launched a fierce defence of his teammates’ conduct after Australia lost control of the fifth Ashes Test on day three at the Oval.

Paine’s team, needing to avoid defeat to record Australia’s first Ashes series triumph in England since 2001, have looked off from the moment the captain opted to bowl when coach Justin Langer thought batting first made more sense.

England is now in the box seat to record a consolatory victory that would draw the series, with Australia already facing a chase more intimidating than that which Ben Stokes completed in Leeds.

The highest successful chase at the Oval is England’s 9-263 against Australia in 1902, while the overall record in England is Australia’s 3-404 at Headingley in 1948.

Australia created a collapse of 6-91 in Saturday’s final session, the highlight of which was a spectacular diving slips catch from Steve Smith, but was left to rue a couple of game-changing reprieves during Stokes’ and Joe Denly’s 127-run stand.

The chirping of Paine and Matthew Wade also attracted plenty of interest as tempers frayed between the rivals, including a tense exchange as players filed off for lunch in which Stokes allegedly called David Warner a “f—ing pr–k”.

Australian skipper Tim Paine has defended his teammates’ conduct. Photo: Getty

Wade was rebuked by umpire Marais Erasmus in the morning session, during which England captain Joe Root told the Tasmanian he “can’t have it all” his way.

“There was nothing in it at all,” Paine said, denying that Erasmus cautioned Wade about his chatter.

Stump microphones later picked up one of the Australians uttering “yeah, Bristol!” while Stokes was at the crease, a reference to the infamous Bristol nightclub incident in 2017.

Denly, who rode his luck to top score with a career-best knock of 94, was at the non-striker’s end and denied hearing the word “Bristol”.

“You tell me? I think we’ve been fantastic,” Paine said, when asked about his team’s behaviour.

“It’s competitive Test cricket and people are going to talk to each other. I don’t know why it’s such an issue. It’s fine.

“They are grown men having a conversation, no-one is swearing, no-one is abusing anyone.

“I don’t understand why so much is made of something so little, particularly given the standard of cricket being played.”

Australia looked physically exhausted and were uncharacteristically sloppy, their best fielder Smith clutched four catches but grassed a chance offered by Stokes on seven.

Stokes went on to score 67, sapping the tourists’ morale.

Denly, who was dropped on one by Marcus Harris during Friday’s final over, would have been out on 54 if Paine reviewed an lbw shout.

“There’s always going to be a bit of niggle but nothing over the line … Stokesy deals with that pretty well,” Denly said.

Fatigue after an intense six weeks in England – or four months for those stars backing up after the World Cup – is presumably to blame for Australia’s malaise but Paine declared “it’s not an excuse for anyone”.

-with AAP

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