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NRL’s Bulldogs confirm head coach Dean Pay has left

NRL’s Bulldogs confirm head coach Dean Pay has left

14/07/2020, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29950668

Dean Pay has left the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs with immediate effect, the club has confirmed.

Pay told the players he was leaving at the club’s Belmore training ground on Tuesday morning before sending a brief statement to Bulldogs members.

“I’d like to thank the Bulldogs for the opportunity to be the head coach at a club that has always meant so much to me,” Pay said.

Pay took over the Bulldogs from Des Hasler in 2018, but has struggled to just 19 wins in his 57 matches in charge.

The Bulldogs lost to fellow strugglers Brisbane Broncos 26-8 at Lang Park on Saturday in his last match at the helm.

Bulldogs boss Andrew Hill confirmed Pay had left the club, which is sitting at the foot of the NRL ladder with just one win in nine matches this season.

“Both parties agreed that it was in the best interests of the individual and the club to part ways,” Hill said.

“These decisions are always tough, particularly when they involve someone who has been part of the Bulldogs family for a long time.

“The fact is though that the club and Dean have decided that we need to move in a different direction to take the team forward and Dean was in agreement that now was the right time for both parties to part ways.

“We did not rush this decision and have taken our time to look at what was best for the club in regard to success moving forward.

“I’d like to thank Dean for his contribution over the past three years and all the hard work and passion he has given the club.”

Current Bulldogs assistant coach Steve Georgallis will take charge of Saturday’s clash against St George.

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Struggling to hit full pace: How coronavirus has infected sport

Struggling to hit full pace: How coronavirus has infected sport

14/07/2020, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29950343

What if they played a sporting event and no one came?

Well, the nation’s elite sports tried that for a while and it didn’t work out particularly well.

In the early weeks of sport’s coronavirus-hit twilight zone, what officials discovered was that big-money games not only need the buzz of crowds to survive financially but also to provide a sense that something was at stake.

What the fans got in early rounds was a peek behind the hype curtain, and it wasn’t impressive – most of our heroes looked and sounded just like the park footballers they once were.

The technologists were soon employed to boost NRL and AFL games by bringing the absent fans back into the game and, despite some sidelines moaning, the results have been impressive.

Still, not so impressive that Sydney’s opportunistic offer on Monday to provide crowds and financial security to sporting bodies in exchange for some of Melbourne’s biggest events was not rejected out of hand.

Clearly venues able to provide a safe environment, no matter where they are located, is sport’s new home-ground advantage.

With officials now relying on television revenue to keep competitions afloat and provide entertainment to fans in lockdown, the immediate focus is not where events will be held, but the quality of what’s being served up.

It has often not been pretty, with players adapting to new tactics and many not being at peak form having missed many group training sessions.

In the AFL, Exhibit-A would be Sunday’s frustrating slog at the Gabba between Sydney and Richmond – a game that even the winning coach Damien Hardwick described as “horrendous”.

Low scoring has become a staple of this season’s shortened matches, but the defensive nature of the wet-weather game and the inability of both teams to score made for a dire spectacle.

“It was hard to watch. It was hard to play,” Hardwick told reporters after the match.

“It was just incredibly frustrating … We had 50-odd inside 50s for four or five goals, which is farcical in nature, really. Horrible game of football.”

His comments reignited a debate that has been simmering in the social media background all season – is the AFL harming its brand by playing in these COVID-straitened times?

Although most commentators agree the game must go on, calls for changes to improve the product are gathering pace, with the size of the interchange bench again the focus.

Rotations were capped at 90 per side in 2016 and kept for this year despite the objections of many coaches.

But on Monday, former rule committee member and long-time proponent of two on the bench Kevin Bartlett reopened the debate on Twitter.

Bartlett and others who think fatigued players are the answer to freeing up the game from the defensive machinations of win-at-all-cost coaches should perhaps cast an eye to the NRL.

In rugby league’s peak competition, the ‘six again’ rule initially reinvigorated matches this season, only to cause unforeseen issues and week-by-week rule tweaks.

By deeming the referee should restart the tackle count instead of awarding a penalty for an offence in the ruck, the NRL became a more free-flowing affair – until all those running tries got somewhat boring.

With the demise of some long-standing defensive tactics, the class gap between teams has been exposed.

The result has been a significant increase in blowout games, something no television-based sport can sustain in the long term.

Richmond forward Jack Riewoldt scraps against Swan Colin O’Riordan. Photo: AAP

What’s clear from the first two months of the restarted AFL and NRL seasons is that the concessions to player welfare being made in the post-COVID era make this a year like no other.

Veteran commentator Tim Lane believes the nature of competitions have clearly been changed by the coronavirus rules, but maintains for every poor AFL match there has been a game that has provided quality entertainment.

“If anything, I’m warming to it a bit as it goes along,” Lane told The New Daily.

“It has been quite unpredictable. And while there have been some terrible games, there have been some pretty good ones.

There have been a lot of close finishes which I think is being facilitated to some extent by the shortened games … and the fact that the scoring is commensurately lower.

“It has been keeping teams within touch, so there haven’t been too many games that a team is so far behind that it would give up the ghost.

“This will be remembered as a year that is very different. But ultimately when someone raised the cup, I guess it gets recorded as the premier team for 2020 … they will have overcome the challenge.”

Lane also thinks it’s important that sport and its participants remain clear in the examples that they set in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

“Footy is seen as something that provides a bit of joy so it is important and good for people – and I think it is having that effect … yet if people are becoming a little more cavalier in the (coronavirus) disciplines … the restart of sport and the popular football cards might well contribute to that,” he said.

“It does give us a feel that our freedoms are restored.”

For sporting officials tweaking their attack versus defence rules, or even a tired community fighting an unseen virus, it seems at least one thing is clear – too much freedom can make a mess of things.

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https://thenewdaily.com.au/sport/sport-focus/2020/07/14/how-coronavirus-has-infected-sport/
CAS overturns Manchester City’s Champions League ban

CAS overturns Manchester City’s Champions League ban

13/07/2020, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29949873

Manchester City has successfully overturned its two-year ban from the UEFA Champions League.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport on Monday upheld City’s appeal against the UEFA ban, but imposed a 10 million euro ($16 million) fine for failing to co-operate with investigators.

The verdict by three judges clears Pep Guardiola’s team to play in the group stage of the Champions League next season.

The case does not affect City’s place in this season’s competition, which resumes next month with a round of 16 second-leg clash against Real Madrid in Manchester.

City’s win guarantees tens of millions of dollars in UEFA prize money next season.

It also protects against players leaving to seek Champions League action with another club.

“Whilst Manchester City and its legal advisers are yet to review the full ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the club welcomes the implications of today’s ruling as a validation of the club’s position and the body of evidence that it was able to present,” City said in a statement on their website.

“The club wishes to thank the panel members for their diligence and the due process that they administered.”

UEFA punished City in February for “serious breaches” of rules monitoring club finances and failing to co-operate with investigators.

The allegations included that the EPL club, owned by Abu Dhabi’s royal family, misled European football’s governing body UEFA over several years to meet financial integrity rules – known as financial fair play – required to enter European club competitions.

City denied any wrongdoing and UEFA had previously signed off on the club’s submitted accounts since 2014.

That year, UEFA fined City 20 million euros ($33 million) of its Champions League prize money in a first wave of assessments of European clubs’ finances.

A full verdict detailing the evidence, expert witness testimony and the judges’ reasons is unlikely to be published for several weeks.

UEFA could choose to challenge the CAS ruling at Switzerland’s supreme court.

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Richmond AFL star Bachar Houli reveals mother’s coronavirus fight

Richmond AFL star Bachar Houli reveals mother’s coronavirus fight

13/07/2020, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29949648

AFL star Bachar Houli has revealed his mother is in intensive care battling COVID-19, and has pleaded with Melbourne’s Muslim community to “change your mindset” about the deadly virus.

The Richmond player uploaded a video to his Instagram page on Monday afternoon, in which he said his family was going through a “tough time”.

“I thought I’d share a very quick message and a reminder for myself and everyone out there and more specifically to the Muslim community out there,” he said.

Houli said his mother Yamana was “currently in ICU undergoing some very heavy treatment”.

“The team in the ICU is taking care of her. Her current state is a mixed one. God knows best her situation,” he said.

“What burns and what hurts truly is the fact that [none of] her family members can go and visit her, which is very, very tough. Please put yourselves in this position.”

It comes as Victoria’s coronavirus tally rose to 3967 on Monday, of which 1612 were active cases.

The biggest outbreak, 144 cases, is linked to Al-Taqwa College, a Islamic school in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

‘For the sake of Allah, go get tested’

The 32-year-old premiership player said he was not seeking sympathy, but hoped his family’s story would encourage others to get tested for coronavirus and to adhere to the state government’s stay-at-home orders.

“Hopefully you can change your mindset about COVID-19. The reality is, it is out there. I’m experiencing it right now within my family,” he said.

“Please, I urge you for the sake of Allah, go get tested. If you’re showing any form of symptoms, if you’re not showing any symptoms, please do your bit.

“I’ve been tested over 30 times being a current AFL player … It tickles a little bit, it doesn’t hurt. It’s a very, very quick procedure.”

In a statement, Richmond general manager Tim Livingstone said the club and its members were thinking of Houli.

“As a club, we’re continuing to offer Bachar and his family the support they need at this time, and we all hope Yamama recovers from COVID-19 soon,” Livingstone said.

Houli, a devout Muslim and community leader, remained in Melbourne while his Richmond teammates relocated to Queensland for five matches.

Earlier this month, his wife Rouba gave birth to the couple’s third child.

ABC

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Lords of the ring: Jeff Horn and Tim Tsyzu ink date for Townsville showdown

Lords of the ring: Jeff Horn and Tim Tsyzu ink date for Townsville showdown

12/07/2020, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29948325

Former WBO welterweight world champion Jeff Horn will fight Tim Tsyzu in Townsville on August 26 in what looms as potentially one of the best attended and biggest boxing bouts of the year.

The domestic superfight between Queenslander Horn and Sydneysider and Tsyzu, the unbeaten world-ranked junior middleweight, was originally slated for April but postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Queensland government confirmed the rescheduled date for the bout which will be held at Townsville’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

Despite fears the fight would have to be held behind closed doors, organisers have announced up to 16,000 fans will be allowed to attend, and possibly even more should restrictions be lifted before the promotion.

“We’ve managed to boost the overall capacity to to 32,000 with seats going on the ground,” said Horn’s promoter Dean Lonergan.

“With current Queensland restrictions allowing a maximum 25,000 people or up to 50 per cent of the stadium, it’s allowed to put 16,000 people in there with COVID restrictions.

“Thanks to the great work of the Queensland government we are looking forward to one of the biggest fights in the world to take place.

“Not many major fights around the world of this nature can take place because of crowd restrictions and the fact that they can’t generate enough revenue to put these fights on.”

Horn (20-2) has never lost a professional fight in his home state.

“To finally have a new date and to know I’ll be fighting in Townsville in front of a home crowd is just great,” Horn said.

The fight will pit 32-year-old Horn against the much younger Tsyzu – the son of former light-welterweight world champion Kostya Tszyu, who won a non-title bout in Townsville in December 1997.

Tsyzu, 25, who has won all 15 of his professional fights, two of them in Queensland, said he is eager to face the more experienced Horn.

“I’m really excited for this fight,” Tsyzu said. “I hope to put on a great show for everyone.”

-AAP

 

 

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Manly wants to lead way on changing vocabulary around disabilities after Fonua-Blake outburst

Manly wants to lead way on changing vocabulary around disabilities after Fonua-Blake outburst

11/07/2020, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29948825

Addin Fonua-Blake will ask to attend a NSW anti-discrimination board meeting, as Manly coach Des Hasler vowed to help eliminate the word “retard” from the vocabulary.

Hasler issued a strong and sincere seven-minute apology on Saturday on behalf of the Sea Eagles, acknowledging Fonua-Blake had breached United Nations conventions.

The Manly coach said Fonua-Blake would ask to front a board meeting to apologise personally after the prop labelled referee Grant Atkins a “f–king retard” in last Sunday’s loss to Newcastle.

Fonua-Blake has already copped a $20,000 fine for breaching the NRL’s anti-vilification code, and a two-match ban for a contrary conduct charge.

He will miss Sunday’s clash with St George Illawarra, adding to Manly’s woes given it is already without the injured Tom Trbojevic and Dylan Walker.

Hasler said a formal apology would be sent to the Australian Human Rights Commission and Anti-Discrimination NSW.

But the veteran mentor said the most important outcome had to be in collective leadership in removing the word from use both in and outside of the game.

“The expulsion of its inappropriate and derogatory use from our vocabulary is critical in creating a civil society,” Hasler said.

“The word ‘retard’ is viewed by the those within the disability community as extremely offensive.

“Its removal is as important to the disability Community as the removal of inappropriate words to the Black community, the LBQTI+ and to our Australian First Nation peoples.

“Addin and the club acknowledge that the use of the term ‘retard’ has no place in today’s civil society.”

Manly will also bring in experienced rugby league executive Dirk Melton,  who lives with autism, to address Fonua-Blake and the Manly players.

Both Fonua-Blake and players will also volunteer to assist people with a disability.

The club has made a point to hand out details on people with disability in Australia, as well as the disability royal commission that was established last year.

Hasler said he had been careful to monitor Fonua-Blake’s welfare through the week, as the pressure intensified on the 24-year-old.

“He’s been OK. It’s been tough on him. It’s certainly been a learning curve,” Hasler said.

“But let’s not disguise the fact it’s about the broader aspect here and people with a disability.

“We need to find a way to turn this into a positive going forward.”

-AAP

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Manly want to lead way on changing vocabulary around disabilities after Fonua-Blake outburst

Manly want to lead way on changing vocabulary around disabilities after Fonua-Blake outburst

11/07/2020, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29947084

Addin Fonua-Blake will ask to attend a NSW anti-discrimination board meeting, as Manly coach Des Hasler vowed to help eliminate the word “retard” from the vocabulary.

Hasler issued a strong and sincere seven-minute apology on Saturday on behalf of the Sea Eagles, acknowledging Fonua-Blake had breached United Nations conventions.

The Manly coach said Fonua-Blake would ask to front a board meeting to apologise personally after the prop labelled referee Grant Atkins a “f**king retard” in last Sunday’s loss to Newcastle.

Fonua-Blake has already copped a $20,000 fine for breaching the NRL’s anti-vilification code, and a two-match ban for a contrary conduct charge.

He will miss Sunday’s clash with St George Illawarra, adding to Manly’s woes given they are already without the injured Tom Trbojevic and Dylan Walker.

Hasler said a formal apology would be sent to the Australian Human Rights Commission and Anti-Discrimination NSW.

But the veteran mentor said the most important outcome had to be in collective leadership in removing the word from use both in and outside of the game.

“The expulsion of its inappropriate and derogatory use from our vocabulary is critical in creating a civil society,” Hasler said.

“The word ‘retard’ is viewed by the those within the disability community as extremely offensive.

“Its removal is as important to the disability Community as the removal of inappropriate words to the Black community, the LBQTI+ and to our Australian First Nation peoples.

“Addin and the club acknowledge that the use of the term ‘retard’ has no place in today’s civil society.”

Manly will also bring in experienced rugby league executive Dirk Melton – who lives with autism – to address Fonua-Blake and the Manly player group.

Both Fonua-Blake and players will also volunteer to assist people with a disability.

The club has made a point to hand out details on people with disability in Australia, as well as the disability royal commission that was established last year.

Hasler said he had been careful to monitor Fonua-Blake’s welfare through the week, as the pressure intensified on the 24-year-old.

“He’s been okay, it’s been tough on him. It’s certainly been a learning curve,” Hasler said.

“But let’s not disguise the fact it’s about the broader aspect here and people with a disability.

“We need to find a way to turn this into a positive going forward.”

-AAP

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Noah Lyles smashes Usain Bolt’s world record – only to find it didn’t measure up

Noah Lyles smashes Usain Bolt’s world record – only to find it didn’t measure up

10/07/2020, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29945655

For a fleeting moment world champion Noah Lyles thought he had broken Usain Bolt’s 200m world record, before being told he had only run 185 metres.

An ambitious attempt to hold a high-tech athletics meeting with runners in different stadiums was always going to be a tricky affair, and so it proved when Lyles, running in Florida, completed the race at the Inspiration Games in a jaw-dropping 18.90 seconds.

The time would have smashed Bolt’s record of 19.19 seconds and his own personal best time of 19.50.

But, after initial confusion, his official result read “shorter distance” and it appeared that the American had started from the wrong line. Swiss television said he had only run 185 metres.

The race was won by Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre, running in Zurich, in 19.80 seconds, one hundredth of a second ahead of Dutchman Churandy Martina, who was running in the Netherlands.

The meeting was the Zurich Weltklasse’s answer to the coronavirus which has prevented conventional events from taking place.

It prides itself on the use of high technology which allowed athletes separated by thousands of kilometres to compete against each other.

“Special times require special approaches and that’s what we invented,” said Andreas Hediger, the co-director of the Inspiration Games.

“We go to the athletes if the athletes cannot come to Zurich.”

The starting guns were synchronised and the three runners in each track event shown on a split screen, although slightly different camera angles in the respective venues made it difficult to tell the leader until the finish line came into view.

In the top race, multiple Olympic and world championship medallist Allyson Felix overcame 400 metres Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo and world bronze medallist Mujinga Kambundji over 150 metres.

Felix was racing in California, Miller-Uibo in Florida and Kambundji in Zurich.

“It was very strange, it felt like practice, but not even with the team-mates,” Felix said.

“I missed the energy, but any chance to get out here and run I will take it. It was really important to get out there and appreciate the sport. I can’t wait until we can compete in person.”

Thirty athletes took part in the event which was held in seven stadiums across Europe and North America.

-with agencies

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Back sweat replacing saliva in first Test

Back sweat replacing saliva in first Test

10/07/2020, Australia, Multi Sports, The New Daily , Article # 29945551

England fast bowler Mark Wood says players were using ‘back sweat’ rather than saliva to try and shine the ball in the first Test against West Indies at the Ageas Bowl.

Strict health protocols are in place for the return of international cricket after a 117-day stoppage caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including a ban on saliva.

It did not bother the West Indies bowlers who dismissed England for 204 on the second day with Jason Holder taking six wickets for a career-best test haul.

Wood later steamed in, bowling at frightening pace, but West Indies ended the day well-placed on 1-57.

“Back sweat has been the major thing at the moment with saliva going out the window,” Wood said.

“Only your own, although we’re mingling the back sweat a little on the ball, I’ve got some of Jimmy (Anderson’s) and Jofra (Archer’s).”

It was a disappointing day for England and, with a better weather forecast for Friday, West Indies have the chance to seize control of the match.

ngland struggled with the bat, as James Holder led the way for the West Indies. Photo: AP

“We haven’t had the best day so plenty to do. I’d prefer a few in the wickets column rather than the pace column,” Wood, who was up in the mid 90 mph range, said.

“They bowled well and got to give them credit, but 204 wasn’t on the radar, we’d have liked 250 or 300.

“We didn’t get it right with the ball, they got their line and length spot on. It’s a bit of cobwebs and rust.”

Holder had been troubled by an ankle injury in the build-up to the test but produced a magnificent display of bowling, including taking the crucial wicket of his England counterpart Ben Stokes for 43.

“My patience has definitely increased. Before I was trying to bowl too many deliveries in one spell,” he said.

“I look at consistency, and patience was one of the things I was lacking. Using the crease is something I strive to do and using the angles at the point of delivery. When you’re not as quick as some people, you’ve got to be skilful.”

-agencies

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