Bulldogs down but not out in AFLW: coach

The Western Bulldogs have a mountain to climb after Saturday’s loss to Melbourne, but coach Paul Groves says it is too early to rule the Dogs out of AFL Women’s premiership contention.


Demons skipper Daisy Pearce starred in the 6.7 (43) to 4.5 (29) win at Whitten Oval that saw the Bulldogs slump to a 1-2 record.

With the top two teams after seven rounds to contest the AFLW grand final, the Bulldogs – one of the top pre-competition fancies – are back in fifth.

“In all honesty I do think we can still make it,” Groves said.

“But if we get beaten in facets of the game like we did (against Melbourne) it’s going to be hard work.

“But the talent is in my squad so we can certainly have a crack at it.

“Potentially with two losses you can still make it.

“It just sets the scene for a huge game against Collingwood.

“Two losses isn’t ideal, I’d certainly rather be 2-1 or 3-0, but we’ll look to bounce back.”

The Dogs were without star skipper Katie Brennan against the Demons, but Groves is hopeful she will be fit for next week’s clash against the winless Pies.

The Demons got their season back on track with two wins in the past fortnight moving them to fourth with a 2-1 record.

“We’re pleased because we know our game is continuing to improve,” coach Michael Stinear said.

“We’re pleased we’ve been able to get a couple of wins in a row now, but we certainly understand there’s plenty of work to be done.

“We just want to see this group improve every day.”

The Demons will attempt to keep their winning momentum going when they host Carlton at Casey Fields on Saturday.

FFA condemn homophobic WSW fan banner

Football Federation Australia has roundly condemned a homophobic banner brandished by Western Sydney fans during Saturday night’s A-League Sydney derby, and foreshadowed punishment for those involved.


The banner, depicting a blue-faced man giving oral sex, was put up in the Wanderers’ support area at ANZ Stadium during the second half of the game, won 1-0 by the Wanderers.

It remained aloft in front of the 44,843-strong family-friendly crowd for a number of minutes while security appeared to watch on before it was eventually taken down.

The FFA on Sunday made clear their disgust at the “discriminatory” image depicted and leaving open the possibility for sanctions against the club or its fans.

“FFA is aware of the unauthorised and totally unacceptable banner that was displayed in the Western Sydney Wanderers area during Saturday night’s Sydney derby at ANZ Stadium,” A-League chief Greg O’Rourke said.

“The discriminatory nature of the tifo has no place in society and will not be tolerated in the A-League.

“We are working with the club and currently gathering as much information as possible and will deal with the matter when we have all available facts including CCTV footage.”

The Wanderers’ active supporter group, the Red and Black Bloc, publicly saluted the banner on Sunday, posting it to its Twitter account alongside a quote from Sydney coach Graham Arnold.

The club itself declined to comment after the game on Saturday night, but confirmed on Sunday it was working with FFA to investigate.

“Due to the inappropriate nature of the item it was swiftly removed by our supporter management team and disposed of,” chief executive John Tsatsimas said in a statement.

“As a club made up of the most diverse and inclusive cross-section of members and fans in Australian sport, we do not condone the imagery depicted in the banner.

“The club remains committed to working with FFA and our stadiums to ensure our matches remain a positive, family-friendly environment.”

The Wanderers are sweating on a suspended points deduction, in place until the end of this season as punishment for fan trouble associated with lighting flares.

FFA is also helping NSW Police investigate a reported brawl between Sydney and Wanderers fans, along with other violent and anti-social behaviour that led to a total 15 arrests during the game.

Bank inquiry bringing results: Turnbull

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says his inquiry into the nation’s four big banks has brought real results after the ANZ said it was cutting interest rates on two of its credit cards.


ANZ will from Thursday cut its low rate platinum card by two per cent to 11.49 per cent and its low rate classic card by one per cent to 12.49 per cent, which it says are the lowest rates since 2003.

“I’m bringing the banks regularly before the House economics committee and they are being held to account for their actions and you are seeing real results,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Darwin on Sunday.

Last October’s review by the House of Representatives committee was the government’s response to repeated calls from Labor, the Greens and others for a royal commission.

The committee is due to review the banks again early next month.

Liberal MP Scott Buchholz, who is a committee member, said a royal commission had no capacity to instruct the banks about dropping their interest rates, whereas the inquiry had brought results and he welcomed ANZ’s decision.

“They’ve shown commercial courage and leading the charge on dropping the rates first,” he told ABC television.

But consumer advocate Choice spokesman Tom Godfrey said none of the big banks had credit cards with competitive interest rates.

“It’s an attempt by ANZ to try and take the heat off themselves and the other banks to show they’re responding to community concerns,” he told AAP.

“The big four banks are just not competitive. The best interest rates in the market are under 10 per cent and offered by the credit unions.”

The majority of customers with ANZ’s low rate platinum or low rate classic cards were middle class people using them for everyday purchases such as groceries, the bank said.

“We’ve listened to customer feedback about credit card rates and decided our low rate customers would benefit most from a rate reduction as they are more likely to have ongoing debt from month to month,” executive Fred Ohlsson said.

“These changes mean they will have the best rate available from any of the major banks or any of the regional banks owned by the majors.”

But Mr Godfrey said the majority of credit cards advertised as low rate were up around 14 per cent, making them cold comfort for many families.

“A lot of people are on credit cards with toxic interest rates around 18 or 19 per cent or higher,” he said.

Crossbench senator Nick Xenophon said the banks needed to do more to bring down credit card costs.

“The gap between the official cash rate and credit card rates has never been higher and I think that we really need to look at some form of either greater market competition, or the banks need to really explain themselves in gouging consumers in this way,” he said.

The 30 Aussies in the IPL auction


Reserve of 20,000,000 Indian rupees (approximately $A389,000): Mitchell Johnson, Pat Cummins

Reserve of 15,000,000 INR (approximately $A292,000): Brad Haddin, Nathan Lyon

Reserve of 10,000,000 INR (approximately $A195,000): Nathan Coulter-Nile, Dan Christian

Reserve of 5,000,000 INR (approximately $A97,000): Brad Hogg, Nic Maddinson, Callum Ferguson

Reserve of 3,000,000 INR (approximately $A58,000): Sean Abbott, Ben Dunk, Michael Klinger, Mitchell Swepson, Ben Laughlin, Billy Stanlake, Fawad Ahmed, Michael Beer, Ben Dwarshuis, Joe Burns, Sam Heazlett, Johan Botha, Ben Hilfenhaus, Alex Ross, Tom Cooper, Jack Wildermuth

Reserve of 2,000,000 INR (approximately $A39,000): Chris Green, Ashton Turner

Reserve of 1,000,000 INR (approximately $A19,000): Ben McDermott, Nick Buchanan, D’Arcy Short.


WHERE ARE AUSTRALIA’S BIGGEST STARS LIKE DAVID WARNER AND STEVE SMITH? Warner and Smith are among the many Australians already contracted to franchises, meaning they don’t need to be auctioned. Warner captained Hyderabad to the IPL title last year, while Smith plays for Rising Pune Supergiants. HOW MUCH MONEY IS ON OFFER? Approximately $A27.9 million.

APPROXIMATELY HOW MUCH WILL CUMMINS AND JOHNSON GO FOR? That’s the million-dollar question. The auction always throws up surprises. Some players are sold for clearly inflated prices, others are bizarrely overlooked altogether, like Usman Khawaja last year. WHAT IS THE RECORD PRICE FOR AN AUSTRALIAN PLAYER? Shane Watson was sold to Royal Challengers Bangalore for $A1.98 million last year, falling just short of the $A2.01 million that Rajasthan Royals paid to retain Shane Warne in 2011. WHAT ABOUT OVERALL? Yuvraj Singh holds the record, having signed a $A3.31 million contract with Delhi Daredevils in 2015.


It begins at 3pm (AEDT).

RTS steers Warriors to NRL trial win

New captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has played a key role in the Warriors’ five-try 26-6 NRL trial win over Gold Coast in Palmerston North.


The 23-year-old ex-Sydney Rooster played a strong hand in the first three tries, and also featured in a solid game-long defensive effort.

Tuivasa-Sheck was playing his second game back since a serious knee injury ended his 2016 season after just seven games.

Awarded the captaincy two weeks ago, Tuivasa-Sheck is finding his feet in the unfamiliar role.

“I’m feeling comfortable, especially with the boys around me – they’re helping me, they’re supporting me,” he said.

“I haven’t done so much stuff as a captain, I’ve just been one of the boys yelling out the calls and reminding them of their jobs.”

While the win was a satisfying result, fullback Tuivasa-Sheck said there was still plenty of work to do.

“We ran OK today – happy to see that some of our stuff worked. There was definitely a lot of stuff that didn’t, and we need to improve.”

The signs were encouraging with slick handling and strong running from Tuivasa-Sheck and playmaker Shaun Johnson keeping the Titans on the back foot.

The pressure finally told after 20 minutes, with 18-year-old Isaiah Papalii dotting down on a repeat set of six off a late Tuivasa-Sheck popped pass.

Winger Tuimoala Lolohea crossed for the Warriors’ second after 33 minutes, finishing off a sweeping move which featured the quick hands of Issac Luke, Johnson and the ever-present Tuivasa-Sheck.

Johnson nailed a tricky conversion, and the Warriors looked set to take a 10-0 lead into the break until a clever Ashley Taylor grubber in behind the line popped up perfectly for centre John Olive.

The Warriors’ 10-6 halftime lead opened out to 14-6 when David Fusitu’a ran onto another perfectly timed Tuivasa-Sheck short ball, then James Gavett bulldozed over for a fourth with 15 minutes remaining.

Ex-captain Simon Mannering pounced on a loose ball from a Johnson grubber with less than five minutes to go, completing a promising showing two weeks out from the Warriors’ season-opener against Newcastle.

The Titans, resting Jarryd Hayne, finished the match with a worrying injury toll which included a rib cartilage injury to Ryan Simpkins and a shoulder problem for Nathan Peats.

Tyler Cornish and Morgan Boyle both took head knocks in the second half and left the field, before Pat Politoni was forced off late with an arm injury.

The Warriors escaped more lightly. A minor foot strain forced Ryan Hoffman from the field in the first half and Gubb will have a precautionary X-ray on a sore neck following a tackle.

Hawks turn heat back on 36ers in NBL semi

Illawarra Hawks coach Ron Beveridge has wasted no time in trying to heap pressure on Adelaide 36ers after his team sent their NBL semi-final series to a game three decider.


The Hawks kept their championship hopes alive with a nail-biting 100-94 home victory over the 36ers in game two on Sunday, setting up an all-or-nothing clash in Adelaide on Thursday night.

“We respect them but there’s no fear,” Beveridge said of minor premiers Adelaide. “All the pressure is on them.

“They’re the number one team and they’ll be on their home court, so all the expectation is on them to win.”

The series has had an intense and physical edge ever since 36ers star import Jerome Randle described the Hawks as a dirty team on the eve of game one.

Beveridge’s post-match comments showed there was still plenty of feeling.

“They wanted to finish the series on our court and rub it in our faces and we didn’t let them,” he said.

“We know we have to go over to Adelaide and go to another level and be even better than we were tonight.

Beaten 93-78 by the 36ers in game one, the Hawks held their nerve in a high-pressure final quarter.

Guard Mitch Norton rose to the occasion with a season-high 17 points and forward Tim Coenraad had 17 in a strong performance off the bench.

Adelaide front-court duo Daniel Johnson and Eric Jacobsen combined for 29 points, while recently-crowned NBL MVP Randle scored a game-high 20 points for the Sixers but made just 8-22 shots and had five turnovers.

The Hawks led by five at half-time and took a one-point lead into the fourth quarter where the lead chaged several times.

“We had some opportunities out there when it was a tied ball game,” Sixers coach Joey Wright said.

“A few possessions weren’t real clean and we got a bit stagnant.

“It was a great game. If we’d just done one or two things different we’re talking a different game.

“There’s not many adjustments [needed) at this point. We know what they’re running, they know what we’re running. We’ll just come out and see what happens.”

Giants eye super sports club status

Greater Western Sydney believe they’re a step closer to becoming a powerhouse club in Australian sport after an historic Super Saturday.


All three Giants teams – AFL, AFLW and Super Netball – played on the same day for the first time.

Around 4000 people attended each of the three fixtures and It was a momentous day for both the AFL Women’s and netball teams.

At Blacktown in western Sydney, the Giants fought out a thrilling 43-43 draw with Fremantle in the first AFLW match played in NSW.

A few hours later, Giants Netball played in the first match of the inaugural Super competition, scoring a five-goal derby win over NSW Swifts at Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre.

Sandwiched between the women’s games, the Giants’ AFL men’s side beat West Coast by 33 points in a pre-season game in Narrandera in country NSW.

“It was momentous, it really was a historic day,” GWS Giants chief executive officer David Matthews told AAP on Sunday.

“For the netball team to be playing their first ever (Super) game and to have a win in a derby is just an outstanding start to their history.

“The (AFL) Women’s game, I was overwhelmed by the atmosphere.

“We went so close to our first win in the women’s AFL competition, but the draw was probably a fitting result in the end. That’s a bit of history in itself, the first draw in the AFLW competition. .

“To play West Coast and beat them in front of a parochial Giants crowd was great as well.

“It’s incredibly exciting when you think almost 12,000 people across three different venues were watching three different varieties of Giants sport.

“But just really overall it was a Super Saturday.”

The youngest AFL club has always had big ambitions.

“We’ve always aspired to be a club like no other, ” Matthews said.

“That’s part of our purpose is to continue to provide family entertainment for the people in western Sydney and Canberra.

“It’s just such a natural thing to have two platforms for women’s sport as well now..

“We’re hopefully over time going to become a genuinely big sporting club and to be represented in three competitions is fantastic..

“I think the future is very bright. In amongst our 15,000 members there’s almost a couple of thousand just of the AFLW team.

“i know that Giants Netball would have been delighted to have sold that game out yesterday. As a starting point, that sets the benchmark for them going forward.”

.Matthews said the three Giants three teams already spent time together and there was plans for that interaction to increase.

“There is a fair bit of integration between the three teams. We’ll increasingly do social things together,” he said.

“But they also do a lot of work in terms of sharing the various strategies or training needs.”

World’s best team tag motivating Cronulla

Four months after their fairytale NRL grand final triumph Cronulla are out to prove they’re the No.


1 club side in the world.

The Sharks take on Wigan in the early hours of Monday morning (AEDT) in the World Club Challenge decider at DW Stadium in front what is expected to be a crowd of 25,000.

Coach Shane Flanagan is without premiership-winning backs Valentine Holmes and Sosaia Feki, who are injured, and also has a makeshift fullback in Gerard Beale due to Ben Barba’s exit from the NRL to French rugby.

There is also the huge void at hooker left by Michael Ennis’ retirement with rookie rake Jayden Brailey and Fa’amanu Brown to split the dummy-half duties.

But the core of the side that beat Melbourne 14-12 to end the club’s 49-year wait for a premiership will run out against the Super League champions.

A repeat of the one-sided win for North Queensland over Leeds last year will give further ammunition to critics of the tournament but Flanagan believes there should be a place for the World Club Series regardless of the scoreline on Sunday.

However, he warned that his side are as focused on beating the Warriors as they were on winning the grand final.

“Part of winning the NRL premiership is that you come over here and play and in the World Club Challenge to be the best club side in the world,” Flanagan told AAP.

“We’re really looking forward to it and really looking forward to playing in this game and loving being here.”

The transformation of the Sharks since Flanagan took over from Ricky Stuart in 2010 has been far from smooth with the shadow of the ASADA investigation that led to the coach being suspended for 12 months in 2013 almost ripping the club apart.

But the club’s board stood by Flanagan, who was allowed to return for the start of the 2015 season, and they were rewarded for their loyalty with a long-awaited maiden premiership.

Although he is reluctant to revisit his exile from the game, the 51-year-old is immensely proud of the way the club has recovered from its lowest ebb to become NRL premiers.

“The club has come a long way, we have been in the semi-finals every year bar one, and that was in my first year,” Flanagan said.

“We’re a competitive club and we play semi-finals year in, year out and if you do that you give yourself the chance to play in a grand final.

“That is where I want this club to be. We always thought we could get there, but there is not use talking about it, you have to show you can win these big games.

“WInning the comp has changed our club. The way we act and the way we think.

“We class ourselves as a leader in the NRL and we’ve got to keep proving that. But it is a challenge.”

Phillips’ goal sinks Carlton in AFLW

As an Olympic medallist and international basketball star, Erin Phillips is used to producing something special when it counts.


And the Crows captain didn’t disappoint, kicking the winning goal against Carlton on Sunday to give undefeated Adelaide a three-point victory in a hotly-contested AFLW match in Adelaide.

The Crows trailed at every break and looked to struggle in the windy and sometimes wet conditions.

But then, four minutes into the final term, Phillips pounced on a loose ball 60 metres from goal, kicked long and bounced it through for the clincher in the 2.5 (17) to 2.2 (14) win at Thebarton Oval.

“That will go down in the highlight reel, won’t it,” Crows coach Bec Goddard said after the win which kept Adelaide unbeaten and on top of the premiership ladder.

“A terrific team goal and really special. Something that everyone will enjoy watching later.”

Phillips and the Crows dominated the final term, the skipper finishing with 19 possessions as Adelaide surged to the win in front of more than 9000 fans.

Sally Riley kicked the other goal for the Crows while Darcy Vescio and Sarah Hosking kicked Carlton’s two majors.

Vescio had looked dangerous until she was shutdown in the second half.

The Crows took until the third term to kick their first goal, with the Blues successfully halting their running game and proving solid in defence.

But Goddard said it was that third-quarter, against-the-wind goal which proved crucial.

“That really set us up going into the last with our tails up,” she said.

“We knew at three-quarter time that the foot was on the goose’s neck and it was up to us as to whether we put the foot down.

“The girls put the foot down.”

Carlton coach Damien Keeping said the game was predictably tight and swung on “one or two little things”.

“I don’t think there was any one thing we can put our finger on right now,” he said.

“But it is a knife-edge you play on.”

Apart from Phillips, other major ball winners for the Crows were Chelsea Randall with 17 disposals and Ebony Marinoff with 15.

For Carlton, Brianna Davey had a game-high 23 possessions, including 15 in the first half, Danielle Hardiman had 15 and Lauren Arnell 14.

Melania Trump attacks husband’s critics in Florida speech

Preceding her husband on the dais at a rally in the city of Melbourne, the first lady started her remarks with the words “let us pray,” before beginning her recitation of the well-known Christian prayer.



“Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven,” Mrs Trump read from the lectern, wrapping up the roughly half-minute-long prayer with an “Amen.”


She then launched into an uncharacteristically strident defense of her husband – and her own brief tenure as first lady. 

“The America we envision is one that works for all Americans and where all Americans can work and succeed,” she said. 

“A nation committed to a greater civility and unity between people from all sides of the political divide. I will always stay true to myself and be truthful to you, no matter what the opposition is saying about me,” said the first lady, wearing a red frock with a fitted waist and flared skirt, her mane of blonde hair blowing slightly in the breeze.

“I will act in the best interests of all of you. I’m committed to creating and supporting initiatives dear to my heart. Which will have impact on women, and children all around the world,” she said.

“My husband is creating a country of great safety, and prosperity,” the first lady said before introducing President Donald Trump, ceding the podium to cheers and applause.

Melania Trump has been a rare presence with her husband since the inauguration. 

To the dismay of some critics, she has decided to continue living at their palatial residence in Trump Tower in New York until their 10-year-old son Barron finishes the school year.

Purists and traditionalists have been disappointed that the first lady has not kept with precedent and immediately joined her husband in the White House residence. 

The poised, impeccably dressed Melania – a former model from Slovenia – is 24 years younger than her 70-year-old billionaire husband. She is Trump’s third wife.

Her modeLling career brought her in the mid-1990s to the United States, where she met the real estate mogul and reality television star she would eventually marry.

President Donald Trump hits the campaign stump for a rally in Melbourne, a city on Florida’s famed Space Coast, seeking to reconnect with his tribe of largely white, male middle-class voters.

First lady Melania Trump listens to President Donald Trump speak at his “Make America Great Again Rally” in Florida.AAP

He delivered a speech lasting about 45 minutes in what was billed by the White House as “a campaign rally for America.”

After pressure from US lawmakers, Melania Trump announced this week that the White House will finally reopen to the public in early March, nearly seven weeks after her husband Donald became president.

White House tours are highly popular with visitors to Washington, a perk arranged by members of Congress for their constituents and foreign embassies for their nationals.

Some members of Congress had begun complaining about the long delay in restarting tours that had been suspended since Trump’s inauguration January 20, and some critics have blamed the delays on Melania extended absence.

However, criticism of the first lady has been mild compared to the blistering attacks lodged against her embattled husband, who is engaged in open warfare with the media and facing a major political contretemps over allegations of possible ties between his senior aides and officials in Russia. 

The controversy led to the resignation earlier this week of national security adviser Michael Flynn.