Keep offenders’ names secret: players

The AFL players’ union and league medical bosses are opposed to a call for integrity investigators to be told which footballers have drug strikes, because confidentiality under the illicit drugs policy is too important.
Shanghai night field

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon on Tuesday suggested the league’s integrity team should be told the identity of players who failed tests, because they were more susceptible to blackmail and to being coerced into spot-fixing scenarios.

AFL integrity services manager Brett Clothier, when questioned by Xenophon at a Senate committee hearing into gambling reform, conceded the issue should be discussed by the working party established at the league’s drug summit in January.

Under the AFL’s illicit drugs policy, the identities of players who fail drug tests are known only to the player, his club doctor and the league’s medical commissioner.

The AFL Players Association’s general manager of player relations, Ian Prendergast, said on Wednesday the proposal was ”unnecessary and inappropriate” and had never been raised by the league.

”It would seem that there are a number of things that can be considered to deal with concerns around corruption and integrity before we look at that information being provided,” he said.

”It’s certainly inconsistent with the reasons why the policy was established. Whilst we are open to discussing measures to ensure the integrity of our game is maintained, these will need to be balanced with protecting the fundamental rights of players, including the right to privacy.”

AFL medical officials also expressed resistance to names being released, as confidentiality was one of the foundations the illicit drugs policy was based on.

Adelaide medical officer Andrew Potter said players had agreed to the policy only after being convinced confidentiality would be respected. ”The more people that are involved, the greater the risk of a breach of confidentiality. ”Our association’s [the AFL Medical Officers Association] policy is that we are very comfortable with the current model.”

With Jon Pierik

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

in 上海419论坛 | Comments Off on Keep offenders’ names secret: players

Young players hit hardest by injury

The AFL’s youngest footballers are missing almost 50 per cent more games due to injury than their counterparts from the 1990s.
Shanghai night field

While agreeing the raw data looks alarming – and that it warrants deeper investigation – the league’s medical experts are defending the findings from the 21st annual injury report, which showed a general drop in overall injury incidence, prevalence and recurrence last season.

Co-authors of the report, Professor John Orchard and boss of the AFL medical officers association Dr Hugh Seward, said that players under the age of 21 were now missing almost as many matches in a season as the game’s veterans (26 year-olds and older) because the younger players’ injuries were being managed better. But both also suspect that the demands of modern football are taking a toll.

The report suggests that the game’s increased intensity is exposing the AFL’s youngest talent to injury – in particular shoulder, hip, groin and thigh complaints.

”I think that there are two factors,” Seward said. ”One is the change in medical management, but also there is a higher exposure to injuries because the intensity of training and playing is so different to what it was.

”But it’s not a 50 per cent increase in injury rate, it’s an increase in the time out – the prevalence.”

The data shows that in the past seven years players under 21 have missed almost the same amount of games as those over 26. Between 1992-98, in contrast, players over the age of 26 spent more than 50 per cent more time out of football with injury than the youngest players in the game.

In the last seven years, the younger players have also missed more time with a raft of complaints – leading in the categories of shoulder, spine, groin, quadriceps, thigh, hip, leg and foot stress fracture injuries – than any other age group.

The 2012 injury report also revealed a record increase in the incidence of calf strains – a result that Orchard said might be a mere ”blip”, or could be something more sinister. ”It is perhaps somehow related to the game trends,” he said.

”It may be related to more movement at low speed and less movement at high speed.”

The incidence of reported concussions in 2012 was down by 0.1 per cent on the 2011 figure, but was still double the average for the past 10 years. As clubs become more conservative in their management of the condition Seward forecast that the number could rise again.

”It’s not because there are more head injuries. In fact, we know from the lower instance of facial fractures that there are less head injuries,” he said.

Seward said clubs were making ”better prognostic decisions” and cited the use of ”imaging”, such as MRI scanning, as a critical development for the game. ”To go from recurrence rates of nearly a quarter down to less than 10 per cent is surely one of the most remarkable things that we can identify,” he said.

Though it has the data on how individual clubs perform with injuries, the AFL does not release it, believing it could compromise transparency. ”Some clubs might even fudge their data if they didn’t want to be the worst,” Orchard said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

in 上海419论坛 | Comments Off on Young players hit hardest by injury

Cap could cut blowouts: Judge

As coaches and players continue to line up against the controversial interchange cap, a former AFL coach says the new restrictions could help even up the competition and generate more close games.
Shanghai night field

Former Hawthorn and West Coast coach Ken Judge is one of few commentators to admit he is ”not totally against” the interchange cap, which the AFL says is definitely coming in some form in 2014.

Judge said restricting the interchange could bridge the gap between the league’s best and worst teams and keep scores closer for longer in matches.

”Blowouts” were a major issue last season. Midway through 2012, the average losing margin had spiralled to 42.2 points, making it the most lopsided season in AFL history.

By season’s end, that figure had dipped only minimally to 41.5 points, with 53 of the 207 games – basically a quarter – decided by 60 points or more.

”By having open slather on the interchange, I think that can favour better sides,” said Judge, who coached the Hawks and Eagles over six seasons between 1996 and 2001.

”If you’ve got a better midfield or better running players, you can just keep rotating good players against lesser players in the opposition, over and over, and eventually that wears the lesser sides down,” Judge said.

”On top of the fact that you’ve already got more talent anyhow, you are actually able to – because of the unrestricted interchange – throw fresher players against those lesser sides more often.”

A meeting with the AFL’s rule-makers has reassured Carlton coach Mick Malthouse that he and his colleagues will get their say on next year’s interchange cap.

”I’m sure each club would have an optimum number,” Malthouse said. ”If you took that over 18 clubs and knocked off the bottom one and the top one then you’re going to get somewhere near the number that most clubs think is the right number.”

Malthouse said the committee convinced him it had the game’s interests at heart. He, in turn, had stressed that the coaches also valued the game and its players.

Almost every player and coach interviewed during the NAB Cup has objected to the trial of the 80 rotation interchange cap. Melbourne’s Nathan Jones said it would be ”irresponsible” to keep interchange caps as low as 80 for the home-and-away season, suggesting the players’ workload would ”significantly increase”. However, West Coast coach John Worsfold raised the alternative view. ”Players just have to change their mindsets again – from going absolutely flat-out for six or seven minutes and coming off for a rest, to knowing that maybe they have to pace themselves a bit and stay out there,” he said. ”Just like so many of the champions of the game did for the entirety of their careers. They will adjust and cope.”

Interestingly, the coach of the other West Australian team, Fremantle’s Ross Lyon, has also stayed neutral on the issue.

Now the debate has turned to the magic number of rotations that should be attached to it. There is a growing view among some Victorian clubs that 120 rotations would be fair.

The 2012 AFL injury report, released on Wednesday, looked at the issue of the interchange cap and whether use of rules to purposefully tire out players led to more fatigue-related injuries.

The authors said there was no evidence to say that an interchange cap would result in fewer injuries.

With Samantha Lane

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

in 上海419论坛 | Comments Off on Cap could cut blowouts: Judge

LEAGUE: Rabbitohs  to break drought

WHEN South Sydney are going well, rugby league is going well, or so the saying goes. If that is true, the NRL season should be a belter. Herald rugby league reporter BRETT KEEBLE reckons 2013 is the Year of the Bunnies.
Shanghai night field


Souths tick all the boxes. They have a massive, mobile pack; size and speed in their backline; proven performers Adam Reynolds, Issac Luke and Greg Inglis in the key ball-handling positions of halfback, hooker and fullback; and in Michael Maguire a coach capable of making all the right calls. The Rabbitohs would have gained invaluable experience by reaching the top four last year and getting within one game of the grand final. This year they can go all the way.


The Cows were rolling at the right end of last season and were a couple of dusty calls away from playing in a grand final qualifier against the Storm in Melbourne. Playing behind Australian props Matt Scott and James Tamou, and surrounded by a solid supporting cast, Johnathan Thurston will never get a better chance to win a premiership as ‘‘the man’’. They have made only minor changes to their roster and have all the ingredients to be there on the last night.


You can’t kill the Storm with a stick. Every year, you wonder what might happen if Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk or Billy Slater suffered a serious injury, and every year, they don’t. And every year, coach Craig Bellamy gets the best out of his next crop of discards and desperates and they end up winning the comp or going close. History suggests they won’t win again, because it has been 20 years since premiers have repeated, but they will be in the mix.


This was going to say the Sharks are title contenders, having added Penrith’s Luke Lewis and Michael Gordon and Tigers Chris Heighington and Beau Ryan to a seasoned squad. That was until late yesterday when news services went into meltdown amid speculation Sharks players could be stood down after being interviewed by ASADA. Betting has been suspended on the Sharks-Titans game, and Cronulla directors met last night to discuss developments. Hold all tickets.


The old ‘‘gotta lose one before you win one’’ theory has been a myth in recent years. The past three grand final runners-up have finished 14th (Warriors 2012), 11th (Roosters 2011) and 12th (Eels 2010) the following year. Can’t imagine Canterbury will tumble that far, but losing Dally M Medallist Ben Barba indefinitely wasn’t a great start. Coach Des Hasler earned his siege mentality masters degree at Manly and will keep the Dogs snapping at the heels of the top four.


The air was heavy with expectation among Knights players and fans this time last year, but Wayne Bennett didn’t share their enthusiasm. What’s different now? The coach is confident his players finally understand what he expects of them, and he likes what he has seen at training and trials. The presence of Jeremy Smith, Beau Scott and David Fa’alogo alongside Willie Mason and Kade Snowden should ensure the Knights match muscle and mongrel with most.


Trent Robinson has a star-studded side at his disposal in his first year as an NRL head coach. He worked wonders at Catalans after learning the trade under Brian Smith at the Roosters and Knights. If he can handle the hype surrounding Sonny Bill Williams, harness the talents of Michael Jennings, and establish a combination between NSW half Mitchell Pearce and Warriors recruit James Maloney, the Roosters could give the premiership an almighty shake.


At full strength, Manly are title contenders, but they may not have the depth to plug the holes when their stars are injured or on representative duty. Glenn Stewart will miss the first half of the season and they had to shed some handy back-up players to squeeze Brett Stewart into the cap. Tony ‘‘T-Rex’’ Williams has gone to the Dogs, but they have added Richie Fa’aoso (Storm), Justin Horo (Eels) and Tom Symonds (Roosters). Are they still durable enough to go the distance?


The Broncos have welcomed back prodigal sons Scott Prince and David Stagg from the Titans and Bulldogs respectively, hoping their experience assists the development of some of their exciting young stars. After looking the goods for the first two-thirds of last season, the Broncos lost their way to win just two of their last 10, bowing out in week one of the finals. They now look like a good side but not a great side and can no longer be considered automatic finalists.


The Green Machine are harder to pick than a broken nose. Coach David Furner was apparently headed for the unemployment office midway through last year when they kept losing at home, but they clicked to win their last five games then extended that streak into week two of the finals. The Raiders have made minimal changes and will be desperately hoping playmaker Terry Campese and fullback Josh Dugan enjoy injury-free years. Should be there or thereabouts.


The Dragons appear to be headed for a transition year after losing heart and soul Ben Hornby and Dean Young to retirement at the end of 2012. They will need mercurial playmaker Jamie Soward to be close to his best every week, and new captain Ben Creagh and fellow forwards Michael Weyman, Dan Hunt and Trent Merrin to lead from the front, if they are to challenge for the eight. Coach Steve Price will feel the heat from fans if he can’t keep the Dragons firing.


The Tigers were the biggest under-achievers of 2012. Talented enough to challenge for the title, they missed the finals and long-serving coach Tim Sheens lost his job. Mick Potter has been appointed to oversee a redevelopment program around stars Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah. But it will take more than the arrival of Braith Anasta from the Roosters and Eddy Pettybourne (Rabbitohs) to replace pack leaders Gareth Ellis (Hull) and Chris Heighington (Sharks).


Finished last season on an eight-game losing streak, including four straight defeats on home soil. New coach Matt Elliott appears to have his hands full trying to re-establish the 2011 grand finalists as a premiership force. They have lost playmaker James Maloney to the Roosters and forwards Lewis Brown to the Panthers and Micheal Luck to retirement. When the Warriors are on, they are skilful enough to dismantle any side. But on their bad days, they can be awful.

14. EELS

Ricky Stuart chucked in his NSW Origin gig to take on rebuilding the 2012 wooden-spooners. Long-serving Eels Nathan Hindmarsh and Luke Burt retired at the end of last season, and Manly’s Darcy Lussick is the only recruit of any note, so Stuart will need his nucleus of Jarryd Hayne, Chris Sandow, Reni Maitua and Tim Mannah to provide leadership on a weekly basis. The Eels should improve, but not enough to feature in the finals.


Coach Ivan Cleary and GM Phil Gould are building for the future, but it looks like that plan is based around some short-term pain for any potential long-term gain. Well-paid elite players Luke Lewis (Sharks), Michael Gordon (Sharks) and Michael Jennings (Roosters) have moved on and have been replaced by less expensive journeymen and fringe first-graders chasing opportunities. It could take more than a year to establish combinations and chemistry.


Have lost foundation captain and spiritual leader Scott Prince to arch rivals Brisbane, and will rely on young halves Aidan Sezer, Albert Kelly and possibly Beau Henry to lead them around. Sezer (18), Kelly (14) and Henry (10) have played just 42 NRL games between them, compared to Prince’s 278. David Taylor (Rabbitohs) will bulk up the pack, and they have speed to burn out wide, but it is difficult to envisage the Titans being a consistent force for the entire season.

HARD EDGE: Knights recruit Beau Scott will add muscle and mongrel up front.

in 上海419论坛 | Comments Off on LEAGUE: Rabbitohs  to break drought

Selectors on right path in overhaul despite bumps in the road, says Argus

Don Argus, whose review of Australian cricket charted a course back to world domination, says there is no quick fix for the problems laid bare in India, and implored selectors and administrators to ”hold their steel”.
Shanghai night field

Though largely supportive of Cricket Australia’s efforts to implement many of the recommendations in the Argus review of team performance, tabled in response to the 2010-11 Ashes disaster, the former BHP Billiton chairman cautioned against panic, expressed concern about the lack of emphasis on spin bowling in the coaching structure and warned that the schedule of the Big Bash League must not detract from Australia’s Test objectives.

In an exclusive interview, Argus said the report’s ultimate goal – to restore the Test team to No.1 by 2015 – was ”absolutely” still achievable. He said the harrowing results in India – defeats by eight wickets, and an innings and 135 runs, in the first two Tests – demonstrated how deep-seated Australian cricket’s problems were.

”They have been quite bold in implementing a lot of the stuff and going down the recommendation path in the report. Everyone wants instant success whether they’re in corporations, football clubs or cricket clubs and the trouble when you go through a transition or succession phase is that impatience manifests itself [as] emotion,” Argus said.

”Up until this series, the guys have done pretty well in trying to unearth new talent and things like that. Everyone is going to have to hold their steel here to get the ultimate outcome because if you start thrashing around in water then you drown, and up until now I think they’ve held it pretty well. I think India is probably the toughest environment of all to blood new talent and that’s what is happening.”

Almost two years after the Argus report was released, its architect backed CA’s controversial injury management methods, and called on former players who criticised to ”give up their day jobs to offer their services to go and help”.

On selection, he said John Inverarity’s panel had ”by and large” adhered to the Argus philosophy that dictated: ”Players must earn their positions in the time-honoured way of making runs, taking wickets and showing that they are ready to play at the next level.”

But he said the selection of Xavier Doherty for the second Test after taking two Sheffield Shield wickets at 80 this season was an exception.

Of the need to reduce the impact of the Big Bash on the Test summer, he said: ”If you deviate from your priorities, if you compromise on your plan … you’ll always get caught out. If Test cricket is the No.1 game, and we say it is, that’s the way it is. Scheduling sporting events is one of the toughest things there is, but we’ve got to take the self-interest out of it, and make sure we are all aware of what the objectives are. If we fall into the self-interest test, of we need more money or something like that, then we are in disarray.”

With captain Michael Clarke set to move up the order to paper over the side’s batting woes, Argus added CA could only have prepared for the retirements of Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey by resting star batsmen, which would have provoked an even greater outcry than rotating fast bowlers.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

in 上海419论坛 | Comments Off on Selectors on right path in overhaul despite bumps in the road, says Argus

Why confessed doper White deserves a chance to move on

Five months have passed since Matt White confessed to doping as a rider on the US Postal Service team then led by Lance Armstrong. While he has been sacked as Cycling Australia national men’s road coach and Orica-GreenEDGE’s head sports director, his future remains in limbo – until there is a ruling on his case by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, with whom he is understood to have co-operated fully.
Shanghai night field

Yet despite White having raised his hand when his name appeared in the US Anti-Doping Agency’s ”reasoned decision” in the Armstrong case, confessed his guilt and, as understood, having been candid with ASADA, the national agency says it still can’t give any indication of when it will judge his case.

All a spokesperson for ASADA could say on Wednesday was: ”ASADA’s cycling investigation is progressing. ASADA is unable to discuss the ongoing investigation or operational matters associated with the investigation until such time as its legislation permits.”

It is still worrying that despite the ASADA probe into cycling continuing, it has taken so long for one case to be decided; especially considering the potential number of cases that could emerge from the Australian Crime Commission’s investigation into doping and corruption in Australian sport.

Is Australian sport set for a line of similar delays? Or is the political weight of ACC and ASADA joint operation so great that the White/cycling dossier has been put on the backburner?

Whatever the answer, the delay by ASADA has left White’s life circling in a frustrating holding pattern. Furthermore, his ability to make amends for his doping hinges on ASADA – if he faces a ban, for how long?

White, it is understood, has not heard any developments on his case since he met ASADA investigators. But he is committed to working for clean cycling – to be part of the solution, rather than the problem. One step he has taken is to join the Union Cycliste Internationale stakeholders’ anti-doping work group that meets next week. But his future involvement in it, or cycling at all, rests on ASADA’s verdict.

Even if White learns that he faces a one-year or six-month ban, he could spend it planning his re-entry to the sport and involvement in future proposals to help cycling go forward.

White hopes for a future in cycling and to show his commitment for clean sport is as strong as before. When he confessed to his doping on October 13, he said in a statement: ”I stopped my racing career because I had the opportunity to be part of something that had the potential to actually change cycling.”

In 2008, the year after his retirement, he took the position of head sports director on the American Garmin team, advocating clean cycling – and a second chance, as other former drug users were on it.

The team introduced ”blood profiling” that was later developed into the athlete biological passport and a no-needles policy. Both were embraced by the UCI and WADA.

White erred in 2009 by referring Garmin rider Trent Lowe for a health check to a doctor later charged by USADA with Armstrong – Luis Garcia del Moral. White lost his job, however, not for a breach of doping protocol, but an internal team policy disallowing the use of doctors not approved by the team. The referral, White and Garmin said, was because Lowe lived in Valencia, where Dr del Moral practised.

When White left Garmin in 2011, he took with him his commitment to clean cycling – as well as a number of Australian riders from Garmin – to the Australian Orica-GreenEDGE team that began last year. Will it end at Orica-GreenEDGE and his sacking? It shouldn’t. White still has much to offer cycling – not just as a wise head who can run a bike team, but as one who has admitted to his past as a drug user and has openly said he wants to help riders – if not the whole sport – make sure they don’t follow the same path.

Twitter – @rupertguinness

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

in 上海419论坛 | Comments Off on Why confessed doper White deserves a chance to move on

Baillieu quits as Premier

Ted Baillieu has resigned as Premier after a Liberals-only crisis meeting on Wednesday night, saying “I do this in the best of the government”.
Shanghai night field

Denis Napthine is the new leader and Mr Baillieu will remain in parliament.

“I love this state, I love the Liberal Party and I love this role that I have had the honour to enjoy over the last two and a bit years,” Mr Baillieu told reporters.

“It is apparent to me that a change of leadership is in the best interests of the government.”

“I want to thank the people of Victoria.

“I wish Denis Napthine the best. He has my full support. He’s an outstanding individual.

Mr Baillieu said he will shortly visit the governor to tender his resignation.

He thanked his family and said the most important thing is the people of Victoria.

Dr Napthine is about to hold his own press conference.

Earlier, Frankston MP Geoff Shaw quit the Liberal Party because he no longer had confidence in Premier Ted Baillieu.

In a scathing statement issued this evening, Mr Shaw said the state government had not made enough progress.”Labor left Victoria in a mess and Victorian’s elected a Coalition Government to fix the problems and build for the future. While the government has made significant progress in that direction, I believe my actions reflect the general loss of confidence Victorians are feeling in the leadership of the government.”Mr Shaw said: “This morning I advised the Premier of Victoria of my resignation from the Parliamentary Liberal Party, effective immediately.As always my focus is on how I can best represent the people of Frankston and at the moment I believe that is from the cross bench.”

As Mr Shaw left state parliament just before 7pm, he told the media to have a good dinner, and then added: “It will all come out soon”.

Ted Baillieu has declared the Coalition will continue to govern decisively despite losing its majority in Parliament following Mr Shaw’s shock resignation from the Parliamentary Liberal Party.

Mr Baillieu this afternoon emerged from a party room meeting claiming to be “very confident” that the Parliament was workable. Mr Baillieu made the claim despite admitting he had not spoken to Mr Shaw, or Victorian Governor Alex Chernov.

“We are committed, we have a very strong forthcoming agenda and we have been able to govern with a narrow margin and I believe we can continue to govern and we will govern with decisiveness and with courage,” Mr Baillieu said.

Asked if Mr Shaw had indicated whether he would support the Government in with his vote in Parliament, Mr Baillieu said: “He has spoken to a number of people and he has indicated … he will be considering his position.

Deputy Premier and Nationals Leader Peter Ryan said he had complete confidence Mr Baillieu would continue to lead with himself as deputy, denying the party was in crisis.

Although Mr Shaw did not make an appearance in the lower house today and has made no formal announcement, he has been seen dining with Coalition MPs in the private parliament cafe.

Mr Shaw’s resignation has potentially huge ramifications for an under-pressure Baillieu government, which holds power with a one-seat majority.

The beleagured MP is expected to remain in the lower house as an independent.

Government MPs were called into Premier Ted Baillieu’s office on Wednesday morning.

Several ministers walking into the Premier’s office appeared worried. Matthew Guy, Michael O’Brien, Kim Wells and Robert Clark were among them.

Police said on Wednesday that they were still investigating allegations of misconduct in public office by the Frankston MP and “as the investigation is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further”.

The Liberal-National coalition holds 45 seats in the 88-seat lower house and the ALP, 43.

Mr Shaw’s resignation leaves the Coalition with 44 seats, the ALP with 43. The Frankston MP will hold the remaining seat on the cross-bench.

Mr Davis has told the upper house he is not aware if there had been discussions with Mr Shaw about whether he will guarantee supply – effectively the passage of money-related leglislation.

If Mr Shaw does not guarantee supply, parliament will not be workable for the Coalition.

Mr Shaw won his seat – Frankston North – by 51.7 per cent to 48.3 per cent on a two-party-preferred basis in 2010. He won the seat from the ALP with a 4.4 per cent swing.

The government’s majority will be protected for the next two months, as the next member for the safe Labor seat of Lyndhurst will not be elected until May 18, replacing former minister Tim Holding, who has already left parliament.

A Liberal source said speculation that the move by Mr Shaw was due to changes to electoral boundaries was “just nonsense”.

Opposition leader Daniel Andrews weighed in, saying the government was “in absolute crisis”.

Mr Shaw has weathered controversy many times in his short parliamentary career.

The 45-year-old – a qualified financial planner and accountant – won the lower-house seat of Frankston in 2010 from ALP incumbent Alistair Harkness.

Besides being an MP, Mr Shaw runs two small businesses: an accounting firm and a hardware factory. In May 2012, it was alleged his staff, as well as Mr Shaw himself, had used his parliamentary car for business related to the hardware factory.

In December 2012, Victoria Police announced a criminal investigation the affair, investigating Mr Shaw for misconduct of public office for rorting his taxpayer-funded car and parliamentary fuel card.

A week later, the Gillard government launched a review into Mr Shaw over allegations he illegally or dishonestly accessed federal assistance for his private businesses. Mr Shaw received individual payments of up to $1500 each from the Commonwealth to hire three long-term unemployed workers for his hardware firm under an employment assistance scheme.

There have been many other controversial moments. In April 2011, he offended a young gay man in his constituency by suggesting that his desire to love who he wanted was as illegitimate as a dangerous driver wanting to speed or a child molester wanting to molest. In the days that followed, Mr Baillieu said it was wrong for Mr Shaw to have made the comparisons that he made.

In June 2011, Mr Shaw admitted he had been charged with assault in 1992 while working as a nightclub bouncer. He was fined and placed on a good behaviour bond for the assault but there was no conviction.

In August 2011, Mr Shaw got into a roadside fight in his electorate, involving himself in a conversation between a police officer and a 21-year-old driver. The driver and Mr Shaw – a black belt in karate – got into a fistfight.

His personal life has been unsettled as well. Mr Shaw separated from his wife Sally in 2011. In April of that year, police were called to the former family home when Shaw refused to leave the house.

In April 2012, Shaw erected a banner on Golf Links Road in Frankston South pleading for forgiveness from his ex-wife.

There will be a full Coalition party meeting at 1pm to discuss Geoff Shaw.

The latest development comes amid mounting speculation about Mr Baillieu’s leadership.

Liberal backbencherBill Tilley said while he believed Mr Baillieu was listening, the government’s leadership team needed to revamp the way it dealt with the backbench.

‘‘It’s a management thing,’’ Mr Tilley said.

‘‘There should be some further and significant conversations: how to interact with the executive and the backbenchers to deliver the right, the proper and accurate messages to Victoria.’’

Mr Tilley is annoyed with Mr Baillieu over comments he made about him in parliament on Tuesday.

Mr Baillieu told parliament Mr Tilley quit his role as parliamentary secretary to Police Minister Peter Ryan because his conduct was inconsistent with the role.

in 上海419论坛 | Comments Off on Baillieu quits as Premier

Mowen talks up Brumbies-Tahs rivalry

When Brumbies captain Ben Mowen played for the Waratahs, he was oblivious to the depth of dislike the Canberra side felt for NSW. Two years on, and with the clash against the Waratahs at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night approaching, Mowen now understands how deep that passion is.
Shanghai night field

In the lead-up to what the Brumbies regard as their biggest game of the season, the 195-centimetre, 110-kilogram back-rower also feels that dislike.

Mowen, whose arrival at the Australian capital last year was preceded by one season at the Queensland Reds in 2006 and four at NSW from 2008 to 2011, says the feeling is real and not just hype.

And having experienced what Queenslanders feel about NSW, the Brumbies No.8 says the emotion felt about the Waratahs is just as strong as it was before a Reds-Waratahs clash. ”I have to admit I was very naive to the hatred,” Mowen, 28, said on Wednesday.

”In terms of our Waratahs prep for this game, we always treated it very importantly and understood it was going to be a tough match. But I didn’t understand until I joined this side [the Brumbies], the passion that comes with that.

”It is very much a Queensland hatred of NSW that is mirrored down at the ACT against NSW.”

Mowen said the Brumbies, created in 1996 mostly from players regarded as rejects from NSW and Queensland, spoke among themselves about their feelings for the Waratahs last week.

It was fitting, he said, the Waratahs clash came as 110-Test veteran and breakaway George Smith returned from playing in Japan (after leaving Canberra in 2010) to play out the season with them.

”We spoke about it, saying how excited we were for this week to come because it was going to be an important week,” Mowen said. ”In terms of the importance, Waratah games are absolutely everything.”

Mowen was surprised to learn how deep the ”roots” of Brumbies sentiment against NSW were after being planted in 1996 when the Brumbies began as rejects and went on to win Super titles in 2001 and 2004.

”That’s been one of the amazing attributes the Brumbies have had,” Mowen said. ”It’s always been deeply connected to those roots, as a bunch of misfits who have come together and out-performed expectations.

”I found that pretty amazing, for a group that has evolved each year to still have those connections.”

Mowen admitted that when he played at the Waratahs he felt out of place. Asked if he saw himself as a misfit, he said: ”Yes and no … I loved my time at NSW, but in the same breath I didn’t feel like it fitted perfectly.

”I didn’t feel as settled as I do down here. That’s probably got a lot to do with me as a person … at this stage of my life. [With wife Lauren] we have just had a daughter in Canberra and bought a house. We feel settled.

”When I was in Queensland I thought I was going to play a hundred games for them. When I was with NSW, I thought I was going to play a hundred games for them. It’s funny where you eventually find your home.”

Mowen and former Wallabies winger Clyde Rathbone, who played alongside Smith from 2004 to 2009, addressed the players on Monday ”about what this game means to those two guys”.

With two wins from two games and last weekend’s bye, the Brumbies are considered the team to beat in the Australian conference. Mowen doesn’t play down the sense of stability and confidence that permeates throughout the Brumbies after last year’s rebuilding under coach Jake White.

”It’s a different feel to last year,” he said. ”Last year there was a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of noise, but it was a little misdirected at times. This year, it is much calmer and we are going about our work knowing exactly how we want to play.”

Twitter: @rupertguinness

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

in 上海419论坛 | Comments Off on Mowen talks up Brumbies-Tahs rivalry

Sonny will be all right on the night

Focus for the media: New Rooster Sonny Bill Williams will make his return to rugby league. Photo: Brendan EspositoFirst-night nerves? You bet. He is a premiership winner, a World Cup winner and the man who might just sell out Allianz Stadium, but if you think Sonny Bill Williams isn’t nervous before his NRL return, you’d be wrong.
Shanghai night field

”I must admit, [I’m] a little bit nervous,” Williams said on Wednesday, as he prepared for his final training hit-out before the season opener. ”But definitely excited at the same time. I’ve just got to believe in my preparation like I always do and leave it all out there.”

And with that, Williams strode off. The former Bulldog and All Black, whose off-season was shortened by a boxing bout and a pectoral injury, would offer only a teaser. But it was evident even from his short statement that the expectations had filtered through to him.

His new captain, Anthony Minichiello, acknowledged that.

”The media put a lot of expectations on him,” Minichiello said. ”He’s a fantastic player. He’s come on board late with us, so he’s still working out combinations. He’ll definitely offer something to us, there’s no doubt about that, and I think he’ll get better as the season goes on.

”He’s a freak of a player. He could come out and have a blinder straight up. We’re definitely supporting him in the way he’s learning the structure, and he’s doing a lot of study on it.

But Minichiello was adamant: ”He’s ready to go.”

As a result, the match is one of the most-hyped season-openers in memory. The Thursday night clash has the potential to draw a massive television audience as well as a full house sign outside the stadium.

Minichiello has played in grand finals, State of Origins and Test matches, but being able to skipper the Roosters on such a stage, in front of such an audience and with such a talent starting – for now – off the interchange bench, the fullback said Thursday night’s match would count as a career highlight.

”It’s almost a sellout, so it’s pretty exciting for us as a team,” Minichiello said. ”This is definitely right up there, for me personally to captain such a great club, and a round-one clash against our arch-rivals is always a big match.

”To do that, with the ‘captain’ next to your name is pretty special. This has been one of the most talked about games in recent years and why wouldn’t it be? There are superstars all over the paddock, from both teams.”

Lost in the frenzy over Williams’ debut has been the ominous pre-season form of South Sydney fullback Greg Inglis, who shapes as the man most likely to cause the most damage to the Roosters’ early-season optimism. The Rabbitohs have stated this week that they have not spoken about Williams’ return, but it was clear the Roosters had been focusing some significant attention on their opponent’s superstar.

”He’s one of the best players in the game,” Minichiello said. ”He’s definitely their go-to man, but there are a lot of other players in their side that we have to stop as well. He’s supporting through the middle, and running out wide. The way he played in the trial matches, it’s going to be a tough task.

”He looks fit. Everyone knows the way he runs, he’s so athletic, but obviously he’s put a lot of work into the pre-season, so he’ll be coming out and trying to put a good performance in. Our challenge is to try and stop that. It’s a big challenge for us. Hopefully we’re up to it.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

in 上海419论坛 | Comments Off on Sonny will be all right on the night

Questions are many, answers few

We are three rounds into the competition, which means we’ve hit the time of the season where questions are asked of everyone and everything. Nothing is immune to scrutiny. Laws, referees, coaches, players, selections, concussion protocols, scrum engagements and the video referee all come under the spotlight.
Shanghai night field

The reality, though, is that every year the first month brings a calibration of all that is new and everyone is trying to decide if things are working better.

This is often subjective, but in 15 games there have been six bonus points for scoring four-plus tries and five losing bonus points for coming within seven points. This would suggest there may be two levels of team this year, although it’s too early to pass judgment, especially when teams at this stage are primarily focused on getting their defence sorted.

There is always a team that surprises and the effort of the Blues against the Crusaders at the weekend was outstanding.

On the flip-side, who would have thought that two of the season’s fancied teams – the Stormers and Hurricanes – would open with two straight losses. In our backyard, the Reds also began their season with a poor result against the Brumbies before responding with back-to-back wins at Suncorp Stadium against the Waratahs and Hurricanes. Pleasingly, this has taken our record at the venue to 23 wins from our past 26 matches.

What the results highlight is that not much credit gets carried over from the season before.

Everyone starts on a level playing field and you have to earn everything you get. From a Reds perspective, accumulating wins at this time of the year is especially important for us while several of our leaders, including Wallabies captains James Horwill and Will Genia, remain injured. The absence of key players is part of any season’s challenge, so to remain on the right side of the ledger is crucial before they return.

During these opening rounds we’ve had six players from our Super Rugby final winning-team on the sideline through injury, which has been frustrating but has also allowed us to see some of our prospects.

Genia, Horwill, Anthony Faingaa, Beau Robinson, Ben Daley and Radike Samo have all been crucial for us and know what winning a competition is like. Samo is back but the rest will return gradually and bring with them experience and enthusiasm.

The teams that can cover injuries with depth are the ones who can prevail and those that can bring experience from the bench will be able to endure the test of time that Super Rugby requires. To be successful you need a high-quality bench.

There are lots of questions and the answers won’t be known until the last round on July 13. But that’s the best part about Super Rugby, we don’t have all the answers here and now.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

in 上海419论坛 | Comments Off on Questions are many, answers few