Geoff Lemon

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Jan 29

Tired Australians don’t have long to crack the one-day cricket code | Geoff Lemon

In a role reversal, the home side looked as creaky and out of date as England had three years earlierIn 2015, it wasn’t just Australians laughing at England’s version of one-day cricket. This was a team knocked out of the World Cup quarters by Banglade…

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Jan 20

Naomi Osaka beats Ashleigh Barty in Australian Open third round – as it happened

Australian No1’s campaign ended by Japanese player 6-4, 6-2Simona Halep through after 28-game final set against Lauren Davis 7.49am GMT All the evening’s action from Melbourne Park will be brought to you by Simon Burnton. No, he’s not the sponsor, he’s…

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Jan 02

Ashton Agar eyes Ashes return four years after memorable debut

After scoring 98 in his 2013 Ashes innings, younger spinner’s potential return could signal end of Steve O’Keefe’s Test careerFor a long time, Ashton Agar had the debatable distinction of being both a ‘where were you when’, and a ‘where are they now’. …

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Dec 22

No rest for the wickedly fast: Mitchell Starc loth to miss Boxing Day Test

The fast bowler’s existence is a tenuous one and Australia’s fastest won’t want to risk missing out in MelbourneYou would have to chloroform Mitchell Starc to stop him playing in the Boxing Day Test. Admittedly, when you look into the eyes of Cricket A…

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Dec 13

Australia revel in portrayal of England’s Ashes tour as out of control | Geoff Lemon

Amid weaponised sanctimony about some of the tourists’ behaviour, the home side has gone quietly about its businessThe last week or two, Australia’s cricketers must have been sitting back chuckling with a mixture of satisfaction and disbelief. Media ou…

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Nov 29

Australia’s affair with the bouncer an intimidation tool of Ashes past

After Phil Hughes’ death, memories of the short ball will never be the same, but Australia remains obsessed with breaking EnglandThe Ashes of 2013-14 casts a long shadow. Mitchell Johnson is the gunslinger at sunset. He defines the modern genre like Jo…

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Nov 26

Ashes 2017-18: Australia beat England by 10 wickets in first Test – as it happened

Australia started final day needing 56 runs to winDavid Warner and Cameron Bancroft steer hosts home before lunchECB investigates alleged altercation between Bairstow and Bancroft 2.04am GMT Here’s the full report from Vic. I’ll sign off now from the G…

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Nov 20

Examples of Steve Smith and Joe Root point to less Ashes antagonism | Geoff Lemon

Starting with their leaders, Australia and England look like teams that have realised they’re better suited to another wayThey look like a couple of nice boys. Wheatfield hair, slightly awkward smiles. Helpful at charity days, polite at press conferenc…

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Nov 17

Fear of an Ashes loss gets Australia’s selectors spooked | Geoff Lemon

The squad for the first two Tests has prompted criticism but the problem isn’t decisions made. It’s the spurious justifications givenOne of sport’s great passions is raging at selectors. It’s not a job that wins praise. But something is more deeply awr…

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Nov 08

Spectre of batting potential haunts Australia before Ashes selection is finalised | Geoff Lemon

It is the mark of a domestic system where batsmen no longer dominate that a dozen hopefuls are vying for one remaining spot No cricket team is ever truly stable. As Ferris Bueller noted, life moves pretty fast. Compared to recent years, though, Austral…

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Nov 04

Australia beat Japan in rugby union spring tour opener – as it happened

Wallabies post 63-30 victory in YokohamaLate fightback leads to Japan’s highest score against AustraliaRelive the action with our liveblog in Japanese 8.03am GMT Related: Wallabies brush aside Japan before departing for European tour 7.50am GMT That …

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Oct 09

No Ben Stokes, no contest for confident Australia in one-sided Ashes

With a settled top five and their powerful pace attack on bouncy pitches, Steve Smith’s men will fancy their chances against a weakened England teamIt wouldn’t be the Ashes without hype in the lead-up. This time, we’re away early. Two weeks to go befor…

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Jul 22

Swans win AFL Pride Game, Storm lose Slater and Smith, and more: sportwatch – as it happened

  • NRL: Storm stars Billy Slater and Cameron Smith injured in tough win
  • AFL: Swans surge toward top four with Pride Game win over Saints
  • AFL: Demons beat Power, Hawks beat Dockers, Bulldogs beat Suns, Bombers beat Roos
  • NRL: Panthers beat Titans, Cowboys beat Warriors, Storm beat Raiders

1.26pm BST

Mostly comfortable wins today, Essendon taking care of North despite Ben Brown’s good work, Melbourne in a tough game over Port, the Bulldogs easily doing over Gold Coast despite playing in Queensland, Sydney boshing St Kilda in Pride Round, and Hawthorn taking care of Freo.

In league, much closer contests even though the final scores all had a little bit of oxygen in them. Penrith got over Gold Coast, the Storm handled the Raiders despite having backs against the wall, and the Cowboys stayed ahead of the Warriors.

1.20pm BST

AFL – two teams playing today started the season looking like they were finished, and are now have momentum behind them. Sydney have surged to 5th, though Richmond could knock them back to 6th by beating GWS tomorrow. Tough ask, because GWS can get second spot back from Geelong if they win. West Coast could also push Essendon back out of 8th spot by beating Collingwood. Finally, the Demons have consolidated their spot in 6th, level on points with the Swans and Power above them, so a top-four spot is still possible for the red and the blue. Keep your eye on ‘em.

NRL – The Storm get a bugger at the top, but at the cost of two of their star trio of players. The Cowboys go up to 5th, but Manly could push them back to 6th by beating the Dragons tomorrow. That would suit Penrith, currently in 9th but level on points with the Dragons.

1.10pm BST

Ben McEvoy with a late goal, and Hawthorn raise the ton at the last gasp. A comprehensive display over a fairly limited team. Alastair Clarkson’s 300th game as coach is a happy one.

1.06pm BST

Over in Perth, the margin grows – Hawthorn slam on four in a row before Cam McCarthy gets one back for Fremantle. It’s now 48-94.

1.03pm BST

And that remains the score at the final siren. Callum Sinclair a little nervous being interviewed on TV, probably hasn’t happened before, and you can hear the frog in his throat. But he digs deep and rolls out the perfect cliches about being lucky to get on the end of a few from the midfield, and all the forwards working for each other. Kicked five today, he can be pleased with his work.

The context adds a whole extra layer to this match, of course, and more important than the result might well be this message.

Everyone is welcome! #PrideGame #ProudlySydney

12.56pm BST

Well, scrap that idea. Giving away two 50-metre penalties in a row doesn’t help. Rohan kicks the gift. Luke Dunstan gets one back, the set shot just creeping over the line, then the comeback kid McVeigh snaps one more for the Swans. 101-59.

12.44pm BST

St Kilda not quite going away. Gresham marks 48 out after a good attack on the ball from Bruce won a 50-50 contest. Gresham hands it off to Newnes running past, and with momentum from 50, the ball goes soaring through. It’s 88-53. Saints would love to get a couple more back and limit any percentage damage.

12.43pm BST

Back to the Swans, it’s Franklin. Another monster. A set shot, this one, but still such a huge kick. Goes so high. Grazes the underside of a passing comet. From well outside 50. Nails it, and has 50 for the season so far. This after Bruce kicked his third for the night for the Saints. It’s 88-47 to Sydney.

Q4 | @Buddy_Franklin doing what he does best by launching this one from outside 50! His 50th goal for 2017. #AFLSwansSaints #PrideGame

12.39pm BST

Swan Lake.

12.35pm BST

Ricky Henderson wins a free kick for a challenge that wasn’t facing the ball, and slots a tough kick from the pocket. At the last change it’s 35-63. Long way back for Fremantle in the circumstances.

12.27pm BST

AFL – scrappy sort of game between Hawthorn and Freo, with the Hawks still 23 points up as we get towards the end of the third quarter. Not a huge lead but neither team has found it easy to score tonight, so it could already be enough. Fremantle need to find a way to open things up through this congested style of play. A long series of possessions for the purple mob, Ballantyne marks on 50, and finds Kersten with a chip. Very accurate shot at goal, Shane Kersten, but this time he laser-guides it onto the right-hand post. 35-57 to the visiting Hawks.

12.24pm BST

NRL – a comfortable lead in the end for the NQ team, or at least it looks comfortable, as Javid Bowen goes over in the last minute and Lowe makes no mistake with the conversion this time. In fact the game wasn’t that comfortable at all, it was close throughout.

12.20pm BST

Callum Sinclair with his fifth, just before three-quarter time. He came in for Sam Reid tonight as an injury replacement, and has more than compensated for the loss of a senior player. He’s taken eight marks tonight, seven of them contested. At 3QT, it’s 34-80. St Kilda cannot afford a blowout, percentage will be vital in this year’s finals race.

12.12pm BST

Sums up the night for the Saints – Jack Billings gets a free, downfield after Savage was dumped. 30 out, slight angle, and Billings isn’t even close. He’s missed a lot of goals this year. Billy Longer hits the post with a snap a minute later, and Montagna is coming off with a hamstring injury. Signs suddenly bad, very bad, worse. In all that mayhem, the ball rebounds, Dean Towers marks inside 50, and kicks another. 71-34 now. With the emphasis on the “ow”.

Dean Towers and Blake Acres leading tonight’s list of players who sound more like real estate listings.

12.08pm BST

BUDDY! There’s a reason why they paid 10 million bucks for him. All St Kilda’s work for naught. Sinclair marks again outside 50, a chain of possessions follows, Franklin gets a second handball receive in that chain. He’s at least 55 out, running lateral to the goal face, towards the boundary line, with his left side further from goal. Somehow he just sizes up the scenario, thunks across his body, and pulls the ball back while also finding the power to send it through the goals halfway up the post. What a player. It’s 65-32.

12.03pm BST

A fierce couple of minutes from the Saints, trying to charge back into the contest. Running players down, holding the ball decisions, shovelling the ball forward. Sydney’s defence outstanding, a couple of times it looked like the loose ball would make its way to a Saints player in the clear, but the Swans keep shutting those options down, smothering kicks, forcing the ball back out. 59-32.

12.00pm BST

NRL – Ethan Lowe doing it all himself up in Townsville. Scores a try to make it 18-12 over New Zealand, but then the solo job becomes too much and he misses the conversion.

11.58am BST

And straight back for the Saints! Quick entry, puts the defence under pressure, and despite the protestations there was a clear hand in the middle of Josh Bruce’s lower back as he led toward the ball. Free kick, and he slots it. 59-32, the margin is back to 27.

11.57am BST

Straight back for the Swans though. And it’s Sinclair making up for his earlier miss. Steams out on the lead to a clearance and clunks the mark. He’s looked very good tonight. Played 57 games, this is his best. Four goals so far. 59-26.

11.55am BST

AFL – Goal for the Saints! They’ve had some let-offs already this half, geez. The Swans have missed a couple of easy ones. The latest of those a dribbled shot from Sinclair that runs across the face. The kick-in goes coast to coast, there’s no one forward for St Kilda, and so Riewoldt has a paddock to run into as the long ball forward goes toward goal. He gathers it and pops it through from 15 metres. 53-26.

11.47am BST

NRL – Ethan Lowe pops over a penalty goal, and the Cowboys lead the Warriors 14-12.

“Stop! In the name of love!”

11.45am BST

AFL – Hawthorn leading by 21 after ambushing Fremantle out west. Conor Glass, an Irish international rookie on debut, has made a couple of impressive runs for the Hawks out of defence. A couple of minutes to half time, and it’s intense in the Hawks’ back 50. Fremantle locking it in, but can’t find a way through. James Sicily cops the worst falcon I’ve ever seen, bending to pick up the ball as it was kicked off the ground, and it slams straight into his face. Sicily is down for a good few seconds, then once he recovers he gives the umpire a gobful for not calling kicking in danger, even though the foot wasn’t that close to his head. Taylor Duryea tells Sicily to focus on the ball, and Sicily bakes his own teammate into the bargain. It’s 22-42 going into the long break.

11.40am BST

NRL – it’s a cracker over in the Cowboys-Warriors game in Townsville, though I’m loath to endorse anything at a stadium named after a phone number. Trading tries, all converted, and the teams are 12-12 just after the half.

11.32am BST

Half time at the SCG. A couple of let-offs for St Kilda, with Hannebery missing a snap and Franklin fading a set shot that he’d normally get, left foot on the boundary side just the way he likes it. But no dice. Saints still just in touch, five goals down, but they’ll need an end-of-the-rainbow kind of performance to take the Pride Game this year.

11.26am BST

Awff, horrible tackle from Heeney. He has a rugby league background, but he’d be doing weeks in the NRL with that speak tackle. Lifts up Jarryn Geary in the tackle and rams him into the ground. Geary managed to twist a touch, get half an arm down that partly broke his fall, otherwise that could have been really ugly. A free kick, but the tribunal should be looking at that – holding a player up mid-air and then driving him into the ground, almost headfirst. No control from either player in that situation.

11.23am BST

The Saints do claw back. Sensational bit of work by Nick Riewoldt! The ball coming in towards 50, he works his man under the drop, doubles back, sees it spilling free in front. Casually as eating a handful of Maltesers, he reaches out a foot, flicks the bobbling ball up into his hands, dishes off the handpass, and Shane Savage snaps the goal. Ex-Hawks trading goals for opposing teams. It’s 48-20.

11.16am BST

Danger signs flashing red, sirens blaring for St Kilda. Sinclair is in form, he takes a relatively simple grab and kicks goal number three. Then he’s steaming out from full forward a minute later, on track to mark again, but Josh Kennedy doesn’t know and is backing into the path of that ball. Sinclair’s teammate takes the mark and kicks that goal, as Sinclair narrowly avoids crashing straight through him like a derailed train. It’s 46-14, and the Saints have to claw back.

11.11am BST

Great commitment to a contest from Lewis Melican, who attacks the ball in the centre and rushes it past about four players for a long kick inside 50. There’s the Franklin effect – Buddy makes defenders nervous, so even though he’s two-on-one and probably covered, they crowd him too much and give away a free for a hold. He and Tony Locket are the only two players to kick 250+ goals for two different clubs, apparently, and Franklin adds another.

Other end of the ground, Josh Bruce makes great contact with a 60-metre roost and sends it through, a big thump as the ball hit the boot, audible round the ground. But in traffic a few moments later, Heeney quickly snaps in traffic and kicks another for the Swans. 34-14.

10.53am BST

Not much change by quarter time, it’s 22-8.

10.50am BST

Swans working their ascendancy now, moving players around until they can find marks inside 50. George Hewett gets one, Sinclair gets his second, and throws haymakers at thin air in celebration. It’s 22-7 Down the other end, Dylan Roberton runs down a player inside 50, has a free kick and strikes it horribly. Hits the point post on the full. Big missed opportunity.

10.41am BST

AFL – Swans dominated the inside 50s, but the Saints are staying with them a bit more than halfway through the first quarter. Goals to Callum Sinclair and Koby Stevens, and it’s 8-6 in favour of the Swans.

Great to see @sydneyswans playing so well Tonight, Me & Mahi are proudly supporting equality for all #PrideGame #ProudlySydney

10.40am BST

The Pride Game is played between Sydney and St Kilda, starting last year, as a way to promote the idea that football should be a safe and welcoming place for LGBTIQ people. Which it certainly hasn’t always been.

These two clubs have been outspoken about it, so they’ve got involved with the symbolism. The Swans have rainbow stripes on their socks, St Kilda rainbow numbers on their backs, and there are plenty of scarves with rainbow swatches on display, as well as other signage around the SCG.

10.28am BST

A hugely significant win for Melbourne, doing it after losing Smith and Slater to injury. “We had to dig deep there, eh,” gasps Will Chambers, still puffed. “It was a very tough ask. but to the boys’ credit, they all bought in to what we needed to do.”

But also perhaps a Pyrrhic victory, if those two are gone for an extended period. Smith with a pectoral strain, Slater knocked out in a tackle. There’ll be plenty more reporting on both, no doubt.

10.22am BST

Cronk kicks, Sezer gets it, passes, a kick downfield… and the ball goes dead. That, at last, is the game.

10.21am BST

NRL – all the Raiders stars combining to try to find a score. Sezer, Croker, Wighton, Cotric. Still can’t get through. A depleted Storm holding firm. Finally Croker gets a break, gets within 11 metres, and they’re penalised for a double tackle. Munster in the sin bin. Won’t matter, less than a minute to play. The tap is taken, Soliola is taken in the tackle too. Baptiste trying. Blake Austin gets a kick away, and Sezer scores a late one. Leaping on the ball. Five seconds left, so it won’t be enough for even the faintest hope of a win. Or is there? They elect not to kick for goal, the Raiders, in favour of a kick-off. Hmmmmmm for a third time… It’s 14-20.

10.16am BST

AFL – Smashed, in the end. Picken kicked 6 goals. The last quarter, goals to Redpath, Murphy, Liberatore, Wallis, the whole Doggies cast of favourites. Added 41 points in the last quarter. Gold Coast are nowhere, after years of being nowhere. The Suns must look at the Giants, an even newer team about 11 times better, and vomit with envy.

10.09am BST

10-20. Then suddenly Melbourne gets away again. A knock-on from Junior Paulo, ball bobbles around, and Storm forward Finucane lands on the ball to score his second try. Munster lands the kick.

Finucane has a double!#NRLRaidersStorm 10-20 with 9 minutes to go. #NRL

10.05am BST

Try! Canberra back in the game, as Cotric gets over on this attempt. He forced the repeat set with that previous play, then this time, Soliola was hanging out wide, there was space to the left, and Cotric comes through for the wide try. Conversion kick from the sideline, Croker dropping it back a bit to try to open up his angle. Doesn’t get good purchase, it sprays away. “You wouldn’t like to be standing next to him at the urinal,” is the pithy radio comment. Suggestions of a forward pass in the lead-up though. 10-14, Raiders within touch.

10.00am BST

Then an equally near thing at the other end – a good break, Cotric kicked the ball through into the in-goal and went after it, Munster sprinting back got a toe to it before Cotric could get a finger. Munster has been immense since the big names went off.

9.59am BST

A repeat set for Melbourne here, a line drop-out after Wighton is caught in the in-goal after Munster’s little kick through. Melbourne battling hard minus their stars, Cronk the last one left tonight.

Try? There was a play-the-ball, Canberra player pushed Vunivalu into the contest, then he picked up the loose ball and got over. The referee likes it, but the video ref says Canberra players were being blocked by Kaufusi who was offside. So, overruled. No try.

Vision of the @storm No Try Decision in the 62nd minute of #NRLRaidersStorm.#NRL

9.54am BST

A couple of penalties to the Raiders, but they can’t force a repeat set. Storm get it back five metres from their line, then Munster gets them some ground. Some backchat from Storm players, and “Not copping that,” says the referee on the background microphone. Raiders push forward again, a few metres from the line. Hodson brought down even close to the line. To Boyd, who stands up in the tackle. Hodson again, Sezer, Wighton, but he’s caught. Tries again. Sezer to Hodson again, Soliola passes, but eventually it’s turned over to Cronk. Defensive clearing effort from the Storm, trying to get to halfway. Stimson brought down, Bromwich to Bromwich, played back to Bromwich. To Bromwich. What day is it? I’m confused. It becomes a Canberra ball around halfway.

9.48am BST

Soliola comes across to pat Slater on the shoulder as he’s loaded onto the medical golf cart. Eventually the referee comes across, and Soliola is put on report. But not sent off. “Is that enough?” asks Cooper Cronk. Slater is talking to the trainers as the cart leaves the field. Munster kicks the penalty goal for right in front, but there will be questions about what constitutes a send-off in rugby league if that wasn’t one. The last send-off was in 2015 for a headbutt, says ABC radio. Another hmm. The score is 6-14.

9.43am BST

Billy Slater is knocked out. Shocking scenes here. Cameron Smith already off with an arm injury. Now Slater is waiting for a stretcher. He’s moving his hands and arms, but being put into a brace. It was Iosia Soliola who collected him – Slater was falling in a tackle, so was a bit low, but Soliola came in late and with a swinging arm. The arm has smashed Slater in the head, probably not deliberate but easily defined as reckless, and his night could well be over too. No decision on that as yet, as we wait for Slater to be taken off by the medical staff. Slater conscious and communicating as he’s loaded onto the stretcher.

9.38am BST

NRL – back to Canberra, and the Raiders have been stretching the Storm, working them hard, pulling their lines awry, but just can’t get through for that final score. And then, as can happen so easily, a team as good as Melbourne can punish you if you haven’t punished them first. Will Chambers over for four points, though the kick hits the upright and squanders the conversion. Smith off the field, which could be costly. The gap is now 6-12 in favour of the visitors.

The @storm extend their lead!#NRLRaidersStorm 6-12 after 49 minutes. #NRL

9.35am BST

It swings, it surges. Small forwards the order of the day, Bulldogs with the breeze, and Picken nails his fifth, then Dale his third. Suddenly at three quarter time the Doggies are up by 14.

9.19am BST

AFL – another good contest brewing in the other code. With the third quarter, the Gold Coast Suns have the wind at their backs, and have figured out how to use it. Dahlhaus has kicked one for the Dogs, but the Suns have nailed four goals. They’ve carved that deficit back to three points with seven minutes left in the third quarter. Hmm.

9.13am BST

Smith kicks it. Of course he does. And that’s the break.

9.12am BST

Smith kicks downfield, the Raiders charge back. Hodson, through Tapine, then Sezer brought down only a couple of metres out from the try line. Really pushing for this. But at the end, the ball goes dead in the in-goal. Restart 20 metres out from the Storm’s line. Bromwich pushing towards halfway for Melbourne. Smith and Slater combine, Slater almost through but not quite. Involved in the next play, but brought down short of the line. Then a penalty for lying on the tackled player. Melbourne will have a shot from straight in front.

9.08am BST

Storm get the ball back, but Cronk kicks early again. Raiders pushing hard. Hodson, Austin, but caught 30 out. Eventually Austin kicks across field, Sezer kicks a high ball and Josh Addo-Carr is pushed back into his own in-goal.

9.05am BST

Another knock-on from the Storm, Raiders get the scrum feed 30 metres out, but again can’t take advantage. Cameron Smith seems to be struggling a bit. Not moving very well. Still able to lay some tackles though. Cronk has to kick very close to his defensive line, just to clear some territory. Wighton reloads from the halfway line, good position.

9.00am BST

Raiders get a penalty just out from their own line, but don’t find touch with the kick. Slater and Smith bringing it back up, then Munster, but they’re repelled again. Dead ball in-goal from Smith in the end, though Slater was threatening to catch up with it. Jack Wighton needing some medical help as play goes on. Last tackle of the set, but Austin loses the ball forward from Sezer’s pass for the Raiders. But the Storm produce another error, a knock-on from the play-the-ball. Scrum feed. The arm wrestle continues in midfield.

8.53am BST

Oof! A fumble from Cronk, as Slater passed back, and there’s a scrum feed for Canberra. Blake Austin on a good run, 10 metres out from the Storm line. Whiteman can’t quite get over. Baptiste very nearly does. Sezer trying to set up Rapana for the corner, but again the defence stands firm. Storm besieged, but hold. Raiders really let an opportunity slip there.

8.50am BST

NRL – alright, let’s switch our attention to the Melbourne Storm for a minute. They’re in Canberra, trying to put themselves two points clear at the top of the ladder with a win over the Raiders.

They’re off to the right start, Finucane over after just four minutes, and Cameron Smith as ever converting. But after a few more minutes, the Raiders strike back through Aidan Sezer. Sezer, sees a ball, seize a ball, seize the moment. Almost loses it as he goes over, but just maintains control. “The players maintains control between his left hand and forearm,” says the video ref. Who, amusingly, is Brian Norrie, who was a solid if somewhat stolid servant for the Storm until 2014 as a prop. Rules against them here. Croker pops over the goal.

Vision of the @RaidersCanberra Try Decision in the 15th minute of #NRLRaidersStorm.#NRL

8.42am BST

Things continue as we mentioned below – no one can really spot up a target with accuracy, so there’s a long scoreless period. Bailey Dale breaks it shortly before the break, picking up on the wing, running to 50, and while there are passing options inside 50, perhaps the safest option is to launch for the biggest target – the goalface. He does so, and the storm does the rest, carrying the goal home.

It’s 48-28 to the Dogs at half time.

8.29am BST

The wind in Cairns is amazing. If Ben Gale was still playing, there’d be two of them out there. Kicks going one way have to be low and compact and drilled. Going the other way, they soar. It’s not always an advantage, the Dogs are finding it hard to hit targets sometimes as the ball zooms away to an opponent. Nonetheless, Liam Picken and Bailey Dale float a couple of kite-goals through, while Jack Martin burrows one under the breeze at the other end. Good open game of football here so far. 40 plays 28.

8.12am BST

AFL – from one crappy underperforming Gold Coast team to another, the variant of sport’s Bermuda Triangle in the Aussie Rules code is hanging in the contest at quarter time. Largely thanks to a ferocious breeze blowing directly away from the Bulldogs’ goals. Marcus Bontompelli marks about 35 out just before the quarter-time siren, gives it everything he has, strikes the line just right, and the ball still holds up and then drops short, pushed back into play by the elements. The margin is 28-20 at Cazaly’s Stadium, in what is nominally a Bulldogs home game. Need those dollars.

8.03am BST

NRL: The Panthers seal their win, despite a late try and conversion from Gold Coast. Draw level with the 8th-placed Raiders on points. Interesting little tussle there.

The @GCTitans aren’t done with yet!#NRLPanthersTitans 24-16 with 4 minutes to go. #NRL

7.58am BST

Speaking of Essendon… up into 8th spot with that win. St Kilda or West Coast could level them on points by winning a game in hand, but the Bombers would likely still be up on percentage.

7.57am BST

Scrappy sort of thing really, but Melbourne will take those wins. Trying to build that sort of pragmatism and ruthlessness as they challenge for a top-four finish. Who’d have thought we’d be writing that… ever again. They’ve been so much fun this year, the Dees.

Huge notes for them: Jack Trengove finally getting back to football after what seems like about a dozen consecutive injury layoffs, and Jesse Hogan kicking three goals today as his development and recovery continues. Melksham three as well, and 36 stats for Michael Hibberd, the ex-Essendon pair starring in their new environment. Clayton Oliver had 30 after a controversial few weeks for him, and laid 10 tackles. Big game.

7.47am BST

“A bit industrial”, is the pithy line on commentary, as Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn crashes into an opponent in Melbourne’s forward 50. He plays a similar wrecking-ball role in the centre square a moment later, flying through before landing in a heap, like a giraffe fired out of a novelty cannon.

7.44am BST

Goal again, for Petracca, who marks for Melbourne just inside 50 on the other side of the ground, taking advantage of an errant kick-in. He runs around the mark a bit and thumps it high through the sticks. But then straight down the other end, and Westhoff gets one back. Also an error from a clearing kick from fullback, which is punched back in, the Port forward picks it up near the boundary, and produces a hell of a finish on the run. 88-65.

7.41am BST

Goal! My Melksham brings all the boys to the yard. What a kick from Jake, the Essendon refugee who sought a fresh start at the Dees. Not many times in the last 20 years when you could say that was a great choice, but it’s looking good in 2017. A scrambled kick for territory, Melksham somehow marks the rainmaker just inside 50 by the boundary line, and decides to take a set shot. It looks like he just wants to bleed the maximum time off the clock, but then he strikes it beautifully and sails it through on the angle. It was indeed better than yours. He could teach you… Game over. 82-59.

7.38am BST

AFL – again it was Impey who was nearly out. Sprinting down the wing, loose ball to gather just on 50. It was ex-Hawk Jordan Lewis who stopped him, showing real desperation. Sprawled on the ground, he saw Impey trying to pick up the loose ball and grabbed at it himself. Couldn’t drag it under his body or he’d be penalised, so he held on with his fingertips. They squabbled over it for several seconds, and it was long enough for Melbourne to get a couple of fellow defenders back. By the time Impey got the ball away, he had to snap hurriedly from 40 out, and missed. It’s still 16 points, 75 to 59, with 6 minutes left on the clock.

7.35am BST

NRL – the Titans threatened to close the gap for a second, with a try to make it 14-10, but miss the conversion, and Penrith quickly adds another two tries via Moylan and Zelezniak.

7.33am BST

Real scrappy affair this now, both sides out on their feet. Struggling for metres rather than looking to find targets. Very little clean disposal, lots of quick kicks down the line, tackles, throw-ins, ball-ups. Melbourne don’t mind, it suits them. Five inclusions this week, so they might be struggling a bit more for match fitness. No score at either end for 10 minutes.

7.28am BST

Jarman Impey for Port comes flying down the ground, three bounces, then four, runs into traffic just inside 50, handballs sideways to Dixon, but the big forward’s attempted chip for a mark inside 50 is a shocker. Turns it straight over. Ball locked back in midfield. Neither side can break through.

7.27am BST

Some daring defensive work from Jeff Garlett running the ball out. Jack Watts competing desperately through the midfield and up forward. But Melbourne can’t get clean delivery into their forward line. Port swarming. This is a great contest.

7.24am BST

AFL – another game that is still in the balance is Melbourne v Port at the MCG. It’s only 17 points the difference now, after Port Adelaide have kicked the first couple of goals in the last quarter. Dixon and Boak got them. About 9 minutes gone.

7.21am BST

AFL – but the Bombers aren’t too worried. North wins the individual battle with Brown and Hurley, but not too many others. Zaharakis snaps another poacher’s goal, as he has so many times, then James Stewart (not the guy from Rear Window) marks in the pocket but misses. 126 plays 98.

7.19am BST

AFL – The game’s all but gone for North, but Ben Brown is still competing hard. Takes a mark in the forward pocket, but misses on the tight angle. Nearly clunks another in the opposite pocket a minute later, then contests hard at full forward on the 50, and finally it comes back through the centre and he marks it 25 out straight in front. Up against Michael Hurley, one of the best defenders in the land, and Brown slots his sixth for the day from the set shot. Equals Buddy Franklin for top spot on the Coleman Medal tally. He has a 32-step run-up, and on that first shot from the pocket, had to cut it short because the fence was right behind him. “Would have had to start in the car park,” comes the classic line from the TV crew. 119 plays 98.

Meantime, this photo of him lining up is incredible. How’s this for Tracey Nearmy getting close to the action?

7.11am BST

Right, let’s get into some ball sports. In the NRL, the Panthers are up by 8 over the Titans in the second half. In the AFL, Essendon leading North Melbourne by 22, Melbourne 28 points over Port in the third, and Gold Coast v Western Bulldogs is about to fire off the first siren.

7.08am BST

Yes, I will be he shortly. Am here shortly. Am not even here shortly, because I’m already here. And don’t call me Shortly.

Good morning, afternoon, or evening, depending where you are around the world, but let’s assume that it’s mostly afternoon in the wide brown and sometimes other mottled colours land that is Australia.

Moonlighting on writing about AFL football from next to this London canal at 6:45am. No, I don’t know what’s going on either.

4.17am BST

Geoff will be here shortly.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article:

Jul 08

Saints ascendant in Maddie’s Match, Eels shock Storm, and more: Australia sportwatch – as it happened

1.34pm BST

And that, as they say when they’re being very obvious, is that. We started the day with the Hawks, scrambling a draw with Greater Western Sydney after trailing by 13 points with a few minutes to go. Unlikely, fun, silly really. That drawing goal was one of the dodgiest, most unlikely, accidental scores ever. But there it stood. Two draws in two weeks for GWS, after last week’s with Geelong, something no club has done since Carlton in 1921.

That was as close as things would get over the day in the AFL. Essendon prevailed comfortably over Collingwood, Sydney smashed the Gold Coast, St Kilda smashed Richmond, Geelong smashed the Lions.

1.18pm BST

Geelong reached the biggest score of the season with that last goal, and would have enjoyed the hit-out. A bit like Gold Coast with Sydney, the Lions hung in there for the first quarter but couldn’t keep up once the foot went down.

Hawkins kicked 4, while Parsons, Blicavs, and Danger all kicked 3. Mitch Duncan also had 38 stats, and would have had 3 Brownlow votes had his teammate not stolen the limelight. Lachie Henderson had 27 rebounding out of defence.

1.15pm BST

Goals for Dangerfield! Yes, plural. He jags two in the last two minutes, to end the night with three to his name. Runs forward to mark from Buzza’s pass, then runs back to mark in the square from Mackie’s. Kicks them both. The goals, not the teammates.

38 disposals, 23 of them contested, 9 marks and kicked 3.2.

1.05pm BST

Back at the MCG, the two Riewoldt cousins are being interviewed post-game. They both speak well about the size of the crowd that came down, the people they’re trying to help, and what it means to them.

“Hopefully we’ll smash that barrier we were aiming for tonight,” says Nick Riewoldt of the fundraising effort, “and judging by the size of the crowd I reckon we’ll go pretty close.”

1.01pm BST

The best thing to happen in the Brisbane game is that their forward Eric Hipwood just played 10 minutes with one boot on. It was half coming off near a contest, so he kicked it off and ran away to go after the ball. Play went over the far side of the ground, so he stayed with it. Chasing on one sock. Took them an age to get him back to the bench and get reunited with his wardrobe. He seemed comfortable enough out there. Benefits of Brisbane weather.

The second best thing was that Daniel Motlop almost scored a goal by accident. Got a handball into his boot in the goal square, and it was on track to ricochet through. He followed up to make sure of it with a toe-poke. 78 plays 151.

12.50pm BST

The Richmond comeback isn’t quite on. Three goals in a row to start the last quarter, with Dustin Martin starting it off as he so often does. Butler and Lloyd follow. But the remaining 71 points of the deficit prove too daunting for Richmond in the final 15 minutes, and the Saints bag a couple of goals back. It’s 135 to 58.

12.47pm BST

El-e-va-tion! Whoo. Wylie Buzza, the cartoon character, does a bit of levitating. Gets a huge leap at the ball. He was trying to use Daniel Rich as a stepladder, but Rich slipped over at the crucial moment. Lucky not to get kneed in the head. So Buzza was left hanging, literally, but did still get some serious hangtime. Got hands to the ball mid-air but couldn’t hold on. Doesn’t matter, becaues Parfitt is waiting down as the ball spills free, and snaps the goal. It’s 76 to 137.

12.45pm BST

I don’t want to make it sound like he’s the only player out there, but Dangerfield is the only player out there. In this last quarter especially. Takes a mark inside 50 but misses. Nearly marks another huge tumbling high ball. Then reels in a casual one-hander in the centre square and hits up Selwood, who finds Parfitt. Who misses. Then Dangerfield again, almost snapping one from the pocket but running out of space. The 35 jersey is literally everywhere. But no one can hit a shot at goal. Tired legs out there.

12.41pm BST

Dangerfield still looking to spark action even in the last quarter of a won game. Charges out of the centre square with advantage from a ruck free kick, but Hawkins doesn’t shoot from the pocket and tries to pass. Messes it up. As does Motlop after Dangerfield wins it back and sends it back forward, Motlop trying to cleverly pass sideways but the move was too clever. The Lions end up with a couple of shots at the other end and miss them. Lonergan is still doing excellent work, worrying forwards out of the ball. Zorko keeps bobbing up for the Lions, he kicked a couple of long bomb goals in the first quarter and has had 32 touches to this stage.

12.35pm BST

Three-quarter time is 55 points to Geelong over Brisbane, and 89 points to St Kilda over Richmond. I suppose we’ve had our close game for the day. And so many for the season. Perhaps we were due a couple of blowouts.

12.22pm BST

AFL: Riewoldt. Nick, that is. As he does. As he has done, so many times before. Back with the flight, taking no care for his safety. Taking the mark. Kicking the goal.

12.21pm BST

NRL: A late try to Clinton Gutherson, and the Parramatta Eels score an upset over the top-placed Storm. Hell of a performance at AAMI Stadium. Between the Storm and Maddie, there are two purple games going on tonight. The Saints are certainly the happier team in the colour.

He just looks dangerous every time he gets the ball!@ClintGutherson.#NRLStormEels#NRL

12.18pm BST

Turning into a handy percentage booster for Saint Kilda. They need one, they’re still hovering under 100 at this stage of the season. And they still want this so much. The commitment: they’re hunting in the midfield, the number of holding-the-ball frees won has been exceptional. There are five Tigers in the forward pocket yet somehow two Saints outhustle them until a handball finds Bruce in the clear to slot Saint Kilda’s 18th goal of the night.

12.14pm BST

Another miss for Richmond, as Tyson Stengle lines up after a fairly soft free kick for over the shoulder. It was easy shot. Richmond tonight, just dire. Three goals, nine behinds. The Saints? Seventeen goals, eight behinds. The score is 27 plays 110.

12.12pm BST

An interesting discussion going on in the comments about violence in the game, related to the suspensions handed out to Tom Bugg, Bachar Houli and Ali Fahour for knocking out opponents.

The key point being this idea: “they all received support from other adult men, with standing in the community, who should know better. Whilst of course they were not condoning the behaviour they were saying these are usually good blokes. That is exactly how we as a society have come to rationalise male violence – an aberrant, out of character act that we should simply forgive: move on.”

12.01pm BST

AFL: Stop the clocks. Let the hour be marked forever. Build a monument. Richmond have kicked a goal. Josh Caddy makes up for his earlier miss with a hit. They’re inspired, a minute later Shaun Grigg gets on the board as well. It’s a mere 80-point deficit now. I can’t believe we’re going to see the greatest comeback of all time.

11.47am BST

NRL: The Storm finally got on the board just before the half, via this break. It’s still 6-16, any chance of a comeback?

Vunivalu breaks down the right.

Delivers for Hughes.


11.37am BST

They’re trading goals. Hugh McCluggage, who sounds like a fake name you’d use while prank calling Moe’s Tavern, gets one against the run of play, running onto a loose ball. Down the other end, Zac Smith is too big and too strong, and muscles his way through for a reply. Dangerfield is supposed to be resting deep in the forward line, but keeps having a lot of work to do. He gets a heavy knock to the head while on hands and knees fighting for the ball. Collected by the hip of the arriving Brisbane player. Murdoch gets the spill, but had to snap almost over his own head under pressure, and hit the post. But it doesn’t last long, the reprieve. Parsons adds his third, Hawkins his third. It’s 42 plays 96 as the half-time siren goes.

If you think the floodgates are open here, it’s 92-10 in the St Kilda game.

11.30am BST

It’s a Rhys-off. It’s a Rhys-off!

Rhys Mathieson hits a long-range running goal for the Lions, but Rhys Stanley replies from a set shot for the Cats. They go forward again in waves, the returning captain Selwood finding the talisman Dangerfield with a long ball, but the mark is ruled touched. Dangerfield shovels it out while being tackled by three players, and the loose ball comes to Murdoch. Goal. It’s suddenly 36 plays 77.

11.25am BST

Well worth mentioning, when discussing the Cats, this man. Nearly died a decade ago when he lost a kidney after being smashed in a marking contest, very early in his career. It certainly seemed like that career would be over. So to come back from there, and reach 200 games, is testament to courage. Tom Lonergan.

Our hero. Our inspiration. Our 200 gamer. #AFLLionsCats

11.22am BST

St Kilda inside 50 again, Gresham centring the ball, but the Tigers draw a free kick for tunnelling the legs, and get out. Go forward. Almost get inside their own 50, miracle of miracles, but then it comes undone again. Back down to the wing, Cotchin shrugs a tackle but Gilbert comes out of nowhere and blindsides him with the second. Holding the ball, from which point it’s pumped into the pocket, knocked over the back, Gresham hits the pack at pace and grabs the crumb to sprint his little legs into an open goal.

The other game is opening up too, the Cats up 30-58 at the Gabba. I’ll switch over and give you some detail from there shortly.

11.17am BST

Saints are leading the inside-50 count by 30 to 10. And they’re having one of those nights, everything is coming off. Jack Steven is under huge pressure in a contest inside 50, and he somehow still takes a mark one-handed. Then when his shot fades across the face, Bruce marks it in the pocket. He misses his shot, which is the first thing that’s gone wrong.

11.14am BST

I thought the umpire was just really friendly, but he was saying “high”. Richmond get out of defence for a brief moment thanks to the free kick in the back pocket.

11.13am BST

AFL: Thanks for the Membrey. The Tigers are getting utterly smashed, and Tim Membrey adds the most recent bit to the pile. A set shot from 50 that sails through, moments after Jack Riewoldt missed one for Richmond from 40. Everybody’s lining up for goals for the Saints. Nick Riewoldt has one, because of course he does. Billings has one. Billy Longer has one. Koby has one. It’s 10 goals to 1, 65 points to 10. And we’re only halfway through the second quarter.

11.04am BST

NRL: Melbourne Storm are getting smashed at AAMI Park. Three tries, two converted, and it’s suddenly 0-16 to the Eels without even half an hour gone.

10.57am BST

Cats up by 9 points over the Lions as they near quarter time. Motlop goes on a burning run out of defence but runs into trouble, his kick misses the target and the ball is locked up in midfield. The last minute ticks away. It’s 23-32 at the Gabba in favour of the visitors.

10.54am BST

With a minute left in the term, the Tiges show patience to work a string of passes by foot through the midfield, then back and forth across the face until an opportunity opens up. Josh Caddy marks in the forward pocket, but has a horror and kicks it into the point post on the full. Three set shots in this quarter, two missed and one out on the full.

10.52am BST

AFL: The Saints out there with a deep purple instead of their traditional red, purple being the colour of the charity they’re supporting. Some good work on the arc gives a clear delivery to Gresham near the goalsquare, and he makes no mistake from the set shot. The Saints have swarmed the Tigers early, it’s 33 points to 9.

10.50am BST

Very good areas.

Read and Warburton to both try and throw a kettle over a pub?

10.42am BST

Right then. What’s next? St Kilda up 3 goals to 0, Geelong up 3 goals to 2, and Parra up 0-4 over the Storm. Let’s do it.

“There goes my expectation that other top teams would be sweating on the GWS/Geelong result in the final round – not to mention the two teams involved,” writes Winnie in the comments. “At least Geelong doesn’t have to sweat on percentage now. Then again, given this year, them drawing with Brisbane tonight is not so ridiculous a concept.” More draws, please. Never enough draws.

10.40am BST

True observation. They were exceptional in that regard a number of times.

Daly Cherry-Evans says the team can be proud of its goal line defensive effort. It is a positive to take out of the game.

10.36am BST

The Lions tie with the All Blacks, and the series finishes 1-1. What an underdog triumph for the best players from four different countries to tie with a team from an island with about 40 people. There’ll be a million bits of analysis and reaction on this site in 3… 2… 1…


10.24am BST

Rugby: If you’re into that sort of thing, scores are level with three minutes remaining. Y’know. No biggie.

10.24am BST


You’ll never walk alone, Maddie. @MaddiesVision #FightLikeMaddie

10.22am BST

AFL: the focus tonight for the evening round will be St Kilda versus Richmond. This is because it’s the game in honour of Madeleine Riewoldt, sister of Nick from St Kilda and cousin of Jack from Richmond. She died of bone marrow cancer, so this game raises money for Maddie’s Vision, the charity raising money to fight that disease.

Tonight is for Maddie | #FightLikeMaddie | #AFLSaintsTigers

10.17am BST

NRL: Lots of late attacking from the Eagles, they did their best to bring pressure to bear, but the Panthers were able to absorb it. A late series of runs involving Turbo and Cherry-Evans is impressive, but it’s too late. Uate and Walker can’t get it to the line, and the final whistle goes.

10.12am BST

Rugby: scores were level for a little while in the Lions game, but the All Blacks win a penalty from a scrum right in front of their goal, and kick out to 15-12.

10.11am BST

A very deflated and deflating match in the end. Gold Coast charged in the first quarter, nailed the last two goals of it and hit the front. Then didn’t kick another until deep in the final term. Didn’t even score for about an hour. Their defence was non-existent, they had no intensity around the ball, and Sydney marked inside 50 at will. A very ordinary contest, but an important one. The Swans flap up to 6th on the ladder, though any of Melbourne, West Coast or St Kilda could go back past them with a game in hand.

10.07am BST

NRL: Lucky for the Panthers that Cleary has his kicking boots on! Another penalty, another score. Eight points the difference now. Finally a bit of breathing space. 12 minutes to go. The score is 16-8.

10.06am BST

Cricket: the plot thickens. And thickens. And thickens. It’s like poutine gravy.

England won’t turn up for Ashes if no MOU signed in time. Great get @GeorgeDobell1

10.05am BST

AFL: Finally, the Cold Goats get a goal. Callum Ah Chee the rainmaker, the droughtbreaker, the firestarter. Just kidding, it’s all over. The air is out of this match completely. So much so that Wright adds another for GC. It’s 117-51.

9.56am BST

NRL: Try disallowed for the Panthers! And no one is happy about that overturn from the review official. Ruling is that there was a knock-on. Didn’t seem to be true, it looked more like the tackler had knocked the ball. And the on-field call was a try. But somehow there has supposedly been enough evidence to overturn it. Doesn’t appear right. That would have changed the Manly script hugely. But now they’re still in it. It remains 14-8.

9.53am BST

I assume he’s talking about Gandalf here?

Refreshing change watching a sport and listening to a Sir Ian who’s actually informative #Lions2017

9.52am BST

NRL: Oh, these could be important points. A penalty to the Panthers, and Nathan Cleary takes the margin out to 6 points with an accurate kick.

Over at Eden Park, it’s still 12-9, with the Lions pushing. That could be a cracker of a finish.

9.48am BST

Has Sydney really scored 17 times since Gold Coast last scored?! #AFLSwansSuns

Make that 19. Oh my… #AFLSwansSuns

9.42am BST

This has nothing to do with anything, unless being amazing is a sport.


9.41am BST

NRL: Well, they’re a second half side, Manly. Tend to run over the top of teams. And here they come, a backhander from Trbojevic letting Lane in. The conversion goes begging again though. Those points becoming important, with the gap 12-8 to the home Panthers.

The Lane train and Turbo combine for a @SeaEagles cracker!#NRLPanthersManly#NRL

9.37am BST

Rugby: It’s 12-6 to the All Blacks as they start the second half against the Lions. The Brits with the ball after an early penalty is called. Trying for a long-range goal. Slots it. Now it’s 12-9. A few AB mistakes keeping the Russell Crowe Loins in this game. Lawrence with the detail.

Related: New Zealand v Lions: third Test and series decider – live!

Another knock on from the All Blacks. They’ve got hands like Phil Tufnell today #LionsNZ2017

9.33am BST

Joel Selwood is back from concussion for Geelong.

So good to have the skip back! #AFLLionsCats

9.32am BST

AFL: It’s become a procession in the Swans-Suns game. Gary Rohan kicks his fifth. Towers adds another one. Some rubbish defending from another long kick into 50, clears a pack, then an errant defensive handball, and Zak Jones kicks another. Gold Coast still haven’t kicked a goal since just before quarter time, and there’s a minute until three-quarter time. Sydney in that period have kicked 10.

The clock ticks down to the final interval. Siren sounds. It’s 94 plays 36 and Rodney Eade is grimacing and groaning in the coach’s box.

9.13am BST

NRL: Try! Finally, the Panthers find a way through the Manly wall. A high kick, two players charging back, and Zelezniak reels it in. Only just – the video ref takes a long look, working out whether the ball has come loose before it’s grounded. But the on-field call was for a try, and the video is just borderline enough for the call to stay.

They knock the conversion over and it’s 12-4.

The @PenrithPanthers snatch a Try late in the first half!#NRLPanthersManly#NRL

9.09am BST

AFL: Update your list, Imogen. A third goal to Lance Franklin to start the third quarter. Simple chest mark on the lead, simple conversion.

9.07am BST

Rusty’s area of expertise.

That bloke on the Tele had “Loins” written on his head …#AllBlacksvBIL

9.04am BST

Panthers start a fresh set 20 metres from the try line. Great defence from Manly, stopping several forays within a couple of metres from the line.

8.58am BST

NRL: Forward pass from Shaun Lane trying to find Walker on the sixth tackle. Couldn’t land the miracle handover. 30 out, possession lost.

8.55am BST

Cricket: If you want the latest in the Australian pay saga, this is all that matters.

Shane Watson rocking the “dreamy new calc teacher on One Tree Hill, with a tortured past” look

8.54am BST

AFL: Sydney 10.5.65 to Gold Coast 5.6.36 at half time. The Suns didn’t kick a goal in the second quarter. Sydney didn’t either after Gary Rohan’s fourth, but by that stage they already had six for the term.

8.52am BST

Rugby: first try in the All Blacks game. The Lions did brilliantly with some one-on-one defence a moment ago to stop a score from a breakaway that looked all but inevitable. But can’t stop a straightforward charge from closer to home, over in the corner. Converted. 7-0.

Spine-tingling stuff from the #AllBlacks as they perform the Haka with incredible passion.
The final test is LIVE on SS1 & @DStv Now.

8.50am BST

Trent Merritt overplays his hand, and a Penrith pass is intercepted. But Manly give away a penalty by deciding to keep bashing the ball-carrier well after a tackle is done.

8.48am BST

NRL: At last we’re underway in the other side of the football world. It’s a spicy one at Pepper Stadium. Panthers love pepper. Ask David Attenborough. So it’s Penrith up against the Manly Sea Eagles. Manly could go third with a win, Penrith need one to stay in touch with the eight. And it’s the Panthers who start best early, Tamou wrestling his way over under the posts with his back to the tryline.

Tamou is in!

What a start for the @PenrithPanthers.#NRLPanthersManly#NRL

Isn’t @Dwalkz3 having a year!

Sharp pass selection from DCE as well.#NRLPanthersManly#NRL

8.36am BST

Across the office come the distinctive sounds of the New Zealand national anthem. It’s a good ‘un. If you want the full details of the All Blacks game against the British and Irish Lions, get on over to join Lawrence on his dedicated blog.

Related: New Zealand v Lions: third Test and series decider – live!

8.33am BST

Too easy again – on Franklin’s chest as he leads. Misses the shot though. Dean Towers doesn’t, receiving the handball from a midfield breakaway and slotting it. Then it’s Gary again! Not Ablett. Rohan will rise. His fourth goal as he finds it easy to find just a yard of space, take a tumbling mark on his chest from another forward entry, and convert the attempt. It’s 63-34, and Gold Coast are certainly not Goal Coast. Haven’t kicked one in this term.

8.27am BST

And another for Hewett and the Swans. Naismith was tackled in the goalsquare, and then… I think he threw that out? He held the ball up and just dropped it. Surely that’s not correct disposal? Unless he somehow got a bit of shoe on it as it fell. Anyway. He was lying on the ground, got the ball out, and Hewett is passing by to toe it over the line.

Then comes Gary Rohan again, sprinting back toward goal, then double back up the ground to mark an incoming ball. Kicks his third. It’s suddenly way too easy for Sydney, they’re finding targets every time they come inside 50. Their score is outside 50, because it’s 51. Gold Coast 34.

8.23am BST

Budgie Franklin is currently off the field with a sore wing. Had the doctors examining his wrist, and appeared to be in some discomfort.

8.22am BST

Sydney coming hard to start the second term. George Hewett gets their first after some good zigzag leading in an almost empty forward 50. Turnover in midfield, the quick kick comes back in and he’s good enough to have made space. The Suns repel several more forays in the next minute or two, but not the one that tall Sam Reid stretches up and marks in front of goal. Suddenly it’s 39-34 in favour of the Swandogs.

8.12am BST

Coasters hit the front! Seconds before quarter time, as Lynch gets two in a couple of minutes. He has three for the term. That last one, not really doing anything too wild, waiting outside a pack that was squabbling over the ball outside 50, and received a handball through heavy congestion from Jesse Longeran. It was a fair kick though, spinning around to face goal, near the boundary line about 40 metres around from home. Kicked off a step and sailed it through. The Suns are up 27-32.

8.06am BST

This has nothing to do with sport in Australia, but it’s pretty good, eh? That’s my criteria for including anything in anything: pretty good, eh?

Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilaka the first pair to partner in 200+ stands in consecutive ODIs #SLvZIM

8.05am BST

Lance Franklin with his second. Update that table once again. It’s 27-20 in Sydney’s favour.

8.04am BST

Language warning: Kagiso Rabada, block your tender ears. A salty but perhaps not unreasonable take from a Collingwood supporter about her team. There has been a lot of cult-like “playing for Bucks” nonsense this year. It can’t possibly be a motivator every week, and it has dragged on for a long time.

For a bunch of blokes who are playing for the coach they sure do look like they couldn’t give a fuck half the time when they’re out there.

8.00am BST

The Riders of Gary Rohan. Galloping to the fore. First he gallops himself down the forward flank, receives the ball, surges into the pocket with a burst of speed away from his pursuers and pumps the low drop punt through. A minute later he marks in the goal square tumbling back with the flight, and kicks the simple shot. Sydney up by six, but then Andrew Swallow at the other end pounces on a loose ball, and it’s 3.2.20 apiece at the SCG.

7.51am BST

But Jack Martin and Tom Lynch add the next two for the Suns. Important for Gold Coast that two of their biggest names are involved early. Gary Ablett Jr. isn’t playing today, incidentally, a slight niggle forcing him to defer Game 301.

7.50am BST

Swans get away with the first of the game against Gold Coast, via Lance Franklin. Moving well. Ascending into rare air.

.@sydneyswans with perfect 7-0 record against the Suns. Have now kicked the first goal in all 8 games. (Buddy 3 times) #AFLSwansSuns

828 #buddygoalwatch

Lance Franklin made the Suns pay early. #AFLSwansSuns

7.47am BST

Roco is free to be as one-eyed as he wants about his Bombers now, having departed The Age a few days ago. Hope he’s loving life.

Can’t make up my mind about Dons this year Best really good but still prone to lapses Reduce those & chance of finals at least #aflpiesdons

7.44am BST

Macca is first to get one away in the comments section. “Weird, if the Swans miss the finals then both Premiers from last year will not play finals and when is the last time a team played in a drawn game 2 weeks in a row?” Grand finalists, I assume you mean, but yes, point taken. That would be most unusual. The stats are out there telling us this is the most even season for a long, long time. As for two draws in a row, I’m sure the stattos will be all over searching precedents for that.

7.38am BST

To be fair GWS did say before the season they were looking forward to a good draw.

Essendon is up by 37 points at the MCG, in a result that will at least slightly soothe the savage burn of supporting the red and black. Fantasia has kicked five goals and nine thousand enchanted broomsticks. Joe Daniher has three. That pair could be making their club’s faithful happy for a long time to come.

7.31am BST

An absolutely bonkers ending to that game. The Giants are second on the ladder – two draws are a win, as the old saying doesn’t go. Adelaide remain top. Sydney’s a game out of the eight but could go back in with a win today. Gold Coast would be a win outside the eight if they won. Essendon will be a win outside the eight given they’re well up on Collingwood in the last quarter.

7.27am BST

And somehow, the Hawks nearly win. 10 seconds left when the centre bounce takes place. They rush it forward, just trying to get a behind so they can get ahead. The Hawks are able to punch it through via Henderson, trying to rush a point in their own forward line, but after a score review the umpires rule that the punch came after the siren sounded. A matter of split seconds for the Hawks, who nearly steal a win, and the Giants indeed draw twice in a fortnight. What an amazing, bizarre, incredibly even season this continues to be in Aussie Roooooolz.

7.23am BST

Yes they can! Will Langford in more traffic than Punt Road after the grand final! 40 out, scrubs a snap. It bounces on its point, clears Heath Shaw on the line with a huge bounce, and goes through! “Curtly Ambrose couldn’t get one to rise like that,” says Dermott Brereton.

7.20am BST

A couple of chances for the Hawks, but the Giants defence is keeping calm. The forward entries keep coming. A minute left. A goal the difference. Could GWS have two draws in two weeks?

7.17am BST

… but misses. A relatively simple shot from straight in front. The clock has 3:30 remaining. A goal the gap.

7.16am BST

A chance for Hawthorn – twice they surge forward thanks to a couple of good marks from Roughead and Schoenmakers coming out of defensive 50, but the first time a tackle takes down Isaac Smith in the centre square, and the second Henderson pumps the running shot out on the full from 50. Finally, after all of that, Sicily taps to Schoenmakers again on the flank, he finds Breust up forward, and on the J-curve set shot of Steve Johnson he adds a goal. That makes back the one the Giants just kicked, it’s 7 points the difference.

And Breust marks again on the burst out of the centre bounce…

7.10am BST

AFL: In terms of what’s happening already, the Hot Pink Hawks are within a kick of the Red Hot Giants down at Not Very Warm At All Stadium in Launceston. It’s 84 plays 89 in favour of the sherberts… make that five point margin into six as Kelly hits the post running into an open goal.

7.07am BST

Hello world, and as HG Nelson irresistibly had it, welcome to another afternoon where too much sport is barely enough. Geoff Lemon with you for another Sportwatch episode, cataloguing all things athletic in the broad brown land of the stolen pavlova. Looking forward to your company for the Swans and the Suns, the Panthers and the Seagles, a little dalliance with the All Blacks and the Lions of the Isles, back via AFL for some big cats and some small ones (Lions and Tigers and Cats, oh what?) plus the Saints for good measure, and in league the drenching Storm versus the slippery Eels. If there’s anything else I should be keeping an eye on and a television channel open to, please do let me know, either by formal correspondence using, or using the idiot machine on Twooterville using @GeoffLemonSport. Let’s get going, as some may say, with no further hairdo. I certainly haven’t brushed mine.

6.30am BST

Geoff will be with you shortly. In the meantime, check out the latest on Jeff Horn’s likely rematch against Manny Pacquiao.

Related: Horn-Pacquiao result to be reviewed but WBO rules out stripping title

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Mar 29

Pumped West Indies turn back the clock to make Aussies suffer

A newly unified West Indies relish an unlikely victory as Australia pay the price for pre-match verbals from James Faulkner Australias joyous months of cricket are very close to ending. Caribbean joy may soon commence. Its taken 20 years, but last nigh…

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