Jonathan Howcroft

Author's details

Name: Jonathan Howcroft
Date registered: October 26, 2015
URL: http://www.theguardian.com/football/a-league

Latest posts

  1. Decoding Australian football’s complex and critical governance issues | Jonathan Howcroft — August 16, 2017
  2. FFA put eggs in Fifa basket as Australian football descends into chaos once again | Jonathan Howcroft — August 12, 2017
  3. Storm edge Roosters, Cats stun Tigers, and more: Australia sportwatch – as it happened — August 12, 2017
  4. Steven Lowy’s incendiary attack only serves to highlight FFA inactivity | Jonathan Howcroft — August 6, 2017
  5. Hope in Australian cricket pay dispute with agreement ‘closer than it appears’ | Jonathan Howcroft — July 25, 2017

Author's posts listings

Aug 16

Decoding Australian football’s complex and critical governance issues | Jonathan Howcroft

The crisis has played out in stages over a number of months with each new step requiring detailed explanation of specific, often arcane issuesAustralian football is once again in turmoil. It is being forced to change its governance arrangements but sta…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/16/decoding-australian-footballs-complex-and-critical-governance-issues

Aug 12

FFA put eggs in Fifa basket as Australian football descends into chaos once again | Jonathan Howcroft

The process of thrashing out what change might look like illustrated neatly why such changes are required after a chaotic week of failed talksIt has been a defining week for Football Federation Australia chairman Steven Lowy, and following a hectic few…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/13/ffa-put-eggs-in-fifa-basket-as-australian-football-descends-into-chaos-once-again

Aug 12

Storm edge Roosters, Cats stun Tigers, and more: Australia sportwatch – as it happened

1.24pm BST

In the NRL it was a banner night for Melbourne Storm who all but sealed the minor premiership with a last gasp victory over the nearest rivals. It was a thrilling game and would be a worthy grand final match-up later in the year. The Panthers enhanced their finals chances at the expense of the Cowboys while the Dragons heaped more misery on the Titans.

Thanks for your company, let’s do this all again tomorrow.

1.22pm BST

So there we have it, crucial hard fought wins in the AFL for Geelong and West Coast alongside some hidings dished out by Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane. The Eagles are the big movers of the day, Climbing to seventh on the ladder in that logjam for the remaining couple of finals spots. The Cats’ win means the top four now looks reasonably set but Sydney are flying home with a wet sail.

1.19pm BST

FULL TIME: EAGLES WIN!

100 83 #AFLEaglesBlues pic.twitter.com/7TtRewWNi8

1.17pm BST

Now it IS all over. Redden with the sealer.

AFL: Q4 – 00:30 remaining – Eagles 15.10 (100) v Blues 12.11 (83)

1.13pm BST

Ok, maybe I spoke too soon (again!). Casboult curls a belter from the boundary 50m out to keep the Blues alive.


AFL: Q4 – 03:30 remaining –
Eagles 14.8 (92) v Blues 12.11 (83)

1.12pm BST

Josh Kennedy’s sixth of the night extinguishes whatever Blues hopes remained and makes his move into the lead for the Coleman Medal in the process. A Potential banana skin has been avoided – but only just.

AFL: Q4 – 04:00 remaining – Eagles 14.8 (92) v Blues 11.11 (77)

1.09pm BST

Charlie Curnow is already some player and he’s going to be something special. He kicks Carlton back into contention but there’s not long left at Domain Stadium.

AFL: Q4 – 05:00 remaining – Eagles 13.8 (86) v Blues 11.11 (77)

1.07pm BST

Seven goals in the first Premier League match of the season, three already before half-time in the second!

Related: Watford v Liverpool: Premier League – live

1.05pm BST

West Coast have stretched the margin out to 16 with a couple of quick goals. Do the Blues have anything left?

AFL: Q4 – 08:00 remaining – Eagles 13.8 (86) v Blues 10.10 (70)

1.00pm BST

Levi Casboult has kicked a beauty to keep Carlton within three points of West Coast midway through the final quarter.

AFL: Q4 – 10:00 remaining – Eagles 11.7 (73) v Blues 10.10 (70)

12.56pm BST

Another big win for the Crows as they continue their march towards top spot on the ladder at the end of the home and away season.

FT: @Adelaide_FC 18.15 (123) defeated @EssendonFC 12.8 (80).
One step closer to the minor premiership for the Crows.#AFLDonsCrows pic.twitter.com/IaKPJ5IzaF

12.50pm BST

Last couple of AFL matches of the night in progress. Adelaide are coasting to victory over Essendon with not long to go at Etihad Stadium, while over in Perth West Coast are a couple of points up on Carlton early in the final quarter.

12.40pm BST

Watford have nabbed an early goal against Liverpool. More on that here:

Related: Watford v Liverpool: Premier League – live

12.40pm BST

This has become very very uncomfortable indeed for Adam Simpson. After leading Carlton by 31 at half-time West Coast are now level with the Blues at three-quarter time.

AFL: 3QT – Eagles 10.4 (64) v Blues 9.10 (64)

12.30pm BST

Carlton are piecing together a third-quarter comeback against West Coast. After failing to kick a goal in the second quarter they’ve landed four in the third to narrow the margin to seven points.

AFL: Q3 – 09:00 remaining – Eagles 9.4 (58) v Blues 7.9 (51)

12.24pm BST

All over at Pepper Stadium where the Panthers have secured a stunning topsy-turvy win over the Cowboys to reignite their season and leave North Queensland’s in the balance.

NRL: Panthers 24-16 Cowboys

Hear from Nathan Cleary after #NRLPanthersCowboys.#NRL pic.twitter.com/ldg5hujWKP

12.21pm BST

Essendon are not conceding defeat but whenever they land a punch Adelaide finds a counter or two. It’s been a tougher night than the scoreboard might suggest for the Crows though and they won’t be happy that Rory Sloane is currently off the ground nursing what looks like a calf injury.

AFL: 3QT – Bombers 9.7 (61) v Crows 14.9 (93)

12.15pm BST

Brilliant from Nathan Cleary and the Panthers who have dominated the second half against the Cowboys. The halfback crosses for a deserved try that surely seals things for Penrith and put their finals campaign back on track.

If things stay as they are, the Panthers climb to sixth, the Cowboys plummet to eighth.

Cleary grabs a double!

Sharp work from May.#NRLPanthersCowboys#NRL pic.twitter.com/xVnw9hNLYz

12.07pm BST

Adelaide are maintaining a comfortable cushion over Essendon despite the efforts of Joe Daniher whose three goals have him back in front in the Coleman Medal race.

AFL: Q3 – Bombers 8.5 (53) v Crows 12.7 (79)

12.02pm BST

The Panthers are back in front!

NRL: 64 mins – Panthers 18-16 Cowboys

Big James Tamou!#NRLPanthersCowboys #NRL pic.twitter.com/98AQG1ggrS

Vision of the @nthqldcowboys No Try decision in the 54th minute of #NRLPanthersCowboys.#NRL pic.twitter.com/pV197XzFf5

11.50am BST

AFL: HT – Eagles 9.2 (56) v Blues 3.7 (25)

HALF TIME: Eagles get to work, to lead Carlton at the main break.

56 25 #AFLEaglesBlues pic.twitter.com/PsNwEtvxU2

11.46am BST

But the Panthers are not giving up without a fight.

NRL: 52 mins – Panthers 12-16 Cowboys

Nathan Cleary just stays alive and gets rewarded!#NRLPanthersCowboys#NRL pic.twitter.com/ZdNGHXCCVU

11.43am BST

The Cowboys are pulling away in the second half.

NRL: 50 mins – Panthers 6-16 Cowboys

Don’t even try and stop him! #NRLPanthersCowboys 6-16 after 47 minutes.#NRL pic.twitter.com/4zrT9pNOCu

11.39am BST

After the Premier League returned in blistering fashion last night it falls to Watford and Liverpool to retain the momentum. Join the inimitable Rob Smyth for his liveblog and see if Philippe Coutinho’s contract stoush has impacted on Jurgen Klopp’s title challengers.

Related: Watford v Liverpool: Premier League – live

11.37am BST

West Coast are gaining control of their clash with Carlton, upping the tempo in the second quarter.

AFL: Q2 – 6:00 remaining – Eagles 9.2 (56) v Blues 3.3 (21)

Sam Mitchell just broke an AFL record!!

Congrats, Mitch! #AFLEaglesBlues pic.twitter.com/PxtdPntWVi

11.33am BST

Half-time at Etihad Stadium where Essendon sent a fright through Adelaide before the ladder leaders started hitting targets at will, kicking 33 unanswered points, despite one of the all-time great misses from Tom Lynch.

AFL: HT Bombers 5.4 (34) v Crows 10.6 (66)

Tom Lynch won’t want to watch this again! #AFLDonsCrows pic.twitter.com/kWuNM7gx7H

11.28am BST

The World Athletics Championships are continuing in London and Usain Bolt has set up his farewell in the 4x100m relay.

Related: Usain Bolt steers Jamaica into 4x100m final as GB go close to record pace

11.27am BST

Half-time between the Panthers and Cowboys and it’s looking good for North Queensland’s top-four push.

NRL: HT – Panthers 6-10 Cowboys

11.11am BST

Quarter time at Domain Stadium and West Coast are not having things all their own way against Carlton.

AFL: QT – Eagles 4.0 (24) v Blues 3.3 (21)

11.06am BST

But the Cowboys are back in front in no time.

NRL: 32 mins – Panthers 6-10 Cowboys

All class from the @nthqldcowboys!#NRLPanthersCowboys#NRL pic.twitter.com/vmwLI34cDi

11.01am BST

Penrith have struck back against North Queensland as they battle to remain in the finals hunt.

NRL: 26 mins – Panthers 6-4 Cowboys

The @PenrithPanthers head left.

Then @Josh_Mansour turns inside and it opens up!#NRLPanthersCowboys#NRL pic.twitter.com/cTZEtUHVTE

10.55am BST

QT: @Adelaide_FC 5.3 (33) leads @EssendonFC 2.2 (14).
A fast start to #AFLDonsCrows. pic.twitter.com/hoS59CDNcE

10.54am BST

West Coast taking on Carlton is the final match of the night to concern us and it’s a must win for the Eagles in their bid to finish in the top-eight.

AFL: Q1 – 9.00 remaining Eagles 1.0 (6) v Blues 2.0 (12)

10.48am BST

Back to the NRL and North Queensland have drawn first blood against Penrith.

NRL: 14 mins – Panthers 0-4 Cowboys

Pressure into points for the @nthqldcowboys!#NRLPanthersCowboys#NRL pic.twitter.com/8Hr2XMlrw3

10.46am BST

Staying in the AFL, we’re underway at Etihad Stadium where Adelaide are looking to increase their lead at the top of the ladder against Essendon. Three early goals has them on their way but they won’t be pleased with the sight of captain Taylor Walker jogging into the rooms.

AFL: Q1 – 6.00 remaining Bombers 2.1 (13) v Crows 3.3 (21)

10.37am BST

Time to go back around the grounds, and first to Brisbane, where the Lions have completed a resounding victory over neighbours the Suns. They remain at the foot of the ladder but now move level on points with Carlton and North Melbourne.

AFL: Lions 22.10 (142) v Suns 12.12 (84)

10.33am BST

I’m exhausted. That was a belter, worthy of deciding the minor premiership. What a team Melbourne Storm are. Time after time they pull something out of the fire just when it’s needed.

10.26am BST

Melbourne Storm 16-13 Sydney Roosters

Mitchell Pearce knocks on as the clock ticks towards full-time, ending any hopes of a last gasp comeback. Storm win an amazing game crammed full of incident, controversy and high quality rugby league.

10.24am BST

NRL: H2 79:30 Melbourne Storm 16-13 Sydney Roosters

Ouch! A short kick-off sparks a contested marking contest that Addo-Carr claims spectacularly and while he’s in mid-air he’s clipped and lands awkwardly on his back. Thankfully he’s ok. Crucially for his side it earns a penalty that will go a long way to running out the clock. The set ends deep in Sydney territory. One last chance for the Roosters.

10.22am BST

NRL: H2 77:30 Melbourne Storm 16-13 Sydney Roosters

Try! (Storm) Stimson

It’s not over until it’s over! The @storm go in and take the lead back.#NRLStormRoosters 16-13 with 2 minutes remaining.#NRL pic.twitter.com/ezGVpUN4sl

10.17am BST

NRL: H2 75:00 Melbourne Storm 12-13 Sydney Roosters

Is that the game? Pearce shaped for the extra point on the third tackle but the lane was closed. He took the hit and allowed the ball to work to Keary who made no mistake. From the restart a short kick-off was claimed by the Roosters to deny Storm possession. Is there time for a comeback? Maybe! Ferguson kicks away possession in the corner to hand Storm seven tackles.

10.15am BST

NRL: H2 74:00 Melbourne Storm 12-13 Sydney Roosters

Keary kicks the drop-goal!

Keary slots it perfectly and gets the @sydneyroosters in front!#NRLStormRoosters 12-13 with 6 minutes remaining.#NRL pic.twitter.com/qkUayc0UiN

10.15am BST

NRL: H2 73:00 Melbourne Storm 12-12 Sydney Roosters

Huge moment! Melbourne brilliantly kept Sydney inside their own 30m for a set only for Slater to then grass a straightforward clearing punt from Pearce. What should have been Storm’s chance is suddenly Sydney’s! Can they convert it into a score – any score will do this late into the night.

10.13am BST

NRL: H2 71:30 Melbourne Storm 12-12 Sydney Roosters

This is gripping. Both sides delivering precision rugby league under the most gruelling of circumstances. Set after completed set ending with flawless defensive work. It will take something special to break the deadlock.

10.11am BST

NRL: H2 69:00 Melbourne Storm 12-12 Sydney Roosters

Superb collect from Slater, diving at speed in front of his posts, to repel another Keary kick. It sparks his side into finally dragging itself clear of its line after a long period under pressure.

10.08am BST

NRL: H2 66:30 Melbourne Storm 12-12 Sydney Roosters

A rare mistake from the Storm with Asofa-Solomona fumbling a simple pass from Smith – just the third Melbourne handling error of a match played in pouring rain.

10.03am BST

NRL: H2 63:00 Melbourne Storm 12-12 Sydney Roosters

What a finale we have in store. This has already been a high-quality football match full of controversy. Can either side find an edge?

10.01am BST

NRL: H2 61:00 Melbourne Storm 12-12 Sydney Roosters

Try! (Roosters) Aubusson

Aubusson straight for the corner!#NRLStormRoosters #NRL pic.twitter.com/hn2dZ2ljHI

9.57am BST

NRL: H2 58:30 Melbourne Storm 12-6 Sydney Roosters

The Roosters aren’t helping themselves at the moment. Jordan McLean concedes a poor turnover with a basic handling error. The error count is 9-2 against Sydney, but their defence has stood up superbly, offering little for the Storm to exploit.

9.54am BST

NRL: H2 55:00 Melbourne Storm 12-6 Sydney Roosters

Storm turning the screw and it’s the kicking game from Smith again, weighting a grubber perfectly for Watson to have no option but accept a tackle in-goal.

9.50am BST

NRL: H2 52:00 Melbourne Storm 12-6 Sydney Roosters

It’s an arm-wrestle between two efficient well-drilled sides in the wet at the moment. The Roosters running as much as they can, the Storm looking for the early boot of Smith and Cronk. From one thumping Smith boot and a powerful team chase they force the turnover. Can they make good field position count? Two points are on offer after Pearce hits Scott high. Smith accepts them to extend the lead to six points.

9.45am BST

NRL: H2 47:00 Melbourne Storm 10-6 Sydney Roosters

Cordner almost breaks through on the 30m line but Cronk held on well in the tackle – held on too long in fact, conceding the first penalty of the half. The Roosters can’t capitalise though with the Storm regathering a loose ball in the left corner.

9.43am BST

NRL: H2 45:00 Melbourne Storm 10-6 Sydney Roosters

Solid start to the half from both sides, exchanging completed sets. The highlight of some striahgt-line running the sight of Connor Watson almost going through Cooper Cronk in a bone-crunching charge.

9.39am BST

NRL: H2 41:00 Melbourne Storm 10-6 Sydney Roosters

Second half underway at AAMI Park and it begins with a solid set from the Storm. Blake Ferguson fields a high ball at its conclusion, remarkable to see him out on the field after the sickening fall he endured in the first half.

9.28am BST

Quickly over to the Q-Clash which has caught fire.

AFL: Q3 10:23 remaining Lions 14.6 (90) v Suns 9.9 (63)

It’s been all Brisbane since quarter time. They’ve kicked the last six goals of the game. #AFLLionsSuns pic.twitter.com/BqARIsvmGz

9.24am BST

NRL – Melbourne Storm 10-6 Sydney Roosters

A long spell of Sydney pressure is finally relieved by an eighth penalty. Storm’s progression downfield is interrupted by a Mitchell shoulder charge on Chambers that sparks a melee on the right wing.

9.18am BST

NRL H1 36:30 Melbourne Storm 10-6 Sydney Roosters

Melbourne think they’ve scored a 90m try but play was called back mid-break for a very debatable obstruction. From the resulting Roosters’ possession they almost go over in the left corner but some last-ditch defending denies a try. A very curious spell that seemed to go against the Storm.

9.13am BST

NRL H1 34:00 Melbourne Storm 10-6 Sydney Roosters

A much more even contest again as half time approaches but it could have been much better for Melbourne. Chambers was quickly up into Watson following a long Cronk clearance and he strips the ball in the tackle, only to see it knock forward.

34′ Blake Ferguson down with a shoulder injury after trying to score in the corner – Roosters with a repeat set #purplepride

9.07am BST

NRL H1 30:00 Melbourne Storm 10-6 Sydney Roosters

Try! (Roosters) Keary

Vision of the @sydneyroosters Try decision in the 29th minute of #NRLStormRoosters.#NRL pic.twitter.com/1FgqESOOEm

9.02am BST

NRL H1 26:30 Melbourne Storm 10-0 Sydney Roosters

Try! – (Storm) Penalty Try

Vunivalu on the fly!#NRLStormRoosters 10-0 after 27 minutes.#NRL pic.twitter.com/ZjJYMJkns5

8.57am BST

NRL H1 23:00 Melbourne Storm 4-0 Sydney Roosters

Yet another penalty – and another – the sixth and seventh of the half against the Roosters. The latest pair have brought about a warning from the officials to Boyd Cordner, delaying the inevitable two points to the boot of the prolific Cameron Smith.

8.54am BST

NRL H1 22:45 Melbourne Storm 2-0 Sydney Roosters

Three sets of six in a row defended by the Roosters and they’re finally able to clear their lines, Aidan Guerra sending them downfield with a surging burst but he’s penalised at the play-the-ball for a non-existent infringement and Melbourne are back grinding through the middle of AAMI Park.

8.52am BST

NRL H1 20:00 Melbourne Storm 2-0 Sydney Roosters

Melbourne camped in Sydney’s half now, working the ball through the forwards until there’s a possible overlap on the right wing that’s cut out by Mitchell’s fingertips.

8.49am BST

NRL H1 16:45 Melbourne Storm 2-0 Sydney Roosters

Another penalty to Slater prolongs a good period for the Storm as the heavens open above AAMI Park. The rain helps a vicious grubber from Cronk skip off the turf towards an onrushing Slater but the Roosters claw it behind.

8.46am BST

NRL H1 12:45 Melbourne Storm 2-0 Sydney Roosters

First blood to Melbourne. Storm use field position to their advantage, earning a penalty when Pearce bodychecks Slater as he chases a Cronk Garryowen. Smith makes no mistake from point blank range. The two points take Smith into equal third on the all-time point-scorer’s list.

8.43am BST

NRL H1 11:00 Melbourne Storm 0-0 Sydney Roosters

Half-chances appearing for the Roosters but the Storm closing the door whenever a break seems on. Defensively they have been sound but going forward they remain sluggish. A better kick from Cronk sends them into Sydney’s half, but only just.

8.40am BST

NRL H1 07:00 Melbourne Storm 0-0 Sydney Roosters

A poor pass from Slater coughs up possession early for the Storm who are yet to complete a set. The champion fullback redeems himself in defence but the Storm are pinned in their defensive territory. Another set is curtailed by an early kick and it’s a shocker from Cooper Cronk who fails to connect with a torpedo and the Roosters resume on halfway.

8.37am BST

NRL H1 04:30 Melbourne Storm 0-0 Sydney Roosters

All Roosters still with Jake Friend sending through a probing grubber that Storm send behind for a drop out. After regaining possession another solid set ends with Pearce floating a kick towards the left corner that Vunivalu claims well in the air.

8.35am BST

NRL H1 01:00 Melbourne Storm 0-0 Sydney Roosters

Solid opening set for the Roosters and they get a second set soon enough with Cameron Smith kicking on the third tackle. Connor Watson does superbly to run the ball from his own in-goal area to the 30m line. There’s a penalty at the breakdown and the Roosters are gifted territory.

8.32am BST

NRL H1 00:00 Melbourne Storm 0-0 Sydney Roosters

Here we go!

8.24am BST

Team News:

Jahrome Hughes will start at five-eighth for the Storm. That is the only change to the side that defeated the Cowboys last week. Brodie Croft and Robbie Rochow drop out of the 19-man squad named on Friday evening.

Warm-up! Less than ten minutes until KICK OFF #IMAROOSTER #NRLStormRoosters pic.twitter.com/wjpFN8DLnU

8.18am BST

Sharni Layton, the face of Australian netball, was forced to step aside from her commitments with the Diamonds after suffering from exhaustion. Erin Delahunty considers the weight of responsibility on the shoulders of the star goal keeper.

Related: Workload few could shoulder finally takes its toll on ‘exhausted’ Sharni Layton

8.17am BST

It was a miserable week for FFA who failed to secure the required governance reform despite the presence of a Fifa delegation in Sydney. Here’s my attempt to explain a complex situation.

Related: Steven Lowy’s incendiary attack only serves to highlight FFA inactivity | Jonathan Howcroft

8.16am BST

While we’re waiting for the Storm v Roosters clash, there’s time to check out some of the biggest features from this week.

An old face returned to The AFL Footy Show this week, but as Jonathan Horn writes, any attempt to revitalise the show is an exercise in futility.

Related: The Footy Show: rebooted but McGuire and Newman quickly revert to type | Jonathan Horn

8.11am BST

Hear from @billyslater and Mitchell Pearce ahead of #NRLStormRoosters.#NRL pic.twitter.com/5N9yrx2kdf

8.11am BST

There’s no let up in the AFL with the Q-Clash underway in Brisbane. And it’s the Suns that are on top early in interim coach Dean Solomon’s first game in charge.

AFL: QT Lions 3.2 (20) v Suns 6.5 (41)

7.58am BST

In the NRL The Dragons ran in seven tries as they scorched past the Titans. Mann, Nightingale and McInnes all grabbed braces as the Dragons secured eighth spot on the ladder.

NRL: Dragons 41-16 Titans

7.55am BST

In case you were wondering, Sydney’s final margin over Fremantle was 104 points.

AFL: Swans 22.11 (143) v Dockers 5.9 (39)

7.51am BST

Enormous win for Geelong. Undermanned and under the pump but they dug deep to earn the win that secures their status in the top four, giving them a six-point buffer to Sydney and potentially Port Adelaide with two rounds remaining.

Harry Taylor was the star up forward, providing the goal threat in the absence of Hawkins but it was a team effort, especially from a miserly defence that time after time snuffed out threat and set up attacking opportunities. A very satisfying day for Chris Scott.

7.44am BST

AFL: Cats 11.14 (80) v Tigers 9.12 (66)

They’ve fought to the last Richmond, winning a desperate clearance but can’t find the goal to start squeaky bum time. Geelong hold firm, clear their lines and see out their 13th consecutive win over the Tigers.

7.40am BST

AFL: Q4 01:30 remaining Cats 11.13 (80) v Tigers 9.11 (65)

There’s still time for a miraculous Richmond goal, finished off by Edwards.

7.38am BST

AFL: Q4 02:45 remaining Cats 11.13 (80) v Tigers 8.10 (58)

That must be it, surely. A brilliant one-handed mark from Taylor 10m out and the crowd erupts as Taylor’s fourth goal goes through. The underdogs have done it.

7.36am BST

AFL: Q4 03:45 remaining Cats 10.13 (74) v Tigers 8.10 (58)

Geelong starting to run down the clock now, passing it around their back line and hugging the boundary. When the ball is propelled forward it nears Scott Selwood who is being manhandled around 35m out but his set shot doesn’t make the journey.

7.33am BST

AFL: Q4 06:21 remaining Cats 10.12 (73) v Tigers 8.10 (58)

Almost as if he was provoked by Martin’s brilliance, Dangerfield responds in kind but Thurlow cannot honour the lead up play. The Cats doing well to keep the ball at Richmond’s end of Simonds Stadium though.

7.31am BST

AFL: Q4 07:11 remaining Cats 10.12 (72) v Tigers 8.10 (58)

Don’t write the Tigers off just yet, Dustin Martin does what he does, sharking off the back of a stoppage to snap a powerful left-footed finish from 30m.

7.27am BST

AFL: Q4 09:32 remaining Cats 10.12 (72) v Tigers 7.10 (52)

That could be it. Two in a minute – Menzel with the second and the lead out to 20 points. Again it originates with a defensive interception setting up a fast counter, Bews this time earning the plaudits.

7.25am BST

AFL: Q4 10:32 remaining Cats 9.12 (66) v Tigers 7.10 (52)

There’s the goal! Finally a long spell of Geelong pressure tells through a Motlop snap. The Cats refused to allow Richmond to clear their lines, clamping down on a propensity to over-handball in tight.

I’m so close to yelling “KICK THE DAMN THING” at the TV here. Richmond, what are you doing? #AFLCatsTigers

7.22am BST

AFL: Q4 12:01 remaining Cats 8.12 (60) v Tigers 7.10 (52)

Almost the reverse just happens! Richmond apply the press, Geelong look vulnerable but Motlop breaks from nowhere, feeds Taylor with a low fizzer but the contest’s dominant key forward can only kick a point.

7.19am BST

AFL: Q4 14:11 remaining Cats 8.10 (58) v Tigers 7.10 (52)

Geelong enjoying a rare spell of territorial dominance but unable to execute inside-50. Richmond finally break and spread and hit a target – Prestia – but his long bomb only earns one point.

7.17am BST

AFL: Q4 16:01 remaining Cats 8.10 (58) v Tigers 7.9 (51)

Geelong’s defence has got its midfield out of jail on so many occasions today and Tom Stewart is the latest to snuff out danger and then rebound a pace, setting up Taylor. A decent chance for Richmond ends in a point for the Cats.

7.14am BST

AFL: Q4 18:20 remaining Cats 8.9 (57) v Tigers 7.9 (51)

Frantic start to the final term – with rain on the way now it seems. Richmond have the first bite but can’t turn home a couple of half-chances. Menegola wins a huge contest to send Geelong up the other end but Motlop can’t finish from a tight angle. This is magnificently intense.

7.12am BST

Huge final quarter about to get underway.

That free-kick count by the way is now 23-14.

#aflcatstigers @sports_hounds Jack Riewoldt flies 3rd term #Tigers are coming ✌️⭐️ pic.twitter.com/ku5tsgwkZs

7.10am BST

NRL: 49 mins – Dragons 28-0 Titans

And the Dragons are destroying the Titans.

7.09am BST

AFL: Q3 – 3.31 remaining – Swans 20.11 (131) v Dockers 5.8 (38)

Meanwhile, Sydney’s rout is almost complete.

7.08am BST

AFL: Q3 Cats 8.9 (57) v Tigers 7.9 (51)

Courageous stuff from Stewart, spoiling after charging back with the flight knowing Martin was flying in his direction. The Tigers keep the ball inside their attacking territory for what seems like an age though, recycling phases of play from throw-in to ball-up. Somehow the Cats survive with just the concession of a point.

7.01am BST

AFL: Q3 03:20 remaining Cats 8.9 (57) v Tigers 7.8 (50)

Cotchin snaps another! 21-points in a row for Richmond.

6.57am BST

AFL: Q3 05:15 remaining Cats 8.9 (57) v Tigers 6.8 (44)

Yes they can – a skittish Houli makes immediate reparations with a shocking mongrel that did enough to squeeze through. Game on!

6.56am BST

AFL: Q3 05:47 remaining Cats 8.9 (57) v Tigers 5.8 (38)

Oh dear! A huge turning point in the game is butchered by Houli. Richmond have asphyxiated Geelong in the past few minutes and earned a turnover just outside 50, followed by a 50m penalty but Houli somehow hit the post when a goal seemed inevitable. While that was happening Jade Kolodjashnij was jogging off in the hands of trainers.

6.53am BST

AFL: Q3 08:18 remaining Cats 8.9 (57) v Tigers 5.7 (37)

Good spell from Richmond since that goal, competing again in clearances and exploiting Martin’s strength in the goalsquare alongside Riewoldt. The latter has a sight of goal but can only send his set shot away for a point. The momentum is shifting back towards the Tigers though.

Domsy’s on the bench getting a leg injury checked out.#AFLCatsTigers

6.49am BST

AFL: Q3 10:23 remaining Cats 8.9 (57) v Tigers 5.6 (36)

Excellent pressure from the Cats, pinning the ball in Richmond territory courtesy of six clearance wins in a row. When the Tigers eventually clear they find an inspired Geelong defence, expertly organised and clinical in the one-on-ones.

6.44am BST

If I hadn’t been assured by Richmond supporters that umpires don’t influence results…I’d say they are being crucified.#AflCatsTigers

23-9 in Geelong’s favour at present.

6.43am BST

AFL: Q3 13:46 remaining Cats 8.8 (56) v Tigers 4.5 (29)

The pattern of the second quarter is repeating in the third – Richmond seeing plenty of the ball but doing little with it and Geelong bursting forward dangerously at pace. The home side’s ground skills have been notable, rescuing some awkward situations with neat hands and strong hips.

6.40am BST

AFL: Q3 17:36 remaining Cats 8.7 (55) v Tigers 4.5 (29)

Back underway at Kardinia Park and for the first time today the Tigers don’t get an early jump at the start of a quarter. Rhys Stanley has the first shot for goal but he can only snag a behind, and a similar result meets Dangerfield’s ambitious effort but the Cats will be pleased to settle into the half on their terms.

6.36am BST

Our first match in the NRL is underway and it’s going well for the Dragons.

NRL: 32 mins – Dragons 16-0 Titans

6.30am BST

Let’s get around the grounds and see what scale the carnage at the SCG is…

AFL: Q3 – 9.11 remaining – Swans 17.6 (108) v Dockers 2.3 (15)

6.24am BST

Most of the stats are pretty even between these sides at half-time. A couple that stand out are:

We didn’t lock down their transition well enough, and panicked a bit once they got control through the umps. Deadly combo. #aflcatstigers

6.19am BST

AFL: HT – Cats 8.5 (53) v Tigers 4.5 (29)

If Richmond enjoyed the better of the opening quarter but failed to make it count on the scoreboard, Geelong made them pay in a thrilling attacking second quarter display. Harry Taylor is starring up forward with three goals but it’s the speed and bravery of ball movement from back to front that’s setting it up. The undermanned Cats have bared their teeth and it’s up to the Tigers to respond.

6.14am BST

AFL: Q2 00:47 remaining Cats 8.5 (53) v Tigers 4.5 (29)

Andrew Mackie runs to 50 and kicks the 100th goal of his career!#AFLCatsTigers

6.13am BST

AFL: Q2 01:17 remaining Cats 7.5 (47) v Tigers 4.5 (29)

Motlop quite magnificently butchers a golden opportunity 60m out with options all around him. Clearly knackered he fails to hit a target and the chance goes begging. Where is he in his career? A once game-changing forward is now staring at trade bait.

I hate complaining about the umpires but bloody hell…..this is repeatedly atrocious #AFLCatsTigers

6.09am BST

AFL: Q2 04:03 remaining Cats 7.5 (47) v Tigers 4.5 (29)

The home side is winning the free-kick count 16-6 and it works in their favour again when Riewoldt looked certain to be awarded a free at the top of the goal square. True to form for this quarter the Cats belt down the other end in no time and win a free-kick of their own 15m out that Menzel sends through to increase their margin to 18 points.

6.05am BST

AFL: Q2 07:14 remaining Cats 6.5 (41) v Tigers 4.5 (29)

Geelong have been brave in possession and that dare has been rewarded on the scoreboard. Richmond have been more methodical but they’ve been unable to unpick the home defence on an oval they marshal so superbly.

An awkward bounce was all Harry Taylor needed to kick his third goal. #AFLCatsTigers pic.twitter.com/buVeafRFl8

6.03am BST

AFL: Q2 09:14 remaining Cats 6.5 (41) v Tigers 4.5 (29)

A horribly soft 50m from Parfitt for overstepping the mark allows Houli a makable set shot but he drags it badly wide. Geelong clear their lines superbly and Guthrie’s burst buys territory before that man Taylor is again on hand to mop up and dribble home him third.

5.59am BST

AFL: Q2 11:52 remaining Cats 5.5 (35) v Tigers 4.4 (28)

Geelong with their first period of repeat entries this quarter and it pays dividends with Sam Simpson profiting from more dominant forward play by Taylor. This arm-wrestle has evened up with the Cats’ speed of ball movement providing them a more incisive attacking threat despite the Tigers outperforming them around the ground.

5.55am BST

AFL: Q2 13:42 remaining Cats 4.3 (27) v Tigers 4.4 (28)

Make that two collector’s items – Taylor again dominating Rance overhead! He can’t finish the job this time though, Geelong settling for a point.

5.51am BST

AFL: Q2 16:42 remaining Cats 4.2 (26) v Tigers 4.4 (28)

Geelong hit straight back with a collector’s item – Alex Rance beaten one-on-one in a straight marking contest, Harry Taylor the victor. The swingman makes no mistake from the set shot.

5.50am BST

AFL: Q2 18:36 remaining Cats 3.2 (20) v Tigers 4.4 (28)

Back at Simonds Stadium Richmond make another fast start to a quarter with Dan Butler slotting an early goal.

5.48am BST

AFL: Q2 – 3.00 remaining – Swans 12.6 (78) v Dockers 1.3 (9)

Over in Sydney the Swans are in record-breaking territory in a demolition over the Dockers.

5.44am BST

Richmond enjoyed the better of the early exchanges but Geelong scrapped hard to remain in touch. The wind is making ball handling difficult, as is the intense pressure of both sides. This is bubbling along very nicely indeed.

5.41am BST

AFL: QT – Cats 3.2 (20) v Tigers 3.4 (22)

Menegola smacks one of the big posts from 30m straight in front after Trent Cotchin had conceded a 50m penalty. Costly miss approaching quarter-time.

5.38am BST

AFL: Q1 01:36 remaining Cats 3.1 (19) v Tigers 3.4 (22)

Richmond’s ability to reshape after conceding possession is stifling any Geelong run and carry. Aside from that three-goal burst the Cats have been second best. Richmond leading inside-50s 16-9.

5.34am BST

AFL: Q1 04:16 remaining Cats 3.1 (19) v Tigers 3.4 (22)

Dustin Martin shows the value of a midfielder who can rest forward. Pushing out of the goal square the Brownlow Medal favourite outmarks Lonergan one-on-one and nails the set shot to return the Tigers to a deserved lead.

5.31am BST

If you’re not going to pay a deliberate rushed behind against Mackie in that situation, you may as well not have the rule. #AFLCatsTigers

5.31am BST

AFL: Q1 06:16 remaining Cats 3.1 (19) v Tigers 2.4 (16)

This match is now being played at fierce intensity, both sides careering into contests and fighting at ground level in the unpredictable conditions. Jordan Murdoch is a casualty of the action, struggling in the rooms with a corked thigh.

5.27am BST

AFL: Q1 09:31 remaining Cats 3.1 (19) v Tigers 2.0 (12)

Out of the blue the Cats are flying and they have three in a row. Cam Guthrie this time finishing off a flowing move that began with Motlop conceding territory but retaining possession before they worked their way back along the right boundary-line.

5.25am BST

AFL: Q1 10:11 remaining Cats 2.1 (13) v Tigers 2.0 (12)

The Jekyll and Hyde of Patrick Dangerfield in the blink of an eye. First the strength and speed to break into space but streaking inside-50 he fails to either hit a target or find the big sticks conceding a cheap turnover.

5.21am BST

AFL: Q1 12:38 remaining Cats 0.1 (1) v Tigers 2.0 (12)

Richmond’s pressure is denying Geelong any meaningful possession but the Cats finally string some passes down the corridor. Stanley should be awarded a gimme free-kick but it’s denied and from the crumbs Menzel kicks Geelong’s first point.

5.16am BST

AFL: Q1 16:38 remaining Cats 0.0 (0) v Tigers 2.0 (12)

Two in no-time at all for Richmond who have sprinted out of the blocks. Fierce without the ball, precise with it, and Jack Riewoldt makes no mistake with the difficult set shot. Geelong have yet to turn up.

5.15am BST

AFL: Q1 18:08 remaining Cats 0.0 (0) v Tigers 1.0 (6)

Richmond have enjoyed the better of some scrappy opening exchanges and it leads to the first goal of the day to Josh Caddy – the only Tiger who has tasted victory on this ground – albeit in Geelong hoops.

5.11am BST

A capacity crowd of 34,000 in full voice at a blustery but dry Simonds Stadium for the big game of the round.

5.10am BST

Q1 – Sydney 7.2 (44) v Fremantle 0.1 (1)

Before play gets underway in our feature match, a quick chance to update from the SCG where the Swans have made a blistering start at home to the Dockers. Towards the end of the opening quarter Luke Parker and Gary Rohan both have two goals apiece.

5.03am BST

Plenty of sub-plots out there today.

5.03am BST

Both teams go in as listed on Thursday.

For the Cats that means Patrick Dangerfield returns following his controversial suspension and he will need to be at his brilliant best in the absence of the injured Joel Selwood and the suspended pair of Tom Hawkins and Mitch Duncan. There are also recalls for a tri of players with points to prove in Steven Motlop, Rhys Stanley and Daniel Menzel.

No late changes to either side for today’s #AFLCatsTigers clash #gotiges pic.twitter.com/Ae5NKUOxrR

5.02am BST

Down at Kardinia Park there was a good old fashioned curtain-raiser between Geelong and Richmond’s VFL sides. In what the Cats would hope is an omen, the home side prevailed in a nail-biter.

Our @GeelongVFL side is cheered from Simonds Stadium victorious in a one-point thriller! #WeAreGeelong pic.twitter.com/vRzbtiDug1

5.00am BST

What happened overnight?

Arsenal began the Premier League season in style, snatching a last gasp 4-3 victory at home to Leicester City.

4.59am BST

Remember this is much more fun if you join in so feel free to leave a comment at the foot of the page, email me at jonathan.howcroft.freelance@guardian.co.uk or tweet me @JPHowcroft.

4.55am BST

Good afternoon everybody and welcome to the latest instalment of Sportwatch.

As you’d expect from an August Saturday there’s plenty going on, with each major footy code offering its own back page lead.

4.31am BST

Jonathan will be here shortly. In the meantime, it’s been a torrid, “embarrassing” even, week in the world of football in Australia. Catch up on what’s happening here:

Related: Australian football’s future put into Fifa’s hands after talks derailed

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/aug/12/geelong-v-richmond-storm-v-roosters-and-more-australia-sportwatch-live

Aug 06

Steven Lowy’s incendiary attack only serves to highlight FFA inactivity | Jonathan Howcroft

Unwittingly the FFA chairman has shone a light on the inertia that has paralysed FFA in recent years, inaction that has ultimately brought about this crisis

Football Federation Australia chairman Steven Lowy launched a withering attack on the “self-interest” of A-League club owners on Saturday morning, marking the conclusion of a phoney war that has been raging behind the scenes for months. The arrival this week of a Fifa delegation to resolve long-standing governance issues has brought hostilities into the open.

At the heart of the 2,000-word manifesto is a simple theme – trust. Lowy champions a decade of growth and stability, overseen by a safe hand on the tiller. He concedes changes are required to FFA’s congress and the A-League’s operating model, but with a warning these should not be hijacked by “narrow interests”. References to “the bad old days” and “chaos” stud the missive without trigger warnings, and there’s a pointed reference to the number of clubs headquartered outside Australia.

Related: Fifa report claims FFA made ‘improper payments’ in 2022 World Cup bid

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/07/steven-lowys-incendiary-attack-only-serves-to-highlight-ffa-inactivity

Jul 25

Hope in Australian cricket pay dispute with agreement ‘closer than it appears’ | Jonathan Howcroft

Cricket Australia confident Ashes series will go ahead as planned but players’ union remains cautious with new MoU still not in place

Australian cricket’s long-running pay dispute continues to drag on but there are glimmers of hope a resolution may be near, with a Cricket Australia spokesperson telling Guardian Australia an agreement with the Australian Cricketers’ Association is “closer than it appears”. The governing body was bullish about the chances of August’s tour of Bangladesh going ahead and there was even greater confidence in this summer’s men’s and women’s Ashes taking place. By comparison, the ACA’s tone was much more cautious.

Related: Greg Combet accuses Cricket Australia chairman of flouting players’ trust

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/25/hope-in-australian-cricket-pay-dispute-with-agreement-closer-than-it-appears

Jul 10

Luke Hodge will hang up his boots with a CV to rival any in AFL history | Jonathan Howcroft

When people wonder how Hawthorn could become so good and remain so good for so long, it’s because of individuals like the hawkeyed Hodge

The AFL’s licensed work of art to commemorate the career of Luke Hodge features the Hawthorn veteran’s steely-eyes staring back into the face of the viewer. Even inanimate Hodge is the alpha, goading the onlooker to avert their gaze. There’s no way he’s blinking first.

In the portrait Hodge stands with his arms wide, palms down, reminiscent of a hawk in flight. Behind him, from wingtip to wingtip are four premiership cups. Around his neck hang four premiership medallions and, for good measure, two Norm Smiths. Above him, the unambiguous title spells greatness.

Related: A week is a long time to forget during this 2017 AFL season | Craig Little

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/11/luke-hodge-will-hang-up-his-boots-with-a-cv-to-rival-any-in-afl-history

Jun 18

Big-money Aaron Mooy move sets alarm bells ringing in A-League | Jonathan Howcroft

Manchester City will bank what is set to be an Australian record transfer fee as pure profit after they signed the midfielder for nothing from Melbourne City

The City Football Academy in Melbourne’s north is one of the most impressive sporting amenities in Australia. Architecturally, the complex funnels the attention of staff towards the training ground, as a permanent reminder of the site’s purpose. Those pitches use state of the art hybrid grass technology and their most recent occupants included Lionel Messi, with Argentina using the centre as a training base for the recent SuperClàsico. The facility cost its owners, the City Football Group (CFG), $15m. For context, they acquired City’s A-League licence for $11.25m.

On a tour of the centre shortly after it opened I was taken from the reception atrium into the inner sanctum. One of the first things to emerge behind the security doors was the communal lounge where staff and players ate lunch and played video games. In the corner of the room a noisy table tennis contest was taking place. Among the participants was Aaron Mooy.

Related: ‘We want to win it, mate’: Postecoglou aims high at Confederations Cup

Related: David Squires on … a busy week for Australian football and aeronautics enthusiasts

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jun/19/likely-big-money-aaron-mooy-move-sets-alarm-bells-ringing-in-a-league

Apr 23

Melbourne City’s desperately timid ending is a microcosm of their slump | Jonathan Howcroft

Six wins in 20 games tells its own story, but even those damning numbers hide constipated play and an uncertainty in tactics and selection

Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar progressed from contrasting elimination finals to move within one game of the A-League championship decider, but it was Melbourne City’s abject capitulation against the former that grew into the story of the weekend. Uncertain in possession, apathetic without the ball, the home side looked overawed by the occasion at AAMI Park. It was a desperately timid end to a campaign that could hardly have begun with greater fanfare.

Related: Perth Glory post rare away win to move within a game of A-League grand final

Related: Brisbane Roar knock Wanderers out of A-League finals on penalties

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/apr/24/melbourne-citys-desperately-timid-ending-is-a-microcosm-of-their-slump

Apr 16

A-League premiers plate proves Graham Arnold to be an oblique strategist | JP Howcroft

There is nothing much left to say about Sydney FC’s winningest A-League season, but Graham Arnold’s methods are worthy of unconventional appraisal

Congratulations Sydney FC. The runaway premiers enjoyed the first of what should be two presentation ceremonies this season on Saturday, hoisting the premiers plate aloft after a typically methodical dismantling of Newcastle Jets.

It’s good manners in moments like this to laud the best team in a competition, especially one a record margin ahead of its nearest challenger. But what more is there to say about the winningest team in an A-League season that hasn’t been said already? We’ve talked up the coach, drooled over the marquee No10, and marvelled at the collective ability to seize the moment. Anything else you care to factor into Sydney’s peerless achievement has been raised somewhere between October and now during the 27 unbroken weeks the Sky Blues have topped the ladder.

Related: A-League: 16 goals as Glory beat City and Brisbane pip Wellington

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/apr/17/a-league-premiers-plate-proves-graham-arnold-to-be-an-oblique-strategist