Jonathan Howcroft

Author's posts

Oct 15

FFA crisis: simmering civil war promises to boil over in public | Jonathan Howcroft

After Football Federation Australia angered A-League clubs by calling an EGM, an amicable conclusion appears as distant as everWhen Football Federation Australia announced last week that it had called an extraordinary general meeting on 1 November “to …

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/16/ffa-crisis-simmering-civil-war-promises-to-boil-over-in-public

Oct 15

Sydney FC continue winning start, Jets held by Glory: sportwatch – as it happened

Sydney FC 3-2 Wellington PhoenixNewcastle Jets 2-2 Perth Glory 11.17am BST Sydney FC cemented their status as A-League favourites as a brace for Bobô proved the difference, after Wellington fought hard to give the defending champions several scares.Gra…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/oct/15/newcastle-jets-v-perth-glory-and-more-sportwatch-live

Oct 08

Newcastle off to a flier as Central Coast preseason’s fantasies prove short-lived | Jonathan Howcroft

Led by their creative trio, the impressive Newcastle turned their new coach’s tactics board into a counterattacking clinicThere’s something life-affirming about the giddiness that precedes the opening round of the season. The “it’s got to be our year!”…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/oct/09/newcastle-off-to-a-flier-as-central-coasts-preseason-fantasies-prove-short-lived

Oct 05

A-League: off-season recruitment augurs well for new season

Despite war between clubs and FFA and a summer full of big sporting events, A-League fans have much to look forward to

If the turmoil wasn’t so familiar it would be tempting to regard the 13th instalment of the A-League as cursed. On the eve of the new season clubs are at war with the governing body (again), the Socceroos are shredding nerves in a World Cup playoff (again), and the once clearish air of midsummer will be tested like never before with an Ashes series, an ascendant Big Bash League and the nascent AFLW competing for attention. Fortunately, the on-field product promises to be robust following one of the smartest off-seasons of player recruitment yet.

The season kicks off tonight with Melbourne City hosting Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park. City will be without Tim Cahill, who 12-months ago was almost single-handedly responsible for any hype around the competition. This time around he will be recovering from the first leg of Australia’s AFC playoff against Syria in Melaka and preparing for the vital second leg in Sydney on Tuesday.

Related: A-League 2017-18 season preview part one: the teams bubbling under

Related: A-League 2017-18 season preview part two: the outside chances | Jonathan Howcroft

Related: A-League 2017-18 season preview part three: the title contenders | Jonathan Howcroft

Related: Next Generation 2017: 60 of the best young talents in world football

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/oct/06/a-league-off-season-recruitment-augers-well-for-new-season

Oct 04

A-League 2017-18 season preview part three: the title contenders | Jonathan Howcroft

It’s the third and final instalment of our A-League season preview – AKA the if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it edition. There’s no prizes for guessing which teams we reckon should be challenging for the championship and premiership during the 2017-18 campaign, with another Sydney FC vs Melbourne Victory ding-dong on the horizon.

Related: A-League 2017-18 season preview part two: the outside chances | Jonathan Howcroft

Related: Tony Popovic quits Western Sydney Wanderers on eve of A-League season

Related: A-League 2017-18 season preview part one: the teams bubbling under

Related: David Squires on … the governance crisis threatening Australian football

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/oct/05/a-league-2017-18-season-preview-part-three-the-title-contenders

Oct 03

A-League 2017-18 season preview part two: the outside chances | Jonathan Howcroft

The second of our team-by-team guides looks at three sides with bags of talent but hamstrung by obvious frailtiesPart one: the teams bubbling underIns: Mitch Nichols (Wanderers), Scott Neville (Wanderers), Jacob Poscoliero (Mariners), Jake Brimmer (Liv…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/oct/04/a-league-2017-18-season-preview-part-two-the-outside-chances

Oct 02

A-League 2017-18 preview part one: the teams bubbling under

Our team-by-team guide to the new season kicks off with the four sides least likely to make the finals this year

Wellington, Central Coast, Adelaide and Newcastle – if you support any of these teams you probably think what follows is a stitch-up or further evidence of some kind of bias. And the truth is, they could all equally go on to make the top four; this is Australian football we’re talking about after all, a universe about as reliable as a Trump administration spokesperson.

Yet there also happens to be some logic behind the decision to include them. This quartet occupied the bottom four spots on last year’s ladder, three of them have been hanging around there for the past two seasons, a pair of them for the last three years, and in the case of the Jets, seven seasons on the trot. So, while each can look forward to improved efforts, they still have plenty of ground to make up on sides above them.

Related: Tony Popovic quits Western Sydney Wanderers on eve of A-League season

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/oct/03/a-league-2017-18-preview-part-one-the-teams-bubbling-under

Sep 30

Richmond Tigers beat Adelaide Crows by 48 points in 2017 AFL grand final – as it happened

8.45am BST

I think that’s about all from me for today. And what a day it’s been for Richmond, deserved premiers for the first time in 37 years after a rollicking finals campaign.

Keep your eyes peeled for more insight and analysis from the grand final elsewhere on these pages.

8.41am BST

#AFLGF #gotiges pic.twitter.com/RDbLGTNnOA

8.37am BST

2017 PREMIERS #AFLGF #gotiges pic.twitter.com/SwC5qCdwDd

8.36am BST

A perfect handover, faultless lift from Cotchin and Hardwick, and the rest of the team pile in. Yellow and black confetti, the song blaring, memorable scenes for the Tiger Army.

How good is this!@mattricho0 presents the to @richmond_fc.

2017 premiers!#AFLGF pic.twitter.com/eB0B2Cogk1

8.35am BST

Here’s Richo with the cup…

8.34am BST

Trent Cotchin with the ‘thank yous’. Damien Hardwick with a few of his own, including a nice little plug for Puma for enabling them to resign Dustin Martin. A special mention too for the famous Mrs Hardwick.

“To the Tiger Army, this one’s for you!”

8.32am BST

Mick Malthouse presents the Jock McHale Medal to Damien Hardwick.

8.32am BST

Norm Smith Medal Votes:

5 judges voted 3 2 1

13 D Martin 33331
10 BHouli 32221
2 A Rance 2
2 S Edwards 2
2 D Prestia 11
1 J Graham 1.

Judd: Martin,Houli,Graham
Wallace: Houli,Edwards,Martin
Pearce: Martin,Houli,Prestia
Maclure: Martin,Rance,Houli
Niall: Martin,Houli,Prestia

8.30am BST

The Dusty Quintet: Brownlow, Flag, Norm Smith, Circuit, Chop #AFLGF

8.28am BST

Now the Richmond players receive their medals and hand out caps to the little Auskick tackers. I always find this one of the genuinely heartwarming moments in sport. The way these big fellas gently place the caps on the starry-eyed kids’ heads.

“Congratulations, you’re a legend,” says one to Jack Riewoldt. Bloody brilliant.

8.26am BST

James Hird, to a mixed reception, awards the Norm Smith medal to DUSTIN MARTIN!

.@DustinMartin4 is the Norm Smith Medallist. Perfect way to cap off his year #AFLGF #gotiges pic.twitter.com/HDCPtLpycs

8.25am BST

Short and sweet from Taylor Walker, thanking sponsors, promising a swift return, but little else.

8.24am BST

The presentation ceremony is underway.

8.24am BST

To all our fans, we’ve been through heartbreak before. We’ll regroup and bounce back from this! #AFLGF #weflyasone

#AFLGF #gotiges pic.twitter.com/2RCIfProJl

8.22am BST

Three Tigers dropped the F bomb on live tv so far. Let’s get to 100 by the trophy presentation. #AFLGF

8.21am BST

Related: Richmond end 37-year wait with AFL grand final win over Adelaide

8.20am BST

What a day for Richmond. What a season.

8.18am BST

Trent Cotchin:

Today’s performance echoes what we’ve been about all year. 22 contributors, and Dusty’s pretty special.

I honestly cannot believe it, it’s a dream come true, the best feeling in the world. I’m so proud of every player today.

We knew it was going to be a grind… I never thought I’d be here but we absolutely love each other and you can tell that on the scoreboard.

8.14am BST

8.13am BST

Adelaide 8.12 (60) v Richmond 16.12 (108)

It’s Tiger time!

I’m not crying mate, you’re bloody crying.

108 ️60 #AFLGF #gotiges

8.10am BST

Q4 02:00 remaining – Adelaide 8.12 (60) v Richmond 16.12 (108)

Nankervis another name to throw into the Norm Smith mix, which, let’s be honest, is a lottery right now. The big man has done his best work around the ground, especially floating back into defence and taking some crucial marks.

8.07am BST

Q4 04:30 remaining – Adelaide 8.12 (60) v Richmond 16.11 (107)

Cameron slots a consolation.

They are enjoying this pic.twitter.com/lqcC0acgxg

8.06am BST

Q4 05:30 remaining – Adelaide 7.12 (54) v Richmond 16.11 (107)

No mercy from the Tigers. They are feasting on the carcass of the Crows. Martin front and square, hooking, and the Brownlow, AFL MVP, AFLCA MVP, kicks Richmond’s 16th.

Q4 | It’s starting to sink in… @mattricho0 is in tears on the boundary line #AFLGF pic.twitter.com/xEWDCq3pEK

8.03am BST

Q4 07:00 remaining – Adelaide 7.12 (54) v Richmond 15.10 (100)

Butler with a beauty of a bender after winning a holding the ball free.

Got this eerie feeling that the Tigers are going to do in 2017 what the Bulldogs did in 2016 Kb

Official attendance for today’s #AFLGF is 100,021!

7.59am BST

Q4 09:00 remaining – Adelaide 7.12 (54) v Richmond 14.10 (94)

To their credit Adelaide aren’t lying down, but their bursts of effort are being matched and raised by the Tigers in defence. Again the Crows look to be in a promising situation but again a superb defensive effort sparks a rebound that culminates in a Houli set shot from 40m that slides wide. The clearing kick is picked off by Townsend 35m out on an angle and he makes no mistake.

Susan Alberti in 2016 and Peggy O’Neal in 2017.

The secret to winning an #AFLGF is female leadership. https://t.co/hRITs4oAU6

7.56am BST

Q4 12:00 remaining – Adelaide 7.12 (54) v Richmond 13.9 (87)

So, who’s going to collect the Norm Smith? Prestia and Martin lead the Tigers for disposals with 23. Graham is the leading goalkicker with three. No Richmond player has more than five tackles. Bachar Houli is leading the fantasy scoring by some margin, ahead of Riewoldt and Lambert. And that’s without mentioning Rance who’s been supreme intercepting and setting up Richmond from the back.

7.52am BST

Thoughts very much with Chris Kenny at this point. #AFLGF

Hands up if you got paid to write that Richmond wouldn’t even make the eight. ✋

7.51am BST

Q4 14:30 remaining – Adelaide 7.11 (53) v Richmond 13.8 (86)

Walker taken high in a marking contest and Adelaide have two in a row.

7.50am BST

Q4 15:00 remaining – Adelaide 6.11 (47) v Richmond 13.8 (86)

50m penalty and a goal to Brad Crouch. We trail 47-86 #AFLGF #weflyasone

7.49am BST

Q4 15:30 remaining – Adelaide 5.11 (41) v Richmond 13.8 (86)

The contrast in speed and intensity between these sides has grown the longer the game has gone on. It’s like playing a console game with one team on expert setting, the other on beginner. Even when Adelaide win the ball they look shellshocked in possession. And they don’t have it for long because Richmond have so much momentum. The Crows seem the likelier to score from a few phases of play but it ends with Prestia bagging another for the Tigers.

THIS IS NOT A DRILL
Evacuate Swan St NOW #AFLgf

7.45am BST

Q4 18:00 remaining – Adelaide 5.10 (40) v Richmond 12.8 (80)

Another quarter begins with Richmond on top and a Tiger taking a strong mark, Rioli this time though, not Riewoldt. Nankervis belts the loose ball forward towards the forward pocket and from the ball-in the pressure is unrelenting until a centring ball finds the leaping Riewoldt who out-marks Cameron and kicks his second from 25m.

Jack!!! Leads out to mark and gets his second. The first of the final term.

80 ️40 #AFLGF #gotiges

7.41am BST

Q4 20:00 remaining – Adelaide 5.10 (40) v Richmond 11.8 (74)

The best quarter in a generation for an army of Richmond supporters is underway.

7.40am BST

Crows on track for lowest score this year – previously 66pts v Melbourne in rd8. AFL’s most potent attack has been dismantled. #AFLGF

7.39am BST

As a Richmond fan of 30+ years, I can’t help but feel like I’m being set up for the most crushing disappointment of my adult life #AFLGF

7.39am BST

2016: DOGGIES
2017: RICHMOND
2018: DEMONS
2019: ST KILDA
2020: MIGHTY DUCKS
2021: JOB THE RIGHTEOUS
2022: WILE E. COYOTE

7.38am BST

Not long until Damien Hardwick calls Focus on Footy up on stage, a-la Bevo & Bob, & hands over his medallion. What a contribution! #AFLGF pic.twitter.com/ea7nQHh0gO

7.38am BST

Tigers have kept the number 1 attacking team to 40 points in 3 qtrs. Outstanding defensive effort #aflgf

7.38am BST

7.35am BST

3QT – Adelaide 5.10 (40) v Richmond 11.8 (74)

Atkins has a golden opportunity to stem the bleeding but misses the lot from 45m on the run. The ball-in ends with Jenkins 45m out but his poor game is reinforced with a mishit behind.

Is Tom Lynch still on the ground? And alive? #AFLGF

7.32am BST

Q3 02:00 remaining – Adelaide 5.9 (39) v Richmond 11.8 (74)

The old adage about finals being won by the bottom six on a list is worth repeating again. Andy Otten for example just featured in the TV broadcast, and it wasn’t flattering. The utility has four disposals and two free-kicks against for the game so far. Mitch McGovern’s hamstring never looked so valuable.

7.29am BST

Q3 05:00 remaining – Adelaide 5.9 (39) v Richmond 11.6 (72)

We might need some new topics of conversations soon because this one looks all over. Richmond are overrunning Adelaide like the White Walkers approaching the wall. There is nothing the Crows can do stop the repeat incursions or send the ball back the other way.

7.26am BST

Q3 07:30 remaining – Adelaide 5.9 (39) v Richmond 11.6 (72)

Castagna goals from Martin’s strength inside-50.

7.24am BST

Q3 08:00 remaining – Adelaide 5.9 (39) v Richmond 10.6 (66)

Richmond are like those nature documentaries about plagues of locusts, always buzzing, snapping, moving relentlessly forward. It’s irresistible. Even mistakes come up trumps and manifests as the much derided ‘perceived pressure’ so much that Adelaide can’t breathe when they collect the ball.

7.22am BST

Q3 10:00 remaining – Adelaide 5.9 (39) v Richmond 10.5 (65)

Richmond dust themselves down and return to winning the clearance and working the ball forward. They work it all the way to goal machine Jack Graham who effortlessly slots his third from the arc on an angle.

Three goals now for Jack Graham. The perfect answer to Walker’s goal.

65 ️39 #AFLGF #gotiges

7.20am BST

Q3 11:00 remaining – Adelaide 5.9 (39) v Richmond 9.5 (59)

Adelaide have just about evened up the contest around the ground over the past couple of minutes. A free plus 50m to Douglas sets up a good attacking opportunity and once the ball lands in Tex Walker’s mitts you sense a defining moment is on its way. He has to kick this set shot from 45m straight in front – and he does! The Crows have a spark.

@JPHowcroft https://t.co/8WwrPV0zdL @AdelaideCrowsFC on the ropes and in real trouble. Game Over. #aflgf

Not over until the final siren. Plenty of time for the Crows to come back.

7.18am BST

Q3 12:30 remaining – Adelaide 4.9 (33) v Richmond 9.5 (59)

Adelaide are facing a standing count. The Crows haven’t scored in over 40-minutes of football and Richmond are rampant.

Feel this Richmond. You have broken them. #AFLGF

7.15am BST

Q3 14:30 remaining – Adelaide 4.7 (31) v Richmond 9.5 (59)

Another! Lambert!

7.14am BST

Q3 15:00 remaining – Adelaide 4.7 (31) v Richmond 8.5 (53)

Wave after wave of pressure. Adelaide looking desperately for an outlet but everywhere they look there’s a yellow guernsey. Eventually Edwards has the composure to pick out Grigg in space and he wallops a sixth Richmond goal in a row!

7.12am BST

Q3 16:00 remaining – Adelaide 4.7 (31) v Richmond 7.5 (47)

Adelaide in strife. They’re struggling to get hold of the ball and then when they do they immediately cough up a cheap free for a hold on Rance.

7.08am BST

Q3 18:00 remaining – Adelaide 4.7 (31) v Richmond 7.4 (46)

Richmond out of the blocks quickly and it’s a start gilded by another Riewoldt contested mark that will look beautiful in a commemorative frame.

First time kicking two goals in a game for Jack Graham. He has the first of the second half.

46 ️31 #AFLGF #gotiges

7.05am BST

Q3 20:00 remaining – Adelaide 4.7 (31) v Richmond 6.4 (40)

Back underway at the MCG. Can the Crows come back?

7.04am BST

Plenty of chuntering about umpires on the comments section and social media. This incident involving Eddie Betts that went unpaid seems to have caused particular outrage.

I would like @afl to explain this to me I pay my money in good faith to see a fair contest how can you explain this #Aflgf pic.twitter.com/FLjReeb9eQ

7.00am BST

Tim Watson at half-time has said Adelaide’s players were arguing among themselves during the first half.

6.58am BST

Can run Well done, Connor! #AFLGF #gotiges pic.twitter.com/dJ9vXSyMkQ

6.57am BST

Richmond Win!!!! (The Grand Final Sprint)

Connor Menadue gives Tigers fans something to cheer at half time, holding off Jarrod Pickett in the traditional sprint.

6.54am BST

The general take away from the eminence grises on TV seems to be that the first half was played on Richmond’s terms. Plenty of contact, increasingly scrappy, and dictated by the Tigers’ pressure rather than Adelaide’s ability to move the ball freely in the open.

Agreement that the Crows forwards have unperformed and the obvious improvement in the second half has to come from Walker, Jenkins and Otten who have barely been sighted so far.

6.50am BST

All the team stats pretty even at half-time.

The stats at half-time of the #AFLGF with Prestia leading the way in touches and all single goal-kickers.#gotiges pic.twitter.com/dUkArv7NUg

Our top ball winners to the main change ⬇️ Jacobs has a match-high 26 hit-outs, Laird running at 95% efficiency #AFLGF #weflyasone pic.twitter.com/DX7WDgfkJl

6.46am BST

Crows have lost all 5 games when failed to score 83 points this yr. Walker/Jenkins can’t get near it. Tiger tornado too good so far. #AFLGF

6.44am BST

.@Adelaide_FC AT HALF-TIME OF GRAND FINALS
1997: Trailed by 13 points, won
1998: Trailed by 24 points, won
2017: Trail by 9 points, ???#AFLGF

6.42am BST

HT – Adelaide 4.7 (31) v Richmond 6.4 (40)

Superb quarter by Richmond to turn this contest on its head. The Tigers’ one-percenters in defence are staggering. Nothing is allowed just to happen, everything has a smother, a tackle a spoil or a chase.

6.38am BST

Q2 01:00 remaining – Adelaide 4.7 (31) v Richmond 6.4 (40)

Four in a row to Richmond this quarter and the scoreboard now probably the fairest reflection of the balance of play from what we’ve seen so far.

6.33am BST

Q2 03:30 remaining – Adelaide 4.6 (30) v Richmond 6.4 (40)

Centre clearance to the Tigers, quick breakway to Dusty one-on-one inside 50 and he monsters Brown, takes the mark and kicks the goal. Richmond rampant!

6.32am BST

Q2 04:00 remaining – Adelaide 4.6 (30) v Richmond 5.4 (34)

Richmond keep pushing and Jack Graham, in just his fifth match, belts home from 40m on the run. Richmond back in front.

6.31am BST

Q2 04:30 remaining – Adelaide 4.6 (30) v Richmond 4.4 (28)

Lots of vital one-on-ones around the ground keeping this game on a knife’s-edge. Castagna does enough to bring what looked to be an Adelaide mark to ground, then Cotchin lays a huge tackle on Douglas, as Richmond pile on the pressure. The chokehold isn’t given enough time to force a submission as a free-kick is found somewhere around the ball-in.

6.28am BST

Q2 06:00 remaining – Adelaide 4.6 (30) v Richmond 4.4 (28)

Adelaide just a few inches off with their handballs in close, inviting Richmond’s ferocious pressure. A couple of free-kicks go their way though until there’s a stoppage underneath the the left behind post.

6.24am BST

Q2 08:00 remaining – Adelaide 4.6 (30) v Richmond 4.4 (28)

Adelaide’s big men are having a mixed day. Jacobs is dominating in the ruck but Jenkins and Walker and failing to make any impact further forward.

Townsend gets a free kick for holding, and he converts for the Tigers. It’s a two-point game, 18 minutes gone 2nd qtr #AFLGF #weflyasone

6.20am BST

Q2 11:00 remaining – Adelaide 4.6 (30) v Richmond 3.4 (22)

Sloane and Rance exchange contested marks – both have been instrumental so far – but neither side can control possession as that shower takes its toll.

6.15am BST

Q2 13:30 remaining – Adelaide 4.6 (30) v Richmond 3.3 (21)

As with the opening quarter the pattern feels like it’s settling into the game being played on Richmond’s terms. The big tackles are Richmond’s, the pressure is hardest from the yellow guernseys and the bursts of noice from the crowd are from the Tiger army.

6.11am BST

Q2 16:40 remaining – Adelaide 4.4 (28) v Richmond 3.3 (21)

Richmond’s first possession of the quarter is slick and the ball goes end to end swiftly until it reaches the waiting hands of Riewoldt. His third makable set shot of the day gets there! Just… It goes upstairs but Adelaide’s slipshod defending is too slow to get a fingertip to the snap that only just had enough purchase to earn the six points. Jack’s on the board.

6.09am BST

Q2 18:00 remaining – Adelaide 4.4 (28) v Richmond 2.3 (15)

A much more stoppage heavy start to the second quarter, played mostly on Adelaide’s terms. Betts snaps a point and Richmond can’t clear their lines. Sloane picks it off and feeds Lynch 35m out pretty straight but he makes an almighty mess of the set shot.

6.06am BST

Not much to mention stats wise.

Richmond lead the free-kick count 9-5.

6.04am BST

Curious opening quarter. Richmond probably the better side but Adelaide are two goals ahead.

The Tigers haven’t been able to fashion much space inside 50 and the Crows’ backline have read the game well and not panicked under immense pressure.

Scenes at Punt Road Oval #AFLGF #gotiges pic.twitter.com/4IwYEsBofS

6.01am BST

QT Adelaide 4.2 (26) v Richmond 2.3 (15)

It’s on at quarter time after Townsend kicks into the man on the mark with a shot after the siren. No punches thrown but plenty of pent up energy from two sides who have delivered a full-blooded opening term.

5.58am BST

Q1 01:00 remaining – Adelaide 4.2 (26) v Richmond 2.3 (15)

Adelaide are evening up the ledger in midfield again after 10-15 minutes of Richmond domination. Another centre clearance gives them territorial advantage and forces Rance to concede a rushed behind.

5.55am BST

Q1 02:00 remaining – Adelaide 3.1 (19) v Richmond 2.3 (15)

Deliberate out of bounds in favour of the Crows 60m out allows Douglas to load up. He hits the top of the square, a pack forms, and Sloane is front and square to snap Adelaide back in front.

5.53am BST

Q1 02:30 remaining – Adelaide 2.1 (13) v Richmond 2.3 (15)

Centre clearance win for Richmond maintains the pressure. More incredible from the Tigers sends Adelaide scrambling but a free kick gives them respite. They can’t do anything with it other than clear their lines though but they’ll just be happy to see the pill in Tiger defensive territory for a while.

5.51am BST

Q1 04:00 remaining – Adelaide 2.1 (13) v Richmond 2.3 (15)

After that early burst from Adelaide, Richmond have looked the more likely of the two teams. Tackles are being stuck allover the place, even Riewoldt running men down.

5.47am BST

Q1 07:00 remaining – Adelaide 2.1 (13) v Richmond 1.3 (9)

Big moment in the quarter with Adelaide set to attack from a free-kick but a quick play on results in an immediate tackle. Richmond counterattack at pace and the Crows defence doesn’t have time to regroup leading to Josh Caddy snapping the first goal in yellow and black for the day.

5.46am BST

Q1 08:00 remaining – Adelaide 2.1 (13) v Richmond 0.3 (3)

Tigers back on the attack but again they can’t find the penetrating pass. Talia cuts the latest entry off from Houli and the Crows rebound.

5.43am BST

Q1 10:30 remaining – Adelaide 2.1 (13) v Richmond 0.3 (3)

Finally Adelaide get the ball forward and they move it beautifully through their lines until Vlaustin picks off a smart intercept. He coughed it up to Jacobs 60m out though and the Crows eventually find Riley Knight on an angle but he misses to the skinny side.

5.41am BST

Q1 12:30 remaining – Adelaide 2.0 (12) v Richmond 0.3 (3)

Adelaide can’t clear their lines and Riewoldt takes a straightforward mark in the opposite pocket from the first but again he can’t get his lines right.

5.38am BST

Q1 14:50 remaining – Adelaide 2.0 (12) v Richmond 0.1 (1)

Speccy from Riewoldt! That is one for the ages. The Tiger leapt over two opponents and took a chest mark about seven feet off the ground.

An #AFLGF-worthy fly from @JackRiewoldt08. A special mark, but he can’t convert.

1 ️12 #AFLGF #gotiges

5.36am BST

Q1 15:50 remaining – Adelaide 2.0 (12) v Richmond 0.0 (0)

Two in the blink of an eye for the Crows! Betts, the oldest man on the ground, crumbs after Adelaide won the centre clearance and Nick Vlaustin fumbled in his goal square.

5.35am BST

Where else would you want to be? @MCG #AFLGrandFinal pic.twitter.com/GcLd6dXXBM

5.34am BST

Q1 16:20 remaining – Adelaide 1.0 (6) v Richmond 0.0 (0)

Laird and Cameron have been busy for Adelaide which will please Pyke. The Crows think they’ve marked inside 50 but it isn’t paid, not that it matters too much as Adelaide’s pressure secures the ball in attacking territory and it’s eventually recycled to Sloane in space 40m out straight in front.

5.32am BST

Q1 18:00 remaining – Adelaide 0.0 (0) v Richmond 0.0 (0)

As you’d expect, plenty of bumping off the ball and fierce attack at the footy from both teams.

5.30am BST

Q1 20:00 remaining – Adelaide 0.0 (0) v Richmond 0.0 (0)

Underway in the 2017 AFL grand final!

5.29am BST

Adelaide win the toss and will kick to the City end in the first quarter.

5.28am BST

Reality TV star Dami Im nails the national anthem. The Crows do that droopy arm starey thing, that’s somehow intimidating, for a few extra seconds after Im’s final bars.

5.26am BST

Brent Harvey walks out to the centre square with the premiership cup. He hands it over to Matthew Richardson and Mark Bickley. One of that latter pair will hand the cup over to the captain of their former side later today.

5.23am BST

Under 10 minutes to go…

5.19am BST

I know it’s nearly the opening bounce, but this comment BTL cannot be allowed to go to waste:

Nene55:

Fevola still has a way to go to beat my Great Grandfather’s kicking feats of 94 yards (84.6 metres) & 84 yards (75.6 metres for a drop kick. He played fir West Adelaide, West Torrens & North Adelaide.

5.17am BST

And here come the Crows, led by Tex Walker with a freshly trimmed Errol Flynn number above his upper lip. The roar for the No1 seeds is deepened with an audible boo from the Richmond fans.

Adelaide are in their home guernsey, dark shorts and hooped socks.

5.14am BST

As far as prematch hype reels go, this C7 produced, Lleyton Hewitt narrated effort is one of the better ones. Incredible to think what Adelaide have been through in recent years.

5.14am BST

Richmond’s drummers are striking up a rhythm as the Tigers make their way up the race and out on to the MCG. It’s yellow and back for them (not black and yellow) with white shorts and black socks.

The noise greeting them is deafening.

5.12am BST

Just a small crowd at Punt Road Oval pic.twitter.com/orS3sPgvvJ

5.12am BST

The umpires, wearing a Carlton clash guernsey M&M blue, stride out onto the MCG turf.

Dare to dream. #AFLGF pic.twitter.com/kgwTZtT537

5.11am BST

Damien Hardwick:

“I’ve been waiting since round six to get this opportunity to come back and play them again. There’s no doubt we go in as underdogs, that’s the harsh reality of it. They’re a fantastic side, they’ve put everyone to the sword, but we give ourselves a chance. If we play our best, we’re capable of beating anyone.”

“It’ll be a different week, we’ll embrace the week and we’ll prepare as we always do to come ready to play and perform. As much as we’re pleased with [winning the preliminary final], making the grand final is not what it’s about. It’s about winning a grand final and that’s what we now set our sights on doing.”

5.10am BST

Personal beef time (yeah, probably not the time or the place, but what the heck).

Mike Brady is surrounded by loads of fans recording him on their smartphones, none of them joining in the actual singalong. Put your phones away for three minutes and you know, actually experience the thing you’re filming first hand.

5.08am BST

Ah, here’s Mike again, live on stage:

5.06am BST

Is there a better way to play a milestone match?

Congratulations to @Adelaide_FC‘s @tom_lynch27!#AFLGF pic.twitter.com/zojacVVTnl

5.05am BST

5.02am BST

All 44 players on show today will be making their grand final debuts. Craig Little spoke to Glenn Archer about the uniqueness of the experience.

Archer’s method of coping with the madness was to retreat inward and to visualise the game, placing himself in the moment as many times as he could in his own mind. He says coach Denis Pagan played an important role in getting the team’s anxiety levels right, ensuring that nobody would go over the top and do something stupid.

Related: How a player can cope with the madness of an AFL grand final | Craig Little

5.00am BST

Now, back to the footy…

Some stats:

4.59am BST

That was flippin’ marvellous. Well done The Killers.

4.56am BST

It must be closing time pretty soon because this has just come on:

4.55am BST

This isn’t a train wreck. It’s even good. Disappointed AFL. #AFLGF

4.54am BST

Better than Meatloaf.

4.51am BST

Oh my, these boys have done their homework, slipping in a little Midnight Oil to ingratiate themselves with the locals.

4.49am BST

The new single sits in the playlist about as welcome as a lengthy video umpire reviewed touched behind.

Happy Grand Final day. Sidney Nolan’s Footballer (1946). #NGVCollection #AFLGF pic.twitter.com/hhu0qHz4Ow

4.47am BST

The Killers sound incredible on TV. Obviously it’s hard to get a vibe for what it’s like in the ground but this is some slick uptempo pop-rock .

4.45am BST

Moving on to:

4.43am BST

It’s time for the popular beat combo, The Killers.

Opening up with:

4.41am BST

If this is to be the last bounce to start an AFL grand final (sigh), may it fly high…

4.40am BST

Bret Harris has a challenging (and in my opinion valid) take on the hosting of the AFL grand final remaining a Victorian monopoly.

History and tradition are wonderful things in sport, but keeping the big two footy grand finals in Melbourne and Sydney is both insular and inward-looking. And with the two codes competing for national supremacy, it is time for the premier football competitions in Australia to consider staging their grand finals in different locations.

Related: Grand finals belong to the nation, not just Melbourne and Sydney | Bret Harris

4.39am BST

Plenty of support here at #AdelaideOval for @Adelaide_FC today #AFLGF #WeFlyAsOne pic.twitter.com/x80uS1oVbu

4.37am BST

It’s a pretty spectacular bunch of retiring greats going around the MCG this year. It includes a couple who missed out last year too, like Corey Enright and Brent Harvey. The biggest cheer of the lot is for the Hi-Lux containing Bob Murphy and Matthew Boyd from the Bulldogs, an indication of the esteem in which that pair are held by an audience comprised largely of Crows and Tigers.

Hmmm, maybe I spoke too soon. Retiring Crow Scott Thompson raised the roof when he arrived on the track.

The retiring greats of the AFL gather for a quick team photo before their farewell lap of honour. #AFLGF pic.twitter.com/qAGqZXuW7z

RETIREES | It’s the motorcade we’ve all been waiting for, so many legends in those Hilux’s this year!

Thanks for the memories! #AFLGF pic.twitter.com/SnNk2CYFkK

4.35am BST

The Welcome to Country is performed by Uncle Bill Nicholson.

4.29am BST

4.24am BST

Master storyteller Martin Flanagan dropped by earlier this week to advocate for the power of stories in a club’s success.

This Adelaide team has somehow come through the experience of having one of their number killed – their coach, the hub of their club, by his son. The Crows are bonded in a way the rest of us can only imagine.

Related: AFL grand final: the strength of a club’s story can be a deciding factor | Martin Flanagan

4.23am BST

BREAKING NEWS!

Brendon Fevola has won the longest kick competition. More details as they arrive.

Fevola wins the Fox Footy longest kick comp with 66.1m
Fletcher 2nd with 64.7m
Suckling 3rd with 59.7m

4.20am BST

Both teams have enjoyed a drama-free build-up to the showpiece. Richmond’s week obviously improved once Trent Cotchin was cleared of high contact on Dylan Shiel in the preliminary final, while Dustin Martin appears to be coping with the incredible attention lavished on him following his Brownlow Medal success.

Tigers coach Damien Hardwick says his side has no fitness worries entering Saturday’s premiership decider. “We are in a good state … we have probably been unchanged for the last three weeks,” Hardwick said. “The players are playing good consistent football and it really is the sum of the parts for our side – and most good sides are similar in nature.”

Related: No injury concerns for Crows or Tigers after training on eve of AFL grand final

4.19am BST

This incredible image was taken last night at the MCG. Beats sky writing to send a message.

Pretty special scenes at the G right now. #AFLGF pic.twitter.com/Cy7hQJmEsI

4.16am BST

4.15am BST

It’s cool at the MCG, the temperature unlikely to top 14C during the match. It’s dry and should remain so for the rest of the afternoon, but there is a gusty west-southwesterly.

4.08am BST

Incidentally, that means this year is the first time in 73 VFL/AFL grand finals that both teams go in unchanged.

4.05am BST

Richmond line up as expected after enjoying a week of precious little grand final selection intrigue.

4.04am BST

No changes for the Crows, which means grand final disappointment for the injured Mitch McGovern who has failed to recover from his hamstring injury in time. The other hard luck story is Brodie Smith, the influential rebounding defender ruptured his ACL in the qualifying final and despite playing 23 games this season, the competition’s farcical rules mean if Adelaide win today Smith will have nothing to show for his season’s efforts.

Injured @Adelaide_FC duo Brodie Smith & Mitch McGovern scope out the ‘G #AFLGF pic.twitter.com/RxQcTjLw3K

3.59am BST

Good afternoon everybody and welcome to one of the grandest days in Australia’s sporting calendar, that one day in September. It is of course grand final time in the AFL with Adelaide and Richmond meeting at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The opening bounce is 2.30pm local time but we thought we’d start the ball rolling early, soak up the atmosphere and savour the kitsch before the biggest game of the year actually gets underway.

1.30am BST

Jonathan will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s a piece on how much it means to Adelaide to be here today:

Related: ‘The state needs it’: Crows tasked with putting South Australia back on map

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/sep/30/adelaide-crows-v-richmond-tigers-2017-afl-grand-final-live

Sep 22

Adelaide Crows beat Geelong Cats in AFL first preliminary final – as it happened

  • Crows thump Geelong by 51 points at Adelaide Oval
  • Adelaide reach first grand final in 19 years

1.44pm BST

Here’s your full match report:

Related: Adelaide end 19-year wait to reach AFL grand final with victory over Geelong

1.43pm BST

That’s as comprehensive as preliminary finals come. That early blitz sent the Crows on their way and despite the Cats fighting hard they could never get the deficit much below 30-points. A late flurry added some gloss to the scoreboard.

It’s the latest chapter in an incredible campaign for Adelaide, one that takes them to their first grand final in 19 years next week, against either Richmond or GWS.

1.30pm BST

Adelaide 21.10 (136) v Geelong 10.15 (75)

1.24pm BST

Q4: 04:38 remaining Adelaide 21.10 (136) v Geelong 10.14 (74)

Into the closing stages now and more neat play from Motlop goes unrewarded. His probing twice fails to provoke an attack. Quick as a flash Adelaide retake possession, the ball is shifted at speed and Jenkins bags another simple goal.

Hey AFL stats geeks is Don Pyke the first American* coach to lead a team to the Grand Final? #AFLCrowsCats

*born in Illinois

1.20pm BST

Q4: 07:12 remaining Adelaide 20.10 (130) v Geelong 10.13 (73)

Menegola kicks a lovely goal on the run with his left foot – it’s been a night full of excellent goals – but he barely celebrates, knowing it’s too little too late.

1.15pm BST

Q4: 08:55 remaining Adelaide 19.10 (124) v Geelong 9.12 (66)

Joyous scenes around the Adelaide Oval now. Carnival atmosphere with fans hugging, crying, laughing, sharing looks of disbelief. A huge week awaits them, sourcing tickets, booking flights, organising road trips. Good times.

Savour this last 10 minutes Crows fans! You deserve it! #weflyasone pic.twitter.com/MBwf27do9T

1.11pm BST

Q4: 12:05 remaining Adelaide 19.10 (124) v Geelong 9.11 (65)

Five for Cameron. This is a rout.

1.09pm BST

Q4: 13:33 remaining Adelaide 18.10 (118) v Geelong 9.11 (65)

Knight responds instantly, taking advantage of more good work from Betts and an undermanned Cats backline.

1.06pm BST

Q4: 15:23 remaining Adelaide 16.10 (106) v Geelong 9.11 (65)

A soft deliberate out of bounds hands Geelong a consolation opportunity and Henderson makes no mistake with a highlights reel banana from the right forward pocket in front of the old scoreboard.

Taylor Walker unsighted, McGovern missing – bit of improvement in Crows yet.

1.02pm BST

Q4: 17:03 remaining Adelaide 16.10 (106) v Geelong 8.11 (59)

53,817 here tonight to witness Adelaide’s best night of footy in 19 years. The majority are on their feet and cheering another Jenkins finish after unselfish work from Betts.

12.59pm BST

Q4: 18:57 remaining Adelaide 15.10 (100) v Geelong 8.11 (59)

The last quarter of AFL action in Adelaide this season is underway, and it should be party time for Crows fans.

12.54pm BST

Team stats to 3QT:#AFLFinals pic.twitter.com/Z5KyKqsREi

12.53pm BST

3QT Adelaide 14.10 (94) v Geelong 8.11 (59)

The Cats continue to fight but since that early blitz the Crows have nursed a healthy advantage. Hard to see this one slipping from their grasp now.

12.47pm BST

Q3: 02:27 remaining Adelaide 14.10 (94) v Geelong 8.11 (59)

Scrappy few minutes for the Crows ends in a Geelong goal. Jenkins burns a couple of golden opportunities first before Parfitt capitalises on some defensive insecurity to set up Motlop who seals a terrific individual performance with a well struck goal from a narrow angle.

12.44pm BST

Q3: 05:57 remaining Adelaide 14.10 (94) v Geelong 7.11 (53)

Menegola sums up Geelong’s night, shanking a 10m kick on a slight angle that only just sneaks behind for a point.

Awesome home and away season. Dud finals series.

12.39pm BST

Q3: 08:35 remaining Adelaide 14.9 (93) v Geelong 7.10 (52)

Another Geelong turnover, another Adelaide goal. And another from the superb Charlie Cameron, his fourth. After excelling at ground level the Crow takes to the skies this time to pull in a pack mark on the edge of the goal square. Superstar performance from the 23-year old.

STATS | @Adelaide_FC punishing @GeelongCats turnovers at will.

10.3 (63) scored from turnovers.#AFLCrowsCats #AFLFinals

12.37pm BST

Q3: 10:35 remaining Adelaide 13.9 (87) v Geelong 7.10 (52)

Geelong are upping the tempo and taking risks and after much huffing and puffing they’re rewarded with a Hawkins set shot from 30m. Selwood in particular has lifted this quarter to drive his team forward. Still a mountain to climb for the Cats though.

12.31pm BST

Q3: 13:45 remaining Adelaide 13.9 (87) v Geelong 6.8 (44)

The rain that started in the second quarter and continued through half time has stopped but conditions are slick. Perfectly suited to Matt Crouch to read a pack and snap truly to extend Adelaide’s lead.

12.27pm BST

Q3: 16:25 remaining Adelaide 12.8 (80) v Geelong 6.8 (44)

Cameron extinguishes any momentum with a classic Adelaide end-to-end beauty. The finish was superb, a full-blooded long-iron draw from the left forward pocket. Cameron has three.

12.26pm BST

Q3: 17:15 remaining Adelaide 11.8 (74) v Geelong 6.8 (44)

As has been the case for much of the night Geelong enjoy good territory without looking threatening. Until out of nothing Lang snaps a beauty to bring the margin to 30-points.

12.23pm BST

Q3: 18:15 remaining Adelaide 11.8 (74) v Geelong 5.8 (38)

Back underway at the Adelaide Oval, contemplating an unlikely Geelong comeback. Cameron makes that a point more difficult with the opening score of the half.

12.20pm BST

Joel has taken the boys over in front of the fans to give them a rev-up. Lots of cheering and flag waving. Dig deep lads.#AFLFinals

12.18pm BST

The retiring Scott Thompson enjoying a well deserved lap of honour during half time.

#thanksthommo @sthommo05 with kids Ava and Harry #weflyasone pic.twitter.com/qAY7ZWJYIR

12.08pm BST

Dangerfield was left groggy after this collision with Sloane. #AFLCrowsCats #AFLFinals pic.twitter.com/c3yZyWKi3e

12.07pm BST

While I wet my whistle, something for you to enjoy before tomorrow’s blockbuster.

Related: ‘Eat ’em alive!’: Tigers brush aside usual calamities to rediscover AFL swagger | Jonathan Horn

12.02pm BST

HT Adelaide 11.7 (73) v Geelong 5.8 (38)

Superb ball movement from Geelong, led again by Motlop, they must score, but they don’t when two Cats get in each other’s way in a marking contest. Dangerfield picks up the scraps until he’s smashed by Sloane and sent flat on his back – is he out cold?

11.57am BST

Q2: 02:52 remaining Adelaide 10.6 (66) v Geelong 5.8 (38)

Geelong are right back in this contest. the last ten to fifteen minutes of this quarter they’ve shored up their defence and managed to smuggle the ball forward to at least enjoy territorial advantage, even if they’ve struggled to convert that into goals. Forwards Hawkins and Menzel have four touches and no goals between them.

11.52am BST

Q2: 05:49 remaining Adelaide 10.4 (64) v Geelong 5.7 (37)

Two in quick succession for the Cats. Joel Selwood this time after being scragged high by Sloane 30m out. A goal out of one of the seven centre clearances won by Geelong this quarter – to just the one to Adelaide.

Danger and Joel 18 disposals between them this quarter. #AFLFinals

11.51am BST

Q2: 06:45 remaining Adelaide 10.4 (64) v Geelong 4.7 (31)

Point after point for Geelong with shot after shot grazing the post or leaking wide late in flight. Finally their improved showing tells – but only just. Parfitt has a set shot from 45m but doesn’t make the journey, Dangerfield is alert and snaffles the pack mark in the goal square. It was an opportunity created by some terrific play from Motlop.

@JPHowcroft vindication of the bye#man management

11.47am BST

Q2: 09:29 remaining Adelaide 10.3 (63) v Geelong 3.6 (24)

Geelong have enjoyed their best few minutes of the match but they’re laboured going forward and inaccurate in front of goal compared to the deadly Crows.

We’ve had 10 inside-50s to five this quarter. Just not making the most of our chances. #AFLFinals

11.43am BST

Q2: 12:29 remaining Adelaide 10.3 (63) v Geelong 3.5 (23)

This is great fun. Helter-skelter end-to-end stuff at the Adelaide Oval. Geelong attack but Stewart misses his target with the handball and Adelaide kick a goal within milliseconds. Cameron with a monster that dribbles through courtesy of some nifty Betts shepherding.

11.39am BST

Q2: 13:52 remaining Adelaide 9.3 (57) v Geelong 3.3 (21)

Oooh, hang on a minute. Two in a minute for Geelong, Duncan this time with a solid thump into the Cathedral End goal.

#AFLCrowsCats @jphowcroft sorry you have to watch the next 3 quarters. I’m off to Angels and Demons on the other channel.

11.37am BST

Q2: 15:11 remaining Adelaide 9.3 (57) v Geelong 2.3 (15)

This is awesome from Adelaide. Geelong seem certain to clear their lines on a number of occassions but tackles and smothers keep coming like waves. Eventually Walker hooks a ball into the danger zone out of nothing that the Cats’ defence can’t deal with and Seedsman is Johnny on the spot to grubber through yet another goal.

Hard to believe it was only a week ago that Chris Scott was being talked about like he invented penicillin…

11.33am BST

Q2: 17:17 remaining Adelaide 8.3 (51) v Geelong 1.3 (9)

Dangerfield doing that thing he does where he tries to win the game single-handedly and it looks good for the most part but he screws his shot for a behind.

We were +43 for effective kicks in that term Lairdy leading the way, Lynch & Betts have 2️⃣ goals each #AFLFinals #weflyasone pic.twitter.com/aWOjC62Zg6

11.30am BST

Q2: 18:44 remaining Adelaide 7.3 (45) v Geelong 1.2 (8)

The second quarter begins in the manner of the first. More superb ball movement through the corridor from Adelaide finds its way into the hands of the leading Jenkins and he wallops the Crows’ seventh from just inside 50.

11.24am BST

QT Adelaide 6.3 (39) v Geelong 1.2 (8)

Adelaide flew out of the blocks and blitzed Geelong in that opening quarter. The Cats resisted for a few minutes but turnovers and the relentless pressure of the irrepressible Crows mounted on the scoreboard.

Tight angle. No problem, says Eddie. #AFLCrowsCats #AFLFinals pic.twitter.com/7JG3zWXQYe

@JPHowcroft #GameOver https://t.co/FwOLmMZLKZ #AFLCrowsCats

11.20am BST

Q1: 01:06 Adelaide 6.2 (38) v Geelong 1.2 (8)

32 marks to 16 and 77% to 47% kicking efficiency a good indication of how the quarter has developed in the home side’s favour. Everything going Adelaide’s way.

#AFLCrowsCats @jphowcroft stick a fork in it. She’s all done.

Crows have played best football of any side this season. Doing it again right now. #AFLCrowsCats

11.15am BST

Q1: 04:48 Adelaide 6.1 (37) v Geelong 1.2 (8)

The Crows have their tails up and things are going from bad to worse for the Cats with Scott Selwood leaving the ground clutching his hamstring.

Tommy can you hear me!?! @TomLynch19 #AFLCatsCrows pic.twitter.com/vRL0rmnvaq

11.10am BST

Q1: 07:33 Adelaide 5.0 (30) v Geelong 1.1 (7)

Dangerfield into the middle now as the Cats try to wrestle back control but Adelaide have all the momentum, hassling and harrying Geelong into mistakes and stemming any fluent ball movement.

Adelaide’s forwards making these Geelong defenders look a touch slow.

11.06am BST

Q1: 10:03 Adelaide 4.0 (24) v Geelong 1.1 (7)

This is as clean and open a game of footy as we’ve seen all season. And it’s not all unopposed either, lots of precision kicks to advantage and kicks to contests. Both halfback lines are having to read the game well to chop off counterattacks and one interception from Talia turns defence into attack, from which Tom Lynch rattles through a beauty from 50m on the angle.

Riley Knight is tagging Joel Selwood. #AFLFinals

11.01am BST

Q1: 13:43 Adelaide 3.0 (18) v Geelong 1.1 (7)

Both sides have settled well now, transitioning from defence to attack with some beautiful football. This is a high calibre match so far.

Q1 | What about this start! #AFLCrowsCats #AFLFinals pic.twitter.com/W13N0QBTta

10.58am BST

Q1: 15:14 Adelaide 2.0 (12) v Geelong 1.1 (7)

Geelong continue to weather the Adelaide storm and a strong tackle from Cockatoo earns another set shot – and the man under all the prematch scrutiny nails his side’s first of the night.

10.57am BST

Q1: 16:24 Adelaide 2.0 (12) v Geelong 0.1 (1)

What does Geelong do in response? Send Dangerfield into midfield? Not yet. The star remains forward, takes a strong contested mark but to a chorus of boos slides his set shot just past the far post. This is a frenetic, open start, just as Adelaide would have scripted.

#AFLCrowsCats @JPHowcroft 2 mins in and alarm bells are absolutely ringing for Geelong!

10.54am BST

Q1: 18:24 Adelaide 2.0 (12) v Geelong 0.0 (0)

Two in the blink of an eye for the home side and the crowd is on its feet. Eddie Betts this time sharking a pack deep in Geelong territory and snapping smartly.

10.53am BST

Q1: 19:09 Adelaide 1.0 (6) v Geelong 0.0 (0)

It’s as hot a start as you’d expect with bodies crashing into each other all over the ground. Dangerfield is starting forward but he takes a bit of buffeting on his way there.

10.50am BST

We’re underway in the first Preliminary Final at the Adelaide Oval.

10.47am BST

Anthem time…

Related: Geelong not interested in Adelaide’s anthem ploy ahead of AFL final

10.46am BST

Channel 7 turning the feels up to 11 with a Lleyton Hewitt narrated promo celebrating Adelaide’s resilience. It is a remarkable story considering the tragedy that has befallen the Crows in recent years, not to mention the departures of star players and the lack of early draft picks.

10.41am BST

Avg player experience for this weekend’s named 22s
124 @GeelongCats
112 @GWSGIANTS
107 @Adelaide_FC
102 @Richmond_FC #AFLFinals

10.40am BST

It’s been a balmy spring day in Adelaide, leading to perfect conditions at one of the most picturesque arenas in sport. Lovely.

10.39am BST

Chris Scott tells Cameron Ling on TV that Dangerfield will start forward, Blicavs and Selwood will put some time into Sloane and Matt Crouch, and Cockatoo is no risk whatsoever and could have played last week. We’ll see…

10.38am BST

Courtesy of AAP:

Since winning the 1998 AFL premiership, Adelaide has played in four preliminary finals – and lost them all.

10.37am BST

The Adelaide Oval will be dominated by Crows but there’ll be a smattering of Cats who have made the trip from Geelong.

Check in for the latest from the @GMHBA #CatsConvoy as @Adam_McNicol crosses from the bus! #WeAreGeelong pic.twitter.com/3cKg5tHEAK

10.35am BST

The Cats also go in as named on Thursday. That means Tom Lonergan and Nakia Cockatoo come in for James Parsons and Zach Guthrie. Expect plenty of scrutiny on Cockatoo’s selection, the youngster has only played 65 minutes of footy in the past 13 weeks.

B – Tom Stewart, Tom Lonergan, Zach Tuohy

10.33am BST

Adelaide’s 22 is as expected with Rory Sloane and Andy Otten replacing the injured pair of Brodie Smith and Mitch McGovern.

The question remains how underdone the Crows are after two weekends off out of the past three. They’ve been on the Gold Coast enjoying a training camp in recent days but Don Pyke will be keen to see his side get off to a fast start to blow any cobwebs away.

10.23am BST

Good evening and welcome to the purest round of football in the calendar, preliminary final weekend.

The four best teams in the competition in two blockbuster contests, both mercifully free of the corporate fug that suffocates grand final day. The opening bounce roars across the next two days will live long in the memories of those fortunate enough to scream themselves hoarse. It doesn’t get any better than this.

3.52am BST

Jonathan will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s Greg Jericho on the trials and tribulations of being an Adelaide fan:

Related: Trepidation towards preliminary finals is in Crows’ supporters DNA | Greg Jericho

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/sep/22/adelaide-crows-v-geelong-cats-afl-first-preliminary-final-live

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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