Kate O'Halloran

Author's posts

Nov 21

‘Here to stay’: AFL commission vote to retain the centre bounce

Decision comes despite concerted campaign from umpires to ban bounceAFL CEO Gillon McLachlan also supports mid-year trade periodThe AFL commission have voted to retain the traditional centre bounce, despite increasing calls from umpires to have it scra…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/nov/21/here-to-stay-afl-commission-vote-to-retain-the-centre-bounce

Nov 19

Patchy England into Rugby League World Cup last four – as it happened

England 36-6 PNGEngland to face Tonga in semi-final; Australia to face Fiji 7.00am GMT It’s all over here at AAMI park with a convincing win to England over Papua New Guinea. They’ll now face Tonga in a semi-final, while Australia will play Fiji. Not s…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/nov/19/england-v-papua-new-guinea-rugby-league-world-cup-quarter-final-live

Nov 14

‘I don’t want pity’: Jelena Dokic sidesteps blame game to find own voice | Kate O’Halloran

Tennis star talks about the relief of getting her story out there, the frustration of covering for an abusive father and the joy of playing for pleasure, not fearThanks to her father Damir, Jelena Dokic has had a notoriously strained relationship with …

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/nov/15/i-dont-want-pity-jelena-dokic-sidesteps-blame-game-to-find-own-voice

Nov 13

Most sports fans back governing bodies’ public support for marriage equality

Survey of dedicated fans finds 58% agree major codes were right to back the yes campaign in the same-sex marriage survey debateMost dedicated sports fans agree that governing bodies were right to support the marriage equality campaign, a survey has fou…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/nov/14/most-sports-fans-back-governing-bodies-public-support-marriage-equality

Nov 12

Melbourne City and Wanderers draw, Australia beat Ireland in international rules and more: sportwatch – as it happened

International rules: Australia beat IrelandA-League: Melbourne City and Wanderers draw; Wellington beat PerthW-League: Melbourne City 5-2 NewcastleRugby League: PNG beat USA; Ireland beat Wales 10.27am GMT GoodnightAlright everyone, thanks for joining …

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/nov/12/international-rules-rlwc-melbourne-city-v-western-sydney-sportwatch-live

Nov 05

Brisbane and Central Coast draw, PNG and Italy victorious in Rugby League World Cup and more: sportwatch – as it happened

A-League: Brisbane Roar 0-0 Central Coast MarinersW-League: Perth Glory 4-1 Brisbane RoarRugby League World Cup: Italy beat USA; PNG beat Ireland 8.41am GMT Thankyou for joining meThat’s all from me here on this Sunday Sportwatch. It wasn’t the most me…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/nov/05/brisbane-v-central-coast-rugby-league-world-cup-and-more-sportwatch-live

Oct 30

Richmond suspend ‘ashamed’ Nathan Broad for three games over AFL photo scandal

Broad named by club as sender of nude image after premiership triumph‘Embarrassed player says decision to share photo was a ‘drunken’ oneNathan Broad, the AFL player at the centre of the Richmond photo scandal, has been handed a three-game ban by his c…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/30/richmond-suspend-ashamed-nathan-broad-for-three-games-over-afl-photo-scandal

Oct 29

England win gold in Fast5 Netball, Jets and Wanderers draw, RLWC and more: sportwatch – as it happened

A-League: Jets draw with Wanderers; Mariners draw with VictoryNetball: England win gold in Fast5 against JamaicaRugby League World Cup: Tonga, Ireland and Lebanon winners 10.18am GMT GoodnightThanks to everyone who joined me for Sunday sportwatch, it w…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/oct/29/jets-v-wanderers-rugby-league-world-cup-netball-and-more-sportwatch-live

Oct 25

AFL and Richmond must face sport’s problem with male entitlement | Kate O’Halloran

The response to the topless photo scandal should be swift and decisive – and shift the blame from victim to toxic cultureThe AFL and the Richmond football club have a big problem. In light of the news that the woman at the centre of the topless photo s…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/26/afl-and-richmond-must-face-sports-problem-with-male-entitlement

Oct 17

AFL cannot play equality card when denying transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey | Kate O’Halloran

The decision to rule the 2018 hopeful ineligible for the AFLW draft was made on the flimsiest of reasonsThe AFL’s last-minute decision to deny Hannah Mouncey the right to nominate for the 2018 AFLW draft is a significant step backwards in any self-prof…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/17/afl-cannot-play-equality-card-when-denying-transgender-footballer-hannah-mouncey

Sep 30

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

A year is a long time in football. In 2016, the Richmond football club was in crisis. After three successive finals appearances in 2013-2015, the club bottomed out to finish in 13th last year. A rebel group of challengers threatened to spill the board with one of their number, the 1980 premiership captain, Bruce Monteath, saying the club sat at a “35-year crossroad”. Saturday’s 48-point pummelling of Adelaide in a captivating finale to this season was vindication for those who refused to panic and lent their backing to the coach, Damien Hardwick.

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

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

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/30/richmond-end-37-year-wait-with-afl-grand-final-win-over-adelaide

Sep 23

Tigers into grand final with Adelaide after disposing of Giants: AFL preliminary final – as it happened

  • Adelaide and Richmond will play off in the AFL grand final next week
  • More than 90,000 fans attended the preliminary final at the MCG

10.51am BST

Well, it’s all over here at the MCG, and the longest current grand final drought is broken: Richmond will play off against Adelaide in next week’s grand final after a 35-year-long wait. They did it in style, with Daniel Rioli starring in a breakout game to kick four goals (he also had 14 disposals, six contested possessions, six tackles and eight inside 50s). On TV currently, he says he’s ‘speechless’ and is ‘jealous’ of Cyril and Maurice’s success – it’s his turn now, though. He’s asked about how things might be at home tonight (he lives with coach Damien Hardwick! – but says there’s ‘not a lot of footy talk’ at home).

Likewise, Trent Cotchin led from the front, willing his side into next week with 26 disposals, 17 contested possessions, seven clearances, nine tackles and five inside 50s. He, however, will face an incredibly nervous wait after his hit on Dylan Shiel, which left Shiel concussed and unable to take any further part in the game.

10.35am BST

Into the rooms

An almighty roar greets the Tigers in their rooms, and it’s a ferocious rendition of “Oh we’re from Tigerland”. Damien Hardwick watches on with an enormous, proud smile. Well done, Richmond. Will do a little-wrap up now – and let you know if anything else exciting happens!

10.32am BST

Dustin Martin

Says this is ‘surreal’ and he always intended to split 50-50 between midfield and forward. Thanks his teammates for their incredible pressure. Says hi to his Dad, who is of course in NZ and has been denied entry back into Australia: “I know you’re watching, I love you”.

10.30am BST

Jack Riewoldt

Riewoldt has tears in his eyes as he’s interviewed by ‘Richo’. Thanks the ‘amazing’ supporters at the club after such difficult times over the last while. Pays credit to Cotchin – says he’s had a wonderful year given the ‘questions that were asked over his captaincy’. Also pays credit to the new players the club attracted in the off-season – Caddy, Prestia and Nankervis – and the youth at the club – highlighted by Rioli’s four goals. Says Damien Hardwick showed great maturity to ‘strip himself back and take some responsibility’ for the things that weren’t working – and that new coaches have helped turn things around.

10.26am BST

Richmond are into their first grand final since 1982! Unbelievable scenes at the MCG – Matthew Richardson is choked with emotion as he announces from the commentary box that the wait is over. Some Tigers players are in tears – and I’m sure more than a few fans (hi 20CharactersNoSpaces).

Trent Cotchin tells Cameron Ling that “12 months in football is a long time”, indeed.

10.22am BST

Q4 00:20 remaining Richmond 15.13 (103) v GWS 8.13 (61)

Apparently next week will be the first grand final for every single player in each team – the only time that’s ever happened before is in the first grand final.

10.21am BST

Q4 01:25 remaining Richmond 15.13 (103) v GWS 8.13 (61)

Butler runs into an open goal and the players finally let loose – Martin embraces Cotchin on the bench – the Tigers players believe. What a build-up it’ll be.

10.18am BST

Q4 03:00 remaining Richmond 14.13 (97) v GWS 8.13 (61)

Even Damien Hardwick is convinced it’s over – as he takes Dustin Martin protectively from the ground. Castagna almost runs into an open goal – but decides belatedly to handball it to Butler and it’s over the line. A rare blunder for the Tigers. Matthew Richardson congratulates Peggy O’Neill and the board for ‘sticking fat’ with Hardwick after so much conjecture on his future and the future of the club last year.

10.14am BST

Q4 06:20 remaining Richmond 14.12 (96) v GWS 8.13 (61)

It’s definitely, definitely, actually over. Dan Butler snaps a goal after Hopper coughs the ball up in defence. The brief Giants resistance is done. Mammoth effort from Phil Davis before that to deny the Tigers – wonder how he’ll feel watching his old side in the grand final next week. He and Deledio will be in the same boat.

10.12am BST

Q4 07:46 remaining Richmond 13.12 (90) v GWS 8.13 (61)

Deledio has a snap at goal, but it bounces out. Tigers fans unreasonably anxious about this, all literally sitting on the edges of their seats – I empathise. I refused to believe the Dogs had won the grand final last year, even with a minute to go.

10.09am BST

Q4 09:39 remaining Richmond 12.11 (83) v GWS 8.13 (61)

Mystere_Cygne tweets in to ask me what next for the Giants – “another year down the drain. Won’t have this talent at their disposal forever”. Tend to agree – very unlucky to lose a heartbreaker last year, and now they’ve failed to perform on the big stage, even with that motivation fresh in their minds. Just think they’ve been unlucky to run into the Tigers in this kind of unbelievable form – their pressure and will to win is second to none – what you’d expect from a 35-year drought. Still – reckon they possibly made a mistake playing Stevie J, while the trade for Deledio hasn’t worked out – that’s most obvious today.

10.04am BST

Q4 12:54 remaining Richmond 12.11 (83) v GWS 7.13 (55)

Can Himmelberg give the Giants a sniff (and the Tigers a scare?) – it’s through, but I reckon only the most pessimistic will be worried.

10.01am BST

Q4 14:47 remaining Richmond 12.11 (83) v GWS 6.12 (48)

Agree with Cameron Ling’s analysis (that’s rare!) – said GWS’ big names, Deledio and Johnson in particular, have gone missing today (as has Greene, and Patton) while the Tigers have had such an even spread of performers.

10.00am BST

Q4 16:10 remaining Richmond 12.11 (83) v GWS 6.11 (47)

Standing ovation for Cotchin – what a game he’s had. 22 disposals, 16 contested possessions, seven clearances and eight tackles.

Kate this is too much

9.57am BST

Q4 17:50 remaining Richmond 12.11 (83) v GWS 6.11 (47)

Thanks to Aaron for tweeting in the Dylan Shiel footage – couldn’t find it anywhere. Since the Tigers will win by a long way this becomes more relevant.

@Kate_ohalloran is this the footage you’re looking for? https://t.co/KDdrIDQFqe

9.55am BST

Q4 18:49 remaining Richmond 12.11 (83) v GWS 6.10 (46)

Deledio sitting on the bench for the start of the quarter – looks dejected and bewildered.

9.50am BST

Three-quarter-time Richmond 11.11 (77) v GWS 6.10 (46)

Giants have no answers for the Tigers at the moment – exemplified by some poor decisions with the ball with a minute remaining. Deledio had the composure to find Haynes wide and in plenty of space – but he bombed the ball long to space, and Rance took an easy intercept grab. Their forward line looks completely dysfunctional and players are dropping their heads and being outworked with some poor defensive efforts. Can’t see this going any other way than a big Richmond win – and an end to a 35-year drought.

9.46am BST

Q3 00:12 remaining Richmond 11.11 (77) v GWS 6.10 (46)

Martin wins a free for holding the man against Heath Shaw – there really wasn’t much in it. He boots the Tigers to a 31-point lead and – in all probability – a grand final.

9.44am BST

Q3 01:52 remaining Richmond 10.11 (71) v GWS 6.10 (46)

Tigers would be feeling confident now – they’ve kicked six of the last seven. Well done by the Giants, though, who against all the momentum find Himmelberg 45m out. It’s a terrible, awful, horrendous looking kick, and wobbles through for a point. Crowd and pressure a huge factor now.

9.41am BST

Q3 03:30 remaining Richmond 10.11 (71) v GWS 6.9 (45)

Martin! The crowd were up well before he was – and he takes a strong, contested grab 20m out on a tight angle. He goes for a snap goal and it’s the Tigers by 26 points.

9.39am BST

Q3 04:16 remaining Richmond 9.11 (65) v GWS 6.9 (45)

Williams takes an enormous risk, trying to find a teammate in-between three Tigers – and they’re horribly open. Edwards has a shot on goal and converts – it’s a game-high lead.

9.37am BST

Q3 05:40 remaining Richmond 8.11 (59) v GWS 6.9 (45)

Giants can’t buy a goal – Patton goes for a mark one-handed, and looks flat-footed and slow when the ball hits the ground. Greene is playing in the middle so they don’t have quick forwards. Poor handball by Scully gifts the ball to McIntosh but he can’t convert from 50m.

9.36am BST

Q3 06:45 remaining Richmond 8.10 (58) v GWS 6.9 (45)

Johnson’s back in the action and gets an in-the-back free, this time even further out. He tries to centre it, and it’s a horrible kick to Grigg – plus a 50m against Coniglio. Things unravelling for the Giants.

9.34am BST

Q3 07:00 remaining Richmond 8.10 (58) v GWS 6.9 (45)

Greene wins a crucial ball in the middle, handballs to Kelly and he finds Steve Johnson 40m out. He doesn’t have the distance, however, and passes off to Wilson who kicks it out of bounds on the full under pressure after being shut down by the Tigers who were onto it. Demoralising moment for the Giants.

9.32am BST

Q3 09:19 remaining Richmond 8.10 (58) v GWS 6.9 (45)

Contentious deliberate out of bounds paid against Greene – too harsh for mine. It results in another goal to Rioli – his fourth. He’s on fire – and the difference so far. That’s his career-high.

9.29am BST

Q3 10:00 remaining Richmond 7.10 (52) v GWS 6.9 (45)

This time it’s Cotchin out of the middle – and some Rioli brilliance keeps the ball in – and forces it forward for a near-mark to Castagna. Ward clears but can only find Dylan Grimes – who has three goals for his career. He doesn’t add to his tally.

9.28am BST

Q3 11:20 remaining Richmond 7.9 (51) v GWS 6.9 (45)

Tom Scully doing everything he can to keep his side in it – he’s had 17 disposals – six contested possessions, four marks, three tackles and four inside 50s. He senses that the Giants are at risk of being blown away in the next few minutes. Critical next goal.

9.24am BST

Q3 13:30 remaining Richmond 7.9 (51) v GWS 5.7 (37)

Feel like the Tigers are getting on top with their manic pressure – and it pays off with a Townsend goal, weight of numbers and tackles carrying the ball forward. Giants missing Shiel through the midfield too.

9.21am BST

Q3 14:37 remaining Richmond 6.9 (45) v GWS 5.7 (37)

GWS’ forwards haven’t had a great game so far – apart from the two to Himmelberg their goals have come from their midfielders in Kelly and Ward – nothing for Patton, Greene or Johnson.

9.19am BST

Q3 16:11 remaining Richmond 6.8 (44) v GWS 5.7 (37)

Great clearance by Scully almost sets up a Greene goal – but he can’t get boot to ball and it’s rushed through for a behind. Hasn’t had a great game, Toby. Think I jinxed him earlier – but he still has time to do something ‘special’.

9.14am BST

Q3 18:27 remaining Richmond 5.8 (38) v GWS 5.6 (36)

Nervy start to the third for the Giants – Martin wins the clearance, Haynes gets caught (should’ve been holding the ball) by Rioli, and Martin’s snap at goal just shaves the post.

9.09am BST

Is Cotchin in trouble?

Keen on your thoughts. Can’t help but think this might be how it goes (below). Will get you some vision once someone finally posts it!

Richmond make the GF Cotchin gets off. Richmond lose today and he misses Rd 1 2018.Politics of the highest order in the AFL #AFLTigersGiants

“That is probably the worrying thing…”

Former MRP member has his say on the Trent Cotchin hit https://t.co/VAWoLgd2I6 #AFLTigersGiants pic.twitter.com/hsL9ZpgY7F

9.00am BST

Half-time Richmond 5.7 (37) v GWS 5.6 (36)

Just loved Josh Kelly’s game so far – 17 disposals, with seven contested possessions, four clearances, three marks, three tackles and a goal. Player of the game so far for mine. Callan Ward also starring with 13 disposals, five contested possessions, two clearances and four tackles.

8.55am BST

Half-time Richmond 5.7 (37) v GWS 5.6 (36)

Stevie J sends us off in style with a backhanded clip to Alex Rance’s face – followed by a laugh and hand-up for Rance.

8.51am BST

Q2 00:44 remaining Richmond 5.7 (37) v GWS 5.6 (36)

Brilliant smother from Davis on Rioli – who had a chance from a crowd-lifting third, and panicked, dropping the ball.

Some concerned looks on Giants fans. #AFLTigersGiants pic.twitter.com/CJA0QBTGWv

8.49am BST

Q2 01:44 remaining Richmond 5.6 (36) v GWS 5.6 (36)

News on Dylan Shiel – he has delayed concussion – apparently had blurred vision at the quarter-time break, and failed the concussion test. Big free-kick against Williams goes down-field – and it’s to Dustin Martin of all people. He shanks it – very unlike Martin. Scores level.

8.44am BST

Q2 04:16 remaining Richmond 5.5 (35) v GWS 5.6 (36)

Great spoil by Tom Scully saves a certain mark and goal to Josh Caddy, but Dustin Martin breaks two tackles to find Dion Prestia 40m out on a slight angle. It’s a terrible kick – doesn’t even make the distance, and it’s marked by Davis. Richmond have missed plenty of opportunities, and the crowd is quiet.

8.41am BST

Q2 06:55 remaining Richmond 4.5 (29) v GWS 5.6 (36)

Shiel puts the jacket on on the bench – Ling speculates he might be concussed rather than having done a shoulder. Looks like he won’t play again, with a blanket over his knees now too – and that the Giants will be down a very important man. Trent Cotchin will also be very nervous – if the Tiges win, that is.

8.36am BST

Q2 09:50 remaining Richmond 4.4 (28) v GWS 5.4 (34)

Feels like the Giants have dominated this one without making the Tigers pay on the scoreboard. Toby Greene gets a very unpopular free kick after he appeared to drop the knees into a tackle. Cal Ward has a chance to convert from 45m out – this would be his second, and would give GWS the lead. It’s never in doubt.

8.34am BST

Q2 11:30 remaining Richmond 4.4 (28) v GWS 4.4 (28)

Fantastic play by the Giants – but Kelly hits the post. Brilliant pick-up by Whitfield on the run in-between a couple of Tigers set him up, but he can’t convert some excellent team play. Johnson involved too – after first giving away a free kick. Has seemed his typical angry self.

8.31am BST

Q2 14:05 remaining Richmond 4.4 (28) v GWS 4.3 (27)

Ward takes on Rioli but is caught – big contest for the younger player. Ward is caught holding the ball after falling on it. The Giants, however, win it back, and it finds Kelly at 45m out on a sharp angle. Greene involved in that passage of play – but has been quiet so far, only four disposals so far.

8.27am BST

Q2 16:46 remaining Richmond 4.4 (28) v GWS 3.3 (21)

Castagna paid a contested mark that spills after he takes front-on contact. It’s another bad kick – he can’t make the distance. This is after Himmelberg had the chance to take a contested grab at the other end in the square – but was spoiled by Broad to save a goal. Both teams running the ball end to end at the start of this quarter.

8.25am BST

Q2 18:82 remaining Richmond 4.4 (28) v GWS 3.3 (21)

Tigers get the turnover and run it all the way from half-back to Castagna who lines up for his second goal.

8.22am BST

Quarter-time Richmond 4.3 (27) v GWS 3.3 (21)

Stats at quarter-time are very even. 11-9 clearances to the Giants, 44-35 contested possessions to the Giants, and 106-82 disposals to the Giants, while they’re also well on top in hit-outs 14=5. Tigers leading inside 50s 15-14. Dustin Martin is playing mostly forward and hasn’t had the same impact on the game he has so far this year (still up to six disposals though).

8.17am BST

Quarter-time Richmond 4.3 (27) v GWS 3.3 (21)

Holding the ball against Josh Kelly – who has so far had a superb game, just tried to take on too much and got gang-tackled in typical Tigers-pressure style. It sets up another inside 50 for the Tigers. Tigers finding plenty of space in their forward 50.

8.13am BST

Q1 02:45 remaining Richmond 4.3 (27) v GWS 3.3 (21)

Lambert finds Dustin Martin on the lead who unselfishly passes off to Caddy who is free 15m out – he in turn unselfishly handballs over to Castagna who kicks it from the square. Tigers – and crowd – back into the game.

8.10am BST

Q1 04:35 remaining Richmond 3.3 (21) v GWS 3.3 (21)

Brett Deledio is finally in the game – with a nice tackle to arrest the Tigers’ movement through the middle, and he follows up with another handball and tackle before Cotchin remonstrates with him (not sure, btw, how that was holding the ball against Deledio when he wasn’t at the bottom of the pack).

8.07am BST

Q1 06:20 remaining Richmond 2.3 (15) v GWS 3.2 (20)

Great game so far – the Giants have come to play and look classy through the middle. Inside 50s have evened up 9-9, clearances 7-6 to the Giants, and 28-20 contested possessions for the Giants. Loved Kelly’s game so far (seven disposals, four contested possessions and three clearances).

8.03am BST

Q1 10:19 remaining Richmond 2.3 (15) v GWS 3.1 (19)

Lots of scrutiny over the Cotchin hit on Shiel – some suggesting it would render him ineligible for the Grand Final should the Tigers win. I doubt that – the MRP makes their own rules on the run and I’m sure they wouldn’t let Cotchin miss a GF.

8.00am BST

Q1 12:02 remaining Richmond 2.2 (14) v GWS 3.1 (19)

That man Shiel looks to be OK – although he’s playing forward, perhaps out of the firing line. Inside 50s are 7-4 in favour of GWS. They’ve also had plenty more possession 44-28.

7.56am BST

Q1 14:01 remaining Richmond 2.0 (12) v GWS 2.1 (13)

Giants back on song after a nervy start – Josh Kelly looking composed. What a win for them to have him re-sign. Has had a great finals series to date – and has six disposals already. Will be important for him and his teammates to start well and quiet the crowd somewhat (if possible). Giants on top in contested possessions 14-9, but behind on tackles 3-7.

7.52am BST

Q1 16:30 remaining Richmond 2.0 (12) v GWS 2.0 (12)

Somehow the Giants – never an underdog in my mind – are demanding my sympathy given how outnumbered they are. Not sure what to do with this foreign feeling.

7.50am BST

Q1 17:55 remaining Richmond 2.0 (12) v GWS 1.0 (6)

Giants finally get a possession – through Coniglio – who is caught holding the ball to an enormous tackle. Giants getting booed indiscriminately – any time any player gets the ball. Let’s see how long that keeps up.

7.47am BST

Q1 18:55 remaining Richmond 2.0 (12) v GWS 0.0 (0)

Dusty with the fend-off on Coniglio and Caddy finds the ball on a sharp angle inside forward 50. Kicks a brilliant Eddie Betts-style curler for two in very short succession.

7.46am BST

Q1 19:41 remaining Richmond 1.0 (6) v GWS 0.0 (0)

First inside 50 to the Tigers after a Cotchin free and there’s a goal within 20 seconds – to Lambert via Martin.

7.45am BST

Richmond 0.0 (0) v GWS 0.0 (0)

Toss goes to Cotchin and Tiger fans take it as a sign of things to come. Jack Riewoldt addresses his teammates while Trent Cotchin returns. “Head down” written on Riewoldt’s arm (perhaps for goalkicking?) I’m personally a fan of reminders written on the hand – mine currently says “mouse” (except, I have still got the one that doesn’t scroll – grr Apple planned obsolescence grr).

7.42am BST

National anthem

Both teams linking arms today – nothing like the histrionics of last night’s (Adelaide’s) effort. Deafening roar follows – spine-tingling, here we go!

7.39am BST

“Cause of all human misery”

Thanks Stephen for tweeting in – I know there’s a hell of a lot of footy supporters who feel this way:

I hope this is unbiased. I’ll be able to tell if it tells the truth about GWS being evil and being the cause of all human misery.

7.37am BST

Here come the Tigers

“Together we stand, strong and bold” on one side of the banner, and “a fighting fury, we’re from tiger land” on the other. Classic.

7.34am BST

Here come the Giants

Well I can’t hear “never surrender” or indeed anything else over the boos – no surprises there. Cameron Ling waits for it to subside before chatting with Leon Cameron. They in turn are drowned out by cheers as the Richmond banner goes up.

Some orange amongst a yellow and Black sea #AFLTigersGiants pic.twitter.com/ZTlhi3dazO

7.31am BST

Write to me

Passionate Tiger or member of the Orange Army? Don’t forget you can tweet me @kate_ohalloran or email me at kate.ohalloran.freelance@guardian.co.uk as there are (sadly) no comments on today’s blog.

7.27am BST

The orange army

Believe it or not, there are some Giants fans at the ground – even undertaking a march through the streets prior to the game. Orange army hoping for an orange tsunami?

It doesn’t get any better than this. Say what you want about the numbers, no denying the passion. Be proud @GWSGIANTS! #AFLTigersGiants pic.twitter.com/GPJbunVSZ0

7.23am BST

The drought

The last time the Tigers played in a grand final was in 1982 – the fifth-longest Grand Final drought in history. Richmond has played 778 games since their last grand final appearance (the next longest is ironically Adelaide (1998) – at 441 games – this is compared to the Bulldogs last season who had a drought of 1213 games). Since then, the Tigers have made only 10 finals for a 3-7 win-loss ratio. The only other teams not to have made a final since 1982 are Fitzroy (now merged with Brisbane), Gold Coast and the GWS – so there’ll be history made today either way.

7.19am BST

Huge crowds

And here’s an idea of the queues lining up at the MCG just earlier. The Tigers have already run out for their warm up – and received an almighty roar. Given how loud that was I can’t wait to hear when they run through the banner.

7.15am BST

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s huge preliminary final between Richmond and GWS. I’m Kate O’Halloran and I’ll be here to take you through the game that will decide the final spot in this year’s Grand Final.

After last night’s boilover between the Crows and Cats, I’m hoping we might finally get another final worthy of the tight and unpredictable season we’ve had to date; although one might say that our bizarrely one-sided finals series is just typical of such an unusual season. Not too sure what kind of omen that is for today, but fingers crossed this is the exception to the rule of the 2017 finals series (apart from, of course, the epic between Port Adelaide and West Coast).

1.57am BST

Kate will be here shortly. In the meantime, have a read of Jonathan Horn’s excellent piece on Richmond’s recent history:

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

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/sep/23/richmond-tigers-v-gws-giants-afl-second-preliminary-final-live

Sep 19

Social issues such as same-sex marriage are inextricable from sport | Kate O’Halloran

How sporting bodies react to incidents of homophobia serves as a barometer for how acceptable this kind of behaviour is to the broader community

In August this year, on a Friday night with the Western Bulldogs’ season on the line, I experienced one of the more painful incidents of my football-going life. It came in the third quarter, when the Giants kicked away through arch-nemesis Toby Greene, a man well-known to our brood, not just for the boot to the face of Luke Dahlhaus that night, but for his callous hit on Caleb Daniel earlier in the season. Enraged, a teenage boy behind me screamed at Greene as he gestured to the crowd, calling him a “faggot”.

My heart sank. Seated next to my girlfriend, my hand in hers, I surveyed the crowd with intent. She nodded in the direction of the boy who had used the slur, and I shook my head at the woman I presumed was his mother. The woman, in turn, angrily denied he had yelled the abuse. I stood, my voice shaking, and addressed the crowd en masse: “I don’t care who said it – it’s not OK”.

Related: Where’s the biff? Free speech has won every round in the marriage equality debate | David Marr

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/20/social-issues-such-as-same-sex-marriage-are-inextricable-from-sport

Sep 16

Giants thrash Eagles as Johnson bags six, Cowboys upset Eels and more: sportwatch – live!

1.13pm BST

Well, that was a disappointing semi-final, with the Giants far too good for an Eagles side who looked tired and flat-footed after their thrilling victory over the Power last week. That means it’s the end of the road for Mitchell, Priddis and Petrie (although we’ll be seeing plenty of Mitchell next year in the coaching box). It wasn’t the end they deserved, but the Port Adelaide win was surely a highlight worthy of going out on.

The Giants, meanwhile, delivered on the promise they’ve flirted with all season, and look a scary proposition for the Tigers next week. Coniglio dominated with 35 disposals, including 11 contested possessions, eight clearances, three marks, seven tackles and a goal. Likewise, Lachie Whitfield delivered one of his best performances yet, with 28 disposals, seven contested possessions, 11 marks, two clearances and five tackles. And then there was Steve Johnson, who returned to form in stunning fashion with six goals, to ensure his place in next week’s blockbuster. The story in the lead-up will most likely be Brett Deledio’s unlikely encounter with Richmond in a preliminary final – who would’ve thought?

1.03pm BST

AFL Q4 01:09 GWS Giants 19.11 (125) v West Coast Eagles 9.4 (58)

Sam Mitchell kicks a goal to cap off a fine career, which will finish on 329 games with 28 disposals and two goals. Only Priddis and Redden (29 each) have more disposals for the Eagles.

12.58pm BST

AFL Q4 04:06 GWS Giants 19.11 (125) v West Coast Eagles 8.3 (51)

Johnson has a shot at a seventh – but he can’t quite make the difference. He’s laughing his way to the finish line, Stevie J (literally and figuratively). Chants of “Stevie” ring out throughout Spotless.

12.54pm BST

AFL Q4 06:42 GWS Giants 18.10 (118) v West Coast Eagles 8.3 (51)

Miraculous snap for Johnson to bring up number six from a tough angle in the pocket. Reckon the Tigers will be worried the Eagles have played them back into their best form. Well done by Coniglio to have the sense of theatre to pass it off to Johnson on a worse angle.

12.51pm BST

AFL Q4 07:50 GWS Giants 17.10 (112) v West Coast Eagles 8.3 (51)

Another goal to the Giants – this time through Coniglio, who has 31 disposals and now a goal. What a strange finals series we’ve had – after such a close season to have so many blowouts. Perhaps it makes a strange kind of sense after all.

12.47pm BST

AFL Q4 10:39 GWS Giants 16.10 (106) v West Coast Eagles 8.3 (51)

Couple of consolation goals to the Eagles through retiring Drew Petrie (who can hold his head up high after a fantastic season) and then Jack Darling, with a spectacular snap over his shoulder.

12.45pm BST

The North Queensland Cowboys live to fight another day with their upset victory over the Parramatta Eels finishing at 24-16. It could have been worse, if not for a last-minute try to Jennings in the 80th minute. The Cowboys were down 10-6 at half-time but found the tryline through all of Asiata, Hess and Morgan in the second half to power to victory.

That’s back-to-back losses for the Eels after they finished fourth after the regular season – and ends a disappointing finals series for them. For the Cowboys, however, it continues an incredible story given they are without captains Thurston and Scott. They’ll now face the Roosters in a preliminary final, who – although they’ll start hot favourites – will hold no fear for the brave Cowboys.

12.36pm BST

AFL Q4 16:44 GWS Giants 16.10 (106) v West Coast Eagles 6.3 (39)

Mark to LeCras (get it?), who has a chance to save some face for the Eagles. Just the one goal for him tonight, and ten disposals. He converts from 50m out.

12.31pm BST

AFL Q4 19:44 GWS Giants 16.10 (106) v West Coast Eagles 5.2 (32)

Unreal – it’s five goals to Johnson with just seconds gone in the final quarter. That’s the first time ever he’s kicked five goals in a final.

12.30pm BST

NRL H2 75:14 Parramatta Eels 10-24 North Queensland Cowboys

Now for something more like a contest… and the Cowboys are up 18-10 through that try to Hess in the 52nd minute (and Lowe conversion). Taumalolo has 193 run metres, while Hess has 133. Single line-breaks to Hess, Linnett and O’Neill.

12.24pm BST

AFL three-quarter-time GWS Giants 15.10 (100) v West Coast Eagles 5.2 (32)

Uh oh, Nick Haynes looks to have hurt his knee – looks in big trouble (although now he’s back on the ground?) You’d think the Giants would get him off anyway (and on cue he runs off the ground). On the replay just looks to have got a boot to the knee-cap.

12.21pm BST

AFL Q3 02:27 remaining GWS Giants 15.10 (100) v West Coast Eagles 5.2 (32)

GWS captain Callan Ward up to 21 disposals, including six contested possessions, nine marks, four clearances, five tackles and a goal. Whitfield isn’t far behind, with 21 disposals, nine marks and five tackles. Loved their games, as well as Coniglio (22 disposals – 7 contested possessions, six clearances, seven tackles.

12.15pm BST

AFL Q3 07:28 remaining GWS Giants 14.10 (94) v West Coast Eagles 5.2 (32)

Eagles players look out on their feet – it’s surely that rather than any lack of effort. De Boer has a chance at a second but it’s punched through. Eagles defenders just can’t stay with their players who are finding all kinds of space on the overlap.

12.11pm BST

AFL Q3 09:25 remaining GWS Giants 13.9 (87) v West Coast Eagles 4.2 (26)

Lots of old-fashioned biff happening here, think the Eagles are just trying to tempt some Giants into a nervous week at this point. Hate to think how the Power players are feeling now.

12.07pm BST

AFL Q3 11:56 remaining GWS Giants 13.8 (86) v West Coast Eagles 4.2 (26)

The trade-in Giants are all chiming in – this time via Deledio… now there’s a match-up I’m looking forward to next week (he’s yet to play the Tigers, Deledio). Dangerfield will of course play the Crows next week too.

12.06pm BST

AFL Q3 12:32 remaining GWS Giants 12.8 (80) v West Coast Eagles 4.2 (26)

Guess who? Johnson takes a spectacular contested mark between two Eagles’ defenders including McGovern – and gets two in a row. Looks like he’ll play in a Prelim (as will the Cats, albeit the other Prelim – imagine if they met? Don’t see it happening, personally).

12.04pm BST

AFL Q3 13:26 remaining GWS Giants 11.8 (74) v West Coast Eagles 4.2 (26)

Stevie J – with a heavily bandaged forehead – kicks the Giants eight goals in front (they’ve kicked 10 of the last 12). Sorry to say this one is a boilover… in the NRL, meanwhile, Hess scores for the Cowboys (after a slick Martin inside ball) – and Ma’u looks to throw a punch (but no sin bin?) 18-10 Cowboys!

12.01pm BST

AFL Q3 15:11 remaining GWS Giants 10.8 (68) v West Coast Eagles 4.2 (26)

Patton takes a big contested grab on Hurn – he’s in almost the same position he kicked two behinds from in the first quarter. Just his eighth disposal. This one floats straight through – and it’s all Giants.

11.59am BST

AFL Q3 16:44 remaining GWS Giants 9.8 (62) v West Coast Eagles 4.2 (26)

Yeo shifted forward in an attempt to turn things around for the Eagles – but the Giants hit up Whitfield 40m out, who looks to have recovered from his apparent concussion. He’s had 14 disposals and eight marks – but misses for his second behind for the night.

11.57am BST

NRL H2 46:29 Parramatta Eels 10-12 North Queensland Cowboys

COWBOYS score! It goes to Asiata after a strip. Lowe converts. Game on!

11.52am BST


In case you missed it earlier today – Nick Kyrgios vowed to keep delivering for Australia in the Davis Cup following his dramatic five-set victory over Steve Darcis in Brussels.

11.49am BST

Rugby Championship 37m Australia 10-13 Argentina

Looks like a good match in the Union at least – with the Pumas holding a narrow lead over the Aussies. Follow the live blog here.

11.45am BST

NRL half-time Parramatta Eels 10-6 North Queensland Cowboys

The Eels have added a try since we last checked in – with Will Smith chiming in for one in the 31st minute (without a conversion). Cowboys have had more possession (53%) and 100% completion – but the Eels lead the way in run metres (714-626).

11.37am BST

AFL half-time GWS Giants 9.7 (61) v West Coast Eagles 4.2 (26)

Mark LeCras has a kick on the half-time siren to a multitude of boos – and it’s a behind only. Heath Shaw lets him know all about it. Meanwhile, Lachie Whitfield leaves the ground looking wobbly indeed – perhaps concussed. Whatever put Whitfield in that state spurs a melee – with (guess who) Steve Johnson in the middle of it.

11.32am BST

AFL Q2 01:32 remaining GWS Giants 9.7 (61) v West Coast Eagles 4.1 (25)

Can the Eagles get another one back before the half-time siren? Cripps looks to have taken a certain mark but it’s not paid. Unlucky, and a big call.

11.28am BST

AFL Q2 04:06 remaining GWS Giants 8.7 (55) v West Coast Eagles 4.1 (25)

Sheed straight out of the middle to hit up Josh Kennedy 50m out on an angle. Helps to get a clearance. His long-range bomb misses to the left. Not ideal.

11.27am BST

AFL Q2 04:49 remaining GWS Giants 8.7 (55) v West Coast Eagles 4.0 (24)

Titus O’Reily has aptly reminded me that we have a simultaneous Wallabies live-blog. It’s 3-3 Australia v Argentina as it stands.

These AFL finals are so bad I thought about watching the Wallabies for a moment. #AFLGiantsEagles

11.24am BST

AFL Q2 06:25 remaining GWS Giants 8.7 (55) v West Coast Eagles 3.0 (18)

Have to say, this final is a fizzer as it stands. Eagles look slow and flat-footed. Johnson has had just the three disposals so far, but a couple of inside 50s, a couple of tackles and a centre clearance. Has had presence.

11.19am BST

AFL Q2 09:53 remaining GWS Giants 8.7 (55) v West Coast Eagles 3.0 (18)

Shiel (12), Whitfield (11), Coniglio (11), Kelly (11) and Ward (10) leading the way for the Giants, while McGovern hits Toby Greene head-high for his chance at a second goal. It starts well right, but squeezes through. Big warning bells for the Eagles now.

11.13am BST

AFL Q2 14:31 remaining GWS Giants 7.6 (48) v West Coast Eagles 3.0 (18)

Clearances 17-8, inside 50s 21-14, contested possessions 44-35, tackles 28-17, hit-outs 19-11. Giants dominating. Where does the Eagles’ resistance come from? Sam Mitchell coaching from the bench.

11.10am BST

AFL Q2 16:49 remaining GWS Giants 7.6 (48) v West Coast Eagles 3.0 (18)

Wilson hits up Himmelberg (with no opponent in sight – think McGovern was wrong-footed) who has a chance to put the Giants in even more space. It’s a horrible looking effort, but it’s through for another. Simpson looks worried, as am I.

11.08am BST

AFL Q2 17:46 remaining GWS Giants 6.6 (42) v West Coast Eagles 3.0 (18)

Back on here at Spotless – just the two behinds so far to the Giants, with a rushed behind from a Toby Greene snap, and a miss from Dylan Shiel. The Giants’ midfielders are on top – with ten disposals to Shiel (three contested possessions, three clearances and four tackles) who leads the way alongside Kelly (ten disposals, four contested possessions, two clearances, three tackles).

11.03am BST

NRL H1 15:25 Parramatta Eels 6-6 North Queensland Cowboys

Scores are level over at ANZ Stadium – with a try to Kyle Feldt in the 11th minute and conversion to Ethan Lowe squaring things up for the Cowboys (after the Eels found touch through Semi Radradra in the 7th – and Moses converted). Not too surprised that the first try of the night went to Radradra.

10.58am BST

AFL quarter-time GWS Giants 5.4 (34) v West Coast Eagles 3.0 (18)

Against all the momentum, the Eagles find a late goal through LeCras, on the run from 50m out. That bucks the trend of three late GWS goals.

10.54am BST

AFL Q1 02:08 remaining GWS Giants 4.3 (27) v West Coast Eagles 2.0 (12)

Shiel to Kelly to Ward – their big names are dominating through the middle, and Scully finds himself on the end of it again inside forward 50. He might not quite command the same fear as Dangerfield – but I see shadows of Danger last night in his presence in the forward line tonight.

10.50am BST

AFL Q1 04:32 remaining GWS Giants 3.3 (21) v West Coast Eagles 2.0 (12)

Giants finding dangerous amounts of space in the middle, and Scully causing havoc for the Eagles in the middle and forward. After the last assist he chimes in for his own goal. Giants getting on top in clearances 9-5, contested possessions 27-19 and tackles 18-9.

10.48am BST

AFL Q1 05:44 remaining GWS Giants 2.3 (15) v West Coast Eagles 2.0 (12)

Beautiful intercept mark by Jeremy McGovern – he has had three for the game already.

10.44am BST

AFL Q1 07:51 remaining GWS Giants 1.3 (9) v West Coast Eagles 2.0 (12)

Free kick to Josh Kennedy just outside the goal square – on replay Corr tugs the jumper – it was there. He kicks truly. Giants – and coach Cameron – ruing early misses.

10.41am BST

AFL Q1 09:36 remaining GWS Giants 1.3 (9) v West Coast Eagles 1.0 (6)

Late-inclusion Wellingham has had plenty of the ball (four disposals) – and fires the ball in long to Vardy who takes a near-uncontested mark 10m out, directly in front. What a season he’s had since crossing over from the Cats. He opens the Eagles’ tally with a goal.

10.39am BST

AFL Q1 10:56 remaining GWS Giants 1.3 (9) v West Coast Eagles 0.0 (0)

Stats not diabolical yet for the Eagles – but the Giants look harder at it, with 18-12 contested possessions and 15-3 tackles. Down-field free to the Giants gifts Patton another shot at goal from almost the same distance and angle. He misses in almost identical fashion.

10.37am BST

AFL Q1 12:12 remaining GWS Giants 1.2 (8) v West Coast Eagles 0.0 (0)

Great run down from Scully on Priddis who looked set to send the Eagles inside 50 – and the Giants are off and running. Coniglio hits up Patton on his chest. He misses one he should’ve kicked – it’s across the face.

10.35am BST

AFL Q1 13:31 remaining GWS Giants 1.1 (7) v West Coast Eagles 0.0 (0)

Ward wins the clearance just outside 50 to set up Greene on a sharp angle 45m out. Greene angrily removes some Gatorade obstacles in typical villain-mode. He misses to the left.

10.32am BST

AFL Q1 15:27 remaining GWS Giants 0.0 (0) v West Coast Eagles 0.0 (0)

Himmelberg on McGovern as expected – which hasn’t stopped him from already taking a big, contested grab. Barrass, Hurn and McGovern look formidable down back. Intensity is as you’d expect for a final – plenty of fumbles and turnovers.

10.27am BST

AFL Q1 18:55 remaining GWS Giants 0.0 (0) v West Coast Eagles 0.0 (0)

Mitchell out of the midfield – wonder how many times I’ll say that tonight. Still, it’s turned over and goes forward to Patton who turns it over into the man on the mark. Nervous start. Giants get the first inside 50 – and Heath Shaw has already started a fracas.

10.24am BST

AFL GWS Giants v West Coast Eagles

National anthem over – not sure there’s a crankier resting face than Toby Greene’s. Hurn wins the toss. Just about ready to go here.

10.20am BST

AFL GWS Giants v West Coast Eagles

Both teams out on the ground now – and it looks to be a fairly disappointing crowd at Spotless Stadium. I’m sure it’ll be a talking point throughout the week – some fans on Twitter pointing out that the Matildas drew a larger crowd in Penrith today.

10.16am BST

AFL GWS Giants v West Coast Eagles

No late changes for this one. That means the only changes are as named:

10.14am BST


Just while we’re wating for this game to start – Winx today won an incredible 20th consecutive victory when she came fast and late to win the George Main Stakes at Randwick.

10.08am BST

The Matildas

Speaking of the Matildas, I loved Paul Connolly’s article today about the historical trajectory of women’s football in Australia. (And when I say I ‘loved’ it, I should really say it enraged me. Thank god we are at the point where we’re finally righting some of the wrongs that have been done to women’s sport over time!)

10.04am BST

NRL Parramatta Eels v North Queensland Cowboys

Of course I haven’t forgotten that there’s also a do-or-die NRL final on tonight – with the Parramatta Eels taking on the North Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadium (starting 7:40pm AEST). Unfortunately since these games are on at the same time, however, I’ll only be able to update you on progress during breaks from the AFL.

10.00am BST


Hello everyone and welcome to this Saturday evening edition of Sportwatch. I’m Kate O’Halloran and I’ll be here to guide you through tonight’s AFL finals action (with some NRL updates). As you may have seen from Mike’s opening post, it has been a big day in sport already, with the Matildas winning their international friendly against Brazil 2-1. Surely the highlight was seeing a women’s international football game sell-out – to 17,000 adoring (and many new) Matildas fans. The game was a cracker too, and had me glued to my seat while I should have been working (what about that De Vanna volley, eh?) It capped off a wonderful week for Australia’s footballers, who – under a new collective bargaining agreement- will see their average W-League salaries doubled (to a still not-so-grand total of $15,500 a year). Love this David Squires take on the deal. Hooray progress!

6.16am BST

Kate will be here shortly. In the meantime, catch up on how the Matildas fared against Brazil in their friendly earlier today.

Related: Matildas v Brazil: international women’s football friendly – live!

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/sep/16/gws-giants-v-west-coast-eagles-eels-v-cowboys-in-the-nrl-sportwatch-live

Sep 08

Richmond beat Geelong in the second AFL qualifying final – as it happened

  • Richmond beat Geelong 13.13 (91) to 5.10 (40) at the MCG
  • Tigers beat Cats for first time since 2006 to move into preliminary final

1.34pm BST

It has been 16 years since their last preliminary final – and the Tigers have finally made it. Are they this year’s fairytale? They certainly looked the part tonight – and Geelong looked well off the pace. Winning tonight means the Tigers will now face the winner of GWS v Port Adelaide/West Coast – and you’d back them in against any of those sides right now. On the contrary, the Cats will lick their wounds and come back next week against the winner of Sydney v Essendon – and would dread a possible clash with the Swans.

Huge game from Dion Prestia who had 31 disposals, 18 contested possessions, six marks, five clearances, six tackles, six inside 50s and a goal. And even more influential game from Dustin Martin, whose numbers don’t account for just what a game-breaker he was. He had 28 disposals in the end, six clearances, seven tackles and nine inside 50s.

1.24pm BST

Q4 01:00 remaining Geelong 5.9 (39) v Richmond 13.13 (91)

Prestia sets up Lambert who can’t make the distance. That takes Prestia up to a game-high 31.

Richmond into a Prelim Final! #AFLCatsTigers #AFLFINALS pic.twitter.com/LzbeVEms1b

1.20pm BST

Q4 04:23 remaining Geelong 5.9 (39) v Richmond 13.13 (91)

Brilliant goal to Trent Cotchin, one of the goals of the year – I don’t know that I can even do it justice. He bullocked at the ball, picked up a contested possession, spun 180 degrees out of a possible tackle and kicked truly from 45m out.

1.16pm BST

Q4 06:20 remaining Geelong 5.9 (39) v Richmond 11.13 (79)

Harry Taylor gets a consolation goal for the Cats – not that they’ll be taking much consolation from this game. Poor showing by the Cats who have been completely blown off the park in this final quarter. I’m sure plenty will be said about the ‘home’ ground advantage this week.

1.09pm BST

Q4 10:43 remaining Geelong 4.9 (33) v Richmond 11.13 (79)

As impressive as Martin has been, he’s been selfless, a true team player. With plenty of space and the crowd behind him, he hits up Butler, who finds Caddy alone inside 50. What a performance. That’s two for him, and yet another to the Tigers.

1.07pm BST

Q4 11:57 remaining Geelong 4.9 (33) v Richmond 10.13 (73)

Four-straight to the Tigers (this time through Castagna) and the lead is suddenly forty points. They’ve been as impressive as the Cats have been disappointing in this last quarter.

1.05pm BST

Q4 13:15 remaining Geelong 4.9 (33) v Richmond 9.13 (67)

Geelong have no answer whatsoever for Dustin Martin right now – who wins another clearance (with a trademark fend-off). The ball lands in the arms of Townsend – who kicks another with just his second kick of the day. Three goals to the Tigers for the final quarter.

1.03pm BST

Q4 14:30 remaining Geelong 4.9 (33) v Richmond 8.13 (61)

Dustin Martin absolutely tearing the game apart right now – but Butler, who he sets up for a simple set shot, shanks it. Martin comes to the bench. He’s been the game-winner.

12.59pm BST

Q4 16:45 remaining Geelong 4.9 (33) v Richmond 7.11 (53)

Some light rain falls to begin the final quarter. What can the Cats produce? Without jinxing it (sorry Tigers fans) it looks like Richmond for their first finals win since 2001 at this stage.

12.50pm BST

Three-quarer-time Geelong 4.9 (33) v Richmond 6.10 (46)

Dangerfield throws himself behind the ball and takes a critical contested grab. Is lifting his team. But anything Danger can do, Martin can do (?better) – and some Dusty fend-off magic links up with Jack Riewoldt to open up the field for his team. Dion Prestia is all alone in the square, and converts the Martin-assisted goal.

12.45pm BST

Q3 02:04 remaining Geelong 4.9 (33) v Richmond 5.10 (40)

David Astbury gives away a(n admittedly soft) free kick to Tom Hawkins, who has been pushing up the ground and doing everything he can to haul his side back into the contest. He makes no mistake, and the Cats are back within a dangerously slim margin again.

12.43pm BST

Q3 03:57 remaining Geelong 3.9 (27) v Richmond 5.10 (40)

Dangerwood combine to spur the Cats on, but Danger uncharacteristically boots it out on the full. Momentum has well and truly swung back to the Tigers.

12.40pm BST

Q3 05:31 remaining Geelong 3.8 (26) v Richmond 5.10 (40)

Big holding the ball on Dangerfield by Riewoldt, and the ball spills to Martin who gets the crowd going again with a hit-up pass to Edwards from 35m out. Two in a row to the Tigers in quick succession.

12.39pm BST

Q3 06:50 remaining Geelong 3.8 (26) v Richmond 4.10 (34)

Nick Vlaustin strikes a beautiful goal from 50m to get the Tiger army back up and roaring. Great effort by the Tigers to get back into the game; they’ve had the last six inside 50s after the Cats looked to blitz them at the beginning of the third.

12.36pm BST

Q3 08:15 remaining Geelong 3.8 (26) v Richmond 3.10 (28)

Tigers creep back in front after Riewoldt soccers one off the ground – it almost bounces through for a spectacular goal, but misses narrowly to the left. Mitch Duncan up to 20 disposals for the Cats, ten contested possessions, five clearances and seven tackles.

12.31pm BST

Q3 11:46 remaining Geelong 3.8 (26) v Richmond 3.8 (26)

Stats have evened up a little – 24-23 clearances for the Cats, 29 inside 50s to 25 for the Tigers, 97-86 contested possessions for the Tigers.

12.29pm BST

Q3 13:11 remaining Geelong 3.7 (25) v Richmond 3.8 (26)

Almost a spectacular goal to Danger, who snaps one out of the pack, but Rance gets the rushed behind. Richmond almost look like they’re ‘protecting’ the lead – they need to get their manic pressure and attack back.

12.26pm BST

Q3 14:46 remaining Geelong 3.5 (23) v Richmond 3.8 (26)

Parsons centres dangerously, and Houli punches through a diving, rushed behind. Tight, tense start to the third quarter. Looks like the Cats are back in it – certainly the Tigers aren’t dominating like they were. I’d be worried if I was a Tigers fan.

12.23pm BST

Q3 16:04 remaining Geelong 2.4 (16) v Richmond 3.8 (26)

In some quirky news, the NRL final is almost out-scoring this AFL game. It’s 18-10 to the Roosters over the Broncos in the 63rd minute. One try each to Guerra, Cordner and Keary for the Roosters, for those interested (and one to Roberts and Oates for the Broncos).

12.20pm BST

Q3 17:55 remaining Geelong 2.4 (16) v Richmond 3.8 (26)

Cam Guthrie headed down to the rooms – not a good sign for the Cats. No Richmond player nominates for the ruck but Dustin Martin still manages to smother through a behind.

12.03pm BST

Half-time Geelong 2.4 (16) v Richmond 3.7 (25)

DANGER! He hasn’t had his usual influence, but manages a big goal on the siren. That’s huge in the context of the game.

11.54am BST

Q2 01:50 remaining Geelong 1.4 (10) v Richmond 3.7 (25)

Could the Cats finish the term goalless? It looks more and more likely, as Rance wins a holding the ball against Hawkins. He’s had an excellent game, completely blanketing Hawkins.

11.52am BST

Q2 03:34 remaining Geelong 0.4 (4) v Richmond 3.7 (25)

Free to Parfitt – boos following him everywhere he goes. Caddy conveniently pretends not to have heard the whistle and takes the opportunity to dump a former teammate. Caddy and Prestia very impressive to date with nine and 15 respectively.

11.48am BST

Q2 05:37 remaining Geelong 0.4 (4) v Richmond 3.7 (25)

Crowd figures officially past 95,000. Feels like 95,000 Tiger fans to me. Dion Prestia up to 14 disposals, all the while tagging Joel Selwood, who only has five.

11.44am BST

Q2 08:15 remaining Geelong 0.4 (4) v Richmond 3.7 (25)

Finally the third goal to the Tigers – this time to Dan Butler, after the small forwards combine. The crowd erupts.

11.43am BST

Q2 09:19 remaining Geelong 0.4 (4) v Richmond 2.7 (19)

Absolutely manic pressure being applied by the Tigers. Loving Prestia’s game, who wins a holding the ball free. Prestia has 12 disposals, seven contested possessions, two clearances and three tackles. The best game I’ve seen him play in yellow and black.

11.38am BST

Q2 12:36 remaining Geelong 0.4 (4) v Richmond 2.7 (19)

Uh oh, Parsons limping off the ground with what looks like an ankle – he came into the game underdone. Even Geelong’s veterans look rattled – like Harry Taylor who turns the ball over with a bomb long.

11.35am BST

Q2 14:53 remaining Geelong 0.4 (4) v Richmond 2.6 (18)

Very odd by the Cats – Tuohy runs past Hawkins and demands the ball – only to boot it out on the full. Not sure why he’d ask for the ball off Hawkins, who would easily have covered the distance. ON the replay it looks like Hawkins actually gives the ball to Tuohy without him asking for it. Even more odd. They look rattled, Geelong.

11.32am BST

Q2 16:44 remaining Geelong 0.4 (4) v Richmond 2.6 (18)

18 inside 50s to the Tigers, to 10 for the Cats. Joel Selwood is uncharacteristically caught holding the ball inside the Richmond 50 – and the free goes to Dion Prestia. This is his tenth disposal. He misses. Plenty of misses opportunities for the Tigers given how much they’ve dominated.

11.30am BST

Q2 18:00 remaining Geelong 0.4 (4) v Richmond 2.5 (17)

Guess who – Josh Caddy. Tom Stewart drops an absolute sitter, and the Tigers pounce. Riewoldt squares the ball to the man of the moment, who hits the post – again!

11.27am BST

Trent Cotchin

Loved the game of Trent Cotchin so far – he’s up to seven disposals, with six contested possessions, five clearances and a massive five tackles.

11.24am BST

Quarter-time Geelong 0.4 (4) v Richmond 2.4 (16)

Harry Taylor has a chance to get the Cats back to within far closer than they deserve to be – the Tigers have dominated this quarter with 46-37 contested possessions and 13-10 inside 50s. Another poster to the Cats – bizarrely, that’s four posters for the first quarter.

11.21am BST

Q1 00:30 remaining Geelong 0.3 (3) v Richmond 2.4 (16)

Houli gets the Tigers’ third! Or is it a free? Yes – free goes against Riewoldt – plus 50m for creeping over the mark. Not sure about the free – looked like a fair bump. Cries of ‘bullshit’ sweep over the ‘G.

11.17am BST

Q1 03:26 remaining Geelong 0.2 (2) v Richmond 2.3 (15)

So much for Riewoldt looking nervous – he finds Dustin Martin with an excellent, centering kick. Martin is only 10m out, but on a tight angle, and unselfishly passes off to Caddy. Can he convert this time? Yes. Just two goals for the game so far, both to the Tigers.

11.15am BST

Q1 04:15 remaining Geelong 0.2 (2) v Richmond 1.3 (9)

Contentious deliberate call goes against Joel Selwood – who is yet to really get into the game. He doesn’t agree with the umpire, funnily enough, and manages to smother the kick back into play. Good work from the skipper. Hasn’t been as impressive as Cotchin, however, who lands a big, aggressive tackle (his fifth, in just the first quarter).

11.13am BST

Q1 05:24 remaining Geelong 0.2 (2) v Richmond 1.3 (9)

Caddy finds Riewoldt outside 50, but he kicks into the man on the mark (Henderson). Reckon he looks nervous.

11.07am BST

Q1 10:18 remaining Geelong 0.1 (1) v Richmond 1.2 (8)

Leading possession-winners are Duncan (5), Dangerfield, Tuohy and Lonergan (4 each) for the Cats, while Martin (5), Prestia, Lambert and Rance have 4 for the Tigers.

11.03am BST

Q1 12:50 remaining Geelong 0.1 (1) v Richmond 1.2 (8)

Both Cotchin and Martin stuck on the bench (and have been for several minutes). Rance gets one high from Taylor (after ducking into it) and is off with the blood rule (this will let their stars come back on, at least). Rance seems to lose it at his own trainer (hmm?) and gets booed. Very odd. Meanwhile Brian Taylor takes a moment to remind us all how good-looking Rance is. Like I said, odd.

10.59am BST

Q1 14:30 remaining Geelong 0.1 (1) v Richmond 1.2 (8)

Good contest between Taylor and Rance – no signs of Rance being overawed by Taylor’s four goals on him last match. Danger has a wayward shot at goal and gets a nasty knock to the knee. He’s limping, but looks OK – could easily have been a medial ligament injury.

10.57am BST

Q1 15:40 Geelong 0.0 (0) v Richmond 1.2 (8)

Several bad turnovers already – some key ones by Dangerfield and Motlop – who tries to switch through the middle and picks out three Tigers. Almost results in a Dusty goal – wouldn’t that have brought the house down?

10.55am BST

Q1 17:32 Geelong 0.0 (0) v Richmond 1.1 (7)

Jack Riewoldt in all sorts of space, but fumbles and misses to the right. The moment may have got the better of him. Tiger pressure is manic – Cats have been caught holding the ball several times already.

10.53am BST

Q1 18:04 Geelong 0.0 (0) v Richmond 1.0 (6)

First free goes to Selwood – have a guess how that was received. Cats look composed, and have been slow in their ball movement (as opposed to the frantic pace of the Tigers’ attack).

10.49am BST

Here we go

Selwood wins the toss – with Heads (FYI). This success is greeted with further boos.

10.47am BST

National anthem time

For those less nationalistic amongst us, it’s always a little awkward, isn’t it. Still, nothing says September like just under 100,000 standing in unison at the MCG – and the roar of the crowd as the final notes ring out.

10.42am BST

And now for Geelong

Honestly, all I can hear is the booing of Tigers fans. Reminds me of travelling to Sydney to support the Bulldogs in the preliminary final against GWS last year (and GWS entering the ground to deafening boos). Reportedly, Leon Cameron was so perturbed he complained to the umpires. No complaints from Chris Scott, who tells Cameron Ling that he is certain Cats fans will make some noise should his side fire.

10.40am BST

Here come the Tigers

The Tigers arrive to beating drums (on the turf), as well as an almighty roar. You can barely hear the theme song over those fans singing along. Goosebumps – even from a non-Richmond fan.

10.37am BST

Tigers yet to play finals

One of the big unknowns for tonight is how the inexperienced Tigers will perform. Amongst those yet to play in a finals game are: David Astbury, Nathan Broad, Dan Butler, Jason Castagna, Jack Graham, Dion Prestia, Daniel Rioli and Jacob Townsend.

10.33am BST

The crowd

It’ll be a record-breaking crowd for a qualifying final tonight. Estimates are in the high 90,000s. Luckily for those still stuck outside, the MCG is looking mighty fine. Spine-tingling stuff.

10.28am BST

Are you stuck in line?

Also seeing plenty of complaints from punters at the ground about queuing times.

Shameful management @AFL not enough staff. We got here early and are greeted with at least a half hr line #MCC #aFl #AFLCatsTigers pic.twitter.com/GtLm4QnGUL

10.26am BST

Geelong’s ‘home’ game?

Seeing a lot of these floating around before the game. Keen to hear your thoughts.

It’s a disgrace this game isn’t in Geelong. “70% Tigers fans” at a EARNED Geelong home game. Not right. @afl #aflfinals #aflCATSTigers

10.23am BST


Hello and welcome to this special AFL finals blog of the sold-out Geelong v Richmond qualifying final at the MCG. I’m Kate O’Halloran and I’m here to take you through all tonight’s action. Feel free to contribute in comments below, to tweet me @kate_ohalloran or email me: kate.ohalloran.freelance@guardian.co.uk.

7.04am BST

Kate will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s what happened in last night’s opening finals match:

Related: Crows ease past Giants but lose Brodie Smith to injury as AFL finals get started

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/sep/08/geelong-v-richmond-second-afl-qualifying-final-live

Sep 03

Diamonds suffer upset loss to Ferns, Dragons crash out of NRL finals race and more: sportwatch – as it happened

9.18am BST


That’s all from me on today’s special version of Sportwatch, which saw the 2017 NRL finals series and match-ups decided after a spectacular fall from grace from the St George Illawarra Dragons, who led the competition in round seven, before crashing out in the final round after an upset loss to the Bulldogs. Here are the finals match-ups for next week:

9.05am BST

Dragons get the ball back with just one minute to go – what can they make of it? Impressive effort – they make it all the way to 15m but ultimately come up short. Devastating for the Dragons, who led the competition in round seven, and are bundled out of contention in round 26. Dufty looks particularly heartbroken after the knock-on, while Graham looks thrilled with the unlikely Bulldogs victory, his last game for Canterbury before he crosses over to the Dragons next season. The Cowboys will be elated, as they now sneak into the finals in eighth.

Hopoate was the hero in the end for Canterbury – he had 198 metres run, a line break and a try to go with a try-saving intercept. Big game from David Klemmer for the Dogs who managed 214 run metres and 35 tackles. Lichaa, meanwhile continued his return to form with the winning try in the 73rd minute, and 37 tackles (a team-high). For the Dragons, Paul Vaughan and Jason Nightingale had the most run metres with 212 and 192 respectively. McInness (43) and Frizell (37) had the most tackles for the Dragons.

8.52am BST

NRL H2 78:14 St George Illawarra Dragons 20-26 Canterbury Bulldogs

Six tackles for the Dragons – after the ball goes dead. Was almost a perfect kick from Mbye, but it just rolled over at the last minute. Nightingale almost makes it down the sideline again, but Lafai’s throw back on the inside is an awkward one and Dufty knocks it forward. Scrum to the Bulldogs.

8.50am BST

NRL H2 76:36 St George Illawarra Dragons 20-26 Canterbury Bulldogs

Nightingale almost makes it down the sideline after a big, sweeping pass from Dufty – but guess who? Hopoate intercepts the kick. Not much left to play out here.

8.47am BST

NRL H2 73:00 St George Illawarra Dragons 20-26 Canterbury Bulldogs

The Dragons are backed into a corner, and the Bulldogs are full of running after the last try. Will this go to Golden Point? Not a good finish to the set from the Bulldogs, who were 5m out – but the kick goes into the ankles of the Dragons’ defence.

8.41am BST

NRL H2 67:15 St George Illawarra Dragons 20-20 Canterbury Bulldogs

TRY for the Dogs! Brilliant, tackle-bursting run from Hopoate, who then finds a pass from off the ground to set up Aidan Tolman. Hopoate is having an incredible day.

“How did you get there Aiden?”#NRLDragonsBulldogs #NRL pic.twitter.com/Ib9uXgyuz9

8.37am BST

NRL H2 63:30 St George Illawarra Dragons 20-14 Canterbury Bulldogs

Try-saver by Klemmer on Vaughan, but he gives away the penalty straight after. The Dragons point to the uprights, and look to extend their lead to 6. Widdop strikes it truly, and they’re a converted try ahead.

“Tremendous tackle from Hopoate.” – Rabs. #NRLDragonsBulldogs #9WWOS pic.twitter.com/BIz2IE6Kuf

8.34am BST

NRL H2 61:00 St George Illawarra Dragons 18-14 Canterbury Bulldogs

Josh Dugan looks to have scored a game-breaking try for the Dragons, but he’s held up in a brilliant tackle by Hopoate. That man again saves another try – this time with a hand in to stop Thompson and force a dropout. Tense scenes.

8.32am BST

NRL H2 59:00 St George Illawarra Dragons 18-14 Canterbury Bulldogs

Widdop kicks the ball over the sideline, and it’s a scrum to the Dogs. Not sure the Dragons can afford to be so defensive – they still need to score again, you’d think. That said the Bulldogs suddenly look impotent in attack – and on cue, Montoya turns it over with a forward pass.

8.27am BST

NRL H2 54:40 St George Illawarra Dragons 18-14 Canterbury Bulldogs

Dufty! He finally finds a way into the game, Lafai finds him on the inside after a dummy on the left, but it was a brilliant pass by Widdop that opened up the space. McGregor fist pumps and takes a deep breath.

Dufty scores, the @NRL_Dragons hit the lead!#NRLDragonsBulldogs #NRL pic.twitter.com/3jrrgz76JL

8.25am BST

NRL H2 51:30 St George Illawarra Dragons 12-14 Canterbury Bulldogs

MacDonald puts the ball down for the Dragons and the Bulldogs come again – they take a penalty from 10m out, and tap and go. Will they kick this time? They simply taken the tackle on the last two sets, but imagine they will go aggressive this time. They turn it over before they get to the fifth in a disappointing result. Great take by Montoya on the sideline, but it’s to no avail.

8.22am BST

NRL H2 49:30 St George Illawarra Dragons 12-14 Canterbury Bulldogs

Dufty’s take is a good one on the run after a penetrating Frawley kick. He’s hardly been sighted, but is an important cog in the Dragons’ line-up – they’d do well to get him back in the game. Widdop takes another kick but Hopoate has no worries with the take. Morris gets the penalty against Dugan – Morris tries to tap and go, but is called back. Paul McGregor looks decidedly unimpressed – but the Bulldogs can’t get further than 5m out.

8.19am BST

NRL H2 46:00 St George Illawarra Dragons 12-14 Canterbury Bulldogs

Great take, and resultant take-off by Hopoate, who finds the Dragons on the back foot. The Bulldogs make it to 10m out with one left. Hopoate takes the tackle, and the ball goes back to the Dragons. Bulldogs need to keep pressing – they look to be playing things safe. Montoya takes Widdop’s kick, and the Dogs go again.

8.16am BST

NRL H2 43:00 St George Illawarra Dragons 12-14 Canterbury Bulldogs

Mistake in the play-the-ball by de Belin, which gifts the ball to the Bulldogs. De Belin argues he controlled it, but to no avail. Scrum for the Dogs. Stanley off for the Bulldogs with a hamstring, who joins Reynolds on the sideline. Bulldogs can’t complete the set, after Lichaa has the ball stipped, and Frawley knocks it on. Dragons ball.

8.10am BST

I haven’t had time to recap the Sharks v Knights game yet, so here’s the report from AAP.

Cronulla have work to do leading into enter next week’s elimination NRL final after slogging their way to an unconvincing 26-18 final-round win over Newcastle in the Hunter. Despite racing out to an 18-0 lead, the Sharks were pushed all the way on Sunday but eventually prevailed for a hard-fought second win in three weeks. Shane Flanagan’s fifth-placed side now await the winner of the St George-Illawarra and Canterbury game to decide whether they face Penrith or North Queensland in week one of the finals.

8.00am BST

NRL half-time St George Illawarra Dragons 12-14 Canterbury Bulldogs

Well, as it stands the Cowboys are in the finals – with the Dragons putting on a disappointing first half display. They’re lucky to be as close as they are, helped by some Mbye inaccuracy and a multitude of penalties. Paul Vaughan still leads the way with run metres (106), to Klemmer’s 86 and de Belin’s 83. McInness and Elliott have 21 tackles respectively for their sides, while Lichaa, who has impressed, has 20. Reckon the Bulldogs will rue his departure.

7.55am BST

NRL H1 38:55 St George Illawarra Dragons 12-14 Canterbury Bulldogs

No luck for Reynolds, who won’t take to the ground again. Penalty goes to the Dragons – 6-1 is the penalty count in favour of the Dragons, but it hasn’t helped them with the scoreline so far. Make that 7-1 against the Bulldogs – this time for Jackson holding on. Can the Dragons finally convert? YES – through Nightingale on the left, which brings them back into a game they’ve looked horrible out of. The set lacked intensity, and was lucky to end in a try.

7.50am BST

NRL H1 33:23 St George Illawarra Dragons 6-14 Canterbury Bulldogs

They do it again! This time it’s Montoya, and the Bulldogs are on fire. Hopoate again produces a brilliant pass to find Montoya in the corner. The Dragons look shell-shocked. Mbye can’t convert – and his poor conversion rate continues.

Vision of the @NRL_Bulldogs Try decision in the 29th minute of #NRLDragonsBulldogs.#NRL pic.twitter.com/7mJVwYUJzy

7.47am BST

NRL H1 31:00 St George Illawarra Dragons 6-10 Canterbury Bulldogs

Some footage is filtering through of Josh Reynolds in the rooms – who looks devastated at the likely possibility that he won’t get back onto the ground.

7.41am BST

NRL H1 25:21 St George Illawarra Dragons 6-6 Canterbury Bulldogs

Big metres so far from Paul Vaughan, who has 106, while Graham and Jackson have 48 each for the Bulldogs. Most tackles also goes to Vaughan, with 15, while McInness (14), Lichaa (14) and Tolman (14) follow. 58% possession to the Dragons, and a 79% conversion rate to just 62% for the Bulldogs.

7.36am BST

NRL H1 20:21 St George Illawarra Dragons 6-6 Canterbury Bulldogs

Bizarre play by the Dragons – with Widdop kicking the ball into de Belin, who is caught accidentally off-side. Poor signs from them with a finals campaign on the line.

7.33am BST

NRL H1 18:00 St George Illawarra Dragons 6-6 Canterbury Bulldogs

The Dragons have another go at the early kick, but it’s cut off. They’re travelling largely side-to-side – predictably, and not particularly dangerously.

7.29am BST

NRL H1 14:39 St George Illawarra Dragons 6-6 Canterbury Bulldogs

Mann kicks a high one in hope, it’s picked up by Sims after Widdop spills the ball. The Bunker rules it backwards, which means the try stands – which goes to Thompson after the Sims pass. A try to the Dragons well against the run of play.

The @NRL_Dragons hit back in style!#NRLDragonsBulldogs #NRL pic.twitter.com/ycxYbyjyuH

7.25am BST

NRL H1 12:30 St George Illawarra Dragons 0-6 Canterbury Bulldogs

Penalty goes against David Klemmer who is called off-side – and isn’t happy. The Dragons have another six, and are only 10m out. Great intercept from Morris – who got his hand to it and completed the catch just before the ball hits the ground. Missed opportunity for St George, who look the inferior side so far.

7.23am BST

NRL H1 10:10 St George Illawarra Dragons 0-6 Canterbury Bulldogs

Knock-on against Montoya who drops the Widdop kick – on the replay, it looks like the ball goes backwards. Unlucky – or a lucky break for the Dragons, whichever way you look at it. Good chase from Hopoate to knock the ball out of play for a dropout (although the ball has come off the hands of Dugan – which should force a restart). No call from the Bunker, though.

7.19am BST

NRL H1 6:46 St George Illawarra Dragons 0-6 Canterbury Bulldogs

Brilliant play by the Bulldogs which results in a Reynolds try – but Reynolds looks injured (is that his final play for the Dogs?) He looks very proppy. Great hands from Hopoate to set that one up, and a nice strike from Mbye follows.

Try-time for @joshreynolds9 in his last game for the @NRL_Bulldogs!#NRLDragonsBulldogs #NRL pic.twitter.com/AR33USl4Wl

7.16am BST

NRL H1 2:46 St George Illawarra Dragons 0-0 Canterbury Bulldogs

Short dropout from the Bulldogs, which comes off – and Widdop’s gamble backfires. The Bulldogs make ground ground – right up to the 20, until Reynolds’s pass misfires, and the Dragons are back down the ground. Fumbling start from both sides.

7.14am BST

NRL H1 1:00 St George Illawarra Dragons 0-0 Canterbury Bulldogs

We’re underway in this game against fierce rivals, and who would’ve thought James Graham would be leaving the club for the Dragons (on the same day as Josh Reynolds departs)? Emotional day for the Bulldogs, who lose two favourite sons.

7.05am BST


According to Andrew Johns, the Storm are near certainties for the title, with the Roosters the only team who might be able to challenge. The Storm became just the seventh salary-cap compliant team in history to finish a season with 20 wins with their 32-6 dismantling of Canberra on Saturday night. Melbourne have dropped just four games all season, including two without Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk during the State of Origin period. One of those Origin-affected losses came to the Roosters in golden point in Adelaide, and league great Johns said he believed they were the only team who could stop them winning the title.

7.00am BST

NRL St George Illawarra Dragons v Canterbury Bulldogs

Love this earlier photo of the much-maligned ANZ Stadium (read Matt Cleary’s thoughts on this from Monday). Dragons fans of course are lamenting that the game is not at spiritual home, Kogarah.

Couldn’t ask for better weather ☀️ #NRLDragonsBulldogs #redv pic.twitter.com/ki1NPgUj8B

6.57am BST

NRL St George Illawarra Dragons v Canterbury Bulldogs

Not long – just under 13 minutes – until this game gets underway. This is a critical game for the Dragons, who need a win to sneak into September (and knock the North Queensland Cowboys out of the finals race). They don’t have a very good record against the Bulldogs, however, having lost 10 of their past 11 against Canterbury (including a 16-2 loss in Round 14). The Bulldogs have also had a decent run of late, with their two biggest scores of the year in their past two games. It will also be the final game in Bulldogs colours for their favourite son Josh Reynolds, and captain James Graham – who will join opponents the Dragons on a three-year deal next season. (Likewise, it’s the last game in blue and white for Sam Casino and Michael Lichaa – who has fired up in recent weeks). Meanwhile, Josh Dugan is back from his disciplinary break to give his side a boost.

6.45am BST

New Zealand are Quad Series champions! 2012 (in the Constellation Cup) was the last time the New Zealanders beat the Australians in a series – so this is a big win for the Ferns. They’ll take huge amounts of confidence into the Commonwealth Games after this victory. Disappointing day for the Diamonds, but all credit must go to the Silver Ferns, who were incredibly impressive. The Australians simply had no answer for Selby-Rickit, who scored 35/41, while Bailey Mes was critical in GA with 17/18. Crampton and Francois had 16 and 15 goal assists respectively, with some quick and impressive transition play. Jury, meanwhile was impressive in defence, and takes out player of the match.

For the Diamonds, Bassett finished with 22/24, while Philip had 11/12 and Thwaites 10/11. Liz Watson had 11 goal assists and looked damaging once she came on, with 27 feeds.

6.36am BST

Netball Quad Series 4th 02:00 remaining New Zealand 54-44 Australia

Beautiful finish from long-range to Thwaites, but the margin will be too large. Francois gets her turn on the bench with 34 feeds and 15 goal assists for the night. Great game from her.

6.35am BST

Netball Quad Series 4th 03:22 remaining New Zealand 53-43 Australia

The Australians are racing down the court as they try to peg this lead back. Selby-Rickit gets a rest with 35/41, while Maia Wilson gets her opportunity – and scores first up.

6.33am BST

Netball Quad Series 4th 05:31 remaining New Zealand 51-42 Australia

Madi Robinson is back in WA for the Australians, while Weston (in just her sixth test) comes in to GD. Not sure there’s enough time for the Australians to erode this lead. What a game from the Ferns. Still, Selby-Rickit has missed her last three shots with the pressure on.

6.30am BST

Netball Quad Series 4th 07:20 remaining New Zealand 49-40 Australia

Francois gets a warning, and the Australians pull another back through Thwaites. Three in a row for the Diamonds. Great pressure through the middle, particularly through Tippett in WA, and Simpson in WD, who push the Ferns back down the court. Selby-Rickit misses again, and the pressure mounts.

6.29am BST

Netball Quad Series 4th 08:50 remaining New Zealand 49-39 Australia

Once more, the Australians look to have no answer for Selby-Rickit, who has 34/37 (92%). Like Philip in GA, though, she’s raced to 9/10. Lots of ‘tidy up’ calls for the Diamonds in defence – who finally force a miss out of Selby-Rickit and have a chance to pull one back. Thwaites makes them pay.

6.26am BST

Netball Quad Series 4th 11:40 remaining New Zealand 47-36 Australia

Two in a row for the Aussies, who look rejuvenated by the changed line-up. Watson comes back into centre, and looks dangerous. Nonetheless, the Ferns get one back through some confident play. What can the Diamonds do?

6.24am BST

Netball Quad Series 4th 13:49 remaining New Zealand 46-33 Australia

Another change for the Diamonds – Tippett comes on in WA, while Mannix gets a run at GK (Bruce comes off with the unfortunate tally of 18 penalties). Ferns get the first two to make the task even harder for the Australians.

6.21am BST

Netball Quad Series three-quarter-time New Zealand 44-33 Australia

After some impressive pressure-play by Crampton (WA) and Grant (GD), the Ferns turn the ball over and make the attacking rebound – Selby-Rickit gets her own ball, and shoots for an 11-point lead to the New Zealanders. Trouble for the Diamonds, who have looked the inferior side from the first whistle. They scored 13-9 that quarter to take their overall lead to 11. Selby-Rickit now has 30/33 (91%) and Bailey Mes has 14/15 (93%). Crampton and Francois have been integral to the Ferns’ success, with 14 and 13 goal assists respectively.

6.17am BST

Netball Quad Series 3rd 01:30 remaining New Zealand 42-32 Australia

Thwaites is on the board – and the margin is back to that of half-time, 7 points – until the Kiwis get one back through Mes (up to 14/15). Big win for Kelly Jury over Thwaites – she has 12 penalties, but has worried both Thwaites and Bassett and has been crucial to her side’s lead. Worrying margin for the Diamonds – now out to 10, with Bruce living on the edge with 18 penalties.

6.13am BST

Netball Quad Series 3rd 05:00 remaining New Zealand 39-30 Australia

Thwaites on for the Diamonds and Bassett off. Crampton is pulled from WA for Souness – an interesting call, given she has 28 feeds, 13 goal assists and 12 centre pass receives.

6.12am BST

Netball Quad Series 3rd 06:16 remaining New Zealand 39-29 Australia

Some big, impressive cross-court passes from the Ferns are bamboozling the Australians – while on the other hand their own attempts to divert play are regularly being picked off. Five in a row for the Ferns, and things look ominous.

6.09am BST

Netball Quad Series 3rd 08:37 remaining New Zealand 34-29 Australia

Selby-Rickit misses in a rare slip-up for her: she’s 22/24 – the same tally as Bassett currently. Three in a row Australia through Philip. It tightens up again.

6.08am BST

Netball Quad Series 3rd 09:43 remaining New Zealand 34-26 Australia

Philip’s on the board, while some shots filter through of the South African team taking selfies (or are they on Skype?) in the crowd. Today was their first ever win in the Quad Series against the much more highly-fancied English Roses.

6.05am BST

Netball Quad Series 3rd 12:17 remaining New Zealand 33-25 Australia

A big change for the Australians with Tippett off. Tegan Philip – who turns 29 today – is on for Tippett in GA, but misses her first shot at goal.

6.03am BST

NRL half-time Newcastle Knights 12-18 Cronulla Sharks

I’m just about to have a very quick lunch break but it’s half-time in the NRL and the Sharks are up 18-12. They got off to a 18-0 lead, before the Knights hit back with two tries to Lachlan Fitzgibbon, who also has 78 run metres (Saifiti has 102). For the Sharks, they’ve got one try each to Holmes, Townsend and Brailey. Gallen has 113 run metres, while Fifita has 106 and 20 tackles. Only Brailey (21) and King (23) have more. All set up for a tight second-half.

5.54am BST

Netball Quad Series half-time remaining New Zealand 31-24 Australia

Too casual from the Ferns, who give up the ball in the middle – only for Tippett to give away a contact penalty with the Australians looking certain to score. Selby-Rickit makes them pay, taking her tally to 21/22 in the match so far. Much better quarter from the Diamonds, who outscored the Ferns 14-13, but fail to make significant inroads on the quarter-time margin. It’s now a 7-point margin to New Zealand, enough for them to win the title.

5.49am BST

Netball Quad Series 2nd 01:57 remaining New Zealand 29-22 Australia

Jury has done a fantastic job on Bassett – who is nonetheless up to 19/21. The Australians have gone to her on almost every occasion, while Tippett is just 3/4. New Zealand score three in a row for another mini-break on the Diamonds – with little luck for Bruce, who is up to 13 penalties and under the intense watch of the umpire.

5.46am BST

Netball Quad Series 2nd 05:05 remaining New Zealand 26-21 Australia

A flurry of goals puts the Diamonds right back in the contest, making the home crowd nervous (and decidedly quieter). Selby-Rickit’s shooting, however, maintains the gap – currently at 19/20.

5.43am BST

Netball Quad Series 2nd 07:22 remaining New Zealand 23-18 Australia

Bruce gets a couple of tidy-up calls, this time for knocking the ball right out of Selby-Rickit’s hands – but Mes misses the resultant conversion attempt, for 6/7. Down the other end, Tippett misses but gains the rebound and sets up Bassett. They’re finding much more speed down the court in this quarter.

5.41am BST

Netball Quad Series 2nd 09:25 remaining New Zealand 23-17 Australia

Great, aggressive play by the Diamonds, who break for an intercept and put the Ferns under enough pressure to turn the ball over. Still, their run of defensive penalties continues, now up to 25 – and 10 for Bruce. We’re seeing a much more even quarter.

5.39am BST

Netball Quad Series 2nd 11:15 remaining New Zealand 21-15 Australia

Watson has really sparked the Diamonds, and again feeds Bassett for a goal. She has a hand in the next one, too, for three in a row. She has brought poise and patience to the Diamonds’ build-ups. Tippett makes it 3/3.

5.37am BST

Netball Quad Series 2nd 13:30 remaining New Zealand 20-11 Australia

A change for the Aussies with Liz Watson coming on at Centre. She’s into the action quickly and feeds Bassett for the first goal of the quarter. The Kiwis, however, hit back immediately through Selby-Rickit – twice.

5.35am BST

Netball Quad Series quarter-time New Zealand 18-10 Australia

21 penalties for the Australians compared to New Zealand’s 10 – and their ill-discipline is costing them dearly. Courtney Bruce – at GK – has 9 alone. Selby-Rickit has 13/14 in a dominant display, and has been well supported by Mes with 5/5. Gina Crampton has 12 feeds and has been impressive at WA.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Courtney Bruce! #NZLvAUS #QuadSeries pic.twitter.com/E7Yedt9kgL

5.30am BST

Netball Quad Series 1st 1:20 remaining New Zealand 15-10 Australia

The Australians are lacking flow in their forays forward, and their checking of the Ferns is looser than you’d like, particularly down the wings. Still, they get their first run of multiple goals – and Bassett scores for three unanswered.

5.27am BST

Netball Quad Series 1st 3:57 remaining New Zealand 13-6 Australia

Brilliant play by Courtney Bruce who showed great agility at GK to leap and intercept, and sets her team up for a much-needed goal. Nonetheless, the Ferns look unstoppable at this point. Thwaites and Watson warming up nervously for the Diamonds.

5.24am BST

Netball Quad Series 1st 6:40 remaining New Zealand 11-4 Australia

Liking the game of GK Kelly Jury, who has won a few one-on-ones with Bassett, who has 3/4 so far. Selby-Rickit, meanwhile has 9/10. The Australians have given away 12 penalties to 4.

5.22am BST

Netball Quad Series 1st 9:15 remaining New Zealand 8-3 Australia

The Australians have no answer for Selby-Rickit, who has 7 from 8 so far. This is her home court. The Australians are breaking down in attack – plenty of intercepts for the Ferns in the middle.

5.20am BST

Netball Quad Series 1st 11:53 remaining New Zealand 4-2 Australia

Another to Selby-Rickit, and a nice flat ball to Bassett sees the Aussies get the reply. Bailey Mes chimes in for the Kiwis, and a spectacular attempt at an intercept by Sinclair doesn’t come off – Australia hits back through Bassett.

5.17am BST

Netball Quad Series 1st 13:32 remaining New Zealand 1-0 Australia

Bassett misses the first shot at goal and can’t get the rebound back into play. Contact on Selby-Rickit sees New Zealand score first.

5.15am BST

Netball Quad Series

Anthems have finished – but here are our teams.

5.12am BST

Netball Quad Series

Both teams are lining up for their national anthems. In the meantime, check out this great package documenting these two teams’ historic rivalry.

It’s netball’s greatest rivalry: @AussieDiamonds and the Silver Ferns. Who will come out on top? #QuadSeries pic.twitter.com/hk40bMsBXX

5.08am BST

Netball Quad Series

Here’s a quick round-up of South Africa’s upset win over England 53-51 at Invercargill’s Stadium Southland. After narrow earlier losses to Australia and New Zealand, the Proteas showed resolve and focus in a hectic final quarter to shut out the more favoured English outfit. Captain Bongiwe Msomi at wing attack combined well with Erin Burger, feeding shooter Lenize Potgieter (43 from 45) from long range. Scores were level 26-26 at half-time, forcing England coach Tracey Neville made a series of changes in the third quarter, to little immediate effect. The two key shifts came with the injection of experience – in the shooting circle where Jo Harten replaced Kadeen Corbin (10 from 13), and at wing defence, with the introduction of Jade Clarke for Beth Cobden. South Africa, however, readjusted, showing plenty of patience in working the ball around until space opened, with Potgieter and goal attack Maryka Hotzhausen stepping up with a 100 per cent third quarter in sinking 16 from 16. Ahead 42-38 at the three-quarter mark, South Africa extended their lead to six midway through the final spell, digging deep to hold off a frenzied English finish in the closing minutes.

4.59am BST

Netball Quad Series

In breaking news, South Africa have just defeated the England Roses – which means the Australians will take out the title so long as they defeat the Silver Ferns, or lose by 3 goals or less. Meanwhile, the Silver Ferns can win if they defeat Australia by 4 goals or more. It all comes down to this game!

Welcome to ILT Stadium Southland @AussieDiamonds! #QuadSeries #NZLvAUS pic.twitter.com/Oaa9kc5Nft

4.57am BST


Speaking of the Socceroos, they’re facing an uphill battle for a berth in next year’s World Cup. Australia now needs to win (and win well) against Thailand on Tuesday night to secure a place in the 2018 tournament (watch out for John Duerden’s column on this tomorrow). Australia has qualified for three successive World Cups – but only 16 other countries have reached four consecutive World Cups (notable exceptions include Poland and Belgium).

4.52am BST


If you’re wondering what next for Tournament of Nations (ToN) champions the Matildas, they’re set to play Brazil (their final ToN opponents) to a sell-out, bumper crowd of 17,000 people in Penrith later this month. That’s the biggest crowd our national women’s soccer team will have enjoyed in Australia since the Sydney Olympics.

4.47am BST


Hello and welcome to this Sunday edition of Sportwatch. I’m Kate O’Halloran and I’ll be here to take you through today’s live action, whatever your preferred shape of ball. Don’t forget to tweet us @GdnAusSport with the hashtag #sportwatch.

4.24am BST

U.S. Open

Just while we’re waiting for this game to get underway, here’s a quick update on the fortunes of the Australians competing in the U.S. Open. Nick Kyrgios and Matt Reid have both bombed out of the doubles competition, with a 6-1 6-1 loss to 16-time grand slam champions Mike and Bob Bryan, but the news was better for Dara Gavrilova and her Russian partner Daria Kasatkina, who powered into the women’s doubles third round with a 6-3 7-5 win over Chia-Jung Chuang and Misaki Doi. However, Australian sixth seeds Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua suffered a surprise 6-0 3-6 6-4 second-round loss to Shuko Aoyama and Zhaoxuan Yang, while teenager Thomas Bosancic was also eliminated from the junior boys’ singles with a 6-2 6-4 second-round loss to Jesper De Jong of the Netherlands.

5.49am BST

Kate will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s a recap of how Saturday panned out:

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/sep/03/silver-ferns-v-diamonds-final-day-of-nrl-regular-season-sportwatch-live