Category Archive: Netball

Netball News

May 20

Australia sportwatch: Magpies comeback thriller, Raiders beat Eels and more – as it happened

  • Updates from Australian sport on Saturday May 20
  • A big day in AFL, NRL, Super Netball and Super Rugby

1.50pm BST

Thanks for joining us for the first attempt at our new multi-sport blog on the Guardian. Like anything, we’ll be refining it as we go along, so if you have suggestions for improvements then fire them in our general direction. We’ll be back for all of Sunday’s Australian sport action with Adam Collins tomorrow afternoon. In the meantime, I’ve been Geoff Lemon, you’ve been tremendous, and we’re all being wished a good night.

1.48pm BST

This one, of course, for Richmond.

1.48pm BST

Re the NRL, lots of claims that Daly Cherry-Evans might have laid claims to an Origin spot to replace Johnathan Thurston. There’ll be plenty more speculation about that squad right down to the final seconds before it comes out. Nate Myles won’t play for Queensland after hurting his knee tonight.

1.45pm BST

A few good observations from the end of the day’s AFL.

1. With the random punching late in the game, yes.

Hodge has the look of a player who has gone one year too long and knows it.

This will ease the pain @camtherose #gotiges #AFLGiantsTigers pic.twitter.com/zwRzwOuiG0

In terms of who can win the premiership, at this point of the season, I’ve ruled out 18 teams.

1.42pm BST

NRL: Titans lost to Manly 10-30; Eels lost to Raiders 16-22
AFL: Swans lost to Saints 68-118; Giants beat Tigers 78-75; Lions lost to Crows 60-140; Magpies beat Hawks 90-72
Super Netball: Lightning beat Swifts 63-49; Fever lost to Magpies 42-49
Super Rugby: Force lost to Highlanders 6-55

1.24pm BST

Interesting point from Brad Johnson on the telly re that Richmond game. When Dustin Martin had that attempted long shot late in the game, Jeremy Cameron smothered it. But he’d managed to stooge the umpire and get several metres over the mark, by coming up to replace the man who was on the mark originally. Tom Scully crept back up near the line of the mark as well, and with the umpire’s eyes on him perhaps, Cameron came in from the side and smothered the ball almost as Martin kicked it. Even if the kick hadn’t been a goal, the umpire should have given 50 metres for breaching the mark. And that would have taken Martin to the goal line. Hmmmm indeed.

1.20pm BST

I stopped talking about the Brisbane-Adelaide game in the end to spare us all the embarrassment. Cameron kicked four, Greenwood kicked three – a couple of young kids. They didn’t even need their stars. Well, ok, Betts and Walker and Lynch all kicked three as well. But you get what I mean. Not much for Brisbane, a couple each for Barrett and Zorko. It was 60-140 in the end.

1.14pm BST

How quickly things change. Exhaustion kicks in during the last couple of minutes: the Fever give up a couple of fouls, a couple of missed passes, and the (netball) Magpies kick out to a seven-goal win, 42-49 over in the west. It’s a double Magpie night.

1.07pm BST

It’s 42-44 in the netball, the Fever won’t give up. They’ve trailed most of the game, they were level for a brief moment, then it went back to five goals, now they’re back to two against the Magpies. Four minutes left.

1.06pm BST

Well, Buckley could have had “Embattled” added by deed poll before “Nathan” this season. But he crafts his first win over Hawthorn in a substantial career, and a massive comeback is sealed. It was 43 points in favour of Hawthorn midway through the second quarter, and still 40 near the end of it. But Collingwood dragged back a couple of goals just before half time, then five unanswered in the third term. Breust got the first in the last, but it was to be Hawthorn’s only goal for the half, as the Magpies eventually scrambled four more, most of them late in the term.

1.01pm BST

Pies win it, and Hodge loses it. A tight contest in Collingwood’s forward pocket. Taylor Adams gave Hodge a whack, Hodge charged back into the pick and drove him into the ground. Pendlebury pulled Hodge up, and Hodge gave him a left jab to the jaw. Will miss a week or two there. In the meantime, the ball was knocked clear, Josh Smith ran onto it, and snapped the winner. It’s 90 plays 72 with a minute and a half left.

12.55pm BST

Ooof, should have been a 50-metre penalty there. Free kick to Hawthorn at half-forward, Goldsack kicked the ball well over the player’s head. The umpire is kind, says that it was close enough to the player. It is a tough rule – a simple skill error and a player could concede a key goal. Instead the forward entry is repelled by Collingwood.

12.53pm BST

Collingwood out to 13 points. The ball loose inside 50, Sidebottom snaps from the pocket and sedns through a magnificent one. Alistair Clarkson is looking grim in the coach’s box. It’s 84-71 to the Pies now, after haing been 43 points down in the first half.

12.50pm BST

Pendlebury again at the MCG. What a couple of minutes. And he was just strolling there. Roved a pack at the 50, had so much time that he just jogged a little wider to 40, took his time, sized up the goals and sailed it. 78-71 Collingwood. In Perth, the Fever miss a chance to take the lead, and the Magpies in that game get a couple of quick ones. 33-35 to them.

12.48pm BST

Scores level in the netball as well. The Fever goal to make it 32-32. Magpies are in tight games all over the country.

12.47pm BST

Pies back in front. A ball to the teeth of goal is punched down its throat for a rushed behind. Ball comes out again, turns around, goes back. Clears a contest on the bounce and Pendlebury is waiting out the back. Slips a sideways handball to Elliott, who loves a snap under pressure. Gets it. It’s 72-71 to Collingwood over Hawthorn with 10 minutes left in the last quarter.

THIS GAME IS CRAZY

12.43pm BST

The Brisbane Loins, as my dad calls them, are not being very fruitful. Their deficit is out to 85 points now as the Crows will take top of the ladder back from the Giants, in a very brief stay, with a big percentage boost. It’s 45 plays 130 at the Gabba.

12.40pm BST

The other Magpies are in front, over in the Super Netball, and they need the win. It’s 25-29 to the Pies against the West Coast Fever midway through the third quarter.

12.37pm BST

Goal for Hawthorn! Collingwood nearly scramble out of defence, but after a lot of frazzled play the ball comes back one too many times. Hodge’s long ball in, Breust reads the crumb, and the Hawks are back in front by si.

12.28pm BST

The carnage ends at 6-55 for the Western Force in Perth, and when you’re playing like that, you can be forgiven for wondering why anyone is fighting to retain a rugby team over there.

Very apt time to read Bret Harris’ take on Australian rugby teams being so regularly punished by those from New Zealand.

Related: Australian rugby currently languishing about 10 years behind New Zealand | Bret Harris

12.27pm BST

Make that scores level. Wells again running out to meet the ball on the half volley on the 50. Handballs out to Elliott, who finds Crisp. His set shot gives the ball a ride, and it just clears the goal line from out near the Southern Stand boundary to tie things up. Wellity wellity well. Hawthorn scored one point to begin the last quarter, then didn’t score again as Collingwood kicked five goals in a row. Settle in for a fai finish.

12.24pm BST

One goal the difference at the MCG! Darcy Moore runs into an open goal after a sensational bit of play and narrows the deficit to six. Daniel Wells in the middle had a long ball out of defence land in front of him. He punched it about 40 metres forward with a mighty swipe, and with most of Hawthorn’s players down the other end, Moore ran hardest to finish off the counterattack.

12.21pm BST

In the meantime, Adelaide are blitzing Brisbane in the AFL. They haven’t just put the foot down, they’ve fired the solid-fuel boosters and are reaching low-earth orbit. Currently 6.5 this quarter, versus 1.0 for Brisbane. Charlie Cameron has kicked 3.1. The score is 42-104.

12.18pm BST

Last set of six for Parra with 90 seconds on the clock. Some brilliant runs, some incisions. For a second it looks like they’re through. Then the Raiders apply some brutal team defence, smashing the ball loose and winning a scrum. They’re just running the clock down, picking and driving straight into tackles to whittle off the last seconds, and that is it. Couple of losses in a row for the Eels.

12.14pm BST

It’s funereal on Victorian radio about the Tigers in the AFL, I’ll tell you what. Losses by three points tot he Giants this week two points to Fremantle, last week, and five points to the Dogs the week before. Apparently only about a dozen teams in the last century or so have lost three in a row by under a goal. To play devil’s avocado, if you’re losing by less than a goal then you’re not playing that badly, are you?

12.09pm BST

Try! The Raiders go ahead. Austin to Jack Wighton, slides it wide to Jordan Rapana, and he reaches out his left arm to plant the ball in the corner. Croker gets the important sideline kick, it’s 16-22 in Canberra’s favour.

12.07pm BST

Also – hello. A couple of goals to Jeremy Howe and Darcy Moore, and the AFL’s Magpies are coming back as well…

12.05pm BST

It’s neck and neck in the NRL, and those are some impressive necks. Siosaia Vave went over for Parra eight minutes into the half, then Blake Austin responded, at last, for the Raiders. Now it’s 16-all with 10 minutes to play. Another close finish shaping up, it’s been Squeaky Saturday.

12.03pm BST

Super Rugby: Highlanders denied another try after a high ball is ruled knocked-on in the in-goal. But then Rob Thompson receives a clever pass over the top, almost a fadeaway jump shot, and gets in for an unequivocal score. Marty Banks lines up from the sideline and drills the kick. It’s 6-38 in favour of the visitors over in Perth, with the Force mired in fourth spot in the Australian conference.

11.46am BST

Speaking of the west, I’ve been neglecting the Western Force. Sadly, they’ve been neglecting themselves as well. They’re 24-6 behind the Highlanders as some dense and unusual rain comes down in Perth at the start of the second half, and they’ve just lost the ball after having won a scrum feed near their try-line. Not much going right for them tonight.

11.44am BST

A fumble for the Swifts at the end, a full-court pass for Caitlin Bassett, and she’s robbed by the buzzer of her 50th goal. So she has tied the Lightning score single-handedly. Mind you, Sam Wallace got… 39? 40? of those Swifts goals. A margin reflective of the dominance, really, the Lightning were too good throughout. The Fever and the Magpies is the next Super Netball game tonight, coming over from the west.

11.40am BST

At half time, the Brisbane Lions slip to 65-35 behind the Crows, while Collingwood chipped away with four goals in the second quarter to be 64-30 behind the Hawks.

11.37am BST

The Lightning have punched out to a 61-46 lead, and the Swifts call a timeout with four minutes left. “We can do this, we’re good enough to pull this back,” is the punching message within the circle. The clock is back on. But it doesn’t do the job, as the Lightning score first before Wallace nails another Swifts long-ranger.

11.32am BST

Here comes the comeback, and Ricky Stuart won’t be happy. Parra score twice in the last six minutes, first Manu Ma’u capitalising on a Raiders error near the line for his first try of the season, grabbing a loose ball, before some brilliant dancing from Semi freed up Jennings to go over. They convert the second try, and it’s 10-all at the half.

#NRLparcan Semi to Jennings! That teamwork. #NRLEelsRaiders #NRL pic.twitter.com/t3PtOyR6em From NRL https://t.co/WKXnEXpRWJ

11.25am BST

Hello, Brisbane. Jake Barrett closes the gap to two points, and some ferocious tackling then gives Brisbane the chance to hit the front, but they muff it. The ball streams down the other end, and basketballer Hugh Greenwood runs off the back of a pack to crumb his first goal on debut. There’s a theme tonight, and this one won’t be taken back by the umpire. From the centre bounce, Jacobs gets a great tap for the Crows, there’s a kick to 50, and Greenwood does exactly the same thing to rove that pack, runs inside 50 and slots another from 40 out! That’s how quick the punishment can be against good teams. It’s suddenly 47-33 in favour of the Crows.

11.16am BST

Swifts get a penalty and convert it, but mess up the follow-up. Then another forward attempt. Three times this quarter they’ve given Wallace far too much to do up forward, trying to lob the ball over her opponents or pass when she’s outnumbered. Even at 193cm, there’s only so much she can do. The Lightning keep scoring on the counter, and their buffer remains roughly where it has been since before half time, at nine goals. It’s 46-37 as they call another time-out.

11.10am BST

Finally a goal for the Magpies (that’s AFL, not netball), with Brayden Maynard gets their first, but Luke Breust answers immediately with Hawthorn’s seventh. It’s 44 plays 7 at the MCG. Looks pretty full but not completely packed. Adelaide goes past Brisbane, normal service resumed, then Eddie Betts dribbles a miracle goal from the pocket, normal service also resumed. Eddie’s miracles are other people’s multigrain toast. It’s 34-24 to the Crows in that game, second quarter.

11.07am BST

Somerville bombs a long goal, Wallace nearly does the splits to take another ball that she then converts. The Swifts are scoring in more spectacular fashion, but the Lightning tend to score on the counter with comparative ease. The gap is 38-31 in favour of the Sunny Coast.

11.02am BST

Parramatta besiege the Canberra try-line for a good while, but can’t break through. Some heavy hits already in this game too.

11.02am BST

I haven’t looked, but I’m quietly confident that the salty responses to this tweet will now have swelled into a mighty inland sea.

Kingy on Pies: They only have to play at 60% to win tonight on the Pies. They were great last week and should’ve won that game #CrunchTime

10.58am BST

Leilua adds another Canberra try to Cotric’s dive that squeezed one in right in the corner, and this time Croker nails the kick. The Raiders lead by 10 against the Eels.

The Lions in the AFL are the surprise of the round so far, not just nine points up on the Crows but they’ve kicked 3.6 so far. Nine shots to five. Hawthorn, meanwhile, are smashing the Magpies, who kicked only a point to quarter time.

10.52am BST

Super Netball: Sunshine Coast Lightning are streaking ahead of the NSW Swifts in the second quarter, currently at 31-23 though the Lightning have taken a time-out in order to plan for being even more gooderer. Their passing game has been off tap this quarter, although the Swifts have hauled them back a touch in the last few minutes. Sam Wallace, the Trinidadian import, has been knocking down goals at every opportunity.

Last time these teams played it was a five-goal margin. But this is a tough team to beat. They’re the most accurate shooters in the league, firing at 89%, which is ridiculous. Caitlin Basset is the most accurate shooter in the comp bar none, at 94%. The Swifts are second for accuracy, but the Lightning have best defence really, top for rebounds and intercepts.

10.42am BST

The Hurricanes out of Wellington absolutely destroyed the Cheetahs earlier, 61-7. But Australian attention will be on the Force game which is about to get underway, the Perth team taking on the Highlanders.

Two more AFL games have started, with Brisbane-Adelaide and Collingwood-Hawthorn, plus in the NRL the Canberra Raiders have an early try against Parra. But for now let’s have a look at the Super Netball…

10.21am BST

Full time at the Titans-Manly game as well. Dylan Walker, despite being the match’s Long John Silver, gets over for an emphasis try to cap off the win, and Manly have done it 10-30 in the end. The Storm must be even more annoyed at having coughed up that high-scoring loss to Gold Coast last weekend. Was a good game, but not for Melbourne.

On one leg.

No problems for @Dwalkz3!#NRLTitansManly#NRL pic.twitter.com/xuTfD6z0XW

10.12am BST

“I just thought I’d throw it on the boot and hopefully it’d go through and luckily enough it did.” Jeremy Cameron with his analysis of the last goal, as Cameron Mooney asks the hard questions on the telly. Hmmm.

“Euphoria, mate. I enjoyed last week, I don’t know if this one’s better, but bloody hell it was good.” A bit more fun from Toby Greene.

10.08am BST

One last surge forward, Riewoldt surrounded on the 50. The ball comes to ground. GWS clear the defensive zone. Steve Johnson is running into space on the wing. Picks it up. Keeps his head. Calls Cameron to lead to him. Chips the pass and Cameron marks 70 out. With only 15 seconds left on the clock, it’s enough. Twice in two weeks, the Tigers have lost one at the death. And twice in two weeks, Johnson has been the key cameo appearance at the death to help the Giants snatch a win. What a game. Giants win by three.

10.05am BST

Shai Bolton with the winner! Surely, must be. Would you believe that. Free kick at half forward, the long ball to Riewoldt who stays down when four Giants go up. Gets the ball. His snap smothered. Bolton, in his first game, so quickly gets it onto boot and snaps the goal. But it’s been touched! Score review rules the GWS defenders got a touch as it was kicked. Three points up. Ball goes down the other end. Cameron picks up the loose ball and goals! Giants in front with a minute to play.

10.02am BST

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick spoke light-heartedly before the game about setting up better in close games in the last two minutes. Well, he’s got an immediate chance to come good on those words.

10.01am BST

Fast and furious, this game now. The Giants put together a string of circus-level possessions on the wing, trick-shots ahoy. But the final kick is smothered going forward. Martin marks 60 out and pumps it into the man on the mark. Cleans up his own spillage but can’t find a target by foot while being tackled. Two minutes left, two points the difference.

10.00am BST

Uncork it.

This tweet has aged like a barrel of Grange https://t.co/sFV8rXe1tV

9.59am BST

Remember how I said the AFL game wasn’t over yet? Well, the Giants have kicked four in the last quarter. Greene to start. Reid with his second. Taranto with his first. Then Heath Shaw sprints down the wing to put one on the chest of Matt de Boer. Remember him? The former Fremantle player who came in today? He makes the margin one point with six minutes left.

9.54am BST

Given there’s no football happening today, you should at least read David Squires’ cartoon. Which, as always, is very good.

Related: David Squires on … the Socceroos’ World Cup qualifying campaign

9.51am BST

Another one for Manly! The lock Jake Trbojevic crashes over next to the left post, and the conversion is notched. Out to 6-24. This despite the fact that Walker can’t do the thing his name suggests, with his knee still sore from that big collision earlier.

Gold Coast Police have apparently just dispatched a search party looking for any sign of Jarryd Hayne. -M#NRLTitansManly

9.33am BST

NRL: Manly and Gold Coast come back just after half time with the scores still at that point of 6-18 in favour of the Seagles. The flurry of activity in the first half has settled again. Walker is smashed hard while looking for Uate out wide and can’t get the final pass away that might have opened up the Titans.

9.29am BST

Giants and Tigers, but no bears. Oh my. Daniel Rioli pulls out a beautifully slick move to backhand the ball behind himself when it’s about to go out of bounds on centre wing, then run onto the rebound. Just runs out of space and gets caught. But it was sliiiiiiiick. Tyres squealing. Richmond have been masters of cocking things up at times, they’ve had many more shots but they’re only 20 points up.

Then Menadue gets his second, after coming into the team today, before Riewoldt makes space with a clever double-back lead and kicks two for himself. The lead gets out to 31 points, but some fast linking play gets Zac Williams free in front of the Giants’ goal and he snaps truly. With seconds to go in the third quarter, Riewoldt has his bell run by a late spoil from Shane Mumford that clatters him in the head. He’s shaken, but more irritated than anything after Houli marks from the play-on advantage and slides his shot from 50 wide after the siren.

9.18am BST

Forgive a self-indulgent moment, but… this seems unsettlingly accurate.

Journalists drink too much, are bad at managing emotions and operate at a lower level than average https://t.co/PBPHCBzOQ8

9.02am BST

Trading tries on the Gold Coast, as Akuila Uate goes over and Matthew Wright nails the conversion. Then there’s… let’s be honest, a hilarious score. Manly pushing forward, there’s a bullet pass straight into a teammate’s head, and Ash Taylor grabs the rebound, bolts into the corner for a try, and slots the resulting goal from the sideline.

Brilliant stuff, but Manly atone with two tries in four minutes to Dylan Walker and Apisai Koroisau, both converted. It’s suddenly 6-18.

What reflexes from Taylor!#NRLTitansManly#NRL pic.twitter.com/yW0nIaK5AP

End this roberts fullback experiment please. Hayne can’t defend at centre and Roberts can’t defend at fullback. #NRLTitansManly

8.46am BST

Women’s AFL star Daisy Pearce was very direct in her Fairfax column today, talking about male athletes using each other’s families as the basis for sledging attacks.

The crux of her take: “the dismissal of incidents like these, regardless of how often they occur or how few of them there are, and the ongoing tone of objectification and sexualisation when it comes to commentary about player’s partners continues to hold us back from making true progress in this area. The wives and partners of players are often referred to like possessions or accessories and still depicted as disruptive and shallow; gold-diggers who are seeking fame and the “problem” when players want to return to their home state.”

8.38am BST

Rugby. Rugbies? We’ve got league, we’ve got union. Call it rugby legion. Manly and the Gold Coast are seven minutes deep in the NRL, and the Hurricanes and Cheetahs have just started in the Super comp. Both games are yet to see a score.

8.32am BST

Of course he did. Probably restored a priceless vase or something at stumps as well.

Kumar Sangakkara celebrated the unveiling of his portrait in the Lord’s Pavilion with a hundred at Lord’s https://t.co/CCrXKgJiVD pic.twitter.com/FnySqMZcq9

8.26am BST

Meantime, the Tigers are finding space inside 50 very easily against the Giants. 10 marks in that region so far. But they’ve missed half a dozen shots at goal to keep the scores at 42-20 in favour of the Victorian visitors.

Richmond’s defensive structure is spot on. Almost every panicked GWS kick out from defence goes straight to a Tiger #AFLGIANTSTigers

8.15am BST

If you want a more in-depth take on the Force’s chances of keeping rugby in Perth, check out Matt Cleary’s take from yesterday.

Related: Super Rugby cull: Western Force not dead yet with Rebels feeling heat

8.09am BST

If dance is more your thing, you may enjoy this. I’ve never been so stylish at a press conference.

I am mesmerized by these two writers putting their bags on in unison after LeBron’s presser pic.twitter.com/6mFW4yCtYg

8.05am BST

Rugby union: The Melbourne Rebels aren’t playing today (they take on the Waratahs tomorrow), but they’re playing shots off the field as the ARU continues to faff about deciding who should be cut from the league. This was the latest release from the Melbourne team’s management.

“The Melbourne Rebels wish to reiterate its clear legal position that the ARU has no legal right to “cut” them as a team in the Super Rugby competition. The ARU must come out and publicly put an end to the speculation. For the avoidance of any doubt whatsoever, neither the Melbourne Rebels nor its owners will engage with the ARU in relation to the sale or cancellation of its Super Rugby licence.”

7.49am BST

Meantime, the Tigers had a goal after nine seconds to Trent Cotchin, after a perfect centre clearance. Then another one within two minutes to Grigg (who is also a handy middle-order bat, I can testify after seeing him turn out once in Endeavour Hills), and Jack Riewoldt has just added a third after marking at point-blank range. Jez Cameron has kicked one for the Giants. Lively fast stuff so far.

Is it just me, or is this a great season? The Cats flying, then crashing, then getting airborne again last night. The Hawks and Swans getting dire, then coming back up. Adelaide ascendant, then brought down by North. Richmond, Melbourne, St Kilda all turning in some really impressive games but still being flawed. Not to mention the reigning premiers floating around. No one has really got the measure of the rest of the competition.

7.43am BST

I mentioned Franklin’s late burst against the Saints. Check out this 55-metre left-foot snap. Hero off a half step, turtle power.

Lance Franklin had a purple patch in the last quarter against the Saints. #AFLSaintsSwans pic.twitter.com/LUCEEhSsxA

7.37am BST

So it’s Richmond heading up to Spotless to take on GWS. The Giants have been flying high, the Tigers had a crushing loss after the siren last week against Fremantle.

Himmelberg, Coniglio and Smith are out for the Giants, Greene, Perryman and de Boer are in. Note that de Boer is a former Docker, maybe to psyche out Richmond before the bounce?

7.24am BST

Full time at Docklands under blue Melbourne skies with the stadium’s roof open wide. The Saints hung in there for a fair while, but once the Swans got a run on they weren’t to be stopped. Franklin kicked 4, there were 2 for Cunningham, Papley and Hannebery, and there were more single than a Tinder binge. For the Saints, Riewoldt did his usual hard work for 3, Gresham and Membrey got a couple, and Acres, McCartin and Roberton got the ones.

7.11am BST

Some AFL first, because nothing else has started yet. Those wily foxes. The Swans have got their act together after a shocking start. They’ve been too fast and too direct for St Kilda, who have tried to play a high-precision game kicking to unmanned players, but haven’t had the foot skill to pull it off. The Swans have been full of pressure, as is their trademark when they’re going well.

Also apparently some of the St Kilda fans have been booing Lance Frankland whenever he gets the ball, which is not a great look. Especially from a club that didn’t win a lot of admiration last week, with a sustained sledging attack on Carlton’s Marc Murphy using his wife as the subject matter. All class.

I mean I guess I can understand the Saints fans booing Buddy. I too would be embarrassed if one player had more premierships than my club.

6.17am BST

Hello world, and as the great HG Nelson would once have said on a Sunday afternoon, welcome to another show where too much sport is barely enough. Welcome also to the Guardian’s new live blog style, we hope you like it. All the codes, all the action, and hopefully plenty of interaction on top of that.

To take the new ball up the hill into the wind, my name’s Geoff Lemon, and it’s nice to have your company. Make your presence felt – you can get in touch about anything good, bad, or otherwise, on the blog, in the wolrd, or in the games. Get me on Twitter at @GeoffLemonSport, or use the hashtage #sportwatch. Email me at geoff.lemon@theguardian.com. Or comments will be open below the line on this page, so leave something there and I’ll try to brave the battleground when I work up the courage.

6.10am BST

Geoff will be here shortly. In the meantime, why not have a look at our most-read piece of the past seven days: Paul Connolly’s excellent review of the state of football in Australia.

It seems reasonable to suggest that despite its compelling finale, the A-League season failed to live up to its early promise. It wasn’t just that a stellar Sydney won the premiership by the length of the straight, which took away a good deal of suspense and, arguably, gave to the second half of the season the same clock-slowing feel of a long layover in an airport transit lounge. Outside of this there was also an undercurrent of discontent that lapped at the game’s ankles and now seems to be heading towards its knees.

Related: Football in Australia: as big as it’s going to get? | Paul Connolly

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/may/20/australia-sportwatch-magpies-v-hawks-lightning-v-swifts-and-more-live

Feb 04

The Agenda: Badminton puts funding case and England seek netball upset

Women’s FA Cup reaches third round with Doncaster hosting Watford, Johanna Konta plays Fed Cup and England cross Severn to play Wales in Six Nations

Monday is a big day for the sport of badminton. Badminton England will put forward its case at a UK Sport appeal hearing into what it called the “staggering and incomprehensible” decision to strip the sport of its funding for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic cycle. Marcus Ellis, who won bronze with Chris Langridge at Rio 2016 to secure Britain’s first men’s doubles medal in badminton, said the funding cut would give young players “no chance at all” of making a career in the sport.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/feb/04/the-agenda-badminton-funding-england-australia-netball

Dec 30

Australia’s sporting year in review – fairytales, flops and fiascos of 2016

A trio of rags-to-riches stories did their best to mask an underwhelming year for Australian sport on the international stage

If there remains a stoical band of Australians who believe in the inherent superiority of Athleticus australis, 2016 must surely have given them pause. Seldom have so many Australian athletes given so much for such little return.

We’ll get to the woes of Australia’s First XI and the Wallabies soon enough, but the new world order – which looks remarkably like the old one, when you put aside the halcyon years of the 1990s and early 2000s – was most starkly illustrated at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, when Australia’s 421-strong team won 29 medals, eight of them gold.

Related: Australia’s well-planned, well-funded Olympic over-achievement is finished | Paul Connolly

Related: Rio 2016: Kim Brennan rises above sinking feeling to claim golden moment | Jonathan Horn

Related: Problems endure but 2016 was a big year for women in Australian sport | Merryn Sherwood

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/dec/31/australias-sporting-year-in-review-fairytales-flops-and-fiascos-of-2016