Category: Netball

Netball News

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…

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Oct 14

City win Melbourne derby, Wanderers draw with Mariners, Diamonds beat Silver Ferns: sportwatch – as it happened

Netball: Australian Diamonds 58-42 Silver FernsA-League: Melbourne Victory 1-2 Melbourne City; Wanderers 2-2 Mariners 12.15pm BST Well that’s all she wrote from yours truly. Tip of the hat to City and their fans who get bragging rights until the next M…

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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:

Related: Manly and Panthers secure finals berths and Winx wins again: sportwatch – as it happened

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May 20

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

  • Updates from Australian sport on Saturday 20 May
  • Collingwood beat Hawthorn in AFL while Raiders and Sea Eagles post NRL wins

2.11pm 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

1.50pm 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

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.


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 From NRL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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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

Related: The challenge for the W-League this season is to keep the hype alive | Lydia Williams

Related: ‘Did the Doggies win?’: Bulldogs fan survives AFL grand final heart attack

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