Category Archive: Rugby League

Rugby League News

May 25

Mark Percival’s late try welcomes Justin Holbrook to St Helens with derby win

• St Helens 22-19 Wigan
• Mark Percival’s second try edges thrilling derby against Wigan

Justin Holbrook could be forgiven for thinking life as a Super League coach is always this easy. There will be tougher times ahead for the new man in charge at St Helens, but this has been quite the seamless transition for the Australian as he begins the sizeable task of reviving the Saints’ fortunes.

Holbrook watched on last week as his new side produced the standout performance of Magic Weekend, beating Hull FC 45-0. His first official match could not have been much tougher – the rip-roarer that is rugby league’s greatest derby, St Helens against Wigan.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/may/25/st-helens-wigan-rugby-league-super-league-match-report

May 22

Mitchell Pearce given another chance as Billy Slater’s Origin career hits end of road | Nick Tedeschi

The Rooster’s inclusion in the Blues’ team for this year’s Origin opener will divide opinion as much as the omission of Slater leaves a state in shock

Mitchell Pearce has been recalled by NSW coach Laurie Daley on the same day Billy Slater’s long and storied career with Queensland appears to have been ended by Queensland mentor Kevin Walters.

Pearce, channelling the cockroach name the NSW side has colloquially became known as, was thought to have had a black line ruled through his name after his infamous pre-season scandal last year but has been given yet another lifeline by a Blues coach smitten with his club form.

Related: Johnathan Thurston in Queensland State of Origin squad but unlikely to play

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/may/23/mitchell-pearce-given-another-chance-as-billy-slaters-origin-career-hits-end-of-road

May 22

Jonathan Thurston in Queensland State of Origin squad but unlikely to play

  • Veteran given time to prove fitness but more likely to play mentor role
  • Anthony Milford gets chance to make debut but Billy Slater overlooked

Johnathan Thurston will play a key support role in the buildup to next week’s State of Origin opener after being named in Kevin Walters’ Queensland squad as 18th man, but the Cowboys star is “very unlikely” to feature on the Suncorp Stadium pitch as he continues to struggle with a shoulder injury.

Thurston, who has played 36 straight Origins, will be given every chance to prove his fitness this week and take his tally to 37 in Brisbane, but Walters said the Maroons are preparing for Game I on the assumption he will not make it.

Related: NSW Origin team to stay at Sydney casino – on assumption they can behave

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/may/22/jonathan-thurston-in-queensland-state-of-origin-squad-but-unlikely-to-play

May 21

Castleford put on stylish show to beat Leeds during Magic Weekend

• Catalan 10-18 Huddersfield; Leigh 22-36 Salford; Castleford 29-18 Leeds
• Greg Eden scored a second-half hat-trick during 17-minute spell

The schedulers have often got it wrong when it comes to building up to a grand finale at Magic Weekend. At times, the sport’s annual on-the-road jamboree has ended with a whimper but here, five very different portions of hors d’oeuvres set the tone for not only an enthralling main course but the team everyone in rugby league wants to see right now.

If any side have deserved the platform and backdrop St James’ Park provides for the Magic Weekend, it is Castleford. They have led the way since the start this year, have looked irrepressible for large periods of it and, perhaps most tellingly of all for a side with championship aspirations, are capable of winning in different ways.

Related: Storm and Vixens back on top, and more: Australia sportwatch – as it happened

Related: Sports quiz of the week: Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and King Arthur

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/may/21/castleford-leeds-magic-weekend-

May 21

Storm and Vixens back on top, and more: Australia sportwatch – as it happened

  • Updates from Australian sport on Sunday 21 May
  • Storm down Rabbitohs, Waratahs smash Rebels, Vixens ease past T-birds

12.23pm BST

NRL: Storm beat Rabbitohs 14-6; Roosters beat Bulldogs 24-18; Panthers beat Knights 30-20
AFL: Essendon beat West Coast 125-64; North Melbourne beat Melbourne104-90; Fremantle beat Carlton 90-51
Super Rugby: Waratahs beat Rebels 50-23
Super Netball: Vixens beat Thunderbirds 71-50

11.59am BST

And that’s me out. Thanks for your company through the course of Australia Sportswatch’s first weekend. We are grateful for all feedback so we can fine tune as we go, so please drop me a line if anything comes to mind and I’ll pass it on to the boss. Until next time. Be well.

11.56am BST

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

AFL: Essendon pumped the Eagles and North held firm against the Demons before Freo easily accounted for Carlton to end the round.

11.22am BST

Popped this up for the AFL, so only right to give the wires wrap of the NRL round as well, with an updated ladder and the like. Back in a moment to wrap up the day that was.

NRL Rd 11

11.18am BST

A clutch win for the Storm sending them back to the top of the NRL ladder. Not only as it comes the week after a bad loss to the Titans, but because they will be ravaged by Origin duties over the coming period. The second half in the rain was rough and rugged, the only score coming through Vunivalu’s potent run to the corner with five minutes to go to take the score from 14-6 and Melbourne to victory.

Cameron Smith, the Storm skipper, on the telly after the game: “We were pretty embarrassed with how we defended last week,” he said. “We had clear intentions to defend our way to a win, and we did that really well.”

11.09am BST

Storm try! That should be the game. Brilliant 50 metre movement and Vunivalu cannot be stopped in his push to the corner. Souths a long way off it now given the lack of scoring opportunities. His ninth try of the season. Cameron Smith misses to the right, so it’s 14-6.

Rabbitoh’s have had 60% of the possession, but haven’t converted that to territory gained in this second half. After Melbourne leaked points over the last month, they’ll be very happy with the defensive effort in the second period.

Slam dunk for Vunivalu!#NRLSouthsStorm 6-14 with four minutes to go. #NRL pic.twitter.com/N1SsGVFMR3

10.57am BST

“It’s becoming a real grind” says the TV call. Evidenced by what looked to be a knock on from Souths close to their line, but Storm had knocked it on first. Messy footy. 10-6 still the score.

Meanwhile, Sam Burgess – who has been their best afield with metres gained – is in the hands of two trainers. But he’s going to play on. Tough lad. Suffered the injury in a tackle where his back was contorted. All rather unpleasant. No ramifications for the Storm.

10.56am BST

More party tricks from Souths, this time John Sutton reaching down to pick up the ball with one hand like he’s Anthony Koutoufides. Has to spark something.

That pick up by Sutton!#NRLSouthsStorm #NRL pic.twitter.com/boPq7aLKET

10.43am BST

Tremendous chase early in the second half! Vunivalu looked GONE, but Alex Johnston somehow tracked him down. Storm’s lead over Souths remains 10-6.

Not many people can chase down Suliasi Vunivalu!#NRLSouthsStorm #NRL pic.twitter.com/AfAj5ZDQ2A

10.34am BST

From BTL, this from Wheelspinner on the afternoon at the ‘G. Not wrong that there was a lot going on in that second quarter. Frustrating outing for Dees. They must have expected a lot more today. They’re not far away.

“I would never say it cost us the game – Melbourne didn’t play well enough to win – but I never want to see umpiring as bad as that again as long as I live. How is it even possible for a payer to be punched so hard that he has to leave the ground, at a stoppage, right in front of the umpire, and no free kick is paid? How can an umpire award a mark, see the player who took the mark grabbed and thrown to the ground after the whistle has blown, and no 50 metres is paid? These umpires were a disgrace who allowed this game to get totally out of control; it was shocking.”

10.30am BST

Fresh from the wires, here’s a fairly comprehensive wrap of the round that was in the AFL.

GEELONG 3.0 8.5 9.5 16.8 (104)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 4.3 4.3 10.8 12.9 (81)
Goals: Geelong: H Taylor 5 P Dangerfield 4 D Menzel 2 J Selwood M Blicavs S Selwood T Hawkins Z Tuohy. Western Bulldogs: C Smith 2 J Redpath 2 M Wallis 2 T Boyd 2 T Dickson 2 L Webb T Cloke.
Best: Geelong: P Dangerfield S Selwood T Stewart Z Smith Z Tuohy M Duncan. Western Bulldogs: C Daniel M Wallis L Jong E Wood M Adams M Bontempelli.
Injuries: Geelong: N Cockatoo (hamstring) C Guthrie (ill) replaced in selected side by J Murdoch. Western Bulldogs: Nil.
Reports: Nil.
Umpires: Scott Jeffery, Shane McInerney, Nathan Williamson.
Venue: Simonds Stadium.

SYDNEY 4.2 7.3 12.8 18.10 (118)
ST KILDA 3.2 5.4 7.5 10.8 (68)
Goals: Sydney: L Franklin 4 D Hannebery 2 H Cunningham 2 T Papley 2 D Towers G Hewett G Rohan J Kennedy K Tippett N Newman S Reid W Hayward. St Kilda: N Riewoldt 3 J Gresham 2 T Membrey 2 B Acres D Roberton P McCartin.
Best: Sydney: D Hannebery J Kennedy J Lloyd N Newman N Smith H Grundy L Melican. St Kilda: J Billings J Steven B Acres S Ross S Gilbert J Geary.
Injuries: Sydney: H Cunningham (foot). St Kilda: J Newnes (concussion).
Reports: Nil.
Umpires: Matt Stevic, Jacob Mollison, Andrew Mitchell.
Official Crowd: 29,778 at Etihad Stadium.

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 1.2 4.5 6.9 11.12 (78)
RICHMOND 6.3 7.8 10.10 10.15 (75)
Goals: Greater Western Sydney: J Cameron 3 S Reid 2 M De Boer R Lobb T Greene T Scully T Taranto Z Williams. Richmond: C Menadue 2 J Castagna 2 J Riewoldt 2 T Cotchin 2 S Grigg S Lloyd.
Best: Greater Western Sydney: L Whitfield J Kelly D Shiel T Scully N Wilson. Richmond: A Rance S Grigg D Martin T Cotchin.
Injuries: Greater Western Sydney: R Lobb (groin). Richmond: J Caddy (groin) replaced in selected side by A Miles.
Reports: Nil.
Umpires: Justin Schmitt, Robert Findlay, Leigh Fisher.
Official Crowd: 10,677 at Spotless Stadium.

COLLINGWOOD 0.1 4.6 9.11 13.12 (90)
HAWTHORN 6.1 10.4 10.5 11.6 (72)
Goals: Collingwood: J Elliott 3 D Moore 2 A Treloar B Maynard J Crisp J Howe J Smith L Greenwood S Pendlebury S Sidebottom. Hawthorn: J Sicily 3 L Breust 3 P Puopolo 2 B McEvoy L Shiels T Vickery.
Best: Collingwood: S Pendlebury A Treloar D Moore T Adams T Goldsack J Howe. Hawthorn: T Mitchell L Shiels L Hodge P Puopolo.
Injuries: Collingwood: J Aish (cheekbone). Hawthorn: K Brand (illness) and T O’Brien (hip) late withdrawls, replaced by K Heatherly and J Sicily.
Reports: Nil.
Umpires: Chris Donlon, Brett Rosebury, Robert O’Gorman.
Official Crowd: 54,252 at MCG.

ADELAIDE 3.3 10.5 17.9 21.14 (140)
BRISBANE LIONS 3.6 4.11 5.12 7.18 (60)
Goals: Adelaide: C Cameron 4 E Betts 3 H Greenwood 3 T Lynch 3 T Walker 3 A Otten 2 B Crouch J Gallucci W Milera. Brisbane Lions: D Zorko 2 J Barrett 2 H McCluggage J Walker M Hammelmann.
Best: Adelaide: T Lynch R Laird R Sloane C Cameron E Betts. Brisbane Lions: D Beams D Rich D Zorko.
Injuries: Adelaide: C Hampton (ankle). Brisbane Lions: C Beams (hamstring).
Reports: Nil.
Umpires: Chris Kamolins, David Harris, Curtis Deboy.
Official Crowd: 13,802 at Gabba.

ESSENDON 5.2 12.8 16.10 19.11 (125)
WEST COAST 2.4 3.7 5.13 8.16 (64)
Goals: Essendon: J Daniher 5 O Fantasia 3 A McDonald-Tipungwuti 2 C Hooker 2 J Green 2 D Parish J Stewart M Dea M Leuenberger T Colyer. West Coast: J Kennedy 4 J Darling 2 N Vardy 2.
Best: Essendon: M Hurley Z Merrett J Daniher D Zaharakis D Heppell J Watson T Colyer. West Coast: J Kennedy S Mitchell L Shuey M Priddis.
Injuries: Nil.
Reports: Nil.
Umpires: Shaun Ryan, Simon Meredith, Eleni Glouftsis.
Official Crowd: 36,403 at Etihad Stadium.

NORTH MELBOURNE 6.7 8.9 12.13 15.14 (104)
MELBOURNE 2.5 8.7 9.9 13.12 (90)
Goals: North Melbourne: B Brown 5 M Wood 3 T Garner 2 B Cunnington J Ziebell L McDonald M Williams S Higgins. Melbourne: M Hannan 3 C Pedersen 2 C Oliver C Salem D Kent J Lewis J Viney N Jetta N Jones S Frost.
Best: North Melbourne: B Brown B Cunnington M Wood R Tarrant S Thompson T Goldstein K Turner. Melbourne: M Hibberd S Frost N Jones J Viney B Vince T McDonald C Pedersen.
Umpires: Sam Hay, Mathew Nicholls, Brendan Hosking.
Official Crowd: 33,218 at MCG.

FREMANTLE 1.2 5.4 10.7 13.8 (86)
CARLTON 4.4 5.6 6.9 7.9 (51)
Goals: Fremantle: H Crozier 3 M Walters 3 B Hill 2 S Kersten 2 C McCarthy L Neale M Taberner. Carlton: L Casboult 2 B Gibbs D Thomas M Murphy S Docherty Z Fisher.
Umpires: Jeff Dalgleish, Ray Chamberlain, Nicholas Foot.
Official Crowd: 30,313 at Domain Stadium.
Bye – Port Adelaide, Gold Coast
LADDER AFTER ROUND 9
P W L D For Agst PC Pts
Adelaide 9 7 2 – 1098 813 135.1 28
Greater Western Sydney 9 7 2 – 917 771 118.9 28
Geelong 9 6 3 – 987 839 117.6 24
West Coast 9 6 3 – 816 791 103.2 24
Fremantle 9 6 3 – 727 802 90.6 24
Port Adelaide 8 5 3 – 903 599 150.8 20
Richmond 9 5 4 – 798 746 107.0 20
Western Bulldogs 9 5 4 – 789 761 103.7 20
St Kilda 9 5 4 – 842 817 103.1 20
Essendon 9 5 4 – 845 852 99.2 20
Melbourne 9 4 5 – 882 812 108.6 16
Sydney 9 3 6 – 827 820 100.8 12
Collingwood 9 3 6 – 735 778 94.5 12
North Melbourne 9 3 6 – 853 903 94.5 12
Gold Coast 8 3 5 – 743 862 86.2 12
Carlton 9 3 6 – 632 810 78.0 12
Hawthorn 9 3 6 – 740 963 76.8 12
Brisbane Lions 9 1 8 – 698 1093 63.9 4
LEADING GOALKICKERS
31: J Kennedy (West Coast) 4, J Cameron (GWS) 3
28: E Betts (Adelaide) 3
27: L Franklin (Sydney) 4, T Hawkins (Geelong) 1
26: B Brown (Nth Melb) 5, J Daniher (Essendon) 5
25: J Riewoldt (Richmond) 2
24: T Walker (Adelaide) 3
22: O Fantasia (Essendon)

10.27am BST

Righto. AFL, done. Rugby, done. Netball, done. Supercars, well they got a mention. That leaves the final half of the last NRL game – the Storm leading the Bunnies 10-6 – and somehow delivering on my promise to get some badminton into the blog. Stand by.

10.19am BST

Matt Tabenar held in the square, grabbing final goal for Freo moments before the siren. They get the win by 35 points, comprehensively outplaying the hard-held Blues in the second half. That’s six wins for Freo in seven starts, now up to fifth and one game off top spot. Cop that. After such a shambolic 2016 it is easy to forget how good they were in 2015. In a season without a clear flag favourite… who knows?

Fremantle is one game off top spot. Dear lord.

10.10am BST

Storm are over the line a second time in Perth! Required video confirmation, but they won’t mind that. 10-6 the lead nearing the half.

Vision of the @storm Try Decision in the 24th minute of #NRLSouthsStorm.#NRL pic.twitter.com/CifOYks4Z2

10.02am BST

Oh that hurts. Moments after getting on the board in the final term, after plenty of hard work, Carlton turn the ball over and Fremantle race it down the other end. Three-Time Premiership Hero Brad Hill takes an uncontested mark and nails the set shot. The Fremantle lead is out to 22 and they are well on their way to six wins in seven starts.

9.57am BST

Pouring rain at Subiaco. Pleased to see this, even if it makes a Carlton comeback unlikely with the margin still 22 points well into the final quarter now. Get this: Freo are 16th for attack and Carlton are the lowest scoring side in the comp. Scrap! Scrap! Scrap!

Another stat I saw pre-game was that Carlton have dished off the least handballs in the comp through 2017. What ever would Barrass and Teddy Hopkins think?

9.49am BST

We’re ten minutes into the final NRL fixture of the round as well. It’s over in Perth, where twelfth placed South Sydney host an annual fixture, against the Storm, who are third on the ladder but battling of late on and off the park.

The storm lost 38-36 to Cowboys last week in a performance defined by sloppy defence. They’ve now conceded 20 or more points three of the last four weeks. Not very Melbourne Storm, that. But it’s been nearly two years since they have lost two on the bounce.

9.41am BST

After Mundy’s post-siren winner to break Richmond’s heart, Fremantle are hosting Carlton having won five of their last six and back in business. With three of those by less than a kick. That’s poise under pressure. But the evidence from this third quarter suggests it won’t be another close finish here, Freo turning for home 22 points in front, piling on four goals to one in the term, three after the 22-minute mark. That hurts. Including this gem.

Shane Kersten with some fancy footwork. #AFLFreoBlues pic.twitter.com/ifUmcWmFhp

9.28am BST

The Tahs did what they needed to at the SFS against the battling Rebels and as a result, can still make the Super Rugby post-season. A couple of tries from fullback Israel Forlau helped run up the big score, earning a vital bonus point for their efforts. It was a scrappy start for the hosts, conceding seven penalties on the trot to begin, but upon finding their groove they were destined to overwhelm Melbourne.

9.17am BST

It’s all over at the Olympic Stadium, the Roosters holding off the fast-finishing Bulldogs to force their way back into the top four. If the Storm get done later on, they’ll be third at the end of the round. Mitchell Peace put on a clinic at half-back, scoring the winning try in the 76th minute. Timely form ahead of Origin selection as well.

Of note is Latrell Mitchell’s injury. The 19-year-old centre was making his own Origin case with involvement in two first-half tries before hurting his sternum.

9.08am BST

North have 16th win in a row over Melbourne. They also have three of their last four for season 2017. Melbourne were everywhere for the early portion of the final term, clawing the margin back to within a kick after turning at the final change 22 in deficit. But North steadied and the Dees were spent. For Melbourne, they have again let themselves down in a fixture where they were in favourites. It’s hard to make the case that they’re ready for September football with that in mind. And one of the longest streaks in footy remains, 11 years since they last got to sing the song in victory against the Shinboners. I love stuff like that. For instance, did you know that the last time Carlton beat Hawthorn youtube was a week old?

Okay, that’s it from Melbourne. We’ll shortly pick up the Fremantle v Carlton game to finish the round. Half time just about done with there, the visitors leading by two points. Low scoring (36-34) as anticipated.

9.01am BST

Luke McDonald with what will be the winner for North! There’s been nothing pretty about North’s resistance in this final stanza, but it has been so impressive. When you consider how poor they were last week and that 2017 is essentially a write-off for them already far as finals are concerned. Ben Brown ends up with a set shot with 2:30 on the clock, with his run up, 30 extra seconds are taken off the clock by the time he delivers to the goal mouth. It finds the hands of a teammate. That’ll do it.

8.57am BST

Mitchell Pearce again! Crucial in the first half, and he has crossed again for what will surely be the winning try. His Roosters are six points up with two minutes to go.

#NRLBulldogsRoosters #NRL pic.twitter.com/BGN8QVzAVW

8.54am BST

North! Where did these goals? Two minutes after the Lewis major Taylor Garner converted after a quick entry inside 50. After five fierce minutes, after Melbourne got one back, Mason Wood snapped truly for the second time today to make the lead back to 8. They’re on the cusp of making it 16 wins on the trot against the Demons. But still time if they’re good enough, six minutes remain.

8.51am BST

The Tahs have it completely under control at the SFS, extending their advantage through the course of the second half, leading 43-23 inside the final five minutes. The Rebels ending their dreadful week just as it started.

8.46am BST

JORDIE! Oh, I can’t help but get excited there. The four-time HFC Premiership Hero gets himself a set shot where the 50 meets the boundary line in the Southern Stand pocket kicking to Punt Road. That methodical approach, smooth and sound, perfect contact, slotting it home to put them two points behind half way through the final quarter. But they have the run, there is no doubt about that, doubling North’s inside 50s this term. And four of the last five goals in this match.

8.43am BST

We also have a thriller at the Olympic Stadium! 14 minutes to go, it’s the Roosters leading the Bulldogs 20-18. Rapid Bulldogs try by Frawley (then converted) to narrowed the margin.

Through the hands!#NRLBulldogsRoosters #NRL pic.twitter.com/iZ9DRZ1b7J

8.40am BST

Brilliant finish! It’s Oliver for Melbourne’s second of the quarter and we are back to a ten-point game! Frost won the contest at half-forward, roved the pack and put the handpass through. Oliver off two steps drains it from 52. Even the most MCC of all would’ve been forced to throw the rugs off their laps to stand up and roar that one home.

8.36am BST

I promised Supercars earlier, didn’t I? Okay, quickly. Shane Van Gisbergen has won the 200km race at Winton in Victoria, knocking off Jamie Whincup who got up in race one yesterday. That’s a one-two for Red Bull. Do people still bring Holden and Ford flags to this? Does anyone else remember when Nissan intervened in the early 90s and won everything before they got banned, or something like that? Is Mark Skaife still a big deal? More questions than answers. But at least you know who won.

8.31am BST

Drama on the siren. In short: Bugg gets a shot from the identical angle to the one he missed minutes before, albeit another 10m closer. And he’s missed again! Great grab too, albeit one that probably had a hand in there from a teammate. All told, it’s a four-goals-to-one quarter for North, who stretched their lead from two points to 22. Melbourne had plenty of play to finish off there and really should be within a couple of kicks. We’ve got to be some chance of a grandstand finish.

Just saw an ad on Fox Footy where Dermie is wearing a full white suit and a white tie talking about snotting blokes. What is happening? Please stop doing things like this.

8.23am BST

Ben Brown is held off the contest and gets himself a free kick within range. The run-up is worth every step as he splits the big ones to ensure North hit right back. Down the other end again, Tomas Bugg gets himself a shot, no more than 30m out. Misses to the far side. A contrast in the way he went about it to Brown, a stuttering approach and unconvincing strike. Bad kicking, bad football and all that. North by 23, couple minutes left in the quarter.

8.18am BST

Higgins misses two set shots, one easier than the other, much to the enjoyment of Melbourne fans who have really enjoyed giving him grief on and off the park this afternoon. But the chances keep coming.

Saying that, from the behind Melbourne work the ball forward and finally break through. Nice grab at half forward, through to Jetta, who plays on and kicks the Demons’ first of the half with six minutes left on the clock in the third.

8.11am BST

Back at the Cricket Ground, Ben Brown kicks his fourth form a set shot, their third on the trot to begin the half. He has a longer run-up than Merv Hughes. Oh, that reminds me, here’s a very enjoyable piece about long run-ups if that’s your bag. It certainly is mine.

It’s the Shinboners by 22 and they’re dominant at the moment, pretty much the entire 12 minutes of this term being played in their attacking 50. The TV informs me that 10 Melbourne players haven’t had a touch so far in the quarter.

8.06am BST

And some final thoughts from the Super Netball at Showcourt One where the Vixens did it in a canter over the battling Thunderbirds. Claire Daly from The Net Effect has kindly looked after me through the course of the afternoon with her updates. Here is her final recap.

And just like that, the Vixens have restored their position at the top of the ladder. They have taken out a 21-goal win over the Thunderbirds to nab one of the highest scores of the Super Netball competition so far. Emily Mannix has taken home the Player of the Match for her stunning effort today. A quiet achiever of the season, she held her own against the various shooting combinations the Thunderbirds tried out and delivered several turnovers for her side. In her post-match interview, Erin Bell noted she had ‘been searching for [her] own personal consistency all season’. While she may have had a stronger game today, in her own words, ‘you’re never happy when you lose by 21 goals’. Vixens captain Kate Maloney admitted her side didn’t have the start they were hoping for, but was happy with her team’s ability to recover. Maloney said that it was a pre-season goal of the Vixens to ‘be the hardest working team’ in the league – a title they can certainly own tonight. As a final note, it is the Vixen’s 10-year anniversary today. As the only ‘original’ state team in the Super Netball with a shot at the finals, they have both a legacy and a future to celebrate.

8.02am BST

Around the grounds to the rugby codes. First the NRL, where the video ref has had a fair work out by the looks, ruling one Roosters try in and another out. They jump out to a 20-6 lead at the half though, Mitchell Pearce orchestrating a third crossing before the interval. Plenty of chat that he should be the NSW starting half-back for Origin.

Sticking in Sydney at the Football Stadium (proper ground names forever, commercial tags never) Israel Forlau is put through for a try just on the cusp of half time, giving the Waratahs a 24-11 lead over the Rebels at the break.

7.55am BST

It was a rapid end to the half of footy at the ‘G. North kicking 6 to 2 in the opening term, the Dees flipping that in the second stanza, including the last three. They’re still targeting Shaun Higgins around the ball, North captain on the telly saying they need to “do a better job” of helping him out after the breather. Mitch Hannan has three of those Melbourne majors. Most of the highlights are blokes hitting each other or trying to hit each other or pretending they have been hit.

It’s been a really good game of footy, let’s take nothing away from it. For all that, the main talking point on the world world web is the North banner from before the game. They let Brent Harvey write the message. Events speak for themselves sometimes, don’t they?

“Boomer’s given himself a bit of a pump-up!” #AFLDeesNorth pic.twitter.com/U6vsoY1cfA

7.41am BST

Half time in the footy, I’ll be back with this in a tic. But for now: we have a result in the netball, the Vixens running away with it in the end. Top of the league, ‘avin’ a larf.

Oooft. @MelbourneVixens beat @AdelaideTBirds by 21. 71-50 the final score – quite a turnaround from the first half. #VIXvTHU @collinsadam

7.37am BST

They go upstairs to confirm that Friend crossed the line in keeping with the rules for the Roosters, their second try. And it is converted. 12-6 their lead over the Bulldogs after 18 minutes at the Olympic Stadium. Decide for yourself.

Vision of the @sydneyroosters Try decision in the 15th minute of #NRLBulldogsRoosters.#NRL pic.twitter.com/yBkAdFjvdk

7.32am BST

Vixens in cruise control now at Melbourne Park, at three-quarter time leading 50-38. If they can close this out they’ll be top of the table heading into next weekend’s Super Netball final round. Thanks again to Claire Daly for her updates.

The Adelaide side again swapped their shooting combo, with Glasgow coming back on to replace Bailey. The frequent shuffling of players has been one of the criticisms levelled at the Thunderbirds this season, though it’s hard to know what else they can do at this stage when their combinations clearly aren’t working. Emily Mannix has a fantastic quarter, with several circle intercepts (most devastatingly, most of which saw an end to Thunderbirds’ attempts to convert turnovers). Tegan Philip still looking a little out of sorts, but Kumwenda is more than making up for it with one of her strongest games of the season. And that’s saying something.

7.29am BST

Super Ruggers! I think they call this a ‘derby’ between Melbourne and NSW, or the Rebels and Tahs as they prefer. The backdrop is the southerly side’s shocking season, having won just one game in ten starts. During the week the ARU tried to buy the club with a view to shutting it down as part of the competition’s aim to lose as Australian side.

The club, naturally, said no being purchased/eliminated. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.

7.22am BST

Phwoar! It’s firing up at the MCG! Melbourne have kicked the last three and it is game on, North’s lead narrowing to nine. But it’s the niggle that have the crowd up and about, Bernie Vince copping a punch to the guts from Cunnington! Vince tried to take his head off before the whack. He’ll get a week for that. It stems from a stoush in the first term where Higgins was involved in a clip off the ball as well with Oliver. Vince gave Higgins plenty of attention following that. All happening.

Oh and an utterly superb set-shot snap from 40m by Mason Wood running from the MCC pocket. Higgins now lands a set shot and gives it the big ones at the opposing number Vince! Good stuff, this. They lead by 21.

@collinsadam this is how i imagine your working environment pic.twitter.com/Wl5SeZraUv

7.10am BST

Half-time in the Super Netball, the Vixens just doing enough. Thanks again to Claire Daly from The Net Effect.

Vixens have extended their lead over the Thunderbirds, 34-29 at half time. Adelaide is certainly making them work for it though. Glasgow was pulled off this quarter, with Karyn Bailey moving into GS and Erin Bell coming out to GA. An interesting choice given the strong shooting for Adelaide, but perhaps Dan Ryan saw momentum starting to slip and made the call. Overall, the Thunderbirds’ attacking play has been patient, smooth and quite confident. Emily Mannix and Jo Weston are working well in the circle together, but it’s the intensity in the Vixens’ centrecourt players – particularly captain Kate Moloney and Liz Watson – that is helping the Vixens whisk any turnovers down to Philip and Kumwenda quickly. On that note – some classic aerial play from Kumwenda this quarter. Exhilarating to watch as always!

7.07am BST

30-20 the final score at Newcastle. What a mess for the hosts, going down after taking a 14-0 lead to the break. Penrith go into the bye with back to back wins for the first time this season, keeping their season vaguely alive. They face the Bulldogs after that.

Next up on NRL Sunday are the Bulldogs, up against their traditional rivals the Roosters at Olympic Stadium – 9th v 5th respectively. Sydney got over the line by four points when they last played in round two and had a big 48-10 win last week against Parra. An unchanged team too – nothing better in footy at this point of the season.

Hear from @sydneyroosters coach Trent Robinson in the lead up to #NRLBulldogsRoosters.#NRL pic.twitter.com/8AT9RX6WgX

6.57am BST

Big issues for Melbourne, North have already had 13 shots on goal (6.7). But we should have expected this. North have knocked off Melbourne the last 15 times they have played, dating back to 2006. For a reference point: it came during the same month that John Howard was suggesting Big Brother should be taken off air. Feel old?

North are dominating the hit outs via Goldstein, who kicked five last time the teams met in a Bellerive Oval shoot-out in round three last year. Both sides had shots to win the game late. Cracking game of footy. Melbourne, without a recognised ruckman at the moment, are trailing the hit-outs early 20-4.

6.47am BST

Siren at Docklands! Essendon complete a superb home win against the Eagles by 61 points. “A really well balanced outfit,” Brereton says of the Dons. “It could just be a defining moment in their season,” adds Sandy Roberts. With Dreamtime at the ‘G next weekend coming up. And they’re giving their jackets and scarves a bit of a wave, as is the custom.

Okay enough of this, time to move across town to the ‘G for North and the Dees. Late in the first term, North are already three goals clear. Ominous signs for Melbourne. There’s a bit of history to this fixture that I’ll come to in a tic. Check this out. Tekkers.

Magnificent tap from Goldstein who puts it on a silver platter for Cunnington. #AFLDeesNorth pic.twitter.com/k2XMGWPR0v

6.37am BST

Penrith hit the lead in Newcastle! They came from the clouds to get over the line last week after trailing NZ 28-6 at the half. There are worse party tricks to have. Meanwhile, this could this be the fifth (!) time the Knights have blown a half-time lead in 2017. If so, they’ll be where they belong at the bottom of the ladder ahead of the Origin disruption.

And as I type, another! They’re just about home here.

The comeback continues for the @PenrithPanthers.#NRLKnightsPanthers 14-24 with 10 minutes remaining.#NRL pic.twitter.com/cFAatJ47st

6.33am BST

Another open goal for Essendon via a shocking pass across goal intercepted by Leunberger, the big man also electing to boot it well into the crowd. Fair enough, too. Good times to be red and black.

It’s quarter time at the Super Netball. Thunderbirds with only pride to play for at the bottom of the table, but accounting well for themselves early. This again from The Net Effect’s Claire Daly:

Vixens lead 17-16 at the end of the first quarter. An impressive start from the Thunderbirds – it was always going to be crucial for them to not allow an early lead to the home side. Phenomenal stats from their goalers, with Bell on 10/10 and Glasgow on 6/6, while there have been a few rare misses from Philip and Kumwenda. There has been some strong defensive centrecourt action for the Vixens, with Liz Watson taking a blinder of an intercept. It’s early days but it looks like we have a good game on our hands.

6.28am BST

A quick shout out for the badminton I promised earlier, before we end up with three games of footy and a Super Netball game running at the same time. Here is what I learned yesterday.

The Sudirman Cup kicks off today, the World Mixed Team Champs. It is going on at the new courts at the Gold Coast sport and leisure centre, which will host the event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

6.23am BST

Penrith back in this at Newcastle! Two converted tries to start their second half push. Ample time.

Here come the @PenrithPanthers!

Game on.#NRLKnightsPanthers 14-12 after 54 minutes.#NRL pic.twitter.com/0aZt4qmprS

6.21am BST

Brilliant end to end stuff from the Bombers, Hurley generates a turnover down back and it is down the other end a matter of seconds. Joe Daniher get it over the back, runs into an open goal and kicks it into the third tier. He’s only kicked six in a game once before, and has plenty of time to set a new PB with 14 minutes to go. Essendon’s lead is back to ten goals. That’s a proper percentage booster.

6.12am BST

We’re also away in the Super Netball down at Melbourne Park. Showcourt One, to be precise.

To make sure we are all over that, pleased to say that Claire Daly of The Net Effect will be dropping into the blog at regular intervals. Here are her pre-game thoughts and I’m grateful for them. In short: if the Vixens win, they’ll be top of the pops at the conclusion of this penultimate home and away round.

This time last week, Vixens were sitting top of the ladder. Now they’re sitting third. Their top-four status is unlikely to change after today’s match against the consistently bottom-of-ladder Thunderbirds, but they’ll want to show a return to the strong form they’ve carried for most of the season. You can bet it would have been a hard of week of training following Vixens’ loss to the NSW Giants last week. They’ll be looking to rebuild their confidence today – particularly Tegan Philip, who had an uncharacteriscally poor game in Round 12 despite her otherwise outstanding form this competition. With only one win to their name, the Thunderbirds will at best be hoping for minimal unforced errors and some better individual performances from their top players. Captain Erin Bell’s inconsistency saw coach Dan Ryan benching her in the final quarter on Round 12. The Adelaide players know they’re all on notice for re-selection next year and the pressure will be on for their penultimate game today.

6.05am BST

Half time in Newcastle with the hosts getting the job done, ahead of the Panthers 14-0. I’ll pop that on for the second half as the result at Docklands is very much sorted. The Knights are bottom of the ladder, but got over Canberra last week – their first win since Round 2. Stringing two wins together on the spin wouldn’t be for nothing ahead of Origin.

Before leaving though, a superb tackle McKenna chasing down Darling who was close to goal. The home fans love it. It sets up a shot at the other end, Fantasia infringed when taking a strong mark. Goes back from 50m and drills it. 70 points the lead to the Bombers.

Second half underway!#NRLKnightsPanthers #NRL pic.twitter.com/L1AoD3l34S

5.56am BST

Another set shot missed by the Eagles, Darling the culprit on this occasion. Dermie on the call responds by jesting that he’s “on the take”. Immediately cleans it up before “the fun police” get on his case. When you’re ‘five-time day, five-time night’ evidence suggests you can say pretty much whatever you want anyway. Excellent ball movement from Colin McKenna through the guts after winning a stoppage at half-back. Gee, they run the ball well. James Stewart gets on the end of it 20m out directly in front and slots it through. 64 points clear.

5.50am BST

Josh Kennedy misses from 30m. Poorly, too. They’ve kicked 4.9 so far today. Brilliant to hear Eleni Glouftsis through the effects mic in that passage of play. Today is the first time a woman has served as a field umpire in an AFL fixture. Essendon go down the other end to pocket-rocket Josh Green who takes a strong, leaping grab and converts from 20. Their lead swells to 59.

Historic first centre-bounce by a woman field umpire in senior #AFL game. Welcome Eleni Glouftsis #womeninsport pic.twitter.com/Fw8c6uuVBt

5.45am BST

We’re back for the second half at the Docklands. The winning side still wave their scarves at the end of these clashes, don’t they? I shouldn’t begrudge that given the origin is from the 1993 season, scientifically proven as the greatest of them all. West Coast have the first of the second half, a nice finish from 50 from Jack Darling after taking the mark on the lead. Dons by 48.

5.23am BST

Dons thrashing Eagles.

Allow me a few minutes to get my act together. As a London local for the cricket summers, I’ve crossed town to Guardian Towers at 4:30am to be with you. Watching the punters streaming out of nightclubs chewing on hotdogs, I can’t deny a shot of envy. I’m quite good value at 4:30am out front of a nightclub, you know.

5.06am BST

A good afternoon to you all for edition two of Guardian Australia’s Sportswatch Live! Adam Collins here and I’m quite looking forward to nursing you through the final blessed hours of another packed weekend of action across our big brown land.

To get a flavour for how this will work, take a skim through Geoff Lemon’s work on the debut blog yesterday. Predictably, he’s set a high bar. His description of the Richmond capitulation was especially tasty. In short: if it’s happening, and it matters, it’ll feature. Track the scores, have your say, sack your coach. Do it all here with me.

2.38am BST

Adam will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s how Geoff Lemon saw yesterday’s action:

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

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/may/21/australia-sportwatch-bulldogs-v-roosters-waratahs-v-rebels-and-more-live

May 20

Magic Weekend: St Helens pull one out of the hat to stun Hull FC

• Hull 0-45 St Helens
• Widnes 12-34 Wakefield

There have been no shortage of surprises in the 11-year history of Magic Weekend but St Helens’ 45-0 win over Hull FC must surely rank as one of the greatest of all.

Super League’s annual trip on the road is often the catalyst for the unpredictable. Whether it is the unique blend of 12 sets of supporters creating an atmosphere like no other – which again was in full flow here – you are always guaranteed something out of the ordinary.

Related: Super League’s Magic Weekend transcends what happens on the field | Aaron Bower

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/may/20/super-league-magic-weekend-roundup

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

May 19

Super League’s Magic Weekend transcends what happens on the field | Aaron Bower

Bonus round would be obvious RFL cull in busy schedule but financial worth to host cities such as Newcastle and popularity with fans suggests it is here to stay

The Super League goes back on the road to Newcastle on Saturday as the 11th instalment of the Magic Weekend returns to St James’ Park. But in true rugby league fashion there is already more than one eye being cast on what happens next, rather than perhaps the most unpredictable round of fixtures the event has had since its inception in 2007.

Related: RFL contemplates moving Challenge Cup final away from Wembley Stadium

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/may/19/super-league-magic-weekend-transcends-what-happens-on-field-newcastle-rugby

May 16

RFL contemplates moving Challenge Cup final away from Wembley Stadium

• Super League chief executive, Roger Draper, keen to safeguard the event
• Other locations considered to compete with popularity of Magic Weekend

The Rugby Football League is considering whether one of the sport’s most prestigious showpieces, the Challenge Cup final, should remain at Wembley and will hold talks with the national stadium to determine its long-term future.

The staging of the cup final at Wembley has been one of rugby league’s proudest traditions since it was first held there in 1929. However, the Super League chief executive, Roger Draper, has admitted the sport’s governing body is keen to protect the future of the event, which could yet mean exploring alternative options away from the stadium.

Related: How many kids could name a rugby league player? Fewer than 20 years ago

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/may/16/challenge-cup-final-move-from-wembley-stadium

May 16

How many kids could name a rugby league player? Fewer than 20 years ago

A generation ago kids throughout the UK looked up to Martin Offiah and Shaun Edwards as they were on BBC. Without this wide exposure, the game is suffering

By Gavin Willacy for No Helmets Required, part of the Guardian Sport Network

On Saturday evening, BBC presenter Mark Chapman tweeted: “First time I’ve seen Castleford Tigers in the flesh this season. Can’t be many, if any, more entertaining teams in British sport at the moment.” He is spot on, of course. There was a time when millions of Brits would already know Cas are magnificent to watch.

At school in the 1980s, not only did we knew what rugby league was and who some of the star players were, but me and my football-obsessed mates would do impressions of them at lunchtime. “Oh, Offiah! Just watch this lad go – he’s got pace,” someone would shout in their best Ray French accent as one of us sprinted down the field with a football under our arm. Or we would push out our chests like puffins, bury our chins into our necks and growl: “Here comes Kurt Sorensen, the Kiwi.” This was a non-rugby-playing comprehensive. In Hertfordshire. Hardly rugby league’s heartlands.

Related: Great Britain’s rugby league Lions edge closer to a southern hemisphere tour

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2017/may/16/rugby-league-players-bbc-coverage-tv

May 16

NSW Origin team to stay at Sydney casino – on assumption they can behave

  • Blues to set up camp at The Star in Pyrmont before game two
  • Team management confident players will respect their surroundings

The NSWRL have defended their decision to base the NSW State of Origin side at The Star casino ahead of game two, playing down any chance of player misbehaviour.

For the first time during coach Laurie Daley’s reign, the Blues will set up camp in Sydney, with the team to train out of Leichhardt Oval and to stay at The Star, one of the NSWRL’s corporate partners.

Related: Mormon Will Hopoate makes U-turn over playing Sundays this NRL season

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/may/16/nsw-origin-team-to-stay-at-sydney-casino-on-assumption-they-can-behave

May 15

Mormon Will Hopoate makes u-turn over playing Sunday NRL games

  • Bulldogs player will be available for selection despite religious beliefs
  • ‘We don’t live in a perfect world,’ says Hopoate

NRL star Will Hopoate has made himself available to play on Sundays, reversing his previous stance to stand down for religious reasons. The devout Mormon has agreed to a request from his club Canterbury to turn out on Sundays, ahead of a busy State of Origin period which includes three Sunday matches for the Bulldogs.

Related: Knights snap seven-game losing streak as Roosters thump Eels

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/may/15/mormon-will-hopoate-makes-u-turn-over-playing-sunday-nrl-games

May 14

Warrington’s Kevin Brown punishes his old club Widnes with hat-trick

• Warrington 34-20 Widnes

There could not have been a more opportune moment for Kevin Brown to produce his best performance in a Warrington shirt. The England international has undoubtedly found the going tough since making the move along the M62 from Widnes at the end of last season, but it was somewhat inevitable he would prove to be the difference here.

For four seasons Brown was the heart and soul of Widnes’s transformation from Super League strugglers to a reputable mid-table side – meaning his move to the Vikings’ bitter rivals would always result in a hostile reception the first time he faced his former employers in the colours of Warrington.

Related: Joe Philbin helps Warrington show they can win tough at Widnes

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/may/14/warrington-widnes-challenge-cup-match-report

May 14

Knights shock Raiders to snap seven-game losing streak

  • Newcastle Knights beat Canberra Raiders 34-20 at McDonald Jones Stadium
  • It was the Knights’ second win in 28 matches

Newcastle shocked Canberra 34-20 at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday, condemning the Raiders to their third straight loss. The last-placed Knights snapped a seven-game losing streak in the see-sawing affair, and claimed just their second win in 28 matches.

The Knights’ victory was marred by prop Jacob Saifiti being taken to hospital in an ambulance for precautionary scans, after he appeared to suffer a possible neck injury in the first half. The 21-year-old was stretchered from the field on a medi cab, but could be seen moving his fingers while being assessed by the trainer for around five minutes. He appeared to have his head jolted as he rolled out of an innocuous tackle on Joseph Tapine, and was accidentally bumped by the Raiders attacker as he wriggled out.

Related: Titans snatch victory from Storm as Panthers produce stunning comeback

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/may/14/knights-shock-raiders-to-snap-seven-game-losing-streak

May 13

Castleford roared into the last eight of the Challenge Cup with a 53-10 demolition of St Helens, four tries in 10 first-half minutes sealing victory

• Castleford 53-10 St Helens
• Daryl Powell’s side roar into the last eight against abject Saints

Castleford produced the latest awe-inspiring display of their trophy-winning credentials to progress into the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup with a resounding victory against St Helens.

The Castleford coach, Daryl Powell, spoke this week of how this group, perceived to be the club’s most talented in a generation, would be far better equipped to deal with a Wembley final than three years ago, when they buckled under the pressure against Leeds. They now stand just two wins away from putting his theory to the test after a serene passage into the last eight of the competition.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/may/13/castleford-st-helens-rugby-league-challenge-cup-match-report

May 13

Panthers produce stunning second half comeback to defeat Warriors

  • Penrith Panthers beat New Zealand Warriors 36-28 at Pepper Stadium
  • The Panthers were down 28-6 at the break and were booed by their own fans

Penrith recorded one of the greatest modern-day NRL comebacks, reeling in a 22-point halftime deficit to beat the Warriors 36-28 at Pepper Stadium on Saturday. The Panthers were booed by their own fans as they came off the ground down 28-6 at the break but by the 61st minute they had gobbled up the deficit and taken the lead. The victory snaps a five-game losing streak and ignited the Panthers’ season after it looked dead in the water just 40 minutes earlier.

Isaah Yeo was the unlikely Penrith hero, scoring either side of halfltime before putting Waqa Blake through a hole, with the Panthers centre running over the top of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to make it 28-24 after 56 minutes. When Matt Moylan crossed in the 59th and Nathan Cleary potted the subsequent conversion, the Panthers had done the unthinkable and taken the lead. Tyrone Peachey crossed four minutes from fulltime and Penrith were suddenly looking every bit the contenders many had tipped them to be this year.

Related: Much improved Souths tame Tigers as Sharks recover to beat Dragons

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/may/13/nrl-round-ten-saturday-match-reports

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