Category: NRL Rugby

NRL Rugby News

Sep 23

Cowboys’ fairytale continues into grand final with upset win over Roosters

  • North Queensland Cowboys beat Sydney Roosters 29-16 at Allianz stadium
  • Cowboys become first team to make decider from eighth since Eels in 2009

North Queensland are 80 minutes away from an historic NRL premiership after advancing to the grand final with a 29-16 preliminary final upset of the Sydney Roosters.

The Cowboys will meet Melbourne at ANZ Stadium next Sunday in a David-versus-Goliath showdown. Paul Green’s men are the first team to make the decider from eighth since Parramatta in 2009, while no team has lifted the trophy from outside the top four in the NRL era. Melbourne, finishing minor premiers in a canter, haven’t lost a game in nine weeks.

Related: Spirit of Johnathan Thurston keeps North Queensland humming in NRL finals | Matt Cleary

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Sep 23

Cowboys beat Roosters in NRL preliminary final – as it happened

  • Roosters 16-29 Cowboys
  • Cowboys through to the Grand Final after Morgan masterclass

12.48pm BST

Nothing short of a boilover, you’d have to say. The story is about the Cowboys, who are playing with both verve and steel at the most important part of the season. They’re genuinely getting better. Every plaudit you read about Michael Morgan this week will be deserved. It’s well worth forgetting about Johnathon Thurston for a brief second here – Morgan was every inch the superstar of tonight, and you can’t begrudge him his overwhelmingly deserved moment in the spotlight. He drove his team tonight – created nearly everything, kicked brilliantly, made huge tackles, and as they say, he iced the game with a composed field goal to finish off the Roosters.

Let’s deal with the Roosters. They seemed to play without any zip, drive, or enterprise – instead favouring a clinical approach that came up short. Could they have ad libbed a little more?

12.33pm BST

He converts! That’s full time – The Cowboys beat the Roosters 29 – 16. Wow. The Roosters exit with a whimper, the Cowboys just get better. What a story. Some thoughts to follow.

Here was Morgan’s field goal:

Clinical from the @nthqldcowboys.#NRLFinals#NRL

12.30pm BST

It’s a party now! Scott Bolton charges past Guerra, who attempted a one-on-one strip, and he crashes over! Incredible stuff. Lowe will attempt the shot at goal. 80 minutes gone…

12.28pm BST

78 mins: Still the Cowboys’ ball. They’re in total control here. The Roosters offering barely a whimper. 10 metres out, last tackle, and Glanville knocks it in-goal and they’ll get the repeat set! Shallow drop out, and it’s the Cowboys ball. They’re going to the Grand Final!

12.27pm BST

Well orchestrated, Glanville fires it to Morgan on the last, and he slots it under a bit of pressure! That should do it, you’d think. Only three minutes to go now. Morgan is a hero.

12.25pm BST

75 mins: Gordon drops it! They were 40 metres out, there was no pressure on him, and he drops it cold! They’ve been cautious all night, the Roosters, and North Queensland should be able to work it into a good field goal position.

12.24pm BST

74 mins: They set for a drop goal, North Queensland. Morgan is closed down, so he fires to Coote, who chips into the in-goal. It holds up, holds up, but Ferguson just shepherds it over. The Roosters will get the ball. Inches in it.

12.23pm BST

73 mins: Another good run from Taumololo gets North Queensland on the front foot. It goes through the hands before a grubber toward the posts. Tupou takes it, tries to stand up and he’s driven back in goal! Drop out Roosters!

12.21pm BST

71 mins: Taumololo gets up clutching his shoulder. He carries on. Morgan tries to kick it dead on the last but it bounces on its end and Ferguson has to bring it out. Nearly slips away too. They need to chance their arm here, the Roosters.

12.19pm BST

A look at the Feldt try

The finisher does it again!

Try @feldt092.#NRLFinals#NRL

12.19pm BST

The Cowboys lead by a converted try now, a huge turnaround. Ten minutes to go.

12.18pm BST

69 mins: And now a penalty to the Cowboys! It’s a strip. Cordner and Waerea-Hargreaves the culprits. Lowe will have a shot at goal. An easy one, just to the right of the uprights. Adjacent to the posts, as they’d say.

12.17pm BST

68 mins: Mitchell kicks it out on the full! Again! Straight from the kickoff. Dead in-goal. Unbelievable stuff here. Penalty Cowboys, they’ll get another shot at the Roosters’ line.

12.16pm BST

He converts! Roosters 16 – 20 Cowboys

The toughest kick in the game. Right foot, right touchline, he swings it in!

12.15pm BST

They just don’t stop, these Cowboys! Again, Morgan directs them towards the Roosters left edge. The Roosters looked set as the ball went through the hands, but Feldt had a little space and you’d have to say he overpowered Mitchell to slam the ball down with one hand. Did Mitchell give Feldt too much room? Probably. Lowe from the sideline now…

12.13pm BST

Is that a try? They sweep across field, it comes to Feldt – it’s a one-on-one between Feldt and Mitchell, and it’s a ridiculously close one between Feldt, the ball, the corner post and the sideline. It looks good – but it’s so, so, close. Does the point hit the ground first? Or the ‘fat’ part hit the sideline? I think it’s a try.

12.11pm BST

64 mins: Does O’Neill atone? He hits Ferguson low and hard and the Rooster coughs it up! The Cows are 20 metres out now, and Morgan picks it up on the half-volley. Of course he does. Centre field, four tackles left…

12.10pm BST

62 mins: Was that the boost, or the luck, the Roosters needed? Plenty of time left for the Cowboys to come back into it – it’s only two points after all. The Roosters march all the way down field and a mini-bomb from Keary leaves the Cowboys 98 metres from home after Coote takes the ball.

12.08pm BST

Totally against the run of play here. Crucial error from O’Neill, that one will hurt. The ball slipped from his grasp pre-contact in the tackle, and Taukeiaho shovelled it to Aubusson, who in-turn gave it to Ferguson. Too much power, and he went over. A try from an error. Can the Cowboys come back again?

12.06pm BST

Is this a try? O’Neill spills it, the Roosters spread it straight away and Ferguson goes over. They’re going to the video to check the put down. There’s no problem.

12.05pm BST

58 mins: Couldn’t be more even, this. Just as the Roosters started to exert some dominance, the Cowboys – as ever – respond. It really is anyone’s match, and I’d venture it will come down to playmaker decisions. So far, Morgan is man of the match by streets. He’s everywhere, and here puts up an ‘inside out’ torpedo that’s well taken by Michael Gordon.

12.02pm BST

Goal! Roosters 12 – 14 Cowboys

Lowe swings it in from the right side, about 15 metres in from touch. Cowboys back in from. This match rising to a crescendo here.

12.01pm BST

And they’re over. Straight after Taumololo’s run, Morgan gets the ball close to the line, has multiple runners outside him, throws the cutout pass and finds Linnett, who just slid to the outside of his defender and crashed over. Outstanding timing on the pass from Morgan there, who is having a brilliant game so far.

11.59am BST

54 mins: Taumololo, who’s enjoyed a spell on the sidelines, is back on now. He surges forward straight away and almost breaks the line…

11.59am BST

52 mins: A low, driving kick from Morgan nearly grabs a forty-twenty for his side but Gordon’s there to retrieve it. Meanwhile, Michael Morgan has been opened up and blood is positively pouring from his eye, courtesy of a Michael Gordon forearm. Actually a good opportunity for him to put a head bandage on. Every team needs one come finals time.

11.55am BST

48 mins: But an error from Ferguson working the ball out, who looked to be taken high. He spills it, and hands the Cowboys six tackles in good position. Quick hands from the Cowboys almost gives Winterstein a bit of space but he’s reeled in. A grubber toward the posts (the Cowboys like that play) then ricochets dangerously before the Roosters dive on it, and work it out of their end as normal.

11.53am BST

Goal! Roosters 12 – 8 Cowboys

Low and hard from Gordon, and straight through. The Roosters take the lead for the first time in the match.

11.52am BST

TRY! Roosters 10-8 Cowboys (Watson 46)

All Pearce here. 40 metres out, he takes it to the line, shows it inside, makes the defence hesitate, and sends Cordner through on the outside. Cordner draws Coote easily and gives it to the utility Connor Watson, who crosses the line. Brilliant from Mitchell Pearce there. Well backed up from Watson.

11.50am BST

45 mins: Quieter moment in the game as the Roosters work it forward, just settling into the next phase of the match now.

11.48am BST

43 mins: Great take from Keary, who dived low to intercept a Michael Morgan grubber that was in-goal bound. Replays show a slight bobble, but it was so infinitesimal as to deceive as all. The Roosters put together another solid set and the Cowboys work it out in-turn.

11.47am BST

No try. Joey was right. Latrell Mitchell ran the wrong angle, blocked his Cowboys counterpart, and it’ll be a penalty to the North Queensland side.

11.46am BST

41 mins: The Roosters are over, or are they? Ryan Matterson is over in the corner – he kicks the ball skyward in aggressive celebration – but Andrew Johns is sure there’s an obstruction. Let’s see.

11.45am BST

40 mins: Cowboys error straight away! Coen Hess drops the ball from the first hit-up of the half, handing the Roosters a great chance straight away.

11.36am BST

A look at Latrell Mitchell’s try too

Mitchell snatches the ball as the defence lets it go!#NRLFinals#NRL

11.35am BST

Well, the Cowboys roll on! They held the upper hand for the majority of the half; one largely played fairly conservatively from both sides.

Both dared the other to blink first in the cautious opening exchanges, with seven completed sets each before the first error. It was Morgan, who has been excellent so far, who fed Te Maire Martin who was able to skip outside Napa and deceive Pearce enough to evade his clutches, break the line and speed his way under the posts. It was reward enough for the visitors, who seemed fractionally more creative in attacking situations, with the Glanville-Morgan duo leading proceedings.

Hear from @michaelmorgan00 at HT of #NRLRoostersCowboys.#NRLFinals#NRL

11.27am BST

39 mins: A late Cowboys raid on the line comes to nothing after Glanville slipped a neat little ball inside. The tackle’s made, and that’s half-time. Some thoughts to follow.

11.26am BST

GOAL! Roosters 6-8 Cowboys

A very good kicker, Michael Gordon. He slots this about 10m in from touch. Was straight all the way.

11.25am BST

TRY! Roosters 4-8 Cowboys (Mitchell 37)

And the Roosters are over! Keary with the bomb toward the left side; Linnett tried to block Mitchell but then left his assignment. Mitchell evaded him then deftly took it in the corner to scoot over.

11.23am BST

33 mins: Morgan pushes the short pass about 20m out but it’s forward, and it’s dropped, and it’s more relief for the Roosters. They then get the relieving piggy-back

penalty, to the background of ironic cheers from the Roosters faithful. They’ll get a look the Cowboys line here.

11.19am BST

30 mins: But the Roosters drop it! The Cowboys back on the march again. They’ve disorganised the Roosters defence again here, and some broken play leads to Morgan chipping the ball toward the posts. It misses, but has Pearce made a play at it? Referee Sutton says drop-out, and it’s not overruled by the video. Another set for the men from Townsville.

11.17am BST

27 mins: The Cowboys roll downfield again and get a repeat set. Wouldn’t say the Roosters are on the ropes yet, but the Cowboys are dominating.

The Cowboys spread left and threaten the line again, but the ball hits the deck. A rest for the Roosters, who’ll work it out from their own line.

11.14am BST

GOAL! Roosters 0-8 Cowboys

Ethan Lowe adds the extras. The Roosters jittery here, the Cowboys playing with freedom.

11.12am BST

TRY! Roosters 0-6 Cowboys (Martin 22)

It was Morgan to Te Maire Martin, who stuttered, offered the show-and-go, and a terrible grab at air from Pearce allowed him through. Napa was the inside man and Martin got outside him with ease. He’s quick, the five-eighth, and he arced his way under the posts in a flash. Will soon be 8-0.

11.09am BST

21 mins: And the Roosters’ kick off is over the dead ball line on the full! They advance it up field and a rolled-in grubber grabs them a repeat set. Mitchell’s drop-out is long, but the Cowboys will get a good shot here.

11.08am BST

Goal! Cowboys 2 – 0 Roosters
21 mins: Lowe kicks it. Easy as you like. We have points.

11.06am BST

20 mins: A Waerea-Hargreaves high tackle gives the Cowboys a penalty. It’s 15 metres out from the Cowboys line and next to the posts. The Cowboys will take the two.

11.01am BST

14 mins: Pearce tries a second man play about 40m out with Keary the receiver. It’s beautifully read by that man Morgan and he smashes Keary ball and all. He’s started well, the Cowboys playmaker.

10.59am BST

12 mins: Still relatively risk-free here. Both sides going one-out, two-out from dummy half. No real incision. Everyone making their tackles. The Roosters probably shading it at the ruck – they seem to be achieving that roll-on with a little more ease than their opponents.

Both sides perfect through 10 minutes – feeling each other out.

Follow #NRLRoostersCowboys on the League Live app:

10.57am BST

9 mins: The Roosters recover and engineer some field position to allow another bomb for Pearce. This time it’s intended for Ferguson. He charges onto it and momentarily gathers it mid-air, but he can’t hang on to it under defensive pressure. Another change over The Roosters making fairly comfortable metres, though haven’t properly threatened yet.

No penalties or real mistakes either, which means one must be coming.

10.56am BST

7 mins: The Cowboys attack the left side for a couple of plays, but it comes to nought. O’Neill briefly wrestles with Aubusson but the latter repels him from the line. Glanville then tries to stab one of those grubbers in from dummy half, about a metre out, but the kick’s blocked by Aubusson’s deliberately outstretched foot. It rebounds into O’Neill’s arms but he spills the reflex attempt. Changeover.

Really hate to do this, but having just watched Richmond storm into the AFL Grand Final, it’s hard not to notice the markedly different atmosphere’s in these otherwise equivalent games. The SFS feels quiet.

10.52am BST

6 mins: Forty-twenty for the Cowboys! It’s Morgan. He caught the Roosters napping there, skimming one low and hard into the right touchline. They’re on the attack.

10.51am BST

5 mins: The Roosters with a slight territorial advantage here, allowing Pearce to hoist a few bombs from midfield, thought easily defused by the Cowboys back three. Cagey start, you’d say.

10.50am BST

4 mins: The Cowboys try to spin in wide on the fourth. It comes to nothing. Morgan’s fifth tackle roost is charged down, but it falls safely to Coote. He checks to see whether there’s six more – there’s not – and he gets his kick away. All very safe.

10.48am BST

2 mins: The Cowboys respond with a stead set of their own. They complete it with Morgan kicking to the right corner. Has Feldt picked up a leg injury? More on that as it comes to hand. Andrew Johns seems to think so…

10.47am BST

We’re away – the Roosters running towards the SCG, the Cowboys toward Paddington RSL. Both are likely to be there later on, regardless of the result. Strong, steady first set from the Roosters.

10.45am BST

Crowd Watch

Judging from this tweet, we can probably expect further media conniptions over Sydney’s preparedness to turn out for big matches. That whole upper tier is bare!

Kick-off is approaching!!! #NRLRoostersCowboys

10.39am BST


Sydney Roosters

The Roosters will be aiming for their seventh Grand Final appearance this century.#IMAROOSTER #NRLFinals #NRLRoostersCowboys

10.30am BST

Hello all, and a huge thanks for joining me here as we settle in for the second preliminary final (these used to be called ‘Final’) from Allianz Stadium (from here referred to as the SFS) between the Roosters and the Cowboys.

At the risk of spinning wildly into cliché, there’s a clear favourite-underdog prism here. The tri-colours finished high on the ladder, have had the week off, and will take the field with that double-edged sword of freshness as they attempt to book their place in next week’s decider. They’re a settled side, bolstered by an Origin-heavy, monster pack led by Jared Waerea-Hargreves, Dylan Napa and Boyd Cordner. Their resurrection this year has largely occurred on the back of Mitchell Pearce’s steady influence, and his combination with Luke Keary tonight will go a long way to deciding the contest. In short, the Roosters are as ready and primed as they could have hoped for.

Nth Qld Cowboys were putting in the hard yards at training today in preparation for their minor preliminary semi-final against Easts. #NRL

1.25am BST

Sam will be along shortly. In the meantime, have a read of how the Melbourne Storm booked their place in the 2017 grand final last night:

Related: Storm flex muscles in crushing win over Broncos to book place in NRL grand final

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Sep 22

Storm flex muscles in crushing win over Broncos to book place in NRL grand final

Melbourne Storm beat Brisbane Broncos 30-0 at AAMI ParkBilly Slater scores double as Storm reach their third grand final in six yearsMelbourne are the first team into the NRL grand final after crushing Brisbane 30-0 in their preliminary final at AAMI P…

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Sep 19

Not even Des Hasler’s successes with Bulldogs insulated him from his failings | Nick Tedeschi

For all his shortcomings, in the end it was the coach’s inability to recognise Canterbury’s history or value the importance of culture that undid him

He arrived in 2011 hot off a premiership win at Manly and hailed as a white knight but six years later Des Hasler leaves Belmore as one of the most unpopular figures in club history.

After dillying and dallying for a year – even extending his contract for two seasons just five months back – the Bulldogs finally moved on Hasler, axing him on Tuesday night.

Related: Corey Oates fitness in balance as Broncos star recovers from head knock

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Sep 19

Corey Oates fitness in balance as Broncos star recovers from head knock

  • Brisbane not expected to make a call until Thursday’s captain’s run
  • ‘He is getting back to his usual self,’ says team-mate Ben Hunt

Brisbane forward Sam Thaiday says the jury is out on whether winger Corey Oates will return from a head knock in Friday night’s NRL preliminary final against Melbourne.

Oates is on modified training at the Broncos after a sickening first-half collision with team-mate Anthony Milford and being taken off on a medicab in last weekend’s 13-6 semi-final win over Penrith.

Related: Broncos edge Panthers but Corey Oates injured in brutal NRL semi-final

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Sep 16

Cowboys shock Eels in boilover as unlikely finals run continues

Jason Taumalolo dominated with 236 run metres as well as 33 tacklesNorth Queensland now face Sydney Roosters for a place in the deciderNorth Queensland moved within 80 minutes of the unlikeliest NRL grand final appearance in modern history following a …

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Sep 10

Cowboys beat Sharks in NRL elimination final – as it happened

  • Sharks 14-Cowboys 15
  • Cowboys win thriller after field goal in extra time

9.30am BST

North Queensland 15 – Cronulla 14

A thrilling, draining game of finals football at the SFS sees North Queensland survive and Cronulla exit. It’s still surprising to think that Cronulla are going home after dominating the majority of the match, but North Queensland clung on through a lack of Cronulla ruthlessness, some luck, and some inspiration from their talismen, Taumololo and Morgan.

All smiles!#NRLFinals#NRL

9.20am BST

A boilover here at the SFS! North Queensland emerge victors in extra time after largely trailing all match, and the Sharks season is over! Some thoughts to follow.

9.18am BST

NRL: 2nd half extra time 0:34 remaining Cronulla 14 – North Queensland 15

Field goal range after Maloney makes a half break. They’re about 30 metres out trying to set it up. The noise rising from the crowd. The ball goes to Fifita and he comes up with the error! He coughed the ball up, he lost it. And that will just about do it for North Queensland!

9.13am BST

NRL: 2nd half extra time 1:23 remaining Cronulla 14 – North Queensland 15

Morgan goes for touch again. Gould says ‘no’ x8 times. Clock stops. The Sharks – just over a minute to go, they’ve got 70 metres to go. They go wide early. Tackled.

9.12am BST

NRL: 2nd half extra time 2:02 remaining Cronulla 14 – North Queensland 15

Solid from the Cowboys. Morgan drills it into the corner. They need to make something happen, Cronulla. They’re 38 out and Lewis goes for the corner – no field goal attempt? Two minutes to go.

9.11am BST

NRL: 2nd half extra time 3:40 remaining Cronulla 14 – North Queensland 15

Can Cronulla make their way out? Gallen makes a good run. So does Lewis. Good kick from Maloney. Cowboys have it 15 from their own line.

9.09am BST

NRL: 2nd half extra time 4:54 remaining Cronulla 14 – North Queensland 15

First time they’ve had the lead, North Queensland. They kick off. Draining stuff, this.

9.09am BST

Last play before 1st half of extra time and Morgan lands the field goal! He was 10 metres out, nails it, and that will be extra time. Five to go.

9.07am BST

NRL: 1st half extra time 2:03 remaining Cronulla 14 – North Queensland 14

More good defence from the Sharks. Morgan bombs from 35 metres out, Holmes takes it and is away! He steps off the right foot, loses his balance, and Holmes loses the ball! Replays show Coote got a hand in. Cowboys 40 metres out, six tackles.

9.05am BST

NRL: 1st half extra time 3:01 remaining Cronulla 14 – North Queensland 14

But Lewis loses the ball. He wasn’t expecting it, there was a bobble, and North Queensland come up with it. Scrum feed and they’ve got 80 metres to go.

9.04am BST

NRL: 1st half extra time 4:32 remaining Cronulla 14 – North Queensland 14

Sharks on top defensively. Was that a forward pass from Morgan? No. But then Te Maire Martin throws a forward pass. Sharks have a play the ball 45 metres out. Good range. Try or field goal? We’ll see.

9.03am BST

A reminder…

Five minutes of extra time each way, and if it’s even, then we go to golden point.

What a game #NRLSharksCowboys

9.01am BST

They clawed their way back in, North Queensland. Cronulla had a chance to win it at the end but Gallen, playing for the penalty(?), squandered it.

Will be a Sharks kick-off, Cowboys first use.

9.00am BST

NRL: 2nd half 1:54 remaining Cronulla 14 – North Queensland 14

Good defensive set from Cronulla. Holmes takes it on the full and sprints to his forty. Might be in range for a shot at field goal here. Still getting closer. Here it comes. Maloney’s charged down! They get six more. Gallen charges and goes close. He reaches out, he’s not close enough, then he loses the ball! They were one metre out, and he’s lost it! Cowboys ball.

8.57am BST

In the event of scores level at full time…

There’ll be five minutes of extra time each way before golden point. Let’s see.

8.56am BST

Lowe converts. It’s all square here.

8.55am BST

Penalty Cowboys

Right in front of the posts. Strip was the call. Replays show he just lost it cold. The Cowboys will take the two.

8.54am BST

NRL: 2nd half 4:30 remaining Cronulla 14 – North Queensland 12

More drama! The Cowboys, on the last, grubber low for the posts. Fifita tries to intercept it but succeeds only in knocking it on! Six more for the Cowboys. They’re coming hard here.

8.53am BST

NRL: 2nd half 6:36 remaining Cronulla 14 – North Queensland 12

High tackle Luke Lewis. Penalty Cowboys.

8.51am BST

NRL: 2nd half 6:52 remaining Cronulla 14 – North Queensland 12

Coote drops the ball after a sweeping backline move saw him with a 3-on-2. He goes one-handed and spills it. Leutele could have scooted away but dropped in himself. The Sharks are in midfield (to use union parlance), on the halfway line, and they stab it into touch. Curious move. Cowboys with the ball 10 out from their own line. Cronulla ahead by two. Just over seven minutes left.

8.49am BST

NRL: 2nd half 9:34 remaining Cronulla 14 – North Queensland 12

No dice for the Cowboys; their last tackle kick was a poor grubber easily taken by Cronulla in the field of play. Townsend gets a long kick away after a good defensive set from North Queensland, and it all feels very even.

I can’t watch @Cronulla_Sharks #NRLSharksCowboys

8.47am BST

NRL: 2nd half 11:45 remaining Cronulla 14 – North Queensland 12

Massive tackle from Granville sees Bird spill the ball and North Queensland have six tackles, 35 metres out from Cronulla’s line.

8.46am BST

This was Taumololo’s try earlier

One JT out.

The other JT produces a herculean effort to score!#NRLFinals#NRL

8.45am BST

NRL: 2nd half 13:37 remaining Cronulla 14 – North Queensland 12

Line break. The Cowboys had Cronulla pinned in their own area again before a Gallen offload gave Graham some space and he was clean through. Showed great pace for a second rower too. He kept it alive before it was shovelled to Bird who, unbalance and mid-losing the ball, put a grubber through that rolled dead. Breathtaking stuff.

8.43am BST

NRL: 2nd half 14:56 remaining Cronulla 14 – North Queensland 12

The Cowboys make 70 metres their bomb is taken by Feki.

8.42am BST

Game on!

8.41am BST

What a try from Taumololo, inspirational stuff. We looked at replays of tattooed arms and legs but we saw the point of the ball on the ground. Reminiscent of Fifita in the GF last year. Kick to come, should be an easy one.

8.40am BST

Going to the screen! Possible North Queensland try!

BARNSTORMING run from Taumololo sees him carry about five Sharks players over the line. The referee calls try and we’re having a look. It looks good!

8.39am BST

NRL: 2nd half 20:01 remaining Cronulla 14 – North Queensland 6

Fortunate for North Queensland. Te Maire Martin takes the ball to the line and pops a ball blind to no one in particular. Bird looks for an intercept but knocks it on. It means another set for North Queensland.

8.37am BST

NRL: 2nd half 21:23 remaining Cronulla 14 – North Queensland 6

Do the Sharks fans have an official trumpeter? I can hear one through the TV. Seems incongruous with everything League is about. Anyway, a classic controlled set from the Sharks after their fortunate try. Townsend kicks for the corner and finds touch. The Cowboys look fractionally deflated.

8.34am BST

A look at Bird’s try

The @Cronulla_Sharks extend their lead after @JackBird_1 pounces on a grubber!#NRLFinals#NRL

8.34am BST

Great kick from Maloney on the right touchline, swings back beautifully.

8.33am BST

Chad Townsend put through the grubber, and it puts even further scrutiny on the Leuteli incident earlier. Replays show a Cowboys player kneeing the ball in the tackle so there was a little interference, but as Tim Rogers once sung, How Much Is Enough?

Kick to come.

8.32am BST

To the screen! Possible Sharks try

Looks it, too. The Sharks surge down field, put a grubber through about twenty out and Bird flies on to the ball and grounds it. This will be a try.

8.30am BST

NRL: 2nd half 28:43 remaining Cronulla 8 – North Queensland 6

Maloney returns to an far more even contest now. The Sharks try to slither through some space on the left touchline but Feki can’t beat Feldt and he’s flung over the sideline. Bit more of a spring in their step,the Cowboys. Some huge defence sees the Sharks battling desperately to get out of their own 20. And on the last they concede a penalty! Leuteli makes a decent charge and looks to milk one by dropping it. Referee calls ‘strip’ and the Sharks are on the attack. Wow, small margins.

8.27am BST

And Lowe’s miss

Lowe swings it wide and the @nthqldcowboys trail by 2.#NRLSharksCowboys 8-6 after 50 minutes.#NRLFinals #NRL

8.27am BST

A look at the Cowboys’ try

The @nthqldcowboys find space on the edge!#NRLFinals#NRL

8.26am BST

Lowe misses

Tough kick – right footer on the right touchline, and he hooks it badly – missing to the left. Second rowers kicking is still very fun though.

8.25am BST

They make the most of the advantage! A long, looping ball from Morgan leaves Feldt with enough space to finish in the corner. Feki made an effort to bundle him out but Feldt’s too big, too strong. Double cut-out from Morgan; good option. Can Lowe even it up?

8.23am BST

NRL: 2nd half 33:12 remaining Cronulla 8 – North Queensland 2

Holmes breaks the line 40 metres out but Coote hauls him down. The Cowboys survive after a grubber makes its way in goal but is rushed out. Maloney’s nearly back but the Cowboys are on the charge.

8.21am BST

NRL: 2nd half 35:00 remaining Cronulla 8 – North Queensland 2

Cronulla solid again as Graham grubbers into the corner on the last. As the Cowboys go forward, it’s Morgan who nearly sends Coote through in the centre of the park with a jinking run and hand off before a highish shot from Holmes brings Coote down. Graham hammered Morgan high too, replays show.

Best photo! Sent to the bin for ill-discipline. Clearly the motivational quotes are working a treat down at the shire #NRLSharksCowboys

8.18am BST

NRL: 2nd half 38:10 remaining Cronulla 8 – North Queensland 2

They drop it. Second man play and the ball ends up with Winsterstein who took a hard straight line and it bounces off his chest. Demoralising stuff. The Sharks work it out now. A little hush around the ground.

8.16am BST

NRL: 2nd half 39:02 remaining Cronulla 8 – North Queensland 2

‘The Sharks have only scored four tries in their last five games in the second half’, says Phil Gould. Can the Cowboys reverse the momentum of the match and make a fast start? They’ll need to be far better than they were in the first half. And some luck! A good set followed by a bomb sees Wade Graham knock the ball on. Attacking set, full backline, 15 metres out.

8.13am BST

James Maloney in the sin-bin

Apologies for the omission earlier- James Maloney will spend the first 9 and a half minutes of the second half in the sin-bin after a professional foul on Ethan Lowe. The Cowboys winger was deemed to be impeded by Maloney when going for the ball with a try scoring opportunity beckoning, so Maloney will have a twenty minute half time break.

James Maloney goes to the sin-bin as Cronulla lead North Queensland 8-2 at the SFS. #NRLSharksCowboys #NRLFinals

James Maloney is a grub

8.03am BST

North Queensland will be absolute rapt to head to the sheds a try down. They were sloppy and wasteful next to Cronulla’s power and control. A big half time for Paul Green. I’m off for a coffee and will be back for the second half shortly.

Arrive at the brand-new SFS early today to receive your free Andrew Ettingshausen Tazo! #NRLSharksCowboys

8.01am BST

The Cowboys opt for the shot and Ethan Lowe makes no mistake.

7.53am BST

NRL: 1st half 5:10 remaining Cronulla 8 – North Queensland 0

Relative stability here sees a few completed sets from both teams, have North Queensland finally settled? They’ve been better these last ten minutes, even if they’re still lacking penetration. Gould comments that the Sharks have them in a ‘vice-like grip’.

The Sharks are pretty grubby today along with the luck the referees are giving them, it’s their game to lose. #NRLFinals #NRLSharksCowboys

7.50am BST

NRL: 1st half 8:34 remaining Cronulla 8 – North Queensland 0

Knock on 10m from their own line gives Cronulla a chance to extend their lead. The Cowboys feel ready for the taking but then Leutele coughs it up! Decent defence from North Queensland but the errors stacking up now.

This game turning into a afl match. No 1 is holding on to the footy! Knock-ons galore #NRLSharksCowboys #NRLFinals

7.47am BST

NRL: 1st half 10:08 remaining Cronulla 8 – North Queensland 0

And every time Cronulla get it they just roll forward at will.

7.44am BST

NRL: 1st half 13:53 remaining Cronulla 8 – North Queensland 0

Cronulla looking like they belong in week 2 of the finals, the Cowboys anything but. They seem to have no direction, no method for opening up Cronulla, and they’re making a number of low-percentage plays – the latest of which sees the ball go through the hands on the last, and results in the winger Feldt kicking the ball out on the full. They get a penalty soon after though, because that’s what happens.

7.41am BST

NRL: 1st half 17:32 remaining Cronulla 8 – North Queensland 0

Another penalty to North Queensland! Offside against Gallen. Standard. But fast-arriving defence results in the ball coughed up on the first tackle, and the Sharks will work their way out. Phil Gould opines that ‘you can’t keep throwing long passes if the defence is rushing up!’ The accompanying replays show the Cowboys making short passes.

The inclusion of Jack Bird has made a huge difference to this Sharks team #NRLFinals

7.38am BST

NRL: 1st half 18:45 remaining Cronulla 8 – North Queensland 0

Prior laying all over the play the ball gives North Queensland another set close to the line. They take the tap…

7.37am BST

NRL: 1st half 21:08 remaining Cronulla 8 – North Queensland 0

And another penalty for Cronulla to get them away from their red zone and they’re on the attack. Cross field bomb and the Cowboys survive. They need something to change the run of play here. Penalties normally do the trick, but they don’t get one. They do however get an error from Valentine Holmes! Morgan kicks on the fifth and Holmes is done by a leg-breaking bounce. The Cowboys get a chance.

Penalty goal to @jim_jim86!#NRLSharksCowboys 8-0 after 18 minutes.#NRLFinals#NRL

7.34am BST

Easy for Maloney.

7.34am BST

NRL: 1st half 24:12 remaining Cronulla 6 – North Queensland 0

Scott Bolton has the ball stripped by Jayden Brailey of the Sharks – huge play – and Brailey subsequently earns a penalty! All Sharks here. They’ll take the shot for two and Maloney should make no mistake.

7.32am BST

NRL: 1st half 25:42 remaining Cronulla 6 – North Queensland 0

Percentage stuff from the Sharks. Good set, kick to corner. They look controlled. The Cows by comparison seem far more error-prone. They seem patternless and rudderless.

7.30am BST

NRL: 1st half 27:43 remaining Cronulla 6 – North Queensland 0

Cursory penalty to North Queensland now as they work their way out of their half. It’s Fifita who concedes it. His tattoos stretch all the way down the outside of his left leg. Maybe they go up the entire left hand side of his body. Anyway, the Cowboys squander their advantage via a huge forward pass from Glanville early in the set. The Sharks march forward.

7.27am BST

NRL: 1st half 30:15 remaining Cronulla 6 – North Queensland 0

Further pressure from North Queensland, attacking the Sharks’ left edge close to the goal line. Morgan tries a second man play but huge defence stops them crashing over. Coote tries to grubber through but he jams the ball into the ground and it comes to nought.

I’m only interested in the Fifita leg tat descriptions.

7.23am BST

NRL: 1st half 34:15 remaining Cronulla 6 – North Queensland 0

Good return set from the Cowboys after early Cronulla dominance. They leave the Sharks deep in the corner of their own defensive end but…penalty. Lying on the play the ball. The Sharks get a piggy back out of there.

Vision of the @Cronulla_Sharks Try Decision in the 3rd minute of #NRLSharksCowboys.#NRLFinals #NRL

7.21am BST

Chad Townsend with the four pointer. Converted by Maloney 15 metres in from touch.

7.19am BST

Going to the screen! Possible try to Cronulla

Townsend puts up the bomb, Winterstein takes it well inside the field of play but is rushed back in goal by Lewis and Bird. In attempting to ground the ball inside the field of play (why?) he loses possession of the ball. Question is whether he grounded it in his own in-goal, and it looks like he doesn’t. The Sharks will draw first blood!

7.16am BST

NRL: 1st half 38:00 remaining Cronulla 0 – North Queensland 0

The Cowboys kick off and they’ll run toward the SCG, the Sharks to Paddington. One of these teams might end up at the Paddington RSL after this, actually. Sharks get the early territorial advantage after a few completed sets.

7.15am BST

The players are out there.

8th vs 5th, Cowboys to kick off. Someone’s season ends in two hours. Looks to be around 18,000 in attendance. Obviously that will end up being around 27,000.

7.11am BST

Shame we won’t be able to see this guy today

JT chats #CAM356 and #NRLSharksCowboys!#NRLFinals#NRL

7.10am BST

Looks like we’ll have one of those (lower-tier) packed houses.

Shark attack #NRLSharksCowboys

7.09am BST

The SFS is sunny

Here’s a run of pics from around the ground.

#GoCows #NRLFinals #NRLSharksCowboys

7.05am BST

Good morning, afternoon and evening all, and welcome to a special, Rugby League-laden edition of the Guardian’s Sportwatch.

Today we bring you coverage from the last of this weekend’s Finals fixtures, as the reigning premiers of 2016, Cronulla, take on the 2015 winners, North Queensland, in a sudden death battle. (In a weak protest at the now-accepted description of teams by the mascots and not their locales, I will continue to refer to both as ‘Cronulla’ and ‘North Queensland’. Sorry NRL)

5.41am BST

Sam will be here shortly. Here’s Matt Cleary on the finals lineup, in case you missed it:

Related: Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters the only NRL teams still standing

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article:

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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Permanent link to this article:

Sep 02

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

1.06pm BST

And that just about wraps things up for today. The Sea Eagles are safely into the NRL finals after their convincing win over the Panthers, who were made to sweat over their place in the eight for much of this afternoon. The Roosters secured second spot with a comeback victory over the Titans, while the ladder-leading Melbourne Storm signed off on their home-and-away season with a comfortable win over the Raiders. Winx, the superhorse, was again magnificent in winning a 19th straight race at Randwick Racecourse and it was a good day for Victorians, after their women’s rep side won the inaugural AFLW State of Origin game with ease. There you have it, Saturday in a nutshell. Come back again tomorrow to see if the Dragons can beat the Bulldogs and make the NRL finals, and to follow the Diamonds’ Quad Series match against the Silver Ferns. Kate O’Halloran will be at the controls from 1:30pm on Sunday, please do join her then. From me, though, thanks for joining us today and until next time.

12.59pm BST

AFLW State of Origin: It’s Victoria’s night – convincingly so – as the siren sounds at Etihad and the scoreboard shows the Vics beat the Allies 17.11 (113) to 2.4 (16). Jasmin Garner booted five majors and Daisey Pearace had 37 possessions in standout performances. It might have been utterly one-sided, but that may have served to whet the appetite ahead of season two.

12.52pm BST

Football: “Liverpool put a price of €200m and that was why we decided to step back,” Barcelona director Albert Soler said. “This club and this president will not put this club’s assets at risk like that. Going into the market place with so much money, the financial demands made of us were exorbitant.”

Related: Barcelona say Liverpool wanted €200m for Philippe Coutinho on deadline day

12.38pm BST

Formula One: The final practice session before the Italian Grand Prix has been mostly washed out, with just seven drivers able to complete a timed lap. Felipe Massa topped the timesheets amid heavy rain at Monza, where Daniel Ricciardo will start Sunday’s race near the back of the grid after receiving a penalty for engine changes.

12.31pm BST

AFLW State of Origin: We’re just about to start the final quarter across town at Etihad Stadium, where the Victorians have extended their lead to blowout proportions – they’re ahead 11.8 (74) to 2.2 (14). Jasmine Garner has kicked three goals for the Vics whil;e Daisy Pearce has a game-high 29 possessions.

12.25pm BST

Storm 26-6 Raiders – 80 mins: There it is! The minor premiers wrap up a convincing win and will head into next weekend’s match against the Eels in fine form. Joey Leilua finishes the game on the pitch, which is possibly the most remarkable aspect of this encounter. He can now look forward to Mad Monday.

“Really pleasing to get that result,” says Cameron Smith. “The Raiders were brave tonight. They had nothing to lose and they really tested us. Nice to get the win for a few of the boys who are playing their last home and away game for the Storm.”

12.20pm BST

Try! Tohu Harris scores!

Storm 32-6 Raiders – 78 mins: The Storm do have their try in the end though, as Harris takes the ball and three Raiders players over the line soon after to score his second of the night! Cameron Smith…. etc.

12.18pm BST

Storm 26-6 Raiders – 77 mins: Controversy! Needless to say, it involves Leilua, who tries to take out Addo-Carr, only to miss him. Still, the Storm player is forced out of play before he steps back in and grabs the ball in the in-goal. A penalty try? Nope, says the referee.

12.15pm BST

Storm 26-6 Raiders – 75 mins: It takes just one more minute before Joey blows up. He gets in Scott’s face, gets his shirt ripped in the process and then makes baby noises at his adversary.

12.12pm BST

Storm 26-6 Raiders – 74 mins: Joey Leilua at it again. He’s got about six minutes to keep his head. But that’s not guaranteed.

12.08pm BST

Storm 26-6 Raiders – 70 mins: Rapana touches down right the corner – or does he? No, he doesn’t, as the replays show. He did his best, but he couldn’t quite bend his wrist around the ball. He does, however, take the cameraman down with him – caught spectacularly on TV after the director decides to switch cameras just at the right moment!

NO TRY! He put down the cameraman… But not the ball. #NRLStormRaiders #9WWOS

12.04pm BST

Storm 26-6 Raiders – 68 mins: Slater’s through here, in that dashing, scampering way of his, but he’s still got Wighton to beat – and he can’t.

12.00pm BST

Storm 26-6 Raiders – 65 mins: The biggest cheer of the night is reserved for Cronk, who appears to have scored but is called back for offside! The crowd don’t like it, naturally, but it’s a fair call by referee, and backed up by the Bunker.

11.58am BST

Try! Suliasi Vunivalu scores!

Storm 26-6 Raiders – 62 mins: Vunivalu hits back immediately with his 23rd of the season! The NRL’s leading tryscorer latches onto a little grubber kick by Chambers before powering over the line. So he’s still two ahead of Rapana, with Alex Johnstone now one behind on 22. Smith kicks the extras, of course.

11.54am BST

Try! Jordan Rapana scores!

Storm 20-6 Raiders – 58 mins: Canberra are on the board! And it’s quite some try, as Rapana pulls of a superb diving catch in the in-goal! That’s his 21st try of the season.

Classic catch!

Rapana adds another highlight to the reel! #NRLStormRaiders #NRL

11.49am BST

AFLW State of Origin: In scenes reminiscent of rugby league’s State of Origin, Victoria are playing the Queensland role and the Allies that of NSW. It’s half-time and Victoria are leading 8.5 (53) to 2.2 (14). The start of an are of domination? Could well be.

11.48am BST

Storm 20-0 Raiders – 53 mins: Chambers gets absolutely hammered! He’s propelled backwards and put on his backside by a huge Junior Paulo hit!

Stopped in his tracks!#NRLStormRaiders #NRL

11.42am BST

Storm 20-0 Raiders – 49 mins: Harris now appears to throw an elbow on Sezar, and he’s promptly put on report.

I’m only watching this second half because I’m expecting a Joey Leulia brain snap #NRLStormRaiders

11.40am BST

Storm 20-0 Raiders – 44 mins: Leilua continues to flirt with disciplinary action, this time in a, ahem, robust tackle in which his forearm flies close to Edwards’ head three times. (Each one misses.)

11.36am BST

Storm 20-0 Raiders – 42 mins: Austin launches a bomb which Slater does well to keep take under the posts in the Storm’s in-goal. And the pair repeat the sequence soon after.

11.33am BST

Second half underway at AAMI Park

Storm 20-0 Raiders – 41 mins: OK, here we go, just 40 minutes left of this NRL home-and-away season. And it looks like the Storm will be signing off with another win.

Hear from @storm coach, Craig Bellamy in the lead up to the 2nd Half of #NRLStormRaiders.#NRL

11.29am BST

Football: Uh-oh, bad news for the Socceroos ahead of their crunch World Cup qualifier against Thailand on Tuesday: Japan’s captain, Makoto Hasebe, has withdrawn from the Japan team that will travel to Saudi Arabia for their own final match. Remember, the Socceroos will hope already-qualified Japan don’t ease off the gas and go on to get something out of their trip to the Middle East to boost Australian hopes. Shinji Kagawa is already missing from the Japanese squad, who play in Jeddah in a later kick-off, meaning the Saudis will know exactly what they have to do to edge out the Socceroos from the second automatic Asian qualification spot.

11.25am BST

AFLW State of Origin: Over to Etihad, where Victoria are leading the Allies 5.3 (33) to 2.1 (13) midway through the second quarter.

11.19am BST

HT: Storm lead by 20 points

Storm 20-0 Raiders – 40 mins: There goes the siren and the hosts head in at the break well in control. Still, Billy Slater’s not overly delighted. “We started well let them in with some easy field position and a few penalties. We want to fix that up,” says the Storm man on his way off the pitch.

11.17am BST

Storm 20-0 Raiders – 37 mins: It’s pretty frantic at AAMI Park. Joey Leilua looks like he’s going to bust a gasket, Blake Austin is goose-stepping about the place and the premiers are looking very much the part.

11.13am BST

Storm 20-0 Raiders – 33 mins: Jack Wighton looks like he’s about to break away and enter a foot race with Slater to the line, but he’s ankle-tapped at the last, and the break comes to nothing.

11.08am BST

Storm 20-0 Raiders – 29 mins: Well that was strange. The commentary on Fox Sports went a bit funky for a moment there – all echoey and psychedelic. Not unenjoyable but a bit incongruous given what we’re watching.

Felt like I was at Burning Man after 5 cid tabs there for a minute #NRLStormRaiders

11.03am BST

Storm 20-0 Raiders – 26 mins: The Raiders go close to getting themselves on the scoresheet, but the young winger Cotric is deemed to have put his foot out of touch. And you know what, they’re right.

10.57am BST

TRY! Tohu Harris scores!

Storm 20-0 Raiders – 19 mins: It’s one-way traffic here as the Storm go over again, thanks to a jinking run through the final line of Canberran defence. Smith lines up the kick and… you know the deal. And he gets another pop to make it an eight-point try after a penalty goes against Tapane, who went at the ball in Harris’s hands with his feet first.

10.51am BST

Storm 12-0 Raiders – 15 mins: There are more milestones to be reached tonight: Nelson Asofa-Solomona is playing his 50th NRL match while should Slater score, he will match ex-Sea Eagles forward Steve Menzies for the second most tries scored.

10.47am BST

NRL: Roosters coach Trent Robinson has been talking about that earlier comeback win in Sydney. “So we had to catch up to some of the teams that have been circling at the top last year and this year. And I felt like we’ve accelerated throughout the year in where we’ve got to,” he said. “We’re finishing games like a team that’s been around for a long, long time. Teams, they can see us finishing well. That puts a memory in their mind at the back end of games as well against us.” The less said about what happened before the fast finish, the better.

10.45am BST

Storm 12-0 Raiders – 10 mins: Billy Slater get monstered by a posse of four green hulks in an indication that the Raiders aren’t going to lie down and be steamrollered tonight.

10.41am BST

TRY! Jesse Bromwich scores!

Storm 12-0 Raiders – 7 mins: And another! Smith pings the ball to Bromwich who simply uses his bulk to carry himself across the line. Well, not actually across the line – he puts the ball down right on the line, but that’s enough and the Storm are electrifying! No problems for Smith with the kick.

10.37am BST

TRY! Felise Kaufusi scores!

Storm 6-0 Raiders – 3 mins: Well that didn’t take long. Billy Slater taps a cross-field punt back towards Kaufusi, who turns on his heel, picks the ball up off the ground, turns around again and runs it in unchallenged. There’s some confusion and the decision goes upstairs, but that was just shockingly lax defensive work from the Raiders. The try stands and Smith adds the extras without fuss.

10.33am BST

Underway at AAMI Park!

Storm 0-0 Raiders – 1 min: Canberra kick things off, but not before attention is drawn to veteran halfback Cooper Cronk – playing his final home and away game – and Storm captain Cameron Smith, who is drawing level with Darren Lockyer for the most NRL games played at 355.

10.19am BST

AFLW: Across town, at Etihad Stadium, we’re about to be treated to something new and exciting: the AFLW’s first State of Origin match. Victoria take on the Allies, with a host of top-flight players on show, including the likes of Daisey Pearce and Brianna Davey for Victoria and Chelsea Randall and Katie Brennan for the Allies.

10.19am BST

NRL: So, just one more game to go tonight – the Storm against the Raiders. That’s coming right up at AAMI Park, with kick-off in about 10 minutes. Nothing is riding on the outcome, the Storm having wrapped up the minor premiership, and the Raiders having failed to trouble the eight. Still, with Cooper Cronk signing off on the home-and-away season there’s still interest.

10.16am BST

Sea Eagles 28-12 Panthers – 80 mins: And there it is! All over at Brookie, and both teams will play finals, despite Penrith having sweated on the unthinkable happening for much of the game. Manly utterly dominated; Penrith struggled badly for about 75 minutes of the 80.

But in many respects, North Queensland are the biggest losers tonight, and their place in the eight is now at risk – their immediate future will be determined tomorrow when the Dragons play the Bulldogs. Victory for the Dragons will send them into finals, and North Queensland will be able to go on holiday.

10.12am BST

TRY! Reagan Campbell-Gillard scores!

Sea Eagles 28-12 Panthers – 80 mins: And another! Blake jinks this way and that before offloading to Campbell-Gillard, who touches down to give the score some kind of respectability. The kick is good too.

10.09am BST

TRY! Tyrone May scores!

Sea Eagles 28-6 Panthers – 76 mins: Phew! Panthers fans can relax – they’re going to play finals football! This try – and the conversion by Cleary – seals the deal, and the collective sigh of relief around the foot of the mountains can almost be heard at Brookie!

A late but very important Try for the @PenrithPanthers!#NRLManlyPanthers#NRL

10.02am BST

Sea Eagles 28-0 Panthers – 70 mins: Into the final 10 minutes and there’s been a bit of a letup in the intense Manly pressure these past few minutes. That’s understandable, given their efforts for much of the night.

10.00am BST

Sea Eagles 28-0 Panthers – 69 mins: Oh dear, Koroisau lifts up Watene-Zelezniak beyond the horizontal and is called on it. Not a good look at all, although he realises his error straight away and holds his hands up.

9.59am BST

Sea Eagles 28-0 Panthers – 64 mins: Dylan Walker’s got some beef here – he’s been on a mission all night long, to be honest, and has had plenty to say.

9.56am BST

Sea Eagles 28-0 Panthers – 64 mins: Isaah Yeo motors through the Manly defence now as Penrith show some fight. Tommy Turbo grabs him though and any momentum gained by that move is soon lost as the Sea Eagles’ defence presents a wall – an imposing, muscly, burgundy wall – to the Panthers on their next attack. Immense defence.

9.52am BST

Sea Eagles 28-0 Panthers – 61 mins: Just under 20 minutes remaining and it’s still on a knife edge for the Panthers. Surely they’re not going to mess this up, are they?

A Guardian sibling, Niall Connolly, has been in touch on the email: “I have my (your fellow correspondent Paul) brother’s glass half empty attitude to our teams. And it looks like 1996 again for us next week. Matt Ridge was not tackled, Paul.”

9.48am BST

Sea Eagles 28-0 Panthers – 56 mins: Penrith are rocking. And not in the good way. Their defence is getting opened up every time Manly have the ball. The Sea Eagles get another repeat set of six as DCE dinks the ball into the in-goal and Watene-Zelezniak picks it up and runs out. No let up in pressure.

9.45am BST

TRY! Curtis Sironen scores!

Sea Eagles 28-0 Panthers – 53 mins: More good stuff by Manly as Sironen bursts through and Wright adds the extras but this is fast becoming all about Penrith’s chances of reaching the eight. They’re in real danger now of dropping to eighth, and having to sweat on tomorrow’s Dragons’ result. Just another 10 unanswered Manly points and their season will lie in the lap of the gods.

9.40am BST

Sea Eagles 22-0 Panthers – 50 mins: Here come Manly again, this time with Trbojevic handing off to Wright. Penrith’s backline looks vulnerable every time Manly go forward.

9.39am BST

Sea Eagles 22-0 Panthers – 48 mins: There’s another “coming together” after Kelly forces Cleary into knocking on, and everyone piles in. A few hands are thrown (not punches, there’s a difference), and eventually tempers cool and play can continue.

9.36am BST

Sea Eagles 22-0 Panthers – 45 mins: So, if Penrith lose by more than 37 points, they drop to eighth with the Cowboys moving up to seventh, giving St George Illawarra the chance to knock them out of the eight tomorrow with victory over the Bulldogs. Clear?

9.32am BST

TRY! Tom Trbojevic scores!

Sea Eagles 22-0 Panthers – 41 mins: Tommy Turbo’s in! What a start to the half! He starts off the move and having turned on the afterburners very nearly gets away. He’s just caught, but no matter, second later he gets the ball again, stretches those legs and hoons into the in-goal! The kick by Wright is good, and the Panthers need to be concerned here. Remember, the amount they lose by could be season-defining for them.

The @SeaEagles left edge is ON tonight!

Turbo gets a Try.#NRLManlyPanthers#NRL

9.28am BST

Second half underway at Lottoland!

Sea Eagles 16-0 Panthers – 41 mins: Here we go then. It’s going to need quite some turnaround from the Panthers if they are to get back into this match.

9.14am BST

HT: Manly lead by 16 points at the break

Sea Eagles 16-0 Panthers – 40 mins: So far so good for Manly – they’ve done everything asked of them tonight. It’s been a terrific half of football for the hosts, and short of a second-half meltdown, they’re looking good for the finals. Penrith, on the other hand, might do well to begin considering the ramifications of a defeat by more than 37 points. Back in a bit.

9.11am BST

Sea Eagles 16-0 Panthers – 38 mins: No dice for Cleary and the Panthers here as time winds down this half. They run out of ideas on the final tackle and the ball is turned over.

9.06am BST

Try! Jake Trbojevic scores

Sea Eagles 16-0 Panthers – 34 mins: We have a try! Trbojevic crashes over, under a pile of white jumpers, and as a consequence, we’ll have to go upstairs. There’s “insufficient evidence” the ball was held up, so the try will stand, and once the kick is converted, right in front of the posts, we’ve got a 16-point ball game.

9.03am BST

Sea Eagles 10-0 Panthers – 32 mins: Green kicks his fifth 40/20 for the season! What a great effort from the Manly player, and the Sea Eagles can attack again here.

8.59am BST

Sea Eagles 10-0 Panthers – 27 mins: Oops, a spill from Uate, under no pressure at all. That was reminiscent of my effort earlier today in the park with my son, which says it all really.

8.55am BST

TRY! Daly Cherry-Evans scores!

Sea Eagles 10-0 Panthers – 23 mins: Oh, a lovely move from the Sea Eagles, involving a number of players but most notably Kelly, ends with the supporting DCE tearing through for the try! Wright’s kick is good and the hosts are out to a 10-point lead.

DCE is in!

Kelly heavily involved again.#NRLManlyPanthers#NRL

8.52am BST

Sea Eagles 4-0 Panthers – 18 mins: Uh-oh, here’s an early talking point. And by “talking point” I mean questionable refereeing decision. DCE’s pass is adjudged to have gone forward and Walker won’t go any further.

8.49am BST

Sea Eagles 4-0 Panthers – 17 mins: Manly’s pressure is creating Panther errors; here Dean Whare knocks on as he slides to gather a bouncing ball.

8.45am BST

Sea Eagles 4-0 Panthers – 14 mins: That’s a good take from Watene-Zelezniak though, as he claims a high ball cleanly despite pressure from their onrushing hosts.

8.44am BST

Sea Eagles 4-0 Panthers – 11 mins: Manly are well up for this one. Their intensity has so far been, um, intense. And the Panthers haven’t really been able to match it.

The @SeaEagles defence is muscling up!#NRLManlyPanthers#NRL

8.41am BST

Sea Eagles 4-0 Panthers – 8 mins: Matthew Wright missed the conversion by the way, and it’s just the four points for the hosts.

8.40am BST

TRY! Brian Kelly scores!

Sea Eagles 4-0 Panthers – 8 mins: Manly are on the board! It’s a flowing passing move from the hosts, culminating in Trbojevic dishing out a quick pass to the marauding Kelly who has jets in his heels and speeds through to touch down!

8.38am BST

Sea Eagles 0-0 Panthers – 6 mins: Matt Moylan is down there on the sidelines, on the same day that Panthers chief executive Brian Fletcher told News Corp there was a 50-50 chance he won’t be at the club next season.

8.36am BST

Sea Eagles 0-0 Panthers – 3 mins: The retiring Brett Stewart farewelled Sea Eagles fans before kick-off. Here he is paying homage to the Brookie faithful.

8.33am BST

Sea Eagles 0-0 Panthers – 2 mins: Penrith are trying to channel the spirit of Real Madrid by sporting some natty white shorts tonight. Not sure how I feel about them.

Here come the @PenrithPanthers!#NRLManlyPanthers#NRL

8.31am BST

Underway at Lottoland!

Sea Eagles 0-0 Panthers – 1 min: Actually, we’re not. A false start sees to that. But after a brief delay, Manly’s Wright boots the ball into the evening sky and we are indeed off!

8.29am BST

NRL: We’re approaching kick-off time at Lottoland. It’s all set to be a cracker. Here are some numbers to crunch before we get underway:

8.21am BST

Formula One: “Ricciardo’s upbeat attitude is more than just that of a typically good-humoured Aussie. He has learned to deal with disappointment and emerge the better man for it.” Great read from Giles Richards here, on Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo, ahead of this weekend’s Italian GP:

Related: Daniel Ricciardo: I look at Seb or Lewis and think: ‘If only I had your car’

8.15am BST

Tennis: “I’d play on a parking lot.” That’s Maria Sharapova’s response to Caroline Wozniacki’s criticism of US Open organisers for giving the Russian centre court billing on her return to grand slam tennis after a doping ban. “With regards to scheduling, as you know, I don’t make the schedule,” said Sharapova after beating American teenager Sofia Kenin 7-5, 6-2 to reach the fourth round. “I’m a pretty big competitor. If you put me out in the parking lot of Queens in New York City, I’m happy to play there. That’s not what matters to me. All that matters to me is I’m in the fourth round. Yeah, I’m not sure where she is.” (From Reuters)

8.05am BST

NRL: OK then, up next is Manly v Penrith. They head into the game level on 30 points, with the Panthers in sixth and the Sea Eagles in eighth. To end the season in the top eight, here’s what each has to do:

7.55am BST

NRL: Jarryd Hayne is copping heat for those two kicks. Surprisingly.

I cant imagine that Hayne will get any social media backlash due to those two mistakes.. #NRLRoostersTitans

Well done to the Titans doubt you made the right choice between Hayne and Henry #NRLRoostersTitans

Hayne should wear his game kit to Mad Monday & fancy dress as a first grader. #NRLRoostersTitans

7.47am BST

Roosters 20-16 Titans – 80 mins: Another shonky kick from Hayne, and this is game over now. Gordon lines up right in front of the posts, and as the siren sounds, he ices victory with a penalty goal!

Well, that was hardly classic Roosters, but a win is a win and they secure that all important second place, which means they don’t have to travel to Brisbane next week – or face a partisan Suncorp Stadium crowd. They were far from convincing though, and that will be of concern heading into the finals. For the Titans, you have to take your hat off to them, that was a stirring display and they may count themselves unlucky to leave Sydney with nothing for their efforts. So it’s back to the Goldie for the Titans, where they can enjoy Mad Monday and their holidays in a presumably mature and non-controversial manner.

7.43am BST

Roosters 18-16 Titans – 78 mins: What a breathless finish to this game! There’s still time for one more twist though. Hayne kicks off, kicking nearly parallel to the halfway line, but it doesn’t make 40m.

7.42am BST

TRY! Boyd Cordner scores!

Roosters 18-16 Titans – 76 mins: There it is! Cordner barges over after Pearce finds him at close quarters! The pressure tells, and the crowd go nuts. They’ve been willing the ball over that line. Now this kick is key – and it’s a relatively easy one. Gordon nails it! And it’s the Roosters to lose now!

7.39am BST

Roosters 12-16 Titans – 74 mins: The Titans concede a penalty 35m out and Pearce finds touch. What can they do here now?

7.38am BST

Roosters 12-16 Titans – 72 mins: Eight minutes remaining for the Roosters to find something from somewhere and dig themselves out of this hole, and secure home ground advantage in the finals. It’s getting to squeaky-bum time.

7.36am BST

TRY! Michael Gordon scores!

Roosters 12-16 Titans – 70 mins: This isn’t over yet! This try’s all about Joseph Manu, who leaps like a salmon to pluck Keary’s kick out of the air before somehow offloading to the overlapping Gordon! The kick is good – juuuuust – and we have a ball game, as the Americans like to say.

7.32am BST

Roosters 6-16 Titans – 67 mins: Mitchell is held up near the Titans’ line, and they come away with a penalty! They’re full of confidence at the moment, the visitors.

7.28am BST

Roosters 6-16 Titans – 65 mins: The Roosters look dangerous here as Keary throws it to Gordon, who in turn looks for Ferguson, but his pass is far too heavy and it goes straight out of play. Disappointing from the Chooks, but pretty much reflective of their performance today.

7.26am BST

Roosters 6-16 Titans – 63 mins: “An absolute abomination” is the commentator’s verdict as the Titans conspire to knock-on from the kick-off. That could be just what the Roosters needed.

7.24am BST

TRY! Kevin Proctor scores!

Roosters 6-16 Titans – 60 mins: Taylor shows his smarts on the ball as he dinks a kick through for Proctor to pounce on! Amazing stuff from the Titans, who are not in a strong position to cause a real upset now! Taylor boots the extras and they’re 10 up with 20 minutes remaining.

7.22am BST

Roosters 6-10 Titans – 59 mins: Let’s hope the youngster Nakubuwai is OK. That really was a sickening hit.

7.20am BST

Roosters 6-10 Titans – 59 mins: Oh dear, it all kicks off after Ben Nakubuwai is hit hard by the shoulder of Zane Tetevano. Nakubuwai’s out, sparko, on the floor, and that’s worrying. But clearly not for those on the pitch who throw their handbags around with scant regard for the prone player. Not nice scenes. Nakubuwai is taken off on the medicab as boos ring out and Tetevano is put on report.

7.15am BST

Roosters 6-10 Titans – 56 mins: We have an atmosphere at Allianz now. Nothing quite like an aggrieved supporter to create buzz is a sporting arena. And that dissatisfaction with the officials ramps up as their team is called for another forward pass. Sloppy by the Roosters.

7.09am BST

Roosters 6-10 Titans – 50 mins: A roar goes up from the home crowd as Connor Watson strips Hayne of the ball, but they’re soon baying for blood as it’s deemed illegal. Penalty against him and those wearing tricolours in the stands are not happy.

7.05am BST

Roosters 6-10 Titans – 46 mins: Is there an upset on the cards here? Mitchell Pearce said he wanted better from his team on his way into the sheds, but that’s the worst possible start after the restart. I guess we’ll see what the Roosters are made of now.

7.03am BST

TRY! Anthony Don scores!

Roosters 6-10 Titans – 44 mins: Don, The Don, intercepts nearly on his own goal line and runs the entire length of the pitch to touch down under the posts! Cracking stuff from the Titans player and once Ashley Taylor has hoiked through the posts, the visitors lead for the first time this afternoon!

Don > Winx? #NRLRoostersTitans #NRL

6.59am BST

Second half underway at Allianz

Roosters 6-4 Titans – 41 mins: Here we go again. Can the Roosters sort their act out this half and go on to secure victory and second place? We’ll know in about 40 minutes.

6.54am BST

Horse racing: And she’s done it! Winx makes it 19 in a row! Was there ever any doubt? Well, perhaps – she still six lengths behind with 200m remaining and had to dig deep to overhaul Red Excitement over the last 100m. “I could see what was happening. At the top of the straight I was really worried. What she did today is just incredible.”

Winx has won her 19th race in a row. #Winx #7News

6.52am BST

Horse racing: Just down the road from Allianz, at Royal Randwick, super-horse Winx is about to go for her 19th straight win, in the Chelmsford Stakes. We’ll bring you the result of that race as soon as we have it.

6.45am BST

Half-time: Roosters up by two at the break

Roosters 6-4 Titans – 40 mins: It’s all getting a bit scrappy as we head towards the end of the first half, but there won’t be any more score as the siren sounds and the players head into the sheds.

6.40am BST

Roosters 6-4 Titans – 35 mins: The graphic on the telly tells us that Jake Friend is again leading tackles today. And I’ll supplement that with another stat: the Roosters have won 10 games by six points or less this year – the most in the club’s history.

6.37am BST

Roosters 6-4 Titans – 33 mins: Cordner bursts onto a Pearce pass and races through under the posts, to the delight of the crowd, but wait, it’s called a forward pass from the touchline and the try is disallowed!

6.34am BST

Roosters 6-4 Titans – 30 mins: Half an hour gone and it’s closer on the scoreboard than form and ladder position would have suggested pre-game. The Roosters are yet to get into gear.

6.32am BST

Roosters 6-4 Titans – 27 mins: A flurry of action now as Greenwood strains every sinew in his body to get across the line but a posse of five red, white and blue shirts swoop on him and manage to repel him. Then Friend bursts clear for the Chooks, before being hauled down. He plays it quickly and the Roosters look dangerous momentarily. Nothing doing this time though.

6.29am BST

Roosters 6-4 Titans – 25 mins: The Roosters are winning the tackle count so far – 114 to the Titans’ 76. A high bomb is fumbled by Don, under pressure from Mitchell, and Keary darts through to pick up the ball and touch down. But it won’t count – Mitchell is pulled up contact in the air, correctly so.

6.25am BST

TRY! Leivaha Pulu scores!

Roosters 6-4 Titans – 22 mins: And the pressure does indeed tell as Hayne delivers the telling pass to Pulu, who barrels his way over the line! Taylor’s kick from the touchline… hits the post!

Hayne to Pulu!

The @GCTitans hit back. #NRLRoostersTitans #NRL

6.23am BST

Roosters 6-0 Titans – 20 mins: The Titans inch towards the try-line but each time the Roosters’ defence holds firm. For now.

6.19am BST

Roosters 6-0 Titans – 16 mins: There are those who will say that’s what the Bunker is for, but there are also those who will say “how on earth did Ben Cummins see that as a try in the first place?”. I have no answer to the second poser.

6.17am BST

Roosters 6-0 Titans – 15 mins: Ooh! Close to a second for the Chooks. Oh hang on, the ref’s given it! He’s got a try! Ferguson leaps over Hayne and appears to knock the ball on before it’s touched down. At least that’s how it initially appeared. And yes, the replays show that to be the case and the “try” is chalked off.

6.14am BST

Roosters 6-0 Titans – 13 mins: Keary heads off on a weaving run but his eventual pass is not caught cleanly by Mitchell and the move breaks down. Dangerman Keary’s looking good so far.

6.12am BST

Roosters 6-0 Titans – 11 mins: Plenty of empty seats at Allianz today. Matt Cleary wrote well on the challenges facing the NRL with regards to dwindling attendances earlier this week:

Related: ‘A lonely sea of blue seats’: why ANZ stadium is nobody’s home ground

6.10am BST

TRY! Latrell Mitchell scores!

Roosters 6-0 Titans – 8 mins: that little period of increased pressure from the Chooks pays off as Mitchell gets on the end of a Luke Keary grubber to get the hosts on the scoreboard! The kick by Michael Gordon is good and we’re up and running at Allianz.

6.07am BST

Roosters 0-0 Titans – 6 mins: The Chooks now go on the front foot for the first time this match, but that man Hayne is there to scoop up a grubber kick through. He slips though and there’ll be a drop out. The Titans take it short, and it works out well for them!

6.05am BST

Roosters 0-0 Titans – 4 mins: A little poke of the toe by Hayne into the Roosters’ in-goal is nearly pounced upon by Zillman, but no dice this time for the Titans, who have started pretty well.

6.03am BST

Roosters 0-0 Titans – 2 mins: Having said what a beautiful sunny day it was earlier, the stadium is now under cloud cover. Weather updates aren’t my forte, what can I say?

6.01am BST

Underway at Allianz Stadium!

Roosters 0-0 Titans – 1 min: The Roosters are missing Dylan Napa and Aiden Guerra, both rested with an extended run into the finals envisaged, but still there’s an air of inevitability to this one, such has been the Titans’ woeful season.

5.59am BST

NRL: OK, over to Allianz, which I can tell you (because I’ve just been past there on a bus) is bathed in sunshine on the most glorious of spring Sydney days. It’s so gorgeous out there, it almost makes one wish to be down at the beach and not stuck in an office liveblogging NRL games. Almost, I said. Anyway, it’s that commentators’ cliche, “the perfect day for rugby league” and we’re just about ready to go.

5.54am BST

Cricket: Of course, the second Test against Bangladesh is supposed to be starting on Monday in Chittagong, but there could be a snag – the rain. It’s forecast to tip it down (who decided to tour Bangladesh in monsoon season, anyway?) next week, meaning Steve Smith’s side might not get a chance to tie the series 1-1. Then again, what’s worse: a washout or a whitewash?

5.51am BST

Tennis: Before we turn to the NRL, a quick update on the tennis over in NYC, where Ash Barty’s US Open campaign is over after she went down to Sloane Stephens in the third round in a rare error-strewn performance. Her exit leaves just John Millman to fly the Australian flag at Flushing Meadows. Millman remains on course to meet Roger Federer – he plays German Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday morning and if Federer can see off Feliciano Lopez, the pair will meet in the last 16.

5.49am BST

Hello and welcome one and all to a particularly NRL-heavy edition of sportwatch. With the AFL taking its customary pre-finals break, focus can fall on the great game of rugby league and the last round of the regular season. There’s still plenty of intrigue left – they don’t bill it as “Super Saturday” for nothing – with the final composition of the top eight to be determined.

First up in a beautifully sunny Sydney are the Roosters against the Titans at Allianz Stadium with the Chooks looking for the win that will take them back into second – and ensure they can play at home all the way to the grand final.

2.29am BST

Mike will be here shortly. Since we’re in NRL mode, take the time to find out how Benny Barba fared on his Super League debut overnight in the UK:

Related: St Helens’ Ben Barba overshadowed by Wigan’s superb Sean O’Loughlin

Continue reading…

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Aug 27

‘A lonely sea of blue seats’: why ANZ stadium is nobody’s home ground

The choice by the Dragons to host the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium is driven by money over sentimentality, and poses a risk for the do-or-die encounter

The PR man from ANZ Stadium was not happy. In a piece about an obstacle course race that ran through the bowels of the Olympic Park precinct (like those Tough Mudder endurance ones, just without the fire) I’d opined that ANZ Stadium has a “huge, ‘Soviet’ feel”, adding that: “It’s a long way from anywhere, the beer comes in plastic cups and big events are policed by dull goons in bright yellow bibs.” I did go on to pump the ground’s tyres by talking of “Cathy Freeman’s hot lap, John Aliosi’s golden penalty goal, and Billy Idol sitting mute aboard a flaming hovercraft shouting ‘We want some power!’ as the entertainment for the 2002 NRL grand final fell flat.” But it was the “Soviet” thing that clanged with the man from ANZ. And so he chopped out an email that said it was “ridiculous” to describe the precinct thus and that a “young journalist” (I’m 47) would surely benefit from a guided tour of the stadium and thus, presumably, become infused with the history and ghosts of “Australia’s home ground”, and go on to write nice things about it.

Related: Eagles and Bombers surge into finals, Dragons keep season alive and more: sportwatch – as it happened

Related: Canterbury Bulldogs’ upset of Manly fails to mask club’s listless NRL season | Matt Cleary

Continue reading…

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Aug 27

Eagles and Bombers surge into finals, Dragons keep season alive and more: sportwatch – as it happened

10.45am BST


What an incredible round of AFL, and what a game to finish off the 2017 season. Like the rest of what has come to date, it was unpredictable, exciting, and somewhat baffling. Hard to believe the Dees dropped that game against the Pies to put themselves in the position they were, but I’m sure any Demons fan would tell you that it’s very typically Melbourne. Similarly somewhat difficult to believe the Eagles toppled the Crows by the margin they needed – given how dominant the Crows have been and how inconsistent the Eagles have been. Nonetheless, they had the ‘Subi’ crowd (and sun) behind them, and their poached finals heroes (Mitchell, Jetta) willed them across the line.

10.26am BST

What a fitting end to their time at Domain Stadium/Subiaco. The Eagles have pulled off an incredible heist, knocking the Demons out of the finals at the last possible moment. The margin in the end was 29 points, just enough to propel them into a finals campaign. Their retiring heroes – Sam Mitchell and Matt Priddis – are thrilled. Mitchell in particular played an incredible game – he had 34 disposals, 13 contested possessions, four clearances and seven marks. Gaff likewise had 32 possessions, 11 contested, five marks, three clearances and three tackles. Cripps kicked three goals, while LeCras kicked two.

For the Crows, Matt Crouch had a huge 45 disposals, with 13 contested possessions, four clearances, five inside 50s and 7 tackles. His brother Brad also had 43 – 15 contested possessions, 10 clearances and 6 tackles. Not to be outdone, Rory Sloane also had 38 disposals – with 23 contested possessions, 14 clearances and 9 tackles.

10.19am BST

AFL Q4 00:29 remaining West Coast 15.10 (100) v Adelaide 10.11 (71)

Eagles will make finals! It’s all over for the Melbourne Demons. What a disappointing end to the season for their club and fans.

10.18am BST

AFL Q4 00:57 remaining West Coast 15.10 (100) v Adelaide 10.11 (71)

I’m calling it for the Eagles – but the Crows have to the ball back with just over a minute to go. They need two goals to put the Demons back in it.

10.15am BST

AFL Q4 03:31 remaining West Coast 15.10 (100) v Adelaide 10.11 (71)

Plenty of people holding their breath – and Laird does the Eagles a favour by booting the ball out on the full.

Jetta bursts through and reinstates the Eagles in the eight! #AFLEaglesCrows

10.13am BST

AFL Q4 04:48 remaining West Coast 14.10 (94) v Adelaide 10.11 (71)

Melbourne are .1% percentage above the Eagles – and the crowd is stunned. But Jetta produces some magic and goals!! What a game. Eagles technically in the eight again.

10.11am BST

AFL Q4 05:28 remaining West Coast 13.10 (88) v Adelaide 10.11 (71)

Josh Kennedy has a golden opportunity to kick a goal but he’s repelled by a brilliant tackle – and misses. Meanwhile the Crows swarm back down the middle to Eddie Betts who finds Charlie Cameron – and he goals to put MELBOURNE back into the eight!

10.09am BST

AFL Q4 06:50 remaining West Coast 13.9 (87) v Adelaide 9.11 (65)

Dom Sheed blasts the ball long into the 50 – but it’s short, and Barrass repels Brad Crouch’s clearing attempt with a point. Barrass is back in it again, taking a contested grab outside 50 to bomb the Eagles back towards their goal.

10.06am BST

AFL Q4 09:07 remaining West Coast 13.8 (86) v Adelaide 9.11 (65)

Here come the Crows through the middle – McKay to Seedsman for a brilliant goal! Plenty of wasted opportunities for the Eagles this quarter – will they be left to rue them?

10.04am BST

AFL Q4 10:02 remaining West Coast 13.8 (86) v Adelaide 8.11 (59)

Desperate, finals-like football, and Charlie Cameron takes on Lewis Jetta in a sprint – but can’t evade him. Jetta forces his kick out on the full, and the Eagles take it back. Those with finals experience (Jetta and Mitchell) are really stepping up.

10.02am BST

AFL Q4 12:20 remaining West Coast 13.7 (85) v Adelaide 8.11 (59)

Jenkins drops a sure mark – and Brad Crouch shanks the snap on goal.

9.57am BST

AFL Q4 15:04 remaining West Coast 13.6 (84) v Adelaide 7.11 (53)

Last game at Domain Stadium (or Subi) and the Eagles fans are out in force to say farewell. The Eagles are also wearing commemorative guernseys, if you’re wondering why their jumpers look a little different than usual.

9.53am BST

AFL Q4 17:50 remaining West Coast 13.6 (84) v Adelaide 7.10 (52)

McGovern repels the Crows’ foray forward, and Lewis Jetta uses his pace to find Cripps in the 50 in space – but he’s caught by Richard Douglas. Douglas gets Cripps low around the ankles, and he wins a free. He hits the post.

9.45am BST

AFL three-quarter-time West Coast 13.5 (83) v Adelaide 7.10 (52)

The Eagles lead by 31 at three-quarter-time – which is enough for them to make the finals, and displace the Demons. Not totally convinced yet, but it’s hard to see them dropping below that margin from here. They’ve got the crowd behind them and have been the better team all game. Surely there’s enough incentive – it’ll be up to how much is in it for the Crows.

9.40am BST

AFL Q3 02:20 remaining West Coast 13.5 (83) v Adelaide 7.10 (52)

Confusion reigns as there’s a score review – even though Eddie Betts has a free 5m out. They wanted to check if Seedsman had kicked the goal anyway, but he hadn’t, which means the free goes to Betts. He makes no mistake.

9.35am BST

AFL Q3 04:20 remaining West Coast 13.5 (83) v Adelaide 6.8 (44)

Sam Mitchell has 26 disposals – 10 contested possessions, 6 marks, 4 clearances and 2 inside 50s. He’s exactly the player you need in this kind of situation – and that’s exactly why the Eagles recruited him. Gaff also has 24. Cripps has 3 goals, and 2 to LeCras.

9.33am BST

AFL Q3 05:29 remaining West Coast 13.5 (83) v Adelaide 6.5 (41)

Not sure there’s enough on the line here for the Crows to fire – not that that should be the case, but it seems that way. I’m reminded of the Dogs getting thumped in the final round of last year’s season – and we all know what happened after that. I felt the same way watching the Giants lose by so much to the Cats last night – I back both the Giants and the Crows in to bounce back. Not sure the Crows will win today though.

9.27am BST

AFL Q3 09:04 remaining West Coast 12.5 (77) v Adelaide 6.5 (41)

Free kick to the Eagles at the top of the square – to Petrie – and he goals (just). Signs are good for the Eagles – and very bad for the Dees.

9.23am BST

AFL Q3 11:54 remaining West Coast 11.5 (71) v Adelaide 6.5 (41)

Mark LeCras boots one for the Eagles and gets the crowd going. Elliot Yeo then picks out Kennedy in a one-on-one, and Hartigan gives away the free, which gifts Kennedy his first.

9.17am BST

AFL Q3 14:30 remaining West Coast 9.5 (59) v Adelaide 6.5 (41)

Matt Crouch kicks a brilliant goal off one step – and he has 30 disposals already. This game is poised for an epic finish – with the Eagles just behind the margin they need to make it into finals.

9.10am BST

The Tigers are finally back in the finals – and they’ve also managed to secure a double-chance, finishing third on the ladder. That sets them up for a qualifying final against Geelong – which arguably may need to move to the MCG from Simonds given the crowd that could turn up.

Dustin Martin dominated yet again – with 36 disposals and 2 goals, while Jacob Townsend kicked another five goals (that’s 11 in a fortnight for him). Nick Riewoldt was quiet in his final game, but did manage a single major.

8.59am BST

Penalty to Mansour awarded just before the siren – Widdop wouldn’t let him up – which gifts 40m to Penrith. Can the Panthers do it? They get all the way to the 20, but can’t make it further. That result ends Penrith’s seven-game winning streak. The Dragons’ season is still alive! They’ll now need to beat the Bulldogs next Sunday afternoon in a thrilling final round.

What a brilliant play that tackle and intercept was by Tariq Sims- could watch that over and over again.

8.53am BST

NRL H2 79:49 Penrith Panthers 14-16 St George Illawarra Dragons

Panthers are forced to take the ball out again after another fantastic Widdop kick – but Sims knocks the ball on to give the Panthers a remote chance.

8.52am BST

NRL H2 78:44 Penrith Panthers 14-16 St George Illawarra Dragons

Dragons seem to be milking the clock rather than attacking the line. Widdop kicks early and they force another dropout – smart play, but well executed by Nightingale who made the necessary tackle.

8.51am BST

NRL H2 76:40 Penrith Panthers 14-16 St George Illawarra Dragons

Zelezniak puts the ball down just in front of the goal-line – and it’s another six for the Dragons. Surely they seal it now. They can’t do it – but they do force a dropout.

8.48am BST

NRL H2 75:00 Penrith Panthers 14-16 St George Illawarra Dragons

Outstanding defence from the Dragons sees Harawira-Naera lose the ball – it looks like Lafai knocks the ball out on the tackle. In any event it’s a Dragons ball – and they race back down the ground. They make it to the halfway mark before Blake brings it back – but Cleary puts the ball down – ouch. That could be the game.

8.45am BST

NRL H2 72:04 Penrith Panthers 14-16 St George Illawarra Dragons

Sims can’t bring it back into play – he tries to pass it to Widdop, who drops it back onto Sims who luckily collects. It’s another dropout thanks to yet another brilliant Cleary kick. Here come the Panthers.

8.42am BST

NRL H2 70:00 Penrith Panthers 14-16 St George Illawarra Dragons

Beauty of an offload from Nightingale to Widdop, but McInness’ kick is a poor one – and the Panthers go again from inside their own 20. Brilliant kick from Cleary and it looks like Dufty is pulled over the line for a dropout – but it’s ruled a penalty against the Panthers (it looked like he landed before they came at him again). The home crowd, naturally, disagrees.

8.38am BST

NRL H2 65:26 Penrith Panthers 14-16 St George Illawarra Dragons

Great work by Dufty to take the Cleary kick inside and avoid another dropout. Mansour gives away a penalty on the third for taking the ball, and the Dragons start again from 30m. They make it all the way up the ground with a kick and Widdop tackle on Zelezniak just outside the uprights.

8.34am BST

NRL H2 62:13 Penrith Panthers 14-16 St George Illawarra Dragons

Mistake by MacDonald who loses the ball – and a knock-on is ruled against the winger. Looked like Fisher-Harris touched it, but unintentionally. Panthers with another run at it. They make it to 10m out and Cleary deftly kicks for another dropout. Great tackle by May.

8.31am BST

NRL H2 58:34 Penrith Panthers 14-16 St George Illawarra Dragons

Amazing try for the Dragons! Sims steals the ball after a massive tackle on Watene Zelezniak, who took the ball after the kick-off – and Sims runs 40m and over ahead of Mansour who couldn’t get near him. Incredible play. No conversion, but the Dragons retain a 2-point lead.

What a play! Sims with a sneaky strip from DWZ!#NRLPanthersDragons 14-16 after 58 minutes.#NRL

8.27am BST

NRL H2 55:29 Penrith Panthers 14-12 St George Illawarra Dragons

Penalty for the Panthers – lazy tackle by McInness catches Harawira-Naera high, and the Panthers go again from 40. The Cleary kick is an awkward one and hits the uprights – he chases his own ball and almost makes it over if not for a crunching tackle by Sims.

8.22am BST

NRL H2 50:00 Penrith Panthers 14-12 St George Illawarra Dragons

Mansour scores! Or does he? Possible obstruction with a collision between Zelezniak and MacDonald – on the replay it looks like MacDonald was already well beaten – I’m anticipating a try. The bunker agree, and it’s a try to Mansour. Cleary converts, and the Panthers are back in front.

8.19am BST

NRL H2 49:00 Penrith Panthers 8-12 St George Illawarra Dragons

No try to the Dragons – knock-on from Sims who tried to get out of the way of the pass to Mann on the outside. Panthers back with the ball and Mansour makes some good ground on the first.

8.16am BST

NRL H2 45:50 Penrith Panthers 8-12 St George Illawarra Dragons

Dylan Edwards with an ice-pack on his knee on the bench – he won’t return and the coaching staff are worried that this might be a long-term injury.

8.10am BST

AFL Q3 02:58 remaining Richmond 12.6 (78) v St Kilda 7.6 (48)

Josh Bruce lining up but can’t convert – that would’ve been three in a row for the Saints. Up the other end, Jack Riewoldt monsters a kick from 60m out and lifts his team – think they’re fine, the Tigers.

8.04am BST

AFL Q1 03:36 remaining West Coast 4.1 (25) v Adelaide 1.0 (6)

Looks like the Eagles mean business as they fight for their spot in the finals – they can make it if they win by around 20-25 points (in which case they leapfrog Melbourne). Cripps has 2, while Redden and Vardy have kicked a goal each for the Eagles. Betts has one for the Crows. Lever was off the ground and looking rather groggy, but is back on now.

7.58am BST

AFL Q3 10:08 remaining Richmond 11.5 (71) v St Kilda 6.4 (40)

Back at the MCG it looks like the Saints have made some ground on the Tigers, with a goal to Josh Bruce and a point to Jack Lonie. Have just realised that Dustin Martin’s 23 disposals in the first half was his own career-high. He’s up to 25 now – 10 contested possessions, 4 marks and 4 inside 50s.

7.55am BST

NRL half-time Penrith Panthers 8-12 St George Illawarra Dragons

Dylan Edwards looks to have hurt his knee after he chased a Cleary kick that again held up in the wind – which is blowing furiously here (with rain also threatening). He’s back on the right wing but is struggling badly. Dragons make some big gains through Widdop’s brilliant offload, and McCrone almost makes it over but for an incredible tackle by Watene Zelezniak. Panthers give away a penalty for not letting McCrone go, and they go again.

7.49am BST

NRL H1 35:44 Penrith Panthers 8-6 St George Illawarra Dragons

Fantastic take by Dufty after the Cleary kick held up in the air – but Mansour bumps McCrone as he gets to his feet and he knocks the ball on. Dragons fans will be furious. Panthers should score here – and they almost do through Cleary but he’s held up right on the line. On the fifth tackle Cleary kicks and tries to chase his own ball – and is blocked. Penalty gifts the Panthers the ball again – and they choose to take two. Cleary converts to put the Panthers in the lead.

7.45am BST

NRL H1 31:14 Penrith Panthers 6-6 St George Illawarra Dragons

Blake saves a dropout for the Panthers and takes one around the neck for his trouble. They force a penalty and restart from 40. Clearly shows it at 10, and the space opens up for Tyrone May on the final tackle. Great footwork by May who finds his way under the posts. Cleary converts!

May does it all himself! Gets the @PenrithPanthers on the board.#NRLPanthersDragons 6-6 after 30 minutes.#NRL

7.39am BST

NRL H1 25:33 Penrith Panthers 0-6 St George Illawarra Dragons

Poor play the ball and Cleary turns it over to blow another six for the Panthers. Ball back for the Dragons after the scrum.

7.38am BST

NRL H1 24:27 Penrith Panthers 0-6 St George Illawarra Dragons

Here’s the Peachey drag – what a game he’s having as he looks to fire up the Panthers. Mansour is leading the way with 87 run metres, while Dufty has 80 for the Dragons. Vaughan and Lafai have a line break each for the Dragons.

Peachey at it again!#NRLPanthersDragons #NRL

7.34am BST

NRL H1 20:34 Penrith Panthers 0-6 St George Illawarra Dragons

Another 6 for the Dragons after Widdop’s kick hit was ruled knocked forward by the Panthers’ defence. Peachey, however, saves the day for Penrith, literally dragging Kurt Mann (by the scruff) over the sideline.

7.30am BST

NRL H1 16:54 Penrith Panthers 0-6 St George Illawarra Dragons

Knock-on ruled against Waqa Blake, even though it looked like Widdop took the ball. Penrith blow a critical chance at a try.

7.29am BST

NRL H1 15:51 Penrith Panthers 0-6 St George Illawarra Dragons

Meanwhile, Josh Dugan is missing from today’s match after he was dropped for disciplinary reasons. Dugan was named in the Dragons’ 17 for the must-win match, but was withdrawn. Dugan ran into trouble as a youngster in Canberra, but has previously avoided disciplinary action while at the Dragons.However he hit the headlines earlier this year when he joined Blake Ferguson for a lengthy pub visit just five days before the State of Origin decider. The Blues centre has signed to move to Cronulla next year.

7.25am BST

NRL H1 12:14 Penrith Panthers 0-6 St George Illawarra Dragons

The Dragons break through for a try to Paul Vaughan, and a conversion follows to Gareth Widdop.

Vision of the @NRL_Dragons No Try Decision in the 5th minute of #NRLPanthersDragons.#NRL

7.07am BST

AFL Q2 12:48 remaining Richmond 8.3 (51) v St Kilda 1.2 (8)

Richmond dominating at the MCG in their quest for a top four finish. Townsend has followed up on his impressive form last week with another three goals to date. Grigg also has two, while Dustin Martin, Jack Riewoldt and Prestia have one each. Martin also has 16 disposals.

7.01am BST

CHERRY-EVANS! After kicking a field goal to force the Golden Point, he nails another with his left foot into a huge breeze, 20m out and Manly have won! They snatched that one from New Zealand to break Warriors’ hearts. The Sea Eagles had to win and they’ve done it against the odds.

Fusitua had two tries for the Warriors, and Ken Maumalo had 195 run metres, a line break and a try. The Trbojevic brothers had a try each for Manly, with Tom also running 167m for two line breaks. Jake had 43 tackles and a line break, while Koroisau had 60 tackles.

6.55am BST

NRL Golden Point 83:20 N.Z. Warriors 21-21 Manly Sea Eagles

Just checking in on the NRL and we’re up to Golden Point for the Warriors and Sea Eagles after Cherry-Evans managed a field goal in the 78th minute.

6.50am BST

That’s it – the Bombers are IN THE FINALS! After the year from hell they’ve made it to September – and the fans go wild. Jobe Watson fist pumps and looks appropriately thrilled. Well done the Dons. Quite a feat given their training situation after the 12-month bans. Well done also to the Dockers who gave them a fair fright in the final quarter.

Great games to Zach Merrett who kicked four goals and had 31 disposals (four clearances, four tackles, six contested possessions) and James Stewart who also kicked four and had a brilliant last quarter. Bellchambers was also a big contributor with 38 hitouts and ten marks to go with it.

6.40am BST

AFL Q4 02:34 remaining Essendon 16.11 (107) v Fremantle 14.7 (91)

Taberner takes a mark in plenty of space – he could’ve had a free man over the top but was too slow and must now convert the set shot. He misses badly. Reckon that’s it. Start celebrating, Bombers fans.

6.39am BST

AFL Q4 03:55 remaining Essendon 16.11 (107) v Fremantle 14.6 (90)

Man of the moment James Stewart takes another big grab, but can’t make the distance. Still, the Dockers need three goals in under four minutes now.

6.35am BST

AFL Q4 06:56 remaining Essendon 16.10 (106) v Fremantle 14.6 (90)

Some stunned silence here at Etihad. Clearance goes to the Dockers but Gleeson takes a saving mark. Down the other end Stewart kicks a massive, game-winning (potentially) goal – that’s four for him, and that was a big snap from 50m after a fend-off on Michael Johnson. Poor effort from Johnson, but a great finish to Stewart.

6.32am BST

AFL Q4 08:00 remaining Essendon 15.10 (100) v Fremantle 14.6 (90)

Cox again! Huge contested pack mark. This time he’s just 10m out straight in front. Should kick this. Should. He does.

6.31am BST

AFL Q4 09:01 remaining Essendon 15.10 (100) v Fremantle 13.6 (84)

Cox takes a juggling, running mark after a good pass from Lachie Neale. Can he get one back? It’s a tough kick on a sharp angle, and he kicks it out of bounds on the full. Bombers fans relieved.

6.29am BST

AFL Q4 09:59 remaining Essendon 15.10 (100) v Fremantle 13.6 (84)

Hocking goal! Some luck in that as the ball simply floated over the pack. Poor defensive effort from the Dockers. They might be safe.

6.28am BST

AFL Q4 10:22 remaining Essendon 14.10 (94) v Fremantle 13.6 (84)

Freo, way to go. They’re on. Bombers can’t find a way forward – except for Heppell who bombs it long and finds a defender. They were up by 38 points, the Bombers, and look nervous. Finally they get a man free in Begley, but he hits the post. Merrett gets in on the act and looks the man to seal it – but he misses too.

6.26am BST

AFL Q4 12:04 remaining Essendon 14.8 (92) v Fremantle 13.6 (84)

Freo had a chance to boot another but Brad Hill bombs it straight to Brendan Goddard. Poor choice. Still, Bombers look stagnant and unsure. Turnover in the middle releases Fyfe who finds Cox inside the 50 – he passes off to Ballantyne who kicks it. Just two kicks in it.

6.22am BST

AFL Q4 15:02 remaining Essendon 14.8 (92) v Fremantle 12.6 (78)

Loved Taberner’s game. Has taken seven marks for two goals. Meanwhile defender Sam Collins has a shot at goal and shanks it – but it falls into Crozier’s lap on an angle right in front of goal. He bananas it for a goal. Essendon fans might be getting nervy.

6.19am BST

AFL Q4 16:46 remaining Essendon 14.8 (92) v Fremantle 11.6 (72)

Some Bennell magic sees a torp go straight through the big sticks – out of a pack in and in plenty of traffic. The Dockers could’ve had another if Sheridan hadn’t let another Bennell kick go straight through his fingertips.

6.16am BST

AFL Q4 18:33 remaining Essendon 14.8 (92) v Fremantle 10.6 (66)

Are the Dockers still in it? Third goal from Taberner, set up by a good kick into space from Bennell. He’s warmed into this game.

6.15am BST

Mayweather v McGregor

In case you haven’t yet heard, Flloyd Mayweather has beaten Conor McGregor by technical knockout in round 10. Mayweather has announced his retirement.

6.13am BST


Don’t forget we’re live-blogging the whole of the Bangladesh v Australia test – including today’s Day One action here.

6.09am BST

AFL three-quarter-time Essendon 14.8 (92) v Fremantle 9.6 (60)

Begley takes another mark on the lead – liking the look of him, and reckon he’ll get a spot in the side next week (yes, I’m calling it). OK I’ve completely jinxed him/the Bombers because he’s kicked it on the outside of the boot and out on the full…

6.04am BST

AFL Q3 03:41 remaining Essendon 14.7 (91) v Fremantle 9.6 (60)

Dockers dropping their heads – even captain Fyfe. Ballantyne, however, gets a snap goal back against the momentum. Is there any life left in the Dockers? Promisingly for Freo fans, Bennell almost snaps a nice goal – but it misses narrowly to the right. Will be interesting to see what happens with him next season.

6.00am BST

AFL Q3 05:54 remaining Essendon 14.7 (91) v Fremantle 8.6 (52)

Fremantle look like they’re buckling, as David Myers lines up for yet another for the Dons. The kick is a beauty but hits the post. Not a worry for the Bombers, though, who get the ball back to late-inclusion Hocking, who adds one of his own.

5.57am BST

AFL Q3 08:03 remaining Essendon 13.6 (84) v Fremantle 8.6 (52)

Stewart! A dribble goal from near the behind post on the boundary – that’s three for him for the game. Has impressed in his first season at the Bombers. Ross Lyon looks decidedly unimpressed.

5.54am BST

AFL Q3 09:25 remaining Essendon 11.6 (72) v Fremantle 8.6 (52)

Zach Merrett kicks a lovely long goal from 60m out on the run -is taken down after the kick but it makes no difference. Would have been a down the ground free, but the ball sails through anyway. Two in the row to put the Bombers back out in some space.

5.52am BST

AFL Q3 09:43 remaining Essendon 10.6 (66) v Fremantle 8.6 (52)

Laverde should get one back for the Bombers against the tide. He converts. Sigh of relief from Bomber fans who had gone quiet. Freo have turned the clearances and stoppage numbers right around in this quarter.

5.50am BST

AFL Q3 11:45 remaining Essendon 9.6 (60) v Fremantle 8.6 (52)

Snap goal to Sheridan! Dockers right back in this after a Lachie Neale clearance and midfield-like run by big man Griffin. Dockers right back in it.

5.48am BST

AFL Q3 12:06 remaining Essendon 9.6 (60) v Fremantle 7.4 (46)

Uh oh, Taberner finds Bennell on the lead who tries to play on, slips, but is allowed to take his kick. He tries to centre it and misses Sheridan by a long way. Crucial turnover. Looks off the pace somewhat. Dockers do well however to get one back through Cox.

5.45am BST

AFL Q3 14:23 remaining Essendon 9.6 (60) v Fremantle 6.4 (40)

Excellent pass by Nat Fyfe to find Ballantyne on the lead in the 50. Has had a quite day and is getting plenty of boos, Ballantyne. He hits the post. Disappointing result for the Dockers who could reasonably be closer.

5.44am BST

AFL Q3 15:13 remaining Essendon 9.6 (60) v Fremantle 6.3 (39)

Snap goal to Stewart gives the Bombers some breathing space back. Nice lead-up by Begley sets up the goal, who passes off to Daniher – Stewart roves the spilt ball.

5.42am BST

AFL Q3 17:02 remaining Essendon 8.6 (54) v Fremantle 6.3 (39)

Fyfe kicks a brilliant snap goal out of the pack – while Merrett had a tackle on him. Made something out of nothing. Brilliant.

Zach Merrett = absolute gun. #AFLDonsFreo

5.39am BST

AFL Q3 18:40 remaining Essendon 8.6 (54) v Fremantle 5.3 (33)

Back on at Etihad. Luke Ryan pinged for holding the ball – he did well to chase down Joe Daniher but went to ground and made little attempt to get rid of it. Didn’t quite dive on it, possibly a little harsh, but he should have kept his feet. Ouch – Daniher hits the post from 15m out… has kicked 2.3 so far.

5.35am BST

NRL H1 28:43 N.Z. Warriors 4-8 Manly Sea Eagles

Manly choose to take the two – and Wright converts the Penalty Goal. Not sure about the choice to take the two – and on cue the Warriors run their own try over. Terrific take by winger David Fusitua – and one-handed put down in the wet. The Warriors can’t convert, however.

5.30am BST


Just checking what news has launched on Wires overnight, and it looks like Daria Gavrilova has won her maiden WTA tour title with a win over former Australian Open runner-up Dominika Cibulkova in the Connecticut Open final.

5.25am BST

NRL H1 19:30 N.Z. Warriors 0-6 Manly Sea Eagles

Just the one try in this game so far – to Jake Trbojevic after an inside ball from Blake Green in the 13th minute.

Inside ball from Green, Try time for Jake Trbojevic!#NRLWarriorsManly #NRL

5.20am BST

AFL half-time Essendon 8.5 (53) v Fremantle 5.3 (33)

Siren sounds, strong quarter from the Bombers after Freo looked to again press late. The Dockers didn’t play poorly – they just missed plenty of conversion opportunities.

5.15am BST

AFL Q2 02:10 remaining Essendon 8.5 (53) v Fremantle 5.3 (33)

Josh Begley, in just his second game, kicks a goal after a composed forward 50 entry from Parish. Well converted – looks a good kick at goal this man. He had a great debut last week for those who missed it. Biggest lead of the game.

5.10am BST

AFL Q2 05:03 remaining Essendon 7.3 (45) v Fremantle 5.3 (33)

Hayden Crozier misses for the Dockers – they’ve had plenty of chances and are in the contest – but haven’t converted their chances.

5.07am BST

AFL Q2 07:09 remaining Essendon 7.3 (45) v Fremantle 5.2 (32)

Taberner takes another contested grab – that’s 3 for the game – but hits the post. Has looked impressive.

5.04am BST

AFL Q2 09:20 remaining Essendon 7.4 (46) v Fremantle 5.1 (31)

Thanks to our readers below… going to repost whoaisme’s comment:

4.57am BST

AFL Q2 15:10 remaining Essendon 6.3 (39) v Fremantle 5.1 (31)

Brilliant team goal to the Dockers – nice, smooth run and carry by Weller ends in a crumbing goal to ruckman Griffin (off the hands of Kersten). Definitely looks like the Dockers have a license to go through the middle and attack today.

4.55am BST

AFL Q2 15:55 remaining Essendon 6.3 (39) v Fremantle 4.1 (25)

Nice big contested mark to Matt Taberner who will need to convert for the Dockers to get back in this. Almost identical start to the first quarter where the Bombers were quickly out of the blocks with the first three goals of the game – this time we’ve had two to Zach Merrett.

4.50am BST

AFL Q2 18:33 remaining Essendon 6.3 (39) v Fremantle 3.1 (19)

Merrett gets a snap goal on the run from the man of the day Jobe Watson. He’s had 10 disposals and 4 clearances Jobe, and 9 contested possessions.

4.44am BST

AFL quarter-time Essendon 4.3 (27) v Fremantle 3.1 (19)

Liked Bellchambers’ game so far – has 14 hitouts, and a few contested marks to go with 5 disposals. Looks the dominant ruckman.

4.39am BST

AFL 02:05 remaining Essendon 4.3 (27) v Fremantle 3.1 (19)

Quick disposal count – Goddard (10), Mundy (9) and Fyfe (8) leading the way. Goddard the loose man back. Fyfe has 3 clearances for the Dockers, and Lachie Neale is starting to accumulate after a slow start.

4.34am BST

AFL 05:07 remaining Essendon 4.3 (27) v Fremantle 2.1 (13)

Another free to Joe Daniher against Joel Hamling (another 50/50 call)… Ross Lyon looks unimpressed. I heard Lyon speak during the week, when he said he couldn’t promise an improved Fremantle effort, and that potentially helping West Coast reach finals was ‘no’ motivation – reckon he would love to win this though – he’s a competitive beast.

4.32am BST

AFL 05:46 remaining Essendon 3.3 (21) v Fremantle 2.1 (13)

Essendon fans have gone quiet – the Dockers look like the mean business after all.

4.29am BST

AFL 08:17 remaining Essendon 3.2 (20) v Fremantle 2.1 (13)

Nice snap goal by Sheridan – and the goal umpire gets bowled over by Gleeson to the groans of the crowd (they seemed genuinely concerned). He’s fine, but loses his cap.

4.25am BST

AFL 10:55 remaining Essendon 3.2 (20) v Fremantle 1.0 (6)

Free kick to Watson in the forward 50 – got one high from Hill. Great, bullocking attack on the ball from him. He fails to sense the occasion and misses.

4.21am BST

AFL 13:32 remaining Essendon 3.1 (19) v Fremantle 1.0 (6)

Finally something to cheer about for the Dockers – Fyfe gets a free inside 50 for a hold (via Goddard) and Freo hit back. There’s another player I love. Love his commitment, passion and professionalism – and committing to a club that’s having a rough time of it of late.

4.20am BST

AFL 14:42 remaining Essendon 3.0 (18) v Fremantle 0.0 (0)

Look, I’m not an Essendon person but I love Jobe Watson. I mean, really, remember when he wore a ‘Feminist’ cap? Yes I know I’m predictable, but that was pretty bloody awesome. Surely a first and perhaps (I hope not) a last?

Jobe Watson. #4 #Captain #BrownlowMedallist #Barista #Feminist #BackIn #DonTheSash

4.17am BST

AFL 16:19 remaining Essendon 3.0 (18) v Fremantle 0.0 (0)

Three goals to none for the Bombers – this one through Bellchambers. Heppell picked him out inside 50, and his body work was simply too good. Bit worried about the Dockers. Is this another 100+ point loss coming up? Jobe Watson with three clearances already.

4.14am BST

AFL 17:45 remaining Essendon 2.0 (12) v Fremantle 0.0 (0)

Jobe Watson brings the house down with his kick inside 50- and Stewart snaps a goal off the half-volley.

4.13am BST

AFL 18:03 remaining Essendon 1.0 (6) v Fremantle 0.0 (0)

McDonald-Tipungwuti kicks the first one for the Bombers. Good quick play by Zach Merrett. Fans packed to the rafters -99% Bombers. Hooker is a late out – not sure why yet – apparently some lower back tightness, Hocking is in for him.

4.11am BST

Mayweather v McGregor

If boxing’s your thing (it ain’t mine) don’t forget to follow our live blog of Floyd Mayweather v Conor McGregor.

4.06am BST

AFL Essendon v Fremantle

Plenty of these going around today for the retiring Jobe Watson. Apparently there’s around 10,000 masks in the crowd. He just admitted on television to feeling slightly ‘unsettled’ by it.

All set #cheerthechamps #AFLDonsFreo

4.05am BST

Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017

Just before we get into this game – The Black Ferns have just run out 41-32 winners over England in the Women’s World Cup 2017 final. The New Zealanders trailed by 12 points at one stage during a dominant first half for England, and were behind by seven at the break – but ran in 32 points in the second half. Prop Toka Natua had a hattrick for the Ferns – who had won the Cup four times in a row until England triumphed three years ago. This is their fourth time victorious against England in four World Cup finals.

4.01am BST

Hello everyone and welcome to this special Sunday edition of Australian Sportwatch. I’m Kate O’Halloran and I’m here early to cover the finals-defining clash between Essendon and Fremantle (1:10pm AEST at Etihad). AFL will take priority today given it’s the last day of the regular season, and we’ll be kept guessing until the final game of the round as to the final make-up of the eight. Don’t forget to stay in touch in comments below, or on Twitter, with the hashtag #sportwatch. You can also email me directly or tweet me @Kate_ohalloran.

Here are some quick permutations regarding today’s AFL results:

4.52am BST

Kate will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s how a compelling day of sport panned out yesterday:

Related: Collingwood v Melbourne, Sharks v Roosters, netball Quad Series and more: sportwatch – live!

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article:

Aug 26

Geelong thump GWS, Pies give Dees finals scare, Diamonds shine and more: sportwatch – as it happened

1.39pm BST


That’s all from me on a huge day of Australian sport – particularly in the AFL with finals spots, double-chances and home ground advantages on the line. Surely the most disappointing team of the day was Melbourne, whose finals spot is now on the line after their loss to a rejuvenated Magpies outfit (possibly desperate to save their coach). That gives some interest to the Adelaide v West Coast clash, as well as the Essendon v Fremantle game tomorrow, both of which should finalise the final eight. The Saints can also make it if they overcome Richmond and Essendon lose- while the Tigers will need to win to finish in the top four. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s action – which I’ll be covering for you tomorrow with another edition of Sportwatch. I’ll also keep an eye on the Coleman medal race – with Lance Franklin now 5 clear of Josh Kennedy with a massive bag of 10 today in an incredible individual performance.

1.23pm BST

Huge win by the Power over the Suns, which keeps their top-four hopes alive. They’ve now overtaken the Swans in fourth – but will need to wait on the result of the Richmond v St Kilda game to see if they have qualified for a second chance. If Richmond loses the Power will finish fourth, and play Adelaide in what would be an extra high-stakes Showdown. However, if Richmond win Port will finish fifth – and host an elimination final.

Sam Gray finished with a bag of six goals (a career-high for him) while Charlie Dixon also finished with four.

1.14pm BST

Just checking Wires for the wrap on the NRL – and it looks like the Sydney Roosters jumped to second on the ladder after a controversial, nail-biting, 16-14 win over Cronulla. With the scores locked heading to the final two minutes, Sharks skipper Paul Gallen gave away a penalty for holding onto Boyd Cordner too long and Michael Gordon booted the penalty conversion from 20 metres out, handing the visitors an invaluable win.

James Maloney and Mitchell Pearce both missed field goal attempts in a frantic closing stanza, which was marred by a series of controversial decisions. With nine minutes remaining, Luke Keary was sin-binned for a strip on Luke Lewis after a break. In the next set, the Sharks took advantage of their one-man advantage with Lewis steaming through the hole where the Roosters five-eighth usually defends to even up the scores.

1.03pm BST

Thumping, convincing win by the Cats who made the Giants look second-rate. I have no doubt the Giants will be back and out for revenge next week – potentially against the same team, on the same ground (I’m sure we’ll hear debate about Simonds all week). That’s eight times in 11 seasons that the Cats have finished top-two: unbelievable how they’ve been able to recruit and draft their way to so much sustained success. It defies equalising measures and is enviable. They looked ominous tonight, the Cats, and will hopefully also welcome back their skipper for the finals.

The result means the Adelaide Crows will finish minor premiers.

12.54pm BST

AFL Q4 00:40 Geelong Cats 15.13 (103) v GWS Giants 9.10 (59)

34 disposals to Menegola for the night and he kicks a third goal for the icing on the cake – huge game from him, might even take the 3 votes off Danger.

12.53pm BST

AFL Q4 01:37 Geelong Cats 14.13 (97) v GWS Giants 9.10 (59)

24 contested possessions to Danger – 24!! Menegola next best on 12. They’ve stationed Callan Ward on him but it’s a bit late.

12.44pm BST

AFL Q4 07:35 Geelong Cats 13.12 (90) v GWS Giants 9.10 (58)

Another consolation for the Giants – goal to Toby Greene after a score review – no conclusive evidence it was touched.

12.40pm BST

AFL Q4 10:16 Geelong Cats 13.12 (90) v GWS Giants 8.9 (51)

Third goal to Jeremy Cameron is a consolation for the Giants. Their players look frustrated – seeing some of that trademark peer-to-peer GWS aggression spilling over.

12.38pm BST

AFL Q4 11:15 Geelong Cats 13.12 (90) v GWS Giants 6.9 (45)

Reckon I agree with this sentiment. They’re openly laughing about it in the box but it’s genuinely infuriating.

If Ling can’t stop barracking during Geelong games – and he can’t – don’t have him commentating them #aflcatsgiants

12.36pm BST

AFL Q4 12:15 Geelong Cats 13.12 (90) v GWS Giants 6.9 (45)

Callan Ward up to 27 disposals for his team – he’s led the way with 9 contested possessions and 5 clearances.

12.29pm BST

AFL Q4 17:39 Geelong Cats 13.12 (90) v GWS Giants 6.7 (43)

Geelong will through a goal through sheer perseverance. It goes to Murdoch but Hawkins won at least a couple of contested possessions in the lead-up. Giants barely giving a yelp now.

12.21pm BST

AFL three-quarter-time Geelong Cats 12.11 (83) v GWS Giants 6.7 (43)

Six goals to one that quarter, and a 40 point lead to the Cats. Can’t see a way back for the Giants from here.

12.17pm BST

AFL Q3 02:06 remaining Geelong Cats 12.11 (83) v GWS Giants 6.7 (43)

Goal to Jeremy Cameron for a hold – ump missed the fact that he initiated the hold, but nevermind.

12.12pm BST

AFL Q3 04:32 remaining Geelong Cats 11.11 (77) v GWS Giants 5.7 (37)

In case anyone’s wondering why the umpires have worn blue every game this round – they’re raising money for OPSM charity OneSight – read about it here. I did wonder who chose blue for the Bulldogs v Hawks game.. anyway let’s not talk about that game.

12.09pm BST

AFL Q3 07:00 remaining Geelong Cats 10.11 (71) v GWS Giants 5.7 (37)

Speaking of the man, it’s a goal to Danger, who roves his own spoil off a pack and makes something out of nothing. Brilliant.

12.07pm BST

AFL Q3 08:52 remaining Geelong Cats 9.11 (65) v GWS Giants 5.7 (37)

Dangerfield up to a massive 18 contested possessions. Next best is Menegola on 9. Casual brag I am currently ranked 890th overall in Supercoach and he’s my captain. Go Danger.

12.00pm BST

AFL Q3 13:11 remaining Geelong Cats 9.9 (63) v GWS Giants 5.6 (36)

Two in a row to the Cats after a beautiful roving goal to Steve Motlop who finds space between four Giants’ defenders. The goal was set up by a big contested grab by Patrick Dangerfield from the kick-off. He had two bites of it and held them all off with his mythic core strength. Wonder if he’ll top the Brownlow after all…

11.55am BST

AFL Q3 15:59 remaining Geelong Cats 7.8 (50) v GWS Giants 5.6 (36)

For those wondering, at half-time the Power are leading 9.6 (60) v Gold Coast 2.1 (13). Margin and percentage will count come next week.

11.50am BST


Don’t forget the AFLW State of Origin is on next weekend – free entry at Etihad stadium next Saturday night.

11.41am BST

Heartbreak for the Wallabies with the All Blacks stealing victory with a last-gasp Beauden Barrett try. The Wallabies looked to have the win with a Kurtley Beale try with four minutes to go, putting Australia ahead 29-28. However Barrett’s response sealed the win for New Zealand – and consigned the Australians to their 15th consecutive Bledisloe loss.

Be sure to check out Paul Connolly’s blog as it happened.

11.35am BST

AFL half-time Geelong Cats 6.7 (43) v GWS Giants 5.6 (36)

“Selwood – did he duck the head”? I feel like I’ve heard that one before.

11.27am BST

AFL Q2 01:38 remaining Geelong Cats 6.5 (41) v GWS Giants 5.6 (36)

Corridor opens up for the Giants – Jeremy Cameron has Scully in all sorts of space in the 50, the delivery is poor but he has plenty of time, who finds Toby Greene (also in space) for a goal. Nice work by the Giants. Don’t think Chris Scott will be pleased with the Giants’ resurgence.

11.21am BST

AFL Q2 05:36 remaining Geelong Cats 6.5 (41) v GWS Giants 4.5 (29)

Just 13 points in it, even though the Cats have felt dominant on the face of it. Patton takes a lead-up mark from Josh Kelly – and they have a chance to come closer again. He misses a relatively easy one.

11.17am BST

AFL Q2 08:50 remaining Geelong Cats 6.5 (41) v GWS Giants 4.4 (28)

Buzza fumbles another contested mark and has another shot at goal – it’s out on the full. Dangerfield also had a shot on goal – but tried the don’t argue on Corr and was caught holding the ball. A rare mistake by him in a masterclass so far.

11.12am BST

AFL Q2 12:28 remaining Geelong Cats 6.5 (41) v GWS Giants 3.4 (22)

Outstanding tackle pressure from the Cats is forcing turnovers from the Giants in the middle. Dangerfield up to 12 contested possessions.

11.10am BST

AFL Q2 14:24 remaining Geelong Cats 6.5 (41) v GWS Giants 3.3 (21)

Tom Stewart is involved in a couple of plays – first narrowly missing after a Deledio lands a fingernail tackle to divert his running shot at goal. Next, he hits up Wylie Buzza in space in the forward 50, who converts. GWS will need to avoid letting the Cats get so much run and overlap.

11.04am BST

It looks like Melbourne Storm will wrap up the minor premiership after their huge win over the Rabbitohs. Given the Broncos suffered one of their worst defeats against Parramatta on Thursday night (with the Eels putting on 50 points) the Storm look in a class of their own. That’s 14 in a row against the Rabbitohs for Melbourne.

From Wires:

11.00am BST

AFL quarter-time Geelong Cats 5.3 (33) v GWS Giants 3.1 (19)

Ouch. Toby Greene gets a knee in the ribs and looks in plenty of pain as he limps slowly back to his feet. The Giants pepper the 50, but Dangerfield is taken high and fittingly ends with the ball as the siren sounds. Dangerfield has a huge 13 disposals, eight contested possessions and give clearances. That’s rivaled by Cal Ward who also has 13 (give contested possessions, two clearances) and is leading the way for the Giants.

10.53am BST

AFL 01:45 remaining Geelong Cats 5.3 (33) v GWS Giants 3.1 (19)

Steve Johnson finally touches it – and gets some ire from the crowd – but that’s nothing on what’s reserved for Toby Greene who lines up for goal on a sharp angle 45m out. He misses by a long way.

10.49am BST

AFL 04:58 remaining Geelong Cats 5.3 (33) v GWS Giants 3.0 (18)

Brett Deledio bombs a long one for the Giants who needed a goal. Mumford, Johnson and Hopper haven’t touched it, while Josh Kelly only has the single possession.

10.45am BST

AFL 06:40 remaining Geelong Cats 4.3 (27) v GWS Giants 2.0 (12)

Another mark to Hawkins on the lead – who kicks his first. He’s leading up to the ball – even on the wing. Reminds me of his breakout game up the ground against the Blues. He’s on fire – as are his teammates. Menegola (8), Dangerfield (8) and Duncan (7) look dangerous.

10.40am BST

AFL 10:10 remaining Geelong Cats 3.3 (21) v GWS Giants 2.0 (12)

Hawkins finding plenty of space on Davis – has had three lead-up marks already. Giants again fail on the transition out of the forward line – with an intercept mark to Menegola, who nails the set shot from 45m out. Cats are on song.

10.36am BST

AFL 12:53 remaining Geelong Cats 2.2 (14) v GWS Giants 2.0 (12)

Steve Johnson is his usual rampaging self and almost gives away 50m – much to the delight of the home crowd. Duncan takes the advantage and hits up Tom Hawkins. Duncan and Dangerfield on 5 touches each. He can’t convert.

10.33am BST

AFL 15:15 remaining Geelong Cats 2.0 (12) v GWS Giants 2.0 (12)

Nice snap goal to Scott Selwood after some great forward pressure from the Cats turns it over. Liked the Tom Hawkins fend-off on Phil Davis.

10.32am BST

AFL 16:03 remaining Geelong Cats 1.0 (6) v GWS Giants 2.0 (12)

There’s a finals footy-like intensity to this game, as there should be! The villain Toby Greene runs into 50 to the boos of the crowd and boots the second goal of the night for the Giants. Bad turnover from Tom Hawkins in the middle caused that goal.

10.30am BST

AFL 17:17 remaining Geelong Cats 1.0 (6) v GWS Giants 1.0 (6)

Huuuge goal from outside 50 to Mitch Duncan. That gets the crowd fired up. A goal apiece.

10.27am BST

AFL 19:00 remaining Geelong Cats 0.0 (0) v GWS Giants 1.0 (6)

Captain courageous Callan Ward (they called him ‘cement head’ at the Dogs) out of the middle to Jon Patton who takes a strong mark on Harry Taylor. He kicks it to give the Giants the first of the game.

10.22am BST

It’s all over at the SCG with the Swans jumping into the top four – pending Richmond’s game against the Saints tomorrow. At risk of jinxing it (as readers have pointed out below!) I think the Tigers should be too strong, surely. Then again, I thought too much was on line for the Demons to lose, too… then again it’s the Demons, but then again they’re the Tigers, right?

Lance Buddy Franklin finished with 10.2 in an ominous sign for upcoming opponents. Captain Josh Kennedy chimed in with 30 disposals (18 contested possessions, 8 clearances, 6 tackles) to lead his side to what became a convincing and stirring win leading into finals.

10.10am BST

AFL Geelong Cats v GWS Giants

No late changes for this game – with Simonds looking mighty fine.

What a perfect backdrop for tonight’s high-stakes finals preview. #AFLCatsGiants

10.08am BST

AFL Q4 02:52 remaining Sydney Swans 21.11 (137) v Carlton Blues 8.8 (56)

The Swans are hitting some scary form on the eve of the finals. Lance Franklin has just kicked a monster TEN goals (his record) – he has 23 disposals and 9 marks, and now leads the Coleman medal on 69 (Josh Kennedy is on 64 and plays tomorrow – pretty impressive considering he missed five games).

10.02am BST

NRL H2 59:00 Melbourne Storm 54-0 South Sydney Rabbitohs

Things are getting even uglier for the Rabbitohs, with the Storm passing the half-century just after half-time.

9.53am BST


For those wondering, Nathan Buckley insists he doesn’t know whether he will coach Collingwood in 2018 and is holding onto hope his contract will be renewed. On Saturday, the Magpies finished their underwhelming season on a high – toppling Melbourne by 16 points to derail their finals aspirations. But Collingwood won’t be playing in September for the fourth-straight year, leaving Buckley’s tenure delicately poised.

9.48am BST

Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017

Loving this article on the rise of women’s rugby union in England – where the World Cup final between England’s Red Roses and New Zealand will be televised on Saturday night (English time). It is the first time the final, being played in Belfast’s Kingspan stadium, has won a primetime slot on Britain’s most popular commercial channel. About 1.1 million viewers tuned in for England’s 20-3 semi-final win over France on Tuesday night, and many more are expected to watch Saturday’s final. Across the channel, France 2 drew a record audience for a women’s rugby match, with 3.4 million watching that game.

9.42am BST


Just scouting out the latest sporting news coming through Wires in the lead-up to the Cats v Giants clash.

9.35am BST

AFL three-quarter-time Sydney Swans 13.10 (88) v Carlton 8.4 (52)

Sydney are well on their way to what would be an unbelievable rise to the top four (after starting the season 0-6 and being the only team to have made finals with such a poor opening record), with six goals between them and the Blues. The man who has won three Coleman medals (in 2014, for the Swans) and 2011 and 2008 (for the Hawks) looks hungry for another, with Lance Franklin on six goals at half-time. Zak Jones, meanwhile, has 20 possessions, but has limped off with an injury of some kind (more on that later). Kade Simpson (24 disposals, 10 contested possessions and 5 rebound 50s) is a shining light in a losing team.

9.27am BST

NRL half-time Melbourne Storm 36-0 South Sydney Rabbitohs

The Storm are dominating the Rabbitohs at AAMI Park, with the scoreline an incredible 36-0 at half-time. Sui Vunivalu was over for the home side within 2 minutes, with the Storm continuing on their merry way since then. Vunivalu added a second in the 28th minute and a third in the 39th thanks to a penalty try. He’s joined by teammates Munster (5th minute), Addo-Carr (33rd) and captain Smith (38th minute). Smith also has 5 from 5 conversions. Vunivalu has a massive 100 run metres for the game so far, second only to Billy Slater (103). Slater meanwhile has 3 line-breaks, as does Addo-Carr. For the visitors, Angus Crichton leads the resistance with 25 tackles.

Vision of the @storm Try decision in the 39th minute of #NRLStormSouths.#NRL

9.21am BST

AFL finals

What does the Collingwood defeat of Melbourne mean? If you barrack for West Coast (or the Dees), I’m sure you’re wondering. The Demons could miss out on finals if Essendon defeat Fremantle (likely) and the Eagles defeat Adelaide by 20-25 points (unlikely, in my opinion). The Dees can still finish 7th if both teams lose.

9.14am BST

Netball Quad Series

In case you missed the news earlier, the Diamonds surged to a 54-50 win over England in the Netball Quad series opener in Brisbane today, with captain Caitlin Bassett starring. Bassett shot 43 goals at 93% for the Australians to cap off a stellar year for her which has included her team Sunshine Coast Lightning’s Super Netball championship in their debut season this year. Bassett did not captain the Lightning – that mantle was held by defender Geva Mentor, who today lined up for the English on Bassett.

9.09am BST

Rugby Union All Blacks 0-12 Wallabies

Don’t forget that Paul Connolly is currently live-blogging all your Bledisloe Cup/Rugby Championship Test action. You can follow him here. The Wallabies are off to a shock lead of 12-0 after a try to Hooper and resultant conversion from Foley.

9.05am BST

Hi everyone and welcome to the evening shift of Sportwatch, I’m Kate O’Halloran and I’m here primarily to run you through tonight’s AFL blockbuster between Geelong and Greater Western Sydney. The clash has a critical bearing on the final four. If the Cats win, they will likely secure second spot in a qualifying final against this week’s opponents, the Giants. If the Giants win, on the other hand, they are guaranteed top-two, and may even be minor premiers (if the Crows lose). If the Crows win, they still manage a home qualifying final against the Cats. If the Giants lose, however, they may finish as low as fourth (depending on how much the Tigers can beat St Kilda by).

I know it’s a lot to get your head around. I’ll be back shortly with some other sporting updates in the lead-up to tonight’s game (7:25pm AEST).

8.57am BST

Thanks for your company this afternoon, Kate O’Halloran is now here to steer you through the rest of a huge night of sport.

8.53am BST

New Zealand 0-5 Australia

Wallop! Israel Folau scores an intercept try after 30 seconds!

Related: All Blacks v Wallabies: second Bledisloe Cup/Rugby Championship Test – live!

8.48am BST

Netball – QT – New Zealand 18-16 South Africa

South Africa haven’t allowed New Zealand to boss things in the first quarter of the second Quad Series match in Brisbane.

8.46am BST

NRL – 09:20 – Storm 12-0 Rabbitohs

We’re barely underway at AAMI Park and already the relentless minor premiers are coasting.

8.43am BST

AFL – HT Sydney 6.7 (43) v Carlton 5.1 (31)

Sydney’s supposed percentage booster against Carlton isn’t exactly going according to plan. After racing to an early lead the Blues have pegged the Swans back. Injuries to Sinclair and Tippett haven’t helped either.

8.34am BST

If you’re unable to resist the sporting clickbait that is Mayweather vs McGregor, there’s been some more stuff to gawp at.

Related: Screaming Conor McGregor ridicules Floyd Mayweather at Las Vegas weigh-in

8.28am BST

There’s a delay to the kick-off in Dunedin because the floodlights weren’t fully on at the start of the warm-ups. Really odd scenes with the All Blacks in their rooms all psyched up and ready to go while the Wallabies are going through set piece drills on the field.

Watching the Bledisloe on enemy territory. This sad square of gold is all that remains of the Wallabies fans. BYO paper bag with eyeholes.

8.25am BST

The race for the Coleman Medal is hotting up at the SCG with Lance Franklin in the mood for Sydney against Carlton. He has three midway through the second quarter to edge closer to Josh Kennedy who faces Adelaide tomorrow.

Coleman Medal Leaderboard

8.18am BST

While we’re catching our breath, take a look through Adam Collins’ preview of Australia’s Test series in Bangladesh which gets underway tomorrow afternoon.

Related: Australia look to avoid subcontinental misadventures against rising Bangladesh | Adam Collins

8.15am BST

QT: @sydneyswans 3.4 (22) leads @CarltonFC 1.0 (6).
The Swans missed some early chances. #AFLSwansBlues

8.12am BST

If rugby is your thing, head on over to Paul Connolly’s dedicated liveblog of Bledisloe II from Dunedin.

Related: All Blacks v Wallabies: second Bledisloe Cup/Rugby Championship Test – live!

8.10am BST

@JPHowcroft has the Shute Shield grand final already been mentioned in #sportwatch?

It has now – and the Warringah Rats have been crowned the kings of NSW rugby at a packed North Sydney Oval.

Real Rugby @ShuteShield well done take note @qantaswallabies @NSWRugby this is what the game is about

24k at Shute shield final

8.01am BST

Brisbane 11.13 (79) v North Melbourne 19.16 (130)

Ben Brown kicked seven goals as North Melbourne avoided the wooden spoon with victory over Brisbane at the Gabba.

7.56am BST

The Bulldogs claimed the four points in their dead rubber with the Titans despite a second half fightback from Gold Coast.

7.48am BST

Australia’s Diamonds have opened their Quad Series campaign with a win over England. The home side worked their way into a 10 goal lead at halftime but the visitors claimed the final two quarters to create a nervy finish in Brisbane. New captain Caitlin Bassett landed 43 of 46 shots to lead her country to victory.

7.37am BST

Netball – Q4 – Australia 48-42 England

7.34am BST

NRL – 66:21 – Titans 10-20 Bulldogs

7.32am BST

Over in Brisbane, North Melbourne have taken control of the match to determine who finishes bottom of the ladder. Ben Brown has six goals to his name to take him beyond 60 for the season and still in with a sniff of the Coleman Medal.

AFL – Q4 – 15:00 remaining. Brisbane 9.10 (64) v North Melbourne 15.12 (102)

7.22am BST

A roller coaster year with a happy conclusion. Feels damn good #sidebyside

7.21am BST

The full time stats #AFLPiesDees

7.21am BST

What a shocker for Melbourne. Finals destiny is no longer in their hands after failing to claw back a huge first-quarter deficit.

Collingwood deserve enormous credit for their commitment to the final match of another disappointing season for them. Time and again Melbourne flew at them but they remained resolute defensively and in Jamie Elliott in terrific form further forward there was always a potent attacking threat.

7.17am BST

Collingwood 14.15 (99) v Melbourne 12.11 (83)

7.14am BST

AFL Q4 01:18 remaining. Collingwood 14.15 (99) v Melbourne 12.10 (82)

More tremendous Collingwood defending frustrates Melbourne and Sidebottom’s work further afield settles the tempo again and allows the Pies to milk the clock with time running out for the Demons.

7.12am BST

AFL Q4 03:18 remaining. Collingwood 14.15 (99) v Melbourne 12.10 (82)

Collingwood have stationed an extra man behind the ball and it’s worked with Langdon, Howe and Moore completing a series of intercept marks to stymie any Melbourne momentum.

7.10am BST

AFL Q4 05:26 remaining. Collingwood 14.15 (99) v Melbourne 12.10 (82)

Goal to Collingwood! Melbourne’s hearts break again as Hoskin-Elliott kicks the Pies clear again. A neat passage of play slowed the tempo before a long centring ball should have been marked by the former Giant but he retains his composure and snaps through.

7.06am BST

AFL Q4 07:44 remaining. Collingwood 13.14 (92) v Melbourne 12.10 (82)

The crowd is into this now, there’s that fevered sound echoing around the MCG. And the players are feeding off it. It’s chaos out there with Melbourne throwing everything at Collingwood and the Pies somehow resisting.

7.03am BST

AFL Q4 09:56 remaining. Collingwood 13.12 (90) v Melbourne 12.10 (82)

Another for Melbourne! Pedersen this time!

7.00am BST

AFL Q4 11:56 remaining. Collingwood 13.11 (89) v Melbourne 11.10 (76)

Hannan kicks Melbourne straight back after a desperate passage of play. Collingwood’s commitment is admirable, forcing the Demons to play at breakneck speed and eventually they slip a chain of handballs into space and Hannan’s left boot.

6.57am BST

AFL Q4 13:56 remaining. Collingwood 13.11 (89) v Melbourne 9.10 (64)

The all important first goal of the final quarter goes to Collingwood. A hopeful punt to the top of the square sees a pack fly and the ball come to ground in the safe hands of Mason Cox. He makes no mistake to extend the margin to 25.

6.54am BST

AFL Q4 14:57 remaining. Collingwood 12.11 (83) v Melbourne 9.11 (65)

No goals yet this quarter. Melbourne are still being brave in possession, bordering on the reckless, but such is Collingwood’s pressure they need every trick in the book to fashion space.

6.51am BST

AFL Q4 17:26 remaining. Collingwood 12.11 (83) v Melbourne 9.10 (64)

Melbourne have again flown out of the blocks following an interval but this time Collingwood’s tackling and defensive organisation prevents an early goal. Petracca looks to be head to head with Treloar in an intriguing midfield battle.

6.47am BST

A quick whip around the grounds…

AFL – Q3 – 15:00 remaining. Brisbane 5.5 (35) v North Melbourne 8.10 (58)

6.44am BST

AFL 3QT Collingwood 12.10 (82) v Melbourne 9.10 (64)

It’s been a rollercoaster ride for Melbourne but somehow they’re still in this contest despite slipping as far as 41 points behind in that quarter. They’ve kicked the last four goals to keep the game alive and in Christian Petracca they have the game’s most influential force. Huge final term coming up.

6.39am BST

AFL Q3 01:56 remaining. Collingwood 12.10 (82) v Melbourne 9.10 (64)

Melbourne are throwing everything at this comeback, taking the game on at all costs, looking for the decisive disposal when safe ones are on offer, and it pays dividends with Petracca’s boot nailing the fourth goal in a row. Pedersen, who’s back on again after his injury scare was vital in the build up.

6.35am BST

AFL Q3 05:09 remaining. Collingwood 12.9 (81) v Melbourne 8.10 (58)

Another for Melbourne – three in a row! Melksham this time with a solid boot from 50m on the run to bring the Dees within four goals of a match they’ve been chasing since the opening bounce.

6.30am BST

AFL Q3 08:21 remaining. Collingwood 12.9 (81) v Melbourne 7.9 (51)

Two in quick succession for Melbourne and the comeback could be on again. Petracca was the architect, clearing the press with a piercing kick allowing Neal-Bullen to gallop into an open goal. The Dees taking risks in possession and they’re starting to come off.

6.28am BST

AFL Q3 09:37 remaining. Collingwood 12.9 (81) v Melbourne 6.9 (45)

The clock is ticking for Melbourne but the added pressure is only highlighting their flawed skills and decision making.

6.22am BST

AFL Q3 13:21 remaining. Collingwood 12.7 (79) v Melbourne 5.8 (38)

This is a nightmare for Melbourne and it’s showing no signs of ending any time soon. Another goal to Collingwood – Hoskin-Elliott this time – sends the lead to 41 points. The Dees without Jesse Hogan remember, nursing his hamstring on the pine.

6.18am BST

AFL Q3 16:02 remaining. Collingwood 11.6 (72) v Melbourne 5.8 (38)

Collingwood hit back straight away with the aid of the score review. Philips was awarded the goal after his excellent arcing set shot from the boundary looked to be touched on the line but replays showed it wasn’t deflected until it was behind the posts.

6.12am BST

AFL Q3 18:37 remaining. Collingwood 9.6 (60) v Melbourne 5.8 (38)

Melbourne again out of the blocks quickly as they try desperately to get back into the contest. Neal-Bullen with the first of the half, a lovely long set shot after excellent work from Hunt.

6.09am BST

Jeremy Howe – 30 Mark of Round noms since 2011, 11 more than any other player
13 round wins, 7 more than anyone#AFLPiesDees @CollingwoodFC

6.02am BST

Bad news for Melbourne.

Jesse Hogan has come off with a hamstring injury & won’t return to the ground today. We’ll bring you more details when we can.#AFLPiesDees

6.02am BST

Jamie Elliott is on #AFLPiesDees

6.00am BST

AFL Q2 11:00 remaining. Brisbane 5.2 (32) v North Melbourne 3.8 (26)

An even contest early on in the battle to avoid the wooden spoon at a sunny Gabba. Tom Rockliff has a couple of goals and Dayne Zorko is turning in another powerful display.

5.55am BST

AFL HT – Collingwood 9.6 (60) v Melbourne 4.8 (32)

After a disastrous opening term Melbourne looked to have restored order midway through the second quarter but a couple of fluffed opportunities in front of goal let Collingwood off the hook and they made the Demons pay with a flurry of late goals.

5.50am BST

AFL Q2 00:23 remaining. Collingwood 9.6 (60) v Melbourne 4.8 (32)

Take a bow Jamie Elliott! What a game he’s having. His third of three beauties is a right-footed snap while he’s heading towards the right forward pocket, wrapping his boot hard around his body to engineer force into the ball from a narrow angle. The Pies have checked the Demons and now they’re raising them again.

5.48am BST

AFL Q2 02:11 remaining. Collingwood 8.6 (54) v Melbourne 4.8 (32)

Collingwood have wrestled the game back into an even contest and their tackling pressure has once again forced Melbourne’s precision to go awry. Nathan Jones drops a chest mark on the 50m arc and from the resulting defensive clearance Tyson Goldsack almost scores a spectacular solo goal.

5.43am BST

AFL Q2 04:30 remaining. Collingwood 8.5 (53) v Melbourne 4.8 (32)

Another one for the Pies against the run of play. Taylor Adams bursting through a contest near Melbourne’s goal square to increase Simon Goodwin’s frustration.

Collingwood’s first quarters haven’t been a very good indicator for match outcome this year. #AFLPiesDees

5.39am BST

AFL Q2 06:40 remaining. Collingwood 7.5 (47) v Melbourne 4.7 (31)

Garlett restores the margin to 16 after more nice ball movement from Melbourne but he’s in a forward line temporarily without Hogan who’s down in the rooms.

5.38am BST

AFL Q2 07:00 remaining. Collingwood 7.5 (47) v Melbourne 3.7 (25)

Quality from Jamie Elliott. It’s taken 12 minutes for Collingwood to fashion an opportunity this quarter but Elliott makes it count. Terrific overhead in the pocket he runs around and snaps across his body to make Melbourne pay for their wastefulness.

5.36am BST

AFL Q2 08:44 remaining. Collingwood 6.5 (41) v Melbourne 3.7 (25)

After floating on top of the MCG in the opening quarter Collingwood are now wading through treacle, unable to gain any forward momentum. The blistering ball movement has been replaced by jittery safety-first options that serve only to invite more Melbourne pressure.

5.32am BST

AFL Q2 11:50 remaining. Collingwood 6.5 (41) v Melbourne 3.6 (24)

The questions are now all Collingwood’s to answer. After such a hot start are they able to resist Melbourne’s counterpunch?

5.27am BST

AFL Q2 16:14 remaining. Collingwood 6.5 (41) v Melbourne 3.3 (21)

Collingwood’s intensity around the ball is forcing Melbourne to second guess every disposal. Time after time the Dees look to be on their way only for a black and white guernsey to steam into view.

5.23am BST

AFL Q2 19:36 remaining. Collingwood 6.5 (41) v Melbourne 2.3 (15)

Melbourne begin the long slog back into this contest with a goal straight after the restart – Garlett with his first after some neat work from his midfield picking their way through Collingwood’s defence after winning the opening clearance.

5.18am BST

The stats at quarter time ⬇️#AFLPiesDees

5.18am BST

Howe does he do it!! #AFLPiesDees

5.17am BST

QT – Collingwood 6.5 (41) v Melbourne 1.3 (9)

Blimey, that got very very ugly very quickly for Melbourne. Neither side looked switched on early but once Collingwood seized the ascendancy they never looked like relinquishing it. Three enormous quarters for both coaches coming up.

5.13am BST

AFL Q1 01:56 remaining. Collingwood 6.5 (41) v Melbourne 1.3 (9)

Melbourne can’t get any forward momentum. Another stilted crawl out of defence is sharked and returned with interest. An open corridor is traversed with handballs until Broomhead dribbles through another. It’s like watching two matches simultaneously, one played at breakneck speed, the other in slow motion. Simon Goodwin has a lot of work to do at quarter time.

5.10am BST

AFL Q1 05:22 remaining. Collingwood 5.5 (35) v Melbourne 1.3 (9)

It’s still a horror show out there for Melbourne. Ineffective going forward, unable to handle Collingwood’s power in midfield and the balance of talls and smalls inside 50 is wreaking havoc. Sidebottom is the latest to profit, crumbing smartly to belt home his side’s fifth of the quarter.

“That’s goal of the year for mine. A Pie contested ball gets it into their 50, and Jones is harassed into a dump kick. Howe takes mark of the year, or thereabouts, takes on the man on the mark and handballs to a runner at advantage, who hits it long where Elliott goes 4th up and takes an almost as good mark… aka why footy is great! even though it’s not the 80s.”

5.04am BST

AFL Q1 07:37 remaining. Collingwood 4.3 (27) v Melbourne 1.2 (8)

Collingwood respond immediately courtesy of two thrilling marks, first from Jeremy Howe and then Jamie Elliott, the latter taking his just outside the goal square before nailing the set shot. Both grabs were spectacular, Howe’s in particular will be replayed often courtesy of the ride he took on Petracca’s shoulders.

5.02am BST

AFL Q1 09:22 remaining. Collingwood 3.3 (21) v Melbourne 1.2 (8)

Right on cue Melbourne carve their way through the corridor. Harmes to begin with, showing his speed and then Petracca with the sure finish. A much needed steadier.

5.01am BST

AFL Q1 10:00 remaining. Collingwood 3.3 (21) v Melbourne 0.2 (2)

Things going from bad to worse for the Demons. Jetta’s having to take risks to clear the ball out of defence but he’s playing a low-percentage game, missing targets and Collingwood are just pinning Melbourne in their own territory. The Pies nick a couple of behinds when more was on offer but the Dees are a long way off the pace and show no signs of making them pay for their profligacy.

4.57am BST

AFL Q1 12:15 remaining. Collingwood 3.0 (18) v Melbourne 0.2 (2)

Collingwood have stacked their forward line with Grundy and Goldsack occupying Melbourne’s tall defenders. In midfield they’re hunting in packs not allowing Melbourne any room to breathe.

4.53am BST

AFL Q1 14:55 remaining. Collingwood 2.0 (12) v Melbourne 0.1 (1)

It’s a scrappy spectacle out there at the moment with both sides intent on coughing up turnovers. Again Melbourne should score but their delivery inside 50 is poor, and again Collingwood rebound and hit the scoreboard, Josh Daicos striking his maiden career goal.

4.50am BST

AFL Q1 17:21 remaining. Collingwood 1.0 (6) v Melbourne 0.1 (1)

And the Pies make Melbourne pay, going coast to coast to allow Tom Philips to slot home the first major of the day.

4.49am BST

AFL Q1 18:01 remaining. Collingwood 0.0 (0) v Melbourne 0.1 (1)

Collingwood took the ball away from the first bounce to establish an opening minute of territorial advantage. Neither side seems particularly adept with ball in hand though with plenty of targets missed in a scrappy opening phase. Melbourne should open the scoring with six points but a Garlett snap can only bag a point.

4.45am BST

Here we go then at the MCG. Can Melbourne secure their spot in the finals? Will Nathan Buckley deliver a career-saving coaching performance?

It’s a cool dry day in Melbourne with a whisper of a breeze but nothing to bother the players.

One final word. Let’s do this, Melbourne.#RaiseHell

It’s time to swoop #sidebyside

4.41am BST

One of the storylines to emerge from today will be the fate of Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley. The Magpies board was recently presented with the findings of an internal review but the future of the beleagured coach remains unclear. Today may be Buckley’s 132nd and final match in charge of the club he represented 260 times as a player.

4.40am BST

Back to the task in hand and the first bounce at the MCG is not far away. There are no late changes to either side which means recalls for Jack Watts and Christian Salem for a strong looking Melbourne 22 while Tyson Goldsack and Brodie Grundy return to the Collingwood line-up which features debutant Kayle Kirby.

A special moment at the @MCG, as Blairy hands debutant Kayle Kirby his jumper ahead of game No. 1 #sidebyside

4.37am BST

We’ve lost a friend and a very special sports caller. Drew Morphett …onya mate, ever a cheeky smile, laughter and another glass of red.

Drew Morphett’s great virtue was never taking anything too seriously, and sport can always do with a bit more of that. A lovely bloke.

How great it must be for just the sound of your voice to take so many people back to their happy youth.
Rest in peace Drew Morphett.

4.37am BST

If you want to send in your favourite sporting memories featuring Drew I’ll share them during the day. You can send them – and any other comments you care to make about a busy day of sport – on email or via Twitter @JPHowcroft. The comments section at the foot of the page will also be open, so feel free to get involved.

4.35am BST

Before we go any further I’d like to take a moment to celebrate the life of Drew Morphett who has died aged 69. One of the most accomplished all-round sports broadcasters Drew’s voice is the soundtrack to some of the iconic moments in Australian sport. A man of wit and charm Drew’s passion for the sport he was covering shone through at all times. He will be missed.

Related: Drew Morphett, veteran sports broadcaster, dies at 69

4.32am BST

Good afternoon and welcome to another jam packed edition of Sportwatch.

Today’s marathon is dominated by the final round of home and away matches in the AFL and there’s plenty at stake with the top eight, top four and minor premiership all undecided as the most even and unpredictable season in recent history nears its conclusion.

3.34am BST

Jonathan will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s Jonathan Horn on what’s at stake this weekend:

Related: White knuckle ride awaits as AFL regular season reaches spectacular denouement | Jonathan Horn

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article:

Aug 20

Panthers pip Raiders, Demons march on, Whincup wins, Fremantle v Richmond and more: sportwatch – live!

10.51am BST

Considering it’s been 36 years since Richmond won the flag it seems fair to start the day’s wrap with the news that Richmond are in the top 4 with one round to go. What’s more, they’re playing the kind of footy that sings and puts foolish dreams in a long suffering fan’s head. The unlikely star of their 104-demolition of Fremantle was Jacob Townsend who kicked six, but it’s the classy touches of Jack Reiwoldt and Dustin Martin that will have Tigers fans thinking big despite themselves.

In the NRL the Canberra Raiders’ season is over after they lost a thrilling match against the Panthers. Considering they were so close to winning a preliminary final last year today’s 22-26 loss underlines a season of disappointment for Ricky Stuart’s men. Penrith, meantime, are on a roll of form at just the right time. With two matches remaining in the regular season the top 4 is within reach.

10.35am BST

AFL: After today’s matches the AFL ladder looks like this with just one round of matches to play:

P W L D For Agst PC Pts
Adelaide 21 15 5 1 2344 1676 139.9 62
Greater Western Sydney 21 14 5 2 2022 1709 118.3 60
Geelong 21 14 6 1 2031 1759 115.5 58
Richmond 21 14 7 – 1870 1603 116.7 56
Port Adelaide 21 13 8 – 2033 1651 123.1 52
Sydney 21 13 8 – 1955 1594 122.6 52
Melbourne 21 12 9 – 1952 1835 106.4 48
Essendon 21 11 10 – 2028 1912 106.1 44

West Coast 21 11 10 – 1864 1787 104.3 44
St Kilda 21 11 10 – 1844 1864 98.9 44
Western Bulldogs 21 11 10 – 1767 1814 97.4 44
Hawthorn 21 9 11 1 1765 1965 89.8 38
Collingwood 21 8 12 1 1845 1880 98.1 34
Fremantle 21 8 13 – 1515 2053 73.8 32
Carlton 21 6 15 – 1537 1900 80.9 24
Gold Coast 21 6 15 – 1736 2176 79.8 24
North Melbourne 21 5 16 – 1853 2185 84.8 20
Brisbane Lions 21 5 16 – 1798 2396 75.0 20

10.32am BST

Darts: I won’t be around for the end of it but the semis of the Melbourne Darts Masters are underway. Scot Peter Wright (he of the coloured plumage) current leads Northern Ireland’s Daryl Gurney 5-2 in their best of 11 match-up.

THE LAST DAY! An exciting night of darts ahead as someone will be crowned the Melbourne Masters Champion! #darts # #MelbourneDartsMasters

10.24am BST

The Tigers are in the top 4 at least until next week when they play St Kilda in the final game of the home and away season.

10.23am BST

AFL Q4 0:00 remaining. Freo 7.9 (51) v Richmond 25.5 (155). A 50m free to Richmond gifts Butler a goal on the siren. And, wouldn’t you know it, that makes the margin 104.

10.19am BST

AFL Q4 0:58 remaining. Freo 7.9 (51) v Richmond 24.5 (149). Or will they? Townsend kicks his sixth goal, making this by some measure the best day of his footy career.

10.17am BST

AFL Q4 1:40 remaining. Freo 7.9 (51) v Richmond 23.5 (143). It looks like Freo might escape consecutive 100-point losses after all as Crozier marks and kicks his second. Fair play to the Dockers fans, they are now on their feet chanting ‘Freeeeeo’ and waving flags and scarves to mark this final game at the venue.

10.15am BST

AFL Q4 2:25 remaining. Freo 6.9 (45) v Richmond 23.5 (143). The commentators are suggesting a Freo win next week would give them some momentum going into next season. Yep, I’m sure that’s what they’d be thinking during the off-season.

10.13am BST

See you in September!
I just hope it lasts more than a week #AFLDockersTigers

10.07am BST

AFL Q4 8:25 remaining. Freo 6.8 (44) v Richmond 23.5 (143). After a 50m penalty Ballantyne reduces the margin to double figures. Which is something.

10.06am BST

AFL Q4 9:30 remaining. Freo 5.8 (38) v Richmond 23.5 (143). What a day out for Townsend who now has five. Bear in mind, folks, that Freo lost by 100+ last week to Sydney. Another 100+ loss appears on the cards.

10.04am BST

AFL Q4 13:00 remaining. Freo 5.8 (38) v Richmond 22.5 (137). A 60m bomb from Martin sets up Reiwoldt’s fourth second-half goal.

His cousin, meanwhile, had an emotional day during his final match at Etihad:

An emotional moment for Nick Riewoldt #AFLSaintsNorth

9.59am BST

AFL Q4 15:10 remaining. Freo 5.8 (38) v Richmond 21.5 (131). Reiwoldt gets his third. It’s one goal after another after another. This is ridiculous. No sooner do I look up from my screen than I realise I’m behind the pace and have another goal to register.

9.57am BST

AFL Q4 16:40 remaining. Freo 5.8 (38) v Richmond 20.5 (125). He’s leading the tackle count and now he has a goal on debut. Jack Graham slots one!

9.55am BST

AFL Q4 17:50 remaining. Freo 5.8 (38) v Richmond 19.5 (119). Tough work by Reiwoldt in traffic and a timely run by Rioli sees the little bloke kick deep to Martin, unmarked in the goal square. Indeed there was no-one within 30m of him —apart from the fans on the fence. Martin ambles towards the goal and boots it to next Wednesday. That was like a double exclamation mark. AFTER A SENTENCE WRITTEN IN CAPS!!

9.52am BST

NRL: And the account of that NRL upset, Canterbury over Manly:

Bulldogs upset Manly NRL finals ambitions

SYDNEY, Aug 20 AAP – Manly are walking an NRL finals tightrope after they were beaten 30-16 by Canterbury on Sunday.
The Bulldogs put in their best attacking performance of the year to snap a four-game losing streak, effectively sending Manly’s finals ambitions into a tailspin.
The Sea Eagles, who were third a month ago, have now lost four of their past five games to fall to eighth on the ladder.
Their only saving grace could come from both the Dragons and 10th-placed Canberra who suffered defeats this weekend, meaning one more win could still be enough to make the playoffs.
Manly face the Warriors in Auckland next Sunday before playing Penrith at Lottoland in round 26.
But they would still need to improve if they are to have any impact come September, given they have now conceded 170 points in their past five games.
They were again caught lacking in defence on their own line, while their attack didn’t have the impetus it has had for most of the season.
Captain Daly Cherry-Evans battled a flu in the lead-up to the game.
It showed as the Sea Eagles’ second-half points came through Lewis Brown in the final minute, despite completing at 82 per cent for the match.
In comparison, the often-clunky Bulldogs scored 30 points for the first time this season.
Will Hopoate produced the last pass for three tries, as the Bulldogs worked the same play twice for Marcelo Montoya to score a first-half double.

Brett Morris also crossed closed to half-time to get Canterbury past 10 points in the opening half for the first time this season, before he and brother Josh both scored after the break.

9.48am BST

AFL. Here’s the AAP match report from St Kilda’s pulverising win over North, one that keeps them alive, if only just:

AFL:Riewoldt tribute inspires St Kilda AFL win MELBOURNE, Aug 20 AAP ­

St Kilda honoured retiring legend Nick Riewoldt and kept their slim AFL finals hopes alive with a thumping 49­-point win over North Melbourne.

9.46am BST

AFL Three-quarter time: Fremantle 5.8 (38) v Richmond 18.5 (113).

Cancel the demolition contract of domain stadium. Tigers destroying the joint. #gotigers #AFLDockersTigers

9.44am BST

AFL Q3 2:30 remaining. Freo 5.8 (38) v Richmond 18.5 (113). Rance scores his first goal since round 21, 2013. It’s THAT kind of day for Richmond.

9.42am BST

AFL Q3 4:50 remaining. Freo 5.8 (38) v Richmond 17.5 (107). Reiwoldt gets his second with some sweet skill.

How about the fancy foot skills from Jack Riewoldt? #AFLFreoTigers

9.38am BST

AFL Q3 4:50 remaining. Freo 5.8 (38) v Richmond 16.5 (101). Shaun Grieg mucks up a set shot from right in front; a shame since there was some lovely lead-up work by Martin before it. Pinned against the boundary he dummied past Nyhuis with the AFL equivalent of a Cruyff turn.

Candy. #Dusty

9.33am BST

AFL Q3 8:10 remaining. Freo 5.8 (38) v Richmond 16.4 (100). Martin breaks free inside 50m and such is Richmond’s momentum you don’t expect him to mess things up. He doesn’t, and the Tigers raise their bats; the ton’s up.

9.31am BST

AFL Q3 9:40 remaining. Freo 5.8 (38) v Richmond 15.3 (93). A Jsh Deluca snap reduces the deficit to a mere 55. You could hear a pin drop at Domain.

9.30am BST

AFL Q3 11:40 remaining. Freo 4.8 (32) v Richmond 15.3 (93). Great work from Butler with a chase-down tackle that wins the Tigers a free. He scores from the set shot, the Tigers’ third in succession.

9.28am BST

AFL Q3 12:20 remaining. Freo 4.8 (32) v Richmond 14.3 (87). A powerful grab from Nankervis who then converts to become the Tigers’ ninth different goal-scorer.

9.25am BST

AFL Q3 12:20 remaining. Freo 4.8 (32) v Richmond 13.2 (80). Richmond goal after a howling mongrel of a Martin punt floats and wobbles to the goal square where it goes through the hands of two Dockers and into the path of Reiwoldt. A few metres from goal he lifts his left boot to volleys home.

9.22am BST

AFL Q3 13:20 remaining. Freo 4.8 (32) v Richmond 12.2 (74). Richmond’s run of nine-straight goals is finally interrupted, Crozier with a goal for Freo after good lead-up work by Fyfe. Nothing we’ve seen so far this quarter suggests a miracle comeback is on the cards.

9.19am BST

I also love this new tactic from Richmond: kicking straight.

It’s a bold strategy Cotton, let’s see if it pays off #AFLDockersTigers

9.17am BST

AFL Q3 17:00 remaining. Freo 3.7 (25) v Richmond 12.2 (74). Townsend won’t score an easier goal in his career. After a boundary throw Nankervis taps the ball forward to Townsend while the Dockers players freeze, waiting for a whistle that, like Godot, doesn’t come. From a few metres out Townsend kicks his fourth, doubling his career tally in one game that still has an age left in it.

9.09am BST

9.01am BST

Wow, what an upset and a massive blow to Manly’s top-four hopes. In fact, the loss puts in them in danger of missing the eight altogether.

A match report to come but, in the meantime, here’s the latest NRL ladder which shows how precarious things are now for Manly:





Here’s the #NRL Ladder

RT this, tag a mate

8.55am BST

Meanwhile, back at stately Wayne manor, St Kilda have pulled away from North like a V8 from a Massey Ferguson.

AFL Q4 17:00 gone. St Kilda 17.18 (120) v North Melbourne 10.6 (66)

8.52am BST

AFL Half-time: Freo 3.5 (23) v Richmond 11.2 (68). Did someone slip something into the Freo waterbottles at quarter-time? Were they blowing their noses on hankies soaked in chloroform? They’ve been utterly unable to halt a rampaging Richmond. Top four is looking good for the Tigers.

8.49am BST

AFL Q2 1:20 remaining. Freo 3.5 (23) v Richmond 11.2 (68). I can barely keep up with this. Another Richmond major. A lovely Rioli handball leads to a Butler conversion. That’s eight unanswered goals to Richmond to all but end this game.

8.47am BST

AFL Q2 2:50 remaining. Freo 3.5 (23) v Richmond 10.2 (62). Lambert has three for the quarter and Richmond supporters everywhere try but fail to smother visions of September glory. Reiwoldt was the architect of that goal, outleaping two Dockers to knock down to Lambert who snapped home.

8.43am BST

AFL Q2 4:10 remaining. Freo 3.5 (23) v Richmond 9.2 (56). Houli drives through the middle and sends a razor sharp kick over the head of a floundering McCarthy and into the path of Lambert who steadies and shoots from close in.

A perfect bump from Jack Riewoldt allowed Kane Lambert to kick his second goal. #AFLFreoTigers

8.41am BST

#AFLFreoTigers Nick sporting the Tormund look.

8.38am BST

AFL Q2 8:10 remaining. Freo 3.5 (23) v Richmond 7.0 (50). Oh well, it had to end sometime. The run of Tigers goals is over with two behinds from set shots. First Dan Butler, then Castagna.

8.35am BST

AFL Q2 12:10 remaining. Freo 3.5 (23) v Richmond 8.0 (48). And another! After Freo came out of the blocks with real intensity Richmond weathered the storm and, since the first break, have stepped on the gas. This time it was McIntosh with a long bomb. Eight straight goals!

8.33am BST

AFL Q2 13:00 remaining. Freo 3.5 (23) v Richmond 7.0 (42). Blimey, Richmond are on the tear! They win a free on the boundary line at the left foward pocket. Edwards, thinking of possibilities, has a peek at the goal then banana kicks the blighter right through the goal.

8.29am BST

AFL Q2 14:50 remaining. Freo 3.5 (23) v Richmond 6.0 (30). That’s three straight goals to the Tigers after Dustin Martin and Edwards set up Houli.

8.26am BST

AFL Q2 17:30 remaining. Freo 3.5 (23) v Richmond 5.0 (30). A cracking two-goal start to the second quarter by the Tigers who aren’t bothering with behinds today. The first was by Lambert benefitting from Prestia’s 5th handball of the match. Then Townsend kicked his 3rd of the match after sitting in behind Michael Johnson then slipping in front of him to take a mark.

8.21am BST

Back to Domain in a second, but just a heads up in case you missed a couple of excellent reads this week.

The first a thoughtful piece by Simon Orchard, former Australian hockey player, on the mental toll of retirement after an elite sporting career:

Related: Transitioning from elite sport to the ‘real world’ can take its toll on mental health | Simon Orchard

Related: Bob Murphy: the rapturous Bulldogs boy who embraced the club as his own | Kate O’Halloran

8.16am BST

It’s quarter-time at Domain, which is hosting its final game. So an opportune time to update some scores:

AFL Q3 16:32 gone. St Kilda 12.14 (86) v North Melbourne 8.5 (53)

8.10am BST

AFL Q1 00:30 remaining. Freo 3.4 (22) v Richmond 3.0 (18). Bennell again! From 45m out he fields the scraps, takes a few stutter steps then snaps truly with his right boot from just inside the arc.

8.06am BST

AFL Q1 03:32 remaining. Freo 2.3 (15) v Richmond 2.0 (18). Great work by Townsend to find a hand pass to Castagna who then smartly lofted a hand pass to Daniel Rioli. From close in he drills it and the Tigers are in front for the first time.

Moments earlier Taberner had a chance to make up for his early set-shot miss but he again sprayed a good goal chance.

8.00am BST

AFL Q1 07:23 remaining. Freo 2.2 (14) v Richmond 2.0 (12). A 50m penalty to Townsend sees him line one up. And he kicks straight to score his, and Richmond’s, second.

7.57am BST

AFL Q1 10:13 remaining. Freo 2.2 (14) v Richmond 1.0 (6). In his first game in two years Harley Bennell converts a set shot from 40m out, left of centre. Cool as you like.

The purple army get right around him! Harley Bennell slots a goal in his return game. #AFLFreoTigers

7.54am BST

AFL Q1 11:33 remaining. Freo 1.2 (8) v Richmond 1.0 (6). Richmond are finally on the board after a snapshot by Townsend that followed up good work by Reiwoldt in traffic. That was Richmond’s first inside 50, and Townsend’s first goal for the Tigers.

7.50am BST

AFL Q1 13:39 remaining. Freo 1.2 (8) v Richmond 0.0 (0). Fremantle are playing with real intensity at the moment; man-on-man muscling up. Richmond, in their alternate bee-yellow guernseys, are seemingly running up hill. Could it be that the knowledge that a win will cement them a top-four spot is weighing heavy?

7.46am BST

AFL Q1 17:10 remaining. Freo 1.2 (8) v Richmond 0.0 (0). An early goal to Fyfe has got the Dockers on their way. Taberner then had a set shot not far off centre but his kick finds the post.

7.43am BST

Before I focus on our second feature match of the afternoon, Freo v Richmond, a quick update on the AFL and NRL matches in progress:

AFL Half-time. St Kilda 8.14 (62) v North Melbourne 6.3 (39). Despite kicking more behinds than a professional bum kicker on the professional bum kicking circuit (it’s big in the US), St Kilda are pulling away from North who appear to have stalled.

7.37am BST

AFL: As it stands both Melbourne and the Tigers are in the eight. If it stays that way it will be the first time since 1941 that both teams have played in the same finals series. Makes you nostalgic, don’t it? Well, it would if you could remember 1941.

7.34am BST

Rugby: I haven’t had a chance to address the result of last night’s opening Bledisloe Cup encounter between the Wallabies and the All Blacks in Sydney. Suffice to say that were the game a movie it would be the kind sold in a brown paper bag. Or only available on the dark web. The Wallabies will take some solace in scoring the last four tries but prior to that the All Blacks took them apart so easily it was embarrassing. Former Wallaby great Michael Lynagh wasn’t impressed, as this AAP report makes clear:

Lynagh savages woeful Wallabies

Australian rugby legend Michael Lynagh has savaged the Wallabies’ “schoolboy” skills and revealed how his offers to help have fallen on deaf ears. Commentating on Saturday night’s Bledisloe Cup opener for Sky Sports in Britain, Lynagh pulled no punches after the Wallabies slumped to a humiliating 54­-34 loss at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium.

7.30am BST

AFL Q2 20:30 gone. St Kilda 6.9 (45) v North Melbourne 6.3 (39). St Kilda are now leading at Etihad.

NRL 1st half 11:50 gone. Canterbury 4-6 Manly. In Sydney, meanwhile, Manly have hit back after an early try to the Bulldogs’ Montoya. A Jake Trbojevic try and Wright conversion have the Sea Eagles leading narrowly.

7.14am BST

In Sydney, meanwhile, Jamie Whincup has taken out race 18 of the Supercar series. Here’s the AAP report:

Supercars star Whincup surges in Sydney Jamie Whincup has claimed the record for all­time Supercars wins after running away with Sunday’s race at Sydney Motorsport Park.

His 106th victory, achieved in a largely strategic race, pushed the six­-time series winner ahead of long­term teammate and sparring partner Craig Lowndes.

7.10am BST

AFL Q2 04:30 gone. St Kilda 4.4 (23) v North Melbourne 5.3 (32). In the opening minute of the second quarter it’s North with a narrow lead over the Saints. Concerns for Dan Nielson after a head knock but he seems to be ok:

from Dan Nielson #aflsaintsnorth

7.04am BST

Six goals to Jesse Hogan have helped the Demons overcome a late rally by Brisbane. Here’s the rub from AAP:

AFL:Demons hold off Brisbane in AFL thriller
MELBOURNE, Aug 20 AAP – Melbourne are poised to play AFL finals for the first time since 2006 after a six-goal haul from Jesse Hogan propelled them to a 13-point win over Brisbane on Sunday.
The Lions trailed by just seven points with under two minutes remaining, but the Demons held their nerve to record a 16.8 (104) to 14.7 (91) win in front of 30,422 fans at the MCG.
The Demons led the hotly contested match by 15 points at three-quarter time and Simon Goodwin’s men looked home when they booted the first three goals of the final term to open up a 32-point lead.
But brave Brisbane hit back with four unanswered majors to set up a thrilling finale.
Josh Walker goaled to make it a seven-point game with just under two minutes left, but Melbourne’s Angus Brayshaw converted a late set shot to secure a hard-fought win.
The victory was Melbourne’s 12th of the season and means it will take a huge loss to Collingwood next week and other results to go against them for them to miss out on a finals berth.
In his first game since breaking a collarbone in round 19, Hogan was the dominant forward on the ground in his 50th AFL match.
Demons skipper Nathan Jones (32 possessions) and Clayton Oliver (30) were also key factors in the win.
Dayne Beams led the Lions superbly with 33 touches and three goals, with Dayne Zorko (26 disposals and a goal) and Daniel Rich (25 disposals) also important.
On a sour note for the Demons, Bernie Vince will come under scrutiny for his high hit on Beams in the second quarter.

Vince floored the Brisbane skipper when his forearm made high contact in a desperate spoiling attempt.

6.55am BST

It’s all over in Canberra! Despite a valiant comeback the Raiders’ finals hopes are over. Penrith, meanwhile, push on in their quest for a top-four finish. That’s their seventh-straight win. They always looked the most likely winners this afternoon but Canberra clung on like barnacles and almost got there after going ahead in the 56th minute. But a late try to Tyrone May was enough to seal it for Penrith.

6.50am BST

NRL 79:50 gone. Raiders 22-26 Panthers. So close! On the last Austin bombs across field. Rapana climbs over Mansour to catch the ball above his head. As he falls to ground he attempts to dish to Dave Taylor but, with Mansour’s arms around him, he can’t get any height on his offload and Dave Taylor can only get a finger tip to the ball. Had he caught it he would have scored.

6.47am BST

NRL 77:05 gone. Raiders 22-26 Panthers. Cotric catches a bomb on his own 10m and chews up another 15m. But the Raiders are still 60m short of the Panthers’ line. A move to the left sees Crocker poke his head through the Panthers’ line but there is no-one backing him up. It doesn’t matter. A late high shot by Fisher-Harris moments later gives the Raiders a fresh set of six 30m out.

6.44am BST

NRL 75:43 gone. Raiders 22-26 Panthers. So it comes to this for Canberra. Four minutes to overhaul this deficit otherwise they’ll be playing for pride only in the final two rounds.

6.43am BST

NRL Converted try! Raiders 22-26 Panthers (May 73min). No they can’t! The Panthers keep the ball alive with some ad-lib footy. Then, from a play-the-ball under the posts, Tyrone May picks up from dummy half and angles between two defenders while wearing a third like a cape. He then finds a way to snake out an arm and place the ball adjacent to the left upright! Pennies back in front!

6.39am BST

NRL 70:50 gone. Raiders 22-20 Panthers. The Raiders again hold out the Panthers despite some threatening runs by Cleary. On the last Peachey’s pass is knocked into touch by the Raiders so it will be six more tackles to Penrith. Can the Raiders hold on?

6.37am BST

NRL 68:40 gone. Raiders 22-20 Panthers. Tyrone Peachey is held up over the Raiders’ line on the 4th! Sezer then knocks down a Moylan pass as the Panthers lined up on the left with the tryline open.

6.35am BST

NRL 65:05 gone. Raiders 22-20 Panthers. A great defensive effort by the Panthers keeps the Raiders out. But the Raiders made a hash of the sixth tackle, prop Shannon Boyd finding himself with the ball on the last. To add insult to injury his shorts went south in the tackle and his mighty buttocks were exposed to the bright afternoon sun. Somewhere in space an astronaut was momentarily blinded by the sun reflecting off Boyd’s derriere.

6.31am BST

NRL 63:20 gone. Raiders 22-20 Panthers. On his own 20m line Tamou makes a hash of a play-the-ball, gifting the Raiders possession. What an error at this stage of the game.

6.29am BST

NRL 60:40 gone. Raiders 22-20 Panthers. A penalty to the Raiders beside the Panthers’ posts. Not much point going for the extra two so they play on and, after a few ordinary plays, they receive another penalty in front after Leilua comes up with a late tackle. Again the Raiders take the tap. Oh dear, Papalii spills the ball letting the Panthers off the hook.

6.27am BST

NRL 58:10 gone. Raiders 22-20 Panthers. What a game this has turned out to be. These two teams have a great recent history and we can now add this game to the list. Canberra lifting with everything on the line… and here’s Sezer kicking a 40/20 to send the crowd into raptures!

6.23am BST

NRL Converted try! Raiders 22-20 Panthers (Tapine 56min). But it doesn’t matter as Tapine makes up for error! Moments after he bombed a try Tapine is on the end of a smart pass by Sezer which puts him into a hole 10m out from the Raiders’ line. Tapine holds off the defence to crash over and level the scores. Crocker, 10m from the outside of the right upright, converts to put the Raiders ahead!

6.21am BST

NRL 53:00 gone. Raiders 16-20 Panthers. Cleary grubbers in behind the Raiders’ defensive line and Wighton cleans up on his own line. He then sees the seas open before him and he pins his ears back and races 60m down the left wing — until Tamou comes across in cover! What an effort by the big lunk. The Raiders go right to take advantage of the skinny Panthers defence and it goes through the hands to Joseph Tapine who should pass to his winger but he comes inside instead. And is wrapped up! Tapine bombed that!

6.15am BST

NRL 47:26 gone. Raiders 16-20 Panthers. A repeat set of six to the Raiders who are on a roll — and on the Panthers’ 20m. And the Raiders come within inches when Taylor bulldozes his way towards the line — but then gets pinged for a double movement when he couldn’t resist reaching out for the line when tackled short.

Dragons fans will join Raiders fans in sweating on the result of this game. Should the Raiders win today the Dragons, on 26 points to the Panthers’ 28, will still consider themselves a chance of playing semi-final footy. It’ll be a real log-jam at the tail of the 8 with Manly and the Cowboys also on 28 points as it stands.

6.11am BST

NRL Converted try! Raiders 16-20 Panthers (Wighton 45min). The Raiders make a great start to the second-half scoring through Jack Wighton. From a play-the-ball in the shadows of the Panthers’ posts Hodgson passed right to Sezer who passed to Wighton who dummied to his right, stepped inside the defence, and made a powerful angled run to score just inside the right corner post. Crocker then converted from the right touchline. Game on!

6.07am BST

As the Raiders v Panthers game resumes a quick check of the Supercar race in Sydney today. Some 38 laps into the 52-lap race it’s currently one-two to Red Bull Racing teammates Gisbergen and Whincup.

6.01am BST

As Ricky Stuart takes this opportunity to burst a valve I’ll take the opportunity to update you on a couple of things.

AFL: We’re deep into the third-quarter at the MCG, and it’s the Melbourne Demons leading the Brisbane Lions 10.7 (67) to 7.4 (46). It’s Jesse Hogan leading the way for the Demons with four majors.

5.53am BST

NRL Half-time: Raiders 10-20 Panthers. That’s oranges. Ten points down, the Raiders’ season is on the line. The Panthers have looked very slick, but a 10-point lead is hardly enough. Much work to be done yet.

5.51am BST

NRL Converted try! Raiders 10-20 Panthers (Mansour 39min) Coach killer! On the stroke of half-time Mansour picks up the ball from dummy half, 10m out from the Raiders’ line. He crabs across field and the Raiders hold off awaiting the pass. But Mansour doesn’t pass. He suddenly veers towards the line and holds off Austin to crash over! That was a big few minutes from Mansour; his run after the Edwards bomb drop put the Panthers in position, and he then had the nous and strength to get the try.

5.47am BST

NRL 37:00 gone. Raiders 10-14 Panthers. Edwards spills a bomb with Raiders all over him like bush ticks. Though NRL refs are inclined to call a knock-on for any kind of drop it’s play on and Mansour picks up the loose ball and eats up 40m.

5.44am BST

NRL Converted try! Raiders 10-14 Panthers (Papalii 34 min) What a try to Papalii! From inside the Panthers’ 20m Hodgson found Austin on his left and he held up the ball before finding Taylor running a hole. Taylor sucked in defenders from all corners and was falling to ground but he somehow found a way to offload to the man backing up on his outside, Papalii. He didn’t catch it cleanly first time but Papalii snaffled the ball as he fell over the line and then slammed it down for the four-pointer.

5.39am BST

NRL 28:15 gone. Raiders 4-14 Panthers. Hodgson boots the ball down field and we’re looking at a 40/20 — until Dylan Edwards chases down the bobbling ball and, with a millimetre to spare, prevents the ball from rolling over the sideline. He’s then set upon by an eclipse by the name of Dave Taylor. Taylor proceeds to drag Edwards by the jersey in the manner of a mobster dragging a dead body towards the boot of his car. Taylor drags Edwards into the Panthers’ in-goal but he’s penalised, the ref saying the tackle had been completed in the field of play.

5.35am BST

NRL Converted try! Raiders 4-14 Panthers (Cleary 26min). On their own 30m line Hodgson passes right to Cleary who keeps the movement going by passing to Blake. The flyer seems well guarded by Crocker but he puts a move on and palms off Crocker and runs into space. Racing downfield Blake has teammates on both sides but he passes inside to Cleary who races 30m to score under the posts. He then converts his own try.

5.32am BST

NRL 23:07 gone. Raiders 4-8 Panthers. The Raiders come very close to a game-tying try. Leilua on the right slipped a ball as he fell to ground with Peachey on his back. But as the Raiders looked to score from the recycled ball the whistle blew, the ref claiming Leilua’s offload went forward.

5.27am BST

NRL 20:00 gone. Raiders 4-8 Panthers. If you need reminding Cotric is just 18. He’s had a brilliant season. So too has the Panthers’ Nathan Cleary, another youngster giving NSW hope that one day they will crawl out from under Queensland’s boot.

5.24am BST

NRL: TRY! Raiders 4-8 Panthers (Cotric 15min). After Boyd is tackled centre field a few metres out, Hodgson spins the ball left to Blake Austin. He holds the ball up for a moment and finds Wighton in the line. Though Wighton is corralled he manages to loft a ball out to Cotric on the wing. With no room to work in Cotric spins out of the cover tackle and dives over in the corner. That’s his 13th try to 13 games.

5.21am BST

NRL 13:30 gone. Raiders 0-8 Panthers. Penalty to the Raiders after Tamou flops on Papalii. It followed a bullish Papalii charge that left Cleary on the deck.

5.18am BST

NRL: PENALTY! Raiders 0-8 Panthers (Cleary 12min) On the Panthers’ last tackle the Raiders give Ricky Stuart angina by giving away a penalty. Cleary, who has an 89% success rate this year, guides it over. Good start, Penrith.

5.16am BST

NRL 7: 20 gone. Raiders 0-6 Panthers. The Raiders have a chance to strike straight back but the move breaks down on the left with a knock-on. The Panthers look to catch Canberra napping, Moylan sparking a downfield raid with a lovely around the back pass to Tamou. A few plays later Moylan gets it back and kicks… and it’s knocked-on on the Raiders’ 20m line giving the Pennies a fresh set of six.

5.12am BST

NRL: CONVERTED TRY! Raiders 0-6 Panthers (Blake 3min) On their first attacking raid the Panthers come up with the early score. From midfield, inside Canberra’s 20, Katoa passed out to Moylan who tapped on to Edwards who found Blake running an inside line. He still had some work to do but he bumped off three tacklers to crash over. Cleary converts.

5.07am BST

NRL: Peeeeeep! We’re off an running in Canberra, the Panthers running right to left on my screen. And they have an early attack on the Raiders’ line.

5.06am BST

NRL: In Canberra, after Glenn Lazarus blew an enormous horn erected on the hill (speaking of Rodney Rude), the locals are performing the ‘viking clap’ (not, note, suffering through the viking clap, which has no known cure as far as I know). It’s very Iceland Euro 2016 but so what? Sounds good.

5.04am BST

Afternoon folks, welcome to another bumper day of sport, one with the smell of finals about it. What do finals smell like? A blend of bbq sausages and cut grass. I should make a cologne out of that. Look out Lynx.

Anyway, we’ll be diving straight into the NRL match between the Raiders and Panthers in Canberra where the sky is as blue as a Rodney Rude stand-up set. A must-win game for the Raiders, and a must-win for the Panthers too if they want to avoid an anxious final two rounds.

1.57pm BST

A busy day of sport coming up today, starting with the Raiders and Panthers in our nation’s capital. It’s pretty simple: if Canberra lose they can kiss goodbye to their NRL finals hopes this year. Win, and they’re still in with a shot. For the Panthers, the top four is still tantalising attainable and victory over the Raiders would be a welcome boost to that end. Then the Bulldogs take on the Sea Eagles at ANZ, where it’s all about Manly, who will be looking for a victory that could add some weight to their own top four aspirations.

In the AFL, the Melbourne and Brisbane game is already underway – we’ll catch up on that shortly – while St Kilda take on North Melbourne with the Saints’ chances of extending their season already slim, but not slim enough to rule them out just yet. Then, we’ll focus on Fremantle v Richmond, the latter who will be desperate to end the weekend in the top four, having been bumped out by the Swans and Port Adelaide, who both secured wins previously this round, the former thrillingly so against the Crows on Friday night.

Related: Sydney Swans beat Adelaide Crows in AFL thriller – as it happened

6.50am BST

Paul will be here shortly. In the meantime, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, your 2017 NRL minor premiers are…

Related: Melbourne Storm secure NRL minor premiership with hammering of Knights

Continue reading…

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Aug 19

Melbourne Storm secure NRL minor premiership with hammering of Knights

Newcastle Knights 12-44 Melbourne StormStorm move onto 40 points and ensure they will lift the JJ Giltinan ShieldMelbourne officially sealed the minor premiership with fill-in half Brodie Croft firing them to a 44-12 NRL win over Newcastle on Saturday….

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Aug 13

Melbourne stake finals claim, Tigers shock Sea Eagles and more, Australia sportwatch – as it happened

10.30am BST


That’s all from me today in an entertaining day of Australian sport. I started with the finals-defining clash between the Demons and Saints – which ended up being something of a disappointment given the dominance of Melbourne (before the Saints surged back to set up an exciting final term). Ultimately the Saints were far from their best, and the Demons deserved the win, which sees them sit at seventh spot after the conclusion of the round. The Dees have Brisbane and Collingwood to come – and one would think they will make the finals for the first time since 2006. The Saints, however, look destined to miss out, mired in 11th and one win and a big percentage gap between them and the Eagles in eighth.

10.16am BST

The Power hold off another stirring Collingwood effort – who came within a few goals with enough time to steal it. Nonetheless, the Power held on through the class of the likes of Robbie Gray and Travis Boak – with the captain kicking the sealer. Dougal Howard capped off the game with his first goal of the year – and all his teammates get around him in a nice moment. Wingard had 32 disposals for the home side, including 10 contested possessions, 6 clearances and 8 inside 50s. Boak, Sam Gray and Robbie Gray all finished with two goals each. For the Pies, Taylor Adams finished with 31 disposals including 14 contested possessions, 8 clearances, 9 tackles and 6 marks. Ben Reid also completed a successful move forward with 4 big goals.

Important win for the Power, who now sit at sixth behind the Swans – and put some space between themselves and the ‘bottom 8’ contenders in the Demons, Eagles and Bulldogs who are all locked on 40 points. The Power will face the Bulldogs next week in a must-win match for the Dogs, while a win would help the Power in their search for a top four spot. For the Pies, it’s their first loss in an impressive month of football.

10.07am BST

AFL Q4 02:25 remaining Port Adelaide 13.13 (91) v Collingwood 10.11 (71)

The sealer goes to Travis Boak with a great finish from a nice Polec assist – and the Power hold off a surging Collingwood. The Pies won’t win but they were brave in their challenge.

10.04am BST

AFL Q4 03:45 remaining Port Adelaide 12.13 (85) v Collingwood 10.11 (71)

Moore hits up Callum Brown – in just his third game. He’s 50m out straight in front – huge kick. He’s only kicked one goal for his career – and it just falls short for a rushed behind. Magpies can’t convert their many chances.

10.02am BST

AFL Q4 05:12 remaining Port Adelaide 12.13 (85) v Collingwood 10.9 (69)

Are the Pies a sneaky chance? There’s under 3 goals in it with less than 6 minutes remaining after that goal to Jarryd Blair. They get the clearance, and Treloar boots them inside 50 – the ball almost rolls through but at the last moment deviates for a point. There’s 16 in it.

9.55am BST

AFL Q4 10:20 remaining Port Adelaide 12.13 (85) v Collingwood 9.8 (62)

Here’s the Robbie Gray vision – unbelievable.

Stop it Robbie #AFLPowerPies

9.51am BST

AFL Q4 12:23 remaining Port Adelaide 12.13 (85) v Collingwood 9.8 (62)

A masterclass from Robbie Gray – who juggled a fast ball from Hartlett behind his back to throw it on his boot and find Sam Gray in space in the 50. He gets a steadier for the Power. You have to see a replay of the Robbie Gray magic.

9.46am BST

AFL Q4 15:24 remaining Port Adelaide 11.12 (78) v Collingwood 9.8 (62)

Great intercept mark by Jeremy Howe in the middle – who finds Reid in the forward 50. Some desperate defence down the other end by Dunn and Goldsack saved a certain goal to Sam Gray – and it looks to have inspired Collingwood. Ben Reid kicks his fourth for the day to keep the Pies in it.

9.42am BST

AFL Q4 18:15 remaining Port Adelaide 11.11 (77) v Collingwood 8.8 (56)

Big end to that quarter with 4 consecutive goals from the Pies, before the Power kicked back with a couple. Surely the Power win from here with so much on the line.

9.19am BST

AFL Q3 13:15 remaining Port Adelaide 8.10 (58) v Collingwood 4.6 (30)

Just a quick update from Adelaide Oval – and the Power look to have control of this game with an almost five goal lead over the Pies. Port have all single goal-kickers in a team effort, with all of Boak, Sam Gray, Houston, Robbie Gray, Wines, Ryder, Neade and Ah Chee with goals. Possession-wise, Ebert (19), Harlett (17) and and Pittard (15) lead the way. Hartett has been impressive with 5 contested possessions and 9 marks. For the Pies, Crisp (19), Adams (17), Scharenberg (16) and Sidebottom are dominating possession. They too have single goal-kickers – Elliott, Phillips, Reid and Moore all scoring.

9.11am BST

Hawthorn have cruised to victory over the Kangaroos in Launceston – in a fitting send off for former captain Luke Hodge at their home-away-from-home. Hodge starred with 29 possessions, including 5 contested possessions, 3 clearances, 4 rebound 50s and 4 tackles. Tom Mitchell racked up yet another 35 possessions, with a huge 15 contested possessions, 6 clearances and 5 tackles. Luke Bruest kicked four goals for his side, while Jarryd Roughead had 3, and all of Henderson, Smith and Burgoyne managed 2. For the Roos, Ben Brown kicked 3, while Zurhaar, Preuss and Garner all had 2. Shaun Higgins was best for the Kangaroos with 31 possessions and 5 clearances, but it wasn’t enough to see his side home, who missed their captain Ziebell.

9.03am BST

What a win for the Tigers! Manly led 20-6 at half-time, but the Tigers win it in the final two minutes. Fantastic scenes at Leichhardt Oval – no doubt there’ll be plenty of debate about the final call on possible obstruction by Chee-Kam – but I reckon the right call was made. The Sea Eagles will be shattered to lose that one – especially with a top four spot on the line. Fantastic, however, to see the Tigers take the win and possibly avoid the wooden spoon with a thrilling win at home.

The Tigers had all single tries – with Taylor, Naiqama, Lolohea, Sue and Zelezniak going over. David Nofoaluma starred for the Tigers with 239 run metres run, as well as a line break, while Tedesco had 185 metres. Elijah Taylor managed 47 tackles for Wests to go with his early try, while Eisenhuth had 38. For Manly, Cherry-Evans and Uate had two tries each – and Uate looked dangerous all match with 130 metres run and 2 line breaks, while Koroisau had 1 line break and 40 tackles. Jake Trbojevic had 43 tackles, and his brother Tom had 141 metres run.

8.55am BST

NRL H2 79:43 Wests Tigers 30-26 Manly Sea Eagles

A big mistake from the Sea Eagles – Brad Parker puts the ball down after a strong tackle from Sue – right in front of the sticks. Nofoaluma almost takes it over from the scrum but is halted just on the line.

8.48am BST

NRL H2 75:26 Wests Tigers 24-26 Manly Sea Eagles

Offload from Marsters to Tedesco who makes plenty of ground – before the Tigers take an early kick – but the Sea Eagles intercept just outside their own try-line. Cherry-Evans then manages an impressive kick under pressure to set the Tigers back. This time the Tigers almost make it 30 metres and over on the last tackle – but it’s a brilliant try-saving tackle from Wright on Nofoaluma – one-on-one. I can’t fathom bringing that man down one-on-one.

8.45am BST

NRL H2 72:00 Wests Tigers 24-26 Manly Sea Eagles

Tigers are looking very dangerous but so far DCE has held the Tigers up almost single-handedly. He intercepts the Brooks kick – and another Tigers’ set is repelled.

8.43am BST

NRL H2 71:00 Wests Tigers 24-26 Manly Sea Eagles

Ineffective kick from the Sea Eagles and the Tigers take back possession. They make plenty of ground – back to the half-way mark, and get a penalty for a high-tackle on Tedesco. That’s the second high tackle against Taupau – who might be in trouble for his first high effort.

8.40am BST

NRL H2 67:19 Wests Tigers 24-26 Manly Sea Eagles

Great set from the Tigers who go the length of the field, and Manly work it back from inside their own 10. However, the Tigers are slow to release and give away a penalty. That’ll help the Sea Eagles clear. They make it inside the Tigers’ 20 – but Cherry-Evans’ kick goes straight to Brooks – who in turn drops the ball. New set for Manly.

8.35am BST

NRL H2 62:59 Wests Tigers 24-26 Manly Sea Eagles

Can the Tigers get the quick reply now? YES! Sauaso Sue – what footwork! He dodges three defenders, and is too powerful for Winterstein who can’t make the save.

This game!

Just keeps on giving.#NRLTigersManly#NRL

8.32am BST

NRL H2 60:00 Wests Tigers 18-26 Manly Sea Eagles

Uh oh, Tigers fans go quiet as Tedesco drops the kick-off. Wests are in danger of surrendering a quick return try to the Sea Eagles. They give away a penalty for slowing down the play-the-ball, and Manly look dangerous. Lloyd Perrett scores in a big hole – and that’s the quick reply from the Sea Eagles. Great work from Koroisau out of dummy half to put Perrett into space.

Crucial Try for the @SeaEagles!#NRLTigersManly#NRL

8.29am BST

NRL H2 56:40 Wests Tigers 18-20 Manly Sea Eagles

Tigers are pressing and they’re just outside the 10m with one more play. Another Tedesco kick goes nowhere – but it’s a penalty to the Tigers for offside – and they tap and go again. Tedesco tries to go himself from dummy half but a can’t find the line – and it’s yet another penalty to the Tigers. They tap and go yet again.

Here they come!@WestsTigers#NRLTigersManly#NRL

8.23am BST

NRL H2 51:36 Wests Tigers 12-20 Manly Sea Eagles

Here’s the big, wide pass from Masters to Tedesco that led to that last try.

The @WestsTigers aren’t done yet!#NRLTigersManly#NRL

8.22am BST

NRL H2 50:21 Wests Tigers 12-20 Manly Sea Eagles

FINALLY another try to the Tigers after another Nofoaluma intercept (off another Tom Trbojevic pass) – and a long ball from Marsters to Tedesco opens up all sorts of space to let Naiqama through. Well done to the Tigers who persisted. Lolohea converts.

8.18am BST

NRL H2 46:28 Wests Tigers 6-20 Manly Sea Eagles

Spiralling kick from DCE bounces out into touch – Nofoaluma lets it bounce out and the Tigers come again – but it’s a mistake from Eisenhuth who lets the ball slip in the tackle. Scrum to Manly. Another disappointing set for the Tigers.

8.14am BST

NRL H2 42:16 Wests Tigers 6-20 Manly Sea Eagles

We’re back on at Leichhardt Oval and news has filtered through that Matt McIlwrick has failed a concussion test and will not take any part in the rest of the game. That’s another blow for the Tigers.

8.09am BST

AFL Q1 27:48 Port Adelaide 2.4 (16) v Collingwood 1.3 (9)

It’s a tight, low-scoring game at Adelaide Oval, with the Power holding the slimmest of leads. Paddy Ryder and Sam Gray have one each for the Power, while Elliott has the only goal for the Pies. Ollie Wines has a massive 11 disposals, as does Jack Crisp for the Pies. Ebert also has 10 for Port.

8.06am BST

AFL Q3 16:46 Hawthorn 15.5 (95) v North Melbourne 7.3 (45)

Still a big lead to the Hawks in this one – at their home away from home at University of Tasmania Stadium. A ‘rested’ Luke Hodge is back with 19 disposals – including 6 marks, 4 tackles and 4 rebound 50s. Not unusually for him, Tom Mitchell leads the possessions for his team with 21 (including 8 contested possessions and 4 clearances – 4 centre clearances). Isaac Smith, Ricky Henderson, Jarryd Roughead and Luke Bruest all have 2 goals each. For the Roos, Ben Brown has 2 goals, and Shaun Higgins has 19 disposals (5 contested possessions, 4 clearances, 3 tackles and 4 inside 40s).

8.00am BST

NRL half-time Wests Tigers 6-20 Manly Sea Eagles

Final play from Manly goes over the sideline, but they won’t be too bothered after that half. Cherry-Evans and Uate have doubles each for the Sea Eagles – while Wright has converted 2 of 4 (the two missed were difficult). For the Sea Eagles, Taupau (70) and Uate (68) lead the way for run metres, while Uate also has two line breaks and Koroisau has one. Koroisau is tackling well with 20, while Jake Trbojevic has 16. For the Tigers, Tedesco has 93 metres, and Woods has 86, while Nofoaluma and Brooks have a line break each. Taylor has 28 tackles and Eisenhuth has 22.

7.54am BST

NRL H1 38:50 Wests Tigers 6-20 Manly Sea Eagles

Thought that was a great pass from Tom Trbojevic – but it’s called forward. Lucky call for the Tigers who went from having all the possession to hardly any. Overall possession is now 53% for Manly.

“There aren’t too many wingers who could score this Try!”#NRLTigersManly#NRL

7.52am BST

NRL H1 34:50 Wests Tigers 6-20 Manly Sea Eagles

All the momentum is with the Sea Eagles despite the support of an impressive home crowd. You have to love Leichhardt Oval.

7.45am BST

NRL H1 29:26 Wests Tigers 6-16 Manly Sea Eagles

That man again – DCE – finds his teammate Akuila Uate in space, and he finds the touch line despite being off balance. Uate has been impressive for his new club. Jake Trbojevic produced a brilliant pass out of dummy half to set his team on their way. Conversion is missed from 40m out.

7.41am BST

NRL H1 26:22 Wests Tigers 6-12 Manly Sea Eagles

Tigers making some big metres – 75 for Aaron Woods and 72 for Tim Grant. Taupau has 70 for Manly (to go with 12 tackles) and the Sea Eagles have the ball back. Koroisau has 16 tackles in an impressive defensive effort.

7.37am BST

NRL H1 22:22 Wests Tigers 6-6 Manly Sea Eagles

Six more for the Tigers from 20m out, who have had 64% possession. They’ll want to find the line with so much ball – they haven’t been particularly creative.

7.34am BST

NRL H1 19:27 Wests Tigers 6-6 Manly Sea Eagles

Obstruction against the Sea Eagles gifts Brooks the ball back, and the Tigers get another penalty for a swinging arm by Taupau – that was a thumping, dangerous tackle. 5 to come, 10 out from the Manly line. Chee-Kam was almost over but Cherry-Evans produced a try-saving tackle. Turnover on the kick – not a great from the Tigers, but they strip the ball back and come again from 20m out. Another set goes begging – but Wright knocks the ball out of play from the kick, so it’ll be another set for the Tigers.

7.29am BST

NRL H1 14:26 Wests Tigers 6-6 Manly Sea Eagles

Great run by the Tigers who exposed plenty of space on the right. Lolohea almost converted his own kick – but the Sea Eagles stop him just a metre out. Nofoaluma has started well with 52 run metres.

It’s @ApiKoroisau up the middle and DCE with the finish!#NRLTigersManly#NRL

7.23am BST

NRL H1 8:26 Wests Tigers 6-0 Manly Sea Eagles

Tigers try!

Elijah Taylor gets the party started!#NRLTigersManly#NRL

7.18am BST

NRL H1 4:15 Wests Tigers 0-0 Manly Sea Eagles

Love the blue socks from the Wests – they’re raising awareness for BeyondBlue. Will get a photo.

7.16am BST

NRL H1 2:41 Wests Tigers 0-0 Manly Sea Eagles

Manly need to win by 13 or more to storm into the top 4 (in place of Cronulla, who have struggled lately).

7.13am BST

AFL Q3 15:14 Hawthorn 7.3 (45) v North Melbourne 3.2 (20)

Just a very quick update before the NRL – Hawthorn easily leading this one. Leading possession getters include Jack Gunston (14), Tom Mitchell (13) and Isaac Smith (12). For the Roos Dumont has 12, Higgins (11) and Mullett (11). All single goal-kickers for the Kangaroos (Ben Brown, Kayne Turner and Cameron Zuhaar). Zuhaar was a late-in for captain Ziebell. For the Hawks, Gunston Hartung, McEvoy, Roughead, Burgoyne, Henderson have Howe have singles each.

7.09am BST


Meanwhile – in case you haven’t heard already – it seems Benji Marshall will make a fairytale return to Wests Tigers next year. The 32-year-old has signed a one year contract, and will likely finish his career with the club where it all started. He played 201 games for the Tigers – including in their only grand final win in 2005. Since then he won the Golden Boot in 2010, and left the NRL for a stint with the Super Rugby Blues in 2014 – before he returned to play NRL with St George Illawarra and Brisbane. The Broncos were keen to re-sign him, however salary cap restraints led to him rejecting a ‘bargain basement’ deal and taking up the chance to re-join the Ivan Cleary rebuild of his old club.

7.05am BST

NRL Wests Tigers v Manly Sea Eagles

Under ten minutes to go until this one starts: here’s my preview from earlier in case you missed it.

7.02am BST

It’s all over at Mt Smart Stadium with the Raiders running away easy winners over the Warriors, 36-16. The Raiders could easily have won by more but for a late try to Isaiah Papalii and conversion by Mason Lino. The Raiders went over 6 times – with a double to Nick Cotric book-ending the game (he had one in the 8th minute and another in the 73rd). Croker, Austin, Leilua and Rapana all added tries for the visitors, and Croker converted 6 from 6 (to go with his 2 line breaks).

Cotric had a big game with 163 run metres to go with his double, as well as 2 line breaks, while Rapana had 133 run metres. Both paled in comparison to Roger Tuivasa-Sheck who had a huge 260 run metres for the Warriors, while Maumalo had 180m.

6.47am BST

Crucial, season-defining win for the Demons – who needed that to claw their way back into the top 8. They find themselves in 7th – just above the Eagles (8th) and Bulldogs (9th), who are both all on 44 points. Port Adelaide are also on 44 points (in 6th) but they have a game to come today against Collingwood.

St Kilda gave them a big scare in the third term – but ultimately didn’t play anywhere near their best, particularly in the first half. Nathan Jones had a massive 35 disposals for his team – including 11 contested possessions, 2 clearances, 4 tackles and 4 inside 50s. Clayton Oliver had another 30+ with 32 disposals, 14 contested possessions, 7 clearances, 6 tackles and 3 inside 50s. Nice to see Angus Brayshaw back too with 26 disposals – lasting the game out despite a big hit to the head early in the game. Cameron Pederson also had 26 disposals – 12 contested possessions, 8 marks, 6 tackles and 2 goals. Harmes was brilliant for the Dees with 3 goals, while Mitch Hannan also kicked a couple of defining goals in the final quarter.

6.37am BST

AFL Q4 00:55 remaining Melbourne 14.12 (96) v St Kilda 10.12 (72)

Nice goal from Jake Melksham – all his teammates told him to slow it down but he played on straight away – and got a low, long shot through the middle from 50m.

6.34am BST

AFL Q4 02:06 remaining Melbourne 13.12 (90) v St Kilda 10.12 (72)

Harmes almost kicks his fourth – but it hammers into the post. Would’ve been fitting for him to kick the final goal.

6.31am BST

AFL Q4 04:26 remaining Melbourne 13.11 (89) v St Kilda 9.12 (66)

53,115 at today’s game – the Dees gave away a number of tickets for ‘Welcome Game’.

6.28am BST

AFL Q4 07:00 remaining Melbourne 13.10 (88) v St Kilda 9.12 (66)

Think it’s all over for the Saints, who need 4 goals to win. They have, however, found Billings 45m out on a difficult angle. He doesn’t make the distance, and Gawn takes a contested mark.

6.26am BST

AFL Q4 08:49 remaining Melbourne 13.10 (88) v St Kilda 9.12 (66)

Hannan takes a huge contested mark inside 50 – could he be the game-changer? He kicks a fabulous drop punt, to put the Demons out to 22 points.

6.24am BST

AFL Q4 09:30 remaining Melbourne 12.10 (82) v St Kilda 9.12 (66)

Good kick by Newnes who finds Sinclair in the middle – Carlisle however bombs away to Jones – poor composure from him. The Saints get the ball back inside 50 after a turnover but the Dees clear – albeit with a casualty. Oscar McDonald is off the ground and Hibberd looks winded.

6.20am BST

AFL Q4 13:08 remaining Melbourne 11.10 (76) v St Kilda 9.12 (66)

Big, game-defining shot at goal for Jeff Garlett who missed Hannan free in the square by turning his back after taking a mark. He misses – that could be costly.

6.17am BST

AFL Q4 15:35 remaining Melbourne 11.9 (75) v St Kilda 9.11 (65)

Bruce drops a chest mark inside the Saints’ 50 – and an opportunity goes begging. Poor choice by Max Gawn after he won a ruck free – and turned the ball over in the middle to let the Saints in.

6.13am BST

AFL Q4 18:16 remaining Melbourne 11.9 (75) v St Kilda 9.11 (65)

Free goes to Harmes for holding off the ball – he palms off to Lewis who boots them inside 50, and the Dees get a steadier through Garlett. Too much space for the Demons’ forwards – shades of the first half.

6.11am BST

AFL Q4 19:25 remaining Melbourne 10.9 (69) v St Kilda 9.11 (65)

198m gained in the third quarter by Jack Steven – and three goal involvements. Carlisle also had 8 possessions and took a number of important contested marks.

6.09am BST

NRL H2 43:00 Warriors 6-18 Raiders

OK the scoreline isn’t as bad as I expected – the Warriors managed one back through David Fusitua in the 25th minute – which was converted by Mason Lino. However, the Raiders then hit back in the 33rd minute with a try to Blake Austin and conversion to Jarod Croker. Second half has just started.

Show and go! Austin gets the job done. #NRLWarriorsRaiders 6-16 after 34 minutes.#NRL

6.05am BST

AFL three-quarter-time Melbourne 10.8 (69) v St Kilda 8.11 (59)

Another opportunity goes begging – Membrey had a shot on goal right before the siren – and it was almost as if the siren put him off on his approach.

6.04am BST

AFL Q3 00:23 remaining Melbourne 10.8 (69) v St Kilda 8.10 (58)

Bruce! He takes a screamer and hits up Jack Billings 40m out. Unbelievable to think the Saints could be back within a goal. He hits the post – disappointing for the Saints.

Luke Dunstan keeps the Saints alive with a beauty #AFLDeesSaints

6.01am BST

AFL Q3 02:48 remaining Melbourne 10.8 (69) v St Kilda 8.9 (57)

Just 2 goals in it. Jack Steven is hauling his side back into this game. Sides trading turnovers at the moment which has kept this margin stagnant.

5.55am BST

AFL Q3 06:51 remaining Melbourne 10.7 (67) v St Kilda 8.8 (56)

Unbelievable goal from Webster – who kicks it from almost 55m out on a sharp angle – and it’s GAME ON! That’s his only goal this season and it was a beauty.

5.54am BST

AFL Q3 07:05 remaining Melbourne 10.7 (67) v St Kilda 7.8 (50)

Saints finally look to have some fluency in their movement – and confidence. They’re possessing the ball and hitting targets without panicking. Down field free goes to Dunstan in the goal square – after Tom McDonald got Billy Longer late in a clumsy free-kick. Finally this game heats up a bit – the Saints were 40 points down and now it’s just 17 points.

5.52am BST

AFL Q3 08:31 remaining Melbourne 10.7 (67) v St Kilda 6.8 (44)

Beautiful running long goal from Dunstan just outside 50 – and the Saints finally convert one. They’ve had 2.4 this quarter.

5.50am BST

AFL Q3 09:30 remaining Melbourne 10.7 (67) v St Kilda 5.8 (38)

Bernie Vince’s errant kick-in almost results in a Bruce goal – but it’s smothered. He should’ve had more of that ball – and they let another opportunity slip.

5.47am BST

AFL Q3 10:31 remaining Melbourne 10.7 (67) v St Kilda 5.6 (36)

Big goal to Melksham – Dylan Roberton had a chance to spoil but misjudges it. Saints will be disappointed as they were pressing hard, but they just can’t make the most of their opportunities this quarter.

5.46am BST

AFL Q3 11:25 remaining Melbourne 9.6 (60) v St Kilda 5.6 (36)

Max Gawn can’t convert for the Dees – and hits the woodwork with a snap at goal. That would’ve put some important space between the Dees and Saints.

5.44am BST

AFL Q3 13:19 remaining Melbourne 9.6 (60) v St Kilda 5.5 (35)

Nice goal for the Saints through Membrey, who snapped it through after a series of handballs. Momentum seems to have shifted slightly, but Saints have plenty of way to go.

Look out for Ruby Demon @jandrostephens (not pictured) carrying this rainbow flag in half-time parade today! #afldeessaints #WelcomeGame

5.40am BST

AFL Q3 15:20 remaining Melbourne 9.6 (60) v St Kilda 4.5 (29)

Another opportunity goes begging for the Saints – Seb Ross was all on his own and needed just a short pass, but the Saints bomb it long and it goes out of bounds. St Kilda aren’t taking their opportunities – but the Dees look nervous anyway.

5.38am BST

AFL Q3 16:56 remaining Melbourne 9.6 (60) v St Kilda 4.4 (28)

Apparently Koby Stevens has a burst eardrum to go with his concussion. I’ve had one of those before and can assure you they are not pleasant!

Demons fans bringing cheese platters #AFLDeesSaints

5.35am BST

AFL Q3 19:33 remaining Melbourne 9.6 (60) v St Kilda 4.4 (28)

It’s back on at the MCG. If anyone’s wondering why I keep saying that Jack Billings’ eye looks ‘horrible’ – this is why.

#AFLDeesSaints @mcg @stkildafc Jack Billings 2nd term @sports_hounds

5.32am BST


Speaking of NRL, AAP are reporting that Gold Coast will hold crisis talks with coach Neil Henry and superstar Jarryd Hayne on Monday after their relationship soured publicly. Hayne told News Corp that Henry did not talk to him in the week leading up to Saturday’s heavy loss to St George Illawarra. He also said he would leave – despite having another season on his $1.2 million a year deal – if he wasn’t wanted and would consult with his manager this week. It looks increasingly unlikely that both men will be at the club next year. Henry is already under pressure to keep his job after his side suffered their 14th loss of the season while the NRL has the club up for sale.

5.26am BST

NRL H1 19:19 Warriors 0-12 Raiders

Hold up, now Croker is through via Cotric! And he converts his own try. Those two are causing all sorts of trouble for the Warriors. Hate to think what the final score might look like at Mt Smart.

Croker to Cotric. Now it’s Cotric to Croker!#NRLWarriorsRaiders 0-12 after 18 minutes.#NRL

5.24am BST

NRL H1 15:58 Warriors 0-6 Raiders

Canberra are already in with a try to Nick Cotric (and conversion to Croker) which doesn’t bode well for the already-deflated confidence of the New Zealanders.

Beautiful hands @RaidersCanberra open the scoring.#NRLWarriorsRaiders 0-6 after 9 minutes.#NRL

5.22am BST

Women’s Rugby World Cup

Don’t forget that the Wallaroos face France in a do-or-die contest on Monday. They fell just short (19-17) against hosts Ireland in their first game, making it difficult for them to progress to the semi-finals (only the top-placed nation from each pool, plus the top-ranked second-placed side overall will progress after this group stage). Australia are in Pool C with France, Ireland and Japan. France thumped the Japanese in their opening contest 74-14. To have any hope of progressing, therefore, the Wallaroos will need to beat both France and Japan, and hope France beat Ireland.

5.18am BST

AFL half-time Melbourne 9.6 (60) v St Kilda 4.4 (28)

The Saints found some momentum just before the half – but will rue giving away a goal on the siren to Cam Pedersen. Jayden Hunt set that up with a beautiful run through the middle and level-headed spotting of Pedersen in space. That’s the difference between these teams at the moment – composure under pressure.

5.10am BST

AFL Q2 02:34 remaining Melbourne 8.6 (54) v St Kilda 4.2 (26)

Carlisle is causing some headaches for the Demons’ defence – and has taken their best defender in Tom McDonald. Luke Dunstan has a shot 50m out – directly in front. Billings passed it off from 45m out on a worse angle – presumably because he can’t see out of a horribly swollen left eye.

5.08am BST

AFL Q2 03:44 remaining Melbourne 8.6 (54) v St Kilda 3.2 (20)

Koby Stevens is done for the game after failing a concussion test (he suffered a big knock to the jaw in the clash with Angus Brayshaw – clearly coming off second best). Saints down a rotation – that’s the last thing they needed.

5.05am BST

AFL Q2 06:00 remaining Melbourne 8.5 (53) v St Kilda 2.2 (14)

The Dees get one back immediately through Neal-Bullen. Harmes passed it off from 55 out – to a target 40m out. That one was reasonable to dish off – unlike Bruce’s pass just moments earlier.

5.03am BST

AFL Q2 07:01 remaining Melbourne 7.5 (47) v St Kilda 2.2 (14)

Saints hit a target inside 50! And they get an ironic cheer from their own fans. Oddly – Bruce passes the ball from 40m out to Jack Billings – on a worse angle. It looked to go about 8 metres but was adjudged to have gone 15.

5.01am BST

AFL Q2 08:15 remaining Melbourne 7.5 (47) v St Kilda 1.2 (8)

Half-time can’t come soon enough for the Saints. They’re down 28 inside 50s to 16, 64 contested possessions to 57, 190 disposals to 165. They are winning the clearances 12-10, but can’t do anything with them so far.

4.59am BST

AFL Q2 09:42 remaining Melbourne 7.5 (47) v St Kilda 1.2 (8)

Good to see Angus Brayshaw hit 12 disposals – 6 contested possessions, 2 tackles, a clearance, 2 marks – for 83% disposal efficiency. Welcome back, Angus. He’s getting a standing ovation every time he goes near the bench. Looks rejuvenated since bouncing back from the earlier head knock.

4.56am BST

AFL Q2 12:12 remaining Melbourne 7.5 (47) v St Kilda 1.2 (8)

The Saints just can’t get anything right. They had several forwards free – including Membrey all on his own inside 50 – and couldn’t hit the target.

4.52am BST

AFL Q2 14:49 remaining Melbourne 6.5 (41) v St Kilda 1.1 (7)

Here’s one of the highlights of the first quarter – Harmes’ brilliant pack mark and goal. He’s been a handy inclusion this week.

Harmes. Is. Going. To. Work. #AFLDeesSaints

4.50am BST

AFL Q2 16:27 remaining Melbourne 6.5 (41) v St Kilda 1.1 (7)

Thanks for your comment WinnieOfOz – I certainly didn’t predict that the Hawthorn game would have no bearing on the finals race. Thinking their final game (and the send-off for Luke Hodge) will decide whether my Bulldogs make the finals, though. Bit worried about what they can produce for his retirement game! Glad you were keen on the City2Surf coverage – there were some incredible photos of the crowd. Fantastic to see so many people out and about for charity.

4.42am BST

AFL quarter-time Melbourne 6.3 (39) v St Kilda 1.1 (7)

Siren sounds to end a horror term for the Saints. Dees winning the possessions 135-109, inside 50s 22-11 and contested possessions 44-36. Nathan Jones has a massive 14 disposals (5 contested possessions, 2 inside 50s, 79% disposal efficiency). Oliver has 11 (3 contested possessions, 82% disposal efficiency). Harmes has 3 goals from 6 disposals.

4.38am BST

AFL Q1 00:20 remaining Melbourne 6.3 (39) v St Kilda 1.1 (7)

The Demons have a spare down back and the Saints keep bombing the ball long to the intercept defender. Harmes meanwhile is off for a break after his stellar opening term.

4.33am BST

AFL Q1 03:56 remaining Melbourne 5.3 (33) v St Kilda 1.1 (7)

Unbelievable – Harmes kicks his third for the quarter. He was completely unmarked, dodged a defender, took a bounce and slotted the goal. The Saints need some help down back – the Dees’ forwards are in space every time. 19-10 inside 50s for the Demons.

4.32am BST

AFL Q1 04:30 remaining Melbourne 4.3 (27) v St Kilda 1.1 (7)

Seems as if Jack Billings is being assessed for an eye injury – that’s yet more bad news for the Saints who are well off the pace at the moment. Good to see Brayshaw involved in a few contests – looks like he’ll be fine. Think I speak for everyone (Saints fans included) when I say we’re glad to see that. He’s had a horror run.

4.28am BST

AFL Q1 07:17 remaining Melbourne 4.2 (26) v St Kilda 1.1 (7)

Clayton Oliver has 10 disposals – 3 contested possessions and 80% disposal efficiency. 15-10 inside 50s to the Demons.

4.26am BST

AFL Q1 09:07 remaining Melbourne 4.2 (26) v St Kilda 0.1 (1)

Yet another goal to the Dees through Dom Tyson – who took the handball receive after a set of Demon handballs through the middle (in space, again). Very worrying sign for the Saints.

4.24am BST

AFL Q1 10:24 remaining Melbourne 3.1 (19) v St Kilda 0.1 (1)

Harmes slots another – but how he got that much space in the forward line will bother the Saints. Neal-Bullen had just as much space in the pocket, and gave the assist to Harmes for an easy snap. Oliver has 9 disposals already.

4.22am BST

AFL Q1 10:53 remaining Melbourne 2.1 (13) v St Kilda 0.1 (1)

Dees looking dangerous through the middle, they look too quick for the Saints – but both teams are finding plenty of space and run through the middle (it’s the inside 50s that have cost both teams with poor accuracy).

4.19am BST

AFL Q1 13:38 remaining Melbourne 2.1 (13) v St Kilda 0.1 (1)

An unmarked Jordan Lewis bombs it inside 50 and Mitch Harmes takes a spectacular grab – will get vision. Goal to the Dees who have gone deliberately small in the forward line.

4.18am BST

AFL Q1 14:26 remaining Melbourne 1.1 (7) v St Kilda 0.1 (1)

A holding free inside 50 gifts the ball to Viney – Dom Tyson thought it was his, and Blake Acres accidentally gives away 50 by marking Viney. Unlucky for the Saints.

4.17am BST

AFL Q1 14:36 remaining Melbourne 0.1 (1) v St Kilda 0.1 (1)

Saints find all kinds of space inside 50 but Mav Weller makes a crucial mistake – he had two other forwards free, waited, then turned the ball over trying to pass it off, even though he was 30m out with a clear shot at goal. Neither side handling the pressure well.

4.15am BST

AFL Q1 15:50 remaining Melbourne 0.1 (1) v St Kilda 0.0 (0)

Saints and Dees exchanging turnovers – both winning the ball easily through the midfield but over-possessing, and picking out opposition defenders in the 50.

4.12am BST

AFL Q1 18:30 remaining Melbourne 0.0 (0) v St Kilda 0.0 (0)

Tom McDonald is in the backline – lining up on Josh Bruce. Bit worried about the Dees’ scoring power without McDonald forward and no Jack Watts, too.

4.09am BST

Premier League

Just before this game starts, Aaron Mooy’s Premier League debut has got off to a great start, with Huddersfield Town surging to a 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. It has been 45 years since the side has competed in the top flight of English football – and they started with a stirring win. (Selhurst Park has likewise had an elongated absence – last seen in the Premier League in 1972).

4.05am BST

AFL Melbourne v St Kilda

I’ll continue so more rolling updates for other sports in the breaks in this game/before the NRL.

Lovely day out but 20 mins before the bounce the crowd looks bit light for such an important match #AFLDeesSaints

4.04am BST


Some very bad news for Australia at the US PGA Championships – with Jason Day imploding on day three to crash out of contention and give away his best chance at a second career major. Day shot a six-over-par 77 at Quail Hollow, taking him to 16th (even-par), seven shots behind leader Kevin Kisner. Kisner (72) now leads by one-shot over World No.3 Hideki Matsuyama (73) and Chris Stroud (71).

4.01am BST


Thanks to AAP, Sydney’s City2Surf is done for another year – with more than 80,000 competitors taking part in the event that winds its way from Hyde Park in the city to Bondi Beach. The event was won by Harry Summers in a time of 42:16. Celia Sullohern was the first female across the line after the 14km race in a time of 47:11, while Kurt Fearnley was the first wheelchair athlete to finish.

3.57am BST

World Athletics Championships

Some big news coming out of London, with Sally Pearson winning gold in the 100m hurdles at the World Athletics Championships with a time of 12.59 seconds. The win will be all the sweeter for Pearson given her long battle with injury – including wrist, hamstring and achilles problems which have plagued her since 2013. Indeed, this was Pearson’s first major global championship since that year, and is Pearson’s third major 100m hurdles title (she won gold at the 2011 world championships in Daegu and the 2012 London Olympics). At 30 years of age, she joins Cathy Freeman and Jana Pittman as the only Australians to have won two world track and field titles.

3.52am BST

Hi everyone and welcome to this Sunday edition of Guardian Sportwatch. I’m Kate O’Halloran and here we keep you up-to-date with what’s happening in the world of Australian sport, whatever your preferred shape of ball. Don’t forget to comment below, tweet or email me (or the @GdnSportAus account) – using the hashtag #sportwatch.

Today I’ll bring you the 1:10pm (AEST) Melbourne v St Kilda AFL clash which is a critical game in the finals race. It looks like whoever wins this clash will dislodge the reigning premiers, the Bulldogs, from the top 8 (currently Melbourne’s percentage is far superior to theirs, while St Kilda’s hovers just below – that should improve if they win). I live-blogged the Melbourne v GWS clash last week, and as impressive as GWS were (finding top gear just at the right end of the season), the Dees were equally disappointing, kicking the opening three goals before barely giving a yelp in their significant defeat. This of course followed their shock loss to the Roos. St Kilda, meanwhile, were impressive in their thrilling victory over the Eagles on Sunday, breathing new life into their finals campaign after going down in a nailbiter the week before to the Power, in a game they should have won.

5.32am BST

Kate will be here shortly. In the meantime, check out how all things Australian sport went down with yesterday’s Sportwatch:

Related: Storm edge Roosters, Cats stun Tigers, and more: Australia sportwatch – as it happened

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Aug 12

Storm edge Roosters, Cats stun Tigers, and more: Australia sportwatch – as it happened

1.24pm BST

In the NRL it was a banner night for Melbourne Storm who all but sealed the minor premiership with a last gasp victory over the nearest rivals. It was a thrilling game and would be a worthy grand final match-up later in the year. The Panthers enhanced their finals chances at the expense of the Cowboys while the Dragons heaped more misery on the Titans.

Thanks for your company, let’s do this all again tomorrow.

1.22pm BST

So there we have it, crucial hard fought wins in the AFL for Geelong and West Coast alongside some hidings dished out by Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane. The Eagles are the big movers of the day, Climbing to seventh on the ladder in that logjam for the remaining couple of finals spots. The Cats’ win means the top four now looks reasonably set but Sydney are flying home with a wet sail.

1.19pm BST


100 83 #AFLEaglesBlues

1.17pm BST

Now it IS all over. Redden with the sealer.

AFL: Q4 – 00:30 remaining – Eagles 15.10 (100) v Blues 12.11 (83)

1.13pm BST

Ok, maybe I spoke too soon (again!). Casboult curls a belter from the boundary 50m out to keep the Blues alive.

AFL: Q4 – 03:30 remaining –
Eagles 14.8 (92) v Blues 12.11 (83)

1.12pm BST

Josh Kennedy’s sixth of the night extinguishes whatever Blues hopes remained and makes his move into the lead for the Coleman Medal in the process. A Potential banana skin has been avoided – but only just.

AFL: Q4 – 04:00 remaining – Eagles 14.8 (92) v Blues 11.11 (77)

1.09pm BST

Charlie Curnow is already some player and he’s going to be something special. He kicks Carlton back into contention but there’s not long left at Domain Stadium.

AFL: Q4 – 05:00 remaining – Eagles 13.8 (86) v Blues 11.11 (77)

1.07pm BST

Seven goals in the first Premier League match of the season, three already before half-time in the second!

Related: Watford v Liverpool: Premier League – live

1.05pm BST

West Coast have stretched the margin out to 16 with a couple of quick goals. Do the Blues have anything left?

AFL: Q4 – 08:00 remaining – Eagles 13.8 (86) v Blues 10.10 (70)

1.00pm BST

Levi Casboult has kicked a beauty to keep Carlton within three points of West Coast midway through the final quarter.

AFL: Q4 – 10:00 remaining – Eagles 11.7 (73) v Blues 10.10 (70)

12.56pm BST

Another big win for the Crows as they continue their march towards top spot on the ladder at the end of the home and away season.

FT: @Adelaide_FC 18.15 (123) defeated @EssendonFC 12.8 (80).
One step closer to the minor premiership for the Crows.#AFLDonsCrows

12.50pm BST

Last couple of AFL matches of the night in progress. Adelaide are coasting to victory over Essendon with not long to go at Etihad Stadium, while over in Perth West Coast are a couple of points up on Carlton early in the final quarter.

12.40pm BST

Watford have nabbed an early goal against Liverpool. More on that here:

Related: Watford v Liverpool: Premier League – live

12.40pm BST

This has become very very uncomfortable indeed for Adam Simpson. After leading Carlton by 31 at half-time West Coast are now level with the Blues at three-quarter time.

AFL: 3QT – Eagles 10.4 (64) v Blues 9.10 (64)

12.30pm BST

Carlton are piecing together a third-quarter comeback against West Coast. After failing to kick a goal in the second quarter they’ve landed four in the third to narrow the margin to seven points.

AFL: Q3 – 09:00 remaining – Eagles 9.4 (58) v Blues 7.9 (51)

12.24pm BST

All over at Pepper Stadium where the Panthers have secured a stunning topsy-turvy win over the Cowboys to reignite their season and leave North Queensland’s in the balance.

NRL: Panthers 24-16 Cowboys

Hear from Nathan Cleary after #NRLPanthersCowboys.#NRL

12.21pm BST

Essendon are not conceding defeat but whenever they land a punch Adelaide finds a counter or two. It’s been a tougher night than the scoreboard might suggest for the Crows though and they won’t be happy that Rory Sloane is currently off the ground nursing what looks like a calf injury.

AFL: 3QT – Bombers 9.7 (61) v Crows 14.9 (93)

12.15pm BST

Brilliant from Nathan Cleary and the Panthers who have dominated the second half against the Cowboys. The halfback crosses for a deserved try that surely seals things for Penrith and put their finals campaign back on track.

If things stay as they are, the Panthers climb to sixth, the Cowboys plummet to eighth.

Cleary grabs a double!

Sharp work from May.#NRLPanthersCowboys#NRL

12.07pm BST

Adelaide are maintaining a comfortable cushion over Essendon despite the efforts of Joe Daniher whose three goals have him back in front in the Coleman Medal race.

AFL: Q3 – Bombers 8.5 (53) v Crows 12.7 (79)

12.02pm BST

The Panthers are back in front!

NRL: 64 mins – Panthers 18-16 Cowboys

Big James Tamou!#NRLPanthersCowboys #NRL

Vision of the @nthqldcowboys No Try decision in the 54th minute of #NRLPanthersCowboys.#NRL

11.50am BST

AFL: HT – Eagles 9.2 (56) v Blues 3.7 (25)

HALF TIME: Eagles get to work, to lead Carlton at the main break.

56 25 #AFLEaglesBlues

11.46am BST

But the Panthers are not giving up without a fight.

NRL: 52 mins – Panthers 12-16 Cowboys

Nathan Cleary just stays alive and gets rewarded!#NRLPanthersCowboys#NRL

11.43am BST

The Cowboys are pulling away in the second half.

NRL: 50 mins – Panthers 6-16 Cowboys

Don’t even try and stop him! #NRLPanthersCowboys 6-16 after 47 minutes.#NRL

11.39am BST

After the Premier League returned in blistering fashion last night it falls to Watford and Liverpool to retain the momentum. Join the inimitable Rob Smyth for his liveblog and see if Philippe Coutinho’s contract stoush has impacted on Jurgen Klopp’s title challengers.

Related: Watford v Liverpool: Premier League – live

11.37am BST

West Coast are gaining control of their clash with Carlton, upping the tempo in the second quarter.

AFL: Q2 – 6:00 remaining – Eagles 9.2 (56) v Blues 3.3 (21)

Sam Mitchell just broke an AFL record!!

Congrats, Mitch! #AFLEaglesBlues

11.33am BST

Half-time at Etihad Stadium where Essendon sent a fright through Adelaide before the ladder leaders started hitting targets at will, kicking 33 unanswered points, despite one of the all-time great misses from Tom Lynch.

AFL: HT Bombers 5.4 (34) v Crows 10.6 (66)

Tom Lynch won’t want to watch this again! #AFLDonsCrows

11.28am BST

The World Athletics Championships are continuing in London and Usain Bolt has set up his farewell in the 4x100m relay.

Related: Usain Bolt steers Jamaica into 4x100m final as GB go close to record pace

11.27am BST

Half-time between the Panthers and Cowboys and it’s looking good for North Queensland’s top-four push.

NRL: HT – Panthers 6-10 Cowboys

11.11am BST

Quarter time at Domain Stadium and West Coast are not having things all their own way against Carlton.

AFL: QT – Eagles 4.0 (24) v Blues 3.3 (21)

11.06am BST

But the Cowboys are back in front in no time.

NRL: 32 mins – Panthers 6-10 Cowboys

All class from the @nthqldcowboys!#NRLPanthersCowboys#NRL

11.01am BST

Penrith have struck back against North Queensland as they battle to remain in the finals hunt.

NRL: 26 mins – Panthers 6-4 Cowboys

The @PenrithPanthers head left.

Then @Josh_Mansour turns inside and it opens up!#NRLPanthersCowboys#NRL

10.55am BST

QT: @Adelaide_FC 5.3 (33) leads @EssendonFC 2.2 (14).
A fast start to #AFLDonsCrows.

10.54am BST

West Coast taking on Carlton is the final match of the night to concern us and it’s a must win for the Eagles in their bid to finish in the top-eight.

AFL: Q1 – 9.00 remaining Eagles 1.0 (6) v Blues 2.0 (12)

10.48am BST

Back to the NRL and North Queensland have drawn first blood against Penrith.

NRL: 14 mins – Panthers 0-4 Cowboys

Pressure into points for the @nthqldcowboys!#NRLPanthersCowboys#NRL

10.46am BST

Staying in the AFL, we’re underway at Etihad Stadium where Adelaide are looking to increase their lead at the top of the ladder against Essendon. Three early goals has them on their way but they won’t be pleased with the sight of captain Taylor Walker jogging into the rooms.

AFL: Q1 – 6.00 remaining Bombers 2.1 (13) v Crows 3.3 (21)

10.37am BST

Time to go back around the grounds, and first to Brisbane, where the Lions have completed a resounding victory over neighbours the Suns. They remain at the foot of the ladder but now move level on points with Carlton and North Melbourne.

AFL: Lions 22.10 (142) v Suns 12.12 (84)

10.33am BST

I’m exhausted. That was a belter, worthy of deciding the minor premiership. What a team Melbourne Storm are. Time after time they pull something out of the fire just when it’s needed.

10.26am BST

Melbourne Storm 16-13 Sydney Roosters

Mitchell Pearce knocks on as the clock ticks towards full-time, ending any hopes of a last gasp comeback. Storm win an amazing game crammed full of incident, controversy and high quality rugby league.

10.24am BST

NRL: H2 79:30 Melbourne Storm 16-13 Sydney Roosters

Ouch! A short kick-off sparks a contested marking contest that Addo-Carr claims spectacularly and while he’s in mid-air he’s clipped and lands awkwardly on his back. Thankfully he’s ok. Crucially for his side it earns a penalty that will go a long way to running out the clock. The set ends deep in Sydney territory. One last chance for the Roosters.

10.22am BST

NRL: H2 77:30 Melbourne Storm 16-13 Sydney Roosters

Try! (Storm) Stimson

It’s not over until it’s over! The @storm go in and take the lead back.#NRLStormRoosters 16-13 with 2 minutes remaining.#NRL

10.17am BST

NRL: H2 75:00 Melbourne Storm 12-13 Sydney Roosters

Is that the game? Pearce shaped for the extra point on the third tackle but the lane was closed. He took the hit and allowed the ball to work to Keary who made no mistake. From the restart a short kick-off was claimed by the Roosters to deny Storm possession. Is there time for a comeback? Maybe! Ferguson kicks away possession in the corner to hand Storm seven tackles.

10.15am BST

NRL: H2 74:00 Melbourne Storm 12-13 Sydney Roosters

Keary kicks the drop-goal!

Keary slots it perfectly and gets the @sydneyroosters in front!#NRLStormRoosters 12-13 with 6 minutes remaining.#NRL

10.15am BST

NRL: H2 73:00 Melbourne Storm 12-12 Sydney Roosters

Huge moment! Melbourne brilliantly kept Sydney inside their own 30m for a set only for Slater to then grass a straightforward clearing punt from Pearce. What should have been Storm’s chance is suddenly Sydney’s! Can they convert it into a score – any score will do this late into the night.

10.13am BST

NRL: H2 71:30 Melbourne Storm 12-12 Sydney Roosters

This is gripping. Both sides delivering precision rugby league under the most gruelling of circumstances. Set after completed set ending with flawless defensive work. It will take something special to break the deadlock.

10.11am BST

NRL: H2 69:00 Melbourne Storm 12-12 Sydney Roosters

Superb collect from Slater, diving at speed in front of his posts, to repel another Keary kick. It sparks his side into finally dragging itself clear of its line after a long period under pressure.

10.08am BST

NRL: H2 66:30 Melbourne Storm 12-12 Sydney Roosters

A rare mistake from the Storm with Asofa-Solomona fumbling a simple pass from Smith – just the third Melbourne handling error of a match played in pouring rain.

10.03am BST

NRL: H2 63:00 Melbourne Storm 12-12 Sydney Roosters

What a finale we have in store. This has already been a high-quality football match full of controversy. Can either side find an edge?

10.01am BST

NRL: H2 61:00 Melbourne Storm 12-12 Sydney Roosters

Try! (Roosters) Aubusson

Aubusson straight for the corner!#NRLStormRoosters #NRL

9.57am BST

NRL: H2 58:30 Melbourne Storm 12-6 Sydney Roosters

The Roosters aren’t helping themselves at the moment. Jordan McLean concedes a poor turnover with a basic handling error. The error count is 9-2 against Sydney, but their defence has stood up superbly, offering little for the Storm to exploit.

9.54am BST

NRL: H2 55:00 Melbourne Storm 12-6 Sydney Roosters

Storm turning the screw and it’s the kicking game from Smith again, weighting a grubber perfectly for Watson to have no option but accept a tackle in-goal.

9.50am BST

NRL: H2 52:00 Melbourne Storm 12-6 Sydney Roosters

It’s an arm-wrestle between two efficient well-drilled sides in the wet at the moment. The Roosters running as much as they can, the Storm looking for the early boot of Smith and Cronk. From one thumping Smith boot and a powerful team chase they force the turnover. Can they make good field position count? Two points are on offer after Pearce hits Scott high. Smith accepts them to extend the lead to six points.

9.45am BST

NRL: H2 47:00 Melbourne Storm 10-6 Sydney Roosters

Cordner almost breaks through on the 30m line but Cronk held on well in the tackle – held on too long in fact, conceding the first penalty of the half. The Roosters can’t capitalise though with the Storm regathering a loose ball in the left corner.

9.43am BST

NRL: H2 45:00 Melbourne Storm 10-6 Sydney Roosters

Solid start to the half from both sides, exchanging completed sets. The highlight of some striahgt-line running the sight of Connor Watson almost going through Cooper Cronk in a bone-crunching charge.

9.39am BST

NRL: H2 41:00 Melbourne Storm 10-6 Sydney Roosters

Second half underway at AAMI Park and it begins with a solid set from the Storm. Blake Ferguson fields a high ball at its conclusion, remarkable to see him out on the field after the sickening fall he endured in the first half.

9.28am BST

Quickly over to the Q-Clash which has caught fire.

AFL: Q3 10:23 remaining Lions 14.6 (90) v Suns 9.9 (63)

It’s been all Brisbane since quarter time. They’ve kicked the last six goals of the game. #AFLLionsSuns

9.24am BST

NRL – Melbourne Storm 10-6 Sydney Roosters

A long spell of Sydney pressure is finally relieved by an eighth penalty. Storm’s progression downfield is interrupted by a Mitchell shoulder charge on Chambers that sparks a melee on the right wing.

9.18am BST

NRL H1 36:30 Melbourne Storm 10-6 Sydney Roosters

Melbourne think they’ve scored a 90m try but play was called back mid-break for a very debatable obstruction. From the resulting Roosters’ possession they almost go over in the left corner but some last-ditch defending denies a try. A very curious spell that seemed to go against the Storm.

9.13am BST

NRL H1 34:00 Melbourne Storm 10-6 Sydney Roosters

A much more even contest again as half time approaches but it could have been much better for Melbourne. Chambers was quickly up into Watson following a long Cronk clearance and he strips the ball in the tackle, only to see it knock forward.

34′ Blake Ferguson down with a shoulder injury after trying to score in the corner – Roosters with a repeat set #purplepride

9.07am BST

NRL H1 30:00 Melbourne Storm 10-6 Sydney Roosters

Try! (Roosters) Keary

Vision of the @sydneyroosters Try decision in the 29th minute of #NRLStormRoosters.#NRL

9.02am BST

NRL H1 26:30 Melbourne Storm 10-0 Sydney Roosters

Try! – (Storm) Penalty Try

Vunivalu on the fly!#NRLStormRoosters 10-0 after 27 minutes.#NRL

8.57am BST

NRL H1 23:00 Melbourne Storm 4-0 Sydney Roosters

Yet another penalty – and another – the sixth and seventh of the half against the Roosters. The latest pair have brought about a warning from the officials to Boyd Cordner, delaying the inevitable two points to the boot of the prolific Cameron Smith.

8.54am BST

NRL H1 22:45 Melbourne Storm 2-0 Sydney Roosters

Three sets of six in a row defended by the Roosters and they’re finally able to clear their lines, Aidan Guerra sending them downfield with a surging burst but he’s penalised at the play-the-ball for a non-existent infringement and Melbourne are back grinding through the middle of AAMI Park.

8.52am BST

NRL H1 20:00 Melbourne Storm 2-0 Sydney Roosters

Melbourne camped in Sydney’s half now, working the ball through the forwards until there’s a possible overlap on the right wing that’s cut out by Mitchell’s fingertips.

8.49am BST

NRL H1 16:45 Melbourne Storm 2-0 Sydney Roosters

Another penalty to Slater prolongs a good period for the Storm as the heavens open above AAMI Park. The rain helps a vicious grubber from Cronk skip off the turf towards an onrushing Slater but the Roosters claw it behind.

8.46am BST

NRL H1 12:45 Melbourne Storm 2-0 Sydney Roosters

First blood to Melbourne. Storm use field position to their advantage, earning a penalty when Pearce bodychecks Slater as he chases a Cronk Garryowen. Smith makes no mistake from point blank range. The two points take Smith into equal third on the all-time point-scorer’s list.

8.43am BST

NRL H1 11:00 Melbourne Storm 0-0 Sydney Roosters

Half-chances appearing for the Roosters but the Storm closing the door whenever a break seems on. Defensively they have been sound but going forward they remain sluggish. A better kick from Cronk sends them into Sydney’s half, but only just.

8.40am BST

NRL H1 07:00 Melbourne Storm 0-0 Sydney Roosters

A poor pass from Slater coughs up possession early for the Storm who are yet to complete a set. The champion fullback redeems himself in defence but the Storm are pinned in their defensive territory. Another set is curtailed by an early kick and it’s a shocker from Cooper Cronk who fails to connect with a torpedo and the Roosters resume on halfway.

8.37am BST

NRL H1 04:30 Melbourne Storm 0-0 Sydney Roosters

All Roosters still with Jake Friend sending through a probing grubber that Storm send behind for a drop out. After regaining possession another solid set ends with Pearce floating a kick towards the left corner that Vunivalu claims well in the air.

8.35am BST

NRL H1 01:00 Melbourne Storm 0-0 Sydney Roosters

Solid opening set for the Roosters and they get a second set soon enough with Cameron Smith kicking on the third tackle. Connor Watson does superbly to run the ball from his own in-goal area to the 30m line. There’s a penalty at the breakdown and the Roosters are gifted territory.

8.32am BST

NRL H1 00:00 Melbourne Storm 0-0 Sydney Roosters

Here we go!

8.24am BST

Team News:

Jahrome Hughes will start at five-eighth for the Storm. That is the only change to the side that defeated the Cowboys last week. Brodie Croft and Robbie Rochow drop out of the 19-man squad named on Friday evening.

Warm-up! Less than ten minutes until KICK OFF #IMAROOSTER #NRLStormRoosters

8.18am BST

Sharni Layton, the face of Australian netball, was forced to step aside from her commitments with the Diamonds after suffering from exhaustion. Erin Delahunty considers the weight of responsibility on the shoulders of the star goal keeper.

Related: Workload few could shoulder finally takes its toll on ‘exhausted’ Sharni Layton

8.17am BST

It was a miserable week for FFA who failed to secure the required governance reform despite the presence of a Fifa delegation in Sydney. Here’s my attempt to explain a complex situation.

Related: Steven Lowy’s incendiary attack only serves to highlight FFA inactivity | Jonathan Howcroft

8.16am BST

While we’re waiting for the Storm v Roosters clash, there’s time to check out some of the biggest features from this week.

An old face returned to The AFL Footy Show this week, but as Jonathan Horn writes, any attempt to revitalise the show is an exercise in futility.

Related: The Footy Show: rebooted but McGuire and Newman quickly revert to type | Jonathan Horn

8.11am BST

Hear from @billyslater and Mitchell Pearce ahead of #NRLStormRoosters.#NRL

8.11am BST

There’s no let up in the AFL with the Q-Clash underway in Brisbane. And it’s the Suns that are on top early in interim coach Dean Solomon’s first game in charge.

AFL: QT Lions 3.2 (20) v Suns 6.5 (41)

7.58am BST

In the NRL The Dragons ran in seven tries as they scorched past the Titans. Mann, Nightingale and McInnes all grabbed braces as the Dragons secured eighth spot on the ladder.

NRL: Dragons 41-16 Titans

7.55am BST

In case you were wondering, Sydney’s final margin over Fremantle was 104 points.

AFL: Swans 22.11 (143) v Dockers 5.9 (39)

7.51am BST

Enormous win for Geelong. Undermanned and under the pump but they dug deep to earn the win that secures their status in the top four, giving them a six-point buffer to Sydney and potentially Port Adelaide with two rounds remaining.

Harry Taylor was the star up forward, providing the goal threat in the absence of Hawkins but it was a team effort, especially from a miserly defence that time after time snuffed out threat and set up attacking opportunities. A very satisfying day for Chris Scott.

7.44am BST

AFL: Cats 11.14 (80) v Tigers 9.12 (66)

They’ve fought to the last Richmond, winning a desperate clearance but can’t find the goal to start squeaky bum time. Geelong hold firm, clear their lines and see out their 13th consecutive win over the Tigers.

7.40am BST

AFL: Q4 01:30 remaining Cats 11.13 (80) v Tigers 9.11 (65)

There’s still time for a miraculous Richmond goal, finished off by Edwards.

7.38am BST

AFL: Q4 02:45 remaining Cats 11.13 (80) v Tigers 8.10 (58)

That must be it, surely. A brilliant one-handed mark from Taylor 10m out and the crowd erupts as Taylor’s fourth goal goes through. The underdogs have done it.

7.36am BST

AFL: Q4 03:45 remaining Cats 10.13 (74) v Tigers 8.10 (58)

Geelong starting to run down the clock now, passing it around their back line and hugging the boundary. When the ball is propelled forward it nears Scott Selwood who is being manhandled around 35m out but his set shot doesn’t make the journey.

7.33am BST

AFL: Q4 06:21 remaining Cats 10.12 (73) v Tigers 8.10 (58)

Almost as if he was provoked by Martin’s brilliance, Dangerfield responds in kind but Thurlow cannot honour the lead up play. The Cats doing well to keep the ball at Richmond’s end of Simonds Stadium though.

7.31am BST

AFL: Q4 07:11 remaining Cats 10.12 (72) v Tigers 8.10 (58)

Don’t write the Tigers off just yet, Dustin Martin does what he does, sharking off the back of a stoppage to snap a powerful left-footed finish from 30m.

7.27am BST

AFL: Q4 09:32 remaining Cats 10.12 (72) v Tigers 7.10 (52)

That could be it. Two in a minute – Menzel with the second and the lead out to 20 points. Again it originates with a defensive interception setting up a fast counter, Bews this time earning the plaudits.

7.25am BST

AFL: Q4 10:32 remaining Cats 9.12 (66) v Tigers 7.10 (52)

There’s the goal! Finally a long spell of Geelong pressure tells through a Motlop snap. The Cats refused to allow Richmond to clear their lines, clamping down on a propensity to over-handball in tight.

I’m so close to yelling “KICK THE DAMN THING” at the TV here. Richmond, what are you doing? #AFLCatsTigers

7.22am BST

AFL: Q4 12:01 remaining Cats 8.12 (60) v Tigers 7.10 (52)

Almost the reverse just happens! Richmond apply the press, Geelong look vulnerable but Motlop breaks from nowhere, feeds Taylor with a low fizzer but the contest’s dominant key forward can only kick a point.

7.19am BST

AFL: Q4 14:11 remaining Cats 8.10 (58) v Tigers 7.10 (52)

Geelong enjoying a rare spell of territorial dominance but unable to execute inside-50. Richmond finally break and spread and hit a target – Prestia – but his long bomb only earns one point.

7.17am BST

AFL: Q4 16:01 remaining Cats 8.10 (58) v Tigers 7.9 (51)

Geelong’s defence has got its midfield out of jail on so many occasions today and Tom Stewart is the latest to snuff out danger and then rebound a pace, setting up Taylor. A decent chance for Richmond ends in a point for the Cats.

7.14am BST

AFL: Q4 18:20 remaining Cats 8.9 (57) v Tigers 7.9 (51)

Frantic start to the final term – with rain on the way now it seems. Richmond have the first bite but can’t turn home a couple of half-chances. Menegola wins a huge contest to send Geelong up the other end but Motlop can’t finish from a tight angle. This is magnificently intense.

7.12am BST

Huge final quarter about to get underway.

That free-kick count by the way is now 23-14.

#aflcatstigers @sports_hounds Jack Riewoldt flies 3rd term #Tigers are coming ✌️⭐️

7.10am BST

NRL: 49 mins – Dragons 28-0 Titans

And the Dragons are destroying the Titans.

7.09am BST

AFL: Q3 – 3.31 remaining – Swans 20.11 (131) v Dockers 5.8 (38)

Meanwhile, Sydney’s rout is almost complete.

7.08am BST

AFL: Q3 Cats 8.9 (57) v Tigers 7.9 (51)

Courageous stuff from Stewart, spoiling after charging back with the flight knowing Martin was flying in his direction. The Tigers keep the ball inside their attacking territory for what seems like an age though, recycling phases of play from throw-in to ball-up. Somehow the Cats survive with just the concession of a point.

7.01am BST

AFL: Q3 03:20 remaining Cats 8.9 (57) v Tigers 7.8 (50)

Cotchin snaps another! 21-points in a row for Richmond.

6.57am BST

AFL: Q3 05:15 remaining Cats 8.9 (57) v Tigers 6.8 (44)

Yes they can – a skittish Houli makes immediate reparations with a shocking mongrel that did enough to squeeze through. Game on!

6.56am BST

AFL: Q3 05:47 remaining Cats 8.9 (57) v Tigers 5.8 (38)

Oh dear! A huge turning point in the game is butchered by Houli. Richmond have asphyxiated Geelong in the past few minutes and earned a turnover just outside 50, followed by a 50m penalty but Houli somehow hit the post when a goal seemed inevitable. While that was happening Jade Kolodjashnij was jogging off in the hands of trainers.

6.53am BST

AFL: Q3 08:18 remaining Cats 8.9 (57) v Tigers 5.7 (37)

Good spell from Richmond since that goal, competing again in clearances and exploiting Martin’s strength in the goalsquare alongside Riewoldt. The latter has a sight of goal but can only send his set shot away for a point. The momentum is shifting back towards the Tigers though.

Domsy’s on the bench getting a leg injury checked out.#AFLCatsTigers

6.49am BST

AFL: Q3 10:23 remaining Cats 8.9 (57) v Tigers 5.6 (36)

Excellent pressure from the Cats, pinning the ball in Richmond territory courtesy of six clearance wins in a row. When the Tigers eventually clear they find an inspired Geelong defence, expertly organised and clinical in the one-on-ones.

6.44am BST

If I hadn’t been assured by Richmond supporters that umpires don’t influence results…I’d say they are being crucified.#AflCatsTigers

23-9 in Geelong’s favour at present.

6.43am BST

AFL: Q3 13:46 remaining Cats 8.8 (56) v Tigers 4.5 (29)

The pattern of the second quarter is repeating in the third – Richmond seeing plenty of the ball but doing little with it and Geelong bursting forward dangerously at pace. The home side’s ground skills have been notable, rescuing some awkward situations with neat hands and strong hips.

6.40am BST

AFL: Q3 17:36 remaining Cats 8.7 (55) v Tigers 4.5 (29)

Back underway at Kardinia Park and for the first time today the Tigers don’t get an early jump at the start of a quarter. Rhys Stanley has the first shot for goal but he can only snag a behind, and a similar result meets Dangerfield’s ambitious effort but the Cats will be pleased to settle into the half on their terms.

6.36am BST

Our first match in the NRL is underway and it’s going well for the Dragons.

NRL: 32 mins – Dragons 16-0 Titans

6.30am BST

Let’s get around the grounds and see what scale the carnage at the SCG is…

AFL: Q3 – 9.11 remaining – Swans 17.6 (108) v Dockers 2.3 (15)

6.24am BST

Most of the stats are pretty even between these sides at half-time. A couple that stand out are:

We didn’t lock down their transition well enough, and panicked a bit once they got control through the umps. Deadly combo. #aflcatstigers

6.19am BST

AFL: HT – Cats 8.5 (53) v Tigers 4.5 (29)

If Richmond enjoyed the better of the opening quarter but failed to make it count on the scoreboard, Geelong made them pay in a thrilling attacking second quarter display. Harry Taylor is starring up forward with three goals but it’s the speed and bravery of ball movement from back to front that’s setting it up. The undermanned Cats have bared their teeth and it’s up to the Tigers to respond.

6.14am BST

AFL: Q2 00:47 remaining Cats 8.5 (53) v Tigers 4.5 (29)

Andrew Mackie runs to 50 and kicks the 100th goal of his career!#AFLCatsTigers

6.13am BST

AFL: Q2 01:17 remaining Cats 7.5 (47) v Tigers 4.5 (29)

Motlop quite magnificently butchers a golden opportunity 60m out with options all around him. Clearly knackered he fails to hit a target and the chance goes begging. Where is he in his career? A once game-changing forward is now staring at trade bait.

I hate complaining about the umpires but bloody hell…..this is repeatedly atrocious #AFLCatsTigers

6.09am BST

AFL: Q2 04:03 remaining Cats 7.5 (47) v Tigers 4.5 (29)

The home side is winning the free-kick count 16-6 and it works in their favour again when Riewoldt looked certain to be awarded a free at the top of the goal square. True to form for this quarter the Cats belt down the other end in no time and win a free-kick of their own 15m out that Menzel sends through to increase their margin to 18 points.

6.05am BST

AFL: Q2 07:14 remaining Cats 6.5 (41) v Tigers 4.5 (29)

Geelong have been brave in possession and that dare has been rewarded on the scoreboard. Richmond have been more methodical but they’ve been unable to unpick the home defence on an oval they marshal so superbly.

An awkward bounce was all Harry Taylor needed to kick his third goal. #AFLCatsTigers

6.03am BST

AFL: Q2 09:14 remaining Cats 6.5 (41) v Tigers 4.5 (29)

A horribly soft 50m from Parfitt for overstepping the mark allows Houli a makable set shot but he drags it badly wide. Geelong clear their lines superbly and Guthrie’s burst buys territory before that man Taylor is again on hand to mop up and dribble home him third.

5.59am BST

AFL: Q2 11:52 remaining Cats 5.5 (35) v Tigers 4.4 (28)

Geelong with their first period of repeat entries this quarter and it pays dividends with Sam Simpson profiting from more dominant forward play by Taylor. This arm-wrestle has evened up with the Cats’ speed of ball movement providing them a more incisive attacking threat despite the Tigers outperforming them around the ground.

5.55am BST

AFL: Q2 13:42 remaining Cats 4.3 (27) v Tigers 4.4 (28)

Make that two collector’s items – Taylor again dominating Rance overhead! He can’t finish the job this time though, Geelong settling for a point.

5.51am BST

AFL: Q2 16:42 remaining Cats 4.2 (26) v Tigers 4.4 (28)

Geelong hit straight back with a collector’s item – Alex Rance beaten one-on-one in a straight marking contest, Harry Taylor the victor. The swingman makes no mistake from the set shot.

5.50am BST

AFL: Q2 18:36 remaining Cats 3.2 (20) v Tigers 4.4 (28)

Back at Simonds Stadium Richmond make another fast start to a quarter with Dan Butler slotting an early goal.

5.48am BST

AFL: Q2 – 3.00 remaining – Swans 12.6 (78) v Dockers 1.3 (9)

Over in Sydney the Swans are in record-breaking territory in a demolition over the Dockers.

5.44am BST

Richmond enjoyed the better of the early exchanges but Geelong scrapped hard to remain in touch. The wind is making ball handling difficult, as is the intense pressure of both sides. This is bubbling along very nicely indeed.

5.41am BST

AFL: QT – Cats 3.2 (20) v Tigers 3.4 (22)

Menegola smacks one of the big posts from 30m straight in front after Trent Cotchin had conceded a 50m penalty. Costly miss approaching quarter-time.

5.38am BST

AFL: Q1 01:36 remaining Cats 3.1 (19) v Tigers 3.4 (22)

Richmond’s ability to reshape after conceding possession is stifling any Geelong run and carry. Aside from that three-goal burst the Cats have been second best. Richmond leading inside-50s 16-9.

5.34am BST

AFL: Q1 04:16 remaining Cats 3.1 (19) v Tigers 3.4 (22)

Dustin Martin shows the value of a midfielder who can rest forward. Pushing out of the goal square the Brownlow Medal favourite outmarks Lonergan one-on-one and nails the set shot to return the Tigers to a deserved lead.

5.31am BST

If you’re not going to pay a deliberate rushed behind against Mackie in that situation, you may as well not have the rule. #AFLCatsTigers

5.31am BST

AFL: Q1 06:16 remaining Cats 3.1 (19) v Tigers 2.4 (16)

This match is now being played at fierce intensity, both sides careering into contests and fighting at ground level in the unpredictable conditions. Jordan Murdoch is a casualty of the action, struggling in the rooms with a corked thigh.

5.27am BST

AFL: Q1 09:31 remaining Cats 3.1 (19) v Tigers 2.0 (12)

Out of the blue the Cats are flying and they have three in a row. Cam Guthrie this time finishing off a flowing move that began with Motlop conceding territory but retaining possession before they worked their way back along the right boundary-line.

5.25am BST

AFL: Q1 10:11 remaining Cats 2.1 (13) v Tigers 2.0 (12)

The Jekyll and Hyde of Patrick Dangerfield in the blink of an eye. First the strength and speed to break into space but streaking inside-50 he fails to either hit a target or find the big sticks conceding a cheap turnover.

5.21am BST

AFL: Q1 12:38 remaining Cats 0.1 (1) v Tigers 2.0 (12)

Richmond’s pressure is denying Geelong any meaningful possession but the Cats finally string some passes down the corridor. Stanley should be awarded a gimme free-kick but it’s denied and from the crumbs Menzel kicks Geelong’s first point.

5.16am BST

AFL: Q1 16:38 remaining Cats 0.0 (0) v Tigers 2.0 (12)

Two in no-time at all for Richmond who have sprinted out of the blocks. Fierce without the ball, precise with it, and Jack Riewoldt makes no mistake with the difficult set shot. Geelong have yet to turn up.

5.15am BST

AFL: Q1 18:08 remaining Cats 0.0 (0) v Tigers 1.0 (6)

Richmond have enjoyed the better of some scrappy opening exchanges and it leads to the first goal of the day to Josh Caddy – the only Tiger who has tasted victory on this ground – albeit in Geelong hoops.

5.11am BST

A capacity crowd of 34,000 in full voice at a blustery but dry Simonds Stadium for the big game of the round.

5.10am BST

Q1 – Sydney 7.2 (44) v Fremantle 0.1 (1)

Before play gets underway in our feature match, a quick chance to update from the SCG where the Swans have made a blistering start at home to the Dockers. Towards the end of the opening quarter Luke Parker and Gary Rohan both have two goals apiece.

5.03am BST

Plenty of sub-plots out there today.

5.03am BST

Both teams go in as listed on Thursday.

For the Cats that means Patrick Dangerfield returns following his controversial suspension and he will need to be at his brilliant best in the absence of the injured Joel Selwood and the suspended pair of Tom Hawkins and Mitch Duncan. There are also recalls for a tri of players with points to prove in Steven Motlop, Rhys Stanley and Daniel Menzel.

No late changes to either side for today’s #AFLCatsTigers clash #gotiges

5.02am BST

Down at Kardinia Park there was a good old fashioned curtain-raiser between Geelong and Richmond’s VFL sides. In what the Cats would hope is an omen, the home side prevailed in a nail-biter.

Our @GeelongVFL side is cheered from Simonds Stadium victorious in a one-point thriller! #WeAreGeelong

5.00am BST

What happened overnight?

Arsenal began the Premier League season in style, snatching a last gasp 4-3 victory at home to Leicester City.

4.59am BST

Remember this is much more fun if you join in so feel free to leave a comment at the foot of the page, email me at or tweet me @JPHowcroft.

4.55am BST

Good afternoon everybody and welcome to the latest instalment of Sportwatch.

As you’d expect from an August Saturday there’s plenty going on, with each major footy code offering its own back page lead.

4.31am BST

Jonathan will be here shortly. In the meantime, it’s been a torrid, “embarrassing” even, week in the world of football in Australia. Catch up on what’s happening here:

Related: Australian football’s future put into Fifa’s hands after talks derailed

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