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Rugby

‘Just don’t do it, guys’: Farr-Jones’s warning for Wallabies

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World Cup-winning Wallabies captain Nick Farr-Jones says it would be “too risky” for the national team to take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement because viewers would switch off.

At the launch of the Wallabies First Nations jersey in Sydney on Wednesday, senior player Dane Haylett-Petty was asked by a reporter whether Australia has as a group discussed taking a knee in support of the movement against racially-motivated violence, which spread across world sport following the death of George Floyd in police custody.

Filipo Daugunu, Dane Haylett-Petty and Harry Wilson at the unveiling of the Wallabies’ Indigenous jersey on Wednesday.Credit:Getty

"To take the risk of basically splitting the support the Wallabies are starting to earn through their gutsy performances in Wellington and Auckland – just don’t do it guys, it’s too risky," Farr-Jones said.

"You run the risk that a few [viewers] would just turn off. They don't want to see politics in national sport. That's a real risk.

Nick Farr-Jones celebrates with the Webb Ellis Cup at Twickenham in 1991.Credit:Getty

"I think it could be divisive."

Farr-Jones doesn’t believe there is a big problem in relation to the treatment of Indigenous Australians and revealed the Wallabies observed a minute's silence on a tour to South Africa when he was playing.

"I don't think here in Australia that we have a major issue in relation to discrimination of coloured people," Farr-Jones said. "We went to South Africa in ’92 when it was opening up, when apartheid was just about behind it. Of course [Nelson] Mandela was elected the first black president in ’94.

"We had a minute silence for victims of township violence before we played our Test match in Cape Town but here in Australia I think if you surveyed your listeners, I think 99 per cent would agree that all lives matter. We don't have that issue. Let's not make it a political issue in a sporting event."

The 63-Test Wallaby, who led Australia to World Cup glory in 1991, said all stakeholders would have to be consulted if the Wallabies team decided to take a knee during the national anthem.

"At the end of the day it's up to the captain, the coach [and] the team but I would also implore the guys to make sure that if they want to do it, they get the approval of the board," Farr-Jones said. "They can't just go and do this and risk the loss of all the support.

"Over the decades we cherish the fact we've had some amazing Indigenous people in our teams, some amazing Polynesians and Fijian players. I think of the Ellas and how blessed I was to play alongside Mark in my early Tests… we've never had an issue. We all come together under that one jersey brilliantly."

Indigenous leader Warren Mundine also felt it would be an unwise move.

"I think it's a stupid idea quite frankly," Mundine said on 2GB. "People are getting a bit sick and tired of sportspeople, people on huge salaries, telling us how we should be acting.

"I think it's great they’re going to wear the Indigenous colours … but this is a blatant political movement."

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MLB

‘You’ve just got to take it seriously’: Ohio State trying to chase CFP championship, avoid COVID disruptions along the way

If this had been an ordinary year — and it seems safe to say, by now, it certainly is not — coach Ryan Day and the Ohio State Buckeyes would be preparing this week for their seventh game of the season. Instead, they are delighted to be getting set for their opening game.

Already, such teams as Clemson, Alabama and Notre Dame have played at least four games and won them all. That’s a lot of ground to make up in a short time. Because the Big Ten initially chose to postpone its football season into the spring, then changed that decision to nearly a two-month delay, the Buckeyes have eight weeks to play eight games, then one more to play in the Big Ten Champions Week.

They are ranked No. 5 by The Associated Press without having played a game. To achieve their goal of a College Football Playoff championship with this abbreviated schedule, it’s pretty much certain that the Buckeyes must win them all. It’s quite likely that they’ll have to play them all, as well.

“There is a pandemic still going on,” All-American guard Wyatt Davis told Sporting News earlier this month. “Honestly, it’s holding everybody accountable. It’s very hard to ask guys not to maybe go and see their girlfriend, go out to eat, go to a party in college when everyone else around you is doing that. But, ultimately, it’s about what we want. And what we want is to play football.

“We were fighting and advocating for it, so now we have to make the sacrifices that come with that. Coach Day brings it up all the time, that we’ve got to go out there and make smart decisions. We have a very small window to make it to the CFP, and if guys start getting too comfortable we could easily lose that opportunity if we get games that get canceled.”

There have been 33 FBS football games canceled or postponed to this point in the 2020 season — and let’s be honest, it seems like more.

The Big Ten schedule does not allow for postponement of more than a day or two. The Buckeyes have a scheduled game each week from Saturday (Nebraska at noon) through Dec. 12 (Michigan at noon). They are going through daily antigen tests for the virus.

Day said in an early October conference call that some of the team’s coaches are not staying at home during this season and that he, with three children in his house, wears a mask when there.

Iowa reported Monday that it had six positive tests among 660 tests last week of athletes, coaches and staff, although it did not break this down by sport. Michigan reported 12 positives among 1,535 tests for the week of Oct. 3-9, but also did not specify the numbers by sport.

Big Ten protocols dictate a 5 percent team positivity rate automatically triggers a shutdown of that program’s practices — and a suspension of competition for seven days.

“It’s definitely different with the everyday testing,” star Buckeyes cornerback Shaun Wade told SN earlier this month. “You have to wake up every morning to get tested. You’ve got to be separated in the locker room, can’t be close to everybody. You’ve just got to take it seriously. We’ve all got to grow up. It’s something we all have to do, and we all have to come together to do, if we want to get to our goals and get to where we want to be.”

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Rugby

‘It was a bit shocking’: NRLW ‘underdogs’ motivated by bubble sacrifices

When the NRL announced in June that the women's season would be going ahead despite the financial impact of COVID-19, NRLW players expected to be put under biosecurity measures. But what many didn't realise was just how strict the bubble would be.

Roosters players Quincy Dodd and skipper Corban McGregor were forced to move out of home in order to pass the screening process. For 20-year-old Dodd, the bubble meant living out of home for the first time in her life.

Quincy Dodd was forced to pack up and move her whole life into a unit just one minute away from her parent’s place at Cronulla. Credit:Getty

The players aren't allowed to go to crowded areas, with many players forced to give up their jobs for the season to reduce the risk factor.

Like Dodd, McGregor was also told she would have to move out of home and is now living in an apartment with her partner and son. McGregor normally lives with her extended family of ten, with the number of people in the house considered too high risk.

"It's tough moving away from home and being away from your natural habitat but we've tried to make the most of it and make it like a mini holiday," she said. "The restrictions were stricter than we thought from our initial get together. Everyone adapted, but it did push back our preparation time."

McGregor said the screening process was "dragged out" and interfered with pre-season training. The bubble protocols have been particularly straining on her young family, with son Carter having to endure the knock-on effects of the strict policies.

"He loves the skate park so that has been a bit of a struggle, he keeps asking when we can go again," she said.

The effort has ultimately been worth it for the Roosters, who managed to secure a place in the grand final this year.

McGregor said the team went into the season with the mindset of becoming the "underdogs" for 2020. The team is coming up against the Broncos on October 25 after losing to the defending champions last week during the final regular-season clash.

"No one's really believed in us," McGregor said. "Internally, everyone's really taken hold of what we are about and taken ownership."

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Soccer

Gareth Bale may not have it all his own way this time around

Gareth Bale was used to having it all his own way at Tottenham… but his brief cameo may have been football’s way of telling him it’ll be different this time around as chance to hit winner goes begging with West Ham netting three AFTER he came on

  • Tottenham let a three-goal lead slip to draw 3-3 with West Ham on Sunday
  • Gareth Bale made his return in the 72nd minute with his side leading 3-0 
  • It was his first piece of action since rejoining the club during the summer 
  • The Welshman’s involvement was scarce as his side threw away their lead

It was the last thing West Ham’s beleaguered players wanted. They’d just spent 72 minutes suffering at the hands of Harry Kane only to see Gareth Bale emerge from his seat on the bench, stripped and ready to come on for his second Tottenham debut.

His hair in bun and wearing the No 9 – 30 days after re-signing – Bale was back home, seven years after departing for Real Madrid.

As is it turns out, West Ham players and David Moyes didn’t need to worry.

Gareth Bale’s first game since rejoining Tottenham did not go according to plan

Bale was straight into the thick of the action immediately pulling rank to take the free-kick that allowed his introduction in place of Steven Bergwijn.

His strike from fully 35 yard was easily dealt with Lukasz Fabianski – even by Bale’s sky-high standards scoring with your first touch from a free kick is beyond realism.

Yet, there was a slight tinge of disappointment when Bale’s effort didn’t rocket past Fabianski.

It’s how Tottenham supporters remember Bale. Goals, assists – their very own Superman.

The 31-year-old forward came on in the 72nd minute with his side leading by three goals

He was super-human when he left to become a Galactico in 2013 – everything he touched turned to gold.

Things change, though. Indeed, it may be wise for Tottenham fans to temper their expectations of Bale.

At 31, it remains to be seen whether the Wales international can replicate those barnstorming performances that saw him become the hottest property in European football.

The Premier League certainly hasn’t got any easier as Bale found discovered first hand on his return to the English football.

Bale showed some glimpses of his former self but his involvement in the game was scarce

Spurs were 3-0 up when he came on, they were clinging on for dear life by the end as West Ham scored twice in in quick succession to set up what would turn out to be a phenomenal finish to the game.

Bale’s involvement was scarce as he came on, the majority of his time spent trying to thwart West Ham’s increasingly dangerous forays forward.

Yet, we were still treated to glimpse of his utter brilliance in injury time, Bale searing through the Hammers defence to see the whites of Fabianski’s eyes – only to fire wide when it appeared easier to score.

It was exactly what we remember of Bale. Power, pace and trickery – only the precision that was missing.

The Welshman and his side threw away their lead as West Ham pulled off a stunning comeback

But then Bale was served a cold reminder of exactly how unforgiving England’s top-flight can be.

Agonisingly close to 4-2; moments later Spurs had thrown it all away as Manuel Lanzini thundered home an audacious equaliser to leave Bale’s homecoming in tatters.

When Bale left for Spain, he was used to having all his own way. His 18 minute cameo maybe football’s way of telling him it’ll be different this time around.


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Rugby

NRL 2020 finals as it happened: Storm thump Raiders, book GF ticket

Wrapping up

That's all for tonight's blog. Thanks for tuning in.

Melbourne carved Canberra up tonight. Craig Bellamy had his side primed and they flew out of the gates. Canberra never had a hope of making their second consecutive grand final.

They'll face either Penrith or Souths next Sunday in their fourth grand final appearance in the last five years.

It's hard to imagine a more disappointing performance from Canberra. They weren't even close to finals standard in the first 30 minutes. Let alone up to the mark required to beat Melbourne.

Good luck stopping the Storm if they bring their first half level to ANZ Stadium next Sunday.

Win or lose, the game's biggest stage will provide a fitting send off for Cameron Smith, who will likely call time on his illustrious career in nine days time.

See you all then.

Melbourne are through to another grand final

The Storm are once again headed back to the grand final.

They have beaten the Raiders 30-10. The result was never in any doubt.

After falling short of the big dance this time last year, they've made their fourth grand final in the last five years.

That's a remarkable record.

Cotric doubles up

The Raiders finally have their second try of the night.

Nic Cotric was the recipient of a classy Jordan Rapana flick pass and the NSW Origin winger made no mistake.

He scored and Canberra now trail 30-10 with seven minutes to play.

Milk goes missing

This is enjoyable NRL Twitter content.

The Raiders showed up in the second half tonight. Unfortunately, they were no where to be seen in the first 20 minutes.

Smith stops Cotric from scoring Canberra's second

Cameron Smith's still got it.

The 37-year-old just stopped an airborne Nic Cotric after he regained his own chip kick and appeared certain to score Canberra's second try of the night with a sensational try saver.

It's 30-6 with 12 minutes to play at Suncorp.

Finucane scores to kick Storm clear

Melbourne are 14 minutes away from yet another grand final.

Almost every bounce of the ball has gone their way tonight and that's exactly how you'd describe Dale Finucane's try to open the scoring in the second half.

A Storm high ball spilled away from the pack, bounced straight into the arms of the unmarked NSW Origin forward and he did the rest.

It's 30-6.

Bateman bombs another

The Raiders are well and truly on top here but they can't crack Melbourne for their second try of the night.

John Bateman just ran the ball himself when in a 3-on-1 situation when he should have shifted the ball to Jordan Rapana.

Canberra won a repeat set a few plays later but Rapana then turned the ball over and Melbourne have cleared their line.

It's 24-6 with 20 to play.

Storm settling in

The two teams have settled into a rhythm in the second half.

The Storm won't mind as they have a 24-6 lead to protect.

Canberra are winning the field position battle but need to score soon to give themselves a legitimate chance of peeling back the 18 point margin.

There's 22 minutes still to play.

Rapana bombs a try

Jordan Rapana just bombed a try for Canberra, who are on the charge here at Suncorp.

Rapana burned Nic Cotric when he should have thrown a flick pass to his winger, who would have gone close to scoring the Raiders' second try of the night.

It's 24-6 after 52 minutes of action at Suncorp.

Storm force their own dropout

A dodgy Siliva Havili pass handed the ball back to Melbourne after Canberra dragged Finucane into his own in goal.

The Storm have worked their way up the other end and forced a repeat set of their own with desperate defence.

It's still 24-6 in Melbourne's favour after 45 minutes.

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MLB

Jets’ Gase says it was ‘best that we part ways’ with Bell


The New York Jets decision to move on from Le’Veon Bell was a stunner. For a while now, though, it appeared inevitable.

The star running back never seemed to truly mesh with Adam Gase or his offense during the past season-plus. And Bell made it clear he wasn’t thrilled with his role.

So, his sudden release Tuesday night wasn’t completely a surprise — although the timing was. Rather than the Jets waiting to try to trade him at the deadline in three weeks, they instead decided to cut ties now with a player for whom there were such high hopes.

“That was kind of the consensus we came to last night,” Gase said Wednesday. “Spoke with him and for us, we just felt like it was best that we part ways.”

Bell was not seen as a long-term part of the Jets’ future, even though he signed a four-year, $52 million deal with the team last offseason. He was likely to be a salary cap cut next offseason, so New York tried to find a trade partner. The Jets also gave Bell and his agent permission to explore trades on their ends, but there were no takers.

Bell’s $8 million injury guarantee for 2021 was a hinderance for some, even with the Jets willing to pick up some of the $6 million remaining on his guaranteed base salary for this year. So, Bell is now a free agent and can sign with any other team after 4 p.m. Wednesday.

“For us, I want nothing but the best for him and he gets an opportunity to go somewhere else and have success,” Gase said. “It’s tough. It’s a tough decision to make, but we felt like that was the best for us with where we’re at right now.”

The Jets are 0-5 for the first time since 1996, and will head to Miami to take on the AFC East-rival Dolphins on Sunday. Gase remains squarely on the hot seat, and this move will only further alienate the coach from the frustrated fanbase — which blames him for the team’s struggles on the field and its inability to keep star players happy.

Bell twice used social media this season to express unhappiness about how he was being used. The latest came last Sunday after he returned from missing three games with a hamstring injury. He “liked” a few social media posts that criticized Gase’s use of Bell in the passing game — he caught just one pass on his only target — and another that suggested the Jets trade him.

“For whatever reason, it didn’t work out,” Gase said. “Our team moving forward to Miami, that’s our No. 1 concern right now.”

When asked whether he agreed with the perception of some that he misused Bell, Gase said only: “It’s irrelevant at this point.”

In the offseason, Gase insisted he would try to figure out how to maximize Bell’s skills in the offense this season. That never materialized, and mostly because the running back wasn’t on the field much.

“Yeah, I mean, the first game he played a half and got injured, and then he played this last game,” Gase said. “So, it is what it is and it’s the decision we made, and we’ve moved on to this one.”

With Bell gone, rookie La’Mical Perine will likely see an increased role in the offense and likely get most of the carries over 37-year-old Frank Gore. The Jets also have Ty Johnson on the active roster and Josh Adams on the practice squad.

“Perine’s definitely going to get bigger role,” Gase said. “Frank, you’re not going to lean on him because of where he’s at in his career. Getting Perine involved is going to be critical.”

NOTES: Gase considered handing off play-calling duties on offense, but decided against it after speaking to GM Joe Douglas and his staff earlier this week. “Nobody thought that was the reason why it’s going the way it’s going,” Gase said. … The Jets signed DL Tanzel Smart and K/P Sergio Castillo to the practice squad. They also released WR Donte Moncrief from the practice squad.

___

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