Monthly Archives: September 2019

Michael Hussey’s calf muscle injury strikes Sydney Thunder

Sydney Thunder received a blow ahead of Monday night’s must-win match against the Adelaide Strikers with confirmation skipper Michael Hussey would miss the match because of the calf muscle injury he suffered during the five-wicket loss to Hobart on Friday night.
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The former Test batsman was injured while running between wickets before being dismissed for a run-a-ball nine at the franchise’s first game at Spotless Stadium. The defeat allowed Hobart to leap-frog them into fourth place on the ladder.

Thunder chief executive Nick Cummins said it was too soon to say whether the injury had finished 39-year-old Hussey’s Big Bash campaign.

“We’ll allow for it to settle down so we can get a better indication but he’ll miss the Strikers’ match,” said Cummins. “He’ll travel with the team to Adelaide irrespective of the injury but we’ll wait a few days for a clearer picture.”

Hussey joins teammates Usman Khawaja and Kurtis Patterson on the injured list, but Cummins said the franchise had a host of batsmen capable of ensuring the Thunder added to the two victories they’d already posted this summer.

“It’s disappointing to lose our captain and a match-winner but it is an opportunity for someone else to step up and make runs,” he said. “We’re lucky to have guys like Jacques Kallis, Aiden Blizzard and Jason Roy who are all capable of playing a match-winning innings.”

Compounding the blow, the injury will deny Hussey the opportunity to captain the Prime Minister’s XI against England in Canberra on Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, popular Sydney Sixers’ fast bowler Doug Bollinger said when he marks out his run-up in Sunday night’s match against the Brisbane Heat at the Gabba it would be a chance to add some much-needed scalps to his Big Bash tally and yet another audition for Australian honours.

In his five Big Bash matches this season the left-armer has captured just three wickets, however, he insisted the numbers don’t reflect the way he’s bowled. “I’d love a few more wickets, there’s no doubt about that, but as I said to [Sixers’ bowling coach] Geoff Lawson the other day, my run-up is good, the ball feels as though it’s coming out really well but I just need a bit of luck to get some more wickets,” he said.

“But that’s Twenty20 cricket and I’ll just have to keep crunching away … and keep my fingers crossed. I feel good, I feel really fit and feel as though I’m bowling well. I just need the wheel to turn in my favour.”

Bollinger, who played the last of his 12 Tests for Australia in 2010, was determined to make an impression in what remained of the league and then the second half of the Sheffield Shield season to force his way into the Ashes squad and capitalise on the stunning form he displayed during his stint with English county team, Kent. “I’d love one more go to show them I could still do it,” he said of Australian selection.

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Aussie men’s tennis enjoys days in the sun

Brisbane When Roger Federer ended James Duckworth’s maiden ATP quarter-final with a regal flourish on Friday night, the curtain was also drawn on a mostly good news week for Australian men’s tennis. Three locals among the last eight at the Brisbane International was a positive return from six main draw starters, even if none could emulate 2014 champion Lleyton Hewitt by making it to the final weekend.
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With injured Nick Kyrgios unable to contest the Hopman Cup, and replaced first by Matt Ebden, and then cross-continental Marinko Matosevic in a desperate search for healthy manpower, the focus after Hewitt’s swift Brisbane exit switched to those making up a growing support cast. None are inside the top 50, but the troops are arriving in numbers, at last.

“We’ve been saying for a long time now there are Aussies coming through, there are young guys coming through,” says mature-aged success story Sam Groth, the 27-year-old who cracked the top 100 in July, emphatically upstaged Hewitt in Brisbane and has realistic top-50 ambitions. “Until it happens, people question what’s happening in the system and that sort of thing.

“But it’s great that it’s happening here because it makes everybody take notice. If it happens overseas, OK, but right now we are in everyone’s eye in Australia. It’s great. On the back of what happened last year, we had a few guys break through: myself, Nick, doing well. This is our one time of the year to promote tennis in Australia and promote ourselves in Australia. I think all the young guys, myself included, are doing a good job.”

Groth’s point is worth exploring. Indeed, the fact you have read even this far is an indication that this must be January. From saturation coverage in the first month of the year, and the Melbourne Park fortnight in particular, the reality is that within days of the must-watch Australian Open men’s final, the football codes – and this year, cricket, with the World Cup imminent – return to swallow up the precious column centimetres and broadcast minutes. Until Wimbledon – and, to a lesser extent, the French Open – tick around mid-year to revive interest, tennis becomes a much harder sell.

So, while everyone’s buying, what of the local product? It is still all about Kyrgios, of course, as the All England Club quarter-finalist prepares to return to competition in Sydney after a break that stretches back to last September. Davis Cup coach Josh Eagle, who travelled with Kyrgios for several months in 2014, would prefer to dial down the hype. Good luck with that.

“It’s been such an incredible, rapid rise, that there’s still so much for him to learn,” says Eagle of the injury-prone Canberran, who won his maiden grand slam match at last year’s Open. “Nick’s 50 in the world, but has really played about three ATP main draw events in his life, so I think he’s still got so much room to improve.

“He’s going to feel a lot of pressure, no doubt, in the coming weeks and he’s really got to work hard to manage the expectation of the Australian public, but if he can get his body fit and strong and healthy, already on the tennis side of it, his level is really high. So if he can put the tennis and the physicality all together and then be able to mentally deal with the pressure and the expectation, he’s got big improvements to make. But that’s not going to happen quickly.”

His great mate Kokkinakis has jumped from 628 to 149th in just over 12 months, yet continues to gather invaluable experience with every week spent among the big boys. In Brisbane, he upset seasoned world No.25 Julien Benneteau for his best senior win, before a second-round slap-down from Bernard Tomic, but not before an encouraging first tie-break set.

The 18-year-old’s week finished with a doubles semi-final partnering grand slam singles contender Grigor Dimitrov against US Open finalists Kei Nishikori and Alex Dolgopolov, the Kokkinakis warm-up including a few kicks of a hot pink Sherrin with Dimitrov and India Rasheed, eight-year-old daughter of the Bulgarian’s Australian coach, Roger.

Indeed, after a dozen or so training sessions with Federer in Dubai in December, Kokkinakis is now mixing with the best and brightest, and increasingly feeling like he belongs. “The first week was interesting, because Roger didn’t have much of an off-season, so it was pretty relaxed and the sessions weren’t too intense but they were still specific,” says Kokkinakis’  long-time coach Todd  Langman. “But then in the second week he upped his ante, and I remember Thanasi looking up and go ‘All right, here he is now’.”

Kokkinakis is still coming, just as Tomic is returning back from the relative oblivion of the 120s territory where he slumped after a meritorious loss to Tomas Berdych at Wimbledon. It was at the Colombian Open, where he won his second career title, that Tomic’s injury-hit season turned around in July.

“That two, three weeks there was where I sort of felt that I was back. I kept playing a lot of tournaments and finished the year I think 55, 56, so that was very good for me,” said Tomic. “I’m feeling physically better and it’s helping me mentally as well on court to feel good and go for my shots and I play the right tennis I should play to beat these guys.” Shame, then, about the rather ugly 6-0, 6-4 quarter-final loss to Nishikori, but on he goes to Sydney, and then to Melbourne Park.

Which leaves the likes of improvers Groth and Duckworth, the latter still just 22 and better than he showed against a red-hot Federer, as well as the tempestuous but undeniably talented Matosevic and battling Brisbane specialist John Millman, who was not so very far from doing the unthinkable against Federer in the second round.

Duckworth paid a heavy price for Millman’s impertinence, through a 6-0, 6-1 shellacking the following night, as Federer reminded Brisbane, and the world, that this pre-Melbourne detour is about more than swimming with dolphins, flitting about in helicopters and visiting galleries to spruik the host state’s tourism credentials. Federer’s, of course, are unrivalled in a tennis sense, and if Australia’s will never again rival the glory days, then they are also, encouragingly, better than they were.

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Broulee beach shark footage causes controversy

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RELATED CONTENT:Shark attack on beached whale closes Broulee Beach: Photos

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Shark feeds on whale off South Coast beach: Video

RARE footage captured of a shark feeding off a dead whale, just metres from a popular South Coast holiday beach, has left a bad taste in some people’s mouths.

The shark was sighted in the shallow waters of Broulee Beach where those daring few stood nearby to get a better view.

Michael Jamescaptured footage of one shark tearing into the whale by attaching his waterproof Go-Pro camera to a Go-Pro rod and submerging it next to a bobbing shark tail when it was closer to shore.

However, he has since been reprimanded by many who have watched the video.

His mother, Trina James, said her son was never in any danger and has become disheartened by the negative commentary.

“At first I was a little taken back that he managed to get close enough to get video footage of the shark from the shore,” she said.

“He is a lifeguard, he wouldn’t do anything to put his life or anybody else’s in danger.

“It’s just such a shame to see so much negative feedback.”

Ms James said her son was well respected in the area.

“He slipped when he was kneeling down to get some more footage and that seems to be what has upset so many people,” she said.

“He got the video for his girlfriend who is really good with photography, so she could have some good footage of the shark.”

The drama began on Wednesday, when a distressed juvenile humpback was noticed on rocks on the Broulee headland.

The whale died before a rescue could be mounted, and quickly became a magnet for sharks, closing beaches and making some swimmers nervous.

Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter crew members reported two 3.5 metre sharks in the water nearby, and there were unconfirmed reports of up to four in the area.

A Eurobodalla surfer dived into the sea to rope the dead whale, timing his dive between shark feeding sessions, so it could be towed away from the popular beach.

He and others towed the carcass in a borrowed boat out to sea to reduce the shark risk.

Despite that,South Broulee, Shark Bay, North Broulee and North Head beaches remained closed all day Wednesday,Thursday and Friday, reopening Saturday morning. It closed briefly that afternoon but has since reopened.

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Lawyer for men charged in Sydney anti-terror raids denies they are threats

Police arrest a man in Greenacre during a counter-terrorism operation. Photo: NSW Police Photos released by police of the Photo: NSW Police
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Western Sydney home raided in counter-terrorism raids

The lawyer for two Sydney men arrested and charged with terror-related activity has denied they have any links to terrorism.

Omar Ammouche, 33, an alleged associate of wanted Sydney jihadist Khaled Sharrouf, was arrested at his Greenacre home on Friday as part of a long-running counter-terrorism investigation by Operation Duntulm, targeting foreign assistance and support provided to foreign fighters.

He was charged with possession of ammunition.

Hours later, Jibryl Alamouie, 21, handed himself in to police at Surry Hills police station. His Condell Park home was raided in December as part of a separate counter-terrorism investigation, Operation Appleby, where three guns and a “large amount” of ammunition were seized, police alleged.

Both were represented at Parramatta Bail Court on Saturday by solicitor Adam Houda when their matters were briefly mentioned and adjourned until Monday when both are expected to apply for bail.

Mr Ammouche is allegedly an associate of Sharrouf, who fled Australia on his brother’s passport in 2013 despite being on the terror watch list and has posted photos of himself on social with severed heads, fighting with Islamic State.

However speaking outside the court, Mr Houda says both of his clients are “absolutely not” terrorists and have “no link whatsoever” to terrorism.

“No one’s charged with any terror-related offences, one of the hallmarks of our justice system is the presumption of innocence. So presume them innocent,” Mr Houda said.

“I can also say that the cases presented in court today are not strong cases, they are weak prosecution cases. And we hope to achieve bail for them on Monday,” he said.

As he left court with co-counsel Moustafa Kheir, Mr Houda said his clients should be released on bail on Monday.

“These matters, as you can see by court documentation, are nothing to do with terrorism or terror-related issues,” Mr Houda said, adding journalists should ask the “relevant authorities” why his clients were accused of terror charges in the first place. “There’s no suggestion at all that there’s any link with any terrorism. No link whatsoever,” he said.

The men will appear at Bankstown Local Court on Monday.

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Nathan Tinkler, FFA on collision course

Nathan Tinkler’s backflip over Jets
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FOOTBALL Federation Australia officials appear to be on a collision course with Newcastle Jets owner Nathan Tinkler after expressing “serious concerns” about the club’s management and denying that they had endorsed his decision to remain at the helm.

Tinkler revealed on Friday that he had taken his A-League franchise off the market, five months after declaring they were for sale and he “can’t wait to get them out the door”.

In a remarkable backflip, the notoriously unpredictable tycoon told the World Game website that he had appointed himself club chairman, after the resignation of long-serving Ray Baartz, and would take a hands-on role in striving to re-establish the Jets as “a winning club”.

In the interview, Tinkler said: ‘‘I have always had the support of the FFA. They have never seen anybody put money into soccer the way I have and despite all the press to the contrary they do appreciate that I am a beyond-loyal supporter of sport in the Hunter Region and they are happy to have my direct involvement in the future.’’

But in a statement issued on Saturday, the governing body appeared far from convinced that Tinkler’s tenure should continue.

“FFA is just one of many stakeholders in Newcastle that needs to be ‎satisfied that the Newcastle Jets are in fact on a new path under the continuing ownership of [Tinkler’s] Hunter Sports Group,” FFA chief executive David Gallop said.

“Our focus remains on the stability and sustainability of each A-League club.

“On that test, the Newcastle Jets’ current operation raises serious concerns.

“FFA will be sending senior executives to Newcastle [on Monday] to examine the club’s operating position.

“In this regard, FFA’s view has not changed in the past 24 hours and it’s premature to suggest that FFA has provided any endorsement.

“What we want to see is a strong Newcastle Jets club with a deep engagement with the Hunter community.

“That’s the core strength of football in the region.”

Unless he can convince FFA otherwise, Tinkler now faces the prospect of being forced to relinquish the Jets, just as he was ousted as Newcastle Knights owner by the NRL last June.

FFA officials Damian de Bohan and John Kelly will visit Jets headquarters on Monday to assess the club’s viability.

In particular, the governing body is understood to be eager to establish whether any of the club’s creditors have outstanding debts.

The Jets’ internet service was cut off on Thursday but a club spokesman said this was because they were “changing” IT providers.

Gallop said on Thursday that FFA “wants to see the ownership situation resolved as soon as possible”.

Scottish Premier League club Dundee United were in talks with the Jets about a possible takeover and there had been preliminary discussions with other parties.

It is understood Dundee remain interested but Tinkler withdrew from negotiations because they would not meet his $5 million asking price.

“There were interested parties out there previously. The process went on for about six months but as our performances on the field fizzled, so did the offers,” Tinkler was quoted as saying.

Tinkler’s comments about Baartz and Jets chief executive Robbie Middleby, who resigned simultaneously on Thursday, in his World Game interview are unlikely to have been well received in FFA’s corridors of power.

While Gallop said on Thursday Baartz and Middleby “are committed Newcastle football people and have given so much to the Jets”, Tinkler appeared to blame the two former Socceroos for the club’s lack of his success during his tenure.

“They are passionate football supporters who love the town, and their backing has been wonderful over the last four years,” Tinkler said.

“But, unfortunately for these guys a lot of the decisions they made over the years haven’t come off. You recruit the best people you think at the time and it may, or may not work.

“But they had to courage to live by their decisions and they have died by their decisions and full credit to them. They have my full respect but the club must move on.”

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