Monthly Archives: July 2018

You are browsing the site archives by month.

Lindop tips apprentice to be at her best in Diamond

Resuming … Glencadam Gold scores for Nash Rawiller at Broadmeadow in September.IN NOVEMBER Clare Lindop was quietly excited she had found a smart two-year-old which could have a promising career.
Nanjing Night Net

Lindop, one of South Australia’s leading jockeys, has always been a hard marker and doesn’t get overwhelmed by a one-off gallop.

However, this time the youngster gave her the right feel and the juvenile was entered for a barrier trial at Morphettville. Hence Lindop was astounded when another filly flew past her in the middle stages to win comfortably.

On pulling up, Lindop leaned over to Lauren Stojakovic and asked the mature-age apprentice who this nuggetty but brilliant baby was. ”With a broad smile, Lauren said to me, ‘This is a filly called Miracles Of Life and, yes, she is very good’ and I said, ‘You’re not wrong,”’ Lindop said.

But Lindop was convinced the trial at Morphettville wasn’t the first hint that Miracles Of Life had speed. The two-time Adelaide premiership winner knew much work had gone into Miracles Of Life before then.

At Caulfield, Miracles Of Life is a $2.90 favourite to win Victoria’s top two-year-olds’ race – the $1 million Blue Diamond Stakes (1200 metres).

Argument has been raging over whether a two-kilogram-claiming apprentice at the age of 29 is capable of taking on the best jockeys in Victoria in a group 1 event.

Lindop sees Stojakovic in action every Saturday at Morphettville and is convinced connections have made the right decision. ”It’s funny, whenever a good horse comes from Adelaide to Melbourne the call is to put a Melbourne jockey on and perhaps in some cases that is correct, but not this time,” she said.

”Lauren has a perfect and complete feel for Miracles Of Life. She’s been with her every day and understands every little quirky part of her make-up. In the case of major two-year-old races like this, connections have made the right decision. It’s a two-year-old race where horses can be erratic because basically they’re very new to what they are doing, and an intimate understanding of a horse’s habits is just vital whereas tactics aren’t as important.

”It’s a different story if you’re coming over for a race like the Caulfield Cup … when you’re riding a seasoned racehorse and you’ve got to plan tactics and perhaps have a ‘B’ plan if things don’t go right. But in a Blue Diamond, it’s over 1200 metres and your main job as a jockey is to make your horse comfortable and relaxed, more than other races when they get older.”

When asked if she’d given Stojakovic advice, Lindop said: ”I think she’s had more than enough advice, you can get too much information. I’ve just said, ‘You know your filly’ and ‘enjoy the moment’.

”There are some big stables involved in the Blue Diamond and they’ll pull a few sneaky gear changes, which happens every year, but … she can use her barrier one to glide up and just sit on the pace.

”She’ll need a little luck on the turn into the straight to get a run but, again, we can’t forget they’re two-year-olds, who more than likely will roll or fan off the track, that’s why the importance of having them relaxed and happy for you is more important than what the ones around you are doing.”

Lindop has a full and exciting book of rides at Morphettville on Saturday. She has ridden four group 1 winners and won nearly every feature race on the South Australian calendar. Lindop is hoping Stojakovic keeps her feet on the ground and enjoys the moment.

”I’ve got great confidence in her, sure things can go wrong but things go wrong for the very best jockeys in Australia at times, so full credit to all those involved keeping Lauren on in such a race,” she said.

At 4pm on Saturday, in the tiny women jockeys’ room, Lindop will be cheering home a good friend who has worked hard for this day.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

It’s dust in the wind as Clarke passes the Don

CHENNAI: If Michael Clarke’s heart skipped a beat at the toss of the coin in the middle of M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, he could be excused. Batting third on this south Indian dustbowl, against a coterie of hungry spinners, will be difficult enough. Chasing even 100 to win in the final innings would have been about as easy as a foreigner driving a hire car in Chenani peak hour.
Nanjing Night Net

Thankfully for Australia’s captain, it went his way, a win revealed once the specially minted Board of Control for Cricket in India coin was excavated from the red soil. As the pitch began to break out inside the first hour of the first Test on Friday, it was drummed home as no small victory.

A team of barefoot ground staff, armed with straw brooms, swept the barren deck for much of the session breaks, emitting a large puff of orange dust with each pointless swipe.

Australia should barely have been surprised; they have been here for two weeks and the only sign of life were the odd grass clippings sprinkled on the deck like coriander leaves on a stir fry.

Australia’s radical decision to include only the one specialist spinner, Nathan Lyon, in their XI was met with bemusement in some sections here, and the finished product of the BCCI pitches and grounds committee demonstrated why. India chose three – Harbajan Singh, in his 100th Test, Ravichandran Ashwin and the all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy opener.

The results were immediate: they were on by the sixth over of the day and by five minutes after lunch Ashwin had four wickets as Australia, after an enterprising start, lost 2-5 to fall to 4-131.

The tall right-arm orthodox claimed the prized wickets of Shane Watson (28) and David Warner (59), both leg-before, with his first seven balls after the break. Watson was left stranded by a dud bounce, while Warner was beaten by a darting off-break. If they had any complaints about the decisions, it was no good – India’s lack of trust in ball-tracking technology means there is no decision review system here.

Given the television pictures they could have seen in their hotel rooms of the Hyderabad bombings on the eve of the match, the Australians could be forgiven for being a tad shaky on day one regardless of the treacherous conditions laid out for them. They did not appear the slightest bit on edge in the first session of the series, however, racing to three figures before lunch led by Warner’s half-century.

Australia’s head coach, Mickey Arthur, had instructed his batsmen to take on India’s spin-oriented attack in the way that Kevin Pietersen did so effectively for England late last year.

They did exactly that from the beginning, with Ed Cowan channelling his partner Warner with an aggressive 29 that featured four boundaries and a six and ended in most uncharacteristic fashion: stumped, trying to skip down the wicket to Ashwin. His replacement, Phillip Hughes, never looked comfortable in his brief stay before chopping Ashwin onto his stumps trying to cut the off-spinner to the rope for six.

Warner and Watson, swapping helmets for baggy green caps, did not back off, though, and during their 54-run partnership Australia’s innings began to look settled once again.

Ashwin undid them both in quick time and Australia’s hopes were for the latest instance left largely with Clarke.

Like most Clarke innings of late, there were records, too.

An early single took his Test runs total past Sir Donald Bradman’s tally, and with a subsequent four from Ashwin he notched 7000 for the career.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Hunt for Aboriginal talent starts at the Top End

Field of Dreamtime … the Tennant Creek and Alice Springs teams in the Imparja Cup.AT THE age of 47, Digger has seen better days. But with his Tennant Creek side in trouble against the old foe, Alice Springs, he strides proudly to the crease, his long, wiry beard barely moving despite the late afternoon breeze. For 20 years he’s padded up to face his arch-rivals in this annual clash. Now he wields the willow like a fighting stick, a series of dashing cut shots drawing roars of approval from the modest crowd at Traeger Park. The legs don’t move as fast as they used to, and when there’s a chance of a run out, he dives full length and barely scrapes into the crease. The crowd erupts. Even the Alice Springs fans jump to their feet and, as one, will him home.
Nanjing Night Net

A modest 10 runs seems like a spectacular century, and as Digger trudges back to the dressing room the onlookers rise once more, showing their appreciation of an Imparja Cup legend.

As the game unfolded on Wednesday, a thoughtful Ross Williams watched on, remembering the day back in 1993 when it all started.

”I was actually sitting in the Tennant Creek Hotel and one of my cousins, Mervyn Franey, went through. We had a quiet beer – it was 48 degrees outside. I said to him, ‘You’re a member of the Imparja board of directors – is it possible that we can have a game between Tennant Creek and Alice Springs? I said most of us are families and a lot of our younger relatives and cousins haven’t met their family in Alice and it’d be a good way to get the connections going together again.’ ”

The pair had a friendly wager on which team would win and the Imparja Cup was born.

Twenty years later and 500 indigenous players descend on Alice Springs from around the country, competing in community and state competitions. But behind the celebrations there is a universal acknowledgement that the indigenous population has been largely ignored by Australian cricket since 1868, when the first Australian touring side, made up entirely of Aborigines, set sail for England.

Of the 432 baggy greens handed to Australian men, only one has been worn by a player acknowledging indigenous heritage – Jason Gillespie. The former Test fast bowler said he always knew of his background but did not realise its significance until it was revealed in a newspaper report.

”I must admit when I was first alerted to that fact [I was the only indigenous Test player] it absolutely blew me away but then I thought about it a lot more,” Gillespie said. ”Cricket Australia would love nothing more than an indigenous player and, with all due respect to myself, they want a full-blooded indigenous Australian playing in the Test side. That would be their ultimate goal, but how do you get there?”

The women’s game hasn’t fared much better. In 1958, South Australian fast bowler Faith Thomas opened the bowling for Australia against England and took the wicket of the English captain with a searing yorker that sent middle stump cartwheeling straight over the keeper’s head. Now 80, Thomas remains the sole indigenous woman to represent her country, but it is not the baggy green that stirs her pride.

”We’ve got the maroon and white one, the first team that went to England, I call that the black fella’s baggy green,” Thomas said. ”So when I go to schools I take that and talk about the first Aboriginal team, the first cricket team that went to England, and the kids have a choice of putting on whichever cap they want, and most of them go for that one … the Aboriginal baggy green, and that really makes me proud you know, that they want to sit on my lap and have their photo taken.”

The case of Eddie Gilbert illustrates the difficulties indigenous cricketers have faced. The Queensland fast bowler terrorised opposition batsmen in the 1930s and once famously dismissed Donald Bradman for a duck. Bradman compared Gilbert’s pace to Harold Larwood and several players considered him the fastest bowler of the time. But state laws forced Gilbert to obtain special permission to travel from his settlement, there were suggestions of an illegal bowling action, and it is widely believed prevailing racist attitudes played a part in preventing him playing for Australia.

If Gilbert were to emerge today, it would be a different story. Cricket Australia officials consider it a significant goal to increase the number of indigenous cricketers in state and national competitions. Early in the week, National Talent Manager Greg Chappell spent two days casting his eye over the current crop of state representative players.

”Cricket Australia’s quite serious about it,” Chappell said. ”There’s a big contingent from different departments here this week, not least of which is game development, which is really important because we’ve got to get indigenous kids involved in the game as early as possible”

Chappell is frank about the game’s failure in the past to produce elite indigenous players. ”None of us are happy about the fact that we’re only aware of one indigenous player having played Test cricket and that’s Jason Gillespie,” he said. ”We’ve had a number, probably a handful, that have played first-class cricket, a couple playing currently in Josh Lalor and Daniel Christian. It’s nowhere near enough when you consider the talent pool that’s there.”

Cricket Australia’s commitment to improve indigenous participation leaves it trailing far behind sports such as AFL and NRL, which have long been embraced by Aborigines. There are no Ben Barbas or Buddy Franklins at the highest level of cricket to inspire the next generation to pick up a bat or ball and, particularly in remote areas, high-quality equipment and facilities are scarce and expensive.

As Gillespie noted: ”The cost of just putting together a basic kit to play cricket – it’s immense. You’ve got your bat, your pads, gloves, whites, and shoes. Footy – you put a pair of boots on and you’ve got 40 kids running around and off you go. You don’t even need boots, you just start booting a footy around.”

Over the past week, representatives from several communities said they wanted more game development officers, indigenous officers, and regular clinics and competitions for children.

”Instead of just having cricket clinics during Imparja Cup, it’d be good to see more cricket development officers go out to more of the communities and spend more time with the kids, coaching, running the clinics,” Williams said.

Perhaps one answer lies north of Darwin, on the Tiwi Islands. Last year the Tiwi Islands put together a team to compete in the Imparja Cup’s community division, under the guidance of local sports and recreation officer Mick Rees.

”We basically put out onto the table what cricket was available, what formats and said, ‘What do you want to do?’ We didn’t go there and say, ‘This is cricket, this is how you play it,’ ” Rees said. ”We worked out the best format to suit was a super eights format that the guys play at Imparja Cup because we identified early that, if we’re going to be successful in building some sort of pathway, we need it to lead to high performance.”

A year on, player numbers have tripled, the Department of Sport and Recreation runs regular cricket clinics in schools, and a high-performance pathway has emerged.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Green Machine ready to combine grunt with glitz, says Earl

Colourful … winger Sandor Earl.CANBERRA winger Sandor Earl says using the side’s youth as an excuse is no longer acceptable, and the players must be willing to match strikepower with starch to be premiership contenders.
Nanjing Night Net

For years the Raiders have been dubbed a ”young, up-and-coming side” who ”play an exciting brand of football” with the potential to score plenty of points. But Earl believes they need to complement their attacking prowess with the grit that will instil fear into their rivals.

”I think it’s time for those excuses to go,” Earl said. ”We definitely have to remove ourselves from the whole ‘we’re an exciting team, we’re talented, we have to move away from that and become a team people don’t want to play.

”Yeah, we can score tries and have got some freak players, but we have to make teams not want to play us because it’s going to be a hard game, that they have to fight and fight for the win.”

Simple stats back up Earl’s stance.

The Raiders scored the fifth-most points in the NRL last year, behind top-five outfits North Queensland, Melbourne, Canterbury and Souths.

But their defence leaked the sixth-most points, with only bottom eight sides Parramatta, Roosters, Warriors, Penrith and Wests Tigers conceding more.

”We’ve done too much work, especially on our defence,” he said. ”If you’re playing the Raiders now you have to trade set for set and it’s going to be hard. We’re an exciting football team, there’s no doubt. Now we have to take that, [instil] some discipline and start winning the tough games.

”If we do that they’re going to have to watch out, because players like your ‘Duges’ [Josh Dugan] and everyone else in the back line are going to be coming at you and scoring some bullshit tries.”

Before their late winning streak which propelled them into the finals, Canberra displayed a habit of following a comprehensive win against a top side with an inept loss against a cellar-dweller. In round 18 they thrashed eventual premiers the Storm 40-12 in Melbourne, before losing 38-26 at home to cellar-dwellers Gold Coast in the next round.

”It’s definitely a confident team, but we need to move past that, we’ve got too many good players and too many experienced players now,” Earl said. ”We need to have a good win, brush it, go to the next game and move on. I remember saying to the boys, ‘you probably won’t look up and see that score against Melbourne again’.

”We got caught up in it and were still in that win probably up until the [Titans] game. You just can’t do that.”

While the former Panther was outstanding after joining Canberra last year mid-season, he believes he was playing at only 70 per cent, having returned from reconstructions to both shoulders.

”I’ve said for a while I still was at 70 per cent last year, and I can’t wait to show everyone that and the fans this year. All these tattoos, you’ll see me wearing some pretty funky boots, blond hair, green rock tape, you can’t miss me. I guess there’s that element of … you don’t want to be having a bad game looking like that.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Cup overflowing with promise

One of the Imparja Cup’s biggest success stories in recent years is the emergence of Cricket Australia’s National Indigenous Development Squad. Each year, the best young players are selected from the tournament and become eligible for scholarships and tours. The squad has toured England, Papua New Guinea and India.
Nanjing Night Net

When 19-year-old Victorian batsman Ben Abbatangelo was named player of the tournament at last year’s Imparja Cup, he was rewarded with a scholarship to visit a cricket academy in India.

”I went over at the start of last year for 10 days and I was then invited to go back to India in October with the National Indigenous Development Squad,” he said.

”It was my first overseas trip and being able to see the way they play in different states was pretty amazing. I think the biggest part was just seeing and experiencing different places, especially if you want to play international or higher level cricket. You have to be able to adapt to those conditions and make out as if it’s just like playing at home.”

Another who joined the India tour was 18-year-old Marcus McGregor-Cassidy, who plays grade cricket in South Australia and recently captained the Northern Territory at the National Under-19s Championship. Both players said the Imparja Cup had played a key role in their development. ”It’s good because you get to test yourself against the best of the indigenous talent going around Australia,” McGregor-Cassidy said.

Greg Chappell said the next indigenous Australian player may be among this group of players.

”There are some kids I’ve seen in the under-17s and under-19s programs in the last few years … there’s no reason why they couldn’t play for Australia,” he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Papalii picks Parramatta

Looking forward to the opportunity to play under Stuart … Josh Papalii.NEW PARRAMATTA coach Ricky Stuart has landed his first signing after Canberra firebrand Josh Papalii agreed to a three year deal with the Eels.
Nanjing Night Net

After missing out on North Queensland and Australian props Matt Scott and James Tamou, the Eels believe Papalii will add aggression to their forward pack in 2014.

“Josh is an outstanding young footballer and will bring with him all the attributes we are looking for in player at the Parramatta Eels,” Stuart said.

“We are a club building for the future and signing a young man of Josh’s ability represents that.”

Papalii is the first player to sign with a rival club for next year and Fairfax Media has been told that Raiders officials hope he changes his mind before the round 13 cooling off period.

However, the 21-year-old Kiwi forward said he was looking forward to the opportunity to play under Stuart.

“Heading to Parramatta next season is a new and exciting challenge, they are a club on the rise and I am looking forward to being a part of what Ricky Stuart and the team up there are doing,” Papalii said.

“My first priority though is playing good footy for the Raiders this year and going out on a high.”

Eels chief executive Ken Edwards said securing the services of Papalii was a massive boost for the strategy the club has for the future.

“We have a plan at the Parramatta Eels to continue to restore pride in our jersey and once again be a dominant force in the NRL,” Edwards said.

“Josh Papalii’s signature puts us well on our way to doing that. “

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Hyderabad Test won’t be shifted despite bombings

A SENIOR Indian cricket official declared on Friday that next week’s second Test between Australia and India would not be shifted from Hyderabad despite the southern city being rocked by bombings that killed at least 13 people and injured more than 100.
Nanjing Night Net

At least two separate blasts occurred in a crowded area outside a movie theatre and a bus station in the southern city’s suburb of Dilsukh Nagar from about 7pm on Thursday.

Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi Stadium is due to play host to the second of four Tests in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series between Australia and India. It is scheduled to begin on March 2 – with Michael Clarke’s squad to arrive in the city next Wednesday after the conclusion of the first Test in Chennai, which began on Friday.

Rajeev Shukla, a senior Board of Control for Cricket in India figure who is also chairman of the Indian Premier League, said there was no reason to relocate the Test.

“After the BCCI President spoke to me, I spoke to Union Home Secretary, who was in Hyderabad and had discussion with the Chief Minister and officials of state government. After that he apprised me that adequate security will be provided to the players as well as the spectators. So Test match should not be shifted out of Hyderabad,” Shukla said.

He added that the competing countries’ respective chairmen, N Srinivasan and Wally Edwards, were to speak on Friday afternoon to confirm the Test’s status in Hyderabad.

“I have conveyed to the BCCI President who in turn is going to speak to the chairman of Cricket Australia to convey that when government is giving guarantee of safety and security of the players and the spectators, I think we should not change the venue,” Shukla said.

International Cricket Council security officials met with their counterparts from the BCCI in Delhi on Friday to discuss the incident and its potential ramifications for Hyderabad hosting the second Test.Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said Australia’s team manager, Gavin Dovey, had sent players text messages on Thursday night updating them on the situation and the increased security presence that has been added as a result of the explosions.

Dozens of extra police surrounded the Chennai hotel where the Australian and Indian teams are staying on Friday morning.

“We don’t hold anything back from the players, they know where everything is up to. But at the same time they have expressed a desire to be focused and minimise this so that they can focus on cricket this week,” Sutherland said.

“As far as I’m concerned we are playing the second Test in Hyderabad next week. That’s where we are at. We’ve got great confidence in the BCCI and the relevant authorities here to be able to prepare as best as possible for whatever issues may change from day to day. We’re very comfortable with everything that has been done so far on this tour.”

Sutherland said there had been no concern expressed from the players but they would be kept updated.

“All they are interested in right now is this Test match here in Chennai.”

Australian captain Michael Clarke added: “From the team’s point of view, our focus is wholly and solely on the field because we’ve got people off the field who are experts in what is going on, we’ll be advised by them. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the people of
Hyderabad who have been affected.”

Australian Cricketers’ Association chief Paul Marsh said he had been in contact with the 17 players in Australia’s touring squad and would engage the union’s own security expert and liaise with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travellers are advised on the DFAT website to “exercise a high degree of caution in India at this time because of the risk of terrorism [and] civil unrest”.

“It’s day one of a Test match so I don’t want to distract (the players) but I’ve sent them all an email,” Marsh said on Friday. “We also have own independent security advisor who assesses these type of situations. It’s really about trying to understand what the level of risk is of going to Hyderabad.

‘‘If the players have got any concerns they will voice them to me. But Cricket Australia has a very good security team around them.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Clubs restack from backs to their packs

PREMIERSHIP teams are bred not bought, or so the saying went the last time Sydney Roosters went on such a spree. But while the slogan that adorned T-shirts in response to the Roosters pinching players from the Bulldogs was cheeky and catchy, it’s hardly relevant any more.
Nanjing Night Net

Even the team that came up with the catchphrase has realised that; the Bulldogs overhauled their roster to the point where, last year, they entered a grand final with a 23-year-old fullback in Ben Barba who was the longest-serving Bulldog. Sure there were local juniors, but there was also a smattering of stars procured from elsewhere. The business of sport, and the occasionally wacky science of the NRL salary cap, ensures change is inevitable.

Success is not, of course. But the fact that every club wants success quicker and quicker means a rebuilding phase is more likely completed over pizza in front of a white board than it is patiently over several years. Boards – and therefore coaches – cannot wait for local juniors to emerge.

Which is why, having been poked by the Bulldogs over their signing of Braith Anasta, Mark O’Meley, Nate Myles and Willie Mason, the Roosters have been forced to reinvent themselves again. They have brought in James Maloney, Michael Jennings, Luke O’Donnell and, of course, that other former Bulldog, Sonny Bill Williams.

”We’re a performance-based competition, and the club hasn’t done all that well over the last two seasons,” the Roosters’ football chief operating officer Brian Canavan said.

It tends to matter not where a team finishes on the competition ladder. The lower teams need to make changes to the roster in order to placate impatient officials and supporters, while the successful clubs are pillaged and need to be replenished. ”We went through it in the early 2000s, when we played in four out of five grand finals,” Canavan said. ”You can’t retain them. It hurts but you lose them.”

The Roosters, who have had two lean years, have made as big a statement as any team through the off-season. But others have been active.

Cronulla have signed Luke Lewis, Michael Gordon, Chris Heighington and Beau Ryan, while Penrith have signed enough players to fill a minibus.

The Roosters also took the honour of securing the first player for this season as well as the last player. The club signed Warrior Maloney in November 2011, and found a place for O’Donnell so late he only arrived back in the country last Sunday.

The Jennings deal, too, was completed in the new year. ”It was just a case of being in the right place at the right time,” Canavan said.

All of the high-profile signings bar Williams will play against Wests Tigers in the Foundation Cup at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night. The Tigers team will include Anasta, who will no doubt look as peculiar in his new jumper as he did when he pulled on a Roosters top for the first time. While many wonder whether trials are necessary, there won’t be many clubs taking the field this weekend who aren’t playing someone for the first time. ”We’re missing some combination time, with guys coming in late,” Roosters coach Trent Robinson said.

The club which used to be referred to as the transit lounge, and which has routinely been criticised for poaching talent rather than breeding it, has once against been active in the transfer market. But the transit lounge these days is busier than it has ever been, and every club passes through it. These days, change is not only inevitable, but necessary.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Contradictions cloud controversy over camp

Fronting up … Australia’s 4x100m Olympic swimming team faces the media in Sydney after owning up to pre-Games pranks and taking sleeping tablets at a training camp in Manchester. Photo: Edwina PicklesTHE credibility of Australia’s 4x100m relay team and the future of head coach Leigh Nugent remains under question after contradictory claims made by teammate Emily Seebohm, as it was announced on Friday there would be two new investigations launched into the team’s pre-Olympics camp in Manchester.
Nanjing Night Net

Despite a declaration by Swimming Australia president Barclay Nettlefold that he still had the full support of the body, Nugent’s future has been thrown into more doubt after a series of candid interviews given by the silver-medal winning backstroker.

Seebohm revealed to the ABC she had blown the whistle to Nugent about the relay team’s misbehaviour, which was at odds with the coach’s denial earlier in the week that he had prior knowledge of the events in Manchester.

”I wasn’t too happy with that,” Seebohm said.

Nugent subsequently admitted he had erred by not making further inquiries about the claims. His inaction has raised the ire of the Australian Olympic Committee.

”[There is an] expectation of people in leadership positions if they do become [aware] of information like this through a camp or time in the village, there are protocols for them to tell us,” committee secretary general Craig Phillips said. ”In this case, it did not happen.”

Seebohm also cast more doubt on the version of events put forward by James Magnussen and the 4x100m team, who said their night of high jinks and ”harmless fun” ended by 10.30pm.

”I don’t know how they were asleep at 10.30 if I got a call at 11 or 11.30 at night,” Seebohm told Channel Nine.

”I had a time trial that morning and it was unfair to do that to other people.”

Magnussen disagreed with Seebohm’s story.

Among the more lurid details to emerge from the night was Seebohm’s claim that she had been asked what she was wearing by members of the team.

Swimming Australia and the committee have both announced they will launch separate inquiries to investigate allegations of drunkenness, misuse of prescription drugs, bullying and other breaches of the team agreement.

The AOC has decided to hire a yet-to-be-determined independent Queen’s counsel with ”very strong investigative skills”, Phillips said.

”The appointment of the QC sends the signal from our perspective that we do take it seriously.”

The committee has the power to ban athletes from future Olympics, though this course of action has, in the past, been reserved for criminal activities.

”We’ve prevented athletes from being selected in Olympic teams for the fact they don’t measure up to our standards of behaviour,” Phillips said.

”We have a track record with that. If we have any athlete in that situation we would impose the same sorts of bans. Without pre-judging it, I couldn’t tell you now if that applies to anyone in this group.”

Other sanctions possible include the stripping of the $10,000 Magnussen earned for his silver medal in the 100m freestyle and the $7500 collected by fellow 4x100m relay members Matt Targett and Tommaso D’Orsogna for winning bronze in the medley relay.

Australia’s 4x100m relay team of Magnussen, Targett, D’Orsogna, Cameron McEvoy, James Roberts and Eamon Sullivan apologised for their part in the team bonding session.

All, apart from Roberts, said at a press conference on Friday that they had taken the sleeping drug Stilnox, which was banned by the committee, but only Sullivan and D’Orsogna admitted doing so to the Bluestone Edge review released this week.

The team said they had taken the drug, which had been prescribed to Sullivan and Targett before their arrival in Manchester and the announcement of the AOC ban.

It remains unclear whose idea it was to take the drug.

”Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I regret my decision,” Sullivan said. ”As a senior member of the team I should have stood up and shown more leadership at the time. For that I’m truly sorry.

”If I thought for one moment that these actions and communal decision to take Stilnox would affect our performance, there’s no way I would have done it.”

But the team said it did affect their failure to win the race for which they were unbackable favourites to collect gold.

Magnussen, who failed by 0.01 second to win the 100m freestyle, said he had viewed the night as a way to relieve the pressure heading into the Olympics.

”One of the reasons I agreed to go along with this night was I was feeling under so much pressure and it had been building for the best part of a year – the chance to bond with these guys and be normal for one night were my intentions,” he said.

”Obviously, in hindsight, it was a ridiculous choice and a ridiculous method to do that.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Sutherland alert, but not alarmed after blasts

A SENIOR Indian cricket official declared on Friday that next week’s second Test between Australia and India would not be shifted from Hyderabad despite the southern city being rocked by bombings that killed at least 13 people and injured more than 100.
Nanjing Night Net

At least two separate blasts occurred in a crowded area outside a movie theatre and a bus station in the southern city’s suburb of Dilsukh Nagar from about 7pm on Thursday.

Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi Stadium is due to play host to the second of four Tests in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series between Australia and India. It is scheduled to begin on March 2 – with Michael Clarke’s squad to arrive in the city next Wednesday after the conclusion of the first Test in Chennai, which began on Friday.

Rajeev Shukla, a senior Board of Control for Cricket in India figure who is also chairman of the Indian Premier League, said there was no reason to relocate the Test.

“After the BCCI President spoke to me, I spoke to Union Home Secretary, who was in Hyderabad and had discussion with the Chief Minister and officials of state government. After that he apprised me that adequate security will be provided to the players as well as the spectators. So Test match should not be shifted out of Hyderabad,” Shukla said.

He added that the competing countries’ respective chairmen, N Srinivasan and Wally Edwards, were to speak on Friday afternoon to confirm the Test’s status in Hyderabad.

“I have conveyed to the BCCI President who in turn is going to speak to the chairman of Cricket Australia to convey that when government is giving guarantee of safety and security of the players and the spectators, I think we should not change the venue,” Shukla said.

International Cricket Council security officials met with their counterparts from the BCCI in Delhi on Friday to discuss the incident and its potential ramifications for Hyderabad hosting the second Test.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said Australia’s team manager, Gavin Dovey, had sent players text messages on Thursday night updating them on the situation and the increased security presence that has been added as a result of the explosions.

Dozens of extra police surrounded the Chennai hotel where the Australian and Indian teams are staying on Friday morning.

“We don’t hold anything back from the players, they know where everything is up to. But at the same time they have expressed a desire to be focused and minimise this so that they can focus on cricket this week,” Sutherland said.

“As far as I’m concerned we are playing the second Test in Hyderabad next week. That’s where we are at. We’ve got great confidence in the BCCI and the relevant authorities here to be able to prepare as best as possible for whatever issues may change from day to day. We’re very comfortable with everything that has been done so far on this tour.”

Sutherland said there had been no concern expressed from the players but they would be kept updated. “All they are interested in right now is this Test match here in Chennai.”

Australian captain Michael Clarke added: “From the team’s point of view, our focus is wholly and solely on the field because we’ve got people off the field who are experts in what is going on, we’ll be advised by them. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the people of
Hyderabad who have been affected.”

Australian Cricketers’ Association chief Paul Marsh said he had been in contact with the 17 players in Australia’s touring squad and would engage the union’s own security expert and liaise with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travellers are advised on the DFAT website to “exercise a high degree of caution in India at this time because of the risk of terrorism [and] civil unrest”.

“It’s day one of a Test match so I don’t want to distract (the players) but I’ve sent them all an email,” Marsh said on Friday. “We also have own independent security advisor who assesses these type of situations. It’s really about trying to understand what the level of risk is of going to Hyderabad. If the players have got any concerns they will voice them to me. But Cricket Australia has a very good security team around them.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.