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Rugby

How each grand final player fared at the Gabba

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The 2020 AFL year has come and gone. In Saturday night's season-finale, the modern-day Richmond team stamped itself as one of the best since the turn of the century. See how each player from the Tigers and Cats fared on footy's big night at the Gabba.

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Soccer

West Ham 1-1 Man City: Phil Foden earns visitors a point

Report as Phil Foden comes off the bench to earn Man City a draw at West Ham, who led at half-time thanks to Michail Antonio’s wonderful overhead kick

Football journalist –
@Richiereds1976

Saturday 24 October 2020 14:44, UK

Phil Foden came off the bench to earn Man City a 1-1 draw at West Ham, cancelling out Michail Antonio’s spectacular first-half opener.

Antonio opened the scoring after 18 minutes with a wonderful overhead kick, given after a check for handball against Tomas Soucek.

However, the visitors levelled thanks to Foden’s well-taken strike six minutes into the second half, with the midfielder replacing Sergio Aguero at half-time.

As a result, both sides miss out on the chance to move into the top four, with each now on eight points.

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Sports News

Van Gogh makes big impression at Saint-Cloud

Van Gogh produced an impressive burst of speed to win the Group One Criterium International for Aidan O’Brien at Saint-Cloud.

Pierre-Charles Boudot had Van Gogh anchored last of the six-runner field until making swift progress into the straight and bagging the rail position on the stands side.

On his seventh start of a busy campaign, O’Brien’s American Pharoah colt then quickly put distance between himself and the rest – and at the post the 3-1 shot had four lengths in hand from rallying long-time leader Normandy Bridge.

Van Gogh appeared to relish the heavy ground on his first attempt at the top level, going one better than when second to One Ruler in Newmarket’s Group Three Autumn Stakes.

Winning jockey Boudot told Sky Sports Racing: “He is impressive.

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“Aidan told me before the race that he needed cover, for a nice trip and be relaxed – and he has a nice turn of foot.

“But he is still green and tricky when he arrived in front – but he won in very good style.”

Van Gogh, whose performance attracted a Betfair quote of 20-1 (from 33-1) for next year’s Epsom Derby, was previously a runner-up at Group Two and Group Three level in Ireland.

Among those behind him this time were two British challengers – and fellow 9-4 joint-favourites – Simon and Ed Crisford’s Jadoomi (third) and Charlie Appleby’s previously unbeaten La Barrosa, who dead-heated for fifth and last.

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Soccer

Watford 1-1 Bournemouth: Chris Mepham scores stoppage-time equaliser to preserve Cherries’ unbeaten start

Report from the Sky Bet Championship clash at Vicarage Road

By Dan Long

Saturday 24 October 2020 14:50, UK

Bournemouth dramatically extended their unbeaten start to life back in the Championship as Chris Mepham scored a stoppage-time equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Watford.

The Cherries – who were fortunate not to have Lloyd Kelly sent off early on – conceded the opener, when Croatian frontman Stipe Perica slid his first goal for the club since a summer move from Udinese (12).

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Watford were brilliant in defence and looked set to make it four straight wins at Vicarage Road until the fifth minute of time added on when Wales centre-back Chris Mepham hooked the ball beyond Ben Foster from close-range (90+5).

Vladimir Ivic’s Hornets are elevated to second ahead of Saturday afternoon’s action, with Bournemouth following closely behind in fourth.

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Watford are next in action on Tuesday October 27, when they travel to Adams Park to face Wycombe, while Bournemouth host Bristol City at the Vitality Stadium the following evening. Both fixtures are available to watch live on Sky Sports Football Red Button.

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MLB

AFL star slammed for ‘dirty’ Grand Final act

Patrick Dangerfield has been waiting his whole career to finally reach an AFL Grand Final and he wasted no time making an immediate impact.

The Geelong star flattened Richmond’s Nick Vlastuin in a chaotic opening to the first quarter that also saw Cats veteran Gary Ablett leave the field with what looked like a serious shoulder injury.

Dangerfield and Vlastuin were going for a contested ball and the Cat got there first, punching the Sherrin away as his opponent bore down on him.

But bracing for contact with the Tigers defender, Dangerfield cocked his elbow and collected Vlastuin in the head.

Vlastuin was knocked out cold and the game was stopped for nearly eight minutes while medical staff attended to him. He remained motionless on the ground before eventually being put on a stretcher, then taken off the ground on a medicab.

The 26-year-old was quickly ruled out of the Grand Final and later made his way to the bench to watch the remainder of the action from the boundary line.

Some said Dangerfield’s blow was accidental and a reflex reaction as he headed for a big collision with Vlastuin, but others weren’t showing the midfield gun the same sympathy.

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Sports writer Sam Vecenie tweeted: “That was UGLY from Dangerfield. He’s going to be out a couple rounds to start next season.”

Daniel Joyce said on Twitter Dangerfield is “dirty” while another sports writer, Tim Barrow, took aim at the Channel 7 commentators for defending Geelong’s superstar.

“Um, quite clearly Dangerfield should be suspended. Not that he’ll care if he wins a flag. The commentary is just awful,” Barrow wrote.

Former football reporter Ray Gatt chimed in, adding: “Just saw the elbow. Surely that guy gets cited and suspended for six weeks?”

After another heavy hit later in the first half, journalist Wendy Carlisle noted: “That’s two elbows form Dangerfield.”

Steve Taylor gave him the moniker “Patrick ‘elbows’ Dangerfield” while Peter Brown said “the elbow could be a match winner” as Richmond’s defence initially struggled to gel without Vlastuin before finding their groove

Danger just checking his elbow came off better than Vlastuin.Source:News Corp Australia

There was real concern for Vlastuin after the heavy hit.Source:News Corp Australia

On the other side of the fence, Aussie baseball star Travis Blackley said the hit was “totally not intentional” and “Dangerfield was clearly defending himself”.

Journalist Xavier Mardling said Dangerfield “hit the ball and only got NV high after arm slid up upon contact. Be unlucky to cop a ban”.

Dangerfield failed to have a major impact though as Richmond won a third flag in four years. Dustin Martin was unstoppable as he led the Tigers to a 12.9 (81) to 7.8 (50) victory.

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Soccer

Mesut Ozil messages Marcus Rashford over food poverty work amid Arsenal exile

Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil has expressed his admiration for Marcus Rashford on social media amid the Manchester United star’s campaign to end child food poverty in the UK.

Rashford has been vocal in his attempt to secure free school meals for kids across the country, only to see his proposal voted down by MPs at the House of Commons.

The England international has remained active on Twitter, nevertheless, promoting a number of UK companies that are opening their doors for youngsters as a result of his campaign.

And Ozil has taken to Twitter to congratulate Rashford, branding the work he is doing “incredible”.

The German midfielder posted: “Congratulations on all your amazing work @MarcusRashford!

“What you’re doing is an incredible achievement that is helping so many kids here in the UK. Keep up the great work Clapping hands sign #EndChildFoodPoverty”.

Ozil has been active on social media since he was left out of Arsenal’s Premier League squad earlier this week.

Mikel Arteta could not find room for the 32-year-old in his Gunners squad, meaning he is unlikely to play for the club again before his contract expires next summer.

He can begin negotiating a free move abroad at the turn of the year, yet that could prove difficult as reports suggest there were not many offers on the table for him over the summer.

Ozil is still getting fully behind his team-mates despite his exile, wishing them luck on Twitter ahead of their 2-1 Europa League win away at Rapid Vienna on Thursday.

He then tweeted during the game: “0-0 so far, but c’mon lads let’s try and make sure we take a win back home with us! I’m cheering you on”.

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When asked for his reaction on Ozil’s commentary after the match, Arteta said: “This is great! This is what I want from all the players that aren’t in our squad. I didn’t expect anything different to that, so it’s good to hear.”

Ozil has made 254 appearances over seven years at Arsenal, scoring 44 goals and winning the FA Cup on three occasions.

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Rugby

‘I’ve forgiven him’: McKinnon lets go of Cam Smith pain

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If anyone has a legitimate reason to cheer what appears to be the end of Cameron Smith’s career, it is Alex McKinnon. But he won’t.

In a true indication of what a good person McKinnon is, he has made peace in his own mind about what happened in the moments after his life was changed forever in a tackle at Melbourne’s AAMI Park in 2014. With McKinnon motionless on the ground in clear distress, Smith argued with the referee. McKinnon suffered fractures to his C4 and C5 vertebrae and is now a quadriplegic.

Moving on: Alex McKinnon and Cam Smith.Credit:NRL Photos, Getty

Smith’s actions were a bad look and a horrendous reading of the situation. They look even worse in hindsight. Smith has never properly explained what happened that night, nor apologised publicly for his reaction. I put it to the Storm at the time and offered Smith a chance to talk. I’m still waiting for his response.

For everything great that Smith has done as a player – and he is the greatest hooker to play the game – to some extent that night taints his career. His actions deeply upset McKinnon’s family and the player himself was fuming. With Smith possibly winding up his unparalleled career in Sunday's grand final against Penrith, McKinnon can now talk with a clear and calm mind.

‘‘I have no emotion when it comes to Cameron Smith these days,’’ McKinnon said this week. ‘‘I have forgiven everything that happened straight after the tackle, his response – I have forgiven him. It’s hard to hold on to hate. It really is. It’s wasted energy. It’s blinding.

‘‘At its worst, it can consume you and I’ll admit it did for a while there. There is no positive to being like that and, for that reason, I have moved past it and I hold no hard feelings at all.

Alex McKinnon on the ground after the tragic tackle in 2014 in Melbourne.Credit:Getty

‘‘The hard thing was for my family, my dad, to let it go. But I told them it didn’t do any of us any good at all to keep the hate. I talked with them about how it does not help anyone. And the family has been able to put it all to one side. My dad can now observe something that Smith has done and not see it in a negative light. Quite the opposite. And that has been some time in the making.

‘‘I work with [Knights coach] Adam O’Brien now and he has nothing but praise for Smith and [Storm coach] Craig Bellamy, and his love for Craig has certainly influenced my approach to the situation.’’

Smith has also been criticised for not reaching out to McKinnon after the accident.

‘‘I’ve got to accept that there was an attempt soon after it happened and my family wanted to protect me from that,’’ McKinnon said.

I am now looking for players like him. It’s my job to find the next Smith.

The next move came from McKinnon. ‘‘I got his number from Matthew Johns and contacted him,’’ McKinnon said. ‘‘It’s just how it happened. My view of Smith has all changed now in my role as a scout with Newcastle. I see him in a totally different way. I watch what he does on the field, his interaction with players. I watch Smith the player without emotion. And I am now looking for players like him. It’s my job to find the next Smith.’’

So will McKinnon be cheering for the Storm tonight?

‘‘I used to hope they would lose,’’ he admitted. ‘‘In the past, I got something out of that for sure. Now I can just watch. To be honest, I’ll be watching it thinking what will it take for Newcastle to be there one day, and I’ll be upset that we are not there now.

"I don’t have any particular leaning. If it was Souths, I’d want them to win for Wayne [Bennett]. But I no longer want the Storm to lose because they are the Storm.’’

Gus goes extra mile

At one point in his stellar young career, even the keenest Penrith observers feared they had lost one of the club’s best talents, Jarome Luai. And for a while, they did.

‘‘Where’s Broadbridge?’’ asked then Panthers general manager of football Phil Gould as he cast his eye over the team sheet while watching a junior side a couple of years ago. Broadbridge was there, he’d just changed his name to what it is today, Luai.

‘‘We were living at his grandmother’s house and, while we were there, she wanted him to go under his name,’’ Jarome’s dad, Martin Luai, said. ‘‘So he did. He decided to change back a few years ago and I am so proud when I see him out there.’’

The Panthers had another reason to fear they had lost him. Martin did two years in jail for drug trafficking. It was a bad decision made while his family was under huge financial pressure. That was a serious concern for the Panthers for a number of reasons, not least of which Martin faced being deported to New Zealand and the family being torn apart. References from Cameron Ciraldo – who coached Jarome throughout his junior career – and Gould helped Martin remain in Australia.

‘‘Martin Luai has acted illegally, irresponsibly and, dare I say it, stupidly,’’ Gould wrote. ‘‘Acting out of a sense of desperation to provide for his family is no excuse. Jarome is a hard-working dedicated young man … the qualities of Jarome speaks volumes for the loving and disciplined upbringing his parents have provided.

‘‘Your honour, Martin Luai and his family are already paying dearly for his actions. I genuinely fear for the welfare of the children and their futures if Martin is to be deported on top of his current penalty of incarceration.’’

Mum's the word

Nathan Cleary has used grand final week to defend his father, Ivan, and the controversial way he joined the Panthers. He also declared that his mum, Rebecca, is the true hero of the Cleary family.

‘‘Mum is the rock,’’ he said. ‘‘She has helped both of us so much. She is probably the main reason we have been able to turn it around this year. She is the support system. She is always willing to have a chat. I’m so grateful to have her.’’

Roosters close in on Suaalii

We told you last week about Joseph Suaalii dropping the Rabbitohs and following the Roosters on Instagram. It’s hard to ignore because he is getting close to knocking back rugby and signing a deal with the tricolours.

A deal is being prepared and those who know the young man say he has been in discussions with the Bondi club. The Roosters are clearly working on a succession plan for James Tedesco, who is already regarded as the best player in the NRL.

Tedesco is off contract at the end of next year. He will be offered a deal that will extend his stay until at least the end of 2023. Suaalii is on a small deal with Souths next year, but every indication is that he doesn’t want to be there. The attraction of playing under Roosters coach Trent Robinson is significant to a young player.



Dally M muddle

The Dally M farce has led to unfair online attacks on News Corp journalist Phil Rothfield. He has been slammed for a mistake by another journalist, who published an article criticising the award, and for News Corp publishing the winners – including the winner of the Dally M Medal, Jack Wighton – before the ceremony began.

As big an error as it was – and as much embarrassment as it has caused the company and the game – there was no malice or intent as far as this column is aware. But the issue here is what happened on Fox Sports’ NRL 360. Rothfield was on the show on Monday night. He already knew the points tally, knew the winner and knew there was an unfolding drama with the story having been published accidentally. His phone was running hot on air.

When asked about the result, he said he was hoping Nathan Cleary would win. He should not have been asked the question because he already knew the winner and, therefore, could not give a genuine answer.

The only answer Rothfield could have, and perhaps should have, given was a declaration there and then that he knew who had won and had already filed a story on it. The credibility of the show would not have been brought into question.

Equally concerning for a program that trades on its strong opinions and bags plenty of people for their errors, there was no mention of the stuff-up. The hosts of the show had the opportunity to come clean the next night and didn’t.

Sorry state

A group of officials on either side of the NSW-Queensland border are set to hand ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys his first significant defeat of 2020.

V’landys and NRL boss Andrew Abdo have backed and approved Karl Stefanovic’s behind-the-scenes Origin documentary, which was being shot for streaming service Stan. But now the blazer brigade, with support from Maroons coach Wayne Bennett, are set to block the move. V’landys won’t go down without a fight.

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Fighting

Mike Tyson hated Michael Jackson and held grudge for years after backstage snub

Mike Tyson has revealed his past hatred towards Michael Jackson ahead of his return to the ring.

The 54-year-old former undisputed world heavyweight champion has reminisced on a feud he had with the King of Pop over what he believed to be a backstage snub at a concert in Cleveland.

Tyson, who will take on fellow veteran Roy Jones Jr in an exhibition fight next month, has also revealed how he ended up forgiving Jackson after he was invited to hang out with the late star.

The contrasting characters were two of the most recognisable names on the planet at the time, which led to even more fury from the boxer when he wasn’t immediately recognised.

While on T.I.’s expediTIously podcast, he said: “I met Mike one day, I think he was at a concert in Cleveland, I’m with Don King.

“So me and Don come in, right? And I’m champ and everything, did all this s***, undisputed.

“So Don goes and Don gives Michael Jackson the ‘peace’ sign, like this. And then so Michael gives Don the ‘peace’ sign, and so I give Michael the ‘peace’ sign, and Michael put his hand down.

“In a way, I say, ‘Did he play me? Nah, he didn’t play me, he just didn’t see me. I knew he didn’t play me, cause I’m f***ing champ.”

He then continued: “So we went backstage, right? So I’m backstage, and so there’s his backstage, some of his singers and stuff.

“He’s on stage, it’s over I’m signing autographs and stuff, so Michael comes over and he talks to Don, he doesn’t talk to me. I say ‘Let me just go on and meet Mike’, cause that’s really why I’m here, I want to meet Mike.

“And then I go over to meet Mike, … and he goes like this, ‘Don’t I know you from somewhere? Where I know you from?’

“He broke my ego, he crushed me. I said ‘No, I’m just a fan, pleasure to meet you, sir. He said, ‘OK’, and then he got out and went in the car.”

Before adding of the invitation from Jackson that led to their friendship: “I said ‘OK I’m coming, I’ll be over there’, right?

“So I got on a plane, went over there, hung out, and we just started hanging out together.

“And I said ‘F*** man, he’s a good guy.

“But in my mind, I said ‘Why’d you play me though, Mike, why’d you play me like that? You knew who I was, why’d you play me?’”

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Soccer

Koeman’s Barcelona told before El Clasico with Real Madrid they can win La Liga

Former Real Madrid midfielder Steve McManaman has claimed Barcelona can still win the La Liga title this season, despite their struggles both on and off the field over the past few years.

Barcelona are in the midst of a rebuild under new boss Ronald Koeman and go into a crunch El Clasico clash with rivals Madrid having lost their last La Liga game 1-0 to Getafe and sitting tenth in the league.

They did win their Champions League clash with Ferencvaros convincingly, beating the Hungarian outfit 5-1, and will be buoyed by the fact that Madrid have not fared much better.

Zinedine Zidane's side lost their last league game to recently promoted Cadiz and were then beaten 3-2 by a weakened Shakhtar Donetsk in Europe.

Ahead of the Clasico, LaLiga ambassador Steve McManaman, speaking at an event for LiveScore, gave his backing to Koeman.

McManaman said: "Now the season has started and FC Barcelona has had decent results so far, I think they’ll be fine. When you look at the team and it has Philippe Coutinho, Antoine Griezmann, Lionel Messi, Ansu Fati, they’re good enough to challenge for the league.

"Lionel Messi has to stay fit because he drives them forward and scores the goals, but I think as a team they’ll want to prove that they’re not as bad as the 8-2 defeat against FC Bayern Munich. I think they'll really knuckle down and do well this year."

  • Why Man Utd will be watching Real Madrid's next two games closely as Zidane faces sack

However, McManaman did back his former side to get the win over Barcelona, adding: "I normally choose the victors by whoever is playing at home because it’s such an intense atmosphere in ElClásico.

"I don't know whether you ever been to an ElClásico, but at a lot of Spanish games the away fans are normally stuck as high as they possibly can at the top of the stadium, meaning you can only hear the home fans.

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"If the game is at Madrid, I normally choose Real Madrid of course but if it’s at FC Barcelona I’d go for FC Barcelona.

"The way that both teams are playing at the minute I think Real Madrid is the better team and they look stronger defensively, so I would choose Real Madrid."

LaLiga ambassador Steve McManaman was speaking ahead of ElClásico for LiveScore, Official Global Scoring Partner of LaLiga Santander. LiveScore’s iOS and Android app is available to download now: www.livescore.com/mobile

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MLB

Richmond shows classy sportsmanship after Gary Ablett’s heartbreak

Gary Ablett didn’t end his career the way he hoped but he bowed out a class act.

The Geelong legend — who some believe is the greatest footy player we’ve ever seen — was robbed of his fairytale finish when Richmond beat the Cats 12. 9 (81) to 7.8 (50) in Saturday night’s Grand Final.

Ablett was hugged by his Geelong colleagues as he broke down in tears after his final AFL game.

Even though the retiring star’s heart was breaking, he showed plenty of sportsmanship to put his disappointment aside and go up to Tigers captain Trent Cotchin just before a post-match TV interview and congratulate him on leading Richmond to a third flag in four years.

👏👏👏 Brave effort from Gary Ablett Jr, one of the all-time greats. #AFLGF pic.twitter.com/h2wMKNF8sL

Gary Ablett emotional after the game. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/fS23ypgYUH

In his post-match speech, Geelong captain Joel Selwood thanked the “little bald bloke” for his contribution to the game, telling Ablett everyone loved him.

Channel 7 commentator Bruce McAvaney spoke of the “touching scenes” as the 36-year-old was consoled by wife Jordan and son Levi, before both teams gave him a guard of honour to a standing ovation from the crowd.

The Tigers were awesome, showing terrific sportsmanship in delaying their own lap of honour to pay their respects.

Sports broadcaster Shane McInnes tweeted: “Great act of sportsmanship by @Richmond_FC. Have every right to celebrate the flag, yet paused to acknowledge one of the greats of the game in Gary Ablett.”

Channel 7 reporter Nick McCallum wrote: “Showing true class by honouring true class. Wonderful gesture by @Richmond_FC to delay lap of honour to line up to farewell Geelong’s ‘Little Master’ Gary Ablett. A wonderful sign of respect which will last in the memory forever.”

Farewell to a legend.Source:News Corp Australia

It was a rough night for Ablett from the very beginning, rushed off the Gabba in absolute agony after injuring his shoulder early in the first quarter.

Less than three minutes after the first bounce, Ablett was spotted holding his arm in considerable pain, before he was rushed off the field by a medic.

Replays showed the 36-year-old had landed awkwardly on his left arm after attempting a handball.

McAvaney said: “This is not good for Ablett. He is leaving the ground immediately. You could see him lift his elbow off the ground immediately. This is not a great sight.”

Miraculously, the Little Master returned to the field, fighting through the pain in a desperate attempt to lead the Cats to a premiership.

He suffered another heavy knock in the third quarter and was visibly distressed but again, he ignored his ailment to push on.

Unfortunately, he was kept quiet by a slick Richmond outfit that added another chapter to its incredible dynasty.

READ: Dusty image speaks louder than words

RELATED AFL Grand Final entertainment savaged

Gary Ablett comes off with an elbow injury.Source:News Corp Australia

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