Australian News

Brisbane Broncos NRL player Payne Haas arrested, charged after alleged abusive behaviour

Brisbane Broncos forward Payne Haas has been arrested and charged by police after an incident in the northern NSW town of Tweed Heads.

NSW Police said a 21-year-old man was arrested about 10:00pm AEDT on Saturday after allegedly becoming abusive towards officers.

Haas was detained by police and taken to Tweed Heads Police Station where he was charged with offensive language and intimidating police.

He was granted conditional bail to appear at Tweed Heads Local Court on February 2.

The NRL said its integrity unit was aware of the incident and was liaising with NSW Police and the Broncos.

Haas, who has represented Australia and NSW, is regarded as one of the NRL’s best front rowers.

He has been named the Broncos’ best player the past two seasons.

Haas was fined $20,000 and suspended for the opening four rounds of the 2019 NRL season for failing to comply with an NRL integrity unit investigation over a matter involving members of his family.


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Changes announced for Greater Brisbane

Travellers from Greater Brisbane will soon be able to enter South Australia without needing to quarantine, health authorities have announced.

SA chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier said the change to border arrangements would come into effect as of 12.01am on Sunday.

Speaking after the state’s Transition Committee meeting on Tuesday, she said travellers from Greater Brisbane would however need to be tested on days one, five and 12 of their stay.

Prof Spurrier said that Sunday would mark 14 days since Queensland had its first case – the cleaner who caught the UK mutant strain of coronavirus from hotel quarantine.

“I’m pleased to have updated information from (Qld Chief Health Officer) Dr Jeannette Young and they have had no further cases they’ve associated with the cluster,” Prof Spurrier said.

Prof Spurrier also said “majority” of people who recently arrived from Queensland and were required to quarantine would be released that day.

Travellers who entered SA from January 9 up until and including Saturday, January 16, will receive a text message from SA Health confirming they had not been to locations of concern listed by Qld Health.

Those locations are:

  • Woolworths, Calamvale North on January 3 from 11am-12pm
  • Coles at Sunnybank Hills Shoppingtown, Sunnybank Hills on January 5 from 7.30am-8am
  • Nextra Sunnybank Hills Newsagent, Sunnybank Hills on January 5 from 8am-8.15am
  • Bunnings Warehouse, Acacia Ridge on January 5 from 2pm-2.40pm
  • Sunnybank Cellars (formerly Lucky Star Bottler) on New Hellawell Road, Sunnybank Hills on January 6 from 2.05pm- 2.15pm

“We’re hoping that that will be the end of this cluster and, of course, as a nation we’ve been very concerned because it was, in fact, that genetic variant which we know to be more transmissible,” Prof Spurrier said.

There were no changes to border arrangements with NSW as health authorities wait for 14 days of no community transmission.

“If there‘s no further cases, we would be looking to review those borders on January 25,” Prof Spurrier said.

SA recorded one new case of COVID-19 on Friday; a returned traveller who is in hotel quarantine.

It brings the state’s total number of infections to 591.

There are now 10 active cases in the state.

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Australian News

Australia, India left frustrated as rain ends day two early in fourth Test at Gabba in Brisbane

On Friday, India’s Shardul Thakur took a wicket with his first delivery of the Brisbane Test. On Saturday, Pat Cummins did it with his second. Nathan Lyon, backed by a roaring crowd in his 100th Test, waited only 17 deliveries to take the 397th of his career.

In the morning session, India took three in the space of 14 deliveries to fight its way back into the contest. Its bowling attack in this match is the least-experienced Australia has faced in a home Test in 140 years: 11 Test wickets between five of them before this game.

With better catching from their colleagues on day one, they might have taken 10 in a day.

Cameron Green, on the other hand, is four Tests and 216 deliveries into his Test bowling career and hasn’t managed a single breakthrough. It is one of the more curious aspects of a series mostly shaped by bowlers, to many of whom Green compares favourably.

The 21-year-old has height, pace, prodigious outswing and great consistency of line and length. But no wickets.

We take it for granted watching a series like this day in, day out, but bowling a cricket ball at 135 kilometres per hour is a tremendous physical feat. Few cricketers in recent memory have made it look so simple as Green, who ambles in and eases through a relaxed, simple delivery stride.

To bowl at a similar speed, the short and dumpy Shardul requires the exertion of a strongman pulling a bus.

Green’s lavish talents and imposing physique come with a predictable vulnerability: stress fractures in his back forced the remodelling of his bowling action and the careful limitation of his output. So, he bowls within himself. Coaches and selectors are wary of the two-point plan of his childhood: bat like Ricky Ponting, bowl like Brett Lee. Only one has the potential to cancel out both.

The closest recent parallel is with Shane Watson, with whom Green’s early Sheffield Shield career bears a close resemblance: teenage sensations taking bags of wickets and batting with maturity beyond their years. Green debuted for Western Australia as a 17-year-old and destroyed Tasmania with seven wickets. As per Watson, when the injuries began, his batting took centre stage.

Green has since learned that patience and an even temperament are the bedrock of an all-rounder’s game. When the wickets don’t come, runs inevitably will, and vice versa. In the morning session on Saturday, he moved gracefully through the gears as he had in the sparkling 84 he made in Sydney.

Cameron Green plays a shot towards the cover region against India.
Cameron Green fell short of a second consecutive Test half-century.(AAP: Darren England)

From the assured 28 he’d made by stumps on day one, he moved to 47 with a pair of dreamy straight drives off the bowling of Thangarasu Natarajan — weight transferred perfectly to the front foot, head dead still and over the ball, full face of the bat making sublime and late contact, ball thudding into the fence a second later.

With the ball, he will eventually have similar moments.

Patience was certainly a virtue for players and fans alike on Saturday at the Gabba, with rain destroying a large chunk of the afternoon session, reducing the sum total of play to the slap-happy end of Australia’s first innings of 369 and the jittery beginning to India’s reply.


The downtime prompted certain niche analyses that are the only benefit of Test cricket’s endless delays. One: why, despite overwhelming evidence that Mitchell Starc is a better batsman, does Australia persist with Pat Cummins at number eight?

This tactical error is now particularly glaring in a team whose scoring load is carried by too few. It is downright bizarre in a line-up containing a settled rookie number six in Green and an ascendant number seven in Tim Paine, both of whom could accompany clean-hitting Starc through the sort of momentum-shifting partnerships that have been the bane of many touring teams in the last decade.

On Saturday, Cummins departed quickly, another misfire in an unimpressive recent run. Starc’s crisp and undefeated 20 in the aftermath only underlined the dilemma he faces: by the time he comes in, hitting out is basically the only option and he soon runs out of partners: not backed to forge partnerships with the middle-order batsmen, he seems uninterested in applying himself to much more.

For a batsman with 10 Test half-centuries to his name, it seems a waste. And in a Test series that might go down to the wire over the next three days in Brisbane, it is a rare problem with an obvious solution.

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Australian News

Emirates suspends flights to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane amid caps

Emirates has suspended all flights to and from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane until further notice, leaving the travel plans of thousands of Australians stranded overseas up in the air.

The major airline announced the suspension on Friday night was “due to operational reasons”.

An estimated 37,000 Australians are still overseas and seeking assistance to get back into the country.

It’s understood the airline will continue operating twice weekly flights to and from Perth.

The Australian High Commission in the United Kingdom, where Emirates flights to Australia depart with stopovers in Dubai, said on Twitter: “We appreciate the disruption this will cause.”

RELATED: Labor says Government should have acted sooner

Emirates was one of the last international airlines flying Down Under after Qantas last year cancelled all international flights until March 2021.

On January 8, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced national cabinet had agreed to slash the number of international arrivals into New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia by half, starting “no later” than Friday, January 15 and lasting until February 15.

He said this was “to manage the flow of returning Australians and other travellers who have been potentially exposed to the new variants” of COVID-19, including the highly contagious strain behind Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor cluster.

“Current international passenger caps in Victoria and South Australia and arrangements in the Northern Territory are considered manageable and will remain in place,” Mr Morrison said.

The new caps will be around 1500 weekly for NSW, and 500 for Queensland and WA.

Chartered flights for vulnerable Australians will continue.

From January 22, the Government will require travellers to Australia to return a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to departure.


* Dubai to Brisbane EK430 on January 16

* Brisbane to Dubai EK431 on January 17

* Dubai to Sydney EK414 on January 18

* Sydney to Dubai EK415 on January 19

* Dubai to Melbourne EK408 on January 19

* Melbourne to Dubai EK409 on January 20

“Customers holding tickets with final destinations Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane will not be accepted for travel at their point of origin after the completion of the above flights,” Emirates said in a statement.

“Emirates regrets any inconvenience caused. Affected customers should contact their travel agent or Emirates contact centre for rebooking options.”

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Australian News

Australia vs India fourth Test live: Australia meets an injury-ravaged India side in Brisbane

Australia vs India: The decider


Good morning everyone and welcome to our coverage of the fourth Test of this enthralling series between Australia and India.

It stands at 1-1, with everything to play for.

India are bruised and battered, but showed incredible mettle to draw the game in Sydney, so it’s hard to write them off entirely, even on a Gabba wicket that traditionally favours the home team.

We’re going with a three-pronged attack today, Jon Healy and I will be the bloggers and Dean Bilton will be sharing the best bits from ABC Sport’s excellent radio coverage.

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Australian News

Australia-India Test series, locked at 1-1, set for an intriguing finish at Gabba in Brisbane

Very few people looking forward to a cricket series can resist speculating and making predictions. Very few ever get it right.

It’s a futile endeavour with so many variables at play in a universe that can always surprise us.

Nobody would have predicted India being bowled out for 36, or Steve Smith being unable to make 36 in aggregate until the third Test innings.

Nobody would have predicted a seaming MCG wicket with a match over in four days, or a Sydney pitch without a single crack in it after five.

No one knew which state borders would open and close, and where matches would be played and whether anyone could attend, or that occupants of a Sydney cemetery would be specifically prohibited.

Not many would have guessed that Nathan Lyon would bowl well but struggle for wickets, taking six in three Tests, and that he would enter the fourth and final match in Brisbane with 396 to his name, a chance to reach 400 in his 100th Test.

We could have speculated the series would be close, poised 1-1 heading into the deciding Test. We couldn’t have guessed at the path to reach this point, with Australia going through five opening batsmen and India through an entire secondary squad.

Australia batsman Steve Smith swings his cricket bat wildly while holding his helmet after scoring a Test century against India.
Steve Smith silenced the critics in the third Test at the SCG.(AP: Rick Rycroft)

It must be a weary arrival at the Gabba. When several Indian players reported racist abuse from spectators across several days of the Sydney Test, they were clearly shaken at the time and fed up later. For the home players, it must make their hearts sink.

“We don’t condone the abuse of anyone, let alone from a racial standpoint,” said Paine on the eve of the final Test.

“We want everyone to come along to the cricket, support Australia, support India, support the umpires if you like. But leave the abuse at the gate and respect the players and respect the game.”

Australia’s team must feel emotionally battered. Paine was rightly criticised for his snappy verbals at Ravichandran Ashwin late in the draw at Sydney. Smith was bizarrely accused of cheating after marking guard while fielding.

(For clarity, the accusation of removing guard marks is nonsense given those marks were scored deep into the pitch and are clearly visible on the video before and after the event. There was no accusation from the batsmen at the crease, only backseat drivers on the internet.)

The whole team will be feeling the tension of having lost in Melbourne and having failed to finish off a win in Sydney. Then there was the anxiety of debuting Will Pucovski, the high of seeing him succeed, the low of seeing him injure his shoulder and be out of the team again.

Tourists hit with casualty list

India’s team is physically battered. Two years ago while visiting Australia it was a five-strong squad of fast bowlers that underwrote a series win. Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah played every game, with Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar as bench strength.

This time India must finish the series with all five of them injured. As are all-rounders Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja, and batsmen Hanuma Vihari and KL Rahul, while captain Virat Kohli is absent on family business. Opener Mayank Agarwal is in some doubt after being hit in the nets, as is Ashwin with back problems.

That would make a very good international XII on the sidelines.

Mohammed Siraj holds his hands out wide above his head, holding a red cricket ball in his right hand
A lot rests on Mohammed Siraj’s shoulders in Brisbane as India looks to avoid a series defest.(AP: Rick Rycroft)

In Brisbane, Mohammed Siraj will be the attack leader having debuted two matches ago in Melbourne. Navdeep Saini will be his lieutenant having debuted last week in Sydney. Thangarasu Natarajan will likely make his debut. An entire attack with three Tests between them.

Wrist spinner Kuldeep could replace Ashwin if need be, while Prithvi Shaw could open and wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant could play as a specialist bat at six ahead of keeper Wriddhiman Saha. Any more injuries though and coach Ravi Shastri might be making a comeback.

However things work out, the lifting must largely be done by senior batsmen Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, and interim captain Ajinkya Rahane. Their team has fought hard so far and that must be kept going.

If India can cobble together a win or a draw, it will be one of the great touring triumphs. Either will mean the visitors will retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. It would also be key to India’s hopes of making the World Test Championship final in England in the middle of this year.

Australia is the side that must deal with expectation. All the talk has been of home advantage, of fortresses, of depleted opponents. But there would be an anxiety in the back of the mind about dropping this series after having destroyed the opposition in the first Test.

Australia wicketkeeper Tim Paine walks with his head hung after the third Test against India at the SCG.
Australia needs Tim Paine to show his leadership qualities in the final Test.(AP: Rick Rycroft)

Paine has to get his head back in the game. Smith needs to keep on with his Sydney runs. David Warner had no influence in his first match back from injury and needs to find something. Matthew Wade might need a score to keep a spot in the team, Marnus Labuschagne needs to find a way to express his enthusiasm without being obnoxious.

The bowlers will have to dig deep after a power of work and a chaser of disappointment in Sydney, especially Lyon with his milestone in view.

“If I’d caught a couple, it could have been very different for him,” said Paine of his series.

“Nathan Lyon’s played 100 Test matches, that means you’re absolutely at the top of the tree. At times the Indians have played him very well, but at times we know looking at the footage he’s created plenty of chances. He’ll have a huge role to play in this Test for us.”

One more match then, to decide yet another absorbing series between two teams who have hardly played a bad one in the last 20 years. Predicting the result is pointless. It’s time to enjoy finding out.

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Australian News

Australia’s Will Pucovski under injury cloud ahead of final Test against India at Gabba in Brisbane

Australia opener Will Pucovski may be forced to miss the final Test against India starting in Brisbane on Friday after sustaining a shoulder injury.

Pucovski suffered a shoulder subluxation injury while diving in the field on day five of the third Test at the SCG.

Cricket Australia said Pucovski, who scored a half-century in his Test debut in Sydney, would continue his rehabilitation before a decision was made on whether he would play at the Gabba.

Meanwhile, the visitors are scrambling to sort out their Test XI after Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin helped salvage a draw in Sydney on Monday, to leave the four-match series level at 1-1.

Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah is in doubt for the Gabba Test because of an abdominal injury.

Bumrah received treatment for a minor abdominal strain at the SCG but continued to bowl.

India has been weakened during the series by the absence of quicks Mohammed Shami (arm), Umesh Yadav (calf), Ishant Sharma (side) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (thigh).

Batsman KL Rahul has returned home with a wrist injury, while Vihari (hamstring) and Ravindra Jadeja (thumb) are likely to be enforced omissions for the fourth Test.

Jasprit Bumrah smiles with both hands raised above his head
India’s Jasprit Bumrah sustained an abdominal injury in Sydney.(AP: Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Ashwin (back), Rishabh Pant (arm) and Cheteshwar Pujara (finger) pushed through the pain barrier at the SCG, earning praise from skipper Ajinkya Rahane.

Opener Mayank Agarwal, who loomed as a likely inclusion for Vihari if he was forced out of the fourth Test, is now getting scans on a hand injury.

Regular India captain Virat Kohli, who welcomed the birth of his first child late on Monday night, headlines the list of unavailable talent.

Both the Australian and Indian squads arrived in Brisbane on Tuesday in the wake of the spiteful SCG Test.

Australia captain Tim Paine fronted an unscheduled media conference earlier on Tuesday morning to apologise for his behaviour during the Test.

Stump microphones picked up some barbs that Paine, who has helped turn around the Australian squad’s image after the Cape Town cheating scandal in 2018, directed at Ashwin during India’s second innings.

“I felt I had a really poor game in terms of my leadership and I think that affected our team,” he said.


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Australian News

Peter Collignon: Brisbane COVID-19 lockdown

A leading Australian infectious disease expert has criticised Greater Brisbane’s snap three-day-lockdown, saying it was an “unreasonable” over-reaction that “won’t solve the problem”.

The city’s 2.2 million residents have been under strict stay-at-home orders since 6pm on Friday, with an announcement to be made on Monday morning as to whether the restrictions will ease later that day.

The measures were enacted after a hotel quarantine worker contracted the highly contagious UK variant of COVID-19 and spent five days unknowingly infectious in the community.

Professor Peter Collignon from the Australian National University told 2GB on Monday that the lockdown suggested authorities had no faith in contact tracing.

“This is a single case, and I don’t think anyone in the world has ever done this (three-day lockdown) before,” he said.

“Three days will not solve the problem because the average incubation period is five days. You really have to wait, people have to isolate for 10 to 14 days, even 28 days for two full incubation periods.

“It almost says we don’t have faith in our contact tracing system.”

The strain Queensland authorities fear is circulating in the community is at least 70 per cent more infectious than previous variants of the virus; however, Professor Collignon said it hadn’t spread “markedly” in many other countries.

“It’s in 30 or 40 countries but it hasn’t become the predominant strain in many of those,” he said.

Professor Collignon said recent outbreaks in Sydney and Melbourne highlighted how it was possible to bring the virus under control without restricting people.

“I do think that if you have faith in the system, you can do it … We have eliminated the virus in most parts,” he said.

“The Avalon cluster … appears to have been brought under control and it will disappear … I suspect Berala will disappear as well.”

He said while it was admirable Australia was aiming for elimination, that was unlikely to ever truly occur unless the country was prepared to become a “hermit nation.”

“The trouble I have with elimination is that people become complacent … It’s inevitable we will have leaks,” he said.

“That is the reality, we just need to make the probability lower, but you have to accept you might get it.

“I don’t think it’s reasonable that every time we get a case we lock down our cities.”

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State records no new cases as Brisbane lockdown continues

Queensland recorded zero new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, the second day of Brisbane’s three-day lockdown.

It follows zero cases recorded on Saturday.

Sunday’s zero new cases were the result of more than 19,000 tests, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

But new venues of concern have been added in the town of Maleny, about 100km north of Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast.

A Victorian woman carrying the highly contagious UK variant of coronavirus travelled there to visit her parents after flying into Queensland on a Jetstar flight, landing at 11pm on January 5.

Queensland’s chief health officer Jeanette Young urged anyone who had visited the following venues in Maleny to get tested for coronavirus immediately:

  • Cappriccios Italian Pizza Restaurant between 6.30pm and 7pm on January 6
  • Purple Palate Cellars between 4.15pm and 4.25pm on January 7
  • Maleny Woolworths between 4.30pm and 4.50pm on January 7
  • Jetstar flight JQ570 that arrived in Brisbane at 11pm on January 5.

“It is really important that all of those people, anyone who has been there, come forward and get tested,” she said.

“Anyone in the Maleny area with any symptoms at all, please come forward and get tested.”

Brisbane’s lockdown came into effect on Saturday after it was discovered a quarantine hotel cleaner had caught the mutant strain of COVID-19 wreaking havoc in the UK.

The cleaner, a woman in her 20s, came forward for testing as soon as she began showing symptoms.

But she was in the community for five days before she began showing symptoms and realised she could have the virus — sparking fears the highly contagious COVID-19 strain could have escaped into Brisbane.

The lockdown applies to the council regions of Greater Brisbane: Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Ipswich, Redlands and Logan.

Under the orders people can only go outdoors for essential work, grocery shopping, medical appointments and to exercise in their local area.

Restaurants and cafes remain open for takeaway only.

Residents also must wear masks outside the home.

Dr Young on Saturday urged anyone who has visited the following locations visited by the cleaner to get tested:

  • Train from Altandi Station to Roma Street at 7am Saturday, January 2
  • Train from Central Station to Altandi Station at 4pm Saturday, January 2
  • Woolworths at Calamvale Central Shopping Centre between 11am and noon, Sunday January 3
  • Coles at Sunnybank Hills between 7.30am and 8am Tuesday, January 5
  • Newsagency at Sunnybank Hills, corner of Compton Road, between 8am and 8:15am Tuesday, January 5

The UK strain of the virus is up to 70 per cent more contagious than previous strains, with almost 60,000 cases and 1000 deaths recorded 24 hours in the UK on Saturday.

Brisbane’s lockdown is scheduled to end 6pm on Monday, depending on the latest case numbers.

Meanwhile, Victoria recorded zero new local cases on Sunday.

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Greater Brisbane declared a hotspot

South Australia has become the next state to declare Greater Brisbane a hotspot, after a strict three-day lockdown was announced by Queensland health authorities.

As of midnight on Friday, anyone coming into SA from the hotspot area must complete 14 days of quarantine.

Premier Steven Marshall also announced anyone who entered the state from the Greater Brisbane area from January 2 will be required to get tested.

“Premier Palaszczuk has asked all other states to declare those areas as a hotspot and we have agreed to that on a national basis,” he said.

“Anybody who has been in the Greater Brisbane area will receive an SMS message from SA Health today requiring them to go and get themselves tested.

“We will clearly be looking very closely at this case over the next three days.”

Mr Marshall said SA authorities expected a significant increase in testing in Queensland and would be keeping an eye “very carefully” on the situation.

“If we need to take any further action with regards to border restrictions with Queensland, then we will have no hesitation in calling a press conference in doing that immediately.”

A number of flights are scheduled to land in Adelaide from Brisbane on Friday, including one that touched down as SA authorities made their announcement.

SA Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said those coming into the state from the hotspot area before midnight will need to be tested on one day one, five and 12 but are not required to quarantine.

The testing capacity at Adelaide Airport has been boosted to ensure all passengers from Brisbane are swabbed.

Professor Spurrier reminded the community not to become complacent and asked South Australians to reconsider travelling to Queensland.

“I want South Australia to understand that while there is that issue that is very concerning because we‘ve got somebody who has been out in the Queensland community with that particular variant, we do actually have that variant here in our own state,” she said.

“We have to be very mindful of that and we (can)not have complacency.

“Although the lockdown up in Greater Brisbane is for those three days … things can change quickly and we will be monitoring the situation very, very closely here.”

Following Qld Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s announcement, Tasmania and the Northern Territory also declared Greater Brisbane a hotspot.

Both jurisdictions immediately require travellers coming from the “high risk area” to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

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