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NSW Swifts, Melbourne Vixens stay unbeaten in Super Netball with wins on Sunshine Coast



NSW Swifts and Melbourne Vixens have both maintained their unbeaten starts to the Super Netball season with respective victories on Wednesday night.

The Swifts ran out comprehensive 66-51 winners over Adelaide Thunderbirds in the opening clash of the double-header at the USC Stadium on the Sunshine Coast, while the Vixens beat the Lightning 63-51.

The Vixens are in top spot on the ladder courtesy of a superior percentage.

The Swifts, the defending champions, flexed their muscles early as they cruised to victory to celebrate vice-captain Paige Hadley’s 100th national league match in style.

The result sets up a mouth-watering clash on Sunday with the Swifts taking on the Lightning in their first meeting since the 2019 grand final.

The Thunderbirds were aiming to back-up from Saturday’s first win against the Giants but the Swifts dominated possession in the opening two quarters, a 17-goal advantage nearing half-time putting to rest any concerns about their slow starts so far this season.

Adelaide showed plenty of fight in the third period, with co-captain Chelsea Pitman leading the charge from wing attack to see the Swifts’ lead cut to eight points with two minutes left in the term.

But a pair of super shots from Helen Housby steadied the Swifts, who went on to finish the job with a 19-16 final quarter.

Midcourter Hadley starred with 20 feeds, 11 goal assists and one intercept for the Swifts.

The Thunderbirds face another tough test on Sunday when they take on the Vixens.

Vixens outclass Lightning

The Vixens were in the unusual position of hosting the Lightning on the Sunshine Coast but the Melbourne club made themselves at home with another convincing win.

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The two teams had yet to taste defeat heading into the top-of-the-table clash, however the Vixens set up their third successive win with a dominant opening half, building an impressive 15-goal lead by half-time.

The victory was a fitting result for co-captain Kate Moloney, as she joined current teammate Tegan Philip and Bianca Chatfield as the third Vixen to play 100 national league games.

The Vixens burst out of the blocks with nine of the first 11 goals of the game but the Lightning’s attack started to flow when Steph Wood shifted to goal shooter and Cara Koenen cashed in on a Karla Pretorius intercept to reduce Melbourne’s lead to three.

But Caitlin Thwaites drained a super shot on the siren for a 16-11 advantage and the Vixens kept rolling with an 8-2 start in the second term, before Thwaites and Tegan Philip combined for four super shots in the Power Five period to go into half-time ahead 34-19.

The Lightning managed to reduce the margin to single digits at stages of the third and fourth quarters but the Vixens had all the answers with Thwaites, Philip and Mwai Kumwenda each playing their part to keep their attack on song.

ABC/AAP



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Essendon, Gold Coast Suns share the points in dramatic AFL draw



Gold Coast young guns Ben King and Izak Rankine both missed potential match-winning chances as the Suns and Essendon played out an AFL draw in Carrara.

King kicked a point from a set shot to level scores, while Rankine could not find a score inside the final minute from outside 50 as the match finished 11.7 (73) to 11.7 (73).

The Bombers looked like winners after hitting the front in the final term following back-to-back goals by David Zaharakis, but a King goal with five minutes to go set up a blockbuster finish.

The result is the second draw of the season after Richmond and Collingwood could not be separated in the AFL restart back in June.

Zaharakis finished with three goals but also injured his quad kicking his final major to finish the match on the bench.

James Stewart, in his third match of the season, also kicked three goals for the Bombers.

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King had two goals for the Suns, as did Lachie Weller and Sam Day.

Kyle Langford kicked two majors for Essendon, including a fourth-quarter effort that put the Bombers ahead in the final term.

Zach Merrett topped the possession charts with 31 disposals with Andrew McGrath (26), Dylan Shiel (26), Jordan Ridley (23) and Darcy Parish (20) all getting more touches than the Suns’ highest possession winner in Hugh Greenwood (18).

Suns defender Charlie Ballard claimed 10 intercept marks, while Parish and William Snelling epitomised the Bombers’ pressure with eight and seven tackles respectively.

The result moves Essendon to ninth place on the ladder with 22 points from 10 matches.

The Suns, who had lost three straight matches heading into this match, sit 12th with 18 points from 11 matches.

The Bombers next face St Kilda on Sunday at the Gabba. The Suns take on Richmond at the same venue on Monday.

AAP/ABC



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Melbourne destroys Kangaroos by 57 points, West Coast Eagles beat Carlton for sixth straight AFL win


Melbourne has thrashed the Kangaroos by 57 points at Adelaide Oval to sit ninth on the AFL premiership ladder.

Earlier on Sunday, the West Coast Eagles claimed a sixth consecutive win after unleashing a devastating third-quarter blitz to beat Carlton by 22 points in Perth.

In Adelaide, Christian Petracca and Angus Brayshaw were outstanding in the Demons’ 13.14 (92) to 5.5 (35) win.

The pair combined for 58 disposals as Melbourne completed a remarkable reversal of fortunes in a five-day stint in Adelaide.

The Demons arrived in the South Australian capital last Wednesday under a blowtorch after club chairman Glen Bartlett labelled them insipid in a preceding loss to Port Adelaide.

But they crushed winless Adelaide by 51 points last Wednesday night and then dismantled North Melbourne to return to finals contention.

Melbourne is now just two points shy of the eighth-placed Collingwood — and with a match in hand on most other clubs — while the Kangaroos remain in the mire in 16th position.

The Demons’ victory was full of midfield substance with Petracca (29 disposals, one goal), Clayton Oliver (31 disposals, one goal) and Brayshaw — whose 29 touches included a goal and eight inside 50s — all instrumental.

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Emerging key forward Sam Weideman kicked two goals and missed three other gilt-edged chances, Bailey Fritsch also slotted two majors, while Kysaiah Pickett (one goal) was eye-catching in patches.

The Kangaroos relied almost solely on Nick Larkey, who booted four of his side’s five goals with the other coming from Majak Daw in the second minute of the match.

North Melbourne led by 10 points at quarter-time but managed just two more goals in the match as the tide turned the Demons’ way.

The Demons booted three goals to one in both the second and third terms to create a 16-point buffer at three-quarter time.

And just as they did against Adelaide when they scored seven last-term goals, the Demons again went on a scoring spree in the final quarter.

This time, they kicked six consecutive goals while restricting the flagging Kangaroos to a solitary point.

Eagles maintain winning form

Alarm bells were ringing for the Eagles when Zac Fisher’s fourth goal gave Carlton a 19-point lead in the opening minute of the third quarter.

Josh Kennedy, however, settled West Coast’s nerves a few minutes later with his first goal of the match.

But the real damage was done in the dying minutes of the third term when West Coast slammed home four goals in the space of three minutes to go into three-quarter time with an 11-point lead.

Dom Sheed then booted two goals in the final quarter to help lift West Coast to the 11.6 (72) to 7.8 (50) win in front of 19,092 spectators.

Sheed was best afield with 26 disposals, nine clearances and two goals, while teammate Nic Naitanui (41 hit-outs, seven clearances) was a dominant force in the ruck.

The Blues lost Jack Martin to a calf injury in the second quarter and ruckman Marc Pittonet spent about 30 minutes off the field with what appeared to be a finger injury.

Carlton’s star midfielder Patrick Cripps tallied 19 disposals and eight clearances despite spending long stints up forward.

A West Coast Eagles AFL player marks the ball with two hands in the air as a teammate jumps up at the same time.
The Eagles got on top of the Blues late in the match to clinch the four competition points.(AAP: Richard Wainwright)

West Coast’s win improved its standing to a 7-3 win-loss record. Carlton (4-6) now faces an uphill battle to make the top eight.

Both teams booted two goals apiece in the opening term, with the most notable moment coming when the Blues were on the wrong end of a controversial holding-the-ball free kick late in the quarter.

Sam Petrevski-Seton was powerless to get a disposal away after having his arms pinned in a bear-hug tackle from Jack Darling as soon as he got the ball.

The Carlton defender expressed his disbelief when the free kick was paid, with the subsequent 50-metre penalty gifting the Eagles a lucky goal.

Fisher booted his second and third goals in the second quarter to help give Carlton a surprise 13-point lead at half-time.

The sun peeked out from behind the clouds in the third quarter in what was a complete contrast to the pre-match downpour.

The conditions clearly favoured West Coast, who had Naitanui dominating in the ruck and the team’s midfielders feasting at ground level.

AAP/ABC



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NSW Swifts claim 73-72 Super Netball win over West Coast Fever as Sunshine Coast Lightning topple Collingwood Magpies



A Helen Housby goal with five seconds left has handed reigning Super Netball champions NSW Swifts a thrilling 73-72 victory over West Coast Fever.

The Swifts’ win followed the Lightning’s 51-47 triumph over Collingwood Magpies in the opening encounter of Sunday’s double-header at USC Stadium on the Sunshine Coast.

In a high-scoring affair, the Swifts produced another stunning third-quarter turnaround as they maintained their unbeaten start to the season.

After outscoring the Giants 21-13 in the third quarter on their way to victory in the opening round, the Swifts recovered from eight goals at half-time against the Fever with Sophie Garbin triggering a 27-11 third-quarter charge.

But the Swifts were again pushed all the way to the death, with Jhaniele Fowler sinking three super shots in the final Power Five period as the Fever closed an eight-goal gap in the final minutes.

After Alice Teague-Neeld levelled the scores in the final minute, the Fever forced two misses from the Swifts attackers in a tense finish until Housby calmly sealed the result with the final shot of the game.

With prolific goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler (53/58) in fine form, the Fever led by as many as 12 goals in the second quarter and appeared on track to open the season with back-to-back wins.

But Swifts coach Briony Akle’s decision to start Garbin in the second half proved a masterstroke. The 23-year-old made 21 of 23 shots as the defending champions swung the contest in their favour.

Housby also played a key role in her side’s comeback, with the Swifts taking better care of the ball after half-time while also forcing six Fever turnovers in the decisive third term.

Lightning defeat Magpies

Star attacker Steph Wood battled through injury to help inspire the Lightning to their four-goal victory over the Magpies.

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After sitting out the majority of the first half with a knee problem, Wood’s introduction triggered a third-quarter surge as the home side recorded their second win of the season.

A matchwinner for the Lightning in last week’s season opener against the Queensland Firebirds, the Australia international dropped out of the starting seven moments before the opening possession with a knee issue flaring during the warm-up.

But with Wood entering the game late the first half, the Lightning outscored Collingwood 16-9 in the third quarter to break open a tight defensive contest.

Langman was the driving force for the Lightning. The 34-year-old New Zealand international starred in midcourt with 30 feeds, 15 assists and two intercepts.

With goal shooter Shimona Nelson (32/37) playing her first game of the season, Collingwood capitalised on the Lightning’s late line-up change to grab an early 6-1 advantage.

As Jamaican defender Jodi-Ann Ward impressed alongside veteran defender Geva Mentor, the Magpies took a five-goal lead closing in on half-time with goal attack Gabi Sinclair nailing the only successful super shot of the half.

But Wood’s introduction paid immediate dividends as she played her part in the final two goals to cut Collingwood’s half-time lead to three.

The Lightning made their move in the third quarter, Koenen nailing 14 of 15 shots to build a 37-33 lead before a 6-2 start to the fourth quarter put the game beyond Collingwood’s reach.

Sunshine Coast’s win sets up an intriguing round-three encounter with the Melbourne Vixens on Wednesday.

The Magpies face the Queensland Firebirds on Tuesday with both teams desperate to record their first win of the season.

AAP



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Parramatta beats Cronulla 14-12, Gold Coast claims Queensland NRL honours with win over Cowboys


NRL premiership contender Parramatta has scrapped home to beat Cronulla 14-12 in an absorbing encounter played in atrocious conditions at a waterlogged Kogarah Oval.

In Sunday’s earlier match, the Gold Coast Titans became Queensland’s top-ranked team after a 30-10 win over the Cowboys in Robina.

At Kogarah Oval, players were sliding everywhere and the ball often stopped dead in on-field water puddles, with the Sharks going down to the Eels despite scoring three tries to two.

Eels five-eighth Dylan Brown and Sharks counterpart Shaun Johnson both put on wet-weather masterclasses, while Mitchell Moses was also influential for the victors.

After the Eels led 12-4 early in the second half courtesy of a Brown try and try assist, Johnson almost gave the Sharks the win in a chaotic four minutes.

Having kicked for Jesse Ramien for the Sharks’ first try, he put a juggling Ronaldo Mulitalo over for their next with a cut-out ball to make it 12-8.

From the next set he kicked a 40-20 as Eels captain Clint Gutherson let the ball go out.

It put Cronulla on the attack and allowed Johnson and Will Kennedy to find Mulitalo to go back against the grain and beat three defenders to score.

But Johnson’s errant goalkicking from the sideline was to prove costly.

With scores locked at 12-all and 11 minutes to play, Braden Hamlin-Uele was penalised for hitting Reagan Campbell-Gillard off the ball and the Eels kicked clear.

Johnson then coughed up the last chance to claim the match, fumbling his own short grubber in the last minute.

Earlier, Brown had shown experience well beyond his 20 years of age.

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He got the first try of the match when he fooled the Sharks’ goal-line defence, faking left before darting over from dummy half in the 19th minute.

Brown’s superb day continued after half-time when he dummied his way to the line and offloaded for Kane Evans to score.

The win keeps Parramatta third on the ladder, while Cronulla is still eighth but two points clear of ninth.

Titans outclass struggling Cowboys

The Titans snapped a 10-match losing streak against the Cowboys in style, racing to a six-tries-to-two win in arguably their best display under coach Justin Holbrook in his first season at the club.

The win lifts the Titans above the Cowboys, into 13th place on the ladder.

With the Brisbane Broncos languishing below both clubs in 15th position after their run of 10 defeats from their past 11 matches, the Titans are now the highest placed of the Queensland teams in the competition.

It is also the first time in 10 years the Cowboys have lost six matches in a row.

The Titans were sensational in the opening 40 minutes, charging to 20-0 lead as the Cowboys imploded.

Full-back AJ Brimson, playing in his second match back from injury, scored a double as the Titans dominated possession and territory.

The Cowboys were as bad as the Titans were good in the opening period, with captain Michael Morgan having a day to forget on his return from a shoulder injury that had kept him sidelined since March.

Morgan had five missed tackles in the first half, two of which led directly to Titans tries.

He was also pinged for an escort penalty late in the half, with the Titans going on to score through Brimson from the resulting set.

In total the Cowboys had a paltry 59 per cent completion rate for the half, missing 23 tackles and making seven errors.

Two Gold Coast Titans NRL players embrace as they celebrate a try, as a North Queensland Cowboys opponent walks by.
Brian Kelly (left) is congratulated by Phillip Sami after scoring the Titans’ fifth try.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

The rout continued in the second half with Kevin Proctor producing a special play to bat back a kick that had gone over the dead-ball line for Brian Kelly to score.

After that play the Cowboys finally responded.

Kyle Feldt pounced after a horror bounce took a Morgan grubber away from Titans’ winger Phillip Sami before Justin O’Neill made it back-to-back tries for the visitors minutes later.

A threatened comeback did not materialise, as the Titans regained the upper hand with Sami wrapping up the scoring in the 69th minute.

The Cowboys only slightly improved their completion rate to 63 per cent and made a total of 14 errors.

AAP



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Gold Coast Titans take Queensland NRL honours after defeating Cowboys 30-10



The Gold Coast Titans are Queensland’s top-ranked NRL team after a 30-10 win over the Cowboys in Robina.

The Titans snapped a 10-match losing streak against the Cowboys in style, racing to a six-tries-to-two win in arguably their best display under coach Justin Holbrook in his first season at the club.

The win lifts the Titans above the Cowboys, into 13th place on the ladder.

With the Brisbane Broncos languishing below both clubs in 15th position after their run of 10 defeats from their past 11 matches, the Titans are now the highest placed of the Queensland teams in the competition.

It is also the first time in 10 years the Cowboys have lost six matches in a row.

The Titans were sensational in the opening 40 minutes, charging to 20-0 lead as the Cowboys imploded.

Full-back AJ Brimson, playing in his second match back from injury, scored a double as the Titans dominated possession and territory.

The Cowboys were as bad as the Titans were good in the opening period, with captain Michael Morgan having a day to forget on his return from a shoulder injury that had kept him sidelined since March.

Morgan had five missed tackles in the first half, two of which led directly to Titans tries.

He was also pinged for an escort penalty late in the half, with the Titans going on to score through Brimson from the resulting set.

In total the Cowboys had a paltry 59 per cent completion rate for the half, missing 23 tackles and making seven errors.

The rout continued in the second half with Kevin Proctor producing a special play to bat back a kick that had gone over the dead-ball line for Brian Kelly to score.

After that play the Cowboys finally responded.

Kyle Feldt pounced after a horror bounce took a Morgan grubber away from Titans’ winger Phillip Sami before Justin O’Neill made it back-to-back tries for the visitors minutes later.

A threatened comeback did not materialise, as the Titans regained the upper hand with Sami wrapping up the scoring in the 69th minute.

The Cowboys only slightly improved their completion rate to 63 per cent and made a total of 14 errors.

The Titans will look to build on their win next Saturday when they take on Cronulla, while the Cowboys face South Sydney in Townsville.

AAP



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Greater Western Sydney Giants turn 29-point deficit into four-point AFL win over Essendon on Gold Coast



Greater Western Sydney has fought back from a 29-point deficit to beat Essendon by less than a goal in their round-10 AFL match in wet conditions in Carrara.

The Giants and Bombers managed just four points between them in the first quarter on the Gold Coast in the lowest-scoring opening term since 1965.

But the Bombers broke the contest open with five straight second-quarter goals, stretching that lead again early in the third term before their attack slowly disappeared in an 8.11 (59) to 8.7 (55) loss to the Giants.

The Giants kicked just two first-half goals but Essendon managed just 16 points in the second half.

Leon Cameron’s troops overcame a 16-point margin against the Bombers in the final quarter thanks to two Jeremy Cameron majors and Heath Shaw’s first two-goal bag in eight years.

Callan Ward then goaled from a penalty, the insurance they needed when Adam Saad launched a long-range goal with just seconds remaining.

The Giants stay in seventh place on the AFL ladder with the win, while the Bombers missed a chance to leapfrog them into the same position.

Giants veteran Shaw provided the talking point of a dour first quarter when his bump on Jacob Townsend ended the Bomber’s evening in sickening fashion.

The pair clashed in the goal square, Townsend then thudding to the ground to end his night inside the first few minutes of the contest.

A pumped Sam Draper kicked his first AFL goal for the Bombers, before Giants defender Phil Davis was thrown forward and helped set up a Jeremy Finlayson goal.

Davis was soon hopping off with a knee injury, but was able to return as they went about their recovery.

Cameron lobbed up with two crucial goals, his second set up brilliantly by Harry Himmelberg’s dash down the right wing.

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Kyle Langford was the only multiple goal kicker for the Bombers with two for the match.

The Bombers next play on Wednesday against Gold Coast in Carrara, while the Giants have a bye.

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St Kilda posts four-point AFL win over Gold Coast Suns as Collingwood beats Sydney Swans


St Kilda has rallied for a fourth-straight win to shoot to second place on the AFL ladder, again storming home in a see-sawing contest to defeat Gold Coast by four points.

The Saints trailed by nine points inside the last 10 minutes before Dan Butler played match winner, kicking his third and fourth goals in an exhilarating 12.6 (78) to 11.8 (74) victory in Carrara.

Earlier in the evening, Collingwood snuck home by nine points against the Sydney Swans at the Gabba in Brisbane but lost Adam Treloar, Will Hoskin-Elliott and Isaac Quaynor to injury.

On the Gold Coast, Ben King (three goals) won bragging points over his twin brother Max in their first AFL encounter against one another.

It was the Saints, however, who prevailed although they were made to work for the four competition points, with the Suns twice rallying with four-straight goals to lead at half-time and again late in the final term.

St Kilda, through Butler, Josh Battle (two goals), Jack Billings (27 disposals) and Jack Steele (21 touches) produced another final-quarter flurry.

It was the Suns’ (4-6) fifth loss in their past six matches but they showed they are not far off finals, matching the Saints who improved to 7-3 to jump ahead of Brisbane on percentage.

St Kilda’s pressure looked to be compounding on the Suns as the visitors carved out an early three-goal lead when Max King was caught high and kicked straight.

But the hosts lifted their own intensity, beating the Saints around the contest and carving out four consecutive goals of their own.

Sean Lemmens celebrated his return with a neat roving goal, while Ben King marked strongly and kicked his second.

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Butler kicked the last goal of the half though as the Suns held a three-point lead that was quickly erased when St Kilda kicked the first three majors of the third.

Unforced defensive errors cost the Suns but again they rallied.

Izak Rankine followed up another bright mark with an intercept goal and Noah Anderson snapped truly to make it a three-point deficit at the final break.

Will Powell (two goals) marked strongly while Ben King earned another free kick, both kicking straight as the Suns led by nine inside the final 10 minutes.

St Kilda came again though, Butler curling a clever kick through and Josh Battle showing poise from 45 metres as the Saints led by three.

The Suns threatened but again clean hands out of defence saved St Kilda, before Butler streamed forward and added a fourth with another brilliantly calm finish.

There was some news for the Suns to celebrate, however, with Matt Rowell to stay at the club until at least the end of the 2023 season after agreeing to a two-year contract extension.

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The midfielder confirmed his hype as the number-one draft pick with a trio of best-on-ground performances for the Suns, before sustaining a shoulder injury against Geelong and opting for surgery that will likely see him out for the season.

“A lot of our group is between 18 and 22 so there’s going to be a lot of development and growth,” Rowell said.

“It’s going to be really cool to see how far we can get.”

Magpies find winning form against Swans

Collingwood survived a massive scare brought about by its woeful inaccuracy in front of goal in a tense victory over Sydney.

Treloar, Hoskin-Elliott and Quaynor all failed to finish Thursday night’s match, as the Magpies almost kicked themselves to a third straight defeat.

Brayden Maynard was also treated for a shoulder complaint but returned to play an important role in defence, as Nathan Buckley’s men recorded an important 6.14 (50) to 6.5 (41) victory.

“We largely were able to impose ourselves on the game and control the game for pretty much all of it,” Buckley said.

“There was probably 10 minutes in that last quarter where the Swans were able to get the ball forward a little bit more often but we totally controlled that.

The triumph in Brisbane came after a horror end to the Magpies’ time in Perth.

Despite beating Geelong in their first encounter in Perth, they lost to the resurgent West Coast Eagles and then fell to Fremantle, while the club was left embarrassed when it copped a hefty fine for coronavirus protocol breaches.

Treloar suffered a hamstring injury during the third quarter that is expected to sideline him for up to three weeks.

A Collingwood Magpies AFL player holds the ball as he is tackled from behind by a Sydney Swans opponent.
Adam Treloar played a starring role for the Magpies despite not finishing the match.(AAP: Darren England)

Hoskin-Elliott had his right knee accidentally stepped on and had the same leg caught under an opponent’s body during the first quarter.

He has bone bruising and possible structural issues, with further tests to determine the full extent of the damage.

Quaynor was taken off the field on a stretcher with a gash on his right shin late in the final term.

Buckley said the cut measured about “six or eight inches” and thought it might have been caused by Swans debutant Sam Wicks’s studs in a Quaynor tackle.

Collingwood dominated clearances (19-7) and forward 50 entries (32-11) in the first half but managed just 2.10 to the Swans’ five straight goals and trailed by eight points at the main break.

The weight of numbers eventually told late in the match as the Magpies reclaimed the lead with three third-quarter goals and they held sway in the final term, despite being three players down on the bench.

Despite being injured, Treloar starred with 25 disposals as Steele Sidebottom (17 disposals), in his second match back from suspension after breaching the AFL’s COVID-19 protocols, again underlined his importance in the absence of injured captain Scott Pendlebury.

Taylor Adams (29 disposals) was another prime mover and tall forward Ben Reid was one of six individual goal kickers for the Magpies in his first AFL match since last year’s preliminary final loss to the Giants.

Jake Lloyd (25 possessions) was Sydney’s most prolific ball winner but the Swans had few winners in an undermanned midfield that was well beaten.

The result hung in the balance until Josh Daicos (25 disposals) evoked memories of his mercurial father Peter and nailed a goal with a superb checkside kick near the boundary line in the final few minutes.

AAP/ABC



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Sunshine Coast Stadium to reduce crowds amid concerns over lack of social distancing at NRL game


Crowd numbers could be further reduced at the Melbourne Storm’s next home game on the Sunshine Coast amid concerns over a disregard for coronavirus social distancing rules.

Images of thousands of fans crowded on the eastern hill at yesterday’s game sparked criticism online, prompting Melbourne Storm officials to request a review of crowd management practices and capacity at the venue.

Just under 5,500 people attended the Storm, Newcastle Knights clash yesterday afternoon at Sunshine Coast Stadium.

Sunshine Coast Council said the stadium made significant changes ahead of the match including increased security, volunteers, police and staff.

Manager for Sport and Community Venues Grantley Switzer said the group will meet with Queensland Health this morning to address the issue.

“It does appear that we do have an issue over on that eastern hill which we will look to address in the next 24 hours,” Mr Switzer said.

“Unfortunately what you see on TV is that camera angle looking right at that eastern hill. If you looked at the south and north end there was some good social distancing.

“We’ve already taken some measures to reduce the numbers but I think the only solution is to have less people on that hill.”

Mr Switzer said people were understandably concerned.

“I think what we’ve seen is a heightened awareness around social distancing with what has occurred in Victoria and few cases of community transmission within Queensland,” he said.

Lots of people sitting together in a crowd at a football stadium
NRL crowd numbers could be further reduced after concerns were raised about this game.(Supplied)

Sunshine Coast Council announced overnight that crowd numbers have been lowered and no further tickets will be put on sale for the Melbourne Storm, Canterbury Bulldogs match on August 8.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk thanked the NRL for taking swift action.

“We don’t want to see large crowds gathering and not social distancing. The majority were seated, not moving around, but having said that I want to commend the NRL for taking that very swift action and letting my office know that they will be reducing the numbers by 1,000,” she said.

The venue’s COVID Safe Plan allows 6,000 fans at the venue, which makes up 50 per cent of its capacity.

That figure has since been revised down to 5,000 as a “precautionary measure”.

“The COVID safe plan does talk about how we have people into zones and how people should social distance,” Mr Switzer said.

“We have got certain zones in terms of the hill, but there is an onus there that people who come in in their family groups, they can sit together and we do encourage people to maintain that 1.5 metres of social distancing.”

Council said any future home games would need to be negotiated with the NRL and Queensland Health.

The Melbourne Storm would not comment further on the matter but confirmed in a statement it had asked the stadium to review its capacity.



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Collingwood’s AFL woes continue with 12-point loss to Fremantle as GWS posts win over Gold Coast


Collingwood’s premiership credentials have taken another big hit after the Magpies slumped to a shock 12-point loss to Fremantle in Perth.

Dockers forward Matt Taberner booted four goals and Caleb Serong (24 disposals, nine clearances) starred in the midfield to lift their side to the 10.1 (61) to 7.7 (49) win on Sunday in front of 20,912 spectators.

Earlier in the day, the GWS Giants continued their dominance over the Gold Coast Suns in a 26-point win in Carrara, despite the loss of star forward Toby Greene to injury.

The result in Perth saw Collingwood drop to 10th on the ladder with just four wins and a draw from nine matches.

It also came in the wake of the club being fined $50,000, half of which is suspended, after Nathan Buckley and assistant coach Brenton Sanderson broke the AFL’s COVID-19 protocols by playing a tennis match with people outside their club contacts.

The Magpies were horrible in last week’s 66-point loss to West Coast, and their error-riddled display against the Dockers will raise further alarm bells.

The Dockers rose to 16th place on the ladder with their third win of the season.

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The Magpies managed just two goals from 25 inside 50s in the first half as Fremantle’s depleted defence stood firm.

Collingwood produced a three-goal spurt to end the third-quarter to take a four-point lead, but Fremantle prevailed in a frantic final term.

Magpies vice-captain Steele Sidebottom (25 disposals, two goals) was quiet early before bursting to life in his first match back after serving his four-match ban for breaking COVID-19 protocols.

Brayden Maynard (24 disposals) and Adam Treloar (30 disposals, eight clearances) tried their best to lift the Magpies, but the visitors’ inefficiency going forward cost them dearly.

The Dockers won the clearance battle 45-30, with David Mundy (10), Serong (9), and Nat Fyfe (8) all prominent.

Giants win but lose Greene to injury

Greene succumbed to a right hamstring injury in the opening term but the injury setback did not stop the Giants from claiming a 9.7 (61) to 4.11 (35) victory.

It was the Giants’ fifth victory of the season, making it nine wins from the past nine encounters with the Suns for Leon Cameron’s team.

Greene injured himself in a race for the ball with young Suns defender Connor Budarick late in the first quarter.

The 26-year-old came straight off the field and into the rooms, and did not return to the match after quarter-time.

Giants midfielder Matt de Boer also limped off late in the match with what looked like a hamstring injury.

Greene’s absence was no hindrance for the Giants who led from start to finish.

An GWS Giants AFL player pumps his right fist as he celebrates a goal against the Gold Coast Suns in Carrara.
Jeremy Finlayson was among the Giants’ goal kickers against the Suns.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

Tall forwards Harry Himmelberg and Jeremy Cameron kicked two each for the Giants, while Joshua Kelly and Lachie Whitfield each picked up a match-high 29 disposals.

The Suns were well below their best as they slumped to a fourth defeat from their past five matches to leave them outside the top eight.

Ben Ainsworth was one of the Suns’ best with nine marks and 14 disposals, kicking a fourth-quarter goal as well in his 50th AFL appearance.

The Suns are next in action when they host the in-form St Kilda in Carrara on Thursday night.

The Giants play Essendon at the same venue on Friday.

AAP/ABC



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