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WBBL semi-final live: Table-topping Melbourne Stars take on Perth Scorchers



Meg Lanning’s Stars are trying to reach their first Women’s Big Bash final, facing off against her former team in the first semi-final. Follow all the live scores, stats and results in our ScoreCentre.



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Football player gets married in the morning, wins NPL Queensland semi-final in the evening


For most people, the last thing that should be on your mind on your wedding day would be playing football.

Yet that’s exactly what Lions FC goalkeeper Luke Borean had to deal with on Saturday, when he suited up in goal for Lions in the second-tier National Premier Leagues (NPL) Queensland semi-final, just hours after tying the knot.

The Boreans arrived at the ground in a Ferrari — with Luke still wearing his wedding suit and his new wife Ellen still in her wedding dress.

The scheduling nightmare arose as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, which meant the NPL season was pushed into what would normally be the off-season.

Luke Borean looks over to the right of the screen, wearing a purple goalkeeper kit
Luke Borean has played with Lions for the past four seasons.(AQUA [PD]/Lions FC: Ian Judd)

When Lions qualified for the finals, coaching staff initially thought they would be without their star keeper, who had kept nine clean sheets over the course of the 24 matches this season.

However, Borean — and his incredibly understanding new wife — decided they could do both.

Borean even pulled off a spectacular save to keep his side in the ascendancy during the 4-1 victory.

Lions coach Darren Sime said Borean told him the week before that he would be alright to play.

“I had to ask him a couple of times to confirm,” Sime said.

“He turned up, fairly nonchalantly, at training on the Tuesday and I said I’d need him to help prepare [reserve keeper] Ryan Murphy for the match.

“Obviously the club would never, ever stand in the way of a player’s wedding, you have to celebrate those moments.

“But they chose to celebrate that moment with us, which we’re really thankful for.”

Luke Borean stands with his arms wide apart as players run towards him
Luke Borean kept nine clean sheets in the 2020 NPL season.(AQUA [PD]/Lions FC: Ian Judd)

Sime said the rest of the team were “stunned” that he still turned up to play, but were genuinely moved that he had done so.

“There were definitely some open mouths — they were genuinely shocked,” Sime said.

“We had a chat in the dressing room before the game about it, and there was some genuine love there for what Luke and Ellen had done.

Although it was certainly an unconventional way to celebrate your wedding, the 4-1 victory for Lions ensured that the night ended on a high note — and a trip to the grand final next week, where they’ll take on either Olympic or last year’s champions, Gold Coast Knights.

To those saying that the new Ms Borean is a keeper, well, they’d be right.

She also plays in goal, lining up for Souths United in the NPL Queensland Women’s competition.



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Canberra Raiders defeat Sydney Roosters 22-18 in NRL semi-final classic at SCG


The Canberra Raiders are one win away from a second-straight grand final after they exacted revenge on the Sydney Roosters by denying the defending two-time premiers a shot at an NRL three-peat.

The Raiders shot out of the blocks to lead 16-0 after 23 minutes before holding out the fast-finishing Roosters to win 22-18 at the SCG.

The result sets up a preliminary final date with the Melbourne Storm next Friday in Brisbane, with the winner to advance to the season decider on October 25.

Josh Papalii was again immense for the Raiders, as the visitors won the battle of the middle.

Fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad was also superb, with two crucial try-saving tackles on Brett and Josh Morris to halt the Roosters’ charge.

His tackle on Josh Morris in the second half was one of the most important moments of the match. He sprinted across the field to put the Roosters centre into touch when the Raiders were clinging to a 16-12 lead.

Moments later the Raiders had their lead back out to 10 points, as James Tedesco lost his feet trying to field a George Williams kick and Jack Wighton scored.

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But even then the Roosters would not let up in front of 18,110 spectators.

They again cut back the Raiders’ advantage to four points with five minutes to play when Sonny Bill Williams and Sitili Tupouniua combined to put Tedesco over.

And they looked as if they had the Raiders in all sorts of trouble in the dying minutes, only for Tedesco to drop a ball 30 metres out with Canberra short on numbers.

A Canberra Raiders NRL player is tackled across his upper body by two Sydney Roosters opponents.
Raiders enforcer Josh Papalii (centre) is met by the Roosters defence.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

Papalii had earlier started the run for the Raiders when he crashed over for the first try of the match from close range, making the most of a piggyback penalty.

The Raiders forward was also instrumental in their next try.

He began a centre-field movement with an offload for John Bateman, before Jordan Rapana put Williams over.

And the match looked all but over when Joseph Tapine pushed his way through five defenders from close to the line to make it 16-0.

But it was then that the Roosters’ comeback started.

Tedesco scored his first try of the evening in the 35th minute and with Kyle Flanagan’s conversion, the Roosters only trailed 16-6 at half-time.

Joey Manu provided plenty of spark, denied once after half-time for a double movement before convincing the bunker moments later to record the Roosters’ second try.

Looming as a threat all night, he picked up a loose ball from 25 metres out and found the line, despite a desperate last effort from Raiders veteran Jarrod Croker.

The loss not only ended the Roosters’ hopes of three straight premiership wins, but it also brought down the curtain on Mitchell Aubusson’s 306-match career with the club.

AAP/ABC



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Live: Raiders hoping to end Roosters' three-peat hopes in semi-final



In a repeat of the 2019 NRL grand final, the Sydney Roosters take on the Canberra Raiders with a preliminary final spot on the line. Follow our ScoreCentre for the score, key stats and commentary.



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St Kilda’s Ben Long to miss AFL semi-final against Richmond after appeal fails



St Kilda has failed in its bid to overturn Ben Long’s one-match ban for rough conduct, meaning the defender will miss Friday night’s semi-final against Richmond.

The Saints fronted up to the AFL appeals board on Wednesday night in a last-ditch bid to overturn the ban after the tribunal upheld the decision to suspend Long for his high bump on Western Bulldogs midfielder Jack Macrae last weekend.

Long had already pleaded guilty to careless conduct and high contact, but the Saints felt the offence should have been classified as low impact instead of medium impact.

A classification of low impact would have resulted in a fine instead of a suspension.

St Kilda launched an appeal claiming an error of law had occurred and that the classification of the offence was excessive.

Lawyer Jack Rush, representing Long, said the fact the tribunal’s jury was “surprised” that Macrae was not injured showed they had “got lost” in the potential for the hit to cause injury, rather than focusing on the force of the hit itself.

Mr Rush said the fact Macrae suffered no injury “must be because the impact is low or minimal”.

He also argued that Long’s momentum was not significant and that Macrae’s momentum from the other direction was not properly taken into account by the tribunal.

“This is not momentum of someone coming in off the line, running at high speed into the contest,” Mr Rush said of Long.

“We would contest, like a tennis player at the net, that he is ready to go to either side.

“The failure of the tribunal to properly take those matters into account has led them into error.”

But the AFL’s legal counsel, Jeff Gleeson, successfully argued that no error of law had occurred and that the classification of the offence was not manifestly excessive.

The dismissal of the appeal means the Saints will now be without Long, Paddy Ryder (hamstring) and Jake Carlisle (personal reasons) for their clash with Richmond.

AAP



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West Coast Fever battle past reigning Super Netball champions NSW Swifts in tense minor semi-final



A bruised Courtney Bruce and a sparkling Sunday Aryang cameo have launched West Coast Fever into the preliminary final and bundled the NSW Swifts out of the Suncorp Super Netball title race.

The Fever’s 67-62 minor semi-final triumph at Sunshine Coast’s USC stadium kept alive the Perth outfit’s dream of a maiden premiership after a stunning fightback from nine goals down at the end of the third quarter.

West Coast star Jhaniele Fowler shot a flawless 55-from-55 in her 100th national league outing, but it was Aryang who produced the match-turning impact.

Aryang with defensive circle partner Bruce wrenched the contest out of the defending champion Swifts’ hands.

Bruce will likely wake on Monday with a black eye after having the final say in a brutal battle with the Swifts’ Sam Wallace (40-from-44).

But, playing in her first final, Aryang played with the chill of a veteran, grabbing five second-half intercepts to turn the contest on its head.

“The first half it was nervous but we have an amazing team who brought it back at the end,” Aryang said.

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The Fever will meet Sunshine Coast Lightning in the preliminary final on Sunday, after last year’s minor premiers lost to Melbourne Vixens in Saturday’s major semi-final.

The game had all the elements of a sudden death final.

High-quality shooting at each end — Fowler and Wallace shot at 100 per cent accuracy throughout the first half — combined with fierce one-on-one match-ups to drive up the intensity.

Fever centre Verity Charles had the edge in her showdown with Paige Hadley and Bruce put her body on the line repeatedly in her clash with Wallace.

Bruce finished the half behind on the scoreboard and with a swollen eye after two accidental blows from the Swifts’ goal shooter.

It was the Swifts who first grabbed the upper hand when Wallace and Helen Housby sank a trio of super shots in the final throes of the second quarter.

But it didn’t last. Fever coach Stacey Marinkovich made four changes to her line-up at halftime and the team responded by erasing a nine-goal deficit to give themselves a shot at the championship.

AAP



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Melbourne Vixens smash Sunshine Coast Lightning in Super Netball major semi-final



Melbourne Vixens have progressed to the Super Netball final after a dominant 63-45 victory over a disappointing Sunshine Coast Lightning at USC stadium.

The minor premiers outscored their opponents in the first three quarters of the contest before taking their foot off the gas in the final term.

The Lightning will now face the winner of tomorrow’s minor semi-final between West Coast Fever and NSW Swifts for a chance to make the grand final.

More to come.



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Geelong captain Joel Selwood in doubt for Cats’ AFL semi-final following finger surgery



Geelong captain Joel Selwood is in doubt for next week’s AFL semi-final after undergoing surgery on an injured finger.

Selwood dislocated his left middle finger during Geelong’s 16-point defeat to Port Adelaide in the opening qualifying final on Thursday night, a result that left the Cats one loss away from elimination.

“Joel Selwood underwent surgery on his left middle finger in Brisbane this afternoon,” Geelong said in a statement on Friday evening.

“Surgery was required to stabilise the joint after his finger dislocated in the final quarter of last night’s qualifying final at Adelaide Oval.

“Selwood will aim to play in Geelong’s semi-final next week.”

Geelong will play the winner of Saturday night’s elimination final between West Coast and Collingwood.

As the designated home team, the Cats believe they will be allowed to choose the semi-final venue.

“That is my understanding but we certainly haven’t made a decision internally,” coach Chris Scott said after the loss to Port Adelaide.

“It’s a bridge that we will cross in the future.”

AAP



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Serena Williams beaten by Victoria Azarenka in US Open semi-final, Naomi Osaka downs Jennifer Brady


Victoria Azarenka has denied Serena Williams a shot at a 24th grand slam title with a stunning come-from-behind victory at the US Open, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Williams was electric in the first set, breaking Azarenka three times in a stunning opening in which she married crushing groundstrokes with impressive full-court coverage.

However, that high intensity came back to haunt her as Azarenka cut out her errors, breaking a tiring Williams twice in a second set in which she hit 11 winners and just one unforced error to gain the ascendency in the match.

Williams, who needed treatment on an ankle injury early in the third, could not recover as her quest for a record-breaking 24th grand slam continues.

It’s been seven years since Azarenka was last in a US Open final, “my favourite number” she said after the match, adding that the win “was meant to be”.

Victoria Azarenka grimaces as she holder her racquet in both hands behind her head
Victoria Azarenka was blown away in the first set, but fought back strongly.(AP: Frank Franklin II)

However, in the first set, it looked like the match would play out to the same script as their 10 previous grand slam encounters — a Williams win.

Williams bludgeoned winners — 12 of them in the first set — with awesome intensity, racing into a 4-0 lead against a stunned Azarenka.

That early intensity could not last though and Williams was pegged back in the second set as her early exertions came back to haunt her.

In the absence of any supporters in the stadium, the court microphones were able to pick up Williams’s heavy breathing between each point as the 38-year-old struggled to contain Azarenka’s own punishing groundstrokes.

You didn’t need microphones to hear the earsplitting screams the two players exchanged as they traded increasingly powerful groundstrokes from behind the baseline though.

Williams’s exclamations became increasingly frantic as Azarenka streaked away, particularly as she tried to pump herself up after her ankle injury.

Victoria Azarenka sits cross-legged on her seat on the court at the US Open.
Victoria Azarenka remained calm during Williams’s injury timeout.(AP: Seth Wenig)

Williams came into the match with strapping on both ankles, called for the trainer at 40-40 in the second game of the third set after what appeared to be an innocuous incident.

Throughout the ensuing medical time out, Azarenka sat, eyes closed in her chair to block everything out and maintain the steely focus that got her back into contention.

When Williams came back out, Azarenka never missed a beat, winning the next two points to claim the break and, subsequently, the match.

Williams remains on 23 grand slam titles, with her quest for a record-breaking 24th now moving to the French Open later this month.

Naomi Osaka through to third grand slam final

Naomi Osaka looks forward with her racquet above her head as she completes her service action
Naomi Osaka served at a very high level throughout the contest.(AP: Seth Wenig)

Earlier in the evening, Naomi Osaka powered into the final, winning 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-3 after a thrilling battle with Jennifer Brady.

Osaka had to be at the very top of her game to withstand a tremendous onslaught from the American 28th seed, who did not look out of place in her first major semi-final.

As the rain poured down in New York, under the roof of Arthur Ashe stadium it was raining winners.

Osaka and Brady hit 35 winners each over the course of the match, with just 43 unforced errors between them.

In the first set the pair had only 14 unforced errors, while the second set added just 10.

The eerie atmosphere of a near-empty Arthur Ashe stadium was particularly incongruous during a match of such quality, which would have been relished by a typically raucous night-session crowd.

“I kind of love the atmosphere, even though there’s no people here,” Osaka said after the match.

“I feel like this court kind of suits me well.”

The indoor environment assisted both players, as power serving and forehand hitting dominated the first set.

Osaka won 21 of 22 points on her first serve, with Brady not far behind off the back of serves that exceeded 190kph.

Jennifer Brady looks at a yellow tennis ball with the racquet in his right hand as she reaches to play a backhand
Jennifer Brady had not lost a set coming into the semi-final.(AP: Seth Wenig)

After such an intense start, Brady appeared drained in the tie break, collapsing 7-1 as Osaka took control when it mattered most.

However, if losing the first-set tie break phased the 25-year-old — it was the first set she had dropped in the entire tournament thus far — she didn’t show it in the second.

A picture of calm, Brady continued to unleash forehand bombs from the baseline to earn the first break of serve in the second set’s eighth game.

“All I’ve been focused on this tournament is having a positive attitude,” Osaka said before the match, and that positivity shone through in the third as she pounced on a rare poor service game from Brady to wrest control.

Brady threatened to break back in the third, but an unfortunate net cord and incorrect line call helped Osaka hold her nerve to reach her third grand slam final.



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Bayern Munich beats Lyon 3-0 in Champions League semi-final in Lisbon to set up final against PSG


Bayern Munich has powered into the Champions League final, where it will face Paris St Germain, as two goals from Serge Gnabry led the German team to an emphatic 3-0 win over Olympique Lyonnais.

Bayern will bid for its sixth European Cup triumph when they come up against Neymar and Kylian Mbappe for PSG in the decider and after convincingly beating Chelsea, Barcelona and now Lyon, Hansi Flick’s side will surely start as favourites.

The Germans are unbeaten in 2020, winning 24 of their past 25 matches in all competitions and they have not lost a Champions League game all season, scoring 42 goals and conceding just eight.

The Bavarian side struck fear into the competition — and triggered losses of key personnel at their opponents’ club — with an 8-2 demolition of Barcelona in the quarter-final.

But while Bayern kept a clean sheet in the semi-final, PSG will take hope from the early chances Lyon created — Memphis Depay found space behind the Munich defence but, forced wide, he could only shoot into the side-netting.

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Lyon, who upset Juventus and Manchester City in the previous rounds, had warmed up on the field before the game with rarely seen intensity and it showed as they took the game to Bayern and they went close again in the 17th minute.

Powerful striker Karl Toko Ekambi found space in the Bayern box and should have done better after his first shot was blocked. His follow-up effort struck the post.

But moments later, Bayern grabbed the lead — a clever ball from Joshua Kimmich found Gnabry who danced in from the right and unleashed an unstoppable shot, from more than 20 metres out, into the top corner.

Gnabry went close again with a snap-shot that Lyon keeper Anthony Lopes did well to keep out as Bayern pushed hard for a second.

It came in the 33rd minute — and was started and finished by Gnabry.

The former Arsenal midfielder fed Ivan Perisic on the left and the Croatian’s low cross found Robert Lewandowski at the back post.

His weak shot was saved by Lopes, only for the alert Gnabry to pounce and convert his ninth goal in nine Champions League games.

Lewandowski, looking well below his usual levels of sharpness, had another good chance after the interval, but he again made it too easy for Lopes, leaving Lyon still with hope.

Moussa Dembele, the two-goal hero in the quarter-final win over Manchester City, came on for Depay in the 58th minute and added much-needed life to the Lyon attack.

But once again, when the chance came for the French side, they failed to make the most of it — Houssem Aouar finding Ekambi in the box but the Cameroonian’s finish was straight at Manuel Neuer.

A forward rises in the air to power home a headed goal in a Champions League semi-final.
Bayern’s star striker Robert Lewandowski made up for a quiet game, with his late header completing the scoring.(AP/Pool: Franck Fife)

Bayern lacked the intensity of their first-half display but they made sure of the win in the 88th minute when Lewandowski rose to head home a Kimmich cross from a free kick.

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Reuters/ABC



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