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AFL Brownlow Medal ceremony goes virtual, but the footy stars and their partners still rock red carpet looks


The Brownlow Medal 2020 ceremony usually takes place in Melbourne, but this year’s event was spread out across Australia.

The bulk of the players in the Queensland bubble were at an event at Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast.

And there were events in Perth and Adelaide, as well as in Sydney and Melbourne.

AFL partners and players are shown across eight different screens with a scoreboard at the bottom on the left and right.
AFL players and their partners at Carrarra stadium, the SCG, the Gabba, Adelaide Oval, Perth Stadium and the Melbourne studio.(Supplied: Channel 7)

Things may be all over the place due to coronavirus, but the footy stars and their partners still delivered looks — even though attendees were reportedly told they didn’t need to follow a strict black tie dress code this year.

Here’s who dressed up and who didn’t (spoiler alert: everyone did).

The Brisbane Lions’ Lachie Neale and partner Julie didn’t hold back, with the new first lady of footy donning a sheer floor-length gown and tousled waves.

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And Hawthorn’s Jack Gunston rocked a suit and a face mask, captioning his Instagram outfit post: “Brownlow Medal Victorian Style.”

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Meanwhile, Melbourne’s Christian Petracca and his partner Bella were #Brownlow ready in Brisbane.

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The Brisbane Lions’ Charlie Cameron went for a suave dark velvet ensemble, with his partner Caitlin Seeto in an equally elegant black number.

Charlie Cameron smiles as he holds his partner Caitlin by the waist. They both wear black.
Charlie Cameron, with partner Caitlin Seeto, was up for the mark of the year gong but went home empty handed.(AAP Image: Darren England)

West Coast Eagles player Luke Shuey and his partner Dani were dressed to the nines.

Shuey said he was disappointed not to be playing this weekend.

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Melbourne’s Jack Viney and his wife Charlotte posed for pictures with their baby daughter Mila Grace.

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And the Sydney Swans’ Luke Parker cut a dapper figure next to partner Kate Lawrence, who stood out in a red number.

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Equally sharp were the Melbourne Demons’ Steven May and partner Briana.

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The Western Bulldogs’ Marcus Bontempelli and Tom Libatore brought their fashion A game, both rocking up to the Gold Coast event in style.

Libatore’s suit even covered up his, “My god you’re greasy” tattoo.

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On the 20th anniversary of the Sydney Paralympics, the stars of the Games share their memories


In 2000, Australia won the summer Paralympic Games, earning a whopping 63 gold medals on home soil in Sydney.

Twenty years on, those winners spoke to the ABC as they looked back at the event they say led to a major shift in Australia’s perception of disabilities.

Louise Sauvage

A woman in a wheelchair watches a younger woman in a racing wheelchair intently.
Louise Sauvage represented Australia to the world. Now, she’s turned her attentions on up-and-comers.(ABC News: Brendan Esposito)

Twenty years ago Paralympian Louise Sauvage was one of the biggest stars of the Sydney 2000 games.

Now she “couldn’t think of anything better” than training the athletes of the future.

The wheelchair racer picked up two gold and one silver to help Australia finish on the top of the competition’s medal table.

The now-47-year-old has moved into coaching, backing fellow wheelchair athlete Madison de Rozario ahead of Tokyo in 2021 — and gold is firmly in their sights.

“I think the biggest highlight for me now and the biggest buzz is being part of someone else’s journey, helping them to achieve their goals,” Sauvage said.

Two women laugh side by side
Sauvage says it is a ‘buzz’ to help others achieve their goals.(ABC News: Brendan Esposito)

Looking back on the Sydney games, Sauvage said the opening ceremony was a moment she would never forget.

It was a close-kept secret that she’d be lighting the cauldron.

“My family was up in the stands, they had no clue either so it was a big surprise for them too,” Sauvage said.

“It was fantastic just to have that massive honour, it was just phenomenal.”

But, medals and fanfare aside, Sauvage said the Sydney Paralympics changed the way people with a disability were seen.

And it’s that true sense of competition that the superstar coach instils in her athletes.

A close up shot of an athletic young woman. Her face is best described as 'focussed'.
De Rozario has her sights set firmly on gold at Tokyo 2021.(ABC News: Brendan Esposito)

“Knowing Louise is there and having experienced everything that I want to be able to achieve is one of the most reassuring things,” De Rozario said.

“I think I’m so lucky to have someone in my corner who [knows] all of the emotions that come with racing and training and the extreme kinds of successes and failures, she’s experienced all of it.”

Siobhan Paton

Canberra woman Siobhan Paton has mixed feelings about the Sydney 2000 games. At the time of the competition she didn’t know it would be her first and last Paralympics.

Paton, who lives with an intellectual disability, was just 17 years old and became a household name when she won six gold medals in the pool.

Her beaming face was all over the newspapers and magazines and a postage stamp was created in her honour. Paton was later named “Paralympian of the Year”.

A photo of a magazine clipping, showing a young Siobhan smiling by the pool.
Siobhan Paton was 17 years old when she won six gold medals in the pool at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics.

“It was wonderful that I was number one,” she said. “[But] I would have been smiling if I was number two or three, I was ecstatic, it was great that I did this.”

A cheating scandal at the 2000 Paralympics that had nothing to do with Paton put a stop to her swimming career.

Ten members of the winning Spanish basketball team were revealed as not having an intellectual disability. They were stripped of their gold medals and a criminal investigation followed.

The International Paralympic Committee banned all athletes with intellectual disabilities and they only returned in 2012 at the London Paralympics.

While she swam at the world championships in 2004 and won 14 gold medals, Paton was unable to compete in Athens or Beijing.

She said it hit her “very, very hard.”

A woman holds up a gold medal and smiles.
Siobhan Paton says the ban on athletes with intellectual disabilities at the Athens and Beijing Games hit her “very, very hard”.(ABC News: Gregory Nelson)

She spent six weeks in hospital receiving treatment for her mental health and lives with depression to this day.

“I have good days, I have bad days, I have bad weeks,” she said. “I can have bad months, something will just trigger and whatnot, but I cope with it. I live with it.”

Tim Matthews

Victorian sprinter Tim Matthews was part of a relay team that won two gold and broke various records at the Sydney games.

It was his second Paralympics after competing in Atlanta four years earlier.

Tim Matthews races in the 2000 Paralympic Games
The Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games was Matthews’ second Paralympic Games.(Supplied: Paralympics Australia)

He said there was no doubt the Sydney event was a watershed moment for the disability movement around the world.

“I think people with a disability now have a voice and a lot more exposure,” he said.

Like Sauvage, Matthews is now giving back. He’s currently coaching star long jumper and sprinter Kelly Cartwright — who won gold and silver at the London Games — to qualify for Tokyo.

Tim Matthews and Kelly Cartwright
Paralympic athlete Tim Matthews says the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games were a ‘watershed’ moment for the global disability movement(ABC News: Patrick Stone)

Matthews has also been working as a talent spotter and trainer with Paralympics Australia.

“They realise they’re eligible for Paralympic sport and then [we] work out which sport might be best suited to them depending on their impairment and their classification,” he said.

“Then to see some of those athletes grow and develop and go on to be Paralympic gold medallists is awesome.”

Tim Matthews coaches Kelly Cartwright
Cartwright hopes that with Matthews’s coaching, she will qualify for the Tokyo 2021 Paralympic Games.(ABC News: Patrick Stone)

Danni Di Toro

When wheelchair athlete Danni Di Toro pushes into the stadium with the Australian team for the opening ceremony at Tokyo next year, it will be her seventh Paralympics.

At the Sydney 2000 games, she competed in wheelchair tennis and won a silver medal in the doubles.

“Looking back 20 years is like, I feel kind of old,” she laughed. “But it’s so strange, I feel like that was a moment ago.

“The whole country came together to celebrate everyone, celebrate diversity.”

a woman smiles into the camera. a table tennis table is behind her.
Danni Di Toro competed in wheelchair tennis at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, but now competes in para-table tennis.(ABC News: Patrick Stone)

Di Toro has since switched sports and is now a para-table tennis athlete.

She became a paraplegic after a wall collapsed on her at a school swimming carnival.

For Di Toro, who has been competing for more than 30 years, the Sydney games elevated Paralympic sport to a whole new level.

“You’d enter a stadium, [with] 10,000 people for every match,” she said.

“You know, usually your mum and your dad and your dog comes to watch but for the first time ever, there was actually people watching and staying because what they were seeing was extraordinary talent on display.”

Danni Di Toro competes in the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games
Danni Di Toro won a silver medal in the wheelchair tennis doubles event at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.(Supplied: Paralympics Australia)

Living in Melbourne, Di Toro’s training for Tokyo has been “pretty crazy” due to the coronavirus lockdowns.

Like many athletes, her coach has been joining her over Zoom and she’s set-up a ball machine in her backyard.

Danni is slightly blurred as she is in mid-motion after swinging her table tennis racquet
Di Toro is preparing for a ‘very different games experience’ if the Tokyo 2021 Paralympic Games go ahead despite the coronavirus.(ABC News: Patrick Stone)

Di Toro has her “fingers crossed” that her seventh Paralympics will go ahead.

“It’s going to be a very different games experience, ” she said. ” But if we can get there, it’s going to be an incredible celebration of so many things.”



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Cristiano Ronaldo, Dustin Johnson the latest top sports stars to test positive for coronavirus


Two of the world’s highest-profile sportsmen, Cristiano Ronaldo and Dustin Johnson, have tested positive to coronavirus.

Portugal’s Football Federation confirmed in a statement on its website that the superstar of the world game, Ronaldo, had tested positive for COVID-19.

The 35-year-old Juventus striker is “well, has no symptoms and is in isolation”, the Federation said.

Ronaldo was dropped from Portugal’s Nations League match against Sweden on Wednesday as a result.

The Federation said the rest of the Portugal squad had undergone tests as a result of Ronaldo’s positive result, but that they had all tested negative and would be available for the Sweden match.

Two other Portugal players — Jose Fonte and Anthony Lopes — had tested positive for COVID-19 recently.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos said last week that positive results among players were “happening everywhere in the world.”

“We are the most tested people and we have the guarantee that everyone who will be traveling to France with us are negative,” Santos said.

Less than 24 hours ago, Ronaldo shared an image on his Twitter and Instagram accounts showing himself and his teammates enjoying a meal together.

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Along with the tweet, Ronaldo wrote, in Portuguese: “United on and off the field!”

It was not immediately clear when the photograph was taken, which showed none of the players wearing masks.

Five-time world player of the year Ronaldo appeared in his side’s 0-0 draw away to France in the Nations League on Sunday and last Wednesday’s 0-0 draw in a friendly at home to Spain.

He will now be doubtful for Juventus’s Serie A trip to Crotone on Saturday and their Champions League group stage opening game away to Dynamo Kiev next Tuesday.

And depending on his condition and the results of future tests, he could also miss the much-anticipated Champions League match against Barcelona on October 28.

Juventus had been in quarantine

While Portugal’s national team has not been beset by coronavirus cases, Italian club football in the last year has been hit hard.

In the last fortnight alone Genoa were unable to fulfill the requirement to have 13 players including a goalkeeper available to take on Napoli after 20 Genoa players and staff tested positive.

Napoli then failed to show for a match against Juventus after being told not to travel by their local health authority due to two positive COVID tests.

The previous Serie A season was put on hiatus for months and Ronaldo’s Juventus side has seen a number of players test positive in the past.

The whole squad was again put into isolation on October 4 when two club staff members tested positive to COVID-19.

As a result there has been some controversy that Ronaldo and six other players were allowed to leave the isolated group and join their national teams.

Johnson out of PGA tour event after positive test

A golfer stares down the fair way after completing his tee shot at a PGA Tour event.
Dustin Johnson began experiencing symptoms ahead of this week’s PGA Tour event in Las Vegas.(AP: Charles Krupa, file photo)

Men’s world number one golfer, Johnson, was forced to withdraw from this week’s PGA Tour event at the Shadow Creek club in Las Vegas.

The PGA Tour put out a statement confirming Johnson would not be in the field when play begins on Thursday.

“Experiencing symptoms, Johnson notified PGA Tour officials and was administered a test, with the positive result forcing his withdrawal from the event,” the statement read.

“Johnson, who last competed at the US Open, will have the PGA Tour’s full support throughout his self-isolation period under CDC guidelines.”

Johnson, the 2020 PGA Tour player of the year, missed out on his second major when he was joint-second behind winner Collin Morikawa at this year’s PGA Championship in August.

“Obviously, I am very disappointed,” Johnson was quoted in the statement.

“I was really looking forward to competing this week, but will do everything I can to return as quickly as possible.

“I have already had a few calls with the Tour’s medical team and appreciate all the support and guidance they have given me.”

Ronaldo and Johnson are just the latest sports stars to return positive COVID-19 tests.

Recently, a number of NFL players in the United States tested positive, including star New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton.

And the tennis world was rocked earlier this year when a number of men’s players, including world number one Novak Djokovic, tested positive.

Djokovic, who has in the past expressed anti-vaccination views, hosted an exhibition tournament where coronavirus spread, and was later spotted partying along with other players including Grigor Dimitrov, who also tested positive for the virus.

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Former NRL and union legend Mat Rogers on role sports stars play in mental illness prevention


Depression. Anxiety. Suicide.

Once taboo to speak about, mental health issues are now part of our everyday vernacular, but with eight Australians taking their life every day, we are far from locking in solid solutions to this complex national crisis.

We do know, however, that talking helps, so when sporting heroes – who on-field are the image of strength, determination and in male-dominated sports, virility – publicly address the dark thoughts plaguing their minds, it helps to collectively normalise the conversation.

Sporting superstar Mat Rogers has lived a great life of achievement – among the long list, he played at the top level in NRL and rugby union, has a high-profile media presence, competed on Network Ten’s Survivor and is authoring his autobiography.

But the 44-year-old Queensland Origin legend has not been immune to the effects of mental illness. In fact, he has been quoted saying he feared depression might be a family curse.

After losing his mum, Carol, to breast cancer in 2001, Rogers’ dad, Steve – an NRL legend in his own right and known as one of the greatest Cronulla Sharks players of all time – took his life in 2006.

He was just 51 years old.

Rogers had already experienced the loss of his uncle to the same fate.

For Rogers, being part of a growing group of sports stars – including the likes of NRL’s Greg Inglis and Darius Boyd and AFL’s Buddy Franklin – who are normalising mental health conversations is an important role to assume.

“I didn’t even really know what mental health was back then [in 2006], no one really talked about it and no one really understood it,” Rogers tells SMART Daily.

“Now it’s talked about so much more and understood a lot better. It’s hoped you can pick up the signs and notice something.

“It’s like when you ask someone the question and they’re not OK, they don’t even know where to start. It’s been a lightning rod for their life, that opportunity to speak to someone who is prepared to try and understand them.”

Rogers says we must get better at talking about suicide in a way it does not become the defining factor of someone’s entire life.

“For me, a lot of people they’re nervous to talk to me about my dad because of what he went and done and I hate that,” Rogers says.

“That was not my dad and not my dad’s legacy, that was a moment in time where he succumbed to the darkness of what he was feeling. I honestly think it’s held back him being recognised as the great player he was.”

While Rogers says his sporting career was a “dream run”, he understands the pressures placed on young players.

“Life’s hard. Just life itself is hard,” he says.

“I’m now in sports management and work with a lot of young kids and understand they have to deal with uncertainty and not feeling wanted. It’s a pretty big need for all of us, feeling wanted.

“You throw in celebrity on top of everyone wanting a piece of you, the looking after your family, there’s a lot of stress that goes into a player’s life.

“To have guys like Buddy Franklin and Greg Inglis to be so open about their mental battles, I reckon that is just enormous, I was so stoked to see that. It shows other players it’s OK and that they’re not crazy.

“It’s also important we’re all vigilant as individuals for the people around us. I’ve been in some pretty dark places and the last thing I’ve wanted to do was bring other people into them but I have been fortunate in having a great brother, wife and friends who have been able to recognise that and step in.”

Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney co director Professor Ian Hickie – who became the inaugural Beyond Blue CEO in 2001 – says the change in attitudes to mental health, especially in the NRL has been nothing but positive.

“Working with sport is particularly important if you want to get the public talking and focusing on a particular issue,” Prof Hickie says. He says in the early 2000s Beyond Blue approached some NRL clubs to create mental health awareness, with little success.

“They didn’t really recognise the nature of the problem,” he says.

“It reflected a time and place where the level of community awareness was nothing like what it is now nor was the focus on young people.

“One of the problems is you see these incredibly fit and successful young people and make a wrong assumption that they’re fit in the head.

“I think the superhuman bit has changed. I don’t think sport is any less tough or rough than it ever was, players are still physically incredibly fit and fast but alongside that physical fitness and performance on the field, there’s a lot more attention to getting their head straight.

“We as a society have a long way to go but the fact we are on that journey now is very important.”

Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636 or beyondblue.org.au

Headspace: 1800 650 890 or headspace.org.au



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Melbourne Storm, Canberra Raiders rest stars for last NRL leading into finals push


Twenty-nine top NRL players have been left out of final-round squads as the top eight teams give their stars a break before the finals.

With second spot locked up, Melbourne has led the charge with 12 changes, while Canberra has sat out nine players despite still being in top-four contention.

Parramatta, Newcastle and South Sydney are the only finals-bound teams to go with their best possible side, with the Eels fourth, and the Knights and Rabbitohs vying for a home final by finishing sixth.

It comes after 18 straight weeks of football, with no byes or representative rounds, since the competition’s restart in May.

For Melbourne, not one player will start in the same position they did last week, while they have five uncapped rookies on their eight-man extended bench.

Skipper Cameron Smith and five-eighth Cameron Munster, as well as Jesse Bromwich, Josh Addo-Carr and Jahrome Hughes will all skip the clash with St George Illawarra.

Kenny Bromwich and Suliasi Vunivalu are out while young gun Tino Fa’asuamaleaui — the only Storm player to have featured in every match this season — is battling a calf issue.

Star fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen will captain the side for the first time, with the 22-year-old becoming the team’s fourth skipper for the year.

He replaces Nicho Hynes, who moves to the bench and is the only player from last week’s starting side who will play this weekend.

That decision is as much about restricting same-day travel time from the Sunshine Coast to Sydney as it is saving miles in the players’ legs.

“We’re playing the last game of the round on Sunday afternoon so … we could have a five, or at best a six-day turnaround [into the finals].

“So that’s part of the thinking in trying to be as fresh but also as well prepared as we can be for the final.”

Raiders hand out four debuts

Wighton cheers, a huge stadium of people behind him.
In a normal season, NRL players would get rests during bye rounds or representative breaks.(AAP: Lukas Coch)

At Canberra, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Jack Wighton, George Williams, Jarrod Croker, John Bateman and Josh Papalii are among those sitting out the match with Cronulla, with four players named to make their NRL or club debuts.

Centre Jordan Rapana has a “minor knee injury”, while forwards Joe Tapine and Elliott Whitehead are being rested.

They will welcome back Sia Soliola for his first match since suffering a serious facial fracture 12 weeks ago.

George Williams will be replaced at halfback by Sam Williams, who will captain the side in his first game this year.

He will be partnered in the halves by Matt Frawley, making his club debut, while fullback Adam Cook and bench players Darby Medlyn and Jarrett Subloo will play their first NRL games.

The Raiders can leapfrog the Eels for fourth spot if they beat the Sharks by enough to overcome an 18-point difference in for-and-against, provided Parramatta does not beat the Tigers on Saturday.

The Sharks will play Wade Graham in the halves but won’t have Josh Dugan and Sione Katoa as they manage minor niggles.

Both trained on Tuesday and will be fine for the finals.

Isaac Liu, Lindsay Collins and Joey Manu will not play for the Sydney Roosters against South Sydney, but James Tedesco, Boyd Cordner, Jake Friend and Siosiua Taukeiaho have all been named to return.

First-placed Penrith will be without Dylan Edwards, Stephen Crichton and Viliame Kikau for its match with Canterbury.

AAP/ABC



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Jaimi Kenny, daughter of sporting stars Lisa Curry and Grant Kenny, remembered as ‘beloved’ niece, ‘beautiful’ daughter


Former Australian Olympian Lisa Curry has spoken of the “unbearable” pain she feels following the death of her daughter, Jaimi Kenny, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

The 33-year-old died peacefully at Sunshine Coast University Hospital on Monday following a battle with a long-term illness.

Ms Kenny is the eldest daughter of sporting stars Lisa Curry and Grant Kenny.

Paying tribute to her daughter, Curry remembered Jaimi as someone who was “so loved, so beautiful and so kind to everyone”.

“I can barely breathe. I just can’t believe you’re not here anymore, I sit and just shake my head,” Curry posted on social media.

“I will miss you every sunrise, I will miss you when the sun is shining and the birds are singing.

A close-up image of a woman's face, partly obscured by her blonde hair
Jaimi Kenny had been battling a long-term illness.(Facebook)

“I will miss you when the clouds are dark and stormy and when the rainbow appears.

“I will miss you when I close my eyes. I will miss you when I open my eyes.

“I will miss our long hugs and long chats.

“You will forever be with me in my heart Jaimi. I love you so much.”.

‘My heart is shattering into a million pieces’

Jaimi’s best friend Millie Thomas said she was devastated by the loss of her “soul sister”.

“Fly high my darling Jaimi. You are my best friend, my soul sister, you always will be,” Ms Thomas posted to social media.

“My days will never ever be the same without your love, your light and your laughter.

“You mean the world to me darling heart and I will love you forever and always. Heaven is so very lucky to have you.

“Rest peacefully my darling and keep shining your beautiful light.”

Jaimi holds Melinda's hand on a picnic rug.
Jaimi Kenny (left) with her aunt Melinda Kenny (right).(Instagram)

Jaimi’s aunt, Melinda Kenny also took to Instagram to pay tribute to her “beloved” niece.

“Words can’t express what she meant to me,” she said.

“The one who shared my love of fashion and styling. The one who thought I was cool in my fifties, the one I laughed with,” she wrote.

“She was a gem and I loved her deeply, as we all did.

“I’m going to take a short break to … support my much-loved brother GK [Grant Kenny] who, although a tower of strength and dignity, is suffering unimaginably.”

Kenny yesterday described his daughter as “a loving soul who always put others before herself”.

The family did not specify the nature of Ms Kenny’s illness.



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Christian Porter urged to tackle online racism after attacks on AFL footy stars


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Jetta – who has been targeted with racist trolling on social media this year, along with fellow Indigenous AFL players including Eddie Betts and Harley Bennell – said strong action to stop such attacks was “the next step in the journey to reconciliation”.

“We’ve pushed for a lot of things, Aboriginal people, but now it’s time for the Attorney-General to lead the country in something that can … show what is happening right now in Australia is not on, and there’s going to be accountability,” Jetta said.

He said Indigenous players had decided to take on racism this year, prompted in part by feeling more could have been done to combat abuse towards former Swans star Adam Goodes.

“We felt as players that we didn’t do enough and we weren’t going to let that happen again. And whoever it was, how little or how big the slur was on social media, we were going to call it out, stand united as an Indigenous playing group and ask for support from our clubs, teammates and the football community,” he said.

The letter, initiated by AFL media commentator and teacher Shelley Ware, says: “In recent months, numerous athletes and personalities have been subjected to sustained racist attacks online, including through racist and demeaning language and images.

“As Aboriginal people, people of colour and allies, we are deeply concerned about the ongoing scourge of racism in Australia. Many of us have been personally targeted in harmful and repeated racist cyber attacks … we believe that there is a need for urgent, further action.”

Richmond Football Club CEO Brendon Gale – a signatory to the letter along with Carlton boss Cain Liddle, Hawthorn CEO Justin Reeves and Melbourne Storm CEO Dave Donaghy – said racism towards Indigenous players had become “more notable” this year.

“It [racism] is prevalent. I don’t know why … maybe it’s being called out more as well,” Mr Gale said.

The letter was “about a national conversation about law reform and to shine a light on [racism]”, he said. “I’m proud of putting my name there because [racism] is becoming more notable and we want to continue to create an environment where everyone feels included.”

Former rugby league player Joe Williams said it was vital more was done to combat online racism because it was inflicting trauma that could create long-term harm to the wellbeing of those targeted.

“Racism triggers trauma, it doesn’t just impact on us at an emotional level. There is loads of research showing trauma can be deeply embedded and have long-term effects on our physiological health,” he said.

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“If the government is serious about closing the gap when it comes to [Indigenous] health outcomes and life expectancy, then getting tougher on stuff like [racism online] should be one of those outcomes.”

Ms Ware, whose Instagram page was hit with organised racist attacks after she defended Betts, Chad Wingard and Jetta against abuse, said young Indigenous people were seeing increasing racism, and it was vital for their health to eradicate it.

“I think it’s escalating. People are having a go at [Indigenous] kids, players’ children, saying really vile things about them, and this is not being recognised by social media platforms,” she said.

Former Western Bulldogs vice-president Ms Alberti said she supported the campaign to increase accountability for racist trolling, because “it’s not on and we all need to call it out when we see it”.

“No matter our race, religion, gender, or even what football team we barrack for, we need to treat one another with respect in every forum.”

The Attorney-General said on Wednesday that the government condemned all forms of racism, an online safety act was in development to combat abuse and “there is a growing sense that online behaviour must have the same stringent rules applied to it as exists outside the internet”.

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Alexei Popyrin pulls out of US Open, joining Ash Barty, Nick Kyrgios and other tennis stars on sidelines


Alexei Popyrin is the latest Australian tennis star to pull out of the US Open due to concerns about coronavirus.

Popyrin made a run to the third round of this year’s Australian Open after a breakout 2019, during which he cracked the top 100 for the first time.

The 20-year-old world number 103 joins Nick Kyrgios and women’s world number one Ash Barty in withdrawing from the major, which is set to start on September 1.

The event will also be without men’s world number two Rafael Nadal, due to coronavirus concerns, and fourth-ranked Swiss great Roger Federer, due to injury, while Federer’s countryman and 2016 champion Stan Warinka has also opted out because of “the health situation in New York”.

The women’s draw has also been hit hard, with two more players from the top 10 joining Barty on the sidelines over the weekend.

Elina Svitolina holds both her hands on her hips and looks up at the sky
Elina Svitolina faced Ash Barty in the decider of the WTA Finals last year.(AP: Adam Hunger)

World number five Elina Svitolina — who made the semi-finals of the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open last year — and seventh-ranked Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens are also gone.

Popyrin’s withdrawal means 2012 US champion Andy Murray, who had been granted a wild card at the tournament, will now move into the main draw.

The French Open, traditionally the second major of the year, starts on September 27, meaning anyone who wanted to play both would only have a two-week turnaround from hard court to clay if they reached the final.

This year’s Wimbledon was cancelled.



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Toby Greene stars as GWS Giants beat Richmond by 12 points in AFL grand final re-match


Toby Greene has reignited GWS’s hunt for a maiden AFL premiership, booting five goals to deliver the Giants a 12-point win over Richmond in a much closer contest than last year’s grand final.

GWS, desperate to make a statement after slipping to 13th on the ladder, were far from faultless but dug deep to prevail 9.8 (62) to 6.14 (50) at Giants Stadium in Sydney.

Greene, who was returning from a sore shin, kicked at least goal in every quarter to be best on ground.

Last year’s Norm Smith medallist Dustin Martin ignited a third-quarter comeback by the Tigers with two quick goals, while Shai Bolton threatened to snatch victory for the visitors in a frantic final quarter.

But it was Greene who fittingly delivered the sealer for GWS with just over five minutes remaining in the contest, crumbing what proved to be the only goal in the fourth term.

Lachie Whitfield, who was shifted off the wing and unleashed as a rebounding defender, and Josh Kelly were also important for the hosts.

Giants captain Stephen Coniglio, under pressure to lift, given his club had dropped four of their previous six matches since the AFL returned from its COVID-19-enforced shutdown, was also heavily influential.

The triumph will not erase Greene’s memories of the 89-point hammering that the Tigers dished out in the biggest match of his career in last year’s grand final at the MCG, when the star forward was one of many Giants to have their colours lowered.

But Greene and his fellow forwards showed why some pundits feel they can challenge for a flag in 2020.

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Momentum shifted frequently and violently in this grand final re-match, with the third quarter proving a perfect snapshot of the topsy-turvy tussle.

The Giants kicked away to a 27-point lead when Greene out-bodied Dylan Grimes, marked a rainmaker and kicked the resultant goal, which was his fourth for the night.

The Tigers responded with three goals in nine minutes, including a gift for Martin when Heath Shaw put the ball out on the full, to trim the Giants’ buffer to eight points at three-quarter time.

Bolton, youngster Jake Aarts and key forward Tom Lynch then missed opportunities for Richmond before Greene stepped up to ice the match

Tigers coach Damien Hardwick will take heart from the fact he will recall hamstrung captain Trent Cotchin for Wednesday’s clash with Western Bulldogs and ideally six other premiership players before the finals.

GWS and Richmond AFL players stand in formation as they observe a minute's silence in memory of Shane Tuck.
The Tigers and Giants remember Shane Tuck, who died on Monday.(AAP: Dean Lewins)

Before Friday night’s match, both sides paid their respects to former Richmond player Shane Tuck, who died on Monday aged 38.

Tuck played 173 senior matches for the Tigers from 2004 to 2013.

He was the son of legendary Hawthorn player Michel Tuck, who won seven premierships with the Hawks, including four as captain.

AAP/ABC



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West Coast beats Fremantle Dockers by 30 points as Josh Kennedy stars in Eagles’ 10th straight Western Derby win



West Coast overcame the Fremantle Dockers and 30,000 opposing fans to claim the 51st Western Derby with a 30-point win at Perth Stadium.

Both teams were back home after their time in Queensland hub — but it was the Eagles who took the bragging rights for a 10th straight meeting, winning 9.8 (62) to 5.2 (32) to put them back in the top eight.

In front of the biggest attendance at an Australian sporting event since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, West Coast and Fremantle played in front of a crowd almost entirely made up of Dockers supporters.

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This fact became clear whenever Andrew Gaff got the ball, and was met with a chorus of boos — Fremantle fans showed they had not forgotten the Eagles’ midfielder’s punch to Andrew Brayshaw’s head in 2018 which led to an eight-match ban.

West Coast forward Josh Kennedy marked his 250th AFL game with a best-on-ground performance to win the Glendinning-Allan Medal.

The Eagles star — like many key forwards — had struggled to start the 2020 season, averaging just over a goal a game in the first six rounds.

But he was at the centre of proceedings from early on against the Dockers.

He opened the scoring with a trademark grab and goal inside forward 50, but the Dockers then rebounded to have a strong first quarter.

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Forward Matt Taberner was giving the Eagles defenders headaches.

He kicked two early goals, but should have had another — Brett Bewley hit him on the chest with a 60m pass in the goalsquare.

Rather than go back and kick it, Taberner played on, only to be run down by Tom Cole. The Eagles bagged a late goal from Jack Darling to lead by two points at quarter-time.

One of the first-half highlights for the crowd came at the start of the second term.

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The Dockers kicked inside 50, and first-gamer Michael Frederick used his pace to burst onto the ball which went out the back of the West Coast defence.

He clipped the ball home to put the home side ahead, drawing a huge roar.

But that was as good as it got for the Dockers, as the Eagles began to take control.

Late in the first half, they finally broke free after setting up some one-on-one contests in their forward line — in particular, two goals in a minute from Kennedy and Jarrod Cameron helped West Coast to a 15-point lead at the main break.

Fremantle appeared to run out of ideas in the third term, focusing on trying to stem the flow of goals from the opposition.

This came at the cost of their own scoring, with the Dockers failing to kick a point. It was a 30-point break at three quarter-time, with the Eagles dominating across the board.

Inside 50s, clearances, contested and uncontested possessions, overall marks and contested marks — West Coast was winning it all.

The Dockers needed everything to go right in the final quarter, and they got the opener from Rory Lobb after a mark near the goalsquare.

This sparked Fremantle up. The tackles got fiercer, the kicks were more direct, the crowd’s roars got louder.

The Dockers took two more big marks inside 50 in quick succession, but Lobb pulled his kick to the left, and Taberner missed everything to hurt the team’s chances.

Almost inevitably, the ball went down the other end and Kennedy delivered his fourth of the match to all but seal the win.

The victory marks West Coast’s 10th consecutive derby win, continuing a drought for the Dockers — their last win over their rivals was in round three, 2015.

Both sides were missing their captains, with late West Coast withdrawal Luke Shuey joining injured Fremantle skipper Nat Fyfe on the sidelines.

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The victory puts West Coast into seventh spot, while Fremantle remains in 15th spot.

With both teams set for an extended stint back in Perth, the Eagles in particular will have a chance to move up the ladder in coming weeks.



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