Australian News

St Kilda has started the AFL season strong — this is how they’re winning

‘Winning’ the AFL’s trade period has always been a nebulous concept.

How can an exchange of players be reliably judged before those players have had a chance to contribute to their new clubs?

Yes, there are rating systems and other such measures, but most media analysis rarely ventures much beyond gut feel.

Of course, there’s never any shortage of hot takes — and one of the hottest last year was that St Kilda had enjoyed “one of the great trade periods of the decade”.

As it happens, it was one of the rare occasions where the analytics and opinion were in perfect harmony.

Selling hope to St Kilda fans is a lucrative business.

The Moorabbin mob are sick of missing finals. Sick of drafting early. Sick of reminiscing about ’66, and sick of ruminating about 2010 and ’11.

At the end of last year, the Saints sacked their coach Alan Richardson, replaced him with ex-Carlton coach Brett Ratten and brought in Alastair Clarkson’s long-time lieutenant David Rath to lead its football program. And that was only the start.

The playing list was overhauled. In came Brad Hill, Zak Jones, Paddy Ryder, Dan Butler, Dougal Howard and Ryan Abbott.

Out went several fringe players, nearly their entire stockpile of 2019 draft picks and a fair chunk of this year’s picks as well.

The switch was flipped to “win now”. And that’s exactly what they’ve done so far in 2020.

Strong at the back

The Saints have nearly completely changed their defensive line-up in the past two years.

The sole holdover is ex-Bomber and former All-Australian Jake Carlisle. Draftees, cheap acquisitions and repurposed players have filled out the gaps around him.

The renovation has resulted in one of the league’s most versatile backlines — equally capable of stopping the opposition from scoring as launching its own attacks.

Carlisle remains the anchor. In the past he’s been prone to overcommitting in the air and getting beaten on the ground, but the arrival of Dougal Howard has allowed him to become more prudent.

Due to a tactical change at Alberton, Howard was thrown up forward at times in his last year at Port. Since moving to the Saints he’s cemented his standing as one of the AFL’s leading spoilers.

The help defence for St Kilda has been very effective so far. It’s rare for one of their players to be left exposed in a one-on-one contest.

But even when they are isolated, it’s no cause for alarm.

Their key defenders have lost just five of 32 contested one-on-ones this season — or 15 per cent compared to the league average of 28 per cent.

When transitioning from the backline, the Saints like having the ball in the hands of one of their two top-10 draftees from 2017: Nick Coffield and Hunter Clark.

Both were initially selected as long-term midfielders, but their counter-attacking instincts and ability to read the play have seen them become valuable assets to the Saints’ defence.

At 191 centimetres, Coffield fits the mould of the modern intercept defender.

He has the intuition to judge the ball in flight and the courage to position himself in the landing zone.

Coffield finds the right spot at contests even when he doesn’t have prime position.

Some sides, like Melbourne, have defensive communication issues, with too many players flying for one ball. But St Kilda back-men have so far shown impressive cohesion.

Another 2017 draftee, Ben Paton, has also become a pillar of the Saints’ back six, alongside converted forward Ben Long and 2018 mature-age draftee Callum Wilkie.

It’s a similar defensive setup to that used by Richmond, without the big names. The key to its success is its versatility, with players who can switch roles and assignments.

The Saints’ emerging depth has pushed the experienced Dylan Roberton out of the side, while captain Jarryn Geary has been deployed up forward after years as a defensive stalwart.

Since Paddy Ryder was dropped after round three, Geary has been the only player in the team older than 30.

The Saints are among the AFL’s top teams for scores generated from turnovers and scores originating from their defensive 50, which is a testament to the quality of their ball use.

At the same time, they’ve been able to stop other teams from scoring from centre bounces.

Of slight concern is a lack of scoring from their own centre clearances, but given that most scores come from intercepts, it’s good to have that area as a strength.

New targets at the other end

The departure of Josh Bruce and medical-related de-listing of Paddy McCartin at the end of last year left plenty of questions hanging over the Saints’ attack.

They went into this season with few proven options beyond mainstay Tim Membrey. But they’ve managed to defy expectations so far, swiftly and successfully crafting a potent forward-line through a combination of cheap small forwards, defensive swingmen and one highly rated recent draft pick.

Like in defence, the Saints prefer to avoid one-on-one contested situations.

This makes sense with their smaller-than-average forward-line.

Instead, a large proportion of the Saints’ successful inside 50s go to shorter targets with lower kicks, making best use of the tools at their disposal.

The days of the high kick to the “hotspot” are slowly coming to an end. It’s an inefficient strategy.

Instead, teams are increasingly kicking to shorter leads, recirculating the ball around the arc or taking longer shots at goal.

The Saints are also dangerous at ground level, particularly their recent recruits Dan Butler and Dean Kent.

Butler and Kent have shown they’re much more than just “defensive” forwards.

Max King, who was considered one of the most talented players in the 2018 draft, has shaken off knee problems to establish himself as the new cornerstone of the attack.

The final push

The Saints have been impressive in big wins over potential finalists Richmond and the Western Bulldogs, but were given a reality check against crisis-riddled Collingwood in round three.

The challenge for any younger side is to maintain the rage for an entire season. It could be to the Saints’ significant advantage that this coronavirus-affected season will be shorter than usual.

They’re now settling into their new training base in Noosa. Some teams with older list profiles have baulked at the move north, but for the young Saints it could be a solidifying experience.

If they show they can handle hub life over the next few weeks, why can’t the Saints make a run?

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Australian News

Powerball Lotto $50 million jackpot winning numbers

Tonight’s $50 million Powerball jackpot has not managed to score a lucky winner, with the prize boosted to a whopping $80 million for next week’s draw.

The lottery draw 1259 winnings numbers include: 26 – 15 – 16 – 6 – 1 – 21 – 10.

One-in-six Australians are predicted to have gotten their hands on a ticket for the Powerball after the jackpot rocketed to $50 million after last Thursday’s Powerball draw.

The lucky numbers have evaded a winner for four weeks and the jackpot was the third biggest prize offered by any Australian lottery this year.

The last Powerball division one winner was crowned in May when a Logan man won $17 million and planned to break the news to his family by pulling into the driveway in a flash new car.

RELATED: Oz Lotto $30 million jackpot unclaimed

But the biggest winner of this particular game this year was a Port Macquarie man who pocketed a massive $80 million. The first thing this incredibly lucky winner did was buy his own brand new television.

“We certainly hope he’s enjoying that new TV and the rest of his $80 million prize,” The Lott’s Lauren Cooney said.

“We can’t wait to see where the next Powerball jackpot lands. Will the winning streak continue this Thursday for the Sunshine State or will the Powerball prize light up somewhere else in Australia? We will just have to wait and see.”

Powerball draw 1259 closes at 7.30pm AEST.


Winning the lottery is the stuff of fantasies for most Aussies – but sadly, most of us will never know what it’s actually like.

But if you’ve ever wondered exactly what would happen if you received a life-changing call informing you that you’ve hit the jackpot, the mystery has just been solved.

That’s because Australia’s official lottery provider, The Lott, has just shared a recording of a phone call with a Queenslander who won a division one prize earlier this year.

The unnamed man – who was one of four division one winners – ended up pocketing a staggering total of $1,095,232.87.

In the clip, The Lott spokeswoman Lauren Cooney can be heard asking the man if he’d had the chance to check his online entry to the Saturday draw before confirming he was one of the lucky winners.

The clearly stunned man could respond with little more than a few expletives initially before telling Ms Cooney his “heart is just racing”.

He then told Ms Cooney he had “a good feeling” about the ticket, although he had no idea he had won big before the call.

“Oh, you don’t understand, that’s just amazing … oh my God,” he said.

“That’s just crazy, it made my day. I was actually having a cr*p morning, thank you very much.”

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Australian News

Oz Lotto $30 million jackpot winning numbers

Tonight’s $30 million Oz Lotto draw is set to jackpot yet again after failing to score a division one winner.

The winning numbers for tonight’s 1376 draw are: 28 – 26 – 17 – 39 – 1 – 44 – 38. The supplementary numbers are: 14 – 41.

It comes after no one won last week’s draw which saw tonight’s prize jackpot to $30 million. Next Tuesday’s draw 1377 will now jackpot to $50 million.

So far in 2020, nine players have won the Tuesday drawn division one prize for a combined $76 million, with the largest taken home by a Parramatta man who pocketed nearly $17 million.

But The Lott’s Lauren Cooney said her favourite winner of the year was a Wagga Wagga family who collected $15 million.

“The family had no idea their dad had been secretly buying lottery tickets for the family for decades, always hoping they’d one day share a big lottery prize,” she said in an email to

RELATED: The Lott shares call to $1 million lottery winner

“I had to bring the family together on a conference call to break the news and half of them didn’t even know they had a ticket in the draw, so you could imagine the shock and surprise when I told them they’d won $15 million.

“We’re looking forward to seeing if we crown the country’s biggest Oz Lotto winner of the year tonight.”


Winning the lottery is the stuff of fantasies for most Aussies – but sadly, most of us will never know what it’s actually like.

But if you’ve ever wondered exactly what would happen if you received a life-changing call informing you that you’ve hit the jackpot, the mystery has just been solved.

That’s because Australia’s official lottery provider, The Lott, has just shared a recording of a phone call with a Queenslander who won a division one prize earlier this year.

The unnamed man – who was one of four division one winners – ended up pocketing a staggering total of $1,095,232.87.

In the clip, The Lott spokeswoman Lauren Cooney can be heard asking the man if he’d had the chance to check his online entry to the Saturday draw before confirming he was one of the lucky winners.

The clearly stunned man could respond with little more than a few expletives initially before telling Ms Cooney his “heart is just racing”.

He then told Ms Cooney he had “a good feeling” about the ticket, although he had no idea he had won big before the call.

“Oh, you don’t understand, that’s just amazing … oh my God,” he said.

“That’s just crazy, it made my day. I was actually having a cr*p morning, thank you very much.”

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Australian News

Cronulla Sharks claim rare NRL victory over Manly Sea Eagles, winning 40-22

Cronulla overturned one of the biggest hoodoos in the NRL, scoring a thumping 40-22 win over Manly in Gosford.

It was just the third time in 12 years the Sharks tasted victory over the Sea Eagles but they looked a class above in miserable conditions this afternoon at Central Coast Stadium.

And while the Sea Eagles were without stars Tom Trbojevic and Dylan Walker, their defence did not shape up against a Sharks spine that found its groove.

Shaun Johnson, Matt Moylan and Chad Townsend all set up tries in the first half to lead 18-6 at the break and — between them — had a hand in all seven of the Sharks’ four-pointers.

Townsend had the best of them in the 54th minute with a miraculous catch and pass while falling, setting flying winger Sione Katoa up for his second try of the match.

Katoa’s put-down while in the air was inch-perfect, demonstrating the skills which had landed him eight tries from seven matches this season.

The Sea Eagles had won 17 of their past 19 matches against Cronulla dating back to 2008 for the equal-best winning record of any NRL team against any opponent.

Nothing went right for Des Hasler’s side in Gosford, however, as they struggled to find potency in attack without their full-back Trbojevic scoring or setting up tries.

Before Sunday, Trbojevic had set up or scored 11 of Manly’s 14 tries this season and with the Australia international sidelined with a hamstring injury for another two months, the Sea Eagles will need to look elsewhere for their points.

Addin Fonua-Blake, Jorge Taufua and Tevita Funa were the lone try scorers for the Sea Eagles, the former scoring through lax defence twice in the second half.

The Sharks opened the match in the 14th minute when Braden Hamlin-Uele burst onto a short ball from Townsend close to the line.

Manly hit back shortly after when stand-in five-eighth Lachlan Croker set up Taufua on the wing, but the energy went out of the Sea Eagles soon afterwards.

The win was the third of 2020 for the Sharks and their first back-to-back, raising hope their season can recover from early challenges.

They will next play Gold Coast in Queensland, while Manly host Newcastle next Sunday.


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Winning the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup bid is our biggest moment in sport since the Sydney Olympics

Of all the goals scored for women’s sport in this country, FIFA’s decision to award Australia and New Zealand the 2023 Women’s World Cup has to be the most spectacular of all.

Despite UEFA’s last-minute decision to support the Colombia bid as a bloc causing some jitters, 22 votes sealed the deal against Colombia’s 13.

Australia had cause to be sceptical about the process, after the bitter disappointment of its bid for the 2022 men’s version only attracting one vote in a process mired by corruption.

But not this time.


Not only is the FIFA Women’s World Cup the biggest global event in women’s sport, its popularity continues to grow in record-breaking numbers.

The most recent tournament, held in France in 2019, drew 1.12 billion viewers, with the average live match audience more than doubling from the previous edition in Canada.

This is why Thursday morning’s decision should be seen as the biggest moment for Australian sport since the choice to award the Olympics to Sydney in 2000.

‘The holy grail’

It’s a sentiment shared by Ros Moriarty, chair of Football Federation Australia’s Women’s Football Council.

“It is the holy grail. I think when the conversation stops being quite as gendered, people will realise this is actually brilliant for the whole game and what football can offer to society as a whole,” Moriarty said.

Nevertheless, Moriarty said the Women’s Council were focused on ensuring the tournament provided for an “enduring and profound legacy” for reshaping women’s football — and sport — in Australia.

“This is transformational,” said Moriarty. “This is an opportunity that rarely comes along, [in terms of] the size of the event, the kind of numbers that came out of France, the audience, reach [and] the kind of investment that will be made possible.”

Over the past four years, the number of women and girls registered to play football in Australia has grown by 21 per cent (including 11 per cent in 2019 alone), and Moriarty said the tournament provided an opportunity to go beyond the Women’s Council’s goal of doubling participation in the next decade.

“I think we really need to look at accelerating what we had hoped to achieve even without this catalyst,” she said.

“We also need to tackle the [other] big issues in the game, such as women having more prominence in sport, women as leaders in the game, women as decision-makers in the game, and making sure those benefits flow right across the Asian and the Pacific regions.”

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Officials and players celebrate after learning Australia and New Zealand will host the World Cup.

Women’s sport was a casualty of coronavirus

Former Matildas captain and current deputy chief executive of the players’ association Kate Gill shares Moriarty’s desire for the 2023 World Cup to provide an enduring legacy for women’s football and sport in the region.

In particular, Gill said the announcement was the perfect tonic to a pandemic that had exposed the fragility of support and investment for women’s sport across the globe.

“It has been a worry for women’s sport that it has [in some cases] been the first casualty of COVID-19,” Gill said. “It’s the easy expense in the budget just to draw a line through, and it’s not the right one.”

Gill pointed to FIFA’s announcement late last year that it would invest $1 billion into women’s football over the next four years as proof there were “no more excuses”.

“Now we have time to rebuild with genuine intent and focus that women and women in football are truly partners, and it’s not just tokenism.”

Gill said she believed that recent wins for gender equality — such as the 2019 collective bargaining agreement which saw the Matildas and Socceroos enter into a ground-breaking revenue-sharing deal — had been pivotal to Australia and New Zealand’s successful bid.

Moving forward, however, Gill argues there is a need to maintain focus on addressing all aspects of equality in football, including re-igniting the PFA’s campaign for equal prize money at the pinnacle tournament, which had a gender pay gap of $370m in 2018-19.

“It’s all part of being genuine and respectful and dignifying the careers of women in sport and women in football — those are the things we need to bring to fruition and keep fighting for. With football and sport, there’s a great sense that, if we can transcend those barriers, then society can achieve them as well.”

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‘A historical day for Australian football’, FFA CEO celebrates successful bid

The whole of Australia can get behind this

Perhaps one of the greatest opportunities the tournament provides is the opportunity for football to penetrate the further reaches of Australia and New Zealand, not just the usual suspects in east coast capital cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Games will also be played in smaller locations such as Launceston and Newcastle in Australia (with its recent history of record crowds for Matildas matches) and Dunedin and Christchurch in New Zealand.

Off the back of recent initiatives such as the Indigenous national football championships, which began in 2018, the number of women and girls from Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds participating in football has doubled over a 12-month period to 11,000.

With the possible appearance of Indigenous role-models such as Lydia Williams and Kyah Simon in 2023, the Australia and New Zealand bid has a serious chance to embody the inclusive bid it sold so successfully to the football world.

The pressure is now on for the Matildas to better their quarter finals knockout in France in front of a home crowd.

But all the ingredients are there to make this the Matilda’s most successful World Cup yet.

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Australia, New Zealand’s winning bid to host 2023 Women’s World Cup sends fans wild

Aussie and Kiwi football fans are celebrating after Australia and New Zealand won their joint bid to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

The winning bid was announced in the early hours of Friday morning, following a tight vote among FIFA delegates.

“We did it! We are hosting the 2023 FIFAWWC!” Australia’s Matildas exclaimed on Twitter.

New Zealand’s Football Ferns also rejoiced at the news, tweeting: “Still awake and very, very excited in Auckland”.

The trans-Tasman bid was up against Colombia, which was reportedly argued by UEFA, the powerful ruling body of European football, as the better place to help drive change for women’s football.

MORE: What you need to know about the tournament

But Australia and New Zealand received the highest score in FIFA’s technical evaluation – earning 4.1 out of five in the report compared to Colombia’s 2.8.

The joint bid was also considered more commercially lucrative – a compelling factor for FIFA.

“The opportunity to play in a home FIFA Women’s World Cup is something every footballer dreams of and I am looking forward to seeing those dreams come true,” Matildas captain Samantha Kerr said.

“Playing for the Matildas in Australia will be the highlight of my career and an opportunity to inspire girls, both in Australia and New Zealand, and all over the world to play football.

“We have seen great progress in the women’s game and Australia-New Zealand will take the game to a whole new level.”

Football Ferns captain Ali Riley, who shared an emotional photo of herself on Twitter with tears in her eyes, also said it was a “truly special” moment.

“To lead the Football Ferns in a home FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand will be truly special and inspire a new generation of Football Ferns,” she said.

Bleary-eyed fans who stayed up to watch the announcement described the win as “overwhelming”.

“Not often I’m awake and in tears at 2am, but this did it and these are happy tears,” one woman wrote on Twitter.

“In disbelief over how far we’ve come. From having to beg to be allowed to play a ‘boy’s sport’ to getting the 2023 FIFAWWC. This means everything and it’s almost overwhelming.”

“Unbelievable places, full of amazing people! This one will be epic. Congratulations … let the dreaming commence,” another wrote.

The Sydney Opera House and Auckland’s Sky Tower were lit up on Thursday to celebrate the joint bid.

It will be the first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in the Asia-Pacific region, and the first ever to be held in the southern hemisphere.

– With wires

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Sydney Roosters run over Parramatta Eels late to end NRL table-toppers’ five-game winning streak

The Sydney Roosters have proven they will not go quietly into that good night, ending Parramatta’s winning streak at five games with a 24-10 masterclass.

The Eels still hold onto top spot on the NRL ladder, but the two-time defending premiers showed off their championship pedigree in one of the games of the season at Parramatta Stadium.

In a clash that epitomised the old school of thought that the best sides build their teams around defence, there was just one try in the first 40 minutes, before tired tacklers started leaking points in the later stages.

The Roosters took ultimate advantage in the final 20 minutes despite losing superstar fullback James Tedesco to a concussion after about an hour of play.

After going to half-time with an 8-0 lead on the back of a Brett Morris try and a Kyle Flanagan penalty goal, the Eels were the first to strike after the break, when centre Michael Jennings got outside Joseph Manu and touched down for his 150th NRL try.

They were still trailing 8-4 15 minutes later, but again Jennings manufactured space around his opposite number, sending Maika Sivo down the left wing, where he ran over Tedesco, knocking him out en route to the tryline.

It was the sort of momentum-based killing blow that might have ended most teams’ hopes, but the Roosters struck back at their earliest convenience, with Luke Keary breaking the line and putting Boyd Cordner over.

Ill-discipline from the Eels — first a high shot from Nathan Brown, then an offside infringement from Jennings that saw him sin-binned — allowed the Roosters to push that lead out beyond a converted try.

And the icing on the cake was a Daniel Tupou try on the end of a relatively simple left-side backline shift to push the lead out to a margin that belied how close the game was.

Despite the late flurry of points from the Roosters, the Eels proved they were not pretenders atop the ladder as they try to end the league’s longest premiership drought, dating back to 1986.

The Roosters, meanwhile, are trying to become the first team to win three titles in a row since, coincidentally, Parramatta back in 1981, 1982 and 1983.

The victory sent the premiers up to fourth on the ladder.

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Gold Coast Suns’ winning return to football puts the spotlight on young gun Matt Rowell

This year, the Gold Coast Suns had a strong preseason, thumping Geelong and beating Adelaide — but then they came out and were pumped by Port Adelaide in round one, to the tune of 47 points.

Even in a team well beaten, draftee Matt Rowell managed 19 disposals — 11 contested — four tackles, three clearances and two inside 50s. On debut.

Three months later in round two, he and his team went out and left that all completely in the shade.


The Suns beat the West Coast Eagles — who won the small matter of a premiership 27 games ago — by 44 points, and were by no means flattered by the scoreline.

Rowell won the Rising Star nomination for his 26-disposal, two-goal performance, and on early evidence, it would take something superhuman for someone else to win the award later this year.

The positives were many: his poise, his gut-running and stamina, his sheer strength to stand in tackles and handball or break free and keep the Suns moving, his ability to burst through on the ball and slot a goal or two, his quick hands … the list goes on.

But even if he was a large reason why Gold Coast dispatched West Coast at home, it was far from a one-man performance.


Charlie Ballard and Sam Collins were brilliant down back, Hugh Greenwood and Lachie Weller showed in the midfield why the Suns had gone hard for them in recent trade periods.

Touk Miller shut down Tim Kelly after half-time, while Sam Day had his best night up forward in 10 years for the Suns.

The new draftees who weren’t Rowell — Noah Anderson and Connor Budarick — both impressed in different roles.

Jarrod Witts more than held his own in the ruck with Nic Naitanui.

Ben Ainsworth had a familiar burst, kicking two goals in five minutes. And Ben King and Alex Sexton, Gold Coast’s two best forward options had quiet matches — and the team still won comfortably.

These were pieces in a puzzle, and for the first time in a long while, the Suns fit together perfectly.

They gave a four-quarter effort, had the resilience to fight back after West Coast surged in the second quarter, delivered fierce pressure and took most of their chances.

The Suns had 50 more disposals and three more inside 50s than the Eagles. They broke even at the clearances, won the stoppages and improved their efficiency inside forward 50 by 10 per cent on last year’s average.

They looked capable in attack, and booted 14 goals — only the third time they had managed that since the start of the 2018 season.

Don’t get too excited

But before everyone gets too excited, there are a number of fairly large asterisks to put after this result.

The 12-week break thanks to the coronavirus means it has been like starting the season again, so there is little to compare to.

It is a totally unprecedented situation in AFL/VFL history, where a team has had to fly across country and base themselves in another unfamiliar state for at least a month.

The public comments of the Eagles, calling for the AFL to minimise the length of time they spend in the Queensland hub do not exactly inspire confidence about where their heads are at right now, either.

In addition, the dewy conditions at Carrara made handling difficult and were not conducive to West Coast’s kick-and-mark style.

The Suns have had breakout games — and strong starts to the season — before, as well.

The Gold Coast Suns stand around dejectedly after a defeat in the AFL
The Suns made some waves early in 2019, before losing the last 18 games of the season.(AAP: Hamish Blair)

Look no further than last year, when Gold Coast knocked over Fremantle, Western Bulldogs and Carlton to be 3-1 after four rounds, lying in sixth spot.

And then? Eighteen straight losses — average margin 44.8 points, eight of them by more than a 60-point margin.

Cue the drums beating from Victoria with stories about St Kilda waiting to pounce on key forward King in the trade period to reunite him with his twin brother Max.

That didn’t happen, and looking more widely, the Suns have quietly gone about their business re-signing their young talent.

Suns build draft around mates 

The two elephants in the room with Gold Coast since its inception have been their over-reliance on Gary Ablett, and their inability to keep the high-end talent at their disposal.

Charlie Dixon, Jaeger O’Meara, Dion Prestia, Josh Caddy, Harley Bennell, Tom Lynch, Jack Martin, Steven May and Adam Saad all departed for various reasons before the Suns could break through.


Gold Coast has tried to turn this trend around with draft strategy.

In 2016, the Suns had four picks in the top 10, and they took Ainsworth, Jack Bowes, Jack Scrimshaw and Will Brodie — all signed with the same management agency.

Scrimshaw left to join Hawthorn, but the other three are still there.

In 2018, Gold Coast looked for closer ties. Along with King (at pick six), the Suns went for Adelaide pair Jack Lukosius and Izak Rankine, who were classmates at Henley High School, at two and three.

Lukosius was drafted as a forward, but is impressing more and more at half-back.

The exciting Rankine has been hampered by soft-tissue injuries, but if and when he gets on the park he will add another dimension to the Suns’ attack.

In 2019, Gold Coast again went for two mates, taking Rowell and Noah Anderson at one and two.

It already looks to have paid off. Rowell dominated against the Eagles and Anderson — a more outside player than the Suns’ number 18 — also looked confident.

The pair appear to be a package deal, making it harder for a Victorian team to prise them away from Carrara.

So how good is Rowell?

Some people appear ready on the basis of eight quarters of football — and particularly the last four — to pencil in Matt Rowell for at least one career Brownlow Medal.

It is, one suspects, more than a little early for that. The point is that most draftees spend at least a year or two getting used to the speed and intensity of AFL football and building their bodies to cope with the physicality of the game.

Rowell, in contrast, has turned up apparently fully formed.

A smiling Matt Rowell is congratulated by Lachie Weller
The Suns will hope to see much more of these scenes if Rowell can cope with extra attention from teams.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

He has the build, the stamina, the determination, the knowledge and a willingness to challenge opposition players without fear.

Will he be an absolute superstar? Or does he have a lower ceiling than other draftees given how advanced he is now? Who knows, at this point.

What his display — and that of the rest of the Suns — does do is to allow a club that has been in the doldrums for so long to think about rising up the ladder instead of forever battling to avoid the spoon.

The only way to break the cycle at the Suns is to make the young talent want to stick around and build a team that could make club history and reach finals.

If they can’t put more wins together, history tells us the talent will be picked off, sooner or later.

But with games upcoming against the Crows and the Dockers — before a trip to Kardinia Park to face the Cats, there is an opportunity for Gold Coast to make a point.

If this playing group can start replicating Saturday’s performance more often, then Rowell and his teammates might have a few more moments in the Sun before long.

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QLD tradie quits job after winning $800K in Gold Lotto draw

An Aussie tradie who discovered he had hit the jackpot went straight to work to do one thing today – quit.

The unidentified man, from Chermside in Queensland, held one of five division one winning entries across Australia in Monday & Wednesday Gold Lotto draw 3977.

The numbers were drawn on Wednesday night, but the man didn’t learn he was one of the lucky winners until he was on his way to work today.

Each winner will take home a staggering $800,000.

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After checking his ticket at a newsagent and confirming the happy news with lottery officials today, he said he planned to hand in a resignation letter immediately.

“I can’t believe it. I was on my way to work and stopped to check my lottery ticket and now I’ve won $800,000,” he said.

“I’ll be going to work to do one thing and one thing only, quit. This is so surreal. I really can’t believe it.

“I’ve won a lot of small prizes over the years but nothing like this. I’ve always thought one day I would win the lottery and today is my day. My mind is reeling, I really can’t think.”

The worker, who wishes to remain anonymous, purchased his winning entry at Nextra Express Chermside, Shop 1192, Westfield Shoppingtown, Chermside.

The tradie already has big plans when it comes to how he’ll spend the cash.

“I’m in desperate need of a holiday,” he said. “And I’ll have plenty of spare time to slow down as soon as I quit my job. I’m just going to sit back and relax.

“I want to buy house and just go fishing. I think golf will be my new hobby.”

Nextra Express Chermside manager Shannon Hickey said it was great news for her customer.

“Congratulations to him,” she said.

“We’ve been celebrating in store by sharing the exciting news with all our customers who are so happy for our latest winner.

“Over the years across our three stores we have sold countless division one winning entries.

“It’s fantastic for the community and our customers.”

In 2019, Monday & Wednesday Gold Lotto and Saturday Gold Lotto created 203 millionaires across Australia.

The winning numbers in Monday & Wednesday Gold Lotto draw 3977 on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 were 35, 19, 8, 9, 23 and 31 while the supplementary numbers were 6 and 40.

Across Australia, there were five division one winning entries in Monday & Wednesday Gold Lotto draw 3977 – three from Queensland and one each from Victoria and New South Wales.

The Lott’s division one winning tally has now reached 146 so far this year, including 44 won by Golden Casket customers.

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Geelong’s Patrick Dangerfield driven by winning AFL premiership with Cats in 2020

Fulfillment at the end of an AFL footballer’s career is often judged on whether they have won a premiership, or — for some — been a member of multiple flag-winning teams.

That’s not entirely the case for Patrick Dangerfield —the Geelong star believes fulfillment “comes in so many other forms” than just winning a grand final, whether it be a player improving their own game or guiding younger teammates on their AFL journey.

Still, Dangerfield hungers to be part of a premiership-winning team for the first time in his senior career, and the Cats’ proud history — with the club having won nine flags — only adds to his motivation.

“One thing that has mattered is winning one [a grand final],” Dangerfield told ABC Grandstand’s The Phil Davis Podcast.

“I want those stories, I want to be in the same room [as other Geelong premiership winners]. I want to be going on that pub crawl once a year when you have those [premiership] reunions.

“I’m just so envious of our Geelong players who do that.

“Individual records are great, but that’s what they are — they’re individual records.

“The really great stories of success and triumph [as a team] in the face of adversity — they’re the ones you can really sit back and enjoy, and talk through with the guys you went through it with.”

Individual honours have been a hallmark of Dangerfield’s decorated career, which began at the Adelaide Crows in 2008.

He won the Crows’ best-and-fairest award in his final year with the club in 2015, before claiming the Brownlow Medal and the coveted Leigh Matthews Trophy the following season after his move to the Cats.

Patrick Dangerfield kisses Brownlow Medal
Dangerfield’s 2016 Brownlow Medal triumph is among his many individual achievements.(AAP: Julian Smith)

But Dangerfield, who also has three Cats’ best-and-fairest gongs in his collection, said his career was not driven by individual success.

While he refused to describe his 2016 Brownlow Medal victory as a “hollow” feeling, he admitted it was “not as satisfying” as it could have been.

The medal ceremony took place three nights after the Cats lost a preliminary final to the Sydney Swans, falling one step short of the season decider.

“I had a lot of teammates who came up that night, [and] it was great but how much greater would that night have been had it been a grand final [win], when we’re talking about different stories and different plays.”

2020 premiership ‘still very much legitimate’

Obviously, Dangerfield’s next opportunity to break through for a maiden premiership triumph will come this year if the AFL is able to continue a shortened season following the coronavirus shutdown.

AFL players and coaches have been questioned during the season’s suspension since late March about whether the 2020 premiership lacks legitimacy or should be unofficially listed with an “asterisk”, given the compressed shape it will take should it resume.

Dangerfield, though, is ignoring the speculation.

The seven-time All-Australian said whichever club claimed the flag this year would be as worthy a winner as any of those who had lifted the silverware on grand final day across the history of the AFL and VFL.

“It’s as good an opportunity as any to win a grand final,” said Dangerfield, who also serves as the AFL Players’ Association president.

“They’re still going to hand out a grand final [medal] unless, obviously, we are cut off halfway through [the season]. But if the season is run as it has been planned … the legitimacy is still there.

“I think it’s still very much legitimate.”

Dangerfield is reminded of the fact on a regular basis in his Moggs Creek home south-west of Geelong.

His wife Mardi, who he jokingly refers to as a “ruthless” competitor”, lets him know that winning the flag with the Cats during these uncertain times should be the reason he gets out of bed each morning.

“Her view is … ‘You’ve got to earn it if you want it, so you need to do whatever you can’, because there will be others who will have that philosophy — that it’s one of those years that doesn’t matter, or it’s not viewed as important as others,” Dangerfield said.

You can listen to The Phil Davis Podcast, as each week the inaugural GWS Giants captain will talk to some of the most interesting people in Australian sport.

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Some parts of Australia have had no new coronavirus cases in more than a week.

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