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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vixens outclass Lightning

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABC/AAP



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Collin Morikawa wins PGA Championship ahead of Australian Jason Day


Collin Morikawa has won the PGA Championship, claiming his first major title in just his second appearance in a major tournament.

The 23-year-old American finished 35th at last year’s US Open, but nabbed four birdies and an eagle in the final round in San Francisco to claim his maiden major title.

Australian Jason Day actually held a six-way share of the lead earlier in the day thanks to three birdies in five holes on the back nine on Monday (AEST), but while he was finishing up on 10-under, Morikawa chipped in for birdie on the 14th hole to move one stroke ahead and into the outright lead.

Then on the 16th, with the field close behind him, Morikawa landed a 268-metre drive just over two metres away from the hole and putted in to eagle the par-four 16th and move to 13-under with two holes to play.

None of the chasing pack could catch him, with Englishman Paul Casey and American Dustin Johnson tying for second on 11-under, with Day and four others tied for fourth on 10-under.

Jason Day holds his putter up and grimaces as he looks at a putt during the PGA Championship.
Jason Day barely put a foot wrong in his final round, but he was pipped at the post.(AP: Jeff Chiu)

More to come.



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Max Verstappen wins Formula One’s Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone, Lewis Hamilton second


Max Verstappen told his Red Bull team over the radio he was “not going to drive like a grandma” and he did not, as he went on to win Formula One’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone, breaking Mercedes’ stranglehold on the season.

The comment came from the Dutchman after he was asked to conserve his tyres early on, and the strategy paid off as he took the win by 11.3 seconds from Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, who rounded out the podium positions.

Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo finished 14th in his Renault after starting from fifth on the grid.

Verstappen took advantage of starting the race on a harder compound tyre, which enabled him to stay out longer than both pole-sitter Bottas and Hamilton and claim the first non-Mercedes win of the season.

Consequently, when he finally pitted on lap 26 Verstappen came out just behind Bottas, but on fresher and softer tyres the Red Bull had more pace than the Mercedes and Bottas gave Verstappen an easy pass on his out lap.

It wasn’t the last time Bottas would be passed either, and with three laps remaining and a badly blistered left rear tyre, Hamilton took advantage of his teammate’s predicament and passed him to move into second.

Ultimately he had no chance of catching the flying Dutchman, who went on to claim his ninth Grand Prix victory and his first at the famed English circuit.

The win was the first for Red Bull since November of 2019 when Verstappen won the Brazilian Grand Prix, and the first for the team at the circuit since 2012, when Australia’s Mark Webber won.

It left Verstappen smiling, as the 22-year-old moved into second in the Driver’s Championship, behind Hamilton, who before today had won six of the last eight Grands Prix at the circuit.

“We had a great day. Everything worked out well we had the right strategy, I was quite happy to win,” Verstappen said.

Hamilton questions Pirelli’s balloon-like tyres

Valtteri Bottas sits in his Mercedes F1 car. The tyres are heavily bubbled.
The tyres on both Mercedes cars suffered severe degradation.(Reuters: Ben Stansall)

Both Hamilton and Bottas were left to lament what might have been had their tyres held together — with Hamilton, who’s tyres shredded last week as he grimly held on for a race win — again taking aim at tyre manufacturer Pirelli.

“Congratulations to Red Bull,” Hamilton said.

“You look at their tyres and they did not have the problems we had today, it is difficult to have the blistering as hard as we experienced it.

“We have not had that before, most likely it was that Pirelli were struggling with tyre failures last week, so then [another] weekend on they just put the pressures up and up and up.

“They are like balloons now, they are the highest pressure we have had at a track like this.

Bottas labelled the day a frustrating one and questioned his team’s strategy after the race, while talking to Britain’s Sky Sports.

“As a team we were sleeping at some point when Max managed to get ahead of us, so our strategy was far from ideal,” he said.

Ricciardo endures tough day

While the day promised much for Australia’s Ricciardo, who finished fourth at the same track in last weekend’s British Grand Prix, he could not replicate the performance as he endured a horror day.

It began when he was passed by Racing Point’s Lance Stroll on the opening lap of the race, dropping to sixth position as he took a wide line after trying to pass the other Racing Point of Nico Hulkenberg, his former Renault teammate.

It would only get worse from there, with Ricciardo pitting multiple times due to tyre issues and the worst of it came on lap 32 while racing Carlos Sainz.

Sainz, in his McLaren was around the outside of Ricciardo, who spun his Renault, costing him more positions as he finally dropped to finish 14th and out of the points.

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Ricciardo said strategy errors cost him but he doubted that the car was set up as well as last weekend.

“It was a race which kept getting away from us,” Ricciardo said.

“In hindsight we could have gone longer and kept the hard [compound tyre] on but we went for the medium and that just got destroyed.

“Then I had a battle tried to defend from Carlos [Sainz], spun and killed those tyres and our race was done.”

ABC/AP



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Lewis Hamilton wins his seventh British F1 grand prix with a punctured tyre, Daniel Ricciardo comes fourth


Lewis Hamilton limped to a record seventh British grand prix victory with his heart in mouth and a prayer on his lips after a dramatic last-lap puncture turned his Mercedes into a three-wheeler on Sunday.

In an astonishing end to a race he had dominated from pole position, the six-times world champion nursed his stricken Mercedes across the line to stretch his Formula One world championship lead to 30 points.

“I have definitely never experienced anything like that on the last lap,” said Hamilton after inspecting his barely-attached front left tyre.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finished second, but could have won had he not pitted for fresh tyres in a successful late bid to score an extra point for the fastest lap, assuming victory was out of reach.

Sparks fly from a Formula One car as it speeds down a straight with a punctured tyre.
Lewis Hamilton just made it over the line to win the British F1 grand prix, after a late puncture to his left front tyre.(AP/Pool: Frank Augstein)

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was third, another surprise for a team struggling for performance.

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Hamilton’s teammate and closest rival Valtteri Bottas failed to score after also suffering a late puncture and finishing 11th, despite a one-two finish for the pair having looked a nailed-on certainty until late in the race.

“Up until that last lap everything was relatively smooth sailing,” said Hamilton of a race that was already extraordinary for the absence of spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“I heard that his [Bottas’s] tyre went and I was just looking at mine and everything seemed fine. The car was still turning no problem … Those last few laps I started to back off and then just down the straight it just deflated.

The victory was the 87th of Hamilton’s F1 career — leaving him four short of Ferrari great Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 91 — and his third in a row. It was also probably his greatest escape.

Verstappen’s race engineer summed it up over the team radio: “He’s a lucky boy.”

The Dutch driver said he was happy with second place and brushed aside talk of a missed win in a race with two safety car periods.

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“I could also pick up a puncture and then you lose a lot more,” he said.

“I don’t regret anything. I think we made the right decision.”

Mercedes, chasing a seventh successive title double, have won all four races this season.

Two Formula One cars are involved in a duel, while several cars are seen behind them in background.
Lando Norris (front) and Daniel Ricciardo will be teammates next season, but there was no quarter given as Ricciardo won their duel at Silverstone.(AP/Pool: Bryn Lennon)

Australian Daniel Ricciardo was fourth for Renault, ahead of future McLaren teammate Lando Norris, whose own teammate — Carlos Sainz — also had a puncture.

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Frenchman Esteban Ocon ensured Renault’s double-points finish in sixth, with compatriot Pierre Gasly seventh for AlphaTauri and British-born Thai Alexander Albon riding a rollercoaster of a race to eighth place.

Canadian Lance Stroll was ninth for Racing Point, and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took the final point.

The next round, the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix to mark Silverstone’s hosting of the first world championship race in 1950, is at the same circuit next weekend. But it will struggle to match Sunday’s sensation.

Only 19 of the 20 drivers started, with Racing Point stand-in Nico Hulkenberg failing to make it out of the garage due to power unit problems.

The German was replacing Mexican Sergio Perez, in quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus earlier in the week.

All the drivers took part before the start in a stance against racism, with Hamilton one of 13 taking a knee as the other seven stood behind.

A World War II Spitfire fighter plane flew overhead afterwards in a gesture of thanks for Britain’s National Health Service.

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Panthers destroy Manly 42-12 as Canberra Raiders and Sydney Roosters score NRL wins


Penrith made sure it will finish round 12 on top of the NRL ladder following a comprehensive 42-12 defeat of Manly at Brookvale Oval.

Earlier on Saturday, Canberra showed its class to sneak home with a 14-12 win over North Queensland, while the Sydney Roosters survived an almighty scare from Gold Coast to escape with an 18-12 triumph.

The Panthers skipped three points clear of Melbourne and Parramatta on the ladder, although the Storm and Eels will play their respective round-12 fixtures on Sunday.

Charlie Staines, playing just his second NRL match, scored two tries in 25 action-filled minutes before limping off the field with a hamstring injury.

Nathan Cleary also put on a masterclass, setting up two tries and scoring one of his own in the second half when he regathered his own grubber.

But Staines was the main attraction.

He became the first man since South Sydney’s Don Manson in 1937 to score six tries in his first two matches.

In the time since his four tries on debut last month, the winger has spent two weeks in quarantine after having too many visitors in his home and then visiting Nepean Hospital with lockjaw.

But while Penrith shot out of the blocks to a 22-0 lead after 30 minutes, it was an absolute horror show for Manly.

Dylan Walker left the field with a foot injury just 10 minutes into his return from an issue higher up in the same foot, while Curtis Sironen hurt his knee and Brad Parker suffered a concussion.

The loss drops the Sea Eagles back out of the top eight and with a crucial few weeks ahead before Tom Trbojevic’s planned return in three matches.

Meanwhile, the performance was one of the best of Penrith’s season, with the Panthers completing at 91 per cent and playing expansive football.

Staines opened the scoring when he got the ball down in a tight space on the right edge in the 10th minute, then Cleary gifted him with a perfect lofted ball for his second.

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Cleary kicked a 40-20 before another try before one of his grubbers rebounded into Penrith hands and Viliame Kikau put on an offload for Stephen Crichton to score.

Isaah Yeo, Api Koroisau and Brent Naden also claimed tries in the demolition job.

Cherry-Evans was clearly Manly’s best.

He put Jake Trbojevic over with an inside ball for their only first-half try and kicked for Jorge Taufua for one in the second.

He also somehow held Kikau up to save one and stopped another when he chased down Naden after running 80 metres from a Lachlan Croker intercept.

Raiders hang tough to win up north

It was far from the Raiders’ best performance but they did enough to edge a willing Cowboys outfit, with both teams scoring two tries in Townsville.

The Cowboys threw everything at their opponents but too often let themselves down with their kicking options.

Gunning for their third successive victory, the Raiders looked as if they were suffering jet lag early on after their long match-day flight to Canberra.

They were caught out just two minutes into the match when North Queensland hooker Reece Robson dashed over the line from dummy half.

The Raiders found their groove to level in the 18th minute when half-back George Williams started and finished a 70-metre try, helped by a big charge and fend by winger Nick Cotric.

A 35th-minute penalty strike by captain Jarrod Croker allowed his team to take an 8-6 lead to half-time.

A North Queensland NRL player is tackled by three Canberra Raiders opponents.
Cowboys forward Jordan McLean tries to find a way through the Raiders defence.(AAP: Cameron Laird)

Canberra prop Josh Papalii was both hero and villain within two minutes, stripping the ball but then being placed on report for a forearm to the head of the Cowboys’ teenage full-back Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow.

Cowboys skipper Jason Taumalolo steamed to the try line to put his side up but it was short-lived with the Raiders hitting back four minutes later.

England international John Bateman, playing his first match of the year after two rounds of shoulder surgery, found Curtis Scott, who fended off winger Murray Taulagi to score.

Sharpshooter Croker then showed his value, nailing the conversion from the sideline to put his side ahead again.

The final 12 minutes saw four captains’ challenges, with the Cowboys correct with both but they couldn’t find the points for a win or to take the match into golden point.

Roosters deny gutsy Titans

In an action-packed match laced with drama at the sCG, the Roosters overcame their crippling injury toll to preserve their place in the top four thanks largely to the heroics of classy centre Joseph Manu.

Already missing eight players from their 2019 grand final-winning outfit and with superstar signing Sonny Bill Williams holed up in quarantine, the Roosters lost try-scoring ace Josh Morris to a calf strain before this afternoon’s kick-off.

Fortunately the back-to-back premiers had Manu, whose leaping 58th-minute try and miracle first-half try saver on Phillip Sami saved the Roosters embarrassment.

The Titans could have bagged four first-half tries but had to settle for only one after blowing two and seeing Manu pull off his incredible rescue act before the break.

Jamal Fogarty was also denied a try in just the second minute, the half-back touching down only for the bunker to rule Titans teammate Brian Kelly had passed him the ball off the ground.

A Sydney Roosters NRL player tackles a Gold Coast Titans opponent holding the ball around the chest area.
Roosters hooker Jake Friend (left) tries to bring down Gold Coast lock Jai Arrow.(AAP: Dean Lewins)

But there was no denying Anthony Don eight minutes later when the prolific winger started and finished his own 75-metre effort.

After scrambling for much of the half, somehow the Roosters went to the break with a 10-6 advantage after half-back Kyle Flanagan added two penalties to his conversion of Mitch Aubusson’s try.

The Titans were reduced to 12 men for a second time in the match when Keegan Hipgrave was sin-binned for taking out Lindsay Collins.

The Roosters’ claims for a penalty try were denied but Flanagan’s two points made it 12-6 before Manu soared high to reel in Luke Keary’s cross-field bomb.

That appeared to seal the deal before Sami crossed with five minutes remaining to give Roosters fans a tense finish.

AAP/ABC



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Western Sydney Wanderers star Kristen Hamilton wins W-League’s Julie Dolan Medal



Western Sydney Wanderers striker Kristen Hamilton has won the 2019/20 Julie Dolan Medal following a standout W-League season.

Hamilton won the award with 13 points, ahead of Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Casey Dumont (11 points), Wanderers teammate Lynn Williams (11), Perth Glory’s Morgan Andrews (10) and Victory captain Natasha Dowie (10).

The US international scored seven goals and recorded two assists during the season, playing a key role in securing the Wanderers their first W-League finals appearance.

She also tied for the competition’s golden boot with Andrews, Dowie and Sydney FC’s Remy Siemsen.

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Matildas young gun Ellie Carpenter, who has since moved to French powerhouse Olympique Lyonnais, received the young footballer of the year award for the third consecutive season after a stellar campaign with Melbourne City.

Melbourne City’s Rado Vidosic was named coach of the year after leading his team to the premiership-championship double in an undefeated season.

Despite Dumont finishing second in the voting for the Julie Dolan Medal, it was Melbourne City goalkeeper Lydia Williams and Sydney FC custodian Aubrey Bledsoe who were named joint winners of the goalkeeper of the year award.

Victory midfielder Amy Jackson’s long-range strike against Perth Glory in December was named goal of the year.

Voting for the Julie Dolan Medal is completed after each match with 3-2-1 voting by the match officials, a technical football expert or former W-League player, and a media representative.

AAP



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Richmond wins over North Melbourne by 54 points, Brisbane beats GWS by 20, Gold Coast defeats Sydney by 32


Richmond has flexed its premiership muscle to heap more pain on North Melbourne with a 54-point victory at Carrara.

The Tigers kicked the first six goals of Saturday night’s match as the injury-hit Kangaroos slumped to a fifth-straight defeat, 11.11 (77) to 2.11 (23).

Earlier, the Suns continued a strong week for Queensland football, following the Brisbane Lions’ win over GWS at Giants Stadium.

Adding injury to insult, the Kangaroos lost Cameron Zurhaar (calf) before the match, captain Jack Ziebell (hamstring) in the first quarter and youngster Kyron Hayden (head) to injury.

Hayden was taken off on a stretcher in the third quarter after a courageous attempt at a mark against Tigers forward Tom Lynch.

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Dustin Martin and Mabior Chol kicked two each for the Tigers while Jake Aarts kicked his first two AFL goals in the final term.

Shaun Higgins was the standout in a well-beaten North Melbourne team, picking up a game-high 36 disposals.

North’s struggles began before kickoff with Zurhaar a late omission.

The Roos’ fortunes didn’t get any better after the opening bounce as the premiers held them scoreless in the first quarter.

North could muster only one inside 50 to Richmond’s 18 as the Tigers kicked four-unanswered goals to be 27 points clear at the first turn.

The horror quarter for Rhyce Shaw’s men finished with Ziebell injuring his hamstring and being ruled out for the remainder of the match.

The second quarter was North’s best of the match as they kicked late goals through Trent Dumont and Josh Walker to win the term by a point.

That however was the Kangaroos’ only majors of the game as they failed to kick a goal in the second half.

Out-of-sorts forward Ben Brown’s struggles continued, with the Roos’ leading goalkicker for the past four seasons missing three set shots to finish without a major.

Brown has managed seven goals for the year and just two in the past four weeks.

The Tigers had injury concerns of their own with Josh Caddy (hamstring) limping out of the match in the second quarter, while Dylan Grimes was placed on report for high contact on Mason Wood just before half-time.

The win lifts Richmond to fourth on the ladder despite the absence of several key players including Trent Cotchin and Dion Prestia ahead of Friday’s grand-final rematch against GWS in Sydney.

North play Carlton next Saturday at the Gabba.

Suns win entertaining contest over Swans

The Gold Coast Suns have continued their impressive start to the season, beating the Sydney Swans by 32 points on the road.

Gold Coast went in to the game after back-to-back losses to Geelong and Melbourne, but the Suns were on top for much of the day at the SCG, winning a highly-entertaining encounter 13.14 (92) to 9.6 (60).

An AFL player roars in celebration of a goal, while one of his teammates holds out his fist to bump.
The Suns celebrated a win for the first time in three games with an entertaining victory over the Sydney Swans.(AAP: Craig Golding)

Exciting young forward Izak Rankine got the visitors going early with a poacher’s goal, lofting the ball from mid-air over the Swans defenders close to the posts.

It was a game with plenty of swings in momentum. The Suns kicked the first two goals, then the Swans answered, with Gold Coast leading by two points at quarter-time.

The visitors then began to convert some of their clearance advantage, kicking four goals in a row to shoot clear before a big grab and set shot from Tom McCartin began to turn things around.

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Tom Papley continued to show why he is the best small forward in the league, while the surprise packet was Aliir Aliir, who was thrown forward and kicked two important first-half goals.

The Suns led by 10 points at the main break, and they had chances to put the game away in the third term, but managed 4.6 to kick 16 points ahead at the final change.

One of the highlights of the game came on the three quarter-time siren, as the Swans rushed the ball forward. Will Hayward got on the outside and bent a brilliant goal off two steps from 50m out to keep the home side in with a sniff of victory — Papley celebrated the goal by joyously hurdling his taller teammate.

The start to the final quarter was something of a stalemate, and the Swans missed a couple of chances to put real pressure on Gold Coast, but then Sam Day got a free-kick close to goal and converted to put his team on the road to the win.

The Suns kept running out the game and kicked two more before the full-time siren.

The win puts Gold Coast back in the top eight, with their first prime-time feature match coming up next Thursday when they face Western Bulldogs at Carrara. It also means the Suns have already surpassed their three wins from the entire 2019 season after just seven rounds.

The Swans remain second last on the ladder, but they lost no fans with their effort and, despite being desperately short of players through a big injury list, John Longmire’s men played a much more expansive game than last week against Richmond.

Lions get the job done against GWS

Brisbane Lions have claimed second spot on the AFL ladder and proven they can deliver the goods outside the Gabba, defeating GWS by 20 points at Giants Stadium.

Two AFL players reach palms and elbows toward each other in celebration of a goal.
Charlie Cameron kicked two goals for the Lions in a solid win over the Giants in Sydney.(AAP: Brendon Thorne)

Lions coach Chris Fagan insisted on match eve that home ground advantage was overrated, having batted away questions about 10 Victorian clubs — and possibly the grand final — shifting to the Sunshine State.

Nonetheless, many of those decrying the Lions’ premiership credentials had been pointing to the fact they were yet to record an away win in 2020.

Saturday’s triumph made a mockery of that criticism, with the visitors withstanding multiple comebacks to prevail 13.10 (88) to 10.8 (68) in a rematch of last year’s spiteful semi-final that ended their season.

The round-seven bout didn’t have quite the same level of niggle, but there was no shortage of spot fires and scuffles between two desperate sides coming off disappointing losses.

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Giants captain Stephen Coniglio, under pressure to lift after coach Leon Cameron admitted he was down on form, generated a game-high nine clearances and had 27 disposals.

However, GWS’s struggles getting the ball into their forward line continued.

They lost the Inside 50s count 56-34, meaning Jeremy Cameron and Harry Himmelberg booted a combined five goals but simply didn’t have enough opportunities to win the game.

A slow start also proved incredibly costly for last year’s grand finalists, who sit outside the top eight and will be attempting to snap a two-game losing streak when they face reigning premiers Richmond on Friday night.

The Lions kicked the opening four goals of the contest, only for GWS to trim their opponents’ lead to a single goal in the second term.

Brisbane seized control of the topsy-turvy tussle once again, shooting out to a 32-point lead in the third quarter.

Reigning Coleman medallist Cameron ignited another barnstorming comeback from the Giants, trapping Darcy Gardiner in a bone-crunching tackle and slotting his resultant set shot from beyond the 50m arc.

GWS cut the Lions’ buffer to eight points before Cam Rayner reeled in the mark of the day, clambering above a pack in his forward line and kicking a settler.

Rayner stepped up again with the all-important first goal of the final term, a remarkable dribbled effort from the boundary.

Charlie Cameron, Grant Birchall, Zac Bailey, Jarryd Lyons and Harris Andrews were also influential for the Lions.

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Scott Morrison says Victoria needs to beat COVID-19 before Australia ‘wins’


Five out of Australia’s seven states and territories have put up a good fight against coronavirus and essentially beaten it, rolling back restrictions and embracing life in a “new COVID-safe normal”.

But for the whole nation to win against COVID-19 – which has infected more than 10,600 Aussies and claimed the lives of 113 – there’s one more thing we need, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Thursday night.

Speaking on A Current Affair, the PM rallied around virus-stricken Victoria, where 317 new infections were reported today – the largest single day increase of any state or territory since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The state’s outbreak is a reflection of “the world we’re living in with COVID-19 and we can’t become complacent”, Mr Morrison said.

RELATED: Follow the latest coronavirus updates

“Until there is a vaccine, these are the uncertainties that we deal with but Australians can have confidence that they are able to do so well, and remember that five out of seven of the states and territories are still doing very well.

“Even in Victoria, where the challenge is great, we are backing them.”

He cited the extraordinary efforts of the defence force, public health servants and health professionals – as well as Australia’s other jurisdictions – for stepping in to support the state.

Because, the PM said, “for Australia to win, Victoria needs to win”.

“While it is uncertain and I know people will be anxious, Australia is doing better than other developed economies around the world. And while this is a setback – there is no doubt about that, it can cause anxiety – they have done it once and I have no doubt Melburnians and Victorians will do it again.”

At a press conference earlier today Mr Morrison called the situation in Victoria “very concerning”, but said he is hopeful cases will begin to plateau.

“I thought this would still be at a high level for some time, but as the effects of the lockdown kick in, hopefully we will see those new case numbers fall,” he said, referring to the stage three lockdown residents in Greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shire are currently under.

“Yes, it is a big setback in Victoria.”

RELATED: How virus spread so quickly at pub

He also praised the Berejiklian Government’s response to a growing cluster in southwest Sydney, linked to a Casula pub.

“In New South Wales they have moved incredibly quickly, I think, to do the detective work on what has happened at the Crossroads Hotel, which will be known literally and figuratively by its name,” Mr Morrison told reporters.

“That demonstrates in New South Wales how effectively the states can respond to this, and the best protection to live alongside the virus and to open up your community – you don’t protect your economy by continually shutting things down. That’s what you have to do when things get to the point they have in Victoria.

“But you can continue to move forward in the way that New South Wales is demonstrating by building that capability for tracking and testing and so on, and that’s been quite effective in this case, and hopefully we will see that situation continue to improve as well.

“But as we know, there are no guarantees. We are always in uncharted waters.”



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Apple wins EU court case over $21 billion in claimed taxes


The European Commission had ordered Apple to pay for gross underpayment of tax on profits across the European bloc from 2003 to 2014. The Commission concluded that Cupertino, California-based Apple used two shell companies incorporated in Ireland to permit Apple to report its Europe-wide profits at effective rates well under 1 per cent.

The Irish government immediately welcomed the ruling. “Ireland has always been clear that there was no special treatment provided” to the US company, it said in a statement. “Ireland appealed the Commission Decision on the basis that Ireland granted no state aid and the decision today from the Court supports that view.”

Even though taxation remains under the authority of its member countries, the EU is seeking to create a level playing field among the 27 nations by making sure special deals including ultra-low tax rates with multinationals, like the one between Ireland and Apple, are weeded out. The Trump administration has said that the EU is unduly targeting US companies.

The ruling comes at a time when tax income for EU nations is especially welcome because of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. At a time when cash-strapped households are suffering, the EU wants to make sure multinationals making profits on the continent pay their fair share, too.

Meanwhile, the EU Commission was to unveil new plans to combat tax fraud only hours after the ruling in Luxembourg.

“In times like these when we are passing multibillion-euro economic stimulus packages, we cannot afford to waste a single cent in tax revenue”, said EU legislator Markus Ferber of the Christian Democrat EPP Group.

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West Coast Eagles thump Adelaide Crows as Nic Naitanui wins his battle with Reilly O’Brien — and gifts him a new phone


Nic Naitanui has had the last laugh with West Coast overpowering Adelaide in a 33-point AFL win in Brisbane to end their five-week Queensland hub stay on the up.

Crows ruckman Reilly O’Brien was forced into damage control after accidentally tweeting match notes which described Naitanui as “lazy and unfit” earlier this week — an error he put down to a broken phone.

Naitanui took the points during the game, but the highlight came after the final siren when the big Eagle produced a brand new phone as a gift to O’Brien.

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“Everyone expected me to have a go at the big fella. They sent me up a phone from Sydney, so I gave the big fella a brand new one,” Naitanui told ABC Grandstand.

“It’s a better phone than I’ve got. He’s a good fella, he was over the moon.

“I knew it came from a motivational side, not from any malice, so it was good fun … but if someone talks smack at you, you want to take it out on them.”

The Crow started with promise but it quickly turned sour for Adelaide, as the Eagles claimed a 10.7 (67) to 5.4 (34) win ahead of a return to Perth for next week’s western derby.

O’Brien quickly apologised ahead of their Saturday afternoon meeting — admitting he had no choice but to walk the walk — and fared well individually with 19 disposals and nine marks in a losing team.

Nic Naitanui and Reilly O'Brien lock up and look up at a ball (out of picture)
Both players had good games, but Naitanui took the points in the ruck.(AAP: Darren England)

The Eagles’ big man won bragging rights, though, kicking a smart snapped goal from a stoppage before pointing to his direct opponent as the ball sailed into the near-empty Gabba stands.

And his ruck craft orchestrated his side’s 29-17 domination of clearances, Tim Kelly (25 touches) the benefactor in his most-industrious game as an Eagle.

Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling helped the Eagles to four-straight goals before Chayce Jones replied for the Crows after winning a suspect holding-the-ball call.

Nic Naitanui gets a ride above a large pack of players, including Adelaide's Reilly O'Brien
The contest between the two ruckmen was keenly anticipated.(AAP: Darren England)

But the Eagles were red hot in the third quarter, Jack Redden streaking free to goal from 45m, before Darling’s accurate snap was desperately assisted by Liam Ryan, who lunged to knock back in play what looked a certain behind.

That quickfire sequence broke the game open before Brayden Ainsworth kicked his first goal for the Eagles since 2018 to create a 34-point buffer.

The Eagles’ second-straight win took them to 3-3, ensuring a promising end to a Gold Coast hub stay which began ominously with three-successive losses.

Winless this season, Adelaide had spent the week in South Australia but will end a month-long absence from their home stadium next weekend when they host St Kilda.

ABC/AAP



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