February, 2019

Brett Lee tells World Cup hero Shane Watson’s critics to feast on their words

Former Australian pace bowler Brett Lee was adamant Shane Watson had finally silenced his critics after he overcame unfriendly fire from Pakistan’s Wahab Riaz in Friday’s World Cup quarter-final to guide Australia to a six-wicket victory – and a semis berth.
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Lee, who played in Australia’s triumphant 2003 World Cup team, added Watson was the calibre of player the Michael Clarke-led Australians needed if they’re to win their fifth crown, while he admitted it still surprised him the all-rounder was dropped for the qualifier against Afghanistan.

“I think he’s made plenty of people eat their words,” Lee said. “His batting [on Friday] night was one of the best innings I’ve seen under pressure. You need to realise Riaz was bowling serious pace and it was one of the best spells of fast bowling – especially from Pakistan – I’ve seen in a long time.

“That pull shot he played off Riaz [the six] was the shot of the match. Yes, he was dropped [on four] but he [recovered to] provide a steady hand, all because he’s someone who has been in that situation many times before.

“And that’s my point. In Shane Watson we have a bloke who has played [185] one-day internationals and his experience will help Australia go a long way to fulfilling it’s aim to win the World Cup. His innings against Pakistan was a mixture of guts and maturity … he steadied the ship because Australia was under pressure [at 3-59] when he came in.”

Watson finished the quarter-final unbeaten on 64 but he and Riaz were fined by the ICC for their conduct during their explosive duel triggered by the Pakistani tailender being ridiculed by the Australians – including Watson who supposedly asked him “do you have a bat?” – when he struggled against Mitchell Starc.

Riaz was fined 50 per cent of his match fee, Watson 15 per cent of his. The penalty for the Pakistani was the maximum allowed for a level-one charge.

Riaz’s opening delivery to the 33-year-old was a menacing bouncer that the Pakistani followed through in an intimidating manner. He then proceeded to bowl a salvo of bouncers and revelled in Watson’s obvious discomfort with mock applause and later by blowing kisses.

Watson lashed out at Riaz’s ninth delivery with an attempted pull shot but the ball flew off his top edge to fine leg. He was walking towards the dressing room when Rahat Ali fumbled what should’ve been an easy catch. When Watson belted Riaz for six later on in the innings, he greeted the Pakistani’s tirade of expletives with a smile.

Lee said the way in which Watson handled the challenge from Riaz – who hit 150 km/h – added weight to his long-held view that Watson ought to be one of the first picked in Australia’s line-up.

“I don’t know why Shane needs to continually prove himself to the media and to some people,” he said. “It’s unfair he doesn’t get the respect he deserves because he’s a classy player.

“I was shocked when he was dropped for the game against Afghanistan because I thought that was an opportunity to give him time in the middle.

“The way he’s accepted being dropped and accepted being put back in the team has been magnificent. I know people say ‘drop him’ but he proves himself every single time at the Allan Border Medal.

“That’s the test of what a player is worth to the team [because votes are cast by team members] and he’s always up there. Not many can play Test, one-day or T20 cricket, or bat, bowl and field, but he does. He’s a rarity.

“He doesn’t just offer a lot with bat, ball and in the field, but behind the closed doors of the change rooms he works with the young guys as they come through.

“Speak to the players about when they were young guys – Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson and now Josh Hazlewood – and they’ll speak highly of Shane’s presence because he’s willing to pass on the lessons from his own experiences.”

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GWS Giants defender Heath Shaw wants to keep Lance Franklin kickless

GWS player Heath Shaw models the Giants’ 2015 ANZAC Day strip at Manuka Oval. Photo: Matt BedfordSince moving from Collingwood, the two things Heath Shaw’s missed are finals and Anzac Day.
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He’ll tick one of those boxes at Manuka Oval in April and hopes this season Greater Western Sydney will take a step towards the other.

The Giants plan to kick off their 2015 campaign against the Sydney Swans with their final pre-season game at Manuka and the cheeky Shaw hoped Swans forward Lance Franklin helped draw a big crowd – but failed to get a kick.

Shaw played in six Anzac Day clashes for Collingwood against Essendon at the MCG and won the Anzac Medal  as best-on-ground in 2007.

With 18 finals and one premiership under his belt at the Pies, playing in front of 90,000 “lunatics” at the MCG was a regular occurrence for Shaw.

It’s those big games in front of packed houses that Shaw says he’s missed the most.

He’s excited about rekindling the Anzac spirit when the Giants play the Gold Coast Suns at Manuka on Anzac Day next month and he’s confident GWS will take a step this season towards playing finals, after finishing 2014 with two wins from their last three games.

Shaw said they would have one eye on the Swans and the other on St Kilda in round one.

“Coming from a club that played finals nearly every year, to miss out on September action last year was a bit of a weird feeling,” he said.

“I think we have the ability to play finals, but the thing is you have to win a certain amount of games to get there.”

For Shaw it was the moment those screaming fans go quiet as the Last Post sounds that he remembers, and misses, the most.

While the Anzac Day clash at Manuka will be on a smaller scale, he’s still looking forward to the moment when it  goes quiet and the trumpet sends shivers down everyone’s spine.

The Giants will wear a specially designed guernsey for their first Anzac clash, which they hope will become a permanent fixture on the AFL calendar.

“It’s amazing, obviously the Last Stand is something that’s very unique, you’ve got 90,000 people coming to watch the game usually screaming and being lunatics and they’re all silent for the Last Post,” Shaw said.

“It’s an amazing feeling and it’s great to be involved in.

“Everyone gets excited about the game, excited gets excited about playing on such a big occasion and hopefully these young boys take it in and enjoy the day.”

Shaw will slot into the Giants defence  with the job of trying to stop arguably the best forward in the AFL.

Franklin finished second in the 2014 Brownlow Medal and was the Coleman Medal in a year he helped the Swans to the grand final.

“He’s a drawcard, the people of Canberra probably haven’t gotten the opportunity to see him play,” he said.

“It’ll be good for them and hopefully he doesn’t get a kick, to be brutally honest.

“We’ve got a few young key defenders that want to have a crack at one of the best forwards in the land.”

NAB CHALLENGE

Sunday: GWS Giants v Sydney Swans at Manuka Oval, 1.10pm. Tickets available from Ticketek.

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Southern stars in the frame for lucrative women’s Twenty20 league

Some of Australia’s best female cricketers including Alex Blackwell, Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry and Alyssa Healy, are expected to be targeted to compete in an international women’s T20 competition planned for Asia next year and could allow them to earn as much as $US40,000 in 10 days.
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In the week when the triumphant NSW Breakers were honoured at Government House by NSW Governor David Hurley for winning their 10th consecutive national league title, news emerged the Women’s International Cricket League [WICL], a privately run organisation, planned to be launched in either Singapore or Hong Kong in 2016.

The WICL, headed by Australian businessman Shaun Martyn and former Australian player Lisa Sthalekar, intend to recruit the world’s top 78 players to compete in a tournament that would include triple-headers and line-ups consisting of stars from the major cricket nations playing alongside recruits from Nepal, USA, Hong Kong,Thailand, China, Bhutan and Singapore.

Martyn, who has been working on the project for the past two years, insisted he was not launching a Kerry Packer World Series Cricket-like raid and revealed his desire was to work with the International Cricket Council to help women’s cricket attain a similar profile to female golf and tennis.

“Everything we do is built around opportunity,education and performance,” he said. “All the WICL is trying to do is create an opportunity for the women where one doesn’t exist.

“We have ongoing discussions with the ICC and we’re working closely with boards around the world to ensure they understand what we’re doing. From day one we’ve made it clear we want to work within the system and provide a percentage of our profits to the ICC for the development of the women’s game.

“They view us with some trepidation because we’re private but the people in our organisation – Lisa, Geoff Lawson, Tony Wright from Oracle (software), myself,  Paul Harvey – we’ve all had a long history in cricket and we’re definitely not at a rebel standpoint.”

Cricket Australia plans to launch its Women’s Big Bash T20 League and while the nation’s top players recently received improved contracts Martyn was adamant he offered “additional opportunity” and not “competition” to the governing bodies.

“I strongly believe we have to create a proper product around women’s cricket,” he said. “We genuinely believe we can do what’s been done for women’s golf and tennis with cricket because the quality of the athlete, the quality of the human involved, is unbelievable.”

Sthalekar, who retired as one of the sport’s best players after she helped Australia win the 2013 World Cup, said female players deserved the same opportunity as their male counterparts.

“The males get to play in T20 tournaments around the globe but the girls don’t have that opportunity,” she said. “Cricket Australia is leading the way in the domestic competition where we’ve seen international players come in and there’s also the Women’s Big Bash League they’ve mooted to get up and running.

“We’re proposing a unique, high-performance environment and while we want the best of the best a player from an associate country would play alongside an Ellyse Perry, a Suzie Bates or Charlotte Edwards and that can only be good.”

On Thursday night the 36 players who represented the Breakers during their triumphant decade became the first women’s team honoured at Government House when they were presented with pendants provided by Cricket NSW to commemorate their 10 consecutive WNCL titles.

“Because of that success you are [to young cricketers] their heroes and I know for many of you that title doesn’t sit easily – but you truly are,” said CNSW chairman, John Warn.

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Afghanistan veterans receive hero’s welcome in Brisbane parade

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 21: Crowds watch almost 3000 veterans and families and loved ones of veterans from Operation Slipper march through Brisbane’s CBD on Saturday March 21, 2015 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Michelle Smith/Fairfax Media) Photo: Michelle Smith Six-year-old Lachlan Skillen and dad Shane watch almost 3000 veterans of Operation Slipper march through Brisbane’s CBD on Saturday. Photo: Michelle Smith
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More than 3000 veterans of Australia’s military campaign in Afghanistan were given a hero’s welcome in Brisbane on Saturday morning.

The 14-year military operation resulted in the deaths of 41 ADF members, with hundreds more suffering injuries, both physical and psychological.

The scorn their predecessors who served in Vietnam faced upon their return was nowhere to be seen.

Instead, they were greeted with waving Australian flags and signs expressing a nation’s gratitude.

In one of  a series of such parades held across Australia, the Operation Slipper veterans from all Australia’s defence forces marched though the CBD streets under an overcast sky.

A police spokesman said more than 5000 people lined the streets to watch the returned servicemen and women – and a sheep – march through the city.

The sheep, Stan the Ram, was the mascot for the Enoggera-based 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment.

A planned flyover of three RAAF C-17 Globemasters had to be cancelled for operational reasons, believed to be the ongoing aid effort to cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu.

However, two Black Hawk helicopters did provide some aerial support for the troops on the ground.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk attended, along with Governor Paul de Jersey, Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk and federal Attorney-General George Brandis

“I especially want to acknowledge the families with us today, who pay the ultimate sacrifice with the loss of a loved one, killed in action during Operation Slipper,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Parades were held in every capital city, as well as Townsville, across Australia on Saturday morning.

Operation Slipper began in October 2001 and formally ended on December 31 last year.

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Storm strikes Brisbane

A radar image of the storm cell hitting Brisbane. Photo: Bureau of MeteorologyBrisbane has been drenched by an afternoon storm that saw more than 80 millimetres fall in some parts of south-east Queensland.
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Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Michael Knepp said most of the heaviest rain fell south of the inner-city.

“Slacks Creek had 80 millimetres and we had other places between 70 and 80 (millimetres) in the southern parts of Brisbane,” he said.

“Brisbane itself had 60-odd millimetres and Mt Nebo is up to 86 millimetres.”

But while the heavens opened, there were no reports of destructive wind or hail.

“It was only really rain,” he said.

At 2.20pm, heavy rain was falling in Brisbane’s CBD, reducing visibility and knocking out satellite reception.Captain cook bridge #bnestormpic.twitter南京夜网/1p5hPpdvA3 — Will (@Wilpy1) March 21, 2015

A Queensland Fire and Emergency Service spokeswoman said they had received 13 calls for assistance from people in the Logan area.

The QFES also called for patience if State Emergency Service personnel were required.

“Most SES tasks are not quick jobs, and often extensive work and time is required to attend to storm damage,” it said in a statement.

“The public is asked to remember that the SES is made up of volunteers dedicated to helping others and will always put the safety of its volunteers first during adverse weather conditions.”We regret to advise that today’s Strikers v @brisbaneroar games have been POSTPONED due to heavy rain inundating Perry Park. #PS4NPLQLD — Brisbane Strikers (@BneStrikers) March 21, 2015This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.