Archive for the ‘Ball Sports’ Category

Titans’ Bird, Harrison, Loa Have Charges Dropped

Worst diver in the game, Greg Bird. Image: http://www.news.com.au/sport/nrl/state-of-origin-2015-trevor-gillmeister-fears-fakers-might-decide-match/story-fndv2twz-1227369174577

Gold Coast Titans Players Greg Bird, Beau Falloon, Ashley Harrison, and Kalifa Faifai Loa have had their charges for cocaine possession dismissed in a Southport Magistrates court this week.

The charges were dropped due to lack of evidence.

Magistrate Callaghan said the prosecution had presented no evidence to substantiate intercepted phone conversations between the players and Joseph Touma pertained to cocaine. The prosecution had said the defendants had used a code-word when referring to the substance. McCallum argued that the word used could refer to anything.

But trio Dave Taylor, Joe Vickery, and Jamie Dowling are yet to stand trial for drug charges. Their defence lawyer, Chris McCallum conceded there was a prima facie case against them.

The scandal emerged in March this year, engulfing former and present NRL players.

Bird has a long and tarnished record both on and off the field. But now says he would be ‘honoured’ to captain the Gold Coast Titans (again).

Bird was the co-captain with Manly-bound Nate Myles in 2013-14; but was stripped of his position when he was caught urinating in public, in December of last year.

The dropped charges come as a huge relief to the struggling Gold Coast club. They narrowly avoided the wooden spoon this year and are desperate to organise a successful strategy for the 2016 season.

Whether Bird will play any part in that strategy remains to be seen.

Channel Nine Suspend Andrew Johns

Image: twitter

Didn’t hear the voice of Andrew Johns during the NRL Grand Final? That’s because he wasn’t there.

Fairfax reported that Channel Nine stood Johns down after he was accused of making explicit comments to a mother of three and then passing out in the Toowoomba Wellcomap Airport.

Johns had been in Toowoomba speaking at a lunch at The Spotted Cow, in front of 120 guests.

It is understood the event exceeded its allotted time; but Johns was good enough to stay, sign autographs, and pose for photographs with the crowd.

Johns left the engagement and arrived at the airport at 6:30 pm to catch a 7 pm flight back to Sydney.

While he waited to board the flight he hit the bar.

Helen Wright, 42, posted a message on the Today Show’s Facebook page lashing out at Johns for being ‘severely intoxicated’ and asking to kiss her.

Image: Facebook

Image: Facebook

The post was removed from the Facebook page shortly after it appeared.

“I am a 42 year-old woman that he asked to kiss him.

“When I refused to kiss him and replied I was happily married and had three sons his question to me was ‘why did you have a cesarean birth?’

“Then he proceeded to pass out on the airport floor.”

An airport security officer (who asked not to be named) said, “He (Johns) was full, no doubt about that.”

Mrs Wright was outraged, not only at Johns’ behaviour, but that it was witnessed by families at the airport.

“This is not an example that should be presented to children that were present!” she wrote.

“Many of the children had taken photos of him passed out.”

The photos and comments have gone viral on social media.

Johns has since contacted Mrs Wright and apologised

“I’ve obviously said the wrong thing, which has offended her. I rang her and apologised for that; and she accepted my apology,” said Johns.

But Johns has denied he passed out.

“I was up there for a function and had been up since 5 am. My flight home was delayed three hours last night, so I took myself away into a quiet corner and laid down and had a sleep. No way did I pass out.”

Coca-Cola and McDonalds Call for Blatter to Step Down

Image: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1uW3lwNZas

Coco-Cola has issued a statement calling upon Sepp Blatter to stand down as the FIFA president.

The shock statement was soon echoed by fast food giant McDonalds.

Sepp Blatter has been under criminal investigation by Swiss authorities for a week now. Coca-Cola and McDonalds are concerned their brands may be tarnished by association.

Coca-Cola released the statement “calling for FIFA President Joseph Blatter to step down immediately so that a credible and sustainable reform process can begin in earnest.

“Every day that passes the image and reputation of FIFA continues to tarnish. FIFA needs comprehensive and urgent reform, and that can only be accomplished through a truly independent approach.”

McDonalds chimed in shortly after releasing its own mdeaia statement:
The events of recent weeks have continued to diminish the reputation of FIFA and public confidence in its leadership.

“We (McDonalds) believe it would be in the best interest of the game for FIFA president sepp Blatter to step down immediately so that the reform process can proceed with the credibility that is needed.”

Talking lawyers is one thing Sepp Blatter has been able to control for some time now. But when huge amounts of sponsorship dollars are calling for your head it’s an entirely different game.

But the FIFA president gave his typical response through his lawyers:

“While Coca-Cola is a valued sponsor of FIFA, Mr Blatter respectfully disagrees with tis position and believes firmly that his leaving office now would not be in the best interest of FIFA, nor would it advance the process of reform and therefore, he will not resign,” said Blatter’s New York attorney Richard Cullen in a statement.

Hodges to Play in Grand Final

Hodges image: commons.wikimedia.org

Despite an obvious attack, on the part of Geoff Bellew, Justin Hodges has beaten a grade one dangerous throw charge and will be taking the field this weekend in the NRL Premiership grand finale.

Despite Aiden Guerra admitting to the judiciary that he jumped into the dangerous position to earn his side a penalty, Bellew did all he could to blame Hodges.

“He (Guerra) came here and spoke to the truth,” said Hodges.

“I didn’t ask him to come here and lie. He came here and told the truth.

“I said (to Guerra) after the charge that this is the way I felt about the tackle and if you feel the same you can come (and testify in my defence).”

Guerra did feel the same way. And he did testify in Hodges defence, claiming he milked the penalty by launching himself past the legal position for a tackle.

Asked how he hoped to win the penalty, Guerra answered, “by going above the horizontal – probably not the smartest decision.

“I thought there was a chance to gain a penalty, nothing was going our way. My aim was clear.”

Guerra admitted he “wasn’t thinking about the repercussions, more about the momentum of the game. I was in control of my actions.”

When he was challenged about the dangerousness of the action Guerra replied: “I am still able-bodied.”

Hodges stuck to his story, denying any role in Guerra’s head going into the ground.

But NRL judiciary chairman Geoff Bellew was like a dog with a bone and interjected several times.

“I grabbed the leg to stop his momentum,” said Hodges.

“He jumped out of my hands. I felt him jump. I knew he was going down, so I let go. I turned to the ref and said ‘he jumped.’”

Bellew went fishing: “Did you apply any force to Guerra’s landing?”

Hodges: “No.”

Guerra, “Was Guerra placed in a dangerous position?”

Hodges: “Not by me.”

Bellew became frustrated at this answer. Despite it being true, it wasn’t the answer he sought. Hodges admitted Guerra did go past the horizontal, but stuck to his story that he had no part in doing it.

Eventually the judiciary panel of Bronson Harrison, Chris McKenna, and Royce Ayliffe took 10 minutes to acquit Hodges.

Upon release of the news the Broncos went from $2 outsiders to $1.85 favourites.

Though anybody who knows the two sides will tell you the game is on a knife-edge.

“I Played for the Penalty,” says Guerra

Hodges image: commons.wikimedia.org

The NRL judiciary looks set to determine another Grand Final.

Brisbane Broncos captain Justin Hodges will have his fate decided on Tuesday night, as he and the club look set to defend a grade one dangerous throw for his tackle on Roosters backrower Aidan Guerra.

But it doesn’t look good.

Not because of the tackle – Guerra himself admitts he was off-balance and contributed to the fall that saw him topple past the horizontal – but because Brisbane have only a seven per cent success rate with the blatantly partisan NRL judiciary.

Queenslanders have long known and seen the Sydney judiciary protecting their own – consistently rubbing out players from teams north of the border, while expressing leniency for NSW clubs. It is an outrage that has existed for such a long time it has all but been accepted.

In fact, the last time the Brisbane club had a player exonerated by the NRL judiciary was Karmichael Hunt back in the year 2000 (Hunt has swapped codes three times since then).

The Brisbane club have virtually given up contesting charges, realising the futility of expecting fairness from the judiciary. The last time they fought a charge was in 2013. Just once in 14 attempts has a Bronco’s player been acquitted by the board.

Aidan Guerra has offered to support Hodges at the hearing. In an interview with Fox Sports he was asked if he jumped off the ground as Hodges had suggested? Guerra said: “Yep, it’s a bit like that.

“To be honest, I played for the penalty.

“If I tried my hardest (to resist Hodges and fellow Broncos defender Ben Hunt) I wouldn’t have got spear-tackled, but I got the penalty and I really hope it’s left where it is.”

Jonathon Thurston, Cowboys Captain said, “You want to play the best teams at full strength and he needs to be in that team for it to be at full strength. It would be a sad way to end his career (suspended from the grand final).”

Criminal Proceedings Against Sepp Blatter

Image: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1uW3lwNZas

Swiss investigators have begun criminal proceedings against Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini by searching the former FIFA president’s office while quizzing his UEFA counterpart, Platini.

At the heart of their search is an answer to the legality of a two million dollar payment from Blatter to the French football legend.

“Swiss criminal proceedings against the President of FIFA, Mr. Joseph Blatter, have been opened on September 24, 2015 on suspicion of criminal mismanagement … and – alternatively – misappropriation,” said a statement from the OGA, Switzerland’s Lawyer General’s Office.

Blatter (now 79) is in the process of handing over the reins of the world football governing body amid accusations of corruption.

The Swiss prosecutor said data had been seized and the FIFA President questioned. He is considered a ‘suspect’; while Platini is considered ‘a person called upon to give information’.

Platini, now 60, is the automatic FIFA vice-president as he has been head of UEFA since January 2007.

Blatter was said, by his lawyer Richard Cullen, to be cooperating with the Swiss authorities and that he was confident a review of the evidence would yield ‘no mismanagement occurred.’

The alleged $2.0 million franc ($2.9 million) is thought to have been made in February of 2011 ‘for work performed between January 1999 and June 2002’.

Michael Platini Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Platini

Michael Platini Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Platini

On Friday Platini said the money had been for ‘contractual’ work.

“Concerning the payment that was made to me, I wish to state that this amount relates to work which I carried out under a contract with FIFA,

“I was pleased to have been able to clarify all matters relating to this with the authorities. I also made clear to the Swiss authorities that since I live in Switzerland I am available to speak with them any time to clarify any matters relating to the investigations.”

Blatter is under investigation by US authorities for links with former FIFA vice-resident Jack warner.

It is being alleged that Warner used the Caribbean Football Union as a power base to which Blatter was suspected of contributing.

But Blatter’s lawyer, Cullen, said the contract was ‘properly prepared and negotiated’ by all FIFA staff required for such matters..

Warner is just one of 14 soccer officials and business executives expected to face US prosecutors. It will be alleged they were involved in more than US$150 million in bribes for broadcasting rights and marketing deals.

Twonsville Holds No Fear For Sharks

http://www.nrl.com/nrl-finals-week-two-information/tabid/10874/newsid/89777/default.aspx

North Queensland Cowboy’s coach Paul Green believes the Cronulla Sharks are semi-finals favourites.

His comments come as the two teams prepare for their weekend do-or-die clash in the first round of the finals.

The match will be played in front of a sold out Townsville crowd, with both teams needing to win.

Green admitted the Sharks were the only team to have beaten his side in both games they played against each other this year. They beat the Cowboys 24-18 in June (in Townsville) and in round 22 won again 30-18 at Shark Park.

“They probably deserve to be favourites for this game,” said Green.

“They’ve beaten us twice throughout the year, they have knocked off the Roosters and done well against (the) top four teams.

“They play a tough brand of footy.”

Most recently they demolished the sliding defending premiers, the Roosters; while the Cowboys were beaten by the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium 16-12.

Arguably the most divisive man in the NRL, Paul Gallen said to Sky Sports Radio that playing in front of a sold out Townsville crowd held no fear for his side.

“A few of us were having coffee and speaking about this last week – both places hold no fear for us, whether we had to play in Townsville or Brisbane.

“We were saying how exciting it would be to play in Brisbane in front of 50,000 people.

“And in Townsville it would be more than 20,000 and we’ve had success there; so no, it’s not daunting.”

NRL Furious at Captains’ Snub

NRL Captains Calll imgaes: https://twitter.com/nrl

NRL officials were fuming when three first-grade captains snubbed the annual finals captains’ call.

Melbourne storm captain Cameron Smith missed the engagement for the second year in a row claiming he has a virus. Instead the club sent Ryan Hinchcliffe, who confirmed the news.

“He’s got a little bit of a virus. He didn’t come to training yesterday and today. He is still crook.” But Hinchcliffe assured Storm fans that the captain will be okay when the finals series kicks off.

Other no-shows were Cowboys captain Jonathon Thurston who sited a slight groin injury for his absence.

The club’s co-captain Matt Scott also begged-off with a neck injury.

Veteran backrower Gavin Cooper was sent to replace them both. He said the long flight for the short event was too much of a disruption to both men’s rehab’ and medicos preferred their star playmakers to rest and heal.

Cooper assured Cowboy fans Thurston and Scott should be right to play in time for the finals.

An NRL spokesman said it was ‘disappointing’ that not all captains were able to attend.

NRL Captains Calll imgaes: https://twitter.com/nrl

NRL Captains Calll imgaes: https://twitter.com/nrl

“But we understand that players cannot travel due to illness and injury.

“The clubs involved sent replacement players to ensure they were properly represented at the event.”

Whether the absences are legitimate or calculated snubs the NRL is fast losing credibility among its players, power-brokers, and fans – and this years’ captains call only reinforces that.

Baseball Fan Dies in Freak Accident

Turner field Image: en.wikipedia.org

Major League Baseball, in the US, is in damage control after a fan has fallen to his death at the Turner Field Stadium in Atlanta.

Alex Rodriguez was walking out, in the seventh innings, to take the plate for the Yankees. An as yet unnamed Atlanta Braves fan was yelling at him from a second tier seat. The fan lost his balance, plunging onto the main screen below.

Witnesses say the man was holding onto wires to lean out as far as he could. He fell head first.

Play continued as the incident took place 30 rows back and went unseen by nearly all of the on-field players and officials.

Paramedics rushed to administer first aid. They continued giving him CPR as he was taken to an ambulance which then sped him to hospital. Despite their best efforts he later died.

Fans cordoned off the area and moved young children away from the grisly scene.

Family members were taken to a nearby Braves clubhouse and given counselling.

“None of our family guys got hurt,” said Fredi Gonzaliz, manager of the Atlanta Braves, “other than there were some young children there that got to see stuff that’s not real nice.”

The force of the man’s fall caused the wires and mesh netting to reverberate like a tremor for several seconds.

Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius did see the incident. He was standing on second base following a double when it happened.

“I was thinking about it the whole time,” said Gregorius. “All I can say is my condolences to the family. It was right in front of the camera in the press box. He hit the wires.”

Major League Baseball has said it is reviewing the issue of fan safety. There have been several incidents this season of people being hurt by foul balls and flying bats. This has been the first fan fatality.

Mason on Report After First Tackle

Mason image: https://twitter.com/mase21?lang=en

He has never been known as the sharpest knife in the draw. This week Manly forward Willie Mason showed just how stupid he is.

In his first game back following a two-week suspension for a shoulder charge Mason sunk his shoulder into the Rooster’s prop Dylan Napa in the very first hit-up of the game.

Napa is no shrinking violet. The 109 kg steamroller was met by three Manly defenders, one of whom was Mason.

Mason didn’t even bother to disguise his shoulder charge.

So with only seven seconds of the game gone the Roosters had their first penalty and Mason was once again on report.

Mason has been an outspoken critic of the new shoulder charge rule.

“I’m embarrassed to be a rugby league player at the moment,” he said after the first two week suspension, “with all the rule changes and everything like that.

“It’s a sad day for rugby league really if you have a look at it.

“I’ve seen bigger hits on the weekend in netball.”

And who can argue?

Rugby league is meant to be a hard-man’s game; getting rid of the shoulder charge from league is like outlawing the body check in ice hockey or the blindside hit in NFL.

I suppose we should be thankful the NRL management don’t run Formula One – everyone would have to drive at the speed limit.

Shoulder charge rule: “Is where a defender, without attempting to tackle, grab or hold the ball-carrier (or any opposing player) using the arms or hands, makes direct physical contact using the shoulder or the upper arm (tucked into the side).

“It will be considered misconduct, if any player affects a tackle in the manner as defined.”