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SportsDay Live, Friday March 15, 2013

Date

Shane Watson a dad, will he head back to India? Dogs tough it out against Eels, footballers' bad hair days.

NRL. Parramatta Eels vs Canterbury Bulldogs. ANZ Stadium.
Bulldogs score in the corner
Thursday 14th March, 2013
Photos: Anthony Johnson

Dog in ... Josh Reynolds scores last night. Des Haser was an unhappy winner, Ricky Stuart a happy loser. Click here to read why. Photo: Anthony Johnson

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And here's the winner of the worst hair in football award ... Drumroll please ... 

The winner of the Top 10 worst haircuts from the wacky world of football is ...

1. Abel Xavier. The Portuguese suicide blond formerly of Liverpool and Middlesbrough caused paroxysms of laughter whenever he hit the peroxoide before hitting the pitch. Shame he didn’t get around to harvesting that last corn row in the middle. 

Rope a dope: Abel Xavier has  more of an installation than a hairstyle.

Rope a dope: Abel Xavier has more of an installation than a hairstyle.

SportsDay Live. That's it from us today ... Cricket fans, log on to the Third Test blog for all the action from Mohali. Yes, there will be action today. No rain. Stephen Samuelson is at the controls 

Click here to go to the cricket blog

Tonight we'll be blogging the Waratahs-Cheetahs match, the NAB Cup final between Carlton and Brisbane, as well as the biggest thing to happen in Wollongong since Stanley the Steel Avenger hung up his mascot's uniform, the St George Illawarra v Brisbane NRL clash.

Tomorrow's blog action includes the third day of the second Test, the Reds-Force Super Rugby clash and the Warriors v Roosters in the NRL.

And on Sunday, there's day four of the cricket (it should go that far) and two NRL matches - Titans v Raiders plus Manly v Newcastle

And of course, SportsDay Live will be back on Monday morning at 830 with another busy week of sport, sport and more sport.

Figure skating. As it stands, 75% of SportsDay Live readers believe figure skating is not a sport, which obviously settles that issue for all time. Thanks to those who voted.

Cricket. Australia have won the toss and will bat in Mohali. India have dropped Harbhajan Singh and brought in left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha.

Rugby. Quade Cooper must have been reading our top 10 list of hairstyles ... he is a fan of Will Genia's new look ...

On this day in 1987Larry Gomes, Joel Garner and Jeremy Coney retired from Test cricket, and it was the New Zealand captain who had the last laugh as the Kiwis upset the mighty West Indies at Christchurch. The Kiwis needed 33 to win in the final innings but lost five wickets along the way, fittingly Garner took the last one to fall when he dismissed Coney for two. Here comes the Big Bird ... 

MICHAEL CHAMMAS: League. Rabbitohs v the mighty Sharks, Monday 7pm ... Now that the emotion of the drug scandal has abated, Cronulla’s first real test will be against arguably the most impressive team of the opening round. It will be the match that defines what sort of impact the Sharks will have this year. If they can overcome the off-field drama and defeat the premiership heavyweights, they’ll prove they have the resolve and drive to compete in September. But if they crash and burn under the lights at Homebush, it could be the start of a long and painful year for the boys from the Shire. Their game plan will revolve around limiting Adam Reynolds’ time with the ball, shutting down Issac Luke and somehow containing Greg Inglis. If they can unsettle Reynolds’ kicking game, they’ll go a long way to making it back-to-back wins.

League. Good on ya, Parra ... 

MICHAEL CHAMMAS: League. Manly v Knights, Sunday 630pm ... Just when it seemed you had every right to discard the Sea Eagles, they produce a performance like they did against the Broncos last Friday night to remind everybody that they will again be a force in this year’s competition. Kieran Foran and Daly Cherry-Evans were unable to reach the lofty heights last year that they set  in 2011 when they led their side to grand final glory. But after an off-season with Andrew Johns, the pair seem to have gone to another level under the immortal’s tutelage. They’ll need to put in another strong showing if they are to overcome a red-hot Newcastle on Sunday. They were clinical in all they did against Wests Tigers and look to have the right blend of youth, experience, speed and size to trouble the best of sides.

Ekaterina Riazanova and Ilia Tkachenko, of Russia, perform during the ice dance short dance at the World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ontario.

Ekaterina Riazanova and Ilia Tkachenko, of Russia, perform during the ice dance short dance at the World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ontario. Photo: AP

Figure skating ... No, this is not the annual World Wife-Carrying Competition ... 

MICHAEL CHAMMAS: League. Tigers v Panthers 3pm Sunday ... The Tigers will be seething after their 32-point thrashing at the hands of Newcastle on Monday night. Coach Mick Potter has named the same team that took the field in round one, showing faith in the players who  defended so poorly at Hunter Stadium. They will be up against a Panthers side that surprised many with its first-up victory against the Raiders. While it was obvious Ivan Cleary’s side lacked a strike weapon on the edges, its forwards laid a solid platform for the halves to dictate the tone of the match against a hapless Canberra side. Penrith haven’t got the roster to blow teams off the paddock but if they can learn to play for 80 minutes and grind out games, they’ll win more matches than most anticipated before the season.

Figure skating. Your morning SportsDay Live blogger Shane Brady has just sent me a message saying "blessed are the figure skaters" ... Not sure if he's being serious or sarcastic but it's a written warning from management either way.

Alisa Agafonova and Alper Ucar of Turkey perform during the Ice Dance Short Dance at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ontario.

Alisa Agafonova and Alper Ucar of Turkey perform during the Ice Dance Short Dance at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ontario. Photo: Reuters

Figure skating. Not sure of the correct title for this one, perhaps the "Look Mum, no hands"? ... 

Motor sport. No points were up for grabs in the opening V8 Supercars race at the non-championship Australian Grand Prix round in Melbourne on Friday. But victory still tasted sweet for Fabian Coulthard - and no wonder. Nine years after first dabbling in touring cars Coulthard toasted his maiden win, with Holden teammate Jason Bright sealing a dream one-two finish for Brad Jones Racing. Ford's Will Davison was third.

Read the full story here

League. Raiders winger Sandor Earl has his say on the Josh Dugan dramas ... 

Here's the ice dancing version of tunnelball or is it leapfrog ... Irina Shtork and Taavi Rand of Estonia perform during the Ice Dance Short Dance at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ontario.

Here's the ice dancing version of tunnelball or is it leapfrog ... Irina Shtork and Taavi Rand of Estonia perform during the Ice Dance Short Dance at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ontario. Photo: Reuters

Basketball. Patty Mills got the old DNP-coach's decision, maybe that's why the Spurs only just beat the Dallas Mavericks 92-91 in San Antonio. Ageless veteran Tim Duncan was the star with 28 points and 19 rebounds while another player who continues to defy Father Time, Dirk Nowitzki tallied 21 & 11 for the Mavs.

Cricket. New Zealand will need plenty of grit, application, a stout forward defence and a few attacking shots from their batsmen against England at wundy Willington after the Poms made 465 in the first innings of the 2nd Test. Nick Compton (100) and Jonathan Trott (121) were the top scorers while Matt Prior added 82. Black Caps left-arm spinner (No, it's not Daniel Vettori) Bruce Martin was the best bowler with 4-130 from 48 overs.

Football. Good news for Sydney FC fans. If we were the types who encourage gambling, we'd say PUT THE HOUSE ON THEM to beat the Melbourne Victory tomorrow. Victory midfielder Marcos Flores will miss their A-League clash with Sydney FC due to back soreness. He was unable to train ahead of tomorrow night’s match in Sydney. Meanwhile, left back Adam Traore's season is over with his ankle likely to require surgery.

Anyone seen my merkin? Brazilian star Ronaldo turned heads at the 2002 World Cup.

Anyone seen my merkin? Brazilian star Ronaldo turned heads at the 2002 World Cup. Photo: Getty Images

If you're having a bad hair day, here's the next instalment from our Top 10 worst haircuts from the wacky world of football to make you feel better ...

2. Ronaldo. The “fat one”, according to Fergie, lit up world football with Brazil before the two Ronnies (Ronaldinho and Cristiano), some trannies and too many hamburguesas took over. This look left many scratching their heads en route to the World Cup in 2002. 

Cricket. NSW are in deep trouble at the SCG, losing five quick wickets to be 6-108 at lunch on day two of their Sheffield Shield clash with South Australia. Chasing the Redbacks' total of 182, NSW will have Trent Copeland (10) and Stephen O'Keefe (10) at the crease after they polish off their lunch-time treats.

Rugby. Congrats to Western Force forward Matt Hodgson and his wife Jo ... 

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Del Piero speaks ahead of Victory clash

Alessandro Del Piero from his press conference ahead of Sydney FC's match with Melbourne Victory on Saturday.

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Figure skating. Today we're going to settle the debate once and for all - is this prancing about one ice a legitimate sport. Exercise your democratic right to vote with our excluuuuusive poll.

Poll: Is figure skating a sport?

Poll form
  1. Please select an answer.
  2. View results
Yes - it is an athletic contest full of skill & stamina

27%

No - anything which needs costumes & music is a performance, not a sport

73%

Total votes: 85.

Would you like to vote?

You will need Cookies enabled to use our Voting Feature.

Disclaimer:

These polls are not scientific and reflect the opinion only of visitors who have chosen to participate.

This is the "Come here and give me a kiss" ... Madison Chock and Evan Bates, of the United States, perform during the ice dance short dance at the World Figure Skating Championships  in London, Ontario.

This is the "Come here and give me a kiss" ... Madison Chock and Evan Bates, of the United States, perform during the ice dance short dance at the World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ontario. Photo: AP

Rugby. Old man Gregan's still on the move ... 

League. Check out the Illawarra Mercury dynamic duo Adam Pengilly & Tim Barrow & their weekly video show about the Dragons and all things rugby league ... 

If you're having a bad hair day, here's the next instalment from our Top 10 worst haircuts from the wacky world of football to make you feel better ...

3. Djibril Cisse. A serial offender, Cisse once played for Liverpool but now features for QPR. The French striker was also considered for the role of Dr Zaius in the Planet of the Apes remake before joining the struggling Rs. 

The Djibril: French striker Djibril Cisse is a hair fashion pioneer for want of a better word.

The Djibril: French striker Djibril Cisse is a hair fashion pioneer for want of a better word.

League. Veteran North Queensland centre Brent Tate says it will take a ‘‘Storm-like’’ effort to beat premiers Melbourne in Saturday night’s second-round NRL clash in Townsville. It was the ultimate compliment from 31-year-old Tate, who’s played many of his State of Origin games for Queensland alongside Melbourne’s big three Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk.  ‘‘Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk are the best in the business at exposing edges so it’s a huge job for us defensively but we’ll be up for the challenge. You know what Billy and Cooper and those guys are going to do, stopping them is a different story.‘‘We’ll have to deep deep, do all the little things right and put in a real Storm-like performance because that’s what they’re great at doing to other teams.’’

Surfing. Mick Fanning is officially in the good books ...

Cricket. WICKET. Gary Putland gets Peter Nevill out and the Blues are now 6 down & in big strife.

Cricket. Day two of Australia’s third cricket Test against India in Mohali is due to start half an hour early at 2.30pm Australian eastern time after yesterday’s washout. A fine day is expected with a top of 28 degrees. Australia have made four changes, with wicketkeeper Matthew Wade ruled out because of an ankle injury. Steve Smith, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin return to the side.

Cricket. Victorian openers Rob Quiney and Chris Rodgers have put on a century stand to have their side 0-108 near lunch on day two of the Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania at Bellerive. Quiney is unbeaten on 54 and Rogers 52 as the Bushrangers chase the home side’s declared first innings of 6-369.

Cricket. NSW have suffered a major collapse at the SCG, losing four for 15 to be five for 94 nearing lunch on day two of their Sheffield Shield clash with South Australia. Chasing the Redbacks' total of 182, NSW need a further 89 runs to claim first innings points. Chadd "Leo" Sayers has claimed three wickets and Gary Putland has two scalps, while in the middle for the Blues at the moment is Trent Copeland on nine and Peter Nevill on two.

Pernelle Carron and Lloyd Jones compete for France during the Ice Dance Short Program at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ontario.

Pernelle Carron and Lloyd Jones compete for France during the Ice Dance Short Program at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ontario. Photo: AFP

Figure skating. This one is the "pretend you're falling off a horse" ... or perhaps it's the "auditioning for a B-grade scary movie". Not sure

Townsville's Patrick Reidy in action during the NBL round 13 match between the Melbourne Tigers and the Crocodiles in 2002.

Townsville's Patrick Reidy in action during the NBL round 13 match between the Melbourne Tigers and the Crocodiles in 2002.

On this day in 1971 … basketballer Pat Reidy was born in Melbourne. An effective forward at both ends of the floor, he represented Australia at the 1996 Olympics and tallied 467 NBL games in his lengthy club career, which finished with a successful six-year stint at Townsville where he later became the team’s chief executive. 

MICHAEL CHAMMAS: League. Titans v Raiders, Sunday 2pm AEDT The Titans were arguably the best losing side of round one. They produced a gutsy display against the Cronulla Sharks in an emotion-charged match at Sharks Stadium. They were willing to get in the grind and match it with the Sharks’ forwards, but lacked the strike power out wide to land the killer blow. The Albert Kelly-Aidan Sezer halves combination showed plenty of promise and will only get better with time. It’s unclear what effect the sacking of Josh Dugan and suspension handed down to Blake Ferguson will have on the Raiders, but there’s no doubting the ability of Dugan’s replacement. Reece Robinson’s performances filling in for Dugan in the past have been impressive and it’s unlikely the Raiders will lose too much at the back without their representative No.1.

Viktoria Kavaliova and Yurii Bieliaiev of Belarus perform during the Ice Dance Short Dance at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ontario.

Viktoria Kavaliova and Yurii Bieliaiev of Belarus perform during the Ice Dance Short Dance at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ontario. Photo: Reuters

Figure skating. Rampaging Roy Slaven & HG Nelson famously/infamously coined the term Hello Boys for the Greco-Roman wrestling at the Sydney Olympics, is this the ice dancing equivalent? ...

If you're having a bad hair day, here's the next instalment from our Top 10 worst haircuts from the wacky world of football to make you feel better ...

4. Carlos Valderrama. Valderrama is Spanish for “Hair Bear”, and this freak of nature was often mistaken for a wattle tree in full bloom when anchoring the midfield for the great Colombian side of the ’90s. Like a car crash, we can’t look but can’t look away.

Not a wattle tree: Colombia's Carlos Valderrama.

Not a wattle tree: Colombia's Carlos Valderrama.

Motor sport. Vrrrrrrrrrrooooooooooooooom. The first Formula One practice session for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix is underway at Albert Park. Drivers will have two 90-minute sessions before qualifying tomorrow. Red Bull and Ferrari are expected to be among the pacesetters although poor conditions during winter testing in Spain has left all teams with little idea of where they will be on the grid.

PAUL SUTTOR: Basketball. Am not happy about Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving going down injured for three weeks, ruined my run at the top of my fantasy NBA league. Looks like I'll have to settle for second spot.

Only two games on the schedule today ... the Spurs are up 66-57 with three minutes left in the third quarter against Dallas at San Antonio.

In the late game, New York Knicks are on the road to Portland. Our resident NY fans Paul Zalunardo says, and I quote, "the Knicks are finished. As they say in the classics, they are doomed" in a clear reference to the classic Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom from the 1980s which was somehow snubbed for the Best Picture gong at the Academy Awards.

Football. Manchester United winger Ashley Young has warned title rivals Manchester City there is no chance his team of serial winners will falter with the English Premier League crown within touching distance. Young and his United teammates return to league action against manager-less Reading at Old Trafford on Saturday determined to get back on track after a pair of frustrating setbacks. ‘‘When you move to a club like United, you look at the trophy cabinet and what they have won. In the dressing room everybody is a born winner. The manager gives you that belief to win every game and win trophies.‘‘At a club like Manchester United winning is a habit. You go into every game wanting to win and there is a disappointment when you don’t do it, and that includes during training.‘‘Even there it is the same winning mentality you take that on to the pitch in games.’’

Party at the back: England cult hero and pop star Chris Waddle.

Party at the back: England cult hero and pop star Chris Waddle.

If you're having a bad hair day, here's the next instalment from our Top 10 worst haircuts from the wacky world of football to make you feel better ...

5. Chris Waddle. From the decade that style forgot comes the elegant (from the neck down),  all business at the front and party at the back. The Geordie was a cult figure in the ’80s, having graduated from a sausage factory to become an England stalwart back when they were good. Sadly we were unable to find a video clip of England’s 1986 World Cup song , one of the biggest schools of mullets ever recorded on dry land. But here he is flying solo.

 

Football. Too easy, Aloisi. Melbourne Heart coach John Aloisi has implored his inconsistent players to show some fight as their A-League season goes on the line against Western Sydney at AAMI Park tomorrow. Aloisi has forecast changes to the line-up after two recent limp performances with skipper Fred likely to win a recall to the starting side after overcoming a hamstring injury. Aloisi's men still have a massive challenge even to make the finals, while their opponents can all but seal the minor premiership to cap a stunning debut season.

On this day in 1991 …  Sergey Bubka (Gee, Bruce McAvaney loved saying his name) breaks his own world indoor pole vault record by clearing 6.11 metres at a meeting in Donetsk, a city in his homeland Ukraine.  He raised that mark to 6.15m in the same city two years later, a record that still stands today. Check out this footage of that epic leap … 

MICHAEL CHAMMAS: League. Cowboys v Storm tomorrow at 730pm AEDT ... This could potentially be a grand final dress rehearsal. The Cowboys have been in the mix  for a couple of seasons and if they are to improve this year and be considered genuine title contenders, they must win games like this Saturday night’s clash with the Storm in Townsville. The reigning premiers did enough to get the points against the Dragons, but a similar performance won’t be enough to overcome the Cowboys, who have one of the most formidable forward packs in the competition. Johnathan Thurston will rise to the challenge of taking on his Queensland and Australian teammates Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater and Cameron Smith, but he needs Matt Bowen to fire if the Cowboys are to notch consecutive wins to start the year.

I call this part of the routine the "There's a good girl" ... Julia Zlobina and Alexei Sitnikov compete for Azerbaijan during the Ice Dance Short Program at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ontario, Canada.

I call this part of the routine the "There's a good girl" ... Julia Zlobina and Alexei Sitnikov compete for Azerbaijan during the Ice Dance Short Program at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ontario, Canada. Photo: AFP

Is this a sport? The expressions on their face suggest they're stunned people have come to watch ... Julia Zlobina and  Alexei Sitnikov, of Azerbaijan, perform during the ice dance short dance at the World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ontario.

Is this a sport? The expressions on their face suggest they're stunned people have come to watch ... Julia Zlobina and Alexei Sitnikov, of Azerbaijan, perform during the ice dance short dance at the World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ontario. Photo: AP

Figure skating. Today we're going to settle the debate once and for all - is this prancing about one ice a legitimate sport. Exercise your democratic right to vote with our excluuuuusive poll.

Poll: Is figure skating a sport?

Poll form
  1. Please select an answer.
  2. View results
Yes - it is an athletic contest full of skill & stamina

27%

No - anything which needs costumes & music is a performance, not a sport

73%

Total votes: 85.

Would you like to vote?

You will need Cookies enabled to use our Voting Feature.

Disclaimer:

These polls are not scientific and reflect the opinion only of visitors who have chosen to participate.

STEPHEN SAMUELSON: Rugby. More on busted legs. Wallabies breakaway David Pocock last night underwent a two-hour procedure to repair the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee in Brisbane. Pocock is now expected to be sidelined for a period of up to nine months as he completes his rehabilitation. “I’m pleased to have the surgery out of the way. Now I need to rest up and get myself ready to start the rehabilitation process. The key thing is that I’m patient and don’t try to rush back.“If that means season over, in terms of playing any more rugby this year, then so be it. Once I get into the rehabilitation, we’ll see how it goes.”

On this day in 1953 …  one of the meanest West Indies pacemen of all time was born in Guyana. Colin Croft took 8-29 in his second Test, which is still the best all-time innings return by a Windies paceman, and is also remembered for hating batsmen with an absolute passion. A gentle giant off the field, he also didn’t care too much for umpires, as evidenced by his infamous “collision” with Kiwi umpire Fred Goodall in 1980. 

MICHAEL CHAMMAS: League.  Warriors v Roosters tomorrow 530pm AEDT. If the Warriors dish out what they did against Parramatta in round one, they’ll be booed off Eden Park and Sonny Bill Williams’ return to New Zealand will be a successful one for the dual international. This will be coach Matthew Elliott’s first time in charge of the Warriors at home, with the former Penrith boss desperate to earn some admirers in his first year in charge of the most enigmatic football team in the competition. A lot of pressure falls squarely on the shoulders of Shaun Johnson, who hasn’t lived up to the potential he showed when he guided the Warriors to the grand final in 2011. Roosters five-eighth James Maloney will play his first game against his former club.

Rugby. Broken legs are normally the domain of players on the rugby field, but French referee Mathieu Raynal suffered a double fracture of his tibia and fibula, a broken collarbone and a sprained left ankle while officiating the Top 14 match between Montpellier and Racing Metro last wekeend. There is one plus to the incident. He has no memory of it. ‘‘Do not ask me how it happened, I do not really remember anything,’’ he told The Independent

 

Bulldogs beat Eels (Video Thumbnail) Click to play video

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Bulldogs beat Eels

Canterbury Bulldogs beat Parramatta Eels 20-16 in a try-fest on Thursday.

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Shawn Stefani plays a shot on the 5th hole during the first round of the Tampa Bay Championship at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club.

Shawn Stefani plays a shot on the 5th hole during the first round of the Tampa Bay Championship at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club. Photo: AFP

Golf. Tour rookie Shawn Stefani had six birdies en route to a six-under 65 to seize a two-shot lead after the opening round of the $5.32 million Tampa Bay Championship. The 31-year-old American is coming off a season-best tie for 39th at the Puerto Rico Open last week. Brian Harman posted a bogey on his final hole and is alone in second at four-under 67 on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club. Two-time champion K.J. Choi, of South Korea, and Fiji’s 2004 winner Vijay Singh both carded two-under 69s. They are in a group of eight alongside Australian Geoff Ogilvy, Peter Tomasulo, Dicky Pride, Lucas Glover, Chez Reavie and Roberto Castro. Australians Marc Leishman and Jason Day are a further shot back on one-under 70.

Cricket. Play is starting half an hour early today at Mohali so the blog will start at 230pm AEDT!!!! Unlike 3pm which i posted a few minutes ago. Many apologies

MICHAEL CHAMMAS: League. Dragons v Broncos tonight ... St George Illawarra had a better completion rate than Melbourne  last week but still went down to the premiers. If the Dragons can show similar discipline against Brisbane, who were weak in defence in the second half against Manly, they’ll score plenty of points. The Broncos started so well in their opening-round clash with the Sea Eagles but fell into a heap in the latter stages. Scott Prince, who finds himself in the No.6 jersey, has to be the playmaker who creates rather than directs, with Peter Wallace assuming those duties. This is a big game for Dragons halfback Nathan Fien, who would begin to feel the pressure for his position if his side was to start the year with back-to-back losses.

Sun-Herald sports editor Paul Suttor here, chiming into the backline after Shane Brady has taken the ball up the middle, given 100% and broken the defensive line wide open.

As always, there's plenty happening in the world of sport and don't forget we've got the live blog of the 3rd Test against India at Mohali starting at 3pm AEDT and the forecast is much better today ... not sure if that's a good or bad thing for the Aussie team.

Rugby: Wallabies and Brumbies flanker David Pocock last night underwent a two-hour operation to repair the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee in Brisbane.

Pocock is expected to be sidelined for up to nine months as he completes his rehabilitation.

“I’m pleased to have the surgery out of the way,” he said.

“Now I need to rest up and get myself ready to start the rehabilitation process. The key thing is that I’m patient and don’t try to rush back. If that means season over, in terms of playing any more rugby this year, then so be it. Once I get into the rehabilitation, we’ll see how it goes.”

Cricket: In Hobart, Tasmania declared their first innings closed on their overnight score of 6-369 before play on day two against Victoria at Bellerive.

Ricky Ponting - remember him? - top-scored with 104 on day one of the Sheffield Shield clash, with Mark Cosgrove making 81 and Jonathan Wells an unbeaten 71.

Spinner Fawad Ahmed was the Bushrangers’ best bowler with 2-86.

The Tigers are searching for an outright victory to stay in contention for next week’s final, while a win for Victoria would all but secure them hosting rights.

Motor sport: New Zealand’s Fabian Coulthard has claimed victory in the V8 Supercars’ opening race at the Australian Grand Prix.

Coulthard savoured a career first V8 win with Holden teammate Jason Bright second and Ford’s Will Davison third.

The second 12-lap, 30-minute race starts at 2.20pm.

Cricket: NSW have successfully navigated a testing opening hour on day two of their Sheffield Shield clash with South Australia to be 1-48.

The Blues need another 135 runs to claim first innings points, and have Scott Henry not out 28 and Daniel Hughes unbeaten on nine.

If you're having a bad hair day, here's the next instalment from our Top 10 worst haircuts from the wacky world of football to make you feel better ...

6. Neymar. The Brazilian wunderkind with the ever-changing but consistently bad hair has taken the sucked mango/fauxhawk look to new heights, literally, but the Alice band was a nice touch.

Defies description and gravity: Brazilian hairdresser freqeunter Neymar.

Defies description and gravity: Brazilian hairdresser freqeunter Neymar.

League: It's a big night on the Illawarra with the Dragons hosting the Broncos in round 2.

Join our colleagues at the Mercury, Adam Pengilly and Tim Barrow, for their NRL preview video Kick-Off.

Watch it here

Football: Racism reared its ugly head in Italy again, as Tottenham players were the targets during their Europa League tie at Inter Milan.

Despite the 4-1 defeat on Thursday, an extra-time goal from Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor sent the north London club to the quarter-finals on away goals at the San Siro after winning 3-0 at White Hart Lane in the first leg.

Striker Adebayor and fullback Kyle Naughton were targeted by racist chants, which were confirmed by coach Andre Villas-Boas afterwards.

‘‘Chants were very, very easy to hear,’’ Villas-Boas said.

He called on UEFA to take action.

Rugby: The stage is set for an almighty tussle in the Six Nations as Wales try to stop England from achieveing a grand slam if this is anything to go by ...

Winger George North revealed his view of the feelings of Wales fans going into Saturday's in Cardiff.

"You try to keep a cool head and you try to maintain calm and focus," he said. "But everyone you see on the street is saying, 'Make sure you smash their heads in!' "

North says the rivalry between the neighbouring nations means Wales fans want victory but not without "a bloodbath".

Read the full story here

Tennis: Sixth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych became the first player to reach the men’s semi-finals at the Indian Wells Masters in California, beating Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4.

Berdych will play the winner of tonight’s blockbuster quarter-final between defending champion Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Nadal, the 11-time grand slam champion and former world No.1 who is playing his fourth tournament since a seven-month injury absence, leads their career head-to-head 18-10.

Flyaways: Life in a world before product was tough for Bobby Charlton.

Flyaways: Life in a world before product was tough for Bobby Charlton.

Meanwhile here is the next contender from our Top 10 worst haircuts from the world of football.

7. Bobby Charlton. We’ve combed the archives and came across this slick but not very aerodynamic offering from the Manchester United icon, which came comically unstuck whenever he went up for a header. Nothing a lick and a spit couldn’t fix, eh Bobby.    

Big Red: Ed Quirk sports a mullet.

Big Red: Ed Quirk sports a mullet.

Rugby: Georgina Robinson has chimed in with a contender for Top 10 bad haircuts from Ed Quirk at the Queensland Reds, appropriately. This is the most recent pic we have but he has since added a tache to the mullet ensemble, as you do. 

League: Parramatta's Darcy Lussick has been charged with a grade one careless tackle for his high shot on Dale Finucane in last night's match against the Bulldogs.

Cricket: Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has backed Shane Watson as a team player, and says high performance manager Pat Howard would regret comments he made about the axed Test star.

Ponting has described team management’s decision to stand down four players for their off-field behaviour as drastic but justified but says Australia need Watson, James Pattinson, Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Johnson back in the side as soon as possible.

League: Canberra Raiders star David Shillington doesn't hold back on the Josh Dugan saga in his Shillo Talk blog today ...

"This week has been a circus and, to be honest, I'm just happy it's over.

Thursday's decision by the Raiders board was the appropriate action; as a senior playing group we directly supported it ..."

Football: Melbourne Heart are likely to ring the changes for tomorrow's clash with Western Sydney Wanderers at AAMI Park.

With their A-League season on the line, Heart coach John Aloisi has implored his inconsistent players to show some fight against the Wanderers after two recent limp performances.

Skipper Fred is likely to win a recall to the starting side after making a return from a hamstring injury through the bench.

Aloisi’s men still have a massive challenge even to make the finals, while their opponents can all but seal the premiers’ plate to cap a stunning debut season.

Cricket: England have struck New Zealand resistance as they stutter towards a sizeable first innings score on the second morning of the second Test in Wellington.

The tourists lost overnight centurion Jonathan Trott off his first ball of the day before Ian Bell and Joe Root departed cheaply on an awkward session to be 5-353 at lunch.

NZ bowled considerably better than the first day on the Basin Reserve’s featherbed wicket, reducing scoring opportunities and beating the bat on several occasions.

After resuming at 2-267, England added 3-86 from 30 overs.

Kevin Pietersen was unbeaten on 68, with wicketkeeper Matt Prior on a whirlwind 15.

Football: England coach Roy Hodgson will sit down and talk with Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole if he senses any sign of lingering tension between the pair following their falling-out last northern summer.

Manchester United defender Ferdinand was recalled to the England squad on Thursday. he was angered that Cole gave evidence for his Chelsea teammate John Terry, who was accused of racially abusing Ferdinand’s brother Anton, formerly of QPR.

Cricket: Day two of Australia’s third Test against India in Mohali is due to start half an hour early at 2.30pm (Sydney time) after yesterday’s washout.

Australia have made four changes, with wicketkeeper Matthew Wade ruled out because of an ankle injury.

Steve Smith, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin return to the side.

League: Larissa Nicholson reports from Canberra ... Josh Dugan won't get a cent out of the Raiders following his sacking yesterday.

Raiders board member John Mackay told ABC radio Dugan had proved he was not a team player, and his teammates had pushed for him to be sacked.

Earlier this week, Dugan skipped a Raiders recovery session and posted photos on social media of he and teammate Blake Ferguson drinking alcohol on the roof of a Nicholls home.

Dugan was injured at the time and banned by the team from drinking.

Read the full story here

Nice: Sara Hurtado and Adria Diaz of Spain perform during the Ice Dance Short Dance at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ontario.

Nice: Sara Hurtado and Adria Diaz of Spain perform during the Ice Dance Short Dance at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ontario. Photo: Reuters

Ice skating: Ice-ice baby. As if you didn't know, the World Figure Skating Championships are under way in London, Ontario. The other one. We're not sure what they call this hold.  

AFL: Sydney recruit Kurt Tippett will try his hand at coaching while sitting out the first half of the Swans’ premiership defence.

Tippett, who won’t play until June 22 due to his part in Adelaide’s salary cap saga, will work with the Swans’ under-16 and under-18 academy squads under head coach Paul Roos.

Tippett says the role will be a great opportunity for him to keep his head in the game during his 11-match ban. The 25-year-old recently had surgery to mend a finger injury.

AFL: Sheedy season is almost upon us. Good to see the super coach multi-skilling.

 

 

Cricket: Across the ditch in Wellington, England are still batting at 5-330 on day two of the second Test against New Zealand. Kevin Pietersen is on 58 and Matt Prior 2.

White line fever: Mario Balotelli.

White line fever: Mario Balotelli. Photo: Reuters

Top Ten Worst Footballers' hairdos

8. Mario Balotelli. Super Mario, the madcap taxi driver in reverse, is sorely missed in the EPL since he took his white-line fever back to Italy.


On this day ... in 1877: The first Test in cricket history began between Australia and England at the MCG.

At the end of day one, Charles Bannerman had etched his name into cricket folklore by making 126 not out, and would go on to make 165 before becoming the first player to retire hurt after splitting his right index finger.

Australia finished the historic day on 6-166 on the way to tallying 245. England replied with 196, the hosts were rolled for 104 in the second dig with Alfred Shaw taking 5-38 before Tom Kendall took 7-55 to bowl Australia to victory by 45 runs.

Football. Everyone’s favourite sports administrator, FIFA president Sepp Blatter, says plans to stage Euro 2020 at venues across Europe will lead to a soulless tournament.

In January, UEFA announced that 13 cities, each in a different country, will host the tournament, with one hosting both semi-finals and the final.

London’s Wembley has bid to hold the final, with Cardiff, Dublin and Glasgow all expected to bid to host group matches.

‘‘Such a Euro lacks heart and soul,’’ Blatter told Germany's Kicker magazine. ‘‘A tournament should be played in one country. That is how you create identity and euphoria.’’

Of course, much better to stage a major tournament in a more contained, compact country, say Qatar, and play it in 50 degree heat. Yeah, that’ll work.

 

 

Rugby. Georgina Robinson reports ... Waratahs prop Jeremy Tilse shot this video of his chopper ride to a Try Rugby clinic with teammate Kane Douglas in Camden this week.

Not a bad clip, looks like it's been shot on a GoPro, the camera of choice for adrenalin junkies.

Tilse fits the bill, the boy from the Hunter loves jumping out and off of things in his spare time. A mere helicopter ride was probably a bit too tame for him!

Good morning! Shane Brady with you until lunch. T.G.I.F. Hopefully we’ll get some play in the third Test in Mohali later. Otherwise Homeworkgate is going to look even sillier, if that’s possible, if no one gets to play in the match. Meanwhile sit back and enjoy this ball in spaced-out super slo-mo ...

Ears McEvoy: If You're Not Watching Sport You Should Be Listening To ... Parquet Courts. To find out why read the Pass The Sugar column tomorrow.

AFL. The Age's Chief Football writer Caroline Wilson says the AFL's decision to play the NAB Cup grand final between Brisbane and Carlton in Melbourne rather than Brisbane is a bad call.

Caro's Call Click to play video

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Caro's Call: another opportunity lost by AFL

Chief football writer Caroline Wilson believes the AFL's decision to stage Friday night's NAB Cup grand final in Melbourne is "a shocker on so many levels".

PT2M12S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2g2tq 620 349

Brad Walter: League. Credit card receipts and recorded phone conversations may be tabled as evidence when Cronulla players begin meeting Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigators next week.

Despite complaints from federal Sports Minister Kate Lundy that the Sharks had not made any of their players available to be interviewed, Fairfax Media understands that ASADA and legal representatives for the players had agreed last week to a process and time frame for that to occur.

Footballer. Goalkeeper Jerrad Tyson has signed with the Western Sydney Wanderers for next season.

Tyson, 23, said he wanted to continue his development as a professional footballer at the Wanderers.

“The decision was easy since coming here I have felt really honoured to be a part of this club and to be involved with this community and everything that is being built here,” Tyson said.

“For me it is really important to make a contribution and I don’t feel that I have made the contribution yet that I would like to give to this club and hopefully by re-signing I can make that contribution either at the end of this season or going into next season.”

Sebastian Hassett: Football. Alessandro Del Piero believes the reason his Sydney FC teammates have fallen to Melbourne Victory twice this season is because they have let themselves get distracted by the occasion rather than focusing on the match.

The two sides meet again on Saturday night in what promises to be one of the biggest clashes of the season - not least because the Sky Blues need all three points in their fight to make the finals.

Del Piero speaks ahead of Victory clash (Video Thumbnail) Click to play video

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Del Piero speaks ahead of Victory clash

Alessandro Del Piero from his press conference ahead of Sydney FC's match with Melbourne Victory on Saturday.

PT2M37S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2g495 620 349
Two-tone hair, two-tone ball ... Diego Maradona

Two-tone hair, two-tone ball ... Diego Maradona

Shane Brady: Top Ten. Worst Footballers' hairdos. 9. Diego Maradona. The Argentine god with the hand of god made a return to his old club Boca Juniors late in his playing career and got carried away with the occasion and the bleach.

Not surprising really as he was still chock full of the devil’s dandruff at that stage. The result reeked of skunk.

Homer's dream Mexican food.

Homer's dream Mexican food.

Baseball. A minor league baseball team in America has introduced the Baco - bacon as the taco shell. Chief Sporting Editor Ian Fuge wants one  - RIGHT NOW!

Georgina Robinson: Rugby. Drew Mitchell's plummet from grace this week at the Waratahs is just the beginning of the changes expected at Moore Park this year.

The Breakdown wrote last month the 63-Test cap winger was looking in France and Ireland for opportunities and you can't imagine being dropped from the match 22 this week did anything but fuel his wanderlust.

Cricket. Recently retired batting great Mike Hussey has warned Australia coach Mickey Arthur that putting the right team culture in place will take time.

Time is something Arthur doesn't have a lot of, however, with his third-ranked side trailing two-nil in their four-match series against India and facing an Ashes series in July.

Only in America. A little league baseball team is raising funds by auctioning off a high-powered assault rifle.

Hockey. World champions Australia face a must-win match against New Zealand to book a place in the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup after drawing 3-3 with South Korea on Thursday.

Australia sit at the top of the table but with hosts Malaysia only behind on goal difference after their 2-2 draw with Pakistan.

The Kookaburras have to next play New Zealand, who revived their hopes of getting into the final with a 2-0 win over India. The Kookaburras could have sealed their final place with a win on Thursday but will now need a result against defending champions New Zealand on Saturday.

League. Here is the video report from last night's Bulldogs v Eels match.

Bulldogs beat Eels (Video Thumbnail) Click to play video

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Bulldogs beat Eels

Canterbury Bulldogs beat Parramatta Eels 20-16 in a try-fest on Thursday.

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Motorsport. Formula One teams will get an idea of where they are likely to be on the grid when the cars hit the track today ahead of Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.

Drivers will have two 90-minute practice sessions before qualifying is held tomorrow. Wet weather in Spain has played havoc with preparation, with no teams able to come to grips with new tyres and car updates.

Rugby. Gethin Jenkins was declared fit on Thursday to captain Wales in Saturday’s Six Nations title battle against England at the Millennium Stadium.

Jenkins shrugged off a calf muscle problem that ruled him out of last weekend’s win over Scotland and the 32-year-old will win his 98th cap as he replaces Paul James in the front-row and takes leadership duties from flanker Ryan Jones.

The Toulon prop’s presence is a big boost for Wales, who are guaranteed to retain the Six Nations title if they win by eight points or more against an England side chasing a first Grand Slam since 2003.

Crying shame ... Gazza sheds a tear over this cut job

Crying shame ... Gazza sheds a tear over this cut job

Top Ten. Shane Brady has been through the hairdressing horror file to produce this list of footballers' barnets.

Here's number 10. Paul Gascoigne. Gazza, England’s clown prince of the midfield, lit up Euro 96 like a lightbulb, which is exactly what he looked like in his two-tone helmet.

Tennis. Samantha Stosur’s sputtering tennis season continued on Thursday when she withdrew from her Indian Wells quarter-final due to a right calf injury.

Stosur, the world No.9, had found her touch at the tournament and was eying her first semi-final appearance in five months. But instead fourth-seeded German Angelique Kerber, who Stosur held a 2-0 career record over, received a walkover into the semi-finals.

It was a particularly frustrating setback for the 2010 US Open champion, who on Wednesday recorded a rare comeback when she rallied from a set down to beat German youngster Mona Barthel 4-6 6-2 6-3. ‘‘I had a bit of a rough start to the year, and I feel like now my tennis has really picked up, and I’ve been playing really quite well these last few days,’’ Stosur said.

Football. Tottenham suffered a fright before sneaking past Inter Milan to reach the Europa League quarter-finals and restore some national pride following England’s Champions League misery.

With Manchester United and Arsenal beaten at the last 16 stage of Europe’s premier club competition, it was left to the Europa League participants to maintain English interest in European football this season.

Spurs lost 4-1 on Thursday night, but went through on away goals thanks to last week’s 3-0 success at White Hart Lane. Without the suspended Gareth Bale, Spurs made hard work of progressing and needed extra-time to do so after trailing 3-0 when the 90 minutes were up.

Internazionale 4 (Antonio Cassano 20, Rodrigo Palacio 52, William Gallas 75 og, Ricky Alvarez 110) bt Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Emmanuel Adebayor 96) at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

New parents ... Shane and Lee Watson

New parents ... Shane and Lee Watson Photo: Mal Fairclough

Chris Barrett: Cricket. Shane Watson could be back in India for next week's fourth Test after his wife gave birth to their first child on Thursday.

The vice-captain's controversial suspension from the third Test proved to be a blessing in disguise, allowing him to be home in time to be at his wife Lee's side as she delivered a baby boy they named Will in a Sydney hospital.

Today's back page.

Today's back page.

Here’s today’s back page. Glenn Jackson reported on the Bulldogs win last night, and Brad Walter on a further developments in the ASADA investigation into Cronulla.

Ben Coady: Welcome to SportsDay Live. Des an unhappy winner and Ricky a happy loser after the Bulldogs win over the Eels last night. Shane Watson and his wife Lee welcome young boy into the world and call him Will - I was betting on the bub being named Mickey Arthur Watson. We’ll keep you up to date with sport news as it happen, plus throw up a list of the worst footballers’ barnets.

Sort comments by:
  • Here's what Watto meant to write for his homework:

    Things we can do to stop losing:

    1) Pray for rain.
    2) Do a rain dance
    3) All head off to see babies being born, and hope that the ICC declares no result...

    Commenter
    Phil
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    March 15, 2013, 2:17PM
  • With regard to the top ten worst hairstyles, surely you cannot go past 80s-90s English footballer Chris Waddle for all ten (although I am pretty impressed by no 2. on this list which features 'fat Ronaldo').

    Mr Waddle seemed to have a new and even more ridiculous haircut every week.

    Commenter
    Thomas
    Location
    Frenchs Forest
    Date and time
    March 15, 2013, 2:14PM
  • @2.26pm Ohja is a left arm orthodox...and I was kinda hoping they didn't pick him!

    Commenter
    MD
    Location
    Date and time
    March 15, 2013, 2:12PM
  • Hello Boys actually came from the men's floor routine at the Olympics.

    Commenter
    Phat Boy
    Location
    Date and time
    March 15, 2013, 1:17PM
    • I stand corrected. What were the Greco-Roman ones? Crazy date?

      Commenter
      Paul Suttor
      Location
      Date and time
      March 15, 2013, 1:29PM
    • Greco-Roman wrestling was where participants 'assumed the dog' (bent over on all fours) and the rumour according to Roy and HG was that the current rules of Greco-Roman wrestling are so vague because the only information the governing body has on the sport comes from broken clay pots found in ancient Greece.

      Commenter
      Phat Boy
      Location
      Date and time
      March 15, 2013, 1:41PM
  • League hair next week? Kevin Hardwick has been out of the news for far too long.

    Commenter
    Ricky
    Location
    Bexley
    Date and time
    March 15, 2013, 12:26PM
  • Jason Lee 'has a pineapple on his head.'

    Commenter
    nick
    Location
    Date and time
    March 15, 2013, 12:09PM
  • Any Who Are Ya today? Or did the prize cupboard run out!

    Commenter
    Andrew
    Location
    Date and time
    March 15, 2013, 11:22AM
  • Good effort? Every time an Eels player was tackled, he tried to advance the ball 5 metres, every time a Dog touched him, the Eels got a penalty. The Dogs dropped a stupid amount of ball, and the Eels STARTED at least 10 sets of six in the Dogs' half in the second 40, the Dogs started only one in the Eels' half. If that's a good effort from the Eels, I'd hate to see them have a bad day.

    Commenter
    Phat Boy
    Location
    Date and time
    March 15, 2013, 11:05AM
  • Not sure if I was watching the same game, the Eels blew it! How can they be happy about that ? Hayne was MIA, Paulo proved beyond doubt he's no 5/8, missed tackles and silly penalties leading to tries...still a long way to go boys

    Commenter
    brendo
    Location
    sydney
    Date and time
    March 15, 2013, 10:38AM
  • Watto's baby out early - like father, like son.

    Commenter
    GeePower
    Location
    Date and time
    March 15, 2013, 9:08AM
  • A good effort from the Eels!
    Very dismayed however over the tiddly-winks rules which see good tackles penalised for coming into contact with the head........and the inconsistency over the shoulder charge rule.......rugby league is no longer as tough as it once was but it was still a good game.

    Commenter
    a fan
    Location
    Date and time
    March 15, 2013, 8:42AM

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