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SportsDay Live: Thursday January 17, 2013

Date
League fan ...  Kurtley Beale runs the ball during a joint training session between the Storm and the Rebels this morning.

League fan ... Wallabies five-eighth KURTLEY BEALE says he would like to have a crack at playing rugby league. Beale was speaking at a joint training session between the Storm and the Rebels this morning. Read full report here Photo: Getty Images

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JAMES POLSON: Bernard Tomic is through to the third round after finally winning that tiebreak 10-8 over Daniel Brands.  And this is as good a time as any to pull stumps on SportsDay for today, thanks for your company and be sure to log on to smh.com.au or grab a copy of the Herald tomorrow for Australia's best sporting news and analysis.  Big day to come on the live blog tomorrow - it'll be business as normal from 8.30am both here and in Melbourne before live coverage of Lance Armstrong's interview with Oprah from 1pm.  Scott Spits will be in the chair for that one with expert analysis from Rupert Guinness and Samantha Lane.  And if that's not enough for you, we'll then head to the 'Gabba with Phil Lutton for the third one-dayer between Australia and Sri Lanka.  Thanks again and see you then.

Tennis.  Bernard Tomic is up 3-1 in the fourth-set tiebreak.  If he wins this he's into the third round and likely to face Roger Federer.

On this day in 2000 … nothing seemed too out of the ordinary at the time. The South Africa v England Test at Centurion had been hampered by rain, England declared their first innings at 0-0 and the Proteas forfeited their second innings, the tourists chased down the victory target of 249 with two wickets to spare and captains Hansie Cronje and Nasser Hussain were applauded for their bravery. It later transpired that Cronje had received money from a bookmaker to ensure the match did not end in a draw.

Tennis.  Another two match points for Tomic.

Tennis.  Match point for Tomic.

Tennis.  This could be the last game of the match.  Bernard Tomic is up two sets to one and 5-4 in the fourth set, currently 15-15 on Brands' serve.

Cricket. Channel Nine have returned serve (mixed metaphor much?) at Australian Twenty20 captain George Bailey after the interim one-day skipper accused Nine of deliberately talking down the one-day game to secure television rights at a reduced rate.

The network's executive producer of cricket, Brad McNamara, said without Nine's investment in cricket Bailey might be "flipping burgers" for a living.

‘‘Nowhere has Channel Nine ever talked the one-day game down, nowhere have we ever said this is a ’B team’,’’ McNamara told Sky Sports Radio on Thursday.

‘‘It’s rubbish and George should stick to playing cricket and leave (television) rights to the people who know what they’re talking about.

‘‘I reckon he’s got his hands full as it is. He needs to concentrate on staying in the side. And he needs to understand where his money’s coming from. Without the TV rights deal, George is probably working in a coalmine or flipping burgers at McDonald’s.’’

 

Cricket. The Southern Stars will face traditional rivals the New Zealand White Ferns in a series of three Twenty20 matches before they depart for the ICC Women’s World Cup India 2013 later this month.

Junction Oval will host all three matches, which includes a double-header on 22 January, followed by the third match on 24 January.

Southern Stars coach Cathryn Fitzpatrick said her side will use the matches to gain some vital international match experience for the Women’s World Cup.

“We have selected a strong squad for the ICC Women’s World Cup and these matches will provide those players with a great opportunity to have a solid hit-out against a tough opposition before departing for India,” Fitzpatrick said.

Rugby.  As reported in Tuesday's Herald, Waratahs lock Kane Douglas injured his ankle in a promotional match on Monday and, unsurprisingly, Tahs coach Michael Cheika is none too pleased.

Cheika said the injury will keep him off the training paddock for at least a fortnight, robbing the second-rower of valuable pre-season training.

‘‘We were assured there would be no rugby content whatsoever and we’ve had a player injured shooting an advertisement without the correct strapping,’’ Cheika said.

‘‘He’s now going to start the season with just two weeks of training - that type of stuff makes it (releasing players) hard to swallow.

‘‘I understand mistakes can happen sometime but we can minimise them and that shouldn’t be happening.That makes it very difficult to believe in the process when the details aren’t being maintained correctly.’’

 

On this day in 1961 … English footballer Peter Beardsley was born in Hexham During a 21-year professional career he played with several clubs, including Manchester United, Newcastle, Liverpool and Everton, while also representing England on 59 occasions. He finished his career in the NSL with a two-game stint with the Melbourne Knights.

Tennis. World No.1 Victoria Azarenka empathises with Samantha Stosur’s sorry plight, saying mental demons plague every tennis player at times in their career.

'‘We don’t have a grand slam in Belarus, so I’m kind of lucky with that - or not,’’ the defending Open champion said after cruising into the third round with a 6-1 6-0 win over Eleni Daniilidou.

Azarenka said when nerves strike, sometimes they are impossible to control.

‘‘For sure, everybody felt that at some point in their career,’’ she said.‘‘It’s sometimes that you think you know exactly what you do, but your body just kind of resembles your actions.

Cricket. Also named today was the KFC T20 Big Bash League’s Young Gun, with Brisbane Heat batsman Chris Lynn edging teammate Ben Cutting and Perth Scorchers fast-bowling all-rounder Nathan Coulter-Nile to win the award.

League. The Rabbitohs have named their side for next month's Return to Redfern clash against Papua New Guinea.  Michael Maguire has opted for a mixture of youth and experience for the February 9 match.  Here's the side.

1) Tyrone Phillips
2) Chris Centrone
3) Chris McQueen
4) Beau Champion
5) Bryson Goodwin
6) Justin Hunt
7) Luke Keary
8) Josh Starling
9) Apisai Koroisau
10) George Burgess
11) Kyle Turner
12) Ben Lowe
13) Jason Clark
Interchange:
14) Dave Tyrrell
15) Thomas Burgess
16) Greg Waddell
17) Mitch Buckett 

Cricket. Melbourne Renegades captain Aaron Finch has capped a stellar season by being named the KFC T20 Big Bash League’s Player of the Tournament today.

Finch polled 21 votes to finish a decisive winner ahead of Shaun Marsh (17) and Lasith Malinga (16). Chris Lynn, Ricky Ponting and Luke Pomersbach finished in a tie for fourth on 12 points.

Finch polled in five of the seven matches he played while amassing 309 runs at an average of 77.25 and strike rate of 128.21.

His saved his two best performances of the year for cross-town rivals the Melbourne Stars, scoring 178 runs in two matches without being dismissed, including a highest score of 111 not out in the opening match of the season.

Netball. Fans will get an early taste of trans-Tasman action next month when the Melbourne Vixens host a pre-season event.

The Vixens, who were beaten in last year’s grand final, will host seven teams from the ANZ tournament in a ‘‘Summer Challenge’’, on February 23 and 24.

The teams taking part include the Queensland Firebirds, Adelaide Thunderbirds, West Coast Fever, NSW Swifts, Southern Steel, Canterbury Tactix and the Vixens.The event will be held at the State Netball Hockey Centre.

Cricket.  The chicken king Michael Chammas has chipped in with an update on Moises Henriques.

Quick update from the Gabba on Moises Henriques' sore finger. The good news first. An x-ray has cleared him of a break. The bad news: it's still painful and swollen and he is in doubt for the third ODI against Sri Lanka on Friday.

Tennis. James Duckworth pushes his match into a fifth set by winning the fourth in a tie-breaker. Meanwhile, Bernard Tomic has taken a two sets to one lead over Daniel Brands after winning the third in a tie-breaker.

Tennis.  Another tiebreak in the Tomic-Brands match to decide the third set.

On this day in 1993 … the West Indies sealed a 2-0 victory over Australia in the final of the World Series Cup one-day tournament.

Basketball. LeBron James has become the youngest player to score 20,000 NBA points.  King James achieved the milestone during Miami's match against the Golden State Warriors.  Miami are up 44-35 as the second quarter winds to a close.  James still has a way to go to catch the all-time leading pointscorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who scored a kinda ridiculous 38,387 points during his career.

Tennis. James Duckworth looks like taking his match with Blaz Kavcic to a fifth set.  He's up 5-4 in the fourth set having won the first before dropping the second and third. 

On this day in 1980 … English footballer Robert Green was born in Chertsey. The West Ham stalwart, who now plays for Queens Park Rangers, achieved worldwide notoriety at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa when the goalkeeper fumbled a simple shot at goal against the United States which led to England drawing the match on the way to what would be yet another early exit from football’s greatest stage. The English tabloids had a field day with the best headline being “The fumble in the jungle”.

Tennis.  And there's life in the young man yet.  Bernard Tomic takes the second set 7-5 to level things up with Daniel Brands.  And didn't the crowd just love that.  Triple fist pump and it's only the second set.  Keep an eye on this bloke.

Cricket.  Seems Warnie's not the only one who's been accused of conduct unbecoming in the past 24 hours.  Our friends over at WAtoday.com.au are reporting Liz Hurley allegedly pushed a reporter and told her to 'f..k off' when she attempted to ask Warne questions about his latest Big Bash League stink.

Read the full story here.

On this day in 1950 … Canadian formula one driver Gilles Villeneuve was born in Quebec. The father of 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, he made his F1 debut in 1977 with McLaren before becoming a world championship runner-up two years later while with Ferrari. He died after a collision with German Jochen Mass, who was also killed in the crash, during qualifying for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix.

 

Tennis.  If Bernard Tomic is going to progress to his date with destiny against Roger Federer he's going to have to work for it.  5-5 in the second set after Daniel Brands took the first in a tiebreak.

AFL. Port Adelaide have expressed their disappointment over ex-Melbourne forward Liam Jurrah’s alleged drink-driving incident.  Jurrah, who has played 36 games, failed to show up for training with the Magpies this summer.  Without confirming Jurrah’s identity, police said patrols stopped a 24-year-old man on Monday night in Adelaide and he returned a breath test of 0.269.

‘‘After making the decision not to select Liam in last month’s pre-season and rookie drafts, the club has been working with the AFL to attempt to provide a pathway for Liam to return to the AFL system,’’ Port said in a statement on Thursday.

‘‘The club is disappointed with Liam’s alleged driving offence but before making a decision on his future the club needs time to assess all the information regarding Liam’s situation.’’

Tennis. Andy Murray is through to the third round of the Australian Open after a straight-sets win over Joao Sousa 6-2 6-2 6-4

Basketball. Brad Beal's been a busy man in the first half of Washington's NBA clash with Sacramento.  The Wizards are up 56-48 at the break and Beal has four assists and 15 points.

Tennis.  Little time to dwell on yesterday's disappointment for Sam Stosur, who has just taken to the court for her doubles match with Julia Goerges against Daniela Hantuchova and Anabel Medina Garrigues.

 

Tennis.  Bernard Tomic has dropped the first set to Daniel Brands 7-4 in a tiebreak.  Brands, serving, now leads 30-15 in the first game of the second set.

Football. Some interesting suggested questions in a Sydney FC press release plugging a session with Frank Farina and Alessandro Del Piero tomorrow.  Our favourite here at SportsDay is 'does he believe the finals are looming closer'?  Here's something that will blow your mind - the finals are even closer now than they were when you started reading this post.  The Sky Blues' late win on Sunday now has them just two points outside the top six.

 

 

Tennis. Bernard Tomic's second-round match against Daniel Brands has gone to a first-set tiebreaker.  Brands currently leads 2-0.

League. Roosters recruit Michael Jennings says he is disappointed with Penrith coach Ivan Cleary's stinging assessment that he was released because he wasn’t living up to his lofty wage. Jennings was speaking before his first training session with his new NRL club.Yesterday Cleary said the Panthers released their highest-paid player from the final three seasons of his $650,000 a year contract because he wasn’t providing value for money.

Cricket. The Perth Scorchers’ bid to win the Twenty20 Big Bash title has suffered a huge blow, with opener Herschelle Gibbs an unlikely starter for Saturday night’s home final against the Brisbane Heat. Gibbs injured his left hamstring while attempting a quick single in last night’s eight-wicket semi-final victory over the Melbourne Stars. Former skipper Marcus North is the frontrunner to open with Shaun Marsh against the Heat, while retired Test batsman Mike Hussey is another candidate to open.

Basketball. Anthony Mundine took time out of his preparations for his fight against Daniel Geale to visit the Sydney Kings ahead of their clash against Melbourne Tigers tomorrow night. Kings coach Shane Heal was thrilled to have the world champion in the gym.


Anthony Mundine and Shane Heal at Sydney Kings training.

Anthony Mundine and Shane Heal at Sydney Kings training. Photo: paul.zalunardo@fairfaxmedia.com.

Racing. Craig Newitt has been fined $400 for kicking a horse in the stomach during barrier trials at Sandown last week.  Racing Victoria chief steward Terry Bailey said: ‘‘[Newitt] said he greatly regretted his action. He said he had been riding trackwork at Caulfield all morning (from pre-dawn) and then rode in all of the eight jump-outs.
‘‘When [the horse] Harvey’s True Heart gave him a hard time, he said he reacted the way he should not have reacted. He immediately apologised.’’ A remorseful Newitt added: ‘‘It should not have happened and I regret it.’’

Basketball. Chicago star Luol Deng's scored with three seconds remaining in overtime to give the Bulls a 107-105 win over Toronto. Raptors guard Jose Calderon had a chance to win the game with a three-pointer but missed.

Cricket. Perth Scorchers’ bid to win the Twenty20 Big Bash title has suffered a huge blow, with opener Herschelle Gibbs an unlikely starter for Saturday night’s home final against Brisbane Heat.

Gibbs injured his left hamstring while going for a quick single in last night’s eight-wicket semi-final win over Melbourne Stars. Former skipper Marcus North is likely to take his spot at the top of the order, but Mike Hussey is another option.

Football. Wellington coach Ricki Herbert has hit back at Newcastle boss Gary van Egmond, who is furious at the FFA’s scheduling change, which means the Jets will play three games in 10 days next month.

The Jets have lodged an official complaint at the rescheduling of their A-League match against the Phoenix on March 23, which has been moved because it would have been sandwiched in between two All Whites’ World Cup Oceania qualifying matches.

It will now be played in Wellington on February 27.Van Egmond said the decision was ‘‘insulting’’ but Herbert countered: ‘‘We probably weren’t happy about having to play the game with eight players away, so it’s probably a little bit of justice done.’’  Ouch!

Tennis. Seems as though Serena's ankle wasn't playing up too much as the third-seeded American beat Spain's Garbine Muguruza 6-2, 6-0.

Football. Following on from the hilarious Mason Wood video below, here's a classic of the falcon genre. Harry Redknapp gets sconed during an interview, has a brief and colourful blow-up, then seethes as he carries on with the interview. Reporter completely unfazed!

COLOURFUL LANGUAGE WARNING: we think Harry is swearing a lot but we can't really understand what he's saying.

Buckets. The Bulls and Raptors are into overtime in Toronto after finishing at 100-100 at the end of regulation. The Magic upset Indiana 97-86 at Orlando while the Hawks are on course for victory in Atlanta, holding a 104-91 lead over Brooklyn with 2.15 remaining.

AFL. Now that’s gotta hurt. North Melbourne recruit Mason Wood was being interviewed for the club’s website in the midst of an indoor training session, when fellow rookie Ben Speight decided to have some fun ...

Tennis. French favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has advanced to the third round of the Australian Open, beating Japan’s Go Soeda 6-3, 7-6 (7-1), 6-3.

Don't forget to log on to our Australian Open blog for all the action from Melbourne Park. Or stay here and we'll bring you the good bits intermittently.

Australian Open blog here 

Cricket. More on the Moises Enriques injury from our man on the ground in Brisbane, Chris Barrett.

Read full story here

It’s competition time ... and we have a winner. The picture is of rugby league great Clive Churchill and the correct answer came from Chris.

Well done, mate. From the pile of Stuff We Found On Peter FitzSimons' Desk, you've won an only-slightly-thumbed copy of Rugby Shorts, a humorous collection of quotes and cartoons about the game they play in heaven by Mark Lynch.

WhoAreYa?

WhoAreYa?

Tennis. Aussie who isn't Bernard wins set at Australian Open. James Duckworth takes first set off Blaz kavcic 6-3. Go James!

CricketCricket Australia has announced a partnership with Hampshire Cricket which will see six of Australia’s most talented young cricketers travel to the UK to attend the Ageas Bowl International Cricket Academy.

As part of the program, the players will compete for six club teams for the duration of the English domestic cricket season. The landmark partnership will provide the selected players with the opportunity to train and play in elite state-of-the-art facilities in England during Australia’s domestic off-season.

Football. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Jack Wilshere is well on the way to becoming the complete midfielder after his goal knocked Swansea City out of the FA Cup on Wednesday.The 21-year-old England international scored the only goal of a 1-0 win four minutes before the end of a third round replay at the Emirates Stadium.Wenger had deployed Wilshere in a central attacking role instead of his usual deeper, more defensive position and was rewarded with an outstanding performance as well as the goal.

Beware Arsenal fans, if Wilshere continues to play this week he could end up at Manchester City.

Tennis. Maybe Sam Stosur should have a chat with Maria Kirilenko. After Stsosur was unable to beat her Chinese opponent on Wendesday, Kirilenko showed her how it was done with a 7-5 6-2 win over Peng Shuai. Others player to advance include 16th-seeded Italian Roberta Vinci and Russian Elena Vesnina.

Cycling. Here is the latest missive from Lance Armstrong about his Oprah Winfrey interview ... ‘‘I left it all on the table with her and when it airs the people can decide. I have no idea what the future holds other than me holding my kids.’’

Football. Sydney FC coach Frank Farina feels Newcastle’s trash might be his treasure with the Jets’ out-of-favour defender Tiago Calvano becoming the much-needed stopgap in the Sky Blues’ leaky defence.Sydney signed the 31-year-old Brazilian on Thursday to boost their injury-hit defence for the rest of the A-League season after he was released by Newcastle.

Tennis. Are you all sitting down? You better be because here is some good news for Australian tennis. James Duckworth has broken his Slovakian opponent Blaz Kavcic and leads 4-2 in the first set. Have we sunk this low?

It's competition time. WhoAreYa? Guess the identity of the well-known sporting figure in the photo and you can win, win, win!!!

We've gone through the pile of Stuff We Found On Peter FitzSimons' Desk to dig out a sweet, sweet prize. Today’s is ... Rugby Shorts, a humorous collection of quotes and cartoons about the game they play in heaven by Mark Lynch

To enter log on, contact us via Twitter @SMHsport or via the comments section on the blog.

WhoAreYa! WhoAreYa!

WhoAreYa! WhoAreYa!

Cricket. Bad news for Moises Henriques before his long-awaited Australian recall on Friday night. The NSW all-rounder has been struck on the hand while batting in the nets in Brisbane and is in doubt for the third ODI against Sri Lanka at the Gabba. There could be further repercussions too because Australia’s standby player, Ben Cutting, was due to fly to Perth to join his Brisbane Heat teammates for the Big Bash League final on Saturday. He may now be required to stay in Brisbane.

SEBASTIAN HASSETT: Football. There’s no doubting who is king of kids during the school holidays right now. Almost every session at Sydney's training ground during January has been swamped by fans all eager to get a glimpse of Alessandro Del Piero.

To his credit, the 38-year old never leaves a fan disappointed, and long after other players have departed for dressing room, he's still surrounded by a crowd desperate for photos, autographs or just a look at the Italian legend.

Despite scaling back his training schedule in recent times to better prepare his body, Del Piero completed a full session at Macquarie University this morning and looked sharp in an 11-v-11 practice match.

Marquee signing autographs ... Alessandro del Piero at Sydney FC's training ground.

Marquee signing autographs ... Alessandro del Piero at Sydney FC's training ground.

League. Wallabies five-eighth Kurtley Beale says a stint in league may be in his future following a cross-code training session with NRL premiers Melbourne. ‘‘It’s always lingering in the back of my mind,’’ the 24-year-old said. ‘‘I’m a massive fan of rugby league and I played it all my junior career and I’m always switching channels to watch it on the weekend. Hopefully, later on, in the years to come, I will be able to put my hand up and have a crack at it.’’ More to come

CHRIS BARRETT: Cricket. Bad news for Moises Henriques before his long-awaited Australian recall on Friday night. The NSW all-rounder has been struck on the hand while batting in the nets in Brisbane and is in doubt for the third
one-day international against Sri Lanka at the Gabba. There could be further repercussions too because Australia's standby player, Ben Cutting, was due to fly to Perth to join his Brisbane Heat teammates for the Big Bash League final on Saturday. He may now be required to stay in Brisbane.

Tennis. Unseeded Japanese player Ayumi Morita is through to the third round of the Australian Open after trouncing Germany's Annika Beck 6-2 6-0

Is it just us or does there seem to be more thrashings than usual in the early rounds of the women's singles this year?

Whoareya? Incorrect but it is an old-time player from one of the football codes

Tennis. Belarus' finest export since ... Alexander Lukashenko. Look it up, we had to ... Victoria Azarenka is through to the third round of the Australian Open after smashing Greek opponent Eleni Daniildou 6-1 6-0

 

League. Former Bulldogs fullback Luke Patten is having a wonderful Thursday ...

Cricket. NSW Breakers travel to Perth this weekend, looking to clinch their first Women's T20 crown when they play the Western Fury at The Furnace on Saturday afternoon. The minor premiers finished nine points clear of the Fury. It is the curtain-raiser before the BBL final between the Scorchers and Heat. Claire Koski is into the squad for Ellyse Perry, who will be playing in the W-League this weekend.

NSW squad: Alex Blackwell, Rachael Haynes, Sarah Aley, Nicola Carey, Sarah Coyte, Alyssa Healy, Claire Koski, Sharon Millanta, Erin Osborne, Leah Poulton, Angela Reakes, Lisa Sthalekar, Kara Sutherland

League. Canberra Raiders are pleased to see five players - Reece Robinson, Blake Ferguson, Joel Thompson, Jake Foster and Jack Wighton - selected in Laurie Daley's Indigenous line-up for the fourth annual All Stars match as well as former Green Machine hooker Travis WaddellTom Learoyd-Lahrs was also picked in the team however the damaging forward was forced to withdraw from the game due to injury. David Shillington will play for the NRL All Stars. Raiders CEO Don Furner ... "Receiving the highest amount of selections for the Indigenous All Stars is certainly something for us as a club to be very proud of. The club undertakes a lot of work with Indigenous communities and Joel Thompson has recently graduated with a Certificate 3 in Indigenous Leadership. Indigenous players have played a big part in moulding the Raiders' successful culture dating back to the days of Chicka Ferguson, Mal Meninga and Laurie Daley and it is brilliant that Indigenous players are still playing a crucial role in our current line-up."

Tennis. Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Japan's Go Soeda 6-3 in the first set but is trailing 3-0 in the second.

Former NBA great Shaquille O'Neal speaks at the NCAA's convention keynote luncheon in Grapevine, Texas. O'Neal spoke about the importance of education in his life and the value his three degrees bring in his post-NBA basketball career.

Former NBA great Shaquille O'Neal speaks at the NCAA's convention keynote luncheon in Grapevine, Texas. O'Neal spoke about the importance of education in his life and the value his three degrees bring in his post-NBA basketball career. Photo: AP

Basketball. There are nine matches on the NBA schedule today ... here are the SportsDay Live tips. While not ones to gloat, the tips were a perfect 6 from 6 yesterday.

Chicago at Toronto ... the Bulls lead 45-42 at halftime, they'll go on with the job

Indiana at Orlando ... Magic up 49-35 at the half, we wouldda taken the Pacers so we'll have to stick with that because we're a bit late getting the predictions up today

Brooklyn at Atlanta ... the Nets to win a close one

Hornets at Boston ... the Celtics by a whisker

Denver at OKC ... the Thunder will be too strong

Houston at Dallas ... the Mavericks to continue their mini revival

Memphis at San Antonio ... the Spurs with (hopefully) Patty Mills getting some decent court time

Washington at Sacramento ... the Kings

Cleveland at Portland ... Blazers by a few

Miami at Golden State ... the Heat to bounce back after losing to Utah

Cycling. The UCI looks like offering amnesty from prosecution to cyclists who admit they used drugs. Is this a good idea? Exercise your democratic right to vote ... 

Poll: Should the UCI grant amnesty to drug-cheat cyclists?

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32%

No

68%

Total votes: 81.

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Disclaimer:

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

It's competition time. WhoAreYa? Guess the identity of the well-known sporting figure in the photo and you can win, win, win!!!

We've gone through the pile of Stuff We Found On Peter FitzSimons' Desk to dig out a sweet, sweet prize. Today’s is ... Rugby Shorts, a humorous collection of quotes and cartoons about the game they play in heaven by Mark Lynch

To enter log on, contact us via Twitter @SMHsport or via the comments section on the blog.

Whoareya? Whoareya? Whoareya?

Whoareya? Whoareya? Whoareya?

League. Storm halfback Cooper Cronk refused to be drawn on the speculation about Bellamy's coaching future. ‘‘I think they’re just reports. I was in a very similar position this time last year and speculation is pure speculation. My relationship with Craig is one based on respect and honesty and I’m sure he’ll inform me, like he will inform everyone else in due course when he’s made a decision. I’m very comfortable with Craig’s situation.’’

League. Craig Bellamy has released a statement about his coaching future ... ‘‘I have not given any undertaking or made any pledge to anyone. I am in constant contact with my management and with my financial and legal advisers.‘‘We are scheduling further discussions in the coming week. Hopefully, a decision is not that far off.’’

Tennis. Defending champion Victoria Azarenka is cruising towards a place in the third round of the Australian Open. The world number one has taken the first set easily against Greek player Eleni Daniilidou who won the last time the pair met. Meanwhile Bernard Tomic is poised to claim a third round berth later today when he meets German Daniel Brands.

Cricket. Michael Clarke has hit the nets ahead of his return to the Australian cricket team for tomorrow’s one-day match against Sri Lanka in Brisbane. Clarke is training with his Australian team at the Gabba this morning after being rested from the two matches of the series. Clarke, David Warner and Matthew Wade have all returned with the series level at 1-1. Sri Lanka train this afternoon.

FC Barcelona's striker Lionel Messi next to his four FIFA Men's World Player of the Year awards before the Copa del Rey match against Malaga at the Camp Nou.

FC Barcelona's striker Lionel Messi next to his four FIFA Men's World Player of the Year awards before the Copa del Rey match against Malaga at the Camp Nou. Photo: AP

Football. Forget about David Beckham being known as Golden Balls, Barcelona star Lionel Messi shows off his four Ballon d'Or awards prior to the Copa del Rey match against Malaga at the Camp Nou.

The Argentine star became the first footballer to win the award four times and just for good measure, he won them in succession.

Motor sport. Defending Dakar Rally champion Cyril Despres has extended his overall lead in the motorcycling category after the 11th stage of the race. The Frenchman leads teammate Ruben Faria of Portugal by 13min 16sec while in third place is another KTM rider, Chilean veteran Francisco Chaleco Lopez, 18min 8sec in arrears.

Tennis. If you are keen to follow tennis, tennis and more tennis. Join Will Brodie on the Australian Open blog for all the action from Melbourne Park.

Click here to view the Australian Open blog

 

Malaga players argue with referee Jose Luis Gonzalez as FC Barcelona's Pedro Rodriguez lays on the ground during a Copa del Rey match at the Camp Nou.

Malaga players argue with referee Jose Luis Gonzalez as FC Barcelona's Pedro Rodriguez lays on the ground during a Copa del Rey match at the Camp Nou. Photo: AP

Football. Holders Barcelona’s hopes of retaining the Spanish Cup hang in the balance after being held 2-2 at home by 10-man Malaga in their Spanish Cup quarter-final first leg clash. Barcelona - who hold an 11-point lead in the league race over Atletico Madrid with 18 wins from 19 matches - looked to be in the driving seat after coming from a goal down to lead 2-1 after half-an-hour thanks to two goals in as many minutes by Lionel Messi and Carles Puyol. Malaga's Ignacio Camacho tucked the ball away neatly with a minute remaining to force a draw.

League. With Simon Mannering being appointed Warriors skipper for 2013, it looks like Parramatta and Penrith are the only two teams who haven't yet announced who'll be their skipper this year.

Kevin Kingston, who took over from Luke Lewis last year at the Panthers, looks like he'll lead them this year while Reni Maitua is the favourite to replace Nathan Hindmarsh at the Eels ahead of Tim Mannah and Jarryd Hayne.

Football. Roma striker Mattia Destro scored in the first period of extra time to secure a 1-0 win away to Fiorentina and a place in the Italian Cup semi-finals on Wednesday. Roma now join Inter Milan, Juventus and Lazio in the last four of the competition won last year by Napoli.

It's competition time. WhoAreYa? Guess the identity of the well-known sporting figure in the photo and you can win, win, win!!!

We've gone through the pile of Stuff We Found On Peter FitzSimons' Desk to dig out a sweet, sweet prize. Today’s is ... Rugby Shorts, a humorous collection of quotes and cartoons about the game they play in heaven by Mark Lynch

To enter log on, contact us via Twitter @SMHsport or via the comments section on the blog.

Whoareya? Whoareya? Whoareya?

Whoareya? Whoareya? Whoareya?

SEBASTIAN HASSETT: Football. Sydney coach Frank Farina says his newest signing, 31-year old Brazilian defender Tiago Calvano, is set to be given the nod to start in Saturday's clash against the Wellington Phoenix at Allianz Stadium on Saturday. Calvano was only granted a release by the Jets yesterday and Farina won't have any hesitation throwing him into the fray against the Phoenix. "I didn't bring him here to sit on the bench. It came down to getting somebody who was able to play straight away. You can look overseas but you're never sure of whether they'll be ready straight away, so it narrowed the field down a bit. When Newcastle agreed to release him, it was good for us."

Brazilian double act ... New Sydney FC signing Tiago Canvano with Fabio.

Brazilian double act ... New Sydney FC signing Tiago Canvano with Fabio.

On this day in 1958 … the first black man to play in the National Hockey League, Willie O’Ree, made his debut for the Boston Bruins. The Canadian winger played 43 games for the Bruins, scoring four goals.

Football. The pressure is mounting on Melbourne Heart coach John Aloisi after last week’s loss to Sydney but he’s confident his side can score a home win tomorrow against second-placed Adelaide United and slip back into the A-League’s top six. The Heart were devastated after conceding two late goals in the 2-1 loss in Sydney. But Aloisi says if his men keep an eye on dangerous duo Dario Vidosic and Jeromino Neumann, that will go a long way towards producing an upset victory.

Tennis. It's like watching a car crash in slow motion ... For those who can stand watching, here's a recap of Samantha Stosur's Australian Open meltdown.

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Sad Stosur is out

Sam Stosur was the big casualty on day three of the Australian Open as the home favourite was dumped out by Zheng Jie.

PT1M59S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2culk 620 349

Football. The Sergio van Dijk contract saga is finally over after Adelaide United granted him a release to leave the A-League and join Indonesian club Persib Bandung. Van Dijk has endured a bitter fallout with club bosses and new coach John Kosmina, resulting in the 30-year-old playing three of 16 matches this season. Van Dijk, whose contract was due to expire in April, leaves as one of the A-League’s most prolific marksmen, having scored 50 goals during his five-seasons at both Brisbane and Adelaide. ‘‘Adelaide United would like to thank Sergio for his contribution during his time at the club and wishes him all the best in his future endeavours,’’ the club said in a statement.

American football. This is weird, weird, weird and is going to be HUGE news in the US. Notre Dame college footballer Manti Te’o has been the sports inspiration of the season, performing on-field heroics while coping with the tragic death of his 22-year-old girlfriend in a car accident. Only problem, reports US website deadspin, the story ain’t true ... not only is she not dead, she might never have existed! Told you it was weird! 

Read the story here

Boxing. Anything you can do I can do better is the order of the day as Daniel Geale follows Anthony Mundine’s lead by announcing a public training session in Western Sydney tomorrow. World champ Geale will open the doors to his Smeaton Grange Gymnasium tomorrow at 10am. Grange Old School Boxing, 8-24 Anzac Avenue, Smeaton Grange.

Cycling. Remember a couple of days ago when British women's road race gold medallist Nicole Cooke served it up deluxe to Lance Armstrong? Well, here she expands on her thoughts as to why he should go to jail in a great interview with The Guardian's Simon Hattenstone.

Read the story here

Football. We're only putting this up cos one of the goalscorers is called Feret but in case you are interested Rennes beat Montpellier 2-0 to secure their place in the French League Cup final. Julien Feret and Mevlut Erding bagged the goals.

It's competition time. WhoAreYa? Guess the identity of the well-known sporting figure in the photo and you can win, win, win!!!

We've gone through the pile of Stuff We Found On Peter FitzSimons' Desk to dig out a sweet, sweet prize. Today’s is ... Rugby Shorts, a humorous collection of quotes and cartoons about the game they play in heaven by Mark Lynch

To enter log on, contact us via Twitter @SMHsport or via the comments section on the blog.

Who Are Ya? Who Are Ya?

Who Are Ya? Who Are Ya?

On this day in 1886 … hockey ("What kind of hockey?" - the kind you play on a field) became a recognised sport following the formation of the Hockey Association in England.

Football. David Beckham is on the verge of making a sensational return to Milan, according to media speculation in Italy. Gazzetta dello Sport carried a report on Wednesday that claimed bookmakers in England had slashed the odds of Beckham returning to the Rossoneri. It must be noted the newspaper quoted, ahem, no-one. And to think he could have gone to Perth.

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney scores against West Ham during their English FA Cup third round replay at Old Trafford.

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney scores against West Ham during their English FA Cup third round replay at Old Trafford. Photo: AP

Athletics. A Mexican race walker who won a silver medal in the 20-kilometre men’s walk at the 2000 Sydney Olympic games has died nearly two weeks after he was shot in the head while at a bar in Mexico City. Race walker Noe Hernandez, 35, had been recovering at home since the December 30 shooting, which cost him his eyesight. The head of Mexico’s Olympic medallists association says Hernandez’s family confirmed that he died Wednesday. Association president Daniel Aceves says Hernandez appears to have suffered a heart attack, but he says an autopsy is planned to determine whether his death was related to the shooting. Following the shooting, he told reporters the attack appeared to have been premeditated.

Richie Benaud in the Evening Standard

Richie Benaud in the Evening Standard

Cricket. Ooops. The Evening Standard has quoted a fake Richie Benaud account, @RichieBenaud_  assuming it's the doyen himself

Football. Marseille's Joey Barton has apologised to former Manchester City teammate Dietmar Hamann over his Twitter tirade which included calling him "a blert, an idiot, a maggot, a f---ing dog, disloyal, and someone I deem vastly inferior as a man".

"On Monday evening tweets exchanged between Dietmar Hamann and I went beyond the boundaries of banter, opinion and common sense. I accept that my comments were offensive, untrue and related to matters of a personal nature, of which I had no knowledge. I have apologised to Dietmar personally and now wish to apologise through the same social media channels that I used to make them, as well as my own website."

You can read his full apology here

Cricket. Shane Warne has been reported for his second code of behaviour breach in as many games, after his Melbourne Stars were beaten by Perth Scorchers in a last-ball thriller in their Twenty20 Big Bash semi-final. 

Cycling. Governing body the UCI proposes a "truth and reconciliation" process as the sport prepares for the fallout that will inevitably follow Lance Armstrong's confession to Oprah Winfrey.

Read full story here  

Football. ‘‘He does understand the word 'police’, but not more complicated words. The letters are written from Cheshire Constabulary and the word police doesn’t appear on it anywhere. The word constabulary is not one that is recognised internationally, but of course police is.‘‘The correspondence was not dealt with properly and that has resulted in these offences.’’ Carlos Tevez's solicitor Gwyn Lewis explains the mitigating circumstances after his client pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to provide information relating to incidents when his car was clocked speeding.

Football. This seems more like something out of Fawlty Towers than the EPL but it's all true. Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez has been disqualified from driving for six months, after a court heard he failed to understand a letter sent to him by police. The 28-year-old Argentina international was also ordered to pay $A2360 in fines and costs. He’ll feel that!

Football. Interesting news with former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola to take over as head coach at Bayern Munich next season. The 41-year-old, who has twice coached Barcelona to the Champions League title, will replace current Munich boss Jupp Heynckes, who will retire when his contract expires in June, just after his 68th birthday.

Cricket. Ramnaresh Sarwan has been recalled to the West Indies squad for the upcoming ODI tour of Australia, while Marlon Samuels has been left out due to an eye injury he sustained in the Big Bash League. Sarwan last played for the Windies in ODIs in June 2011, but fell out of favour with the board because of a public dispute about coaching and training methods. The 15-man squad will play five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 match in Australia next month. 

Cycling. ‘‘The UCI confirms that it will be informing the commission at the hearing next week that it is willing to provide the necessary assurances to those coming forward with evidence ... provided WADA confirms that such assurances would be consistent with the letter and spirit of the WADA code or, if not, makes the necessary changes to the code.’’ UCI statement.

League. ‘‘He’s mutually respected and admired by all the players and staff for the quality he brings to our club as a leader and a player. He’s a person of strong character and a wonderful work ethic,’’ Elliott said of Mannering.

League. Simon Mannering will keep the captaincy of the New Zealand Warriors for a fourth NRL season. New coach Matt Elliott said Mannering was the logical choice.

Football. Man United beat West Ham 1-0. You just knew that would happen.

Football. The rescheduling of the Wellington-Newcastle match means the Jets have three games in 10 days. Coach Gary van Egmond said the FFA decision was ‘‘insulting’’. In quite breathtaking opposition to a century of football wisdom, he went on to tell The Herald-Sun: "To decline our compromise to play the game in Newcastle, claiming it would disadvantage Wellington, is insulting the credibility of the A-League competition, our players and fans." 

NFL. Philadelphia and Chicago have named new head coaches, with the Eagles luring the awesomely named Chip Kelly from the University of Oregon while the Bears have snared Marc (with a c) Trestman from the Canadian Football League. Kelly replaces Andy Reid, who was sacked after 14 seasons in charge of the Eagles, while Trestman takes over from the even-more-awesomely named Lovie Smith.

Today's back page

Today's back page

Here is today's back page of the SMH, featuring some nice work capturing Sam Stosur's angst after she crashed out in the Australian Open. Heartbreaking stuff really and Sam's face says it all.  

Football. FA Cup third-round replay and Arsenal have beaten Swansea with what AP refers to as a "sumptuous" goal from Jack Wilshere. 

Football. EPL shock as Chelsea drop points against Southampton, drawing 2-2 at Stamford Bridge.

Football. And Manchester United are 1-0 up against West Ham in their FA Cup replay. Last five minutes, so result soon.

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