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SportsDay Live, Thursday March 21, 2013

Date

ASADA comes knocking for 31 NRL players, Robbie Farah re-signs with Wests Tigers, win some stuff with Who Are Ya?

Press conference with David Smith - NRL CEO and John Grant - NRL chairman updates the media on the ASADA investigation. Wednesday 20th March 2013. Photograph by James Brickwood. SMH SPORT 130320

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Pressure on ... the NRL will bring down tough sanctions on the 31 current NRL players ASADA wants to interview if they refuse to co-operate with the anti-drug agency. Click here to read more. Photo: James Brickwood

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That's it for the SportsDay Live blog today. As always, thanks for your company and stay tuned to smh.com.au for all the latest sporting news.

We'll be back tonight for a live blog of the Storm-Bulldogs NRL clash and tomorrow we'll be starting up SportsDay Live at 830 then switching over to the cricket mid-afternoon to see if Australia can avoid a fourth straight series loss.

PAUL SUTTOR: League. If you're struggling to compile your NRL tips for this weekend's round (Don't forget the round starts early tonight), here are my NRL Power Rankings which will hopefully give you a guide to who to back.

Or perhaps as one Twitter troll told me last week, you might think it's "bad writting".

Read the Power Rankings here

League. As you would have read in the SMH or one of the Fairfax Media websites last week, Ben Barba is expected to make his return for the Bulldogs next week in the Good Friday clash with South Sydney. Will his return be enough to make Canterbury title contenders again in the NRL this year?

Poll: Will the Bulldogs make the top four with Ben Barba returning soon?

Poll form
  1. Please select an answer.
  2. View results
Yes, he'll be back to his best & have them firing

66%

No, the Dogs are in decline & his form will dip

34%

Total votes: 232.

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.

Happy birthday ... Penrith Panthers forward Anthony Cherrington.

Happy birthday ... Penrith Panthers forward Anthony Cherrington. Photo: James Alcock

On this day in 1988 …  Penrith second-rower Anthony Cherrington was born in Auckland. A member of the 2007 Junior Kiwis side, he made his first-grade debut the following year with the Roosters but his stint at the club only produced 19 matches over five seasons due to a combination of off-field assault charges and a couple of serious knee injuries. He was released just prior to the start of the 2013 season to make a new start with the Panthers.

Inductee and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana signs autographs as he arrives at the 7th Annual California Hall of Fame induction ceremony at The California Museum in Sacramento.

Inductee and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana signs autographs as he arrives at the 7th Annual California Hall of Fame induction ceremony at The California Museum in Sacramento. Photo: Reuters

On this day in 1941 …  Joe Louis knocked out Abe Simon in 13 rounds to reclaim the world heavyweight boxing crown in front of nearly 19,000 fans at Detroit’s Olympia Stadium. In the 29 months from the start of 1939 to mid 1941, The Brown Bomber defended his title 13 times with his opponents gaining unwanted entry into what was known as the “Bum of the Month Club”. Here they go at it again a year later, but Simon only goes down twice this time.

League ... Our NRL correspondent in Newcastle Herald, Brett Keeble always has his finger on the pulse of those Newcastle Knights ... 

AFL. Sydney key defender Heath Grundy says there will be a sense of the unknown when he and Ted Richards look to tame Greater Western Sydney's teen tyros Jonathon Patton and Jeremy Cameron on Saturday week. Spearheads Patton and Cameron hold the key if their side is to kick a winning score and cause a shock upset when AFL premiers Sydney start their title defence at ANZ Stadium. Cameron was runner-up in last year's AFL Rising Star voting, while 2011 No.1 draft pick Patton only showed glimpses of his potential due to an injury-marred first season.

Read the full story here

On this day in 1949 … West Indies cricketer Alvin Kallicharran was born in Guyana. The left-handed batsman’s career spanned 1972-81 in which he scored 4399 runs in 66 Tests at an average of 44.43.

Basketball. Miami's NBA streak now stands at 24 after they survived in Cleveland, beating the Cavaliers 98-95. LeBron James had 25 points for the reigning champs, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for a much-needed triple double.

In Charlotte, the Bobcats beat Toronto 107-101, the Knicks won 106-94 in New York and Atlanta beat Milwaukee 98-90.

OKC are up 70-69 in Memphis, Boston lead the Hornets 84-81 in New Orleans, Houston are ahead 95-88 in Utah, Brooklyn hold a 97-90 edge over Dallas, the Spurs are in front 82-71 at home to Golden State. Washington and the Suns are just tipping off in Phoenix and the Clippers host Philly in the late game.

Cricket. Queensland captain James Hopes is expected in Hobart late this afternoon for the Sheffield Shield final against Tasmania after attending the birth of his daughter in Brisbane. The Bulls say his delayed arrival has caused no disruption to preparations for the decider, starting tomorrow at Bellerive. Rain in Hobart has forced both sides indoors for training, and showers are forecast during the five-day match which is a replay of last year’s decider - won by Queensland at the Gabba.

On this day in 1935Brian Clough, football manager and subject of the film, The Damned United, was born. Clough was a handy player, scoring 251 goals in 274 games and winning two England caps but made his name as the eccentric manager of Nottingham Forest, leading them to back-to-back European Cups in 1979 and 1980. But the film chose to focus on his brief, ill-fated stint at Leeds. Cloughie, who could sometimes be found sleeping in a field near the Forest ground, died in 2004. He was the Special One long before the Portuguese pretender arrived, just ask him: “I wouldn’t say I was the best manager in the business. But I was in the top one.”

Today’s a big one for footballers’ birthdays. Cloughie shares it with Lothar Matthaus, Ronald Koeman, Ali Daei, Ronaldinho and … Lee Cattermole. Quite a team there. Here Cloughie is taking on John Motson

In the oh-so sporting world of politics, Simon Crean is announcing a leadership challenge to Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Surely the bigger news is who will be Australian cricket captain if Michael Clarke can't play the fourth Test in Delhi.

Basketball. It's 96-95 to Miami with 44 seconds left in Cleveland. The Heat's 23-game winning streak is under serious threat.

Basketball. A potential grand final preview and a crazy five-team scramble for the last two playoff spots headline a fascinating final regular-season round of NBL action. Competition pacesetters New Zealand and Perth (21-6) clash in Perth on Friday in possibly the only last-round match that won’t have a bearing on finals positions. Beneath the top two, there’s a mind-boggling brain-straining nine different scenarios concerning the third and fourth spots. Wollongong (12-15) sit outright third, just ahead of Cairns and Sydney (both 11-16) and Melbourne and Townsville (both 10-16). Of the eight teams, only last-placed Adelaide (8-19) can’t make the play-offs, but they can still shape the top four.

All things being equal, equality not reflected in the nation's sporting boardrooms ... 

On this day in 1966 … golfer Karen Lunn was born in Cowra. Over a lengthy career, mainly on the European tour, Lunn racked up 15 professional victories, the highlight being the 1993 Women’s British Open crown at the Woburn Golf and Country Club.

Winners are grinners ... Karen Lunn holding the trophy after winning the Ladies golf Classic at Royal Canberra Golf Course in 2012.

Winners are grinners ... Karen Lunn holding the trophy after winning the Ladies golf Classic at Royal Canberra Golf Course in 2012. Photo: Melissa Adams

League. Cowboys fullback Matt Bowen is not the only one with twinkling toes in North Queensland ... 

Rugby. Queensland have made five changes, will sport three skippers and are down to their fourth-choice ball-pilferer, but the Reds’ game plan is crystal clear on Saturday night: Run the Bulls into the ground. Coaching boss Ewen McKenzie and run-on debutant Jarrad Butler aren’t hiding the fact they aim to exhaust the monster Bulls pack with a high-octane game that has worked wonders against the South Africans in their past two Super Rugby visits to Suncorp Stadium. Liam Gill has been rested from the clash with a minor knee injury. Wellington-born Butler is the man who must step up in the vital position with back-up No.7 Beau Robinson (ankle) also sidelined and Radike Samo’s (knee) absence preventing a back-row reshuffle for No.8 Jake Schatz to start at openside. 

Cycling. The Cape Epic mountain bike event is billed as Africa’s untamed race over 700 rugged kilometres, and they’re not kidding. It throws up some unusual hazards, as Belgian biker Robert Mennen can attest. 

Who Are Ya? ... it's Steve Roach.

Who Are Ya? ... it's Steve Roach.

Who Are Ya? We have a winner !!!! Ken from Sydney was the first to correctly guess Steve "Blocker" Roach as the mystery sportsperson in today's photo.

Ken has won some Stuff We Found On Fitzy’s Desk ... four tickets to the Waratahs v Blues match on Sunday afternoon (you’ll have to drop in to the Fairfax office at Pyrmont to pick them up), and copies of the IRB World Rugby Yearbook 2013 and the cricketing classic Warwick Todd Goes The Tonk

Marreese Speights #15 and Wayne Ellington #21 of the Cleveland Cavaliers put pressure on LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat.

Marreese Speights #15 and Wayne Ellington #21 of the Cleveland Cavaliers put pressure on LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat. Photo: AFP

Basketball. Heat fans can breathe a little easier, Miami are back on track to win their 24th NBA match in a row. They are leading the Cavaliers 83-79 in Cleveland with less than eight minutes remaining.

AFL. West Coast midfielder Matt Priddis says a top-four finish is critical if the club is to have a legitimate shot at winning this year’s AFL premiership. The Eagles finished fifth last year before being bundled out in an away semi-and Priddis says the team is eager to avoid a repeat of that situation this year. West Coast start their campaign against Fremantle at Patersons Stadium on Saturday.

On this day in 1981 ... Gold Coast Titans halfback Albert Kelly was born. After gaining attention as a star in the Parramatta lower grades, he made his NRL debut with Cronulla in 2010. After struggling in a handful of appearances in his first year at fullback, he excelled at five-eighth in his second year until he suffered a broken leg. Kelly was then punted by the Sharks for repeated off-field incidents and picked up by Newcastle in 2012 but after failing to break into first grade, left the Knights and has started at halfback in Gold Coast’s first two matches of the 2013 season. Here he is finishing off a length-of-the field try.

March fashion madness

March fashion madness Photo: AP

Basketball. March fashion madness ... This photo illustration released by Adidas shows the uniforms for NCAA basketball teams, from left, University of Cincinnati, University of Kansas, University of Notre Dame, Baylor University, UCLA and the University of Louisville.

Rugby. Blockbusting All Blacks centre Ma’a Nonu will make a welcome return from injury for the winless Highlanders when they face Super Rugby defending champions the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday. Nonu replaces Phil Burleigh in the centres in one of three changes for the Highlanders, who will be led by dual international Brad Thorn in the injury-enforced absence of All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore.

Basketball. Miami's 23-game winning streak is under serious threat. They trail the lowly Cavaliers 74-65 late in the third quarter in Cleveland. 

League. As you would have read in the SMH or one of the Fairfax Media websites last week, Ben Barba is expected to make his return for the Bulldogs next week in the Good Friday clash with South Sydney. Will his return be enough to make Canterbury title contenders again in the NRL this year?

Poll: Will the Bulldogs make the top four with Ben Barba returning soon?

Poll form
  1. Please select an answer.
  2. View results
Yes, he'll be back to his best & have them firing

66%

No, the Dogs are in decline & his form will dip

34%

Total votes: 232.

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.

Cricket. It's not like Australia have never won a Test before at Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla. However, it was so far back in history that Neil Harvey used to show how it's done on the field rather than complaining about how things were in his day. Australia have played six Tests at the venue for a single victory, which came in December 1959. The dancing feet of Harvey helped the little left-hander hit 114 in Australia's 468 and Richie Benaud spun his way to figures of 3-0 and 5-76 as the tourists claimed victory by an innings and 127 runs. Since then Australia's record has been loss (1969), draw (1979), draw (1986), loss (1996), draw (2008).

Read the full story here

AFL. Essendon coach James Hird says he’s not looking to harness the emotion of a difficult off-season to deliver the Bombers a victory in tomorrow night’s AFL season-opener against Adelaide. Hird says they want to win because they play the right style of football, not because they’ve been galvanised by the pressure of an anti-doping investigation. The Bombers coach has confirmed Michael Hurley and David Zaharakis will play, after overcoming injuries, and mature-aged draftee Nick Kommer will make his debut.

Squash. Maria Toorpakai Wazir is a star squash player with a promising international career. Born in Waziristan, a highly conservative region of Pakistan, she had to disguise herself as a boy when she took up the sport - and later received ominous threats for playing in shorts."I am a warrior, I was born a warrior, I will die like a warrior. "Maria Toorpakai is courageous - and she’s had to be, to play squash in a region where many girls are denied more than a primary education.When she was four, she put on her brother’s clothes, cut her hair and took all her girly clothes outside and had them burnt.

Read the full story here

You wanna drive, go and jump in your car ... Allan Border cops a bouncer in the midst of yet another spell of hostile West Indies bowling from Joel Garner in 1984.

You wanna drive, go and jump in your car ... Allan Border cops a bouncer in the midst of yet another spell of hostile West Indies bowling from Joel Garner in 1984. Photo: AP

On this day in 1984 ... If you ever forget how crucial Allan Border was to Australia’s fortunes in the mid 1980s and how tough he was, check out the scorecard from the 1984 Test in Trinidad. After making 100 not out in the first innings, he backed up to make an unbeaten 98 in the second dig against the four-pronged pace attack of Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall, Wayne Daniel and Milton Small. No.11 Terry Alderman (21) held out for 105 minutes with Border to force a draw. Border scored 521 runs that series and averaged 74.42 - Graeme Wood (44) was the only other Australian batsman who averaged more than 26 for the five-match contest.

Who Are Ya? ... it's clue number four.

Who Are Ya? ... it's clue number four.

Who Are Ya? Time to give away Stuff We Found On Fitzy’s Desk. We’ve got four tickets to the Waratahs v Blues match on Sunday afternoon (you’ll have to drop in to the Fairfax office at Pyrmont to pick them up), and copies of the IRB World Rugby Yearbook 2013 and the cricketing classic Warwick Todd Goes The Tonk. To win guess who is in the photo - logon and comment, email smhsport@smh.com.au.

Quite a story ... Cowboys forward Glenn Hall is wrapped up by the Storm defence in Townsville last year.

Quite a story ... Cowboys forward Glenn Hall is wrapped up by the Storm defence in Townsville last year. Photo: Getty Images

On this day in 1981 …  Cowboys forward Glenn Hall was born. A true journeyman, his career started with stints at Canterbury, Sydney Roosters and Souths, before he was a member of Manly’s 2008 premiership-winning squad. After a stint in England, he returned to the NRL with the Cowboys in 2011. He also has what can only be considered a “colourful” bio in Wikipedia which contains the following entry …

Off the field, Hall is well known for surviving 19 days in the wilderness after crashing his ultrlight plane in the outback of Australia. He survived by killing and eating snakes and a crocodile. He walked over 120 km with a broken leg and arm. His story was front page news at the time and is apparentley the source of a soon to be released book.

League. Steve Mascord has been copping a bit of "feedback" from his Discord column ... 

DANIEL LANE: League. There are a whopping 24 nominations for the Cronulla Sharks board at the April 16 elections. Former chairman Damian Irvine, who stood down last week, is No.9 on the ticket order.  There are a range of former Sharks players standing for the board including Mark "Sparkles" McGaw, who lucked out by getting No.1 on the ballot, former New Zealand international Dane Sorenson, current chairman Glenn Coleman.

Ex-Sydney Kings star Damian Keogh, former NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Goodwin, local police sergeant Glenn Gorick and the general manager of the Accor hotel group Dino Mezzatesta are also trying to get a seat in the boardroom.

Existing board members Peter Kerr, Craig Douglas and Phil Tiernan are also standing for re-election.

Football. Russian Premier League soccer club Terek Grozny have been banned from their stadium for one match after Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov taunted a referee over the club’s loudspeaker system. Kadyrov, who is the club’s president as well as the leader of the troubled Russian republic, reacted angrily to referee Mikhail Vilkov’s dismissal of Terek captain Rizvan Utsiev during Sunday’s 0-0 draw at home to Rubin Kazan. The local leader took control of the Grozny arena’s public address system to shout: ‘‘The referee is corrupt. You jerk!’’ That brought a fine of 200,000 roubles ($A6,457) from the Russian Football Union as well as the stadium ban.

AFL. The AFL is continuing its push to understand the effects of concussion, announcing a research partnership with a world leader in the field. The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health will team with the league in research projects over the next five to 10 years. The AFL says the partnership will seek $3 million in third party funding for the research to proceed.

Basketball. Check out this amazing vision of basketball's latest prodigy ... Julian Newman, a 4'5" 5th grade hoops phenom out of Downey Christian School in Orlando, Florida, has been tearing apart varsity opponents that are 6 and 7 years older than him. 

Drugs in sport: Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, on trial for running a doping network in cycling, has said that he would be willing to name his clients.Dr Fuentes, who faces up to two-and-a-half years in jail on public health charges, had already revealed in his Madrid trial that he has clients in football, athletics, tennis and boxing. Fuentes told reporters attending the trial on Wednesday: "If they [anti-doping authorities] believe that I am useful and they ask me [to co-operate] I would consider it and I would be ready.

Read the full story here

League. As you would have read in the SMH or one of the Fairfax Media websites last week, Ben Barba is expected to make his return for the Bulldogs next week in the Good Friday clash with South Sydney. Will his return be enough to make Canterbury title contenders again in the NRL this year?

Poll: Will the Bulldogs make the top four with Ben Barba returning soon?

Poll form
  1. Please select an answer.
  2. View results
Yes, he'll be back to his best & have them firing

66%

No, the Dogs are in decline & his form will dip

34%

Total votes: 232.

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.

Tennis. He's still going strong, the old Aussie warrior, battler, etc. Lleyton Hewitt has advanced to the second round of the Miami Masters with a straight-sets victory over Joao Sousa of Portugal. Making his first appearance at the event in four injury-plagued years, Hewitt won 6-1 7-6 and next plays 11th-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon.

Lleyton Hewitt returns a shot against Portuguese opponent Joao Sousa during Day 3 of the Sony Open at  at the Crandon Park Tennis Center in Key Biscayne, Florida.

Lleyton Hewitt returns a shot against Portuguese opponent Joao Sousa during Day 3 of the Sony Open at at the Crandon Park Tennis Center in Key Biscayne, Florida. Photo: Getty Images

Cricket. Yesterday's poll received 3200 votes and more than half the respondents believe Brad Haddin should lead Australia in the fourth Test against India if Michael Clarke is unable to recover from his bad back. Food for thought, Mickey Arthur and Co ... 

Poll: If a back injury rules Michael Clarke out of the fourth Test who should captain Australia?

Poll form
  1. Please select an answer.
  2. View results
Shane Watson

20%

Ed Cowan

7%

Brad Haddin

54%

Matthew Wade

5%

Peter Siddle

14%

Total votes: 3239.

Would you like to vote?

You will need Cookies enabled to use our Voting Feature.

Poll closed 31 Mar, 2013

Disclaimer:

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

Cricket. A pat on the back to Fairfax Media cricket writers Chloe Saltau and Jesse Hogan who were recognised by Cricket Victoria for their efforts this season.

Read the full story here

AFL. Fremantle coach Ross Lyon says he has full faith in Jon Griffin to lead the club’s ruck division in the absence of Aaron Sandilands. Sandilands will visit a specialist in Melbourne this week after aggravating his injured left hamstring. But in better news for Fremantle, back-up ruckman Zac Clarke has been cleared of a serious leg injury and is a chance to play in Saturday’s western derby against West Coast.

GolfGeoff Ogilvy, Greg Chalmers and Marcus Fraser are confident of boosting Australia's meagre representation at next month's Masters as crunch time looms for invites. So far only Adam Scott, Jason Day, Marc Leishman and John Senden are assured of playing the year's first major championship at Augusta National on April 11-14. Ogilvy (50th), Chalmers (60th) and Fraser (61st) have less than two weeks left to find themselves inside the world's top 50 on April 1 to earn an invitation.

Read the full story here

Football. Croatian police have threatened to halt Friday’s World Cup qualifier between Croatia and Serbia in Zagreb if home fans resort to anti-Serbian chanting. Police officials have pledged tight security at the qualifier pitting Croatia against former foe Serbia and warned that ethnically-based and insulting chants would not be tolerated. Croatia and Serbia meet in a football match for the first time as independent nations since the bloody civil war fought between the two former Yugoslav republics in the 1990s.

Motor sport. For the past three years the IndyCar championship has ended in heartbreak for Will Power but he’s content knowing it won’t take much different to make him champion in the 2013 season starting this weekend. The Australian finished championship runner-up in each of those three years, culminating in a crash in last year’s season finale that handed the title to American Ryan Hunter-Reay. Power believes he doesn’t have to tweak too much in his bid to be No.1. ‘‘Just a couple little details really; it’s really nothing too big. We made changes within the team...I’ve never seen a team work so hard in the offseason really. Me personally as well, so all we can do is bring what we’ve got, do our absolute best.‘‘Hopefully at some point we can get the thing done.’’ He gets his season underway this weekend at one of his favourite circuits, the 2.9km, 14-turn street circuit in St Petersburg, Florida.

CyclingCadel Evans will have points to prove in his Criterium International title defence in Corsica this weekend. The two-day, three-stage race will likely be the only event Evans races with teammate and fellow general classification star Teejay van Garderen before the Tour de France in July. Evans, the 2011 Tour de France champion, is the recognised team leader for BMC Racing. But 24-year-old American van Garderen is an up-and-comer who made a strong impression when finishing ahead of his now 36-year-old Australian teammate on last year's tour - fifth to Evans' seventh.

Read the full story here

AFL. Fremantle coach Ross Lyon says there’ll be nowhere to hide for the Eagles or Dockers when the nation’s AFL fans turn their attention to Saturday’s western derby. With only two AFL matches this weekend, the Adelaide-Essendon and Fremantle-West Coast clashes will receive far more attention than normal. The Eagles hold a 21-15 lead in the head-to-head standings, but will be out for revenge after losing the previous derby by 65 points.

Cricket. Zimbabwe crumbled yet again to the spin of Shane Shillingford as the West Indies reached a commanding position at the close of the first day of the second and final Test at Windsor Park in Dominica. Playing in front of his home fans, Shillingford followed up his nine-wicket match haul from the first Test in Barbados the previous week with a haul of 5-59. Shane Warne's sparring partner Marlon Samuels, who claimed his best Test innings figures of 4-13 on the opening day at Kensington Oval, snared 3-15 to bundle out Zimbabwe for just 175. Chris Gayle (61 not out) and Marlon Samuels (26 not out) were not out with the Windies 2-114 at stumps.

On this day in 1970 ... Czech skier Vinko Bogataj famously crashed during a ski-jumping championship in Germany. Here he goes again … 

Cricket. Warnie, you were born to ruuuuuun ...

League. Re-signed Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah ... "I love to win, I want to win a premiership. 2005 is a long time ago. We've been close a couple of times but fell a bit short. Over the next couple of years we can build into a strong squad." 

Sun-Herald sports editor Paul Suttor has taken over blog duties from Shane Brady, who's devoting his time and energy to getting The Form section sorted for tomorrow's paper. Big weekend at Rosehill this weekend with three Group 1s on Saturday.

AFL. The AFL says a way must be found to enable all clubs to pay the full salary cap to create a truly equal competition. Brisbane admit they can’t pay the full cap this year and AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou says the Lions aren’t the only club in that position. The league has met officials from all clubs to discuss ways to combat a growing rich-poor divide, and it plans to get back to clubs in September with recommendations for new equalisation measures.

Table tennis. Check out Quentin Robinot’s incredible reverse winner at the Kuwait Open.

Rugby. Not the best news for dem Western Force fans in Perth from our rugby guru Paul Cully ... 

Basketball. Surely they can't lose to the lowly Cavaliers, surely after 23 straight wins Miami will get the job done in Cleveland. Not looking good for the Heat early in the second quarter, trailing 32-24.

Football. Practice makes perfect for Alessandro Del Piero ...

Football. Sydney FC captain Terry McFlynn has been ruled out of Saturday night’s A-League derby with Western Sydney due to a hamstring injury. McFlynn also missed last weekend’s 1-1 draw against Melbourne Victory with the injury but it was hoped he would be right to take his place against the high-flying Wanderers, who can secure the minor premiership with a win in front of a sold out crowd at Parramatta Stadium. But a disappointed Sydney FC coach Frank Farina confirmed on Thursday he would be without defensive midfielder McFlynn’s services. ‘‘The good thing is we’ve got pretty much everyone available, apart from Terry McFlynn, which I’m a bit disappointed in because I thought he’d be okay for this week but he’s the only one out. That’s a real positive,’’ Farina said.

Rugby: And finally ... England's Tom Croft has denied spitting at Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny during the Six Nations defeat.

The flanker attracted a torrent of abuse on Twitter after a video clip of the first-half incident during which he stands over Halfpenny at a ruck and appears to hold the Welsh player’s head down.

The 27 year-old told his 30,542 followers: "Just to clarify, I did NOT spit on @LeighHalfpenny1 during the Eng v Wal match, I think it’s disgusting and has no place in the game.

Read the full report here

Cricket. Australia captain Michael Clarke was unable to train yesterday because of a back problem, and remains in doubt for the fourth Test against India starting tomorrow. Clarke’s last chance to prove his fitness is today’s training session, and vice-captain Shane Watson is likely to take over for the first time at Test level if Clarke is ruled unfit. It’s a remarkable turnaround for Watson who a week ago was in the doghouse as one of four players suspended for one match for failing to complete a homework assignment on time.

On this day in 1984 … The fun police got the better of the NFL, which passed the infamous anti-celebrating rule, sadly putting an end to all the fancy spiking and dancing in the end zone after touchdowns. In what became known as the anti-fun rule, NFL bosses imposed an automatic 15-yard penalty on any team taking their touchdown celebration too far by leaving their feet or using a prop. It looks to have been as successful as the Dirty Dancing law if this video is any indication.

Don't worry, that's not real blood ... Rescuers participate in an exercise of emergency care of injured fans in football stadiums in Brasilia. Rescuers from several Brazilian states participated in a simulated exercise aimed at the FIFA 2013 Confederations Cup and FIFA 2014 World Cup.

Don't worry, that's not real blood ... Rescuers participate in an exercise of emergency care of injured fans in football stadiums in Brasilia. Rescuers from several Brazilian states participated in a simulated exercise aimed at the FIFA 2013 Confederations Cup and FIFA 2014 World Cup. Photo: AFP

Football. Perth Glory are set to unveil former Socceroo Alistair Edwards as their new full-time A-League coach later today. He has been in charge of the Glory on an interim basis since Ian Ferguson's sacking last month - and is expected to sign on for a three-year deal.

Rugby: And the Poms didn't just cop it on the field, with reports revealing they were amushed in their hotel bar after the game by a couple of irate supporters.

The players had decided not to go out in Cardiff for fear of running into gloating Wales players but were not even safe from their own fans, who gave them a spray.

 

 

Rugby: The fallout from England's loss to Wales in the Six Nations rumbles on ...

Wales great JPR Williams has told England to lay off the "sour grapes" and take their medicine after their 30-3 humiliation in Cardiff.

Williams, capped 55 times for Wales in their halcyon days of the 1970s and a former British and Irish Lions fullback, was dismayed to learn that England were planning to complain to the International Rugby Board about referee Steve Walsh’s performance.

But Williams said: “Yes, he did give a number of penalties to Wales throughout the game, but that was only to be expected. Wales demolished the England scrum, so what else could he do."

Read the full story here

 

League: Here's Robbie Farah's profile ...

Date of Birth: 23/01/1984, Canterbury, NSW

Junior Club: Enfield Federals, Leichhardt Wanderers

Position: Hooker

Height: 179cm Weight: 88kg

Rep Honours: 4 Tests Aust (’09-12)’ Four Nations (’09-11); PM’s XIII (’06, ’08-09); 5 games NSW (’09, ’12); City Origin (’06-07, ’09-12); NRL All Stars (’10).

Club and FG Debut: v Manly, Leichhardt Oval, 08/06/2003 (Rd 13).

Premiership Record: 187 games, 51 tries, 12 goals, 16 field goals, 244 points.

Premierships: 1 (Wests Tigers, 2005)

League: Farah said the club means everything to him.

“I couldn’t be happier to have my future at Wests Tigers secured through this new deal,’’ he said.

“I have total confidence in the future of the Club. We have entered an exciting new phase and I can only see plenty of positives and success ahead for us.

“With my future settled, I can’t wait to the lead the team out tomorrow night at Leichhardt Oval in front of the best and most passionate members in the game.”

League: Wests Tigers have received a massive boost on the eve of their first home game at Leichhardt Oval tomorrow night with news today captain Robbie Farah has agreed to a new four-year deal.

One of the most respected players in the NRL, Farah was off contract at the end of this season but his new deal will see the local junior remain at Wests Tigers until the end of 2017.

Rugby-ish: Pakistan's rugby union chiefs are hoping to exploit the traditional tag-wrestling sport of kabaddi as they try to boost the game and build the country's fledgling international team.

Kabaddi, in which players hold their breath and try to tag an opponent before making it back to their half of the field, involves many of the skills needed for rugby – speed, strength, tackling and evasive running.

In a country where anything other than cricket struggles to get a look-in, the Pakistan Rugby Union has grown rapidly since it was founded 10 years ago and now boasts more than 3000 regular players.

Any kabaddi players in Sydney keen on a switch should contact the Waratahs.

Just add a football: The rugby-like subcontinental sport of Kabaddi.

Just add a football: The rugby-like subcontinental sport of Kabaddi. Photo: Penny Stephens

Who Are Ya? ... it's clue number three.

Who Are Ya? ... it's clue number three.

Who Are Ya? Time to give away Stuff We Found On Fitzy’s Desk. We’ve got four tickets to the Waratahs v Blues match on Sunday afternoon (you’ll have to drop in to the Fairfax office at Pyrmont to pick them up), and copies of the IRB World Rugby Yearbook 2013 and the cricketing classic Warwick Todd Goes The Tonk. To win guess who is in the photo - logon and comment, email smhsport@smh.com.au or via Twitter @SMHsport with hashtag #whoareya.

Football: Sebastian Hassett reports ... Sydney FC have spent much of this morning’s training session working on set pieces, specifically corners.

Perhaps it’s a sign of where they believe they can get the better of the Wanderers in Saturday night’s sold-out derby at Parramatta Stadium.

The Sky Blues dominated the corner count against Melbourne Victory last week but were only able to convert one of their chances, barely a few minutes before full-time.

On this day … in 1981: Manly co-captain Jason King was born. Like a true pro, He's celebrating with a tough gym this session this morning.

A member of the 2007 team that lost the grand final to Melbourne, he gained revenge the following year when the Sea Eagles thrashed the Storm in the premiership decider.

A prop who has played three times each for City and NSW, he missed Manly’s 2011 triumph due to injury. Watch him go toe-to-toe with the Bulldogs’ James Graham in last year’s finals.

Football: From the bulging bizarre injuries file ... Wolves goalkeeper Carl Ikeme could miss the rest of the season after breaking his hand when he punched the coach’s tactical whiteboard in the dressing room in frustration at his howler of an own goal at the weekend.

In case you missed it, like Carl, here it is again ...

Basketball: In the NBA, Miami are just about to hit the court in Cleveland with the Heat gunning for their 24th straight win, closing in on the 1971-72 LA Lakers’ record of 33.

With point guard Kyrie Irving sidelined through injury, LeBron James’ team should smash the Cavaliers.

Toronto have opened up an early 17-8 lead over the Bobcats in Charlotte.

In the other games today, Orlando travel to MSG to face the Knicks, Atlanta host Milwaukee, OKC & the Grizzlies lock horns in Memphis, Boston are away to New Orleans, Utah hit the road to Houston, Dallas are at home to Brooklyn, the Spurs should be too strong for Andrew Bogut’s Golden State in San Antonio, fellow strugglers Washington and the Suns meet in Phoenix and Philadelphia are in LA to take on the Clippers.

AFL: Collingwood has recognised the drought-breaking feats of its 1953 premiership side by elevating its members into the club's Hall of Fame.

Joined by fellow Hall of Fame inductees Anthony Rocca and Bill Libbis, members of the 1953 team were celebrated for their feats before a crowd of 1000 at Collingwood's season launch at Crown Palladium tonight.

With Magpie legends Peter McKenna, Kevin Rose, who was earlier inducted into the AFL's Hall of Fame, Des Tuddenham and Terry Waters among the onlookers, '53 heroes Lou and Ron Richards, Mick Twomey, George Hams, Arthur Gooch, Murray Weideman and Thorold Merrett were on hand to receive their honours, while the legendary Bob Rose was represented by wife Elsie.

Led by coach Phonse Kyne and captain Richards, the unfancied side ended 17 years in the VFL wilderness with an upset triumph over favourites Geelong.

Read the full story here

Football: The leader of the Russian republic of Chechnya has apologised for calling a referee ‘‘a jerk’’ over the stadium PA during a match.

When Terek Grozny captain Rizvan Utsyev was sent off on Sunday, Ramzan Kadyrov grabbed the ground announcer’s microphone and shouted: ‘‘The referee’s been bought off! You jerk!’’

He later apologised to fans but not to the official, insisting he deserved to be called corrupt.

Kadyrov, who has ruled Chechnya since 2005, is an avid football fan and served as president of the club from 2004 until late 2011.

The club faces fines up to 500,000 roubles ($16,300) and could be forced to hold matches behind closed doors.

Golf: Geoff Ogilvy, Greg Chalmers and Marcus Fraser are confident of boosting Australia’s meagre representation at next month’s Masters as crunch time looms for invitations.

So far only Adam Scott, Jason Day, Marc Leishman and John Senden are assured of playing the year’s first major championship at Augusta National on April 11 to 14.

Ogilvy (50th), Chalmers (60th) and Fraser (61st) have less than two weeks left to make the world’s top 50 on April 1 to earn an invitation.

All three tee it up in big events this week trying to secure much-needed ranking points.

Ogilvy joins Chalmers in this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida, while Fraser is teeing it up in the Malaysian Open on the European Tour.

Read the full story here

Good morning. Shane Brady here until lunch. Thanks to Ben Coady for taking the shine off the new ball in the opening session.
Soooo ... the morning after we learn ASADA is to interview 31 players and 10 ex-players in its doping probe, Cliff Clavin informs us that ‘‘asada’’ is Spanish for grilled. How appropriate.

Here's Cliffy expounding on another of his favourite subjects ...

Who Are Ya? ... it's clue number two.

Who Are Ya? ... it's clue number two.

Who Are Ya? Time to give away Stuff We Found On Fitzy’s Desk. We’ve got four tickets to the Waratahs v Blues match on Sunday afternoon (you’ll have to drop in to the Fairfax office at Pyrmont to pick them up), and copies of the IRB World Rugby Yearbook 2013 and the cricketing classic Warwick Todd Goes The Tonk. To win guess who is in the photo - logon and comment, email smhsport@smh.com.au or via Twitter @SMHsport with hashtag #whoareya.

Brad Walter: League. Wests Tigers skipper Robbie Farah has given his team a boost on the eve of Friday's match against Parramatta by agreeing to a new four year deal.

The NSW Origin hooker will play out his career with the Tigers after accepting a revised offer tabled on Tuesday night.

The news ends months of speculation over the future of Farah, who had been linked to Parramatta, and comes as a relief to team-mates.

"We need his experience and when we play without Robbie our team is a completely different team," star five-eighth Benji Marshall said.

Former Test centre Chris Lawrence said Farah's off-field leadership was another key attribute. "He has obviously been at the club his whole life and just the presence he has on and off the field is really important," Lawrence said.

"We have got a younger squad this year and he has really stood up, particularly with his leadership."

Farah's re-signing will be confirmed at an 11am press conference.

League. Former team-mate Bryce Gibbs got in earlier on the news of Robbie Farah's new deal with the Wests Tigers.

Rugby. Two-time British and Irish Lions captain Martin Johnson has said Wales lock Alun Wyn Jones could skipper the combined side on their tour of Australia later this year despite a lack of leadership experience at Test level.

Johnson, the only man to lead the Lions twice and England’s World Cup-winning captain in 2003, sees similarities between himself and the 27-year-old Jones beyond the fact they are both respected second rows.

Jones, capped 70 times by Wales, played in all three Tests of the Lions losing tour of South Africa four years ago and was a member of the Welsh side that thrashed England 30-3 in Cardiff on Saturday to retain their Six Nations title and deny their arch-rivals a Grand Slam. ‘‘He’s played a lot of games, he’s done it, he has been out there before with the Lions in ’09, so I think he’s in the frame,’’ Johnson told BBC Sport.‘‘I hear a lot of good things about him,’’ added Johnson, who resigned as England manager following a poor 2011 World Cup, blighted by off-field woes, in New Zealand.

Golf. Maybe she had James O'Connor's old alarm clock .... Defending champion and formerly top-ranked Yani Tseng was dropped from the Kia Classic after missing her 9:10am pro-am tee time on Wednesday.

‘‘I’m embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t feeling well last night and accidentally overslept and missed my tee time for the pro-am this morning,’’ Tseng said in a statement released by the US LPGA Tour.

‘‘I was extremely excited to compete this week to defend my title at the Kia Classic and to try to regain the No.1 spot. This was an unfortunate mistake and I want to apologise to Kia, my sponsors and all of the fans.’’

Glenn Jackson: League. Wests Tigers have confirmed Robbie Farah will remain with the Wests Tigers after signing a four-year deal. Here's last Saturday's report on the expected deal.

Rugby. Fearless Phil Lutton reports from Reds training.

Who Are Ya? ... it's clue number one.

Who Are Ya? ... it's clue number one.

Who Are Ya? Time to give away Stuff We Found On Fitzy’s Desk. We’ve got four tickets to the Waratahs v Blues match on Sunday afternoon (you’ll have to drop in to the Fairfax office at Pyrmont to pick them up), and copies of the IRB World Rugby Yearbook 2013 and the cricketing classic Warwick Todd Goes The Tonk. To win guess who is in the photo - logon and comment, email smhsport@smh.com.au or via Twitter @SMHsport with hashtag #whoareya.

Cycling. The doctor at the centre of a blood doping scandal has said he will collaborate with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) should they ask him to.

Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes is currently on trial in Madrid accused of endangering public health by performing blood transfusions on a number of high-profile cyclists.

However, the vast majority of Fuentes’ former clients have never been named and he said he would be willing to do so. ‘‘If they consider me useful and they ask me, I will consider it and be ready to collaborate,’’ he said upon leaving court on Wednesday.

‘‘What I do not know is whether they will value what I am going to offer or not.’’ Fuentes has already indicated his willingness to name those who he treated at the beginning of his trial back in January.

However, Magistrate Julia Patricia Santamaria didn’t allow that evidence to be given in court as the case relates purely to matters of public health and not to doping, which was not a criminal offence at the time of Fuentes’ arrest in 2006.

Reg of Lane Cove: Bowls. Australia’s women led the way in a dominant start to the Trans Tasman lawn bowls Test series in Auckland.

The New Zealand women lost the first of three Tests to their counterparts 5-1 on the Howick Bowling Club greens while the men’s first Test went to Australia on points differential after the scoreline was locked 3-3.

The Australian men’s fours skipped by Aron Sherrif produced the most decisive win, 18-8, to help set up an overall differential of plus-five.

Earlier, the men’s pairs and triples combinations shared one match each while New Zealand’s Shannon McIlroy won a tight singles match 21-19 over Mark Casey.The women’s Test was no contest, with the only New Zealand win in six matches coming in the first pairs clash, won 14-11 by Jo Edwards and Val Smith over Rebecca Quail and Kelsey Cottrell.

Rugby. The Southern Kings have recalled an Argentine and French player from their touring squad in New Zealand as the South African Rugby Union investigates the Super 15 newcomers for breaking its rules on foreign players.

Football. Troubled former England football star Paul Gascoigne says he cannot be certain if he will ever touch alcohol again after being taken to a hospital in the United States last month.

Gascoigne, 45, who has struggled with alcoholism for years and was sectioned under Britain’s mental health laws in 2008, was being treated at an Arizona rehabilitation clinic at a cost of about $US30,000 ($A29,000) for a two-month stay.

In an interview with Sky Sports, he said his future health was a matter of getting through one day at a time following an adverse reaction to his treatment at the Arizona clinic. ‘‘I don’t know if I’m going to touch a drink again. I just know that I’m not drinking today,’’ said Gascoigne. ‘‘I always remember lying on my bed and hearing the doctor saying ’I don’t think this guy is going to make it’,’’ the former Newcastle, Tottenham and Lazio midfielder recalled. ‘‘I panicked and got off the bed and said ’please don’t let us die. I need to water my plants’ and boom I was out of it.’’

However, he insisted his health was improving and that the biggest issue facing him now was cutting out destructive ‘‘binges’’. ‘‘I’m much better now, coming up to six weeks. Over 11 years, I’ve only drunk for four months of it. Just five little binges. I’ve got to stop them binges.

‘‘I’ve just got to stop picking up a drink. The press, what they wrote, it pulled me out of myself and it will hopefully help other alcoholics, seeing how close I was to passing away. Hopefully my story can help them.’’

Deputy sports editor Jim Morrison insisted we show this highlight of Gazza from Euro 96.

 

Tennis. Lleyton Hewitt has advanced to the second round of the Miami Masters with a straight-sets victory over Joao Sousa of Portugal.

Making his first appearance at the event in four injury-plagued years, Hewitt won 6-1 7-6 (7-3) on Wednesday.The 32-year-old Australian wildcard next plays 11th-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon.

Golf. Tiger Woods, who can overtake Rory McIlroy for World No.1 by defending his title this week at Bay Hill, says he and ski star Lindsey Vonn went public as a couple to combat ‘‘stalker-azzi’’.

A day after Woods and Vonn told the world they were dating and shared photos on their Facebook pages, Woods explained why they made that decision at a news conference on the eve of the $US6.2 million ($A6.01 million) US PGA Arnold Palmer Invitational.

‘‘We’re very happy where we’re at, but also we wanted to limit the ’stalker-azzi’ and all those sleazy websites out there, paparazzi following us,’’ Woods said. Photographers seeking a valuable picture of the couple had put at risk the health of Woods’ two children with ex-wife Elin Nordegren - five-year-old daughter Sam Alexis and four-year-old son Charlie.

‘‘I’ve had situations where it has been very dangerous for my kids, the lengths paparazzi will go to,’’ Woods said. ‘‘We basically devalued the first photos. Unfortunately that’s just the way it is in our society right now. We felt it was the best thing to do and I’m very happy about it.’’

Ewen McKenzie: Rugby. Externally, Tuesday's announcement that I was leaving the Reds has created debate and conversation in media and blog circles, but internally we have already moved forward with the rugby week and everyone is continuing to work hard in preparing for the Bulls on Saturday night.

League. Here's this week's instalment of The Phil Gould Show - with faithful sidekick Glenn Jackson.

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The Phil Gould Show

Does the NRL need to change its ruling on the shoulder charge?

PT8M7S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2gf6r 620 349

Golf. Twelve-year-old Chinese golf prodigy Ye Wocheng ensured he will smash the record for youngest player at a European Tour event when he came through a qualifying tournament on Wednesday.

The Dongguan schoolboy was able to card a triple-bogey eight and still finish third with a two-day score of two-under-par 142 at Chengdu’s Wolong Valley Country Club, punching his ticket to the Volvo China Open in May.

Ye follows Masters-bound Guan Tianlang and Florida-based Andy Zhang, both 14, to become part of the group of young stars emerging from China.

Guan holds the current European Tour age record after he played last year’s China Open in Tianjin at 13 years and 177 days.

In April, Guan will attract more headlines when he becomes the youngest to play the US Masters, lowering the 2010 record of Italy’s Matteo Manassero, who was 16 at the time. After Guan’s appearance at the April 11-14 showpiece at Augusta National, Ye will hog the limelight when he sets the European Tour’s new age record at the China Open on May 2.

This year, Ye won the Guangdong Junior Championships by a record 18 shots. He credits his father, who caddied for him in Chengdu, with introducing him to golf. ‘‘My dad was my first coach, so I owe him a lot for starting me off and helping me to develop my swing,’’ he said, according to the European Tour website. ‘‘He’s a pretty good player himself - an eight handicap.’’

Today's back page.

Today's back page.

Here’s today’s back page. Adrian Proszenko and Heath Aston report on the action the NRL will take if players under investigation by ASADA refuse to co-operate.

Ben Coady: Welcome to SportsDay Live. There’ll be 31 nervous current NRL players out there as they wait for a phone call from ASADA as the drug investigation continues. Shane Watson is ready to captain if Michael Clarke’s dodgy back doesn’t come good - Watto’s been stretching his neck in case he has to take part in the coin toss, he doesn’t want to cop a vertebrate injury watching the coin spin in the air.

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  • who are ya! Charlie Chaplin

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    March 21, 2013, 12:17PM
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    March 21, 2013, 12:09PM
  • Who Are ya- Laurie Daley.

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    March 21, 2013, 12:01PM
  • Who are ya

    Junior Pierce

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    FryBoy
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    March 21, 2013, 11:54AM
  • You are Ya? Paul Harragon

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    AJPetruzi
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    March 21, 2013, 11:53AM
  • Who Are ya- Laurie Daley.

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    William Wallace
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    March 21, 2013, 11:52AM
  • Who Are ya- Laurie Daley.

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    William Wallace
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    Galashiels
    Date and time
    March 21, 2013, 11:50AM
  • Who are ya Mark Geyer

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    gf
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    March 21, 2013, 11:17AM
  • Who are ya = Glen Lazarus.

    ps The Poms deservedly got smashed by Wales, but ... Steve Walsh is the worst referee in the history of rugby and it's about time he was called to task/put out to pasture. If I ever see he is refereeing a Super 15 game I won't go (or watch it on telly). He is the pits. Ron

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    Ron Jeremy
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    March 21, 2013, 11:08AM
  • Who are ya! Steve "Blocker" Roach

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    Jeromey
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    March 21, 2013, 11:07AM
  • Who Are Ya - Mark Carroll

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    March 21, 2013, 11:05AM
  • Who Are Ya? - Steve Roach

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    March 21, 2013, 11:03AM
  • Who Are Ya - Wally Lewis

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    March 21, 2013, 9:54AM
  • Who Are Ya? - Johnny Raper

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    Ken
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    March 21, 2013, 9:48AM
    • Johnny Raper!!!!!!!!

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      Jeromey
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      March 21, 2013, 1:08PM

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