Ben Coady: That's it from us today - we're still waiting on Warney's Manifesto, but rest assured there will be plenty of coverage on smh.com.au when it drops.
Michael Chammas: League. Melbourne back-rower Lagi Setu will play his first game of rugby league in more than two years in the Storm’s preseason trial on Saturday night.
The former Dragons and Broncos forward, who has spent the past two years on a Mormon missionary, will be used by coach Craig Bellamy in Saturday night’s trial against Queensland Cup side Brisbane Easts alongside fellow new recruits Junior Sa’u, Junior Moors and Brett Finch.
Boxing. For all the fight fans out there, the mighty Chris 'Blocka' Dutton will be live blogging the Geale v Mundine stoush tonight at smh.com.au.
Sport and politics. The federal election might be slated for the thick of footy finals season, but Australia’s major sporting codes aren’t fazed by the prospect of competing with the polls.
Julia Gillard announced the election for September 14, going head-to-head with big matches for the AFL, NRL and the Wallabies. That weekend is semi-finals time in the AFL and qualifying and elimination finals for the NRL - with matches set down for the Saturday. The AFL said there was a simple solution for footy fans: get up early and vote. ‘‘It will be week two of our finals, but that’s no impact for us. Our fans of whoever is playing that day will just need to vote in the morning,’’ said an AFL spokesman.
The NRL is confident punters will be at least as interested in the outcome of the league playoffs as the election result. ‘‘People will still be more than interested in the footy,’’ said the NRL in a statement.
In Perth on that Saturday night, the Wallabies host Argentina in the Rugby Championship.The ARU doesn’t expect their crowd to suffer at all from the election.‘‘The Wallabies Test against the Pumas will kick-off when polling booths close in Western Australia,’’ an ARU statement said.
Ears McEvoy: Top 10. We’ve been counting down the Top 10 Songs Name-checking Athletes today. Here’s the winner.
Number 1. Tough Guy. Beastie Boys.
Ears doesn’t mind a bit of dirty play on the field. I mean who didn’t give the smartarse opposing hooker a short right-hand jab when the scrum broke up in the under 13s? But Detroit Piston centre Bill Laimbeer wasn’t just a dirty player; he was a dirty player who whined when he got caught. Unforgivable. He got his due from the mighty Beastie Boys in this tune from their Ill Communication album.
Ink man ... the left arm of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is shown with his tattoos during Media Day for the NFL's Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. Photo: JEFF HAYNES
Super Bowl. The telephone rings nonstop these days at Endless Ink in Reno, Nevada, where the Super Bowl run of Colin Kaepernick has tattoo seekers waiting four months to use the same artist as the San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback.
‘‘Business has really, really picked up, doubled,’’ says Nes Andrion, Endless Ink’s 35-year-old owner who just might emerge as Super Bowl Sunday’s big winner. Andrion will get his work displayed for free while companies such as Anheuser-Busch, the world’s biggest brewer; Research in Motion Ltd., maker of the BlackBerry and PepsiCo. Inc., sponsor of the halftime show, are paying as much as $4 million for a 30-second advertisement during the NFL championship game between the 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens.
Kaepernick’s relationship with Andrion, who charges up to $120 an hour, began as a freshman at the University of Nevada.
A number of the school’s athletes had tattoos done by Andrion and word of his work eventually reached the 6-foot-4, 230-pound quarterback. Now he goes nowhere else. ‘‘I had him do one piece,’’ Kaepernick told reporters last week. ‘‘I really liked it and I’ve been going to him ever since.’’
The first tattoo, on his throwing shoulder, was Psalm 18:39, which reads, ‘‘You arm me with strength for battle.’’
Rugby. Young Melbourne Rebels fullback James Woodward has been ruled out for six weeks after injuring a tendon in his finger at Super Rugby pre-season training.
Woodward had been expected to be named at fullback for the Rebels’ trial game against NSW Waratahs in Hobart on Saturday.
Michael Chammas: League. South Sydney fans will have to wait until the end of the season to see the entire Burgess clan in action, with Luke Burgess ruled out for six months with a shoulder injury.
Burgess injured the shoulder at training this week and today underwent surgery to repair damage to the labrum and capsule in his shoulder.
“This is definitely a setback for Luke but he takes a highly professional approach to his football and we know he will do everything he can to return as early as he can,” coach Michael Maguire said.
“We have a good team of medical staff and trainers here at Souths and they will make sure that ‘Biffa’ returns in top shape.
“This development opens up an opportunity for other props to gain a spot in the team for round one and the competition for spots, including the front row, is hot at the moment.
“We look forward to seeing Luke back at training and around the team shortly.”
There's also growing speculation that South Sydney centre Matt King is considering retirement but South Sydney are still hopeful he'll be a chance to play in the opening round of the season.
King has struggled with an infection after suffering a broken arm in the first week of the finals against his old club the Melbourne Storm.
Cricket. Paceman Mitchell Johnson says Australia will be aiming to dominate the West Indies in the upcoming five-match one-day series, starting on Friday at the WACA Ground.
Australia were held to a 2-2 draw in the recent one-dayers against Sri Lanka, before slumping to a 2-0 defeat in the Twenty20s.
The West Indies, Twenty20 world champions, contain some of the best hitters in world cricket, but the team remains a hit-and-miss prospect, with their recent 3-2 one-day series loss to minnows Bangladesh highlighting their inconsistency.
Johnson said if Australia could beat the West Indies in the first two one-dayers at the WACA, it would set the tone for the whole series.‘ ‘We need to go out there and really dominate the West Indies,’’ Johnson said.‘‘We want to keep on top of these guys and try and win this series well.’’
Drugs in sport. Photo: John Donegan
Will Brodie: Here's a fresh take on the hysteria surrounding the AFL drugs summit from noted crime writer John Silvester. Sly contends: "AFL players are evasive targets on the field but easy ones off it..."
EARS McEVOY: Top 10. We’re counting down the Top 10 Songs Name-checking Athletes*. Here’s number 2.
George Best. Wedding Present.
George Best’s genius, both on and off the field, was too huge for just one song. So the Wedding Present named a whole album in his honour. George is on the cover in all his splendour, dirty and defiant in his Manchester United kit. Here’s Everybody Thinks He Looks Daft from the album.
Cricket. Paceman Mitchell Johnson says Australia will be aiming to dominate the West Indies in the upcoming five-match one-day series, starting on Friday at the WACA Ground. Australia were held to a 2-2 draw in the recent one-dayers against Sri Lanka, before slumping to a 2-0 defeat in the Twenty20s. ‘‘We need to go out there and really dominate the West Indies,’’ Johnson said.‘‘We want to keep on top of these guys and try and win this series well.’’
American football. Anyone thinking of a last-minute trip to New Orleans for the Super Bowl better have a well-stocked credit card. One ticket re-selling site has 2574 tickets up for grabs, the cheapest of which is $1475. If you are a multi you can get a ticket in a suite for upwards of $150,000.
Golf. In further evidence as to why all parents should put golf clubs in the crib, take a look at the PGA money list for 2013. Yes, January still isn't over but that hasn't stopped five guys already topping $1m and 10 making more than $500,000. Dustin Johnson is No.1 with US$1.15m, a lazy 50 grand more than Tiger Woods.
American football. Randy Moss has never been shy, but his latest comments are among his silliest. Moss declared himself the greatest wide receiver of all-time on Tuesday, suggesting ''he doesn't really live on numbers.'' What must Jerry Rice be thinking. Moss' San Francisco 49ers meet the Baltimore Ravens play in Monday's Sper Bowl.
Rugby. Bewildered Brumbies coach Jake White believes Wallabies plans to strip Australian Super Rugby teams of their Test players for crucial penultimate round matches are blatantly unfair. White has joined his Queensland and NSW counterparts - Ewen McKenzie and Michael Cheika - in opposing Robbie Deans’ wish to put his Test squad into an extended three-week camp before the British and Irish Lions series in June.
Cricket. Western Australia have lost star opener Shaun Marsh to start their domestic one day clash with NSW at the SCG, reducing the visitors to 1-23 after seven overs. Marsh was brilliantly run out by Steve Smith for just seven.
Motor sport. Well sort of. Ashley Judd and three-timer Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti are separating after 11 years of marriage. Judd's spokeswoman confirmed a Tuesday report from People magazine that the 44-year-old actress and 39-year-old Scottish race car driver are ending their marriage. Judd is a huge University of Kentucky fan.
Ears McEvoy: Top 10. We’re counting down the Top 10 Songs Name-checking Athletes*. Here’s number 3.
All I Want For Christmas is a Dukla Prague Away Kit. Half Man Half Biscuit.
You remember the spoilt kid at school who always had more pocket money than everyone else and could buy the complete set of Scanlen’s footy cards? Here’s the British version - the pain and challenges of playing table top football, aka Subbuteo, against who kid who had all the gear - all wrapped up in one three minute pop gem. Genius.
*No athlete name-checked, but too good to leave out.
Golf. New Zealander Mark Brown has shot a course record 10-under 62 at Kingston Heath to win a place in this year’s British Open at Muirfield.
He’ll be joined by Queenslander Steve Jeffress and West Australian Stephen Dartnall.
The top three in the 70-man field after two rounds won entry through International Final Qualifying.
AFL. More from the land of the Giants and the opportunities awaiting a fit-again Jonathon Patton in the GWS forward line.
Cricket. Shane Warne must be using the spell check.
Apologies re article not done done by 3pm today, want to get it right.. 5pm will be uploaded... shanewarne.com— Shane Warne (@warne888) January 30, 2013
Ears McEvoy: Top 10. We’re counting down the Top 10 Songs Name-checking Athletes. Here’s number 4.
Duckworth Lewis Method. A concept album about cricket. What’s not to like? Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy) and Thomas Walsh (Pugwash) combined to produce this 12-track album with every song about the gentleman’s game. Top quality pop. Here’s Meeting Mr Miandad.
Cricket. New South Wales won the toss and elected to bowl against Western Australia in their one-day clash at Sydney Cricket Ground today.
New South Wales: Stephen O’Keefe (capt), Scott Henry, Shane Watson, David Dawson, Steven Smith, Nic Maddinson, Peter Nevill, Trent Copeland, Josh Hazlewood, Gurinder Sandhu, Doug Bollinger. 12th man: Luke Doran. Western Australia: Adam Voges (capt), Shaun Marsh, Liam Davis, Sam Whiteman, Michael Hussey, John Rogers, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ashton Agar, Joel Paris, Michael Hogan. 12th man: Jason Behrendorff.
AFL. Midfielder Travis Boak has been named the new captain of Port Adelaide, taking over from Domenic Cassisi, and Brett Ebert will be his deputy.
Football. Dino Kresinger briefly left Western Sydney Wanderers’ songsheet on Wednesday to suggest the A-League club are daring to dream they can win the championship in their first season.
Expectations that the club can seriously challenge for silverware have risen with their place on the ladder over the past two months, but coach Tony Popovic and captain Michael Beauchamp have repeatedly tried to put a lid on the club’s title expectations.
But Croatian striker Kresinger wasn’t interested in sticking to the low-key approach when asked before training whether the third-placed Wanderers, who are on a three-match winning streak, can go all the way to win April’s grand final.‘‘Yes, that’s now in our minds,’’ he said. ‘‘We want to be the best. We are really playing good ... (and) just want to keep winning.’’
American football. The Buffalo Bills have renewed a five-year deal to play one regular-season National Football League game a season in Toronto from 2013 through 2017, the team announced on Tuesday.
The Bills went 1-4 in regular season games in Toronto under a five-year deal that expired last year.
The Bills began playing in Toronto in 2008. Last month they lost to Seattle 50-17 in Toronto on the way to finishing the season 6-10.
We know it’s not an earth-shattering yarn, but it gives us a chance to use a blog favourite again. Let’s Go Buffalo.
Ears McEvoy: Top 10. We’re counting down the Top 10 Songs Name-checking Athletes. Here’s number 5.
Real Sounds of Africa. Football Fan
Maradona. Check. Gary Lineker. Check. Bobby Robson. Check. Podiatrist Norman Whiteside. Check. All get shout outs in this tune from the great Real Sounds of Africa.
Swimming. It’s happening again. Former Australian swimming coach Bill Sweetenham, who went on to become high performance director of British swimming, is now going to work for the Kiwis.
Sweetenham, who oversaw the emergence of Australian champions Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett, will temporarily oversee New Zealand’s high-performance program while it searches for a new coach.
Election ennui. What to watch on the weekend of the federal election, which was today announced to be held on September 14.
The good news is there will be plenty of sport sharing the headlines.
It will be the first weekend of the NRL finals and the second week of the AFL finals.
Australia are playing Argentina in the Rugby Championship in Perth, while the Aussie cricketers do battle with England in a one-day international in Cardiff.
American football. You know the Super Bowl ads cost millions, right? So you'd hate to hit the wrong tone, eh? Well this is Volkswagen's effort for game day - and it's caused quite a furore already, with accusations of racism ...
AFL. Good news for both you GWS Giants fans, co-captain Callan Ward says former No.1 draft pick Jonathon Patton is ready to burst onto the scene after injury ruined his first year at the club.
Patton endured a miserable first season at the Giants, undergoing knee surgery in the pre-season and shoulder surgery in August.
But the power forward has recovered and Ward says he’s been training well and looms large as the side’s go-to man in 2013.
Ears McEvoy: Top 10. Top We’re counting down the Top 10 Songs Name-checking Athletes. Here’s Number 6.
Piazza, New York catcher. Belle and Sebastian.
The gentle popsters rounded the diamond with one mighty blow that name-checked the New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza.
Football. Socceroos coach Holger Osieck has named a 19-player squad for the upcoming international friendly match against Romania, which will now be played in Malaga, Spain on Wednesday February 6.
Rhys Williams returns to the squad after recovering from an ankle injury, along with Jason Davidson, Adam Federici and Michael Zullo.
Squad: Mark Bresciano, Alex Brosque, Robert Cornthwaite, Jason Davidson, Adam Federici (gk), James Holland, Brett Holman, Mile Jedinak, Robbie Kruse, Mathew Leckie, Ryan McGowan, Matt McKay, Lucas Neill, Tommy Oar, Nikita Rukavytsya, Mark Schwarzer (gk), Luke Wilkshire, Rhys Williams, Michael Zullo.
Cricket (sort of). The below post is not only fantastic in its own right but also gives SportsDay Live another shameless opportunity to run the video of that delivery.
The Wall ... former PM John Howard features in a piece of street art in Melbourne.
Cricket. Street art and sport seldom mix but we like this piece in Melbourne brought to our attention on Twitter by @goonanism.
Cricket. NSW wicket-keeper Brad Haddin will miss today's Ryobi Cup clash with Western Australia at the SCG.
Haddin has withdrawn from this match to balance his workload on his return from injury, particularly in light of the short turnaround between games.
He will re-join the squad for the next round of Sheffield Shield and Ryobi Cup matches in Tasmania next week.
Peter Nevill will take over the wicket-keeping duties, while Nic Maddinson comes into the side.
Maddinson had been playing in the Futures League match at Blacktown International Sportspark, but has been withdrawn from today's play. He will resume in that match tomorrow.
Luke Doran will be 12th man for today's match.
Ears McEvoy: Top 10. We’re counting down the Top 10 Songs Name-checking Athletes. Here’s number 7.
Magic Johnson. Red Hot Chili Peppers
Back in the day when Flea was only wearing a basketball sock when he performed live (I’ll let you guess where), he was slap-bassing his way through this song about the Lakers’ champion.
Richard Hinds: Boxing. The allegations he was run out of the NRL by a racist agenda and even ''Uncle Toms''.
The controversial comments about 9/11 and the US bringing it on itself.
The attempts to divide and even categorise the indigenous community.
A personal bum-of-the-month club, and so-called world titles in which he did not beat bone fide world champion.
Compelling demonstrations of his speed, athleticism and even punching power against Danny Green.
The anthem, the flag, the mouth...we've heard it all from Anthony Mundine.
Pay-per-view salesmanship? Righteous indignation? Write your own storyline.
But, more than any other fight, I think his bout tonight against Daniel Geale tonight will be the one for which Mundine is remembered.
Lose to a rising star and his own star wanes. Beat Geale and the man who says he is the best in the world can at least claim to be the best in his own backyard.
What do you think? Vote in our poll posted earlier.
Surfing. Following on from the earlier photo of the headcase taming a giant wave in Portugal, we have now got a video of Man v Monster ...
SEBASTIAN HASSETT: Football. Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic is confident we haven't seen the last of the man who gave him his start in coaching, John Kosmina, saying he will attract interest from another A-League club despite walking out on Adelaide United this week.
The pair were due to lock horns on Friday night on either side of the dugout but Popovic will face interim coach Michael Valkanis instead.
"'Kossie's a character and you always need characters in the game. He's proven to be successful in the A-League and the Asian Champions League," Popovic said. "I'm sure that if an opportunity comes up, I'm sure Kossie will take it and I'm sure there will be a club willing to take Kossie."
DANIEL LANE: League. Former Canterbury and Kangaroos rugby league captain Dr George Peponis has described his being awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in Saturday's Australia Day honours as one of his greatest achievements.
“It’s up there with the three other big achievements of my life, that’s captaining Australia, winning a grand final with the Bulldogs and graduating in medicine,” he said. “It is something you don’t think about, but it’s such a great honour. I’m humbled and feel very grateful for the award.”
Dr Peponis, who emigrated to Australia with his family from Greece when he was 18-months-old, was one of the code’s multicultural pioneers who scaled the greatest heights rugby league, and Aussie society, offered. He studied medicine while playing first grade and is a highly regarded member of the community.
He is chairman of Canterbury Leagues Club and vice-president of the NSWRL.
Football. Oh I say, that's a peach ... great goal from Ricardo Fernandes, of Doxa Katokopias in the Cypriot league overnight. The score? Oh right. Doxa Katokopias 2 Alki Larnaca 2.
Ears McEvoy: Top 10. We’re counting down the Top 10 Songs Name-checking Athletes. Here’s number 8.
Hurricane. Bob Dylan
Ears can take or leave Bob Zimmerman on most occasions, but he got it right in this ode to Rubin ’Hurricane’ Carter, the American boxer who was wrongly convicted of a triple murder and served 19 years in jail before the court’s decision was overturned. Not a lot of Bob on Youtube, so we’ve got to go with a cover.
Dance, baby ... Baltimore Ravens linebacker Adrian Hamilton dances with Telemundo reporter Mireya Grisales during Media Day for the NFL's Super Bowl XLVII. Photo: Reuter
Super Bowl. The circus came to the Superdome on Tuesday as the Super Bowl showed its wild and wacky side during media day.
It was all on display at the stadium as about 800 fans paid $US25 each to see the players and media in a lighthearted environment that was often comical and serious at times.
Some of the media came dressed for the part. They wore wigs, fake tattoos, miner hats, gladiator suits, superhero costumes and there was one hack with a referee costume who kept throwing his yellow flag.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Kyle Williams danced salsa with a female Spanish-language reporter while the 49ers’ Ian Williams was more than happy to oblige when a rail-thin television entertainment reporter wanted to experience what it felt like to get tackled by a 300-pound (136kg) defensive tackle.
‘‘There is no liability on his part if I get snapped in half,’’ the reporter said just before Williams slammed into him.
On this day ... Andre Agassi reckons if she was fit Steffi Graf could still compete on the WTA tour. In 1993 Graf came from a set down to vanquish young rival Monica Seles in the final of the Australian Open, winning 4-6 6-3 6-2.
Exactly a year later, Graf defended her crown by thrashing Spain's Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-2 6-0.
Boxing. You know you want to vote. Who's going to win tonight?
Poll: Who will win tonight's IBF middleweight world title fight?
- Daniel Geale
- Anthony Mundine
Total votes: 515.
You will need Cookies enabled to use our Voting Feature.
Poll closed 31 Jan, 2013
These polls are not scientific and reflect the opinion only of visitors who have chosen to participate.
Ears McEvoy: Top 10. We're counting down the Top 10 Songs Name-checking Athletes. Here's number 9.
Anna Kournikova. Binge.
She never won a singles tournament in her professional career but Kournikova inspired US indie band Binge to pen this song for their 2007 EP Tennis Tunes. It also included songs about Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Rafael Nadal and a cracker about Lleyton Hewitt. Take notice you bores in The Fanatics. Great guitar pop.
Football. Arsene Wenger on David Beckham's chances of being signed by Arsenal after attending training with the team.
‘‘I don’t know. I haven’t even seen him. Honestly, that is not on the agenda. He asked to come here and get fit. He’s a fantastic example, that’s one of the reasons I take him here. He always has a good word for everyone. The young English players especially look at him and take his advice on board. He has done the maximum in his career that you can do. Why? Because he loves football. He arrives before training and, after training, he stays and plays."
Look hard to find him (II) ... Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens answers questions from the media during Super Bowl XLVII Media Day ahead of Super Bowl XLVII Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. Lewis will play his final game against San Francisco in the Super Bowl. Photo: Getty Images
Football. Lazio edged Juventus 2-1 after a dramatic finish to a pulsating Italian Cup semi-final second leg on Tuesday to seal their place in the final against either Inter Milan or city rivals AS Roma.
With the tie level at 1-1 after last week’s first leg in Turin, Lazio took the lead on the night at the Stadio Olimpico when Alvaro Gonzalez headed in a measured Cristian Ledesma cross.
It looked as if that goal would be enough to take Vladimir Petkovic’s side through to their first national Cup final since 2009, but then Juve hit back a minute into injury time when Arturo Vidal reacted quickest inside the penalty box to stab the ball home.
For a brief moment extra time loomed, but only until Sergio Floccari got his head to a corner inside a crowded box to put the hosts back in front. There was almost another twist in a dramatic injury time, as Sebastian Giovinco was denied when left with just goalkeeper Federico Marchetti to beat in the sixth and final minute of time added on.
Look hard to find him ... big-wave surfer Garrett McNamara drops in on a wave at Praia do Norte in Nazare. McNamara of Haleiwa, Hawaii, who won the Biggest Wave title at the 2012 Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards with his world record 24metre wave ridden at Praia do Norte in 2011. McNamara has returned to Nazare because he wants to try to beat the record again, and the forecast for the next days is for big swell. Photo: Reuters
Ears McEvoy: Top 10. We're counting down the Top 10 Songs Name-checking Athletes. Here's number 10..
Joe Frazier (He Prayed). Burning Spear.
Let's ease into this top 10 with some riddim from Burning Spear, appropriate on the day of the Mundine-Geale fight. The reggae heavyweight Mr Spear produced this knockout in 1972. The beat was later used in Big Youth's Foreman Vs Frazier - a classic one-two combination.
League. Canterbury coach Des Hasler and Josh Reynolds's manager Daryl Mather have agreed to meet the day after the collective bargaining agreement is formalised to discuss a new contract for the boom five-eighth, despite the Bulldogs' interest in Johnathan Thurston
Football. Defending champions Zambia were knocked out as Chelsea star Victor Moses lifted Nigeria into the quarter-finals with unheralded Burkina Faso joining them at the Africa Cup of Nations on Tuesday.
Group C finished in thrilling fashion with Moses converting two late penalties to beat Ethiopia 2-0 and put Nigeria into second place behind surprise table-toppers Burkina Faso.
While this duo were celebrating progress to the knockout stage, Zambia were packing their bags after becoming the first title-holders since Algeria in 1992 to suffer a first-round exit.
Football. It's a parody Twitter account, but maybe after today's 0-0 draw with QPR it's appropriate.
Breaking News: Manchester City are to hold a minute silence before kick off tonight as they are set to lose their entertainment to AC Milan.— Mario Balotelli (@MarioBaloltelli) January 29, 2013
AFL. A loophole allowing AFL players to avoid a drug strike by self-reporting is likely to be closed today with the AFL also expected to consider a push to significantly increase hair testing of players.
Football. FIFA vice-president Michel Platini has defended his decision to vote for Qatar as 2022 World Cup host after a French magazine alleged collusion among state and football leaders.
‘‘I reserve the right to sue anyone who questions my integrity in this vote,’’ Platini, who is president of European governing body UEFA, said in a statement on Tuesday.
Platini responded after France Football magazine published a 15-page cover story article titled Le Qatargate examining the Qatar World Cup project.
The magazine detailed a November 2010 dinner in Paris at then-president Nicolas Sarkozy’s official residence, attended by Platini and Qatar’s crown prince, Sheik Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. There, Sarkozy allegedly pressured Platini for political reasons to switch allegiance from the United States bid to Qatar in the FIFA vote nine days later, France Football suggested.
Over the top ... Queens Park Rangers' Brazilian defender Fabio Da SIlva vies with Manchester City's English midfielder Gareth Barry (L) during their EPL match. Photo: AFP
Football. Manchester City missed a chance to put the pressure on Manchester United at the top of English Premier League by drawing 0-0 at bottom-place Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday.
The inability to break through a compact QPR side means the champions are four points behind United, who can surge seven points clear by beating Southampton on Wednesday.
QPR remain bottom, but are three points behind Reading and four adrift of Aston Villa. Newcastle climbed four points clear of Aston Villa after goals from Yohan Cabaye and Papiss Cisse clinched a 2-1 win at Villa Park that plunged the hosts into the drop zone. Wigan moved out of the relegation places on goal difference after drawing 2-2 at Stoke.
Ears McEvoy: Top 10. I’ve had to give up my morning walk around Henson Park to produce a Top 10 on Athletes and Music for these blog jokers. The first one will be going up after I’ve cleared my head with a couple Winnie Reds.
Cricket. CA boss James Sutherland wants to meet with Shane Warne to discuss selection policy after Warne's 'muppet' outburst on Twitter.
Rugby. Six Nations kicks-off this weekend and plenty of team selections overnight. The main points being Ireland great Brian O’Driscoll being restored to the starting XV for their opener against Wales in Cardiff and uncapped Gloucester centre Billy Twelvetrees winning selection for England for the match against Scotland at Twickenham.
Ireland: Rob Kearney; Craig Gilroy, Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy, Simon Zebo; Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; Jamie Heaslip (capt), Sean O’Brien, Peter O’Mahony; Donnacha Ryan, Mike McCarthy; Mike Ross, Rory Best, Cian Healy. Res: Sean Cronin, David Kilcoyne, Declan Fitzpatrick, Donncha O’Callaghan, Chris Henry, Eoin Reddan, Ronan O’Gara, Keith Earls.
England: Chris Ashton (Saracens), Brad Barritt (Saracens), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Danny Care (Harlequins), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Toby Flood (Leicester), Alex Goode (Saracens), David Strettle (Saracens), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Ben Youngs (Leicester). Dan Cole (Leicester) Dylan Hartley (Northampton), James Haskell (Wasps), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Ben Morgan (Gloucester), Geoff Parling (Leicester), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), David Wilson (Bath), Tom Wood, Tom Youngs (Leicester).
Scotland: Stuart Hogg; Sean Maitland, Sean Lamont, Matt Scott, Tim Visser; Ruaridh Jackson, Greig Laidlaw; Johnnie Beattie, Kelly Brown (capt), Alasdair Strokosch; Jim Hamilton, Richie Gray; Euan Murray, Dougie Hall, Ryan Grant. Res: Ross Ford, Moray Low, Geoff Cross, Alastair Kellock, David Denton, Henry Pyrgos, Duncan Weir, Max Evans.
Cycling. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has accused cycling’s world governing body of ‘‘deceit’’ following its decision to disband its own independent commission into the Lance Armstrong drugs scandal.
WADA’s damning criticism of the International Cycling Union (UCI) came as the independent commission itself issued a statement saying a lack of co-operation by the UCI and other interested parties had made its work ‘‘impossible’’.
UCI president Pat McQuaid announced the closure of the independent commission after protracted argument about its powers and whether witnesses would be granted an amnesty protecting them from subsequent disciplinary action.
The commission had been created in response to allegations by the United States Anti-Doping Agency - whose inquiry led to Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles - that cycling officials had been complicit in the American’s cheating. McQuaid said the commission was being scrapped in favour of a ‘‘truth and reconciliation process’’ (TRC), which had the support of WADA.
However, WADA president John Fahey denied this, accusing the UCI of ignoring its responsibilities and being ‘‘determined to apparently deflect responsibility for the doping problem in its sport to others’’.
League. Sad news yesterday with the passing of Australian and Roosters player Ferris Ashton. Great player and remembered also as a member of Rex Mossop's Controversy Corner team.
Cricket. Australia have capped a successful build-up to the Women’s World Cup cricket tournament with a five-wicket win over India in their second and final practice match in Mumbai.
India got off to a powerful start with openers Poonam Raut (31) and Thirush Kamini (30) putting on a 42-run stand for the first wicket at the Cricket Club of India on Tuesday.
Reema Malhotra (35) and Nagarajan Niranjana (35) also provided some resistance at the crease as they led their side to a total of 8-222 in their 50 overs.
Australia’s Lisa Sthalekar (3-29) did some damage with the ball and was backed up well by Megan Schutt (2-47). Captain Jodie Fields again set the standard with the bat, posting 52 runs before she was retired, with teams permitted to play up to 15 players under the practice match conditions. She combined well with Alyssa Healy (36) in the middle of the innings to put on a 41-run partnership.
Drugs in sport. Interesting piece by Formula One star Mark Webber about how he distanced himself from Lance Armstrong when he began to have doubts about his denials of drug use.
Boxing. The talk (and there's been plenty of it) is over as Anthony Mundine and Daniel Geale prepare for tonight's bout. Mundine told Brad Walter yesterday he can upset Geale tonight.
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