That's it from us on a slowish but eventful day. Thanks for joining us on the blog. Check smh.com.au for the latest on the unfolding drama at the Sharks or pick up the new compact Herald for the full wrap in the morning. It's footy season people!
Tomorrow we'll count down the Top 5 worst kits from Dom Bossi and the remaining minutes until the NRL season kick-off.
Alas still no play in Dunedin and there's even a lay day at the Roxy pro at the Gold Coast. No cricket, no surf. What next?
Join us again from 8.30am for all the latest from the weird and wonderful world of sport.
Viz vest ... the Victory are highly visible at away games. Photo: Getty Images
Top 10: Dominic Bossi continues to count down the worst fashion faux pas on the sporting field.
6. Modelled on the latest construction site fashion, the Victory’s fluorescent green 2012-13 away strip is a blinding eyesore. What makes this strip all the more worse is that they’ve sought a separate jersey sponsor for their away strip which means they wear it at every away game, regardless of a potential colour clash with their regular strip.
League: The Sharks have cancelled a club promotion on Wednesday night due to the disruptions caused by the ASADA investigation.
Cronulla open their NRL campaign against the Titans at Sharks Stadium on Sunday night. They are one of the favourites for the title after adding significant recruits to their roster in the off-season.
It is believed ASADA has interviewed six players as well as club officials and it is expected the interviews will continue on Thursday.
Rugby: Wallabies star David Pocock has gone into bat on Twitter for none other than ... Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan political heavyweight and scourge of the West who passed away today. Don't they know you shouldn't speak ill of the dead.
Interesting to read the barrage of criticism re #Chavez from media/people in 'the West' - no real acknowledgements of positives?— David Pocock (@pocockdavid) March 6, 2013
ACC report. National Olympic boss John Coates says publicity surrounding the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) report into doping and potential crime links has clouded the worldwide reputation of Australia sport.Coates said the report was a hot topic of discussion when he attended a recent International Olympic Committee meeting in Switzerland, at which he was at pains to point out the ACC investigation focussed principally on the AFL and NRL football competitions. ‘‘In Lausanne, I certainly had a lot of questions and some explaining to do,’’ Coates said. In positive news, at least Coates escaped talked about our Test cricket team.
Cricket: This from the front page of the Times of India, courtesy of our man on the ground, Chris Barrett. Nice of them to name check the Herald. Says it all really.
Read it and weep.
League. Cronulla Sharks' preparations for their opening home game on Sunday have been disrupted after ASADA officials stepped up their national drugs in sport investigations this week. Players and club officials were understood to be locked in interviews this afternoon over what knowledge they might have about the possible use and/or distribution of banned performance-enhancing substances — in particular during the 2011 rugby league season.
When news got out about the players’ meeting, the team's Wednesday morning training session was effectively blocked from the media and any other onlookers, with the session going ahead behind closed gates. It is understood the meeting was the latest in a number of player meetings, which didn’t involve coach Shane Flanagan or any club officials. A spokesman said the club had no comment ‘‘at this stage’’ about the investigations.
Motor sport: Drug testers have swooped on the homes of several formula one drivers, including Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo, in surprise early morning raids.
Ferrari’s dual world champion Fernando Alonso said the testers, from the World Anti-Doping Agency, arrived at his house at 6.42am on Tuesday.
New McLaren driver Sergio Perez confirmed he had endured a very early morning wake-up call as the result of a surprise urine test.
And Torro Rosso racer Ricciardo tweeted that he, ‘‘Got drug tested early hours this morning.’’
‘‘All of a sudden pissing in your own home becomes difficult with someone staring over your shoulder,’’ he said.
AFL: From the bizarre injuries file ... West Coast recruit Sharrod Wellingham is set to miss at least the first two rounds of the AFL season after a slower-than-expected recovery from an ankle injury.
Wellingham suffered the injury during a trampoline mishap last month.
Eagles coach John Worsfold says the former Magpie has been told to keep his moon boot on for a bit longer.
Here's a dramatic reconstruction of the accident and how it might have happened.
Cricket: With Australia getting dusted in India, all eyes will be on leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed when Victoria take on NSW in the Sheffield Shield at the MCG tomorrow.
A Pakistani refugee who was persecuted from playing and coaching cricket, Ahmed will be eligible to play for Australia in August.
He took seven wickets in an outright victory on his Shield debut for Victoria a fortnight ago, and has won rave reviews.
The 31-year-old already has permanent residency in Australia and is awaiting citizenship. He is eligible to play as soon as he is granted citizenship, but ICC rules say he must have lived at least half of four consecutive years here.
Arsenal are to become the first Premier League club to play in Vietnam after the north London club announced they will play a pre-season friendly against the Vietnamese national side in Hanoi in July.
Meanwhile, on-loan Gunners striker Nicklas Bendtner could be on his way back to Arsenal following his conviction for drink-driving in his native Denmark after being caught driving the wrong way down a main road after a night on the tiles.
Juventus are keen to send him back the way he came.
League: SBW watch. Sydney Roosters skipper Anthony Minichiello has backed Sonny Bill Williams to make an instant impression on his return to the NRL against South Sydney tomorrow.
Williams, who’s been named on the bench, was rumoured to be in doubt for the game, but trained with his teammates this morning.
Minichiello says the 27-year-old will definitely play against the Rabbitohs, and it wouldn’t surprise him if he had a blinder in his first game for the club.
Young Roosters back-rower Boyd Cordner is out with a shoulder injury.
League: Peter Wallace insists he will have equal tactical rights with Scott Prince when they make their NRL halves debut for Brisbane against Manly on Friday night.
Before being unceremoniously dumped by the Gold Coast at the end of last season, Prince called the big plays for the Titans for six straight years.
He and Wallace, who stepped up as Brisbane’s playmaker last season following the retirement of Darren Lockyer, will be in charge of the big plays against Manly at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
Asked whether he or Prince would call the shots, Wallace replied: ‘‘Both of us.’’
Busy ... Benji Marshall in the offending jersey. Photo: Getty Images
Top 10: Dominic Bossi continues to count down the worst fashion faux pas on the sporting field.
7. The Tigers 2005 jersey didn’t match that team’s on field ability and if there is a blight on their premiership winning season, it’s that the grand final photos are ruined with this lairy strip. Complete with claw-marks, honey-comb watermark patterns and more tiger-like stripes than the endangered cat itself, you’d be hard pressed to give this shirt away.
Football: The gracious way Jose Mourinho handled this morning’s Champions League victory over Manchester United surely has ulterior motives.
Not usually known for such behaviour, The Special One might well have been making sure he didn’t get offside with his next employer.
He admitted the best side didn’t win and even took time to whisper something to Alex Ferguson following Nani’s red card.
Fergie certainly didn’t take offence at the comment. Do you think he would have been so gracious if Arsene Wenger or Roberto Mancini had been the rival manager?
Football: Socceroos captain Lucas Neill will play his first club game in Sydney since 1995 on Saturday night, when Sydney FC host Central Coast.
Neill will aim to toast both his 35th birthday and first club fixture in his home town since leaving Australia as a 17-year-old AIS graduate.
He says the Sky Blues must stop a trend of conceding soft goals and red cards if they’re to end a two-game losing streak.
Cricket: In a rare feat of modern technology we are able to bring you a live picture from an overseas cricket match, the first Test between New Zealand and England in Dunedin. Here it is, and no its not curling.
Washout ... ground staff sweep water from the covers in Dunedin. Photo: SNPA
Olympics: Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates says the Australian Crime Commission report into doping has tarnished the worldwide reputation of Australia sport.
Coates says the report was been a hot topic of discussion at a recent International Olympic Committee meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland.
And he suggests Australia’s ability to punch above its weight as an international competitor means the country has a target on its back when it came to doping issues.
What a planker.
AFL: As the AFL grapples with how to close the loophole in the game's rules on tanking without actually calling it tanking, we wondering if anyone has any idea what they should call it? Planking? No, that's been done. Great fad it was too. Should teams get extra points for trying as opposed to top draft picks for not trying? Hit us with your suggestions and we'll forward them to AFL HQ asap. Meanwhile, here we are flat out at work.
PAUL SUTTOR: Basketball. Hoops fans, it's a relatively quiet day in the NBA today with only three games on the schedule.
Boston are up 46-42 over the 76ers in Philadelphia with three minutes left before half-time.
The second match is a blockbuster with the LA Lakers desperately needing to beat the Thunder at Oklahoma City to keep their late playoff run alive.
In the other game, Denver should be too strong for the Kings even though they're playing at Sacramento and the Nuggets aren't the best road team going around.
Football: Here’s Alex Ferguson on Manchester United’s controversial elimination from the Champions league this Morning.
No, hang on it’s his assistant Mike Phelan. Fergie wasn’t available for some reason.
‘‘It’s a distraught dressing room and a distraught manager. That’s why I am sitting here now,’’ Phelan said.
"I don’t think the manager is in any fit state to talk to the referee about the decision. It speaks volumes that I am sitting here now, not the manager of this fantastic football club.
Nani was sent off for a dangerous high challenge in the 66th minute with United 1-0 up. Real Madrid went on to win 2-1, with Cristiano Ronaldo netting the winner against his old club.
‘‘We are extremely disappointed and wondering what has happened and why it has happened,’’ Phelan said.
‘‘We were in reasonable control and then the game totally changed. The decision was amazing ... it spoiled the game.’’
Incandescent ... Manchester United Manager Alex Ferguson. Photo: Getty Images
Football: Things are hotting up in the race to join the EPL next season. Runaway leaders Cardiff continue to drop points in the English Championship while seven or more sides are serious contenders for promotion.
Here are the overnight results and top of the table.
Birmingham 1 Blackpool 1
Bristol City 0 Brighton 0
Burnley 1 Barnsley 1
Cardiff 1 Derby 1
Huddersfield 2 Middlesbrough 1
Leicester 1 Leeds 1
Millwall 0 Wolves 2
Nottingham Forest 1 Ipswich 0
Peterborough 2 Charlton 2
Watford 2 Sheffield Wednesday 1
Bolton 1 Blackburn 0
Crystal Palace 4 Hull 2
Cardiff 35 22 5 8 57 37 71
Watford 36 20 6 10 71 45 66
Hull 36 20 5 11 53 43 65
Crystal Palace 36 18 10 8 65 44 64
Leicester 35 17 7 11 57 30 58
Brighton 35 14 14 7 50 35 56
Nottm Forest 36 14 12 10 51 46 54
Middlesbrough 36 17 3 16 55 55 54
Top 10: Dominic Bossi counts down the worst fashion faux pas on the sporting field.
8. No, it’s not because it’s pink, it’s because it’s just darn horrible. The Sydney Sixers' hot pink strip looks more like the uniform worn by the pimply-faced staff at fast food joints than something you’d expect professional athletes to be fitted in. The bright pink shirts and plain black pants combination, finished with a splatter of shiny stars would be higher on the list if it wasn’t for the generally low standard of kits it competes with each week in the Big Bash League.
Needs a hug ... who wouldn't in that kit. Photo: Getty Images
Rugby: On a more serious note ... the New Zealand Rugby Union will make it compulsory for coaches and referees of junior rugby to undergo police checks this season.
‘‘We’re ... implementing mandatory police vetting for all Small Blacks coaches,’’ said Brent Anderson, general manager community rugby and provincial unions.
The NZRU says the safety and welfare of children and young people involved in rugby is paramount.
In addition to the police checks, a charter and code of conduct for clubs and schools will be introduced to encourage better sideline behaviour after a number of ugly incidents.
Over to you, ARLC.
Basketball: Former NBA star Dennis Rodman might be the only American ever to have met and spent time with North Korea’s reclusive leader, but US Secretary of State John Kerry says the Rodster should stick to basketball or whatever it is he does.
Rodman made global headlines for longer than we had cared to remember last week with a visit to North Korea, when he sat next to the apprentice autocrat Kim Jong-Un at an exhibition basketball game and gave the dictator, who threatens to end the truce with South Korea, several compliments about his leadership.
The ex-Chicago Bulls player ‘‘was a great basketball player, and as a diplomat, he was a great basketball player’’, Kerry said on Tuesday. ‘‘That’s where we’ll leave it.’’
Odd couple ... North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and former NBA star Dennis Rodman. Photo: KCNA
Athletics: The Gaza Strip’s third international marathon has been cancelled after the ruling Hamas party refused to allow women to run alongside men, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees says.
UNRWA officials said more than 800 people, nearly half of them women, had signed up for this year’s race on April 10, which runs the entire length of the coastal territory.
Two international women runners participated in the first Gaza marathon in 2011, alongside hundreds of women and schoolgirls who joined the relay race or walked part of it, with more joining last year.
‘‘Hamas claims that women have never been allowed to run, which is not true, then they decided that only local women could run. Then they decided not to let any women participate,’’ a diplomatic source in Gaza said.
Baseball: In case you missed it ... Australia bowed out of the World Baseball Classic overnight, losing 4-1 to the Netherlands in the first round.
The Dutch also beat Taiwan 8-3 defeat to Taiwan, while the Australians were winless in Pool B.
The Netherlands raced to a 4-0 lead with Johnathan Schoop’s two-run homer. Australia scored their only run in the seventh as Brad Harman knocked in an RBI single.
Two teams will qualify for the Asian second round in Tokyo for a chance to play off for the final series in San Francisco.
Boxing: Speaking of great comebacks ... world heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko will defend his four titles against cancer survivor Francesco Pianeta on May 4 in Mannheim, Germany.
The 36-year-old Klitschko will defend his IBF, IBO, Super WBA and WBO belts against the undefeated Pianeta, 28, who has 15 knock-outs and one draw in 28 wins despite being diagnosed with testicular cancer in early 2010.
Italian-born Pianeta, who grew up in Germany, underwent surgery and made his return to the ring in December that year with a first-round knock-out of US fighter Mike Middleton.
This will be his eighth bout since overcoming cancer, including unanimous points wins over the likes of ... South Africa’s Francois Botha.
Peter Roebuck. Photo: John Shakespeare
On this day: In 1956 … the legendary Peter Roebuck was born in Oxfordshire.
A middle-order batsman, he was unlucky not to get a call-up to the England Test team during his lengthy county career which yielded 17,558 runs at 37.27 with a highest score of 221 not out.
He went on to become one of cricket’s most revered columnists due to his insightful analysis and courage to delve deep into the game’s issues without fear or favour until his untimely death in 2011.
Breaking news ... possibly. There's strong speculation that a high-profile sporting team is going to be in biiiiiiig trouble. Sorry but that's all we can say at this stage. We'll let you know as soon as we can if/when it's all confirmed.
Rugby: From the Six Nations comes the story of an incredible comeback ... When Tom Croft takes to the training pitch with England on Wednesday he will do so with a metal plate, four screws and other props in his neck to hold together the C6 vertebrae he fractured in three places last year. He was told by his specialist that he had come as close as it was possible to being paralysed. Read the full report here
Basketball: Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka has copped a $US25,000 fine from the NBA for striking Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin in the groin during a game on Sunday.
Ibaka was initially whistled for a level one flagrant foul. In addition to the fine, league officials upgraded the foul to a more serious flagrant two but decided not to suspend him.
The incident occurred late in the Thunder’s 108-104 victory over the Clippers.
Griffin said after the game he was ‘‘kinda’’ surprised Ibaka wasn’t ejected from the game. Ibaka insisted his below the belt hit wasn’t intentional.
How Jason Day starts his day before hitting the greens.
Golf: They say golf is all in the head, well ... Australian star Jason Day will start his days at this week’s World Golf Championships tournament at Doral’s Blue Monster course with a machine strapped to his head that beeps whenever he is using the correct side of his brain.
After burning through two sports psychologists, Day has turned to complex brain training to take his mental game to a new level, and says early results show it’s working.
The 25-year-old Australian has used the wireless electroencephalogram (EEG) for the past month and is convinced it helped him in his top-10 finish at Pebble Beach and an impressive run to third place in the World Golf Championships Match Play.
He uses it in sessions every morning and night and also during practice so he can better focus on employing the right side of his brain and then replicate it on course.
‘‘My mental game has improved 110 per cent since working with this system,’’ Day said.
‘‘It teaches me how to get in the zone, shows me what it feels like when I’m in the zone and allows me to work on replicating it.
‘‘If the computer shows I’m using my right brain then I know I am focused.‘‘I missed just three greens in the last two rounds at Pebble Beach after getting used to it, something I’ve not done before.’’
North Melbourne's ghost jumper
Top 10: Dominic Bossi counts down the worst fashion faux pas on the sporting field.
9. Aesthetically, North Melbourne’s 2009 ghostly alternate jersey may not be as much of a crime against fashion as some of the away strips worn by the Dockers, Saints or Power, but it makes the list as a sign of submission to the bigger clubs.
Their sky blue and white striped shirt was a compromise for Collingwood’s petty and bullish stance against having a true alternate jersey.
North Melbourne bucked to the ‘Pies demand and came up with this sky blue and white kit to wear at their own home games when Collingwood came to town.
AFL: Melbourne midfielder Nathan Jones says the AFL must have more rotations in next year’s premiership season than the current limit of 80 being trialled in the NAB Cup.
Jones says unless the league is responsible in its introduction of the number of interchanges allowed, players will get fatigued and injured as a result.
AFL boss Andrew Demetriou says rotations will be capped next but a number has not yet been released.
AD says he'll get right on it once they finish drafting the new anti-just don't call it tanking laws.
League: Back to the main game and Canterbury coach Des Hasler says the Bulldogs have the depth to cover a spate of absentees, including star fullback Ben Barba.
The Bulldogs will start the season without Barba, James Graham, Sam Kasiano and Frank Pritchard from the side that played in last year’s grand final.
Hasler has moved Steve Turner from wing to fullback to cover for Barba, while Josh Jackson and Martin Taupau have been given an opportunity in the pack against North Queensland on Saturday night.
Football: Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho says ‘‘the best team lost’’ after 10-man Manchester United were knocked out of the Champions League.
United went ahead in the last-16 second leg tie before Nani was controversially dismissed for a high challenge.
Old Trafford old boy Cristiano Ronaldo rubbed salt into the wound by tapping in the winner after Luka Modric’s stunning equaliser.
‘‘Independent of the decision, the best team lost. We didn't deserve to win but football is like this,’’ The Special One said. ‘‘I doubt that 11 v 11 we win the match.’’
Crocodile tears? You be the judge. But Mourinho was seen sympathising with Fergie after the decision. As for Fergie, we're still waiting to hear his take on it. Watch this space.
Cricket: The big news is Graeme Swann, who was ruled out of this first Test at the last minute, will now miss the entire series and fly to America to have surgery on his troublesome right elbow. James Tredwell will replace him in the squad. Get well soon Swanny!
Cricket: Across the ditch the Black Caps are about to start against the Poms in sunny Dunedin. Oh hang on, it's raining. The Kiwis won the toss, which is something. but the big question is who to cheer for? The Poms always side with Kiwis against Australia and vice versa so where does that leave the Aussies. It's like a Mexican standoff. Hmm.
Morning sportsfans, Shane Brady, the bush apprentice, here to take you through the morning session to lunch as we count down the hours, nay minutes, to the end of waiting-for-footy season. Bring. It. On.
PAUL SUTTOR: Cricket. Here's a left-field suggestion for the Australian selectors when picking the team for the next Test - CHOOSE PLAYERS BASED ON FORM.
Stephen O'Keefe is the leading spinner in first-class cricket this summer yet they couldn't find a spot for him in their 47-man squad for the Indian tour but Xavier Doherty was not only picked in the squad despite two wickets at 80, but played in the second Test.
Get O'Keefe on the next plane to India.
AFL. Jude Bolton is being a bit cheeky towards Adam Goodes on Twitter this morning, but he does have a point. Check out the pic.
RT if you like this Adam Goodes look-a-like! twitter.com/Jude_Bolton/st…— Jude Bolton (@Jude_Bolton) March 5, 2013
AFL. Untimely injuries and the Swans' late start to the pre-seaso have put the defending premiers in a backs-to-the-wall fight to be ready for the start of the season. ''It's a challenge,'' coach John Longmire said. ''But it's a challenge that other teams cope with. It's not unusual. It's a matter of making sure we maximise all of our training and game time and that's what we intend to do.’’
On this day in 1982 ... NBA history was made when San Antonio beat Milwaukee 171-166 in three overtime periods to set the record for most points by two teams in a game (337). The record was beaten on December 13, 1983 by the Pistons and the Nuggets when they played to a final score of 186-184 (370).
Cricket. They used to sing Where would we be without AB, now it's up to Michael Clarke to carry the load for the Australian batting line-up. Let us know where you think he should bat in the next Test versus India.
Poll: Where should Michael Clarke bat in the Australian Test team?
- First drop
- Open the batting then come back for another bat in a Groucho Marx disguise hoping the umpires don't notice
Total votes: 1897.
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These polls are not scientific and reflect the opinion only of visitors who have chosen to participate.
Rasslin'. The head of the Association of the National Olympic Committees, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, says wrestling has the unanimous support of his executive council. The ANOC executive met in Sydney yesterday, the first gathering since the International Olympic Committee made a surprise recommendation to dump wrestling from its program after the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016. Al-Fahad Al-Sabah is confident the sport will dodge the Olympic axe when the IOC decides its fate in September.
Cycling. German cyclist Marcel Kittel has won the second stage of the Paris-Nice race, with Italian Elia Viviani second and Australian Leigh Howard of the Orica GreenEDGE team coming in third. The overall lead is held by Viviani, who benefited from overnight leader French champion Nacer Bouhanni crashing out of the race when he came to grief 58 kilometres from the finish and suffered a mouth injury.
A dog runs after the pack during the second stage of the 71st Paris-Nice cycling race between Vimory and Cerilly. Photo: AFP
AFL. Sydney co-captain Adam Goodes is likely to play one half in his long-awaited return from a knee injury for the AFL premiers on Saturday night. The Swans host Gold Coast in a pre-season clash at Blacktown and coach John Longmire has confirmed Goodes will play, barring any training mishaps. Longmire says Rhyce Shaw, Nick Malceski and Shane Mumford could also play their first pre-season game this year, but rebounding defenders Nick Smith and Marty Mattner will again be sidelined.
Baseball. Australia have bowed out of the World Baseball Classic with the Netherlands claiming a 4-1 victory in a first round fixture last night. The Dutch saw their win-loss record improve to 2-1, following an earlier 8-3 defeat to Taiwan, while the underdog Australians bowed out winless in pool B.
Cricket. Coach Mickey Arthur has ordered a training session today for Australia’s cricketers following yesterday’s loss to India by an innings and 135 runs in the second Test of the four-match series.Australia trail two-nil ahead of the third Test in Mohali on March 14. Skipper Michael Clarke says he’ll move himself into the top four to strengthen the batting, while Phil Hughes may struggle to hold his place after 25 runs in two matches.
Cricket. New Zealand have won the toss and sent England into bat on the first day of the opening Test at University Oval.New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum said he was looking for early wickets in overcast conditions which are expected to help the Black Caps’ seamers swing the ball.England retained Nick Compton as opening batsman, despite his failure in a warm-up loss to a New Zealand XI last week, and called in spinner Monty Panesar after Graeme Swann withdrew at the last minute due to an elbow injury. The New Zealand attack has three seamers and spinner Bruce Martin making his debut, as well as a new opening batting partnership featuring debutant Hamish Rutherford and Peter Fulton.
Phil Waugh in the 2011 Tahs alternate strip.
The Top 10. Our resident fashion expert Dominic Bossi (well, that's what he tells us but we've got our doubts about his socks and sandals combination) has cobbled together the Top 10 Worst Sporting Uniforms of All Time.
10. The NSW Waratahs 2011 alternate strip. Just because something's noble doesn't mean it's a good look, as the Waratahs found out with their 2011 charity shirt. From the front, this navy-blue jersey doesn't appear terrible but it's true repulse is visible only from behind as the entire back is covered in cross-hatching and bright red Waratah patterns. In a game based on physical clashes, the Waratahs would be forgiven for feeling somewhat emasculated in this floral number.
On this day in 1987 ... AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng was born in the former West Germany. He was signed with Hertha Berlin since 1994 (yes, you read that correctly), and eventually made his debut for the first team in 2005. He moved to Tottenham in 2007 before stints with Borussia Dortmund and Portsmouth and scored his first international goal for Ghana against the United States at South Africa 2010.
Cricket. Michael Clarke has finally conceded what every armchair critic has been saying for a long time, he must go up the batting order. The Australian captain is becoming what Allan Border was to the Australian Test team in the mid 1980s - the only dependable batsman. Come to think of it, back then we had a bloke named Hughes who had a particular problem with one form of bowling. Old Kim couldn't handle the Windies pacemen and kept falling to the hook shot whereas these days young Phil is up at night shaking over the prospect of facing Indian spinners. Could be worse, at least he's not facing that menacing 38-year-old Kiwi medium pacer Chris Martin.
Football. Around the grounds we go now, Lex Marinos at North Sydney Oval ... Lex? ... Lex?
We seem to have lost the line there so we'll go to Signal Iduna Park where Borussia Dortmund have beaten Shakhtar Donetsk 3-0 in their Champions League clash to go through to the quarters 5-2 on aggregate.
Football. There was drama, I tells ya, at Old Trafford in the big game between Manchester United and Real Madrid.
Cristiano Ronaldo made a devastating impact on his return to Manchester United, sending Real Madrid into the Champions League quarterfinals by clinching a 2-1 victory. The forward completed Madrid's comeback in the 69th minute at Old Trafford to secure a 3-2 aggregate win for the Spanish champions.
Ryan Giggs of Manchester United protests to Referee Bahattin Duran after he sent off Nani of Manchester United during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between Manchester United and Real Madrid at Old Trafford. Photo: Getty Images
Cricket. You know the axe is about to fall when you get the old "the board is fully behind the coach" line, especially if you happen to be coaching the Pakistani cricket team. Pakistan’s cricket chief has thrown his weight behind under-fire coach Dav Whatmore, after the team’s 3-0 Test whitewash in South Africa, saying he is doing a good job. PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf vowed there will be no hasty decisions on Whatmore’s future. ‘‘Whatmore is under contract with the PCB and is performing well.'’ Good luck Dav, you're gonna need it.
Basketball. Former NBA star Dennis Rodman may be the only American ever to have met and spent time with North Korea's reclusive leader, but US Secretary of State John Kerry isn't giving him any diplomatic kudos. Kerry said on Tuesday the ex-Chicago Bulls player ''was a great basketball player, and as a diplomat, he was a great basketball player''. ''That's where we'll leave it,'' he told NBC News in an interview in Qatar, where he is wrapping up a nine-nation tour of Europe and the Middle East. Rodman made headlines last week with a visit to North Korea, when he sat next to youthful autocrat Kim Jong-Un at an exhibition basketball game and gave the dictator, who threatens to end the truce with South Korea, several compliments about his leadership.
Football. It's full-time at Old Trafford and Manchester United fans are officially NOT HAPPY. Real Madrid have come away with the chocolates 2-1 in what was Ryan Giggs' 1000th appearance in senior football - that's 932 games for United, 64 matches for Wales plus the four appearances with Great Britain's Olympic team in London last year.
Raring to go ... George Smith. Photo: Rohan Thomson
Rugby. Some fellow by the name of George Smith will be turning out for the ACT Brumbies in their Super Rugby clash with the NSW Waratahs at the They Used to Call Me Bruce Stadium.
Tahs coach Michael Cheika has revealed his in-depth game plan for dealing with the former Wallabies star ... ''The idea is just to try to get up there and belt him, like any other player in the team."
Surfing. Parko's nervous wait continues ... Organisers have put the opening event of the men’s world surfing tour on the Gold Coast on hold as world champion Joel Parkinson faces a sudden-death heat. A call will be made on whether to resume competition at midday local time with a view to a possible 12.30pm start. If the go-ahead is given, Parkinson will begin the event with the first second-round heat against wildcard Brent Dorrington.
SMH Back Page
In the words of the great Max Walker, yeeeeeees, welcome back to another day of all the latest sporting news, views and blues on the SportsDay Live blog.
And yes, he's playing tomorrow night. Sonny Bill Williams, SBW, Money Bill, $BW, Bulldogs turncoat, rugby mercenary, All Blacks superstar, boxing champ, boxing chump ... Whatever name you call him, one thing is for sure, he definitely attracts attention. Read Brad Walter's story about the return of the prodigal Sonny Bill here
And there's another big name back in action this season. Phil Gould is writing a midweek column each week on top of his analysis which appears in Sunday and Monday's papers. Read the first Gus Gould Set of Six here about the difficulties Des Hasler will face in coming up with a winning game plan sans Ben "Benji" Barba.