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Branson, Giuliani to headline Qld summit

It’s hoped a visit by Sir Richard Branson and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani to Queensland later this year will provide a much-needed shot in the arm as business tries to recover from the summer floods.

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Sir Richard and Mr Giuliani will headline Brisbane’s 2011 Asia Pacific Cities Summit from July 6-9. The conference, held every two years, is held to drive economic growth and help local businesses enter the Asia Pacific market.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said having the high profile pair at the conference was “unashamedly” about attracting delegates to the city.

“These two speakers, we believe, will give an extra level of prominence and interest to attract people from around the globe,” he told reporters on Friday.

“We will be pulling out all stops to showcase Brisbane.

“People internationally have seen the scenes of devastation, but they’ve also seen a city that rallied, they’ve seen the volunteer effort, they’ve seen the fast clean-up and now we want to show people what the city’s really all about.”

Mr Newman said more than 1500 delegates from more than 100 cities could attend the event. They would find Brisbane was a great city that had bounced back and was open for business, he said.

He said the event would provide a great shot in the arm for the southeast.

The previous summit in 2009 had led to more than $4 million in business being done, he said.

Mr Newman said there was a “certain symmetry” between Mr Giuliani’s experience rebuilding New York and Brisbane’s circumstance now.

“We are inspired, I think all of us, by what he did in New York, particularly how he had to handle that terrible day – September 11, 2001 – and the aftermath,” he said.

“And I think there is a certain symmetry in what he had to do and, dare I say it, what’s happened in the city of Brisbane with our recovery as well.

“So I think that works quite well for us.”

He also cited Sir Richard’s connections with Brisbane, being the headquarters of his Virgin Blue company.

The state government will chip in more than $300,000 to sponsor the summit, with the council spending up to $450,000 on the $1.8 million event.

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Enough is enough: Gallop

Gallop faced more questions about Manly’s call for an apology when he fronted a media conference before the NRL’s club members’ forum in western Sydney on Wednesday.

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But he was in no mood to continue the argument, urging the Sea Eagles to move on from their beef over the penalties handed down to star Brett Stewart and the club at the start of the 2009 season.

“Frankly, enough is enough on this issue, and we’re not going to revisit something that happened two years ago,” Gallop said.

“Manly had every opportunity to appeal those decisions at the time and they didn’t, they need to read their own report furnished to us at the time.

“They also need to stop saying the jury cleared Brett Stewart of anything other than a sexual assault charge.

“I think he needs to be allowed to focus on his football and everyone concerned should move on.”

The Sea Eagles, led by coach Des Hasler, launched a scathing attack on Gallop and the game’s organising body on Tuesday, claiming Stewart’s treatment, when he was suspended for four matches for allegedly breaching its code with drunken conduct following their boozy 2009 season launch, “was grossly unfair”.

The cash-strapped club was also fined $100,000 at the time. Stewart was subsequently cleared in court of a sex assault charge stemming from the hours after the launch.

Manly contrasted the NRL’s handling of Stewart with its treatment of West Tigers star Benji Marshall this week after the Wests Tigers star was involved in an incident that saw him charged with assault.

The governing body said it would await the outcome of Marshall’s assault charge in court before deciding any action.

And Gallop did not accept it was a valid comparison as there was no suggestion Marshall had breached the code of conduct apart from the police matter.

Gallop admitted on Wednesday that the Marshall saga, coming just two days after he launched the new season, was “not ideal”, but said he was comfortable with the way it had been handled.

“The facts around Benji’s charge will come out in court and I hope that it will happen sooner rather than later for his sake, the game’s sake and the Wests Tigers’ sake,” Gallop said.

“We would prefer not to be dealing with the issues we have had to deal with this week, we had a great season launch and everyone is excited about the footy on Friday.

“Sometimes the game has to deal with difficult issues and we have done that.”

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Gaddafi son says ‘victory in sight’

Muammar Gaddafi’s son says victory is in sight against rebels fighting his father’s iron-fisted regime after loyalist forces retook two key towns and Western powers fretted over how to deal with the civil war while tightening the screws further.

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He spoke after NATO and the European Union began 48 hours of crisis talks, amid growing calls for the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya, reports France would even support selective air strikes and more ships being deployed to the area.

“We’re coming,” Seif al-Islam told young regime supporters in Tripoli, referring to the advance of government forces towards the eastern rebel bastion of Benghazi.

“I send a message to our brothers and friends in the east who are sending us daily calls for help and asking us to rescue them: we’re coming,” he said.

“Victory is in sight. Victory is near,” he told the exuberant youths.

“I swear before God that we’re going to win.”

Earlier, in an interview broadcast on Britain’s Sky News and BBC TV, Seif said the regime would “never surrender” to the rebels and did not fear foreign intervention.

“This is our country, we will never, ever give up and we will never, ever surrender,” he insisted.

“We are not afraid of the American fleet, NATO, France, Europe. This is our country. We live here, we die here. We will never, ever surrender to those terrorists.”

The momentum in the conflict is shifting in favour of Gaddafi’s forces that are “robustly equipped” with Russian weapons and likely to defeat the rebels, US officials said.

“Initially the momentum was with the other side,” Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told US senators.

“That has started to shift. Whether or not it has fully moved to Gaddafi’s side at this time is not clear. We have now reached a state of equilibrium. The initiative may be actually be on the regime side.”

With its fighters in retreat, the opposition appealed to Western powers meeting in Brussels to follow France’s lead in recognising their national council.

In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the United States is in “direct contact” with senior opposition people, including members of the rebel national council.

“We are coordinating with the opposition, with the council to provide assistance and to determine the best ways we can support their aspirations,” he added, while saying Washington is still trying to get a sense of “what their vision is, who they represent, what their ideas are and where they would take Libya.”

Targeted by rocket fire, rebels fled from Ras Lanuf, a strategic coastal oil town in eastern Libya they captured last Friday, Agence France-Presse reporters said.

A hospital official in Brega, about 85 kilometres further east along the Mediterranean coast, said: “We have four dead and 35 wounded, but there’s still many more coming” in from Ras Lanuf.

Medics say 400 people have died and 2000 more have been wounded in eastern Libya since February 17.

On the battlefield, rebel vehicles streamed eastward from Ras Lanuf after hours of heavy shelling and rocket attacks.

Other rebels appeared to stay in town, but dejected fighters said they had been defeated as rockets exploded and there was at least one air strike.

“We’ve been defeated. They are shelling and we are running away. That means that they’re taking Ras Lanuf,” said one rebel fighter.

In the west, an intense battle for control of Zawiyah, the site of major oil installations 50 kilometres west of Tripoli, ended in victory for Gaddafi’s forces on Wednesday night.

“The town is now under the army’s control,” said a resident by telephone on Thursday.

Rebels overran Zawiyah soon after a popular uprising erupted against Gaddafi on February 15, and the city had been under assault for several days by artillery and tanks.

Despite the loss of Zawiyah, a rebel in the mountainous Jabal al-Gharbi region some 90 kilometres to the south said “revolutionaries control several towns” in that area, including Zintan, which was the site of earlier fighting.

In Brussels, NATO and the European Union were meeting on Thursday and Friday to ponder military and economic options against Gaddafi, which could include a no-fly zone, humanitarian aid and economic props.

A source close to Nicolas Sarkozy, who asked not to be named, said the French president will propose “striking an extremely limited number of points which are the source of the most deadly operations” by Gaddafi loyalists.

The sites being considered are Gaddafi’s Bab al-Azizia command headquarters in Tripoli, a military air base in Sirte, east of Tripoli and another in Sebha in the south, the source added.

The president’s office declined to confirm the claim.

France, which on Thursday recognised the rebel national council, has seized the initiative in pressure against Gaddafi and has been working with Britain to lobby for a United Nations Security Council imprimatur for a no-fly zone.

The United States wants any military action conducted under the banner of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, with Arab regional backing seen as essential.

In Washington, the director of US national intelligence, James Clapper, said “the Libyan air defence structure on the ground, radar and surface-to-air missiles, is quite substantial”.

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that “if there is a demonstrable need, if we have a clear mandate and strong regional support, we stand ready to help”.

He told a news conference “it has been decided to increase the presence of NATO maritime assets in the central Mediterranean” to bolster surveillance of Libya and monitor an arms embargo.

However, there was no decision to launch a no-fly zone — opposed by Germany — with the alliance endorsing further military planning if the United Nations endorsed the move.

But with Russia opposing an air exclusion area, UN backing appeared unlikely for any move to shut down Gaddafi’s air force.

The ministers also called for urgent “detailed planning” for humanitarian efforts and for possible measures to enforce the arms embargo if called on by the UN Security Council, Rasmussen said.

The rebel national council, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, a grouping of Muslim countries, have already called for a no-fly zone.

NATO has stepped up surveillance of Libya’s air space with radar-equipped aircraft, Rasmussen said.

Arab states in the Gulf said on Thursday that Gaddafi’s regime was illegitimate and that contacts should be initiated with the rebels.

In other developments, Greece announced that a plane was on the way to Tripoli to collect three Dutch soldiers freed after being captured last month in a botched attempt to evacuate two civilians by navy helicopter.

Elsewhere in the volatile Middle East, Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh bowed to pressure after a month of violent protests, but his pledge to devolve power to parliament was swiftly rejected as too late by the opposition.

World oil prices dived on Thursday, despite jitters over Libyan unrest on the eve of planned protests in OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, tumbled $2.94 to $101.44 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for April slid $1.80 to $114.14 per barrel.

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Karrie Webb surges at women’s golf major

Karrie Webb has fired a five-under-par 67 to be seven shots off the pace heading into the final round of the first women’s golf major of the year, the ANA Inspiration tournament in California.

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After opening with a bogey, Webb a seven-time major champion, with wins in this event in 2000 and 2006, went on a birdie blitz through the middle of her round.

The Australian veteran made back-to-back-to-back birdies at holes eight through 10, making par at 11 before birdies at 12, 14 and 15 to be tied 14th.

Webb has her work cut out to catch tournament leader, 22-year-old South Korean rookie Sei Young Kim, but she has some good memories to call on.

In 2006 Webb started the final round six shots behind Mexican star Lorena Ochoa and shot a seven-under 65 to finish in a tie before winning in a playoff.

Kim, who already won the Bahamas LPGA Classic during her debut season, is 10-under and will take a three-shot lead into the final round after shooting a three-under 69 third round.

Kim made two late birdies to surge clear.

She holed a downhill 18-footer from the fringe on the par-4 16th and made a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th.

While Kim was strong down the stretch those around her faltered, with American’s Morgan Pressel (bogeys at 16 and 17) and Stacy Lewis (bogeys at 15 and 17) dropping shots rapidly.

Kim’s immediate challenger and playing partner in the final round will be Lewis, who is outright second at seven-under after a 68.

Pressel (710, fellow American Brittany Lincicombe and Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn (70 are tied third, one stroke behind Lewis.

World No.1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand slipped further down the leaderboard after hitting a second consecutive round over par and is tied 48th at two over.

Ko hit a two-over 74 in the third round, which followed a one-over score in the second round which ended her run of successive sub-par rounds at 29.

She reached that mark with her one-under 71 on the opening day to equal the record set 11 years ago by Swedish great Annika Sorenstam.

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Wright into round three at Bells surfing

Australian Tyler Wright has flirted with a potential shock early exit at the Rip Curl Pro before advancing to the third round at Bells Beach.

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The Australian looked to have the round-two clash against Pauline Ado safely in her keeping on Sunday, only for the Frenchwoman to put together a high-scoring wave in the final minute.

After a long deliberation, the judges decided Ado had come up just short, with the 21-year-old Wright winning by 14.14 points to 14.03.

“It was very close,” said Wright, who has lost in the final in each of the past two years at Bells to Hawaiian Carissa Moore.

“I possibly could have made a mistake by taking that last wave of mine which was a five.

“The wave didn’t do what I thought it might do and then her wave did exactly what I thought it would do.

“That’s just the way it is – that’s Mother Nature.

“It was a really tight heat but that’s what we come here for, those good battles.”

Australian Laura Enever made a late charge, only to come up just short in her second-round clash with rookie sensation Tatiana Weston-Webb from Hawaii.

Weston-Webb has made a flying start to the year, having reached the semi-finals at last month’s Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast.

She looked to have Sunday’s match-up all wrapped up, only for Enever to almost overtake her with a big wave in the final minute.

Silvana Lima – the 2009 Bells Beach champion – ended the challenge of Victorian Nikki van Dijk.

The Brazilian won 17.50 to 14.60.

Later in the day, Moore and Australian Sally Fitzgibbons advanced straight to the quarter-finals with contrasting third-round wins.

Moore dominated her three-way third-round clash against Lima and France’s Johanne Defay, while Fitzgibbons (16.17) just edged out American Lakey Peterson (16.04) in an encounter which also included Hawaiian Alessa Quizon (12.36).

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Flanagan relieved at Sharks’ NRL win

Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan admitted to feeling a combination of relief and excitement after his side ended a run of 10 straight losses stretching back to July last year to beat the Sydney Roosters.

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Inspired by rookie five-eighth Jack Bird, who scored two tries in only his second NRL game, the Sharks ran out 20-12 winners on Sunday to taste victory for the first time in 253 days.

Bird and 19-year-old fullback Valentine Holmes shone for the Sharks and Flanagan admitted he had a selection headache ahead of Friday’s clash with Newcastle with Ben Barba available again after suspension.

“I was really proud the way we defended and just hung in there,” Flanagan said.

“Birdy had a great game, scoring two tries. We knew he had it in him.

“When we put Birdy there, I knew he’d play well. I want that selection headache. That’s the challenge for me and I’m really happy to have it.”

Bird debuted against Gold Coast last week, coming off the bench and played in the centres, and Flanagan admitted it would be hard to move him out of the halves where he and Jeff Robson dominated the Roosters’ James Maloney and Mitchell Pearce.

“Birdy’s a footy player and he’ll play wherever we put him … but he did a really good job for us tonight,” he said.

Skipper Paul Gallen said he felt the result had been coming and claimed three of the team’s four defeats this season were self-inflicted.

“We just had to stick to the systems and the gameplan and we did that and, even when they scored that second try, you just have to go back to what you do well and that is to kick long and defend well,” Gallen said.

“I got the boys on the bus and said we have beaten ourselves in three of the four games.

“We’re not where we want to be – 0-4 is not good, but we dead set had beaten ourselves. It’s a step forwards.”

Roosters coach Trent Robinson admitted his side were off the pace and had no complaints about the loss.

“It was disappointing. Not about the start, we had to defend a lot and then we probably we weren’t on our game,” he said.

“They went set for set with us and the try with 10 (before) halftime to go was disappointing but to go in 4-0 down was a pretty good result considering how the possessions went. But it wasn’t our best game today.

“Credit to them – they fought well and didn’t do much apart from complete high and kick well when they needed to and it got them the win.”

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Senior Labor figure released after being detained at airport on foreign fighter suspicions

The former president of the Northern Territory Labor party has been released after he was detained at Darwin airport after returning from the Middle East, reports the ABC.

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It’s believed Matthew Gardiner left Australia earlier this year to join Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State.

He was stopped by Customs officials at Darwin airport early on Sunday, the ABC reports.

The Australian Federal Police say they have spoken to a Darwin man on his return to Australia.

“Inquiries relating to his activities while overseas are ongoing and as such it is not appropriate to comment further at this time,” an AFP spokesperson said.

It is not known if he is still in custody.

Mr Gardiner, 43, previously served as an Australian Army combat engineer in Somalia in the early 1990s, the ABC reports.

In a statement a spokesperson for Attorney-General George Brandis made it clear that even though Mr Gardiner was fighting against IS he would be in breach of Australian law.

“It is illegal to fight in Syria for either side of the conflict,” the spokesperson said.

“If you fight illegally in overseas conflicts, you face up to life in prison upon your return to Australia.

“We know there are some Australians who think they’ve made the right choice in becoming involved in overseas conflicts, but that choice only adds to the suffering in Syria and Iraq and it’s putting those Australians and others in mortal danger.”

Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten told the ABC he was relieved Mr Gardiner was “back home safe and sound”.

“But I’m concerned anyone thinks they should be getting involved in these foreign conflicts, no matter what their intentions,” he said.

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Bulldogs duo face contrary conduct charges

Canterbury’s David Klemmer and James Graham look almost certain to face contrary conduct charges from the NRL’s match review committee on Monday following Friday’s explosive clash with South Sydney.

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The fiery Bulldogs skipper is in under scrutiny after his reaction to being penalised for attacking the legs of Adam Reynolds as he lined up a late field goal attempt at ANZ Stadium.

Reynolds was left with knee ligament damage following the incident that saw Graham placed on report.

Referee Gerard Sutton subsequently enforced the little-known ruling that states a penalty must be taken from 10 metres should the kicker be impeded.

It led to him being surrounded by an apoplectic Graham and Klemmer who was then sin-binned for abusive language.

The pair has been accused of inciting the Bulldogs fans with a section of the crowd hurling projectiles at the officials as they exited the field.

The NRL are likely to conclude their probe into the events that proceeded the game later this week, but the match review committee will release their charge sheet from the first five games of the round on Monday.

In addition to Klemmer and Graham, Bulldogs centre Josh Morris is facing a stint on the sidelines after kicking Issac Luke in the head as he scored what turned out to be an eight-point try for the Rabbitohs.

Luke could also be in trouble with the NRL following his homophobic Tweet aimed at Bulldogs fans who were slamming players on the social media site.

The Bulldogs are potentially facing a points deduction following the behaviour of their supporters with a suspended penalty hanging over the club from 11 years ago when they last caused problems at an NRL ground.

But they found an unlikely ally in the form of Brad Arthur, coach of bitter rivals Parramatta on Sunday.

“I seriously don’t think they should be (deducted points),” Arthur said.

“But that’s up to the NRL to make those decisions, it’s got nothing to do with me.”

Police say they are continuing to investigate the bottle throwing, with two men identified and legal action expected against them.

They also face bans for life from NRL matches.

In separate incidents outside the stadium, a 21-year-old Rabbitohs fan was knocked down and received a cut above his eye after being allegedly shoulder-barged from behind post-match.

A 38-year-old was arrested and charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm over the incident and granted conditional bail.

A 22-year-old man has also been arrested and charged over the alleged assault in which a boy was pushed to the ground not long after kick-off.

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Don’t get mad, get even says North’s coach

Embarrassed North Melbourne coach Brad Scott won’t get angry but is demanding his players get even after being the biggest losers of the AFL’s opening round.

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North were pummelled in a 77-point defeat to a Taylor Walker-inspired Adelaide on Sunday, a result Scott said was an indictment on his players.

The loss came as Greater Western Sydney banked a precious nine-point away win against St Kilda to join Richmond, Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, Collingwood and the Crows as opening-round winners.

While no other margin in the initial seven games exceeded 27 points, Scott’s Kangaroos fell flat against Adelaide as a number of clubs grapple with an early casualty count.

New Crows captain Walker booted 6.5 and took 15 marks to give his new coach Phil Walsh a first-up win, 21.14 (140) to 9.9 (63) at Adelaide Oval.

North’s Scott rated the loss among his side’s worst performances in his six-year reign.

“There’s no point in getting angry,” Scott said.

“I’m boiling inside but we have got to do something about it. Everyone these days talks in cliches – it’s about actions, not words.

“So you can rip paint off walls and do those sorts of things, the players will get what is coming to them.

“But it’s about what we do about it that is going to make the difference.”

New Crows boss Walsh ordered his club take a “cold shower” after the thumping of last year’s preliminary finalists.

“Beware the early Crow,” Walsh said.

“Round one, to perform like that … is very satisfying, but we know there is a long season ahead of us.”

Missing that entire season will be Gold Coast youngster Jaeger O’Meara who ruptured a patella in a Suns reserves match.

Prime movers including Brisbane’s Tom Rockliff (ribs) Carlton’s Dale Thomas (shoulder), Essendon’s David Myers, Collingwood’s Steele Sidebottom (broken thumb) and West Coast’s Mitch Brown (knee) are also set to miss chunks of the seasons.

But St Kilda hope their captain Nick Riewoldt will be available next weekend after suffering whiplash in the loss to the Giants.

The Saint star was felled when Tom Bugg crashed into his back in a marking contest in the last quarter of the Giants’ 12.15 (87) to 11.12 (78) win at Etihad Stadium.

Riewoldt, playing his first game since the death of his sister, lay prone on the turf for several minutes before leaving the ground under his own steam.

The key forward was sent to hospital for scans with St Kilda coach Alan Richardson saying Riewoldt had suffered whiplash.

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England win surprise Tokyo sevens title

England won the final 21-14 but beaten opponents South Africa gained the most from the Tokyo leg of the world sevens series.

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The Blitzboks recorded a fourth successive runners-up finish on Sunday but, importantly for them, they finished ahead of arch rivals Fiji and New Zealand to open up their lead atop the standings with two tournaments to play.

South Africa are on 129 points going into the eighth and ninth legs in Glasgow and London in May while Fiji, who they pipped 7-5 in the semi-finals, are on 125.

New Zealand remain rooted in third on 120 after suffering a shock 19-15 loss to 11th-ranked Canada in the quarter-finals.

Australia are among the biggest losers of the round as they are now nine points behind fourth-placed England in the race for the automatic Rio 2016 Olympic Games qualification places.

The All Blacks Sevens suffered their first loss in 29 matches against the Canadians after both teams scored three tries but New Zealand missed all of their conversion attempts.

They bounced back in the Plate competition to beat France 19-12 and then Scotland 21-14 to finish fifth, earning some valuable extra points.

They face a stiff task to win a fifth successive series crown, having won just one event out of seven this season – their home tournament in Wellington in February.

England, whose loss in the final in Wellington had been their best previous result of the series, were deserved winners of a tense final.

It was locked 7-7 at halftime but England broke the game open through tries captain Tom Mitchell and Phil Burgess before veteran playmaker Cecil Afrika gave his team late hope with a try.

England move ahead of Australia into fourth place in the series.

The top four finishing teams qualify automatically for the Rio 2016 Olympics, where sevens will make its Games debut.

LEADING STANDINGS

South Africa 129pts, Fiji 125, New Zealand 120, England 100, Australia 91, United States 71, Scotland 67, Argentina 66.

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Mystics, Magic in thrilling netball draw

Two long-range goals to Maria Tutaia in the dying seconds have helped the Northern Mystics clinch a remarkable 45-45 draw with Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in the clash of the two leading New Zealand teams in the trans-Tasman netball league.

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The Mystics overcame a nine-goal deficit early in the final quarter, slowly clawing back from 41-32 down to give themselves a chance against the home side in Rotorua.

With 10 seconds remaining, the Mystics swung their centre pass straight down court and Tutaia had enough time to drill her second successive goal from the top of the circle to stun the crowd.

It keeps the Mystics top of the New Zealand standings with three wins, two draws and a loss. They are unbeaten since round two.

The Magic remain second but are vulnerable to being passed by teams below them who have played fewer games.

The result ends the Magic’s six-game winning streak against the Mystics and dents their fine record in Rotorua where they had won 14 of 15 games.

The Mystics’ comeback was unexpected after they lost Silver Ferns shooter Cathrine Latu to a rolled ankle late in the third quarter. Latu had shot 15 from 15, improving her championship-leading success rate for the season to 93.9 per cent (155 from 165).

Replacement Paula Griffith combined slickly with Tutaia and veteran centre Laura Langman over the final quarter, cutting through the Magic circle defence of Leana de Bruin and Kristiana Manu’a which had been impressive.

After a tight first quarter, a six-goal run midway through the second stanza helped push the Magic 28-21 clear at halftime.

They were led by another impressive display from wing attack Grace Rasmussen while goal shoot Jo Harten shot 23/27 and Ellen Halpenny 21/26.

However, the attack links broke down in the final quarter as pressure forced numerous turnovers.

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NRL record over Eels means nothing: Taylor

Wests Tigers’ winning record over Parramatta will mean nothing in Easter Monday’s NRL showdown at ANZ Stadium, says coach Jason Taylor.

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The Tigers have won seven of their past nine matches dating back to the beginning of 2010.

But with Taylor only joining the club at the end of last year, he’s yet to lead them against the Eels – whom he briefly coached in 2006.

“(It means) absolutely nothing,” he said when asked on Sunday about the record.

Both teams are chasing their third win of 2015, but are coming off very different results last Friday.

The Eels stunned defending premiers South Sydney 29-16, while the Tigers suffered a heartbreaking one-point loss to Canterbury.

Taylor was without experienced campaigners Dene Halatau, Pat Richards and Aaron Woods, but all are in line to play on Monday.

“We’ve still got to play well with those guys out of the team – which we did last week – and we learnt a lot out of that game,” he said.

“(But) it is good to have those guys back in the team for this game.”

Taylor said he’d spent the week focusing on his side’s defence, given how fast-moving the Eels are.

“That’s Parramatta’s style – they’re really moving the ball around. It goes from one sideline to another really quickly,” he said.

“They’re playing a really entertaining brand of football; they’ve scored some really great tries this year; they’re really testing the opposition.

“Handling their forward pack and then their halves and ball movement is the biggest thing we’ve worked on.”

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur said he was thankful for the long 10-day turnaround between games, given the toll last Friday’s match took on the team.

“It’s given their bodies a bit of time to freshen up, and also allowed us to get a lot of work into the boys this week,” he said.

“So preparation should be at its peak – now we’ve got to take it onto the field.”

KEY STATS:

WESTS TIGERS V PARRAMATTA:

* The Tigers have won seven of their past nine matches against the Eels since the start of 2010

* A field goal has been kicked in five of the past six games between the two sides

* The Eels have struggled at ANZ Stadium the past few seasons, winning just one of their 16 fixtures since the beginning of 2011. Their last win there was round 14 last year

* Parramatta have scored 18 tries this season – only the Sydney Roosters (19) have had more – but struggle to break the line. Almost 80 per cent of their tries have come down the far left or right edge

* The Eels have scored 65 points in the second half this season – the second most in the league. The Tigers, on the other hand, have been poor in the final 20 minutes of their matches, managing a total of just five points

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AFL coach to Crows: take a cold shower

New Adelaide boss Phil Walsh tells his club to take a collective cold shower after Sunday’s dreamy 77-point demolition of North Melbourne.

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Walsh’s head coaching career debut was highlighted by a Taylor Walker special in the Crows’ 21.14 (140) to 9.9 (63) victory at Adelaide Oval.

“It’s round one. We all need just to take a little bit of a cold shower,” Walsh said.

“That gives us great confidence, albeit that is a very small sample size – it’s one game.”

Walsh heaped praise on new captain Walker, who potted 6.5 and had two goal assists, 15 marks, 21 disposals and seven inside 50s.

“What did he have, 11 shots at goal or something?,” Walsh said.

“He played team footy. It was a great captain’s game.”

Walker orchestrated an opening-half blitz: nearing halftime, the Crows led by 69 points and the key forward had already slotted three goals and taken 12 marks.

His feats helped the Crows to a defining 12.10 to 3.1 halftime advantage.

The Kangaroos briefly rallied with four consecutive goals in the third term to get within 30 points, but Walker then stirred his troops en route to a resounding triumph.

Walker feasted on offerings from his midfield colleagues Richard Douglas (31 disposals), Rory Sloane (26 possessions), Patrick Dangerfield (25 touches) and Brodie Smith (22 disposals).

And Walsh deployed Eddie Betts with devastating impact: usually anchored in a forward pocket, the livewire spent much time in the midfield and gathered 21 disposals to complement his four goals.

The Crows also stifled North Melbourne’s attack, with the exception of ex-Western Bulldog Shaun Higgins who banked four goals on debut for his new club.

But Roos coach Brad Scott refused to even rate Higgins’ display as a positive – according to the boss, there were none.

“We fumbled like I have never seen us fumble in my time as coach of North Melbourne, kicking efficiency was horrific,” Scott said, describing the performance as an indictment on his players.

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