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Confirmed: Brisbane Roar sack Mulvey

05/02/2019 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

In May, Mike Mulvey was luxuriating in Brisbane’s historic grand final victory over the Western Sydney Wanderers. Six months later he has been sacked as Roar coach amid an early season implosion that yielded one win from six games.
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After news broke early on Sunday afternoon, Roar management took an ice-age to confirm reports of Mulvey’s dismissal. It finally arrived, with the club saying Mulvey would ‘step down’ from his role, effective immediately.

His sacking comes after a review of Roar operations by the board and wealthy Indonesian owners, the Bakrie Group. Bakrie representative and Roar chairman Chris Fong hadn’t arrived in the country to hand out Christmas cards.

Roar managing director Sean Dobson said: ‘Head coach Mike Mulvey met with Brisbane Roar FC management today (Sunday). As a result, he will step down from the head coach’s position.

“The board review of all of Brisbane Roar FC football operations was conducted in line with Brisbane Roar’s commitment to continual improvement.”

That supposed improvement hadn’t included a stuttering start to the year, which saw Brisbane embark on a losing streak only broken by a 4-0 win over Newcastle, before a 1-0 loss to Melbourne Victory on Friday night.

The club appeared to have battled with the departure of key players Besart Berisha and Ivan Franjic, while an injury to keeper Michael Theo managed to send their backline descending into chaos.

The underperformance of replacement striker Mensur Kurtisi had many questioning the recruitment strategy, while veterans like Shane Stefanutto were also feeling the heat as Brisbane leaked 10 goals in their opening four games.

Mulvey was the toast of the league in Autumn as the Roar won their third title but little went right to start the new campaign, with rumours of player unrest adding to poor form and injury.

Mulvey joined the Roar in 2012 as a replacement for Rado Vidosic before being given a contract extension as he began to help the club rebound from a slump after the departure of current Socceroo coach Ange Postecoglou.

Sydney FC ‘not intimidated at all’ travelling to Western Sydney Wanderers, says Graham Arnold

05/02/2019 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold has fired the first barb before next Saturday’s Sydney derby, declaring it “not the biggest derby” – because of the limited size of Pirtek Stadium.
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Although the venue might be the subject of a minor government upgrade – which many believe should be given a far more significant boost – the limited capacity means that thousands of fans, many of them who support Sydney FC, will again miss out on tickets.

Only around 1500 Sky Blues’ fans are ever allocated seats, despite virtually every Wanderers’ fan being able to attend the reverse fixtures at Allianz Stadium. It has given berth to a growing view that that the Wanderers should opt to switch future derbies to ANZ Stadium.

Arnold declared the boutique Parramatta venue was simply “not intimidating” when compared to the Moore Park venue, where the Sky Blues were roared on by a vocal crowd to come back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 when the sides met earlier in the season.

“It’s not the biggest derby, because only 18,000 can fit in, compared to ours, where it’s 43-44,000,” Arnold said. “It’s not that intimidating at all. We’re looking forward to the occasion.”

The Sky Blues go into the derby riding high after their 2-1 win over Melbourne City, a result that keeps them inside the pack of four clubs – along with Adelaide United, Melbourne Victory and table-topping Perth Glory – who have skipped away from the rest of the competition. Arnold said the win was set up in the first half but that the result should have been put to bed well before full-time.

“We spoke after the previous game about slow starts and since I’ve been at the club the starts haven’t been fantastic, but the first half was excellent. We should have probably gone in 3-0 or 4-0 up,” he said. “It would have been game over but the fact we went only 1-0 up kept them in the game and kept them motivated.”

Terry Antonis enjoyed a brilliant match in the midfield after missing the game against Victory last week but it was Marc Janko who gained most of the headlines with a match-winning brace – taking his tally to a respectable three goals in seven games. His availability for the match only came about because he pulled out of representing Austria, whom he captains, against Brazil in a midweek friendly.

“Marc is settling now. We’re still trying to find him at times but we’re doing a lot of work at training with our attacking patterns to get Marc involved and for the players to know where he is,” Arnold said. “He could have had a hat-trick [against City]. He scored two and hit the post and had another good game. Getting him involved in the game is good. Hopefully he’s now settled, because he doesn’t have to go away with the Austrian national team for at least until March. To get him back in is good.”

When asked if he could have fitted Alessandro Del Piero into his current line-up, Arnold joked that he was “enjoying watching him in the Indian Premier League” – where the Italian has struggled to make an impact with the Delhi Dynamos, going scoreless and covering little ground from his attacking midfield role. Arnold said he’d “probably” have fitted Del Piero into his system but added: “Maybe he would have had to work harder.”

Meanwhile, Sydney FC chief executive Tony Pignata has promised to look into an appeal against the red card given to Milos Dimitrijevic for time-wasting before a late corner.

Arnold was sure it was a case of mistaken identity – which would allow the Sky Blues to appeal under the contentious “obvious error” clause.

“Milos goes out for short corners but he doesn’t take them. There were three guys out there, [Alex] Brosque, Janko and Milos,” Arnold said. “Maybe we can appeal for mistaken identity.”

Brosque told ABC Radio on Sunday that it was a comical decision from the referee, one he couldn’t understand.

“For a player to be sent off like that is ridiculous,” he said. “It’s disappointing to lose such a good quality player for the coming weeks for a lack of common sense.”

Chris Rogers keeping his Test dream alive

05/02/2019 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

Chris Rogers’ dream of finishing his Test career at next year’s Ashes is still alive while Josh Hazlewood is on the verge of earning a baggy green in Brisbane next week.
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Rogers has staved off a challenge from Phillip Hughes and will partner David Warner at the top of the order in the first Test against India, starting on Thursday week.

Rogers’ Test berth, and career, had been in peril after an underwhelming series in the UAE against Pakistan but the opener booked himself a ticket to Brisbane with his 71st first-class ton in the Sheffield Shield last week.

Speculation has been rife that Rogers would be replaced by Hughes, who is 12 years younger, but the incumbent’s superior form since returning home from the Middle East has been acknowledged at the selection table.

Although Rogers missed the day-night round of shield games due to his colour blindness, he showed selectors he was not done with yet by making 107 for Victoria against South Australia. Hughes did himself no favours with twin failures of seven and 11 on top scores of 20 and 69 in his previous shield appearance.

While Rogers has preserved his Test career, another could be starting in Brisbane.

Hazlewood, expected to be the only uncapped player in Australia’s squad, has been rewarded after an excellent start to the summer, albeit predominantly in the 50-over and Twenty20 arenas.

The giant quick from Tamworth has been left out of NSW’s shield side for this week’s game, which is a strong guide he is in the minds of national selectors for the first Test.

He will likely become the 440th recipient of the baggy green should Ryan Harris fail to prove his fitness.

Harris is the only other paceman not involved in shield action this week. The courageous quick, who  returned to first-class cricket last week after eight months out, is desperate to log more overs at state level before he throws himself back on to the international stage.

But given he also played last week, selectors will be wary of asking a player with such a long history of injuries to play a third game in as many weeks.

Speculation about captain Michael Clarke’s availability for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series-opener will continue as he is almost certain to be named as captain, with Brad Haddin his deputy.

But competition is wide as to who will take the captain’s place in the line-up should he succumb to his hamstring injury, with Shaun Marsh, Alex Doolan, Callum Ferguson and Hughes all in contention.

With Clarke not yet ruled out, it is possible selectors will wait for this week’s round of shield games before announcing a shadow batsman.

Marsh would have played in the UAE had he not suffered an elbow injury. He enhanced his Test claims with a century a fortnight ago but missed opportunities last week with middling scores of 19 and 41.

Doolan was controversially dumped for the second Test against Pakistan but has failed to pass 50 in his four innings for Tasmania since returning home.

Ferguson has been one of the form batsmen in the opening three rounds of the Shield, hitting 324 runs at 81, including two centuries.

The South Australian has shone on the international stage previously but is uncapped at Test level due to concerns his game is too loose for the longer forms.

Elsewhere, Nathan Lyon is tipped to hold his place as Australia’s No.1 spinner despite a poor series against Pakistan, while Shane Watson is likely to make his Test return.

Mitchell Marsh appears certain to hold his position after a promising start to his Test career in the Persian Gulf.

Possible squad: David Warner, Chris Rogers, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke, Steve Smith, Mitchell Marsh, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh.

Australian Masters: Nick Cullen’s gold jacket trumps twin brother’s baggy green for now

05/02/2019 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

The Cullen family now has a gold jacket to go with a baggy green, and for newly crowned Australian Masters champion Nick Cullen, at least for the time being, gold trumps green.
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As he reflected on the journey that has taken him from almost giving up golf to gatecrashing Adam Scott’s pursuit of history, the twin brother of former Australian cricketer Dan Cullen said it was surreal to think his name would sit alongside recent winners including Scott, Tiger Woods and Ian Poulter.

The 30-year-old, ranked No. 632 in the world, began the event at Metropolitan Golf Club without any status on any Tour in the world, but has now earned five years of full status on the Australasian circuit, He came from nowhere in Sunday’s final round to steal a career-changing victory and bank a $180,000 winner’s cheque.

“I played some pro-ams in New South Wales a while ago, and I think I made $500 for like two weeks,” said Cullen, recalling the time when he almost made a decision that would have robbed him of the biggest moment of his life.

“I was driving back and halfway home I was just like, ‘What am I doing?’. I’m not enjoying it, I wasn’t making money and just wasn’t happy,” he said.

“There were so many better places I could be, be with friends and family, and I’m out in the middle of the outback going nowhere.

“That was the realisation that, it’s either quit or work harder. I decided I wanted to give it a real go … all the people that have helped me over the years, I just didn’t want to let them down.”

The South Australian revealed it was a conversation he had with his brother Dan, a spin bowler who played one Test for Australia and five one-day internationals, shortly after that drive home that changed his outlook on the game.

“I won a pro-am a week later and I had a great chat with my brother. I three-putted the last hole to tie for the win and I was headless because it was the difference between $3000 and I had no money,” he said.

“Dan said it didn’t matter, he said ‘you won’.

“After that I realised it wasn’t about the money, it was about trying to win.

“Since then, I’ve just been trying to win… and to win the Australian Masters is pretty awesome.”

Asked which was more important, the gold jacket or a baggy green, Cullen replied, “At the moment, definitely the jacket” as he looked down at the latest addition to his wardrobe.

He then praised his brother’s contribution to Sunday’s triumph, which earns Cullen a spot in a $9 million World Golf Championship event next year.

“That’s the most important thing anyone has ever told me,” he said.

“He’s been at the top level of his sport and he’s bowled to the best batsmen in the world and got them out … been through all the media pressure… so to be able to talk to someone so close to you and confide in and trust, he’s been awesome.”

The first call Cullen made was from the scorer’s hut at Metropolitan to his partner, who is based in the United States, to tell her he had pulled off the Masters miracle the couple needed to continue their life together in America.

“I was saying to my girlfriend that I needed to win one of the last three events in Australia … to get status next year and play somewhere,” he said.

“Just trying to be in the States with her and not having a Tour card anywhere… it just wasn’t going to work.”

Among all that has been written and spoken throughout the week, the words “Nick Cullen” were barely mentioned until Sunday where he carded a three-under round of 69 to finish at nine under overall and outlast Scott. He started the day two shots behind overnight leader Paul Spargo.

A clutch bunker shot on the 18th turned a potential final-hole disaster into a dream come true, with the ball nestling to within two feet of the cup to leave an easy tap-in.

The par shut out Scott’s late rally, that culminated in a Masters moment on the 18th when a 15-metre putt from the world No.2 did everything but fall in the hole, leaving Scott one shot short of forcing a play-off, and tied for second with final-round bolters Josh Younger and James Nitties.

Cullen rated the bunker shot as the best of his career, delivered under the most pressure he had ever been under.

Cullen said to himself “oh, no” as his approach shot to the 18th flew into the greenside trap.

“I wouldn’t want to try and do it again, put it that way”, he said, adding of the tournament-winning putt, “I’m glad it wasn’t any longer, because I was nervous enough over that one”.

Richmond assistant coach Mark Williams diagnosed with cancer

05/02/2019 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

Richmond senior development coach and former Port Adelaide premiership coach Mark Williams has been diagnosed with cancer.
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Williams, a former Collingwood captain and Brisbane Bears player, has lymphoma, a form of blood cancer. The 56-year-old coach will have further tests to determine if it is Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Williams noticed a lump in his neck last week and after consulting the Richmond doctor had tests that confirmed the diagnosis.

Richmond football manager Dan Richardson said Williams felt fine and wanted to continue to work, and that the club would support him through the illness.

“He was only diagnosed last week, so he has still got further tests to undergo in the next week or two to get a bit more information on it,” Richardson said.

“He is feeling fine. He noticed a lump in his lymph in his neck, which is how it came about being diagnosed, so at the moment he wants to keep working and work around the testing and things that are to come.”

A club spokesman said further tests would be needed to determine what form of lymphoma it was – Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin – but whether that was to be made public would be a matter for Williams.

One of the league’s more flamboyant and colourful coaches, Williams coached Port Adelaide from 1999 to 2010. He led Port to their inaugural flag in 2004 and famously grabbed at his tie and held it up to goad those who had accused the team of choking when they failed after finishing top four the two previous years.

He then provocatively declared the club’s major sponsor was “wrong” in his acceptance speech on the day for questioning whether Williams was the man to lead the club to a flag. The Power under Williams also played in the 2007 grand final loss to Geelong.

Williams played 135 games for Collingwood from 1981 to ’86, was captain from 1983 to ’86, won the Copeland Trophy in 1981 and ’85 and was an All-Australian in 1980. He moved to the Brisbane Bears for three seasons and 66 games in 1987 and ’88.

He coached at GWS for two seasons before moving to Richmond to work with Damien Hardwick.