Monthly Archives: June 2019

ACT Meteors all-rounder Erin Osborne overlooked for Southern Stars squad to play South Africa at Manuka Oval

The Southern Stars have overlooked ACT Meteors gun Erin Osborne for the first three games of the upcoming ODI series against South Africa. Photo: Jay CronanACT Meteors coach James Allsopp says Erin Osborne will let her “bat and ball do the talking” as she looks to “prove a few people wrong”, after the all-rounder was overlooked for the first three games of the upcoming one-day Internationals against South Africa.

It means Osborne will miss out on representing her country on her home ground of Manuka Oval after the 13-woman squad was named on Tuesday.

The Stars play their first two games of the series at Manuka with the first on Friday week.

Allsopp felt the squad must have been decided before the Meteors’ upset victory over South Australia at Manuka Oval  a week ago, which  Osborne almost won single handedly.

She took 4-24 from her 10 overs of off-spin and has also been consistent with the bat during the Women’s National Cricket League.

“She’s been an outstanding player throughout the WNCL so far and almost single handedly won us the game against South Australia under lights Sunday week ago,” Allsopp said.

“I’m assuming they might have already picked the team prior to that performance because her ability to turn the game on its head the way she bowled was a massive contributing factor to us taking the game.

“Her and I have spoken and she’s really determined to let her bat and ball do the talking in the next two games and try and prove a few people wrong and try and get herself back in the Stars team.”

While the first two ODIs are taking place at Manuka, Osborne and the Meteors will  be playing against Queensland and NSW, needing two wins to have a chance of making the finals.

Not only will Osborne be trying to help the Meteors achieve that, but she also has the chance to force her way into the Southern Stars squad for the final two games of the South Africa series.

“Unfortunately she won’t come into the games down in Canberra, but Erin knows that she needs to go on and make big scores  and really press her claims as a top-order batsman as well as what she does with her off-spin bowling,” Allsopp said.

“I think if in the last two games she really puts some good performances under her belt, one it will go a long way to us winning those last two matches and she’s really going to put her name out for Stars selection.”


November 18: Australia v South Africa  at Manuka Oval, 2.20pm.

November 20: Australia v South Africa  at Manuka Oval, 2.20pm.

Southern Stars squad: Meg Lanning (c), Alex Blackwell (vc), Kristen Beams, Nicole Bolton, Rene Farrell, Holly Ferling, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani.

A-League: Central Coast Mariners coach Paul Okon expects Wellington Phoenix to attack

Coach Paul Okon says the Central Coast Mariners are more confident after their first win of the season. Photo: Morne de KlerkThe Wellington Phoenix might be missing five of their first-choice XI, but Central Coast Mariners coach Paul Okon is still expecting them to have a strong team at Canberra Stadium on Saturday.

Okon also expects his team to have come through their first win of the A-League season unscathed, but will know more when they return to training.

Wellington will have the guts ripped out of their team ahead of the important clash, with both sides looking to build momentum after tasting victory for the first time this season.

They will be without captain Andrew Durante, goalkeeper Glen Moss, striker Kosta Barbarouses, Louis Fenton and Michael McGlinchey, who will be with the All Whites squad preparing for World Cup qualifiers against New Caledonia on Saturday and Tuesday.

But Okon said the Phoenix had shown the depth they have with a gutsy 1-0 loss to Melbourne City in round one when they were also missing a raft of players.

“Phoenix will obviously be disappointed they lose the players and for us, whichever team they put out is going to be a strong team,” he said on Tuesday.

“I saw them in round one when they played Melbourne City, they played really well and made life difficult for Melbourne City.

“For us, even if Wellington had all their players, yes we do look at the opposition and we do analyse them and try to know as much as we can about them, it’s really about what we’re trying to do and what we want to do.

“The fact they’re missing players is irrelevant. We expect a tough game.”

Okon expected to bring a full-strength side to Canberra, which the former Socceroo said was like a “second home” to him.

He’s spent plenty of time in the nation’s capital as a coach with the Australian under-20s and under-23s.

The Mariners coach hoped Canberra residents would support the game and promised them an attacking spectacle at Canberra Stadium.

He said Central Coast’s strength lay in their attacking players Roy O’Donovan, Blake Powell, Connor Pain and Fabio Ferreira – who he said were as good as any in the A-League.

While Okon said the Mariners would take confidence from the 2-1 victory over reigning champions Adelaide United on the weekend, they went into every game wanting to win so it wouldn’t change their approach.

“Our front-four attack is up there with all the other teams in the A-League,” Okon said.

“That’s our intention, to take the game to the opposition and hopefully that brings along chances and Wellington has a real attacking philosophy.

“We’ve played them twice in pre-season and both games were both teams really having a go so I’d expect that’s what will happen on Saturday.”


Saturday: Central Coast Mariners v Wellington Phoenix at Canberra Stadium, 5.35pm. Tickets available at Ticketek.


Saturday: Canberra United v Melbourne City at Canberra Stadium, 3pm. Tickets available at Ticketek.

Scrap international T20s and consider shortening Test matches, says Stephen Fleming

Cricket should scrap Twenty 20 international matches and give four-day Tests real consideration to draw bigger crowds to the sport, according to one of the game’s most respected tacticians.

Former New Zealand captain-turned-Melbourne Stars coach Stephen Fleming also said losing to South Africa in Perth should act as a jolt to the Australian team, which was under a great deal of pressure to lift its game.

Once described by Australian spin king Shane Warne as the best captain in world cricket, Fleming said the world was getting faster and Test cricket was not keeping up.

Although he was not yet completely convinced of the need to shorten the traditional five-day Test format, he was leaning in favour of changing it to four.

It would mean matches could run from Thursday to Sunday, with the players on the ground for slightly longer each day.

Fleming said five-day Test matches too often ambled along and may not be dynamic enough for modern audiences.

“There are periods during the game now when it drifts and audiences have dropped off,” he said.

“At times I’ve commentated and watched a Test and it’s meandered through rather than pushed on.”

Captains may need to be encouraged to play faster, a style that was more natural to a new generation of players that had grown up playing T20 cricket.

Fleming said any change to test Traditions would be difficult, but the matter seemed to now be open to discussion in cricket circles, whereas in the past it would have been seen as fanciful.

“It’s history you’re dealing with and the fear of changing something that’s been in place for so long and so many people have played it, it means so much to the people who have played it,” he said.

Fleming said he had once believed one-day cricket would die with the increased popularity of T20, but the popularity of last year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand had proven otherwise.

Instead international T20 could be cancelled to help clear cricket’s crowded schedule.

“That will free up a little more time, on players and selectors and even in respect of a country’s cost to send a T20 side over,” Fleming said.

After making a strong start against South Africa at the WACA, Australia went on to lose by 177 runs.

The team’s three Test losses in Sri Lanka mid-year could be explained away by difficult overseas conditions, Fleming said, not so their loss in Perth.

“There’s some talented players around, but when you start giving consistent performances that have the players under pressure, you start seeing the cracks appear,” he said.

Fleming said it was a challenging time for the Australian team, but he encouraged captain Steve Smith to focus on creating the next great period of Australian cricket, rather than feeling upset about the recent losses.

He said the Australian side could improve quickly.

“It comes back to that vision of where Steve and [Australian coach] Darren Lehmann want the side to be and sticking to that and looking at this as a short-term challenge,” he said.

Brumbies’ Phil Thomson says Christian Lealiifano in good spirits ahead of bone marrow transplant

Christian Lealiifano will have a bone marrow transplant in Melbourne this week. Photo: Jay CronanACT Brumbies acting chief executive Phil Thomson says Christian Lealiifano is in good spirits as he prepares to undergo a bone marrow transplant in Melbourne.

Lealiifano’s sister Sally will be the donor, with the transplant expected to take place on Wednesday or Thursday.

The 29-year-old has been in Melbourne undergoing chemotherapy for leukaemia and will remain in hospital for a month and in Melbourne for 100 days after surgery.

Thomson said they were hoping for a speedy recovery from the Brumbies co-captain, but there was no time frame on how long it would take.

Lealiifano was swamped with messages of support from around the world after he was diagnosed with blood cancer in August.

Brumbies and Wallabies players, including David Pocock and Matt Toomua, shaved their heads to show their support for Lealiifano.

“He started his chemo last week and has gone through that process and now the next step will be the bone marrow [transplant], that should be taking place pretty shortly,” Thomson said.

“He’s got plenty of support down there in Melbourne, he’s in good spirits.

“It varies from case to case [how long it takes] … best-case scenario is it’s a quick process, but everyone needs to be aware it could be a long process too.”

Meanwhile, Southland Stags flyhalf Wharenui Hawera will train with the Brumbies over the next two months in a bid to earn a Super Rugby contract.

Hawera played for the Stags in this year’s ITM Cup and Thomson said the Brumbies coaching staff would have a look at him in November and December.

They will continue their search for a playmaker, with Lealiifano sidelined indefinitely and Matt Toomua having left for England.

“[Hawera] is a No.10, inside back, who’s going to train with us for the November-December period to see how he goes,” Thomson said.

“Obviously we’re still looking at our options at No.10 there. He’s coming over for an opportunity to train and we’ll assess how he goes.

“We’ve got some options that we’re looking at internally, but we also need to look at a few external options.

“He’s someone the coaching staff have identified as worthwhile having a look at.”

The Brumbies are expected to announce the signing of an outside back in the coming days.

George Brandis misled Parliament over Justin Gleeson affair, Senate inquiry concludes

Attorney-General George Brandis could be censured by the Senate. Photo: Andrew MearesAttorney-General George Brandis misled Parliament over his dealings with the government’s chief legal adviser, a Senate committee has concluded in a damning report that reopens the toxic rift between the two men.

In a report released late on Tuesday, the Senate standing committee on legal and constitutional affairs concluded Senator Brandis did not consult former solicitor-general Justin Gleeson, SC, about a controversial change to the way he would be briefed.

It sets the stage for a censure motion against Senator Brandis, who had assured Parliament Mr Gleeson was advised about the move. Mr Gleeson resigned his post on October 24, saying their relationship was “irretrievably broken”.

The chair of the committee, Labor senator Louise Pratt, said the report demonstrated the “unfitness of the Attorney-General to hold his high office” and he had made “false and misleading statements” in the Senate.

But Liberal senator Ian Macdonald, one of two government senators who delivered a dissenting report, said the Labor and Greens-dominated committee always conducted “political witch hunts” and “nobody takes any notice” of its work.

The inquiry had “destroyed the career of the Solicitor-General who was himself appointed by the previous Labor administration”, Senator Macdonald and his Liberal colleague Linda Reynolds said.

The country’s two most senior lawyers had been at loggerheads over a legally binding direction issued by Senator Brandis before the July 2 election which prevented ministers, including the Prime Minister, seeking advice from Mr Gleeson without his written approval.

Mr Gleeson had flatly rejected claims he was consulted about the change.

Legal experts had expressed concern the direction posed a risk of “freezing out” the solicitor-general, who holds a statutory office and gives independent advice on matters of national significance as well as appearing in high-profile court cases.

Senator Brandis has rejected claims he was “shopping around” for advice he regarded as politically convenient from members of the private bar.

The majority of the committee concluded Senator Brandis had relied on a “fanciful definition of ‘consultation'” and Mr Gleeson was not advised about the “improper” direction until it had taken effect.

It said claims Mr Gleeson was consulted about the move brought to mind Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, who said: “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.”

The committee recommended the direction be withdrawn and Senator Brandis be censured over the move.

The report raised concerns the direction “inhibits free and independent access to the Solicitor-General by agencies and ministers other than the Attorney-General”.

The committee concluded the Attorney-General’s actions “represent a gross infringement on the independence of the Solicitor-General, and call into question the professional integrity and judgment of the Attorney-General”.

“The lack of respect that the Attorney-General has displayed towards the Solicitor-General, and the state of their relationship prior to the Solicitor-General’s resignation – one of the most critical relationships in his portfolio – demonstrates his lack of competence to hold the office of Attorney-General,” it said.

At a fiery hearing on October 14, Mr Gleeson told the Senate committee the direction effected a “radical” change to the way his office functioned and he regarded it as unlawful.

He said if the Governor-General or Prime Minister came to him directly for advice he would consider it his legal duty to make a “conscientious decision” to flout the direction and provide them with advice.

But Senator Brandis told the committee the change was consistent with the law and historical practice and was merely “administrative housekeeping”.

Labor and crossbench senators are poised to strike down the direction in the Senate as early as Thursday.

The Senate committee inquiry was initiated by Labor with the support of the crossbench.

Senator Brandis has previously been censured by the Senate over his attacks on Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs.

Comment was sought from the Attorney-General.

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