Monthly Archives: May 2019

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State of Origin 2014: The lead-up to Game 3PHOTOS

State of Origin 2014: The lead-up to Game 3 | PHOTOS State Of Origin III, 2014 – QLD v NSW. Pic by Bradley Kanaris, Getty Images

State Of Origin III, 2014 – QLD v NSW. Pic by Bradley Kanaris, Getty Images

State Of Origin III, 2014 – QLD v NSW. Pic by Bradley Kanaris, Getty Images

State Of Origin III, 2014 – QLD v NSW. Pic by Bradley Kanaris, Getty Images

State Of Origin III, 2014 – QLD v NSW. Pic by Bradley Kanaris, Getty Images

State Of Origin III, 2014 – QLD v NSW. Pic by Bradley Kanaris, Getty Images

State Of Origin III, 2014 – QLD v NSW. Pic by Bradley Kanaris, Getty Images

State Of Origin III, 2014 – QLD v NSW. Pic by Bradley Kanaris, Getty Images

State Of Origin III, 2014 – QLD v NSW. Pic by Bradley Kanaris, Getty Images

NSW Blues’ captain’s run. Pic by Bradley Kanaris, Getty Images

Queensland Maroons captain’s run. Pic by Bradley Kanaris, Getty Images

NSW Blues’ captain’s run. Pic by Bradley Kanaris, Getty Images

Queensland Maroons captain’s run. Pic by Bradley Kanaris, Getty Images

NSW Blues’ captain’s run. Pic by Bradley Kanaris, Getty Images

Queensland Maroons captain’s run. Pic by Bradley Kanaris, Getty Images

NSW Blues’ captain’s run. Pic by Bradley Kanaris, Getty Images

Queensland Maroons captain’s run. Pic by Bradley Kanaris, Getty Images

NSW Blues’ captain’s run. Pic by Bradley Kanaris, Getty Images

Queensland Maroons captain’s run. Pic by Bradley Kanaris, Getty Images

Queensland Maroons captain’s run. Pic by Bradley Kanaris, Getty Images

TweetFacebookIt’s the game of the rugby league season. Can NSW make State of Origin 2014 a clean sweep?

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Footy fans get set to the final match of the 2014 State of Origin series at Suncorp Stadium. Pic by Bradley Kanaris, Getty Images

Cheika promises full force Waratahs

Michael Cheika has quashed speculation the Waratahs will field an under-strength team for their clash with Queensland on Saturday, saying to do so would promote a “bad mindset” within the minor premiers.

The final-round derby clash at Suncorp Stadium will have no scoreboard impact on the Waratahs’ spot in the finals series after the side clinched top spot with a bonus point-win over the Highlanders last week.

But Cheika rejected suggestions the match was an opportunity to rest players or protect them from risk of injury, confirming that key starters Israel Folau, Sekope Kepu, Kane Douglas and Alofa Alofa were all on track to play in Brisbane and would not be wrapped in cotton wool.

“You could [injure a player] at any time, in training or regular games,” he said. “This is a contact sport, you don’t go into it worrying about things like that.

“It’s a bad mindset if you do, something is almost bound to happen. Just go in there, play with the guys you have and see what cards you’re dealt.”

Cheika said he had been rotating players through training to manage their loads and was doing the same this week.

“What we’ve done with those international guys who were with the Wallabies in June is, as the season has played out, we’ve rotated one a week out from a day here or there,” he said.

“We’ve done it with Adam Ashley-Cooper, we’ve done it with Michael Hooper and we did it with Bernard too this week.

“But as for not using players, I don’t want to have that style of worring about things that may or may not happen.”

The Reds, meanwhile, have spent the week fighting off accusations from Queensland legend Stan Pilecki that their 30-20 loss to the Force last week showed they felt no pride in the Reds jersey.

Test second-rower Rob Simmons defended the playing group on Wednesday, saying he was angered by Pilecki’s comments that he was “embarrassed and disgusted” with the side’s effort.

“It’s disappointing, you can say it all out there but to question our effort we get very frustrated at that. The effort’s not the question, you can question anything else but it’s a bit disappointing really [to question their effort],” Simmons said.

“As players we’re not sugar-coating anything, we know it’s not the ideal season, we’re not happy with it, and there’s been a few changes this season and you can expect a few more next season and we’re looking to improve. We’re pretty disappointed with it and looking to finish on a high.”

About the only place the Reds have an edge over NSW is at set piece. The Queenslanders have conceded six more tries (48) than they have scored (42) this season and are occupying lowly 12th place on the ladder, but on lineout and scrum success they are in the top five in the competition while the Waratahs are trending near the bottom.

Simmons said the Reds had an opportunity there to cause NSW a headache leading into their finals campaign.

“It’s a tough one, they’re a pretty good team all around but we have pretty good set piece at the moment, especially our lineout in attack and defence, so we’ll try to get to set piece nice and fast, speed things up and basically just try to beat them in every little battle in the forward play so our backs can start running riot,” he said.

The second and back rows are the only places Cheika could tinker with selection, with regular No.6 Jacques Potgieter a solid second-row lineout option and Test rookie Will Skelton an option there too.

Either way, neither the Waratahs nor Reds are taking Saturday’s clash for granted.

A NSW loss would expose a soft underbelly and Queensland will have Pilecki’s barbs ringing in their ears.

“There’s a few people saying in the media it might be a dead rubber, but I can guarantee you Saturday night won’t be a dead rubber,” Simmons said.

“This is state of origin for rugby union.”

Harcourt rebuked overdrug ‘retirement’ claims

Peter Harcourt (far right) has been rebuked by the AFL Photo: Pat ScalaThe AFL has moved to clarify comments made by its medical director at a Zurich conference, insisting players are not “retired” by the league for illicit drugs problems but rather made their own decisions.

Peter Harcourt had revealed during an anti-doping conference last November, but only publicly reported last week, that the AFL had temporarily withdrawn three players with illicit drug problems from competition, and “retired” another three who were unable to control their problems since the policy was introduced a decade ago.

AFL spokesman Patrick Keane said the illicit drug policy was “a voluntary policy that relies upon the co-operation of players and clubs”.

“Confidentiality is a cornerstone of the policy and so we cannot provide detail about individual cases – Dr Harcourt’s briefing in Zurich about the AFL’s illicit drug policy drew upon information already provided to clubs and players,” Keane said on Wednesday.

“We have consistently stated that the IDP is based on a medical model and its key focus is to identify players abusing illicit drugs and to support them and change their behaviour through early intervention and treatment services.

“To clarify, the AFL does not force anyone to retire from the game – the wording of the presentation was misleading.

“Players make their own decisions about their playing careers and sometimes those decisions are based on advice regarding their health and welfare, including consultation with our medical directors and the player’s own health experts, or a decision made on the basis they can no longer make the commitment required to be a professional footballer in our competition.

“In the cases cited, the players retired for health reasons; this is a medical model – a player’s health is the overriding consideration.”

Former Hawthorn midfielder Travis Tuck, the only AFL player to have had three strikes and been suspended, may have fallen outside of the group of three.

Keane reiterated that players “identified” under the policy were subjected to target testing as part of their treatment program.

“The changes to the IDP have already been widely publicised. They include the capability to act upon players judged to be recalcitrant,” he said.

“Players identified by the AFL medical directors of acting or displaying an attitude contrary to the objectives and spirit of the IDP will be directed to undergo a more intense education and counselling program and will be named to their club CEO if there is no change in behaviour.”

Players originally had just had doctor-patient privilege. Players can now only self-report once throughout their career to avoid a strike.

The changes came about after Collingwood chief executive Gary Pert warned in November 2012 of “volcanic behaviour” of some players during the off-season.

Speaking on Fox Footy’s Open Mike this week, Pert said the industry at that stage “had been brushing off the rumours and not following it up”.

“There was very poor understanding and education, I think, throughout the clubs,” he said.

“Now we have the clubs involved in the process, we actually have the loopholes closed so we have sent a very strong message to players, not only AFL players, but players that are playing the game throughout Australia, that we won’t accept it.”

Harcourt told the Zurich conference that three players had had psychotic reactions to illicit substances, five had taken illicit substances to deal with certain psychiatric symptoms, and the AFL had opted to “temporarily withdraw” another three players “because of substance abuse issues that needed to be treated”.

He said another five had shown “attitudinal and personality type issues, but the bulk are just silly, risk-taking behaviour”.

Sudden death rugby will bring out the best in Brumbies: Ben Mowen

They haven’t won a last-round match in eight years but the ACT Brumbies are adamant their sudden death clash against the Western Force will inspire their best performance of the year as they aim for a finals berth.

Scrumhalf Nic White has challenged the Brumbies to increase their physicality and tempo to match the desperate Force, who are trying to secure a play-off spot for the first time in the club’s history.

The winner of the Australian derby match will be guaranteed a place in the finals.  The loser’s fate will hinge on results of other matches.

The Brumbies haven’t won a game in the last round of the regular season since 2007, three of those costing the club a play-off spot.

But Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen said the team had learned from the past and was suited to knock-out scenarios.

And for extra motivation, the Brumbies can secure a home final and set up a week-two match against the top-of-the-table NSW Waratahs if they beat the Force.

“Last year we spent close to a month living out of a suitcase … the carrot is that if you get Friday night right, the path to the final is there,” Mowen said.

“We’ve been a side who understands the pressure of knock out football. We got it wrong in 2012, we learnt the lesson and went on a run last year. There’s so much experience now, sudden death footy will bring the best out of us.”

The Brumbies will be bolstered by the return of five key players for the clash against the Force.

Matt Toomua, Sam Carter and Josh Mann-Rea are all back in the starting XV while Pat McCabe and Joseph Tomane will be on the bench.

Carter has trained just twice since injuring his ankle in the Wallabies opening Test against France last month.

The towering lock played more than 70 minutes with an ankle syndesmosis injury, but powered on to earn man of the match honours.

“It’s been about five weeks since I played, but I’m not too worried,” Carter said.

“I feel pretty good, I’ve had a break and I feel good to go. The biggest thing I can add is getting the old combinations back. My goal is to get back into the Wallabies, but I’m focusing on the Force and Super Rugby first.”

Wallabies No. 9 White said the Brumbies had fixed the deficiencies in their game after they were convincingly beaten by the Waratahs two weeks ago.

White, who will be playing his 50th Super Rugby game, will likely line-up against his former Brumbies understudy, Ian Prior.

“It’s simple this week, win and you go through and lose and you don’t,” White said.

“We needed to fix a few things in our game … the Force will be very desperate. They’ve got the hunger there to make the finals for the first time, we’ve got to match that and go up again.”

LIVE: Art vs Science. parlez vous dance?

Art vs Science play at The Cambridge on August 1. Tickets at Bigtix. Picture: Erik BerganAFTER six years together and a string of infectious hits including Parlez Vous Francais?, Magic Fountain, Flippers, Create Destroy and their latest, Creature of the Night, Sydney trio Art vs Science have cemented themselves in the Australian electronic music scene.

But the boys – Jim Finn, Dan McNamee and Dan Williams – were playing rock music together when a pivotal gig changed their path, McNamee (aka Dan Mac) told LIVE.

‘‘I saw Midnight Juggernauts in 2006 at Homebake Sydney and that was like, ‘Wow, holy shit!’ That was an influence because I was playing in a rock band with Dan, Jim and Jim’s brother at the time. I thought, ‘I want to do this’.

‘‘I’d been thinking about doing dance music live since forever and they were actually doing it,’’ Dan Mac said, before adding a few more gigs from big names in dance music cemented the genre shift.

‘‘The Presets were doing it. Then I saw Daft Punk and while they don’t do it live…there was this mixture between really classic electronic music and pop as well. It felt really good and I thought, ‘This is so hectic, it’s awesome’, so that’s the vibe I went for with Art vs Science.’’

And that he did. Together the trio followed in the footsteps of Melbourne three-piece Midnight Juggernauts in playing electronic and dance music live as a band. But there’s also no doubting Art vs Science have forged their own path: part of the huge appeal of songs like Parlez Vous Francais? and Magic Fountain is that they are so different from everything else out there, so distinctly Art vs Science.

In the six years since forming, the trio have released a handful of EPs and their debut album, 2011’s The Experiment which reached No.2 on the ARIA charts.

Despite it being years since the record’s release, the trio released the Create Destroy EP in April, rather than unleashing their second album.

Dan Mac, who takes vocals, guitars and keyboard duties in the band, said the decision was a collaborative one. While at first it was driven by their ‘‘management/distribution company’’, in the end it worked creatively for the band too.

‘‘In hindsight I agree because there were some songs which I thought were finished but I wasn’t completely happy with,’’ Dan Mac said.

‘‘Just in the last couple of weeks I opened up a Pro Tools session and I actually listened to it with fresh ears and went, ‘Aha! I know what needs to be done now’, and I did some nips and tucks and now it sounds really awesome.’’

Having space from the songs was just what the band needed. It’s a creative process they’ve used successfully on previous recordings: ‘‘It’s my preferred way to do things, actually. Either like that or go from start to finish in half an hour and do it that way. If you start working on something minutely, you need to give it a few weeks’ off.’’

Dan Mac said the trio had a ‘‘bunch of songs’’ already recorded which are likely to make their way on to the next album, which will be released in the next 12 months.

‘‘If we were making a cabinet it’s all been put together and sanded, it’s just waiting for varnish,’’ he said cryptically.

But for now, Art vs Science are keeping fans happy with their latest single Creature Of The Night which Dan Mac said Finn wrote at the end of 2012.

‘‘The lyrics were just a little sort of a ditty – he kind of writes kids’ songs in his spare time and he’s really good at that – and he wrote this one when he’d come home [from a night out] when the sun had come up,’’ he said before adding with a laugh, ‘‘but then those lyrics which started off kind of simple became mutated into this strange like of allegory of a song about the night. It’s a partying song but oh, jeez, it’s got a menacing tone.’’

The boys gauged Creature Of The Night by giving it a run live at Sydney’s On The Harbour New Year’s Eve. The response was resoundingly positive and so it was released: ‘‘The very first hour of this year we played that song and it went off so we thought, ‘We better make this a single’.’’

Litmus testing new songs live is something they’ve always done and will do on the upcoming Creature of the Night tour, though Dan Mac is careful to remind fans the favourites will always be part of an Art vs Science set.

‘‘All the ‘hits’ – for want of a better word – we’ll play, but we are going to play a lot of new stuff too. ‘‘We want to be excited about it. It’s not playing new stuff for the sake of playing new stuff, but the songs actually stand up against the old stuff. [Seeing the crowd response to new songs live] was a huge thing when we first started because no one had heard anything and that was our only gauge of whether or not a song was good.

‘‘It’s harder to do that now because people are naturally going to respond better to something they’ve heard before.’’

It’s all about striking a balance between the band keeping themselves happy, keeping fans happy and pushing their sound forward.

‘‘It is kind of tricky. The thing is, for a while we had the attitude towards the end of our last run [of shows] of ‘Let’s just play the old ones’ because people did naturally like them. That did work for a while because we weren’t really writing much,’’ he said.

‘‘But there needs to be that element of freshness because it starts to feel like you’re in a covers band playing songs: they’re our songs but it’s been a while since we actually wrote them.’’

The last thing either the band or punters want is for a gig to feel like Groundhog Day.

‘‘Personally I want to see a band which is kicking arse with their latest creative stuff.’’

Art vs Science play at The Cambridge on August 1. Tickets at Bigtix.

For your chance to win a double pass to the show, see page 19 of today’s Herald.

Picture: Erik Bergan