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Sports round up archive


Reprinted courtesy of Sportsbet Australia
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Monday May 3rd

Rugby League - Top Dogs

The Bulldogs have shown they are a true force this season. Before the game against Brisbane, the Bulldogs were on top of the NRL ladder. Their one point win, however, has shown they deserve to be there. Round nine sees the Bulldogs take on the Knights in Newcastle with the home side coming off a win against the Rabbitohs. All of Canterbury's key players should be on deck for the match with no notable injury concerns following the Brisbane game. Newcastle could be without prop Josh Perry who has hurt his forearm while Andrew Price has been placed on report for a high shot.

Meanwhile, one of rugby league's favourite sons has announced his retirement. Brad Fittler has confirmed he won't play beyond the 2004 season following the Roosters win over the Raiders. The Roosters could very well send Freddie off with a final premiership, looking like champions in the Canberra match. The 2002 premiers take on the Wests Tigers next week.

All club games will be played on Saturday and Sunday following the City-Country match on Friday night.

Rugby Union - Terrible Tahs

Old foes clash in a must-win game for the Waratahs. New South Wales takes on Queensland at Ballymore in the final match of the regular season - a game the Waratahs must win if they have any hope of making the semi-finals of the Super 12. The perennial chokers of the competition have done it again with their loss to the Highlanders and now have to beat the Reds (who are coming off two wins in South Africa), probably with a bonus point and also rely on a number of other results if they are to scrape into the final four. New South Wales could be without hooker Brendan Cannon who has undergone plastic surgery after an alleged attack at a Sydney nightclub. Meanwhile, Justin Harrison will have to face the judiciary this week over an altercation with Filipo Levi after the Otago game.

Unlike the Waratahs, the Brumbies are not only guaranteed a semi-final but one at home. The ACT walloped the Hurricanes in Canberra on the weekend and will now travel to New Zealand for the Chiefs who are hanging onto third place.

Soccer - Challenge for Chelsea

Chelsea will have to produce something special if it is to advance to the final of the Champions League. After being hammered by Monaco 3-1 in the first leg of the semi-finals, Chelsea will not only have to win the return match on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge but by the right margin should away goals come into the equation. Chelsea could be without key winger Damien Duff who has dislocated his shoulder again. Marcel Desailly and Claude Makelele will also miss the game through suspension but in some good news for Claudio Ranieri, Glen Johnson and Carlo Cudicini have returned to training and could be available for selection. Monaco also has injury worries with Jerome Rothen and Dado Prso suffering groin and foot problems respectively making them highly unlikely to play.

Meantime, Deportivo is at home to Porto in the other semi. The two sides had a 0-0 draw in the first match and Deportivo will be favoured to win on Tuesday. The Spanish side won't, however, include Jorge Andrade who was red-carded in the first match. In what would be a bonus for Porto, striker Derlei could return after a five month layoff with a knee injury.

AFL - Collingwood Crashes

After making it to the grand final two years in a row Collingwood is now at the bottom of the AFL ladder. The weekend loss to Port Adelaide was the Pies fourth in a row and has left them in last position after six rounds. Collingwood has, admittedly, had some serious team problems with the likes of Nathan Buckley and Chris Tarrant missing the game and a number of other players suffering injuries throughout. The side, however, squandered a big lead in the second quarter then lost the game by nearly 20 points after drawing level in the fourth quarter. Collingwood takes on Carlton at the MCG next Saturday in a must-win game if the side is to have any hopes of semi-final footy this year.

Meantime, St Kilda remains on top of the ladder after a scintillating yet controversial one point win over the Brisbane Lions. The game was one of three decided by a point last weekend. The Saints now meet fourth placed Fremantle but could have to deal with two suspensions with Justin Koschitzke and Lenny Hayes reported to the Tribunal for tripping and striking respectively.


Thursday May 6th

Rugby League - City-Country Goes to Gosford

New South Wales Origin spots go on the line on Friday when City takes on Country in Gosford. The Queensland Origin squad has already been named but the Blues side will be finalised following the City-Country match. The players who took part in the Anzac Test with New Zealand have been exempted from the game with the assumption they will be in the team.

Friday's match is expected to be a close one although City has traditionally dominated Country. There have been slight changes to both sides since they were named last weekend with a number of players withdrawing through injury. Country prop Luke Davico will miss the game with a rib problem and will be replaced by Josh Perry while Nathan Blacklock comes in for the injured Joel Monaghan. City has lost Mark Gasnier after an MRI scan revealed a hamstring tear, giving Ryan Cross a chance. The first Origin game between New South Wales and Queensland will be on May 26.

Rugby League - Knights a Chance at Home

The Bulldogs are on a roll the Knights will be hoping to stop on Sunday at Newcastle. The home side is a chance of having captain Ben Kennedy in the team to play Canterbury with the big second-rower almost over a hamstring injury that has kept him out of action for the past few weeks. Kurt Gidley and Daniel Abraham are also likely to play, provided they get through the City-Country match. The Bulldogs have six players in that position (Braith Anasta, Willie Mason, Hazem El Masri, Mark O'Meley, Luke Patten and Andrew Ryan) but will go into the match as favourites given their standing on top of the NRL ladder.

Meantime the Raiders are considered a real chance of victory over a Brisbane side with the likes of Darren Lockyer, Barry Berrigan, Shane Webcke and Petero Civoniceva all on the sidelines. Both teams are coming off losses - Canberra to the Roosters and Brisbane going down to the Bulldogs.

In other games, the Roosters take on Wests Tigers, the Cowboys meet the Warriors, the Storm is at home to the Sharks, Penrith hosts the Rabbitohs and the Sea Eagles tackle the Dragons.

Rugby Union - When More Than a Win Is Needed

The Waratahs season goes on the line when they take on the Reds in the last match before the semi-finals. There's nothing more Queensland would love than to end the Waratahs Super 12 season and a home win at Ballymore on Saturday night will do just that. For New South Wales, Brendan Cannon and Simon Kasprowicz remain in doubt for the match but Justin Harrison will play his part after being cleared by the judiciary following an incident in last weekend's game. Anthony Mathison returns to the Reds side.

The Waratahs need a bonus point win to go through to the semis and have other results go their way. If the Stormers beat the Sharks with a bonus point, New South Wales is out. The Waratahs also have to hope the Chiefs don't take a point from the game at Waikato Stadium against the Brumbies who have already secured a berth in the playoffs. The Chiefs are aiming for their first semi final but will likely miss Byron Kelleher, Keith Lowan and Keith Robinson for the game.

Other fixtures see Hurricanes take on the Crusaders, the Blues meet the Highlanders and the Bulls play the Cats.

AFL - Hawthorn Desperate For Victory

Hawthorn currently at $2.15, are in need of a win over favourites Geelong at $1.70 if they are any chance of moving from the doldrums of the AFL ladder. It's been a tough week for the Hawks with five year old rape allegations re-surfacing and players Danny Jacobs and Lance Picioane fined over an incident which led to Jacobs losing his licence for drink-driving. Hawthorn is also dealing with being second-last on the ladder with 1 win from six games as they take on Geelong in round seven.

After a bad start themselves, the Cats have improved and are now just outside the eight in tenth spot. Geelong coach Mark Thompson says his side needs to start well if it's to win. Geelong is likely to have Brent Maloney, Peter Riccardi, Gary Ablett and Cameron Ling in the side despite all harbouring injuries this week.

Meantime the Adelaide derby is on this weekend with Port taking on the Crows. The two teams are at opposite ends of the ladder with Port flying high in third place and favourites at $1.30 and the Crows languishing in 14th currently at $3.50.

In other games the Western Bulldogs play Essendon, Carlton meets Collingwood, Fremantle takes on St Kilda, the Kangaroos tackle Brisbane, Sydney hosts Richmond and Melbourne plays West Coast.


Monday May 10th

Rugby League - Sharks Taking It One Step at a Time

After a weekend of upsets, the Roosters are back on top of the NRL ladder. Newcastle beat the Bulldogs, the Dragons went down to the Sea Eagles and the Sharks are back on track with a win over the Storm in Melbourne.

After nine rounds, Cronulla is now sitting in 12th spot with four wins and five losses. The brilliance of Brett Kimmorley proved the key in the latest victory and the Sharks will be hoping he can reproduce that brilliance next week against the Roosters. The 2002 premiers have leapfrogged the Bulldogs to take top spot on the ladder after a comprehensive win over the Wests Tigers and are searching for their fifth victory in a row. The Roosters should have Chris Walker back in the side after his one-match club ban for assaulting police.

Meantime, after disposing of the Dogs at home the Knights travel to Suncorp Stadium for the Broncos in Friday night football. Newcastle had to beat Canterbury with a number of players sidelined with injury and will be in a similar situation against Brisbane. The Broncos have also been depleted by injury with Brett Seymour the latest to succumb, suffering a knee problem.

AFL - Tough Week Ahead for Pies, Hawks

Collingwood and Hawthorn appear to have lost the ability to win, both slumping to six losses from seven games. The Magpies have the dubious honour of owning last spot on the AFL's ladder but the Hawks aren't too far above, also having posted just the one win this season. Both sides will have to put in a near-perfect performance this weekend if they have any hope of beating St Kilda and Fremantle respectively.

While Hawthorn's problem appears to be bad form, Collingwood is also suffering from injury. Magpie skipper Nathan Buckley again broke down during the loss to Carlton, joining the likes of Scott Burns, Josh Fraser and Simon Prestigiacomo on the sidelines for the game.

Meantime, a club which seems to have recovered from a poor start is Richmond. The win over Sydney has handed the Tigers their second victory from as many games with Matthew Richardson returning from a hamstring injury in spectacular fashion. His seven goal effort was the key for Richmond and Richardson could repeat the effort next week against the Western Bulldogs after pulling up well from Sunday's game.

Rugby Union - Brumbies Flying the Flag for Australia

It's semi-final time in the Super 12 with the Brumbies again the only Australian team to make it past the regular season. The Brumbies are well on track for their second Super 12 title, finishing the regular season as the minor premiers after a gutsy win over the Chiefs in New Zealand. The side has recovered from the mid-season news coach David Nucifora won't be returning next year and a late loss to the Waratahs to earn the right to host a semi-final, also against the Chiefs. The Brumbies have no serious injury concerns ahead of the game while the Chiefs will have Byron Kelleher back in the side after he missed last weekend's game through injury. The game will mark the Chiefs first semi-final appearance.

The Crusaders meet the Stormers in Christchurch in the second semi. The Stormers will go into the match full of confidence, despite being away from home, after the bonus point victory over the Sharks which earned them third spot on the ladder. The Crusaders are coming off a shock loss to the Hurricanes but are used to semi-finals football having won the Super 12 crown four times already.

Soccer - Arsenal One Game Away From the Record Books

Arsenal is playing for history when it meets Leicester in the last game of Premiership season. The Gunners have won the title and are now just one game away from going through the Premiership season undefeated. If Arsenal either beats or draws with lowly Leicester at home, it will be the first side since Preston North End in 1888-1889 not to lose in a season.

Meantime, a spot in the Champions League is on the line for Newcastle this week. Sir Bobby Robson's charges have to beat Southampton on Wednesday and then Liverpool, both away, if they're to have any chance of a berth in Europe's top tier competition. Newcastle missed five players including Jonathan Woodgate and Craig Bellamy in the disappointing draw with Wolves and all are expected to again be on the sidelines for at least the Southampton game. In other matches this week, Aston Villa hosts Manchester United, Blackburn meets Birmingham, Bolton tackles Fulham, Charlton plays Southampton, Chelsea takes on Leeds, Manchester City is at home to Everton, Middlesbrough travels to Portsmouth and Wolves plays Tottenham.


Thursday May 13

Rugby League - Bulldogs, Dragons Out for Revenge

The Bulldogs and the Dragons are both coming off shock losses and will this weekend face off at WIN Stadium. The home side will be boosted by the return of Trent Barrett, Jason Ryles, Ben Hornby and Lance Thompson but Luke Bailey has been lost for the season after tearing his pectoral muscle. Canterbury's Matt Utai won't be playing after being demoted to Premier League, replaced by Ben Harris. The Dragons sit four points and three places behind the Bulldogs on the NRL ladder in fifth spot.

Meantime, Manly will be looking for two wins in a row when it travels to New Zealand to take on the Warriors. Both sides are holding down the last few positions on the ladder. Chad Randall will miss the game for Manly through injury so the new hooker will be Nathan Hollingsworth. If the Rabbitohs beat the Cowboys, the losing team at Ericsson Stadium will take over last spot and possibly the favourites tag for the wooden spoon.

In other games, Brisbane is at home to Newcastle, the Sharks play the Roosters, the Wests Tigers meet Canberra and Parramatta tackles Melbourne.

AFL - Carlton Looking For Two on the Trot

Carlton will need more than heart to beat the Lions at the Gabba on Saturday. The Blues showed what they're made of with the amazing come-from-behind win over Collingwood. This weekend they're going to have to muster all the skill they have to earn a second victory in a row when they play the defending premiers. Yet again, Carlton stalwart Anthony Koutoufides could miss the game through injury but Michael Voss and Clark Keating will be back for Brisbane. Strength in the mid-field will be the key for Carlton if it wants to beat the Lions.

Meantime, West Coast takes on Sydney without Kasey Green who has been suspended for four weeks for kicking. There are going to be positional changes to the Swans side with Adam Goodes to mainly play in the ruck instead of as a forward while Michael O'Loughlin has finally recovering from a hamstring injury.

Also playing - Adelaide and Essendon, Richmond and the Bulldogs, St Kilda and Collingwood, Hawthorn and Fremantle, Geelong and Melbourne, Kangaroos and Port Adelaide.

Rugby Union - Brumbies Promising a Beating

The Brumbies are promising to put the Chiefs away when the two sides play each other in Super 12 semi-final action in Canberra. The match will be the second between the two teams in as many weeks after the ACT side narrowly beat the Chiefs in the last round of the regular season to ensure the minor premiership. The Brumbies, however, say things will be different this week when they look to show the rugby world they're worthy contenders for the Super 12 title. Mark Chisholm is the only injury worry for the Brumbies coaching staff with a final decision on his fitness to be made later on in the week. The Chiefs will travel to Canberra without Sione Lauaki but Byron Kelleher and Keith Lowan are back in the side.

The other semi-final between the Crusaders and the Stormers will be played in Christchurch. The former will go into the match as favourites given their finals pedigree while the South African Stormers are reportedly suffering from jet lag. Injury is more the problem for the Crusaders with Justin Marshall already ruled out of the match and Chris Jack likely to join him.

Cricket - Australian in Zimbabwe

Australia arrives in Zimbabwe this week for what's sure to be a controversial cricket tour. The Australian side will play two tests and three one-day internationals in Zimbabwe but the make-up of their opposition is anyone's guess. 15 of the country's white players have been sacked after claiming selection is racially based. There is only the slimmest of chances they'll play after agreeing to mediation.

It's the latest controversy in a line of controversies surrounding the tour. It started with Australian spinner Stuart McGill withdrawing so he can maintain a clear conscience. Darren Lehmann and Adam Gilchrist have since both hinted they've had similar worries. Despite the troubles Australian coach John Buchanan maintains his team has no concerns, particularly about security. Australian skipper Ricky Ponting seems to have also dismissed the turmoil promising no matter who Australia plays, the team will show no mercy. The tour marks the return from injury to international cricket of Glenn McGrath with the first test starting on May 22 in Harare.


Thursday May 20th

Rugby League - Losing Streak to Continue for Dragons or Eels

St George-Illawarra is taking on Parramatta in Friday night football with both teams desperate to overcome a losing streak. After some huge wins early in the season the Dragons have now lost the last two games while the Eels are facing a four game losing streak should they go down to St George-Illawarra on Friday night at home. Many are tipping Parramatta to be victorious, however, with the Dragons missing a number of players through injury and representative duties given the first Origin match is less than a week away. 20 year old Dean Young will skipper the side which will include three first grade debutantes.

Meantime, Manly will be looking to extend its winning streak when it takes on Cronulla on Sunday at Brookvale Oval. The Sea Eagles have won the last two matches while the Sharks are coming off a loss to the Roosters.

Other games this weekend see the Bulldogs take on the Wests Tigers, the Cowboys host the Panthers, Melbourne meets Canberra and the Rabbitohs play the Warriors.

AFL - Goodes, a Possible Boost for Sydney

Sydney's Adam Goodes is now a chance of playing in this weekend's match against Hawthorn. Last year's joint Brownlow medalist could be included in the Swans side to take on the Hawks despite recently tearing his posterior cruciate ligament in his knee. Goodes will undergo a fitness test on Friday to determine whether he'll suit up for Sydney on Sunday at the SCG. Despite their lack of form in recent weeks and Hawthorn's victory last weekend, the Swans will be tipped to win and will need to if they want to get back into the eight.

Meantime, Brisbane will miss Jonathan Brown and Jamie Charman for the match against Fremantle after both have received two week suspensions from the Tribunal. The Lions are also contending with a lengthy injury list which includes players such as Alastair Lynch, Darryl White, Justin Leppitsch and Craig McRae with the latter two to undergo fitness tests before being cleared to play this weekend.

Other matches see Collingwood play Adelaide, Melbourne tackles the Kangaroos, Geelong takes on Essendon, Port Adelaide meets Richmond, Carlton plays the Western Bulldogs and St Kilda faces West Coast.

Rugby Union - Mortlock-less Brumbies Still Favourites

The ground record at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night will be under threat with a capacity crowd expected to watch the Super 12 final between the Brumbies and the Crusaders. Tickets to Saturday's match in Australia's national capital have been snapped up within hours of going on sale with extra seating to be brought in for the game. The home ground advantage will help the Brumbies but on the field they'll have to win without injured skipper Stirling Mortlock. Mortlock will likely be replaced by Joel Wilson but that is expected to be the only change to the side which beat the Chiefs in the semi-finals. George Gregan has been suffering from a cold but will be expected to play.

The Crusaders have no injury concerns with Chris Jack, Justin Marshall and Richie McCaw now all fit. If the Brumbies are to win, strength in the forward pack will be crucial given their formidable opponents. The ACT side will, however, still go into the match as favourites. The game will mark the final Super 12 outing for veteran Joe Roff who is retiring at the end of the season and for sacked Brumbies coach David Nucifora.

Soccer - Keane back for Man U Manchester

United has one last shot at winning some silverware this season, taking on Millwall in the FA Cup Final. Man U are the raging favourites to win the FA Cup against first division side Millwall and the side will be further strengthened with the likely inclusion of skipper Roy Keane. Keane hasn't played since late April after suffering a hamstring injury but Man U manager Sir Alex Ferguson says the 32 year old has trained this week without a problem. If Keane does indeed take to the field he will be the only player since the Second World War to play in six finals. Despite being the underdogs, Millwall's assistant manager Ray Wilkins is confident his team can produce an upset and beat the Red Devils in what would be one of the biggest ever shocks in English soccer. Wilkins says Millwall has to make the most of any opportunities presented to the side and if it does that, Millwall will be in with a chance. The FA Cup final will feature an Australian with Tim Cahill playing for Millwall.

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