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Sports round up archive


Reprinted courtesy of Sportsbet Australia
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Monday July 12th

Rugby League - Bulldogs Eyeing the Minor Premiership

The Bulldogs have joined the Roosters at the top of the NRL ladder. The Bulldogs are on the same number of points as the Roosters but are behind on for and against following their fifth win in a row - the weekend victory over Melbourne. Canterbury has the chance to claim top position outright when it next meets Cronulla. The Sharks have now put together two consecutive wins, scraping into the top eight and could have David Peachy back for the Bulldogs match. Brett Kimmorley, however, is unlikely to play due to his hamstring injury.

Meantime the Warriors have plunged to the bottom of the ladder after yet another loss. The New Zealanders went down to the Sharks and are now looking to next season with speculation Bulldogs captain Steve Price will sign with the side sometime this week. Canberra's Ruben Wiki has already announced he will move to New Zealand next year. The Warriors take on the Rabbitohs next weekend at Ericsson Stadium with South Sydney no doubt confident of victory after its upset win over Penrith.

AFL - St Kilda's Mid-Season of Pain

St Kilda's mid season form slump is showing no sign of ending. The Saints have now been joined by Melbourne, Brisbane and Port Adelaide as the leaders of the competition after another thrashing, this time by the Demons. Round 16 sees the Saints taking on Richmond in a desperate bid to prove they are still premiership contenders. The match will be played at the Telstra Dome - a ground which the Saints have excelled on so far this season. The Wizard Cup winners will, however, be a depleted unit with Fraser Gehrig still out through suspension and Matt Maguire and Luke Penny also likely to be sidelined after hurting a groin and hamstring respectively in the Demons match.

Meantime Brisbane has its chance to take over top spot when it meets Collingwood this weekend in a grand final re-match. The Lions could be without Jonathan Brown who has been reported for striking the Bulldogs Chris Grant. Magpie Alan Didak will miss the match after injuring his jaw in the loss to Geelong. Another defeat this weekend will mean the end of Collingwood's finals hopes.

Golf - Aussie Onslaught at Royal Troon

There will be another record turnout of Australians at this year's British Open at Royal Troon. When the Open starts on Thursday, there will be 21 Australians in the field hoping to win the major come Sunday. Greg Norman, the last Australian to win the British Open in 1993, will also be there. If he is victorious, 49 year old Norman will become the oldest player ever to claim a major. Adam Scott, however, is the Australian most likely to end up on top of the leader-board. Other Australians in contention include Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby and Aaron Baddeley but not Steve Elkington who has pulled out because of a groin strain.

American Ben Curtis won the Open last year but it's another American, Tiger Woods, who is expected to win it this year. The champion in 2000, Woods hasn't won a major in eight outings and victory at Royal Troon this week will mean his status as the world's number one golfer will also be secured. At present it's under threat from players such as South African Ernie Els who was the 2002 British Open champion.

Rugby Union - Battle for the Bledisloe

New Zealand will be looking for some sort of revenge when it meets Australia in the first Bledisloe Cup match in Wellington on Saturday. Australia famously kept the All Blacks out of the World Cup final last year despite the predictions New Zealand would smash the Wallabies in their semi-final encounter. The All Blacks are coming off a win over the Pacific Islanders with no outstanding injury concerns however Doug Howlett remains in doubt for the Wallabies game with a shoulder injury. If he fails a fitness test his spot will be taken by Rico Gear. The All Blacks have named defence as a key area they will have to improve on if they're to beat Australia and have conceded their attack plan will change from the one implemented in the Pacific Islanders match.

Meantime Australia is still sweating on the fitness of captain George Gregan after he hurt his shoulder in the victory over the Islanders earlier this month. Chris Whitaker will wear the number 9 jersey if Gregan is ruled out. Chris Latham is expected to come in for the injured Joe Roff instead of Matt Burke while Matt Giteau will take over the kicking duties.


Thursday 15th July

Rugby League - Dragons Lacking Fire-Power

The Dragons will be the underdogs when they meet the Sydney Roosters on Friday night. St George-Illawarra will be without a number of key players such as Trent Barrett and Mark Riddell for the round 19 match against the Roosters at Aussie Stadium. Nathan Blacklock, however, has been promoted to first grade from Premier League while Ben Hornby and Lincoln Withers come into the side for Barrett and Riddell. The Dragons are the sixth team on the NRL ladder and will be looking to consolidate a position in the top eight with a win while the Roosters' status as leaders of the competition is in jeopardy with the Bulldogs now on the same number of points as the 2002 champions.

Meantime the Wests Tigers will need to beat Melbourne this weekend at Leichhardt if their finals hopes are to be realized. They've lost four in a row and have plunged to 12th spot on the ladder while the Storm is in fourth.

In other matches Penrith takes on the Raiders, the Cowboys are at home to Parramatta, the Warriors meet the Rabbitohs, Cronulla tackles the Bulldogs and Newcastle plays Brisbane.

AFL - Defence Expected to Headline Swans, Cats Clash

Sydney is looking to continue its march up the AFL ladder when the Swans meet Geelong on Saturday. Sydney is likely to welcome back Nic Fosdike and Amos Buchanan for the match against the Cats. Many are expecting a low scoring game with Geelong and the Swans both very strong in defence. In a boost for the Cats, Matthew Scarlett is free to play after beating a kneeing charge at the Tribunal and is expected to line up against the in-form Barry Hall in a tantalising match-up. Meantime St Kilda will be hoping to end its embarrassing losing streak and keep a hold on top spot on the ladder when the side meets Richmond. Injury problems, however, are plaguing the Saints with Max Hudghton and Troy Schwarze the latest to drop out causing headaches for coach Grant Thomas as he looks for a defender able and willing to take on the Tigers Matthew Richardson.

In other matches West Coast meets Essendon, Carlton takes on the Kangaroos, Collingwood and Brisbane face-off at the MCG, Adelaide plays Fremantle, Hawthorn tackles Port Adelaide and Melbourne clashes with the Western Bulldogs.

Rugby Union - Injury Troubles All Blacks and Wallabies

New Zealand is favoured to win both the Bledisloe Cup match against Australia on Saturday and the Tri Nations. The test between the All Blacks and the Wallabies in Wellington kicks off the Tri Nations series with South Africa to play New Zealand on Saturday week. The ravages of injury means Australia is a different looking team to the side which beat their Kiwi opponents in the World Cup semi-final last year with players such as George Gregan and Joe Roff taking no part in the match. Gregan has been replaced by Chris Whitaker on the field while Queenslander Nathan Sharpe is the new captain. Chris Latham has come in for Roff at fullback while Clyde Rathbone will once again start on the wing leaving Wendell Sailor on the bench.

New Zealand's preparation for the match hasn't been without drama with Richie McCaw pulling out because of ongoing headaches and Keith Robinson in doubt with a back injury. Marty Holah has taken McCaw's place and Simon Maling is on stand-by in case Robinson is unable to play.

Golf - Tiger Touted for Troon Triumph

Tiger Woods and Ernie Els are expected to battle it out for British Open supremacy. Tiger Woods hasn't won a Major in over two years but he is still expected to be on top of the leader board when the British Open wraps up at Royal Troon on Sunday. South African Ernie Els, however, could spoil Tiger's return to the winners circle. Els has hit form and will be looking to make up for his disappointing performance at the US Open.

There are 20 Australians in the field this year and Adam Scott has been labeled the Australian most likely to take hold of the Claret Jug. Scott has made an impact in the US winning the Players Championship and the Booz Allen Classic and is a chance of claiming his first Major with victory in Scotland. Defending champion Ben Curtis is also at Troon and says he can win back-to-back British Opens. Recent rain has somewhat slowed the greens but the wind is expected to trouble more than a few players. Australian Peter O'Malley will be the first player on the course.


Monday July 19th

Rugby League - Tigers Form Turnaround

The Wests Tigers have turned around a form slump with a win over the Storm. The Wests Tigers needed to beat Melbourne to keep its finals hopes alive after losing four games in a row. They did that, however the victory has been overshadowed by an ugly incident where Melbourne's Danny Williams has king-hit Tiger Mark O'Neill. The impact left O'Neill concussed and even though it appears not to have caused serious damage, he could miss the Friday night match against the Bulldogs. O'Neill has also been placed on report for a high tackle on Williams just prior to the incident but many are predicting Williams will be given a lengthy suspension for the hit.

Meantime Penrith has also rebounded from a form slump, celebrating the return of Craig Gower and Ryan Girdler with a win over Canberra. The Panthers have the bye next weekend which will allow stars Girdler and Joe Galavao to recover from injuries sustained in the match but Ben Ross and Joel Clinton could run into trouble at the judiciary for a lifting tackle, forcing them out of the round 21 game against the Bulldogs.

AFL - Cats Claw up the Ladder

Geelong owns fifth spot on the ladder this week after Sunday's win over the Swans. The top of the ladder remains crowded with St Kilda, Brisbane, Port Adelaide and Melbourne all on 48 points. On 40 points, however, and in outright fifth spot is Geelong after the team's 15 point victory over Sydney. Geelong has come through the game relatively unscathed but Peter Riccardi has suffered a hamstring injury and Cameron Mooney didn't play because of a groin problem. The Cats' next opponent is Carlton - a team desperate for a win to edge into finals contention. The 11th placed Blues should have all players on deck for the match after the weekend win over the Kangaroos.

Fremantle, Sydney and Essendon fill out the top eight and are all on 36 points meaning their upcoming games will be crucial for ladder position. Of the three, Fremantle was the only team to post a win in round 16. The Dockers take on the Swans in round 17 at Subiaco while Essendon will be missing a number of key players for its Friday night match against the Saints but captain James Hird could return from injury for the clash.

Rugby Union - Boks v Blacks

Australia has a week off after again losing the Bledisloe Cup. The loss to New Zealand at Wellington's Westpac Trust Stadium in atrocious conditions means the Bledisloe Cup will once again grace the shelves of the All Black's trophy cabinet for another year. The Wallabies will now turn their attention to winning the Tri Nations but have the weekend off before taking on South Africa in Perth on Saturday week.

The Springboks travel to Christchurch this weekend to play the All Blacks in their first Tri Nations game. They go into the encounter after a win over the Pacific Islanders in which the forward pack showed how dominant it has become. The All Blacks have no injury concerns following the game against Australia and Zealand could also have Richie McCaw back for the Springboks game if he recovers in time from a head injury. The Kiwis also escaped reprimand from the judiciary for a brawl in the second half of the Bledisloe Cup match for which Wallabies hooker Brendan Cannon has been given a two week suspension.

Formula One - F1 in Germany

As Formula One action moves to Germany for the 12th race of the season, the question once again is can anyone stop Michael Schumacher? Ferrari's number one driver, Michael Schumacher, will be looking for his 11th victory this year at his home ground prix. The best Schumacher could do at Hockenheim last year was seventh with the race won by Juan Pablo Montoya from Williams BMW.

The German is coming off a win at the British Grand Prix but another driver who will have gained almost as much from that race is McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen. Raikkonen finished in second spot- his first podium finish this year.

Australia's Mark Webber took a point from Silverstone after finishing in eighth position in his Jaguar bringing his season's tally so far to four points. Webber didn't finish the German Grand Prix last year after an accident. Hockenheim has been the home of the German Grand Prix since the late 1970's and is a race run over 67 laps with a total distance of just over 306 kilometres.


Thursday July 22nd

Rugby League - Seasons on the Line

The battle of Sydney's south will be played out this weekend when the Dragons take on Cronulla. The local derby on Sunday at Oki Jubilee Stadium means more than just which team is the best in the south - a win is crucial for both sides as they look to cement their positions in the top eight. St George Illawarra is still plagued by injury with Mark Gasnier out until at least the start of the finals after again hurting his collarbone and Shaun Timmins on the sideline with a cheekbone injury. Cronulla's Jason Kent has been cleared to play after recovering from a thumb problem.

The stakes are also high in the match between Newcastle and North Queensland. The Knights have lost two in a row and are sitting in 10th while the Cowboys are one ahead in 9th. In a show of determination, Newcastle fullback Robbie O'Davis will take part in the match and all others until the end of the season despite suffering a fractured jaw.

Other matches this weekend see the Wests Tigers up against the Bulldogs, Brisbane meets Manly, the Rabbitohs play the Roosters, Melbourne is at home to Parramatta and the Raiders tackle the Warriors.

AFL - The Beginning of the End for Schwab

All eyes will be on Hawthorn to see how the side reacts on the field to the news coach Peter Schwab is leaving. Schwab will stay with the Hawks until the end of the season but even though his contract is until the end of 2005, he will leave as soon as this year is over. Hawthorn has only won two games so far despite Schwab's pledge at the beginning of the season his team would win the premiership. The Hawks meet the Kangaroos this weekend with the ninth placed Roos looking to break into the top eight. They'll be without Brady Rawlings who has received a one match ban for striking.

Meantime Sydney is likely to play Adam Goodes in its away game against the Dockers even though he hurt his knee last weekend. Fremantle's Jeff Farmer will also be on the field after beating a kneeing charge at the Tribunal. With just six games left in the regular season, only percentages separate the Dockers on 6th and the Swans in 7th position.

In other games St Kilda plays Essendon, Brisbane takes on Adelaide, the Western Bulldogs meet Collingwood, Port Adelaide is up against the West Coast Eagles, Geelong tackles Carlton and Richmond plays Melbourne.

Rugby Union - Tummy Troubles for All Blacks

It has been a tough week for the All Blacks with many in the team plagued by a stomach bug. New Zealand has had to not only recover from the grueling Bledisloe Cup victory over Australia in the lead-up to its second Tri Nations match against South Africa, but a large proportion of the team has suffered the effects of a gastric illness. Blockbuster winger Joe Rokocoko is the latest player to be struck down by the virus with Carlos Spencer, Justin Marshall, Daniel Carter and Keven Mealamu just some of the players also affected. Injuries have also ruled Keith Robinson, Richie McCaw and Jono Gibbes out of Saturday's match in Christchurch. The Springboks have made two changes to the side that beat the Pacific Islanders in their last outing. Albert van den Berg comes in for Gerrie Britz who has suffered a broken nose while Fourie du Preez is in for halfback Bolla Conradie. New Zealand is on top of the Tri Nations table after a first match win over Australia. The Wallabies take on South Africa on Saturday week in Perth.

Formula One - Schumacher the Hot Favourite at Hockenheim

Renault's Jarno Trulli will line-up for the German Grand Prix despite a sickening crash at Silverstone. Trulli says he is fine and will race at Hockenheim this weekend after recovering from an accident at the British Grand Prix which saw the Italian crash into a barrier at over 240 kilometres an hour. Trulli finished third at last year's German Grand Prix and maintains despite the drama surrounding his last outing in the car, he can repeat that feat and could even do better. No one, however, is expected to get close to Michael Schumacher in his Ferrari at his home Grand Prix. The German says he believes Sunday's race will be tough but he is confident of turning around his lack lustre record at Hockenheim. Schumacher finished in seventh position last year with Juan Pablo Montoya from Williams-BMW winning the 2003 German Grand Prix ahead of McLaren's David Coulthard. Ferrari has the chance to claim the Constructors' title with a good result this weekend.


Monday July 26th

Rugby League - Beware the Bulldogs

The Bulldogs are threatening the Roosters for the minor premiership having now won seven games in a row. Canterbury sits behind the Roosters at the top of the ladder but only on percentages and is arguably the team to beat, not only for the minor premiership but for the title of NRL champions. The win over the Tigers on the weekend was hard-fought and, at times, controversial but it showcased the form of players such as Matt Utai and Braith Anasta with only six games until the end of the regular season. The Bulldogs meet defending premiers Penrith next weekend with no injury concerns. The Panthers had the bye this weekend.

Brisbane is sitting in third position on the ladder and is also looking dangerous in the lead-up to the finals after putting away Manly on Saturday. There are, however, question marks over the fitness of a number of Broncos players such as Brent Tate and Gordon Tallis. Brisbane next takes on the Sharks who are hoping to return to the top eight after losing ladder position with the loss to the Dragons.

AFL - Lions Back on Top

The Lions have wrested top spot on the AFL ladder from St Kilda with five rounds to go until the finals. Brisbane is now the league's number one team after 17 rounds after its 141 point thrashing of Adelaide at the weekend. All of the big name Lions performed in the match with Alastair Lynch booting six goals but some of those players are likely to miss Brisbane's round 18 encounter with Sydney. Justin Leppitsch and Jamie Charman are among the injured with back and knee problems respectively.

The Swans go into Saturday's game at the SCG after a disappointing loss to Fremantle. Sydney is only just in the eight but did manage to get through the Dockers game without any injury worries.

Meantime the Cats have put in another solid performance to keep fifth spot on the ladder ahead of their next match against the Saints. The 57 point win over Carlton came at a price, however, with defender Brenton Sanderson suffering a knee injury. He is expected to miss the game against the St Kilda.

Rugby Union - Wallabies with the Edge

Australia needs to beat South Africa on Saturday if it has any chance of winning the Tri Nations series. The Springboks come to Australia for the match-up in Perth after going the way of the Wallabies in New Zealand. Defeat was handed to South Africa in the dying moments of the game against the All Blacks leaving the Kiwis alone on top of the Tri Nations table with two wins from two games. The narrow loss at the end of a tough match will likely mean the Wallabies will have the psychological edge over the Springboks who had been so close to their first win in New Zealand in four years.

Despite the result, South Africa will probably have the full complement of players to choose from for the Australia test with no noticeable injury worries. The Wallabies will welcome back captain George Gregan for his 100th test match but hooker Brendan Cannon will miss the game through suspension and will be replaced by Adam Freier. Flanker George Smith is set to return to the starting side at the expense of Radike Samo.

Olympics - Australia Set to Paint Athens Green and Gold

The Olympics might not be in Sydney but Australia's athletes are still expected to collect a swag of medals. The Athens Games start in three weeks time and will run for a fortnight. By the end of those two weeks, the Australian Olympic Committee is expecting our team, the biggest barring the side which competed at the Sydney Games, to be among the top five nations winning medals. Most of the gold is expected to again come in the pool with Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett leading the charge. On the track, Jana Pittman is considered the Australian most likely to bring home gold when she competes in the 400 metres hurdles. Australia is also expected to fare well in team sports such as hockey and basketball. Despite the recent drugs scandal involving members of Australia's cycling team, medals are expected to come in all colours at the velodrome and on the road. After winning the sprinter's green jersey at the Tour de France, Robbie McEwen is now one of the favourites to take out the men's road race at Athens.

 

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