Aberdeen standing by coach Allan Russell after involvement in horror crash that cost him England role

Aberdeen are standing behind their coach Allan Russell following his involvement in a road crash which left a man seriously injured.

The striking coach was relieved of his England duties and won’t be part of the international set-up for Euro 2020 after it was reported that he had allowed his drunk brother to drive his car which he ploughed into another motor.

He also admitted letting his brother Simon drive without insurance.

The English FA released a statement confirming they had parted ways following the incident, saying: “We’ve agreed with Allan it is best for him to leave.”

But Dons have revealed they intend to keep Russell at the club as part of Stephen Glass’s coaching team as he is “deeply remorseful” of the situation which left a medic in critical condition.

They said: “The Club has now been made aware of all the circumstances surrounding a regrettable road traffic accident last year, in which Allan was a passenger in the vehicle. 

“He is deeply remorseful about the consequences of this incident for everyone involved. 

“Having taken everything into consideration, we feel Allan made a serious error of judgement but he took responsibility and has suffered the consequences. We believe everyone deserves the opportunity to redeem themselves by learning from their mistakes and the Club will be supporting Allan in his role as an assistant coach at AFC where he is already making a positive impact.”

Russell, 40, was in the passenger seat alongside bro Simon when he smashed into Danny Moss, 43, head-on back in July of last year in Oxfordshire.

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West Coast Eagles coach Adam Simpson keeps door ajar for Willie Rioli to return to AFL

“We’re a pretty empathetic industry. People make mistakes but we’ve got to keep working on trust.”

Rioli’s isolation on the Tiwi Islands had made the club’s welfare management of its young star difficult.

“There’s not much we can do as football club when he’s suspended for two years and no contact is allowed,” Simpson said.

“But let’s be clear, it’s self-inflicted. The inability to stay connected has been quite challenging, and the remoteness of where he lives too.”

Simpson said the players were indifferent to Rioli’s latest plight but was confident the club would create an appropriate environment should it decide to keep him on.

“We need to make a decision first as a football club where we stand,” he said.


“Every player will be feeling different. They are pretty good at the moment. We haven’t been with Willie for some time, there’s a bit going on at the moment but we need to have a conversation with the players.”

Simpson scoffed at suggestions a decision on Rioli’s future would draw parallels with the club’s previous history of widespread drug abuse in seasons either side of its 2006 premiership.

“I see them as two completely different situations, I don’t think Willie is connected to the past,” he said.

“I think our culture has shifted, pivoted a little bit since. We’re talking about one individual who has an issue.”

On selection for Sunday’s round nine clash with Adelaide at Optus Stadium in Perth, Simpson said the club expected key personnel to return but Liam Ryan would not play and Shannon Hurn would have to wait at least another week to break the club’s games record.

Tom Barrass and Jeremy McGovern “may be OK”, Josh Kennedy ran some laps and drills, but Simpson said the club would put out its list on Thursday afternoon in line with the AFL’s updated policy.

Rioli was charged with possessing a schedule 2 drug in a quantity less than trafficable (under 50 grams) in a public place after police caught him with cannabis at Darwin Airport on April 23 on his way home to the Tiwi Islands.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan on Thursday said the league would be in contact with West Coast, but left it up to the club to decide Rioli’s future.

“This is someone who’s been out of the industry, I think he’s got to earn the trust back of his playing group, the club, probably the whole industry,” McLachlan said.


“But we are also an industry that believes in rehabilitation and second chances.”

Rioli has played 38 games with West Coast after they selected him with pick 52 in the 2016 draft after standout performances with Glenelg in the SANFL.

His last game with the Eagles was the elimination final win over Essendon in September 2019.

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Sam Weideman to return for Melbourne Demons against Carlton Blues, says coach Simon Goodwin, but Nathan Jones was hurt at training.

However, it wasn’t a good day for Jones, the former skipper straining a hamstring at a closed training session. He was sent for scans, which revealed the strain as minor, and the Demons say he could return as early as next weekend.

Jones played his 300th match against Richmond in round six, and was the medical substitute a week later, but was dropped ahead of last week’s clash against Sydney.

Weideman’s return means the Demons continue to have several options, including McDonald and Ben Brown, to help skipper Max Gawn in the ruck. Gawn has spent more time drifting into defence in recent weeks, ensuring plenty of room for Bayley Fritsch (18 goals), Kysaiah Pickett (14), McDonald (13), Christian Petracca (9) and Brown (5) to work up forward.


While the Demons chase a ninth straight win, the Blues are struggling with a 3-5 win-loss record and now must contend with an elite defence. Where the Blues continue to struggle to stop opposition run-ons, having conceded three goals in a row 15 times this season, the Demons’ selfless approach to team defence and working hard without the football has been a feature of their remarkable surge.

Goodwin said this mantra had been a work in progress over three years and the players were now “cohesive” and being rewarded for their efforts.

“You see the best teams over the years defend without the ball to a really high level,” he said.

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The tough chats with his father and Manly Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler that turned Jason Saab’s season around

In another difficult conversation, his dad sat him down after the round four 46-6 thrashing at the hands of the Panthers. Saab said he knew it was going to be serious when his father asked: “Son, can I talk to you without you getting annoyed?”

“He told me that it looked like I wasn’t putting my body on the line,” Saab said. “It’s weird because when it comes from dad I get a bit hurt. I know I’m not letting my family down, but I want to make them proud, so I carried that chat with me.


“It’s hard because it’s like a snowball effect. You take a loss and another loss and you think, ‘Am I good [enough]?’ I’m the worst when it comes to head noise, ask anyone. I overthink and let it loop in my head all the time, but that’s something I’ve done since I was a kid.”

Whether it was the chat with his father or Hasler, something clicked.

Saab also originally came to Manly to play beside best mate Keith Titmuss, who he says was like a brother to him. Titmuss died at a training session on the same day Saab reached out to him to tell him he was joining the club.

He has now vowed to make every game a tribute to him.

“Playing back at school was the best footy you could play because you just play with your mates,” Saab said. “That’s what I wanted to do by coming here.

“At the start of the year it was obviously shaky and it was hard to see, but I can probably look a bit further into the future and realise what a good thing I have going here.”

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Geelong AFLW coach Paul Hood resigns

Geelong AFLW coach Paul Hood has quit the role after a decade in total with the Cats.

Hood returned to secondary school teaching full-time this year while coaching the ALFW side.

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Melbourne’s 8-0 start has coach Simon Goodwin talking about bringing joy to fans rather than a 13th flag

The last time Melbourne started a season with nine consecutive wins, Melbourne – the city — was months away from hosting Australia’s first Olympic Games.

Peter Marquis, the grandfather of Gold Coast Sun Hugh Greenwood, was the Demons’ dependable full-back, the legendary Norm Smith was coach and a 20-year-old Ronald Dale Barassi had only just been part of his first ever VFL premiership.

Barassi would eventually win 10 over a storied playing and coaching career that covered four decades.

This Sunday against Carlton — the side Barassi coached to premierships in 1968 and 70 — Melbourne chases its best start to a season since 1956, a year in which the Demons won 13 straight and went on to claim a second consecutive flag.

It was one of six premierships won during an extraordinary 10-season period.

The achievements of the Melbourne sides of the 50’s and 60’s are the stuff of football legend.

They had champion players including Stuart Spencer, John Beckwith, Denis Cordner, ‘Tassie’ Johnson, Brian Dixon and Barassi to name just a few.

But while rightly cherished, this has become an increasingly distant chapter for a club that no longer holds the aura or respect of the past.

Of all the teams to have won an AFL/VFL premiership, Melbourne’s wait for its next has been the longest — a drought that now spans almost 57 years.

In 2018, long-suffering fans were swept up on a wild ride that took the Dees to a Preliminary Final. Sadly, the Eagles weren’t in the mood for fairytales.

Now, after two disappointing seasons, Melbourne has supporters increasingly invested again.

Most critically, as coach Simon Goodwin told The Lead on ABC Grandstand, the players have had enough of underachieving.

“I think there’s been a real selflessness that has been brought in by the playing group and that’s permeated through the whole footy club.”

As the only side undefeated through the opening eight rounds, Melbourne are almost assured to play in finals football and should finish in the top four at the end of the home and away season.

But rather than discuss the prospect of drought-breaking premierships, Goodwin prefers to focus on restoring pride in the jumper and bringing weekly joy to the fans.

“I want them to be proud of our players and our playing group, I want them to come to the MCG and inspire our group.

Yes, he has a legacy at Carlton, North and Sydney, but the sight of Ron Barassi singing “It’s a grand old flag” in the stands at the MCG on Saturday night showed those whose hearts beat true are well and truly on board.

Keep your eye on the red and the blue.

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Coach David Teague’s plan for the Blues to kick goal


“Everyone talks defence now and team defence and that sort of stuff but it is quite boring, really,” he said.

“I go back to the start of the game and the premise of the game … it’s 50-50 to start with. Any time there is a major scored, it’s a 50-50 result from there. So, are you going to let the other team lead you to the ball because we are going to defend better? Or are we going to try and get the ball and make the other mob defend, that is, we attack?

“I think it is as simple a mindset as that. I would spend 60-40, 75-25 per cent of time at training on what we do when we get the ball. If we do it better, they don’t get it.

“I can sit there all day and talk about filling a hole in team defence … but that doesn’t get the job done, either. Because what they are going to do now, with that man on the mark, you can slice and dice ’em.”

The upgraded man-on-the-mark ruling has opened up the attacking 45-degree kick, meaning life has become harder for defenders used to having a teammate drift over and help.

Teague’s suggestion that Sunday’s clash could be a “shootout” may buoy supporters, desperate for a recipe for the side to return for the finals for the first time since 2013. But, if it goes horribly wrong, the backlash will be stinging.

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What it has done is remind us of the days of Blight’s Cats of 1989-94, who were a brilliant offensive juggernaut but lost three grand finals, two to Mick Malthouse’s defensive-minded West Coast Eagles. Blues’ supporters also won’t forget Malthouse, for his defensive, boundary-laden style worked a treat with the Eagles but failed to lift the Blues when he replaced the attacking Brett Ratten, whose teams were powered by the “mosquito squad” of Eddie Betts, Chris Yarran and Jeff Garlett but never reached a preliminary final.

Terry Wallace’s high-scoring Western Bulldogs of the late 1990s couldn’t get the job done either, while Matthew Knights’ Essendon of 2008-10, in which the coach insisted would play with “flair and creativity”, had little success because they conceded more than 100 points a whopping 42 times, including 166 to Adelaide in the 2009 elimination final.

Teague was seen as the offensive mastermind behind the Crows’ surge into the 2017 grand final and was employed in that same role when he joined the Blues under Brendon Bolton, who was determined to build from defence to the point the Blues almost forgot how to score, failing to reach three figures from round 11, 2016 until round 5, 2019. This contributed to his demise later that year.

This year, the Blues are averaging 88.6 points – the sixth-best return. In emerging star Harry McKay, off contract this year, they have an athletic power forward whom Teague can increasingly rely on to score. But the fact McKay has 26 goals, and the next highest goal-kicker is Michael Gibbons (six) reinforces that recruiting and/or drafting remains paramount. The injured Charlie Curnow and Jack Martin are missed but they also need to find a class replacement for small forward Betts, almost certainly in his final year.

Teague does admit the 91.4 points his side has conceded on average is too high when compared to the stingy defences of Melbourne (62) and the Bulldogs (62.4) but, for the time being at least, it appears that scoring is of greater importance.

Blight says rather than focus on Teague’s philosophy, it’s more about personnel for the Blues, for he believes they are four high-class players away from being a true contender regardless of what “brand” of play they adopt.

“If David Teague and Carlton go that [attacking] way, I reckon they will enjoy their footy. And you know what, when they get an extra one or two in their midfield and when they get one key defender and one forward, when they get Curnow back, they just might start winning more games and having some fun and kicking some goals,” he said.

Seeking the right balance in 2021

Average points for, average points against
Western Bulldogs 98.0, 62.4
Sydney Swans 95.0, 84.7
Melbourne 92.4, 62.0
Essendon 91.4, 96.0
West Coast 91.4, 88.0
Carlton 88.6, 91.4
Port Adelaide 88.4, 73.6
Adelaide 86.4, 93.9
Geelong 86.0, 72.6
Brisbane Lions 85.6, 75.0
Richmond 84.4, 72.9
Fremantle 80.1, 82.6
St Kilda 77.7, 97.1
Gold Coast 76.4, 74.3
GWS 76.3, 78.1
Collingwood 72.4, 86.9
Hawthorn 71.6, 95.0
North Melbourne 54.1, 110.0
Source: Champion Data. Rounds 1-7

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Gold Coast coach throws support behind naming teams on Thursday nights

Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew has thrown his support behind the growing movement to reinstate the naming of all teams on a Thursday night.

The AFL appears on the cusp of bringing back the much-loved tradition after the League reverted to naming teams a night before games in 2020 as a result of the COVID-related scheduling changes.

This year, teams for matches on Friday have been named on Thursday, while teams for games played on the weekend have been named on Friday or Saturday.

Dew said he usually finalises Gold Coast’s side for a Saturday match as early as Wednesday, meaning it wouldn’t be an issue to make the team public on a Thursday night.

“It’s not personally (an issue to name the teams on Thursday),” he said on Sportsday.

“I don’t mind the Thursday night thing, everyone knows and the players know. For a Saturday game we do our main session on a Wednesday so most of the time we’re finalised by the Thursday and you do know (the team for the weekend).

“It wouldn’t phase us at all, we’re easy going so let’s name the teams and go.”

Gold Coast has won their last two games, the most recent being a 24-point victory over Collingwood at the MCG on Saturday.

Dew revealed it was “highly unlikely” that he’d opt to make any changes to a winning side, saying he was intent on rewarding the players who have strung together successive impressive performances.

“It’s highly unlikely we’ll change the team (for the game against St Kilda on Saturday),” he said.

“We want to try and reward (the players currently in the side) as much as possible, so we really think that based on the second half against the Bulldogs and in the last two weeks, the players are starting to gel and have a bit of hunger for the style of footy we want to play.

“We feel like we’re in a good spot, we’ll get some guys back in the next month that will give us a bit of depth and there’s guys in the VFL playing good footy also which keeps the pressure on those up top.”

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Former UCT mentor Kevin Foote named interim Rebels coach

The Melbourne Rebels have named their new coaching team structure following the announcement last Friday from head coach Dave Wessels that he was standing down.

Kevin Foote, who served as assistant coach under Wessels, will step into the role of interim head coach, commencing on Tuesday.

Foote has previous head coach experience in South Africa where he coached the UCT Ikeys to the 2011 Varsity Cup title. Alongside Wessels, he was also co-head coach of the Perth Spirit in Australia’s National Rugby Championship and has been with the Melbourne Rebels for four years.

Rebels CEO Baden Stephenson said Foote’s appointment would provide some continuity in the programme, whilst bringing some fresh elements as well.

“Kevin is excited to have been given the opportunity to take on the interim head coach role and is looking forward to the Trans-Tasman series,” he told the Rebels’ official website.

“He is well respected and has a great relationship with the playing group and other staff.

“The board and management see this appointment as a natural progression in his time at the club and look forward to seeing him take on the new role with the high energy and professionalism that he is known for.”

Foote will also continue to lead the defence portfolio for the team and continue his leading role in culture and leadership across the team.

Foote was honoured to be given the opportunity to lead the team.

“It is a great honour and privilege to be offered the role of interim head coach for the remainder of the upcoming season,” he said. “I have big shoes to fill in following Dave’s departure and want to thank him for all his support, leadership and friendship over our years working together and look forward to building on the strong platform he has left at the club.

“We have a big job ahead of ourselves with the Trans-Tasman series starting in just two weeks and I am excited to work with the team and our staff to ensure we are ready to go come our first game against the Blues.”

In another change, the Rebels have also announced that assistant coach Shaun Berne will not be continuing in his role as attack coach and will be finishing up ahead of the Trans-Tasman series.

“Shaun is a great rugby man and we are forever grateful for his contribution to our club both on and off the field over the last four years,” said Stephenson. “During his time at the club, he helped us reach our first finals, and was also called into the Wallabies staff for the 2019 Rugby World Cup which was a terrific acknowledgement and reward for his experience and hard work at the Melbourne Rebels and throughout his coaching career.

“We wish him all the best for his next challenge and thank him for his commitment to the Rebels.”

With the departure of Berne and the support of Rugby Australia, Wallabies coaching staff will be working closely with the Melbourne Rebels in a short-term capacity.

Current Wallabies forwards coach and former British and Irish Lions and England player Geoff Parling remains as forwards coach while the highly experienced and regarded Will Markwick will continue as head of performance driving all aspects of athletic performance.

The Melbourne Rebels will also be making some high profile player retention signings in the next few weeks.

Source: News24

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Super Rugby 2021: news, Waratahs coach, John Connolly, Michael Cheika, update,

The Waratahs have hit the road hoping to inspire the next generation and they are about to start the process of appointing their next coach.

One person believed to be out of the running is highly respected Shute Shield coach Darren Coleman, who is understood to have been offered a new three-year deal with LA Giltinis in the USA’s Major League Rugby Competition. The Giltinis sit atop the MLR and easily top the try count and Coleman is being credited for once again putting together a list and having them fire.

But former Wallabies coach John Connolly – who is currently the director of rugby at Brothers in Brisbane – is believed to be interested in the role.

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