NRL 2020: Joseph Suaalii, Roosters, Jordan Rankin, youngest player to debut, minimum playing age


The youngest player ever to make his NRL debut, Jordan Rankin, has offered teen prodigy Joseph Suaalii some advice ahead of the 2021 season where he could make his debut at just 17-years old.

On top of the pressures of potentially playing in the NRL, the tug of war over Suaalii has dominated headlines for months.

First it was between the Rabbitohs, who he was contracted to and Rugby Australia. Then the Roosters entered the conversation and a battle between the rival NRL clubs ensued over young gun’s signature.

Ultimately Suaalii signed a two-year deal with the Roosters starting in 2022 and then this week was able to get a release from the final year of his development contract with Souths to make the switch to Bondi immediately.

Round 1

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Australia cricket vs India 2020, third ODI: Live scores, start time, online stream, how to watch, weather updates, Cameron Green debut


Watch Australia vs India third ODI LIVE on Fox Cricket on Wednesday

Australia made three changes for the third and final ODI against India being played in Canberra.

Exciting youngster Cameron Green is making his Australian debut for the injured David Warner, while Ashton Agar and Sean Abbott have replaced Pat Cummins and the out-of-form Mitchell Starc.

Having won the toss, India is 4-125 after 26 overs with Virat Kohli (45) and Hardik Pandya (1) at the crease.

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Former youth worker explores reality of child exploitation in debut film County Lines – Channel 4 News


They are children drawn into a dangerous, sometimes deadly world of drugs, crime and violence. County Lines is a new film which explores the reality of child criminal exploitation in all its grimness.

Fiction perhaps, but absolutely rooted in real life, as filmmaker Henry Blake draws on more than a decade’s experience on the frontline of youth work.

County Lines is released in cinemas and digitally on BFI Player and Curzon Home Cinema on 4 December.



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Zac Lloyd wins very first race in riding debut at Dalby before tumble


Having watched his father Jeff ride all his life, Zac Lloyd was well aware the riding caper is a tough business and by the close of his first day in the saddle on Friday, he had first-hand experience of his own.

Lloyd, 17, made the perfect start to his riding career when he landed the $1.30 favourite Satine a winner for his masters Toby and Trent Edmonds at Dalby in his very first ride in a race.

It was the first step in following the feats of his father, who rode successfully all around the world before rewriting the record books – after coming back from a stroke – in his final few years riding in Queensland before retiring in 2019.

“It’s just amazing. It’s been such a long time coming. I can’t thank Mr Edmonds and Trent enough for the ride they gave me today,” he told SKY Racing.

“Once she jumped and put herself there I knew she would be very hard to beat.”

As older brother Jaden, 18, went on to ride a winning double in what was his first Queensland wins after starting his career in Victoria, it seemed it was going to be a perfect day for the Lloyd family, with Jeff, Mum Nicola and sister Tayah all on course to mark the occasion.

But that changed when Zac ended up on his backside when he came off hot favourite Palicki, who jumped awkwardly, soon after the start in the last race on the card.

Fortunately, he escaped injury.

For Mum Nicola, the range of emotions she endured yesterday don’t come more extreme.

She understands the pressure on the boys given the record-breaking feats of their father and also feels an element of trepidation before every race, knowing the risks jockeys take each time they go to the barriers.

“My nerves are shot,” she said.

“I’ve aged 30 years. None of us will forget the day, that’s for sure.”

Nicola has watched Jaden ride since August last year and of course saw Jeff go to the races for decades, but the fears never go away.

“I’ve got better watching Jaden now, but trying to watch two people in a race, I was holding my breath,” she said.

“Of course I am proud (to see the boys ride three of the seven winners).

“It’s a lot of pressure for a 4kg apprentice to go to the races with your first ride (expected to win). People think it’s just a sit and steer, but it’s not that simple.”



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State of Origin 2020: Harry Grant, game three, Queensland Maroons v NSW Blues, video, stats, try, debut, Cameron Smith


His future club may be unknown. But one thing is for certain – Harry Grant’s future at Origin level is one of the surest bets in the game right now.

The Queensland hooker is rumoured to be heading to the Gold Coast Titans should his Melbourne captain Cameron Smith decide to stay at the Storm.

Grant missed the first two games of the series, but came onto the Maroons bench at the expense of Ben Hunt for his debut.

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It may have taken Queensland coach Wayne Bennett 25 minutes to bring him on, but when he did it looked to be the start of one very fruitful Origin career.





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Winning Wales debut for Botham’s grandson


James Botham, the grandson of England cricket legend Ian Botham, enjoyed a winning debut for Wales as they defeated Georgia 18-0 in the Autumn Nations Cup but it was another player making his first start who stole the show.

Teenage winger Louis Rees-Zammit scored a maiden try as the youthful Wales side ended a six-game losing streak on Saturday.

Rees-Zammit also set up a try for replacement scrumhalf Rhys Webb while flyhalf Callum Sheedy scored his first points in a Wales jersey with a conversion and two penalties as the home side laboured to a victory that will ease the pressure on coach Wayne Pivac.

Wales remained third in Group A, five points behind leaders England, who they host next Saturday, as they handed debuts not just to flanker Botham, grandson of former England cricketer Ian, but also scrumhalf Kieran Hardy, centre Johnny Williams and teenage flyhalf Ioan Lloyd.

Georgia showed improvement from their 40-0 drubbing by England last time out, but were surprisingly outmuscled in the scrum and have now scored only seven points in their last three tests.

Sheedy’s early penalty put Wales in front after nine minutes as they spent much of the first quarter inside the Georgia half.

Repeated infringements in their own 22 might have seen the visitors reduced to 14 players, but Welsh referee Luke Pearce showed admirable patience.

When Wales did speed up the play, Sheedy launched the ball out to Rees-Zammit in space on the left wing and he crossed in the corner.

That seemed to spur Georgia on and they were the stronger side in the final 10 minutes of the half.

The visitors turned down two kickable penalties in favour of attacking line-outs that were well defended by Wales, and when Tedo Abzhandadze did go for the posts on the stroke of halftime he missed.

The start of the second period followed the same pattern, with Wales camped in the Georgia half, but failing to covert that dominance into points until Sheedy added a second penalty.

Visiting loose forward Beka Saginadze was fortunate to receive only a yellow card when his swinging arm caught Wales captain Justin Tipuric in the face.

Wales did cross for a second try with five minutes remaining, Rees-Zammit spotting the run of Webb inside him and his pass enabled the scrumhalf to canter over the line.





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Public holidays – Airbnb’s stockmarket debut will be a hit | Business


TALK ABOUT terrible timing. When the pandemic hit in March, Brian Chesky had just put the finishing touches on the paperwork for Airbnb’s much-awaited public listing. Instead of travelling to New York to ring the opening bell at the Nasdaq stock exchange, he found himself spending days (and nights) on Zoom in his home office in San Francisco, fighting to keep his online holiday-rental marketplace alive. “It was like you are going 100 miles an hour and suddenly have to hit the brakes,” Airbnb’s boss recalls.

This time around Mr Chesky might be luckier. On November 16th Airbnb unveiled its prospectus, putting it on track for an initial public offering (IPO) next month, just as the first doses of the covid-19 vaccine may become available. The IPO could value Airbnb at more than $30bn. The firm’s longer-term prospects are harder to divine.

The vaccine is not the only thing that makes this an opportune time for Airbnb to go public. The window for tech IPOs has not been open this wide since the dotcom bubble 20 years ago. More than 50 tech startups have floated this year, raising a total of $26bn, according to Dealogic, a data provider. Many of Airbnb’s employees want to cash in on the shares they have been awarded before their right to do so expires. And the firm needs money, on top of the $2bn it raised earlier this year to tide it over—hence its decision to scrap earlier plans to list shares directly without drumming up fresh capital.

Mr Chesky has a good recovery story to tell, too. In the painful second quarter the number of nights booked on Airbnb fell to 28m, from 84m a year before. Gross bookings collapsed by two-thirds, to $3.2bn. In the next three months, though, the numbers rebounded, to 62m and $8bn, mainly thanks to what Mr Chesky calls “travel redistribution”. Guests eschewed virus-hit foreign cities, formerly Airbnb’s stronghold, for domestic and rural destinations. Stays less than 500 miles (800km) from home rose by more than 50% this summer.

Mr Chesky has also made Airbnb leaner. Before the pandemic the firm had sunk money into new businesses, including flights and a television studio, to pad revenues ahead of the listing. Since then his motto has been “back to the roots”. He has fired around 1,800 employees, a quarter of the workforce, shut down most of the new activities and radically cut online advertising (more than 90% of guests now book directly on Airbnb’s site). As a result, though the firm lost $916m in the first six months of the year, it turned a net profit of $219m in the third quarter.

Can Airbnb keep this up? Even before the pandemic growth had begun to slow. Once things are back to normal, room for further expansion may be limited, at least in the company’s core market. Bernstein, a research firm, expects annual growth in private rentals to slow to 7-8%, from around 20% in the past few years. And Airbnb’s operating margins lag behind those of its closest rivals, Booking.com and Expedia (which operates VRBO, a site that lists mostly holiday homes).

Airbnb’s future also depends on its ability to police its service and meet a growing list of legal requirements across many jurisdictions where it operates. As with other big online firms, renters have found ways to abuse the platform, for instance by using rental properties for parties; in July police in New Jersey broke up a rowdy event with 700 people. As for regulations, the firm says in its prospectus that by October 2019, 70% of its top 200 cities by revenue had imposed restrictions, such as limits on how many days a year residential properties can be rented out.

Mr Chesky’s biggest task, however, will be to work out what Airbnb, now entering its teens, should be when it grows up. He has said he would like to see it evolve like Apple or Disney—firms that have adapted over time and outlived their founders. The pandemic has been a setback for its new lines of business. “Either we keep doing new things as the world changes,” he says, “or we stop doing new things—and we won’t exist in the future.” Even if, occasionally, doing new things means sticking to the old ones.

Editor’s note: Some of our covid-19 coverage is free for readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. For more stories and our pandemic tracker, see our hub

This article appeared in the Business section of the print edition under the headline “Public holidays”

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Queensland Maroons hooker Harry Grant produces memorable debut as Wayne Bennett pulls right rein 17 years on from Cameron Smith


Smith made his State of Origin debut after just 18 NRL games, chosen by Wayne Bennett in the final game of the 2003 series. Grant made his Queensland bow on Wednesday night after just 17 NRL games, chosen by Bennett on his return to Origin 17 years later in the final game of the series.

As always with the skinny coach, his timing couldn’t have been more impeccable.

Harry Grant scores for the Maroons on his State of Origin debut.Credit:Getty

Thrown into the fray after just 24 minutes in place of Jake Friend, Grant never left. He helped ram home the Queensland advantage, which was there from the opening exchanges in front of a heaving crowd at Suncorp Stadium.

And with NSW teetering mid-way through the second half, Grant delivered the knockout blow, almost crawling his way to the line, reaching out to land the point of the ball a millimetre onto the stripe.

“He was very good,” Bennett said. “Jake did a lot of work and it’s a lot different coming off the bench than it is starting a game.

“Harry was what we needed and it’s the reason I did what I did, to try to get that momentum and keep that momentum Jake would be building … and for him to take advantage of that. And he did that magnificently.”

Harry Grant celebrates with Maroons teammates.

Harry Grant celebrates with Maroons teammates.Credit:Getty

The Maroons eventually won the unwinnable series, beating the Blues 20-14 in one of the great Origin boilovers.

And a kid who almost died as a 12-year-old after contracting staph infection was one of the chief architects.

“I hate putting raps on young fellas like this and certainly I don’t want to do that, but I can remember when Cameron Smith played his first Origin game, back in 2003, and he got our attention straight away,” Phil Gould said in commentary.

“And I walked away and I said, well, Origin just night have changed forever at the moment. And I think this fella Harry Grant could well have a similar effect on this Maroons generation. He’s so aggressive. He’s so talented.”

I think this fella Harry Grant could well have a similar effect on this Maroons generation. He’s so aggressive. He’s so talented

Phil Gould

In the almost capacity crowd – the world’s largest sporting attendance since the pandemic started – sat Grant’s father Paul.

A diehard New South Welshman, Paul said he would only ever switch allegiance if his son played for Queensland, given Harry qualified for the Maroons because he was raised north of the Tweed. Maybe a little reluctantly, Paul was a Maroon on Wednesday night and might not ever come back.

Whenever Grant touched the ball, Brad Fittler squirmed in his seat. He better get used to the feeling.

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“I think he’ll be in this side for as long as he wants to be,” NSW hooker Damien Cook said.

“He’s been a great player and he’s had a great season this year and he’s earned the right to play in this Origin team. Obviously Friendy got his debut as well and it will be a moment he’ll never forget scoring that try.”

Said Grant: “I’m pretty grateful and pretty lucky that the squad was at the end of the year, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have been in the squad.”

Next year, Grant, who spent the year on loan at the Tigers given Smith was blocking his path at the Storm, is poised to rekindle his association at Melbourne with Queensland teammate Cameron Munster, who taunted the Blues in a mesmerising first-half display.

If a suite of concussion experts had their way, Munster wouldn’t have played in game three after being knocked out inside the first two minutes of NSW’s thumping game two win in Sydney.

If only the Blues could have found a way for Grant not to play either.

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