AFL boss Gillon McLachlan defends controversial stand rule against disgruntled fans, promising more open football


The AFL’s new stand rule is designed to make life difficult for players like Brisbane’s All-Australian defender Harris Andrews.

But the fullback, despite admitting he now feels a “little bit helpless” when standing on the mark, is fine with that and expects it’s here to stay after AFL boss Gillon McLachlan called for patience from disgruntled fans.

Fears over the possible implications of the new rule — which prohibits the player on the mark from moving in any direction — were heightened over the weekend when footage of a 50m penalty paid against Fremantle’s Brennan Cox gained traction.

The defender’s head was down as he took a couple of steps away from Oscar Allen as the West Coast forward went back to line up a shot at goal.

The umpire spotted Cox’s infringement and the ensuing penalty gifted Allen a goal from point-blank range.

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Fans piled on as the footage circulated, but no more than two penalties were paid in any practice game and Andrews said his side had already switched their focus to exploiting the new parameters.

“When the umpire calls stand you’re not allowed to move; it’s pretty simple I would’ve thought,” he said.

“There’s ways to look into it and gain more 50m penalties, guys who are quick on their feet can [exploit it] and it impacts the way you defend.

“You feel a little bit helpless because usually you’re dancing, carrying on over the mark to put them off.

“But it’s opened up the game and that’s what the AFL and fans want, to see goals kicked.”

AFL chief executive officer Gillon McLachlan says fans, players and clubs want to see more open football.(

AAP: James Ross

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McLachlan played down the impact of the new law.

“All change is challenging for people, but universally our supporters, players, clubs want more open football.

“I think it was 2,000 opportunities for an infringement and seven or eight 50s [penalties].

“We’ll always listen but I think we need to be a bit patient on this one because it’s gone through a process, it’s there in its best intentions and we had teams scoring over 120 points for the first time in a long time.”

The AFL’s head of football, Steve Hocking, told the Herald Sun that he was “very, very happy” with the players reaction to the rule, but added that if “subtle adjustments” are required, those would occur over the coming weeks.

AAP/ABC

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Rose Byrne ‘going to snap’ over repetitive questions from American fans


Rose Byrne has revealed the question she’s sick and tired of being asked.

The Hollywood actor said she’s “going to snap” if she keeps being hit with questions about Aussie wildlife by her American fans.

“People are just fascinated with the Australian outback and the wildlife, and the dangerous animals,” she said while appearing on the Ladies First podcast.

“And the thing about that is, you and I, we’re city girls,” she told host Laura Brown.

“It’s as foreign to me as it is to them, because I grew up in the city,” the star, 41, said.

Byrne, who was born in Balmain in Sydney’s inner west and now lives in New York, said she’s a “city mouse”.

“One day are you just gonna snap?” Brown asked the actor during the podcast.

“Yeah I am,” the Like a Boss star laughed. “I’m going to snap. I’m going to be like, ‘If you ask me about a God damn kangaroo,’” she joked.

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Byrne appeared on another podcast in 2020 and joked she’d coped with the coronavirus pandemic using “alcohol, drugs (and) porn”.

Appearing on The Big Ticket podcast in May, she told host Marc Malkin she’d been isolating with her family.

“Listen, I feel lucky … we’re safe and we’re okay, but it’s scary,” she said.

“We have two little kids,” she said.

“We’ve just been inside, but I have friends who are working in the healthcare system.”

Last year the Aussie star portrayed feminist icon Gloria Steinem in the historical docuseries Mrs America. She starred alongside Cate Blanchett, who portrayed prominent conservative Phyllis Schlafly.

Byrne and her partner, fellow Hollywood actor Bobby Cannavale have been together since 2012.

The couple have two sons together, Rafa, three, and Rocco, five.



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Spectator caps, tough COVID-19 guidelines leave country sporting clubs worried for fans and volunteers


It is a point of pride for the Ouyen United Football Netball Club, in Victoria’s north-west, that it boasts some of the biggest crowds in its local competition.

But the Kangas, who represent rural farming communities along the Mallee Track, are worried AFL Victoria’s latest return-to-play protocols for the upcoming season will force them to turn spectators away at the gate.

A 1,000-person cap on crowds and a ban on spectators entering the field of play between breaks loom as the most contentious among the guidelines, published over the weekend.

The protocols, developed in line with Victorian Government restrictions, also include restrictions on who can enter changing rooms on match day, a requirement for clubs to sanitise footballs before training and matches, and a ban on handshakes and high-fives.

“It’s going to be a bit of a worry for us, especially in the first few games of the season, we should smash 1,000 [spectators],” Ouyen United president Mal Crothers said.

“Our numbers at training have been through the roof and, talking to other people who don’t play, they’re all looking forward to [the 2021 season], so I think there is going to be a massive appetite for people to come along to our local games of footy and I hope they all get in.

“It’s not what you want in our small communities.”

The Kangas are one of nine clubs in the Sunraysia Football Netball League (SFNL), centred around Mildura.

SFNL president Paul Matheson said the spectator limit, which also requires maximum group sizes at the ground to be restricted to 100 people, as per government rules on outdoor gatherings, would put pressure on clubs that hold family days or multiple matches — including junior fixtures — at the same time.

“It’s definitely a different environment to what we’re used to, but I think it’s something to work through,” he said.

Mr Matheson questioned though whether it was feasible for clubs to have volunteers counting spectators entering and leaving the ground.

“Does it mean you have to change some start times? It’s something we need to think about as a board and get some input from the club presidents,” he said.

Mr Crothers said the ban on fans entering the field to kick the footy or listen to the coaches’ address would “go down like a lead balloon”.

“I don’t know how that’s going to be enforced or policed because I don’t think it should be up to the clubs to stop people walking on to the ground.”

However, not all clubs or leagues will be directly affected by the 1,000-fan limit.

Rob Popplestone, a spokesman for the Mid-Gippsland Football League said very few matches in the region would reach the crowd cap.

“Maybe some Gippsland, Latrobe games might be touching on that figure in the home and away season, but in most parts, 1,000 people will see us out,” he said.

Rhett McLennan, coach of Under-19 representative side Gippsland Power, said at NAB League level, spectators would be discouraged from actually attending matches unless their children are involved.

“Similar to a couple of games that were held in country football last year, most clubs will have COVID officers who will walk around the ground making sure the guidelines that are being proposed are being upheld by people that are there,” he said.

Mr Popplestone said many community clubs were still trying to figure what the code would look like in practice.

“How it actually rolls out is still to be firmed up, but some of them are going to be harder than others to enforce,” he said.

He said anything to help ensure the season could go ahead was welcome.

Bass Coast Breakers coach Bianca Hellmuth-Pask said the restrictions were frustrating but necessary.

“At the end of the day, if it’s going to keep us safe, and keep us playing, that’s the main thing,” she said.

Ms Hellmuth-Pask said the main loss would be not being able to celebrate with friends and family in the change rooms after a win.

Officials are also hopeful their competitions will be less prone to state border closures, which scuttled their hopes of any action last season.

“Last year, there were issues in relation to border controls but now we have green zones and border community [permits],” Mr Matheson, whose SFNL includes two clubs with home grounds in New South Wales, said.

“It should be a lot more workable than what it was, and it probably put an end to our potential junior competition last year, when New South Wales closed the border.”

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Ticketmaster delays as fans flock for first taste of footy in a year


St Kilda tweeted: “Apologies to members who are having trouble booking tickets, it appears the influx of people on Ticketmaster’s site is causing issues.

“Members have a priority window until 3pm, so please keep trying while we look into this further.”

Ticketmaster has been contacted for comment.

Ticketmaster responded to fans who were complaining on Twitter.

“Please make sure you are following the link provided by your club to access the pre-sale. As this is a popular event, tickets are sold as long as seats are available, and sometimes they go very quickly. We suggest you keep trying the website during this sale,” it said.

”When a popular event goes on sale there are literally thousands of customers simultaneously attempting to purchase tickets across all distribution channels.”

Collingwood said that as of about 1.15pm on Monday the game with Richmond had not sold out, and advised fans to keep trying for tickets

The AAMI Community Series begins on Thursday, March 4 at Marvel Stadium when Carlton play St Kilda.

Collingwood then play Richmond at Marvel on Friday night. Marvel Stadium will have 50 per cent capacity but limits for GMHBA Stadium and Arden Street Oval are yet to be announced.

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MCG welcomes 50,000 fans to the stands as Victorian crowd capacities increase


The MCG will welcome the largest crowd capacity at a sporting event in Victoria since the coronavirus pandemic first hit last year when reigning premiers Richmond host Carlton for AFL’s season opener.

A total of 50,000 fans will fill the stands following the Victorian government’s decision to allow a 50 per cent crowd capacity at both the MCG and Docklands Stadium.

Three Community Series pre-season games will also allow fans to attend games from March 4.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said the announcement had provided a positive start to the season.

The majority of last season, including the grand final, was held outside Victoria, and McLachlan said it was about time fans had the chance to watch football again in Victoria.

“On behalf of the AFL, I would like to thank the Victorian state government, specifically Premier Daniel Andrews, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula and Minister for Health Martin Foley for working with us in allowing fans to get back to the footy,” McLachlan said.

“Footy fans in Victoria have been excited about getting back to matches and we have seen that with great numbers across the opening rounds of the AFLW season.

“We haven’t had footy crowds this big in Victoria since the match to support Bushfire Relief in February last year, so today’s announcement provides a big boost for our players and fans in the lead up to the season.

“Our team has been working extensively behind the scenes planning for multiple scenarios and all our venues will be ready to welcome fans back into the stands come next month.”

The AFL is still working to establish attendance numbers at Kardinia Park and Ballarat Stadium.

The Premier said fans being allowed in stadiums was an important step towards normality.

“This is great news as the AFL season is obviously starting quite soon and it will be something approaching normal, which is something Victorians have absolutely earned,” Andrews said.

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MCG welcomes 50,000 fans to the stands as Victorian crowd capacities increase



The MCG will welcome the largest crowd capacity at a sporting event in Victoria since the coronavirus pandemic first hit last year when reigning premiers Richmond host Carlton for AFL’s season opener.

A total of 50,000 fans will fill the stands following the Victorian government’s decision to allow a 50 per cent crowd capacity at both the MCG and Docklands Stadium.

Three Community Series pre-season games will also allow fans to attend games from March 4.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said the announcement had provided a positive start to the season.

The majority of last season, including the grand final, was held outside Victoria, and McLachlan said it was about time fans had the chance to watch football again in Victoria.

“On behalf of the AFL, I would like to thank the Victorian state government, specifically Premier Daniel Andrews, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula and Minister for Health Martin Foley for working with us in allowing fans to get back to the footy,” McLachlan said.

“Footy fans in Victoria have been excited about getting back to matches and we have seen that with great numbers across the opening rounds of the AFLW season.

“We haven’t had footy crowds this big in Victoria since the match to support Bushfire Relief in February last year, so today’s announcement provides a big boost for our players and fans in the lead up to the season.

“Our team has been working extensively behind the scenes planning for multiple scenarios and all our venues will be ready to welcome fans back into the stands come next month.”

The AFL is still working to establish attendance numbers at Kardinia Park and Ballarat Stadium.

The Premier said fans being allowed in stadiums was an important step towards normality.

“This is great news as the AFL season is obviously starting quite soon and it will be something approaching normal, which is something Victorians have absolutely earned,” Andrews said.

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Emma Watson Fans Are Freaking Out Over Rumors She’s Retiring – E! Online


Has Emma Watson said goodbye to acting for good?

That’s what some fans think after a report from The Daily Mail claimed that the Harry Potter alum’s agent stated her career is “dormant,” and her publicist confirmed she is “not taking on new commitments.” According to a source for The Daily Mail, Emma is spending her work-free time with partner Leo Robinton, a Los Angeles-based businessman who she has been dating for over a year and is rumored to be engaged to. 

Many fans flocked to social media to express their sadness over Emma’s potential decision to quit the industry, with one tweeting, “Emma Watson just retired from acting could this year get any worse?” Another added, “I haven’t even been awake for 10 minutes of the day to only discover Emma watson’s retired from movies. Down horrendous today already.”

A third shared, “Rumor has it Emma Watson retired from acting. Makes me kinda sad, I love her and her projects. But regardless I respect her decision and whatever makes HER happiest.”





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Australian Open trophy presentation interrupted after fans ‘boo’ mentions of the coronavirus vaccine


The Australian Open men’s final trophy presentation was marred by an “embarrassing” chorus of boos after the Tennis Australia president mentioned the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, which kicked off on Sunday.

President Jayne Hrdlicka was forced to pause her speech on Sunday night due to the noise from the crowd, after she said it was time for hope and optimism after “deep loss and extraordinary sacrifice for everyone”. 

“With vaccinations on the way, rolling out in many countries around the world, it’s now a time for optimism and hope for the future,” she said, before fans began booing.

The boos restarted later in her speech after she thanked the Victorian government for making the tournament possible.

Novak Djokovic celebrates after defeating Daniil Medvedev in the Men’s Final match of the Australian Open.

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In response, she said: “You are a very opinionated group of people.”

The presentation at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena was broadcast internationally, prompting some commentators to slam the “embarrassing” and “disgraceful” behaviour. ‘

“People booing vaccines at the Australian Open need to take a long hard look at their privilege. Disgraceful behaviour,” Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith wrote on Twitter.

Shane McInnes, a sports presenter and broadcaster, wrote that it was “just embarrassing”.

Serbian Novak Djokovic claimed a ninth Australian Open crown Sunday night, beating Russian Daniil Medvedev who had been undefeated since October.

The 33-year-old is only the second man ever to claim nine titles at the same slam, joining his great rival Rafael Nadal, who owns 13 French Open trophies. 

“There are a lot of mixed feelings about what has happened in the last month or so, with tennis players coming to Australia,” Djokovic said after his win.

“But I think when we draw a line in the end it was a successful tournament for organisers … it wasn’t easy, it was very challenging on many different levels, but they should be proud.”

Djokovic has previously come under fire for stating he was “opposed to vaccinations”, later telling the New York Times his comments had been “taken out of context a little bit”.

“My issue here with vaccines is if someone is forcing me to put something in my body. That I don’t want. For me that’s unacceptable,” he said.

I am not against vaccination of any kind, because who am I to speak about vaccines when there are people that have been in the field of medicine and saving lives around the world?”

The pandemic had forced speculation over whether the tournament would go ahead, which peaked after a number of positive COVID-19 cases were linked to Australian Open players and staff who had flown to Melbourne for the event.

A snap five-day lockdown in Victoria also threw plans into disarray, with many matches played before an empty stadium. 



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Milan Derby Fans Gather Outside San Siro Stadium Despite Covid Restrictions



Crowds gathered outside San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy, for the matchup between Inter Milan and AC Milan on Sunday February 21, despite coronavirus restrictions. Milan, located in Italy’s Lombardy region, is categorized as a “yellow area” for coronavirus restrictions, according to Italy’s Ministry of Health, which prohibits mass gatherings and bans a public audience at sporting events. Filippo Allegri filmed this footage of Inter Milan fans celebrating outside the stadium on Sunday after their team defeated AC Milan 3-0 in the Milan derby. Credit: Filippo Allegri via Storyful

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All Premier League games to be made available to watch live until fans can return to stadiums


Football has been played largely behind closed doors for almost a year

All Premier League fixtures will remain available to watch live in the UK until fans are allowed to return to stadiums.

Games will continue to be broadcast by Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon Prime Video and the BBC.

Broadcast selections for March and for the rearrangement of previously postponed games will be announced in due course.

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce how the current lockdown in England will be eased.

Premier League football has been played behind closed doors since the 2019-20 season resumed in June following the first coronavirus lockdown.

However, pilots with a small number of fans were permitted in the English Football League (EFL) in the autumn while some Premier League clubs were able to welcome up to 2,000 fans in December.

But games were soon moved back behind closed doors amid rising cases of Covid-19.

Fans initially had to pay a £14.95 pay-per-view fee to watch some top-flight matches from October, but the scheme was scrapped the following month following significant protests among fan groups.

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