Jason Day still in touch at PGA Championship, Dustin Johnson leads going into final day


A resurgent Jason Day suggests he is thrilled at acquiring a likelihood to earn an elusive 2nd significant right after golf’s product rose to the major in the course of a dramatic third spherical at the US PGA Championship.

Working day is among the a stack of large names who have established the stage for an exciting finish to the initial major of a year ravaged by COVID-19.

It was not simple for Day, who scarcely held on all through a lacklustre, even-par 70 on day 3 but, at six less than, he will commence Monday morning’s final round just 3 pictures off the speed.

Dustin Johnson took the 54-gap guide at San Francisco’s TPC Harding Park with a excellent 65 that also has him poised to seize a next main to go with his 2016 US Open title.

At nine underneath, big-hitting Johnson will consider a one particular-shot guide above fellow Americans Scottie Scheffler (65) and the impressive Cameron Champ (67).

Defending champion Brooks Koepka (69), Collin Morikawa (65) and England veteran Paul Casey (68) are 7 below.

Bryson DeChambeau (66) — who hit a vocation-very long 95 foot (29 metre) to conclude his third spherical — Tony Finau (67), Justin Rose (70) and Daniel Berger (70) are tied with Day at 6 beneath.

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Day, the 2015 PGA champion, has not been in competition on golf’s biggest phase considering the fact that the 2019 Masters at Augusta Nationwide.

The 32-12 months-old found type recently with three best-10 benefits on the US PGA Tour foremost into the PGA Championship.

He is hungry to go the subsequent stage.

“It is really just good to be able to be in competition at a big championship again and know that your activity is superior adequate to get in contention,” Day claimed.

“We have not performed a big in ages. It really is odd, but I am enthusiastic to be here.”

Day is also buoyed by the prospect to come to be Australia’s 1st male winner of multiple majors since Greg Norman captured a 2nd British Open up title in 1993.

But Working day states he will try out to ignore that milestone and the leaders on the last working day at Harding Park.

Dustin Johnson has a a single shot lead.(AP: Jeff Chiu)

“I will not focus on the guide at all,” he claimed.

“If I can stroll off at the close of the day understanding I gave all the things, then I’ll be satisfied. Ideally it’s adequate to earn.”

Day faces a stern obstacle in reeling in Johnson, who bounced again from a double-bogey at the ninth with four again-9 birdies.

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Johnson’s environment-course driving is tailor-built for big championships, getting completed runner-up in the Masters (2019), British Open (2011) and very last year’s PGA.

“I surely have knowledge in this scenario that absolutely will assist tomorrow,” Johnson stated.

But four-time big winner Koepka, searching for to gain a 3rd successive PGA Championship, questioned Johnson’s means to shut.

“I like my odds. When I have been in this posture prior to, I have capitalised,” Koepka explained of Johnson.

“He’s only won one.”

Australian world variety nine Adam Scott squandered a prospect to make floor when a flat, even-par 70 remaining him at two under whilst countryman Cameron Smith (70) completed at even par.

Four-time PGA champion Tiger Woods (72, two in excess of) is properly out of rivalry for a 16th significant championship earn.

AAP



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Fulham win playoff final over Brentford, secure immediate return to Premier League


Fulham produced an immediate return to the Leading League as two extra-time goals from entire-back Joe Bryan gave them a 2-1 win over Brentford in the Championship playoff ultimate at an empty Wembley Stadium on Tuesday.

Bryan opened the scoring close to the stop of the first interval of additional time when he noticed Brentford goalkeeper David Raya out of placement and anticipating a cross from his deep no cost-kick prior to cleverly driving the ball into the bottom corner.

The Spanish keeper was gradual to react, the moment Bryan experienced opted to shoot, but the guide was a deserved one particular for Scott Parker’s aspect, who had the much better of what experienced been a cagey 90 minutes.

Bryan designed certain of the victory with a next intention three minutes from the close of the 2nd time period of excess time, clipping residence from close variety immediately after a burst forward down the left and quick exchange with substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Scott Parker made 119 appearances for Fulham ahead of becoming named supervisor in 2019.(PA by means of AP: Mike Egerton)

Henrik Dalsgaard pulled a purpose back again for Brentford in the closing seconds but there was no time for a restoration by the Bees, who had been seeking for a spot in the top flight for the to start with time considering that 1947.

Fulham be part of Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion in earning marketing from England’s next tier.

COVID-19 relevant limitations meant no admirers were being at Wembley to witness Fulham’s triumph but Bryan nonetheless experienced a night time to bear in mind.

“I’m not the hero,” stated the total back, as his teammates celebrated a return to the Leading League just a year immediately after relegation — an accomplishment truly worth close to 135 million lbs . ($246 million) more than a few many years for the west London club.

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“Each individual solitary one of them boys, gamers, personnel, supporters, everything’s been with us all season, it can be been definitely unbelievable,” additional Bryan.

“We have been published off, five, 6, seven, 8, nine, 10 occasions. I believe I even study someplace that we were being intended to be terrified of them, but we took it to them, we scored 2 times. They produced it difficult for us.”

It was a bitterly disappointing conclude to the time for Brentford, the division’s optimum scorers with 80 goals in the regular time, who misplaced at home to lowly Barnsley on the ultimate working day of the campaign, when a win would have acquired marketing.

Brentford’s Danish supervisor, Thomas Frank, was dissatisfied but nonetheless equipped to set the season into some viewpoint.

“Of course it is tough when you lose a last like this in a tight activity. But we have absent from a mid-table club to a team who, in the league table, was the 3rd-best team,” he reported.

“We are pretty high-quality margins absent from the Premier League, which is an outstanding accomplishment from us.”

Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich had been relegated from the Leading League. Past year’s playoff winners Aston Villa survived being relegated on the final day of the time.

Reuters



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Lewis Hamilton’s British Formula One grand Prix final lap at Silverstone saw him reach 230kph on the straight on three working tyres

Previous Mercedes workforce boss Ross Brawn has hailed Lewis Hamilton’s British grand prix gain, on three wheels and a flat tyre, as “totally mind-blowing”.

Hamilton’s front remaining tyre deflated on the final lap whilst main Sunday’s race, leaving the 6-instances Method Just one winner 3.8km from the finish with Pink Bull’s Max Verstappen chasing tough following pitting for clean gentle tyres.

Info provided by Mercedes confirmed Hamilton accomplished the last lap only 22 seconds slower than he had raced the previous one.

It was more than enough to dangle on for his seventh grand prix acquire at Silverstone, keeping off Verstappen by just 5.856 seconds.

He went by means of the substantial-pace Copse and Stowe corners with the puncture at 141kph and 133kph respectively and attained 230kph on the Hangar Straight with the entrance tyre currently ruined.

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“Lewis’s race seemed a cakewalk until eventually the final lap of the race. It was not of program, due to the fact he was driving superbly for the full of the race,” stated Brawn, Formulation One’s running director for motorsport.

“He reached 230kph on the straight with only 3 wheels, and a entrance left tyre flailing all over. Unquestionably mind blowing.

“He judged it to perfection to earn the race by a several seconds and a fantastic illustration of the wonderful talents and bravery of Lewis.”

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Tyre companies Pirelli are conducting an investigation into what transpired, and whether sharp debris or don was to blame, with Hamilton’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas, and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz also suffering late failures.

Hamilton now leads the championship by 30 details from Bottas, with a few wins from the 4 races held so much in 2020.

Verstappen lies third on 52 factors — but he could have been 14 factors much better off if he experienced not pitted, as he would very likely have handed Hamilton for the direct and the taken 25 details for victory, in its place of the 18 for next put.

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Seek cancels final dividend amid COVID uncertainty


“The combination of our debt capital market transactions and the decision to not pay a final FY20 dividend increases our funding flexibility so we can continue to invest for the long term,” Seek chief executive Andrew Bassat said.

“The dividend decision was not taken lightly but we believe it is the right trade-off to maximise returns for long-term shareholders. Once economic conditions improve, we intend to resume payment of dividends,” he said.

The company delayed its interim dividend in April to July 23 after the COVID-19 pandemic caused billings to fall by 60 per cent in two weeks.

The employment website said in an ASX statement at the time the pandemic was having a “material economic impact” on all of Seek’s businesses and that it could no longer reliably provide guidance.

Seek cut costs and relieved customers on existing 12-month contracts of minimum monthly spend obligations until the end of May, while expiry dates on pre-purchased packages were extended.

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Seek is scheduled to report its full-year results on August 12. Market consensus expects the company to report revenue totalling $1.57 billion and a $101 million net profit, but as with many companies in these uncertain times the focus will be on any guidance it offers for the current financial year.

“Given the broader economic uncertainty, it is uncertain whether Seek will provide FY21 guidance,” said Goldman Sachs analysts who were not expecting the company to pay a final dividend.

The investment bank expects the company to delay the achievement of its aspirational 2025 revenue target of $5 billion.

“The extent of the delay and Seek commentary on the $5 billion target will be an important indicator to gauge its medium-term outlook,” Goldman Sachs said.



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Coronavirus: Sandwell traders fear a potential local lockdown could be ‘final nail in the coffin’ | UK News


Market traders in the West Midlands say business was already tough before coronavirus – and now they fear a second wave or local lockdown could be the “final nail in the coffin”.

The borough of Sandwell, which includes West Bromwich, Oldbury, Tipton and Smethwick, is currently in the top 10 of areas in England with the highest rates of infection.

This leaves it in danger of having local restrictions being forced upon it by the government.

Sandwell’s rate of infection rose to 28.1 per 100,000 people in the week up to 27 July, from 26.9 the previous week.

Brett Packer has been selling clothes and home furnishings on the market in West Bromwich for more than 15 years
Image:
Brett Packer sells clothes and home furnishings at a market in West Bromwich

Last month, West Bromwich Albion was promoted to football’s Premier League but now the area is climbing a less welcome table.

In the town’s market, trade is only just beginning its return to health after the rigours of lockdown and none of the stall holders or shopkeepers want to see a second wave.

Brett Packer has been selling clothes and home furnishings at the market for more than 15 years.

He said trade was already tough before coronavirus.

“It used to be heaving here on a daily basis, Monday to Saturday,” he said.

“But this could be the final nail in the coffin. And if we get a second wave that could really devastate the whole area.

“If they lock down Sandwell and Smethwick, people will drive to Birmingham, they’ll drive to Merry Hill. They’ve got to do their shopping somewhere.

“And the danger is they might not come back.”



Boris Johnson says people can still go back to the office tomorrow – but some venues won’t reopen and large events will be postponed.



31 July: Boris Johnson delays lockdown easing

The council is trying to forestall the sort of government intervention seen in Leicester, Greater Manchester, Blackburn, Calderdale, Kirklees and Bradford.

It held an emergency meeting on Friday, and has issued amended advice to keep the infection rate down.

The council’s deputy leader Maria Crompton said: “Nationally, the government has advised people who are shielding they could stop shielding from Friday 31 July, but anyone in Sandwell who is shielding is strongly advised to continue to shield to keep themselves safe.

“We know people are looking forward to going out again. However, we are very strongly advising people who are shielding to stay put for now and go out as little as possible.”

The council has issued the following advice:

  • Continue to shield if you are already shielding
  • Do not go inside other people’s houses
  • Get tested and isolate if you have symptoms

The mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, has said there are no plans to lock down any boroughs within the region.

But authorities in Sandwell add the caveat that if the new advice is not heeded, more restrictive measures are “highly likely”.



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In 1985, a third of the UK’s population stopped to watch the World Snooker Championship Final


Picture the scene.

It’s just gone midnight on a Sunday night. There’s work tomorrow. School. You should be in bed.

Instead, you — along with 18.5 million other people around the country — cannot drag yourself away from your TV.

On the box is playing the 1985 World Championships Snooker final between reigning champion Steve Davis and outside-shot Dennis Taylor, a match that has gone down as being one of Britain’s greatest sporting moments.

Snooker’s appeal

At its best, snooker is an addictive, geometric dance of balletic precision, featuring expert cueing and tactical nous.

The sport’s flagship event, the World Championships, got underway in Sheffield this weekend and in doing so became one of the first events to welcome back crowds in England since the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Snooker has been a bastion of British sporting television since the championships moved to the Crucible Theatre in 1977.

In 1985 though, the sport was the hottest ticket in town, so much so the World Championships final became one of the most watched sporting events in British television history — with millions tuning in to the closing stages after midnight.

Steve Davis (left) is frequently made to relive his dramatic defeat in exhibition rematches.(Reuters/Action Images: Andrew Boyers)

Snooker was big business throughout the 80s, pulling massive TV audiences and making genuine stars of the top players.

In an interview with the BBC, Taylor remembers snooker being “bigger than any other sport, even football and golf” in the mid-80s, with the players becoming household names — even featuring in pop songs of dubious provenance.

The reason for this was circumstance and visibility.

“There was only four channels, something like that, to watch,” Taylor said, “so everyone seemed to watch [snooker].”

Davis went even further, describing snooker’s popularity during that era as “stupid”.

“[There was] a trapped audience, nobody had anything to do on a Sunday evening, Sunday afternoon, [so] they sat and watched the snooker.

What was the 1985 final so enthralling?

The enduring appeal of the 1985 final comes from the myriad of storylines that developed during its playing.

The 11th seed and clear underdog, Taylor — complete with a unique set of glasses that left you in no doubt which decade you were in — found himself 8-0 down in the blink of an eye as Davis, who would win six World Championships in nine years during the 80s, dominated.

Dennis Taylor stands and looks at the table
Dennis Taylor peers at the table through his so-very 80s glasses.(Supplied: BBC Sport)

However, a missed green in the ninth frame handed Taylor an opening and, buoyed by the fervent support of a crowd desperate for more action, fought back strongly.

Over two gruelling days’ play, the pair traded blows, sending the match into a deciding, 35th frame.

That final frame took over an hour to complete — 68 minutes of the most gruelling, high-pressure sporting action you can imagine — the enthralled audience at home and in the room seemingly oblivious to the fact that Sunday had turned into Monday.

Later, Davis described the final frame as “a trauma” — and not just because of how it ended for him, but for how much pressure the players were under.

“Nerves have now taken over,” said BBC commentator Ted Lowe when Davis missed a regulation blue mid-way through that marathon final frame, a miss typical of the contest in the closing stages.

Steve Davis leans back in his chair and looks up at the ceiling.
The final frame took a toll on both players.(Supplied: BBC Sport)

Incredibly, after 14 hours and 50 minutes of game time, the match came down to the final ball of the final frame — the only time this has happened in World Snooker history.

After potting the pink, Taylor, now trailing in the final frame by just three points, went over to the World Championship trophy and prayed in an attempt to summon some last-minute divine inspiration.

The final ball created drama though, with both players missing their mark amidst the suffocating tension.

An attempted double in off the cushion from Taylor missed the centre pocket by millimetres, Lowe muttering, “I have never known an atmosphere like this,” as the crowd struggled to contain themselves.

Taylor appeared to throw caution to the wind, attempting outlandish shots as playing safely was put on the backburner.

Leaving a tough, but gettable pot to win, Taylor’s chance appeared to have gone, only for Davis to fluff his lines.

“No,” a surprised Lowe said, the crowd roaring for the penultimate time as Taylor was left with a straight-forward pot to finish the match.

Taylor did sink the black, prompting an eruption of unbridled joy from the enraptured crowd.

The then-36-year-old brandished his cue above his head, before wagging a knowing finger at his supporters and kissing the most coveted trophy in the sport.

Will there ever be a communal viewing experience like that again?

The Black Ball Final is still the most watched post-midnight program of any show in UK television history.

That 18.5 million was a third of the United Kingdom’s population at the time.

To put those viewing figures into some perspective, the 1985 Live Aid concert — a once-in-a-lifetime event that took place throughout an afternoon — earned the BBC a TV audience of 24.5 million.

Admittedly a similar percentage of the population watched England’s 2016 World Cup defeat to Croatia, which was the highest rating British TV program in 2018 — but that happened in prime time, not after midnight.

In contrast, the highest rating Australian sporting event on TV in 2018, game one of State of Origin, was watched by just 13 per cent of the population.

Both players said that it was unlikely anything like that would ever happen again.

Steve Davis sits and looks to his left with a bemused look on his face
Steve Davis won a record 81 professional titles, including six World Championships, but the one he lost is what he is most famous for.(Supplied: BBC Sport)

“I think it’s because of the choice nowadays.” Taylor told the BBC.

“When you think of the viewing figures they used to get … nowadays you get four or five million people tuning in for any sporting event it’s big numbers because of the choice that people have.”

Davis argued the same, saying that there is too much choice now.

“That can’t necessarily happen again anywhere now that there are multiple television channels.”

An unmatched viewing experience

That people are still talking about that match in such reverent tones 35 years on speaks volumes of snooker’s enduring, albeit slightly nostalgic appeal.

Dennis Taylor smiles and waves his right hand above his head as Steve Davis stands in the background
Snooker has not hit the heights of the 1985 final since, with rematch exhibitions still popular.(Action Images: Andrew Boyers)

In an era where you can watch everything from wood chopping to competitive pizza tossing on ESPN (yes, really), it’s perhaps not surprising that the game’s grip on the public consciousness has slipped ever so slightly.

“[Snooker] was ideally placed as great theatre,” Davis said.

Ideal lockdown-viewing, perhaps.

That the World Championships is being used as a guinea pig for fans to attend the UK’s sporting COVID-19 recovery is perhaps incongruous considering its history as a television product.

Five-time World Champion, the enigmatic Ronnie O’Sullivan, is not a fan of fans being allowed in.

“I just think it’s an unnecessary risk [to have spectators].

Ronnie O'Sullivan uses the rest to play a shot, leaning over a green snooker table
Ronnie O’Sullivan has been one of the most exciting players on the tour in recent years.(Action Images: Rebecca Naden)

“I just don’t think you want to be putting people’s lives at risk. You look at the NHS and you think ‘this is like a war at the moment … anything to take the stress off them is paramount’.”

But with attendances capped at a third of capacity, just 300 fans, the vast majority will, once again, be glued to their screens instead.

And, in the chastened circumstances the world finds itself in at the present time, that may be no bad thing, although the likelihood of any match this year matching the interest of that 1985 final is remote.

Davis, who would go on to win the next two World Championship titles and become known as one of the greatest of all time, said the contest helped define him.

“The fact that I was involved in something where so many people remember what they were doing and where they were when they were watching it, you know, wow.”



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Fears IPL final could destroy return of Test cricket to Australia


Australia faces the agonising prospect of having to postpone its historic clash with Afghanistan, or go to battle in a Test match with a vastly understrength side.

The Indian Premier League has flagged a November 8 final, a date too late for any Aussie stars featuring to make it back home in time to serve a required two-week quarantine in order to play in a historic Test against Rashid Khan’s Afghanis on November 21 in Perth.

In such unprecedented times, it begs the question whether Australia, in the interests of honouring commitments and getting the game going again, would consider the extraordinary option of playing a Test match without at least four of its most important players available.

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Taking the field without David Warner, Steve Smith, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood might in theory even up the contest against world cricket’s minnows, but it would challenge the proud tradition of the baggy green being handed out only to the best of the best.

The other prospect could be to pull Australia’s multimillion-dollar stars out of the biggest show on earth early in order to be quarantined and ready for Afghanistan, with Cricket Australia yet to confirm the terms of its No Objection Certificates it gives to release players to the IPL at their discretion.

However, that would appear to go against Australia’s commitment to scratching the backs of the BCCI who are desperate to get the rivers of gold running back through the game again with a full IPL, before India return the favour by touring here for a $300 million, four Test summer.

The more likely scenario is Cricket Australia will either have to move the dates of the Afghanistan Test back slightly, or postpone to a completely different time on the calendar.

CA officials to their credit are desperate to find a way to make the stand-alone Test match happen. With only four Tests against India, CA wants more content not less for their broadcasters and they also want to do the right thing and provide Afghanistan with the opportunity. But the time restrictions being placed on them by COVID-19 appear to be making the first-ever Test a fight against the odds.

There is nothing easy about these vexing decisions and compromises must be made.

Even if the start date of the Test was pushed back a couple of days, Australia’s IPL stars would have to be quarantined in isolation away from their teammates – as they would be returning into the country as individuals rather than as a team – and therefore would be unable to train together before facing Afghanistan.

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The other major complication is the Test match is scheduled for Perth – with Western Australia the strictest of all States with its quarantine conditions and also the most expensive for TV networks Fox Sports and Channel 7 to send their expansive crews.

Regardless of whether the Afghanistan Test takes place, there is an ever-growing prospect that Australia’s Test stars could go into the summer of cricket against India with no high level red-ball match-play under their belts.

State border restrictions are making the Sheffield Shield competition due to start in early October look like a nightmare, and Test star David Warner said on Tuesday that players will just have to adapt with unprecedented restrictions on their preparation.

“If there’s no Shield cricket being played up until Christmas, it doesn’t give anyone else an opportunity to be picked,” said Warner.

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“If there’s an injury, there’s nobody coming up from red-ball cricket.”

Warner said players had not been told about whether the Afghanistan Test would go ahead or whether they’d be expected to take a haircut on their Indian wages and return home form the IPL early.

“To be honest, I forgot about that (Afghanistan),” he said.

“Obviously we are dictated by what happens with the states as well given that you’ve got to quarantine for 14 days in WA and if that goes through to the summer, who knows, the first Test (against India) might be moved there.

“Behind the scenes CA would be communicating with the governments as well to work out plans and we can learn from the AFL and the NRL as well about shifting teams or the competitions.”



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Collingwood runner Alex Woodward on fallout behind 2018 Grand Final incident


The 2018 AFL Grand Final will long be remembered as an all-time classic. A genuine arm-wrestle of a contest between two giant clubs of the AFL.

A game that went right down to the wire and produced arguably one of the most clutch goals you’re ever likely to see.

West Coast’s end to end passage of play which resulted in Dom Sheed etching his name into AFL folklore by slotting a goal hard up against the boundary in the dying stages of the game to seal the victory was as iconic a moment as there has been in Grand Finals.

Sheed’s goal sits clear atop the highlights from that iconic contest, but not far behind is a moment from the third quarter and it involved one unlucky runner.

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As Collingwood looked to work their way out of the backline, a kick from Taylor Adams looked to find Jaidyn Stephenson on the 50m arc. Only problem was Stephenson’s path to the kick was blocked by his own club’s runner.

The ball ended up in the hands of West Coast’s Elliot Yeo who thumped home the goal to put the Eagles back in front for the first time since the opening quarter.

The man who found himself the centre of attention was Collingwood’s runner, Alex Woodward, who was a former Hawthorn player.

His unfortunate cameo in the biggest game of the year came as he was attempting to deliver a message for Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley.

A little under two years on from the famous moment Woodward spoke about the incident and the ugly fallout he endured along with the class shown by Buckley and one Eagles star helped him overcome the dark hole he entered.

“I was just doing my job,” Woodward said on Fox Footy’s Open Mike.

“Personally, I thought I was in a pretty good position to be away from where I thought the ball was going to go. So I was head down trying to deliver a message — and I unfortunately crossed paths with Jaidyn.

“I never made contact with Jaidyn, but nonetheless I really should have had a bit more awareness than that and I put my hand up, definitely.”

As he walked off the ground he admitted to “feeling very guilty” about what had unfolded, but even that didn’t prepare him for what was to come.

“I knew the impact that potentially had on the game and I couldn’t help but show that emotion post-game,” he said.

“I probably wasn’t ready for the spotlight to be on me post-game. I usually think I’ve got fairly thick skin when it comes to that stuff, I’ve faced a lot of adversity in my time in the AFL system. But when it came to direct messages and comments on social media, that stuff’s quite accessible and there’s no real filtering.

“The worst of it was enough to bother me and put me in a bit of a hole. From death threats to suggestions of suicide to wishes of illness and further injury. I couldn’t help but let that get to me a little bit.

“I know it’s easy to say ‘don’t pay that no mind’, but when there’s an influx of it on such a big stage, I couldn’t help but feel even more guilty. No one else was going to make me feel as bad as I did in my mind about the situation.”

The emotion of the moment overtook Woodward in the rooms after the loss, but it was coach Nathan Buckley who was there with words of advice.

“I was pretty emotional post-game. A lot of guilt, a lot of self-doubt, feeling embarrassed,” he said. “I just felt I let a lot of people down.

“But it is what it is. I’ve learnt to accept the moment for what it was. Hopefully it’s made me a better person having gone through that experience and faced another challenge.

“(Buckley said) that I didn’t really need to feel that way. I couldn’t help but feel that way, but he just wrapped his arms around me and said that I was a big part of why the club got (into a strong position) initially,” Woodward said.

“I, as a runner, really embraced that role. I absolutely loved it. I just felt like I let him down, (but) he just gave me a few words of comfort.”

And it wasn’t just Buckley who lifted the spirits of the deflated Woodward with Eagles superstar Nic Naitanui reaching out to his via private message.

“It speaks volumes about his character as well,” he said.

“That meant a lot to me. He said he was thinking – and a lot of the Eagles boys were thinking – about me and felt fairly sorry for me, which was nice as well.”



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Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine Enters Final Testing Phase


Moderna Therapeutics and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) announced today that researchers had injected the first volunteer in the first U.S. coronavirus vaccine to reach the final, phase 3 stage of testing.

That person received the shot at 6:45 am eastern time in Savannah, Geo., Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) told reporters during a briefing. Because the trial will randomly assign participants to receive either the vaccine or a placebo, and neither the researchers nor the volunteers will know which they received, that person won’t know until the data is unblinded whether he or she was vaccinated against COVID-19.

Ultimately, 30,000 healthy people will be immunized either with the vaccine or a control to determine how effective the shot is in preventing COVID-19.

“The collaboration between the NIH and Moderna, with much support from Operation Warp Speed has now reached a point where we have a chance to find out in the real world…what the status of the vaccine is in its ability to protect against disease and be safe,” said Dr. Francis Collins, director of NIH. Moderna is one of a handful of companies receiving federal funding through the government’s Operation Warp Speed program to facilitate development of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Because this final phase of testing will focus on how well the vaccine works, as opposed to the earlier stages which concentrated on making sure the vaccine was safe, the researchers say they will make an effort to enroll volunteers who are more likely to be exposed to the virus. That includes people in high-risk occupations such as health care workers, as well as people in areas of the U.S. where the virus is currently spreading rapidly. The current network of 89 trial sites matches up with areas of the country where the virus is now spreading, said Fauci. “I think we will get a good sampling where the activity of the virus, or transmission, is currently going on in the country,” he said. That’s important because the more people who volunteer in areas where the virus is actively circulating, the more likely those participants will be to get exposed to the virus. That would help the researchers more quickly determine whether people who were vaccinated with the experimental shot had better protection in fighting infection than those receiving placebo.

Already, said Collins, a website created to invite people express interest in enrolling in a trial has attracted 150,000 registrants. Not all will qualify for the trial, but it’s an indication of how much interest and willingness there is to participate, and how quickly the trial will reach its target of volunteers.

If the virus continues to circulate widely, Fauci estimated it might be possible to get a first pass of results as early as November. That timeline accounts for the few weeks it will take in July and August to reach the goal of enrolling 30,000 eligible volunteers, as well as the time for people in the study to receive the second dose of the vaccine, which comes 28 days after the first, and time to analyze the data. “It’s certainly conceivable that if we have a real blast or rash of infection in those sites in which we do have active enrollment, then we might get an answer earlier than November. I doubt that but we are leaving open that it is a possibility,” he said.

Moderna and NIAID scientists collaborated to develop the vaccine using a relatively new technology based on mRNA, which contains the genetic instructions for making proteins. The vaccine includes mRNA that codes for the spike protein for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Once people are inoculated, their immune cells recognize the foreign, viral mRNA and start mounting immune responses against it. In theory, then, if they are later exposed to the actual virus, their immune system will be prepared to fight it off.

In earlier studies, the vaccine triggered antibodies against the virus at levels similar to those found in people who were infected and recovered from the disease. Further tests showed that the antibodies made in response to the vaccine could neutralize lab-versions of SARS-CoV-2. The newly begun phase 3 trial would be the real-world test of how the vaccine works when confronted with the virus.

At the moment, that test will be deemed successful if the vaccine is 60% effective in preventing people who are vaccinated from getting infected with SARS-CoV-2. That’s not as potent as vaccines such as that for the measles, which is 97% effective, but “together with public health measures, [it] would be a major, huge step toward controlling this outbreak at the domestic and global level,” said Fauci. “I’d like to see more than [60%] but we’ll take that amount.”

Researchers will track volunteers for one year to see if they develop any side effects, and the scientists will also continue following them to track their immune responses for another year to learn more about how long the immunity provided by the vaccine lasts.

Stephan Bancel, CEO of Moderna, said the company has already begun to manufacture doses of the vaccine in anticipation of a positive result from the trial. “We are ramping up manufacturing…and are well on track to deliver 500 million doses in the 2021 fiscal year,” he said. “The team is working hard to manufacture close to one billion doses next year, and I think that one billion doses will be doable. It’s not in the bag yet, but the 500 million I think is in the bag for next year.” The company has received close to $1 billion in federal funding from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to develop its vaccine and complete its final phase of testing.

Collins said that a group of public health experts are working on how to distribute those first doses if and when they are deemed safe and effective. “There will be tens of millions of doses at the time the vaccine is determined safe and effective, [but] there won’t be enough for everybody,” he said. “Decisions will have to be made on who will have priority.” He said the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, along with a specially convened panel of experts from the National Academy of Medicine, will provide guidance on how to prioritize groups who need the vaccine. “We recognize that COVID-19 has put into sharp relief the health disparities that afflict populations in the U.S. where hospitalizations, serious illnesses and deaths have disproportionately fallen on the shoulders of African Americans, Latinx and Native Americans, and we know this disease is also a particular danger for older people and people with chronic illnesses,” Collins said. “Therefore if we wish to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of this vaccine, we particularly want to be sure those groups are well represented in vaccine trial enrollment.”

The National Academy panel is expected to provide interim distribution guidelines by Labor Day, which would then be open to public discussion, and would then form the basis of recommendations that the CDC’s advisory committee hopes to have ready by the end of September.

Contact us at editors@time.com.



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Sydney FC chasing historic grand final glory


With a record fourth Premier’s Plate in their possession, Sydney FC now plan on using last week’s late meltdown against Newcastle Jets as motivation to secure a historic fifth championship by winning the double this season.

The Sky Blues were basking in the glow of their premiership triumph at training on Monday, but admit that without success on grand final day their dominant season will lose plenty of its sparkle.

Star right-back Rhyan Grant said the 2-1 defeat to Jets, in which they held a 1-0 halftime lead, was the “wake-up call” the team needed in the run to the finals.

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“We didn’t play that great so we know if we don’t show up, we can’t just expect to win games,” Grant said.

“Obviously we’ve had a good season but it doesn’t mean anything if we don’t show up on the day.

“A couple of years ago we had a great year and lost in the semis so we know it’s definitely a possibility.

“We’ve ticked this goal off now and the next thing is winning that grand final.”

Becoming the first team to win back-to-back titles since Brisbane in 2011-12, and the first to do the double since they themselves did it three years ago, would elevate Steve Corica’s side into the top tier in A-League history.

But the young coach knows that anything short of grand final glory will kill off claims of them being the equal of the great sides.

“It’ll come down to if we win the grand final,” Corica said. “What you achieve as a group and how many trophies you win, that’s what it comes down to at the end of the day.

“They’ve got one trophy which we wanted, one piece of silverware. But there’s still one to go. And the grand final is the most important thing in Australia. We want to win that one as well.”

Corica is comfortable with his side being the hunted this year, having played the opposite role last season in pouncing in the finals to beat premiers Perth Glory and deliver a championship win in his first year as coach.

“It’s not the first time that’s happened at this club — it’s normally that way, that we’re the hunted ones,” he said.

“Last year Perth were the best team over the course of a season, and they get their credit for that. We were hunting them down, really.

“This year it’s a bit different but we’ve got a lot of experienced players that have been there, won premierships, won grand finals.”

Sydney has four regular season games still to play, starting with Saturday’s clash with third-placed Melbourne City, and they’ll be without Grant (groin) for at least the next two games.

Corica is hopeful the 29-year-old will be fit to face Brisbane in Sydney’s penultimate clash before the finals, but definitely expects him to be available for Western United on August 15 and the finals to follow.

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Sydney FC have set their sights on back-to-back grand final glory to cement their status as the greatest A-League side of all time, after securing a record fourth Premier’s Plate.

The Sky Blues notched their fourth premiership on Saturday night, with Wellington’s 1-1 draw against Adelaide United sealing the trophy for Steve Corica’s men.

It’s a third premiership in four seasons, and Sydney now have a chance to become just the second team, after Brisbane Roar in 2012-13, to win back-to-back championships.

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But there’s no questioning this team’s place in A-League history, considering their sustained success across the past four seasons.

For skipper Alex Wilkinson it’s a fifth premiership, having twice won with Central Coast Mariners, and the veteran defender wasn’t shy in singing the praises of the A-League juggernaut.

“It’s special what we’ve achieved in these last four seasons,” Wilkinson told The Daily Telegraph.

“There hasn’t been any team be this consistent or anywhere near this consistent in the A-League era.

“We’ve won three out of the last four Premier’s Plates and the other season we finished second with 50-something points and it was only because Perth had such an amazing season that we didn’t quite win it again.”

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Sydney had the chance to lift the trophy in front of their home fans on Tuesday, only to be denied by a late stunner from Newcastle’s Kosta Petratos – a loss which will be used as motivation in chasing more silverware this season.

With four games still to play, Sydney FC will now turn their attention to backing up last year’s championship glory.

But that’s not the only target they have in mind, with Wilkinson revealing pre-season marks for points tallied, as well as goals for and against, have yet to be reached.

“We set the goals pretty high at the start of the season. We haven’t achieved any of them,” he explained.

“We need a few more wins, goals and a few more cleansheets. That’s what’s going to be pushing us for the next four weeks now.”

And then, of course, is the grand final – where victory would give Sydney a record fifth championship, pulling them away from Melbourne Victory’s four.

“We’ve got the premier’s plate but we still want to back up with the grand final,” said Corica.

“That’s been our aim from the start of the season.



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