Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo are set to be honored with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute Award for Inspired Leadership at a virtual event Wednesday evening.
Baker, a Republican, and Cuomo, a Democrat, have led their states during the coronavirus pandemic, and both were among the hardest-hit places during the first wave of infections last spring. Cuomo and Baker were credited with taking actions that helped slow the spread of the disease, including pushing people to wear masks in public and take other precautions.
The institute praised both governors for actions beyond their handling of the pandemic. It pointed to efforts by Baker to use public-private partnerships to spur economic development, overhaul the state’s regulatory environment and deliver tax relief by doubling the Earned Income Tax Credit.
It also noted Baker’s efforts to invest in K-12 education, combat the opioid crisis and expand the state’s reliance on renewable energy. And it credited his spearheading of changes at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority that were meant to improve service and stabilize the public transit agency’s finances.
Baker has come under criticism for his handling of a second surge of the coronavirus in Massachusetts, particularly his decision to allow restaurants to continue to allow indoor dining, which he didn’t allow during the initial surge. Baker has said that restaurants have taken precautions, and this week he announced that their capacity limit would be reduced from 50% to 40% as of Sunday.
The institute praised Cuomo, who first took office on January 2011, for fighting “for social, racial and economic justice for all New Yorkers.”
Under Cuomo’s leadership, New York passed a $15 minimum wage, the nation’s strongest paid family leave program and some of its strongest gun safety laws, the largest investment in education in state history and a first-in-the-nation Green New Deal for New York, the institute said.
Cuomo has been faulted for not acting sooner to shut down New York City during the early days of the pandemic and for waiting too long to require New Yorkers to wear masks. He’s also been criticized for a March 25 order that sent thousands of recovering COVID-19 patients from hospitals into nursing homes. The U.S. Justice Department is trying determine whether New York is undercounting coronavirus deaths among nursing home residents.
Coolmore filly Personal claimed the VRC Oaks (2500m) on Thursday, storming over the top of Salto Angel and odds-on pop Montefilia.
Damien Oliver chalked up his 122nd career Group One with a well-timed ride to pick off the Danny O’Brien-trained Salto Angel – thwarting the stable for whom he won the Oaks for last year aboard Miami Bound.
It was a momentous Group One win for the Lindsay Park duo of Tom Dabernig and Ben Hayes, being their first success at the top level without the now Hong Kong-based David Hayes.
Race favourite Montefilia was in a duelling battle for most of the long Flemington straight but fell short of a third G1 success.
“I’ve got to send a shout-out to [racing manager] Rayan Moore, he hasn’t been feeling well, they actually took him to hospital in an ambulance so hopefully this cheers him up,” Dabernig told Racing.com post-race.
“The reports are that he’s going to be OK, but we’re all feeling for him – he puts in a lot of work behind the scenes.
“Back to the win, I’m very proud of the filly – it’s been a process, but she keeps running well.
“I’m thrilled for Ollie – I’ve known him since I was a teenager, and I think we needed all his experience and vigour late to get her home, but she ended up winning by a length on the line.
“It’s a massive thrill.”
– Looking for a winner this spring carnival? Try out the Punters form guide, including the predictor, form finder and sectional tools.
On Monday the United States Navy announced that it had modified its contracts with Newport News Shipbuilding, which will speed up delivery of the next Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier, USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79). The contract modification will move the carrier to a traditional single-phase delivery.
The carrier had been previously slated to go through a two-phase delivery process, which would have seen the ship mostly completed while the workforce at the shipbuilding facility would have paused, and then installed the electronics and made other modifications at a later date. That plan had been unveiled in the Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16) budget as a means to construct the warship on the most cost-effective schedule for the workforce at the construction yard.
It also would have avoided an overlap of CVN-79 with USS Nitmitz (CVN-68) in the fleet, which could put a further strain on Navy budgets but also on the personnel needed to operate both vessels. By inserting a “gap” in the construction, which would delay the final delivery, the ship would have also received the most up-to-date technology just ahead of its entry into the fleet, reported USNI News.
When the decision was made to delay the carrier’s delivery it was expected John F. Kennedy would be ready in 2022 with a longer overlap between those two carriers. But now the Navy is expecting that the carrier would be delivered in 2024 regardless of whether it is delivered fully outfitted or not, and for those reasons, the contract modifications have been made.
The $315 million contract will include converting the ship to a single-phase delivery, but also for install of F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter modifications. The contract modifications set a June 30, 2024, delivery date.
“We are pleased to have worked with the Navy to adopt lessons learned in the construction of USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) to improve cost, production and planning efficiencies on Kennedy,” said Lucas Hicks, Newport News’ vice president of new construction aircraft carrier programs. “We believe that the single-phase approach ensures the most effective build plan for all remaining work and provides the best value for the Navy by supporting its ability to accelerate operational deployment of this maritime force asset.”
Kennedy is now approximately 76 percent complete. The ship was launched in December 2019, and currently is undergoing additional outfitting and testing at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division.
The USS John F. Kennedy is the second Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier being built for the United States Navy.
USS Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier is equipped with two newly-designed reactors and has 250 percent more electrical capacity than previous carriers. These improvements have allowed the ship to load weapons and launch aircraft with greater efficiency. The warship features a new nuclear power plant, a redesigned island, electromagnetic catapults, improved weapons movement, an enhanced flight deck capable of increased aircraft sortie rates, and growth margin for future technologies.
Additionally, each Ford-class ship can operate with a smaller crew than the Nimitz-class carriers and will provide $4 billion in total ownership cost savings for the U.S. Navy.
The Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers are able to carry up to 90 aircraft, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft, MH-60R/S helicopters, as well as unmanned air and combat vehicles.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.
Now, we all know we have Derbies around the world – for the best staying three-year-olds of both genders – thanks to the 12th Earl of Derby, who came up with the idea for the race in at a booze-up in 1780 (because no good ideas were ever hatched over a salad).
But how do we get the fillies-only equivalent, a race called The Oaks?
The 12th Earl of Derby of course.
This guy! Did he have an influence on global horse racing or what?
In fact, The Oaks came first. The aforementioned Derby-spawning soiree was held to celebrate the running of the first Oaks, in 1779. That was another idea by the Earl, to start a new race for which he’d put up the money. Why name a classic after a bunch of trees, rather than say, after a drinking vessel? The Earl lived on an estate, just to the east of Epsom Racecourse where the race would end up being run, called The Oaks.
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Party continues for Cup champ
And thus, the feature race for three-year-old staying fillies on racing calendars throughout the world are so named. And Australia is having its main one tomorrow at Flemington, on VRC Oaks Day, fittingly enough.
The day has also become a highlight of the annual social calendar. It’s dubbed Ladies Day, because on the biggest day of the season for well turned-out fillies, it attracts a lot of well-dressed women. And where there are lots of women, what else do you find? Yes, it’s also become known as Blokes Day.
In any event, none of that sort of thing will be happening this year, in the year of Covid, with about 100,000 fewer people at Flemington than normal. But the races will still be on, and it’s a full nine-race card to be had.
There are a handful of Black Type events, the classy sort that go into yearling sales catalogues in, err, black type, to highlight what the parents and relatives of a yearling achieved on the track. There’s also a touch of novelty, in the annual race restricted to grey horses, which looks ghostly indeed, and which is now named after one of Australia’s most famous greys, Subzero, the 1992 Melbourne Cup winner who died this year aged 32.
But the highlight, of course, will be The Oaks, over 2500m, and worth $1 million. As Derbies can achieve for colts in their stud career, Oaks victories let fillies show their stuff and will set them up for a lucrative life in the breeding barn. For an example, Samantha Miss won The Oaks in 2008, pocketed the $605,000 prizemoney, and was later sold to become a breeding mare for an Australasian record broodmare price of $3.85 million. (She did win a few other races as well mind you). Rose Of Kingston won in 1981 went on to have a son called Kingston Rule, who still holds the record for the fastest Melbourne Cup, which he won in 1990.
But it’s not just about breeding. The race has launched the racing career of a thousand staying mares. Miami Bound, for example, won it last year and contested Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup. Jameka won in 2015 and took out the following year’s Caulfield Cup. Verry Elleegant ran seventh in 2018 and has kicked on, winning this year’s Caulfield Cup among several G1s.
There’s a quality 14-field assembled for the main event, which is a Group 1, restricted to fillies. This is a quirk of racing strictures to which some object: why are fillies allowed into derbies, but colts cant enter oaks-es? It just is, and it’s not all that relevant, as fillies don’t win derbies that often.
The VRC Oaks is also ancient. It’s as old as the Melbourne Cup in fact, having been first run in 1861, but a few years younger than the VRC Derby, Australia’s oldest big race. And it’s been won by some of the all-time greats. Let’s take a look.
WHAT IS IT?
The VRC Oaks, now known by a sponsors’ name in the Kennedy Oaks, a set weights event for three-year-old fillies, in which everyone carries 56kg.
Though Oaks races and Derbies throughout the world are generally run over 2400m, Flemington’s was changed to 2500m in 1973 because the 2400m start was a tad too close to the turn out of the home straight, inciting mayhem as horses tried to settle into a running position.
WHAT’S IT WORTH?
As Dr Evil might say – one million dollars!
OK, that’s not much when compared to some of the filthy lucre being spewed out in Sydney on Mr V’Landys’ watch these days, but it’s not always about money, Peter. There’s prestige and history involved, and breeding value.
WHEN’S IT ON?
Race 8 on the card at 5.10pm (AEDT).
WHERE CAN YOU WATCH IT?
It’s on Channel 10, Racing.com or Sky Racing. Foxsports.com.au will have live news and updates, including video soon after the race. You can’t get into the racecourse, but you can stand along the banks of the Maribyrnong River to see them run past for a bit, like quite a few people did on Cup day, like sad, forlorn children staring into a locked-down Disneyland.
In a race all about future breeding, most eyes will be on Montefilia. She’s emerged as the most exciting three-year-old filly in the land, having won two Group 1s in Sydney at her past two starts, over 1600m and up to 2000m. Will she able to handle the extra 500m? Well, breeding suggests she will.
There’s a juicy little pedigree angle here. Montefilia’s dad is the former very good Chris Waller-trained galloper Kermadec, who’s now two crops of horses into his breeding career, and an Oaks win would put a large feather in his cap. Kermadec’s dad is the very good Irish stallion Teofilo, the sire of Tuesday’s Cup winner, Twilight Payment.
Montefilia is an odds-on favourite, but several of these have come unstuck attempting the 2500m test at this stage of their lives, having only turned three on August 1.
Second-favourite is Personal, to be ridden by Damien Oliver, who was second in Saturday’s Wakeful Stakes, the race which was the lead-up for several Oaks runners.
Race favourite breaks down
Palestine, in 1861.
Jameka (2015), Samantha Miss (2008), Miss Finland (2006), Research (1988), Rose Of Kingston (1981), Surround (1976), Light Fingers 1964 (Melbourne Cup winner the next year), Furious (1921), Briseis (1876).
OTHER RACES ON THE UNDERCARD
Race 2: Ottawa Stakes (1000m), a Group 3 race for 2yo fillies, 1.15pm.
Race 3: Century Stakes (1000m), a Listed race for everyone three years old and up, 1:55pm.
Race 5: The Subzero Handicap (1400m), it’s not black type but it’s only open to greys and is quite the sight, 3:15pm.
Race 9: Red Roses Stakes (1100m), a Group 3 sprint for 3yo fillies, 5:50pm.
FOR: Shapes up as the classiest 3yo filly in the country at present. Trained in Sydney by David Payne, this filly is bred to do well. Her dad is Kermadec, who won two big Group 1s in Sydney in the Doncaster and George Main Stakes, and who was by Teofilo, as mentioned. On Montefilia’s maternal side, she’s out of a British mare, which is always good for staying (long distance) blood, and that mare’s dad was Shirocco, sire of Melbourne Cup folk hero Prince Of Arran. Anyway, bloodlines can count for nothing if a horse can’t gallop, but Montefilia has shown she can, winning two Group 1s in the Flight Stakes (1600m) and Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) in back-to-back Saturdays last month. Also has Hugh Bowman on her back, who knows how to win a big one.
AGAINST: This has been a dodgy race for favourites lately, especially odds-on faves, and better for second or third-favourites. Miami Bound was second-favourite in winning last year while the $3.80 favourite Gamay came fifth. Amphitrite ran last at odds-on in 2018 while third-fave Aristia won. Aloisia was $1.80 in 2017 and ran sixth while second-fave Pinot won. And in 2016, Yankee Rose was a certainty at $1.95 and came second-last, while Lasqueti Spirit won, and won easily, at $101. So a certain amount of faith is needed to be convinced Montefilia, or any of these, can run out 2500m in decent style. But exposed form is all we have, and that points strongly to her being the last filly standing.
2. PERSONAL (10) $6 / $1.75.
FOR: Strong stable in Tom Dabernig and Ben Hayes. Great jockey in Damien Oliver, who’s won two of the past five. Has been building up to this, working home well to come second at her past three starts – at 1400m, 1600m, and the 2000m of the main Melbourne lead-up (last Saturday’s Wakeful Stakes). She kept coming when beaten only a neck in that race, suggesting she can run 2500m. Her mum was by the great European sire Galileo, which also augurs well for her chances of running out the trip. Ranks as second-favourite, and they have a good recent record in this.
AGAINST: Has a bit of tricky barrier in 10 of 14, and it could be hard for Oliver to get near the rail making the first bend.
3. CAFÉ RIZU (14) ($31 / $5.50).
FOR: Has won at the track, hinting at staying potential in taking an 1800m event in August and beating male horses to boot. Good, experienced jockey in Craig Newitt. Top stable in Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr, and was doing her best work at the finish when seventh at Caulfield last start over 2000m in a key lead-up race, the Ethereal Stakes, coming from 16th with only 400m to go to be beaten by 4.8len.
AGAINST: Has the widest barrier, but that might not be so bad, since she’s been settling at the back of the field lately, to help her relax and run like a stayer. Could be a decent longshot.
4. SUCCEED INDEED (13) $35 / $6.
FOR: Is from the Team Corstens stable, which has been going alright lately, and has the experienced Mark Zahra on board, who won the Caulfield Cup last month on Verry Elleegant. Gets the blinkers on for the first time, which should help her settle nicely and hopefully run out the distance, after she didn’t settle well last start in the Wakeful. Has run at 2000m at her past two starts, and has had five runs this preparation, so has plenty of miles in her legs.
AGAINST: Didn’t really hit the line at the finish of the Wakeful, and while she should settle better with the blinkers on, you wonder about her capacity to run an extra 500m here. Also has a tricky barrier.
5. SALTO ANGEL (9) $27 / $4.80.
FOR: From the formidable Danny O’Brien stable and with big race jockey Damian Lane aboard. Went OK for fifth in the Wakeful, and had excuses, when forced to race three and four wide for the trip, and carted very wide on the home bend. Before that was a good second (1.75len), also over 2000m in the Ethereal, so is another who has miles in her legs.
AGAINST: Slightly awkward barrier, but should be able to get near the rail in a race this long. Place hope.
6. MIRAVALLE (6) $7 / $1.95.
FOR: Ran close to the run of the race when fourth in the Wakeful, flashing home at the end from 12th at the 400m. That suggests strong she’ll run out the 2500m. She also finished over the top of rivals here like Salto Angel and Succeed Indeed. Is a Sydney horse and they have had an edge over their southern rivals in recent spring carnivals. (One theory is they get a less harsh winter). Craig Williams in the saddle and Mark Newnham is a decent trainer.
AGAINST: Lining her up against the favourite, this filly was only sixth to Montefilia, beaten almost six lengths, in the Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick last month, on a good track, as it should be at Flemington on Thursday. She did at least make ground from 11th on the turn in that race. But can she make up that gap here over the extra 500m?
7. TYCHE GODDESS (3) $17 / $3.80.
FOR: Great jockey in Kerrin McEvoy and an in-form stable in Busuttin-Young, and a soft inside barrier. Tuned up OK with a third in the Wakeful, in her only start at Flemington to date. Sire is Teofilo, who’s son Twilight Payment stayed the trip to win Tuesday’s Big Cup.
AGAINST: Was weakening at the finish of the Wakeful, raising doubts about the extra distance. That was her first step up to 2000m, and while she’ll take a fitness benefit because of that that, others have more miles in their legs, in what is traditionally a race laced with doubt about who can go the furthest.
8. BIARCHI (1) $61 / $11.
FOR: Barrier one is handy, and she’s won her past two starts, both at 1800m and on good tracks. John Allen’s a solid jockey.
AGAINST: Those past two starts were at Murray Bridge – a maiden – and Morphettville, Adelaide, in a low-quality race. Starting her in this Group 1 is what in racing parlance is known as “a shot at the stumps”. Well, cricket-turned-racing parlance.
9. STAR OF EDEN (2) $26 / $4.80.
FOR: Has been placed in all three starts and tuned up well with a third over 2000m at Caulfield last start in the Ethereal, when she stuck on from third at the turn. Nice barrier and a gun jockey in Billy Egan, about the only jock in the land who rides with his sleeves pushed up, like he means business. Trainer Mike Moroney has a good record with stayers.
AGAINST: Has only had those three career starts leading into this so could be a bit raw to run out this trip in strong style.
10. ART GLASS (12) $126 / $21
FOR: Hmmm… Has William Pike in the saddle, and trainer Grahame Begg is the son of Neville Begg, who was a master of training fillies. A 100-1 pop won this race in Lasqueti Spirit four years ago, so there’s hope for the battler.
AGAINST: Just the way she’s been running really. Has had four runs this prep including a 13th, and two 11ths, one of them last start in the Ethereal. Before that she won a maiden at Geelong over 2265m, but that was on a heavy track. Needs it to bucket down, but it probably won’t.
11. VILANCULOS (7) $34 / $6.
FOR: Jamie Kah is the main thing. She could win on a lot of things these days. And trainer Danny O’Brien won this last year with Miami Bound. The filly’s been placed in the last three of her four starts, and tuned up well when third in the Geelong Classic, a lead-up to this, over 2200m. That’s further than most in this race have been. Winkers go on, which should ensure she settles nicely.
AGAINST: Has yet to show she can stick her nose out on the line, and hasn’t raced in town yet. A step up up in class, but not the worst. Each way.
12. HARD SQUEEZE (8) $81 / $15.
FOR: Is a last-start winner, and bolted in there by five lengths in fact, over 2124m. Is raced in the Sangster colours – started by the famous Robert Sangster, now carried on by his Australia-based son Adam – which have been carried to victory in some of the world’s biggest races.
AGAINST: That five length win was on the unhallowed turf of Echuca, and came in a highweight maiden, races generally put on for ordinary gallopers.
13. YATTON (4) $46 / $8.
FOR: Has Jye McNeil in the saddle, a very promising young jockey who is on the crest of a wave after expertly winning the Big Cup on Tuesday. Came fourth at only start at Flemington.
AGAINST: Was a poor 10th last start in the Ethereal. Would need to improve.
14. SWINDON LASS (11) $201 / $34.
FOR: Is in the field, and the oldest of sayings goes that you can’t win if you’re not in the field. If you’re keen, look to her fifth of 13, beaten 2len, two runs back over 1800m at Flemington.
AGAINST: Finished 12th last start in the Ethereal. Would need to lift a lot.
Rudy Giuliani demanded an apology from Fox Business host Kennedy on Tuesday evening and threatened to walk out of their interview after she compared him to British ex-spy Christopher Steele.
The president’s personal attorney had been on the show to discuss Hunter Biden’s laptop and the evidence he says is on it.
But when probed by Lisa ‘Kennedy’ Montgomery about the credibility of the documents in a line of questioning that compared him to Steele, Giuliani said: ‘You got to be kidding me. I was acting like Christopher Steele?’
The former British spy’s research alleged ties between Trump and Russia and was financed by Democrats. It contained unproven rumors about the president.
Kennedy said: ‘Some can say that you’re acting like Christopher Steele, that you were abstracting information.’
Giuliani hit back: ‘You better apologize for that. I mean I’ve been a United States attorney, associate attorney general, mayor of New York City and a member of the bar for 50 years. I’ve never been accused of anything, and you’re accusing me of being Christopher Steele.’
‘What you’re saying is an outrageous defamation of me, of my reputation’, he added.
Giuliani had been on the show Tuesday to discuss Hunter Biden’s laptop
He was then probed by Lisa ‘Kennedy’ Montgomery about the credibility of the documents in a line of questioning that compared him to Steele, pictured
The former NYC mayor then invited the host to come and see the evidence for herself.
He added: ‘I came on your show in good faith to give you evidence that is being withheld from the American people, and I get defamed.
‘This may be the last time we’ll be on camera because I don’t let people call me Christopher Steele.’
Giuliani is behind renewed allegations about Joe Biden’s son Hunter and his foreign business ties. The New York Post says the emails were part of a trove of data recovered from a laptop that was dropped off at a computer repair shop in Delaware in April 2019.
The main email highlighted by the Post is an April 2015 message that it said was sent to Hunter Biden by Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to Burisma’s board. In it, he thanks the younger Biden ‘for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent (sic) some time together. It’s realty (sic) an honor and pleasure.’
The wording makes it unclear if he actually met Joe Biden. The Biden campaign said in a statement that it had reviewed Biden’s schedules from the time and that no meeting as described by the newspaper took place.
Hunter Biden himself has not spoken publicly in recent weeks, including to confirm whether or not the laptop is his.
The Biden campaign has also not addressed that question, though a lawyer for Hunter, George Mesires, said in a statement that ‘we have no idea where this came from, and certainly cannot credit anything that Rudy Giuliani provided to the NY Post.’
Giuliani is behind renewed allegations about Joe Biden’s son Hunter and his foreign business ties. The New York Post says the emails were part of a trove of data recovered from a laptop that was dropped off at a computer repair shop in Delaware in April 2019
Kennedy did manage to then ask the attorney about his widely shared cameo in the new Borat movie where he is seen lying on the bed, tucking in his shirt with his hand down his pants in the presence of a young woman posing as a conservative TV reporter.
She asked: ‘Do you regret your interaction in the Borat movie?’
Giuliani replied: ‘Now that’s a stupid question, isn’t it? Whether you believe it or not, I was tucking my shirt in. He made it appear as if it was something different.’
When Kennedy finished her interview by saying: ‘You can’t tell me you haven’t loved this conversation’, Giuliani replied: ‘I have not loved this conversation. I find this conversation totally insulting.
‘You don’t accuse someone of being a criminal without any evidence, on speculation.’
The Biden campaign said in a statement that it had reviewed Biden’s schedules from the time and that no meeting as described by the newspaper took place
Kennedy did manage to then ask the attorney about his widely shared cameo in the new Borat movie; She asked: ‘Do you regret your interaction in the Borat movie?’
The 2016 ‘Steele Dossier,’ prepared for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign by former British spy Christopher Steele, alleged connections between Trump’s successful campaign and Russia.
Trump has long denied any such connection and some of the dossier’s claims have been disputed.
The ‘golden showers’ dossier detailed Trump’s alleged ties to Russia including accusations he and his campaign worked in cahoots with Moscow to beat Clinton in the 2016 election, were offered funds from Moscow and had full knowledge of Russia tapping in to Democrats’ emails.
It also claimed Russia was able to blackmail Trump because the Kremlin had footage of him watching prostitutes urinate on a hotel bed in Moscow in 2013 when he visited the city for the Miss Universe pageant.
The FBI investigated the claims made in the dossier after it was leaked in January 2017 and it was used to obtain a FISA eavesdropping warrant on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide.
The Steele dossier was first briefed to Trump just before his inauguration and was first published in full by Buzzfeed News soon after.
It’s been revealed two interstate clubs made shock bids for a West Coast superstar.
Plus it’s been a rough week already, but the Essendon exodus might not be over just yet.
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‘Abysmal’ Kangaroos roasted!
TWO SHOCK BIDS MADE FOR EAGLES VETERAN
Gold Coast and Collingwood both made inquiries about luring West Coast’s Josh Kennedy across to finish his career at their respective clubs, per multiple reports.
The Eagles confirmed Kennedy had signed a one-year extension on Thursday evening, along with veteran defender Shannon Hurn, meaning he’s set to see out his career in the west.
But the Suns made a bid for Kennedy, and not for the first time, according to The West Australian, while the Herald Sun reported the Magpies made a similar pitch.
Both offers would have followed the model of Sam Mitchell’s late-career move from Hawthorn to West Coast, with an on-field role for one or two years before becoming an assistant coach.
Kennedy and Hurn both made the decisions to play on into 2021 late this season after solid form but a disappointing elimination final exit.
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How Saints can stop Tigers
MORE BOMBERS LINKED TO MOVES
Essendon’s 2018 best and fairest winner Devon Smith is reportedly “unsettled” and “not happy” at the club as he nears the end of his current contract.
Smith joined the club at the end of 2017 on a four-year deal, making an immediate impact to win the W.S. Critchton Medal as the side’s best and fairest player in 2018.
The 27-year-old’s 2019 campaign was cut short by much-needed knee surgery, before he delivered an underwhelming 2020 season compared to his previous showings.
In an ominous sign for Bombers fans, SEN reporter Sam Edmund said the impending departures of Joe Daniher and Adam Saad are not the only problems facing the side.
“You’d want to make sure this is the end of the fire and I don’t think it is,” he said.
“Certainly the jungle drums are beating furiously in the sense that there’s more uncertainty at the club, more players exploring their options and more players perhaps part of this ever-increasing disgruntled group.
“I’m hearing whispers Devon Smith is one of those … whispers around him being unsettled and not happy there. Whether that translates to him lodging a trade request is a very long bow to draw at this point, but certainly some unhappiness with him.”
Edmund also said there were whispers forward stars Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti and Jake Stringer were among those frustrated with the club’s wayward 2020 season.
Cats in the Cameron chase
DOCKERS STAR ON THE OUTER?
High-profile Fremantle recruit Jesse Hogan could be fighting for his spot on the club’s list in 2021, with the Dockers reportedly showing interest in Ben Brown.
Hogan managed just seven games for Fremantle in Justin Longmuir’s first year as senior coach, with the 25-year-old booting only five goals, four of them coming against 17th-placed North Melbourne.
Speaking on SEN, WA journalist Tim Gossage said the Dockers were one of several clubs considering a push for outgoing North Melbourne forward Ben Brown.
“There’s a lot of talk about Fremantle and what they’re going to do with Jesse Hogan. There’s a bit of a push for Ben Brown to Fremantle,” he said.
“Hogan (will) either pull his socks up and play somewhere else upfield, Taberner plays centre half forward.
“Jesse Hogan is on the cusp. If Jesse Hogan doesn’t cross all the i’s and cross all the t’s in the coming months he might not be on the list.”
Star West Coast midfielder Andrew Gaff has committed to the Eagles for the next four seasons, while veterans Josh Kennedy and Shannon Hurn will play on next year.
Gaff inked a two-year deal at the end of 2018 with the option for him to trigger another four years after that.
His family ties in Victoria saw him almost leave the club at the end of 2018 due to the poor health of his father at the time, and the Eagles were nervously waiting to see whether Gaff would trigger his long-term extension at the end of 2020.
West Coast announced on Thursday that Gaff had decided to stay, while Kennedy and Hurn were rewarded for consistent seasons with new one-year deals.
Gaff has become one of the most durable players in the competition, notching 215 games since making his debut in 2011.
The biggest chunk of matches he has sat out arose from the eight-match suspension he copped near the end of 2018, which saw him miss out on West Coast’s flag that year.
Gaff played all 18 matches for the Eagles this season and was unlucky to miss out on selection in the expanded All-Australian squad.
Hurn and Kennedy are both 33, but are still clearly in West Coast’s best side.
Kennedy booted 34 goals from 17 games this year, which included a seven-goal haul against Collingwood in round eight.
Hurn averaged 16 possessions and five marks per game in his first season since handing over the captaincy to Luke Shuey.
West Coast’s season ended last Saturday when they suffered a heartbreaking one-point loss to Collingwood in an elimination final.
Ryan then hit Brayden Ainsworth on the chest at the top of the goal square for their second.
He kept the third goal to himself as he turned a defender inside-out on the boundary before settling himself to kick an astonishing goal.
It was a spree that reeled in the Kangaroos and marked Ryan as one of West Coast’s most important players heading into the finals. He changes games and his pace and leap make him a difficult match-up.
The disappointment for North Melbourne is that they should have been further in front at quarter-time having dominated possession. Four Eagles had failed to touch the ball in the first term as the Kangaroos won it 96 times to West Coast’s 57.
The Roos won first and often last possession in a chain but struggled to convert, kicking 2.4 when the numbers should have been the opposite way around.
Having blown their best chance of winning they would have been forgiven, to some extent, to turning their minds to lying on the sand for a couple of weeks rather than digging in for a fight.
But to their credit North kept coming but again their goalkicking let them down with Todd Goldstein and Jack Ziebell both guilty of missing easy chances to take the lead in the third quarter.
The ball was slippery but the excuses would need to be too because the errors cost the Roos a realistic chance to claim a big scalp in a disappointing season.
Instead the two teams entered the final quarter on the same score, 28 apiece.
The Eagles, needing the win more than their opponents, took their chances when it mattered with Oscar Allen – the team’s impressive ruck-forward – kicking two quick goals midway through the term to break the stalemate.
It proved the difference in a match as scrappy as a crisper in a student’s fridge with the Eagles perfunctory and the Kangaroos depleted and ready for the season’s end after eight consecutive losses.
WEST COAST 0.0 3.1 4.4 7.7 (49) NORTH MELBOURNE 2.4 2.6 3.10 4.10 (34)
GOALS West Coast: Allen 3, Ryan 2, Darling, Ainsworth. North Melbourne: Higgins, Zurhaar, Larkey, Anderson.
BEST West Coast: Ryan, Duggan, Allen, Hurn, Gaff. North Melbourne: Anderson, Simpkin, Higgins, Polec, Davies-Uniacke.
INJURIES West Coast: Kennedy (ankle). North Melbourne: Larkey (shoulder).
CROWD 724 at Metricon Stadium.
Peter Ryan is a sports reporter with The Age covering AFL, horse racing and other sports.