Israel Folau’s request for face-to-face NRL meeting knocked back

One club boss described Folau as “damaged goods”, while another admitted the risk wasn’t worth taking.

However, the fact Folau was keen to personally put his case to powerbrokers at Rugby League Central suggests he is confident of attracting interest if head office gives its blessing.

Israel Folau still wants to return to the NRL.Credit:Getty

French Super League club Catalans signed Folau after his acrimonious split with Rugby Australia, prompted by controversial social media posts during his time in the sport. The 31-year-old is prepared to guarantee he won’t publicly express his religious beliefs if the NRL allows him to return.

Folau is still contracted to Catalans for the current season, but has returned to Australia for family reasons. Catalans coach Steve McNamara is resigned to the former GWS Giants player never playing for the club again.

“One hundred per cent Izzy is always welcome to come back here,” McNamara said this month. “He still has a contract here. Given the severity of his family situation, we understand it might not be possible for him to come back.”


If Folau was allowed to return to the NRL, Catalans would likely get a transfer fee in exchange for freeing him from his contract.

St George Illawarra attracted intense criticism for pursuing Folau. Ian Roberts, who in 1995 became the first professional footballer in any code to come out as gay while still playing, panned the decision.

“Rugby league isn’t solely about winning and losing,” Roberts told the Herald earlier this month.

“I don’t know who okayed this and thought it was a good idea or thought it would be good for the club at St George Illawarra – the coach, the board, whatever. But they would have to reflect upon their position in rugby league.

“This is about the very fabric of what rugby league is about; it’s about community, inclusion, integrity.

“This isn’t about winning and losing games. At what cost? I’m just disappointed it got this far.”

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Australian Open: Heather Watson knocked out by Anett Kontaveit in second round

Heather Watson had won two of her previous five matches against Anett Kontaveit

Heather Watson was knocked out of the Australian Open by 21st seed Anett Kontaveit as the British challenge in the women’s singles came to an end.

It was a gutsy display by the 28-year-old Briton, who battled from 3-0 and 4-1 down and 5-2 down in the tie-break to take the opening set.

The Estonian fought back to take the second set before breaking twice in the decider en route to a 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-2 victory for a place in round three.

She will now face USA’s Shelby Rogers.

The Briton, ranked 60th, made a sluggish start inside the John Cain Arena against last year’s quarter-finalist, whom she had lost to in three of their previous five meetings.

But she soon settled and broke back in the seventh game with a superb cross-court forehand winner before winning five consecutive points to take the first-set tie-break.

A tight second set was effectively decided in the ninth game when Kontaveit’s best form came to the fore, producing two great backhand winners to seal her second break.

Watson’s own form dipped in the decider. The Briton’s win percentage on her first serve had fallen from 71% in the first set to 53% as she was broken twice more with Kontaveit completing her win with another backhand winner.

“I’m really happy with the way I played,” said the 25-year-old. “I hung in there – it was such a tough match.

“The momentum was swinging. I managed to fight for everything.”

There was British success in the men’s doubles on Thursday. Fifth seeds Joe Salisbury and American Rajeev Ram began the defence of their title with a 6-4 6-4 win over Briton Jonny O’Mara and New Zealand’s Artem Sitak.

Neal Skupski and brother Ken, the 16th seeds, defeated Canadian singles star Felix Auger-Aliassime and Pole Hubert Hurkacz 6-3 6-2 to reach round two.

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UFC 257 Conor McGregor knocked out by Dustin Poirier, wife’s golden reaction, Jolie Poirier, interview

Plenty of people in the fight world were happy to see Conor McGregor get knocked out on Sunday — but none more so than Dustin Poirier’s wife.

The American floored McGregor in the second round of their lightweight clash at UFC 257, doing so much damage earlier in the bout The Notorious left the arena on crutches.

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The crowd — albeit a smaller one in these COVID-19 times — went wild when Poirier’s left hand rocked McGregor but after the referee jumped in to stop the action there was one voice that stood out most.

Poirier’s wife Jolie was straight up out of her seat and headed cageside to deliver a forceful message.

“I told you! That’s the last time you’re going to doubt my husband, I swear to God,” she said as the cameras followed her.

The couple have been together since they were teenagers and an emotional Poirier paid tribute to his better half in the aftermath of the biggest win of his career, gaining revenge for his 2014 defeat to McGregor.

Asked about his wife by an interviewer who said “I’ve never seen anybody so happy, literally doing laps of the Octagon, screaming and shouting”, Poirier took a moment to reflect on what his relationship means.

“I heard her. As soon as I hit that last shot and turned away I heard my wife,” Poirier told BT Sport. “She ran straight to the cage and said, ‘I told you so!’.

“(When I was young) I didn’t have a car. She’d drive me to shows (fights), we’d use her car, she’d stay in the broken down hotels and motels with me.

“Man, I don’t want to get emotional here but that’s my girl, she’s stuck it out with me, this win is as much hers as it is mine.

“I wouldn’t be here without her, that’s for sure.”

Dustin and Jolie have a four-year-old daughter together, Parker Noelle, and she was in their thoughts after the big win as the UFC stud kissed a photo of his baby and promised he’d be home soon.

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Meanwhile, in the opposition camp, McGregor’s fiancee Dee Devlin had a simple message for her squeeze after suffering a third loss in his past six fights — and the most brutal of his career, having never been knocked out in the Octagon before.

The couple embraced after McGregor left the Octagon and Devlin took to Instagram to show her support for the Irishman.

“I love you,” she wrote over the top of the UFC star’s post thanking people for their support.

McGregor faces an uncertain future, with a blockbuster rematch against lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov now off the cards. Instead, there is talk about a trilogy fight against either Poirier or nemesis Nate Diaz, after the rivals shared the spoils across two bouts back in 2016.

Poirier dismissed suggestions he would fight Michael Chandler next after his incredible KO of Dan Hooker on debut in the co-main event at UFC 257, and instead hinted at his interest in a third and deciding fight with McGregor.

“Conor took this result very professionally, he’s a pro, nothing but respect, we’re one and one, maybe we’ll have to do this again,” he said.

Poirier also named Charles Oliveira as a possible candidate, with the Brazilian in the middle of an unbeaten eight-fight streak.

“I think he has more (of a case for a title shot),” Poirier said. “I’ve been watching that guy for 10 years in the UFC, two different weight classes. He’s fought the best of the best, over and over again. And, he’s been knocked down and gotten up, and he’s proven what MMA and perseverance is.

“I respect that. Not that I don’t respect Michael Chandler. I just think there’s more work for him to do than beat a guy I just beat.

“Khabib reiterates he doesn’t want to fight any more — dude, I’m the champ. I’m not going to fight, some — and like I said, respect to Chandler — a new guy to the UFC who just beat a guy that’s coming off a loss that I just beat for the belt. That’s not exciting to me.”

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Conor McGregor knocked out by Dustin Poirier in second round at UFC 257

Dustin Poirier has stopped Conor McGregor with a flurry of punches midway through the second round of their UFC 257 bout in Abu Dhabi, avenging his 2014 loss to the Irish superstar.

Poirier caught McGregor with a series of shots to the head, before buckling his knees with two left hands.

The American then sent McGregor to the canvas with a short right hand and finished the bout swiftly, causing stunned excitement among the few thousand screaming fans allowed to attend the bout.

“I think this is a title fight,” Poirier said of their lightweight bout.

“I’m the champion.”

In his first fight in a year, McGregor had a strong first round before he was stopped by punches for the first time in his mixed martial arts career.

McGregor, whose previous four losses all came by submission, stayed on the canvas for several moments afterward, gathering himself after his second loss in three fights since 2016.

“It’s hard to overcome inactivity over long periods of time,” said McGregor, who had not fought since beating Donald Cerrone last January.

“I just wasn’t as comfortable as I needed to be, but Dustin is some fighter. If you put in the time, you’re going to get cozy in here.

I have to dust it off and come back, and that’s what I will do … I’ll take my licks, but I’m gutted.”


McGregor and Poirier met for the first time in September 2014 as featherweights, and McGregor won by knockout in just 106 seconds during his incredible early-career success.

He became the featherweight champion 15 months later, while Poirier rebuilt his career with just one loss in his next 11 fights.

With a second chance to derail McGregor while boosting his own hopes of regaining the lightweight title, Poirier did not miss.

Sporting a shaved head and a beard, McGregor pushed the action early against Poirier, who landed an early takedown before getting backed against the cage for stretches of the first round.

In the second, Poirier bothered McGregor with leg kicks before throwing the punches that ended the bout.

“We’re 1-1, so maybe we have to do it again,” Poirier said.


In the co-main event at UFC 257, three-time Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler made a stunning UFC debut with a knockout of New Zealand’s Dan Hooker midway through the first round.

Chandler could be the next match-up for Poirier in a fight for the lightweight title apparently vacated by Khabib Nurmagomedov, who announced his retirement after his final victory last fall.


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Police involved in arrest which knocked man unconscious will not be prosecuted, court told

Four South Australian police officers involved in the arrest of a handcuffed man that ended with him being knocked unconscious at the Victor Harbor Police Station in 2017 will not be prosecuted, a court has heard.

Nathan Cross, 43, has launched civil action against SA Police, alleging the officers failed in their duty of care and were negligent during his arrest.

In court documents, he has claimed that his head was “slammed” into a charge counter at the Victor Harbor Police Station by Senior Constable Ben Higgins, causing him to be knocked unconscious and to suffer a brain injury.

Mr Cross was charged with assaulting police but was acquitted in September after Magistrate Sue O’Connor found he had not been a threat and some of the officers had colluded with each other.

CCTV from within the Victor Harbor Police Station was tendered during the criminal prosecution against Mr Cross.

In her verdict, Magistrate O’Connor said Senior Constable Higgins “was not candid” in his statement about the incident, but conceded in court that “he had pushed” Mr Cross.

She said one officer was a “helpful witness” but the other two had made “misleading” statements “that place Higgins in the best possible light and blame Mr Cross for what happened to him”.

Today, Andrew Carpenter, for Mr Cross, told the District Court that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) would not be charging the police officers involved.

The court heard SA Police has applied to put the civil lawsuit on hold until it completes an internal investigation.

Nathan Cross was acquitted of assault in September.(ABC News)

“I would still need to speak to the officers and as has been indicated, we can’t do that until the internal investigation process has been dealt with,” lawyers for SA Police told the court.

But Mr Carpenter said the civil lawsuit had already been delayed for three years to give Mr Cross an opportunity to fight the assault charge.

“We’re saying this matter should not be delayed any further on the basis they may have disciplinary proceedings,” he said.

“The police originally requested a four-month adjourned to file a defence so they could interview the officers and now they’re saying they haven’t interviewed them yet.

“They’ve provided oral testimony, sworn affidavits and there’s been findings, of a court, of untruth of statement.

Master Elizabeth Olsson adjourned the police’s application to put the civil action on hold until February next year.

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Gattellari knocked out in 13th round

After being examined by the medical officer for the fight. Dr J. J. McGirr, Gattellari telephoned his mother at Bonnyrigg, telling her tearfully in Italian “I’m O.K.”

Dr McGirr said later that Gattellari had not been badly injured, but was very upset.

Gattellari recovered enough to smile when a small band of loyal fans were found waiting outside the dressing-room.

They crowded around his car offering him consolation as he left the Showground.

The end for the little Australian-Italian champion came three parts of the way through unlucky round thirteen.

After being knocked down twice earlier in the round, Gattellari was defenceless as the tough Italian calmly unleashed a barrage of hard blows.

Cheers for “Salvatore”

Gattellari went down, spreadeagled, near the ropes and the American referee, Harold Valan, did not finish the count when it was obvious that the Australian could not continue.

Valan and the handlers of both boxers crouched around Gattellari with concern as he lay on the floor.

After about five minutes of attention in his corner, Gattellari recovered to grasp Burruni by the face with both hands in congratulation.

“The second time Rocky dropped after a flurry of punches and was practically helpless.”Credit:Staff photographer

A big crowd of about 20,000, many of whom were members of Sydney’s Italian community, paid up to £10 a seat to watch the fight.

On the knockout of Gattellari they rushed the ringside, and climbed on chairs yelling excitedly “Salvatore, Salvatore.”

They kept up the chant until Burruni was bundled out of the ring by 10 policemen, who shielded him as they forced a passage through the milling crowd.

One Italian girl, screaming “Salvatore,” climbed over the backs of people nearby to force a necklace of shells on to Burruni.

The fight was billed for the world flyweight championship and a large silver belt was strapped around Burruni’s waist after his win.

However, the title is in dispute because the World Boxing Council claims it has stripped the Italian of his title.

Organisers believe they will gross about £45,000 from the gate.

The two fighters were guaranteed their payment before the fight. It is believed that Burruni will receive about £23,000 and Gattellari £7,000.

Gattellari knocked out.

Gattellari knocked out. Credit:Staff photographer

Mrs. Gattellari consoles her son after the fight.

Mrs. Gattellari consoles her son after the fight.Credit:Staff photographer

It was a hard-fought, exciting fight with blood being drawn by both boxers.

It was the Italian community’s night.

The Italians arrived in excited, buzzing droves from 5 p.m. onwards, and they kept pouring into the grounds up to start of the contest at 9.15 p.m.

They packed the bleachers, which in this case were the Showground stands.

The fight last night had the traditional ballyhoo of the championship contest.

The fighters were led into the ring from their dressing-rooms under the Suttor Stand by the Australian and Italian flags and guards of honour formed by R.S.L. youth groups.

The tiny boxers could hardly be seen among the boys of the honour guard.

The Italian anthem “Fratelli D’ltalia” (Brothers of Italy) and then “Advance Australia Fair” were played as the boxers entered the ring.

Gattellari scored well in the early rounds, but as the fight progressed, it became obvious that the heavily muscled Italian was the stronger.

The crowd roared encouragement to Gattellari in the twelfth round when he opened a cut on the side of Burruni’s left eye.


But this seemed a spur to Burruni who launched a vicious attack from the beginning of the thirteenth round.

Gattellari went down on his knees from a hard right for a short count early in the round and soon after he was knocked down again to his hands and knees.

Burruni was quoted as a 5-4 on favourite before the fight started.

Some big bets, including one of £1,000, were reported on Burruni.

After the fight, Burruni’s manager, Umberto Branchini, said they would go home to sleep last night.

Tonight, after visiting the trots at Harold Park, they would probably celebrate at King’s Cross, he said.

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MMA fighter knocked out three times, KO, Copa Thunder de MMA Amador, referee

MMA referee Kleber Lopes has landed himself in hot water, after appearing to allow an amateur fighter to be knocked out three times during a bout in Brazil.

Michael Douglas took on Jessian Lucas during the Copa Thunder de MMA Amador event in Sao Paulo.

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Lucas came straight out of the blocks, catching his opponent flush in the face with a vicious kick after just 11 seconds.

The strike floored Douglas, with the noise shuddering around the venue.

He already appeared out for the count, and with strikes to the face of a downed opponent banned in amateur bouts, the fight seemed all but over.

Lopes astonishingly let things continue, however, with Lucas again seeming to end proceedings with some fierce ground and pound.

But bizarrely, the referee then called a time out, rather than time, allowing Douglas back to his feet.

The groggy fighter was visibly swaying, with Lopes still refusing to end the fight.

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Lucas then immediately struck Douglas with three more strikes, flooring him again and finally seeing an end to the madness.

Brazil‘s National Athletic Commission of MMA subsequently came out to recognise the gaffe.

Vice-president Anderson Ulysses said: “At 11 seconds of the first round, Michael was knocked out by a high kick to the head and the referee made his first mistake, not interrupting the fight.

“He committed the second mistake by allowing the fight to continue with the athlete unconscious.

“We apologise to the athletes, teams, MMA fans and Thunder Fight for the mistakes committed due to lack of experience of the professionals.

“We inform that the referees that committed the mistakes were interns who were getting tested and had no experience as referees, but had undergone rule courses previously.”

Lopes will now not be allowed to officiate until he has passed more courses.

This story first appeared in The Sun and was republished with permission.

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James Tedesco knocked out, Jai Arrow, reaction, Andrew Johns, ‘rubbish’

The 2020 State of Origin decider has lived up to expectations with he first half putting in an entertaining thriller at Suncorp Stadium.

After Queensland scored first through Valentine Holmes in the opening three minutes, NSW captain James Tedesco hit back with one of the more bizarre Origin tries.

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A NSW player was escorted off the ball, before an off-side Daly Cherry-Evans went to pick it up, with Tedesco sneaking in to ground the ball.

It was just what NSW needed with the huge Queensland crowd urging their side on.

But an ugly moment has marred the first half with Tedesco knocked out of the game after an accidental knee to the head from Josh Papalii — followed by being shoved back into the turf and lifted and forced back down by Jai Arrow despite being dazed by the head knock.

Queensland players did stand around Tedesco before trainers made it out onto the field but the NSW skipper was clearly unsteady on his feet and following Cameron Munster’s stumble ruling him out of game two, he quickly failed his head injury assessment.

Replays revealed the moment Arrow lifted and shoved Tedesco back to the turf with rugby league Immortal and NSW legend Andrew Johns labelling it “rubbish”.

“No need for that carry on by Jai Arrow,” he said.

“So he gets the knee here and he’s knocked out. He’s on the ground. That’s just not needed, the extra (from Arrow).

“The game’s hard enough as it is without that rubbish coming into play.”

Andrew Moore on ABC called it “stupid to push him like that!”

Arrow was spotted immediately calling for a NSW medical official to come onto the field to attend to Tedesco after he appeared to realise he was seriously injured.

However, social media was calling for Arrow’s blood.

“Dog act from Jai Arrow. Disgraceful,” The Herald Sun’s Emily Benammar posted on Twitter.

The Australian Jessica Halloran wrote: “That was a revolting move from Jai Arrow.” before adding he “Should be off”.

Former NSW player Keith Galloway also called Arrow a “grub” on Twitter before responding to a commenter that there was “still no need for the carry on”.

Some on social media have defended Arrow for not realising Tedesco was knocked out as he grabbed the ankle of forward.

The move meant that Eels fullback and NRL fullback of the year Clint Gutherson went to fullback, while Panthers forward Isaah Yeo moved to the centres.

Having played most of the season in the middle of the field for the minor premiers, Yeo has been exposed on the edge with Queensland targeting the edge.

Early in the second half, Queensland great Paul Vautin said the loss of Tedesco was noticable.

“They‘re missing Tedesco, aren’t they?” he said. “There’s little or no penetration through the middle of the field. Stuff that he normally does.”

Phil Gould agreed: “Big time”.

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AFL Grand Final 2020, Richmond vs Geelong, Patrick Dangerfield, elbow, MRO, Michael Christian, Nick Vlastuin, knocked out

Geelong star Patrick Dangerfield has avoided any potential sanction after a stray elbow left Richmond’s Nick Vlastuin concussed.

The Tigers defender was taken from the field in the opening minutes of the 2020 Grand Final after Dangerfield made high contact.

Vlastuin was unable to take any further part in the club’s triumphant third Grand Final victory inside four years, with Match Review Officer Michael Christian explaining the incident in detail.

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Danger knocks Tiger out COLD!


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Patrick Dangerfield interview, ‘dirty’ act, Nick Vlastuin, video, elbow, knocked out, Richmond vs Geelong

Patrick Dangerfield has been waiting his whole career to finally reach an AFL Grand Final and he wasted no time making an immediate impact.

The Geelong star flattened Richmond’s Nick Vlastuin in a chaotic opening to the first quarter that also saw Cats veteran Gary Ablett leave the field with a serious shoulder injury that ruined the retiring hero’s night.

After Ablett was brought down in a crunching tackle by Trent Cotchin, Dangerfield and Vlastuin charged for the ball and the Cat got there first, punching the Sherrin away as his opponent bore down on him.

But bracing for contact with the Tigers defender, Dangerfield cocked his elbow and collected Vlastuin in the head.

Vlastuin was knocked out cold and the game was stopped for nearly eight minutes while medical staff attended to him. He remained motionless on the ground before eventually being put on a stretcher, then taken off the ground on a medicab.

The 26-year-old was quickly ruled out of the Grand Final and later made his way to the bench to watch the remainder of the action from the boundary line.

Some said Dangerfield’s blow was accidental and a reflex reaction as he headed for a big collision with Vlastuin, but others weren’t showing the midfield gun the same sympathy.

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Sports writer Sam Vecenie tweeted: “That was UGLY from Dangerfield. He’s going to be out a couple rounds to start next season.”

Daniel Joyce said on Twitter Dangerfield is “dirty” while another sports writer, Tim Barrow, took aim at the Channel 7 commentators for defending Geelong’s superstar.

“Um, quite clearly Dangerfield should be suspended. Not that he’ll care if he wins a flag. The commentary is just awful,” Barrow wrote.

Former football reporter Ray Gatt chimed in, adding: “Just saw the elbow. Surely that guy gets cited and suspended for six weeks?”

After another heavy hit later in the first half, journalist Wendy Carlisle noted: “That’s two elbows form Dangerfield.”

Steve Taylor gave him the moniker “Patrick ‘elbows’ Dangerfield” while Peter Brown said “the elbow could be a match winner” as Richmond’s defence initially struggled to gel without Vlastuin before finding its groove.

On the other side of the fence, Aussie baseball star Travis Blackley said the hit was “totally not intentional” and “Dangerfield was clearly defending himself”.

Journalist Xavier Mardling said Dangerfield “hit the ball and only got (Vlastuin) high after (his) arm slid up upon contact. Be unlucky to cop a ban”.

Dangerfield, who failed to have a major impact as Richmond won a third flag in four years with a 12.9 (81) to 7.8 (50) victory, also downplayed the Vlastuin incident.

“I didn’t think there was much in it” he said. “I was trying to tap the ball away and there was three Richmond players coming toward me.

“Had there been something in it there would have been repercussions on the field, but for everyone it was just play on. It’s a contact sport.”

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