Kade Simpson slots one from 50 in his final match


Carlton stalwart Kade Simpson has only kicked 139 goals in his 342-game career and this one might be the one he’ll remember the most.

While the Blues are in trouble at the Gabba, Simpson in his iconic long sleeves put his body on the line and slotted a major from 50 metres out in the rain.

A brilliant moment to cap off a wonderful career for the 36-year old.








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Super Rugby Aotearoa, news: Crusaders defeat Chiefs, Blues defeat Highlanders, results, match report, video


Fullback Will Jordan has scored a try either side of halftime for the Crusaders who have outlasted the Chiefs 18-13 in their Super Rugby Aotearoa match at a drenched Christchurch Stadium.

The 10-time Super Rugby champions made the most of their few scoring opportunities and defended brilliantly on Sunday to make it two wins out of two in the competition and move to outright second in the standings, three points behind the Blues.

Warren Gatland’s Chiefs wrestled their way back from an 18-3 deficit but were left ruing a slew of untimely errors as they slumped to a third-straight defeat in the all-New Zealand competition.

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“Full credit to the Chiefs – they put us under a lot of pressure. I’m just stoked the boys got through,” said Crusaders captain Codie Taylor.



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Our CBDs are no match for a micrometre invader


The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that something as microscopic as a virus is enough to weaken our strongest city technology, writes Dr Peter Fisher.

A FEW YEARS AGO,  we were advised that a new type of elevator was on the cards destined to transform our cities. No longer operating vertically on the Z-axis and propelled by cables, this new development had a capacity for X-Y-axis movement within buildings using revolutionary flat belt technology. As we now know, another technology curated in deep time and cultured by our hanging out with other species was to take a hand.

As a result, two scales are now up against one another — a metre scale frequented by large structures and a micrometre scale frequented by a pathogen. One represents something we’re at home with, the other a millionth smaller.

At a time when nearly everyone on the planet is susceptible, there is likely to be little evolutionary pressure on the virus to spread better, so even potentially beneficial mutations might not flourish.

William Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, said:

“As far as the virus is concerned, every single person that it comes to is a good piece of meat. There’s no selection to be doing it any better.”

Old pieces of machinery

Last month, NSW Minister for the Environment Matt Kean noted that:

“It took NSW 60 years to build the existing power grid. All the generators, all the substations, all the poles and wires, everything. In the next 15 years, four of the five existing power stations will close. It has nothing to do with climate change. These are old pieces of machinery.”

As with Keenan’s generators and wires, are people-dense downtowns, with their glass vats full of knowledge workers attended by mass transit systems, old pieces of machinery, too? Can Lego-like ecosystems made of glass, steel, concrete, asphalt and heavy rail flex up? Are they any match for fleet-footed F.A.N.G.s keen to cultivate/shape a market created by quarantining and social distancing? 

Nomadic technologies

In fact, co-working stations and hot-desking on floor-upon-floor of office towers have been a nursery for software that is now garnishing the suburbs with renewed vigour.

The pandemic has stomped on the heels of architectural retrofits offering a private space closer to home where you can actually focus. With working from home now becoming widespread, it’s unclear as to the extent that a reconfiguring of spaces in private residences is undercutting the WeWork business model. On the other hand, homeschooling makes it hard to jostle work commitments.

The portability of iPhone/tablets had earlier provided a powerful demonstration of the pluses of time-shifting blurring the distinction between work and non-work, with trains, cafes and other public spaces offering venues.

To get the economy going, we’ll need more than hard hats

Brand CBD

The influential American urban planner Jane Jacobs thought that conditions for a vibrant city life were districts having a capacity to attract persons of different purposes around the clock. Blocks needed to be small, with many opportunities for pedestrians to interact amidst a diverse range of buildings. And, there needed to be reasonable density. The idea was that “vitality” had a lot to do with chance encounters.

Edward Glaeser’s 2013 book Triumph of the City similarly cast cities as places where human ingenuity can flourish, skills are developed and refined (amidst a vertical city) — traits regularly touted by our lord mayors.   

Repair jobs

However, measures like capital city recovery plans look to have their work cut out for them restoring something resembling Glaeser-normal.

A clue as to difficulties facing recovery task forces insofar as buildings are concerned stem from the French experience where 83 per cent of white-collar workers have returned to offices with one in four clusters now originating from there. These are regarded as sufficiently serious for the French Government to mandate masks.

But even software in the vein of smart buildings such as touchless entry, one-way lifts, temperature check stations, GPS fobs that track your every movement – and vibrate if you get within two metres of another employee – and renovations that cost millions count for little if workers are still using mass transit or are at large in crowded public settings.

Waiting for lifts in foyers is similarly a logistical nightmare. Most highrise office workers can’t realistically climb up dozens of floors by using the stairs. Similar caveats apply to highrise residential towers.

Other measures to pandemic-proof buildings continue, including Erickson’s pilot office in Bucharest using things like higher ceilings to install air filtration equipment; avoidance of floor heating systems that can lift aerosols; and the use of rounded corners in crowded spaces that minimise bacterial deposits. Meanwhile, the NYC model for sidewalk dining/eating is about to be rolled out in Melbourne offering lower risk transmission paths vis-a-vis the confines of indoor settings.

But at the end of the day, all of the above are geared to a fine grain understanding of infection pathways at a certain point in time and can at best be no better than the latest preprint.

Morrison versus the states on COVID-19 hotspots

One door shuts another one (or two or three) opens

Whilst the pandemic could yet see off the CBDs as we now know them, it equally has a capacity to give impetus to concepts like the 20-minute city where everything can/should be accessed within that time frame.

Moreover, to the extent that it brings people closer to trappings of a ground-based existence – weeds, grass, trees, flowers, birds and worms – it also represents an opportunity to ramp up contact with the wild which is still is in evidence in suburban spaces. 

And then there has been a remarkable reclaiming of city precincts by wild animals across the globe.

This new world of cities won’t obey the same rules as the old compact of nations; they will write their own opportunistic codes of conduct, animated by the need for efficiency, connectivity and security above all. Time, technology and population growth have massively accelerated the advent of a new urbanized era. These cities are the engines of globalisation and their enduring vibrancy lies in money, knowledge and stability

So wrote Parag Khanna a decade ago.

His vision may be something many of us covet, particularly those with significant business, education and cultural ties in central business districts, but the World Health Organisation has said that there will be further pandemics coming at us and thus vaccine developers will be burning the midnight oil in their labs. In consequence, social distancing looks to be here to stay and continues to be at odds with people-dense built environments and their trappings. 

Time to start over

Every now and then – more so, once in a lifetime – there can be an opportunity to start over from inflection points.   

The pandemic has exposed weaknesses in food supply chains, education infrastructure, cybersecurity, job markets, information networks and more. Moreover, the contents of ISO 37123 – an international standard for resilient cities (finalised just last December) – suggest that there is still a way to go in revising our thinking in the wake of this intervention by Mother Nature.

And remarks by Douglas Rushkoff, a Professor at City University, NY, are apposite:

I was at one company, it is really one of the ten biggest companies in the world and the CEO was up there having his senior vice presidents and executives shout ‘5.3, 5.3’, which was the growth target, the per cent growth target for the coming year. And I got up to do my little speech for them and I said, if one of the ten biggest corporations in the world can’t be satisfied with how big it has gotten, if even it needs to grow bigger in order to be okay, then there is a real problem here.

Is that a setting we want to go back to after all this is over?

Dr Peter Fisher is an Adjunct Professor at the School of Architecture & Built Environment, Deakin University.

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Tennis: Nadal makes fast start in Rome in first match in 200 days


Rome, September 17 (Reuters) – Nine-times champion Rafa Nadal showed little signs of rust when he played his first match in 200 days as he beat fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 6-1 6-1 in the Italian Open in Rome on Wednesday (Sept 16).

Nadal, who received a bye into the second round, has not played a tournament since winning his 85th singles title in Acapulco, having skipped the Western & Southern Open and the US Open in New York due to Covid-19 concerns.

The match was also Nadal’s first on clay in 465 days after his French Open triumph last year and the 34-year-old Spaniard sent an ominous message to the field as he dominated the US Open semi-finalist from start at an empty Foro Italico.

“It’s good to be back on the Tour but obviously the feeling is not the best playing without crowds,” Nadal said. “At least there’s one positive thing, the sport is back.”

Nadal broke in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead and did not look back, winning the last 10 points in the opening set to put down a marker for Carreno Busta who struggled with the pace of the ball on clay after two hardcourt tournaments.

The second set was more of the same as a visibly jumpy Nadal could not wait to get going between games and the world number two wrapped up the match in 73 minutes with 20 winners while Carreno Busta made 28 unforced errors.

“I played a good match, maybe he was a little bit tired from New York (where) he played an amazing tournament,” Nadal added.

“It’s a perfect start for me, I played solid, some good shots with the forehand and backhand.”





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Ablett rejoins Cats on final leg before return match


Gary Ablett rejoined his teammates at a Tuesday morning training session on the Gold Coast as he prepares to play for the Cats against Sydney at Metricon Stadium on Sunday, 66 days after his last game.

The 36-year-old completed his 14-day quarantine in the AFL’s transition hub in Carrara and immediately headed to Southport, where the Cats are based, to participate in a searching session with teammates that stretched until midday.

Patrick Dangerfield and Gary Ablett chat during Tuesday’s training session at Southport.Credit:Getty Images

He has not played since round seven against Collingwood, having returned to Victoria to be with his wife Jordan and son Levi.

Ablett completed his preparation alongside premiership teammate Andrew Mackie, Richmond premiership star Shane Edwards and the Saints Dan Hannebery with the aim of playing in the final round and the finals in what is expected to be the dual Brownlow medallist’s last season.



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Thiem tames ‘Big Match’ nerves to break Grand Slam barrier



Sep 13 2020; Flushing Meadows, New York, USA; Alexander Zverev of Germany (L) and Dominic Thiem of Austria (R) pose with the finalist and championship trophies (respectively) after their match in the men’s singles final match on day fourteen of the 2020 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

September 14, 2020

By Sudipto Ganguly

(Reuters) – Dominic Thiem ended a six-year wait for a new name on a men’s Grand Slam trophy on Sunday with his U.S. Open triumph but it was not just Alexander Zverev that the Austrian had to battle on court to fulfil his “life goal”.

Rafa Nadal had denied Thiem the French Open trophy at the previous two editions of that tournament, while at the start of 2020 it was world number one Novak Djokovic who outlasted him in the Australian Open title clash.

Thiem did not have to go through Djokovic, Nadal or Roger Federer, the sport’s ‘Big Three’, during the two weeks at Flushing Meadows this year but that presented a unique mental challenge as the 27-year-old wrestled with long-time friend Zverev, 23, for success in his fourth Slam final.

“We both didn’t face one of the ‘Big Three’, so I guess that was in the back of the head for both of us,” Thiem told reporters. “That’s why we were nervous. (It) was a very good chance for the both of us.”

The experience of playing three Grand Slam finals previously was supposed to be an advantage for the Austrian against an opponent who was featuring in his first final at a major.

But it proved to be a burden for Thiem, who found himself two sets and a break down against the big-serving German before fighting back to win 2-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 7-6(6).

“Honestly, I think it didn’t help me at all because I was so tight in the beginning. Maybe it was not even good that I played in previous major finals,” he said.

“I mean, I wanted this title so much, and of course there was also in my head that if I lose this one, it’s 0-4. It’s always in your head.

“Is this chance ever coming back again? This, that, all these thoughts, which are not great to play your best tennis, to play free. That’s what exactly happened in the beginning.”

But Thiem managed to quell those doubts and levelled things against Zverev before winning a nerve-jangling final set tiebreak to achieve “a life goal, a dream”.

Thiem hopes to play more freely with fewer nerves in future, having finally tasted success at one of the sport’s biggest stages while also becoming the first man since Croat Marin Cilic won the 2014 U.S. Open to secure a maiden Grand Slam trophy.

He is also the first player born in the 1990s to claim a men’s Grand Slam, and the first outside Nadal and Federer, who both missed the tournament, and Djokovic, who was disqualified, to win a major since Stan Wawrinka’s 2016 U.S. Open triumph.

CHARTING OWN PATH

Thiem will now face heavier expectations in future Grand Slams but has proved he is not one to shy away from pressure.

The Austrian, who faced his share of criticism for playing in Djokovic’s ill-fated Adria Tour event, declined to contribute to an emergency fund for financially struggling lower-ranked professionals during the COVID-19 shutdown, fully aware that he would draw flak from pundits and fellow players for his stand.

Thiem, who has earned almost $27 million in career prize money, stood his ground in the face of criticism, proving that he was ready to chart his own path forward.

Most of Thiem’s early success came on claycourts, where long baseline rallies test a player’s patience and endurance, but he showed the first signs of a smooth transition to hardcourts when he won last year’s ATP Masters at Indian Wells.

Reaching the season-ending ATP Finals further underlined his development while he put any lingering doubts about his hardcourt prowess to rest by progressing to the Australian Open final in Melbourne earlier this year.

“Before I started to work with him, when I saw him like a spectator, I said he can play everywhere, not only on clay,” his coach Nicolas Massu said.

“He can have the same results on every surface because the game, the shots, he’s talented, he has everything. Maybe he needs to adjust small things.”

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by Ken Ferris)





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AFL scores, Melbourne defeats GWS Giants, Round 17, score, result, match report, stats, video, highlights


Melbourne has come from behind to keep its finals hopes alive and put Greater Western Sydney in real strife, winning a thrilling mini-final by five points on Saturday night.

The Demons (8-8) had to win to stay in the top eight race and after jumping out to an early three-goal lead over the Giants (8-8), things were looking promising.

However the 2019 grand finalists controlled the middle two quarters, leading by 13 points late in the third term, before Melbourne fought back. They hit the front with 8:30 left and Trent Rivers made their lead 11 points with two minutes remaining.

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Round 17

That was crucial when Brent Daniels got the Giants within five points with 33 seconds left. However the Demons avoided a catastrophic late collapse.



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Sydney Roosters, Newcastle Knights pay respect to Boyd Cordner’s cousin Joel Dark in NRL match


The Sydney Roosters and Newcastle Knights have remembered Boyd Cordner’s cousin Joel Dark, who died on Friday from injuries he suffered in a rugby league match.

Dark, 19, collapsed on the field after suffering a head knock in a heavy tackle while playing for his club Central Newcastle last Sunday.

An emotional Cordner joined players from both sides in observing a moment’s silence in honour of Dark at the SCG prior to Saturday night’s NRL match, which the Roosters won 42-12.

Both teams also paid their respect by wearing black armbands.

There had been concern for Cordner when he was unable to finish the match after sustaining a head knock, his third this season.

He was taken from the field for a head injury assessment 24 minutes into the match, however Roosters coach Trent Robinson said the decision to keep him off the field — made by club doctor Tom Longworth — was a precautionary measure.

“The [head injury] assessment was really good, [Cordner] was quite clear,” Robinson said after the match.

“But the time off he had, plus also the week that he’s had, that was a really smart call [from Dr Longworth] just to say take a breath and don’t go back on.

Joel Dark died after suffering a head knock during a rugby league match.(Supplied: Facebook)

Cordner has missed six matches with recurring symptoms after copping a concussion against Melbourne in round eight and again at training three weeks later.

In his third match back from the extended rest, Cordner was chasing a kick through the in-goal when his head hit the SCG turf as he was trying to ground the ball.

The Roosters co-captain stayed down for several seconds before he left the field.

“His head’s fine, it was a big shock taking the wind out of him and trying to score the try at the same time,” Robinson said.

“He’s good. I’m not concerned about him health wise. I’m more concerned about him with Joel’s passing.”

Roosters dominate Knights

A Sydney Roosters NRL player holds the ball in his right hand as he is tackled over his right shoulder by a Newcastle opponent.
Sonny Bill Williams (left) made his second appearance for the Roosters since his return.(AAP: Dean Lewins)

The Roosters moved ahead of Parramatta into third place on the ladder courtesy of the seven-tries-to-two victory.

They shredded the Knights’ right-side defence to lead 18-0 early in the match following converted tries to Josh Morris, Daniel Tupou and Luke Keary.

And when Joseph Manu cruised through soft defence shortly after, the home side had mounted an unassailable 24-0 lead after just 22 minutes.

Tupou eventually landed a double, including his 100th try for the Roosters, while Sonny Bill Williams was busy in the middle in a marked improvement from his first match.

In his 150th NRL appearance, Keary created two tries and ended up with a double of his own, while James Tedesco also got on the board.

Kyle Flanagan kicked seven from seven conversions.

After being dominated throughout the match, the Knights — who have now slipped to seventh on the ladder — finished with just 43 per cent of possession, and a try each to Enari Tuala and Gehamat Shibasaki.

Mitch Aubusson is now on track to become the Roosters’ most capped player against Cronulla next week after equalling club legend Anthony Minichiello on 302 matches.

ABC/AAP



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Results, match report from game one


Mitchell Marsh has zoomed into contention to revive his volatile Test career this summer on the back of a timely form spike in England.

The all-rounder backed up a brilliant knock in the last Twenty20 match, with a clutch performance with the bat of 73 off 100 balls to help guide Australia to an outstanding first-up 19-run ODI victory in Manchester.

Travis Head is Australia’s incumbent No.6 at Test match level, but Marsh replaced him once during last year’s Ashes, and could storm back into contention to take on India, particularly if the restrictions of the COVID-19 era make it even more imperative to have an extra bowling option in the line-up.

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The bizarreness and unpredictability of the summer ahead, means ODI performances may count more than ever towards a Test call-up.

Josh Hazlewood was man-of-the-match with pinpoint figures of 3-26 from 10 overs, including a spectacular caught-and-bowled, but it wouldn’t have counted for much if Marsh and Glenn Maxwell (77 off 59) hadn’t earlier kept the Australians alive after a collapse of 5-123 batting first.

Hazlewood rated it the best bowling performance of his ODI career.

The win over world champions England came despite Steve Smith being ruled out at the 11th hour due to a knock to the head he copped at training the day before.

Smith will need to pass a subsequent concussion test before being passed fit for Australia’s second ODI on Monday, while Mitchell Starc is also in doubt after pulling up with minor soreness to the groin.

Marsh may face strong opposition for Test all-rounder status this summer from whiz kid Cameron Green, the fellow West Australian who looks destined to wear the baggy green.

Some around the game feel Green, 21, who suffered back issues last summer, should be given a full season before he’s looked at by Test selectors, but there is an enormous temptation to rush in a rare talent who has the potential to change the shape of Australian cricket based on his performances with bat and ball at Shield level.

Meanwhile, Adelaide continues to firm as the centrepiece of the Australian summer, after officials confirmed the ODI team will quarantine at a hotel adjacent to Adelaide Oval upon their return from the UK.

The move comes after Western Australia refused to allow Australian players to train while in quarantine.

It means Perth may miss out on international cricket altogether this summer, with Adelaide and Brisbane poised to swoop on early white ball matches to start the summer against India.

Adelaide is expected to be announced as the first Test venue, and could host the second as well if Melbourne is not fit to host the Boxing Day Test due to the impact of the virus.

“We would like to thank the South Australian Government and the South Australian Cricket Association for approving CA’s proposal for the return of the Australian men’s team,” said CA chief executive, Nick Hockley.

“… International travel in the time of the global pandemic presents many challenges, and we deeply appreciate the efforts of everyone in the SA Government, SACA and CA for working through these in a constructive cooperative manner.”

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