Peter V’landys comes out firing on first day back at work


It’s such a V’landys thing to say, the dag that he is, although it’s wide of the mark. Barring some sort of scandal, his descent is a long way off — if at all. He agreed in November last year to see out another three-year term, which will be ratified at next month’s annual general meeting.

He has many acolytes in the media, meaning even when he does make a mistake, he won’t be condemned for it.

Back at it … Peter V’landys has returned to work.Credit:SMH

For instance, when the commission decided last year to banish the national anthem before State of Origin, some commentators skewered chief executive Andrew Abdo because they didn’t want to skewer the chairman.

When no less than Prime Minister Scott Morrison intervened and the commission backflipped, V’landys was lavished with praise for his “agility” in changing the policy.

Todd Greenberg was supposedly made of Teflon but this guy is bulletproof.

Then again, Greenberg didn’t or couldn’t harass state and federal governments into allowing rugby league to restart on May 28 last year, beating every other major code in the world to the punch.

V’landys also elicits varying opinions from readers. Criticise him and you will be branded “elitist” or accused of “running a Channel Nine agenda”. Applaud him and some will bombard you with suspicious emails: “For the life of me I don’t know what V’landys has over you!”

Me neither. It scares me to think.

V’landys crashed his way through 2020, partly because that is his manner, but also because it was required. Life should be easier this season but there was a raft of issues in his diary when he got his feet under the desk at Racing NSW, which he seemingly runs in his lunch break.

The first is finalising the collective bargaining agreement with the RLPA. He dismisses talk players will have to take a seven per cent pay cut, saying it’s less.

“The deal is a good one for the players,” he declares. “I’m all for the players. One thing I was adamant about, because I pride myself on fighting for the battler, is that the AFL cut three players from each roster. Their reduction is 9.5 per cent, if you want to compare apples to apples. We didn’t cut anyone. We still have the 30 contracted players and four development players. What the RLPA wanted to do was cut it by three. We weren’t party to that. I’ve protected those three players at each club. Otherwise, you would’ve had 16 clubs times three players (48) who would’ve lost their jobs.”

And what of the AFL? Two days before Christmas, the rival code spruiked a new broadcast deal with Foxtel and Telstra, which, along with revenue from Seven, would “deliver $946m to the AFL industry” over the next two years.

The NRL renegotiated and extended its deal with Foxtel out to 2027 for an undisclosed amount having also renegotiated its contract with Nine (which publishes this masthead) for a further two years. The AFL claims it’s struck a far better deal.

“It’s complete crap, the whole thing,” V’landys bristles. “Our deal with Foxtel is for seven years. The AFL only did it for two years. It’s complicated in the sense that they were getting a lot of money from Telstra, and now they don’t. It’s a completely different negotiation. I can’t say the figure [of the NRL’s deal with Foxtel] because I’m bound by confidentiality, but we’re getting more now than we were before.”

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Why can’t he divulge the figure if it’s so good? The NRL has in the past.

“It’s a good deal,” he insists. “For every week that we weren’t playing last year, it was costing us $13 million. Without Fox, there is no rugby league.”

The alternative view is that without rugby league there is no Fox, but that’s another story for another time.

Other items on the PVL agenda include the inclusion of a second Brisbane team, player behaviour and whether players will be returning to The Bubble. He shot down reports at the weekend that the idea of a second Brisbane team in 2023 was over.

“Incorrect,” he says. “We have started analysis on a possible 17th team in Brisbane. There’s plenty of time to consider it, but the business case has to stack up.”

In terms of player behaviour, especially in the wake of Broncos big man Payne Haas being arrested and charged for verbally abusing police, he says this: “I believe in due process and natural justice. I think the players are hard done by. Since my involvement in the game, most players have been great to deal with.”

Will they be returning to The Bubble? Much depends on the federal government’s vaccination roll-out but he remains hopeful that the Warriors, who have relocated to NSW, will return to New Zealand.

“It might not be April,” he says, “but at some stage they will be playing in Auckland.”

It sounds like a pipedream, but dismiss the moonwalking V’landys at your own peril.

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Top North Queensland Cowboys administrator Peter Parr linked to Canterbury Bulldogs move


He has in recent years become a key member of Brad Fittler’s NSW Origin team, and any potential move to Sydney would only work favourably if it allowed him to continue both roles.

Hill was dumped on Monday night by chairman John Khoury and several other board members, despite guiding the club through a torrid few years that featured three different boards, two sacked coaches and a string of high-profile players offloaded to help ease the club’s salary-cap pressure.

Peter Parr has been a part of Brad Fittler’s NSW Origin team.Credit:Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

Khoury has refused to give a reason for sacking Hill and referred the Herald’s requests for comment to the club’s press release that claimed Hill resigned.

Hill had only hours earlier announced the signing of gun fullback Corey Allan before he was given the tap.

Bulldogs great George Peponis was certainly unimpressed with the Hill dumping and told the Herald earlier this week: “I think he inherited a very difficult situation, he got them through it the past few years, and now when things look like they’ll improve they give him the arse. It’s disappointing.’’

A couple of early candidates for the CEO role is Aaron Warburton, who worked as the club’s head of commercial a few years ago, and Anthony Elias, who has already put his name forward for the job on several previous occasions.

Parr’s experience, media contacts and football knowledge would allow the new CEO to solely focus on the commercial side of things, not to mention shield a coach like Barrett from any boardroom in-fighting.

Meanwhile, Queensland Rugby League boss Bruce Hatcher has confirmed Wayne Bennett will not return as Maroons coach in 2021.

Hatcher said the next appointment would be for the 2021 series only, which would likely featured an experienced coach – the early favourite is Paul Green – with the likes of Maroons favourites including Billy Slater learning the ropes with an eye to a permanent role in the future.

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Goulburn’s Sts Peter and Paul’s Cathedral restoration ramps up | Goulburn Post


news, local-news, Goulburn, Sts Peter and Paul’s Cathedral, restoration, restoration committee, Father Joshy Kurien, Father Tony Percy, Trish Groves

A decades-long project to restore Goulburn’s Saints Peter and Paul’s Old Cathedral is embarking on its next phase. It’s part of a quest to transform the 1871 structure into one of just six Catholic ‘minor basilicas’ in Australia. The status, conferred by the Roman Congregation, would be a significant development and recognise the Old Cathedral’s architectural and religious importance, Canberra/Goulburn Archdiocese Vicar General, Father Tony Percy said. “The diocese wants to make it into a basilica where people can come on pilgrimage,” he told The Post. “It is good for us, Goulburn and the country especially given that it’s Australia’s only greenstone cathedral. The archbishop is happy to support the project with funding.” Last year, the Archdiocese allocated $5 million for the restoration’s next stage. It came courtesy of land sales from the Joseph’s Gate residential subdivision on Taralga Road, developed by the Church, and other funding. READ MORE: $5 million boost for St Peter and Paul’s renovation Sts Peter and Paul’s Cathedral restoration hits funding snag Cathedral works get our blessing New spire for the Old Cathedral: Gallery, Video It added to some $6 million already spent on conservation work, including a copper-plated spire, building stabilisation, external sandstone repairs, addressing rising damp, undercroft excavation and stained glass window rejuvenation. Now the next phase is beginning, focusing on structural, interior restoration and external grounds’ improvement. On Wednesday, restoration committee members met to decide the scope of works and their priority. They included parish priest, Father Joshy Kurien, chair Dr Ursula Stephens, structural engineer Edmund O’Donovan, project manager Stuart Cunningham, interior and exterior designer Pamela Pappin, parishioners Trish Groves and Di Green, Brian Watchirs and diocesan archivist, Denis Connor. ALSO READ: Changing inmates lives is all in a day’s work for former jazz singer Gerda Foster Mrs Groves said drainage and plumbing repairs and completion of tower sandstone repairs were among the top priorities. The latter is currently underway. Underpinning of the cathedral’s northern and southern walls could also occur in this stage. “The interior cosmetic work such as painting is lower on the priority list. It is the structural aspects that we need to address,” Mrs Groves said. Nevertheless, peeling paint on walls, sandstone arch repairs and further stained glass window restoration are firmly on the agenda. Mrs Groves said a yet to be finalised colour scheme was aimed at lightening the interior, while window repairs and cleaning would also allow more light. Likewise, Clark rubber placed over hardwood parquetry flooring throughout the cathedral in 1957 would be removed as part of a “labour intensive” exercise. Father Kurien said this and other work could necessitate closure for at least some time. The project is close to Mrs Groves’ heart. The long-term parishioner’s grandfather, George Stanley Wyles, and father, George Frederick Wyles, painted the gold-leaf lettering on the sanctuary walls. ALSO READ: It’s a mystery: British war medal uncovered in backyard Similarly, parish property supervisor Brian Watchirs assisted civil engineer, Claudio Bagnara, some 15 years ago when tonnes of earth were excavated from underneath the sanctuary and the floor raised to address drainage and damp. That part of the project also saw the disturbance and relocation of Bishops Lanigan (1867-1900) and Gallagher’s (1900-1923) graves within the sanctuary. Bishop John Barry’s (1924-38) grave was also moved from Saint Patrick’s catholic cemetery, Kenmore, to the Old Cathedral at the same time. ALSO READ: Historic Kenmore Hotel sold The church’s original section was completed in 1847. However in 1867, Bishop Lanigan commissioned architect Andrea Stombucco to design a cathedral around the structure. The new cathedral was opened and blessed in 1872. Its distinctive green porphyry came from a Goulburn district quarry and much of its sandstone from Marulan. Father Percy said the restoration started more than 30 years ago under Father Laurie Blake and had been continued by Father Dermid McDermott and now Father Kurien, who arrived in 2019. “We need to get the Cathedral to where it should be (in terms of its condition),” he said. “…There is a program of works and now we have the money to act on it.” Father Kurien hoped the current phase could be completed within the next few years. We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.

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Mavericks Peter Mel big wave video, reaction, best of the decade


When surfers in the channel are immediately calling out “wave of the decade” and “best wave ever at Mavs”, you know you’ve just seen something special.

Veteran big wave surfer Peter Mel snagged the wave of his life at Mavericks on Saturday (AEDT), leaving his colleagues in awe.

Surfing at the Mavericks surf break off the coast of northern California, Mel tucked in to a heavy barrel before coming out with the spit to wild cheers.

“This paddle-in wave with a chip-shot takeoff followed by a straight line through the bowl is next level big-wave surfing,” Surfline reported. “Shows what decades of experience — and sheer talent — can do for a fella. In the channel, ‘ride of the year’ and ‘wave of the decade’ and ‘best wave ever at Mavs’ and ‘everyone is in shock’ was thrown around.”

A video of the wave taken from the shore showed Mel completely disappeared behind the curtain.

“He took off so deep on this wave that he was out of frame — he’s inside the barrel at the beginning. And he comes out with the spit. That does not happen often at Mavs,” Surfline said.

The surf world was frothing. “Everyone on earth should see this ride,” Kelly Slater declared.

Pete’s son, Jon, who was with him at Mavericks wrote: “Words can’t describe what I watched today … 51 years old and just set the standard of what everyone will now be chasing to get the best wave out there. Congratulations … I love you dad!”



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‘I think there’s hope’: New Ontario finance minister Peter Bethlenfalvy to focus on economic recovery post-pandemic


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Ontario was leading the country in job creation before the pandemic, he said, adding that “we’re going to continue (on) that path… in a laser-focused way.”

He acknowledged that renewed and extended lockdowns — now province-wide for all non-essential businesses — are painful for the affected firms. But he said the province has been taking advice from public health and medical experts when making such decisions, and is providing millions of dollars in support to businesses including grants and relief on property taxes and energy bills as a “bridge to the other side” of the pandemic.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and former finance minister Rod Phillips arrive to deliver the 2020 Fiscal Update at Queen’s Park in Toronto on Wednesday March 25, 2020. Photo by Frank Gunn /THE CANADIAN PRESS

“Our decisions are very much driven by the health and safety and the guidance that we’re getting from the experts,” he said, adding that his government is also “very mindful of the difficult environment that many families and workers and businesses across the province have to face.”

He said he believes businesses and workers in the province will prove to be “resilient” as his government unfurls more than $15 billion in supports over the next three years, as announced in November’s budget.

Bethlenfalvy added that the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines — though criticized by some as being too slow as cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to climb — should provide a “no pun intended, shot in the arm” to public health and ultimately the economy.

“I’m very optimistic about not only the rollout but getting this economy back on its feet and stronger than before, both from a health point of view and from a business point of view — those things are linked,” he said. “I think there’s hope.”

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Peter McGough, Legendary Bodybuilding Writer, Dies


Peter McGough, a legendary bodybuilding journalist and former Flex editor-in-chief who was admired by many in the industry, died on Dec. 30 following an eight year battle with cancer.

“He was initially only given a few years to live by his doctors, but in typical stubborn Peter fashion, he took off his watch and exchanged blows with cancer in a manner only a gritty Britt like him could, and hung in clear through the end of 2020,” David Baye, Muscle & Fitness’s social media director, said in an Instagram post. Baye called McGough his “friend, mentor, and partner in crime.”

Dan Solomon, chief Olympia officer, said McGough was an artist and the page his canvas. “The greatest storyteller I’ve ever known,” Solomon wrote. “He was a mentor and a genius, a discovery of Joe Weider, but more importantly, he was my friend….and I’ll miss him so much.”

McGough was intertwined with the fitness industry for more than 40 years, writing for more than seven publications during his long spanning tenure. He wrote for this website up until a few weeks ago, reflecting on the careers of Dexter Jackson, Lee Labrada, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He wrote in a way that allowed the reader to transport themselves back in time.

Within the industry, his humor and humbleness made him beloved by those on stage and behind the scene.

He joined Weider Publications in 1992 as a senior writer for Flex, before being appointed the publication’s editor-in-chief in 1997. His interest in fitness began in 1969 with his first workout.

“I just got a pump, and I was off. It was that simple,” he told Muscle Insider in 2017.



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Is EOS the New BTC? Pay Attention to Peter Thiel


Although Peter Thiel may be controversial for his outspoken political views that often clash with those of Silicon Valley type, his acumen for investing and picking winning startup ideas is rarely in doubt.

Long before the cryptocurrency phenomenon spread like wildfire, Thiel was already famous for his investment picks. His $500,000 angel investment in Facebook turned into a post-IPO fortune, and he has had a hand in big names like SpaceX, Airbnb, and payment processor Stripe.  Moreover, Thiel has gone on record stating his belief in bitcoin’s explosive growth. Thus, the PayPal co-founder’s recent move to support Block.one, the developer behind EOS which raised a record $4 billion during its offering, should come as no surprise to industry enthusiasts. 

His bullish attitude towards the sector has seen him strategically invest across the blockchain ecosystem over the past few years, allocating noteworthy sums from his Founders Fund towards Tagomi and Harbor. He has also been open about his desire to bring big investors into the blockchain sphere. However, the latest allocation to EOS could reflect a serious directional change in strategy, and investors should take note. With a promise to build a better, more scalable protocol for blockchain, EOS has found itself the center of attention in an often bitcoin-centric universe.

Shifting Ecosystem Momentum

Thiel’s decision to invest in Block.one, the company responsible for developing EOSIO, represents a sharp departure from his other blockchain-based investments to date. Joining high-profile investors like Mike Novogratz, Bitmain Technologies, and Moore Capital Management, Thiel’s allocation represents the changing mindset and gradual maturation of blockchain as a widely applicable technology platform for other ideas to flourish.

The investment announcement shows a growing trend in the sector. Serious investors are seeking out those projects that can provide more than a simple solution to a problem. This is clearly evidenced by the most well-funded and VC-backed blockchain projects. Cryptocurrencies continue to command the top spot in terms of attention, but the rest of the field is rounded out by companies building enterprise software, projects focused on improved mining, and those developing better crypto payment solutions.

EOS, one of the most promising projects (as well as one of the most well-funded) is building more than a narrow solution. Instead, the EOSIO ecosystem is a protocol—much like Ethereum—and not an application. The difference is more than semantic; the former is about building solutions that are meant to improve blockchain functionality, while the latter are simply programs that provide a specific function. In this sense, projects like the Lightning Network stand out, as their goal is to upgrade the ecosystem and provide broader functionality.

Why Protocols Present The Smarter Path Towards Success

Investors seeking out companies that offer broader protocols or use cases as opposed to narrow applications is not news. Such is the case of Ripple, a cryptocurrency designed specifically to settle cross-border transactions and large payments between parties. The company counts major multinationals such as Accenture and Santander Bank’s investment branch among its investors. Similarly, The Elephant, a smaller but promising platform that is building a secondary market to tokenize equity in private companies, recently announced a partnership with Eastmore Group, a prominent institutional investor. Eastmore has joined the Elephant STO as the first institutional investor.

Eastmore joining the Elephant platform reveals an interesting—and perhaps entirely innocuous—tidbit that ties it to Peter Thiel’s crypto moves as it offers investment opportunities in shares of unicorn companies such as Palantir Technologies, a company Thiel founded in 2003 to apply software similar to PayPal’s fraud recognition systems to reduce terrorism while preserving civil liberties.

The Elephant, a secondary market platform, has shares of unicorn companies including Palantir Technologies, BlaBlaCar, and Gett.

Taking Thiel’s Cues

While newer entrants into the ecosystem may not be able to reap the same sort of returns as earlier investors, the shifting blockchain landscape might signal a significant transformation in terms of attitudes towards investing. With more institutional investors entering the field, few of these investors are likely to try and hit a home run in cryptocurrencies. Rather, they will likely echo Thiel’s moves towards embracing protocols over products.

As the only viable path towards greater adoption in a field that is encountering difficulties in terms of accessibility and scalability, projects like EOS represent the next logical leap forward. While greater institutional and accredited investor participation seems like a foregone conclusion, the investment tsunami that it potentially represents may not find its way to highly capitalized coins, but instead, the protocols that deliver the most applicable solutions. The only question that remains is, what will be the next EOS? Early investors like Thiel will undoubtedly be rewarded, while laggards and later adopters will see their potential returns diminished by a belated entrance.

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Former speaker Peter Slipper forced to apologise for threatening to deport international students



Former federal speaker Peter Slipper has been ordered to apologise to two international students after he suggested he might try to have them deported for failing to pay his legal fees.

In findings published online, the Legal Profession Board of Tasmania has upheld one complaint made against Mr Slipper after the Hobart barrister texted the complainant’s uncle with what the board characterised as “an indirect threat”.

The students had engaged Mr Slipper for legal services after they were subject to a restraining order.

The trio parted ways after Mr Slipper revealed his appearance at a scheduled conciliation conference would cost $650 — a sum one of the students repeatedly queried and ultimately did not pay after engaging an alternate barrister.

Mr Slipper told the complainant he was still owed the fee because of the time he had spent preparing for the conference.

At 10:03pm on July 15, 2019, Mr Slipper wrote to the student’s uncle: “I’m inclined to write to the Minister for Home Affairs as I’m not convinced we need people like these guys in the country.”

“I have to check whether it is ethnically [sic] appropriate for me to do so. If it is I will and if it’s not I won’t.”

In a follow-up text at 3:36am Mr Slipper wrote: “‘I thought I would let you know that I have decided not to write to the Minister for Home Affairs even it is ethically appropriate for me to do so.”

‘Suffering jetlag at the time’

The six-person Legal Profession Board of Tasmania found that while the initial text amounted to “unsatisfactory professional conduct” it did not warrant a hearing, and dismissed a second complaint from one of the students alleging Mr Slipper had inappropriately demanded the $650 fee.

“The board accepts that [Mr Slipper] was suffering from jetlag at the time he sent the first text message and sent a retracting text message at 3:36am the following morning,” the findings said.

“The board remains concerned however, that despite the practitioner apologising for his conduct in the written submissions provided to the board, when given an opportunity to appear personally to explain the conduct, he did not appear to fully accept or understand the gravity of the complaint.”

Mr Slipper had told the board he was “completely uncertain of the ethics” of his text and said he would have checked it was appropriate.

The student’s complaint alleged: “He is very unprofessional, he messages at odd timings and threatens us that he will take action. He texts me at 4:00am and demand money.”

“We are international students, please protect us and see he doesn’t harm us in any way.”

The board acknowledged Mr Slipper had not been the subject of any other substantiated complaints in the past five years and “considered the distinguished career of the practitioner outside of legal practice, together with the references provided to support his competence and diligence”.

It ruled Mr Slipper be “reprimanded” and required to write a letter of apology to the student, the student’s uncle and his friend, referred to as HG.

Mr Slipper was an MP in the House of Representatives, serving as a National from 1984 to 1987 and a Liberal from 1993 to 2011.

He was then elected as speaker during the minority Gillard government and worked as an independent until his resignation in 2012 amid allegations he had sexually harassed his former staffer James Ashby, who is now chief of staff to One Nation leader Pauline Hanson.

Mr Slipper now lives in Hobart, working as a lawyer and an honorary consul of Brazil in Tasmania.

The findings related to Mr Slipper — published late last month — was one of four complaints upheld by the Legal Profession Board of Tasmania this year.

Mr Slipper has been contacted for comment.



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AFL news 2020: Kylie Watson-Wheeler Western Bulldogs president, Disney, takes over from Peter Gordon


The Western Bulldogs have a new boss of the board, with Kylie Watson-Wheeler becoming the second female club president in the AFL after Richmond’s Peggy O’Neal.

Watson-Wheeler was unanimously voted in by the Bulldogs’ directors at a board meeting on Monday and officially elected the club’s new president.

A lifelong Bulldogs supporter, Watson-Wheeler, who’s been a board member since late 2013 and served as the Bulldogs’ vice-president for the past four years, has been elevated to replace Peter Gordon, who stepped down earlier this month after an extraordinary second stint in charge that included the 2016 premiership.

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Watson-Wheeler, the senior vice president and managing director at Walt Disney Australia and New Zealand, said she “couldn’t be more humbled and thrilled to be a part of it”.



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Ricky Ponting vs Peter Lalor, Channel 7


Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting was involved in a heated exchange with veteran cricket journalist Peter Lalor during Channel 7’s coverage of the first Test match between Australia and India.

The “fierce” debate erupted in the third session of day one at Adelaide Oval, with the duo arguing about Tim Paine’s captaincy.

Paine is renowned for having a poor track record with the DRS, and the wicketkeeper made another costly error on Thursday afternoon.

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Indian skipper Virat Kohli was on 16 when he gloved a delivery from spin bowler Nathan Lyon through to the keeper, but was given not out by the on-field umpire.

Although there was some discussion among the Australian fielders, Paine opted not to take the review, despite having three unsuccessful attempts in the bank.

Kohli went on to compile a crucial 74, India’s highest score in the first innings.

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Lalor and Channel 7 commentator Tim Lane bluntly criticised Paine’s decision-making, which prompted a passionate response from Ponting.

“Jeez you’re harsh, you blokes, very, very harsh. There was not even an appeal, hardly a reaction,” Ponting said.

“The DRS is brought in for the absolute howler, let’s get that right. If they thought that was out, there would have been more appeals and everything out there.

“That’s just one that — it wasn’t even an option to be reviewed as far as I’m concerned.”

Lalor immediately quipped back: “Well, mate, they discussed it, I don’t know what they were talking about if it wasn’t for a review.

“They’re paid a lot of money (to get it right).”

Lane attempted to lighten the mood by joking: “So we know what tomorrow’s lead story is.”

But Lalor fired back: “Yeah, ‘Ricky Ponting tries to defend Cricket Australia again and his mate Tim Paine’.”

The remarks were followed by an awkward silence, and Lalor’s stint in the commentary box finished soon after.

READ MORE: Cricket great sent home in TV chaos

On Friday morning, Lalor and Ponting addressed the on-air stoush after Channel 7 presenter James Brayshaw asked: “Hey Pete, have you and Punter kissed and made up or is there still some tension, how’s that going?”

Lalor responded: “Well, they’ve kept us apart for this cross.”

Ponting joked: “You’re in one grandstand and I’m in the other, we’ll catch up at some point in the commentary box today, I’m sure.”

Lalor is The Australian’s chief cricket writer, and has worked as a sports reporter for more than 30 years.

Australia are 2/35 at tea on day two, with Marnus Labuschagne on 16 not out and Steve Smith on one not out.

Indian seamer Jasprit Bumrah removed both of Australia’s opening batsman for eight, with Matthew Wade and Joe Burns both trapped LBW.



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