NRL’s Sam Burgess in court over domestic dispute with Mitchell Hooke in NSW’s Southern Highlands

NRL star Sam Burgess has admitted he and his ex-father-in-law “failed” his two young children during a heated domestic dispute in October 2019.

The former Rabbitohs player and coach gave evidence at Moss Vale Local Court today about the incident, during which he claims his children were “left alone”.

A disagreement broke out when his ex-wife’s father, Mitchell Hooke, asked Burgess to leave Mr Hooke’s Southern Highlands property.

Burgess told the court the verbal argument began when his agreed visitation time with the children was up.

He recalled becoming angry when Mr Hooke said “time’s up, let’s go”.

“I told Mitch I thought this was inhumane,” he said.

“I didn’t want to leave my children with Mitch … I don’t trust him.”

He claims Mr Hooke left the children unattended when he followed Burgess outside as he attempted to leave.

“They were then alone inside the house,” he said.

His ex-wife Phoebe Burgess was on her way home at the time.

Sam Burgess with his former wife Phoebe.(Instagram)

Burgess told the court the argument heated up when Mr Hooke threatened him in saying: “I’m going to ruin your career if it’s the last thing I do.”

“He shouted at me … he said f**k you Sam … I said f**k you Mitch, you’re a piece of shit,” Burgess said.

“He said, ‘Sam, nobody loves you. Your own family doesn’t love you. We love you and you’re throwing it all away’.”

The court heard Mr Hooke’s other daughter, Harriet, intervened and took her father inside.

The prosecution told the court two police officers noted Mr Hooke was “visibly shaken” following the incident.

Burgess admitted he drank four schooners of beer at a local pub before he went to visit his children.

He claimed he was not affected by alcohol and considered himself “sober”.

Sam Burgess in court over argument

Mr Hooke denied suggestions he was the aggressor in the argument by raising infidelity in the marriage and threatening to “destroy” Burgess.

Burgess has pleaded not guilty to charges of intimidation and common assault.

A decision is expected to be handed down on February 5.

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Sam Burgess told by Mitchell Hooke his NRL career was going to be ‘ruined’, court told

In November, Ms Burgess admitted to the court she and her father had made the choice to hand a 50-page affidavit to The Australian detailing alleged drug use and domestic violence by Mr Burgess.

Mr Burgess was in the witness box on Friday morning and told the court how, during the incident, Mr Hooke told him: “I’m going to make sure I ruin your career if it’s the last thing I do.”

Mitchell Hooke, father of Phoebe Burgess and father-in-law of former rugby league star Sam Burgess arrives at Moss Vale Local Court.Credit:James Brickwood

Mr Boulten said during his final submissions, “Mitch Hooke and Phoebe Burgess have tried to destroy my client’s career, this case is part of it, and it won’t stop here.

“It was done deliberately to cause damage to my client’s reputation. It is consistent with my client’s assertion that Mr Hooke said to him I’m going to get you and I’m going to make sure I destroy your career.”

During his time in the witness box, Mr Burgess admitted the pair did have a verbal altercation but said they were “five or six metres” apart from each other.

He labelled the incident a “little argument” but admitted he was upset and angry at the time.

The former Rabbitohs captain said he visited the property from 2pm to 4pm before Mr Hooke asked him to leave.

Mr Burgess said the argument kicked off as he began walking to his car, telling Mr Hooke: “Mitch, I think you are a bad person inside and out and that’s why Phoebe is the way she is.”

Mr Burgess said Mr Hooke then followed him out to the car to continue the argument.

“He shouted back, he said, ‘F— you, Sam,’ ” Mr Burgess said.

“I returned serve and said, ‘F— you, Mitch, you’re a piece of shit.’ ”

“He said, ‘Sam, nobody loves you. Your own family doesn’t love you. We love you and you’re throwing it all away.’ ”

The argument ended when Ms Burgess’ sister Harriet Hooke intervened and “ushered” her father inside.

Mr Burgess told the court he texted Ms Burgess after the argument to let her know he had left the property before she replied, “Don’t you ever message me again.”

She then sent a follow-up text shortly after that said, “Harriet witnessed that. You are a pig. You are an absolute low life. How dare you. We are done. At least people have now seen who you really are, you f—.”

Mr Burgess admitted to having had four schooners of Great Northern beer before the visit but said he was sober when he arrived at the property.

Mr Boulten asked Mr Burgess: “Would you regard yourself affected by alcohol?”

“None whatsoever,” Mr Burgess responded.


Police prosecutor Jamie Palmer argued Mr Burgess blamed Mr Hooke for having a part in his failed marriage, which caused him to lash out and tell his father-in-law he was going to “get him” and “come after him”.

“That’s not true,” Mr Burgess said.

Ms Palmer also argued Mr Burgess was standing over Mr Hooke, pointing at him while shouting obscenities during the incident.

Mr Burgess agreed Mr Hooke did say, “So you are going to hit a 64-year-old man?” during the argument but said he simply laughed in response.

“I never raised my voice,” Mr Burgess said.

In her closing submissions, Ms Palmer argued Mr Hooke was a man used to dealing with heated interactions during his time in the businessman, but was left “shaken” after his interaction with Mr Burgess.

“This is not a man who is a wilting flower,” she said. “And yet he was concerned if he took a step backwards he would be hit.”

A judgment will be handed down at Moss Vale Local Court on February 5.

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USA 4-0 Colombia: Sam Mewis scores hat-trick in first home game in 10 months

Sam Mewis scored a penalty to complete a hat-trick and claim her 21st international goal

Sam Mewis scored a hat-trick as the United States beat Colombia 4-0 in Orlando on Monday.

The Manchester City midfielder, 28, scored twice in the first half before securing her first international treble just after the interval.

Her older sister Kristie, 29, added a fourth goal late on as the Women’s World Cup holders extended their unbeaten run to 33 matches.

The US have another friendly against Colombia in Orlando on Saturday.

Sam Mewis slotted in from Megan Rapinoe’s pass before heading home a Carli Lloyd cross to become the 30th US women’s player to reach 20 international goals as he US outclassed a Colombia side that failed to manage a shot on target.

She claimed her 21st, from 69 appearances, after Lindsey Horan was brought down in the penalty area.

Colombia failed to have a shot on target while Brazil-born midfielder Catarina Macario made her US debut as a substitute after being cleared by Fifa to play for the country she moved to at 12.

For the US, who had Catarina Macario making her debut as a substitute after being cleared by Fifa to play for the country she moved to at 12, this was a first home game since beating Japan 3-1 in the SheBelieves Cup final last March. They did, though, play the Netherlands in Breda on 27 November, winning 2-0.

A limited-capacity crowd of 4,000 was permitted at Exploria Stadium, which will host this year’s SheBelieves Cup, which begins on 18 February and also features Brazil, Canada and Japan.



Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Naeher
  • 5O’HaraSubstituted forPurceat 72′minutes
  • 7Dahlkemper
  • 4Sauerbrunn
  • 19DunnSubstituted forSonnettat 72′minutes
  • 3MewisSubstituted forLavelleat 64′minutes
  • 8Ertz
  • 9HoranSubstituted forMewisat 64′minutes
  • 6Williams
  • 10Lloyd
  • 15RapinoeSubstituted forMacarioat 45′minutes


  • 14Sonnett
  • 16Lavelle
  • 22Mewis
  • 23Purce
  • 24Campbell
  • 25Smith
  • 29Macario


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 12Sepúlveda
  • 2Ibarguen
  • 16Carabalí
  • 3Arias
  • 15VelásquezSubstituted forGuerraat 77′minutes
  • 8Caro
  • 21SalazarSubstituted forReyesat 67′minutes
  • 18PaviBooked at 23minsSubstituted forAcostaat 45′minutes
  • 11Usme
  • 10RobledoSubstituted forCaicedoat 90+1′minutes
  • 9RomeroBooked at 40minsSubstituted forCaicedoat 45′minutes


  • 1Giraldo
  • 7Reyes
  • 14Guerra
  • 19Caicedo
  • 20Caicedo
  • 22González
  • 23Acosta

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Blackpool 2-2 West Bromwich Albion (3-2 pens): Sam Allardyce’s Baggies suffer FA Cup shock

Jerry Yates’ opener was his second FA Cup goal of the season after netting in a 1-0 win at Eastbourne

Sam Allardyce’s nightmare start to his reign as West Brom manager continued as his former club Blackpool knocked the Baggies out of the FA Cup on penalties.

Twice the League One club led as Jerry Yates swept in Bez Lubala’s cross from close range and Gary Madine stroked into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

Semi Ajayi’s header and Matheus Pereira’s penalty, awarded for an Ollie Turton handball, forced extra time.

But Chris Maxwell saved three shootout spot-kicks to send Blackpool through.

Maxwell, making his return after a bout of coronavirus forced him to miss Blackpool’s past two games, thwarted Kyle Edwards and Darnell Furlong before sealing the Seasiders’ progress by foiling Pereira.

Sullay Kaikai had missed a chance to clinch victory against the Premier League strugglers by hitting the post with Blackpool’s fifth spot-kick but Maxwell’s third save avoided the need for sudden death.

The Seasiders, who handed Allardyce his full-time managerial break in 1994, added to his worries with a committed showing and never looked two divisions inferior to the visitors.

They were dangerous on the counter throughout, swift breaks leading to both their goals as Yates, the scorer of the first, turned provider for the second by helping Dan Kemp’s pass on for Madine to beat exposed keeper David Button.

Kamil Grosicki set up each of Albion’s replies, Ajayi heading home his floated cross before another centre from the Poland winger struck Turton’s outstretched arm and Pereira made no mistake from the spot.

Each side had chances to win it in the additional 30 minutes but Button prevented Madine putting Blackpool ahead for a third time, and Maxwell saved well low down from Edwards’ shot.

Albion remain without a win in five games since Allardyce took charge in December.



Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Maxwell
  • 20TurtonBooked at 81mins
  • 26BallardBooked at 37minsSubstituted forEkpitetaat 90′minutes
  • 23GrétarssonSubstituted forMitchellat 99′minutes
  • 3Husband
  • 19KempSubstituted forVirtue-Thickat 82′minutes
  • 18WardSubstituted forRobsonat 115′minutes
  • 12Dougall
  • 30LubalaSubstituted forKaikaiat 75′minutes
  • 14Madine
  • 9Yates


  • 2Lawrence-Gabriel
  • 4Thorniley
  • 6Robson
  • 10Kaikai
  • 13Sims
  • 15Mitchell
  • 17Virtue-Thick
  • 21Ekpiteta
  • 31Woodburn

West Brom

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 25Button
  • 22PeltierSubstituted forO’Sheaat 96′minutes
  • 5BartleySubstituted forSawyersat 61′minutes
  • 20IvanovicSubstituted forKipréat 72′minutes
  • 3GibbsSubstituted forFurlongat 45′minutes
  • 6AjayiBooked at 16mins
  • 17Krovinovic
  • 8Livermore
  • 18GallagherBooked at 47minsSubstituted forEdwardsat 61′minutes
  • 13Grosicki
  • 12Costa Pereira


  • 2Furlong
  • 16Harper
  • 19Sawyers
  • 21Edwards
  • 24Kipré
  • 27O’Shea
  • 31Lonergan
  • 39Richards
  • 40Harmon

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Sydney Thunder fall short against Perth Scorchers despite brilliant Sam Billings

“This is one of the best places to bat once you get used to it.”

A four-wicket blitz by newcomer Brendan Doggett put the pressure on the hosts early, but some Colin Munro and Ashton Turner fireworks lifted the hosts to 6-185.

In reply the Thunder were bowled out for 168, with Jhye Richardson collecting 4-24 and the ‘golden arm’ for leading tournament wicket-taker.

The Scorchers came into the clash looking to capitalise on a three-match winning streak, which included a recent upset win over the Sydney Sixers.

The Thunder, meanwhile, arrived in Perth having ascended to the top of the table, largely thanks to their strong spin cartel who, despite dominating previous opposition, were largely ineffective on a pitch that offered little bounce or spin.

Instead, the Thunder found a spearhead in new inclusion Doggett, who had an immediate impact on the game by claiming openers Jason Roy and Liam Livingstone with identical dismissals in his first over of the season for the franchise.


Doggett went on to claim the additional scalps of in-form pair Josh Inglis and Mitch Marsh, finishing with figures of 4-20 that included 14 dot balls.

Despite Doggett’s onslaught, the Scorchers lifted in the middle overs with Colin Munro continuing his good form by notching his third consecutive half-century.

His innings included a 40-run power surge alongside Ashton Turner, with 23 runs taken off one Chris Green over, to help lift the home side to 6-185.

In reply the Thunder lost in-form openers Alex Hales and Usman Khawaja cheaply, before Englishman Billings took on the Scorchers attack.

However, the Scorchers proved too strong with the ball, bolstering their home record and leap-frogging the Melbourne Stars on the table.

The Scorchers will remain in Perth and continue to chase a spot in the top five with their next match against the Hobart Hurricanes on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Thunder will travel to Canberra for a Wednesday night blockbuster against the Sixers and will have their stocks bolstered by the expected return of key all-rounder Daniel Sams.

The derby has been rescheduled to Manuka Oval due to border closures.

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Sam Stosur opens up on year in lockdown

Sam Stosur was taken by surprise last year, when more than two months passed without her hitting a tennis ball.

The 2011 US Open champion wasn’t injured or sick, although the tennis tour, like everywhere else, was on hold because of the worldwide COVID-19 crisis.

The real reason her racquet was put into mothballs was she and her partner, Liz, became parents in June, welcoming daughter Genevieve – known more informally as Evie – into the world.

“The weeks went by so fast and before I knew it, ‘Oh, wow, she’s nine weeks old and I haven’t hit a ball and I’ve done like 30 minutes of exercise each week, and that’s it’,” Stosur told the Herald Sun.

“I couldn’t even think about leaving and being away from her. I just didn’t want to.

“It was actually really nice not to feel that pressure to train. I’ll never get that time with her again, so I feel really lucky I was able to do that.”

That major moment in Melbourne-based Stosur’s off-court life also helped her have a realisation.

Her baby announcement was similar to that of Casey Dellacqua’s in 2013, which was also kept private, then once it wasn’t, it doubled as her own ‘going public’ moment with her sexuality.

Stosur’s friends, family and everyone on the travelling tennis circus already knew – she’d never tried to hide it – but discussing her relationship through the media was something she’d never done.

She first did that in a wide-ranging interview with former peer Todd Woodbridge in the period after Evie’s birth.

“No matter what your situation and what you do; you eventually get to the point where it doesn’t matter what anyone in the outside world thinks – as long as you’re happy,” Stosur said this week.

“If you want to share all of that or some of it or none of it, that’s totally the individual’s choice.”

Stosur is preparing to make her 19th Australian Open main draw appearance next month.

At age 36 and with a ranking now in triple digits, she knows she’s far closer to the end than the start of her stellar career. However, there’s still more to do.

Representing Australia at a fifth Olympic Games in Tokyo this year remains a goal – it would be rare territory for any athlete – while she also hopes to play at least one more Australian Open after this upcoming one.

What Stosur promises, to herself as much as everyone else, is that if she is going to commit to playing this year, then she won’t just “go through the motions”.

“That’s not what I want to do. I want to do it as best as I can – and that looks a bit different these days compared to maybe 10 years ago,” she said.

“But you do what you can in the moment and the time you’ve got.”

One challenge is her family situation.

In the lead-up to Evie’s arrival, Stosur and her partner discussed them joining her on the WTA circuit, albeit with a somewhat modified playing schedule.

Then COVID hit and sent everything into disarray. As it stands, Stosur is yet to make any scheduling decisions beyond the Australian tournaments.

“Now, because of COVID, it’s like, ‘Do you really want them travelling?’. Is that smart, with quarantine (requirements) and everything else?” she said.

“It was already going to change things a fair bit having (Evie) and now I feel like it’s a whole other layer having her and COVID, so I’m just going to have to see how I feel as the Aussie summer is coming to an end.”

What Stosur still hopes to get better at is playing more freely, especially with coach Rennae Stubbs urging her to enjoy herself more on the court.

With a career-high ranking of No.4, a grand slam singles title, six doubles championships (split between women’s and mixed) and a record 452 weeks as Australia’s No.1 female player, her legacy is cemented.

“I’ve had a great career and I’m very proud of that and now whatever I get from here is kind of like a bonus,” she said.

Even so, Stosur hasn’t been able to satisfy everyone along the journey.

She won a US Open and was runner-up at the 2010 French Open – where she also made three other semi-finals – but there’s always been a hyper focus on her never advancing beyond round four at Melbourne Park.

So has Stosur been underappreciated?

“It’s hard to answer that, and I don’t want it to sound like sour grapes or ‘What about me?’ or anything like that,” she said.

“I do feel like a little too often it’s been about ‘Sam the disappointment’ or if you lose early at the Aussie Open, you’re not so good or whatever.

“There’s been a tinge of that side of things, whereas there’s been a whole lot of positive that far outweighs, to me, any of that other stuff. I’m very proud of my achievements.”

And in Stosur’s own words, that’s what truly counts.

Test result delays disrupt Open preparations

Potential Australian Open qualifiers are waiting in hotel rooms for upwards of 12 hours beyond the expected time to receive COVID-19 test results.

The Herald Sun has obtained the fact sheets for the grand slam’s qualifying draws in Doha (men) and Dubai (women), with players required to meet strict conditions to play.

However, it hasn’t been smooth sailing in the opening days, with some players stuck in their hotel room for long periods – despite test results being expected within 24 hours – and having problems booking courts.

Tournament officials became aware of the delays and the subsequent flow-on issues and tried to mitigate the wait times with local health authorities.

A Tennis Australia spokesman said in a statement to the Herald Sun: “The local organisers have done an incredible job preparing everything for AO qualifying in a very short space of time.

“The conditions for the players in both Dubai and Doha are excellent and … we are working closely with local organisers and health authorities to ensure the process is as straightforward as possible, and always with the priority being the health and safety of everyone.

“Although there have been delays with the return of some test results, the process is generally working well and the players will all have the chance to prepare appropriately and be ready to compete on Sunday.”

It’s also understood not all tournament protocols are being strictly followed, including officials not always sanitising courts in the allocated 10 minutes between each training session.

In most cases, athletes and team members needed to return a negative PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) test before leaving their country, then were tested again on arrival.

As per the Doha fact sheet, players and their team can then travel to their hotel, where they must remain until the negative result is communicated.

Players didn’t receive tournament accreditation and weren’t able to travel to the site to train until the result was confirmed.

The rules state that any positive test after arriving means the player cannot compete in qualifying.

There was a slight variance in Dubai, where players and support team members underwent a COVID-19 screening and PCR testing – a nasopharyngeal swab – upon arrival at their hotel.

A subsequent positive test also results in the player being withdrawn, and they would be required to isolate immediately.

The Dubai fact sheet states if a credentialed attendee tests positive, they must quarantine at a Dubai Health Authority-appointed hotel for 14 days with mild symptoms, or be hospitalised if symptoms are serious.

It’s all part of the difficulties Tennis Australia is facing in making sure this year’s Australian Open, which begins on February 8 at Melbourne Park, not only goes ahead but is safe and a success.

Tournament director Craig Tiley already detailed this week how they planned to use up to 18 planes, at 20 per cent capacity, to fly international players to Australia next week.

Qualifying matches begin on Sunday.

Barty flags Australian Open lead-in plans

World No.1 Ash Barty will kickstart her bid for Australian Open glory at one of the WTA 500 tournaments in Melbourne the week before the grand slam.

It will be Barty’s first competitive hitout since losing in the semi-finals in Doha, Qatar, in late February last year after choosing not to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just one player is missing from the world’s top 50 among those contesting the women’s events at Melbourne Park, with another Australian, Ajla Tomljanovic, also a direct acceptance.

There will be three men’s events there in the same week, including the ATP Cup and two ATP 250 tournaments, with Australians Nick Kyrgios and Jordan Thompson entered but in different events.

Alex de Minaur, John Millman, John Peers and Luke Saville will represent Australia at the second ATP Cup, between February 1 and 5.

The lead-in tournaments to the Australian Open, starting on January 31, will be named to recognise key Victoria regions impacted and still facing the challenges of bushfires and the coronavirus pandemic.

The women’s events will be called the Gippsland Trophy and Yarra Valley Classic, while the men’s tournaments are the Great Ocean Road Open and the Murray River Open.

Phillip Island will be attached to the WTA event being held in the second week of the Australian Open.

Barty, who famously won the 2019 French Open, is a traditionally strong performer in the lead-in tournaments.

The 24-year-old won the inaugural Adelaide International title last year before becoming the first local woman to reach the Australian Open semi-finals since Wendy Turnbull in 1984.

Barty’s rivals include 23-times grand slam champion Serena Williams, world No.2 Simona Halep and previous AO champions Sofia Kenin, Naomi Osaka, Victoria Azarenka and Angelique Kerber.

Both WTA events will be 64-player draws, with the top-32 ranked players split across them.

The men’s fields were divided earlier in the week, with Kyrgios pitted against the likes of Stan Wawrinka and Grigor Dimitrov, while Thompson’s competition includes David Goffin and Karen Khachanov.

Most of the world’s top-20 players are competing in the ATP Cup, but a combined 19 top-40 players are in title contention across the two ATP 250s.

Melbourne Park will be separated into three zones for all tournaments this summer, with fans able to buy a corresponding ticket.

Ticket details are still to be announced.

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NT CLP senator Sam McMahon says national anthem change will achieve ‘absolutely nothing’

A change to the lyrics of Australia’s national anthem has incensed some members of the Federal Government, according to a Coalition senator staunchly opposed to the move.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the second line of Advance Australia Fair would change from “for we are young and free” to “for we are one and free” from New Year’s Day.

Indigenous Australians, politicians and even sporting figures have claimed that the earlier wording overlooked the long history of Indigenous culture, which evidence shows is at least 65,000 years old.

“While Australia as a modern nation may be relatively young, our country’s story is ancient, as are the stories of the many First Nations peoples whose stewardship we rightly acknowledge and respect,” Mr Morrison wrote in a statement announcing the change.

However, the move has reportedly rankled some members of his own government.

Northern Territory Country Liberal Party senator Sam McMahon, who sits with the National Party, said she was “not in favour” of the change.

“Yes, we have an old continent and an old Indigenous culture, but as a nation, we are young.

“I see absolutely no need to change [the anthem] whatsoever.”

Senator airs anthem grievances with Deputy PM

Senator McMahon said she had raised her views with Deputy Prime Minister and National Party leader Michael McCormack, and claimed other party members share her stance.

A spokesman for Mr McCormack wrote in a statement that “Nationals members and Senators are free to hold their own opinions and the Deputy Prime Minister respects that”.

“The Deputy Prime Minister appreciates Senator McMahon’s position on the anthem changes and was happy to discuss the issue with her.”

Labor senator Malarndirri McCarthy has welcomed the change.(ABC News: Mitch Woolnough)

The Northern Territory is home to thousands of Indigenous people, including in some of the nation’s most remote and disadvantaged areas, and Senator McMahon said the change would do nothing to improve their lives.

“What is changing one word of the national anthem going to do to address the issues that we have in Indigenous communities in the NT?” she asked.

Senator McMahon’s Labor counterpart, Yanyuwa woman Malarndirri McCarthy, yesterday told the Today show that she was in favour of the move.

She said she hoped it would spur the Federal Government to bring about constitutional amendments such as the First Nations Voice to Parliament that Indigenous leaders first called for in 2017.

“The fact that we can change one word so quickly and so efficiently, is it possible now that the Prime Minister can have a New Year’s resolution to see a Voice to Parliament, where First Nations people are actually a part of all of these discussions and debates?” she asked yesterday.

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West Bromwich Albion 0-3 Aston Villa: Sam Allardyce’s reign starts with defeat

Anwar El Ghazi has four goals from three trips to The Hawthorns, having also scored twice in a 2-2 draw in the Championship in December 2018

Sam Allardyce’s reign as West Bromwich Albion manager got off to a miserable start as Aston Villa brushed aside the 10-man Baggies.

Anwar El Ghazi’s improvised close-range finish gave Villa an early advantage in a West Midlands derby that was one-sided even before Baggies captain Jake Livermore’s red card.

The visitors were utterly dominant once Martin Atkinson consulted his pitchside monitor and decided to dismiss Livermore for a studs-up lunge on Jack Grealish before half-time.

They sealed the points with two goals in the closing stages as Grealish set up Bertrand Traore’s cool side-footer and then won the penalty converted by El Ghazi for the Egyptian’s second.

Albion might be aggrieved that the VAR did not request Atkinson take a second look when Kortney Hause trod on the ankle of Baggies midfielder Grady Diangana shortly after Livermore’s sending-off.

But it was still a night to forget for Allardyce, whose side remain three points from safety in 19th, as he returned to a Premier League dugout for the first time since May 2018.

Big Sam’s biggest challenge yet?

Sam Allardyce.
Sam Allardyce had won five of his seven previous opening games in charge of Premier League clubs

Much has been made of Allardyce’s record of never suffering relegation from the Premier League as a manager but he will already be aware he has an uphill task to maintain that proud statistic.

While his new charges showed the sort of resilience that earned them a point at Manchester City in midweek in Slaven Bilic’s final game in charge, they lacked the quality and potency to trouble Villa even before going down to 10 men.

Albion did not collapse after Livermore’s ejection like they did following Matheus Pereira’s red card in their last home game when Crystal Palace cruised to a 5-1 victory but, in truth, the scoreline could have been even more embarrassing than that.

John McGinn headed a Grealish cross wide, Ollie Watkins saw a sliding finish scrubbed off for offside by VAR and Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone twice superbly denied El Ghazi before the incessant pressure told late on.

With the January transfer window looming, Allardyce will need to bolster a defence that has conceded 29 goals – a tally only surpassed by Leeds – while reinvigorating an attack that has netted just five times in their past 11 games.

They failed to force Emiliano Martinez into a save of note as Allardyce suffered only a second opening-game defeat in a 20-year Premier League managerial career now spanning eight clubs.

The fixture list will not make pleasing reading for the former England manager, whose side face Liverpool, Wolves and Manchester City among their next six as they seek to add to their solitary win this term.

More to follow.

Player of the match

GrealishJack Grealish

West Bromwich Albion

  1. Squad number1Player nameJohnstone

  2. Squad number18Player nameGallagher

  3. Squad number6Player nameAjayi

  4. Squad number2Player nameFurlong

  5. Squad number27Player nameO’Shea

  6. Squad number10Player namePhillips

  7. Squad number3Player nameGibbs

  8. Squad number11Player nameDiangana

  9. Squad number7Player nameRobinson

  10. Squad number19Player nameSawyers

  11. Squad number20Player nameIvanovic

  12. Squad number29Player nameGrant

  13. Squad number15Player nameAustin

  14. Squad number8Player nameLivermore

Aston Villa

  1. Squad number10Player nameGrealish

  2. Squad number15Player nameTraoré

  3. Squad number21Player nameEl Ghazi

  4. Squad number7Player nameMcGinn

  5. Squad number6Player nameDouglas Luiz

  6. Squad number2Player nameCash

  7. Squad number11Player nameWatkins

  8. Squad number26Player nameMartínez

  9. Squad number5Player nameMings

  10. Squad number18Player nameTargett

  11. Squad number30Player nameHause


West Brom

  • 1Johnstone
  • 2Furlong
  • 6Ajayi
  • 27O’Shea
  • 3Gibbs
  • 19Sawyers
  • 10PhillipsSubstituted forAustinat 77′minutes
  • 8LivermoreBooked at 36mins
  • 18Gallagher
  • 11DianganaSubstituted forIvanovicat 78′minutes
  • 29GrantBooked at 62minsSubstituted forRobinsonat 83′minutes


  • 7Robinson
  • 13Grosicki
  • 15Austin
  • 17Krovinovic
  • 20Ivanovic
  • 21Edwards
  • 22Peltier
  • 24Kipré
  • 25Button

Aston Villa

  • 26Martínez
  • 2Cash
  • 30HauseBooked at 40mins
  • 5MingsBooked at 66mins
  • 18Targett
  • 6Douglas Luiz
  • 7McGinn
  • 15Traoré
  • 10Grealish
  • 21El Ghazi
  • 11Watkins


  • 3Taylor
  • 12Steer
  • 14Hourihane
  • 19Nakamba
  • 22Engels
  • 24Guilbert
  • 27El Mohamady
  • 39Davis
  • 41Ramsey

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NRL news 2020: Sam Burgess pictured with Jade Spooner, Phoebe Hooke court feud

Former rugby league player Sam Burgess has been pictured alongside Sydney nutritionist Jade Spooner as he fights intimidation and common assault charges.

Spooner shared a photo of herself and Burgess to Instagram, commemorating the English footballer’s 32nd birthday.

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“Happy Birthday to this one of a kind,” she captioned the image.

Sam Burgess and Jade Spooner.Source: Instagram

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Bulldog Sam Lloyd pulls pin on AFL career

A player best known for his after-the-siren heroics for Richmond in 2016, Western Bulldogs forward Sam Lloyd has retired from the AFL.

Drafted as a mature-age recruit from the VFL in 2013, Lloyd booted 69 goals in 57 games for Richmond and kicked another 45 in 32 appearances for the Bulldogs.

His crowning moment came when he kicked a superb goal after the siren from 45m out to deliver Richmond a one-point victory over Sydney at the MCG in 2016.

“Playing AFL has been an amazing experience, and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved on the field,” Lloyd, 30, said.

“My journey wasn’t conventional, but I’m just honoured to have played at the highest level.

“I’m extremely grateful to have represented two great clubs, who have given me the chance to live out a boyhood dream.”

Lloyd booted 35 goals in 22 games for the Tigers in 2016 but fell out of favour the next year – missing out on the club’s breakthrough AFL premiership, though he was best-on-ground in their VFL triumph.

He was traded to the Western Bulldogs at the end of 2018 and led their 2019 goal-kicking with a career-high 38 goals – but was limited to just nine games this year.

Lloyd’s immediate retirement to pursue business opportunities outside of football, gives the Bulldogs an extra list spot for the 2021 season.

They can either fill it in the pre-season supplemental selection period, or save it for next year’s mid-season rookie draft.

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