Rugby Championship 2021: Sean McMahon wants Wallabies return – not Olympic gold


Wallabies coach Dave Rennie is so impressed with a batch of rising young Australian backrowers he has not made contact with Sean McMahon, despite the Japan-based flanker expressing his willingness to play Test rugby again.

One week after All Blacks and fellow Suntory star Beauden Barrett revealed both McMahon and Samu Kerevi want to feature at the next World Cup, sources close to McMahon confirmed he is open to a return to the Wallabies fold.

Sean McMahon hasn't played for the Wallabies since 2017.

Sean McMahon hasn’t played for the Wallabies since 2017. Credit:Stuart Walmsley

McMahon, who was a dynamic presence at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, hasn’t worn a Wallabies jersey since the 2017 Spring Tour when the 26-Test back rower was arguably the hottest property in Australian rugby.

The Queensland product signed with Japanese side Suntory Sungoliath, however, and was subsequently ruled ineligible for selection under the Giteau Law criteria, which states a player must have 60 Test caps, and have given seven years service, to be eligible for Wallabies selection while based overseas.

Rugby Australia announced a tweak to the Giteau Law last year in which Rennie can pick two players from abroad that are under the 60-Test threshhold.

Despite having those slots at his disposal, an RA spokesperson told the Herald no contact has been made with McMahon. It is unclear to what extent Rennie factored in McMahon’s availability in his backrow plans for the winter.

McMahon’s management said the flanker has now planned holidays instead.

Dan Carter of Kobelco Steelers is run down by Suntory back-rower Sean McMahon in 2020.

Dan Carter of Kobelco Steelers is run down by Suntory back-rower Sean McMahon in 2020.Credit:Getty

Rennie is on record stating his preference to pick players that aren’t based in Australia and the case of McMahon appears to be no exception.

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Rugby Championship 2021: Sean McMahon wants Wallabies return – not Olympic gold


Wallabies coach Dave Rennie is so impressed with a batch of rising young Australian backrowers he has not made contact with Sean McMahon, despite the Japan-based flanker expressing his willingness to play Test rugby again.

One week after All Blacks and fellow Suntory star Beauden Barrett revealed both McMahon and Samu Kerevi want to feature at the next World Cup, sources close to McMahon confirmed he is open to a return to the Wallabies fold.

Sean McMahon hasn’t played for the Wallabies since 2017. Credit:Stuart Walmsley

McMahon, who was a dynamic presence at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, hasn’t worn a Wallabies jersey since the 2017 Spring Tour when the 26-Test back rower was arguably the hottest property in Australian rugby.

The Queensland product signed with Japanese side Suntory Sungoliath, however, and was subsequently ruled ineligible for selection under the Giteau Law criteria, which states a player must have 60 Test caps, and have given seven years service, to be eligible for Wallabies selection while based overseas.

Rugby Australia announced a tweak to the Giteau Law last year in which Rennie can pick two players from abroad that are under the 60-Test threshhold.

Despite having those slots at his disposal, an RA spokesperson told the Herald no contact has been made with McMahon. It is unclear to what extent Rennie factored in McMahon’s availability in his backrow plans for the winter.

McMahon’s management said the flanker has now planned holidays instead.

Dan Carter of Kobelco Steelers is run down by Suntory back-rower Sean McMahon in 2020.

Dan Carter of Kobelco Steelers is run down by Suntory back-rower Sean McMahon in 2020.Credit:Getty

Rennie is on record stating his preference to pick players that aren’t based in Australia and the case of McMahon appears to be no exception.

Thank you for visiting My Local Pages. We hope you enjoyed reading this news update on World sports news published as “Rugby Championship 2021: Sean McMahon wants Wallabies return – not Olympic gold”. This news article was presented by MyLocalPages Australia as part of our local news services.

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Tokyo Olympics 2021: Australian rugby sevens team wants Wallabies star Sean McMahon for Games


He’s the trump card Dave Rennie wants on deck for the 2023 World Cup, but Tim Walsh is hoping to have Wallaby wrecking ball Sean McMahon on-hand for Australia’s Tokyo tilt.

With the Wallabies trying to win back the hearts and minds of Australians, Walsh believes the sevens team can win the public over like it did when his women’s side won gold at Rio and an explosion of women’s sports sprung as a result.

“You look at what it did for women in Australia by winning the gold medal. That didn’t just change rugby in Australia, it changed women’s sport,” Walsh said.

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Sean McMahon is in Walsh’s plans. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Sean McMahon is in Walsh’s plans. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images



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WA Election: Sean L’Estrange loses Churchlands, leaving Liberals with just two Lower House seats


The WA Liberals have been left with just two Lower House members after Labor won the seat of Churchlands.

With 86 per cent of the vote counted, ABC election analyst Antony Green has called the seat for Labor’s Christine Tonkin.

The seat was previously held by Liberal Sean L’Estrange with a margin of 11.7 per cent and has never been held by Labor. 

Ms Tonkin leads by more than 200 votes with only a small number of pre-poll and absent votes to be counted.

It was the final seat to be called in the WA election and meant Labor would hold an unprecedented 53 seats in the Lower House, while the WA Nationals would be left with four and the Liberals would hold just two.

The loss of Churchlands is a further blow to the Liberals after Labor officially claimed the once ultra-safe seat of Nedlands on Thursday, a traditional Liberal stronghold in Perth’s affluent western suburbs.

Liberal Bill Marmion was defeated by Labor’s Katrina Stratton, following a 10.2 per cent swing in that electorate.

Nedlands had previously never been won by Labor and was represented by two former Liberal premiers, Sir Charles Court and his son Richard Court. 

Liberals lose party status

With the Liberals reduced to just two seats, they have lost their official opposition party status to the WA Nationals, which managed to hang on to four seats.

Under WA’s Public Sector Management Act, the Liberals would not qualify for important Parliamentary resources once they lost opposition status. 

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A look back at the historic 2021 WA state election campaign

Mr McGowan said the Liberal party would need to negotiate resourcing with the Nationals.

“Last term I think what happened was the Liberal party got the [opposition party] resources and they divided it with the National party,” Mr McGowan said.

“This term It looks like we would give the resources to the National party and they would divide it with the Liberal party.”

A spokesman for Nationals leader Mia Davies said no decisions relating to Opposition arrangements would be made until all seats in Parliament had been declared. 

“The WAEC has advised this is likely towards the end of next week,” the spokesman said.

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why outgoing Victorian racing integrity commissioner Sal Perna remains frustrated after 11 years in the job, Sean Carroll to replace him


“Without any doubt at all, there are cases we can’t take any further without that type of information. I think Sean will find that frustrating, just like I did.”

WHO SHOT AT TERRY BAILEY’S HOME?

Like the unsolved murder of racing identify Les Samba, which still haunts the former homicide detective, Perna wishes he got to the bottom of who shot six bullets into the front door of former Racing Victoria chief steward Terry Bailey’s home on the eve of the 2015 spring carnival.

“That bugs me, and I don’t know if VicPol have got much that they’re working on but that would have been a really nice one because you know how much conjecture went around that one as to all the different scenarios that could have led to that happening, but one day we might know,” Perna says.

“That was handled initially by RV to have a look at, but it was immediately given to VicPol to investigate due to the seriousness of the incident. All you need is one bit, especially when you’ve got someone in mind that is probably responsible. I always describe an investigation as a jigsaw puzzle.

Racing Victoria’s former chief steward Terry Bailey outside his house after shots where fired at his front door. Credit:Joe Armao

“You’ve got different pieces from different places but you haven’t got the lid, the box that comes with the jigsaw to show you where the pieces go.”

REVIEWING THE AQUANITA CASE

One project Perna will pass onto Carroll will be the end-to-end review into how the Aquanita case was handled.

Not one positive swab was returned in relation to Aquanita, which will be part of the review, as will the reason why Robert Smerdon was handed back his phone.

“That did happen but I’m not sure at what stage that happened, whether they [RV] got what they needed. But that is going to be subject to the review by Sean,” Perna says.

Banned for life: Trainer Robert Smerdon was disqualified for his part in the Aquanita doping scandal.

Banned for life: Trainer Robert Smerdon was disqualified for his part in the Aquanita doping scandal.Credit:Rob Gunstone

Perna says the text messages that were relied upon to disqualify the trainers and stablehands involved highlight exactly why the racing integrity commissioner’s office needs more power to access phone records.

“That wasn’t a bad piece of investigation by Racing Victoria either … but that stuff is critical,” Perna says.

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“Imagine if you couldn’t get that sort of information. That’s why sports bodies make sure their rules contain the ability to get that sort of thing, to be able to do a phone dump and get people’s SMSes.”

THE WEIR INVESTIGATION

Perna says the collaboration between Racing Victoria and Victoria Police regarding the Darren Weir investigation into animal cruelty and conspiracy to defraud stewards was a watershed moment for racing integrity.

“It was almost a coming of age for racing, where you had the body that’s responsible for the racing-related stuff – so the possession of the jigger, the cruelty part of it – coming together with the body that’s responsible for the criminal stuff,” he says.

“In the past, that probably wouldn’t have happened. It probably would have been one or the other and not the two of them sitting down at a table and discussing it.

“That’s exactly what happened. We had a big discussion on whose role it was to do what, and it meant, for example, when VicPol went to the premises to search it, they had racing stewards there who knew what a jigger looked like, and you had the police knowing what they could take and do that stewards couldn’t.”

Perna said Racing Victoria’s ability to achieve an outcome that didn’t jeopardise the police investigation was also critical to the process.

BIGGEST CHALLENGES

The key focuses for Carroll going forward, according to Perna, should be race fixing, prohibited substances and equine welfare.

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“Race fixing now is really about jockeys pulling horses and not letting them run on their own merits, rather than people manipulating the outcome,” Perna says.

“[With prohibited substances] if you use alcohol as an analogy, everyone knows if you get caught with 0.05, you’re going to get a sanction. I think that’s what people expect.

“The problem comes when people don’t know what’s prohibited and what’s not, and what penalty they’re going to get for certain thresholds or amounts.

“Welfare is a key issue obviously. If it’s integrity related, then we can get involved. That’s more than just malnutrition. If it’s something that’s systemic or serious like live baiting in greyhounds or widespread culling, we can get involved.”

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WHAT’S NEXT?

Perna remains on the International Tennis Integrity Board and the National Basketball Advisory Board, but a well-earned break is on the cards.

The role was “much more” than he ever thought it would be and he believes all three racing codes are better off than they were a decade ago. But there’s still room for improvement.

“The use of technology that they’ve got, the use of equipment like drones, the phone dumping equipment, there’s a hell of a lot they’re doing today that they didn’t have in the past,” Perna says.

“[But] I’m an advocate for bringing the three codes together; I haven’t been able to get that across the line the way I wanted to.

“You’ve got stewards in each of them, you’ve got intelligence analysts, you’ve got betting analysts and form analysts in each of them, you’ve got investigators – those people are all really doing the same job, albeit in a different code.

“I still think – and I haven’t changed my mind since I started in the role – the three integrity units from the three racing bodies should be one unit. How good would it be to harness that, where they’re exchanging information, they’re upskilling each other. It would be powerful to have that.″⁣

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Australian citizen and and Aung San Suu Kyi adviser Sean Turnell ‘detained’ by Myanmar’s military


Foreign Minister Marise Payne says the government has called in Myanmar’s Ambassador over reports of Australians being detained following this week’s military coup.

It came as Australian citizen Sean Turnell, an economic adviser to ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, said on Saturday he was being detained by Myanmar’s military.

“I’m just being detained at the moment and perhaps charged with something,” he told the BBC.

“I don’t know what that would be – could be anything at all, of course. Everyone is being very polite, but obviously I’m not free to move or anything like that.”

It comes days after Ms Suu Kyi’s own detention during an early morning raid. She faces two years in jail for the possession of illegally imported walkie-talkies, a charge dismissed as absurd by human rights groups.

Senator Payne said on Saturday night that consular assistance was being provided to “a number of Australians”.

“In particular, we have serious concerns about an Australian who has been detained at a police station,” she said.

“We have called in the Myanmar Ambassador and registered the Australian Government’s deep concern about these events.

“The Australian Embassy in Yangon continues to contact Australians in Myanmar to ascertain their safety, to the extent that communications allow.”

Earlier, Mr Turnell sent a message to the Reuters news agency just as he said he was being detained.

“I guess you will soon hear of it, but I am being detained. [I’m] being charged with something, but not sure what. I am fine and strong, and not guilty of anything,” he said, with a smile emoji.

It was the first reported arrest of a foreign national in Myanmar since the army generals seized power on Monday alleging fraud in the 8 November election that Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) won in a landslide.

Mr Turnell has been living in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyidaw, since 2017, working as the director of the Myanmar Development Institute. 

He earlier this week posted on social media, thanking people for getting in touch to ensure his safety following the coup.

“Thanks everyone for your concern yesterday. Safe for now but heartbroken for what all this means for the people of Myanmar,” he wrote in a message on Twitter.

Myanmar saw its largest anti-coup protests yet on Saturday. Around 3,000 people gathered near Yangon University, despite a nationwide internet blackout aimed at stifling a growing chorus of popular dissent. 

Protesters demonstrate against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar.

AAP

Similar scenes were observed in Melbourne, with hundreds gathering to condemn Myanmar’s new military regime.

“We couldn’t keep silent and sit in our homes. We would like to show the world and the public in Australia that this is what is happening. We don’t accept the illegal use of force taking the power from the people,” Simon Sang Hre told SBS News

International pressure on the junta is increasing, with the UN Security Council urging the release of detainees and US considering sanctions on the ruling generals.

UN Myanmar envoy Christine Schraner Burgener strongly condemned the military’s actions in a call with the country’s deputy military chief Soe Win and called for the immediate release of all those detained, a UN spokesman said on Friday.

The leaders of Indonesia and Malaysia on Friday said they were seeking a special meeting of Southeast Asian nations to discuss the situation in Myanmar.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken pressed China on the situation in Myanmar in a phone call on Friday – the first conversation between top officials of the two powers since President Joe Biden took office.

Mr Blinken “pressed China to join the international community in condemning the military coup in Burma”, a State Department statement said of the call, using the former name of Myanmar.

China has long enjoyed a privileged relationship with Myanmar, supporting the junta that gave way to democracy a decade ago with US support.

Additional reporting: Reuters, AFP



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Sean Penn fires back at criticism over his COVID-19 vaccine site: ‘Betrayal of all’


Garcetti “more or less ordered” a violation of Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules, the commenter alleged.

Another anonymous scribe took issue with the story’s description of “Krispy Kreme for breakfast and Subway for lunch” for site workers.

“We usually DON’T get breakfast, just coffee,” the commenter wrote. And the lunch is “NOT” Subway, but “the same old lettuce wraps every day. It’s free lunch for staff/volunteers so I’m not complaining but still… not Subway.”

Penn was not amused. He fired off an e-mail at 8:18pm on Friday to all CORE staff members, turning an internal dust-up into a nearly 2,200-word made-for-leaking-to-the-media-screed. The email was promptly leaked to the Los Angeles Times.

The email veers from admiration for the heroism of his staff members (“the sea of masked faces”) to his own post-midnight struggles (“pulling at my hair and pounding pavement”) to the treachery of his employees (“dissent in the low-hanging fruit of cyberspace” and “uninformed inaccuracies”).

Penn also directly addressed his anonymous critics, framing their comments as “shameful entries,” “obscene critiques” and a betrayal of epic proportions:

“And to whoever authored these, understand that in every cell of my body is a vitriol for the way your actions reflect so harmfully upon your brothers and sisters in arms. I have taken counsel and here will refrain from using the words with which I would otherwise choose to describe the character of your actions.”

Actor Sean Penn has lashed out at critics of his COVID-19 vaccine site. Credit:

Penn described the two comments as “highly visible,” but amid 150 reader responses, they would probably not have gained much attention if not for Penn’s email.

Penn co-founded CORE – originally called the J/P Haitian Relief Organisation – after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that destroyed much of the island and killed tens of thousands of people. The group continues to work in Haiti and has since provided humanitarian aid after hurricanes in North Carolina, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas.

Last year, the non-profit began providing free COVID-19 testing across the United States, starting with the Dodger Stadium site, where they now have 350 staff members and volunteers. The group is helping to run 47 COVID-19 testing sites across the country, including in Chicago, New Orleans, North Carolina, Georgia and the Navajo Nation.

CORE relies on a small amount of government funding and on charitable donations, including a $30 million contribution from Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, CORE chief executive and co-founder Ann Lee said in an interview last year. Penn takes no salary from the group, according to its federal tax filings.

Penn, 60, shared a photo on Twitter on January 26 of him receiving the vaccine, saying he was a “lucky man.”

The New York Times story chronicled what it’s like to vaccinate more than 7,000 people a day in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium, one of the largest vaccination sites in the country, where healthcare workers, retired record-company executives and even Arnold Schwarzenegger lined up for a shot.

CORE workers, some of whom are volunteers, perform nonclinical duties, including directing traffic, signing in patients and coordinating with healthcare staff.

One of the jobs involves running blue mini-coolers full of loaded syringes from R.V. trailers to the stations where patients are vaccinated in their cars.

One of those runners was Garcetti, seen in the article’s photos donning a neon vest with the CORE logo on it, directing traffic and checking in patients on an iPad. Penn, in his letter, defended Garcetti as a “leader on every level” and an “encourager-in-chief.”

One of the online commenters wrote that the site has a shipping container that serves as a “designated space for overworked staff to go cry in.” If you can’t get in, the commenter wrote, “it’s because staff are crying inside.”

Mara Buxbaum, a representative for CORE and Penn, provided a sheet of statistics about the operation, which said that staff work in eight-hour shifts and are paid hourly. She said as for the other issues raised by the commenters, “Penn’s internal memo to the staff speaks for itself.”

Labor officials opened an investigation into the Dodger Stadium site on August 27, when it was still a COVID-19 testing site, federal records show. The investigation was prompted by a complaint, and is listed as open, with no confirmed violations, the records show.

No other information was immediately available. Representatives for California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health did not immediately return requests for comment. The department typically does not provide details of complaints or investigations until cases have been closed.

“CORE has complied with all requests from OSHA and work everyday with our medical and LAFD partners to ensure a safe and productive operation,” Buxbaum, the CORE representative, said in a statement.

A person familiar with the matter said the complaint questioned whether there was enough shade at the site for workers, and whether tables were spaced far enough apart to allow for physical distancing. The person, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said the issues were resolved.

In response to questions about Penn and working conditions at Dodger Stadium, Garcetti spokeswoman Andrea García said only that the city has administered more than 195,000 vaccine doses, or 97% of its supply. The mayor, she said, “deeply appreciates” the groups working at the site, including CORE.

In his email, Penn said that Garcetti had not ordered CORE staff to work excessive hours. Instead, he said, Garcetti “gave a directive” to LAFD leaders, and then fire leaders requested additional CORE manpower – so the responsibility for extra work, he wrote, “falls squarely at my feet.”

He said the organization “does everything in its power” to comply with workplace safety regulations and “the basic laws of common sense,” but that CORE’s mission may require workers to “push that envelope.” He added that CORE has “strong complaint procedures and endless other internal avenues for productive criticism.”

He called upon OSHA to use “common sense understanding” about the demands of the job during the pandemic, and said a disaster-response group’s work “can never ever be compared like the apples to oranges of other workplaces.”

“When there is a quantifiable urgent need and an unquantifiable supply of vaccine, it should be of no surprise that we would have a day of reckoning where surge crowds and slim staffing merge,” Penn wrote.

He heaped praise on his staff: “You rose up. You did. Not me. All of you. And I will admit something. It made me weep. Not with some stupid self-presumed sense of fatherly pride, but simply a human pride in experiencing that people like you exist.”

Penn also suggested that anyone “predisposed to a culture of complaint” and “broad-based cyber whining” should consider an alternative approach instead of engaging in a “broad betrayal of all.”

“It’s called quitting,” Penn wrote. “Quit for CORE. Quit for your colleagues who won’t quit. Quit for your fellow human beings who deeply recognize that this is a moment in time. A moment of service that we must all embody sometimes to the point of collapse.”

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Pikom’s Sean Seah appointed Deputy Chairman of WITSA for 2020-2022


  • Position Malaysia on global stage, engaging leaders of technology industry
  • Appointment a positive reflection of Pikom and active global role it plays

Sean Seah (pic, below), Deputy Chairman of PIKOM has been appointed the Deputy Chairman of the World Information Technology & Services Alliance (WITSA) and re-elected as Chairman of the WITSA Finance Committee for the 2020-2022 term.

In his role as Deputy Chairman, he serves all appropriate responsibilities in the absence of the Chairman. As Chairman of the Finance Committee, Sean continues to be responsible for reviewing and providing guidance on WITSA’s financial matters and the financial direction of WITSA.

In a joint congratulatory letter, Chairman of WITSA Yannis Sirros and Secretary General of WITSA Dr Jim Poisant stated their appreciation. “Sean’s contribution to the nation, ICT industry and WITSA is much appreciated and recognized. We thank him for all that he has done and for the contribution that he will continue to bring to the industry. With his support, WITSA will continue to grow and reach new levels of success.”

“PIKOM has played an active role in the global ICT fraternity and has won the confidence of our peers to host the World Congress on IT (WCIT) in 2022. This event is the pinnacle of technology events. Sean will pay a key role as the bridge to the global ICT industry,” said PIKOM Chairman Danny Lee.

Pikom’s Sean Seah appointed Deputy Chairman of WITSA for 2020-2022As a buildup WCIT2022, Penang recently played host to the WITSA Global ICT Excellence Awards during TECHFEST 2020 featuring Road to WCIT Malaysia, held live online. WITSA Global ICT Excellence Awards which began in 2010 recognizes excellence in innovation and impact with the potential ICT growth for better services to citizens, improve health care, and provide trust and transparency in government. This year, Malaysia bagged 5 awards.

“I am humbled by the trust and confidence given to me as the Deputy Chairman of WITSA. I look forward to positioning Malaysia on the global stage and engaging leaders of the technology industry through WITSA. It is with great honour to represent Malaysia in WITSA that consists of 84 member-economies globally,” said Sean.

The leadership roles in global and regional organisations such as WITSA, Asian-Oceanian Computing Industry Organisation (ASOCIO) and Asia Pacific Internet Alliance (APICTA) stand Malaysia in good stead as a platform to catalyse international expansion for the tech industry.

As a member of WITSA, PIKOM has been very active in events and activities that is focused in the growth of the tech industry, that includes innovation and digitalisation.

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David Warner, Sean Abbott waiting for hub clearances


David Warner is awaiting clearance to join Cricket Australia’s hub in Melbourne.Credit:AP

The drama comes as hopes were fading for the Sydney Test to remain at the SCG despite new case numbers linked to the city’s northern beaches cluster reducing for a second consecutive day.

A decision could come as early as Wednesday to pull the pin on Sydney and hand back-to-back Tests to Melbourne, which had been in in danger of being sidelined altogether as it battled a devastating second wave of COVID-19.

MCG curator Matt Page says his team will be able to prepare a second strip for use in the third Test starting January 7 but his focus remains on this weekend’s iconic fixture.

Warner is already under an injury cloud due to a groin injury and his hopes of making an unlikely return at the MCG would be derailed entirely if he is not permitted to enter CA’s hub in Melbourne.

He and Sean Abbott were waiting to join the Australian and Indian teams, who arrived in Melbourne on Tuesday, in the hub having been flown out of Sydney by CA on Saturday to beat any border closure.

Warner and Abbott have satisfied CA’s biosecurity protocols as they have not been to Sydney’s northern beaches, have returned negative COVID-19 tests and completed three days of self-isolation.

The opener posted footage on Instagram on Tuesday morning of himself playing with his family in a Melbourne park. Should permission not be granted, Warner could still sit in the stands with 30,000 Victorians to watch the game.

Opener Marcus Harris is remaining with the Australian squad as cover.

Meetings were ongoing on Tuesday involving all levels of CA, which is wary of being locked out of Queensland should it play the third Test in Sydney, potentially putting the series at risk.

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While Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has said the government would review border restrictions to NSW on January 8, CA will not take undue risks after delays with the state’s health officials in granting training exemptions for Indian and Australian players entering from the IPL.

A CA source says Melbourne is a raging favourite to stage the third Test as that would present fewer logistical challenges regarding the movement of players and broadcast staff into Queensland than keeping the game in Sydney. Canberra had also been floated as an outside chance.

Page said on Tuesday preparations for Saturday’s second Test were going to plan. While Melbourne’s lockdown meant there has been no first-class cricket at the ground this season, a two-day trial match last month, with 349 runs scored and 10 wickets falling on the first day, has given ground staff confidence the Boxing Day strip will provide what players, coaches, fans and broadcasters want – a good contest between bat and ball.

“We’ve been vocal about our aim for the MCG pitches to have something in them for both bat and ball. So we’re concentrating on pace, bounce and lateral movement. Those were seen in last year’s Test pitch where we were awarded the ICC’s highest rating,” Page said.

The famous venue stands ready to hold two Tests in the one summer for the first time since 1981-82 – if required.

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“Our focus is on the Boxing Day Test and producing a great pitch for that. We have five drop-in pitches in the centre of the MCG and we’re preparing those as we would regardless, including a focus on the BBL matches we’re hosting in January,” Page said.

Former Australia captain Steve Smith said he had complete confidence that the MCG would be able to serve up two good pitches within a three-week period.

“Last year’s wicket was probably as even between bat and ball as we have played on for some time. I thought it was a pretty good wicket. We’ll wait and see what is prepared for this year,” he said.

“If something was to happen, and they needed us to play there again, I am sure they would be able to come up with some kind of solution. The groundsmen are pretty good these days at adapting to different situations.”

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Australia cricket 2020 ODI vs India, Marcus Stoinis injury, second ODI game teams, Cameron Green, Moises Henriques, Ashton Agar, Sean Abbott


Marcus Stoinis is set to miss Sunday’s second game of the ODI against India after picking up an injury on Friday night.

He left the field two balls into the seventh and in a statement, Cricket Australia confirmed he would be monitored overnight due to left side pain.

The all-rounder is also set for scans but with just one day between matches, you would have to think Stoinis is at long odds to play on Sunday, meaning there is a spot open in the squad.

Here are the contenders including a seasoned veteran and a potential debutant.

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