The “big difference” Mundy sees with this Fremantle side


David Mundy has “full confidence” that Fremantle will play finals footy this year.

The Dockers made great progress in their first season under Justin Longmuir in 2020, winning seven of 17 matches which was a better result than many expected.

With the new season fast approaching, midfielder Mundy says there is one point of difference that will see today’s Dockers take another step forward in 2021.

He cites the desire of the club’s younger brigade as one of the key components for potential success.

“I think the big difference with the group we have at the moment to a lot of other groups I’ve had in my time at Fremantle is a real strong individual desire to improve,” he said on Sportsday WA.

“All of the guys we’ve drafted over the last three or four years are of really high character, high football ability and are really self-driven to improve.

“No one has gone away after last season and thought, ‘Oh, how great was that. We improved last year, it will just happen again’.

“It’s a pre-season cliche and I hate saying it, but everyone has come back in really great nick and are really enthused to come back to the group and improve together.

“I have full confidence that no stone will be left unturned from a club perspective, but all the way down to an individual perspective, in a bid to take us back up the ladder and playing finals.”

Many pundits have indicated that there should be cause for concern with Fremantle, who despite being strong defensively, lacked scoring power in that they averaged a tick over 50 points per game last year.

Mundy pointed out how Longmuir and his coaches are attempting to fix the disconnect between the midfield and forward line.

“We’re working really hard on our midfield connection. How we deliver the ball inside forward 50 to our forwards,” he added.

“Matt Taberner and Rory Lobb in particular showed that they have an incredible ability to take contested marks. That’s great but we’d love to get them some really easy ones on the lead where they can go back and convert for us.

“It’s something that we’re working on really hard. We certainly understand that it’s an area of improvement for us and we’re putting in the time there.

“Hopefully with that time comes an improvement that we’re looking for.”

As Mundy enters his 18th season, he still expects to spend most of his time in the midfield even with a group of quality youngsters including Andrew Brayshaw, Adam Cerra and Caleb Serong snapping at his heels.

But he feels with decreased interchange rotations from 90 to 75, we may see a new normal in 2021.

“At the moment I’m training full-time with the mids and doing my midfield minutes there,” he said further.

“I’m really trying to continue to improve, get myself up to scratch and hopefully along the way pass on some knowledge to the younger guys.

“I think what we are going to see moving forward, especially with reduced rotations across the AFL, is that multi-positional players will become the new norm.

“I expect, if I manage to sneak into the Freo best 22, to play midfield minutes but it would be very naive thinking that it will be only midfield minutes.

“Whether that’s a bit of time up forward or out on a wing or at half-back, we’re not too sure yet. We’ll play that as it comes about.

“I certainly think most players in the AFL will be looking at being multi-positional players.”

The Dockers





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Australia Day date change, Essendon Football Club, statement


Essendon Football Club has become the latest sporting body to call for the Australia Day public holiday date to change.

Last week, Cricket Australia decided to omit references to Australia Day from Tuesday’s three Big Bash League fixtures.

The public holiday matches have been spruiked as “January 26” games after consultation with Indigenous leaders.

It was a decision which faced plenty of backlash, including from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who called it “pretty ordinary”.

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But on Tuesday morning, Essendon released a statement suggesting the public holiday should move away from January 26.

“We at Essendon Football Club acknowledge that today is a day of sadness and pain for Indigenous peoples,” the statement read.

“We are committed to being a culturally safe and inclusive place where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples want to play, work and support. We value our strong connection with Indigenous Australia and we are committed to reconciliation and celebration the survival of the oldest living culture on earth. We look forward to a time when all Australians can enjoy a day of national celebration together.”

The Bombers are a partner of The Long Walk, an organisation set up by former club champion Michael Long which supports the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Several other AFL clubs acknowledged Indigenous Australians on Tuesday morning as “Invasion Day” protests took place across the country.

Richmond Football Club posted on Twitter: “We at Richmond Football Club acknowledge today is a day of sadness for many of us.

“We place enormous value on our connection with Indigenous Australia.

“We stand united in our commitment to reconciliation and celebrating the survival of the world’s oldest living culture.”

St Kilda Football Club wrote: “Always was, always will be.

“Today, we stand beside our Indigenous brothers and sisters, because this isn’t about division.

It’s about acknowledging our past, and working towards a better future, together.”

On Tuesday morning, Sydney Swans great Judge Bolton revealed he turned down an offer to become an Australia Day Ambassador.

“Extremely grateful for the invitation to become an Australia Day Ambassador,” Bolton tweeted.

“However, it is time to change the date.”

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AFLW returns for its 2021 season determined to learn from its COVID-shortened 2020


“Always remember who is the master of the house.”

This line is the knockout punch to the AFL’s clever promotional video for season 2021 of AFLW, in which a tongue-in-cheek narrator reads advice given to women in a 1955 publication called the Good Wife’s Guide.

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With lines like “a lady must never complain and boast” juxtaposed with bone-crunching tackles and bravado, the video highlights just how far expectations of what it means to be a woman have come — through the prism of some seriously good football.

It’s an uplifting — even feminist — note for the competition to start on in its fifth year, in part fuelled by what Nicole Livingstone has described as the AFL’s “absolute commitment” to ensure there is no repeat of the previous season, in which no premier was awarded.

In 2020, AFLW was called off with just the preliminary and grand finals remaining after the Federal Government banned all “non-essential” domestic travel in March.

In hindsight, the decision was a poor look for gender equality, considering the elaborate strategies that would later be employed to ensure the men’s competition could be completed.

The 2020 season was called off before a premier could be crowned due to coronavirus.(AAP: Richard Wainwright)

It’s also a situation that has been mirrored globally — including in cricket — with women’s competitions cancelled or postponed as the first casualty of COVID-19.

In fairness to the AFL, while Australians may now be used to the idea of hubs, bubbles and quarantined tennis players, sport hardly seemed to qualify as essential travel back in March 2020.

But there are no such excuses this year.

Pandemic accelerates competition’s maturity

With some irony, COVID-19 has also paved the way for a raft of changes that fans and players have long been asking for, and which signal the competition’s growing maturity.

These include ticketing games — in part to ensure patron safety — and charging adults $10 for entry, while children are still able to attend for free.

A group of teenage fans hold up black and yellow placard
Adult fans will need to buy tickets to attend AFLW games this season.(AAP: Rob Prezioso)

In response to a query about the revenue generated, the AFL would not confirm that this money will be reinvested into women’s football. At the least, however, it is a welcome and symbolic shift that designates the value of a product that drew a record-breaking crowd of 53,034 to its last grand final.

This does not mean crowds are likely to be as strong in 2021, or that attendance will be easy.

Aside from the video on social media, advertising and promotion for the competition has been scarce. So too has clarity on how to purchase tickets; due to the ongoing nature of COVID-19 restrictions, these will only be sold on the Monday of each week’s round, and will need to be pre-purchased, with no ticket sales at grounds.

While the logic of this decision is purportedly to stop patrons crowding in ticket lines, it presents a barrier to the “community-friendly” feel of the women’s game which attracts less-traditional football fans, often to suburban grounds.

More promisingly, while AFW has at times been a stage for the AFL’s experimentation, 2021 finally marks an end to the controversial “conference system” that confused old and new fans of the game alike.

West Coast Eagles AFLW celebrate a goal against the GWS Giants in the 2020 season.
The conference system has been abandoned, with a full 14-team ladder installed.(AAP: Mark Evans)

Replacing the clunky, dual-ladder system, the 14 clubs will now vie for the premiership in a more traditional format.

What has not changed is that the competition runs for just nine rounds, meaning all clubs will not play each other once, and making fairness of the fixture impossible.

It also means players train year-round for a home and away competition that lasts just over two months — a situation drawn into sharp focus by Ebony Marinoff’s controversial three-week suspension (currently under appeal) that, if upheld, will see her miss a third of the season.

Flexibility not always possible for AFLW

On Friday last week, the AFL announced that the season’s fixture had also been significantly rejigged in response to the hard West Australian border — a situation both predictable and one that mirrors the rolling changes to the AFL men’s competition in 2020.

But while there are parallels with the way the men’s competition was adapted, the solutions for running AFLW in a pandemic are not simple, and can’t by nature be the same.

Maddison Prespakis is being tackled as she gets a handball out.
Madison Prespakis won the league’s best and fairest in 2020.(AAP: Daniel Pockett)

The obvious difference is that the players are not professional athletes, with their comparatively miniscule salaries meaning many work part-time to maintain a living.

“Hubbing” away from home makes it near impossible to maintain this already delicate and precarious dance, especially for those who work on the so-called front line, such as nurses and police.

As only one example, GWS player and firefighter Lou Stephenson was in January forced to stay in NSW to complete training, while her teammates relocated to Albury and then Adelaide, and looks likely to miss round one as a result.

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It is therefore welcome news that the AFL will provide some financial assistance to players who are living away from home, although the details of that deal — and how much the players will be compensated — have not been made public.

Looking forward to this season, the ongoing struggles of these dedicated part-time athletes serve to remind that while AFLW continues to grow and challenge stereotypes, women aren’t the masters of the house — yet.

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Button to drive for own team in Extreme E


Former Formula One world champion Jenson Button will own and drive for a team in the inaugural Extreme E motor racing season this year.

Button has founded the JBXE team for the series, which features electric SUVs racing in off-road locations.

The announcement follows Button’s unveiling as a senior adviser to his ex-Formula One team Williams last week.

“JBXE has been a long time coming and I’m both delighted and proud to announce its formation and entry into the inaugural Extreme E Championship,” the British driver said.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg also own teams that will compete in the five-race series, which starts in Saudi Arabia in April, but unlike Button they will not drive for them.



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F1 2021: Lewis Hamilton Mercedes contract news, Toto Wolff


Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has lifted the lid on Lewis Hamilton’s ongoing contract saga saying “curveballs” have been thrown at the lawyers.

Hamilton is currently unemployed and out of contract after allowing his Merc deal wind down before it expired on December 31st, The Sun reports.

The 36-year-old had maintained that his intention was always to re-sign for the team, expected to be a two-year contract worth up to $70million (£40m) a year.

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However, there is a growing feeling that those negotiations had hit a snag and now Wolff has revealed he “argues’”with the world champion over Zoom, while his demands have held up the lawyers.

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Collingwood raring to make impact in AFLW


Collingwood will return to the AFLW season opener against Carlton this year determined to prove they can match it with the league’s top teams.

The Magpies made their first finals appearance in a truncated 2020 season, losing to North Melbourne by two points, and have maintained a relatively consistent squad.

Ahead of Thursday’s clash with the Blues, who are among the premiership favourites, coach Steve Symonds said his team was still “building” but was quietly confident about what they could achieve.

“We think our best is good enough to be up there with the top teams, there’s no doubt about that,” he said.

“It’s just our consistency as we go along and how we put that together.

“So we’ve got no limits about what we’re trying to do.

“We’re just keeping it pretty simple. We just want to get better each week and see where it leads us.”

Former Blues skipper Bri Davey, who crossed to Collingwood at the end of 2019, has been elevated to co-captaincy alongside Steph Chiocci.

“We really complement each other really well … we balance each other out,” Chiocci said.

“Bri probably says she gets a bit cranky every now and then.

“I’m a bit more positive and then I’m a little bit softer (and) she can be really hard and have those hard conversations.”

Chiocci expected Davey, who will pinch-hit up forward this season, to again receive a heated reception from her former teammates.

“I’ve no doubt some of them will get a little bit lippy, and it’ll be really physical but good luck taking Bri on, I say,” she said.

Symonds and Chiocci both said the Magpies had moved on from last year’s fiery match-up between defender Stacey Livingstone and Blues star Tayla Harris.

Collingwood return to the season opener after being bumped for newcomers Richmond last year..

This season there will be an entry fee for AFLW games for the first time.

Richmond’s home game against Brisbane – at 50 per cent capacity – sold out when tickets went on sale on Monday and Chiocci was confident the same would happen for the season opener.

“I had no doubt that people will pay to come and see us play,” Chiocci said.

“We obviously love what we do and we have really passionate supporters so for me it was a no-brainer to make it a ticketed event.

“You see today that Brisbane and Richmond’s game sold out within an hour, so if that’s not telling us good things about women’s football I don’t know what is.”



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Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Sixers Tips, Odds and Teams – BBL Big Bash 2021


MCG will play host to Tuesday”s
Round 7 BBL Big Bash 2021 game between Melbourne Stars and
Sydney Sixers. The game kicks off at 7:50 pm with Sydney Sixers heading into the game as favourites with the bookmakers. Continue reading for our in-depth preview of the Melbourne Stars vs.
Sydney Sixers
game and give you our free tips and bets.

When: Tuesday January 26, 2021 at 7:50 pm

Where: MCG

Bet 💰: Bet On This Match
HERE

Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Sixers Odds

Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Sixers Preview

The Sixers are one of two teams to have already punched their ticket to the finals, but they’ll likely take great pleasure in putting a line through Melbourne’s season once and for all.

The Stars looked well on their way to a finals spot a month ago before things took a turn for the worst during the New Year’s period.

Melbourne lost by a single wicket to this same Sydney side on Boxing Day, extending their losing streak to four against the Sixers.

The bookies obviously fancy a potential upset here with almost even money on offer, but based on the fact Sydney could still finish on top of Perth on the ladder, the Sixers shouldn’t be short on motivation.

Content provided by Ladbrokes



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BBL 2021 results: Dan Worrall ball to Usman Khawaja, bowled, video Adelaide Strikers vs Sydney Thunders


Look up ‘peach’ in the cricket dictionary and you’ll now see a picture of Dan Worrall’s first ball of Monday night’s BBL game.

The Adelaide Strikers swing king lived up to his reputation, knocking over star opener Usman Khawaja with a perfectly-executed in-swinging yorker with the opening delivery of the Sydney Thunder’s run chase.

Khawaja was left flabbergasted after Worrall, nicknamed ‘Franky’ after the former West Indies captain, knocked the off stump out of the ground, bringing the home crowd at the Adelaide Oval to life.

Best opening ball in BBL history?

0:40

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NRL 2021: Paul Momirovski, Wests Tigers, reject release request, Michael Maguire


EXCLUSIVE – The Wests Tigers and Paul Momirovski are locked in a dispute that threatens to escalate after the centre had two official release requests turned down by the club.

Foxsports.com.au can reveal that the Tigers are refusing to let Momirovski leave despite informing him he would not be a first-choice centre at Concord.

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The 24-year-old, who has 14 tries in 19 NRL games, has been training at five-eighth during the pre-season and has held three conversations with head coach Michael Maguire about being granted permission to leave.

Round 1

Rival clubs are monitoring the situation closely, with Canterbury and Penrith keen on his services.

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Hawks midfielder steps away from football


Hawthorn midfielder Tom Scully has stepped away from football to deal with a personal issue.

Scully hasn’t trained for two weeks with the Hawks confirming to AFL.com.au’s Mitch Cleary that he has decided to take some time away from the game.

“Tom has requested time off from his football commitments due to personal circumstances,” a Hawthorn spokesperson told AFL.com.au.

“Hawthorn is fully supportive of Tom’s request and remains in regular communication with Tom to provide him with any support required.

“The club ask that Tom’s privacy is respected at this time and will provide a further update when available.”

Scully, a former No.1 draft pick, is entering the third and final year of his contract at Hawthorn.

The 29-year-old made 14 appearances in 2020.





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