CA ponders one-day carnival

A plan to reinvent the domestic one-day competition as a stand-alone carnival in October, which would have implications for Australia’s Ashes preparation, is being considered by Cricket Australia.
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The overarching idea is to minimise the hopping between formats imposed on players, but there is also a commercial motivation to convert the Ryobi Cup to a condensed format that appeals to the television network that wins the right to screen domestic matches.

While it would put the nation’s cricketers in limited-overs mode the month before the first Ashes Test, CA officials privately insist the concept would actually benefit Test preparations by carving the Ryobi Cup away from the Sheffield Shield.

Test aspirants and incumbents would still play three shield games before the Ashes begins in Brisbane on November 21, which is considered enough to press claims and prepare.

Should the plan be ratified, the Ryobi Cup carnival would be staged while the Australian team is in India in October for seven ODIs.

The concept raises a potential dilemma for Test specialist Peter Siddle, who opted out of one-dayers for Victoria last season to focus on building up his bowling for Tests, but would have no other cricket to play until the Shield season began.

CA declined to comment on the proposal, which still has to be approved by the players’ association and debated internally.

The idea of a domestic one-day carnival was first mooted in the 2011 Argus report.

Network Ten is favoured to win the rights to domestic cricket but there are no guarantees the successful bidder, which would naturally focus on the more lucrative Big Bash League, would also screen the Ryobi Cup and the Sheffield Shield final, as Fox Sports has done previously.

The hope is that the condensed structure would prove a better television product, while giving aspiring international players a taste of a tournament format more akin to World Cups.

The need to ”decouple” the one-day competition from the Sheffield Shield was highlighted last season by the plight of Tasmanian captain George Bailey, who made 18 changes of format across domestic and international cricket and admitted this took a toll on his long-form cricket.

”I think I struggled at different times, just with switching back through the formats,” he said this month.

”That’s not an excuse, because every modern cricketer has to make those changes pretty regularly, but I just didn’t adjust to it very well.

”It certainly felt like I was going into Shield games with a one-day or Twenty20 mentality. It was certainly not a conscious thing, [it was] just not having the awareness and ability to work out [the problem] and build your innings.”

AFL not a rival: new Storm man

Melbourne Storm’s chief executive in waiting Mark Evans says rugby league does not have to fight with the AFL in Victoria and instead all sport should be trying to attract people away from other leisure pursuits.
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In his first interview since being selected by the club’s potential new owners to take over from chief executive Ron Gauci, the high-profile English rugby union administrator has outlined how he became involved, what stage takeover talks had reached and his initial impressions of the Australian sports scene.

Asked if he was ready to roll up his sleeves and battle AFL, Evans said: “No, I don’t think so. I think it’s about doing a good job yourself as a sport and competition. If you do that, nine times out of 10 people will come and watch.

“When I was in Australia recently, I noticed some cultural differences. In the UK, sport sees itself as a competitor with other leisure activities, like going to the cinema or whatever.

“In most markets, rugby league and rugby union are not really competitors. Australia might be a bit different in that regard.

“Melbourne is different in that there are nine AFL clubs, rugby league, rugby union and two soccer clubs. But you just have to do your own job well and if you do that hopefully enough people will do what you want them to.”

Evans declined to comment on the identity of the London-based consortium that approached him to run the Storm but said he had initially conducted an informal, in-person assessment of the NRL premiers for the group before agreeing to be CEO.

He added the sale of the club remained imminent – although his return to London last week was a sign that it would not be a matter of days away.

On the field, coach Craig Bellamy is convinced defensive frailties exposed by Canberra last week have been resolved for Sunday’s trip to Penrith. “We have to make sure we make teams work hard to score tries and not give them a saloon passage through,” Bellamy said on Thursday.

“We individualised what we thought we needed to individualise. Some of that came from the rest of the team, some of it came one-on-one.

“We’re certainly not going to over-react and start jumping at shadows.”

New signing Dayne Weston was not named in the side to play his former club Penrith.

Quinlan set for call-up at injury-hit Dragons

While St George Illawarra await the impending arrival of Josh Dugan, coach Steve Price is set to hand under-20s graduate Adam Quinlan his first-grade debut as the Dragons deal with a bulging back-line casualty ward.
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Quinlan, 20, is in line to play fullback against Gold Coast on Sunday, with Jason Nightingale shifting back to his preferred wing position as cover for the injured Brett Morris.

Morris will miss up to a month of football with a knee injury, while veteran centre Matt Cooper is battling to be fit with a toe injury. Nathan Green should again replace Cooper, while the Dragons could be boosted by the early return of Cameron King from a knee injury after the hooker trained in Wollongong on Thursday. Gold Coast are expected to be unchanged.

NSW Origin skipper Paul Gallen (knee) won’t play in Cronulla’s match against an injury-depleted Wests Tigers with both teams to be 1-17.

Jeff Lima could start on the interchange bench for South Sydney, while North Queensland’s Scott Moore and Scott Bolton are likely to be omitted from an oversized bench.

Canterbury took an 18-man squad to New Zealand on Thursday, with Tim Browne staying in Sydney, for the clash against a Warriors line-up that has shifted Glen Fisiiahi to fullback to replace an injured Kevin Locke.

Brisbane duo Josh McGuire and David Stagg are in line to return from injuries, with Jarrod Wallace and David Hala the two men likely to drop off the interchange bench. Parramatta are expected to be 1-17.

A knee injury will keep Newcastle pivot Jarrod Mullen out for at least a week with Kurt Gidley moving to five-eighth to face an unchanged Canberra.

After playing his first NRL game since August 2010 in Melbourne’s first loss of the season last week, Brett Finch is expected to drop off an extended Storm bench to play Penrith.

Manly coach Geoff Toovey is still deciding on Brett Stewart’s replacement after the fullback was ruled out for at least a month with a chipped bone in his back. Jorge Taufua is set to switch from the wing to fullback with either Peta Hiku or Esi Tonga to play on the flank against the Roosters.

TOPICS, VIDEO: North Stars take to surf

Please enable Javascript to watch this videoIT was like a reverse Cool Runnings: take a group of athletes who are used to the ice, and throw them into a sport more suited to the tropics.
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Despite being fish out of water, Newcastle North Stars ice hockey players won praise during a surf lesson yesterday at Blacksmiths Beach.

‘‘They actually all did really well,’’ said their teacher Miles Niddrie, from Learn To Surf Newcastle.

‘‘They all stood up.’’

Goal tender Olivier Martin showed particular promise, along with Detroit-born Dominic Osman.

Chance in million

OCCASIONALLY, Herald photographer Darren Pateman gets it right. He’s fluked the odd Walkely-winner, for instance, and this week it happened with a name.

Pateman was taking photos at Belmont High School, and asked a young chap in one of them ‘‘what’s your name, buddy?’’

‘‘Yeah,’’ said the boy.

His name, it turned out, was Buddy. In one of those Who’s On First exchanges, hilarity ensued.

‘‘I don’t even call people buddy,’’ Pateman tells Topics.

‘‘It was just this once.’’

Pateman was reminded of another job he shot at a property in rural Port Stephens. He was greeted at the gate by a rather stern, barking dog.

‘‘I said ‘hey there, Rex’,’’ says Pateman.

‘‘Straight away, the dog wagged his tail and seemed at ease.’’

The owners later told him their dog’s name was Wrecks.

Keating killer insulter

THE wit of Gai Waterhouse (‘‘a trumped up little jockey, a brothel owner and a football player’’) was rebuffed this week by the jockey’s lawyer (‘‘Gai is a failed actress who married a perjurer’’).

Cracking quotes, no? Topics cheered from the sidelines with popcorn and one of those big foam hands, and called for more examples of killer public insults.

Bruce Brown, of Marks Point, tells us he was no fan of Paul Keating the politician, but acknowledges him as master of the art.

‘‘The best of his that I will never forget was his description of Malcolm Fraser as ‘an Easter Island statue with a cactus up his arse’,’’ recalls Mr Brown.

‘‘Crude, but apt, and very Australian.’’

Tin Miss missed

THE toffee penny, the green noisette triangle, the hazelnut eclairs – actually, they stopped making those. People must have had allergies.

If you’re a mum, you might get Quality Street chocolates for Mother’s Day.

Which, as a gift, are not what they used to be. Sure, the chocolates themselves might be as good, or better. But Stella from Charlestown reminds us it’s been 12 years since the demise of the Quality Street tin.

In 2002, owners Nestle retired the faces of Quality Street, the Major and Miss. They had graced the lid for 70 years.

They ditched the natty couple, 1930s hat and bonnet and all, in favour of a boring pastiche of modern graphics. Sigh.

The Major and Miss’s real names were Phoebe Throssel and Valentine Brown, after the main actors in the Quality Street play by Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie.

Do people still give their mums Quality Street?

NIFTY: Jeff Martens of the Newcastle North Stars ice hockey team learning to surf. Pictures: Jonathan Carroll