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

POLL: Help pick new Jets away colours

FOR the first time Newcastle Jets members will choose which kit the team take on the road in the next A-League season.
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Jets members will receive an email from the club today at 9am with three designs to choose from for the team’s away kit. The club gave the Herald an early peek at the three shirts yesterday.

Voting is open to members only and closes at noon on May17.

The choice is between taking the Jets back to Newcastle’s football roots in the city’s traditional colours of emerald green and cinnamon brown; a white design with panels of red and blue; or a bold charcoal kit inspired by the mining industry.

The new design will replace the black and white striped away shirt, which was inspired by the traditional colours of Northern NSW Football representative teams. The red and blue striped home kit will stay for next season.

‘‘It’s fair to have the three there and not have us make the decision, but to let the fans make the decision,’’ Jets CEO Robbie Middleby told the Herald.

Hunter Sports Group copped criticism from some quarters when it announced in February 2011 that it was abandoning the Jets’ gold colours of the Con Constantine era in favour of the red and blue of the Knights, who are also owned by Nathan Tinkler.

Middleby said lessons had been from that experience.

‘‘We always want input from the fans, and we’re happy to have it,’’ he said. ‘‘This sort of thing is great for the fans and the members to have an input.’’

Asked if the gold worn by the Jets in their 2007-08 championship season was considered, Middleby said: ‘‘We mentioned it, but we thought of some colours we haven’t had.

‘‘Potentially we might look at that in the future, but at the moment we thought to have three options and they were the three options we thought of.’’

WHITE, GREY, GREEN: Which one should the Jets wear for their away strip next season?

Farina backs Vidosic as right-hand man

Rado Vidosic is poised to land a plum job as Frank Farina’s assistant at Sydney FC despite having been dumped as Brisbane Roar coach just two months into the last A-League season.
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Officially, Vidosic wasn’t sacked but moved into a role as technical director. However, his influence on club operations was minimal. His interim replacement, Mike Mulvey, was soon made full-time coach and outlined a broader strategy to rebuild the club’s squad, effectively leaving Vidosic on the outer.

Fairfax Media understands Vidosic has agreed to move to the Sky Blues as Farina’s No.2. But Sydney chief executive Tony Pignata said on Wednesday the deal wasn’t done. ”We’ve just been in discussions so far and no decision has been made yet by Rado or ourselves. We’ve just had informal chats – both myself and Frank – with Rado,” Pignata said. ”Frank is on holiday until the end of May, so we’re not going to make any decisions until the players and coaches are back at training. However, at the moment, Rado is the only candidate we’ve spoken to.”

Vidosic was a long-time assistant at the Roar, dating from the first season of the A-League, when he stood alongside Miron Bleiberg and then Farina. ”Rado and Frank have had a good working relationship in the past, and ultimately it’s up to him to bring in who he feels comfortable working with,” Pignata said.

Despite struggling to adapt to the top job at the Roar, Vidosic was widely hailed for his tactical work under Ange Postecoglou when Brisbane won back-to-back championships. ”Rado is very analytical. You could call him the brain behind our success,” midfielder Thomas Broich said after Postecoglou’s departure.

Melbourne Heart coach John Aloisi was also keen to land Vidosic and, until last week, the club was confident it could get its man.

On field, the Sky Blues aren’t in any rush to add new players.

”We’re just going to take our time and, at least while Frank’s away, we won’t be making more signings after getting Matt Jurman on board last week,” Pignata said. ”We’d like to announce the next batch of signings in early June. We’ve got to fill some under-20 spots, and we probably need to look at those first.”

Pignata said an offer from Parma had been accepted by the Sky Blues for Terry Antonis but the Italian club had fallen silent in recent weeks. ”I’m not sure what’s going on with Terry Antonis … whether he’s going or staying. I haven’t signed anything,” he said. ”Parma have made an offer but I haven’t spoken to them since.”

While Tiago Calvano and Yairo Yau have returned to Brazil and Panama respectively, Pignata said the pair could be offered new contracts. ”We’ve had discussions but we’re keen to see what else is out there,” he said. ”We want to keep our options open.”

Pignata said he ”hadn’t spoken to Lucas Neill since he left the club” and admitted it was unlikely Neill would rejoin.

More likely to return is Nicky Carle, who has spent the past year on loan with UAE club Baniyas. ”Hopefully that will be finalised in the next few weeks,” Pignata said.

Meanwhile, Western Sydney have announced the resigning of attacking midfielder Tahj Minniecon on a one-year contract.

Kings v Highlanders

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, Sunday 1.05am (AEST)Last meeting:  First clashReferee: Jason Jaftha (RSA)TV: Live, FoxSports 2TAB Sportsbet: Kings $3.75 Highlanders $1.25
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Steve Samuelson writes: Contrasting fortunes for both teams in round 12 with the Highlanders notching their first win while the Kings conceded 11 tries to the Tahs. The Kings have recalled skipper Luke Watson but are missing gun winger Sergeal Petersen (hamstring).

AAP writes: This match could very well decide the wooden spoon, with the last-placed Highlanders now just a point adrift of the Kings. It was a contrast of emotions for these two teams last week. The Highlanders were full of joy after breaking through for their first win of the season, a 25-22 victory over the Sharks. It was pure misery for the Kings who conceded 11 tries to the Waratahs on the way to a 72-10 defeat.

The Kings will be without injured loose forward Jacques Engelbrecht and winger Sergeal Petersen, but skipper Luke Watson returns to bolster the back row. The Highlanders will be banking on another strong performance from star trio Aaron Smith, Colin Slade and Ben Smith.

KINGS: George Whitehead, Marcello Sampson, Ronnie Cooke, Andries Strauss, Siyanda Grey, Demetri Catrakilis, Shaun Venter, Cornell du Preez, Luke Watson (capt), Wimpie van der Walt, David Bulbring, Steven Sykes, Kevin Buys, Bandise Maku, Schalk Ferreira. Reserves: Virgile Lacombe, Grant Kemp, Daniel Adongo, Devin Oosthuizen, Nicolas Vergallo, Shane Gates, SP Marais

HIGHLANDERS: Ben Smith, Tino Nemani, Tamati Ellison, Shaun Treeby, Hosea Gear, Colin Slade, Aaron Smith, TJ Ioane, John Hardie, Jarrad Hoeata, Josh Bekhuis, Brad Thorn, Chris King, Andrew Hore (capt), Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Liam Coltman, Maafu Fia, Mose Tuialii, Joe Wheeler, Fumiaki Tanaka, Hayden Parker, Jason Emery.

Waratahs v Stormers

Allianz Stadium, Sydney, Saturday 7.40pm (AEST)Last meeting: Round 13 2012 – Stormers 19 bt Waratahs 13 at Newlands Rugby StadiumHead-to-head: Played 16 Waratahs 6 Stormers 9 drawn 1In Sydney: Played 6 Waratahs 3 Stormers 3Referee: Chris Pollock (NZL)TV: Live, FoxSports 2TAB Sportsbet: Waratahs $1.75 Stormers $2
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Steve Samuelson writes: The Waratahs last beat the Stormers in 2009 which was also the last time they met in Sydney. This match could well be decided at the lineout with the Stormers boasting one of the best in the business, Andries Becker.

AAP writes: It’s do-or-die time for both perennial finals contenders as the attack-minded Waratahs back up from their 11-try romp over the Kings against a Stormers outfit which has conceded just 11 five-pointers all season.

Israel Folau was the chief destroyer for the Tahs last outing and the Stormers will need to keep the classy fullback in check to have any hope of keeping their playoff hopes alive. Despite having Wallabies stars Berrick Barnes and Drew Mitchell back at his disposal, coach Michael Cheika has named an unchanged starting line-up to take on last year’s runners-up.

WARATAHS: Israel Folau, Cam Crawford, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Rob Horne, Peter Betham, Bernard Foley, Brendan McKibbin, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Sitaleki Timani, Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson. Reserves: John Ulugia, Paddy Ryan, Will Skelton, Mitchell Chapman, Pat McCutcheon, Matt Lucas, Berrick Barnes, Drew Mitchell

STORMERS: Joe Pietersen, Gio Aplon, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers (capt), Bryan Habana, Gary Van Aswegen, Dewaldt Duvenage, Duane Vermeulen, Rynhardt Elstadt, Siya Kolisi, Andries Bekker, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Deon Fourie, Steven Kitshoff. Reserves: Siyabonga Ntubeni, Pat Cilliers, Don Armand, Nizaam Carr, Louis Schreuder, Elton Jantjies, Gerhard van den Heever

Blues v Rebels

Eden Park, Auckland, Saturday 5.35pm (AEST)Last meeting: Round 7 2012 – Rebels 34 bt Blues 23 at AAMI ParkHead-to-head: Played 2 Blues 1 Rebels 1In Auckland: First meetingReferee: Garratt Williamson (NZL)TV: Live, FoxSports 2TAB Sportsbet: Blues $1.11 Rebels $6
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Steve Samuelson writes: The Rebels have been no easybeats since their disastrous tour of South Africa but have scored just the one win in the past month. Blues coach John Kirwan has made no secret of his delight that Rebels fullback Kurtley Beale will be absent.

AAP writes: The Rebels’ chance of a breakthrough win after three consecutive last-ditch losses suffered a major blow with Wallaby Kurtley Beale being stood down again. After a star cameo off the bench when they almost toppled the Chiefs, Beale breached the guidelines of his return to rugby from a month-long ban by drinking over the weekend. Japanese Test hooker Shota Horie has won his first start for the Rebels.

The Blues were flat in their one-point win over the Stormers and coach John Kirwan has made five personnel changes and a midfield tweak. Speedster George Moala has been named on the wing among the changes while there is no Keven Mealamu, with a calf injury still causing problems.

BLUES: Charles Piutau, Frank Halai, Rene Ranger, Francis Saili, George Moala, Chris Noakes, Piri Weepu, Peter Saili, Brendon O’Connor, Steven Luatua, Ali Williams (capt), Anthony Boric, Angus Ta’avao, Quentin MacDonald, Tim Perry. Reserves: Gafatasi Su’a, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Ronald Raaymakers, Luke Braid, Jamison Gibson-Park, Baden Kerr, Lolan Visinia.

REBELS: Jason Woodward, Tom English, Mitch Inman, Lachie Mitchell, Cooper Vuna, James O’Connor, Nick Phipps, Scott Higginbotham (capt), Scott Fuglistaller, Jarrod Saffy,  Cadeyrn Neville, Hugh Pyle, Laurie Weeks, Shota Horie, Nic Henderson. Reserves: Ged Robinson, Paul Alo-Emile, Luke Jones, Gareth Delve, Nic Stirzaker, Angus Roberts, Bryce Hegarty

Cheetahs v Hurricanes

Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein, Saturday 3.10am (AEST)Last meeting: Round 6 2012 – Cheetahs 47 bt Hurricanes 38 at Westpac StadiumHead-to-head: Played 8 Cheetahs 3 Hurricanes 5In Bloemfontein:  Played 4 Cheetahs 2 Hurricanes 2Referee: Stuart Berry (RSA)TV: Live, FoxSports 2TAB Sportsbet: Cheetahs $1.33 Hurricanes $3.15
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Steve Samuelson writes: These matches are always high scoring affairs with the Cheetahs winning 47-38 last year while the Canes edged a 50-47 win in 2011. Victor Vito will lead the Hurricanes in the absence of star centre Conrad Smith (head knock).

AAP writes: The Cheetahs’ finals destiny is well and truly in their own hands, especially with their remaining six games all to be played in South Africa. But with tough games against the Reds, Bulls and Blues included in those fixtures a win against the hit-and-miss Hurricanes is a must.

The past two matches between these sides have produced a whopping 21 tries, so another entertaining affair could be on the cards. Inspirational Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith will miss this match after suffering a nasty concussion in last week’s 48-14 loss to the Bulls. The Cheetahs should be fresh and raring to go after a week off.

CHEETAHS: Hennie Daniller, Willie Le Roux, Johann Sadie, Robert Ebersohn, Raymond Rhule, Burton Francis, Piet van Zyl, Philip Van der Walt, Frans Viljoen, Heinrich Brussow, Francois Uys, Lodewyk de Jager, Lourens Adriaanse, Adriaan Strauss (capt), Coenie Oosthuizen. Reserves: Ryno Barnes, Trevor Nyakane, Rynard Landman, Boom Prinsloo, Sarel Pretorius, Elgar Watts, Rayno Benjamin

HURRICANES: Andre Taylor/James Marshall, Alapati Leiua, Reynold Lee-Lo, Tim Bateman, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Victor Vito (capt), Jack Lam/Karl Lowe, Faifili Levave, Jason Eaton, Jeremy Thrush, Ben May, Ash Dixon, Ben Franks. Reserves: Reggie Goodes, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, James Broadhurst, Brad Shields, Chris Smylie, Tusi Pisi, James Marshall/Karl Lowe