Brisbane’s Pangai no Taumalolo: McGuire

Brisbane forward Josh McGuire says comparisons with Jason Taumalolo are premature for Broncos enforcer Tevita Pangai Junior.

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However, the Queensland lock tipped him to lift Wayne Bennett’s side against a Jesse Bromwich-inspired Melbourne pack in Friday night’s NRL preliminary final at AAMI Park.

Pangai Junior has this week been championed by teammate Alex Glenn as Brisbane’s answer to Cowboys wrecking ball Taumalolo upon his return from a two week hamstring injury.

However, McGuire isn’t so sure.

Unlike Taumalolo’s 200m-plus games, Pangai Junior has made 86m a match this season, averaging only 26 minutes off the bench.

“It is hard to compare him with Taumalolo at the moment but he is definitely got a lot of aggression to his game and can develop into a very good player at that level,” McGuire said.

“He just has to keep learning. He is a player of the future for this club.”

McGuire still expected Pangai Junior to turn heads upon his return.

“He is still learning his trade but he is still very important for us off the bench,” he said.

“He brings a lot of spark.”

And it seems they will need it against a Storm pack led by Kiwi giant Bromwich.

“They have international players everywhere but it is hard to go past Jesse Bromwich, who has been benchmark of the competition,” McGuire said.

“He’s a big body with great footwork.

“You won’t find a lot of front-rowers who have quite such good hands and feet and he’s a hard guy to get a decent hit on.

“But they are the form team of the year, the best team in the comp.”

Glenn believed last week’s grinding 13-6 semi-final win over Penrith was ideal practice for what was to come from Storm’s pack on Friday night.

“Melbourne have a lot of structure, they are clinical and relentless but I think last week’s game was great preparation for us,” he said.

“We have got to make sure we take that enthusiasm as a pack to Melbourne because us guys in the middle we have a job on our hands.”

Australia fold under pressure in India ODI

Australia captain Steve Smith has lamented his side’s tendency to panic under pressure after another batting collapse put them 2-0 down in their one-day international series against India.

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Set 253 for victory, the visitors lost their last eight wickets for 117 runs with a hat-trick to left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav sealing Thursday’s match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

After falling 50 runs short in the second of five ODIs, Australia now need to win Sunday’s match in Indore to keep the series alive.

“In regards to our batting, 250, we should be getting that on that wicket,” Smith said.

“It’s now about getting out in the middle and just executing your skills when you’re under pressure and not panicking.

“We’re just making silly errors when we’re under pressure and you can’t afford to do that against a quality line-up like India.”

Smith looked like he could guide Australia home in his 100th ODI, but after a measured half-century he was caught on 59.

Two overs after Smith’s dismissal, Yadav weaved his magic to dismiss Matthew Wade, Ashton Agar and Pat Cummins with consecutive deliveries.

Marcus Stoinis top scored with a gallant innings, but ran out of partners and was left unbeaten on 62.

Yadav (3-54) and Yuzvendra Chahal (2-34) again exposed Australia’s deficiency against wrist spin, combining for five wickets as they did in game one in Chennai.

Paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar was outstanding with 3-9 off 6.1 overs.

Maxwell (14) hit two sixes before he was bamboozled by Chahal and Dhoni pounced on the chance to stump him.

Openers David Warner and Hilton Cartwright both fell to Kumar for one, while Travis Head made a run-a-ball 39.

Earlier, Nathan Coulter-Nile was again Australia’s most damaging bowler, picking up 3-51 off his 10 overs in oppressive conditions.

The West Australian paceman again snared the prized scalp of Virat Kohli, but the Indian skipper had already done the damage with a beautifully compiled 92 off 107 balls.

A huge score loomed when he had combined for a 102-run partnership with Ajinkya Rahane (55 off 64), but the opener was run out by Hilton Cartwright and India went on to lose their last seven wickets for 66.

“We didn’t feel like we had enough at the break,” Kohli said.

“(But) we knew if we had a good start, we had a chance.”

Australia felt the full force of the stifling Kolkata heat while bowling with Wade, Ashton Agar and Kane Richardson all receiving treatment for heat stress or cramps.

Cosmic rays come from far-flung galaxies

Cosmic rays reaching earth come from other galaxies far outside the Milky Way, new research has revealed.

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Ending a 50-year debate over the origin of the rays, a global collaboration of scientists has found there is only a one in million chance they could have come from a single source, within our own galaxy.

The research, which has involved scientists from the University of Adelaide, was published on Friday in the journal Science.

“This clearly indicates an origin of particles outside of the Milky Way and is a very exciting outcome, the result of years of careful work with a highly tuned giant detector,” Bruce Dawson, from the university’s energy astrophysics group, said.

“This is the first conclusive evidence that real atomic material, not just star-light, arrives at earth from distant galaxies.”

Cosmic rays travel through space at speeds just less than the speed of light, but are extremely rare, arriving at a rate of only one per square kilometre per year.

As one enters the earth’s atmosphere, it collides with an air molecule and creates a giant cascade of subatomic particles which sweeps down through the atmosphere almost at the speed of light, in a disc-like swarm several kilometres in diameter.

It’s this cascade that can be detected by the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina.

The new research has determined that they arrive from multiple directions, although the actual sources are yet to be pinned down.

“The sources of these particles may be extreme cosmic environments associated with supermassive black-holes at the centres of galaxies, or perhaps in massive shocks in colliding galaxies,” senior research associate Jose Bellido said.

The observatory is currently undergoing an upgrade to narrow down the origin of the rays.

Smith hits out at Australian ODI collapses

Australia captain Steve Smith has a blunt message for his batsmen: the collapses must stop now.

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The visitors are in dire trouble in their one-day international series against India after a 50-run loss in Kolkata on Thursday put them 2-0 down.

Smith said batting collapses had become a worrying trend in all forms of Australian cricket after losing their last eight wickets for 112 in game two.

“We’ve had a lot of collapses and we need to stop,” Smith said.

“It’s a hard one to put my finger on but whatever it is, it needs to change.

“We need to make better decisions when we’re under pressure and start playing the game properly.

“It’s not good enough.”

Australia have lost their last 10 ODIs away from home. They need to break that streak in Indore on Sunday to keep the series alive.

Smith played well for 59 at Eden Gardens until he was caught in the deep off the bowling of Hardik Pandya.

Marcus Stoinis worked hard for an unbeaten 62, but Australia lost too many wickets due to poor shot selection as the Indian bowlers kept the pressure on.

“It’s easy just to sit here and say it needs to stop but when you get out in the middle you need to change what you’re doing because it’s not working,” Smith said.

“Watching the ball closer or maybe the guys are trying to watch it too closely and forgetting about just playing the game.”

Smith lamented his side’s inability to build partnerships, with his 76-run stand with Travis Head their best effort in the first two matches.

That partnership ended Head hit a seemingly harmless full toss straight to mid-wicket on 39.

Makeshift opener Hilton Cartwright’s position is under pressure after being bowled for one in his first two ODIs.

Aaron Finch is on the road to recovery from a calf injury and could come into contention for the must-win clash in Indore.

Part-time wicketkeeper Peter Handscomb could also be an option after Matthew Wade made 11 runs across the first two matches.

EU agrees on new sanctions against North Korea: sources

The bloc has agreed a new package of measures, including a ban on investments in North Korea and on European Union exports of oil, the sources said on condition of anonymity.

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EU members also want to blacklist more North Korean individuals and entities, a move that would freeze their assets in the bloc and ban them from entering its territory.

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Ambassadors from the 28 member states on Thursday “agreed on a package of new autonomous measures”, an EU official told AFP, and they will now be prepared in detail to be formally approved by a meeting of European foreign ministers next month.

The EU plans to reduce how much money North Korean workers in Europe can send home — seen as a key source of vital foreign exchange revenue — from its current level of 15,000 euros.

It also intends to expand the list of luxury products — much loved by top officials in Pyongyang — banned from export to the North. A cut in the number of North Korean workers in Poland from 500 to 300 is also on the cards, the sources said.

The North carried out its sixth nuclear test — and most powerful to date — on September 3, sparking international outrage and a fresh round of sanctions.

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International powers hope that economic sanctions will deprive the North of the resources it needs to pursue its nuclear programme and pressure it into negotiating.

The EU’s latest move comes as US President Donald Trump paved the way for sanctions against foreign companies doing business with North Korea.

Trump said he had signed an executive order allowing sanctions against “individuals and companies that finance and facilitate trade with North Korea.”

The measure could force Chinese banks or Russian importers to decide between doing business with North Korea or being blacklisted by the United States.

Lions boss backs coaches after criticism

British and Irish Lions chief executive John Feehan has backed Warren Gatland and his coaching team in the wake of Sean O’Brien’s stinging attack.

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Ireland flanker O’Brien took aim at the approach of the Lions set-up, led by Gatland, during their summer tour of New Zealand.

The Lions drew the three-Test series, but O’Brien felt it should have been a victorious one for the tourists.

O’Brien, 30, was particularly critical of attack coach Rob Howley, claiming he was set in his ways, with Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell having to take control of the side in the closing stages of the tour.

“The coaches have a lot to answer for in terms of our attack, rather than Johnny and Faz trying to drive it,” O’Brien said.

“If I was being critical of any coach, it would be the fact that I think Rob struggled with the group in terms of trying to get stuff across, whereas Johnny and Owen drove everything in the second week, for instance, in our attack and had a better plan in place.

“I don’t know if it was people not buying into what he (Howley) was about or whatever else. That’s the hard thing about a Lions tour as well; getting everyone to listen to a coach that was probably set in his ways.”

But, in response to O’Brien’s critical remarks, Feehan provided full support to his coaching team.

“I said all along that I think we had the best coaching team available and I think they proved that in what we achieved in New Zealand,” Feehan said on Thursday evening.

“To draw a series with the All Blacks, who had not lost a Test match at home for eight years, was a remarkable result, and Warren and the coaches deserve huge credit for that.

“People will always have their views on what could have been done better but the fact is that, against all the odds and with limited preparation time, this squad became only the second Lions team in history to either win or draw a series in New Zealand in 13 attempts. That achievement cannot be underestimated.”

Nadal and Federer lead Europe in inaugural Laver Cup

Team Europe, featuring the world’s top two players, are overwhelming favourites to win the three-day tournament, which is named after Australian great Rod Laver, with a squad boasting a combined 36 grand slam titles against none for Team World.

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The teams are captained by Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe, whose own rivalry starting in the 1970s featured a contrast in temperament and style that made their matches the kind of must-watch events that Laver Cup organisers hope to showcase.

“I’ve been watching these guys play for so many years, it’s going to be a fun weekend,” Borg, now 61, told reporters on Wednesday. “But make no mistake, we are here to win.”

Conceived by Federer and his sports management company Team8, the tournament is the latest to join a crowded calendar and comes on the heels of the Davis Cup semi-finals last week.

World number two Federer played down the impact of another event, saying matches over a short period were manageable and gave players on the two teams the chance to build camaraderie.

“I don’t think it’s too much otherwise all the players wouldn’t be here,” the Swiss great told a news conference.

“The best (players) in the world are very picky in what (tournaments) they play, which (is why it) is great they made this a priority.”

“(We’re) looking forward to making friendships because we play together and not against each other for a change.”

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Team Europe also includes German Alexander Zverev, Croatia’s Marin Cilic, Austrian Dominic Thiem and Czech Tomas Berdych.

Team World features Americans Sam Querrey, Jack Sock, John Isner and Frances Tiafoe plus Australia’s Nick Krygios and Canadian Denis Shapovalov.

With five players inside the world’s top 10, the Borg-led European squad is heavily favoured against a world team hit by Argentine Juan Martin del Potro’s late withdrawal due to injury.

“I’m expecting a lot of fun but at the same time I know it’s going to be very competitive,” the 22-year-old Krygios told reporters. “We are the underdogs.”

The tournament, which will rotate between Europe and the rest of the world each year, features three singles and one doubles match each day. A win is worth one point on Friday, two on Saturday and three on Sunday.

In a bid to keep the pace humming, the indoor hard court matches at Prague’s O2 Arena will be best-of-three sets with a 10-point tiebreak deciding the final set.

With no player featuring in singles more than twice during the first two days, Nadal and Federer could see themselves on the same side of the net in a mouthwatering doubles pairing.

“We don’t even know if captain Borg is going to pick us but, of course, I would love to play with Rafa and see that forehand do damage on the other side (of the net),” Federer said.

“I’m sure that the crowd would go absolutely crazy and just because of that it would just be great to play us potentially.”

(Reporting by Michael Kahn, Editing by Ken Ferris)

‘Anything can still happen’ after New Zealand’s final leaders’ debate

Both leaders still thought they were in with a chance of victory during their final debate on Wednesday.

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The latest polls put the ruling National Party in the lead – which they have reclaimed from Labour – after its surge of popularity under new leader Jacinda Ardern.

Prime Minister Bill English described the election as a choice between change and trust.

“Do voters want change? Or do they trust the party that’s been running the show?” he said.

The debate was the last opportunity for the leaders to make an impression ahead of Saturday’s election.

Both parties are still trying to win over undecideds and both party leaders have made impassioned pleas to their supporters to get out and vote.

“Look, that’s up to the voters [who won the debate],” Mr English said.

“I think it was a great debate for airing the issues that came up over the campaign and outlining a pretty sharp choice the voters have over the next two or three days.”

His opponent was not able to summarise her position.

“Again, in the moment, I can never really tell who’s been the winning debater on the day. I know I enjoyed it,” Ms Ardern said.

Political commentator Mark Boyd described the debate as “odd” and “stilted” with no clear winner. 

“It wasn’t really a debate – it was more like an interview because there was no audience,” he told SBS World News.

Mr Boyd noted the previous debates had been more animated and drew bigger reactions.  

The feeling on Thursday on the streets of Auckland was that this is an election where anything can still happen. 

Roberts sent emails to non-existent addresses to renounce British citizenship, court hears

One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts sent two emails trying to renounce his alleged British citizenship to email addresses that did not exist, the High Court has heard in Brisbane.

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The court heard Senator Roberts said he found the email addresses “from his research on the internet”.

Two days after nominating for the party, Senator Roberts sent an email titled “Am I still a British citizen” to two invalid email addresses he thought were linked to the British consulate. 

Malcolm Roberts tells HC he believes he was only an Aust citizen based mainly on conversations with his family @SBSNews #auspol

— Stefan Armbruster (@StefArmbruster) September 21, 2017

Senator Roberts was in court on Thursday facing cross-examination over whether he renounced his British citizenship before contesting a seat in the Australian parliament. If he did not, he may be ineligible to sit in the parliament under Section 44 of the Constitution. 

The Queensland senator has previously claimed he believed he was only ever an Australian citizen.

But on Thursday he admitted knowing there was a “possibility” he was a British or Indian citizen when he ran for federal parliament.

“I couldn’t be absolutely certain, even though I felt certain,” Senator Roberts testified.

“I had very strong confidence that I was Australian and only Australian. That’s the way I was raised.

“I have only ever thought I was Australian until I heard in the court this morning,” he added later.

0:00 Malcolm Roberts arrives at High Court ahead of citizenship hearing Share Malcolm Roberts arrives at High Court ahead of citizenship hearing

Last month he requested the Senate refer him to the court after revealing he had taken steps to renouce his British citizenship around the time of the 2016 election. He revealed he had received a letter confirming he was no longer a citizen five months after the election. 

Federal politicians are barred from holding dual citizenship under Section 44 of the Constitution.

Senator Roberts was born to an Australian mother and Welsh father in India in 1955. He is among seven politicians from across the political spectrum who will soon face court over dual citizenship concerns. 

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The court heard Senator Roberts’ 16-year-old sister filled out his form to become an Australian citizen when he was 19.

But he has no recollection of signing the document and suspects his father would have instructed him, “Here, sign this”.

“I certainly would have asked, and this is all speculation, ‘What is this about because I’m already Australian?’ but I can’t recall any of that,” Senator Roberts said.

“I was more interested in playing football.”

The court heard when Senator Roberts questioned his sister, Barbara, in September 2016 as to what they were before they were Australian, she told him they were “stateless”.

Senator Roberts said he had renounced his British citizenship but would not accept he had been a British citizen because that was never confirmed by the Home Office.

That was despite his own lawyer Robert Newlinds admitting to the court Senator Roberts had been a British citizen by descent.

“I accept that he said that because that carries a lot of weight doesn’t it?” Senator Roberts said.

“I’m still not clear of my citizenship in the past.”

Senator Roberts said if he had been a British citizen his father would have let him know, even though documents show his father was the one who tried to register his British citizenship.

“He would of ribbed me for sure if there was any chance of me being British,” Senator Roberts said.

– with AAP

Nadal, Fed lead Europe in first Laver Cup

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will set aside their long rivalry when they play for Europe against the rest of the world in the inaugural Laver Cup tournament.

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Team Europe, featuring the world’s top two players, are overwhelming favourites to win the three-day tournament, which is named after Australian great Rod Laver, with a squad boasting a combined 36 grand slam titles against none for Team World.

The teams are captained by Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe, whose own rivalry starting in the 1970s featured a contrast in temperament and style that made their matches the kind of must-watch events that Laver Cup organisers hope to showcase.

“I’ve been watching these guys play for so many years, it’s going to be a fun weekend,” Borg, now 61, said on Wednesday. “But make no mistake, we are here to win.”

Conceived by Federer and his sports management company Team8, the tournament is the latest to join a crowded calendar and comes on the heels of the Davis Cup semi-finals last week.

World No.2 Federer played down the impact of another event, saying matches over a short period were manageable and gave players on the two teams the chance to build camaraderie.

“I don’t think it’s too much otherwise all the players wouldn’t be here,” the Swiss great told a news conference.

“The best in the world are very picky in what (tournaments) they play, which (is why it) is great they made this a priority.”

“(We’re) looking forward to making friendships because we play together and not against each other for a change.”

Team Europe also includes German Alexander Zverev, Croatia’s Marin Cilic, Austrian Dominic Thiem and Czech Tomas Berdych.

Team World features Americans Sam Querrey, Jack Sock, John Isner and Frances Tiafoe plus Australia’s Nick Krygios and Canadian Denis Shapovalov.

With five players inside the world’s top 10, the Borg-led European squad is heavily favoured against a world team hit by Argentine Juan Martin del Potro’s late withdrawal due to injury.

“I’m expecting a lot of fun but at the same time I know it’s going to be very competitive,” the 22-year-old said. “We are the underdogs.”