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Jake Daniels’ 21 Words Were Momentous for Football

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 20/05/2022 - 9:29pm in

Tags 

lgbt, Sport

Nathan O'Hagan explores what the 17-year-old Blackpool player's bravery in coming out publicly as gay will mean for other footballers and the game itself

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“I’ve known my whole life that I’m gay, and I now feel that I’m ready to come out and be myself.”

Twenty one simple words. The kind of words that are heard privately every day among friends and families, as a loved one chooses to reveal their truth to the most important people in their lives.

What is significant about these 21 words this week is that they were part of a public statement issued by Jake Daniels via his employer, Blackpool Football Club. By issuing this statement, Daniels became the first British professional footballer to publicly come out as gay in nearly four decades. 

Given the number of people who have played the game professionally in this country in that time, it is inconceivable that there have not been other gay or bisexual players. The explanation is, of course, that while the law of averages clearly tells us that there have been many, the fact is that not one has felt empowered to state their sexuality publicly. 

This is perhaps not surprising when you look at the first and – until this week – last player to do so. 

Justin Fashanu was a prodigiously talented young player who began his career in 1978 with Norwich City. While at Norwich, he scored one of the most famous goals the English game has ever seen – a sumptuous turn and volley against Liverpool which was so good it graced the opening credits of Match of the Day for years afterwards.

In 1980, Fashanu became the first black player to be sold for £1 million when he moved from Norwich to Nottingham Forest. It was at Forest that perceptions of his sexuality first began to negatively impact his career.

Although not publicly out, many of his teammates were aware he was gay. His visiting of Nottingham’s gay clubs came to the attention of manager Brian Clough, who labelled him a "bloody poof" and banned him from training with the first team squad.

Despite his talent, Fashanu’s career quickly went off the rails and he spent most of the next decade on short-term contracts and loans in the lower leagues and in America and Canada. He officially came out in 1990 when a British newspaper threatened to out him. Fashanu eventually took his own life in a lock-up in Shoreditch in 1998 after being accused of sexual assault in the US.

It's more than 30 years since Fashanu came out and, given the hostility he suffered – with even his brother, fellow-pro John Fashanu, describing him as "an outcast" in The Voice newspaper – it is perhaps unsurprising that since then the only other high-profile case is that of Thomas Hitzlsperger, the former West Ham, Aston Villa and Everton midfielder who came out in 2014. 

The significant difference between these two examples and Daniels, however, is that Fashanu’s career was well into its third act. He came out in 1990, a year in which he spent time playing at Leyton Orient in the old third division and in Canada with Hamilton Steelers. Germany international Hitzlsperger was the most high-profile player to come out, but even he did so a year after he retired from the game.

The only other modern comparison is Josh Carvalho, a midfielder with Adelaide United in Australia’s A League, who came out last year at the age of 21. Carvalho remains the only out footballer playing in the top division of his country.

Jake Daniels, meanwhile, is just 17 years old – barely taking the first kicks of his footballing journey. He will have to deal with any potential negative response, as well as the weight of responsibility that comes with being a trailblazer, at an age when most of us are still figuring out a way to not be late for school or work.

It takes a special kind of strength and resolve to succeed in professional football at any level – to attempt to do so with the added weight and scrutiny that Daniels will now be subject to marks him out as an especially courageous individual. 

The timing of his statement is also significant for the game itself. 

Undeniable progress has been made in attitudes and behaviours on the terraces in recent times. The Rainbow Laces campaign has been active for several years, for instance, and clubs have made efforts to give a voice to LGBTQ fan groups. But, despite these small but significant steps, there was one glaring omission – the lack of a professional player willing to come out publicly.

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This is in contrast to the women’s professional game, where representation is far better. At the 2019 Women’s World Cup, for example, there were more than 40 gay or bisexual players and coaches, compared with a grand total of zero at the men’s equivalent the year before. 

FIFA must take some responsibility for this. While it has publicly made the right noises in support of LGBTQ fans and of Jake Daniels' statement, it chose Russia – a country with many anti-gay laws – as the host for the 2018 World Cup. Meanwhile, this year’s tournament in December will be held in Qatar, a country where male homosexuality is illegal and punishable by up to three years in prison.

As with its past ineptitude when dealing with racist incidents, so far the game’s governing body has yet to prove with actions that it can be counted on as an ally for gay players.

For all these reasons, how momentous Daniels' statement was this week cannot be overstated. There will be numerous other gay footballers quietly watching from the touchline to see how this plays out – many of them will have been in the game for years and may now have been shown the way by a teenager in the nascent stages of his career.

Quite where that career will take Daniels at this point remains to be seen. But, if he approaches the rest of it with the bravery he has shown this week, then he could well go on to achieve great things. Whatever he does on the pitch, Jake Daniels’ place in footballing history is already assured.

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MCG Ready To Honour Anzacs With 58 Seconds Of Silence And Cry Of “Carn The Pies”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 25/04/2022 - 7:00am in

Tags 

Sport

collingwood

A Collingwood fan is greatly honoured to have been chosen to perform the traditional cry of “carn the pies” at the 58 second mark of the minute’s silence during today’s Anzac Day match at the MCG.

“This is a very solemn duty and I vow not to let our fallen troops down by chiming in too early or letting my voice crack,” said pies fan and professional burglar Declan O’Crimmins from Coburg North. “My wife downloaded this special stopwatch app onto my phone and I’ve been gargling nothing but hot lemon and honey drinks for the past three days.”

“The 58 seconds silence plus cry of “Carn the Pies” is one of the most moving events on the Australian calendar,” said Anzac Day coordinator Major Alan Stern. “We don’t want it wrecked by some rank amateur from the Great Southern Stand chiming in at the 55 second point with a badly rehearsed “Go Bombers” and completely disrespecting our brave boys and girls on the front line.”

Controversy has arisen however with some diggers upset at the decision to allow the band Birds Of Tokyo to play prior to the match.

“Why are they letting some jap so and so’s loose on the arena,” said veteran Bert Sullivan. “Couldn’t they find a good old fashioned Aussie band like Birds of Wagga Wagga or Birds Of Shepparton.”

Peter Green
http://www.twitter.com/Greeny_Peter

You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter @TheUnOz or like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/theunoz.We’re also on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/theunozThe (un)Australian Live At The Newsagency Recorded live, to purchase click here:https://bit.ly/2y8DH68

Demons can win another flag — and this time do it at 'The G'

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 16/03/2022 - 11:00am in

Tags 

Sport


Demons can win another flag — and this time do it at 'The G'

With this year's AFL grand final expected to return to the MCG – the spiritual home of the Demons – it will be hard to stop Melbourne from clinching back-to-back premierships, writes Ronny Lerner.

AFTER TWO seasons heavily impacted by COVID, the Australian Football League (AFL) is finally readying itself for a return to normality in season 2022.

With the worst of the pandemic seemingly – and hopefully – well and truly in the rear-view mirror, it looks as though every club will play 11 true home-and-away matches and, most importantly, the grand final will return to the MCG for the first time since 2019.

So fingers crossed we don’t see fixtures such as Sydney v West Coast being played at Kardinia Park in Geelong anymore.

Significantly, after being starved of footy for the past two seasons as a result of being the hardest hit city in Australia by COVID, Melbourne footy fans will be able to regularly attend matches this year.

Numerous games were either played behind closed doors in the Victorian capital or relocated to other states, during the last two seasons. But with Melbourne set to play host to 89 of the 198 home-and-away matches (46 at the MCG and 43 at Marvel Stadium) in 2022 – and no caps on crowds for the duration of the year (hopefully) – the city’s footy-mad population will be treated to an overdue AFL extravaganza.

Despite that, the league is taking no chances, with each club afforded a COVID top-up list of 20 players in case of an emergency and a return to the bad old days of 2020-21.

And as if the last two years didn’t serve up enough surprises, the cherry on the cake saw Melbourne take the footy world by surprise and charge towards the latest in a long line of drought-breaking premierships.

Footy fans of this writer’s vintage never thought they’d ever see Melbourne, Richmond or the Western Bulldogs win a premiership. And yet, in the past six seasons, all previously success-starved clubs have done exactly that — smashing a combined 156 years’ worth of premiership drought in the process.

In the Demons’ case, it signalled the end of the league’s longest-active barren run (57 years), with that dubious title now belonging to St Kilda (56 years).

And Melbourne is going to be hard to stop from clinching back-to-back premierships in 2022.

In a cruel twist of fate, the Demons weren’t able to smash their famous drought in front of their heartland fans at the MCG. Instead, they had to be content with doing the job in the unfamiliar surrounds of Perth’s Optus Stadium.

It’s for that reason alone that the Demons are motivated to repeat the dose this year – only this time at their spiritual home at the MCG – and give their fans a "two-for-one" deal of sorts.

Demons captain Max Gawn said as much in a TV interview in the victorious changerooms not long after his team obliterated the Western Bulldogs in the grand final. As euphoric as the achievement was for him and his men, there was something bittersweet about capturing the premiership cup on the other side of the country.

And barring any significant injury concerns, or unforeseen hunger issues, the Demons will be the team to beat again this year.

When you look at their best 18, there’s hardly a weak link. Their midfield, featuring the likes of Gawn, Christian Petracca, Clayton Oliver, Jack Viney, Angus Brayshaw and Gawn’s apprentice Luke Jackson, is the envy of the competition, especially after what they did to the Bulldogs’ vaunted on-ball brigade in the final 40 minutes of last year’s grand final.

Up forward, key targets Bayley Fritsch (59), Ben Brown (25) and Tom McDonald (33) combined for 117 goals in 2021, and they were complemented superbly by the manic forward pressure provided by Kysaiah Pickett (40), Charlie Spargo and Alex Neal-Bullen. And of course, Jackson and Gawn can drift into attack from time to time.

And down back, they have the best key defenders in the AFL together in All-Australian duo Jake Lever and Steven May who have a pretty impressive support cast to choose from, in Christian Salem, Jake Bowey, Harrison Petty, Michael Hibberd, Trent Rivers, Adam Tomlinson, Jayden Hunt and Joel Smith.

But a second consecutive flag won’t just be handed to Melbourne who has a ravenous chasing pack nipping at their heels, fuelled by plenty of recent finals heartache.

Look no further than the team they embarrassed by 74 points in last year’s grand final — the Bulldogs. They proved consistently throughout 2021 that they are one of the league’s top dogs (excuse the pun) and don’t forget they found themselves 19 points up in the third quarter in that grand final. 

Brisbane Lions have a massive point to prove after crashing out of the finals in straight sets for the second time in three years, taking their finals record to 1-5 in that period, including four losses at their home the Gabba, which flies in the face of their home-and-away record at the ground since the start of 2019 (28-2).

And Port Adelaide are in a similar boat, becoming the first non-Victorian team in VFL/AFL history to blow back-to-back home preliminary finals after enjoying a "rails run" on the competition as a side largely unaffected by the pandemic.

You’ve also got the likes of Sydney and GWS Giants who rejuvenated themselves impressively last year — and who can forget about Richmond? The Tigers had a nightmarish 2021, but with a clean run at it in 2022 from an injury perspective, they’ll be quietly bullish about pinching a fourth flag in six years.

Can Geelong go back to the well yet again after an astonishing 12 preliminary finals in 18 seasons? It’s doubtful. It gets said a lot in recent years, but the ageing Cats will find it hard to avoid a slide down the ladder this season as their ever-elusive tenth premiership continues to evade them.

Aside from Richmond, can a “bolter” from outside the top eight challenge for the flag? Probably not, although the time has probably come for Fremantle to at least return to the finals.

And as impressive as Essendon were in defying the consensus bottom-four predictions last year by finishing in the top eight, this writer thinks 2022 might serve as a minor step backwards on what promises to be an upward trend of progress and development over the next three to four years for them.

But the beauty about footy is that, literally, anything can happen, as we’ve seen on many occasions in the past six years. The competition is as even as it’s ever been, ensuring fertile ground for another team to shock the world in six months’ time.

Ronny Lerner has been a sports and music journalist/editor since 2006. Follow Ronny on Twitter @RonnyLerner.

ScoMo Tells Ash Barty No Need To Thank Him For Deporting Djokovic

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 28/01/2022 - 9:29am in

Tags 

Sport, Politics, Tennis

Australian Prime Minister Scotty who was fired from marketing has sent a note to tennis champion Ash Barty congratulating her on making the finals of the Australian Open and telling her there was no need to thank him for getting rid of Novac Djokovic.

”How good is Ash Barty?” Shouted the Prime Minister. ”She is doing this Nation proud and as leader that means that I am doing the Nation proud.”

”What a week, Australia Day and Ash Barty dominating the Australian Open, really brings a smile to your face.”

When asked how he could link his Government’s bungling of Novac Djokovic’s visa with Ash Barty’s great run of form, the PM said: ”I reject the premise of your question.”

”Ash didn’t have to contend with Novac did she?”

”Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to talk to tricky Dicky Richard Colbeck about getting a few of the boys together in a nice corporate box for the tennis.”

”Do they have McDonalds at Rod Laver arena?”

Mark Williamson

@MWChatShow

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Australia’s refugees react to double standard over tennis star Novak Djokovic's treatment

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 18/01/2022 - 6:59pm in

Djokovic deported, but many refugees and asylum seekers remain imprisoned

Originally published on Global Voices


A rally led by the Refugee Action Collective, calling for the release of refugees currently being detained in Park Hotel, Carlton. Flickr photo by Matt Hrkac, (CC BY 2.0)

Australia’s refugees and asylum seekers highlighted their struggle for justice by comparing their situation with Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic who arrived in Melbourne on January 5 but was prevented from entering the country after his visa was canceled by immigration authorities.

Djokovic refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19 but he got a medical exemption to allow him to play at the Australian Open. Australia requires vaccination in order to enter the country. After his visa was canceled, he was placed in the same hotel where 25 refugees and 7 asylum seekers have been indefinitely detained. He pleaded his case in court but in the end, he lost his appeal and was deported from Australia on January 16. The Immigration minister Alex Hawke had made his decision based on Djokovic ‘being a risk to “civil unrest” and a “talisman of anti-vaccination sentiment”’.

Australia has a complex history regarding its treatment of refugees and asylum seekers.

For much of its recent history, Australia accepted refugees for resettlement, with over 800,000 refugees and displaced persons settling in Australia since 1945, according to the Federal Parliamentary Library.

Each year, the Australian government usually allocates around 14,000 places to refugees and others with humanitarian needs.

The main difference between an asylum seeker and a refugee is that asylum seekers are people seeking international protection whose claims for refugee status have not yet been determined.

Nevertheless, a refugee may still not have been granted a visa, in which case they may face indefinite detention.

Since July 2013 anyone arriving in Australia by boat without a valid visa has not been eligible for asylum. Many have been held in offshore detention centres in Nauru or Papua New Guinea. Many have also been turned away and sent to Indonesia. Some of these people have been settled in other countries such as the United States or returned to their country of origin, whilst others have been brought to Australia for medical attention.

In addition, as the Refugee Council of Australia explains:

…detention is mandatory for those without a valid visa. It is also indefinite, and there is no independent review.

…Australian law requires that a person should be detained until they are granted a visa or leave the country.

They may be detained in a prison-like detention centre or in community detention.

Several refugees were able to draw attention to their plight because of the public mania over the Djokovic case.

Reaction from refugee communities in Australia

Mehdi Ali, an Iranian refugee, is disappointed that interviewers want to know more about Djokovic than refugees like him who have been in detention over the past nine years.

He posted a photo featuring fellow refugees carrying banners about the number of years they have been seeking asylum in Australia:

Adnan Choopani, a refugee from southwest Iran, called out the government's double standard and said that some citizens are more equal than others in Australia.

He was also curious to know if the Australian Border Force (ABF) is treating Djokovic with respect:

During a protest, refugees demanded access to basic human rights which had been denied to them. Mohammed Joy, a refugee from Bangladesh, tweeted their demands and said he is grateful to Australians who have been pushing for the recognition and protection of the rights of refugees. In this video he talks about the plight of refugees while addressing a crowd in front of the hotel:

Former refugees, Mostafa Azimitabar also weighed in on the issue and urged the public to learn more about how Australia is treating refugees and asylum seekers:

Journalist and award-winning writer Behrouz Boochani, an Iranian-Kurdish refugee who was detained in Australia’s immigration detention center for six years before his release in 2019, compared the situation of refugees with what Djokovic experienced in Australia:

A further furore emerged after the court's decision, when Prime Minister Scott Morrison tied to muddy the already troubled waters:

Djokovic is already in Serbia, but the campaign for the rights of refugees continues in Australia. He has not yet made any statement of support for the refugees in the detention hotel, despite many calls for him to do so.

PM Tipped To Replace Lyon In 5th Test As He’s A Superior Spinner

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 14/01/2022 - 7:00am in

Tags 

Sport, spin

The Australian Cricket team is poised to pull a selection stunner by naming Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the team replacing Nathan Lyon, after Selectors saw the PM demonstrate his mastery of spin at his latest press conference.

”Did you see Scott, err, ScoMo yesterday, he was spinning them 180 degrees,” said a Spokesperson for Cricket Australia. ”I tell you he will be unplayable on day 4 of this test.”

”If all goes well and Australia votes him back in we might be able to take him to the sub-continent later in the year.”

When reached for comment on his selection for Australia, the PM said: ”How good’s cricket?”

”Certainly better than boring bloody tennis, like anyone would want to watch that.”

”Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get to the game to make sure I get my photo taken before I get all sweaty.”

Mark Williamson

@MWChatShow

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Nation Eagerly Awaits Who The PM Will Throw Under A Bus Over The Djokovic Bungle

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 11/01/2022 - 8:20am in

Australians are eagerly waiting to see who Prime Minister Scotty who was fired from marketing will throw under a bus following his Government’s bungling of Novac Djokovic’s visa.

”The field is wide open as to who ScoMo will throw under a bus,” said a Spokesperson for Sportsbet. ”We have Karen Andrews as odds on favourite followed by Dan Andrews.”

”However, you can’t write off Bridget McKenzie, she definitely has form in this area.”

When asked whether many Australians were gambling on who the PM will throw under a bus, the Spokesperson for Sportsbet said: ”At the moment with Covid running rampant there’s not much else for people to do but sit around and gamble.”

”And we run bets on pretty much anything you can poke a stick at, including who you can poke a stick at.”

”Now, if you’ll excuse me, I saw two seagulls fighting over a chip I need to get over there and start taking some bets.”

”Oh, please gamble responsibly.”

Mark Williamson

@MWChatShow

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ScoMo Calls In The Big Gun Dennis Denuto To Take On Djokovic

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 10/01/2022 - 7:00am in

Tags 

Sport, satire, Tennis

Australian Prime Minister Scotty who was fired from marketing has told his team to get on the blower to Dennis Denuto and get him on board to help them take down Novak Djokovic in the Federal Court this week.

”We’ve all seen Dennis take on the Government in the High court so who better to have on your team as we head to the Federal Court,” said the PM. ”I can’t wait to see the look on Novak’s face when Dennis walks in.”

”Suffer in your jocks, Djoker!”

When asked why he would recommend the Government hire an actor from a movie to represent it in court the PM said: ”I reject the premise of your question.”

”Dennis Denuto has been to the High Court I saw it myself on the TV, Jen was there ask her.”

”Well, actually Jen’s busy at the moment she’s out on a RAT run, she left last week so fingers crossed she’ll be back before the election.”

Mark Williamson

@MWChatShow

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Africa Cup of Nations open thread

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 04/01/2022 - 8:31pm in

Tags 

Sport

The Africa Cup of Nations 2021 (postponed) is about to start, with Cameroon v Burkina Faso on Sunday. As a Liverpool fan, I’m torn between Egypt and Senegal, although since I’m an admirer of the Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy who went from a year on the dole in France to the very top levels of football, and displaced the incredibly expensive Kepa). So, on balance it is Mane-Mendy Senegal for me. Tips? Opinions?

Australia coming in hot to meet England in Adelaide

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 15/12/2021 - 10:00am in

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Sport


Australia coming in hot to meet England in Adelaide

England might fancy winning the second Ashes Test, but the recent nine-wicket thrashing by in-form captain Pat Cummins and his men suggests Australia will be hard to beat again, writes Ronny Lerner.

IT'S A LONG way back for England after suffering a crushing nine-wicket defeat to Australia in the first Ashes Test at the Gabba last week.

And given the hosts are the holders of the little urn, it’s going to take a monumental effort from here for the visitors to win at least two tests in order to win the five-match series and retake cricket’s most famous trophy.

From the moment Mitchell Starc cannoned into Rory Burns’ leg stump with the very first ball of the series, the writing was on the wall for the tourists in Brisbane and it proved to be a blow that they would not recover from.

The English opening pair are already looking shaky, with Burns and Haseeb Hameed’s partnerships averaging just 11.50 at the Gabba, the duo combining for a paltry 65 runs across both innings.

Burns has looked particularly vulnerable of the two, so much so that the visitors opted for Hameed to take the first ball in the second innings in Brisbane.

England also sorely missed star veteran pace-bowling duo James Anderson and Stuart Broad at the Gabba, and they will almost certainly be rushed back for the second test which has already become a must-win clash — lose the day-nighter at the Adelaide Oval starting Thursday and the tourists can already kiss the series goodbye. 

There’s no way they would go on to win the final three tests – which is what they would need to do in order to take the little urn back to England – if they fell 2-0 behind.

The decision to leave both Anderson and Broad out of the Gabba test left many cricket lovers around the world scratching their heads, but bringing them back in the side with the pink ball under lights in Adelaide is a no-brainer given those conditions are tailor-made for the experienced quicks, and probably gives the English their best chance of a win on their tour Down Under.

Spinner Jack Leach’s pummelling (1-102 off 13 overs) will also surely increase Dom Bess’ chances of seeing some action in the second test.

But the visitors aren’t the only ones contemplating changes to their first test side, with Australia ruling out star paceman Josh Hazlewood (side strain) and monitoring the fitness of opening batsman David Warner who suffered a rib injury after being hit by a Ben Stokes short ball, and opting not to field or bat in the second innings as a result.

Hazlewood’s omission swings the door wide open for Jhye Richardson to play his first test in almost three years, in what would be just the third test of his career. And while Richardson is the frontrunner, Michael Neser can’t be discounted either after taking match figures of 7-65 against the England Lions last week, including 5-29 in the first innings.

It would be surprising if Warner failed to take his place in the team for the second test after making an entertaining 94 at the Gabba, but Usman Khawaja is waiting in the wings if need be.

Warner’s opening partner Marcus Harris continues to struggle, with scores of three and nine not out in Brisbane ensuring his test average is a measly 23.15 from 21 knocks in 11 tests. It has ramped up the pressure on the already under-fire batsman and if he has another underwhelming match in Adelaide, Khawaja could be opening the batting with Warner in the Boxing Day test at the MCG.

That seems to be Khawaja’s only way back into the team now after Travis Head answered the critics resoundingly at No.5 in the first test with a scintillating 152 at more than a run a ball. It was a performance that saw him earn man-of-the-match honours.

England might fancy its chances in the "City of Churches", but with Pat Cummins taking to the Australian captaincy like a duck to water with a five-wicket haul in his first innings in the role and leading a bowling attack with its collective tails up, the Aussies will again be hard to beat.

The wickets started flowing again for Nathan Lyon after he captured his 400th career test wicket; Starc showed some welcome glimpses of the form that made him so good for so long at international level and Cam Green is finally getting amongst the wickets, snaring England captain Joe Root’s prized scalp no less.

Warner and Marnus Labuschagne are in great touch; Alex Carey made a dream start to life as Australian test wicketkeeper, taking a record eight catches on debut, and concerningly for the tourists, the great Steve Smith is yet to hit his straps.

Outside of the second-innings partnership between Root and Dawid Malan, which fleetingly created the illusion that the first test could become a contest on the fourth day, there was very little to write home about for England.

The inclusions of Anderson and Broad will definitely help, but they desperately need stability at the top of the order and certainly need a lot more out of their match-winner Stokes, who only made 19 runs and failed to take a wicket in Brisbane. 

Ronny’s second test tip: Australia
Ronny’s series tip: Australia 3-1

Ronny Lerner has been a sports and music journalist/editor since 2006. Follow Ronny on Twitter @RonnyLerner.

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