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Mar 6, 2014

Rugby-Captaincy keeps hard man Higginbotham in check

MELBOURNE, March 6 (Reuters) – Where opposing players, judicial officers and brick walls have all failed, the responsibilities of leadership have succeeded in making Wallabies enforcer Scott Higginbotham take a backwards step in the heat of battle.

After impressing as stand-in skipper for his provincial side last year, the back row battering ram is relishing the captaincy full-time at Super Rugby’s Melbourne Rebels, and may be set for higher office if he continues to impress Australia coach Ewen McKenzie.

Mar 3, 2014

Australian Rules-AFL chief Demetriou announces resignation

MELBOURNE, March 3 (Reuters) – Australian Football League chief executive Andrew Demetriou, the head of the country’s dominant football code Australian Rules, has announced his resignation as the sport continues to grapple with a major anti-doping investigation.

One of Australia’s most powerful sports administrators, Demetriou, 52, will serve out an 11th season in charge, having expanded the AFL from 16 to 18 teams and strengthened the game’s standing as the country’s richest and most well-attended competition.

Feb 27, 2014

Australia drugs probe over, ex-judge to review evidence

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s peak anti-doping agency has completed a 13-month probe into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in local sports and a retired judge will now decide whether to pursue individual cases, the country’s anti-doping chief said.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) investigation has cast a pall over the country’s top-flight Australian Rules football and rugby league competitions for over a year, but has so far resulted in only one player ban.

Feb 26, 2014

Aussie sports still in dark a year after ‘blackest day’

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – The release of an explosive report into the use of performance-enhancing drugs among Australian athletes prompted the country’s former anti-doping chief Richard Ings to describe February 7, 2013 as the “blackest day” in the country’s sporting history.

A year on and with only one athlete punished as a result of Australia’s biggest anti-doping investigation, Ings defended his statement as a reaction to a rap-sheet of serious allegations mouthed by politicians at a highly publicized news conference.

Feb 26, 2014

Australia dump Neill for soccer World Cup warmup

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia coach Ange Postecoglou has omitted long-serving captain Lucas Neill and a clutch of seasoned players from a 23-man squad for a World Cup warmup against Ecuador, underlining his intent to inject some new blood into the team.

Under former coach Holger Osieck and 35-year-old skipper Neill, Australia booked their ticket to the Brazil finals after a stuttering last phase of Asian qualifying but were heavily criticised for their stodgy play.

Feb 26, 2014

Australia dump Neill for World Cup warmup

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia coach Ange Postecoglou has omitted long-serving captain Lucas Neill and a clutch of seasoned players from a 23-man squad for a World Cup warmup against Ecuador, underlining his intent to inject some new blood into the team.

Under former coach Holger Osieck and 35-year-old skipper Neill, Australia booked their ticket to the Brazil finals after a stuttering last phase of Asian qualifying but were heavily criticised for their stodgy play.

Feb 26, 2014

Soccer-Australia dump Neill for World Cup warmup

MELBOURNE, Feb 26 (Reuters) – Australia coach Ange Postecoglou has omitted long-serving captain Lucas Neill and a clutch of seasoned players from a 23-man squad for a World Cup warmup against Ecuador, underlining his intent to inject some new blood into the team.

Under former coach Holger Osieck and 35-year-old skipper Neill, Australia booked their ticket to the Brazil finals after a stuttering last phase of Asian qualifying but were heavily criticised for their stodgy play.

Feb 19, 2014

Watson’s selection no longer elementary for Australia

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – The perennial fitness battles of Shane Watson are likely to rule the all-rounder out of Australia’s second test against South Africa.

Selectors are unlikely to be crying.

Watson’s unique ability to hog the spotlight whether playing or languishing injured on the sidelines may be unmatched in test cricket, but another win for Australia in Port Elizabeth could put the 32-year-old’s career at a cross-roads.

Feb 19, 2014

Cricket-Watson’s selection no longer elementary for Australia

MELBOURNE, Feb 19 (Reuters) – The perennial fitness battles of Shane Watson are likely to rule the all-rounder out of Australia’s second test against South Africa.

Selectors are unlikely to be crying.

Watson’s unique ability to hog the spotlight whether playing or languishing injured on the sidelines may be unmatched in test cricket, but another win for Australia in Port Elizabeth could put the 32-year-old’s career at a cross-roads.

Feb 12, 2014

Chiefs eye hat-trick as Super Rugby ponders future

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – The future of the southern hemisphere’s Super Rugby competition will be hammered out behind closed doors this season but on the field the Waikato Chiefs will hope for more of the status quo as they bid for a hat-trick of titles.

The Australian, South African and New Zealand unions have a June deadline to present a unified product to broadcasters, with the current rights deal set to expire in 2015.

    • About Ian

      "Based in home-town of Melbourne covering sports in Australia and New Zealand and a member of the Asia Sports desk. Previously covered general news and politics in Beijing with a special focus on the Beijing 2008 Olympics."
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