Tuesday, August 13, 2013The National Rugby League (NRL) and Touch Football Australia have today launched an historic sporting partnership representing the biggest boost to participation and game development in the history of either sport. The two sports will work together as part of a strategic alliance to create the largest sporting community in the country which will reflect the wider support that exists for Rugby League and the game’s commitment to ensuring there is a ‘place on the field’ for everyone.The new agreement will bring more than 1.03 million participants together playing in competitions under a joint NRL-TFA banner. This is in addition to the 844,000 girls and boys who currently take part in NRL Development programs each year.The alliance delivers significant benefits for both sports: a unique and complete pathway for park players and elite athletes that includes contact and non-contact sports – designed so players never leave the game or the field at any point in time during the calendar year or period of their playing life; enhanced inclusiveness, retention, and access to greater, more diverse playing opportunities for all Australians; a better alignment and consolidation of people, resources and competitions across the country – working together on Touch Football and Rugby League under a joint NRL-TFA banner; curtain raisers for the elite Touch Football athletes to showcase their skills and speed on the world stage at State of Origin and Test matches and selected NRL/representative fixtures; a more effective, year-round calendar of events and utilisation of sporting fields’ and amenities under the NRL banner.At the heart of the strategic alliance is a reuniting of two kindred spirits – after over 40 years apart and now formally coming together as one sporting community. Establishing, arguably and compellingly, Australia’s largest sporting community – bringing together well over 1 million participants across the country involved in competitions.According to the CEO of Touch Football Australia, Mr Colm Maguire, the strategic alliance between Touch Football Australia and the NRL is a definitive ‘game changer’ for Touch Football (and Rugby League) and a watershed moment in the history and evolution of both sports.“Touch Football in Australia was born out of Rugby League and the opportunity to create Australia’s largest sporting community aligned with the NRL is as compelling as it is ambitious and fortuitous,” Maguire announced in Sydney today in conjunction with NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Smith. “And, there is a real opportunity to grow the profile of touch both as a recreational game and an elite sport,” he said.“Not only will our partnership with the NRL provide greater potential to expand the participation base and extend the reach and profile of Touch Football, it will also ensure the sport will benefit significantly from the NRL scale, brand and market and distribution presence,” Mr Maguire added.“Both parties will share in the potential synergies of alignment: particularly in terms of combined approach and effort, revenue growth opportunities, cost saving efficiencies including shared services, scale benefits and consolidated national resources. Another key feature of the partnership will be the creation of a dual track continuous pathway; from grassroots to elite for both contact and non-contact forms of the game,” he added.“The corollary to this is the NRL will position Touch Football as its primary recreational game providing greater options for players, catering for all shapes, sizes and skill levels: expanding significantly their age demographics from ages 5 to 70-plus years old and increasing their female participation base, product offerings and mutually beneficial commercial leveraging opportunities,” Mr Maguire added.“Significantly, the partnership enables Touch Football to realise its vision articulated in its strategic plan, to become Australia’s leading community sport through strategic partnerships,” Mr Maguire said.The alignment of Touch Football under the joint NRL-TFA umbrella and operations will be in effect an alignment of like minds, resources, people and approaches. Touch Football Australia Chair, Mr Michael Rush, added that while this has been a very carefully considered process over an extended period of time, the development of the partnership and the announcement at this junction is at the right time for both sports and tremendously exciting.“I can assure all stakeholders connected to our sport that the TFA Board of Management and executive have undertaken a very thorough and demanding assessment and consideration of what this partnership means for our future. We have been diligent and professional while speculating on the exciting outcomes that can be achieved within a collaborative proposition,” Mr Rush said.“It is our firm view that this strategic alliance is in the very best interests of the sport and our membership. What has truly been encouraging is the fact that our new partner has an identical view.“We are very fortunate to be in the position we are in today; our sport and our large and diverse membership naturally hold significant appeal to the NRL. And this is clearly both a validation and in large part a direct result of all the commitment, hard work and perseverance of volunteers, staff, players, officials and supporters everywhere that have made the sport what it is today,” he added. “I can assure all of our members and stakeholders that it is a very exciting time to be involved in the sport. It is a credit to all of our sport’s stakeholders that have built the sport and made this partnership possible. “The partnership also ensures we are best equipped now and in the future to meet the resourcing, positioning and pathway challenges impacting the crowded Australian sporting market,” he added.Mr Maguire added that from a whole-of sport perspective, the continued support of the Australian Sports Commission is pivotal to ensuring that the participation base of both sports expands and provides consolidation support for future growth.“The outcomes of the announcement will further support the participation targets funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Sports Commission. TFA is grateful for the ongoing contribution by the ASC ($570k in 2013-14) into the sport of Touch Football, particularly within the participation environment,” he said.Today’s official signing of the Memorandum of Understanding commits each party to finalise the terms of the partnership which will include discussions with the Australian Sports Commission.According to NRL’s Chief Executive, Mr David Smith, it is a time for great enthusiasm, excitement and optimism for the sport as the NRL enters into this significant growth stage in the game’s history.“The new agreement with Touch Football Australia is a key strategic step in growing opportunities for Rugby League,” Mr Smith, said today.“Not only will it see more than one million people play in unified competitions, it brings together people from every state and territory, from almost every age group and every demographic.“We have been very clear about our ambition to extend the profile and reach of Rugby League and working with Touch Football Australia will also enable us to pursue new commercial and marketing opportunities that we can leverage with new partners.”CONTACT:Julian Buckmaster – GM, Marketing, Communications and Partnerships, TFAP: 0438 777 993; E: email@example.comFollow us through the week on Facebook (www.facebook.com/touchfootballaustralia) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/touchfootyaus) as well as YouTube (www.youtube.com/touchfootballaus); or keep up-to-date with all the news, event action and results by visiting us at the Touch Football Australia website – www.austouch.com.au.Related News:An Open Letter from TFA CEO; NRL-TFA Strategic AllianceMedia Release
TUSCALOOSA, AL – OCTOBER 02: A fan of the Alabama Crimson Tide holds up a sign about head coach Nick Saban during the game against the Florida Gators at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 2, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)We’re exactly one month away from the first college football Saturday.The 2016 season is set to get fully underway on Saturday, Sept. 3.Who will be bringing home this year’s national championship?Alabama, Clemson and Oklahoma appear to be the three main favorites.We’ve made a prediction for this season – and the eight seasons that will follow.Looking at teams’ depth charts, head coaches, recruiting classes (and some creative thinking) we’re predicting who will take home college football’s national championship through the 2024 season.Get started with 2016.College Football’s Next 9 National Champions
(Image: Human Rights Tribunal chair Shirish Chotalia. APTN/ file photo)APTN National NewsOTTAWA–The Federal Court issued a stinging rebuke to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Wednesday in a ruling overturning a decision to dismiss a discrimination complaint against the federal Aboriginal Affairs department over its funding to First Nations child and welfare services.Federal Court Judge Anne Mactavish ordered the tribunal to again hear the complaint, but with a different panel.Mactavish found that Conservative-appointed tribunal chair Shirish Chotalia committed a litany of errors when she decided to dismiss the complaint which was launched by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations.Mactavish found that the tribunal erred when it failed to provide its reasons for deciding the complaint could not proceed under the Canadian Human Rights Act. The judge also found that the tribunal erred when it found there was nothing to compare Aboriginal Affairs department’s handling of child and welfare services, despite the federal government’s own internal use of provincial standards as a benchmark.“The process that (the tribunal) followed in this case was not fair,” wrote Mactavish.The society and the AFN have argued that Aboriginal Affairs discriminates against First Nations children by failing to fund First Nations child welfare services at the same level as the provinces.Chotalia ruled on March 14, 2011, that First Nations on-reserve child welfare services could not be compared to provincial child welfare services. Her ruling handed a victory to the federal government which had been vigorously fighting the complaint.Amnesty International and the Chiefs of Ontario are also backing the complaint.Chotalia has been beset by troubles of her own. An internal investigation upheld claims of harassment leveled by tribunal employees against Chotalia.Aboriginal Affairs was also forced to launch its only internal probe after it emerged department officials were spying on Cindy Blackstock, the head of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society.
NEW YORK, N.Y. – The latest on developments in financial markets (all times local):6:55 a.m.It’s going to be a nervous opening on Wall Street, a day after the Dow Jones industrial average recorded its biggest fall, in percentage terms, since August 2011.Futures markets are turning cagey as the opening bell gets nearer, with Dow futures and the broader S&P futures, down a further 1 per cent and 0.6 per cent, respectively.Stock markets around the world, particularly on Wall Street, have tumbled this week as fears over prospective U.S. interest rate hikes combined with fears that markets were a bit frothy following a strong run over the past year that saw many indexes hit record highs.Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital in London, is worried about the role technology is playing in the rout. Algorithmic trading, which involves computers following a program, are, he said, “battering the key levels forcing the market lower each time.As a result, he reckons buyers are being caught out: “So far every time dip buyers come in they are being blown away — despite the fact that on a forward earnings basis stocks are looking more and more appealing.”___6:30 a.m.For many stock investors, the rout in markets is likely to have come as a bit of a shock or at least a timely reminder that share prices can go down as well as up.Throughout the history of financial markets, corrections whereby indexes lose 10 per cent of their value have been a regular and healthy phenomenon as they shake out some of the more speculative players and bring share prices back to their fundamental levels.Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA, notes that the rally over the last couple of years has been “very strong and without any corrections of note.”As a result, he thinks that it’s entirely possible that this has led to some “complacency,” with investors perhaps “getting a little ahead of themselves.”___6:15 a.m.In the Middle East, stocks were touched by the U.S. and Asian markets’ sell-off, though the losses were more limited.Dubai’s stock market closed 1.5 per cent lower and Abu Dhabi’s shed nearly 1 per cent on Tuesday in the region’s third day of trading for the week.In Saudi Arabia, the region’s biggest economy, the Tadawul stock exchange slipped 1.5 per cent while Qatar’s closed a little more than 2 per cent down.Meanwhile, in Egypt, one of the largest consumer markets in the region, the EGX30 was trading 2 per cent lower and the EGX50 was down 3 per cent.___5:45 a.m.The turmoil in global stock markets has echoes with what’s been going on with bitcoin, the hugely volatile virtual currency, which rose exponentially to around $20,000 last year before a precipitous slump.Many in the markets think assets like bitcoin are introducing a layer of uncertainty that has contributed to the retreat in stocks.On Monday, bitcoin slid from around $11,500 to below $7,000, while the Dow Jones industrial average fell by a record 1,175 points.According to James Hughes, chief market analyst at AXI Trader, the Dow Jones “was trying to do its best Bitcoin impression.”Bitcoin was under pressure again Tuesday, trading 5.9 per cent lower at $6,509.___5:05 a.m.There are signs of a reprieve in the global market sell-off.Futures markets are pointing to a steady opening on Wall Street, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures down 0.2 per cent and up 0.4 per cent, respectively.Hopes that Tuesday won’t see a repeat of the previous day’s selling on Wall Street has helped European stock markets clamber off earlier lows. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 1.8 per cent, while Germany’s DAX was 1.9 per cent lower — both indexes are higher than where they started the session.Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, said it’s the “speed of the correction, not its size,” that has proven the “real shock, particularly to a market inured to low volatility.”___3:15 a.m.Stock markets in Europe have tumbled at the open following the routs on Wall Street and Asia and as investors fret that a healthy correction could turn into a protracted bear market.Minutes after the bell to signal the start of trading, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 2.5 per cent at 7,151, while the CAC 40 in France slid 3 per cent to 5,127. It was a similar story on Germany’s DAX, which was 3 per cent lower at 12,308.Investors around the world have taken fright at the prospect of a higher than anticipated increase in U.S. interest rates this year in the event rising wages stir inflation.Many in the markets had been anticipating some sort of correction following the steady gains over the past year or so, which have pushed some indexes, notably on Wall Street, to a series of record highs.___1:15 a.m.Shares are taking a beating in Asia after the biggest drop in the Dow Jones industrial average in six and a half years.Japan’s Nikkei 225 index plunged as much as 7.1 per cent but recovered some of those losses to close down 4.7 per cent at 21,610.24 on Tuesday.Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 4.1 per cent to 30,938.85 and the Kospi in South Korea lost 1.4 per cent to 2,458.06.Most other regional share benchmarks gave up between 2 per cent to 4 per cent. The dollar weakened to 108.81 Japanese yen.
OTTAWA — EBay is calling on the federal government to legislate an end to the Canada Post contract dispute, warning that quick action is needed to ensure retailers don’t lose out on Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.The manager of the online sales giant’s Canadian and Latin American divisions says continued rotating strikes at Canada Post will result in significant losses for small and medium-sized businesses across the country.While those businesses have adapted as best they can to the strikes that began Oct. 22, Andrea Stairs says in a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the adjustments retailers have made so far to avoid delivery disruptions are unsustainable.Meanwhile, Canada Post says it is now facing an unprecedented backlog of shipments, largely as a result of strikes at its major sorting plants in Vancouver and particularly Toronto.A spokesman for the Crown corporation says that, as of this morning, there were more than 260 trailers filled with parcels waiting to be unloaded at its Gateway processing plant in Toronto — and that number is expected to rise quickly.The prime minister warned last week that his government would look at all options to end the labour dispute if there is no significant progress in Canada Post’s contract talks with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.The Canadian Press
MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says the country loses $2.5 to $3.5 billion annually to fuel thieves who drill illegal taps into government pipelines.Lopez Obrador said Friday that “there still isn’t an exact figure” on the losses. The state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos company hasn’t given out new figures on pipeline taps since September. The last report indicated that 11,240 taps were found in the first nine months of 2018, or about 41 per day.The illicit fuel-theft industry involves drilling taps, bribing or threatening oil company employees, stealing tank trucks to carry the fuel and turf battles between rival gangs.That has caused a surge in the number of homicides in states like Guanajuato, where fuel theft is rampant.Lopez Obrador has promised stiffer punishments for the crime.The Associated Press
Jammu: Yasir Javaid Bhat, a teenage suspect arrested for throwing a grenade at the Jammu bus stand that left two people dead, confessed to interrogators on Friday that an overground worker of the Hizbul Mujahideen outfit paid him Rs 50,000. Besides the two killed, over 30 people were injured in the grenade attack on Thursday. The suspect, belonging to Kulgam district, was arrested from Toll Plaza at Nag rota outside Jammu city when he was trying to escape to the Kashmir Valley. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity! Eyewitness accounts and CCTV footage helped the police to set up checkposts. If the Aadhaar card and school records of the suspect are correct, then his birth date is March 12, 2003, making him a juvenile under law. He is the eldest son of his parents and a student of Class 9. His father is a painter by profession. Informed sources said he was given Rs 50,000 and a grenade by Muzammil, an overground worker of the Hizbul Mujahideen outfit, to carry out the grenade attack. Interrogation of the suspect revealed that Hizb district commander Fayaz Bhat alias Umer originally gave the task of carrying out the grenade attack to Muzammil who failed to execute the task. Fayaz Bhat then told Muzammil to pass on the task to Yasir Javaid Bhat or ‘Chotu’.
On paper, 2017 seems like a very typical Tom Brady season. He is leading the NFL in passing yards and sporting a 102.8 passer rating that’s his second-best since 2011. The Patriots are once again the No. 1 seed in the AFC, and Brady is the leading candidate to be named the NFL’s most valuable player.But over the past five weeks, there has been some trouble brewing in Foxboro — at least by New England’s own ridiculous standards. After the Patriots traded away Brady’s heir apparent, Jimmy Garoppolo, an ESPN report of an internal power struggle between Brady, coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft has clouded the future of the five-time champions. But perhaps more worrisome than this report is that Brady himself has been quietly marred in a slump.Brady’s last five games of the 2017 regular season were uncharacteristically mediocre, despite New England going 4-1 in that span. Beginning in Week 13, Brady has posted a passer rating of 81.6, 17th best in the NFL,1Minimum of 80 pass attempts. and his yards per attempt in that span were 6.95, 15th best in the league. He’s also been far worse in touchdowns to interceptions, going from 26-to-3 in his first 11 games to an unusual-for-him 6-to-5.In the context of his career, Brady’s extended sample of poor play is surprising but not unprecedented. Dating back to 2007, when he turned 30, this is Brady’s sixth worst five-game stretch measured by expected points added2EPA is a measure of offensive productivity that accounts for the value of yards gained, field position and down/distance. based on the quality of his play. Brady accumulated 22.16 EPA in his last five games, for an average of 4.43 per game. His average in Games 1 through 11 was more than 2 points higher (6.76 EPA). Brady’s worst five-game stretchesTom Brady’s lowest cumulative expected points added (EPA) in any five-game window, 2007-2017 20149/7/1410/5/1420219.543-2 201510/29/1511/29/1522622.194-1 201512/6/151/3/1620418.592-3 SeasonFromToAction PlaysTotal EPAPatriots Record 200911/22/0912/20/0918419.813-2 201712/3/1712/31/1720722.164-1 201010/4/1011/7/1019518.144-1 Does not include overlapping periods or playoff games; single-season stretches only. Action plays include pass attempts, QB runs and sacks.Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group Yes, Brady was without his best weapon, Rob Gronkowski, for the worst game in the stretch, a 27-20 loss to the Dolphins in Miami, when he managed only a 59.5 rating and 4.16 EPA. But he capped the regular season at home against the New York Jets with his lowest yards per attempt of the year (5.14), with an active Gronkowski being held catchless.This could all be random variance. Maybe Brady is still eluding Father Time better than any quarterback in history and will soon erase all doubts, as he has before. He’s certainly fired up about even faint whispers of his decline. And the Patriots last year reportedly were planning as if his commitment to diet and training would allow him to play at an elite level for at least another couple of seasons. Brady, of course, seems to think he can continue pushing defenses around even when he’s pushing 50.But if we were to look at the half-empty glass, we can draw comparisons to the career arc of Brady’s former longtime nemesis, Peyton Manning. No, not the Manning we last saw in 2015, who somehow won a Super Bowl with play so poor that his league-leading defense was forced to overcome it. Brady’s 2017 season is actually eerily similar to the 2014 Manning, who was his typical dominant self for the first 11 games of the year before falling off a cliff that can be seen now only in hindsight. At the time, the poor play was attributed to nagging injuries and not the inevitable end of one of the NFL’s greatest careers. 20139/29/1310/27/1321618.743-2 Neither quarterback gave any indication that anything was different if you look at the full-season statistics. But while we think a decline for a player happens neatly at the start of a season, Manning showed the circus can leave town at any time. For him, that time was his 12th game of the 2014 season. Previously, he was characteristically crushing the NFL with a third-best 109.5 passer rating and fourth-best 8.05 yards per attempt — that’s very similar to Brady’s first 11 games this year, with a 111.7 passer rating (first) and 8.27 yards per attempt (third).But then Manning instantly transformed into an old quarterback: a 78.7 rating (24th) in his final five games with a TD-to-interception rate of 5-to-6, compared with 34-to-9 in the first 11 games.Manning’s 2014 season ended with a home loss in the divisional round because of his poor play against an inexperienced playoff team with a third-year quarterback (Indianapolis’s Andrew Luck). Coincidently on Saturday, the Patriots will also take the field as a significant favorite at home against an inexperienced playoff team with a third-year quarterback (Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota).Premature obits have been written for Brady before. There’s little reason to doubt New England based on what they’ve accomplished this century. But if Belichick and Brady are to get that unprecedented sixth ring, they will need Brady to look more like what he’s been and less like what he is: a 40-year-old quarterback.Check out our latest NFL predictions.
NEWARK, N.J. — After falling short of the team goal of a national championship with a loss to Kentucky in the Sweet 16 on Friday, the Ohio State men’s basketball team received some positive news: Freshman forward Jared Sullinger confirmed his plans to return for his sophomore season. “I’m coming back next year because I have to work on — a lot of things — and I don’t like the taste that I just had,” the freshman said to reporters after the loss. “I don’t appreciate losing. I never appreciate losing and I’m going to come back to win.” Sullinger led the Buckeyes in points and rebounds per game with 17.1 and 10, respectively. The Freshman of the Year award winner is also one of four finalists for the Naismith Award, handed out to the best basketball player in the country. Accolades aside, Sullinger’s motivation to return was simple. “The love of this basketball team makes me want to come back,” he said. “These guys are my brothers.” OSU coach Thad Matta was not surprised by his freshman’s vow to return. “He told me from day one he’d be back for two years,” he said. “I think all the things he learned this year, with a great offseason, I have no doubt he’ll be the best player in college basketball (next year).” Sullinger tallied 21 points and 16 rebounds in the team’s loss to the Wildcats on Friday. The double-double was the forward’s 18th in 37 games. It was not those numbers or the team’s 34 wins that made Sullinger’s choice an easy one, but rather the loss to the Wildcats. The freshman plans on getting right back to work. “I know I am going to be back in the gym as soon as we get back,” he said. Despite being widely projected as a top-five pick, Sullinger was adamant that he would not be swayed by the NBA. “I’ll be in an Ohio State jersey next year,” he said. “It’s my personal choice and I want to come back and serve this basketball team and play for Matta.” Sullinger has until April 24 to submit his name to the NBA draft, but said he is not interested in even testing the waters. OSU junior guard William Buford said he plans to return, but might look into the NBA by entering his name. If he does, he will have until May 8 to withdraw it and retain his college eligibility. Buford, however, doesn’t think he is ready to play professionally. “I’ll be back,” he said. “I just want to get better so when I do go, I’ll be prepared to make an impact and not just go to be a player in the league.” If both players return, OSU will retain its top two scorers and top rebounder from the 2010–11 season, along with the team leader in assists, freshman point guard Aaron Craft. Though he was emotional after the team’s tough loss, Sullinger said he did not take the decision lightly and was clear that he would not renege on his choice. “I’m a man of my word,” he said. “I won’t change my mind for anybody. This is what I want. This is where I’m happy. I’m happy being an Ohio State Buckeye and playing for coach Matta.”
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day speaks during the Ohio State offensive availability at the Residence Inn LA Live on Dec. 29. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorAfter adding two former Michigan assistants, Greg Mattison and Al Washington, to his coaching staff, head coach Ryan Day hired another Big Ten assistant Thursday. Ohio State announced that former Maryland linebackers coach and special teams coordinator Matt Barnes would join the Buckeyes as their special teams coordinator and assistant secondary coach next season.“Matt is young coach who has really done a great job at Maryland,” Day said in a statement. “He’s an energy guy who has considerable knowledge of the Big Ten Conference plus experience coaching in the Southeastern Conference. He’s going to work well with our staff and I’m pleased to have him on board.”Last season, Barnes helped lead a Terrapins linebacker room that excelled in terms of tackling, housing Tre Watson, the Big Ten’s leader in tackles, who was named as a first-team All-Big Ten as well as a second-team All-American member by the Football Writers Association of America. Barnes was a defensive and special teams graduate assistant at Florida under former Gators head coach Will Muschamp from 2012-14. In 2013, the Gators held the second-best kickoff coverage and the third-best punt returns in the country. In 2015, Barnes spent a season at Michigan as a defensive analyst. The Wolverines had the No. 4 total defense in the NCAA that year.He was named as the Special Teams Coordinator of the Year by footballscoop.com in 2012. Barnes is one of three new coaches that have joined Day’s coaching staff with Washington, Mattison and newly-hired co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley.