The NRL and Touch Football Australia (TFA) are delivering free non-contact footy skills sessions to inactive kids in regional areas around Australia, thanks to a participation grant from the Australian Government’s lead sports agency, Sport Australia, as part of their Move It Aus ‘Find Your 30’ campaign.The partner organisations are delivering four skills sessions to both primary and high school kids, with a focus on those aged 13 to 18, and girls in particular. Once the participants have completed their four sessions, they’re provided the opportunity to take part in a gala day competing in games, to put their new skills into practice.NRL Chief Executive Todd Greenberg said the program would provide children with the opportunity to engage in their communities.“This program not only encourages healthy lifestyles, it provides a pathway for kids to transition into structured Rugby League and Touch Football competitions, which promote teamwork and a real sense of community,’’ he said.The programs are being delivered in regional areas of Western Australia, the Northern Territory, South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales.The NRL and TFA launched this program at Broome Touch Association on Thursday 24th October.TFA CEO Jamie O’Connor says that although the positive impacts of footy on individuals and communities all around the country are powerful no matter where you are in Australia, the impacts are even more significant in regional communities like Broome, Katherine, Mt Gambier and Griffith, which are just a few of the places where the program’s being run.“Passing or kicking a footy around helps you ‘Find Your 30’ minutes of physical activity a day, but in regional towns especially, footy can be the glue that draws the community, people of all ages, together in a healthy activity that brings benefits for physical and mental health,” he said.“The beauty about non-contact footy is that anyone can play – any age, gender, body shape and skill level – and everyone can play together, girls and boys, the young and old, family members, friends.”Minister for Youth and Sport Richard Colbeck said the Move It Aus Participation Grants program was about encouraging moreAustralians to get moving and make Australia the world’s most active and healthy nation.“The Morrison Government is pleased to support this partnership between the NRL and Touch Football Australia, which aims to encourage up to 4,000 Aussie kids to get involved in non-contact footy,” Minister Colbeck said.“We know some kids tend to drop out of sport and physical activity in their mid-teens so this is a fantastic initiative to reach children in regional Australia and give them fun opportunities to be involved in sport.”These programs are being delivered now up until June 2020. For details about where programs are currently running, or to register interest, go to playrugbyleague.com/play/move-it-aus/
DONE DEAL: Leicester sign Italian striker Lorenzo after successful trialby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveLeicester City have signed Davide Lorenzo on a short term deal.He was on trial at the club and impressed the coaching staff.Now the 24-year-old has a chance to show what he can do for the rest of the season.Per Italian reports, he had met Leicester’s owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in a restaurant when he was working at a waiter some months ago. Vichai offered him a trial and the rest is history…He has previous stints at Juventus, Cosmos and the New York Red Bulls.”I am happy to have achieved this goal, I have pursued it for so long,” Lorenzo said to TMW.”I know that the contract was a consequence of the actions I have done inside and, above all, outside the field.”I refer to all the things I have experienced in the last years, during which I learned so much from my mistakes, now I just have to continue like this, training hard every day to get more emotions like that.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say
TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Molde chief Neerland: Solskjaer will bring attacking style to Man Utdby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveMolde managing director Oystein Neerland expects Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to bring an attacking brand of football to Manchester United.Molde have agreed to ‘lend’ Solskjaer to United as a caretaker following the sacking of Jose Mourinho.Neerland said: “For us, he is an offensive coach who plays entertaining football and he sees winning 4-2 as being better than 1-0.“He is very good at building teams, working within a structure to develop home grown players and giving them confidence to play but also being able to know when to sell them when the time is right because that is how this club works.“He has been so successful here. He has been here for six years – before and after Cardiff – and is very stable, very loyal and, just like at Manchester United, he is a former player so he knows the club very well and knows the DNA of the club.“He is a very positive guy. He is very easy to like and has a clear vision of how to play football but also works well with individual players.“There is no doubt in my mind that he will do well at Manchester United. He is a club legend there and that immediately means he will get respect from the players and the fans.“I don’t know well enough what’s happened inside Manchester United to comment and I will be careful on what I say on that.“But what I do know is that it’s important that he knows the history of the club and knows Manchester United’s past and what makes them successful.“It’s new times for the players but I know they will like him personally, they will enjoy working with him and it will be a big challenge to get some good results.“Of course it’s a surprise but not so much when you remember he’s got such history with the club, understands the club and he is also such a nice guy. He works so well with players and is a gentleman.”
Liverpool boss Klopp won’t consider releasing Lallana for loanby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool boss Jurgen Klopp won’t consider releasing Adam Lallana for loan.Sky Sports says Klopp has no plans to let Lallana leave on loan.The England international hasn’t had as many minutes as he would like since recovering from injury.There had been talk of him moving to Europe on a short-term deal with Besiktas reportedly making enquiry.But there is no chance of him going anywhere else to get match action this month.Lallana remains a key member of Klopp’s squad and the Liverpool boss has no plans to let any more of his players depart this month. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Leicester boss Rodgers happy with win against Burnleyby Paul Vegas6 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLeicester City boss Brendan Rodgers was delighted with their win against Burnley.City fell behind just after the first half’s midway point, as former Fox Chris Wood nodded in Dwight McNeil’s cross to give Sean Dyche’s men a 1-0 lead, which looked to be intact heading into the break.However, a fine piece of play from Harvey Barnes resulted in his delivery finding Jamie Vardy, whose header – his sixth goal in nine Premier League outings – levelled matters on the stroke of half-time. Youri Tielemans put the Foxes ahead in the 73rd minute.“It’s a very good three points without us being anywhere near our best,” Rodgers told LCFC TV. “I thought that we started slowly and we weren’t aggressive enough. Too many players probably felt that we could just play with the ball and not without the ball.“At this level, you can’t do that against a good team like Burnley who haven’t been beaten away from home since the beginning of the season. You have to earn the right, and we didn’t do that.“Thankfully, we got a goal just before half-time. It was a great cross and wonderful leap by Jamie [Vardy] and finish. But we had to be more aggressive in the game, it was too timid. Like I say, we didn’t want to do the other side of the game.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
SEATTLE — Washington on Tuesday joined a handful of other states that ban anyone under 21 from buying a semi-automatic assault rifle after voters passed a sweeping firearms measure in November that has drawn a court challenge from gun-rights advocates.The ballot initiative seeks to curb gun violence by toughening background checks for people buying assault rifles, increasing the age limit to buy those firearms and requiring the safe storage of all guns. Only the age-limit portion of the measure goes into effect on Jan. 1; the rest becomes law on July 1.Kristen Ellingboe, a spokeswoman for the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, said the initiative was one of the most comprehensive gun-violence prevention measures to pass in the United States. It specifically targeted “semi-automatic assault rifles” in response to mass shootings across the country, she said.“We’ve seen that assault rifles are the weapon of choice for mass shootings, and when they’re used, more people are killed and injured,” Ellingboe said.Fifty-nine per cent of Washington voters approved Initiative 1639 in the Nov. 6 general election.“We’ve see time and again that Washington voters want action to prevent gun violence in our state,” Ellingboe said. “They showed that again by supporting 1639 by a wide margin.”Opponents have sued to block it.“Starting today, young adults between the ages of 18 to 20 will have their rights to purchase semi-automatic rifles stripped away,” said Dave Workman, a spokesman for the Bellevue, Washington-based Second Amendment Foundation.The federal lawsuit says the measure violates the Second and 14th amendments of the Constitution as well as gun sellers’ rights under the Commerce Clause. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are firearms dealers in Spokane and Vancouver, a 19-year-old competitive shooter, a 19-year-old in the Army Reserves, a 20-year-old recreational shooter, the Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifle Association.Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he “looks forward to representing the people of the state of Washington in court against the NRA.”“The gun lobby is trying to thwart the will of nearly 60 per cent of Washingtonian voters who supported common sense gun reform in our state,” he said in an email.The full measure, when it goes into effect later this year, will expand the background check process to ensure that vetting for rifle purchases is the same as for buying pistols.Now, people in Washington who buy long guns are run through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS. Background checks for handgun sales are done by local law enforcement agencies that can access NICS as well as more detailed records that might expose mental health issues or harder-to-find criminal records. And you must be 21 to purchase a pistol.“This will update Washington state law so the requirements to purchase semi-automatic assault rifle will match handguns,” Ellingboe said.In most states, including over the border in Idaho and Oregon, you must be 18 to buy an assault rifle. But Republican-dominant Florida passed a law after a school shooting to increase the age limit to 21.Nikolas Cruz was 18 when he legally bought the assault rifle he used to kill 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last February.Four other states — Hawaii, Illinois, Vermont and New York — also prohibit anyone under 21 from buying all firearms.Workman of Second Amendment Foundation says Washington’s measure will take away firearms from law-abiding residents who can easily pass multiple background checks. It will impair public safety and embolden criminals while placing restrictions on people who already legally own semi-automatic rifles, Workman said.Martha Bellisle, The Associated Press
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John’s outdoor skating rinks have been delayed by unseasonal weather and are currently in the works.City Communications Coordinator, Ryan Harvey, says City Crews are underway with preparing the rinks.“Obviously we need the weather to cooperate a little bit, but some work is started on things. The grounds crew has been out there doing some flooding” City managed rinks will be located at Kin Park, Surerus Park, and at Matthews Park.The rink at Kin Park and Surerus Park will be a traditional rink while the rink at Matthews Park will be a skating loop.The City will also have a croki-curl rink on the grounds of the Rec Centre where residents can play a modified game of crokinole and curling.For more information, you can visit fortstjohn.ca/parks
Sasaram: Lambasting the Congress over Sam Pitrodas hua to hua comment, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday charged that the remark was a reflection on the party’s arrogance with which it has been shrugging off its misdeeds while it was in power.The three words hua to hua (whatever happened, happened) uttered by the guru (Pitroda) of the Naamdaar (Rahul Gandhi) in front of TV cameras sum up their attitude. This is the way they have brazened it out whenever their regimes have been discredited on account of corruption scandals, Modi told an election rally in Sasaram. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange frameworkThe nation is fed up and crying out ab bahut hua (now, enough is enough)”, he said. The people are fed up with the dynasty politics of Congress, their corruption and arrogance. “The message on May 23 when counting of votes is scheduled, will be loud and clear, Modi said evoking chants of phir ek baar Modi sarkar from the crowds. In an obvious dig at Lalu Prasad’s RJD, he said the arrogance of the Congress was on display when it imposed the Emergency and humiliated Jayaprakash Narayan and in the way it had allegedly sought to erase the contributions of Ambedkar from history. “But those swearing by the legacy of JP and Ambedkar are, in Bihar, carrying the flags of the Congress.
Wimbledon00.00.0 Leicester City10.20.1 CHANCES OF … TEAMACTUALEXPECTED UNDERPLAYOFF SYSTEMEXPECTED UNDERXG SIMULATIONS Manchester United137.5-5.5 West Ham United00.00.0 Newcastle00.9+0.9 SEEDTEAMMAKING SEMISMAKING FINALWINNING FINAL Tottenham Hotspur00.6+0.6 Queens Park Rangers00.00.0 Aston Villa00.4+0.4 Southampton00.1+0.1 The final weekend of the English Premier League is upon us and the league has scheduled all 10 matches simultaneously on Sunday in order to maximize excitement. The problem is that there’s not much excitement left — and there hasn’t been for awhile. Chelsea has been the runaway favorite to win the title for a few months now, and the team officially clinched a week ago. This isn’t uncommon. Even Leicester City’s shocking run to a league title last year, one of the most exciting outcomes in league history, was clinched two weeks before the end of the season. And in the 2014-15 season Chelsea clinched the title a full three weeks before their final match. Awarding the EPL trophy to the team atop the table at season’s end eliminates most of the debate about England’s best team, but it also can eliminate fun.It doesn’t have to be this way. Imagine for a moment that after this weekend’s mostly meaningless matches,1 we were headed for the inaugural round of Premier League playoffs to decide the league champion. What would happen if more than a century of English soccer tradition was thrown out in favor of a shamelessly Americanized format?As an experiment, I set up a mock six-team playoff for the Premier League and forecasted the results using our SPI ratings. There are a variety of playoff formats that could be used, but six teams feels right; it’s a small enough number that teams would have to compete to get in, but big enough that it would widen the pool of potential champions. Also, to reward teams that do well during the regular season, the top two teams in the table would be awarded byes. The next four teams would be seeded and would play one other team in a home-and-home aggregate, similar to the Champions League. From there the semifinals would follow the same format. Also similar to the Champions League, the final would be played as a single match at a neutral site such as Wembley.If you applied that playoff set-up to this season’s standings, the playoffs would give us two more Manchester Derbies in the first-round and would pit Liverpool against Arsenal. Chelsea and Tottenham would be waiting to play the winners.Chelsea would still be favored to win the playoffs — their first round bye and top seed helps quite a bit — but every team would have a reasonable shot at the title. Here’s how it would look: Ipswich Town00.00.0 Arsenal01.11.4 TEAMACTUALEXPECTED UNDER PLAYOFF SYSTEMCHANGE Liverpool00.40.6 Nottingham Forest00.1+0.1 Chelsea54.4-0.6 Bolton00.00.0 Arsenal34.8+1.8 6Manchester United36146 Leeds United00.6+0.6 Impact of playoff system on league titles, 1992-93 through 2016-17 TITLES Assumes the order of the top six teams will not change during the final weekend of matches. This playoff structure has six teams, with the top two seeds receiving byes. Tottenham Hotspur00.50.3 Newcastle00.00.0 Expected titles under playoff system vs. xG simulations, 2010-11 through 2016-17 Southampton00.10.1 1Chelsea✓70%38% NUMBER OF TITLES 4Liverpool58198 5Arsenal42114 Chelsea21.51.3 Includes all teams that would have qualified for the playoffs since 1992-93. This playoff structure has six teams, with the top two seeds receiving byes.Sources: ESPN, James Curley 2Tottenham Hotspur✓5226 Manchester City22.1+0.1 3Manchester City64%3418 Everton00.2+0.2 Liverpool02.6+2.6 Norwich City00.00.0 Manchester City22.02.6 Mock 2016-17 Premier League playoff forecast Blackburn10.5-0.5 Leicester City10.2-0.8 Everton00.10.0 Chelsea’s chances of winning the league would drop from 100 percent to 38 percent, and the five other teams that have been eliminated from the title race would still have hope.I also set up playoff forecasts to see how our system might have affected the number of titles won by each Premier League club since 1992-93. Liverpool and Arsenal would likely have benefitted the most, while Manchester United likely would have won fewer than their league-leading 13 titles in that time span. Includes all teams that would have qualified for the playoffs since 2010-11.This playoff structure has six teams, with the top two seeds receiving byes.Sources: ESPN, Opta Manchester United21.20.7 Playoffs, of course, inject luck into a championship but there are indications that a team still needs a significant amount of luck to win the league outright.You can see how luck infiltrates league titles by looking at teams’ goal tallies. Goals scored and conceded will get a team to the top of the standings but they aren’t necessarily the best indicator of a team’s underlying talent, nor are they the most predictive of future performance. Expected goals, a metric we use in our SPI ratings, are a better gauge of each team’s quality of play. We can also use expected goals to approximate how likely each team was to win the league based on the shots it took over the course of the entire season.2These expected goal simulations indicate that Manchester City have been unlucky not to win the title this year; if we rerun the season thousands of times, they win the league 61 percent of the time given the shots they took and conceded. Last year’s Leicester City team was fortunate to win the league according to these simulations; they only had a 9 percent chance of winning the league based on their expected goal numbers.Finally, if we look at the projected number of titles won over the past seven seasons3 based on these expected goal simulations, the number of titles each team is projected to have won is quite similar to the number of titles we expect them to have won if the league had playoffs. In other words, this implies that there may be just as much luck involved in winning the league outright as there would be in a playoff system. Players have incredibly busy schedules already with some juggling league and cup play, the Champions League and their international team responsibilities, so any playoff system probably shouldn’t add more matches to their already packed schedules. Perhaps the size of the league could be reduced by a team or two, or some regular season matchups could be a single match on neutral ground rather than home-and-away to allow for the extra playoff matches.I don’t know if playoffs are the right thing for the Premier League. I do know that I haven’t watched many matches during the second half of the season, but I’d watch these playoffs.Check out our latest soccer predictions.
The Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines, two of college football’s fiercest rivals, could meet one another in the Big Ten Football Championship Game at the conclusion of the 2013 regular season. That will no longer be a possibility in 2014, when OSU and Michigan will be realigned to the same division of the Big Ten, according to a report from ESPN. ESPN reported that the conference plans to vote this week to approve a new divisional alignment when the conference expands to 14 teams from 12 in 2014, along with new division names and an expansion of the conference schedule. Under the reported alignment, the often-criticized Legends and Leaders division names will be replaced by geographic designations East and West. OSU and Michigan will both be placed in the East division along with Michigan State, Penn State, Indiana and the conference’s two new additions, Maryland and Rutgers. The West division will consist of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin, according to the report. Brett McMurphy, one of the reporters who broke the story for ESPN, told The Lantern in an email that “it’s not surprising” the conference plans to change the names of its divisions because of negative feedback to those names. “(With) the fact you could split the league in half geographically, it was a fairly easy decision,” McMurphy said. “I think it’s a great long-term decision to split the divisions into East and West.” McMurphy said he does not believe rivalries or competitive balance played a role in the restructuring of the Big Ten but was simply based upon geography. “Some would argue that East is much stronger than West (in college football), but in all conferences one division is usually stronger than the other,” McMurphy said. During a February interview with The Lantern, OSU athletic director Gene Smith said there was a “real lean toward geography” in realigning the conference for 14 teams but added that both he and Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon thought it would be “beneficial to the conference” to have both teams in the same division. The Big Ten did not immediately respond to The Lantern’s request for comment. OSU football historian Jack Park said in February he thought it would be a positive for the Big Ten to have OSU and Michigan in the same division. “I really think it would be good to do that,” Park said. “I think you’re going to have enough balance with the other good teams that wouldn’t be a problem, although maybe some of the other teams that are in that particular division wouldn’t like that (playing in the same division as both OSU and Michigan).” Not all fans are in favor of OSU and Michigan being on the same side of the conference. “If we (OSU) had a chance to be in a (Big Ten) championship game against them, that would be probably the ultimate game,” said Alex Davidson, a second-year in agricultural engineering. ESPN also reports that the Big Ten plans to expand its conference football game schedule to nine games from eight, which would allow each team to play all six teams in its division plus three from the opposite division each year. Smith said in February that the conference was considering expansion to either a nine- or 10-game conference schedule, but a nine-game schedule was more realistic for the purposes of scheduling stronger non-conference opponents. “We have to have seven home games for our local budget, so there’s a management issue there if you go to 10,” Smith said. “Nine gives us that flexibility to do that, and schedule up, which is what we were doing. Under the proposed schedule expansion, Big Ten teams would alternate between playing five conference games at home and four conference games on the road, and five on the road and four at home, each year. By limiting the schedule expansion to only nine games, Big Ten teams can still schedule a non-conference game on the road in years when they have five conference games and still have seven home games.