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Sport | The Guardian



Sports news, scores, blogs and opinion on US and world sports from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice



Published: Fri, 28 Apr 2017 18:30:19 GMT2017-04-28T18:30:19Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2017
 



Ilie Nastase apologises and says Serena Williams comment was ‘spontaneous’

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 14:35:42 GMT2017-04-28T14:35:42Z

• Romanian has been provisionally suspended by ITF
• Nastase criticises Johanna Konta for complaint during Fed Cup match

Ilie Nastase has issued an apology for his conduct during Romania’s Fed Cup tie against Great Britain last weekend. The 70-year-old former world No1 has already been provisionally suspended by the International Tennis Federation after a series of incidents in Constanta.

Nastase was overheard making an apparently racist comment about Serena Williams’ unborn baby as well as asking the GB captain, Anne Keothavong, for her hotel room number. During the first day, Nastase then verbally abused the chair umpire Jaume Campistol and the referee Andreas Egli before calling Keothavong and the British No1, Johanna Konta, “fucking bitches” as he was sent from the court.

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NFL draft: Bears pick Mitch Trubisky and manage to make Browns look smart

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:21:57 GMT2017-04-28T05:21:57Z

The first round of the 2017 NFL draft showed that many teams are obsessed with finding the next big thing right away

The future face of the Chicago Bears strutted into a giant tent behind the NFL draft stage on Thursday night. Mitchell Trubisky, with all of one college season as a starter, wore a gray three-piece suit, a Bears cap and a smile. Inside the tent was a row of radio and television interviewers. All had the same question:

Was he surprised?

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'Fine me later': Takkarist McKinley wins hearts with draft speech to late grandma

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 04:37:13 GMT2017-04-28T04:37:13Z

Takkarist McKinley promised the grandmother who raised him that he would become a top college football player. When he was picked by the Atlanta Falcons in the first-round of Thursday’s NFL draft he remembered her again, giving an emotional speech as he clutched her photograph.

“I made a promise to her and I stuck to it. I made that promise, man,” a fired up Takkaris McKinley told the NFL Network after he was picked. “I told her. Before she passed away, I was going to live my dream. I was gonna go [to a Division I college]. I was gonna get out of Richmond, I was gonna get out of Oakland. I was gonna go to the NFL. I made that promise to her, man. Thirty seconds later she passed away. And this is who I do it for. This is who I do it for, man ... C’mon, man! Get to the damn quarterback! We gonna get to the quarterback!”

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Dele Alli, Twitter loneliness and the cautionary tale of Renato Sanches | Barney Ronay

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 11:27:03 GMT2017-04-28T11:27:03Z

The Bayern midfielder increasingly looks a candidate for the title of most startlingly strange meteoric 24-month first-team career ever. Wonderkids beware

Among the many doomed and dreadful writing projects I occasionally pretend to be working on is a Bret Easton Ellis-style football novel about a hip, talented, existentially glazed and clueless wonderkid being passed around Europe’s super-clubs by the shady financial powers that run the world game.

The lead character is an interchangeable young star, probably Portuguese, called something generic like Rui Pinto or José Costa. Tattooed and glossed, garlanded with premature honours, his entire private and professional life is owned by a Gestifute-style talent agency. He wears sunglasses and huge headphones and speaks mainly in emojis, while being shuttled from elite subs bench to seven-star hotel, generating endless income without any noticeable interaction with the human world.

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Foreign policy and Trump antipathy: the problems for a World Cup in North America

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 10:00:37 GMT2017-04-28T10:00:37Z

The joint bid between the US, Mexico and Canada for the 2026 tournament appears to be a shoo-in. But there are still stumbling blocks to be overcome

Anyone who claims sports and politics don’t mix has never bid to host the World Cup. As David Downs – the man who led the failed United States tilt at the 2022 World Cup – recalls, hosting the tournament is all politics. That is one reason the recently announced joint bid from the US, Mexico, and Canada wants Fifa to approve their pitch for the 2026 World Cup – without a rival bid – two years ahead of schedule.

Downs, the former executive director of the 2022 US bid and the president of Univision Sports from 2001 to 2009, suggests that under Fifa’s revamped voting structure, the US-led bid will hit speedbumps caused by American foreign policy and international perceptions of the Trump administration.

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Sharapova edges closer to French Open while Murray reaches Barcelona semis

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 14:52:08 GMT2017-04-28T14:52:08Z

• Russian wins 6-3, 6-4 against Anett Kontaveit at Porsche Grand Prix
• Andy Murray gains revenge on Albert Ramos-Viñolas to reach Barcelona semis

Maria Sharapova needs one more win to book her place in French Open qualifying after beating Anett Kontaveit to reach the semi-finals of the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart, while Andy Murray reached the semi-finals of the Barcelona Open after gaining revenge on Albert Ramos-Viñolas.

Sharapova is yet to drop a set following her return from a 15-month doping ban and saw off the spirited challenge of the Estonian qualifier Kontaveit 6-3, 6-4.

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Does focusing on sexual assault by college athletes make campuses safer?

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 09:00:07 GMT2017-04-28T09:00:07Z

Indiana University will ban incoming students with a history of domestic violence and sexual assault. But does that make everyone better off?

For the past decade, I have lent my voice to issues concerning sexual violence. Between the ages of nine and 18, I was assaulted by three different men, with the first assault resulting in a conviction after I told my parents. I chose not to report the later rapes, which occurred in my teens, to the police: the thought of going through a trial again seemed even more unbearable than the assault itself.

During my advocacy work, I always look for glimmers of hope that institutions are taking sexual violence more seriously, through policies that protect victims and punish the perpetrators. I tell myself that any change is a step in the right direction, no matter how small. So when I saw that Indiana University has enacted a policy that would ban any student-athlete with a history of sexual or domestic violence, I was encouraged by the bold stance.

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Anthony Joshua: ‘When Wladimir Klitschko gets beat it could be the end’

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 08:54:09 GMT2017-04-28T08:54:09Z

• Ukrainian says he is a boxer who can punch, Joshua is merely a puncher
• Saturday’s heavyweight title buildup continues on its educated way

There was nothing more to say but they said it anyway. Hoovering up a few more pay-per-view clicks at the end of a long promotion ritually relies on pre-fight shenanigans but there was no chance of that when Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko stopped short of eloping together on Thursday as their world title fight on Saturday night looms.

For weeks now, the bloodthirsty wing of the sport has complained these guys were way too nice. They shook hands every time they met, they laughed at each other’s jokes – such as they were – and, even when they had their face-off on Sky recently, there were as likely to tip the table on Johnny Nelson’s head as David Haye was to go on holiday with Tony Bellew.

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Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City hark back to Pellegrini era for bruising derby | Barney Ronay

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 23:00:39 GMT2017-04-27T23:00:39Z

Manuel Pellegrini’s old players, a collection Guardiola has spent most of the season trying to move on from, were to the fore with the endgame on the line

At times during a frazzled, occasionally surly first season Pep Guardiola has looked a little culture-shocked, a man chafing at the edge of things. It has been an uncomfortable embrace, with a sense of a man half-in half-out of the door, pretending to like the tea, smiling politely, but still vaguely scandalised by the raggedness, the physicality, the lack of order.

Well, this was a bit more like it. On a tight, bruising night at the Etihad Stadium, with the season’s endgame on the line, Guardiola oversaw what must be the least Pep-ish Manchester City performance of his short time here.

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Warriors, Charles Barkley and Bob Ley pay tribute to fired ESPN workers

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 12:03:38 GMT2017-04-27T12:03:38Z

  • Around 100 employees, including well-known names, lost their jobs
  • ESPN looking to cut costs as subscriber base falls

After a tumultuous day at ESPN, in which the broadcaster laid off around 100 employees on Wednesday, including some of the network’s most popular on-air and online personalities, tributes were paid to those who lost their jobs.

Perhaps the most striking came from the Golden State Warriors. Their assistant coach, Mike Brown, spoke about Ethan Sherwood Strauss, a highly respected writer who covered the team and lost his job on Wednesday.

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Lewis Hamilton inspired by Serena Williams response to Ilie Nastase abuse

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:11:41 GMT2017-04-27T18:11:41Z

• Williams a ‘powerful, independent black woman’, says Briton
• Mercedes driver says he does not want team orders and never has

Lewis Hamilton has spoken out in support of Serena Williams after she was the victim of racial abuse from the former player Ilie Nastase last week. The British driver, speaking before the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, hailed Williams’s reaction to the abuse and said she was an inspiration as a “powerful, independent black woman”.

Nastase, who won both the French and US Open, was overheard saying of Williams’s unborn child: “Let’s see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?” Williams, whose fiancé Alexis Ohanian is white, posted a strong response on Instagram, saying: “It disappoints me to know we live in a society where people like Ilie Nastase can make such racist comments towards myself and unborn child.”

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France investigates votes for 2018 and 2022 World Cups and questions Blatter

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:56:04 GMT2017-04-27T19:56:04Z

• Fifa’s former president interviewed as Swiss authorities co-operate
• Michel Platini, Uefa’s former president, has not been spoken to

French prosecutors have opened an investigation into potential corruption relating to Fifa’s vote for Russia and Qatar to host respectively the 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals, sources close to the investigation have confirmed.

Investigators are understood to have interviewed Sepp Blatter, who was the Fifa president at the time of the controversial December 2010 vote by a majority of the executive committee. Michel Platini, the former Uefa president whose decision to cast his vote for Qatar was crucial to the Gulf state winning a majority vote, has not been interviewed, the sources said.

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'You're embarrassing yourself': Alexis Sánchez's fat lip and set-piece set–tos

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 11:52:48 GMT2017-04-27T11:52:48Z

When Christian Fuchs caught Alexis Sánchez on the shoulder with a throw-in, the Arsenal player went down holding his face. The internet was not impressed

Towards the end of a drab match between Arsenal and Leicester City at the Emirates on Wednesday night, Christian Fuchs picked up the ball to take a throw-in. Alexis Sánchez, a toughened street footballer who grew up in a hard mining town in Chile where he used to wash cars, perform somersaults and box in the street to earn a few coins from impressed onlookers, stood in front of Fuchs. The Leicester player flung the ball at Sánchez, hitting him on the shoulder. The Arsenal player stood still for a few seconds, perhaps dazed or perhaps wondering how he could manipulate the situation to his team’s advantage, and then he fell over – clutching his face.

The referee did not take too kindly to his histrionics and booked Sánchez for standing too close to the sideline. Arsène Wenger thought Fuchs was the wrongdoer, saying he “was lucky not to get a yellow card because he threw the ball at him on purpose.” Wenger had a point but the internet had little sympathy with Sánchez’s “injury”.

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Steven Gerrard: ‘There’s a showboating mentality in academies. My teams will be physical’

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:00:22 GMT2017-04-27T16:00:22Z

The former Liverpool captain talks about his new role as coach of the club’s under-18s, why young players should not try to emulate Cristiano Ronaldo and why he turned down the MK Dons job

Steven Gerrard insists judgment should be reserved on his attributes as a coach until his tactical decisions, his leadership from the sidelines and his mistakes have been thoroughly examined. That will come next season as manager of Liverpool Under-18s, where judgment on what is required has already been made. “There is a showboating mentality through academies,” claims Gerrard. “My teams will be physical.”

Related: Steven Gerrard: 'I thought I was a bit young to be Liverpool's captain at 23'

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'The impact we could make': African American quarterbacks in the NFL draft

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 08:29:01 GMT2017-04-27T08:29:01Z

While stereotypes around black quarterbacks have weakened, they are still drafted lower than their white counterparts and some old perceptions linger

They were just kids back then, a couple of 16 year olds running plays at quarterback camps. It would be years before DeShone Kizer would land at Notre Dame and Deshaun Watson would win a national title at Clemson. But even in those days at passing clinics in Portland, Oregon and Columbus, Ohio there was an understanding that as African American quarterbacks a future was possible for them that hadn’t always been there in the past.

“[We used to say to each other] how cool would it be if we were two of the top quarterbacks coming out in whatever draft class we decided to come out in … and the impact that would be able to make as African American quarterbacks in the league,” Kizer said on Wednesday on the eve of the NFL Draft.

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Manchester United: a genuinely confusing side with all still to play for

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 18:00:07 GMT2017-04-28T18:00:07Z

José Mourinho’s team have already won the League Cup and are in a good position to qualify for the Champions League – but it is very difficult to judge how good they are

There is probably a meandering long-read thesis to be written on the different responses to the same match of football fans inside the ground and those who watch remotely. Wayne Rooney is routinely cheered at Old Trafford. Outside it he is a divisive figure among the diaspora, victim perhaps of unfavourable TV direction, short attention spans and boredom. Defeats are often met with cheers and warmth inside a ground, recognition of the effort expended. The same result, flashed up solely as a scoreline will draw shrieks of betrayal at one digital remove.

In similar vein, a gruelling late-season point at Manchester City on Thursday night was met with sustained applause from the large group of United supporters. Naturally there will be overlaps and crossovers. But the away fans saw doggedness and fight in a match that was a disappointment to the TV spectator, bringing as it did a combined total of 150 tackles, fouls, clearances and interceptions, but little in the way of devil, dash and otherwise swanking across the stage in a velvet cape juggling a bone china dinner service.

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Spurs are on their way to Wembley … home switch confirmed for rebuild

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 15:50:04 GMT2017-04-28T15:50:04Z

• Wembley a temporary move as Spurs build new 61,000-seat ground
• Tottenham will spend 2017-18 campaign at the national stadium

Tottenham have confirmed they will leave White Hart Lane at the end of the season and spend the 2017-18 campaign at Wembley while their new 61,000-seat stadium is being completed.

The club said in a tweet: “We can confirm that, following a Board meeting today, we’ve taken the decision to activate our option with Wembley National Stadium Limited. We’ll play all our home games at @WembleyStadium for the 2017/18 season whilst we complete the construction of our new stadium development.”

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David Moyes indicates he could leave Sunderland at end of the season

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 16:44:19 GMT2017-04-28T16:44:19Z

• Manager says he will make decision on future once this campaign is over
• Sunderland could be relegated to the Championship on Saturday

David Moyes has indicated he may leave Sunderland at the end of the season. His team could be relegated to the Championship on Saturday and the manager was noncommittal when asked whether he would definitely be in charge in August.

“I would say that I would make that decision at the end of the season,” said Moyes, who signed a four-year deal in July. “Because, at this moment in time, it would be the wrong time to say that. I just have a situation where we need to see how things are at the end of the season. I will assess the situation at the end of the season.”

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Chris Hughton: ‘I have a thirst for knowledge. I won’t always be a manager’

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 13:34:00 GMT2017-04-28T13:34:00Z

In an exclusive interview, the Brighton manager talks about the ‘shocking’ imbalance between white and BAME managers in England and his hopes for Brighton in the Premier League next season

“‘It is shocking and the more we speak about it, and reflect on it, the more it hits home that there’s an incredible imbalance,” Chris Hughton says as he addresses the grievous lack of black managers in English football. His only current managerial contemporary is Keith Curle, in charge of Carlisle United in League Two, and Hughton’s quietly spoken words carry even more impact now that he has led Brighton & Hove Albion into next season’s Premier League.

Brighton’s inspiring promotion, after decades of strife in which the club became homeless, bankrupt and on the brink of losing their place in the Football League, was guaranteed last week. Their 58-year-old manager has two games remaining of this Championship season, starting with Bristol City at home on Saturday. But first, on a cold evening at the Amex Stadium, before his players participate in their annual awards, it is striking how he sidesteps beaming celebrations or personal vindication. Hughton, instead, confronts more important issues with a social conscience that is often missing from English football.

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Ronald Koeman tells Romelu Lukaku to show ‘best of himself’ against Chelsea

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 17:07:02 GMT2017-04-28T17:07:02Z

• Everton’s manager admits difficulty in hanging on to his best players
• Premier League’s leading scorer faces former club on Sunday

Everton’s manager has challenged Romelu Lukaku to show “the best of himself” against his striker’s former club, Chelsea, on Sunday and shape the destiny of the Premier League title.

Ronald Koeman’s side present arguably the toughest assignment for Chelsea in their pursuit of the championship having won eight consecutive matches at Goodison Park, with Lukaku scoring in his past nine appearances on home soil. The Belgian has been frequently linked with a return to Stamford Bridge after refusing to extend a contract that still has two years to run, and the manager admits it may be difficult to retain his best players this summer. “I don’t know, will see at the end of the season,” he said on the prospect of keeping the Premier League’s leading scorer.

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Why Arsène Wenger finally decided a back three was Arsenal’s way forward | Jonathan Wilson

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 10:00:37 GMT2017-04-28T10:00:37Z

One of Wenger’s first acts at Arsenal was to shun the system but 21 years on it is in fashion and – partly out of desperation – his team are employing wing-backs

In late September 1996, Arsenal travelled to face Borussia Mönchengladbach in the second leg of a Uefa Cup tie. Arsène Wenger had been confirmed as manager but was supposed to have only a watching brief, formally taking over after the following weekend’s match against Sunderland. At half-time, with the score 1-1 and Arsenal trailing 4-3 on aggregate, he came down from the stands to the dugout where, according to the caretaker, Pat Rice, he offered “one or two ideas”.

Arsenal had begun the game with three central defenders (given the wing‑backs were Martin Keown and Nigel Winterburn, it was a back five rather than a back three) but, as Rice explained, Wenger advised him “to go to a back four and add extra width to the attack, and of course I took his advice”. Four minutes after the break, Paul Merson put Arsenal 2-1 up on the night, but as they chased a third they were twice caught on the break and ended up losing 3-2.

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Mullins gets huge trainers’ title boost in Punchestown Champion Hurdle

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 17:55:29 GMT2017-04-28T17:55:29Z

• Patrick Mullins rides Wicklow Brave to victory for his father Willie
• Carlow handler takes lead in championship from Gordon Elliott

Patrick Mullins was the hero for his father Willie here on Friday evening as he rode a brave, brilliantly judged race on Wicklow Brave to win the Punchestown Champion Hurdle and shift the balance of power in the race for the Irish trainers’ title.

He followed up aboard Bacardys in the Grade One Champion Novice Hurdle half an hour later to send the stable into a clear lead in the championship and Willie Mullins is now 1-5 to retain his title, the same price that Gordon Elliott was quoted to claim it for the first time at the start of this week’s Festival.

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Dylan Groenewegen sprints to victory on stage one of Tour de Yorkshire

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 17:49:15 GMT2017-04-28T17:49:15Z

• Riders brought down in huge crash on final approach in Scarborough
• Dutchman edges out Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan on the line

Dylan Groenewegen of the Netherlands edged out Caleb Ewan to win stage one of the Tour de Yorkshire after a huge crash on the final approach in Scarborough.

The LottoNL Jumbo rider, the winner of stage one last year, just held on to beat the Australian sprinter Ewan in a photo-finish after the 174km run from Bridlington.

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Mark Selby recovers his poise to take semi-final lead over Ding Junhui

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 17:44:09 GMT2017-04-28T17:44:09Z

• Defending champion hits back from 5-3 behind to lead 9-7
• John Higgins leads Barry Hawkins 10-6 in other semi-final

Mark Selby hit the front in his World Championship semi-final against Ding Junhui after dominating the second session. The defending champion is eyeing a repeat of last year’s final outcome against Ding, and by retrieving a 5-3 overnight deficit to lead 9-7 he showed the form and application that could lead to another Crucible title match.

Without being at his very best, Selby engineered a platform from which he can push for victory in the best-of-33-frames tussle. He jolted Ding by taking the four frames before the interval, setting a high benchmark in the morning’s opener by making an ominous 100 break. It then took graft from Selby to get his nose in front and fend off a rejuvenated Ding following the interval.

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Stoke City v West Ham United: match preview

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 17:43:12 GMT2017-04-28T17:43:12Z

Five defeats in the past six games have put Stoke’s chances of finishing in the top 10 for a fourth successive season in serious jeopardy and West Ham United will move above them in the table with a win. This could bode ill for Mark Hughes, especially after the Stoke manager spoke of “raised expectations” among fans. The visitors will miss the physical presence of Andy Carroll in attack and will be hoping their record signing, André Ayew, can fill the void. Rich Flower

Kick-off Saturday 3pm

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West Bromwich Albion v Leicester City: match preview

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 16:41:44 GMT2017-04-28T16:41:44Z

Craig Shakespeare returns to the club where he made more than 100 appearances and worked as community officer, academy coach and reserve coach, even caretaker manager for one game, in search of the three points that would end any relegation fears for Leicester City. West Brom have lost their way a little, losing the last three and failing to score in four successive league matches – five would be a club record. Matt Phillips and Hal Robson-Kanu are out while Wes Morgan is a doubt for Leicester. Stuart James

Kick-off Saturday 3pm

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Sunderland v Bournemouth: match preview

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 16:04:37 GMT2017-04-28T16:04:37Z

Sunderland will be relegated from the top flight should they lose and 17th-placed Hull City either draw or win against Southampton. David Moyes’s side won at the Vitality Stadium earlier this season and Bournemouth’s away form has been in a slump ever since. Sunderland must be looking at this match as the last possible chance of redemption for the weary fans of Wearside. Jacque Talbot

Kick-off Saturday 3pm

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Southampton v Hull City: match preview

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 15:31:26 GMT2017-04-28T15:31:26Z

Hull City need an away win having lost six and drawn one of Marco Silva’s seven league trips and can call on Oumar Niasse, who had his red card rescinded for last week’s sending off, as they battle for safety with Swansea, who are at Manchester United on Sunday. Saints are on 40 points, have lost their last two but have yet to knock off if their efforts in the 4-2 defeat at Chelsea are to be believed. Mark Tallentire

Kick-off Saturday 3pm

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NFL Draft 2017: Garrett goes to Browns No1; Bears pick Trubisky No2 – as it happened

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 03:50:57 GMT2017-04-28T03:50:57Z

  • Texans trade up to get Deshaun Watson at No12
  • Chiefs make move for Patrick Mahomes at No10

Round 1 is in the books.

Thanks for following along. As always, we won’t know who did well until at least mid-season and usually not for about three or four seasons. But the Browns made solid moves. The Browns! As did the 49ers. And congratulations to running backs. You’re officially back as a position to take in the Top 10.

Finally, let’s not forget the great night by the City of Philadelphia. Eagles fans helped make Round 1 a big event and they did a fine job booing Roger Goodell, which is really all that matters.

Check out The Guardian tomorrow for more draft coverage.

Needing defense, the Saints go offensive line.

The first round is over.

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NFL mock draft 2017: the sleepers, the shoo-ins and Myles Garrett

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 08:00:00 GMT2017-04-27T08:00:00Z

The consensus is that the Browns will go for the Texas A&M as No1 pick but who will your team go for in Philadelphia on Thursday?

Pick: Myles Garrett, edge rusher, Texas A&M

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'If you work hard, anything is possible': Ngoepe becomes first African to play MLB

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 04:45:07 GMT2017-04-27T04:45:07Z

  • Gift Ngoepe debuts in Pittsburgh’s win over Cubs
  • South African ends game with a hit, a walk and a strikeout

The name of Gift Ngoepe was recorded in the annals of baseball history on Wednesday night when the 27-year-old debuted for the Pittsburgh Pirates to become the first player from Africa to feature in a Major League Baseball game.

The South African, who had been recalled from Triple A Indianapolis earlier in the day, got his major league career off to an encouraging start, singling in his first at-bat in the Pirates’ eventual 6-5 win over the Chicago Cubs.

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The gifs that keep on giving: laughter, face football and two big clearances

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 10:00:32 GMT2017-01-21T10:00:32Z

Featuring two UFC fighters trying to pretend, a new form of badminton, fast fists, a very short game of pool and an exceedingly chamring basketball player

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The forgotten story of ... Carlos Kaiser, football's greatest conman | Rob Smyth

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 10:00:34 GMT2017-04-26T10:00:34Z

For more than two decades, Carlos Kaiser was one of the most famous footballers in Brazil – even though he had no intention of ever kicking a ball

You might know the voiceover at the start of The Big Lebowski. As tumbleweed meanders through Los Angeles, Sam Elliott introduces us to the film’s main character: “Goes by the name of Jeff Lebowski. At least that was the handle his loving parents gave him, but he never had much use for it himself. See, this Lebowski, he called himself ‘The Dude’.”

The Stranger rambles on about this and that until he gets somewhere near the point. “Sometimes, there’s a man. And I’m talkin’ about the Dude here - the Dude from Los Angeles. Sometimes, there’s a man; well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that’s the Dude.”

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The Fiver | The right to brag about being the best team in London below Chelsea

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 14:56:43 GMT2017-04-28T14:56:43Z

In today’s Fiver: Tottenham v Arsenal, $tevie Mbe’s physicality and more

More than once The Fiver has spotted a wistful tear well up in the eye of Weird Uncle Fiver as he laments the ceaseless passage of time. “What do you mean you’re closing?” he has often been heard to bawl. “Get your effin’ hands off me! Don’t you know who I … Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!”

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The Joy of Six: happy endings in sport | Nick Miller

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 09:30:23 GMT2017-04-20T09:30:23Z

From Nasser Hussain’s farewell century to Rocky Marciano’s perfect legacy and Eric Cantona’s lack of doubt, we salute six triumphant farewells

The decision had already been made when Nasser Hussain went out for his final Test innings. An international career that spanned 14 years had seen him become perhaps the pivotal figure in the last few decades of English cricket. It was Hussain’s brilliant captaincy that had pulled England up from the nadir of being ranked last in the world and laid the groundwork for Michael Vaughan, the 2005 Ashes and all that. Vaughan got the glory, but he had Steve Harmison, Andrew Flintoff, Marcus Trescothick and Andrew Strauss at their peaks: Hussain’s first Test as captain featured Aftab Habib and Alan Mullally.

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It's time to introduce a two-legged MLS Cup - with a twist

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 09:00:10 GMT2016-10-24T09:00:10Z

The single final is insufficient, and the two-leg final doesn’t reward the higher-seeded team for their regular-season performance. So why not combine the two?

Do US soccer leagues need their own Super Bowl, a week-long festival of the sport at a neutral site? Or should they reward the best regular-season team with home-field advantage for the final game?

Related: Didier Drogba fined but not suspended for Montreal Impact tantrum

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Klitschko's defeats, MLB high-flying and a Dembélé screamer

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 09:18:26 GMT2017-04-27T09:18:26Z

This week’s roundup also features a goalscoring goalkeeper, a major brawl in the minor leagues and an F1 three-point turn

1) Here’s Bolivar’s goalkeeper Matias Dituro scoring from inside his own penalty area after San José’s keeper had wandered up Ben Foster-style towards the end of the game. It’s a belter, given that he actually meant it. Alberto Moreno take note. If this is your kind of thing, here’s 10 minutes’ worth of goalkeepers scoring goals, including that Jimmy Glass one of course.

2) Things you didn’t know were missing from your life until now: spectacular softball pickup truck-catch hubris. The Yankees’ Aaron Judge shows you how it should be done, while the Blue Jays’ Chris Coghlan also takes to the air in impressive style.

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Tottenham stay in the hunt as Sunderland near the drop – Football Weekly Extra

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:42:09 GMT2017-04-27T16:42:09Z

The podders look back on the midweek games in the Premier League. Plus, Newcastle back in the big time as Huddersfield make the play-offs; Joey Barton banned; and Sheffield United look to re-sign Ched Evans

Subscribe and review: iTunes, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast & Stitcher. And join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter

On today’s Football Weekly Extra, AC Jimbo is joined by messrs Ashdown, Horncastle and MacInnes to give the hot chat about a lukewarm midweek in the Premier League ahead of what could be a blistering weekend.

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Hartlepool need to kickstart great escape with or without Jeff Stelling’s help | Nick Ames

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 11:55:47 GMT2017-04-28T11:55:47Z

The harsh truth is that factors far beyond the Sky presenter or Dave Jones are behind the club’s decline and a survival-boosting win at Cheltenham is a must

If the howls of anguish coming from the Soccer Saturday presenter’s chair are a little louder than normal this weekend there may be a justifiable reason for it. Hartlepool United’s 96-year grip on a Football League place is in grave peril and a defeat at Cheltenham Town, two places and four points above them in League Two, may be enough to apply the final wound with a game to spare. The club’s plight should be familiar to anybody who has regularly seen Jeff Stelling, their most visible fan, in action this season and should the worst happen at 4.50pm it is reasonable to assume the nation will soon be well apprised.

Hartlepool took steps to improve their chances of survival this week but Stelling has found himself implicated in their decision. On the face of things there was little surprise, particularly in the context of a scattergun hiring strategy in recent years, when the unpopular Dave Jones – who had only been appointed on 18 January – was removed from his position on Monday. The team had taken only 13 points from his 17 games in charge; Jones had made a poor impression all round and a dire 2-0 home defeat by Barnet last Saturday was the cue for an urgent round of discussions among the club’s board, who opted to cut the cord.

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Tottenham v Arsenal: is this the end of the St Totteringham's Day streak? – video

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 16:15:19 GMT2017-04-28T16:15:19Z

Arsenal fans have long held a celebration on the date it becomes mathematically impossible for Tottenham to finish above them in the league – St Totteringham’s Day. It’s occurred every season since 1994-95 but now that run looks set to come to a halt. Three points for in-form Spurs on Sunday in the north London derby will guarantee them a league finish above Arsenal. Is this finally Tottenham’s year?

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Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko weigh in at Wembley – video

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 15:09:25 GMT2017-04-28T15:09:25Z

Anthony Joshua weighs in around 10lb heavier than challenger Wladimir Klitschko before their world heavyweight title bout this weekend. Joshua tips the scales at 250.1lb while Klitschko comes in at 240.5lb on Friday. The fighters will step into the ring at Wembley on Saturday night in front of a crowd of 90,000

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Manchester derby: Mourinho questions Agüero after Fellaini red card – video

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 06:57:07 GMT2017-04-28T06:57:07Z

Manchester United manager José Mourinho questions Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero after Marouane Fellaini’s red card during the Premier League clash between the two sides on Thursday. The United midfielder was sent off for a head-butt in a goalless derby and Mourinho feels that Agüero’s reaction to the incident played some part the referee’s decision to send Fellaini off

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Does football have a gambling problem? – video

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 17:36:22 GMT2017-04-27T17:36:22Z

The industries of professional football and gambling have grown ever closer in recent years but has the relationship become a problem? After Joey Barton was banned for 18 months by the Football Association on charges of betting, we explore gambling’s increasing presence in modern football and ask whether this has indeed become a concern for the game

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Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko gear up for world title fight – video

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:15:08 GMT2017-04-27T15:15:08Z

Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko speak at a news conference on Thursday before their world heavyweight title fight this weekend at Wembley. Joshua cuts a confident figure while Klitschko shows off a USB memory stick containing his fight prediction. The stick will be sealed in his robe for Saturday night, he says

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Sharapova 'a cheater' and should not play tennis again, says Bouchard – video

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 11:24:37 GMT2017-04-27T11:24:37Z

Eugenie Bouchard says that Maria Sharapova is ‘a cheater’ and she should not be allowed to return to play tennis. Sharapova returned to the sport after a 15-month doping ban on Wednesday, beating Roberta Vinci at the Stuttgart Open. ‘I don’t think a cheater in a sport should be allowed to play that sport again,’ said Bouchard

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Tottenham focused on more than just finishing above Arsenal, says Pochettino – video

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 06:43:01 GMT2017-04-27T06:43:01Z

Mauricio Pochettino says his Spurs side are concentrating on ‘bigger things than only to be above Arsenal’ in this season’s Premier League after the win over Crystal Palace on Wednesday. The victory at Selhurst Park means Spurs reduce Chelsea’s lead at the top of the table back to four points before welcoming Arsenal to White Hart Lane on Sunday

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Goalkeeper scores goal from own penalty area in Bolivia – video

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 13:24:21 GMT2017-04-26T13:24:21Z

Matías Dituro, goalkeeper for the Bolivian side Bolívar, scores from inside his own penalty area against Club San José on Sunday. With his opposite number up in search of a late equaliser, Dituro collects the loose ball and fires it the full length of the pitch and into the unguarded net. Bolívar won the game 3-1

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Charlton Athletic and the fight for the club's future – video

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 11:00:35 GMT2017-04-26T11:00:35Z

This season has seen almost unprecedented levels of supporter action aimed at forcing controversial owners to sell the football clubs that fans think are being mismanaged and driven to relegation and ruin. Charlton Athletic fans are more organised than most. They have a coalition and a crowd-funded war chest to co-ordinate the protests they feel will force Roland Duchâtelet out of their club before it’s too late. We speak to some of the major players in the protest movement and follow them on their days of action

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Chelsea's win over Southampton 'a big psychological step' towards league title, says Conte – video

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 08:09:41 GMT2017-04-26T08:09:41Z

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says his team’s 4-2 victory over Southampton on Tuesday is ‘a big psychological step’ towards securing the Premier League title. The win at Stamford Bridge means Chelsea are seven points clear of Tottenham in second place, although Spurs do have one game in hand

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ESPN layoffs hit on-air reporters and anchors as 100 employees face cuts

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 16:48:37 GMT2017-04-26T16:48:37Z

  • ESPN to lay off around 100 on-air and online anchors, reporters and analysts
  • Employees affected include some of network’s most popular personalities

ESPN was set to lay off around 100 employees on Wednesday, including some of the network’s most popular on-air and online personalities, according to multiple reports.

The Disney-owned sports giant had no plans to announce the names of the employees affected, but a number of the anchors, reporters and analysts who were informed of their release spoke out on social media.

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Klitschko might not be a spent force – Joshua needs to pace himself | Dominic Ingle

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 11:27:46 GMT2017-04-28T11:27:46Z

Kell Brook’s trainer looks at where Saturday’s Wembley sellout world heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and the 41-year-old Wladimir Klitschko may be won and lost

I am not convinced, as many people seem to be, that Anthony Joshua will blast through Wladimir Klitschko. Of course, it could happen. But if Klitschko has anything left in the tank, I expect him to drag Joshua deeper into the trenches than ever before. The Ukrainian may even be able to spring a surprise late on – if he can navigate the early rounds.

I know that puts me in the minority. But I keep wondering whether too much has been made of Klitschko’s defeat by Tyson Fury. Yes, he looked awful that night: slow and flat-footed and desperately trigger-shy. The question is: how much of that was down to age and how much to Fury bamboozling him? Because, make no mistake, the Gypsy King fought an exceptionally smart tactical fight, which was very different to what everyone expected.

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Anthony Joshua thrives on calm before storm against Wladimir Klitschko | Kevin Mitchell

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 16:37:22 GMT2017-04-28T16:37:22Z

British fighter says ‘I want to knock him out, but I don’t hate him’ of a Ukrainian opponent who is still dangerous but not the force he was

Anthony Joshua laughs a lot. After all, he has much to be happy about. He is widely regarded as the best young heavyweight in the world, the future of boxing, we are reminded by those with a financial interest in his unbeaten progress at Wembley on Saturday night, an Olympic gold medallist and multimillionaire at 27 with celebrity friends, a posse and a back story.

This “fine young man”, as he is often and correctly described, is an entrenched hero of British sport, getting ready to test his spirit and skill against one of the all-time greats in front of 90,000 fans. So he laughs, and it is infectious. Even the stone-faced Wladimir Klitschko, who now plots to destroy him, laughs with him.

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Serena Williams accuses Ilie Nastase of racially abusing her and unborn child

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 23:20:34 GMT2017-04-24T23:20:34Z

US tennis great responds to controversial Romanian’s ‘chocolate with milk’ comment at Fed Cup tennis meeting in Romania

American tennis player Serena Williams has accused Ilie Nastase of racially abusing her and her unborn baby as she made her first response to comments the Romanian former world No1 made about her.

Nastase was overheard on Friday at a press conference for the Fed Cup tie between Romania and Britain saying about the current world No 1’s unborn baby: “Let’s see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?”

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What is meldonium and why did Maria Sharapova take it?

Wed, 08 Jun 2016 17:01:33 GMT2016-06-08T17:01:33Z

Meldonium is also known as mildronate, it increases exercise capacity in athletes and Sharapova claimed she had been taking the drug for 10 years because of a magnesium deficiency and family history of diabetes

Maria Sharapova was on Wednesday banned from tennis for two years after failing a drugs test at this year’s Australian Open, once again putting meldonium under the spotlight.

Meldonium is also known as mildronate, the name by which Sharapova knew the drug, having taken it since 2006.

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Craig Hodges: 'Jordan didn't speak out because he didn't know what to say'

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 09:00:23 GMT2017-04-20T09:00:23Z

He was one of the NBA’s finest sharpshooters and a two-time champion alongside Michael Jordan, but was run out of the league for his outspoken views. A quarter of a century on, Craig Hodges is still fighting the good fight

“I’m sad to say that one of our players was shot on Monday,” Craig Hodges reveals after he has spoken for an hour about his brave but tumultuous career in the NBA. Hodges fell out with Michael Jordan, confronted George Bush Sr in the White House and won two championships with his hometown team, at a time when the Chicago Bulls were venerated around the world, before he was ostracised and shut out of basketball for being too politically outspoken.

At home in Chicago, where Hodges and one of his sons, Jamaal, now coach basketball at his old high school, Rich East, his urgency is tinged with pathos. “He’s in surgery right now,” the 56-year-old says of his wounded player. “He got shot in the hip. He’s only a freshman so he’s just a 15-year-old. It’s stuff like this we’re battling every day. A few weekends ago in Chicago, five people got killed, so it’s terrible. There is so much injustice, but it’s just a matter of time before we win these battles.”

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Exeter’s Harry Williams: ‘The idea of international rugby is forming a bit more’

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 09:46:43 GMT2017-04-28T09:46:43Z

The Chiefs prop may have been a late developer but, with an England cap on the horizon, there is a lot more to the 25-year-old than meets the eye

In Exeter they do not mind what their rugby players look like. “We’re not big ones for the colour of a player’s boots or hairstyles or tattoos,” says Rob Baxter, the Chiefs director of rugby, glancing over at his distinctively pony-tailed, 20-stone prop Harry Williams. “We’re happy for them to be their own men as long as they buy into what we want to achieve as a club. He can wear white boots and have whatever hairstyle he wants as long as he trains well and plays well.”

A sense of stylistic freedom has clearly done Jack Nowell no harm from a Lions perspective and following his call-up to the senior England squad for this summer’s tour to Argentina, the idiosyncratic Williams is the latest example. While Eddie Jones is not an instant fan of his new tighthead’s barnet – “He needs a haircut so I will have to chat to him about that” – he will soon discover there is a heap more to the 25-year-old than meets the eye. Taking the clippers to Samson’s locks did not end well and it might work best to keep England’s new giant-sized recruit away from the barbers.

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Monster truck pulls off first ever successful front-flip trick – video

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 11:07:56 GMT2017-03-29T11:07:56Z

Lee O’Donnell becomes the first person to successfully land a front-flip in a monster truck in Las Vegas last weekend. O’Donnell, nicknamed the Mad Scientist, completed the stunt in front of a packed crowd at the Monster Jam World Finals on Sunday

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Kristina Mladenovic says Maria Sharapova is seen as ‘cheater’ on Tour

Sat, 12 Mar 2016 23:27:00 GMT2016-03-12T23:27:00Z

• Mladenovic: ‘She has been taking this for 10 years and it is a serious drug’
• Simona Halep: ‘I didn’t speak to her before, so there is no reason to speak now’

The gloves have well and truly come off. After a few days when Maria Sharapova might have thought she was winning over those who doubt her explanation of why she has failed a drugs test, France’s Kristina Mladenovic said she was speaking for everyone on Tour when she said: “All the players are saying she’s a cheater.”

Related: Maria Sharapova: the girl who never wanted friends is left isolated | Kevin Mitchell

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Russian F1 Grand Prix to set the tone for European season

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 17:04:47 GMT2017-04-28T17:04:47Z

Battle beside the Black Sea will decided if Ferrari or Mercedes head into the European Formula One season with a telling advantage

When Ferrari won the first grand prix of the season in Australia, the suggestion this campaign would be a different prospect to the previous three years was a tantalising aspiration. Now the Russian Grand Prix is on us, thoughts that Ferrari’s opening victory would prove an exception have been banished.

Sebastian Vettel has won two of the opening three races, with Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes victorious only in China. Separated by seven points, both drivers are revelling in the competition and Sochi should further indicate how close the battle will be for the rest of the season.

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GWS Giants edge out Western Bulldogs in spirited AFL thriller

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 13:04:54 GMT2017-04-28T13:04:54Z

  • GWS Giants defeat Western Bulldogs 11.9 (75) to 9.19 (73) at Manuka
  • Toby Greene set to face MRP scrutiny over striking incident

Greater Western Sydney have served the Western Bulldogs some cold preliminary final revenge in Canberra, writing the latest thrilling chapter of the two clubs’ burgeoning AFL rivalry with a two-point win.

With the temperature plummeting to five degrees, the heat was on at UNSW Canberra Oval, and the Giants came from behind to win 11.9 (75) to 9.19 (73) in front of a crowd of 14,048 who were treated to another classic encounter.

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Eels too good for Cowboys as losing Rabbitohs fans turn on Souths

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 12:41:08 GMT2017-04-28T12:41:08Z

  • Parramatta Eels 26-6 North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville
  • Manly Sea Eagles 42-8 South Sydney Rabbitohs in Sydney

The late scratching of star halfback Johnathan Thurston was a blow the North Queensland Cowboys couldn’t recover from as they slumped to a 26-6 loss at 1300SMILES Stadium on Friday.

Thurston was expected to make a sorely-needed return for the Cowboys but his troublesome calf flared up late this afternoon and he was forced to watch on helplessly as North Queensland were thoroughly outclassed by the visiting Eels.

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