Pakistan says no suspension for accused

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has promised “prompt and decisive action” if the allegations made by a British Sunday newspaper are proven.

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The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has summoned the players at the centre of the claims to a meeting in London on Wednesday, but said it would not suspend any player while police continue to investigate.

Customs officials in Britain said they had arrested and bailed two men and a woman from London on Sunday as part of an investigation into money laundering. A source confirmed the arrests were linked to the cricket row.

A spokesman for the PCB said that until the various investigations were completed, it would not act against the players.

“Chairman Ijaz Butt just told me that since there is a case going on with the Scotland Yard we are not going to suspend any player,” he told AFP.

“He further said that this is only an allegation so far. There is still no charge or proof on that account. So at this stage there will be no action taken.”

The News of the World alleges that a middleman took STG150,000 ($A259,717.77) to arrange for Pakistani players to deliberately bowl no-balls in the final Test match against England in London last week.

The information would be of enormous value to the spot-betting industry, where money is wagered on specific incidents in matches.

The beleaguered Pakistan team was training for the rest of the tour on Tuesday in Taunton, southwest England.

But three of the players named in the allegations – Test team captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif – have been summoned to a meeting with top Pakistani officials in London on Wednesday.

Team manager Yawar Saeed said they would meet with Ijaz Butt and the Pakistani high commissioner (ambassador) to Britain, Wajid Shamsul Hasan.

It appears increasingly likely the three players will play no part in the rest of the tour, which comprises Twenty20 matches and a series of one-day internationals against England.

Pakistan begin their preparations for the matches with a practice game against English county Somerset on Thursday, before the first Twenty20 fixture against England in Cardiff on Sunday.

Reporters were barred from the County Ground in Taunton on the request of the Pakistan team, Somerset Chief Executive Richard Gould said, telling AFP: “I think in these particular circumstances, we understand.”

Britain’s The Daily Telegraph newspaper said the ICC had informally asked Pakistan for the named players to be dropped from the squad.

Citing ICC sources, other reports claimed that the same players had been under investigation for months by their anti-corruption unit.

The world of cricket has reacted with shock and dismay to claims that huge sums of money had changed hands in alleged fixing schemes at international level, linked to shadowy betting rings.

The News of the World claimed it had paid middleman Mazhar Majeed for advance details of three no-balls in the Test match at Lord’s.

Majeed, a 35-year-old agent for several Pakistan players, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers in the wake of the allegations, but was released on bail without charge on Sunday.

Detectives questioned the players named, including Asif and 18-year-old prodigy Aamer, who bowled the no-balls – normally an accidental and unpredictable occurrence – and police seized their mobile phones.

Investigators from the ICC’s anti-corruption and security unit are in Britain looking into the allegations, and ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat promised action would be taken against any players found guilty.

“The integrity of the game is of paramount importance. Prompt and decisive action will be taken against those who seek to harm it,” Lorgat said.

However, he told AFP it was important to “keep things in perspective” and not tarnish the rest of the team with the allegations.

Agent Umran Khan, who represents several Pakistan players not named in the allegations, including one-day captain Shahid Afridi, repeated this, telling PakPassion南宁桑拿,: “My players have absolutely nothing to do with it.”

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‘Mid-air explosion’ forces Qantas landing

Qantas will fly a replacement aircraft engine to the United States after a mid-air explosion forced one of its 747s carrying 230 people to make an emergency landing.

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The 747-400 departed San Francisco about 11.30pm local time on Monday (Tuesday afternoon AEST) with 212 passengers and 18 crew on board.

“About 15 minutes into the flight, the flight crew picked up on some excessive vibration in the number four engine,” a Qantas spokesman told AAP.

The captain shut down the engine and informed San Francisco air traffic control of the problem.

An apparent explosion in the number four engine ripped a hole through its outer shell.

“I’ve certainly seen the images of holes,” the spokesman said.

“Certainly the engine failed, but what caused that failure is something that’s going to take some time to determine.”

Passengers seated in view of the engine would have noticed a problem.

“It’s possible, particularly at night, if the engine surged or when it failed, some passengers might have seen sparks or a flare of some description particularly coming from the rear of the engine,” the spokesman said.

The plane returned to San Francisco and made a normal landing.

Passengers were not required to assume the emergency brace position, the spokesman said.

Qantas will fly the replacement engine to San Francisco on Wednesday.

Affected passengers have been offered seats on any of three Qantas flights scheduled to depart Los Angeles on Tuesday evening local time (Wednesday afternoon AEST).

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the US said Qantas will prepare a report into the incident for the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.

“Whatever Qantas does is going to have to meet with our approval too,” an FAA spokesman told AAP.

“The bottom line is we want to make sure and know that that aircraft is airworthy when they are saying they want to put it back on line.”

The Qantas spokesman said the Australian Transport Safety Bureau will also receive a report on the incident.

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Climate committee urged to move fast

The Australian Greens, who have a lower house MP – Adam Bandt – in the next parliament, on Wednesday backed a Labor minority government.

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In return for the party’s support, Prime Minister Julia Gillard promised a range of measures, including a climate change committee of MPs and experts that would work towards pricing carbon.

Those who join the table must be committed to a carbon price, but need not agree with the mechanism.

Greens leader Bob Brown said he would not set a deadline for the task, and admitted the result could be a regime that is tougher on polluters than Labor’s carbon pollution reduction scheme which failed to pass in the Senate.

“That’s an option, we’ll look at all the options,” he told Sky News.

“But I don’t want to pre-empt it because we go to it with the view we’ll have … the best brains there are on this, who are committed to a carbon price.”

But Ms Gillard has not completely abandoned her unpopular election promise of a citizens’ assembly – where members of the public would be asked to reach consensus on climate action.

The policy was widely panned as an effort to sidestep bolder moves, like a carbon tax, to fill the void left by Labor’s shelved emissions trading scheme.

Ms Gillard says it’s still on the cards, but it would now go to the committee.

The move came on the same day as Lord Nicholas Stern, a leading climate economist and adviser to the British government, said

Australia was well placed to benefit from a carbon price.

Lord Stern told the National Press Club it didn’t matter if it was a tax or a trading scheme – the revenue could be used to fund new technologies or contribute to a new $100 billion a year UN climate change fund.

“You could do very well indeed,” he said.

“You have to take a 10 or 15 year view of this, you have to make investments, this doesn’t come for free in the short-run, the price of electricity will go up.”

While Lord Stern had “thoughtful, reflective” talks with independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor on Tuesday, he would not comment on Australia’s political predicament.

He laughed off independent Bob Katter’s assessment of him as a “lightweight”, saying he was certain the north Queensland MP was a “splendid fellow”.

Environmental groups welcomed the committee – but want it to work quickly.

Greenpeace chief Linda Selvey said Australians had already shown they want action on climate change, and want polluters to pay.

“The committee must not become another talkfest, rather produce legislation to place a price on carbon pollution within the next 12 months,” she said.

The Climate Institute’s John Connor said he hoped it was a fresh start to an issue that had been reduced to a political football.

“Australia’s pollution politics has become mired in scare campaigns and misinformation and a new approach is urgently needed,” he said.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said the new committee was “basically the carbon tax committee” – so the coalition could not take part.

“We are committed to strong action against climate change but it’s not going to come with a heavy price tag for consumers,” he said.

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Gerrard feels the Liverpool love as he bows out

Even if Crystal Palace denied him a fairytale ending, with Gerrard unable to perform any heroics in a 3-1 defeat, the famous Kop end rose to salute one of their own in a match where the result was secondary.

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“I’ve been dreading this moment,” he told the crowd over the public address system. “I am going to miss it so much.

“I’ve loved every minute of it and I’m absolutely devastated I’m never going to play in front of you supporters again.”

The pre-match music set the mood — ‘Simply The Best’, ‘Heroes’, ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’, ‘The End Of The World As We Know It’, and a nod to his Los Angeles Galaxy future with ‘Kids In America’.

Even if the former England skipper has heard the chant of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ more often than he can remember, the fans gave him an unforgettable rendition as he stood with his three daughters on the field.

The refrain was echoed on countless banners, the supporters thanking him for some of their greatest memories including an unforgettable 2005 Champions League success, as the 34-year-old midfielder emerged from the tunnel to a guard of honour from both sides.

High-fiving each Palace player as he moved down the line, Gerrard applauded the stands on his 354th appearance at Anfield in all competitions.

“The first time you ever play for Liverpool Football Club is a dream come true,” he said later. “Everything else after that was a bonus for me.

“Before I go, before the tears come…I’ve played in front of most supporters around the world but let me tell you, you are the best,” he told the crowd as the cheers rose to a crescendo.

Manager Brendan Rodgers promised it would be a match players would tell their grandchildren about and there could be no doubt about that, even if much of the action was far from memorable.

“I asked members of staff if they could describe Steven Gerrard in one word, what word would that be,” he added. “It’s Liverpool. Not just Liverpool as a football club but Liverpool the supporters and Liverpool the city.

“He’s a wonderful symbol for the people here and is an icon of the club.”

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)

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Young gun Parker fires the Swans

One of Sydney’s youngest guns, Luke Parker is stamping himself as a captain-in-waiting at the AFL club.

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Parker earned more plaudits after he ensured Sydney go into Saturday’s AFL grand final rematch against Hawthorn on a positive note, providing the inspiration, energy and big plays in Saturday’s 43-point home victory over Geelong.

The 22-year-old midfielder was the third youngest member of the team, but he displayed the savvy and composure of a seasoned veteran as he did it all, notching career-bests in goals (5), kicks (20) and marks (11) and laying five tackles.

Parker proved a steal at No.40 in the 2010 draft and Swans coach John Longmire, who isn’t renowned for lavishing praise on individuals, labelled him a “beauty.”

“His will is enormous, he just makes himself become a good player and wills himself to the contest,” Longmire said.

Rated “a gun” by Geelong coach Chris Scott, Parker is already a premiership player and best and fairest winner,

Promoted to the Swans leadership group this year, it’s surely a matter of when, and not if, he ascends to the status of captain or co-captain.

Teammates recognise and relish his leadership.

“He was just doing all he could to try and will us along and he was able to do it,” said swingman Sam Reid on Swans TV after the game.

“Parkesy leads from the front every week,” added midfield colleague Tom Mitchell.

Parker insisted the Swans hadn’t yet given much thought to avenging last year’s crushing 64-point grand final loss to the Hawks but he made it clear they were up for the challenge.

“I think it’s going to be really tight at the end of the year and if you can win these big games like last night and next week, then hopefully it puts you in good stead for the end of the season,” Parker said on ABC Radio’s Sunday Huddle.

Mitchell 21, the second youngest member of the team that vanquished Geelong, also had a career night.

Mitchell, who has battled to cement a place in the team, notched a career-high 33 disposals against the Cats and equalled his best top flight goalkicking effort with three majors.

It seems Mitchell has convinced his teammates and coaching staff he has added the defensive starch to his prolific possession-getting.

“He’s been able to pick up on that massively over the pre-season and get that right,” Parker said.

“Now with him coming in, we all have full trust that he’s playing his role and he’s going to put his head over it when he needs to.

“The main thing is we want to be the hardest two-way team. It’s good to see the young boys are buying into it.”

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Richmond AFL boss calls for calm

Richmond president Peggy O’Neal has sought to calm rumblings about the AFL club, pointing to how far they have come in the last five years.

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A season of great expectations for the Tigers has started with a 2-4 win-loss record and growing unease about whether they can make the finals again.

Speaking before Sunday’s crucial match against Collingwood at the MCG, O’Neal said the club remained determined to build sustained success.

She said the media or fans baying for blood would not distract the Tigers hierarchy.

“No matter if you’re flying or failing on the field, we don’t make reactive decisions based on the latest view in the media or the vocal minority,” O’Neal said.

“Every part of our business looks at the facts – we ask hard questions and collectively, we find a way forward.

“That’s been critical to the narrative that’s been Richmond over the last five seasons and these first six games.”

O’Neal noted that in 2010, Richmond started the season with nine-straight losses.

They had a debt of $5 million and were playing “home” games in Cairns.

She said their Punt Rd facilities were an embarrassment and membership was stagnant.

“Critically, the underlining philosophy was that no one person was going to fix the club – there was no messiah,” she said.

“It would require all of us to be single-minded in pursuing success and we acknowledged that it was a strategy that would require us to stay the course for a very long time.”

O’Neal said the Tigers are now debt-free, have full control of a redeveloped Punt Rd headquarters and are at record membership.

“I’m not recounting this to congratulate ourselves – we’re not satisfied (and) there’s much more to do,” she said.

“We have gotten enough right to ensure the club has a solid foundation upon which to build its future.

“That’s what only stable, united football clubs do.”

O’Neal said it is critical that the Tigers stay the course and do so rationally.

“One of the greatest challenges for those within the club is to make decisions that are not driven by emotional outbursts, to not rise to the bait, to not be volatile,” she said.

“In my legal practice, I came to realise it was rare for a good business decision to be made once emotion ruled the day.”

O’Neal acknowledged the only antidote to losing is winning.

“But that (win-loss) record doesn’t detract from where we started and where we hope to be,” she said.

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Manly out to continue Monday form

Manly will be out to continue its strong NRL record in Monday night football when they host Penrith at Brookvale Oval.

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The Sea Eagles have won their past five Monday night clashes, and since 2013 have lost just two of their past nine matches when playing in the final fixture of the round.

“Monday night’s traditionally have been very good for us,” coach Geoff Toovey said.

“The two years we had seven Monday night games were the two years we were in the grand final.

“Monday nights do seem to suit us and if we can take advantage of that this Monday it’ll be a positive for us.”

In contrast, the Panthers have lost both their Monday night clashes so far this season – to the Roosters in round three and the Cowboys in round five.

In fact, the mountain men haven’t won a Monday night game away from Penrith since 2010.

The real issue for Panthers coach Ivan Cleary will be how his side backs up for their next game against Parramatta in round 12 having lost 10 of 11 after playing the last game of the weekend.

However it’s this week’s opponents that will be the most pressing matter for Cleary, having watched his side fall to a heartbreaking 8-5 loss to Brisbane last start.

Key playmaker Jamie Soward came through unscathed after returning from a long-term back injury last week, while hooker James Segeyaro has also recovered from an elbow problem to make his first appearance in a month.

Toovey identified Penrith’s spine as their major threat this weekend.

“They have some senior players coming back in the side in the likes of Soward,” he said.

“I think [Matt] Moylan’s grown another leg from last year. He’s looking dangerous out the back there.

“And also with Segeyaro back playing, they can create something from nothing. He’s a big danger from dummy half.”

For Manly, centre Steve Matai returns from suspension, while Tom Symonds take the place of injured five-eighth Kieran Foran.

STATS THAT MATTER

– Brett Stewart scored tries 150 and 151 last week to equal Steve Menzies as the all-time leading tryscorer for the Sea Eagles. Stewart is 10th on the all-time tryscoring list and needs just one to equal Harold Horder in ninth.

– Stewart has scored 22 tries in his past 22 matches at Brookvale. Over the course of his career Manly has won almost 85 per cent of its matches at the venue when Stewart has scored. He needs seven tries to equal Menzies’ record of 88 tries at Brookvale.

– The Panthers have missed more tackles than any other team this season, missing more than 31 per game. Last week they missed their equal most this season (42) despite conceding just eight points.

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Storm building NRL title hopes on defence

Melbourne believe a renewed focus on goal-line defence is responsible for putting them atop the NRL ladder ahead of “rough waters” over the State of Origin period.

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The Storm put their pre-season training to good use as they held on in the face of a second-half onslaught by defending champions South Sydney for a 16-12 win at AAMI Park on Saturday night.

Late in the first half, the home side showed their grit by repelling three goal-line drop outs and four consecutive sets with Souths unable to penetrate.

The Rabbitohs big pack shifted up a gear in the second half and pumped the Storm up the middle but, despite playing with 70 per cent of territory, they couldn’t find the necessary third try.

Storm skipper Cameron Smith, who led by example with a game-high 41 tackles, said they had identified goal-line defence as an area to improve.

“It’s probably been the best part of our game, our goal-line defence,” Smith said.

“That’s what we’ve turned around and we’ve worked extremely hard over the pre-season in that area.

“It brings confidence and energy when you turn a quality side away three or four times from your goal line.”

The Storm are perfectly positioned with a bye next week before losing Smith, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Will Chambers to Queensland’s Origin campaign.

Coach Craig Bellamy said regardless of their ladder position he felt the team was in better shape than last year.

The Storm only has one more win than after round 10 last season but he felt they were playing with much more effort and consistency.

“What buoys us is that most of our guys are playing reasonably well and are putting plenty of effort in and I perhaps couldn’t have said that at the same time last year,” Bellamy said.

“I don’t like saying that but that’s what it looked like.”

But Bellamy said that with his key quartet about to go missing, it wouldn’t be all smooth sailing.

“It’s a nice position to be in but there’s going to be some rough waters ahead through Origin so we’ve just got to get through it.”

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Vixens primed for netball clash with Swift

Melbourne Vixens have vowed to make amends in a blockbuster clash with archrivals NSW Swifts when a trans-Tasman netball playoff berth will likely be settled.

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Defending champions Vixens (6-5) kept their slim finals hopes alive with a 56-48 upset win over previous competition leaders West Coast Fever on Sunday.

They were led by brilliant shooting from Karyn Bailey, who ended the match with 39 goals from 42 attempts and the MVP award, and dominant defence from Geva Mentor.

They face a crucial clash next Sunday with the in-form Swifts, the team that sent their season into free fall.

Just a fortnight ago, the Swifts handed the Vixens a record 24-goal thrashing, threatening to shut them out of the finals for the first time since 2011.

The Swifts maintained their good form with a 68-49 home thrashing of Canterbury Tactix on Sunday, with goalkeeper Sharni Layton hugely influential as shooter Susan Pettit made 31 of 34 attempts and goal attack Caitlin Thwaites bagged 31 of 33.

They hold third spot on the overall ladder – and the all-important third playoff spot in the Australian conference – with 15 points, behind the Queensland Firebirds (19 points) and West Coast Fever (17).

The Vixens are next on 12, with two rounds remaining.

Star goalkeeper Geva Mentor said the Vixens were desperate to “bin it and move on” after the last Swifts defeat and would be fired up for next Sunday’s home clash.

“In that game we were at our worst and the Swifts were probably at their best, and that’s the result you are going to get,” said Mentor.

“Next week will go in with a completely different game plan in terms of what we need to put out on the court and what we need to put out on the court from the start.”

Slow starts have blighted the Vixens’ season, but they were fast out of the blocks in front of a packed house of 5380 against the Fever.

They led 16-13 at quarter time and controlled the momentum of the match from then on.

For the Fever, Caitlin Bassett was again accurate with 35 goals from 38 attempts and Natalie Medhurst had 13 goals from 17 shots.

But Mentor at goalkeeper was strong, ending the match with three deflections and two intercepts.

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Wallabies for Naiyaravoro if the cap fits

Taqele Naiyaravoro says he’ll ditch his million-dollar deal with the Scottish Rugby Union if he is capped by the Wallabies this year.

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In a huge boost to the NSW Waratahs’ hopes of retaining the Fiji-born crowd favourite, Naiyaravoro plans to activate a get-out clause and remain in Australia rather than join Edinburgh on a three-year contract reportedly worth $1.5 million.

The blockbusting winger can only renege on the Scots if he makes his Test debut for Australia – and that looks increasingly likely given his superb form for the Waratahs.

He crossed again in Saturday night’s 33-18 Super Rugby win over the Sharks to be the defending champions’ outright top tryscorer in 2015.

“Yeah, if I get selected then I will stay here,” Naiyaravoro said.

The 23-year-old’s stated allegiance to Australia is the second piece of good news for Waratahs and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika in four days.

After being grounded in Australia for two Tahs games in New Zealand this campaign, Naiyaravoro finally had his ongoing visa issues resolved last Thursday, freeing him up to travel internationally.

Naiyaravoro is set to oppose countryman Nemani Nadolo for the first time in a heavyweight match-up when the Crusaders and Waratahs clash at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night, but then he’s free to tour South Africa for two games in the Republic.

“It is a very big weight (lifted). It has taken some time, but I am happy,” said the 123kg tackle-buster.

“I thought I had done everything required of me. It was just a game of being patient.”

Naiyaravoro says knowing Cheika is sizing him up for a Wallabies jumper gives him confidence, but he’s embarrassed by comparisons with All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu.

“I am way different to him,” he said.

“He has done his (career) and he is the best at it. I am just using what God gave me; power and strength.

“I respect what he has done. He was my idol but I am not really happy with being compared to him.

“I am pleased I am just finishing off what the boys started. I am just glad I can finish it.

“I still have a lot to improve on. There’s no rest yet until we achieve what we want to achieve this year, and for myself personally I think I will try to work on my defence.”

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Waratahs ready for Crusaders challenge

The NSW Waratahs suspect they’ll confront a Crusaders outfit with “a chip on their shoulder” and eyeing revenge in Saturday night’s Super Rugby final rematch at ANZ Stadium.

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The Waratahs return to the scene of their greatest triumph needing to again topple the seven-time champions to retain control of their finals destiny.

With the Brumbies sitting idle on their bye weekend, a Waratahs win would guarantee the defending champions top spot in the Australian conference entering the final three rounds of the competition.

The Tahs travel to South Africa for testing encounters with the Lions and Cheetahs before hosting the Queensland Reds in a potentially decisive final-round showdown at Allianz Stadium.

The tough run home adds to the importance of Saturday’s showdown between the seventh-placed Waratahs and a ninth-placed Crusaders side desperate to remain in touch with the top six.

“Playing the Crusaders is always a great challenge because of the class of their players,” playmaker Bernard Foley said after contributing a record-equalling 23 points in Saturday night’s 33-18 defeat of the Sharks.

“There’s so many All Blacks in that side, so whenever you get to play them it’s a great test for us.”

Foley’s last-minute long-range penalty goal clinched ah historic 33-32 win for the Waratahs in last year’s tournament decider.

The five-eighth admits he’ll be “a bit sentimental” returning to ANZ, but also knows snatching victory from the Crusaders will also have the proud Kiwis smarting.

“For sure they’ve got a bit of a chip on their shoulder,” Foley said.

“It’s one that got away. That’s the way they’ll be thinking.

“We’ve got to go there with the same attitude. We’ve got to match that because they can’t have the mortgage on the pride or the resentment to come back and hurt us.

“We’ve got to match them there and outplay them that way.”

Foley’s seven from seven against the Sharks was a timely confidence booster after his goalkicking strike rate had dipped to 50 per cent over the five previous matches.

“The last couple of weeks I haven’t kicked as well as I’d have liked or got the result,” he said.

“So it’s pleasing to know that if I stick at it, stick to my processes, that they can still fly straight.”

The Waratahs overcame the Sharks without Jacques Potgieter, but coach Michael Cheika is hopeful of having the storming forward back from a sternum injury and available for selection.

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Those who earn should be better off: PM

Federal Labor is surprised the Abbott government is hinting at changes to the welfare system, with the ink in last week’s budget barely dry.

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott says people who are working shouldn’t be worse off than those on welfare.

The budget papers show that a sole parent earning $30,000 a year with two dependent children under the age of six has a disposable income of more than $66,000 after government assistance, while a single person earning $80,000 with no assistance has a disposable income of just less than $61,000.

Mr Abbott believes any sensible government should ensure the burgeoning welfare system is better organised.

“It is to provide people with a basic level of support but … you should always be better off in work than out of work,” he said.

Treasurer Joe Hockey insists he is not trying to stir up resentment by including such figures in the budget because it is appropriate to spell out how taxpayers’ money is distributed.

“We’ve laid down evidence of where their money is going and I think that is a perfectly reasonable thing to do,” he told ABC television.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen says if the government has any sensible proposals to make, it should make them, but he believes welfare policy is well targeted.

“The government has just brought down a budget, I would have thought that would entail their policy proposals,” Mr Bowen told reporters in Sydney.

Labor has opposed the proposed changes to the commonwealth’s paid parental leave scheme and cuts to family tax benefits.

But Mr Hockey says the government has to pay for $3.5 billion of extra childcare support to make the system more affordable.

Yet he is not worried whether the take-up of his new $20,000 instant asset write-off for small business in the budget might be so successful it would blow a hole in the budget.

“It is their own money going back to them over a number of years,” he said.

Neither is he buying into speculation of an election earlier than late 2016.

Opposition families spokeswoman Jenny Macklin believes Mr Abbott is preparing for another round of cuts to low income Australians.

“Australians don’t want another review. They want a plan for jobs, not just a plan for the prime minister’s job,” she said in a statement.

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Scott looking for answers to Cats’ fadeout

Geelong coach Chris Scott says the Cats have got a lot to look forward to despite another bewildering and alarming second half AFL fadeout.

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Sydney piled on ten goals to two after the long break to condemn the Cats to a 43-point away loss on Saturday.

Geelong have kicked at least two less second half goals than the opposition in all bar one of their seven games so far.

Fremantle and Hawthorn both kicked five more goals after the long break and Richmond four against the Cats.

“We’re going to have a look at the vision (of Saturday’s game) and work through it,” Scott said when asked for his thoughts on the problem.

“If I knew exactly what it was I wouldn’t tell you anyway.”

Scott wasn’t totally convinced it was a case of his team being out-worked though he didn’t dismiss that theory either.

“Everyone says that (work rate), it’s an easy out that one,” Scott said.

“The answer is probably (it is), but I find generally that’s something people say when they don’t really know the right answer.”

He said the Cats (3-4) were hurt by losing key forward Tom Hawkins (sore glute) before the game and Mitch Duncan (foot) during the match.

He expected Hawkins would be fit to face Carlton at Etihad Stadium next Friday, but feared Duncan might miss at least a couple of games after initially rating his foot injury as relatively serious.

Scott drew encouragement from the Cats strong first half effort, when they led by as much as 14 points in the second quarter.

“I don’t really want to dwell on the second half too much, when there is some positives from the first half,” he said.

“I thought that in some ways we’ve got a lot to look forward to, given the way we played in the first half.

“We need to play better to compete with the best sides, but it’s not all doom and gloom.”

Youngsters Jackson Thurlow, Cory Gregson and Darcy Lang all showed some promise.

“When the game was really on, I thought our guys that are developing were pretty good, working pretty well together as a team.” Scott said.

“We may have run out of legs a little bit towards the end, but I didn’t think that our inexperienced players were off their feet.”

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