Archive for February, 2019 | Monthly archive page

Sydney FC developing a hoodoo over Western Sydney Wanderers in A-League Derby

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

Who run’s this town?: Sydney FC players celebrate with fans after winning the Sydney Derby. Photo: Getty Images Luck only happens so often before it becomes indicative of something broader and as Sydney FC once again clinched a result against a more dominant Western Sydney, it highlighted their mental edge over their rivals. Boasting five wins and a draw over their past games against the Wanderers, the Sky Blues are developing an impressive derby streak. Graham Arnold’s commanding record against Tony Popovic only improved and according to Sydney’s players, they could sense frailty in their rivals despite Western Sydney completely outplaying Sydney. There’s more big game experience in Sydney’s ranks, particularly with their foreigners, which may give them their mental edge but after Saturday’s smash and grab victory, there is undeniably a hoodoo developing.

2. Wanderers are losing faith in marquee. 

For all but 11 minutes of their biggest match of the season, the Wanderers highest paid player sat on the bench as his side struggled to finish a flurry of clear-cut chances. It was the game marquees are brought  to make a difference in, but Federico Piovaccari’s sluggish start to the A-League left him on the bench in the Sydney Derby. The Italian striker scored just two goals in 12 games – both of which were tap-ins – and has rarely looked threatening when on the field. In leaving Piovaccari on the bench until the 79th minute it shows the Wanderers are losing patience.

They’re back: Victory stars Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Besart Berisha still have a say in the A-League title. Photo: Getty Images

3. Don’t rule out the Victory.

What better way to silence your doubters than to put four goals past the league leaders. Melbourne Victory appeared decidedly mortal in recent months. They drew with the Mariners and lost four in a row during a in a winless December. But they are now back on track after their resounding win over Brisbane. On a better day they could have scored more, but  they still fired a major warning to the other top-half teams.

4. Mariners making moves

Central Coast Mariners broke their trend of state-league signings with the capture of former Liverpool winger Luis Garcia. It’s a big moment for them and they should be congratulated for trying to promote not just their club, but also the league. However, it also says a lot about their current state of affairs that a 37-year-old who hasn’t played competitive football since December 2014 is sought to improve things. It follows a week where two of their brightest prospects – Anthony Caceres and Nick Fitzgerald – left the club. Another loss on the weekend keeps them anchored to the bottom of the table, adding pressure for Garcia to deliver.

5.  What’s wrong with football fans? 

It was a strange weekend for supporters. The emergence of the “Cowburn’s Cattle” supporter group in Newcastle raised a few eyebrows, the sight of hundreds of masks protesting against a columnist in Adelaide was another puzzling moment but the most bizarre incident occurred in the Sydney Derby. No, it wasn’t just the surprising emergence of a stolen Sydney FC banner but such contextually inappropriate image when one Wanderers’ supporter raised a confederate flag at the Sydney Derby. It was beyond puzzling seeing that flag waved within the RBB – a supporter group more diverse than a Benetton ad – with absolutely no logical explanation for the display of such an insensitive image.  A symbol of the US Southern Rebellion has no relevancy in Australia and in one of the most multicultural regions on the planet.

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Michelle Bridges blasted as ‘irresponsible’ for posting post-natal workout tips

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

Fit parents: Steve Willis and Michelle Bridges. Photo: Don ArnoldMichelle Bridges can’t seem to put a very fit foot right.

Despite a disclaimer reminding people she is a professional with 30 years of training behind her, and therefore not your typical new mum, Bridges has been criticised for posting her post-natal workout online.

The 45-year-old and her partner, Steve ‘Commando’ Willis, welcomed their first child, baby boy Axel, on December 19.    Thank you for all the messages of love! ❤️A photo posted by Michelle Bridges (@mishbridges) on Dec 21, 2015 at 1:52pm PST

After receiving questions from other mums asking what training she has been doing since giving birth one month ago, Bridges uploaded a post replying that she has started jogging.    #MBactive only available @bigwaustraliaA photo posted by Michelle Bridges (@mishbridges) on Jan 11, 2016 at 4:35pm PST

Given that new mums are generally advised against running for three months after birth, the response to the post was unsurprising.

“If an individual decides to jog soon after giving birth, this is their choice,” Women In Focus Physiotherapy posted to their Facebook page on Friday.

“However as a public figure encouraging women who’s [sic] body types, birth and fitness histories are unknown, to start jogging is quite frankly concerning. It could potentially cause a woman more harm than good in these early stages, especially to the pelvic floor and the ligaments that support the bladder, uterus and bowel.”  

JOGGING 3 WEEKS POST BIRTH? PLEASE DONT.To mums out there who have seen Michelle Bridges recent post about the …Posted by Women In Focus Physiotherapy on  Thursday, January 14, 2016This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名.

Shane Watson says selection in Australian T20 squad a ‘pleasant surprise’

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 28: Shane Watson of the Thunder plays a stroke on the leg side during the Big Bash League match between the Sydney Thunder and Adelaide Strikers at Spotless Stadium on December 28, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images) Photo: Brendon Thorne Australia?s bowler Shane Watson, right, talks to his team captain Australia?s Steve Smith during the one day international cricket match between England and Australia at the Ageas bowl in Southampton, England, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) Photo: Alastair Grant

Shane Watson concedes he does not expect to play one-day international cricket again, but says it was a “pleasant surprise” to be included in Australia’s Twenty20 squad for a three-game series against India.

Snubbed from Australia’s 50-over side earlier this month, Watson, who featured in 190 ODIs, again missed out on selection for the remaining two one-dayers in Canberra and Sydney.

Rather than mull over the selectors’ decision, Watson has switched his focus primarily to T20 and working towards his goal – that he says keeps him motivated – of contributing to successful teams.

“I wasn’t worrying about it [selection] at all anymore because after being dropped from the one-day squad, I knew that my international days were probably nearly over,” Watson said. “So it’s nice to get that surprise and get that call from Rod Marsh yesterday. I’ve closed that chapter in my cricket career. [I’ve] still got plenty of cricket to be able to play in other competitions around the world. I’m just enjoying every moment because I know it’s probably not too far away before those days are done, so I’m just making the most of every day I’ve got.”

With his international career up in the air, Watson’s poor start to the Big Bash would have no doubt given him reason to think he might miss out on selection in matches of his preferred format. He made 30 runs in four innings and admitted at the time he was out of touch and disappointed to not be contributing to a Sydney Thunder side who won their opening three matches.

It was a different story for Watson in his last four knocks – with scores of 46, 18, 62 and 66 giving national selectors a timely reminder of just how important the 34-year-old could be in a World T20 squad, should he be picked.

“It’s nice to know I can still contribute like I have over the last three or four games for the Thunder,” Watson said. “To be able to turn it around like I did and know that I was able to contribute more, especially with the bat, that’s the most satisfying thing.

“That would be the goal [to be selected in the World T20 squad], there’s no doubt. It’s something that we haven’t played incredibly well at over the previous few tournaments.”

Hard-hitting Brisbane Heat batsmen Chris Lynn was the other notable inclusion in the squad at the expense of George Bailey. Watson would not be drawn on whether he thought Bailey should or shouldn’t be in the team, but gave Lynn, the Big Bash’s highest run scorer, the ultimate compliment.

“I’ve never seen someone hit the ball like he did at the Gabba when we were playing,” Watson said of Lynn’s 75 from 32 balls two weeks ago. “Even though we played in the rain, that ball was still travelling a long way. I’ve never seen anyone hit the ball as consistently as far as he does. He’s a very exciting talent.”

Shaun Tait – the second oldest member of the squad behind Watson – has also been rewarded for his menacing form of late in the Big Bash – something Watson said he was on the receiving end of when the Thunder played Hobart on New Year’s Day.

“I faced two balls. One was a very fast bouncer the other one I nicked off,” Watson said. “Shaun Tait’s an X-factor. He always has been and it’s great to see him back around the Aussie team. I still believe he has a lot to offer.”

Australia ODI squad:

Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), George Bailey,  Scott Boland, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Matthew Wade.

Australia T20 squad:

Aaron Finch (c), Scott Boland, Cameron Boyce, James Faulkner, John Hastings, Travis Head, Nathan Lyon, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Shaun Tait, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Shane Watson.

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ASX drops but bounces off lows

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

The big four banks fell on Monday. Photo: Louie Douvis Australian stocks fell yet again on Monday, although not as badly as many had feared, with a widespread drop in the energy sector offset to some extent by gains in consumer, industrial and telecommunications stocks.

The main corporate news for the day was Woolworths’ announcement that it would either sell or wind up its troublesome Masters hardware business, news that was received enthusiastically by investors.

The ASX had a terrible lead coming in to Monday morning, after the Dow Jones plummeted 2.4 per cent on Friday night, aided by further hefty falls in Brent crude oil, and the Australian market was down 1.8 per cent in early trade, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index reaching a low of 4803 points in early trade.

But the market quickly bounced off its lows, as losses in the big four banks were pared, with the ASX 200 finishing 0.7 per cent lower at 4858.7 and the All Ordinaries 0.7 per cent lower at 4911.8.

“Monday has been a positive surprise, we are relatively outperforming,” Aurora Funds Management senior portfolio manager Sheridan Hure.

“That largely seems to be [down to] the news out of Woolworths and the potential benefits for Wesfarmers.

“Telecommunications is also holding up very well, as are industrials and consumer staples and even the banks are coming back.”

The energy sector was down 3.4 per cent as Brent oil crashed to under $US28 per barrel, although the commodity later retraced some of its losses.

“The ASX 200 is teetering above the 4797 level where it would enter technical bear market territory, having seen a 20 per cent decline from its high in March 2015,” said IG market analyst Angus Nicholson.  “Although, at this point, technical definitions seem fairly redundant. The market has had a terrible performance over the past six months, irrespective of a 60 point difference in the index.

The energy sector suffered the steepest falls after the removal of sanction on Iranian oil exports and China’s equity sell-off on Friday pummelled the oil price. Energy stocks lost 3.4 per cent, with Santos plunging 8.4 per cent to $2.63. Woodside shed 2.6 per cent to $26.29 and Oil Search fell 5 per cent to $6.01.

Among blue-chip stocks, BHP Billiton fell a further 2.9 per cent to $14.63 while Rio Tinto lost 2.1 per cent to $38.69. Telstra, however, put on 0.9 per cent to $5.38.

The banks fell: ANZ by 2 per cent to $24.41, Commonwealth Bank by 0.6 per cent to $78.39, National Australia Bank by 1.2 per cent to $26.69 and Westpac by 1 per cent to $30.77.

Woolworths shot up 4.4 per cent to $23.65 after announcing it would pull the plug on its loss-making home improvement business Masters after buying out joint venture partner Lowe’s Companies.

Woolworths chairman Gordon Cairns said that Australia’s largest retailer would sell or wind up the home improvement business, which has lost more than $600 million over the past four years.

The decision follows the completion of a strategic review of the home improvement business, which includes Masters and Home Timber and Hardware, and Lowe’s move to exercise its put option. “Our recent review of operating performance indicates it will take many years for Masters to become profitable,” said Mr Cairns.

Wesfarmers, by contrast, said they would be ramping up their exposure to hardware.

The company said it expects to complete the $705 million acquisition of UK home improvement chain Homebase in the first quarter of 2016 after gaining unanimous approval from the board of its parent, Home Retail Group.

The deal comes after Wesfarmers said on January 14  that it had made a provisional bid for the chain.

The conglomerate has said plans to roll out its Bunnings hardware brand to the UK within five years. Wesfarmers lifted 2 per cent to $40.12.

Other stocks in the consumer space also benefited, including Metcash, which soared 7.9 per cent to $1.63; JB HiFi, which rose 1.1 per cent to $21.74; and Myer, which gained 1.5 per cent to 99 cents.

Sentiment was also assisted by a big turnaround in Chinese shares, which opened sharply lower only to trade well higher in late Monday trade.

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Oil goes to $US27 as Iran prepares to re-enter market

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

 Brent crude plunged over 4 per cent to under $US28 a barrel in early Monday trading, wiping billions off the value of Australian energy stocks, as OPEC member Iran prepares to re-enter the oil market after years of sanctions.

Australian stocks felt the full brunt of the price drop – which sent oil plunging to fresh 13-year lows of $US27.74 per barrel – with the overall sector down more than 3 per cent on Monday trade. Among individual stocks, Santos was down 8.3 per cent, Oil Search 5.1 per cent and Woodside 2.6 per cent.

However, the commodity bounced off its lows later in the session and regained almost all its losses, trading at $US28.67 by mid-afternoon. Brent had closed at $US28.94 on Friday.

On Sunday, Iran announced it would be targeting an immediate increase in shipments of 500,000 barrels a day,

Amir Hossein Zamaninia, deputy oil minister for commerce and international affairs, said on Sunday in an interview in Tehran, that his country planned to add another half million barrels within months.

“The oil ministry, by ordering companies to boost production and oil terminals to be ready, kicked off today the plan to increase Iran’s crude exports by 500,000 barrels,” the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

NAB economist Vyanne Lai said that the global economic turmoil had also played a role on depressing oil prices.

While the Iranian news was bearish for oil, it had also been long anticipated and priced in by the market, she said.

“The Iranian move had long been anticipated,” she said. “The downward movement in oil prices was exaggerated due to the current environment that we are seeing in the financial markets.

“It’s corresponded with the heightened concerns regarding China’s slowing, especially with the government’s erratic intervention in the financial markets.

“It sends a signal that they’ve lost the plot and it adds concerns for the market that perhaps they’ve control of policy.”

Ms Lai said that existing OPEC countries had made no statement that they would be cutting back production to accommodate the supply of Iran, also an OPEC member.

“OPEC is getting more opaque and convoluted. They’re not sending signs that anyone is willing to cut back production. They abandoned their official output quota in December, which muddles the situation even more.”

Ms Lai said the market was sensing that OPEC members were not “getting their act together”.

“The whole cartel’s effectiveness has been impinged because everyone’s looking out for themselves, to maximise their own interest.

She said that OPEC members had decided their best strategic move was to “pump as much oil as they can” to defend their market share rather than focusing on the collective good of the cartel.

Other analysts said prices would pick up later in the week.

Prices will probably show a “knee-jerk” reaction, falling on Monday before recovering to more than $US30 a barrel later in the week, Eugen Weinberg, Commerzbank’s head of commodities research in Frankfurt, said. “There is a real oversupply in the market, but I think that’s already reflected correctly in the price.”

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