Lions travel for final weekend of 2021, face Lake Forest | News, Sports, Jobs



CHICAGO — After a tough 2-0 loss to the Hamline Pipers last Tuesday, the Finlandia Lions men’s hockey team took a little time off. The four-day break was just what the doctor ordered, according to head coach Joe Burcar.

Players took advantage of the chance to get away from the rink. Some joined teammates who live locally for a Thanksgiving day feast. Others flew home to friends and family.

Timing was everything.

“The timing of that couldn’t have been better,” he said. “We did see some guys over the break that were staying here who worked out or skated, but there were guys that just literally got away, kept their gear here. I think it was the best thing that could happen right now.”

A couple of days back from break, Burcar feels that the locker room was a cheery place for a team that sits 1-9 on the season to this point.

“I mean, the spirits were high on Monday for practice. Tuesday, they were high again,” he said. ” I just think it came at just a timely, timely point for us in the season. Yeah, we haven’t had the success, but there was frustration last week too. We just know, deep down, we’re better than what we’ve proven so far. That break just immensely, just mentally, physically, we needed it.”

The Lions lost sophomore winger Cameron Conover to injury against the Pipers. Multiple others are battling injuries of some kind, but still, having a chance to breathe before hitting the road for the last time in 2021 was what the team needed.

“The frustration was there, but you can’t live on that every day,” said Burcar. “We move forward. Practice has been great this week. Sometimes you get down the road and just keep your team focused and corraled together makes a difference. I think it was the best thing that we could have had right now.”

Burcar, who along with his staff meet with the team captains every day and various numbers of players throughout the week, feels that the players know they have more to give, but also that they feel good about the progress they are making on the ice, despite the lack of results to this point. He describes the meetings as upbeat.

Facing the Foresters

The Lions hit the road this weekend to face the Lake Forest Foresters.

The Lions and the Foresters are set to have their opening faceoff at 5 p.m. Friday at the Lake Forest College Ice Arena in Lake Forest, Illinois. Puck drop for the series finale is 2 p.m. Saturday.

A traditionally strong program in the NCHA, the Foresters are off to an uncharacteristically slow start this season. After sweeping Saint Mary’s to open the season, the Foresters have gone 1-5-1 since with losses to Aurora three times and Manhattanville twice.

The Foresters went through a coaching change in the offseason. Head coach Sean O’Malley served as an assistant coach with Lake Forest for seven years before taking the reigns prior to this season.

“The biggest thing with them is they had a coaching change,” Burcar said. “The coaching change was just an assistant stepping up, so he was in the program for a few years. But, anytime you change the head coaching position, there’s going to be some culture, there’s going to be some change. I think they came out the gates okay, but again, they’ve only played nine games.”

Senior Josh Giacomin has team-highs in assists (6) and points (8) and game-tying goals (1). Sophomore Ben Perkins is also off to a good start with three goals, which ties him for the team lead, and five points.

“I think for us it’s a good opponent. I think we match up well,” said Burcar. “We’ve done the film over and over, and I like the fact that we’re going there. I really like the matchup right now with them.”



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Challenge Tour Grand Final preview and best bets


Ben Coley takes a rare look at the Challenge Tour Grand Final, where Wilco Nienaber can boss a 45-man field and earn full European Tour status.


It’s not my intention to branch out beyond the two main men’s tours. Generally speaking I believe it can be enormously advantageous to a golf punter not to have to cover every event there is. Leave that to the oddsmakers, and focus on areas of expertise.

However, the Challenge Tour Grand Final is a fascinating tournament and one in which I’m surprised WILCO NIENABER isn’t a clear and popular favourite.

Nienaber, who has gained notoriety for being among the longest hitters in the sport, had a difficult decision to make this week. He could’ve played the Portugal Masters, in which he was 14th last year, and had he gone close he’d have perhaps sealed full European Tour status for the 2022 season.

The other option was to return to the Challenge Tour for the first time since May, and his decision to do so looks the right one. Nienaber is 24th in the Road to Mallorca rankings, and the top 20 at the end of this week will gain European Tour status. He’s there thanks to victory in the Dimension Data Pro-Am back in the spring and would’ve surely sailed through had he focused on the second tier rather than take opportunities earned at a higher level.

My belief is that Nienaber would’ve been priced up around 50/1 had he gone to Portugal, and that no player in this Challenge Tour field would’ve been as short. I also believe that while volatile and somewhat difficult to grade, finishes of 14th and 31st on the PGA Tour this year are more than I’d have expected of anyone else here. We can say for certain that none of his main rivals have been as close to winning on a major tour as he was in the Joburg Open (second) less than 12 months ago, not for some time at least.

It’s true that the likes of Santiago Tarrio Ben and Julien Brun have experience of T-Golf which Nienaber does not, and the latter in particular is respected. Brun has always had bags of talent and he’s been rewarded for taking some tough decisions, including moving to Prague, with a string of victories on both the Pro Golf Tour and now the Challenge Tour.

But Nienaber is the player here with genuine world-class aspirations and it’s a month since he was sixth in the Open de Espana, finishing well ahead of Tarrio Ben. His subsequent form reads fine, and it was only an off week with the putter which cost him a weekend tee-time in Mallorca. In turn, that performance probably keeps him from the very head of the betting here.

As for T-Golf’s suitability, there are three par-fives, two of which might be beyond the reach of the majority of the field. Not Nienaber, who can also take on at least one and possibly as many as three par-fours off the tee.

The fact that he’s just outside the top 20 is another potential positive as his focus is clear. It may also be to his benefit that unlike those around him, the South African knows he’ll have conditional European Tour status next year regardless, and may yet have another tournament in Dubai through which he can improve his category.

There are negatives — his power and swing speed can come at a cost, and I would’ve preferred less wind and rain in the forecast — but they’re outweighed by the positives which should entitle him to clear favouritism. Ondrej Lieser won this title a year ago because he dominated the par-fives. Nienaber can do the same, and is a bet at 12/1 and upwards.

Hoey has plenty in his favour

I’ll also suggest a smaller play on MICHAEL HOEY, one of the handful of players here whose experience, nous and general skill set should ensure rotten weather is welcome.

It’s 10 years since Hoey won the Dunhill Links, the pick of seven professional titles, and he’s best by the coast: he’s shown as much not only there, but in Madiera and Morocco, too.

Hoey was an excellent 25th back at the Dunhill Links three starts ago and it’s absolutely not a coincidence that his best effort of the campaign came when 11-under was enough to win the B-NL Challenge Trophy in the Netherlands, where he was part of a play-off. That was also the winning score here last year and conditions look set to be tougher.

He needs a massive week to get back on the European Tour but will know that wind and rain increase his prospects. There are others who are in a similar boat, the likes of Matteo Manassero, Daan Huizing and Stuart Manley among them, but it’s Hoey who looks the best alternative to Nienaber.

Posted at 1145 GMT on 01/11/21

Click here for Ben Coley’s tipping record

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Latest news updates: Final seven countries to be removed from UK's travel 'red list' – Financial Times



Latest news updates: Final seven countries to be removed from UK’s travel ‘red list’  Financial Times



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Penrith Panthers vs South Sydney Rabbitohs, 1991 grand final, where are they now, Greg Alexander, Brad Fittler, Mark Geyer, Royce Simmons


It was the ultimate fairytale and if you believe in fate, perhaps a similar ending is awaiting this year’s Panthers side on Sunday.

In 1991, a primed playmaker in Greg Alexander and a seasoned Royce Simmons steered Penrith to their first-ever premiership.

They celebrated in style with hundreds of fans lining the M4 cheering the bus home.

But amongst all the euphoria was this bit of relief for some because of the heartbreak they suffered 12 months earlier.

Watch Fox Leagues’s massive line-up of Grand Final week coverage on Kayo including live pre-game, half-time and post-game coverage with full analysis from the best team in the business. New to Kayo? Start your free trial >

Penrith made their first-ever grand final appearance in 1990, but it wasn’t to be and they went down to a star-studded Raiders side 18-14.

The players picked themselves up and began preparing for 1991 with only one thing on their minds: A premiership.

On Sunday, September 22nd they met the Raiders once again with even more on the line than the previous year.

Their inspirational hooker, Simmons, was hanging up the boots after that game and there were broken hearts at the foot of the mountains from the year before that desperately needed to be mended.

This time round there would be no celebrating reaching the grand final, they had done that before. This time it was about making sure they went one better.

The boys came together and made a pact to stay off the drink. Then in their final session before the big day, coach Phil Gould brought an esky with a carton of beer inside and they had a cheers for a brilliant season, but for also what was to come.

Matty Johns is a huge fan of Brian To’o | 00:49

There was a camaraderie in that group that only fellow grand final-winning sides will know.

They had a job to do and they did it. 19-12. Simmons got his fairytale ending and Mark Geyer fractured his larynx from yelling so loud when the No.9 scored the premiership-sealing try.

Now the bat has been passed onto this year’s side led by a playmaker in his prime, Nathan Cleary and a workhorse lock, Isaah Yeo.

They suffered heartbreak in last year’s grand final and now get their shot at redemption too.

Thirty years on from the Penrith’s maiden premiership, Foxsports.com.au tracked down every member of the 1991 grand final-winning side.

These are the reflections from that team, plus an update on where they are now and predictions for Sunday’s match.

The Panthers celebrate winning the 1991 Grand Final. (Photo by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

GREG BARWICK (fullback)

Favourite memory from the 1991 Grand Final: Being the first-ever premiership it was such a special moment for all of us as players, but I think seeing the happiness of people back at the club. They were just so happy, so pleased and they felt like the victory was theirs as well and that was the thing that really stuck out to me. Driving off the freeway there were so many people on the side of the road, if we ever wanted to know what it felt like to be a popstar that was the time. I just wish, being so young at the time… I was 23, I don’t think you appreciate the enormity of what we achieved.

Now: I’m a painter and decorator by trade but I’ve been working in the IT industry for the last sixteen years. I’ve predominantly been working for a company called VMware and I’ve been selling software to large enterprises in Australia and also Europe. I actually lived in Europe for the last six years.

Favourite player: Viliame Kikau… My god, he is frightening. When he gets the ball I think something’s going to happen here because he’s a devastating player. It’s hard to go past Nathan Cleary too, he’s a really talented player.

Tip: I think it’s going to be tight, I’ll say 24-20 to Penrith.

Clive Churchill Medal: Nathan Cleary.

GRAHAM MACKAY (wing)

Favourite memory from 91 GF: Just winning it. When you spend so much time with the boys, it’s just a good thing to do at the end of the year.

Now: I’m a Greensman at a resort up on the Gold Coast and in my spare time I go fishing and crabbing.

Favourite player: Kurt Capewell has gone pretty good this year and young Matt Burton has been good too.

Tip: I think it’ll be pretty close, maybe 18-10.

Clive Churchill Medal: Jarome Luai.

BRAD FITTLER (centre)

Favourite memory from 91 GF: Watching Greg Alexander kick the goal from the sideline.

Now: New South Wales Origin coach and Channel 9 league analyst.

Tip: Penrith to win.

Clive Churchill Medal: Viliame Kikau.

COL BENTLEY (centre)

Favourite memory from 91 GF: Probably coming back from the stadium and on the bus, going down the M4 onto Mulgoa Road then getting to the paddock behind the club and there were about 5,000 people running out to greet us.

Now: I’ve been working for IGT (International Game Technology), it’s a global gaming company. It’s a really good job, we sell gaming machines, online lottery. I get to go to Vegas every now and then. I’ve been working with them for the last 20 years so I look after NSW and ACT. It’s a great industry and it’s fun too.

Favourite player: One of my favourite ever players is Col Van Der Voort because he did all the hard yards, so I like Isaah Yeo because he cleans a lot of things up and he’s that second link to the backline. He just works hard and is a really good player.

Tip: I’m backing them to win and I know they’re carrying a few injuries so I reckon it will be really tight. I’m going to say 18-16.

Clive Churchill Medal: I’ve got to say Nathan Cleary. If they win, he’ll be the major factor in that.

Cleary happy with hard Panthers path | 03:43

PAUL SMITH (wing)

Favourite memory from 91 GF:Probably both of Royce’s tries. The first one was good and the second one topped it off. We knew what job we had to do and basically when we won it, it was just a relief because you can go the whole year, I think we were three or four points clear, and it was just the job we had to do. If we didn’t do it we probably wouldn’t get another chance.

Now: I work in the transport industry.

Favourite player: I’m a winger so it’d have to be Brian To’o, he’s playing really well. Probably him first and then James Fisher-Harris or Isaah Yeo.

Tip: I’m hoping it’s a good 10-point margin so it’s easier than last week.

Clive Churchill Medal: If Penrith win it will more than likely be Nathan Cleary.

STEVE CARTER (five-eighth)

Favourite memory from 91 GF:Just the intensity of the game and the attitude as a team we had that we were going to win that game no matter what happened on the day. My memory is that we were all so confident in each other that we trusted every person we were next to and we knew that we were going to do whatever we could to beat that great Canberra side.

Now: I’m a union official for the Australian Workers’ Union, who I work for and have done for 10 years. I live at a place called Moonee Beach which is just north of Coffs Harbour — it’s absolutely God’s country. I travel between Port Macquarie and the Queensland border to service my members, so it’s a pretty fulfilling job, just trying to fight in general for workplace rights and conditions of employment.

Favourite player: It would probably be Isaah Yeo. He’s very, very underrated even though he got picked for New South Wales. His attack, his footwork and his ball skills I think are very underrated.

Tip: I’m thinking there’s not going to be a lot in it. I think Souths, Wayne Bennett will come up with some other rabbit to pull out of his hat. Penrith 22-14. I’m really happy to see them in the grand final and I really hope they can go one better this year.

Clive Churchill Medal: Nathan Cleary.

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GREG ALEXANDER (C) (halfback)

Favourite memory from 91 GF: When I kicked the goal to make it a seven-point difference because before that it was a battle. When I kicked that goal from the sideline, I knew we’d won, but until then there were no favourite moments.

Now: Board member of the Panthers and analyst on Fox League.

Tip: Panthers 24-16

Clive Churchill Medal: Nathan Cleary.

Greg Alexander and his brother, Ben, with the J.J.Giltinan Shield presented on grand final day.Source: News Limited

PAUL CLARKE (front row)

Favourite memory from 91 GF:Just winning it. I had been playing football since I was five and right from an early age I watched all the grand finals and just dreamt that maybe one day I could be in one of those sides that won a comp. I knew I wasn’t good enough to play for Australia or Origin or anything like that as I was growing up but I just always dreamt that I might be good enough to play in a football side and win the comp… so I guess just winning the thing.

Now: I’m in the wine game, I’m the national sales manager for Molly’s Cradle wines. I’ve been doing that for 23 years. I’ve come to enjoy a lot of wine over the years and so have a lot of my friends.

Favourite player: James Fisher-Harris reminds me very much of Barry Walker, who I played with in 1991. A hard nut that goes forward, he’s got a bit of skill in him and he just gets the job done. I think he’s fantastic. Brian To’o as well, when I played with wingers, they wouldn’t do any where near the yards that he’s doing, but the game has changed.

Tip: 20-8. I think Penrith will keep Souths at, or less than, two tries. They haven’t been great in the last couple of weeks scoring tries, but their defence has been unbelievable. I’m very confident they’ll win.

Clive Churchill Medal: Brian To’o. I think his yards will be the big difference.

One of the greatest: Wayne Bennett | 01:29

ROYCE SIMMONS (hooker)

Favourite memory from 91 GF:It was unbelievable because even before the final whistle blew people just started to run onto the field from all over the place and that sort of doesn’t happen. The celebrations started from there and didn’t really finish… Going home in the bus and the people that lined the roads — it was highly illegal — the people on the side of the M4 with big banners out celebrating. The closer you got to Penrith the bigger the crowd was… it was getting a bit scary to be honest. I was worried about people in front of the bus. It just never stopped. We got back to the club and it was packed. We got taken from room to room and every place we went it was full of excited fans.

Now: I still work for the Panthers in the commercial area in and around the sponsorship. I’m an ambassador for the club.

Favourite player: I’ve got too many. The two skippers have been outstanding in their job all year. I’m a big fan of the front row, I think Moses (Leota), (James) Fisher-Harris and Api (Koroisau) have been outstanding all year. I’m a fan of the whole team, I’m just a mad Penrith fan. I’m just like someone sitting with their beanie yelling and screaming — I just don’t yell and scream too much.

Tip: 20-16 to Penrith. It’d be tremendous if it was our time again, to light up our town. We’ve got some great people and great fans out there so it’d be great to give them what they deserve.

Clive Churchill Medal: I reckon Isaah Yeo.

Royce Simmons celebrates with the Winfield Cup. Pic Ex Brisbane Sun.Source: News Corp Australia

PAUL DUNN (front row)

Favourite memory from 91 GF:Just the fact that we won it and were the first Penrith team to win it. The whole year was good, we were so dominant, I think we lost three or four games all year. It was almost a fait accompli type of game, we still had to win the game and the second half was quite tight, but it was just amazing.

Now: I do business coaching and consulting and play golf as much as I can and try not to get too fat.

Favourite player: I love watching Nathan Cleary play because I love his attention to detail. James Fisher-Harris because he’s a front-rower and Moses Leota, Isaah Yeo. It’s pretty hard to pick. Dylan Edwards, Brian To’o, Matt Burton… I go through a few of them.

Tip: Penrith to win and given how it’s been the last few weeks I reckon they’ll win 20-14.

Clive Churchill Medal: Either Nathan Cleary or Dylan Edwards.

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MARK GEYER (second row)

Favourite memory from 91 GF:By far when Royce scored his second try in the corner. I’ve never felt such euphoria on a sporting field because it was only then we knew that we had won it. I was screaming that loud that I fractured my larynx, I couldn’t talk for two weeks after the grand final. I’ve never felt that feeling before, I’ve had five kids, but it’s a different feeling especially because we got beat the year before. From being in tears of sorrow on the field after the game to tears of jubilation, it’s such a contrast.

Now: I’m on Triple M and have a gym in Penrith called MG Activ.

Favourite player: I think James Fisher-Harris. He doesn’t speak much but he speaks a lot with his actions and I like the way he’s the Alpha male of the team and he’s got a lot of respect. So he’s my favourite.

Tip: I think it’s going to be pretty tight and will get to something like 18-all. Maybe Nathan Cleary might kick a field goal and then we might score a try on the bell, so I’m going to say 23-18 Penrith.

Clive Churchill Medal: Isaah Yeo… maybe even Matt Burton.

Mark Geyer celebrates the grand final win. (Photo by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

BARRY WALKER (second row)

Favourite memory from 91 GF: Full time, when it was all over and done with, the relief after what happened the year before and satisfaction of what we achieved… and to lift the trophy.

Now: I’m in corrective services. Transportation of inmates between jails, picking up from police stations, that sort of stuff. Prior to that I was self-employed and like a lot of Penrith boys, I had a beer truck. And I was an ambulance officer when I retired, basically I was studying to become a paramedic. I also coached in the Penrith junior reps for a while and went to club football but gave it way about six years ago.

Favourite player: James Fisher-Harris, he’s got a massive motor and does all the dirty work. Also Isaah Yeo, he was in one of the junior teams I helped coached, the SG Ball team. I’m glad to see him go so far, he’s always had that same ability and he’s always been that same nice guy.

Tip: 28-20. I think Penrith have another gear and it’ll be a close game but they’ll get away with it.

Clive Churchill Medal: Jarome Luai or Nathan Cleary.

Sattler reflects on Panthers’ 2003 win | 08:58

COL VAN DER VOORT (lock)

Favourite memory from 91 GF: Just winning it I guess. There’s so many things but I’d say Royce’s try to seal it.

Now: I’ve been working in community corrections for the last 7 years but I went on a holiday back in May and I haven’t made it home yet. My partner and I took four months off to travel around Australia and we’ve got as far as east Arnhem Land, in the Northern Territory and we’ve stopped here at the moment. Sometimes we have no network, no internet or anything just being out in the bush, but all the games I could watch I at least watch them on my phone.

Favourite player: Isaah Yeo.

Tip: I think it’s going to be a pretty big victory, I’m tipping 32-10.

Clive Churchill Medal: Isaah Yeo.

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JOHN CARTWRIGHT (bench/reserve)

Favourite memory from 91 GF:Probably the build up to the grand final. It was a little bit different to the year before, it was a bit of a celebration time for the club the year before because it was the first time they had ever made a grand final. But I think in 1991 we were way better prepared, we really had our minds set on winning it. While it was a tough game and really went to the wire, I felt we were never going to lose the game, there was just a mindset that we probably created over the previous three to four years and it culminated in that year.

Now: I’m an assistant coach at the Broncos.

Favourite player: It would definitely be Isaah Yeo. He epitomises everything good about a footballer and for me coming from Penrith everything good about somebody that players for Penrith. He’s hardworking, he’s very humble and I think he’s probably their spiritual leader out there.

Tip: I’m very conflicted here because my son, Jed, actually players for Souths. My family has a massive involvement with Penrith, way back to when it started. But blood is thicker than water, I don’t think he will get a run, but it would mean the world to me to see him be a part of a grand final-winning side. It’s just such a great feeling. I think it definitely will be a close one, both sides deserve to be there.

Clive Churchill Medal: It’ll be a split vote between Isaah Yeo and Cody Walker.

John Cartwright celebrates winning the 1991 NSWRL Grand Final (Photo by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

BRAD IZZARD (bench/reserve)

Favourite memory from 91 GF: Putting the goal under the goalposts to score. I almost got another one but Laurie Daley ripped it out of my arms when I was about to put it over the tryline. My son sits here and tells me ‘Dad, you should have passed’ because I always tell the kids the pass always beats the man… well I threw the dummy. I would have won the battle if Laurie didn’t just grab the ball.

Now: I’ve got two kids, and happily married. I’m lucky enough to be employed by the Touch Football Association up in Ballina and I’m Vice President with the Byron Bay Lennox Head Rugby League Club, Todd Carney actually plays for us.

Favourite player: Jarome Luai or Brian To’o. I like Jarome with the amount of work he does on and off the ball and he complements Nathan Cleary. As far as entertainment value you can’t beat Luai or To’o, they’re just a laugh.

Tip: 18-6. I think it will be a tight one but if they come out going hard and handle the Rabbits’ aggressiveness, they need to get up and do what they did last week to the Storm and if they do that in the first half they could get away with a comfortable margin in the end.

Clive Churchill Medal: Either Jarome Luai or Isaah Yeo. The other one that will go close is James Fisher-Harris.



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Vic duo Hayden Burbank, Mark Babbage to face WA court over COVID breach for AFL grand final trip


A Melbourne business owner and financial planner will face court accused of using fake driver’s licences to sneak into Perth to attend Saturday’s AFL grand final.

Prahran restaurant and bar owner Hayden Burbank, 49, and finance firm managing director Mark Babbage, 38, are alleged to have flown into Perth on September 22 after arriving in Darwin from Melbourne on September 14.

They were pictured posing inside the Optus Stadium change rooms on Saturday with Melbourne player Alex Neal-Bullen after the side’s drought-breaking premiership win.

The photo was posted on the AFL’s official Instagram account.

WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said they received an anonymous public tip-off that the men had been in Victoria 14 days before arriving in the state.

The pair were arrested at Bunker Bay in the state’s southwest on Tuesday morning after police issued a public appeal to track them down.

They spent the night in police custody and on Wednesday morning will face court charged with breaching the Emergency Management Act, which can attract fines of up to $50,000 and a maximum jail term of 12 months.

“How people could knowingly put others at risk in these times is selfish and contemptible,” Mr Dawson told reporters on Tuesday.

One of the men has tested negative for COVID-19 and the other’s result was inconclusive.

Mr Dawson said health authorities believed the initial result was a false positive and he will be retested overnight.

A woman, believed to be a WA resident, who was with Mr Burbank and Mr Babbage when they were arrested has also tested negative. She is unlikely to be charged.

Two other Victorian men also entered WA via South Australia for the AFL grand final. One has returned home to Melbourne, while the other has been arrested and faced Perth Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

He also returned a negative COVID-19 test result and will remain in custody until October 8.

“While we’ve got people charged with serious offences, there’s nothing at this point to indicate that it (the AFL grand final) has put the community at risk,” Mr Dawson said.



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Giants’ top takeaways, key considerations heading into final two weeks of stunning season


With the Giants’ stunning season down to the final two weeks, here are some takeaways and story lines to consider following their penultimate homestand and in advance of their final regular-season trip of 2021:

The fun factor: These guys are having a ball. It’s not just a business, after all. Kevin Gausman turned into a 12-year-old boy when he hit a medium-deep fly to right field Friday night, good for an 11th-inning, walk-off sacrifice fly.

The pitcher’s joyful exuberance radiated into the night as the Giants celebrated an unlikely victory, one of the most memorable in 2021. It wasn’t atypical. Fun stems from winning but also the confidence of believing in winning.

“I think laughter and having fun playing this game in a pennant race is an indication of confidence,” said manager Gabe Kapler, citing Brandon Belt recently wearing a electrical-taped C on his jersey as the self-proclaimed team captain.

“That sort of playfulness and taking the game lightly and not getting too wound up is an indication the players are confident. It’s very hard to be smiling, laughing and enjoying yourself if you’re lacking confidence.”

The MVP: The deeper into the season, the louder and more pronounced the chants. “MVP … MVP … MVP.” No player is more responsible for the Giants’ success than Brandon Crawford, who deserves a place on all voters’ 10-man MVP ballot.

“I think they’re inspiring and encouraging,” Kapler said of the chants. “I have no doubt Craw appreciates them, hears them and uses them as motivation and fuel.”

At 34, the shortstop is at the top of his game both at the plate and at shortstop, where he used to make an incredible play once a series, and now it’s once a day. Like Friday, when he dived into the hole and threw a laser to first base, earning a tip of the helmet from Austin Riley, who hit the ball. Sometimes twice a day. Like Saturday, when he twice ranged deep in the hole to register outs.

Plus, the man brought a .900 OPS on the season into Sunday’s game, especially remarkable for someone who never had an .800 OPS season in his previous 10 years in the majors. His single on a 3-0 pitch Saturday set up Curt Casali’s game-deciding, two-run single.

The schedule: The Giants have 12 games left, half on the road and half at home. Kapler said, “Between now and the rest of the season is sort of a mini-lifetime.”

Fortunately for the Giants, they needn’t travel too far east. The final trip starts Tuesday in San Diego, home of the tailing-off Padres, and finishes in Colorado, home of the also-ran Rockies.

The focus is avoiding letdowns, maintaining a distance in front of the second-place Dodgers and considering every foe a legitimate challenge. And never mind the strength of schedule. Or lack thereof.

“The Rockies have played good baseball recently and have all season long played very tough at home,” Kapler said, “and the Padres are as tough as any group in baseball. They have a nasty bullpen. We don’t have to touch on how good the middle of their lineup is. Everybody knows it.”

The new guy: Kris Bryant, the Giants’ prized trade-deadline acquisition, has been consistent on offense (reaching base 18 straight games) and is as versatile as advertised. He started in center field Friday, at third base Saturday and in right field Sunday.

Recently, he has taken grounders at second base, where there’s already plenty of depth with Tommy La Stella, Donovan Solano and Wilmer Flores. Bryant playing there would be more of an emergency situation.



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An airline is discounting sandwiches for passengers on final flights | Travel News | Travel


Many tourists are increasingly concerned with sustainability and expect airlines to minimise the environmental impact of flying.

Swiss Air said: “Swiss International Air Lines has long put a firm emphasis on environmental issues within its corporate culture, and takes sustainable actions at various levels to ensure the optimum use of resources in its business and operations.

“To the same ends, the company is seeking to reduce the volumes of fresh food items which remain unsold on its flights and must therefore be thrown away.”

The new approach has so far been introduced on a trial basis across the last flights of the day from Geneva in August and September.





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Champions League final ticketing and travel update | Official Site


Restrictions around international travel are expected to be reviewed in the coming days, with changes likely to come into effect from Monday 17 May, in line with Stage 3 of the roadmap out of lockdown set out by the UK government. This review will outline the steps that must be taken when travelling to and from the UK on leisure purposes.

The Club will communicate the next steps to supporters as soon as possible.
 



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UNI Women rolling to Memphis and Final 4 of WNIT


ROCKFORD, Ill. – The women’s basketball team made history in Rockford as they rolled past the St. Louis Billikens on Monday night with a 58-50 win and claimed their first Regional Championship in the WNIT.
 
The Panthers trailed the Billikens by one-point at halftime but that wouldn’t last long in the latter part of the game. UNI and St. Louis traded leads early in the third quarter until Bre Gunnels made a layup with 6:01 remaining to kickstart the Panther’s offense for the remainder of the game.
 
Gunnels made a pair of free-throws and Kayba Laube added a layup creating a four-point lead. Karli Rucker and Kam Finley added three-pointers to end the third quarter with the Panthers leading, 36-28.
 
Finley started the fourth quarter off with a pair of three-pointers extending the Panthers to a 12-point lead. She would finish the game with a team-high 14 points, nine in the final quarter alone and 3-3 from behind the three-point line.
 
Gunnels ended the night with another double-double added on to her career. She recorded 10 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and a new career-high five blocks in the regional championship game of the WNIT.
 
Ciaja Harbison held the game-high 18 points and grabbed two steals on the night for St. Louis. Harbison recorded 61.1% (11-18) of her points in the fourth quarter as well. Brooke Flowers helped Harbison and recorded 16 points of her own and 17 rebounds for a double-double. St. Louis shot 90.9% (10-11) from the charity stripe and recorded 26 points in the paint.
 
This is the first time the Panthers will travel to the Final Four of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament. The farthest the Panthers have gotten was back in 2016, where they reached the Regional Championship. Monday night’s game also marks the lowest scoring game by UNI since the 2016 Regional Championship where the Panthers scored 50 points.
 
The Panthers travel to Memphis, Tn. to play Ole Miss in the Semifinals of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament. Tip-off is set for 7:00 pm at the My Town Movers Fieldhouse and can be streamed through FloHoops.
 
GAME NOTES:
– The Panthers claim their first Regional Championship title in the WNIT in program history.
– This game was the lowest scoring game for the Panthers in the WNIT this season.
– Bre Gunnels records third double-double of the season and fifth of her career and a new career-high five blocks.
– Kam Finley led the Panthers with 14 points.
– Megan Maahs recorded 10 rebounds and moves her career total to 874. 



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Jayhawks Travel to Ames for Final Road Test at Iowa State


LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Jayhawks travel to Ames, Iowa to play their final road game of the regular season against the Cyclones (15-9, 11-6 Big 12) Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

Kansas women’s basketball enters its final regular season road game 7-15 overall and 3-13 in Big 12 play.

The Jayhawks last played No. 18 West Virginia down to the wire, falling to the Mountaineers 72-68. Aniya Thomas logged a season-high 19 points, while Zakiyah Franklin poured in 18 points. Holly Kersgieter again topped the double-digit point plateau, adding 12 points. A trio of Jayhawks – Kersgieter, Ioanna Chatzileonti and Katrine Jessen – each grabbed a team-best eight rebounds against WVU.

Kersgieter continues to lead the Jayhawk offense, averaging 17.0 points per game, while Franklin reached 10.0 points per game. Chatzileonti holds a narrow edge over Kersgieter for the team lead in rebounds per game, grabbing 6.9 per contest with Kersgieter nabbing 6.6. Kersgieter has the team lead with 139 total rebounds this season.

Thomas continues to be a problem on defense, averaging 1.77 steals per game. Kersgieter nearly matches Thomas, and tallies 1.62 per contest. Chatzileonti swats an impressive 1.40 shots per game.

OPPONENT PREVIEW: IOWA STATE
Iowa State enters its season finale 15-9 overall and 11-6 in Big 12 play. The Cyclones last played Feb. 24, beating then-No. 18 West Virginia 85-68. ISU had five players reach double figures, including Ashley Joens team-high 20 points. Joens also claimed a team-best six rebounds, while going 9-for-9 from the free throw lines.

Joens boasts a 23.4 points per game average, and shoots 46.2-percent from the floor. She is their team leader in points per game, rebounds per game (8.8), steals per game (1.04), and free throw percentage (90.9). Joining Joens in averaging double figures are Lexi Donarski (13.2) and Kristin Scott (11.6). Scott is the Cyclones team leader in blocks per game (1.09), and has a team-high 51.1-perecent field goal percentage. Emily Ryan averages a team-best 5.71 assists per game. Five Cyclones have started 21-or-more games this season.

UP NEXT
Kansas concludes the regular season Saturday, March 6 against No. 6/6 Baylor in Allen Fieldhouse at 4 p.m.





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