SydFC to keep Janko gunning for contract

Keep Marc Janko gunning for a contract extension at Sydney FC and he’ll continue his goal-scoring blitz.

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That’s what coach Graham Arnold is hoping for after the marquee striker set records tumbling on Sunday in a game the coach admitted was heart-stopping.

Janko scored a hat-trick to hand the Sky Blues a 5-4 victory over Brisbane at Allianz Stadium in the process breaking Besart Berisha’s league record for scoring in consecutive matches, finding the back of the net in a seventh straight appearance.

He also went two better than Italian legend Alessandro Del Piero’s club record of 14 goals in a season to extended his lead in the race for the golden boot where he sits four clear of Wellington’s Nathan Burns on 16 strikes.

But at 4-1 the Sky Blues allowed the Roar back into the game, in a match that featured three penalties and five goals in the last 15 minutes.

“I must have a strong heart,” Arnold said.

“It’s been tested of late.”

The Austrian skipper, who set Sydney back $1.4 million for his services this season, has expressed a desire to stay on for their next campaign but is yet to pen a deal.

“There’s no use signing him yet, because you keep him off contract and he keeps scoring goals,” Arnold joked.

It wasn’t all about Janko on Sunday however, with Sydney also equalling a club record of nine games unbeaten to rise to second on the ladder.

Arnold praised Janko’s team spirit and said the 31-year-old was never interested in personal glory.

“He’s bought into everything that we’re doing here,” Arnold said.

“Never at any time did Marc think about any individual records today.

“I got him to make a speech to the players before the game, it was all about supporting your teammates and working hard together.”

Henrique got the Roar off to a flying start, putting the visitors ahead in the fifth minute with Matthew Jurman netting the equaliser against his former club just two minutes later.

Janko then had his chance make history, converting his first penalty to put Sydney ahead in the 38th minute.

He gave the hosts the lead in the 52nd, the marquee striker completing his treble from the spot in the 76th minute.

Roar were given their own spot-kick just three minutes later with substitute Andrija Kaludjerovic converting in the 80th minute to claw them back to 4-2.

Steven Lustica found the back of the net to draw the Roar closer in the 84th before Sydney skipper Alex Brosque responded five minutes later.

Roar were to have the last word with Dimitri Petratos netting against his former side in the final minute to ensure the 5-4 result.

“It was a crazy game,” Roar coach Frans Thijssen said.

“If you score four goals you expect to go home with points.

“In the end we leave with nothing so that’s disappointing.”

Aussies to face Pakistan in WC quarter

Pakistan booked a World Cup quarter-final date with Australia, downing Ireland by seven wickets at Adelaide Oval on Sunday.

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The final pool fixture of the tournament was a veritable playoff.

The winner would tackle title favourites Australia at the same venue on Friday, while the loser could pack their bags.

William Porterfield won the toss and delivered a captain’s knock of 107, but received scant support and the Irishmen were rolled for 237.

It proved to be decidedly subpar.

Pakistan openers Ahmed Shehzad and Sarfraz Ahmed were rarely ruffled in a 120-run stand.

Ahmed fell for 55 due to a mistimed pull shot, while first drop Haris Sohail was run out soon after due to a horrendous mix-up with Sarfraz.

But captain Misbah-ul Haq settled proceedings and when he played on in the 39th over, Pakistan only needed another 30 runs to get over the line.

Umar Akmal stopped scoring to ensure Sarfraz got his ton, which happened in the 46th over when the right-hander chipped George Dockrell to the mid-wicket fence.

Sarfraz then played out the rest of the over, allowing Umar to smash the winning runs with 23 balls spare.

Sarfraz put on a masterclass of studious batting, stroking just six fours as he carried his bat to finish 101 not out.

Pakistan dropped catches and wasted their review in the first innings, but outclassed Ireland where it mattered.

This was despite the absence of towering paceman Mohammad Irfan (hip) and veteran batsman Younis Khan (omitted).

Australia will obviously offer a lot more resistance.

However, Pakistan can also draw on an impressive 29-run win over South Africa when looking for causes for confidence.

Ireland will be cursing their luck, given they beat the West Indies who progressed to the knockout phase due to a superior net run-rate.

The Irishmen only have themselves to blame after a nervous performance in their most important game of the tournament.

Porterfield always looked comfortable and in control, but his teammates tried to push the tempo and gave away too many cheap wickets.

Gary Wilson, the only other Irishman apart from Porterfield to pass 18, was dismissed for 29 in the 41st over.

It was the beginning of the end of Ireland’s spirited Cup campaign.

They rarely threatened with the ball, while keeper Wilson dropped a chance when Sarfraz was on 37 and Pakistan were 0-90.

Of the many catches that went down on Sunday, it proved the most costly.

“We need to give a lot of credit to the fast bowlers. It was a slow pitch and they bowled their hearts out,” Misbah said.

“Sarfraz’s knock was brilliant and what was needed.

“We can win the World Cup. We have the momentum.”

Porterfield called his side’s exit “very disappointing”.

“We’ve played some very good cricket,” he said.

“We were 40 or 50 short of what would have been a very competitive total.”

WA close to making Shield final

An unbroken record partnership between Cameron Bancroft and Michael Klinger against NSW has all but ensured Western Australia will play Victoria in the Sheffield Shield final.

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With Victoria beating Tasmania in Alice Springs to sew up top spot on the Shield table ahead of next week’s final, WA only needs to draw the match at the WACA Ground against NSW.

Thanks to Bancroft and Klinger they are now on the verge of doing exactly that.

The pair combined for an unbeaten 317-run stand to leave WA 1-320 at stumps on the third day in reply to NSW’s first innings of 407.

The Blues now somehow need to bowl the Warriors out twice in the 112 overs available on the last day as well as having to set a target themselves.

Bancroft and Klinger came together on the second day with WA at 1-3 and set about batting NSW out of the match.

Bancroft is 144 not out at stumps in his highest first-class score and the 22-year-old opening batsmen has now made three centuries this season on top of a 99.

In total, he has amassed 736 runs at an average of 46.

Klinger remains not out 159 and has made four Shield centuries in his first season with WA after crossing from South Australia.

He has made 981 Shield runs at 65 this season on top of starring in WA’s one-day cup win and the Perth Scorchers’ Big Bash League triumph.

The pair’s 317-run partnership is WA’s best ever for the second wicket surpassing the 254 between Mike Veletta and Geoff Marsh against Queensland in Brisbane in 1985.

Bancroft was over the moon to have been part of such a crucial, record partnership with Klinger.

“We knew at the start of the day that we were going to have to do something like that just to put them under the pump and take them out of the game,” Bancroft said.

“For Maxy and I to be able to do something like that is just unbelievable and it probably hasn’t sunk in, but it was a good day for us.”

Pakistan in quarters after beating Ireland

Sarfraz Ahmed (101 not out) hit Pakistan’s first century at this year’s World Cup and added 120 runs with Ahmed Shehzad (63) to give the team their best start in the tournament.

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The 1992 champions overwhelmed their 238-run victory target with nearly four overs to spare but Ahmed’s struggle to get his first ODI century and Umar Akmal’s blocking at the other end to help his partner achieve the milestone made it a dull end to the match.

Pakistan’s chase got off to a slow start with the Irish bowlers maintaining a tight leash and conceding just two boundaries in the first seven overs.

It was when George Dockrell was brought into the attack that Ahmed and Shehzad broke loose, hitting two boundaries each in the 10th over of the innings.

Shehzad took 52 balls to bring up his fifty and Pakistan reached the 100-mark in the 19th over to put behind the slow start.

Ahmed needed 58 balls to reach his fifty and Pakistan seemed to have finally found an answer to their opening woes.

Shehzad threw his wicket in the 23rd over and Misbah-ul-Haq fell after contributing 39 but Pakistan’s victory was never really in doubt.

They will now face tournament co-hosts Australia in the third quarter-final at Adelaide on Friday.

Earlier, Ireland captain William Porterfield led by example, hitting his first World Cup century to lift Ireland to 237 contributing nearly half of the team’s total.

Porterfield’s decision to bat was a positive one but Ireland lost wickets each time a partnership appeared to be building.

The skipper picked up the length well and backed himself to go for his shots, one such instance had him swivelling to pull Sohail Khan for the first of the two sixes in the Irish innings.

Ed Joyce was lucky early in his knock, dropped by a wrong-footed Ahmed Shehzad at point and surviving a strong caught-behind appeal. The 36-year-old could not make the most of his seemingly charmed life, however, and fluffed a pull shot to depart after making 11.

Porterfield also needed some luck to bring up his 100. Batting on 94, the left-hander nearly ran himself out at the non-striker’s end after abandoning his bid for a non-existent single.

His century also came in streaky fashion with Porterfield driving the ball back to bowler Rahat Ali, who could not take the catch on his follow-through.

The Ireland skipper eventually fell in the 39th over, Shahid Afridi rushing from the edge of the circle to take a low, diving catch after Porterfield had mistimed a drive off Sohail Khan.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

England’s ever-lengthening list of questions remain

Saturday’s victory was enough to see England regain top spot in the table courtesy of a plus four points difference over Ireland — whose Grand Slam aspirations were dashed by a 23-16 loss to Wales — but there remains an ever-lengthening list of unanswered questions for Stuart Lancaster’s team.

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Where is their ruthless streak? What is their best 15? Do they have the temperament to consistently challenge the best sides? Why the apparent complacency against perceived inferior teams? The list goes on.

Before the game England’s 2003 World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward said Scotland, who had conceded an average of 36 points per game in their previous seven visits to Twickenham, were so bad their rivalry had become “a myth”.

Scotland briefly troubled England and led 13-10 early in the second half but eventually succumbed to defeat despite a dogged performance.

While victory against France next week is almost given — having won four of their previous five Twickenham encounters against Les Bleus — England’s campaign is clouded by questions that should not be present in a side revving up for a World Cup assault in six months’ time.

“We know we’ll need to be more clinical if we are to get the job done against France,” head coach Lancaster told the BBC.

“We are (playing) the last game next week so we will know what we need to do in terms of the championship. But you’ve got to win the game first and that’s a big challenge against this French team.”

There was nothing in England’s performance against a wounded and under-resourced Scotland side that would have worried the likes of New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, Ireland or Wales.

England carved out 11 clean breaks, beat 26 Scottish defenders but crucially and inexplicably scored a meagre three tries.

Provided with the same chances, other World Cup title contenders would have put a Scotland side — more than likely consigned to the wooden spoon after four successive defeats — to the sword.

Woodward, England’s head coach from 1997 to 2004, said in The Mail on Sunday: “England have to recapture the coolness under pressure and ruthless streak. That is what wins you big rugby matches.”

(Reporting By Tom Hayward, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Gillard abolishes tariffs for Third World

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has vowed to give developing countries access to the Australian market free of tariffs, and she has ruled out increasing trade protections while the Doha round of free-trade talks is at a standstill.

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At the Commonwealth Business Forum in Perth on Tuesday, Ms Gillard said she wanted Australia to “make a difference for the small and medium countries of the world” and the best way to reduce poverty was trade liberalisation.

Australia was prepared to lead the way in opening doors for developing nations on the trade front, she said.

“Australia will continue the strongest possible commitment to market access for the world’s poorest countries, irrespective of the settlement of other issues in the Doha Round,” Ms Gillard said.

“Tonight I pledge that the world’s least developed countries will have access to Australia’s market free of tariffs and quotas for 100 per cent of the goods they export to our country.”

Ms Gillard urged other countries to follow Australia’s lead ahead of the biennial meeting of trade ministers in Geneva in December.

“These pledges should be unconditional. They shouldn’t be contingent upon the settlement of other issues in the Doha negotiations,” she said.

Australia is also willing to help lead the global fight against protectionism, the prime minister said.

She announced that her government would make a commitment at the World Trade Organisation’s ministerial meeting not to increase protections while the Doha negotiations were at standstill.

“This is an essential policy prescription if an enduring global economic recovery is to be achieved,” she said.

The Doha trade negotiations needed a new direction, Ms Gillard said.

“It’s time to consider breaking the Doha Round into more manageable parts and bringing them to successful conclusion as negotiations are completed,” she said.

“We should also contemplate negotiating new issues, in parallel with Doha but beyond the existing Doha mandate, to ensure the World Trade Organisation keeps pace with the demands of the modern economy.”

Doha was intended to be a development round, Ms Gillard said.

“It must deliver greatly improved market access for the world’s least developed countries, almost a third of them commonwealth nations.”

Detention centres breaking people: report

Self-harm, suicide attempts and asylum seekers drugged up on anti-depressants have become the norm in Australian immigration detention centres, detainees say.

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Afghan Hazara refugee Mohammed Baig saw heartbreaking scenes during his immigration detention at the Curtin detention centre in the Kimberley, 2000km north of Perth.

“The hanging, killing, cutting themself (sic), it was normal,” he told ABC television’s Four Corners on Monday night.

Another detainee, Jaffa, said: “The stress of being in prison … is just killing me day by day.”

Abdul Hamidi – who was at Curtin, Woomera, Port Hedland and Baxter – told the program he fell into a similar spiral of despair.

“In Curtin I did cut myself again, my arms, my stomach, my chest. I tried to talk to them, like, `I’m not well, I need help’,” he said.

“Nobody listens.”

His lawyer Ben Phi said Mr Hamidi was a broken man.

“His doctors say that … to the best of their knowledge he’s never going to work again,” he said.

“It’s my sincere hope that with specialist medical attention he will get back to a point where he can start to, I guess, interact at least a bit better with society.”

Australian Greens immigration spokeswoman Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who has visited a number of centres, said a 17-year-old girl in detention had given a telling insight into her mindset.

“I was sitting there, her room is covered in drawings of ropes hanging people, of graves,” the senator said.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen told the program the government was improving the system and making better use of community detention.

“I accept that in some cases it can be better to move people into the community before their claim is processed,” Mr Bowen said.

“And in fact in the last year we’ve released more people out of detention than have gone into it and that’s the first time that’s happened in a long time.”

But psychiatrist Dr Suresh Sundaram, who recently visited Curtin to report for the Human Rights Commission, says mandatory detention is ruining lives.

“Those mental health problems persist for quite a protracted period of time following resettlement in the general community,” she said.

“We saw lots of people with significant post-traumatic stress disorder.”

She said anti-depressants were being used for sleeplessness.

“It is concerning that people are being given medication not for its approved indication,” she said.

Immigration department spokesman Sandi Logan said the department aimed to ensure the “mental health needs” were addressed.

“We need to ensure their mental and physical health is as good as possible so when the time comes either to be released on a visa or to be returned home they are in as best health as possible,” Mr Logan said.

An alliance of 13 Australian health organisations has called on the federal government to immediately launch an independent investigation into the standards of mental health care in Australia’s immigration detention centres.

The organisations, including the Australian Medical Association, Sane Australia and Mental Health Council of Australia, say it is “clear that conditions inside detention centres are unacceptable”.

“The mental health of immigration detainees can’t wait until the political debate over the appropriateness of immigration detention has been resolved,” the alliance said in a statement on Monday.

Alonso leaves hospital, to miss final test

The Spaniard, a double world champion, smiled and waved to reporters and fans as he left the hospital at around 1430 local time.

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McLaren said in a statement that the 33-year-old would return to his family home in northern Spain for further rest and recuperation and would not be back in the car before the Australian season-opener on March 15.

“He will sit out this week’s final winter test, at which he was due to share driving duties with Jenson Button,” the team said.

“Kevin Magnussen, McLaren-Honda’s test and reserve driver, will replace him.”

Button will be first in the car at the Circuit de Catalunya on Thursday. Denmark’s Magnussen raced for the team last season when they had Mercedes engines rather than the current Honda power unit.

Alonso has been in hospital since the crash on Sunday, with speculation running wild about what really happened when he hit the wall at the high speed Turn Three.

McLaren issued a detailed statement on Monday blaming gusting wind and ruling out any mechanical failure but that explanation, and Alonso’s lengthy stay in hospital, has failed to silence all of the doubters.

The car did not appear significantly damaged after the impact and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, Alonso’s replacement at the Italian team, told reporters the Spaniard’s crash had appeared ‘strange’ to him.

McLaren, whose racing director Eric Boullier initially played down the crash as a “just one of those things that happens in testing”, have rejected speculation that Alonso might have been rendered unconscious by an electrical fault.

The team, who have had a difficult pre-season with new partners Honda, said that rumour was “simply not true”.

They have not said how fast he was going at the time of impact or given a precise reading of the G-forces he sustained, however.

(Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ken Ferris and Justin Palmer)

Joint bidders get 50.1% of Macarthur

Macarthur Coal is one of the nation’s last independent coal producers and is the subject of a $4.

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9 billion bid by US-based Peabody Energy and Belgium steel-maker ArcelorMittal through their equal joint venture bid vehicle, PEAM Coal Pty Ltd.

“PEAMCoal Pty Ltd disclosed today that it has a relevant interest in approximately 59.85 per cent of the Macarthur shares, excluding shares subject to the Institutional Acceptance Facility (IAF).

“As a result, the minimum acceptance condition of 50.01 per cent has been satisfied and PEAMCoal has declared the offer unconditional,” the joint bidders said in a statement on Monday, issued after the close of share trading.

“Those shares subject to IAF instructions will now be converted into actual acceptances of the offer.”

PEAMCoal will now proceed to appoint representatives to the Macarthur board.

“We are pleased to obtain a controlling interest in Macarthur Coal and look forward to advancing the company’s operating performance and growth initiatives, Peabody Energy chairman and chief executive Gregory Boyce said in the statement.

ArcelorMittal chief financial officer Aditya Mittal said in a statement that he encouraged “remaining Macarthur shareholders to accept without delay and improve their chances of receiving the premium $16.25 per share price”, should the bid vehicle reach the 90 per cent compulsory acquisition threshold..

PEAMCoal has said previously that it would increase the offer price for all shareholders from $16.00 to $16.25 per share if PEAMCoal acquires relevant interests in at least 90 per cent of Macarthur shares by 2000 AEDT on 11 November.

The statement also said that all participating members of the Macarthur board continue to recommend that Macarthur shareholders accept the PEAMCoal offer.

China’s state-owned invement company Citic, which held a 25.2 per cent shareholding in Macarthur, late last week agreed to sell its stake to Peabody Energy and ArcelorMittal.

Citic’s decision to accept the offer gave the bidders control of 49.2 per cent of Macarthur.

A further 20 per cent to 25 per cent of the shares are believed to be held by hedge funds.

Macarthur had rejected an original $16 approach in July from Peabody because it had no-shop provisions – those that bar the seller from soliciting a purchase proposal from any other party.

That prompted the pair to go hostile with a then-$15.50 bid, raised to $16 a share in August.

Macarthur is the world’s largest exporter of low-volatile Pulverised Coal Injection (LV-PCI) coal used in the production of steel.

The product is mined at Macarthur’s Coppabella, Moorvale and Middlemount mines, all in Queensland.

Peabody Energy is the world’s biggest non-government coalminer and Arcelor is the world’s biggest steelmaker.

Macarthur Coal shares closed down two cents at $16.20 on Monday.

Greece suspends professional soccer indefinitely

The move follows a pitch invasion at the end of the Athens derby last weekend and a Super League board meeting which ended in a brawl on Tuesday, with Greece’s recently-elected Syriza ruling party aiming to stamp out the problem of crowd violence.

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“What we have been informed is that the Super League and the Football League have been suspended indefinitely,” Super League president Giorgos Borovilos told reporters.

“We have a new government who are looking to bring this subject up for discussion and implement state laws related to it.”

Greece’s Sports Minister Stavros Kontonis met Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday to discuss the matter and held further meetings with Super League president Giorgos Borovilos.

Borovilos said it had not yet been decided how long matches would be suspended and on what conditions they would resume, adding that “some things are not done in one or two weeks. “The government wants games to start again as soon as possible, but for that they want to see immediate reactions from all of us,” he said.

“There will be further discussions between ourselves, the board of the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) and the Football League where we will see how we can build legislative frameworks and implement security measures to ensure football is safe”.

It is the third time this season that professional soccer in Greece has been shut down.

Matches were halted for one week last September following the death of a soccer fan after violent clashes at a third division match between Ethnikos Piraeus and Irodotos. The authorities then suspended games last November after Christoforos Zografos, assistant director of the Central Refereeing Committee(KED), was taken to hospital following a violent assault.

OUT OF CONTROL

Panathinaikos’s 2-1 derby win over Olympiakos Piraeus two days ago ended with a pitch invasion after flares were thrown onto the field at various times during the match, one of which hit the Olympiakos midfielder Pajtim Kasami on the arm.

Kontonis told national TV news channel Skai: “What went on during the (Athens) derby and what has been happening in other stadiums in the past has surpassed all limits… fans invading the pitch, throwing flares that are aimed to hurt people; all this is unthinkable and this situation cannot continue.

“The government will not simply monitor these phenomena in silence. What happened yesterday shows the reality.

“When we see this violence from the stadium go to a boardroom of a football institution, then you understand that the situation is completely out of control.”

A Super League board meeting ended abruptly on Tuesday when a verbal spat between Olympiakos Piraeus president Evangelos Marinakis and his Panathinaikos counterpart Giannis Alafouzos sparked a violent scuffle with tensions high following the trouble at the Athens derby.

The incident meant the meeting between the presidents of all Greece’s top flight clubs came to a premature end with Alafouzos telling reporters his deputy Vasilis Konstantinou suffered a cut lip from a blow by one of Marinakis’s bodyguards.

“We were assaulted,” he said. “Mr Marinakis threw a glass of water at me and then his bodyguard threw a punch at Mr Konstantinou. I cannot believe that a Super League board meeting had such violence.”

(Editing by Ken Ferris)