Bernard Foley wants Waratahs to channel their inner Tom Brady against Highlanders

Focused: Bernard Foley is excited to get back in the sky blue of NSW to take on the Highlanders in a pre-season trial. Photo: Peter RaeBernard Foley wants the Waratahs backline to channel their inner Tom Brady by remaining composed at all times when they tackle the Highlanders on Thursday.

Foley, a keen NFL fan, tuned into the Super Bowl last Monday morning to watch star New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady orchestrate a miraculous comeback to win his fifth championship ring.

Foley tweeted late in the game, “You think you’ve seen it all, and then this”.

Brady will go down as one of the all-time greats and be remembered for his ability to always keep calm regardless of the situation.

Foley used the Brady analogy when discussing how he wanted inexperienced Waratahs duo Jake Gordon and Irae Simone to go about their business against last year’s semi-finalists the Highlanders.

“It’s communication and composure, ease those guys into the game, a bit like the Tom Brady effect,” Foley said. “Just allow them to do their job, not to overplay their hand, not to try and push the pass or do too much for the team.

“As you always do when you’re a young person or inexperienced in a team, you want to go out there and prove yourself first-up, but for those guys they’re really capable footballers. It’s for them to do their job for the team.

“My brother’s a big Tom Brady fan, so he always is preaching to me about it. He’s a very impressive athlete and the way that he can control himself and show that composure especially in those drives in that Super Bowl … that’s something I’ll take out of him and the Patriots’ organisation in what they believe in.”

Thursday will mark Foley’s first game of 2017 after a busy season last year, in which he started all 15 Wallabies Tests.

Foley has had the benefit of a proper off-season given he went to Japan to play after the 2015 World Cup leading into last year’s Super Rugby season.

But his pre-season was far from ideal, with injury ruling him out of the first three matches.

“This year I’ve really enjoyed coming in and having a four-week block of pre-season,” Foley said. “We’ve been training pretty hard. It’s hot, we haven’t been able to escape the heat, so I’ve been eager and watching on the sidelines. Looking forward to getting into this competition.”

Foley said the Waratahs were a little unsure about their structures last year under new coach Daryl Gibson.

NSW were slow out of the blocks, winning just two of their first six matches, something Foley said might have been because of some confusion as to what style they wanted to play.

“At the start of last year … we were probably a bit hesitant on how we wanted to play on the new structures Daryl implemented,” Foley said. “We’ve changed things again but everyone is a lot more certain in where we want to go. It’s in no way going to be perfect in these couple of rounds but I think the style and the attitude that the players have shown in the first couple of pre-season games … has been impressive.”

Foley, 27, said he felt an added sense of responsibility to lift his game in the absence of playmaker Kurtley Beale and a number of other experienced figures who have left since the Waratahs won the Super Rugby title in 2014.

“In the past couple of years you’ve looked around and had the likes of Adam Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale, guys who have been stalwarts of rugby,” Foley said. “Now looking around in that backline there is a bit of a void but it’s a challenge that I have to take up along with myself and Israel [Folau].”

Australia v Sri Lanka T20 series: Packed calendar blamed for Australia’s poor form in Twenty20s

Australian captain Steve Smith could go nearly two years without leading the Twenty20 side as his deputy Aaron Finch said the packed international schedule was not helping Australia’s development in the shortest form of the game.

Despite the raging success of the Big Bash League, Australia is well off the pace in the international Twenty20 arena. Ranked fifth, the country has a poor record at the World T20, which they will be desperate to improve heading into the next edition at home in 2020.

The three-game series against Sri Lanka is a rare opportunity for Australia’s Twenty20 team to play but first-choice players Smith, David Warner, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are all unavailable as it clashes with preparations for the Tests in India.

Australia are scheduled to play only another 11 Twenty20 games before the 2020 world title in the current future tours program, which finishes at the 2019 World Cup. The need to manage Australia’s stars means it will be long odds their best players will be available for the bulk of those games.

Smith, who last played in the World T20 11 months ago, will not lead the side again until the back end of next summer at the earliest, against England and New Zealand. But If recent history is a guide, it would not surprise if Cricket Australia gave Smith time off during those games, which are wedged between an Ashes series and a marquee Test tour of South Africa.

“Ideally you’d love the best 11 players available for every game Australia plays but that’s not feasible at the moment,” Finch said.

“There is a lot of cricket. When you’re looking at the schedule it’s hard to see where guys will get a break. I totally understand it, the players want to be available for everything but you need a break here and there.

“These guys are going into a huge Test series as well so you have to take that into consideration. Out of the three [formats], T20 internationals would be the least prioritised until the World Cup year – I understand that but at the same time it makes it difficult.

“There’s a fine line between how many is enough preparation for a tournament and expect to be successful. If you tack on one or two games to the end of each series then the summers blow out and become too long in my opinion and guys will be worn out.

“You have to rest people and give guys a chance to be at their best for Test and one-day cricket, which in my opinion are more highly prioritised than T20 internationals.”

Australia’s squad against Sri Lanka includes four men yet to represent their country. Only Finch, Pat Cummins, James Faulkner and Travis Head are regular players at international level.

A crowd of around 40,000 is expected for the first game on Friday night, which features the Southern Stars as a curtain-raiser, well down on the 71,162 who turned out for the BBL’s Melbourne derby on New Year’s Day at the venue.

“There’s a lot of pride still. Every time you represent your country it’s a huge honour and there will be some guys who do it for the first time,” Finch said.

“Someone like Maxy Klinger, who gets an opportunity after the best part of 15 years grinding it out and being very successful.

“We haven’t been as successful as we’d have liked in the T20 format. This is a great opportunity for some young guys and experienced guys to get some international experience and put their name up there.”

Cycling stunner: Australian champ set to race for Russia

Shane Perkins is switching allegiances. Photo: John Veage 07.02.16-Adelaide-Shane Perkins wins the Australian Keirin title.Picture John Veagemkeirin11.jpg Photo: John Veage

Gutted by being left out of Australia’s track cycling team for the Rio Olympics, Shane Perkins has moved to switch sporting nations and compete for Russia at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

The 30-year-old, who won a world title for Australia five years ago and gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, has already been photographed in the Russian team kit.

Cycling’s international governing body will have ultimate approval power over Perkins’ switch for competition, but it’s understood Russia’s cycling federation is assisting the application that would effectively grant the Victorian dual citizenship.

The development came as news to Perkins’ one-time manager, Bade Stapleton, when Fairfax Media sought explanation on Wednesday, but was later confirmed by former Australian cyclist and Commonwealth Games medallist Emily Rosemond, who said she has been assisting Perkins with his Olympic pursuits since late last year. Stapleton said he has been less involved with Perkins, a bronze medallist at the 2012 London Games, since Perkins missed the cut for Rio.

Australia’s reigning national keirin champion, Perkins spoke to Fairfax Media last year about his great disappointment at being excluded from an invite-only Olympics training camp. He was effectively cut from the national elite track cycling program after losing his Australian Institute of Sport scholarship in 2015.

Though unable to conceal his surprise initially, Stapleton said Perkins’ move to chase a Tokyo Olympic berth made sense strategically given his experience, and ongoing opportunities, in Japan’s multi-million dollar keirin circuit where cyclists compete into their forties and earn huge sums.

Less obvious, prima facie, is the motive behind Perkins’ move to race for Russia, a nation with its sporting reputation in turmoil and one that was banned from entering track and field competition in Brazil last year due to endemic doping. Perkins’ connection, however, has apparently come through friend and training partner Denis Dmitriev who won the bronze medal in the individual sprint on the track at the Rio Games.

“Shane considers everything very carefully,” Rosemond said when asked about any misgivings Perkins might have about aligning himself with Russia in the current sporting climate.

“He definitely would have considered, obviously, the reputation of Russia. But he’s of the opinion that he’s going into a clean environment, he’s a very conscientious athlete and will remain a conscientious and clean athlete and he would expect the same from his new teammates.”

Fairfax Media has been told Perkins, who moved from Adelaide to Brisbane with his wife and their two children late last year, cannot represent Russia in this year’s track world championships, in April.

He has been training in Queensland’s new velodrome, built for the 2018 Commonwealth Games – held on the Gold Coast – but it’s understood he would not anticipate representing Australia at that major event in light of his decision to compete for Russia.

“I think the colours you wear don’t always define you as an athlete,” Rosemond said.

“Shane has been fully supported by Cycling Australia for a number of years but unfortunately the circumstances at the moment have meant that he’s had to seek some support elsewhere ??? if that’s with the Russian cycling team, well, so be it.

“Shane is a real fighter, he’s a real athlete, and he’s doing whatever it’s going to take for him to make it to the Olympics [again] and unfortunately there’s not an opportunity there within the Australian cycling program, so he has had no other option except to pursue other opportunities … we’re working with the cards that we have on the table.”

A two-time world champion on the track – in the keirin (2011) and team sprint (2012) – Perkins has been riding on Japan’s lucrative keirin scene for the last seven years including, for a period, with Dmitriev.

Riding later this week for a Japanese professional trade team at a world cup meet in Columbia, Perkins had hoped to be picked in the last Australian Olympic track team up until it departed. The Cyclones were plagued by bad luck in Rio and missed their medal target by more than half.

Perkins, who coaches juniors in cycling in Queensland, did not appeal his non-selection.

If Perkins continues riding keirin events successfully in Japan in the countdown to the Tokyo Olympics his profile in that country will strengthen.

He would of course have to be selected in Russia’s Olympic cycling team in three years time, but if he is – and if he then happened to perform well at the 2020 Games – it could prove a further launch pad.

Paul Perry’s Australian Derby aspirant Hollywood Mo returns to the racetrack at Newcastle today

Paul Perry’s Australian Derby aspirant Hollywood Mo returns to the racetrack on Newcastle’s Beaumont track on Thursday and the master trainer is expecting a strong performance.

The colt resumes in the 1250 metre Maiden Plate in his first hit-out since the group 1 Victoria Derby, in which he finished sixth after a tough run.

Perry took the horse to Melbourne in the spring and after a solid second in the Geelong Classic on October 19, Hollywood Mo was never on the track when beaten 4½-lengths in the Victoria Derby on October 29.

The three-year-old trialled impressively on the Beaumont track three weeks ago.

Perry said on Wednesday that the horse should sprint well fresh. “As you would expect, Hollywood Mo is only about 75per cent fit for his first-up run,’’ he said.

“However, this is a nice race for him to kick off his preparation and providing the back markers are running on, I expect him to sprint well.

“The horse spelled well after the Melbourne trip and I was happy with his recent trial. I have nominated Hollywood Mo for the Australian Derby to be run at Randwick during the Championships.’’

Another of Perry’s promising three-year-olds, Walk RightIn, also resumes tomorrow in the final event, the 1150mBenchmark 65 Handicap. He was placed twice on metropolitan tracks during the spring and he was runner up to last Monday’s group 3 winner, Zestful, in a recent Newcastle trial.

Walk Right In has drawn off the track but with any luck his trainer believes the gelding will go close.

Randwick trainer James Cummings heads to Newcastle with five runners, and his smart filly Mega Mall has prospects of notching back-to-back wins on the track.

HOPEFUL: Paul Perry

After a luckless second on the Beaumont track on January 21 she was an impressive winner here at the meeting on February 4. She will contest the 1350 metre Class 2 Handicap, and she should have a cosy run from her ideal barrier.

Cummings will be looking to another of his team Static Lift to atone for a narrow last start defeat on the track when he steps out in the 1350 metre Class 2 Handicap. The four-year-old was run down by the smart California Nike at the last meeting on February 7.

Chris Waller’s New Zealand filly Midnight Delight a fast finishing second on this track at her Australian debut on February 4 should go one better in the 1350 metre Maiden Handicap. The three-year-old has drawn nicely and she was placed in her only two New Zealand starts before joining the Waller stable.

The first of eight races kicks off at 1.15pm.

Greens call on Labor to return Santos political donations

Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham wants Labor to return a political donation from energy company Santos. Photo: Simone De PeakNSW Labor is being accused of a lack of credibility on coal seam gas policy after accepting $2250 in donations from Santos, despite handing back a similar amount from the energy company before the last election.

Less than two weeks before the March 2015 poll, NSW Labor announced it was returning a $2200 donation from Santos after criticism from the Greens amid a fierce battle for the seat of Ballina.

Labor had announced that if elected it would permanently ban coal seam gas activity across the Northern Rivers. The Greens’ candidate Tamara Smith went on to win the seat.

Data published by the Australian Electoral Commission reveals Santos donated $2000 to NSW Labor in January last year and $250 the following March.

“Once again Labor have been caught out taking easy money from a coal seam gas company, despite promising the public that they would not do so,” said Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham.

“Taking money from Santos shatters Labor’s credibility when it comes to opposing coal seam gas.

“The public is tired of seeing Labor promise something in opposition and then do the bidding of their donors once they come to power. [Opposition leader] Luke Foley must return this dirty money.”

A NSW Labor spokeswoman pointed out that the most recent donations were for federal election purposes.

“NSW Labor has accepted no donations from Santos for NSW state campaigns,” she said.

In February it emerged that Santos has lodged an application to develop its controversial billion-dollar Narrabri coal seam gas project in and around the Pilliga Forest.

The Greens challenged Labor to state whether or not in power the party would tear up a production licence that might be issued by the Coalition government.

Opposition energy and resources spokesman Adam Searle said a Labor government would not do so – a position reflected in its bill promising a moratorium on coal seam gas activity.

“Any existing production lease in place will not be affected by Labor’s moratorium,” he said.

“That is why we are pressing for the bill to be passed in this Parliament and we call on all parties to support Labor’s sensible and balanced legislation that resolves this important issue”.

Sydney chiropractor Hance Limboro fined $27,500 for cancer cure advertisements

Chiropractor Hance Limboro has been fined for false or misleading advertising, which claimed chiropractic treatment could cure cancer. Photo: Facebook The offender said it was ”a biological imperative for the male species to be attracted to a younger, younger mate”.

The online advertisement proclaimed: “By having a regular visit to a chiropractor, people can rest assured that they are prevented from having cancer.”

Sydney chiropractor Hance Limboro​ is the first person in the country to be prosecuted by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency for misleading advertising, relating to a series of ads on a website called Cancer Cure Sydney.

Included in the lengthy advertisements – which linked to the website for his CBD clinic – were claims that spinal adjustments could cure cancer because posture issues are “believed to be the root problem of all diseases and disorders, including cancer”.

One article also said chiropractic treatment was “worth a try” to treat brain tumours.

In Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday, magistrate Alison Viney​ convicted Limboro of 11 counts of advertising a health service in a false or misleading way and fined him $27,500.

Ms Viney said while most healthy people would quickly disregard the claims on the website, cancer sufferers might not.

“Unfortunately the target of these sites are people who have chronic or devastating diseases, which make them so vulnerable … in regards to a cure or a fix,” Ms Viney said.

“Random people, healthy people don’t access sites for cancer cures.”

According to documents before the court, one of the articles posted in 2015 said: “If you are afraid to have the side effects of radiation therapy, one cure you can try is chiropractic treatment.”

Another ad said: “A natural cancer cure that most people choose nowadays is chiropractic treatment as it has no significant side effects and guarantees long-term relief.”

A statement of facts said the assertions were false.

“There’s no scientific evidence that chiropractic adjustment aids in the treatment of cancer.”

The barrister acting for the regulatory body, Duncan Berents​, said the use of misleading advertisements was serious.

“The articles themselves are promoting something that is safe and risk-free and something that’s a cure for cancer. This is potentially tragic,” Mr Berents​ said.

But Limboro argued he had hired a search engine optimisation company to increase traffic to the website for his clinic, Action Health Centre, and was unaware of the content of the ads on the Cancer Cure Sydney site.

He said he was “ashamed and embarrassed”.

Magistrate Viney rejected the suggestion that Limboro was not personally responsible, noting the website was registered under his wife’s name.

Limboro, 45, was also fined $2000 for using testimonials – which are banned in health advertising – on the website for his clinic.

One of the testimonials said: “Would have been in a wheelchair.”

Another testimonial said: “Since receiving chiropractic care, I’ve had no asthma, no hay fever, and no back pain.”

The court heard Limboro is likely to face professional disciplinary action.