Rockliff salutes cousin in Lions’ AFL win

An emotional Tom Rockliff has fought back tears while paying tribute to his cousin, after helping Brisbane to thump Gold Coast by 58 points and boost their hopes of avoiding the AFL wooden spoon.

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Rockliff was a standout with 24 touches in Saturday’s 22.10 (142) to 12.12 (84) Gabba win, kissing a black armband after each of his three goals.

Every Lions player wore an armband to salute former Fitzroy player Eric Moore.

But Rockliff had a second in honour of his cousin and almost broke down post-match when asked about his inspiration.

“I lost my cousin earlier in the week – he was only 27,” a teary Rockliff told the Seven Network.

“It’s been a pretty tough week for the family.

“To get the result and get on the end of a couple (of goals), I know he is watching up there, down on us.

“It’s been a tough week but we will fight through it as a family.”

Rockliff combined with skipper Dayne Beams (four goals, 32 touches) and midfield livewire Lewis Taylor (25 touches, two goals) to help Brisbane seal their fifth win of the year.

Lions coach Chris Fagan praised Rockliff for his mental toughness after his inspirational display in such a tough week.

“He had a great game. He is a clever forward,” Fagan said.

“He was quite upset about it. The fella who passed away was only quite young.

“It hit home pretty hard but he held himself together and had an effective game for us.”

Gold Coast led by 22 points in the second term before Brisbane kicked 17 goals to four.

The Lions (5-15 tally) are equal last on 20 points with Carlton and North Melbourne, but have played an extra game.

Since the round-11 bye, Brisbane are 4-6.

“We are hell bent on trying to get off the bottom,” Fagan said.

“If you look at the ladder after the bye, we are nowhere near the bottom – that’s exciting for us.P

“The belief is growing. It’s a slow process; every now and again it takes a hit.

“By and large, they are seeing themselves as a team that can compete, with an attitude of refusing to be beaten or downtrodden.

“Hopefully, that keeps us in good stead as we try and rise up the ladder and, hopefully, our fans can see there is something to get excited about.”

Dhawan hits hundred before Sri Lanka strike back

India reached the close of play on 329 for six, after losing no wickets in the first session, with Wriddhiman Saha unbeaten on 13 and Hardik Pandya not out on one at stumps.

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After winning the toss and opting to bat, India captain Virat Kohli could not have asked for a better start as his side began their bid to complete a series whitewash over the hosts.

Following wins inside four days in Galle and Colombo, the world’s top-ranked side have opened an unassailable 2-0 lead and the injury-hit hosts face another stiff task against Kohli’s men in the finale.

On a surface ideal for batting, India’s openers picked up boundaries at will and made Sri Lanka pay for their profligacy with Dhawan given a reprieve on one, his edge flying through the slip cordon off left-arm seamer Vishwa Fernando.

The left-handed batsman went on to hit 17 fours in his 123-ball knock before he was out for 119, hitting a sweep shot off left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara straight to Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal at square leg.

Pushpakumara had also provided Sri Lanka a breakthrough in his first over when he dismissed Rahul for 85. The 30-year-old, playing only his second test, later bowled an out-of-sorts Ajinkya Rahane for 17, to end the day with figures of 3-40.

A century once again eluded Rahul, who was dropped twice during his innings, as he was caught at mid-on trying to hit a lofted shot. It was his seventh consecutive score of 50 or more.

Left-arm wrist-spinner Lakshan Sandakan then got Cheteshwar Pujara (eight) to edge one to slip as Sri Lanka continued to fight back.

The 26-year-old, replacing the injured Rangana Herath, also removed the dangerous Kohli with the right-handed batsman out for 42 after getting an edge to slip.

Ravichandran Ashwin (31) was the only wicket to fall to the faster bowlers when he edged Fernando to wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella after the hosts had taken the second new ball.

Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav was the only change for the touring side, called up as a replacement for suspended left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja.

The hosts have been hurt by injuries throughout the series and will be missing both spin spearhead Herath and paceman Nuwan Pradeep. Middle-order batsman Dhananjaya de Silva was dropped after scores of nought and 17 in Colombo.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John O’Brien/Peter Rutherford/Toby Davis)

Panthers down injury-hit Cowboys in NRL

Penrith have consolidated their position inside the NRL top eight with a Nathan Cleary-led 24-16 win over an injury-ravaged North Queensland at Pepper Stadium.

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Cleary came up with arguably the try-saver of the year and scored two decisive second-half tries to lead his side to victory on Saturday night over a gutsy Cowboys.

The Cowboys, already missing Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott, Gavin Cooper, Antonio Winterstein and Te Maire Martin, were struck two massive blows when they lost Michael Morgan and Justin O’Neill to injury.

It’s feared O’Neill’s season is over with a suspected dislocated elbow. Halfback Morgan didn’t return in the second half after suffering a concussion.

The Cowboys were brave, playing the entire second stanza with two men on the bench, while fullback Lachlan Coote seemed to be playing through ankle and leg injuries.

After taking a 10-6 lead into halftime, the Cowboys extended their advantage when front-rower-turned-halfback John Asiata threw a short ball for Jason Taumalolo to get over.

After Cleary pulled his side back within four points with a 50th-minute try, he pulled off a memorable try-saver when he held up Cowboys big man Coen Hess to prevent North Queensland taking a 10-point lead.

The Cowboys ran out of gas with Cleary scoring twice in the last 30 minutes to give his side a valuable two points which jumps them into sixth.

After James Tamou crashed over against his old club, the teenage halfback delivered the coup de grace in the 70th minute for his side’s sixth win in a row.

“I’m always proud of this club. We didn’t write ourselves off,” Panthers coach Anthony Griffin said.

“It’s just business as usual. We’re not thinking all of a sudden ‘look what we’ve done’. We worked really hard to get to this point, the season’s on a knife edge and we need to get back and attack it again.”

It was the Cowboys’ third loss on the trot to put them in danger of missing the finals, however coach Paul Green declared they were still in the hunt.

“They didn’t roll over – we kept competing. I was really proud of the character,” Green said.

“While you’ve got that, you’re a chance in any game. We’re not done yet.

“It just feels like there’s a few things going against us the last couple of weeks.”

Eleven dead in Kenya post-election riots

Kenyan police have killed at least 11 people in a crackdown on protests as anger at the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta erupted in the western city of Kisumu and slums ringing the capital.

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The bodies of nine young men shot dead overnight in Nairobi’s Mathare slum had been brought to the city morgue on Saturday, a security official said.

They were killed during police anti-looting operations, he told Reuters news agency.

Separately, a young girl in Mathare was killed by police firing “sporadic shots”, a witness said.

The run-down neighbourhood is loyal to 72-year-old opposition leader Raila Odinga, whose party rejected Tuesday’s vote as a “charade”.

Tear gas and live rounds were fired in Kisumu. One man had been killed, a government official said.

The unrest erupted moments after Kenya’s election commission announced late on Friday that Kenyatta, 55, had secured a second five-year term despite opposition allegations the tally was a fraud.

Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i said the trouble was localised and blamed it on “criminal elements” rather than legitimate political protest.

Odinga’s NASA coalition provided no evidence for its rejection of the result.

Kenya’s main monitoring group, ELOG, said on Saturday its tally matched the official outcome, undermining NASA’s allegations of fraud.

In addition to the deaths, Kisumu’s main hospital was treating four people for gunshot wounds and six who had been beaten by Kenyan police, its records showed.

One man, 28-year-old Moses Oduor, was inside his home in the impoverished district of Obunga when police conducting house-to-house raids dragged him out of his bedroom and beat him with clubs.

“He was not out fighting them. He was rescued by my sister who lives next to him. She came outside screaming at the police, asking why they are beating people,” his brother, Charles Ochieng said, speaking on behalf of a dazed Oduor.

More shooting was heard outside the hospital on Saturday morning.

In Nairobi, armed police units backed by water cannon moved through the rubble-strewn streets of Kibera, another pro-Odinga slum.

Interior minister Matiang’i defended the police against accusations of brutality.

“Let us be honest – there are no demonstrations happening,” he told reporters.

“Individuals or gangs that are looting shops, that want to endanger lives, that are breaking into people’s businesses – those are not demonstrators, they are criminals and we expect police to deal with criminals how criminals should be dealt with.”

As with previous votes in 2007 and 2013, this year’s elections have exposed the underlying ethnic tensions in the nation of 45 million, the economic engine of East Africa and the region’s main trading hub.

In particular, Odinga’s Luo tribe, who hail from the west, had hoped an Odinga presidency would have broken the Kikuyu and Kalenjin dominance of central government since independence in 1963.

Kenyatta, son of Kenya’s first president, is a Kikuyu.

Crows too good for Bombers in AFL shootout

Adelaide have left Essendon’s AFL finals hopes in tatters, downing the Bombers by 43 points in an Etihad Stadium shootout.

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The top-of-the-ladder Crows led at every break on Saturday night and survived a Cale Hooker-inspired Bombers comeback to post an 18.15 (123) to 12.8 (80) victory.

Gun forwards Josh Jenkins and Mitch McGovern booted three goals apiece while Matt Crouch (35 disposals, seven clearances) was dominant in the middle.

Adelaide had powered their way to a comfortable lead before Hooker turned the game with a huge second half.

The reinvented key forward booted two goals in quick succession midway through the third quarter to rouse the crowd from their slumber.

Former skipper Jobe Watson, who earlier in the week announced he would retire at the end of the season, brought the house down moments later when he kicked truly on the run.

Hooker then booted a 55m goal – his fourth for the night – to cut the margin to 19 points and give the Bombers hope of a miracle comeback.

But the Crows had all the answers, snatching the momentum back with goals to Brodie Smith and Jenkins on the verge of three-quarter time.

Jenkins proved the chief destroyer for the Crows in the final quarter, adding two more majors to his tally to put the result beyond doubt.

“There were probably a couple of times where Essendon really surged on us,” Adelaide coach Don Pyke said.

“It was a night where we were challenged in a number of ways and I thought we just found a way in the end.”

Hooker and excitement machine Joe Daniher combined for seven goals in a positive for the Bombers.

Top draft pick Andrew McGrath meanwhile achieved the rare feat of holding Crows genius Eddie Betts goalless in an excellent shutdown role.

But the clinical Crows ultimately proved too polished and too potent up forward.

“In areas of our game, we learnt that we’re not quite at the elite level yet,” Essendon coach John Worsfold said.

“Our ball use wasn’t as good as theirs … they took their opportunities and didn’t miss too many when they won the ball back.”

The result leaves the Crows six points clear of second-placed Greater Western Sydney, with a home final virtually guaranteed.

Essendon will finish the round outside of the top eight with just two games remaining.

The Bombers will start favourites against Gold Coast (away) and Fremantle (home) but even if they win both games, it may not be enough to secure a finals berth.