Rotting Newcastle show no signs of arresting slump

Newcastle slipped to 15th, two points clear of the relegation zone with three games remaining, following Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Leicester City and they finished the match with nine men after defenders Mike Williamson and Daryl Janmaat were sent off.

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Williamson earned a second yellow card for a reckless tackle on Leicester striker Jamie Vardy and interim boss John Carver said he thought the defender had done it on purpose as an easy way out of Newcastle’s current crisis.

Williamson apologised, saying he would “never do anything intentionally to hurt the team or its supporters” but it is just the latest debacle for a club on its knees.

Newcastle’s slump started when Alan Pardew jumped ship for Crystal Palace in January, having spent four years as a largely unpopular figure at St James’ Park because of his close working relationship with owner Mike Ashley.

Newcastle were 10th in the table when Londoner Pardew departed, but the north-east club were expected to be in safe hands for the rest of the season under the guidance of passionate local man and Pardew’s former assistant Carver.

The reality, however, has been very different as Carver has won two out of 16 league games, while Palace have moved away from the relegation zone and up to 12th with Pardew at the helm.

Carver has resorted to verbal attacks on his players in an attempt to fire them up ahead of upcoming home games against West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United either side of a crunch away fixture against 19th-placed Queens Park Rangers.

But 50-year-old Carver, who media reports suggest will be replaced by Derby County’s Steve McClaren at the end of the season despite Derby flunking promotion to the English top flight, is not alone in his frustrations.

Angry Newcastle fans held a banner that read “We don’t demand a team that wins, we demand a club that tries” against Leicester before swarming around the players’ exit where the team bus was parked and shouting “cowards” at squad members.

“I can’t disagree with them,” Carver said when asked about fan abuse towards the Newcastle players.

Ashley’s ownership of the club has angered supporters since he took over in 2007 with fans accusing the British businessman of consistently selling Newcastle’s best players and offering little in terms of ambition.

Newcastle have not won a major trophy since the Fairs Cup in 1969 and the last big excitement for supporters came in the 1995-96 season when they were on course to win the league title until a dramatic collapse allowed Manchester United to overhaul them.

How Newcastle fans must long for a chance to throw away another title.

(Editing by Mark Meadows; [email protected]广西桑拿,; +44 20 7542 7933; Reuters Messaging:; mark.meadows.reuters广西桑拿,@reuters南宁桑拿,)

Sims comes to Reynolds’ defence

Tariq Sims has leapt to the defence of Josh Reynolds, saying he did not believe the Canterbury five-eighth tripped him during Sunday’s City-Country clash in Wagga Wagga.

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Reynolds was put on report twice in his City side’s 34-22 loss to Country in a match that put his NSW No.6 jersey in serious jeopardy.

As well as being reported for striking Country fullback David Mead, he was also cited for allegedly tripping Sims in the lead-up to the Newcastle back-rower’s try in the 51st minute.

Reynolds will come under scrutiny from the NRL match review committee and will miss State of Origin I if he is rubbed out for more than two weeks.

The 26-year-old could face a lengthy suspension after he was last year suspended for a similar incident on Ben Barba and any tripping charge will attract a 50 per cent loading.

However Sims declared there was nothing in the incident and that he didn’t feel Reynolds make contact with his legs.

“Personally I didn’t even feel it,” Sims told AAP.

“I don’t think anything should happen. He didn’t mean to do it, it’s just one of those reaction things.

“He’s a competitor, I know where he’s coming from. He doesn’t want anything to get past him.

“Personally I don’t think anything was in it.”

City coach and NSW great Brad Fittler said Reynolds needed to change his playing style and control his aggression.

“He throws everything at it and sometimes what comes up with that isn’t always the best,” Fittler said.

“Like that bit of a trip. We didn’t get the replays of that but Josh has got to learn to control that.

“Sometimes all of that effort isn’t put in the right direction. He’s wholehearted. You can’t knock him for that.”

Beale hopes NSW have broken the shackles

Playmaker Kurtley Beale is hoping the NSW Waratahs’ steady climb up the ladder will release the shackles as the defending champions push for back-to-back Super Rugby titles.

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After an inconsistent start to their campaign, the Waratahs have strung together three victories for the first time in 2015 to be better placed – wins wise – than at the same point last season.

But they have yet to produce the attacking razzle dazzle of 2014, scoring just one try in Friday’s steely 13-10 win over the Brumbies in Canberra and still averaging less than three five-pointers a game.

It was a mid-season bonus-point triumph over the Hurricanes that sparked a club-record nine-match winning streak and ultimately a maiden championship for Super Rugby’s perennial underachievers last year.

In comparisons impossible to ignore, as much as they try, the Tahs haven’t lost since pulling off a four-try comeback win over the ladder-leading Hurricanes in Wellington three weeks ago.

“We don’t want to compare ourselves to last year, but I think definitely we can learn a lot about the way we want to play,” Beale said ahead of his side’s testing trip to Perth to take on the Western Force, somewhat of a bogey side in recent times, on Saturday night.

“It’s just important for us to take it game by game and take a lot of confidence from winning down here in Canberra because it’s a difficult thing to do.

“They’re a great team. They’ve probably been one of the benchmark teams in the last three or four years. So for our boys we can learn a lot from that.

“There’s still a lot to improve on for us as a team.”

Their first win in the national capital, and seventh from 10 outings in 2015, gave the Waratahs the ascendancy over the Brumbies in the battle for Australian conference honours.

Beale is hoping that now the titleholders have their finals fate in their own hands, they’ll have the confidence to play with more freedom in the run to the playoffs.

“You want winning to be infectious,” he said.

“It definitely sets a really good mood within the group and the confidence just oozes throughout the whole group.

“It enables them to play their natural game and play the game we want to play – forgetting about the score and just playing to our identity and sticking to our guns.

“I think if we do that, then the results will hopefully happen later on.”

Sleep apps not so smart says expert

Popular sleep apps like Sleep Cycle and Sleep Time+ could be robbing insomniacs of much needed shut-eye, a Melbourne researcher will tell a New Zealand conference.

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New takes of traditional methods of getting to sleep like milk drinks and new approaches on smartphones are being discussed at the conference Sleep in Aotearoa.

The conference in Christchurch organised by the Australasian Sleep Association is being held on Monday and Tuesday.

It will canvass developments in insomnia, sleepiness, children’s sleep, and the common snoring condition sleep apnea and its treatment.

Up for discussion will be the effectiveness of a milk powder drink enriched with the sleep hormone melatonin, iPhone apps that could leave you sleepless.

A bizarre test to see if cold feet make you feel more alert is also being showcased.

“The more we investigate, the clearer it becomes that how much you sleep, when you sleep and whether you sleep well has a huge bearing on your waking life,” says conference organiser Angela Campbell.

Guest speaker Dr Sarah Biggs, a sleep researcher from Monash University in Melbourne, will present concerns around new smartphone technology that is designed to monitor and improve sleep.

She found that instead of aiding sleep, popular sleep apps like Sleep Cycle and Sleep Time+ could be robbing insomniacs of much needed shut-eye.

“These apps can give a false reassurance to those with insomnia or sleep apnea, leading them to believe they’re sleeping well when they’re not.”

They can paint a worrying picture of an individual’s sleep, adding to their night time anxieties and making a good night’s sleep even harder to attain.

Bickmore, Keddie, Tapsell Logie winners

Most Popular New Talent Logie winner, Love Child’s Miranda Tapsell, has used her triumph to call on casting bosses to put more indigenous people on Australian television.

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Offspring’s Asher Keddie has picked up her fifth consecutive Silver Logie for Most Popular Actress, while The Project’s Carrie Bickmore has bagged the Most Popular Talent award after four nominations.

And House Husbands star Julia Morris forgot one thing before announcing a Logie winner: the nominees.

Tapsell plays Martha Tenant on Love Child, which is set at a Kings Cross hospital in the late 1960s.

She said it was special to reach Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who have had experiences similar to those endured by the characters on Love Child.

“These women can look at Martha and think `that was me’,” Tapsell said.

“So if viewers clearly love seeing this, why deprive them of that?

“Put more beautiful people of colour on TV and connect viewers in ways which transcend race and unite us – that’s the real team Australia.”

Morris’ epic fail happened when she became so engaged in her monologue about presenting on her own that she went on to announce the The Voice Australia as the Most Outstanding Entertainment Program – forgetting to run through the nominees.

“It’s live, don’t tell anyone; we can cut it out later,” Morris quipped on her return to the microphone after the acceptance speeches.

Keddie was thrilled with her win but said she thought someone else should have been recognised.

“Oh, even I, myself, thought it should be someone’s else’s turn this year – but I’ll take it, thank you,” she said.

Bickmore said her Most Popular Presenter Logie had capped off a year of highs.

She and partner Chris Walker six weeks ago welcomed their daughter, Evie.

Evie is a sister to big brother Oliver, who Bickmore had with her husband Greg Lange, who died of cancer in 2010.

“To Chris thank you for supporting me along the way and showing me that there can be sunshine at the end of a long road,” she said.

“So thank you and what a cute little human we’ve created together – she’s gorgeous.”

The Block was crowned Most Popular Reality Program, Home and Away was named Most Popular Drama, and Stephen Peacocke took out the Most Popular Actor gong.

Peacocke played Darryl `Brax’ Braxton on Home and Away before leaving earlier this year. He accepted his award via video link from London where he is working on romantic drama Me Before You, starring Game Of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke.

Comedian Dave Hughes opened the night, roasting Nine network boss David Gyngell.

The Logies are being held at Crown Melbourne, which is owned by media mogul James Packer.

Hughes referred to the punch-up between Gyngell and Packer outside the latter’s Bondi home.

“The fight of the century wasn’t today, it wasn’t Mayweather versus Pacquiao in Los Vegas, the fight of the century was exactly 12 months ago and it was James Packer versus David Gyngell in Bondi,” he said, drawing laughter from the audience.

“We had the richest man in Australia and the boss of Channel Nine going toe-to-toe in their tracky dacks.

“They ended up rolling around on the gravel with the paparazzi watching on – it was amazing, it was a beautiful moment.”

Hughes said Gyngell told him he didn’t mind if he joked about the fight, just don’t show the photos.

“And I said why not, and he said because I look like a hobo.

“I said mate, you didn’t look like a hobo, Packer looked like a hobo, you looked like a crackhead.”