Captains cook up a real clash of styles

When Nick Maxwell was on the rookie list at Collingwood, seven short years ago, his then captain immediately noticed the kid from Geelong who seemed to have plenty to say.Nathan Buckley has been around football clubs long enough to know that there are blokes who want to lead and blokes who follow. In Maxwell, he saw the first of the two categories. ”I reckon he’s always been a leader,” said Buckley during the week. ”Even back then, he’d be organising blokes for social functions, making sure blokes were doing the right thing.”Hence, when Scott Burns retired at the end of 2008 and Collingwood needed another captain, Buckley was a strong advocate of Nick Maxwell’s credentials for the job, albeit from a distance. Outside the club there were doubts; in the inner sanctum, the self-made player was a walk-up start. As a player, Maxwell has had to work for everything. But as a leader, he is Mr Natural.At 2pm today at the MCG, he will trot into the centre to toss a coin and shake hands with Chris Judd, Carlton’s inspirational captain and champion of the game. Judd was destined to captain an AFL club from the time he was a teenager, though the journey has been strewn with difficulties.As a self-confessed introvert, Judd has struggled with aspects of the captaincy that was first thrust on him at West Coast when Ben Cousins imploded. When he lifted the premiership cup in 2006, he had to share the podium with Cousins who appeared intent on thumbing his nose at the world with his whirling dervish act. At Carlton, people let Judd down, notably Brendan Fevola. Critics took potshots at him for failing to control the actions of others, and some of the mud stuck.While Judd has always had the fallback position of performing heroics on the field – witness his game against Geelong last Monday – he is yet to win unequivocal public acclaim as a captain.The one thing today’s captains at the MCG have in common is that they are profoundly important to their teams.Aside from his leadership, Maxwell is now an all-Australian defender, a lightning rod for his team. Matthew Lloyd, the former Essendon captain, sees Collingwood developing in Maxwell’s image.”The way the team plays signifies what Nick’s about, I reckon,” said Lloyd. ”They don’t rely on any one individual, they all contribute. There’s nothing lairy about them. They do everything right, which is how you’d describe Nick Maxwell’s game. Also, they’re very strong and hard.”Improvement as a player has been pivotal to Maxwell’s success as a captain. Even his supporters at Collingwood would admit to some surprise that the upward curve was so dramatic.”I’ve always loved the way he’s gone about it,” said Buckley. ”I mean, he was always going to get the best out of himself.”There’s plenty of ways to judge an individual’s contribution to a footy club. First and foremost is their ability to play the game, and he’s improved that, probably exponentially, really. He’s gone from being a role player, worked on his game to the point where he’s a weapon for us now. You wouldn’t have said that three years ago, but he’s done that.”Unlike Judd, Maxwell was not a champion junior. He played for St Joseph’s College in Geelong and for Geelong Falcons in the TAC Cup, but was scarcely noticed. He did not play for Victoria, and in his final year, osteitis pubis stopped him from finishing the season.He would not be drafted; not even rookie-listed.”He was a good player; I wouldn’t say he was an outstanding player,” recalls Michael Turner, the Falcons’ regional manager and former Geelong captain. ”But at the same time, he worked really hard.”Turner believes it is attitude that set Maxwell apart from any other rejected player. ”I remember when he was finishing with us, he needed a car, and he went ‘bang’ and bought a [Mitsubishi] Magna. He paid $18,000 cash and he’d saved it up. He always had a job, even when he didn’t need to. That’s the type of person he is.”Maxwell went to Ballarat University, played for North Ballarat in the VFL, and soon found himself at Collingwood. ”The thing that has driven Nick Maxwell and got him to where he is now is attitude,” said Turner. ”He’s very determined, very organised; he gets the best out of himself. That’s why he was a good pick as captain. He’s a good decision-maker … Athletically, he’s improved a lot. And as captain, he’s gone to another level. Being captain of such a big club, it’s never bothered him or overwhelmed him.”As for Judd, Lloyd believes he is growing into the role after the Fevola debacle and the infamous ”booze cruise” during the off-season.”One of the points I made is that if he’s not a vocal leader, he needs to become one,” said Lloyd. ”If they feel there’s a cultural problem at Carlton, he has to.”Buckley also admires Judd from afar.”There’s no doubt those players walk taller when he’s out on the field,” he said. ”Drawing a line from that, you’d have to say Judd’s pushing the right buttons at Carlton.”
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Sweet revenge – Bradshaw boomer sinks Lions

Sydney 16.11 (107) Brisbane 13.9 (87) UNWANTED former Brisbane Lion Daniel Bradshaw kicked six goals – including an epic 60-metre torpedo punt on the stroke of three-quarter-time – to remind those up north the kind of player they let go as the top-of-the-ladder Swans scored a momentum-building win over the highly fancied Lions last night.Bradshaw was replaced at the Lions by Brendan Fevola, but the controversial marksman’s formidable partnership with Jonathan Brown reaped only moderate rewards for the out-enthused visitors. They kicked four goals each as the Swans midfield starved them of possession.The Swans dictated most of the first half, including an extraordinary run of 9.1 between late in the first term and midway through the second, after which they led by seven goals, thrilling a vocal crowd of 30,975. The Lions hit back with three unanswered goals before the main break, including Fevola’s first, to leave the score at 9.5.59 to 5.3.33.The third term proved a vicious battle, but it was topped off by the goal of the season so far. With the Swans leading 15.8 to 11.4, Bradshaw marked about 55 metres from goal, deep on the right wing.The siren sounded and Bradshaw used the only option possible – a torpedo.He hit it sweetly and the ball seemed to take an eternity to travel the distance before sailing through the posts.All the Swans players ran to their new teammate, the crowd went wild and the Lions players stood stunned. The goal put the Swans ahead by 34 points and gave them the impetus they needed to remain on top in a nail-biting final quarter.The ingredients for a Bradshaw-Brown shootout were in place early. Brown scored twice in the first few minutes, including a silky free kick from 55 metres.But the Swans hit back heavily. On 14 minutes, Bradshaw marked strongly over Joel Patfull and converted from the arc.The Swans’ speed off half-back – a key to their early-season good form – hurt the Lions’ midfield and led to Bradshaw’s second, and his third moments later.Jarred Moore chipped in with a mark and goal after more frantic work over the ball, and Jude Bolton completed his comeback from a nasty concussion in the opening minutes by scoring to give the Swans a neat cushion at the first break. The rush continued in the second term. Bolton scored another from half-forward, Nick Smith picked up the crumbs to score a goal and Bradshaw took a brilliant one-handed mark in the forward pocket and then scored – all in the first five minutes.Daniel Hannebery left the field with a dislocated shoulder, but returned soon enough, as the Swans powered on, with Adam Goodes extending the lead to a commanding seven goals.But the Lions wouldn’t be tamed.Todd Banfield pulled one back midway through the term, before Fevola was awarded a free against his marker, Lewis Roberts-Thomson, and scored.The tussle grew in intensity and Lewis Jetta nearly brought the house down when he scooted down the left wing, shot from 45 metres … and shaved the post. Instead, five minutes later – off just one step – Brown punted a 55m goal to give the Lions some joy at half-time. Fevola had only four touches in the first half, but scored two goals in the first five minutes after the break to close the gap to just 14 points.The tension roused the Swans, who hit back with goals to Goodes and Smith.But the Lions again crept back. Fevola kicked another off the ground, Banfield kicked his second and when Matthew Leuenberger crumbed another goal, and the difference was only 10 points.The Swans responded.The in-form Kieren Jack snapped a goal, Bradshaw kicked his fifth and Nick Malceski wandered up the ground to mark strongly, score and restore a 29-point lead.Brown and Goodes swapped majors before Bradshaw produced his epic torpedo.A third goal to Banfield, and one to James Polkinghorne kept the final term anxious for the Swans, but after an all-round superb effort, they weren’t going to let the game slip out of their grasp.
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Smith calls on NRL to halt the exodus of star players

MELBOURNE STORM skipper Cameron Smith last night declared the NRL must do more to retain its star players as Israel Folau continues to contemplate his future in the code.”I hear people at the top of our game say that young stars will keep coming through but I haven’t seen another Sonny Bill Williams come through since he left. He’s left a massive hole in our game,” an emotional Smith said.”I don’t know what way the NRL need to go about keeping all of our young stars or our older stars in the game, but I think they need to do something. You just can’t let blokes like Israel Folau leave the game – he’s only 22. I don’t know whether it’s increasing rep payments or what it is but I think we need to be working harder to keep those good players. We just can’t keep letting them leave our code to go to other codes or overseas.”You want to play against the best players in the world and I know the fans want to see all the great players play our game as well.”Meanwhile, Cooper Cronk’s week from hell will get a little brighter this afternoon when the halfback is named in the Australian Test team for this Friday’s Anzac test.Star No.7 Johnathan Thurston has been ruled out after leaving the field with a right shoulder injury just 11 minutes into the Cowboys’ loss to the carefree Melbourne Storm at Dairy Farmers Stadium, which packed in a season-high 19,853 fans – most of whom were sympathetic to the Storm.They might not be playing for points but the Storm showed they still have a point to prove, with big hits from Adam Blair and Brett Finch at the seventh and eighth minutes respectively relegating a sorry Thurston to the sheds.Many wondered if the team could replicate last week’s charged flogging of the New Zealand Warriors just three days after learning their season was effectively over; the Storm gave an emphatic yes at the 16th minute when forward Brian Norrie crossed to help the side to a 6-0 lead with Smith’s ensuing conversion. Cronk, Smith, Billy Slater, Finch and Greg Inglis dominated proceedings, at least two having a hand in all four first-half Storm tries to Norrie, Matt Duffie, Inglis and Finch.”The thing we look forward to now is enjoying our weekend and our game, and that was us having fun,” said Smith, who attempted one conversion with his right foot after a horrible night with his left. ”That’s no disrespect to the opposition; having fun is what we want to do. We’ve been told we can’t play for points and that’s a way for us to enjoy the game. Hopefully that will keep bringing the fans to the game.”I think a few of the boys took on board the comments from [Penrith coach] Matt Elliott about revolutionising the game and we’ve had a bit of a chat about the way we want to play our footy – but Globetrotters is probably going a bit far [laughs].”We just want to express our skills on-field whereas when we were playing for points, it was more of a regimented game … Now it’s about [scoring] points and [having] fun.”MELBOURNE 34 (M Duffie B Finch G Inglis J Lima D Nielsen B Norrie A Quinn tries C Smith 3 goals) bt NORTH QUEENSLAND 6 (S Bolton try A Graham goal) at Dairy Farmers Stadium. Referee: Gavin Badger, Gerard Sutton. Crowd: 19,853.
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Obama to see oil slick amid unchecked gusher fears

US PRESIDENT Barack Obama will visit an oil spill area in the Gulf of Mexico in the next 48 hours to assess the situation and the US government’s response.Oil from a giant Gulf of Mexico slick began washing onto Louisiana shores on Friday, threatening an environmental calamity, as two more neighbouring states declared a state of emergency.With up to 757,000 litres of oil a day spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, the accident stemming from a sunken offshore rig may soon rival the Exxon Valdez disaster as the worst oil spill in US history.The Mobile Press-Register reported yesterday that the US Coast Guard now feared the underwater oil well could become an unchecked gusher shooting millions of litres of oil per day.Citing a confidential National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report, the Alabama newspaper said two additional release points had been found.”If the riser pipe deteriorates further, the flow could become unchecked, resulting in a release volume . . . higher than previously thought,” the paper quotes the report as saying.Earlier, Mr Obama said about 1900 federal response personnel were in the area with 300 boats and aircraft.The White House also put new domestic offshore oil drilling on hold until the disaster had been fully investigated. It has sent teams to the Gulf Coast “to inspect all deep water rigs and platforms to address safety concerns”.BP faces a slew of US lawsuits accusing it of negligence over the spill. The suits were filed as US government officials said that BP was responsible for cleaning up the slick and the British oil giant pledged to pay for “legitimate claims” stemming from the disaster.Two shrimp boat operators have filed a suit in New Orleans seeking class-action status on behalf of all Louisiana residents who live, work in or derive their income from the zone affected by the oil spill.Their suit alleges that the fire, explosion and resulting spill at the rig were “caused by the joint negligence and fault” of BP and other defendants.
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Lovers caught in web of intrigue: desperate, dateless and married

We are a nation of philanderers. Two new dating websites have confirmed our infidelity.More than 280,000 people – 36 per cent of them women – have signed up to ashleymadison南京夜网 since it was launched here three weeks ago.Along with rival gleeden南京夜网, it follows the basic structure of most dating sites, where members publish profiles outlining their interests, passions and sexual proclivities.About 13,000 people visited gleeden南京夜网 in its first week.But instead of singles, the pay-to-join sites specifically cater for married people looking for secret dalliances or long-term affairs.”It is not in anyone’s DNA to stay with the same person,” ashleymadison南京夜网 founder Noel Biderman said. ”So this notion that [our site is] generating this kind of behaviour is wrong.”American TV host Dr Phil McGraw agrees. Last week, the clinical pyschologist known as Dr Phil told female viewers how to tell if their man would cheat on them.He said men with a ring finger longer than their index finger have higher testosterone levels and were more likely to cheat. He also said that men with a short gene – the vasopressin receptor gene – were predisposed to infidelity.But University of Sydney professor of medicine and molecular genetics Ron Trent said proving that a ”cheating gene” existed would be difficult.”There may be some sort of connection but these are complex traits and a lot of these situations involve a combination of genes and environmental factors,” Dr Trent said. ”For one, we cannot prove infidelity runs in families.”Running an adultery website has not made Mr Biderman insecure about his marriage but it has made him more pragmatic: ”It has challenged the paradigm I grew up with, that you should just get married. But there is more diversity than that out there.”NSW Family First representative the Reverend Gordon Moyes said the popularity of such sites was disappointing, if not surprising.”Infidelity solves nothing,” Mr Moyes said. ”It is not surprising that there are significant numbers of people who think they can get out of their rather boring malaise within their existing marriage by having an affair. However, you only have to read the celebrity pages to realise that the other partner often responds badly.”Mr Biderman said the Australian site had higher levels of female participation than sites in the US and Britain. ”Women who use the service haven’t been paid attention to, these women who were once such objects of desire that someone married them,” he said.University of Sydney behavioural scientist Dr Di Sansom said some people rediscovered the love they felt for their spouse after partaking in an affair: ”They find it is not as fulfilling as their marriage and so they end it.”Mr Biderman said his website was allowing more than 5.8 million people internationally to test the waters. ”It is hard for people to shed that idea of monogamy. When they are tired of vanilla, they want to try different flavours.”
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