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July, 2019

Lewis happy to lead Hawks in AFL

Jordan Lewis is ready to captain AFL premiers Hawthorn, provided Luke Hodge decides it’s time to step aside.

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There is speculation that Lewis will take over next season from Hodge, who is widely respected as the sport’s best skipper.

Hodge has been the on-field leader for their premiership three-peat and, while he was busted for drink driving during the finals, he retains a lofty status in the game.

Hawthorn will most likely decide next month whether to make the change.

“There’s obviously a lot of water to go under the bridge,” Lewis said.

“When the time is right, Hodgey will understand that he’s not going to be around forever.

“So if he feels the need … to pass that on, whether it’s this year or next year, there’s probably a handful of guys waiting in the wings that could honestly stand up and lead this team really well.”

Lewis turns 30 next year, making him two years younger than Hodge.

“Hodgey is obviously the leader and has been a great leader for so long, so why tip him out when he’s at the top of his game?,” he said.

“He will do it if he wants to do it – if he doesn’t, then someone else will have to step up and fill that role.”

Lewis made it clear he is ready for the role and said given Hawthorn’s strength, it would be a straightforward succession.

“It would sit comfortably, there’s no doubt about that,” he said.

“I’ve been around for 12 years now, I’m experienced.

“You don’t have to really control this group like some of the other clubs – we have a pretty disciplined group.

“And it’s quite an easy side to lead.”

Lewis’ standing at the club was highlighted on Wednesday when new sponsor Audi announced him as their latest ambassador.

The hard-nosed onballer is the odd man out in a group that includes celebrities such as Hugh Jackman and Collette Dinnigan.

“I’m a little bit embarrassed, but you take what comes your way,” he said.

“I remember when I first arrived at the club, I had a Holden that broke down after two weeks – that was a major disaster.”

Tigers destroyed in Shield by WA gun Paris

One year ago, West Australian paceman Joel Paris couldn’t even pick up a pair of socks without getting injured.

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Now, the 22-year-old paceman is being touted as a future Test prospect after playing a match-winning role in WA’s nine-wicket triumph over Tasmania at the WACA Ground.

Paris, playing just his second Sheffield Shield match, snared 6-23 to dismiss Tasmania for 205 in their second innings.

It left WA needing just 52 runs to win, and they achieved their target with ease courtesy of Cameron Bancroft (32no) and Jonathan Wells (18no).

But the day well and truly belonged to Paris.

Tasmania resumed play on day four at 5-184, with the visitors requiring a big knock to add significant runs to their overnight lead of 30.

But the Tigers’ victory hopes were in tatters when Paris dismissed Tom Triffitt (13) and Xavier Doherty (0) before a run had been added to the overnight score.

Paris then removed dangerman James Faulkner for 40, and he had wicket No.6 when Jackson Bird skied him to fine leg.

Cricket fans had a taste of Paris’ potential during last summer’s domestic one-day cup, when he snared 13 wickets at an average of 12.92 to spearhead WA’s title-winning campaign.

But a torn quad suffered in the final ended up grounding Paris for the rest of the summer.

So fragile was his quad at the time, Paris even re-injured it while picking up a pair of socks.

“I rang the physio after I did it, and we had a bit of a chuckle about it,” Paris said on Wednesday.

“It didn’t take much for it to re-tear. And that was the problem. It wasn’t fully re-tearing – it was just little tears here and there that kept me out of the game.

“It wasn’t a great situation to be in, but we tried to see some positives out of it, and that was to build some strength up and have a good crack this year.”

Paris snared six wickets in his Shield debut against Victoria last month, and his game haul of eight wickets against Tasmania showcased his match-winning abilities.

WA coach Justin Langer said a Test career beckoned for Paris if he could stay fit.

“We know he’s a real talent,” Langer said.

“When you get six-for, you straight away put your name up, don’t you?”

Tasmanian skipper and former Test batsman George Bailey was also impressed by the emerging paceman.

“He’s tall with good pace and swings it, which is three pretty key ingredients,” Bailey said.

“I spent a little bit of time with him in Brisbane at the cricket academy, and was really impressed by his work ethic and character.”

No Test pitch monster in Hobart: curator

No “green eyed monster” lies in wait for the wounded West Indies in the first Test against Australia – just plenty of runs, Hobart curator Marcus Pamplin says.

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Despite the Bellerive Oval deck still boasting a distinct green tinge on Test eve, Pamplin played down talk that batsmen would be treading on a minefield.

Asked if speculation over a raging green top had been blown out of proportion, Pamplin said: “I think so.

“I think the ball will come right through to the batsmen.

“It will be pretty tough for the first session but then it will be a nice batting track.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they bat first whoever wins the toss.”

Pamplin said he had prepared the same wicket in which Test keeper Peter Nevill stroked an unbeaten 235 for NSW in February in their Sheffield Shield win by an innings over Tasmania.

He said the last Shield clash in Hobart barely a fortnight ago would also provide a clue to what to expect this week.

In that match, Tasmania lost the toss and sent South Australia in – the Redbacks were 3-441 by stumps on the first day on their way to a 302-run win.

“It’s very similar to pitches in Shield games. I reckon the Shield games have been a tad greener,” Pamplin said.

“I reckon we’ve had the most centuries here in Shield cricket and we’ve all had results too (this season).

“It just goes to show the ball is really coming on to the bat, with a lot of range for shots, and the outfield is really quick.”

In the last Tasmania-SA Shield clash, neither side picked spinners.

But Pamplin predicted Australian offie Nathan Lyon – celebrating his 50th Test – would still be a factor at Hobart against the Windies.

“We used this pitch last season against NSW and Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe took a lot of wickets in the second innings,” he said of Lyon (4-75 match figures) and O’Keefe (3-45).

“And to prove there was still a lot of pace in it, Doug Bollinger (7-94 match figures) got wickets as well.

“And there was a lot of runs scored – I think Peter Nevill scored 230 (sic).”

Pamplin said he had not felt pressure to produce a result wicket to ensure interest in a Hobart Test.

“Not really. We are just trying to produce the best wicket we can and hopefully it goes four, five days,” he said.

Canberra is believed to be poised to replace Hobart as a Test venue if the Windies clash attracts poor crowds.

Gina excited about first Roy Hill shipment

Billionaire Gina Rinehart is excited about Roy Hill’s first iron ore shipment this week despite the commodity trading at a fresh 10-year low.

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Australia’s richest person is preparing to celebrate the company’s first load of the steel-making ingredient from Port Hedland on Thursday following recent delays to the $10 billion project.

“Despite the many media critics and their relentless negativity, we have now loaded a ship of low phosphorous Roy Hill ore, the next step in the exciting story of the Roy Hill project,” Mrs Rinehart said in a statement.

The loading of the MV Anangel Explorer was completed on Tuesday, a day after the price of Australia’s largest export commodity fell below the key psychological barrier of $US40 per tonne.

Hancock Prospecting executive director Tad Watroba said the ship loading was a “very happy day” for everyone associated with Roy Hill and attacked those who blame iron ore price falls on the company boosting global supply.

“With more than 90 per cent of Roy Hill’s production secured under long-term contracts, very little ore will enter the spot iron ore market,” Mr Watroba said.

However, details of the prices Roy Hill’s minority partners have paid for their iron ore have not be released.

The iron ore spot price fell to $US38.65 overnight as Chinese steel demand remains weak.

Mrs Rinehart recently revealed that she acted against the advice and recommendations of experts who said pursuing Roy Hill was the wrong decision.

Last week Roy Hill rescheduled the departure of its first shipment due to “progressive commissioning and operational and safety constraints” but the company said on Tuesday that the loading was more than a month ahead of Mrs Rinehart’s expectations.

Roy Hill plans to ramp up to its 55 million tonne capacity within 18 months, a feat which has not been achieved in the Pilbara.

The first shipment comes as global miner Anglo American flagged production cuts across its two iron ore operations in South Africa and Brazil as part of a “radical” company-wide restructure.

Fast bowlers to lead West Indies charge

West Indies skipper Jason Holder admits he’s even having trouble winning the toss of late.

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But the underdog captain said his team’s preparation was as good as it could be going into Thursday’s Hobart Test series opener against Australia.

While the visitors’ final XI is yet to be confirmed, the likelihood is a line-up similar to that thrashed by 10 wickets by a rookie Australian side during a warm-up game in Brisbane last week, plus the addition of fast bowler Jerome Taylor.

The right-arm quick will spearhead the West Indies’ attack and, along with bolter Shannon Gabriel, will be charged with slicing through the Aussie middle order.

“If we can get into their middle order as quickly as possible, that would be better off for us,” Holder told reporters on Wednesday.

Australia’s in-form opener David Warner and No.3 Steve Smith are the sticking points in the West Indies’ plan and will be the priorities for Taylor and Gabriel.

And once they’re gone, Holder wants to target what he sees a shaky middle order.

“Guys like Shaun Marsh, who’s coming back into the side, and Joe Burns (who) is trying to make his mark … there are some other guys who are just trying to settle in (to) the Australian side who we can try to exploit and put pressure on if we get the top-order players out,” the skipper said.

It will be tempting for Holder to unleash his fast bowlers as soon as possible on a green Bellerive deck, but that’s up to the mercy of a coin flip.

“We’ll see how it goes – I haven’t won a toss for a little while either,” he joked.

Having put the Brisbane walloping behind them, Holder said the West Indies had knuckled down to training.

“All the guys have done all they possibly can leading up to this first game.

“It has to be a situation where we have to put things right: players think a little bit more on their feet and just try to analyse each situation as it comes.

“Once we do that, we will be in good stead in this first Test match.”

Amid widespread scrutiny of their inexperience, Holder admitted some of the commentary might be justified.

“We haven’t been near our best in the recent past but I still have faith that we can turn things around,” he said, adding that consistency would be the key to change.

“That’s where we fell down for the last few months, the last few years. It has to start somewhere – we just need to be consistent in whatever we do.

“Once we start doing that, we’ve shown in the past that we can take 20 wickets.

“We just need to put our heads down, think a little bit more and try to fight through situations.”