Nine slammed for snubbing Titans in new NRL Promo

The Rugby League season hasn’t even started, but the controversy has already begun.

NRL on NINE took to social media this morning to unveil their new 2020 promo video, which features the return of Tina Turner as the face and voice of the game.

Whilst the ad is extremely catchy and well put together, it didn’t take long before people began to notice something was missing.

The footage, which is promoting the upcoming season, features a montage of every club in the NRL – except the Gold Coast Titans and New Zealand Warriors.

Whilst some would understand why the Warriors would be left out, considering the Nine Network doesn’t air the Rugby League in New Zealand, mystery surrounds why the Gold Coast club fails to get a feature in the clip.

“Geez don’t think titans look good in this promo. Dead set the only team that doesn’t feature. Poor form” one person commented on the video.

“Hey Nine. Why not one single shot of anything to do with the @GCTitans??” wrote another.

“Disgusting how some teams got forgotten!!!” another comment reads.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Nine told myGC “The new ‘Simply The Best’ campaign celebrates some of the most memorable moments from the past 30 years of the NRL since the original iconic campaign.

“While it can be difficult to squeeze so much history into a short promo, there will be another version seen in the coming days which will feature all 16 NRL clubs, including the Gold Coast Titans.”

myGC has contacted the Titans for comment.

WATCH:

Tennis Court

Smoke forces Open qualifying delay again

Australian Open officials have again been forced to delay the start of qualifying matches as they wait for smoke from the Victorian bushfires hanging over Melbourne to clear sufficiently.

The first matches on court on Wednesday won’t be until at least 1pm, three hours later than the original start time and practice has been suspended until 11am.

Conditions at Melbourne Park aren’t forecast to improve until late on Wednesday, after it plagued the opening day’s play when organisers were heavily criticised for allowing matches to proceed.

Officials said onsite monitoring showed conditions on Wednesday morning were similar to those on Tuesday morning.

A number of players complained on Tuesday, including Australian Bernard Tomic, who sought medical treatment during his first round loss when he struggled to breathe.

Slovenia’s Dalila Jakupovic feared she would pass out before retiring from her match when she collapsed to her knees with a coughing fit.

Health authorities expect the air quality to bounce between the “very poor to hazardous range” until at least Wednesday afternoon, with a top temperature of 34C before a late change that’s set to bring rain.

Tennis Australia said it will continue to work with its medical team, the Bureau of Meterology and Environment Protection Authority Victoria scientists when making decisions about whether it’s safe to play.

TA said it has installed measuring devices on-site for air quality, with play cleared to continue during the opening round of qualifying.

Qualifying top seed Dennis Novak from Austria will be in action against German Dustin Brown, while a number of local hopes take to the court on day two.

Among the Australian women, Kaylah McPhee will face Belarussian Greet Minnen while Jamie Fourlis meets Fang Yin Xun from China.

Olivia Rogowska and Storm Standers are also scheduled for first-round action.

In the men’s draw, Akira Santillan will play Frenchman Quentin Halys while Sydney teen Rinky Hijikata has a tough first-up encounter against second-seeded Swiss Henri Laaksonen.

Australia is already guaranteed 18 players in the singles main draws, led by women’s world No.1 Ashleigh Barty, with play getting underway on Monday.

© AAP 2020

Ashleigh Barty

Early knock-out for Ash Barty at the Brisbane International

Ash Barty has already been knocked out of the Brisbane International.

The World Number One took to the court for the first time today, for her second round clash against American Jennifer Brady, after a bye in the first round.

The tourist took out the first set 6-4 at Barty’s home court in Brisbane.

Barty came back in the second, clawing back to a 6-6 tie – forcing a tiebreaker.

Barty pulled within a point at 5-4 before handing her opponent two match points.

The American qualifier had already bested five-time grand slam champ Maria Sharapova in the opening round, and will now go into the third round after defeating the World Number One 6-4, 7-6.

Sports stars pledge money for fire victims

Nick Kyrgios has kicked off a flood of donations to the bushfire effort from sporting names around Australia, including American NBL star LaMelo Ball.

Kyrgios floated the idea of a charity tennis exhibition match and followed that up by pledging $200 for each ace he serves across the Australian summer of tennis.

Fellow Australian players Alex de Minaur, John Millman and Samantha Stosur, among others, also vowed to donate money from their aces while the new ATP Cup got on board.

The tournament announced that for every ace served over the next 10 days across the three venues they will send $100 to the Australian Red Cross, with the final figure expected to surpass $150,000.

NBA-bound Ball, who plays for the Illawarra Hawks, pledged to donate one month of his NBL salary to help victims of the devastating fires.

“It’s sad to see what is happening on the south coast of Australia,” Ball said in a statement.

“People have lost their homes and everything they own. My parents taught me to help out wherever I can, so this is my way of helping out.”

Big Bash League captains, Brisbane Heat’s Chris Lynn and Melbourne Stars’ Glenn Maxwell as well as Hurricanes batsman D’Arcy Short, have all pledged $250 for each six they hit in the competition.

“It is special to see so many athletes from various sports getting in behind the real heroes who are fighting to save lives and properties around our country,” Lynn tweeted.

Australia’s cricketers will also auction off signed shirts from the Boxing Day Test while Cricket Australia will throw open the gates to firefighters during two SCG one-dayers against New Zealand in March, also using the trans-Tasman series as a fundraising drive.

© AAP 2020

Nick Kyrgios

Kyrgios proposes tennis fire fundraiser

Tennis Australia say plans are in place to support those impacted by the country’s bushfires after star Nick Kyrgios proposed a charity exhibition match to raise funds ahead of this month’s Australian Open.

The world No.30 posted his idea to Twitter late on Wednesday in a move that garnered widespread support.

“C’mon @TennisAustralia surely we can do a pre @AustralianOpen exho to raise funds for those affected by the fires?,” he said.

On Thursday morning Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said the public should “stay tuned” for the announcement of a number of initiatives, beginning at the inaugural ATP Cup in Sydney, Perth and Brisbane from Friday.

Nick Kyrgios of Australia is seen during a practice session for the ATP Cup at the Queensland Tennis Centre in Brisbane, Wednesday, January 1, 2020. (AAP Image/Darren England)

Many of the game’s headline acts, including world No.1 Rafael Nadal and No.2 Novak Djokovic, are in Australia to play in the newly-minted teams event ahead of the year’s first grand slam at Melbourne Park.

Last year Kyrgios, John Millman, Nadal and Milos Raonic played an exhibition match in Sydney in a Team Australia vs Team World Fast4 format.

The deadly fires continue to burn across the country and Tiley said Tennis Australia “wanted to help these communities in a meaningful way”.

“For weeks we’ve been watching the devastation caused by bushfires across Australia and the people affected are constantly in our thoughts,” he said.

“We … will announce a number of fund raising and support initiatives that will be rolled out across the ATP Cup, Australian Open and our other events over the coming weeks.

“Stay tuned for further announcements.”