CONFIRMED! Gold Coast Titans name captains for 2021

After months of speculation, Gold Coast Titans coach Justin Holbrook has finally confirmed who will lead the club this year.

Second rower Kevin Proctor and half-back Jamal Fogarty have been named as co-captains for the 2021 NRL season.

Holbrook says giving both Proctor and Fogarty the honour was an obvious choice, with both players “outstanding leaders who will bring energy, effort and experience to the captaincy role”.

“I think for everyone in our Club this was the obvious way to go,” Holbrook said.

“I think KP did a really good job last year and the way Jamal came on last year and just lead the side around being a halfback, it was a perfect fit for us this year to have them both.

“They compliment each other and I’m really looking forward to them sharing the role this year.”

WATCH:

Proctor, who has played 252 NRL games, says he’s humbled to have been chosen as captain once again.

“It’s a proud moment for me and my family,” Proctor said.

“This is a massive honour for me and to be able to share it with Jamal and to see where he has come from to where he is now, it’s a massive honour and I can’t wait to get into the season with the boys.”

Fogarty, 27, said he’s extremely grateful for the opportunity, and can’t wait for the season to begin.

“It’s a massive achievement for myself,” Fogarty said.

“I think it is going to mean a fair bit, my family I know they’re going to be proud.

“I get to learn from the best in Kevvy, he’s a professional who does all of the one percenters and people in our team see that every day … for myself to be able to learn off Kevvy who has played in grand finals and has played for his country.”

Proctor and Fogarty will begin their co-captaincy duties this weekend, when the Titans take on the Warriors in their final pre-season trial before Round One gets underway.

Ex-NRL’s Burgess busted behind the wheel

Former NRL star Sam Burgess is due to spend more time fronting a magistrate after allegedly committing driving offences.

The 32-year-old was allegedly driving a BMW X5 when stopped on the Hume Highway south of Sydney on Monday.

“He was subjected to a random roadside drug test before being taken to Southern Highlands Police Station where he underwent a secondary oral fluid test,” police said in a statement, without naming Burgess.

“The sample has been sent for further analysis.”

The man was told to attend court for using an unregistered vehicle and failing to obtain a NSW driver’s licence after being in Australia for more than three months.

Numerous media outlets named the man as Briton Burgess, who was earlier in February convicted of intimidating his former father-in-law.

The retired star was sentenced to a two-year community corrections order, requiring him to be of good behaviour.

Burgess is due to face Moss Vale Local Court on the driving allegations on May 4.

© AAP 2021

Novak Djokovic

Djokovic eyes more history after Open win

Novak Djokovic admits he’s on a mission to hunt down every major record in tennis after continuing his mastery of Melbourne Park.

The super Serb added a record-extending ninth Australian Open crown to his rapidly growing grand slam collection with a crushing 7-5 6-2 6-2 win over Daniil Medvedev in Sunday night’s final.

The one-sided victory edged Djokovic to within two majors of the men’s all-time record of 20 shared by tennis titans Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Incredibly, Federer had amassed 12 slams before Djokovic won his first at the 2008 Australian Open – and 16 before the now-world No.1 snared his second at Melbourne Park three years later.

Now Djokovic could conceivably eclipse Federer’s – and Nadal’s – tally this year.

Djokovic will surpass Federer’s record 310 weeks as world No.1 next month and it seems inevitable he’ll also move past the superstar Swiss on the majors leaderboard as he, Federer and Nadal continue to jostle for all-time greatest status.

“To be honest, really at this stage of my career, it’s about majors. It’s about the ranking (record as) No.1 is obviously the two biggest goals,” Djokovic said.

“Once that historic No.1 is achieved, then my focus will go mostly to the slams. That’s where I want to shine.”

The 33-year-old is also only the second man ever to claim nine titles at the same slam, joining his great rival Nadal, who owns an eye-watering 13 French Open trophies, after snapping Medvedev’s 20-match winning streak in merciless fashion.

Medvedev had been undefeated since last October and beat Djokovic in three of the pair’s previous four meetings.

But the Russian was no match for Djokovic on Rod Laver Arena, where the relentless Serb remains unconquered in nine finals and 42 outings as world No.1.

“I would like to thank this court. I would like to thank Rod Laver Arena. I love you each year more and more,” the champion said.

“It’s been a love affair that keeps growing. Thank you so much.”

Contesting his 28th grand slam final, Djokovic opened Sunday’s match with an ace, held comfortably and then immediately broke Medvedev in the second game en route to charging to a 3-0 lead inside nine minutes.

The top seed looked in total control, only to make a brace of uncharacteristic errors to find himself double break-point down in the fifth game.

Two skyscraper defensive lobs from metres behind the baseline from Medvedev induced another error from Djokovic and suddenly the set was locked back up at 3-3.

But, as champions often do, Djokovic raised his game to break his Monte Carlo neighbour just as the set seemed headed to a tiebreaker, Medvedev finding the net with a meek forehand on set point.

Russia’s fourth seed gained an early break in the second, but then surrendered four straight games and obliterated his racquet in frustration as Djokovic motored to 5-2 lead, then a commanding two-set lead.

The third set was one-way traffic as Djokovic completed the comprehensive victory in just one hour and 53 minutes, the quickest grand slam final of his celebrated career.

Gracious in victory, Djokovic lauded Open boss Craig Tiley and Tennis Australia for even staging the Open during the global pandemic.

“There are a lot of mixed feelings about what has happened in the last month or so with tennis players coming to Australia,” he said.

“But I think when we draw a line in the end it was a successful tournament for organisers.

“I want to congratulate the head of Tennis Australia Craig Tiley for making an effort. They did make a great effort.

“It wasn’t easy. It was very challenging on many different levels. But they should be proud.”

© AAP 2021

Shayna Jack launches Go Fund Me to continue fighting doping suspension

Queensland swimmer Shayna Jack has had to launch a Go Fund Me page to help pay for her fight against a doping suspension.

Her four-year ban was halved after a court had found she’d unintentionally taken the drug Ligandrol meaning Jack could have returned to the sport in May this year.

But an appeal by the Sporting Integrity Australia and WADA has since been launched, which is expected to be costly.

Jack has revealed that she has already spent around $130,000 of her own money trying to fight the ban in the first place.

In order to fight the appeal, she’s asked for the Australian community to get behind her.

Her Go Fund Me page has already raised $24,000, less than 24 hours after it was created.

Jack says she needs help to ‘finish her fight’ and stand up for what is right in sport.

“I never would have thought at 22 years old I would have depleted my life savings and need to raise money to afford to continue my fight,” she posted on Instagram overnight.

“I have exhausted everything in the last 19 months fighting and to continue my fight I now need your help.

“I just want to again thank everyone for your ongoing support, I couldn’t do this without you.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Shayna Jack (@shayna_jack)

Ashleigh Barty

Shock as tennis star Ash Barty is knocked out of Aussie Open

There’s been a shock upset at the Australian Open quarter-finals, with World Number One Ash Barty knocked out by 25th seed Karolina Muchová.

Aussie tennis star Barty dominated the first set 6-1, before a 10-minute medical timeout by her Czech opponent turned the game on its head.

Barty lost momentum from then on and failed to get it back, with Muchová coming out firing and taking out the second set 6-3.

It took just under two hours for Muchová to send Barty packing, cruising to a 6-2 victory with an ace in the third set at Rod Laver Arena.

Speaking following the match, Muchova explained why she took the now-controversial medical time out, which clearly rattled the Australian.

“I start to feeling a bit lost by the end of the first set, Ash played almost like no mistakes, it was very tough and I was a bit lost on the court and my head was spinning so I took a break,” she said.

“It helped me. I tried to get back, played a bit faster rallies so we don’t play the long ones as in the first set and it worked well.

“It was more check my pressure because I was, as I said, a bit lost, you know, I was spinning. They cooled me down a bit with ice and it helped me.”

She will now face either Jennifer Brady or Jessica Pegula in the semi-finals.