Critical: Mourad Boudjellal (centre) did not mince his words in his assessment of Quade Cooper and Ma’a Nonu. Photo: Getty Images Former Queensland Reds and Wallabies five-eighth Quade Cooper has felt the sting of outspoken Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal in the wake of his mixed early form in Europe.
The big-spending Frenchman has high standards and he expects his players and team to meet them.
But he’s not been happy with some of his latest high profile signings as Toulon struggle in fourth in the French Top 14 championship with seven wins and five losses. In their European Champions Cup pool they lie second to London Wasps.
Cooper has had a tough act to follow in the form of England legend Jonny Wilkinson in the red No 10 jersey.
Asked how the change was working, Boudjellal told Quinze Mondial: “It’s difficult to go from foie gras to pâté.”
That translated to having Wilkinson as the duck delicacy and Cooper as the standard fare.
“For now, Cooper is not what I was hoping for. But we have to also give him time.
“Right now if I say that I’m not happy with our stars, it’s only because we expect a lot. It’s true that in our imagination, we want them to fly across the pitch.
“We’ve been spoiled somewhat by [Tana] Umaga and then Wilkinson, so maybe we need to give them time…”
Earlier Boudjellal had been critical of his two New Zealand signings, All Blacks Ma’a Nonu and Tom Taylor.
He had labelled some of Nonu’s performances as the backline’s king-pin as “disappointing” but said he was “not worried” and that the All Blacks double World Cup winner was “a lost bet”.
He had told Le 10 Sport: “I can’t tell you that I don’t have concerns when I see the performances of Ma’a Nonu.”
Taylor didn’t escape his frank views either, clearly not giving his boss too much confidence with his goalkicking.
“I have the impression that Tom Taylor, an All Black, trembles each time he has a penalty attempt,” Boudjellal.
Kyron Dryden has been found guilty of assaulting his ex-girlfriend. Photo: Jonathan Carroll Kyron Dryden uploaded a video to Snapchat as he confronted his ex-girlfriend. Photo: Jonathan Carroll
Newcastle world champion boxer Kyron “The Hitman” Dryden has been found guilty of grabbing his ex-girlfriend by the throat, pushing her head into a mirror and slamming her onto the floor after he discovered her at another man’s house in September.
The 22-year-old Mayfield boxer, who won the International Boxing Organisation world youth (under-26) welterweight title in Newcastle in November, faced a hearing in Newcastle Local Court on Monday into allegations of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault and entering a building with intent to commit an indictable offence.
The court was played a video, filmed by Dryden on the day of the assault and posted to Snapchat, a messaging app that records short videos or pictures that are then deleted from the recipient’s phone, the Newcastle Herald reports.
The video, entitled “ex-missus”, shows Dryden outside a man’s house in Mayfield where he says he has discovered “my missus is cheating on me”.
“She’s been lying to me the whole time,” Dryden says on the 10-second video clip.
“Here is her car in front of his house.”
The video clip then cuts to Dryden inside the house after he had found his ex-girlfriend.
She lies on the floor covering her face.
“Here’s my missus cheating on me in the bedroom,” the video continues.
Dryden gave evidence that he was headed to the gym when he spotted his former girlfriend’s car outside a friend’s house in Mayfield.
He called his twin brother, Darkon, and the victim’s brother before filming the Snapchat video.
Dryden told the court the victim’s brother didn’t believe his sister could be cheating on him and wanted proof.
Dryden said he went into the house to confirm his suspicions and denied ever touching his ex-girlfriend.
“I train every day, if I had taken hold of her throat there would be a lot more damage,” Dryden said.
The victim and the man at the house told the court Dryden and his brother barged their way into the home and when Dryden found the victim hiding behind the door he grabbed her by the throat, pushed her head into a mirror and “choke-slammed” her onto the floor, leaving her bruised and concussed.
Magistrate Alan Railton found Dryden guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, citing the injuries suffered to the victim and the discharge report from the Mater Hospital.
The charge of entering a building with intent to commit an indictable offence was dismissed and the back-up charge of common assault was withdrawn.
After he was found guilty, Dryden pleaded guilty to four counts of contravening an apprehended violence order, which related to contacting his ex-girlfriend in the months after the assault.
Power player: Chris Gayle of the Melbourne Renegades. Photo: Getty Images As it happened: Thunder v RenegadesChris Gayle in uncomfortable interview with Mel McLaughlinChris Gayle makes light of $10,000 fine on Instagram
In a match that dripped with drama, Chris Gayle again found himself in the bad books, a week after “Don’t Blush Baby-gate”, for refusing to take what appeared to be an easy single when he hammered the ball to long-on during Sydney Thunder’s loss to the Melbourne Renegades on Monday night.
Adding to the theatre after being slugged with a $10,000 fine for asking Channel 10 reporter Mel McLaughlin out during an interview, Gayle took strike with her watching from the boundary. One of his fiercest critics, Shane Watson – who said Gayle’s behaviour during the interview didn’t come as a surprise to those who know him – was bowling at him.
However, Gayle was savaged by the commentators for turning back his batting partner Tom Cooper, who was keen to take a run after the Renegades were set 174 for victory.
A week after Gayle was said to have taught young men how not to talk to women by asking McLaughlin out for a drink during a live interview before saying “don’t blush, baby”, he was all but accused of showing young cricketers how not to play in a format where one run can mean the difference between a win and loss during his 28 from 20 deliveries.
He was dismissed the next ball when Fawad Ahmed took a catch off Clint McKay and even Cooper seemed unimpressed when quizzed by Channel 10’s team for his reaction. “It wasn’t a good bit of cricket,” he said.
Usman Khawaja suggested it seemed “weird” before adding “the world boss does what the world boss does” and extolling the West Indian’s virtues as a batsman who can take a game away from the opposition – something he helped do in front of 18,602 people.
Opposing captain Michael Hussey took time out from his disappointment of losing a must-win match to defend his controversial opponent .
“I understood what he was trying to do, he was trying to take advantage of the power play,” said Hussey. “That’s what he’s there for, to take full advantage of the power play.
“He generally does it extremely well, he’d obviously lined up that bowler [McKay] and thought he could get him. Fortunately for us it went our way, but on another day he could hit the next two balls for sixes. That’s good tactics. I wouldn’t have a go at him for that, personally.”
Former n Test skipper Ricky Ponting criticised Gayle on the television coverage, saying: “This is the most unbelievable, ridiculous cricket I’ve ever seen.
“Sometimes in cricket and in life you get what you deserve, and he got what he deserved there.
“What sort of message does that send to the boys on the sideline?”
It was one of many dramatic twists in a game that started so well for the men in electric green.
Khawaja added another 62 runs to his incredible summer haul, while days after telling the national selectors he was no longer torturing himself about playing in the World Twenty20 Cup, Watson hit four big sixes in his inspired 62.
The Thunder set the Renegades what seemed a tough total. After watching the home team’s first 10 overs the statisticians scrambled for the record books, wondering if the Thunder could eclipse the benchmark 210 scored by the Renegades and Hobart Hurricanes in BBL03.
It was a sizzling start – Khawaja blasted 50 off 29 deliveries – but the ball and the pitch conspired against them, making it tough to maintain the pace when the ball became soft and the pitch played slower.
Khawaja, who has dominated every attack he’s faced this summer, managed only 12 runs off his last dozen deliveries. He seemed to lose his mojo when Watson dominated the strike, but few could complain. Batting at No.3 Watson seemed to give his team a winning edge.
Andre Rusell seemed hellbent on sealing the deal when he added 16 runs – 10 from a big six and a boundary – but there were concerns when he was struck by a sharp Rimmington delivery that crashed into his shoulder. He was in full swing, trying to belt the ball into orbit, and stepped on to his stumps.
While the injury forced Russell to rest after his opening two overs, he was called back into the attack to try and rescue the match after a masterful 91-run partnership between Cameron White and Dwayne Bravo.
Bravo’s whirlwind 47 runs off 24 balls took the game’s momentum from the Thunder and, testimony to the power of Bravo’s hitting, his bat flew to the other end of the pitch when he lost his grip.
After surviving an LBW appeal when he was on 10, White’s 61 from 46 provided the Renegades with the anchor, and the runs, needed to challenge the scoreboard and he was named man-of-the-match.
Russell kept the Thunder in the hunt by removing both men and when Tom Beaton was run out the Renegades needed four runs from seven balls.
The Thunder tried to rescue a game they should have sewn up but Peter Nevill delivered the KO blow by hitting a four to win the game.
“It’s no fun,” said Khawaja. “I’ll take the win over a good knock any day … we’ve just got to win, that’s all we can control.”
A replacement is yet to be found for Tony Nutt who has quit as NSW Liberal director. Photo: Jessica HromasWeeks after respected veteran Tony Nutt quit as NSW Liberal director to run the federal division, the party is preparing to settle on a replacement, with a cast of identities said to be in the running for the $350,000 a year job.
A push to install Premier Mike Baird’s director of strategy, Nigel Blunden, has failed after Mr Blunden knocked back the offer.
But the party has once again approached Scott Briggs, who it unsuccessfully tried to draft into the position in 2013 after then state director Mark Neeham quit to join strategy and lobbying firm Crosby Textor.
Mr Briggs – a former deputy state director and television executive with experience at the Nine Network and Fox Sports – is said to be Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s preferred candidate.
Mr Briggs was previously an advisor to Turnbull and Partners, the investment vehicle founded by the Prime Minister.
Other potential candidates include Chris Hall, chief-of-staff to trade minister Stuart Ayres and Jaymes Boland-Rudder, who was deputy chief of staff to former Premier Barry O’Farrell before leaving to join the National Rugby League.
Paul Ritchie – a staffer to former Prime Minister Tony Abbott – is also being discussed as is Bran Black, chief of staff to NSW environment minister Mark Speakman and a former general counsel for the state division.
Another name being mentioned is Simon Berger, the former director of government relations for Woolworths, who tendered his resignation after emceeing Alan Jones’ infamous “died of shame” speech about the former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Also being considered is the option of poaching a director from another state branch.
Party insiders say a deadline of the end of February has been set to settle on a candidate as a federal election looms in the foreground for the coming year.
The search is being conducted by a select committee of the party’s state executive, which will be chaired by newly elected federal MP and NSW party president, Trent Zimmerman.
Mr Nutt, is also serving in a key role on that committee, as are representatives for the Premier and the Prime Minister.
The committee will report back to the full state executive with a suggested candidate for approval.
Liz Slakey with her children Luca Slakey 8 (left), Pippi Slakey 2 (2nd from right) and Declan Slakey 5 (right) in the backyard of their Haberfield home they are set to lose.A landmark review of the system whereby private property is forcibly acquired to make way for major infrastructure projects was handed to the NSW government two years ago, but the report is being kept secret.
The review by David Russell, SC, was commissioned in May 2012 by then finance minister Greg Pearce.
“It is well known that compulsory acquisition of private land and its impacts have been an ongoing area of stakeholder concern for many years,” Mr Pearce said at the time.
Mr Russell was due to report back by the end of 2012, but on Monday a spokesman for the NSW minister for finance, services and property, Dominic Perrottet, said it was not handed to the government until February 2014.
The spokesman said some of its recommendations have been introduced after being endorsed by cabinet the following August.
These were introducing a plain English explanation of the compulsory acquisition process and an improved meeting process between land owners and acquiring agencies.
Other recommendations – details of which the government will not disclose – were considered by an inter-departmental committee in 2014 and 2015.
“The government is yet to make a final decision on the inter-departmental committee’s comments,” he said.
“A decision around the report’s publication will be made once the Government has concluded its consideration of the report.”
It follows revelations that the government is resuming hundreds of millions of dollars worth of private property for infrastructure projects using a system it was warned three years ago is unfair to landowners.
A parliamentary committee chaired by Liberal MP Matt Kean issued the warning as part of a report calling for an overhaul of the compulsory acquisition and land valuation system in early 2013.
The committee recommended changing the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act to give landholders greater negotiating rights, more accountability from the acquiring agency and a more affordable appeal process.
But it has not implemented key recommendations of the report while forging ahead with forced resumption of homes for projects including the Westconnex, NorthConnex, Sydney Metro and the Sydney light rail.
Many landholders have complained they are being given compensation hundreds of thousand of dollars below market value, amid the recent Sydney property boom.
Labor’s roads spokeswoman Jodi McKay slammed the refusal to release the report as “a gross breach of trust” which “shows the clandestine levels to which this government will stoop in order to get things done”.
“Four years ago a government commissioned review examined why compulsory acquisition wasn’t working, yet this government has suppressed that report,” she said.
“Now we learn it has completely ignored a parliamentary committee recommending an overhaul of the acquisition system.”
“Meanwhile the government is pressing ahead with the largest forced acquisition program in the history of this state.”