Sport – Michmutters

Darren Ryan still flyin’ at 48, tells opponent he is ‘not’ his first stepladder

Before Flyin’ Ryan, there was Flyin’ Ryan’s dad and remarkably West Coast star Liam Ryan’s father Darren is still soaring in the Great Northern region.

And even at the age of 48 Ryan Sr, a former Claremont player and twice winner of the Great Northern Football League’s best-and-fairest award, is still adding to a career highlight reel of hangers.

Last week, while playing for Three Springs in the North Midlands Football League, the man known to most as “Snotty” took a classic screamer in a gripping final term.

Not only did it help Three Springs celebrate their first win of the season, he did so on the day of their centenary celebrations and over league-leading Mingenew.



Newcastle Knights NRL star Kalyn Ponga and teammate kicked out of same toilet cubicle by security

Newcastle Knights superstar Kalyn Ponga and his teammate are kicked out of the same pub toilet cubicle by a security guard – as club launches investigation

  • Footage shows Ponga and Kurt Mann being kicked out of a pub toilet cubicle
  • It’s unclear why the pair were in the same cubicle together
  • Ponga’s father said he was just sick after a few drinks and his mate helped him

Footage has emerged of NRL superstar Kalyn Ponga and his Newcastle teammate Kurt Mann being kicked out of the same pub toilet cubicle by security guards.

It’s unclear why the 24-year-old, who signed a whopping five-year $5million contract with the club in April, was in the cubicle with Mann.

The Knights are now aware of the footage, and confirmed to News Corp they had received answers after ‘seeking an explanation’.

In the video, a security guard can be heard saying: ‘Oh! That’s a surprise’ before Mann and Ponga leave the toilet.

Kalyn Ponga (left) and Kurt Mann (right) have been identified in a recently-released video that shows the pair being kicked out of the same toilet cubicle at a pub

Kalyn Ponga (left) and Kurt Mann (right) have been identified in a recently-released video that shows the pair being kicked out of the same toilet cubicle at a pub

Ponga’s father Andre said his son needed assistance from Mann when he fell ill while drinking.

‘He made an exciting house purchase Saturday and celebrated with a few mates drinking. Sick in the toilet and his mate went in to help him, ‘Andre Ponga told the Daily Telegraph.

The claim was backed up by the duo during the club’s investigation, with sources telling News Corp that Mann accompanied Ponga because his mate was sick while the pair were out enjoying drinks on Saturday to celebrate the purchase.

Kalyn Ponga was reportedly celebrating because he bought a new house

Kalyn Ponga was reportedly celebrating because he bought a new house

The pair told the club the cubicle door was open at all times, which is somewhat confusing giving the security guard can be clearly seen opening the door at the start of the video, before expressing his shock at finding Ponga.

Both men are fully clothed when they exit the cubicle.

Ponga and Mann are very close mates, and often feature on each other’s social media feeds.

The duo are both currently sidelined with injury, and drinking while injured is, at most NRL clubs, is a huge no-no given alcohol impairs healing.

Knights star Kalyn Ponga is currently sidelined after suffering yet another concussion recently

Knights star Kalyn Ponga is currently sidelined after suffering yet another concussion recently

Mann is nursing a quad injury, while Ponga has been sidelined since July 22 after suffering his third concussion in six weeks – which is of great concern for the club, who have opted to take a conservative approach.

Ponga said on Sunday that he would not be back for the rest of the season, after suffering from some debilitating side effects – though he admitted it wasn’t his choice to sit out.

‘My season’s done. It’s a bit weird. I feel OK now. At the start I felt a bit weird, headaches and whatnot, but I feel all right now,’ he told Triple M Newcastle.

Ponga (left, pictured with Knights teammate Jack Johns) has reportedly told the club he was in the cubicle because he was sick

Ponga (left, pictured with Knights teammate Jack Johns) has reportedly told the club he was in the cubicle because he was sick

Early this year, Tigers winger David Nofoaluma was stood down by the club for drinking while injured. Like Ponga, the 28-year-old was also dealing with concussion.

Corey Norman, Michael Jennings and Joel Thompson are other high-profile examples of players suspended for drinking while injured.

There is no word yet whether either Mann or Ponga will face any disciplinary action for drinking while injured.




Nick Kyrgios slams ‘disgusting behaviour’ of fans who heckled Daniil Medvedev after loss at the Montreal Masters

Nick Kyrgios has slammed the “disgusting” behavior of some tennis fans, after video circulated on social media of Daniil Medvedev being heckled after his second round loss to the Australian in Montreal.

In a video re-tweeted by Kyrgios, Medvedev is shown being called a “loser” as he walks towards the locker room with security.

Medvedev then stops, turning and speaking with the fan, as someone shouts “you respect us and we respect you.”

Others can be heard imploring the fan to apologise.

On Twitter, Kyrgios labeled the fan’s behavior as “disgusting”.

“This is the best we have in the sport, fans need to show some respect.”


The interaction came after Kyrgios had defeated the Russian world number one at the ATP’s Montreal Masters, 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 6-2.

At a press conference for the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, Medvedev said he had felt compelled to approach the spectator.

“When someone mocks me, I’ll respond,” he said.

“It would be bad to let people shout bad things at me and just keep walking. I will ask what his problem is.”

Daniil Medvedev gestures as he answers press conference questions at the Cincinnati Masters
Daniil Medvedev responded to questions about the incident at a press conference for the Western and Southern Open.(Getty Images: Matthew Stockman)

Medvedev said he had also talked to the father of the fan who had called him a “loser”.

“The father of the guy said something to me also — I say: ‘Educate your kid’,” Medvedev said.



Braden Quartermaine: Injured forwards Matt Taberner, Rory Lobb and Nat Fyfe a finals headache for Fremantle

Last month, Justin Longmuir was asked an interesting question about his spearhead Matt Taberner and provided an interesting answer.

On whether Taberner could become a liability at some point given his ongoing injury issues, Longmuir responded: “Maybe at some point, but we’re definitely not there yet.”

Six weeks on, the management of not just one, but three injury-affected forwards is looming as the defining issue of Fremantle’s finals campaign.



Concerns ‘the next national stars’ are being shut out of sporting clubs due to a lack of inclusivity for athletes with autism

Six-year-old Ava Renwood is an aspiring athlete with big dreams of a career in sport.

But her mum Ashleigh Brook fears her options are limited by the lack of inclusivity and understanding of athletes with autism.

The Brisbane mum said her daughter “lives and dies” for her weekly gymnastics, cheerleading and dance classes.

“Ava wakes up in the morning [at] like 7am, and it is ‘what gym classes do I have today?'” Ms Brook said.

After approaching local sport clubs to take her daughter to the next level in sport, Ms Brook was advised to send her to disability-only groups.

“It is great that they have a division for these athletes, but again, [it’s] not inclusive,” she said.

“[It’s] very like putting them in their own bubble.”

Mum Ashleigh and Ava smile
Ava’s mum Ashleigh Brook says there needs to be more inclusive clubs for children with disability.(ABC News: Mark Leonardi)

With Ava eager to compete with her peers, Ms Brook is unsure she can find an inclusive club next season.

“It is kind of one of those situations where I am questioning is there going to be somewhere,” Ms Brook said.

Sporting events for students of all abilities

Charlotte Kanowski holds her medal
Charlotte Kanowski with her medal after she won the Queensland School Sports triathlon’s multi-class autism without an intellectual disability category.(ABC News: Marton Dobras)

Fourteen-year-old Charlotte Kanowski is an accomplished triathlon, marathon and aquathon athlete.

She was also the first and only student to compete in Queensland School Sports triathlon’s multi-class autism without an intellectual disability category.

“I was proud of myself when I got the medal and finished the race,” Charlotte said.

Charlotte Kanowski competing.
Charlotte Kanowski competing in the Noosa triathlon.(Supplied)

Multi-class events allow students with disabilities to participate in an inclusive environment.

The events are currently offered in triathlon, cross country, swimming and track and field events.

The Department of Education said this year for the first time, students with autism can also compete in multi-class events in the Queensland School Sport State Swimming Championships and State Triathlon.

Charlotte’s mum Jessica Kanowski said creating inclusive sport environments is about implementing “reasonable adjustments”.

“I think having that multi-class does provide an opportunity for them to have a go, but in a comfortable setting,” she said.

“Ultimately, you would want it to be fully inclusive and all the kids going together and having a go.

“We need to be inclusive and allow access to all of our children so that they can reach their dreams.”

The Brisbane mum said she had been fortunate in finding inclusive sports for her daughter, but it had not come without its challenges.

“It can be tricky to find an instructor who is educated and knows what reasonable adjustments to put in place,” she said.

Charlotte Kanowski with her parents and little sister
Charlotte Kanowski with her parents and little sister – who all support her during her competitions.(ABC News: Marton Dobras)

Ms Kanowski said it was important for coaches to understand all children on the spectrum have different “sensory profiles.”

“It is a spectrum for that reason, they are all different,” she said.

“When [Charlotte] does have a moment or may have a meltdown, that it is normal for her.

“That’s her emotions bubbling over and that is how she expresses them, and it is part of being autistic.”

Seeing her daughter shine in competitions, fills Ms Kanowski with pride.

“Makes me feel like she is out there giving it a go, and I’m really proud of her,” she said.

Sporting clubs ‘fearful of the unknown’

The Special Olympics’ Queensland coordinator Kim Lawley said many sports clubs were “fearful of the unknown” around athletes with autism.

“Once you get them out on a track or a field or a court, they are an athlete, and they want to participate and train,” she said.

“It’s just breaking down those barriers and those fears of the unknown.”

She said many athletes with disabilities struggle to be accepted into sporting groups, including her own brother.

“There was no opportunity for my brother to play sport, so we made that happen for him [at the Special Olympics],” Ms Lawley said.

Kim smiles on an athletics track.
Special Olympics’ Kim Lawley says many athletes with autism struggle to be accepted into sporting groups.(ABC News: Sarah Richards)

She said the Special Olympics has helped create inclusive sporting opportunities for athletes with intellectual disabilities and autism, with her brother going on to play basketball and golf nationally.

“It is about education of coaches, it is inclusion, and it’s just reminding coaches anywhere in Australia, in the world that they are athletes,” she said.

National athlete leadership coordinator for Special Olympics Australia, Susie Bennett-Yeo, said she hoped one day athletes with intellectual disabilities and autism could be accepted and welcomed by any sports team.

“I would love to just see some of the athletes I know, just to be able to go along to their local basketball competition and say, ‘I’d like to play basketball’ and they go, ‘that’s great’,” she said .

‘The next national stars’ falling through the cracks

Australian Sports Commission spokesperson said it believed everyone should be able to participate in sport.

“It is important that sporting bodies, from local clubs through to national sporting organisations, reflect the diversity in the communities they are a part of,” a spokesperson said.



A dozen West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers players slugged with $20,000 worth of fines for derby melee

A dozen Fremantle and West Coast players have been fined more than $20,000 combined following a brutal western derby clash on Saturday.

Eagles forward Liam Ryan copped the biggest punishment, a $3000 fine for striking Dockers speedster Brandon Walker in the first quarter of the Optus Stadium clash.

The incident was deemed intentional, low impact and body contact by the AFL’s Match Review Officer Michael Christian.

Ryan was also fined $1500 for his role in the first term melee that momentarily stopped play.



Danny Hodgson: Perth soccer star speaks to 7News’ Flashpoint about legal action considerations

Danny Hodgson is considering what legal action he can take for compensation after he was left with catastrophic injuries when he was coward punched by a teenager who was on bail for other crimes.

Mr Hodgson made the revelation in an emotional interview with 7News’ Flashpoint, during which for the first time since the attack, he returned to the Perth Train Station pedestrian bridge where his life changed for ever on September 5 last year.

“If anything, I’m just really angry at the justice system,” he said.

“The justice system is to convict criminals, to protect citizens, and to keep order across the country.

“But again it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to say that a criminal that has 23 offenses shouldn’t stay on the streets.”

Before the attack, Mr Hodgson was a healthy, talented soccer player with ECU Joondalup. He was on his way home from end-of-year celebrations when he was punched to the back of the head.

Danny Hodgson undergoing rehabilitation at Fiona Stanley Hospital
Camera IconDanny Hodgson undergoing rehabilitation at Fiona Stanley Hospital. Credit: Supplied/Supplied

The teenager was jailed for three years and eight months over his attack on Mr Hodgson and other strangers while on bail. He was facing 23 charges relating to 13 separate incidents in the seven months prior to the attack.

Asked if legal action for compensation was being considered, Ms Hodgson’s partner, Jess Pollock, said “definitely”.

“Someone needs to be held responsible for this and why should we go through this journey and suffer in other ways as well — not being able to pay our bills when we were both working,” she said.

“I don’t even know if what he did was legal to let him out after breaching bail on 23 charges, I don’t even know.

“But if it is legal, and he has followed the law, then the law seriously needs to change.”

Danny Hodgson interviewed for Flashpoint
Camera IconDanny Hodgson interviewed for Flashpoint. Credit: flash point/Channel 7

Mr Hodgson spent 82 days in intensive care at Royal Perth Hospital before he underwent weeks of rehabilitation at Fiona Stanley Hospital. He was rushed back to hospital last month after suffering a 10-minute seizure at home.

Heartbreakingly, Mr Hodgson’s independence, as well as his dream of having children, has been ripped away.

“We were hoping to start a family pretty soon but now I can’t start a family because you can’t have Jess as having full responsibility for a kid,” he said.

“As a parent you’ve got to have two parents to look after you, to change your nappy, to feed the kid — it’s impossible to have a kid as one parent.

“It’s not impossible but it’s hard to have a good kid and do the right thing, and that’s been taken away from us.”

Manchester United legend Denis Irwin with Danny Hodgson, Peter Hodgson and Jess Pollock at Optus Stadium
Camera IconManchester United legend Denis Irwin with Danny Hodgson, Peter Hodgson and Jess Pollock at Optus Stadium. Credit: daniel wilkins/The West Australian

He added: “I honestly may as well be dead in my head, mate. There’s no point of being alive. I’m worthless, I’m hopeless, I’ve got no benefit of being on this earth anymore.”

Asked if he had a message for Attorney-General John Quigley, Mr Hodgson said: “He can be a hero and save people’s lives”.

“Please change the law so this doesn’t happen again,” I asked.

“You’ve got the power to change the law and you can save people’s lives.”

Danny Hodgson at Manchester United open training session at the WACA.
Camera IconDanny Hodgson at Manchester United open training session at the WACA. Credit: Andrew Richie/The West Australian

Mr Quigley did not respond to Flashpoint’s questions asking why the offender was allowed out on bail and what action he had taken to ensure that what happened to Mr Hodgson would not happen again in the future.

But he said he would meet with the family in coming weeks to discuss their concerns.

Under WA’s Criminal Injuries Compensation legislation, a victim of crime can be entitled to a one-off, maximum payment of $75,000.



Sport, music and culture shine at Barunga Festival 2022 after COVID postponements

The dust barely settles as it drifts across thousands of spectators circled around traditional dancers from Groote Eylandt kicking up a storm this weekend in the remote NT community of Barunga.

Historically, the buŋgul, a meeting place of dance, song and ritual, at Barunga Festival is largely admired from the sidelines — but this year was different.

“Barunga is one of those different places, it brings so many people from different communities to try to share together in one place, that’s what Barunga is all about,” Groote Eylandt dancer Leonard Amagula says.

“It is reaching out to other communities, reaching out to the young ones, to grow up and see we are doing wonderful things.”

Dancers on sand can be seen through the crowd.
The crowd is invited to take part in traditional dances. (ABC News: Max Rowley)

It starts as a trickle, and then legions of people from the crowd swirl into the centre, and press together behind the Groote Eylandt Anindilyakwa experts, billowing sand across the tiny community about 400 kilometers south-east of Darwin.

It’s one of those special moments that makes the three-day festival what it is; a place where both historic agreements are made and the promise of treaties echoes loudly.

And a place where remote Indigenous culture is strengthened simply by sharing in it.

A ‘rough but happy’ beginning

The festival has a long and important history that started over three decades ago in 1985.

Mr Amagula has been a regular attendee since his teens.

Back then, he says, it was “kinda rough but happy” and much larger with far more people traveling in from other Aboriginal communities.

A man in a hat files a Didgeridoo at Barunga.
Cultural workshops including yidaki (didgeridoo) making ran all weekend. (ABC Katherine: Roxanne Fitzgerald)

This year, after the festival was postponed due to COVID, creative director Michael Hohnen says that balance was almost struck again.

“Because it was not a long weekend, [there] was probably a few less people and the date change, a lot of people can’t plan for that date change, but I actually like this energy a lot,” he said.

“We didn’t push it at all in anywhere but remote communities … that’s what Barunga [Festival] is supposed to be, the community invites visitors in.”

weaving workshop
Festival attendees learn weaving from Barunga elders. (ABC Katherine: Roxanne Fitzgerald)

A succession of local NT bands took to the main stage across the three days, as MCs called musicians up for their slot and announced the winners of sport trophies in between sets – the by-product of a festival thin on staff running on ‘Barunga time ‘.

On Saturday night, singer and political activist Walmatjarri elder Kankawa Nagarra – who toured with Hugh Jackman in Broadway to Oz – opened the main stage concert delivering a string of songs that delved into a life of hardship as she moved from mission to mission.

A woman playing guitar on a stage at barunga festival.
West Australian political activist, singer and songwriter Kankawa Nagarra was a special guest at the festival. (ABC News: Max Rowley)

Then Salt Lake and Eylandt Band from Groote fired up the crowd.

A link to political past

Dissimilar to past years, where the rallying cries for action from leaders have been loud and fearless, it was quieter on the political front, leaving the festival’s roots in sport, music and culture to shine.

But at a festival steeped in political history, the past couldn’t be ignored.



Canterbury Bulldogs name Cameron Ciraldo as NRL head coach from 2023

Cameron Ciraldo has signed a five-year deal to take over as Canterbury head coach next season.

The in-demand Penrith assistant has helped mastermind the defending premiers’ climb to dominance under Ivan Cleary.

However, Ciraldo has decided to take the step up into the head coach role at the Bulldogs after previously knocking back the Wests Tigers’ job.

Interim Bulldogs coach Mick Potter was keen to stay on after taking over from sacked coach Trent Barrett earlier this season.

However, Canterbury general manager of football Phil Gould wanted Ciraldo — who has been in various coaching roles at the Panthers since 2014 — to fill the position.

Ciraldo’s arrival at Belmore will likely keep star playmaker Matt Burton at the club.

Burton worked with Ciraldo at the Panthers before linking up with the Bulldogs this season.

Matt Burton shouts after a try for the Canterbury Bulldogs in the NRL.
Camerone Ciraldo’s signing will likely mean Matt Burton (pictured) stays with the Bulldogs.(Getty Images: Matt King)

“As the club continues to build for long-term, sustained success, we are pleased Cameron shares the vision of ensuring our football programs are best-in-class,” a Bulldogs club statement read.

The Panthers confirmed Ciraldo would depart the club at the end of the season.

“On behalf of all at Panthers, we would like to congratulate Cameron for his appointment as an NRL head coach,” Panthers chief executive Matt Cameron said in a statement.



Australia’s Cameron Smith two shots from lead at first PGA play-offs event, where victory will secure world number one ranking

Cameron Smith has a huge chance to win the opening PGA Tour FedEx Cup play-offs tournament and claim the world number one ranking, set to enter the final round two shots from the lead.

As speculation continues to swirl about whether he’ll jump to the rebel LIV Golf circuit, Australian world number two Smith birdied two of the last three holes to shoot a 3-under 67 at the FedEx St Jude Championship in Memphis on Saturday.

Already the winner of the Tournament of Champions, Players Championship and British Open this year, 28-year-old Smith trails the only American leader, JJ Spaun (68), and second-placed Austrian Sepp Straka (68).

Smith is in a three-way tie for third with Americans Will Zalatoris (65) and Trey Mullinax (66).

He is keenly aware that a victory would take him to the world number one ranking for the first time after the incumbent, Scottie Scheffler, missed the cut on Friday.

“That’s been one of my goals probably since the start of the year is to try to get to that top spot,” Smith said. “try [to] chase it down.”

Fellow Australian Adam Scott fell to tied 25th, six shots from the lead, after a round of 70, while countryman Cam Davis (67) is tied 36th at 5-under.

Spaun had a two-putt birdie on the par-5 16th and holed an 18-foot birdie putt on the next hole to claim the 54-hole lead at 13-under 197.