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AAP sport news list for Thursday

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SYDNEY/MELBOURNE - NRL news ahead of the grand final, Melbourne v Cronulla on Sunday

SYDNEY - NRL grand final media conference: Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy and captain Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Blake Green plus Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan and captain Paul Gallen, Luke Lewis and Chris Heighington at 1500 in Concert Hall Northern Foyer, Sydney Opera House

SYDNEY - Melbourne and Cronulla teams in fan day function at Sydney OPera House forecourt, 1730.

SYDNEY - Preview panel for the NRL grand final

Jesse Bromwich was more envious than normal when he watched the 2014 decider. (RL Storm Brothers)

Having already made their State of Origin debuts, Cronulla duo Wade Graham and Jack Bird are in line for Australian call-ups should the Sharks prevail in Sunday's NRL grand final. (RL Aust Sharks)

The last time two players shared the Dally M stage in 2014, one left to pursue an American dream. (RL Awards Taumalolo)


MELBOURNE/SYDNEY - AFL news ahead of the grand final, Sydney v Western Bulldogs on Saturday

MELBOURNE - News as teams are named for the AFL grand final, also updated penpix to follow

MELBOURNE - Preview panel for the AFL grand final

It hasn't been a good year to be a defender for the Western Bulldogs, with their backmen bearing the brunt of the club's shocking run of injuries. (AFL Bulldogs Morris)

John Longmire has never been a headline act. (AFL Longmire)

Luke Beveridge likens footy teams to the human nervous system. (AFL Beveridge)

Even in the darkest of days - and there were plenty of them as he underwent three knee reconstructions - Clay Smith truly believed he had what it took to make it as an AFL footballer. (AFL Bulldogs Smith)

Selfless on the field and off it, you won't find Heath Grundy or any of Sydney's back six claiming credit for helping their side become the AFL's stingiest (AFL SWans Defence)

Dale Morris couldn't quite believe what was happening as he watched his beloved Western Bulldogs unravel at the end of a dismal 2014 season. (AFL Bulldogs Crisis)


MELBOURNE/SYDNEY - A-League news ahead of the season starting next week

Greek-born striker Apostolos Giannou has been brought into the Socceroos squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers after Milos Degenek was ruled out with a knee injury. (WC18 Aust)


JOHANNESBURG - News ahead of ODI series Australia v South Africa starting Friday

Legspinner Adam Zampa is on top of the world and admits his confidence is growing heading into Australia's one-day series in South Africa. (Cri Aust Zampa)


JOHANNESBURG - News from Wallabies ahead of their Rugby Championship Test v South Africa on Saturday

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says Sean McMahon is the clear long-term frontrunner to replace David Pocock after winning selection for Saturday's Rugby Championship clash against South Africa. (RU Aust)

Wallabies skills coach Mick Byrne has hailed Reece Hodge as one of the best kicks he's ever seen as the Test newcomer prepares to unleash his superboot at high altitude. (RU Aust Hodge)


Australian rookie Thon Maker has had a horror start to his first NBA pre-season by suffering a wrist injury in the Milwaukee Bucks' first practice session. (NBA Maker)

Dallas Mavericks' billionaire owner Mark Cuban and star Dirk Nowitzki are salivating at the prospect of "dirty" play from Australian veteran recruit Andrew Bogut. (NBA Bogut)


Brisbane International organisers have pulled off a massive coup, with two of the world's top three female tennis players to compete at next year's event. (Ten Brisbane)


BRISBANE - News ahead of next week's Bathurst 1000


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