Mercenary or messiah? Israel Folau wasted no time in making his mark on his third football code in four years
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HEROES & GOATS: Folau starts his rugby career in fine style, Starc and Steyn skittles their opponents and Mundine does it again…
Israel Folau (NSW Waratahs)
Folau appeared to be more at home in his first game for the NSW Waratahs than he was at any stage of his two-year stint with Greater Western Sydney in the AFL. Folau was dynamic in attack, coasting past three Melbourne Rebels defenders to score a try in the early stages of the Super Rugby trial match played in Hobart – on only his third possession of the ball in his new code. He went over for another in the dying stages of the match during a stint at outside centre. His only blemish was when he received a yellow card in the second half for a breakdown infringement. For the record, the Waratahs prevailed 24-16 at North Hobart Oval.
Mitchell Starc (Australia)
West Indies skipper Darren Sammy challenged the Aussie pace bowlers to extract the best from favourable WACA conditions when he won the toss and elected to bat in Friday's first ODI. It was a foolish decision, as it turned out, as Starc used his mastery of the late outswinger to demolish the visitors' top order. The left-armer took 5-20 from 6.5 overs, including the scalps of Ramnaresh Sarwan, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard without score, in a display befitting the WACA's reputation as a fast bowler's paradise.. A special mention goes to Starc's skipper, George Bailey, for his unbeaten 125 two days later that prevented the Aussies suffering the same fate as the Windies.Daniel Geale
After Anthony Mundine's pre-fight jibes questioning Geale's Aboriginal heritage and uncalled for remarks about his wife, Geale had every right to give the NRL player-turned-boxer the cold shoulder following their IBF middleweight title fight on Wednesday night, which Geale won in a unanimous points decision. But Geale, showing all the class in the world, congratulated his opponent in what was a tremendous act of sportsmanship. Geale was clearly dominant in the fight itself, showing too much speed and endurance for Mundine who, at 37, isn't looking far away from retirement despite a respectable performance in defeat. At the end of the 12 rounds, 31-year-old Geale, however, looked as though he could have fought another 12. He deservedly kept his title belt as a result of the win.
As if we needed any more reminding of Webb's standing among the legends of world golf, the veteran Aussie equalled the record of the great Sam Snead with her eighth win in the same tournament. The trophy with 'K. Webb' engraved on it eight times is that of the Australian Ladies Masters, where Webb first won in 1998. The former world No.1 chased down two teen rivals in the final round to record a two-shot win at Royal Pines. It is the 12th time that Webb has finished either first or second at the event, where she first played in 1993. Snead's favourite hunting ground was the Greater Greensboro Open, which he won eight times between 1930 and 1965. Webb equalled his mark in less than half the time.
Dale Steyn (South Africa)
The Proteas paceman has long been one of the most destructive fast bowlers in the world. Now, he might well be on the fast track to becoming of the most devastating of all time. Steyn took an incredible 6/8 from 8.1 overs as South Africa skittled Pakistan for a record low of 49. It was the third time in the past two seasons that Steyn and company had dismissed their opponents for less than 50, including Australia's humiliation for 47 in 2011 and New Zealand's disastrous 45 last month. Remarkably, the feat has only been achieved six times since 1970.
Peter Odemwingie (West Bromwich Albion)
The plucky, perhaps demented Odemwingie came up with a novel way of trying to force a transfer from the Baggies to QPR on deadline day – he Odem-winged it. The West Brom striker showed up unannounced at Loftus Road talking about a "new chapter" in his career on Thursday, but was turned away at the gates once it became apparent that QPR had not signed him; and in fact had not even been given permission to talk to him. QPR boss Harry Redknapp said the "wires must have crossed," which seems like a charitable way of saying Odemwingie is a twit. Baggies boss Steve Clarke called it "total lunacy" and banished the Nigeria international from training at The Hawthorns, leaving him to stew over the reality of another 18 months in the West Midlands.
Chris Culliver (San Francisco 49ers)
The 49ers cornerback put an ugly spin on the lead-up to the Super Bowl during an interview this week, telling shock jock Artie Lange that homosexuals are not welcome at the 49ers. That's right, the San Francisco 49ers. "I don't do the gay guys man," Culliver said. "We don't got no gay people on the team. They got to get up out of here if they do, can't be with that sweet stuff." Culliver quickly found himself on an island of one as his teammates, coach and the 49ers organisation all condemned his remarks, forcing him to beat a hasty retreat the following day: "They were very ugly comments, and that's not what I feel in my heart. Hopefully, I can learn and grow from this," he told a media throng.
Following the announcement that Daniel Geale beat Mundine to retain his IBF middleweight title, The Man didn't bother to congratulate the deserved winner, and stormed out of the ring immediately. Not satisfied with that effort, Mundine took to Twitter the next day to express his dismay at the judges' decision to award the fight to Geale, writing: "Hate seriously blinds people! I dictated last night caught him with more shots & power shots! Told yu this would happen if didn't ko him!". The commentators on the television coverage, along with other respected observers were adamant that Geale was the rightful victor.
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