The last weekend of a super-tight NRL regular season promises to be a roller-coaster ride.


It’s one Warriors coach Andrew McFadden doesn’t want his players getting on.

The Warriors are back in ninth spot, but a win at Penrith will lift them into a play-off berth.

Their match is the last of the round, so they will know by kick-off on Sunday night if they’re also still a chance to finish as high as sixth and claim a home qualifying final.

But McFadden says his players have to forget all that.

“We have to try to stay away from what happens over the weekend,” he said.

“Our real priority for this game is performance, then we’ll give ourselves a chance.”

McFadden has identified halfback Jamie Soward as one player the Warriors will have to shackle in a Penrith side he sees as having strike weapons across the park.

“He’s a key person and generally their form swings around how well he plays,” he said.

“We will definitely have a plan around him.”

The Warriors kept their season alive with a 42-0 whitewash of Gold Coast.

While it was one-way traffic on the scoreboard, one battle the Titans won was in offloads, their 22 almost double that of the Warriors, who were forced to burn plenty of additional energy.

It’s something McFadden wants his players to be wary of against the Panthers, whose “less structured version of the game” makes them dangerous.

The Warriors’ own noted offloader, back rower Feleti Mateo, is set to make a return to first-grade after a spell in the NSW Cup.

McFadden was impressed by Mateo’s efforts against North Sydney last Sunday, has included him on a five-man bench and indicated he was likely to play.

“He’s got a unique skill set that can win a game,” he said.

“As long as he has the right attitude towards his football, he needs to be in our side.”

Novak Djokovic beat an increasingly frustrated Andy Murray, producing a post-midnight 7-6 (7-1) 6-7 (1-7) 6-2 6-4 win on Thursday to reach the semi-finals of the US Open.


The world No.1 rode a roller-coaster of service breaks and momentum shifts in the first two sets, the first lasting for more than an hour.

Djokovic won the opener in a tiebreaker after losing a 4-1 lead but found himself level-pegging in the match as Murray managed to take the second set with a similar scoreline.

The Serb broke it open as he claimed the third, leaving Murray screaming both at himself and his player box as he apparently battled the cramping which struck him last week.

Djokovic stands 13-8 in their personal series as the pair played for the first time since March. He marked his 50th victory at Flushing Meadows as he finished off a depleted Murray in the fourth set.

“We both gave our best. At times the tennis was not that nice. But it was a physical battle in the first two and a half sets,” said Djokovic who has made the semi-finals hear eight consecutive times.

“Last five times we’ve gone three-four hours, we get used to it. I’m glad to get through into another semi-final.

Djokovic will play on Saturday against Kei Nishikori, who outlasted Swiss Stan Wawrinka 3-6 7-5 7-6 (9-7) 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 to become the first Japanese man to reach the New York semis since 1918.

The long afternoon-into-evening marathon ended on a low note for Australian Open winner Wawrinka, who fired a double-fault to yield two match points for his opponent.

The third-seeded Swiss saved the first with a powerful serve but slammed a return into the net on the second to go down.

Wawrinka had beaten Nishikori in both of their previous meetings.

Nishikori had to win his previous round 36 hours earlier at 2:26 am, equalling a stadium record for late finishes.

But after playing back-to-back five-setters, Nishikori said he favoured the marathons.

“I always love to play five sets. I have a lot of confidence to play in the fifth. I get more concentration and my tennis is getting better playing in the fourth or fifth sets.

“These two matches are going to help me.”

Wawrinka praised the stamina of Nishikori who has now spent more than 13.5 hours on court at the tournament.

“From outside he looks really dead, but we know on the court he can play,” he said.

“Physically he’s there, even at the end of the match. I still think that I was the fresher on the court, but he handled it well.”

Athletics Australia president David Grace says he does not believe the major problems at AA run further than disgraced former head coach Eric Hollingsworth.


The ill-fated Glasgow Commonwealth Games campaign was the catalyst for two reviews into the sport – a wide-ranging one instituted by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) and a separate internal investigation.

But Hollingsworth is under no obligation to contribute to either review after formally parting ways with AA on Wednesday.

His six-year term with AA effectively came to an abrupt end in Glasgow, when he was suspended and sent home in disgrace after publicly lambasting Olympic and world champion Sally Pearson on the eve of her 100m hurdles title defence.

Highly-successful former national cricket coach John Buchanan will head the ASC review, which has similar terms of reference to the one set up to probe swimming after the controversial London Olympics campaign.

Among the key issues for Buchanan will be the failed attempted merger between Athletics Australia and Little Athletics.

Grace remained hopeful the ASC could help broker a merger between the two bodies.

Current AA high performance director Simon Nathan – who was behind the controversial decision to fine Pearson and teammates Alex Rowe and Benn Harradine for skipping part or all of the pre-Commonwealth Games camp in Gateshead – will also fill the head coaching job in the short term.

Hollingsworth’s six-year reign officially ended with his resignation on Wednesday, with Grace noting AA was legally unable to sack him.

The arrangement includes non-disparagement clauses by both parties.

Speaking on Thursday, Grace denied the issues at AA extended beyond Hollingsworth.

“I believe that if you look at our recent performances on the international stage and locally you will see great success and development in our sport,” he said, pointing to the medals won recently at the Commonwealth Games, world junior championships and the Youth Olympics.

But Grace was still supportive of the ASC review, which will deliver its findings in December.

“The Australian Sports Commission invests a lot of money in Athletics Australia,” said Grace.

“They want to ensure that athletics has the best structure, not only in relation to governance and its systems but in relation to its programs to ensure that on the world stage, pursuant to its Winning Edge program, we have the opportunity to compete.

“That’s what we want to achieve.

“We recognise that we don’t have the optimum structure.

“We recognise there are ways we can improve.”

The other members of the Buchanan-chaired ASC review panel are all former athletes – Matt Favier, Melinda Gainsford-Taylor, Lynne William and Mark Bartels.

Favier is also the Australian Institute of Sport director.

Will Genia insists the Wallabies aren’t on his radar but his NRC coach, former Test prop Nick Stiles, says Saturday’s comeback will prove he’s ready for an immediate return.


Genia will play his first match in three months when he makes a 40-minute NRC debut for Brisbane City against another Australian No.9 contender, Melbourne Rising’s Luke Burgess, at Ballymore.

With Nick Phipps unseating Nic White for this weekend’s Rugby Championship clash with South Africa, the 40-Test halfback can only currently be ranked third in the country.

However, Stiles has no doubts Genia could walk straight back into Australia’s backline in next week’s match against Argentina on the Gold Coast.

The Brisbane mentor and Queensland forwards coach says Genia, who underwent ankle surgery in June, will hit the ground running just like he did last year when he returned six months after a knee reconstruction.

“Will is an incredible trainer on and off the field,” Stiles said. “He is that diligent with his recovery and he’s a student of the game.

“He’s Wallaby-ready. You could put him in this weekend and he would be right to play, that’s his character.”

Genia’s surgery was only supposed to sideline him until mid-August but he’s taken a cautious approach to fully recover and also overcome knee, neck and back niggles which have taken the edge off his game in 2014.

Rated the best halfback in the world 14 months ago, the 26-year-old suffered a shock blow when overlooked by Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie for June’s three-Test series against France.

He admitted his ankle problem affected his play for the Reds but wasn’t using it as an excuse – pointing to his man-of-the-match display in his last appearance against the Highlanders.

Even so, the chance to freshen up physically and mentally should put him in the best position to return to the match-winning form of 2010-12.

“With the injury I knew it was impacting on my performance because in games I couldn’t accelerate and turn and chase and what-not quite naturally,” he said. “It was inhibiting me in that sense.

“Having the operation I can feel the difference now.”

With Phipps, White and Burgess in the 30-man Wallabies squad for their next two Tests, Genia’s earliest likely return would be for the overseas tour against the Springboks (September 27) and Pumas (October 4).

“It would be nice to get picked for the Wallabies again but it’s not something that I’ve put too much thought into,” he said. “I just want to get out there and play. The NRC looks a whole lot of fun.”

Brumbies flyers Henry Speight and Joe Tomane will also use the NRC as a launching pad for Test selection when they line up for the Canberra Vikings against Queensland Country on Saturday.

The “Fro Bros” have finally overcome lingering hamstring problems which cost Tomane a starting berth in last month’s Bledisloe Tests and put Fiji-born Speight’s long-awaited Wallabies debut on ice.

Shares in Fortescue Metals have outshone those of its peers after the miner hit a new monthly record for iron ore shipments.


The world’s fourth largest iron ore miner shipped 15.16 million tonnes of iron ore in August, and also broke processing and production records.

The result smashed the miner’s previous record of 13.25mt, set just two months earlier.

“This great team effort started at our mining operations, continued along our world-class rail line and finished at the port where we are meeting the high demand for our iron ore with record volumes of tonnes shipped,” chief executive Nev Power said.

Shares in Fortescue gained five cents, or 1.25 per cent, to $4.05, while shares in other major iron ore miners – BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto – fell.

Fortescue shares were among the most traded on the market.

The company in August reported a 56 per cent rise in full year net profit to a record $US2.7 billion.

At the time, Mr Power said Fortescue expected iron ore prices to remain high as high-cost production is forced out and Chinese demand stays high.

However, iron ore prices have fallen from over $US90 in August to $US85.70 overnight.

When iron ore prices fell sharply in 2012 and tested Fortescue’s profitability, it was forced to secure a $US4.5 billion funding line to avoid breaching its debt covenants.

Its net debt reached a peak last year of $US10.5 billion but has been rapidly cut to $US7.2 billion, with the company planning to repay another $US500 million in October.

Fortescue expects to produce 155 to 160 million tonnes of iron ore in fiscal 2015.

It has cut costs by about $US2 billion since 2012 including 23 per cent in production costs in the last year.

All-in costs are about $US60 a tonne, meaning it can handle further falls in the iron ore price.