Smooth sailing: Malcolm Turnbull out to sea. Photo: Wolter PeetersThe sky was a fine Liberal blue as the 16m yacht Moksha came around and started its run down Sydney Harbour. Mohmed Ali looked at Malcolm Turnbull and wondered who he was.
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”He looks pretty good though,” the Chapel School Merrylands student said as the yacht raced HMAS Tobruk to Bradleys Head.

In the middle of the election campaign, the MP for Wentworth, resplendent in red sailing jacket, yachting shorts, deckshoes and replete with his own malcolmturnbull南京夜网.au baseball cap, bravely put to sea on Monday morning with some of the few people in Australia who had yet to hear of him.

Ten students from Chapel School, a high school in the western Sydney Labor heartland of Merrylands that caters to youngsters disconnected from mainstream education, go sailing each Monday as part of a Sailors With disAbilities program.

Turnbull has been patron of SWD for years and regularly sails with various groups. ”Chasing the charity dollar is a very crowded space and anything I can do to lift the profile, the better,” he said.

When Turnbull appeared at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia to join the Chapel School crew, sailors on the Rushcutters Bay dock spontaneously wished him luck.

Clearly Turnbull is their man. Around Wentworth, billboards bearing his smiling face are more ubiquitous than seagulls. In Hall Street, Bondi, a stencil graffiti Kevin Rudd face carries a single word, ”Icarus”.

As Moksha cleared the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia wharf, one of the girls, a first-time sailor, sat rigid. ”I’m gonna throw up, she said. ”I don’t want to do this.”

A crewmember who had been watching her quietly took her into the cockpit and asked her to stow the line coming in as the mainsail was hoisted. Busy, her tears and fears vanished.

”That’s one of the aims, give people a stakehold, build self-esteem, and they can discover their capabilities. Sailing can do this,” Turnbull said.

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More than any two Australian cricketers in recent years Ryan Harris and Shane Watson have been haunted by bodies that have kept letting them down.

Much time and attention has been spent on Watson’s myriad fitness issues, the latest a groin strain incurred in the fourth Test that has brought a stop to his latest run as a fully fledged Test all-rounder.

But heaven knows where Australia might be without Harris (7-117) in England. While the former vice-captain walked around gingerly on Monday, permitted to field and bat but not bowl, the fast bowler was travelling at full throttle in another brutal spell that confirmed that when fit, he is a match for any quick in the world.

Making the new ball operate like a grenade the 33-year-old claimed three wickets in the space of 11 balls on the fourth morning of the match, and ended with not only career-best figures, but also the best innings return of any bowler in the series. He now has 20 wickets in three matches at 19.25 apiece.

Unfortunately he was again fighting largely a lone battle as England’s Tim Bresnan (45) and Graeme Swann (30) inflicted some serious lower-order damage to propel England to 330 in its second innings, setting Australia a victory target of 299.

Openers Chris Rogers and David Warner negotiated a tricky 20 minutes before lunch, with England blowing one of their reviews on James Anderson’s lbw appeal on the veteran, to leave Australia 0-11 in pursuit. The task was not made any easier by the injury picked up by Watson. The former vice-captain left the ground midway through an over on Sunday and did not return.

Cricket Australia said he would be able to bat, having been put through a series of light jogging exercises in the warm-up on Monday, but due to changes made to the laws of international cricket in 2011 he would not be able to be assisted by a runner.

Harris had no such concerns, silencing speculation about how his body would hold up to playing in a third consecutive Test for only the second time in his regularly truncated career.

After carving up England’s top order the day before he wasted no time adding four more wickets.

Ian Bell, his third hundred of the series ended at 113, and Matt Prior were castled in consecutive deliveries, the first of which almost resulted in a search party being needed to locate a flying stump.

Harris missed out on his hat-trick, but took only until his next over to claim a sixth victim, when Stuart Broad fended a short ball unconvincingly to Steve Smith at gully.

Bresnan blasted crucial late runs for England, including five boundaries in 12 balls off Australia’s other opening bowler Jackson Bird, and it took Harris to finally end his cameo, completing the catch himself.

Smith could not do that in the deep soon after, putting down a sitter that would have had No.11 Anderson caught at long-on.

The bowler, Nathan Lyon, was not impressed, but finished off Anderson soon after to finish with 3-55, cleaning up the wickets Harris did not take. The spilled chance cost Australia 13 runs.

However Australia’s run chase works out, Harris had done his job, surpassing his previous best of 6-47 against England in Perth in 2010. The only question, after this performance, was why he was left out of the first Test last month.

“I feel really confident in my body…I’ve had a really good build-up,” Harris said. “In the past I’ve gone from not bowling many overs to bowling lots of overs whereas this time I’ve spent plenty of time on the Australia A tour (of England before the Ashes) and bowled lots and lots of overs, and finished off the first-class season back in Queensland.

“You’ve always got doubts, but I’m starting to have less and less doubts obviously because I’ve got through so much.”

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August is supposed to be the month when the NRL is abuzz in the lead-up to the finals but even though there are 13 teams in the running for the playoffs, there is an air of inevitability that the leading four teams will be facing off in the penultimate weekend of the post season for the right to meet in the grand final.
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The NRL would be foolish to abandon the eight-team system because crowds would dramatically fall away at this time of year if more sides were out of the equation but when 50 per cent of the competition is classed as the cream of the crop at the end of the regular season, it’s hard to argue against those who say it rewards mediocrity.

1. Roosters (last week 1): Boyd Cordner’s injury-enforced absence will not only put a huge dent in the Roosters’ title aspirations, it will probably cost him his first Test jersey. Although it is likely it will just be a delay, not a permanent miss. Even though there are plenty of high-quality back-rowers running around, Cordner should have been one of the first picked for Australia’s World Cup squad.

2. Sea Eagles (2): Whether it’s the raw meat diet or playing outside the best non-representative rep-class centre in the NRL, Wolfman “David” Williams is back to top form and no matter how hard you look, there are no weak links in this Manly side.

3. Storm (4): The Storm seem to have weathered the meteorological disturbance which hovered on their radar mid-season. Brett Finch’s best days are well behind him but he is a true competitor and will give his all to win his first legitimate NRL title after going close twice before.

4. Rabbitohs (3): The next time Greg Inglis is out injured, South Sydney’s players can say their team’s fortunes do not revolve around their star fullback or they can tell the truth.

5. Knights (8): Supercoach Bennett is unsurprisingly playing down his team’s late-season momentum but if experience counts in the finals, Newcastle could be one of the few sides in the bottom half of the top eight who won’t be making up the numbers.

6. Sharks (5): Still not scoring enough points. A lack of attacking potency means they are not putting opponents away when the chance is there. Cronulla had several sets in Newcastle’s red zone last Saturday but had to settle for a penalty goal to break a 12-12 deadlock. The two points were not enough to secure the two competition points.

7. Bulldogs (6): Is there not enough grunt in the Canterbury forwards? It seems sacrilegious to suggest that about a club renowned for its bite up front but there is a lot of finesse in this pack but perhaps not enough mongrel.

8. Warriors (7): No shame losing on the road to Manly but their finals chances are suddenly looking flaky after back-to-back losses. Another defeat and they start to become a “mathematical chance” of making the finals and nobody wants that mantle.

9. Titans (10): A win in Sydney and over the Bulldogs no doubt. A couple of impressive wins in a row has brought them back into eighth spot. They have nobody to blame but themselves if they don’t make the finals now.

10. Raiders (9): Like Terry Campese’s hair, their form has been patchy for most of the year and now it looks like it’s gone altogether. A terrible -110 for and against differential means they’ll have to do more than most of their rivals to steal a top-eight berth.

11. Broncos (11): Three points off eighth spot, they are not without a hope if they keep duplicating the tenacity on display in recent weeks. Sam Thaiday is not everyone’s cup of tea (did you see his miraculous recovery to score off the next play after supposedly suffering a serious injury?) but he is certainly effective.

12. Cowboys (13): Are the North Queensland players doing it for supercoach Henry now he’s been sacked or is their sudden form turnaround due to something else? Unlike five of the six teams above them, the 12th-placed Cowboys have a positive points differential, yet another indication of their season of under-achievement.

13. Panthers (12): Surprising to hear Lachlan Coote’s name being mentioned as another Penrith junior who may be playing elsewhere next year. A couple of years ago he was being hailed as the future face of the club.

14. Dragons (14): No more Josh Dugan or Trent Merrin for the rest of the season. Likely there’ll be no more victories for St George Illawarra in 2013 either.

15. Eels (17): They’ve leapfrogged the 16th-ranked “Daylight” and the Wests Tigers by beating the latter last weekend. The lead changed several teams as both teams tried their best/worst to lose the match. Parra just wanted to win/didn’t want to lose it the most.

16. Tigers (15): When the Wests Tigers won the premiership in 2005, supercoach Sheens said it would end the factionalism between Balmain and the Magpies which was caused so much drama in the joint venture club’s formative years. The current board of directors should be reminded of this.

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Brumbies player Colby Faingaa is joining the Melbourne Rebels next year. Photo: Melissa Adams SPORT: Brumbies players Robbie Coleman and Colby Faingaa at the Brumbies gym at HQ, Griffith that is all but empty with only a few mats and weights remaining. . 12th August 2013 .Photo by MELISSA ADAMS of The Canberra Times.. Photo: Melissa Adams MLA
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A rope and a few tonnes of weights were all that was left of the ACT Brumbies’ gym; the rest was packed into storage as the club begins its move to the University of Canberra.

While openside flanker Colby Faingaa won’t get packed into a box, he’s also embarking on a move of his own, joining the Melbourne Rebels on a one-year deal.

But first the Queanbeyan product will enjoy a farewell tour, travelling to London for an inaugural club sevens tournament along with two other southern hemisphere teams.

Faingaa admitted it was a little disappointing he was leaving his home town, but he is also excited at the chance to come out of the shadows of some of the best loose forwards Australian rugby has produced.

Injury last year put him behind Michael Hooper in the Brumbies No.7 pecking order and then the arrival of Wallabies pilferer David Pocock for this season relegated him to the bench.

Then the return of Brumbies favourite son George Smith forced him out of the XXII completely.

He spoke to his brothers Saia and Anthony, who play for the Queensland Reds, before deciding to move to the Rebels.

For Faingaa it will be just his third trip to Melbourne, having only ever been there twice – both times to play.

”It’s a little disappointed [that I am leaving], but I’m more excited at my chance with the Rebels,” Faingaa said.

”You can’t assume anything [when going to a new club], but there’s a bigger chance for me to establish myself there.”

Faingaa related his farewell more with the Super Rugby grand final, rather than an unfamiliar sevens tournament on the other side of the world.

Not even the last two years working with fitness guru Dean Benton had prepared him for the intense training of the last week, trying to get ready for the non-stop action of sevens rugby.

Faingaa was preparing for some of the worst seven minutes of his life – albeit with some of that time spent on the bench.

”There’s a massive difference between sevens and the normal game,” Faingaa said.

”It’s just constant running for the full seven minutes, certainly a lot tougher than what I’m used to and nothing in the last two years has prepared me for it.”

The Brumbies will play the round-robin games on Saturday and their goal is to win the final on Sunday.

And that’s the goal sevens skipper Robbie Coleman has for his squad of 12, which leaves on Tuesday. They warmed up with a game against a Papua New Guinea side in Canberra on Monday.

Coleman said it was a massive honour to captain the side and he has already put behind him the disappointment of missing out on the squad for the Super Rugby grand final.

The versatile back was on the fringes all season and was hampered by niggling groin and hip problems.

He’s hopeful that a solid pre-season when he returns from London will help him force his way into the line-up next year.

”It’s always hard to miss out on a big game, that’s only natural,” Coleman said.

”But the whole squad still played a large part in the preparation.”

BRUMBIES SEVENS SQUAD1. Etienne Oosthuizen, 2. Andrew Smith, 3. Jordan Smiler, 4. Matt Hawke, 5. Colby Faingaa, 6. Henry Speight, 7. Rodney Iona, 8. Stephan Van Der Walt, 9. Ian Prior, 10. Zack Holmes, 11. Robbie Coleman (c), 12. Tom Cox.

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Nicholas Pepper and Reece Papas. Picture: Jonathan CarrollNIC Pepper proved a point and Reece Papas would not be denied another green and gold jersey at the School Sport Australia 19-years-and-under football championships in Canberra last week.
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The Newcastle Jets pair starred for the NSW All Schools side, helping them to second place and securing themselves selection in the 16-strong Australian Schoolboys squad to tour Britain in January.

In a once-in-a-lifetime experience, the group will play a Welsh College team, Swansea and Cardiff City academies, the England independent schools, Sheffield United academy, Birmingham City academy, a British college side, and an England All Schools line-up.

The Australians will also tour the famous Old Trafford and Anfield stadiums and attend English Premier League games.

Isobel Cootes, from Warners Bay High, was the lone Hunter player in the Australian Schoolgirls squad. The defender helped NSW to second in the girls’ tournament and was selected despite missing games due to a dislocated shoulder and concussion.

Papas, an Australian representative at under-15 and 16 level, booked his seat on the 16-day tour with a standout carnival, earning player of the tournament honours.

It was confidence boost for the 17-year-old defender, whose performance and selection came after he was overlooked for the Young Socceroos squad which left for a tour of Spain on Friday.

Papas, who attended a Young Socceroos camp in April this year, was thrilled to get another international call-up and said the highlight of the tour would be “just the experience and the honour of representing your country”.

Pepper, a centre midfielder, played at the titles last year when he was still based in Sydney. The 18-year-old, who came to Hunter Sports High School and the Jets this time last year, was selected as a shadow player for the touring team to Argentina and Brazil.

Now in year 12, Pepper was determined to take his last chance at schoolboys level for a green and gold jersey.

“It was [my] goal this year to get into the team,” said Pepper, who is no relation to Jets A-League player Jacob Pepper.

“There was no expectation but I just wanted to prove a point that maybe they made a mistake last year.”

NSW All Schools lost to Victoria 1-0 when they needed a draw to take the title. They drew with winners ACT 0-0 and South Australia 2-2, but beat Western Australia 7-0 and Queensland 2-1.

Before the January tour, Pepper and Papas are hoping to be part of the Jets’ National Youth League campaign.

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