Latest cricket, AFL, netball, NRL news: What you need to know this morning – Code

Aaron Finch needs a role change and Mitchell Starc has already had one. Australia has plenty of headaches at the T20 World Cup. Check out CODE’s Best of Sport for today’s sporting news.
Here is CODE Sports’ Best of Sport line-up for October 26, 2022.
If the stakes hadn’t been so high, Aaron Finch’s ‘anchor role’ would have been funny. In truth, it was agonising and unsustainable, writes DANIEL CHERNY.


There has been plenty of talk over the years about the ugly Australians. But for much of Tuesday night in Perth, the prospect of Glenn McGrath glaring at batsmen and Steve Waugh chirping invective from gully felt much more palatable than what was being dished up.
This was ugly from Australia. Really ugly. From an early stage the Aussies’ body language looked negative. There were scowls on their faces, particularly that of captain Aaron Finch.
Wickets were being greeted with shows of relief rather than joy, passion or excitement. Mitchell Starc played traffic cop, on the lookout for Dhananjaya de Silva straying into unlawful terrain at the non-striker’s end. Pat Cummins dropped Pathum Nissanka. Marcus Stoinis got grumpy with Ashton Agar for a lack of urgency in the field. Cummins also bowled two wides in a final over that went for 20, ending with a boundary that went through Finch following a lame effort from the skipper, one which had him thudding the turf in frustration.
Sri Lanka had squeezed their way to 6-157. It still shouldn’t have been a winning total but it was defendable.
If Finch was frustrated with his fielding, goodness knows what he must’ve thought of his batting. He was playing the anchor role too well: weighing the side down. If the stakes hadn’t been so high, it would have been funny. But in truth, it was agonising.
Mitchell Starc was once Australia’s prize T20 weapon. That is no longer the case, writes CricViz analyst BEN JONES.

Mitchell Starc – once the most fearsome, ultra-aggressive new ball bowler in world cricket – was kept out of the attack until the fifth over, held back as the rest of the attack took a bite of the cherry.
Australia looked at their gun quick, their 150kph wildcard, and they held him back. That one over went well – one run, no wicket – but it felt like a marker. In a game where Australia were desperate to blow the opposition away with the ball, Starc wasn’t considered.
Across the innings he went rather nicely, conceding less than a run a ball despite his wicketless spell, and kept things tight in a game where the Sri Lanka batters rarely threatened to get away. But the sense was, unmistakeable, of Starc moving away from the role where he’s dominated in gold for many years.
The issue for Australia is that it’s entirely deserved.
Donnell Wallam should be preparing for the greatest moment of her career, but her possible Test debut threatens to be overshadowed by the high-profile sponsorship drama that has engulfed Netball Australia, writes LINDA PEARCE.

Wearing her more recent hat as a TV producer, former Australian defender Keeley Devery knows the cameras will be trained on Donnell Wallam should the reluctant face of the Hancock Prospecting sponsorship storm debut for the Diamonds tonight against England in Newcastle.
“Certainly it’s a major story,” says Devery, a past head of netball at Nine and Fox Sports with extensive broadcasting experience across multiple codes. “You’d have to be looking at it, but I would think more through a lens of concern.’’
As a retired player, the 63-Test dual world champion can only contrast the Wallam scenario with her own debut, back in 1985 against Wales in Cardiff, in the days before international broadcasts and social media – and, incidentally, just a year after Lang Hancock’s disgusting racist remarks that have brought us to where we are now.
Hard-nosed pragmatism marked Ross Lyon’s formidable first St Kilda era. Romanticism rules as he returns to take on a far bleaker challenge, writes SHANNON GILL.

That infamous St Kilda romance finally got Ross Lyon.
“When I left, I dropped an iron curtain,” Lyon, who quit as Saints coach in 2011, mused after the reunion that has occurred over the past 10 days.
“When I spoke about that moment, I got very emotional and it unleashed a lot of memories.
“It validated how I felt about the club.”
Lyon, whose hard-nosed rationale almost single-handedly ended the roller coaster trajectory of footy’s least-winning club, had been seduced by the thing that keeps Saints supporters coming back each year.
Retiring Sharks great Andrew Fifita has revealed the injury which almost ended his NRL career prematurely, has had everlasting changes and still causes him great pain, writes DAVID RICCIO.
The confronting reality of being told he needs seven different operations has led champion Cronulla prop Andrew Fifita to announce his retirement from the NRL.
Viewed by many as the greatest Sharks prop of all-time, Fifita has made the emotional call to hang up his boots despite talking to Manly and Canterbury about a contract for 2023.
“I had spoken to (Manly’s) Dessie (Hasler) and (Canterbury’s) Cameron (Ciraldo) about helping them with some leadership in their pack next year,’’ Fifita said.
“I was keen to help Cam in his first year to help get the team gelling in year one.
“And the same with Manly, they’ve got a stack of strong youth coming through, but they need a senior figure.
“What killed me was the medicals. When you’re leaving a club you have an exit medical which analyses your body.
“The doc sat me down and ran me through it all.”
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Tim Elbra is the deputy editor of CODE. He started out as a reporter at The Daily Telegraph in 2003 and has also worked for mX,, Fox Sports, AthletesVoice and Nine’s Wide World of Sports. Tim was one of those kids who played every sport he possibly could while growing up and you’ll find him writing about a broad range of sports on this site. He’s never met a sport he doesn’t like and outside of footy, cricket and tennis, has a passion for snowboarding, bodyboarding, scuba diving and hiking. He’s still waiting, impatiently, for the Parramatta Eels to win another premiership.
If it’s not bad enough that Mike Hussey is helping England try to win the T20 World Cup, ‘Mr Cricket’ now admits he’s open to plotting with the old enemy to claim the Ashes on our soil.
Mike Hussey, who is with England as an assistant coach at the T20 World Cup, says he would be happy to help them in the Ashes series if asked by the Test head coach Brendon McCullum.
Mitchell Starc was once Australia’s prize T20 weapon. That is no longer the case, writes CricViz analyst BEN JONES.
The WBBL has always been the best avenue for young players to make a name for themselves in Australia. The future is looking good if this season is anything to go by, writes LACHLAN MCKIRDY.
From how to get started and the basics to picking a team to navigating the fixture and everything to watch out for, this is the place to start your KFC SuperCoach BBL journey.
If the stakes hadn’t been so high, Aaron Finch’s ‘anchor role’ would have been funny. In truth, it was agonising and unsustainable, writes DANIEL CHERNY.
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