Extended AFL All-Australian squad named

Every year the AFL’s All-Australian squad is just as notable for who wasn’t selected as who did make the cut and this season is no different.

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The league released its initial squad of 40 on Monday and Richmond skipper Trent Cotchin, Geelong midfielder Mitch Duncan and Melbourne power onballer Clayton Oliver are among the players who can consider themselves unlucky.

Cotchin has been a key factor in the Tigers’ ascent to the top four, while Duncan has taken his game to a new level this year.

Oliver played all 22 games for the Demons, averaging 30 possessions a match, in his second AFL season.

“From our perspective, he’s been a terrific addition to our team (and) taken a huge leap for a young player,” Melbourne co-captain Nathan Jones said of Oliver on Monday.

“He inspires some of our other guys to show the level of commitment and development that’s possible when you really set your mind to it.

“It’s a credit to him, with how hard he’s worked off field, the by-product is the performance we see consistently on the field.

“He’s probably pretty stiff to miss out, I would have thought, but I’m tipping he won’t be too far away in the near future.”

Minor premiers Adelaide have a league-high eight players in the extended 40-man squad.

The large Crows’ contingent includes mercurial forward Eddie Betts – one of a dozen members of the 2016 All-Australian team who remain in contention to go back-to-back in 2017 – skipper Taylor Walker and midfield stars Rory Sloane and Matt Crouch.

Sydney spearhead Lance Franklin is in line for a seventh All-Australian gong, while Geelong captain Joel Selwood could receive the honour for the sixth time.

Richmond defender Alex Rance is in contention to be named an All-Australian for a fourth straight year.

The only clubs without any representatives in the 40-man squad are Fremantle and Gold Coast.

Second-placed Geelong and third-placed Richmond had only two nominees apiece.

The All-Australian selection panel is made up of Gillon McLachlan (chairman), Kevin Bartlett, Luke Darcy, Andrew Dillon, Danny Frawley, Glen Jakovich, Chris Johnson, Cameron Ling, Matthew Richardson and Warren Tredrea.

2017 ALL-AUSTRALIAN SQUAD:

Eddie Betts, Matt Crouch, Sam Jacobs, Rory Laird, Jake Lever, Tom Lynch, Rory Sloane, Taylor Walker (Adelaide), Dayne Zorko (Brisbane Lions), Sam Docherty, Matthew Kreuzer (Carlton), Jeremy Howe, Adam Treloar (Collingwood), Joe Daniher, Michael Hurley, Zach Merrett (Essendon), Patrick Dangerfield, Joel Selwood (Geelong), Toby Greene, Josh Kelly, Tom Scully, Dylan Shiel (GWS), Tom Mitchell (Hawthorn), Jeff Garlett, Michael Hibberd, Neville Jetta (Melbourne), Ben Brown (North Melbourne), Robbie Gray, Tom Jonas, Paddy Ryder (Port Adelaide), Dustin Martin, Alex Rance (Richmond), Dylan Roberton, Sebastian Ross (St Kilda), Lance Franklin, Josh Kennedy (Sydney), Josh Kennedy, Jeremy McGovern, Elliot Yeo (West Coast), Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs).

India says China border stand-off will end soon amid scuffle footage

Indian and Chinese soldiers have for more than two months been facing off over a separate territorial dispute in the Doklam plateau, which India says is Bhutanese territory and which China claims for itself.

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Some analysts have said the dispute amounts to the worst crisis in relations between the two nuclear-armed neighbours for decades.

On Monday Home Minister Rajnath Singh said India wanted peaceful relations with its neighbours as he addressed a unit of border guards in the capital Delhi.

“A deadlock is going on between India and China in Doklam. But I think a solution will come out soon. China will also take a positive step from its side,” Singh said as he addressed the paramilitary Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).

“We want to maintain good relations with our neighbours. We don’t want conflict, we want peace.”

The stand-off between soldiers of #India and #China on August 15, 2017, took place at 33.720184, 78.763637 (Maps: 苏州美甲培训学校,长沙SPA,/jM5AFfKakb). pic.twitter苏州美甲培训学校按摩论坛,/oEM0Qdt9fp

— Christiaan Triebert (@trbrtc) August 19, 2017

The ITBP guards India’s 3,488-kilometre (2,167-mile) border with China along the northern Himalayan mountain range.

His comments came days after video emerged of soldiers from both sides appearing to kick and punch each other as rocks rained down on them in a disputed part of Ladakh last week.

Army sources confirmed to AFP on Monday that the video of the fighting on August 15 — India’s Independence Day — was authentic. 

0:00 China blames India for border scuffle Share China blames India for border scuffle

Asked to comment on the scuffle at a regular briefing on Monday, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman said its border troops were carrying out “normal” patrols on the Chinese side. 

“During this process, the Indian side took some violent actions, colliding with the Chinese personnel with their bodies and injuring the Chinese border personnel,” said Hua Chunying. 

“This violated the consensus between India and China in relation to border issues. China has expressed great dissatisfaction” and had lodged solemn representations, she added.

“What India did went against the two countries’ relevant consensus to keep the peace on the border and it endangered the situation of the western section of China-India border, China is extremely dissatisfied with this and has lodged solemn representations through border-related channels.”

India’s government had previously confirmed the scuffle but said no weapons were used, without giving further details.

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It happened on the shores of Pangong Lake, which lies over 4,000 metres high on the Tibetan plateau and is a popular tourist attraction.

India and China share a long history of mistrust and went to war in 1962 over the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

The latest standoff began in mid-June after Chinese troops started building a road on the remote Doklam plateau.

India has an army base nearby and moved soldiers into the flashpoint zone to halt the work, prompting Beijing to accuse it of trespassing on Chinese soil.

0:00 India confirms border ‘incident’ with Chinese soldiers Share India confirms border ‘incident’ with Chinese soldiers

China has repeatedly said India must withdraw its troops before any proper negotiation takes place. India said both sides should withdraw their forces together.

India has historically been closely allied to Bhutan, but in recent years China has sought to increase its own engagement with the tiny mountainous kingdom.

That has fed into a broader competition for regional influence between the two Asian powers.

Broncs turn to defence guru after NRL rout

It was not quite the blowout they had to have.

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But Matt Gillett says last round’s thrashing from Parramatta has been a timely reality check ahead of Brisbane’s crunch NRL clash with North Queensland on Thursday night.

Wayne Bennett cracked the whip at training on Monday, calling in ex-Broncos hardman Peter Ryan to stiffen up their leaky defence in response to last round’s 52-34 home loss to the Eels.

The former Broncos and Brumbies defensive guru took over Monday’s brutal session after Brisbane conceded 50 points at Suncorp Stadium for only the second time in their history.

But a much more damning stat was no doubt motivating Bennett on Monday – no team has conceded 50 points in a game and gone on to win the premiership that year.

Backrower Gillett said Brisbane were embarrassed by the scoreline but believed lessons learned from the rout – and Ryan – would ensure it didn’t happen again.

“I am not sure if it was the blowout we had to have but it was a good reality check for us before the finals,” he said.

“If you are a bit weak in your preparation that is what can happen to you.

“I am glad it has happened now. We just have to move forward.”

Gillett hoped Ryan’s visit had added some starch to the Broncos defence ahead of their crucial showdown in Townsville on Thursday night.

Brisbane are hoping to seal a top four finish and home final with a win while the Cowboys are desperate for a victory to keep their finals hopes flickering.

“He was an enforcer, won premierships for the club,” Gillett said of Ryan.

“What happened last Thursday night was pretty embarrassing for the football team so it was good he could pass on his knowledge to the players.”

Sam Thaiday is emerging as Brisbane’s Mr Fixit after being tipped to fill the huge front row void created by Korbin Sims’ season-ending arm fracture.

Thaiday has been starting at hooker since Andrew McCullough’s season-ending knee injury.

He is expected to slot in at prop with bench back-up No.9 Ben Hunt starting as rake against the Cowboys.

Joe Ofahengaue is another starting prop option after completing a three week ban.

Winger David Mead left training early on Monday with a suspected knee complaint but Jordan Kahu is expected to take his place against the Cowboys after returning to training from a groin complaint.

Shannon Boyd plays down Kangaroos hopes

Canberra prop Shannon Boyd believes his NRL form hasn’t been good enough to regain his Kangaroos jersey in time for the World Cup.

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Less than a year ago the 24-year-old made an impressive international debut, but he’s not confident of forcing his way back into Mal Meninga’s squad for the tournament which kicks off in October.

While only a leg injury stopped Boyd from playing in the Anzac Test in May, he believes he has fallen down the pecking order since then.

“I don’t think my form has really granted me to play for Australia this year,” Boyd said.

“I’ve been a bit better the last four or five weeks but there’s a lot of other players that have done it all year.

“If I got picked I’d be stoked but I’ll just have to wait until it happens.”

Boyd is a rare breed, having played four Tests for Australia during last year’s Four Nations but never represented NSW in State of Origin.

Origin forwards David Klemmer, Andrew Fifita, Aaron Woods, Jarrod Wallace, Dylan Napa and Tim Glasby could all be in front of Boyd, while former Raider Paul Vaughan is a possible bolter.

Boyd’s improved form has coincided with the Green Machine winning five of their past seven games.

But it hasn’t been enough to give the 122kg giant a chance to prove a point to Australian selectors during the NRL finals, with Canberra no longer a chance of squeezing into the top eight.

“It’s something you play for all year and to turn around and just be no chance it’s pretty ordinary,” Boyd said.

The Raiders face minor premiers Melbourne, who will have strong representation during the World Cup, in their final match of the season on Saturday night.

“They’re a class above everyone else at the moment,” Boyd said.