Monthly Archives:October 2019

Collingwood pair Lachie Keeffe and Josh Thomas have tested positive to clenbuterol, threatening their careers and rocking the AFL with a fresh doping scandal.


The timing could not be worse for the game, with news of the positive tests coming a day before the AFL anti-doping tribunal’s Essendon verdicts and in the same week that the season starts.

“I hope it (the buildup to round one) is not all taken away, but it’s incredibly disappointing,” AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan told Fox Footy.

“I have to say that one, I didn’t see it coming and I’m incredibly disappointed and frustrated.”

It also means the AFL has had four positive tests in the last two years.

Those are separate to the Essendon supplements saga, now in its third year and the reason for Tuesday’s anti-doping tribunal verdicts on 34 current and past Bombers players.

Keeffe and Thomas tested positive on February 10, two days after the team returned from a New Zealand training camp.

The pair are under provisional suspension.

Their B samples will be tested on April 14, but this is expected to be a formality and they most likely will have to front the anti-doping tribunal.

Clenbuterol is the banned substance that cost Spanish cycling ace Alberto Contador his 2010 Tour de France title because of a positive test.

Australian cycling star Michael Rogers also tested positive to clenbuterol, but was cleared on appeal.

Contador and Rogers had the same defence – that they ate contaminated meat.

ASADA broke the news to Keeffe and Thomas on Friday and it is so far unclear what might have caused the positive tests.

“They’re at a complete loss to understand where the positive test has come from,” Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley told Fox Footy’s AFL 360 program.

“They’re very decent, upstanding young men.

“This is nearly a standard line, (but) if you asked me a couple who I wouldn’t have thought would have ever tested positive to anything, then they’d be right up there.

“They’re cleanskins and yet they’ve returned a positive sample.”

Collingwood are adamant the positive tests have no connection to their own dietary and supplements program.

Buckley said Keeffe and Thomas were roommates on the NZ trip and are best mates.

“In many ways, they’ve been joined at the hip their whole career,” he said.

Their coach added there was no logical reason why they would take a banned substance such as clenbuterol, which helps build muscle and burn fat.

He noted Keeffe and Thomas had overcome serious injury problems in the last few years.

“Both of these boys have had reasons throughout their career where they might want to go to it (taking banned substances) … but they’ve had their opportunities and they haven’t,” Buckley said.

“They’ve just worked hard and plugged away and they’re right in the sweet spot of their careers.

“We’re devastated for them.”

It is understood there were tense negotiations between Collingwood and the AFL Players Association on Monday before the announcement of the positive tests and the identities of the players were revealed.

Normally, if a sportsperson tests positive, he or she stays anonymous until the B sample confirms the result.

But Collingwood wanted the names revealed as soon as possible.

Buckley, Magpies chief executive Gary Pert and club football manager Neil Balme spoke briefly to the two players on Friday.

The club hopes to talk to them again at greater length on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Buckley said Keeffe would not have played in Saturday night’s round-one game against Brisbane, but Thomas was “well in the mix”.

Also in the last two years, St Kilda small forward Ahmed Saad served an 18-month ban for testing positive to a banned substance in an energy drink.

And Fremantle midfielder Ryan Crowley is suspended until he goes before the anti-doping tribunal on May 1, having tested positive to a specified substance found in a painkiller.

Johnathan Thurston has stolen a desperately needed win for North Queensland in a golden point thriller against Melbourne.


Trailing 16-4 at halftime, the Cowboys avoided their worst start to a season in 13 years with an 18-17 win over the Storm in Townsville on Monday night.

It came down to a field goal shootout between Queensland Origin halves Cooper Cronk and Thurston.

Cronk appeared to have put the Cowboys resistance to sleep in the 72nd minute with a field goal in front of the posts.

But the Cowboys rallied late, Matthew Wright scoring in the 79th minute before Thurston slotted a sideline conversion from his non-preferred side and then kicked a field goal of his own to level the scores with seconds remaining.

Thurston and Cronk traded shots in extra time, including a fluffed left-foot effort from the Cowboys halfback before Thurston eventually kicked North Queensland to victory.

Antonio Winterstein had given the Cowboys hope with his double, after returning from a two-game absence following the tragic death of his brother.

While North Queensland was able to build pressure, it rarely equated to points in the first 70 minutes as fifth tackle options and errors plagued them.

Melbourne had leapt out to a 16-4 lead at halftime through tries to Kurt Mann, Felise Kaufusi and a superb effort from Marika Koroibete who dashed 95m after collecting a Thurston bomb.

Stuttering all night, the Cowboys came to life in the final 20 minutes and punched holes in the Storm defensive line giving the home crowd hope.

When Winterstein crossed for his second in the 62nd minute, a Cowboys comeback looked possible if improbable – ultimately they achieved a memorable win to lift them off the bottom of the NRL ladder.

Thurston said the win was vital to keep the Cowboys in the hunt to remain competitive in 2015.

“You have no idea (how much we needed that win,” he said.

“It’s been a long time coming.

“Finally we can stay in the fight.

“We had our backs against the wall there in the past three weeks when we’ve been blown off the park.

“It’s good that we can find that little bit of character there and stay in the game.”

Cowboys coach Paul Green said it was a win the club could use to turn their fortunes around.

“When you lose your confidence, you focus on the things you’re not doing well,” he said.

“We just need a bit of evidence to show that we are a good team.

“I thought tonight was exactly what we needed against a very good team.”

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy was clearly fuming about some late referee calls that gave the Cowboys the field position needed to secure the win, but restrained himself to avoid sanction by the NRL.

“The blokes deserved better than what they got in the last five minutes,” he said.

“(But) we can’t say anything about that.”

World leaders, including Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin, had their personal details accidentally shared before last year’s G20 summit in Brisbane.


But Australia’s immigration department determined it was not necessary to notify the presidents, prime ministers and other representatives of the privacy breach.

Passport numbers, visa details and dates of birth of leaders attending the Brisbane summit last November were accidentally sent by a department employee to a member of the Asian Cup Local Organising Committee.

An email from the department to the privacy commissioner, obtained under freedom of information by The Guardian, reveals the breach was reported less than 10 minutes after the email was sent.

The receiver of the email informed the department he had deleted it and there was no other copy.

“The Asian Cup Local Organising Committee do not believe the email to be accessible, recoverable or stored anywhere else in their system,” the department’s email states.

The director of the department’s visa services division sought urgent advice but stated because the risks of the breach were considered very low he did not believe it was necessary to notify the leaders.

“Given the steps taken to contain the breach outlined above, it is unlikely that the information is in the public domain,” the email says.

The absence of other personal data, like addresses or contact details, limited the potential risk of the breach, it said.

The email labels it an “isolated example of human error”.

It’s not clear if the leaders were eventually notified of the breach.

The offices of Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison, who was responsible for the portfolio at the time, have been contacted for comment.

An expert witness has argued for the death row challenge of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran to be heard in an Indonesian administrative court, testifying it is the correct forum.


The court last month threw out a challenge against the rejection of clemency for the Bali Nine pair, determining the decrees by President Joko Widodo were not within its jurisdiction.

The men sentenced for heroin smuggling in 2006 have no other legal avenues left and have resorted to the administrative court appeal to spare them from the firing squad.

Otong Rosadi of Ekasakti University on Monday gave his opinion in support of the challenge.

The law expert said in his opinion, all “products of the law” can be reviewed, even clemency, which he argued was not purely a matter of presidential prerogative.

The constitutional rights of the president were still a product of the law, he said.

“The legal product is the presidential decree and a presidential decree rejecting or granting clemency, it’s a state administrative matter,” he told the court in Jakarta.

“The forum to challenge it is the state administrative court.”

Mr Otong maintained this view under questioning from lawyers for the state and judges, who asked if other constitutional rights of the president could also therefore be challenged in the administrative court.

Lawyer for Chan and Sukumaran, Leonard Arpan, said he was confident Mr Otong’s evidence was strong.

“I think the expert has delivered all the statements that were required,” he told reporters.

Both sides are due to give their conclusions on Wednesday for a decision soon afterwards.

If they are given the chance, lawyers for Chan and Sukumaran will argue President Joko Widodo didn’t properly assess their case – including their rehabilitation – before refusing clemency because they are drug offenders.

Several of the 10 prisoners in line for Indonesia’s planned simultaneous mass execution are pursuing court action.

Indonesia’s Attorney-General HM Prasetyo has committed not to execute them before their legal avenues are exhausted, and has ordered those cases before the Supreme Court to be expedited.

The 10th prisoner, Filipina Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, will soon join the others on Nusakambangan island as her bid for a Supreme Court judicial review was rejected last week after a matter of days.

Mr Joko and Prime Minister Tony Abbott were photographed speaking on the sidelines of the state funeral for Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore on Sunday.

Mr Abbott has been keen for another chance to speak with Mr Joko again regarding Chan and Sukumaran’s fate.

Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir says they did not have time for a meeting, however.

He didn’t know what the leaders discussed in passing.

“While there, the president’s time was very tight and we didn’t arrange any meetings with other heads of state while in Singapore,” he told reporters in Jakarta on Monday.

Queensland’s government hangs in the balance while an outcast MP uses surgery recovery time to decide whether he’ll quit parliament and force his electorate to a by-election.


Cook MP Billy Gordon on Monday morning resigned from the Labor party before Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk could boot him for failing to disclose his criminal history, including break-and-enter and stealing offences dating back 25 years.

He’s also accused of domestic abuse of an ex-partner and his mother.

Ms Palaszczuk now wants him to quit parliament, forcing a by-election in his far north Queensland electorate.

If he does, it could mean both Labor and the Liberal National Party (LNP) holding 43 seats each in the state’s 89-seat parliament, meaning the government could change hands just two months after the election.

In the meantime, there is jockeying behind the scenes as the state’s two Katter Australian Party MPs meet both parties to try to get their core policies, such as mandated ethanol in fuels, on the agenda.

Mr Gordon underwent pre-arranged eye surgery on Monday and says he’ll use the recovery time to consider his future.

“I need further time to consider my options, seek further legal advice and have ongoing discussion with my family and my supporters,” he said.

“I will therefore make no further media comment at this time.”

Ms Palaszczuk said she wouldn’t call a fresh election, but was pushing for a by-election in Cook.

“I’m prepared to put my premiership on the line, I’m prepared to put the integrity of my government on the line because we stood up for what was right,” she said.

But the premier refused to reject the MP’s vote in parliament, like the opposition has, claiming she was giving him time to resign from his seat before parliament next sits in May.

“I don’t think we should raise hypotheticals at this moment,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg slammed the stance.

“You cannot on one hand say he is unfit to be in parliament and yet say you are looking at the possibility of accepting his vote if he remains the Member for Cook,” he said.

Mr Gordon does have the backing of some indigenous mayors in his Cape York electorate, who have agreed with the embattled MP’s calls for “natural justice”.

Kowanyama Mayor Robert Holness said the saga was a “witch hunt” and he was innocent until proved guilty.

He also brushed off his criminal past, saying “all of us do stupid things when we’re young fellas”.

Controversy surrounding Mr Gordon first arose last week after it was revealed he deliberately failed to submit tax returns to avoid paying child support.