BRISBANE - The circling Brisbane Bombers have upped the ante in their battle to win an NRL licence after revealing plans on Thursday to build a state-of-the-art training facility at Doomben Racecourse. The Bombers, who could be ready to take off as early as 2015 if the newly cashed-up Australian Rugby League Commission approves expansion, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Brisbane Racing Club to have their home base included as part of a massive development application before the Brisbane City Council.
Ban for bite
SYDNEY - Canterbury prop James Graham was handed a record 12-match suspension at the NRL judiciary on Thursday night for biting Melbourne's Billy Slater to give the Englishman the ignominy of copping the longest ban for the offence in Australian rugby league history. The previous longest suspension for biting was eight weeks, which were handed out to Canterbury players Brad Morrin in 2007 and Jarrod McCracken in 1991.
NEW YORK - Socceroos midfielder Tim Cahill has the fourth-highest salary in Major League Soccer, earning $US3.6 million ($F6.42 million) from the New York Red Bulls. Cahill joined New York in July from English Premier League club Everton on a 1 million pound ($F2.88 million) transfer fee. The MLS Players Union released updated salaries on Thursday, with Cahill joining ex-Arsenal striker Thierry Henry ($5.6 million total compensation) and Rafa Marquez ($4.6 million) on the high-spending Red Bulls, who replaced general manager Erik Soler with Jerome de Bontin on Tuesday.
ROSARIO, Argentina - In stark contrast to the Wallabies, Argentina have named an unchanged starting team for their final-round Rugby Championship match on Saturday night (Sunday morning Fiji time) in Rosario. While Australia selectors made five changes, the Pumas will field the same run-on 15 for the third straight Test.
Play like men
ROSARIO, Argentina - The greenhorn, depleted Wallabies have been urged to handle Argentine hostility "like men, not boys" to snare a momentous Test victory this weekend. Missing more than half of their strongest starting 15, Australia will field one of it's most inexperienced teams of the professional era against a Pumas outfit eying an historic first Rugby Championship win. The promotion of backs Nick Cummins and Ben Tapuai for their run-on debuts puts them among a group of seven starting players who boast less than seven Tests experience.