Premier League Darts schedule and TV times: Michael Smith, Michael van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price and Peter Wright star

Darts’ biggest party is back in 2023 as the Premier League roadshow heads to a venue near you!; the SSE Arena in Belfast plays host as the first of 17 individual venues from Thursday February 2 with the Play-Offs returning to The O2 in London on Thursday May 25

Last Updated: 30/01/23 4:50pm


Michael van Gerwen and Michael Smith will clash on Premier League opening night in Belfast

Full schedule and TV times as Michael Smith takes Michael van Gerwen in a repeat of the World Darts Championship final on the opening night of this year’s Premier League.

This year’s tournament will see eight of the sport’s top stars contesting 16 mini-events during the season, with each league night comprising quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final over the best-of-11 legs.

The Premier League season gets under way at The SSE Arena in Belfast, with the opening night’s quarter-finals headlined by a blockbuster showdown between Smith and reigning champion Van Gerwen.

Van Gerwen was one dart away from a nine-darter before Smith nailed the hold grail in the World Championship final

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Van Gerwen was one dart away from a nine-darter before Smith nailed the hold grail in the World Championship final

Van Gerwen was one dart away from a nine-darter before Smith nailed the hold grail in the World Championship final

Dan Dawson looks at the growing rivalry between MVG and Smith

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Dan Dawson looks at the growing rivalry between MVG and Smith

Dan Dawson looks at the growing rivalry between MVG and Smith

This will be the pair’s first meeting since their Alexandra Palace epic on January 3, which saw Smith land a history-making nine-darter en route to clinching his maiden World Championship crown.

Two-time world champion Peter Wright plays newly-crowned Masters champion Chris Dobey, who celebrated his first televised triumph in Milton Keynes on Sunday night.

Gerwyn Price hit TWO nine-dart finishes in one night in Belfast

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Gerwyn Price hit TWO nine-dart finishes in one night in Belfast

Gerwyn Price hit TWO nine-dart finishes in one night in Belfast

Dimitri Van den Bergh marks his Premier League return with a clash against 2021 champion Jonny Clayton, while 2020 runner-up Nathan Aspinall plays Gerwyn Price – who famously landed two nine-darters in Belfast last year.

Night Two will take place at Cardiff’s International Arena on February 9, with Price pitted against Dobey on his homecoming, while Clayton makes his return to home soil with a tie against Smith.

Wright will headline Night Three at Glasgow’s OVO Hydro when he takes on Van den Bergh, with six-time champion Van Gerwen up against Aspinall in a repeat of October’s World Grand Prix final.

Michael Smith will be looking for Premier League success having claimed World Championship glory earlier this year

Michael Smith will be looking for Premier League success having claimed World Championship glory earlier this year

The sport’s biggest roadshow rolls into Dublin’s 3Arena on Thursday February 23, as Smith and Wright lock horns in a repeat of the 2022 World Championship final.

Night Five in Exeter will then see a repeat of two televised finals from 2022, with Van Gerwen meeting Price in a repeat of July’s World Matchplay decider, before Aspinall and Smith battle it out in a rematch of November’s Grand Slam showpiece.

Quarter-final fixtures for 14 of the 16 league phase nights are listed below in draw bracket order, with fixtures for Night Eight and Night 16 to be determined by league standings heading into each night.

All matches will be played over a best-of-11 legs format, with a £10,000 bonus on offer to each night’s winner.

Watch every nine-darter that has been hit in the Premier League

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Watch every nine-darter that has been hit in the Premier League

Watch every nine-darter that has been hit in the Premier League

2023 Premier League Fixtures

Night One – Thursday February 2
The SSE Arena, Belfast
Quarter-Finals

Dimitri Van den Bergh vs Jonny Clayton
Michael Smith vs Michael van Gerwen
Peter Wright vs Chris Dobey
Nathan Aspinall vs Gerwyn Price

Live Premier League Darts

February 2, 2023, 7:00pm

Live on Sky Sports Arena HD

Night Two – Thursday February 9
Cardiff International Arena
Quarter-Finals

Michael Smith vs Jonny Clayton
Nathan Aspinall vs Peter Wright
Gerwyn Price vs Chris Dobey
Michael van Gerwen vs Dimitri Van den Bergh

Live Premier League Darts

February 9, 2023, 7:00pm

Live on Sky Sports Arena HD

Night Three – Thursday February 16
OVO Hydro, Glasgow
Quarter-Finals

Nathan Aspinall vs Michael van Gerwen
Peter Wright vs Dimitri Van den Bergh
Gerwyn Price vs Michael Smith
Jonny Clayton vs Chris Dobey

Night Four – Thursday February 23
3Arena, Dublin
Quarter-Finals

Michael Smith vs Peter Wright
Gerwyn Price vs Dimitri Van den Bergh
Jonny Clayton vs Nathan Aspinall
Chris Dobey vs Michael van Gerwen

Night Five – Thursday March 2
Westpoint Exeter
Quarter-Finals

Michael van Gerwen vs Gerwyn Price
Nathan Aspinall vs Michael Smith
Dimitri Van den Bergh vs Chris Dobey
Jonny Clayton vs Peter Wright

Night Six – Thursday March 9
M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool
Quarter-Finals

Gerwyn Price vs Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen vs Jonny Clayton
Chris Dobey vs Nathan Aspinall
Michael Smith vs Dimitri Van den Bergh

Night Seven – Thursday March 16
Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham
Quarter-Finals

Dimitri Van den Bergh vs Nathan Aspinall
Jonny Clayton vs Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright vs Michael van Gerwen
Chris Dobey vs Michael Smith

Night Eight – Thursday March 23
Utilita Arena, Newcastle
Quarter-Finals

Fixtures based on league table following Night Seven

Night Nine – Thursday March 30
Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin
Quarter-Finals

Dimitri Van den Bergh vs Michael Smith
Nathan Aspinall vs Chris Dobey
Jonny Clayton vs Michael van Gerwen
Peter Wright vs Gerwyn Price

Night Ten – Thursday April 6
Utilita Arena, Birmingham
Quarter-Finals

Michael van Gerwen vs Chris Dobey
Nathan Aspinall vs Jonny Clayton
Dimitri Van den Bergh vs Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright vs Michael Smith

Night 11 – Thursday April 13
The Brighton Centre
Quarter-Finals

Dimitri Van den Bergh vs Michael van Gerwen
Chris Dobey vs Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright vs Nathan Aspinall
Jonny Clayton vs Michael Smith

Night 12 – Thursday April 20
Rotterdam Ahoy
Quarter-Finals

Chris Dobey vs Jonny Clayton
Michael Smith vs Gerwyn Price
Dimitri Van den Bergh vs Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen vs Nathan Aspinall

Night 13 – Thursday April 27
First Direct Arena, Leeds
Quarter-Finals

Michael Smith vs Chris Dobey
Michael van Gerwen vs Peter Wright
Gerwyn Price vs Jonny Clayton
Nathan Aspinall vs Dimitri Van den Bergh

Night 14 – Thursday May 4
AO Arena, Manchester
Quarter-Finals

Peter Wright vs Jonny Clayton
Chris Dobey vs Dimitri Van den Bergh
Michael Smith vs Nathan Aspinall
Gerwyn Price vs Michael van Gerwen

Night 15 – Thursday May 11
Utilita Arena, Sheffield
Quarter-Finals

Gerwyn Price vs Nathan Aspinall
Chris Dobey vs Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen vs Michael Smith
Jonny Clayton vs Dimitri Van den Bergh

Night 16 – Thursday May 18
P&J Live, Aberdeen
Quarter-Finals

Fixtures based on league table following Night 15

Play-Offs – Thursday May 25
The O2, London

Semi-Finals and Final



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‘No Ukrainian can go home’: Australian Open director urges sports to support war-affected players and athletes

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley has urged the tennis world and other sports to do more to support Ukrainian athletes in the midst of the ongoing war with Russia.

Tiley and organisers have been at the centre of controversy for introducing a ban on Russian flags at Melbourne Park, after flags were displayed during a match between Ukrainian and Russian players.

Before the start of the final day of the tournament, Tiley spoke to ABC Radio about the issues faced during the two-week event, including Russian flags, debate about late finishes and curfews.

The red, white and blue stripes of the Russian flag were visible in the crowd during the first-round match between Kateryna Baindl and Kamilla Rakhimova on day one of the tournament, prompting the ban.

“We’ve always been an event where we want our fans to come on site and have a good time, and we don’t want to be an event where you’ve got to wait for hours at the entry because you’ve got to be searched,” he said.

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Lou Anarumo: The Cincinnati Bengals’ quarterback slayer is out to stop Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City Chiefs again


Can Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo stop Patrick Mahomes again?

Lou Anarumo and his hokey cokey Cincinnati Bengals defense have become the talk of the town. A town with Joe Burrow in it.

To solve a problem like Josh Allen, to solve a problem like Patrick Mahomes, to solve a problem like the modern off-script angle-defiant elite quarterback is to do things the Lou Anarumo way.

His art of disguise has excelled to the extent head coach-needy NFL teams have neglected to acknowledge his cauldron of tricks enough to consider him during this year’s hiring cycle. An indictment, no doubt, on them and a flawed hiring process rather than his own credentials.

He has emerged as a remedy to a Mahomesified league in which the Kansas City Chiefs gamer has burdened young quarterbacks with soaring, unassailable expectations through his anything-goes arm talent. Anarumo vs Mahomes likely takes precedence over any Joe Burrow vs Mahomes or Joe Burrow vs Steve Spagnuolo showdown heading into Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.

Eli Apple dubbed him a mad scientist. He is both scientist and architect, receptive and reactive to the league’s college-driven spread movement and the trendy proclivity of pre-snap motion, RPO innovation and the position-less asterisk to on-paper personnel groupings. With today’s offensive sleight of hand comes Anarumo’s own espionage missions. And sometimes, just sometimes, he will merely knock on the front door to tell you what he’s doing, armed with the answer for any ensuing reply.

He gave Allen and the Bills offense headaches by nullifying their downfield knockout power in Cincinnati’s Divisional Round win. Mahomes is next in his sights as they resume their defining duel, in which Anarumo boasts the upper hand.

A look at last season's dramatic AFC Championship between the Bengals and the Chiefs, which was settled in overtime. Can we expect a similar encounter this Sunday?

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A look at last season’s dramatic AFC Championship between the Bengals and the Chiefs, which was settled in overtime. Can we expect a similar encounter this Sunday?

A look at last season’s dramatic AFC Championship between the Bengals and the Chiefs, which was settled in overtime. Can we expect a similar encounter this Sunday?

  • Wagner – Running backs coach (1989)
  • Syracuse – Graduate assistant-assistant defensive backs coach (1990-1991)
  • U.S. Merchant Marine Academy – Defensive coordinator/defensive backs (1992–1994)
  • Harvard – Assistant head coach/defensive backs/special teams (1995–2000)
  • Marshall – Defensive backs coach (2001–2003)
  • Purdue – Defensive backs coach (2004–2011)
  • Miami Dolphins – Defensive backs coach (2012–2017)
  • Miami Dolphins – Interim defensive coordinator (2015)
  • New York Giants – Defensive backs coach (2018)
  • Cincinnati Bengals – Defensive coordinator (2019–present)

Where Josh Boyer’s blitz-heavy approach with the Miami Dolphins had dared Allen’s downfield aggression to beat them, Anarumo’s success was built on delaying the Bills quarterback and forcing him to temper his bombs away tendencies. Simulated pressure became seven and eight-man coverage looks, putting added stress on Allen’s progressions while, in a slightly different way to Boyer inviting shots over the top, daring him to take on dangerous traffic.

The Bengals defensive coordinator has joined in with the league’s shift towards the two-high safety shells inspired by Vic Fangio as a means of eradicating the explosive plays of 20+ yards. But it has been the way in which his unit rolls and rotates to two-high looks and handsomely-staffed zone shells that has been so effective in befuddling the league’s best and brightest under center. And, in contrast, the way he hides blitz packages in zone presentations.

Anarumo blitzed Allen just seven times on 47 drop backs (14.8 per cent) and yet managed to generate pressure on 26 of them by way of his shape-shifting. He turned heavily towards one of the staples of the Anarumo defense in the nickel fire zone pressures whereby at the snap the extra defensive back will rocket to the line of scrimmage from the second level while the weak side defensive end retreats into coverage to muddy the quarterback’s field read. There we have the ‘left foot in, right foot out’ hokey cokey of it all. It preserves the four-man rush while congesting the middle of the field as Allen looks for his hot routes.

A defensive back can hint at zone coverage by aligning with his backside pointing to the sideline, or point to man-on-man by shadowing the motioning receiver across the line of scrimmage or nod to the blitz by lining up in a sprint-start stance, but Anarumo does his utmost to veil intentions by having his creeper pressure man, often a Mike Hilton or Vonn Bell, unassumingly amble across the second level before exploding into life from a non-static start at the snap. Emphasis on the ‘creep’ in his creeper pressure.

Live NFL

January 29, 2023, 11:30pm

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Neil Reynolds, Jeff Reinebold and Brian Baldinger discuss the brilliance of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and discuss whether they can beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship.

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Neil Reynolds, Jeff Reinebold and Brian Baldinger discuss the brilliance of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and discuss whether they can beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship.

Neil Reynolds, Jeff Reinebold and Brian Baldinger discuss the brilliance of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and discuss whether they can beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship.

A key trait to Anarumo’s fire zone pressures can also be the width it creates up front, the angle from which the defensive back darts helping limit the modern mobile quarterback’s ability to roll out of the pocket and freelance in pursuit of an off-platform throw. He will also pull one of Sam Hubbard or Trey Hendrickson off the edge and turn them into a spy, be it to purposely flush a quarterback out of the pocket and into their laps or to again contribute to blocking quite routes underneath. Hence the importance against an Allen or a Mahomes that are as dangerous as any passer in the league outside the pocket.

The pre-to-post snap transformations come with layers upon layers upon layers: Anarumo will simulate a corner blitz from one side while offering a single-high coverage presentation, before dropping said corner and the adjacent defensive end into the second level at the snap while sending the opposite side corner in pressure off the edge, filling the vacated half of the field by rolling his high safety across in an inverted Cover 2 and pulling linebacker Logan Wilson high while Germaine Pratt serves as the hook/curl floater. His own illusion of complexity.

At times he will complement zone coverage across the board by lining up one of his more physical defensive backs in press man coverage against the offense’s top weapon, a Travis Kelce for example, and ask his DB to win his physicality battle mid-route.

Anarumo will also occasionally put a defining onus on the athleticism and instincts of Wilson and Pratt as his two lone linebackers in extra DB packages by lining both up as A-gap muggers at the line of scrimmage before dragging them back at the snap to marshal any crossing routes designed for quick-release concepts.

Highlights of the Cincinnati Bengals against the Buffalo Bills in the NFL Divisional Round.

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Highlights of the Cincinnati Bengals against the Buffalo Bills in the NFL Divisional Round.

Highlights of the Cincinnati Bengals against the Buffalo Bills in the NFL Divisional Round.

He was the star of the show as the Bengals beat the Chiefs in last season’s AFC title game to reach the Super Bowl, Anarumo’s second half answer to Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Kelce being to pull seven or eight men into coverage and suffocate some of the most accomplished offensive spacing and route concepts in the league.

Trailing 21-10 at half-time, Anarumo came out and dropped eight or more defenders into coverage on 45.5 per cent of dropbacks across the second half and overtime period in a rise from just 23.8 per cent in the first half. In those instances Mahomes went three of eight passing for 13 yards and an interception while being sacked twice as the Chiefs offense stalled.

The Bengals had been beaten by two notable chunk plays in the first half, a 44-yard completion to Mecole Hardman and a 33-yard completion to Hill. On the first to Hardman Cincinnati had presented quarters coverage before rolling into a one-high safety in Jessie Bates III, who would be frozen centrally by Kelce’s seam route while Hardman beat Chidobe Awuzie one-on-one with his out-and-up. On the second to Hill the Bengals presented a one-high safety look in nickel with all other DBs lined up in press coverage other than Apple in soft coverage on the Chiefs pass-catcher, who would exploit the extra runway and beat his man with a double move on the deep over route.

Anarumo sought to switch things up with 13 seconds left in the half when he dialled up match quarters coverage with wide 5-tech and 9-tech rushers anchoring a four-man pressure in order to contain Mahomes in the pocket, with Wilson retreating into coverage to bracket Byron Pringle’s over route and Pratt spying the Chiefs quarterback to deny the escape on the weak side. Unfortunately for the Bengals Apple would bite on the in-and-out from Hill and ultimately draw a pass interference penalty after seeing Mahomes overcook his pass to the corner of the end zone.

On the opening drive of the second half Anarumo tackled a Chiefs second-and-six by dropping eight into coverage with Pratt as the hook/curl buffer in the middle of the field, where his presence proved key in delaying Mahomes as he targeted Hill, being shadowed by Hilton, on the deep over.

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor gave a passionate victory speech following his side's comprehensive win on the road against the Buffalo Bills.

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Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor gave a passionate victory speech following his side’s comprehensive win on the road against the Buffalo Bills.

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor gave a passionate victory speech following his side’s comprehensive win on the road against the Buffalo Bills.

Then followed a familiar theme of Bell being deployed as the ‘robber’ out of Cover 2 (two-high) by dropping down into the hole last minute to disrupt dig and crossing routes underneath as another variation on Anarumo’s blend of zone and man.

Mahomes and the Chiefs were not dumb to the seven and eight man coverages – they just could not find a resolution to beating them, even with their alien quarterback’s preposterous skewed-angle freelancing expertise. Late in the third they turned to a condensed formation in a bid to toss the guessing game back to Anarumo, who responded by stacking the box in the face of a wide zone movement before rotating into Cover 2 and watching BJ Hill throw up his big arms to snag a bonus interception at the line of scrimmage.

There is a blockbuster feel to Anarumo’s defense as he favours blanketing every route and every receiver over supreme pressure up front, challenging a Mahomes to produce the best of Mahomes by dissecting the tightest of throwing lanes or spotting and punishing the rare blown assignment, and challenging a Kelce to produce the best of Kelce by way of the best head feint, hip swivel and hand usage on an out route in the league. Beat him, and he will holds his hands up and say ‘fair play’.

How he replicates or adapts previous game plans for Mahomes this weekend comes with added intrigue in the wake of the Chiefs man’s high-ankle sprain. Do you purposely flush him out of the pocket and put his uncertain mobility to the test?

The mad scientist is brewing his next cocktail of chaos, every bit of which is needed against the NFL’s best quarterback.

Over to you, Lou.

The NFL playoffs continue this weekend with Championship Sunday. Watch both games live on Sky Sports NFL on Sunday night, with Cincinnati Bengals @ Kansas City Chiefs kicking off at 11.30pm.



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Women’s football cries foul at French TV’s ‘lousy’ reporting and indifference

Fans of women’s top football league in France are up in arms at the substandard coverage offered by French television, which they say is symptomatic of broader neglect of the sport in a country that was long a powerhouse of the women’s game in Europe but is now falling behind.

Footballers playing for the world’s richest club could be forgiven for expecting state-of-the-art facilities and maximum exposure – unless they are women. 

When the women’s team of Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) last played a home game, hosting Rodez at their Camp des Loges ground outside Paris, viewers watching on their television screens at home could barely make out the players running about on the dimly lit pitch.  

The next day, football fans who tuned in for the heavyweight clash between Guingamp and Le Havre experienced similar frustration, the spectacle blurred out by raindrops covering a poorly attended camera lens.

Such sub-par broadcasts are all too familiar to fans of D1 Arkema, the women’s top football league in France, according to the online magazine Footeuses, which published an open letter last week demanding “respect and consideration for women’s football in France”. 

The letter soon went viral on social media, prompting a flurry of reactions from disgruntled fans, says Clément Gauvin, who cofounded Footeuses in the wake of the 2019 Women’s World Cup, the first to be hosted on French soil. 


“Some people told us they’d stopped following the women’s game because it had become ‘unwatchable’; others said they stopped playing football altogether because of the lack of facilities and shoddy pitches girls are relegated to,” Gauvin said. 

“We watch women’s football on a daily basis and we have witnessed increasingly worrying signs in recent months,” he added, citing “lousy” television coverage. “You never see this in other sports. The future of the game depends on the quality of the broadcasts.” 

Bring your own scaffolding 

Canal+, which owns the TV rights, says it is aware of the problem, which it blames on “technical” problems it has little or no control over. 

“Of course we are disappointed with the poor quality of the show offered to our subscribers, but unfortunately we are faced with difficulties that do not depend on us,” Thomas Sénécal, the group’s director of sports, told France’s sports daily L’Équipe last week.   

“Over the past four years, we have been doing our utmost to promote the (women’s) league, but we cannot do so alone. We need the French Football Federation (FFF) and the clubs to raise standards and make the league more professional,” Sénécal added. He pointed to inadequate facilities at most of the league’s stadiums, noting that Canal+ crews often “don’t know where to put their cameras, cannot protect them from bad weather and face problems with lighting”. 

Gauvin conceded that the lack of infrastructure is a key factor in the poor coverage, particularly in the smaller stadiums where television crews have to erect scaffolding to get a decent vantage point. When they cannot do so, “the camera necessarily stays at ground level and the picture is terrible”, he acknowledged.  

“However, it’s not only about the facilities. In the men’s game, Canal+ provides more than 30 cameras for a single match. For the women, it’s just two cameras,” Gauvin added. “There is a lack of professionalism on their part too. The commentators often don’t know the women’s game; they get muddled up with the players’ names. The players frequently take to social media to flag their mistakes.”  

Falling behind 

With Canal+’s broadcasting rights set to expire at the end of the season, the lack of bidding rivals has heightened concerns that the broadcaster will do little to raise its game – or indeed raise the stakes.   

Since 2018, the media group has paid €1.2 million per season for TV rights, a six-fold increase on the previous contract. However, the momentum appears to be drying up in France at a time when television rights for women’s football – a key source of income for clubs – are soaring elsewhere in Europe.  

That is particularly the case in England, where Sky Sports and the BBC have agreed to splash out 8 million British pounds (€9.1 million) per season for the women’s Super League, in a lucrative package that includes some free-to-air broadcasting. 

“The fact that Canal+ is yet to make a move with just 6 months to go before the contract expires denotes a lack of interest on its part. There’s a real risk we will end up with a ridiculous price compared to what is happening elsewhere,” said Gauvin, calling on the government to step in and uphold the interests of women’s football. 

A missed opportunity 

France has long been a bastion of the women’s game in Europe, powered by the successes of its two biggest clubs – PSG and Olympique Lyonnais. The latter club has won a staggering eight Champions League titles over the past 15 years. 

“We used to be ahead of other European countries, but the lack of investment in the sport means we are now falling behind,” said Gauvin, pointing to the increasingly unflattering comparison with the development of women’s football in England.  

“Across the Channel, they managed to build on the success of the Euro-2022 tournament they hosted – whereas we failed to do so after the World Cup in 2019,” he added, noting that the top teams in England often play in the same stadiums as the men, regularly drawing crowds of “between 30,000 and 40,000 spectators”, thanks in part to attractive pricing strategies and a strong footprint on social media.  

His words echoed a recent assessment by Les Bleues star Wendy Renard, Lyon’s longtime captain, who lamented France’s “failure to ride the wave of enthusiasm” after the World Cup in 2019. “It wasn’t just Covid – we failed to keep up the momentum and now we’re stagnating,” Renard told L’Equipe, reflecting on a tournament that failed to generate lasting interest in women’s football in France despite raising high hopes of a breakthrough. 


The lack of adequate coverage is not the only culprit. Players also bemoan the poor quality of football pitches, which hinders their play and increases the likelihood of injuries. In its open letter, Footeuses cited a study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine that showed women footballers are twice as likely to sustain serious injuries as their male counterparts. 

“We need to give women’s football the means to succeed,” Gauvin summed up. “If we don’t act, things will only get worse and we’ll fall further behind.”  

This article was translated from the original in French.



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How Socceroo Awer Mabil became 2023 Young Australian Of The Year

When Awer Mabil was a boy, growing up in the northern suburbs of Adelaide, he got word that a grassroots football clinic was being organised by a couple of Adelaide United players at a community club about 20 minutes’ drive from his house in Hillbank.

Mabil had never met a professional player before, but had been kicking a ball around for as long as he could remember, including in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya where he lived until he was 10. He knew this could be his chance to impress them.

The problem? Nobody in his family was around to drive him there. His mum, Agot, was at work and his older siblings were elsewhere. 

However, Mabil would not give up. Undeterred, and burning with ambition, Mabil grabbed his scooter and rode the 45 minutes along suburban streets to the clinic by himself.

Awer Mabil made his debut for Adelaide United at 17 years old, paving the way for more representation of African-Australians in football.(AAP: Dean Lewins)

“I was like, ‘Man, this is my opportunity to impress and get recognition by these professional guys,'” he laughs over Zoom from his hotel room in Prague.

“[I thought], if I train hard, then they will be like, ‘Hey, we should sign this guy!’ I thought that’s how it worked.

“When I went there, I saw Travis Dodd and Scott Jamieson taking the clinic. And Travis realised that I didn’t have a jacket. So he gave me his Adelaide United jacket. I still have a photo of it on my old computer.

“From that day on, that was a big motivator for me. At that time, I was playing for [Dodd’s] former club, St Augustine, which is an amateur team. That motivated me to also become a footballer.”

There are a number of formative moments like this that Mabil, now 27, is looking back on after being named the 2023 Young Australian Of The Year: the red Kakuma dirt where he first kicked around a “ball” made from rolled-up socks or plastic bags, the two-hour walk he’d make regularly to the nearest television to watch games, moving to Australia in 2006 and seeing the Socceroos first compete in the World Cup.

However, it’s that act of kindness from Dodd that stands out. Not only did it provide inspiration for Mabil to pursue professional football, debuting with Adelaide United in 2013, but it also laid the foundation of charity and “giving back” that has motivated his life off the field.



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Quad Series 2023: England head coach Jess Thirlby calls for more ‘maturity’ ahead of Netball World Cup

England sealed third in the 2023 Quad Series by beating hosts South Africa in Wednesday’s third-place play-off; the Roses suffered defeats to Australia and New Zealand to miss out on a place in the final

Last Updated: 25/01/23 9:02pm


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England head coach Jess Thirlby says it was important her team ended the Quad Series with a win ahead of the World Cup this summer.

England head coach Jess Thirlby says it was important her team ended the Quad Series with a win ahead of the World Cup this summer.

England head coach Jess Thirlby praised her side for showing “grit” to seal third place in the Quad Series but has admitted more “maturity” is needed ahead of this summer’s Netball World Cup.

The Roses came through a tightly contested third-place play-off against hosts South Africa to claim a first victory in their four matches at the tournament.

England had drawn with South Africa in the opening phase of the tournament, either side of defeats to champions Australia and runners-up New Zealand.

The competition marked the final opportunity for England – and their rivals – to prepare for the World Cup, which begins on July 28 in Cape Town.

“It was scrappy, it wasn’t the prettiest of wins,” Thirlby told Sky Sports. “But I think given the journey through the Quad Series that we’ve had, I thought it was a good way for us to finish and show the grit, in particular, that I think this team have become known for.”

Watch the highlights of the third-placed playoff between England and South Africa in the Netball Quad Series.

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Watch the highlights of the third-placed playoff between England and South Africa in the Netball Quad Series.

Watch the highlights of the third-placed playoff between England and South Africa in the Netball Quad Series.

“It’s been a good journey. We’ve just got to keep finding away to compete with those ranked above us.

“We’re respectful of the likes of New Zealand and Australia, but we’ve actually found ways to get a foothold against them, which is a little bit of new territory for us that we’ve got to grow a maturity around how to finish those games and punish them more.”

The Quad Series quickly followed England’s three-match home contest with Jamaica, against whom Thirlby’s side delivered an impressive 2-1 triumph.

England are ranked third in the word, a place ahead of Jamaica. Australia top the rankings from New Zealand, while South Africa are fifth.

Thirlby reflects on a 'bittersweet' loss against New Zealand but says several players have stood out for selection to play in the netball World Cup this summer.

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Thirlby reflects on a ‘bittersweet’ loss against New Zealand but says several players have stood out for selection to play in the netball World Cup this summer.

Thirlby reflects on a ‘bittersweet’ loss against New Zealand but says several players have stood out for selection to play in the netball World Cup this summer.

“In the couple of weeks after this, there’s going to be so much information for us to take, and it’s important to acknowledge that,” Thirlby said.

“These games are here for a purpose. We put ourselves out in two back-to-back series, it’s a big ask of the group but it’s exactly what we needed ahead of the summer.”

The Quad Series brings to an end a congested period for England, which saw them miss out on a medal at a home Commonwealth Games in the summer, and then beat Uganda at home before losing 3-0 as they toured Australia in October and November.

Highlights of the Netball Quad Series clash between England and New Zealand.

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Highlights of the Netball Quad Series clash between England and New Zealand.

Highlights of the Netball Quad Series clash between England and New Zealand.

“I don’t think I can combat all of the noise and the criticisms, but I will absolutely defend this group to the hilt,” Thirlby said.

“Their cohesion, togetherness and loyalty to one and other is unquestionable. They review wins and losses exactly the same way, which is exactly what any championship winning side that’s on track to try to learn to win more consistently should be doing.

“So this team for me, they’re the most together group that I’ve worked with and it’s an absolute joy to see their team resilience grow over the course of January.”

‘No ignoring Fadoju’ | ‘Wrap her up in cotton wool’

Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of England’s performances during the Quad Series was the continued emergence of Funmi Fadoju, who has established herself as a key player ahead of the World Cup.

Having made her senior international debut against Uganda in October, the 20-year-old defender looks set to become one of the biggest stars in the sport.

Funmi Fadoju showed off her quick reaction skills with two stunning interceptions against South Africa in the netball Quad Series.

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Funmi Fadoju showed off her quick reaction skills with two stunning interceptions against South Africa in the netball Quad Series.

Funmi Fadoju showed off her quick reaction skills with two stunning interceptions against South Africa in the netball Quad Series.

Her brilliance was on show against South Africa as a series of turnovers helped England to victory.

“There’s no ignoring Funmi Fadoju,” Thirlby said. “If there’s anyone to give a little bit more credit to, I think it’s Funmi today.

“She really picks her moments, with such maturity, to sense that intuition when in the game we need it the most.

“I just think her contribution was excellent, but those around her really allow her to flourish.”

Fadoju reflects on England's win over South Africa in the Quad Series third place playoff and praises teammate Jade Clarke on her 200th cap for England.

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Fadoju reflects on England’s win over South Africa in the Quad Series third place playoff and praises teammate Jade Clarke on her 200th cap for England.

Fadoju reflects on England’s win over South Africa in the Quad Series third place playoff and praises teammate Jade Clarke on her 200th cap for England.

Former England player Pamela Cookey agreed with Thirlby’s assessment that the Roses have found the ideal setup to allow Fadoju to thrive.

“This was the defensive team that we know and love,” Cookey said on Sky Sports.

“That support that Fadoju had from Geva (Mentor) at the back allows her to go and play out the front – she had Jade (Clarke) at centre and Layla (Guscoth) at wing defence.

“That combination is safe, it’s tried, it’s tested and we’ve seen them get so much ball, so once you put that on there, she can then fly.”

How can England prepare for the World Cup? Tamsin Greenway and Pamela Cookey discuss ahead of England and South Africa in the semi-final in the Quad series.

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How can England prepare for the World Cup? Tamsin Greenway and Pamela Cookey discuss ahead of England and South Africa in the semi-final in the Quad series.

How can England prepare for the World Cup? Tamsin Greenway and Pamela Cookey discuss ahead of England and South Africa in the semi-final in the Quad series.

Former Roses player Tamsin Greenaway was also wowed by Fadoju’s performance, but expressed concern over England’s deficiencies in attack.

“Defensively, they were brilliant,” Fadoju said. “I can’t fault it all through the court, they are doing such a good job.

“But attack was static at times, the highest quarter was a 13-goal quarter. Even if that last quarter where Funmi got us about seven balls, we still only put 13 on the board.

“We’re going to have to look it and adjust. I think playing the strongest line-up just helps you get a good run.

“Defensively brilliant, and just wrap Funmi in cotton wool (until the World Cup).”



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Doping scandal surrounding Peter Bol gives him ‘no chance’ of running well at Paris Olympics, coach says

Lawyers and coaches of Olympian Peter Bol fear the fight to clear his name has all but ruled out his chances of competing well at the Paris Games next year.

The 800m runner, who finished fourth at the Tokyo Games, could be exonerated from allegedly taking the banned substance EPO as early as March — that is if his B sample, to be analysed next month, comes back negative.

At least that is the hope of his US-based lawyer, Paul Greene.

“If the B sample does not confirm the A sample, then the case will be over,” he said.

“And that is why I asked them (the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, or ASADA) to not announce this publicly at this point.”

But news of the failed out-of-competition drug test, taken last October, was made public on January 20.

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Did A-League Men attendances benefit from the Socceroos’ Qatar World Cup bump?

Late last year, in scenes reminiscent of the most exciting football crowds in Europe and South America, tens of thousands of people packed into city squares, stadiums, and public parks around Australia to cheer on the Socceroos’ historic World Cup campaign in Qatar.

For many of the country’s footballing faithful, the huge crowds that flocked to these places confirmed something they already knew: the round-ball game is one of Australia’s biggest and most popular sports, with a vibrant and passionate fanbase unlike that of most other domestic codes.

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Celebrations in Federation Square as Australia qualify for World Cup knockouts

But you wouldn’t know it from watching the A-League Men (ALM), Australia’s top-tier domestic league, every week.

In contrast to the images from Federation Square in November, pictures of fans scattered around half-empty stadiums have become the norm in the ALM over the past few years.

Following the World Cup, players and coaches alike expressed hope that the Socceroos’ strongest-ever performance might re-ignite the spark that saw the ALM bouncing a decade ago.

“We hope that what we’ve achieved here can help grow the game back home because the A-League is better than it’s perceived,” Adelaide United winger and Qatar goal-scorer Craig Goodwin said.

“The message to [the public] is ‘get out and see the Socceroos players that are playing in the A-League.’ Support your local teams and embrace Australian football; help it grow. It’s about building on what we’ve done here, not just as a playing group, but as a nation as well.”

So has it worked? Has the Socceroos’ World Cup ‘bump’ seen waves of new fans flock to the ALM?

According to an ABC News analysis of data collated by austadiums.com and worldfootball.net, no.

In fact, in the seven rounds of the ALM held since Australia were knocked out in Qatar by eventual winners Argentina, the league has recorded some of its worst average match attendances so far this season — and some of the lowest overall in its history.

Round 7, the first weekend of games held after the Socceroos’ exit from Qatar, attracted an average attendance of just under 6,000 people: lower than all the rounds held before the World Cup.

Figures haven’t improved much from there, with the seven rounds since the tournament containing six of the least-attended weekends this season.

The highest attendance point so far in the 2022/23 ALM season was in Round 6, the last round before the World Cup break.

However, the higher-than-average figures were boosted by two key derby games: the Sydney Derby between Sydney FC and Western Sydney (34,232 people) and the “Original Rivalry” derby between Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory (13,504 people).

Without these, the current ALM season was trending towards its lowest average attendances ever, only just topping the two pandemic-hit seasons that saw several games played behind closed doors.

This mid-season slump has only been made worse by the Melbourne derby pitch invasion of Round 8, whose punishments have included restrictions on ticket sales and negative headlines that have potentially driven away new and casual football fans.

Until then, Melbourne Victory had attracted the highest average attendances to all their games across the season. But following the sanctions, those numbers have plunged.

Victory aren’t the only club to experience a drop in numbers following the World Cup, though.

In fact, the biggest overall decline has been the Western Sydney Wanderers, whose average attendance across all games featuring them has fallen by more than 60 per cent, while Brisbane Roar, Sydney FC and the Newcastle Jets have seen overall decreases of at least 30 per cent.

But not all is doom and gloom. Some teams — mostly those that have the highest number of Socceroos within their ranks — have seen increases to their home attendance figures, or at least minimised the falls experienced elsewhere.

Looking just at home crowds, Melbourne City, where Mathew Leckie, Jamie Maclaren and Marco Tilio play, has seen a 43 per cent boost to home match attendances since Qatar, while the Central Coast Mariners, where Jason Cummings, Danny Vukovic, and recently departed Garang Kuol were the headline acts, went up by 36 per cent on pre-tournament levels.

Indeed, when taking just home game attendance averages into account, Western Sydney and Western United have both seen slight boosts, too.

Melbourne Victory, with its sanctions, have seen the biggest average fall in home crowds. And while Sydney FC continues to draw the biggest home crowds in the league, average attendance has fallen by nearly half since the World Cup.

Perth Glory’s overall and home attendance figures have been excluded from this comparison because they did not play a single home game before the World Cup, while their post-tournament games (which have mostly been at home) have been temporarily moved to the smaller 4,500-capacity Macedonia Park, which they have regularly filled and created vibrant atmospheres in the process, arguably showing the potential benefits of smaller stadiums for the ALM going forward.

Stuck in the pandemic blues

While leagues like the AFL and NRL saw crowd numbers return to near-historic levels in the 2022 season, the A-League Men seems to be trapped in the pandemic doldrums.

The latest men’s AFL season saw attendances across the first 22 rounds average around 31,000 people — only about four per cent lower than the historic average.

Meanwhile, although the current ALM season is an improvement on the previous COVID-ravaged seasons, crowds are still more than 25 per cent below historic norms, with the past four seasons the worst in the 18-year history of the competition.

So, if the Socceroos’ best-ever run at a World Cup can’t even boost interest in the ALM, what can?

This has been one of Australian football’s “golden questions” for several years, and one that is increasingly shaping decision-making by the Australian Professional Leagues (the club-run governing body in charge of the A-Leagues), from negotiating new broadcast deals to controversially selling the grand final hosting rights to Sydney for the next three seasons.

But the dilemma of how to translate football’s booming participation base (almost two million people take part in football in some way in Australia), as well as the enthusiasm shown for the Socceroos and Matildas during major tournaments, into regular fans of the struggling local competitions is not as simple as that.

The A-Leagues currently sit in the centre of a bigger Venn diagram of forces including competing with rival summer codes, a lack of mainstream media coverage and marketing cut-through, television and streaming bungles, increasingly uncomfortable summer temperatures, few “big-name” star players, a perceived lack of quality, and unrest from dedicated active fan groups: issues that have existed for far longer, but which the World Cup slump has brought into sharper focus.

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Brock Purdy stars as San Francisco 49ers beat Seattle Seahawks 41-23 to advance to divisional round of NFL playoffs

The NFL playoffs and continue on Sky Sports on Sunday with a triple-header of Super Wild Card Weekend action – starting with Dolphins @ Bills, followed by Giants @ Vikings and Ravens @ Bengals; watch live on Sky Sports NFL from 6pm, Sunday

Last Updated: 15/01/23 3:07am


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Highlights of the Seattle Seahawks’ clash with the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL Super Wild Card playoff game.

Highlights of the Seattle Seahawks’ clash with the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL Super Wild Card playoff game.

Brock Purdy threw for three touchdowns and ran in another as he starred on his first career playoff start, leading the San Francisco 49ers to a 41-23 victory over the Seattle Seahawks to start Super Wild Card Weekend on Saturday.

Story of the Game

The 49ers – the NFC’s No 2 seed and riding a 10-game winning streak into the playoffs – trailed by a point at half-time as a stubborn Seattle outfit led 17-16 at the break. But a stirring second half showing by San Francisco, in which they scored 22 points in the space of 12 minutes at one point, secured their passage through to the divisional round.

The 49ers will now host the Minnesota Vikings next weekend, should they beat the New York Giants in their wild card clash on Sunday. If the Giants win, it will instead be either the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Dallas Cowboys who travel to San Francisco.

A look at San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy's best plays from his stunning NFL playoff debut

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A look at San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy’s best plays from his stunning NFL playoff debut

A look at San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy’s best plays from his stunning NFL playoff debut

Purdy, who was taken with the very last pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, completed 18 of 30 passes for 332 yards, the rookie QB overcoming some early jitters to put in a hugely accomplished display.

Christian McCaffrey rushed 15 times for 119 yards and had a touchdown grab to see San Francisco into an early 10-0 lead, while Deebo Samuel had six receptions for 133 yards and a blistering 74-yard catch and run for a score as the Niners streaked clear of the Seahawks in the second half.

San Francisco 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga said his team's performance was ignited after tempers flared when Johnathan Abram appeared to twist Deebo Samuel's ankle.

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San Francisco 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga said his team’s performance was ignited after tempers flared when Johnathan Abram appeared to twist Deebo Samuel’s ankle.

San Francisco 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga said his team’s performance was ignited after tempers flared when Johnathan Abram appeared to twist Deebo Samuel’s ankle.

Seattle QB Geno Smith was 25-of-35 passing for 253 yards with two touchdowns, both to DK Metcalf – one a 50-yard stunner to see the Seahawks into the lead for the first time. But he also had an interception late in the second half, while he lost a fumble in the third quarter which is the point at which the game turned.

Metcalf had 10 catches for 136 yards and those two TDs, while rookie running back Kenneth Walker also found the end zone, in the second quarter, as he earned 63 yards on 15 carries.

Scoring summary

FIRST QUARTER
Seahawks 0-3 49ers Robbie Gould 34-yard field goal
Seahawks 0-10 49ers Brock Purdy three-yard TD pass to Christian McCaffrey (extra point)
SECOND QUARTER
Seahawks 7-10 49ers Kenneth Walker seven-yard TD run (extra point)
Seahawks 7-13 49ers Robbie Gould 33-yard field goal
Seahawks 14-13 49ers Geno Smith 50-yard TD pass to DK Metcalf (extra point)
Seahawks 14-16 49ers Robbie Gould 46-yard field goal
Seahawks 17-16 49ers Jason Myers 56-yard field goal
THIRD QUARTER
Seahawks 17-23 49ers Brock Purdy one-yard TD run (extra point)
FOURTH QUARTER
Seahawks 17-31 49ers Brock Purdy seven-yard TD pass to Elijah Mitchell (two-point conversion)
Seahawks 17-38 49ers Brock Purdy 74-yard TD pass to Deebo Samuel (extra point)
Seahawks 17-41 49ers Robbie Gould 31-yard field goal
Seahawks 23-41 49ers Geno Smith three-yard TD pass to DK Metcalf (failed two-point conversion)

Trailing 17-16 to start the second half, the 49ers immediately drove 75 yards down the field in 13 plays, with Purdy scoring on a one-yard plunge. And they wouldn’t look back from there.

With the Seahawks driving deep into 49ers territory, Smith was sacked by Charles Omenihu for a seven-yard loss, with the ball squirting loose and being recovered by Nick Bosa at the 30-yard line.

The San Francisco 49ers' defense finally proves too much for the Seattle Seahawks as their pressure forces Geno Smith to fumble which is recovered by Nick Bosa.

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The San Francisco 49ers’ defense finally proves too much for the Seattle Seahawks as their pressure forces Geno Smith to fumble which is recovered by Nick Bosa.

The San Francisco 49ers’ defense finally proves too much for the Seattle Seahawks as their pressure forces Geno Smith to fumble which is recovered by Nick Bosa.

San Francisco then stretched ahead by two scores off the back of the turnover as Purdy escaped the rush and threw a seven-yard TD to running back Elijah Mitchell, with a two-point conversion to George Kittle following.

Just over three minutes later, Samuel turned on the turbo jets to take his TD 74 yards all the way to the house and effectively end the game.

San Francisco 49ers star receiver Deebo Samuel turns on the turbo jets on this sensational 74-yard catch and run for a touchdown!

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San Francisco 49ers star receiver Deebo Samuel turns on the turbo jets on this sensational 74-yard catch and run for a touchdown!

San Francisco 49ers star receiver Deebo Samuel turns on the turbo jets on this sensational 74-yard catch and run for a touchdown!

Robbie Gould, who kicked four field goals in the contest, fired one through the uprights from 31 yards after Smith was picked off immediately after Samuel’s score.

Seattle and Metcalf would at least find the end zone once more for a consolation TD with just under two minutes remaining but then the Niners ran out the rest of the clock to book their spot in the divisional round and knock out their great NFC West divisional rivals.

Stats leaders

Seahawks

  • Passing: Geno Smith, 25/35, 253 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
  • Rushing: Kenneth Walker, 15 carries, 63 yards, 1 TD
  • Receiving: DK Metcalf, 10 catches, 136 yards, 2 TDs
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith throws a perfect 50-yard pass into the hands of DK Metcalf for a superb touchdown!

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Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith throws a perfect 50-yard pass into the hands of DK Metcalf for a superb touchdown!

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith throws a perfect 50-yard pass into the hands of DK Metcalf for a superb touchdown!

49ers

  • Passing: Brock Purdy, 18/30, 332 yards, 3 TDs
  • Rushing: Christian McCaffrey, 15 carries, 119 yards (& 1 receiving TD)
  • Receiving: Deebo Samuel, six catches, 133 yards, 1 TD

What they said… ‘Purdy looked like Frank Tarkenton’

49ers quarterback, Brock Purdy: “We came out and had some momentum and Seattle did a good job tracking back.

“It’s playoff football; everyone is going to play their best from here on out. When our offense and defense are doing their thing, we’re hard to beat.

“We’ve got a goal of winning the whole thing. We’re in a tournament, so anything can happen. I’ve got such a great team, O-line, receivers, defense, across the whole board. It’s not a one-man show, I’m very blessed.”

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy praises his team-mates after his team's dominant win over the Seattle Seahawks in the wild card round of the playoffs.

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy praises his team-mates after his team’s dominant win over the Seattle Seahawks in the wild card round of the playoffs.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy praises his team-mates after his team’s dominant win over the Seattle Seahawks in the wild card round of the playoffs.

Seahawks head coach, Pete Carroll: “We chased him all over the place and he [Purdy] looked like [former Minnesota Vikings QB] Fran Tarkenton out there.

“Down 10-0 on the road with the fans going nuts, we did a great job to bounce right back. We were in it right to the end of the third quarter.”

What’s next?

The NFL playoffs continue on Sunday, live on Sky Sports NFL, with a Super Wild Card Weekend triple-header.

The Buffalo Bills first host the Miami Dolphins (kick-off, 6pm), before the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants do battle at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis (kick-off, 9.30pm). The evening wraps up with the Baltimore Ravens’ visit to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday Night Football (kick-off, 1.15am).

The wild card round then concludes on Monday night as Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host ‘America’s Team’, the Dallas Cowboys, live on Sky Sports NFL from 1.15am early on Tuesday morning.

Sky Sports NFL is your dedicated channel for NFL coverage through the season – featuring a host of NFL Network programming. Don’t forget to follow us on skysports.com/nfl, our Twitter account @SkySportsNFL & Sky Sports – on the go!



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Pro Bowl: Jalen Hurts picked as NFL-high eight Eagles players are selected for new format


Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts and Aaron Donald will all feature in the first edition of the Pro Bowl games in Las Vegas in early February

The Philadelphia Eagles, who are an NFL-best 13-1 this season, have had a league-high eight players selected for the Pro Bowl games in Las Vegas.

The NFL revealed the complete rosters on Wednesday, with Philadelphia having six players designated as starters.

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, wide receiver A.J. Brown, offensive linemen Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson and Landon Dickerson and cornerback Darius Slay were chosen as starters, while outside linebacker Haason Reddick and running back Miles Sanders were also picked as reserves.

Check out the best plays of the 2022 NFL season so far from Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback Jalen Hurts.

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Check out the best plays of the 2022 NFL season so far from Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Jalen Hurts.

Check out the best plays of the 2022 NFL season so far from Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Jalen Hurts.

The Dallas Cowboys (10-4) and Kansas City Chiefs (11-3) are tied for the next-most selections with seven apiece, followed by the Baltimore Ravens (9-5) and San Francisco 49ers (10-4) with six picks each and the Minnesota Vikings (11-3) with five.

The Jacksonville Jaguars (6-8) and Chicago Bears (3-11) were the only teams to not earn a Pro Bowl selection.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was a hit with the voting fans but still didn't earn a Pro Bowl spot on the AFC roster

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was a hit with the voting fans but still didn’t earn a Pro Bowl spot on the AFC roster

Pro Bowl teams are determined by combining the votes of three groups: fans, players and coaches. Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa received the most votes by fans, but it wasn’t enough to see him earn a spot on the AFC squad, with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen and Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals taking the three available spots.

Mahomes is the AFC’s starting quarterback. It is his fifth-straight Pro Bowl selection after throwing for 4,496 yards and 35 passing touchdowns through 14 games, while Hurts – 3,472 yards, 22 passing TDs – is the starter for the NFC in his first-ever appearance.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes produced one of the passes of the season to Jerick McKinnon against the Denver Broncos.

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Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes produced one of the passes of the season to Jerick McKinnon against the Denver Broncos.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes produced one of the passes of the season to Jerick McKinnon against the Denver Broncos.

Last year’s Super Bowl participants, the defending champion Los Angeles Rams and the runner-up Bengals, combined for just four choices, with defensive lineman Aaron Donald being the Rams’ only selection.

It is the ninth-straight Pro Bowl nod for Donald, who has been limited to 11 appearances and just five sacks for the 4-10 Rams.

In September, the NFL scrapped its traditional Pro Bowl all-star football game in favour of several different, smaller events, headlined by a flag football game on February 5.

Peyton Manning and his Omaha Productions company will help shape programming and promote the event’s content throughout the week. Manning, a 14-time Pro Bowl pick during his Hall of Fame career, will provide his perspective and will also be a part of the coaching staff for the flag game.

The Pro Bowl debuted in January of 1951 in Los Angeles and stayed there for 21 seasons before the game moved to different cities from 1972-80. Hawaii hosted from 1980-2009, with the game since having several homes including Miami, Phoenix, Orlando and Las Vegas.

The quality of play in the Pro Bowl has often been criticised. Players, understandably concerned about getting hurt, have tended to treat it as an exhibition game more than a competitive contest. It is hoped a flag football game could increase competition while avoiding potential injuries resulting from tackling, blocking and hitting.

2023 Pro Bowl rosters

(* denotes starters)

AFC

Quarterbacks: *Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs; Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills; Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

Tight ends: *Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs; Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

Wide receivers: *Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins; *Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills; Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders; Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals

Tackles: *Laremy Tunsil, Houston Texans; Terron Armstead, Miami Dolphins; Orlando Brown Jr., Kansas City Chiefs

Guards: *Joel Bitonio, Cleveland Browns; *Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis Colts; Joe Thuney, Kansas City Chiefs

Centers: *Creed Humphrey, Kansas City Chiefs; Mitch Morse, Buffalo Bills

Running backs: *Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns; Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders; Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

Fullback: *Patrick Ricard, Baltimore Ravens

Defensive ends: *Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns; *Maxx Crosby, Las Vegas Raiders; Trey Hendrickson, Cincinnati Bengals

Interior lineman: *Chris Jones, Kanas City Chiefs; *Quinnen Williams, New York Jets; Jeffery Simmons, Tennessee Titans

Outside linebackers: *Matt Judon, New England Patriots; *Khalil Mack, Los Angeles Chargers; T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers

Inside/middle linebackers: *Roquan Smith, Baltimore Ravens; C.J. Mosley, New York Jets

Cornerbacks: *Sauce Gardner, New York Jets; *Pat Surtain II, Denver Broncos; Marlon Humphrey, Baltimore Ravens; Xavien Howard, Miami Dolphins

Free safety: *Minkah Fitzpatrick, Pittsburgh Steelers

Strong safeties: *Derwin James Jr., Los Angeles Chargers; Jordan Poyer, Buffalo Bills

Placekicker: Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens

Long snapper: Morgan Cox, Tennessee Titans

Punter: Tommy Townsend, Kansas City Chiefs

Return specialist: Devin Duvernay, Baltimore Ravens

Special teamer: Justin Hardee, New York Jets

NFC

Quarterbacks: *Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles; Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks; Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

Tight ends: *George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers; T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings

Wide receivers: *Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings; *A.J. Brown, Philadelphia Eagles; CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys; Terry McLaurin, Washington Commanders

Tackles: *Trent Williams, San Francisco 49ers; *Lane Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles; Tristan Wirfs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Guards: *Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys; *Landon Dickerson, Philadelphia Eagles; Chris Lindstrom, Atlanta Falcons

Centers: *Jason Kelce, Philadelphia Eagles; Frank Ragnow, Detroit Lions

Running backs: *Saquon Barkley, New York Giants; Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys; Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles

Fullback: *Kyle Juszczyk, San Francisco 49ers

Defensive ends: *Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers; *Brian Burns, Carolina Panthers; DeMarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys

Interior lineman: *Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams; *Jonathan Allen, Washington Commanders; Dexter Lawrence, New York Giants

Outside linebackers: *Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys; *Za’Darius Smith, Minnesota Vikings; Haason Reddick, Philadelphia Eagles

Inside/middle linebackers: *Fred Warner, San Francisco 49ers; Demario Davis, New Orleans Saints

Cornerbacks: *Darius Slay, Philadelphia Eagles; *Trevon Diggs, Dallas Cowboys; Tariq Woolen, Seattle Seahawks; Jaire Alexander, Green Bay Packers

Free safety: *Quandre Diggs, Seattle Seahawks

Strong safeties: *Budda Baker, Arizona Cardinals; Talanoa Hufanga, San Francisco 49ers

Placekicker: Jason Myers, Seattle Seahawks

Long snapper: Andrew DePaola, Minnesota Vikings

Punter: Tress Way, Washington Commanders

Return specialist: KaVontae Turpin, Dallas Cowboys

Special teamer: Jeremy Reaves, Washington Commanders



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