The Northern Territory news Sat 5 Oct 2019
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News Corp Australia
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News Corp Australia
48 SPORT SATURDAY OCTOBER 5 2019 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 Adesanya does not fear Reapers crowd NICK WALSHAW ISRAEL Adesanya wants all members of the Reaper Nation to boo him tomorrow. So maybe Hollywood actor Chris Hemsworth will. Same deal Charlie Hunnam, who famously played Jax Teller in the hit TV series Sons of Anarchy. Given both will be front row, Adesanya would certainly hear them. Plenty of others, too. Indeed, only 24 hours out from the biggest fight in Australian history, News Corp can reveal the two actors will be among 50,000 fans cramming Melbournes Marvel Stadium to cheer UFC champ Robert Whittaker. Dubbed the Reaper, Whittaker is expected to be supported by over 95 per cent of the crowd when he faces undefeated Kiwi Adesanya at UFC 243. Apart from Jax and Thor, others set to be cageside include boxing Hall of Famer Jeff Fenech, Richmond premiership star Dustin Martin, Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold, Supercars driver Dave Reynolds, AFLW player Tayla Harris and Paralympian Dylan Alcott. So as for what Adesanya makes of so many Reaper fans booing him? Boo me all you like, says the rising star unbeaten in all 17 professional outings. Because boos or cheers, its all energy. And its all energy directed at me because Im the one who created it. So the boos will be beneficial? Absolutely, the challenger continued. With energy, everything depends on how you use it. And Ive been fighting a long time. So Im really good at using it right. Whittaker, meanwhile, was asked how it felt knowing a win in front of such a raucous home crowd would likely catapult him into the same stratosphere as UFC superstars like Conor McGregor and Jon Jones. Havent even thought about that, the Aussie said. Really? All I know is Im going to fight, the champ continued, and the results will be what theyll be. What I do know is that Im feeling better than ever before. Everything is spot on, as it should be. Already, when quizzed on the crowd awaiting him Sunday afternoon, Whittaker has said he would fight Adesanya at his local footy oval. In reply, the Kiwi says he would happily fight the Reaper in the carpark of PaknSave. But if Im going to whoop somebodys ass I prefer it to be on the world stage, he added. Because guess what? He could do the same to you. And thats what chal lenges me. The risk of putting myself out there, with the risk of failing. Thats what drives me. Robert Whittaker of Australia (left) and Israel Adesanya of New Zealand square off ahead of their bout Picture: AAP Strattons change for the better SCOTT GULLAN Long-jumper Brooke Stratton Gunners fire, Man U flop ARSENAL thrashed Belgiums Standard Liege 4-0 in the Europa League but there was disappointment for Manchester United against AZ Alkmaar. Gabriel Martinelli struck twice in three minutes, with Joe Willock and Dani Ceballos completing the rout, which put the Gunners top of Group F on six points, ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt on three, after they beat Vitoria 1-0. Record fivetime champions Sevilla top Group A after a 1-0 win over Apoel Nicosia. Alkmaar held Ole Gunnar Solskjaers men to a 0-0 draw. Jesse Lingard, who spurned a good late chance, limped off injured in stoppage time on a disappointing night for the Red Devils, who have won just five of their last 22 matches. LONG-JUMPER Brooke Stratton is hoping she can get a similar result by following a strategy which worked wonders for world javelin champion Kelsey-Lee Barber. Midway through the javelin final, Barber changed her runup with the result being the winning throw at her final attempt. Stratton has gone for the run-up change a bit earlier than her teammate but shes hoping it can provide a muchneeded spark coming into the world championships. Competition-wise I havent exactly competed as well as I had hoped, Stratton said. The distances havent quite been where I wanted them to be. But having been over in Italy for the last few weeks I felt that things have just started to click. Ive changed my run-up a little bit, which I think has been the issue this season. I wasnt quite running through the board, I was hesitating and steering for the board. I took my run-up back just over a metre. It doesnt sound like much but over 35 metres its a pretty big change. Hopefully that will allow for more speed through my take-off. The good thing for Stratton, 26, is her ability to perform when the spotlight is at its brightest. At her Olympic debut in Rio, the Melbourne jumper finished seventh in the final and then backed it up with a sixth placing at the 2017 world championships. Foxes sound Red alert LIVERPOOLS perfect start to the Premier League season is under threat from an in-form Leicester led by a manager with a point to prove at Anfield in Brendan Rodgers. The European champions have a five-point lead at the top of the table over Manchester City, but Leicester are the closest challengers to the top two as they aim to break the glass ceiling of the top six. The Foxes chances have been aided by the early-season struggles of Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United. All four have winnable fixtures to get back on track this weekend, but Spurs are most in need of a lift after a 7-2 Champions League mauling by Bayern Munich midweek. Marquez crashes in practice A CRASH in practice has cast doubt on the bid of world champion Marc Marquez (right) to wrap up his sixth MotoGP title in Thailand tomorrow. The factory Honda star needs to improve his championship lead by more than two points over nearest rival Andrea Dovizioso to claim the 2019 crown and close in on Valentino Rossis seven premier class titles. Marquez crashed in the opening practice run yesterday morning. The 26-year-old was taken to hospital for checks on his left leg and back. He later returned for the second practice session.