'One of the worst renditions of the anthem I've ever heard' - Denver Test singer heavily criticised for NZ anthem

The anthem singer at the Denver Test has produced a version of the New Zealand anthem the commentator dubbed "one of the worst renditions of the New Zealand anthem I've ever heard at a sporting event".

The singer performed both God Save The Queen, God Defend New Zealand and E Ihowā Atua [te reo Māori version] before the clash at Mile High Stadium.

The rendition of E Ihowā Atua barely included a full word, with both versions out of tune.

The rendition even prompted a scathing review from the commentator.

"That would just about have to go down as one of the worst renditions I've ever heard of the New Zealand anthem at a sporting event," he said. 

Roosters enforcer Dylan Napa returns after suspension for NRL grand final

When the full-time siren rang out at Allianz Stadium on Saturday and Dylan Napa realised he hadn't cost the Sydney Roosters a grand final berth, the Tri-Colours enforcer was a whirlwind of emotions.

For the past month Napa has been forced to sit on the sidelines for an ugly shot on Andrew McCullough in which he led with his head.

He was suspended for three weeks for the incident which led to calls for him to change his tackling technique, having also connected with Korbin Sims in similar fashion earlier in the year.

Asked about the tackle, and the feeling of not being able to contribute during the Roosters' finals games to date, Napa said: "I didn't feel guilty because I feel like I've given my all to this team every time I've played.

"It's a funny feeling but I'm just really excited that I've been given the opportunity to play."

Without the Queensland prop in their engine room, the Roosters beat Cronulla and South Sydney to win through to Sunday's grand final against Melbourne.

The match will be Napa's first in a little over five weeks.

On game days, he was subjected to a brutal assault bike circuit in the gym by the Roosters training staff, leading him to insist he'll be primed to go against the Storm.

"When you spend a few weeks on the sideline with suspension you usually get flogged in the gym," Napa said.

Being forced to watch on as his side battled to keep their premiership dream alive was a difficult experience for the 26-year-old.

He said he never wavered in his belief that his teammates could get the job done without him.

"I had so much faith in our team to get here," Napa said.

"It's really rewarding to be here at the end of the year.

"I was just really proud of our team and what we've achieved getting into the grand final.

"Make no mistakes, we're not going out there (to be runners up), we want to win it.

"It's been our goal. We're going to finish off the year."

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 25: Referee Gerard Sutton places Dylan Napa of the Roosters on report as Jake Friend of the Roosters watches on during the round 24 NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the Brisbane Broncos at Allianz Stadium on August 25, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Referee Gerard Sutton places Dylan Napa of the Roosters on report as Jake Friend of the Roosters watches on during the round 24 NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the Brisbane Broncos at Allianz Stadium. Source: Getty



Bill Cosby’s sexual assault accusers hope to see him behind bars this week

Two of the women who have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault decades ago said overnight they hope he will be sentenced to prison time this week.

Bill Cosby, left, arrives with his wife, Camille, for his sexual assault trial. Source: Associated Press

Lise-Lotte Lublin and Chelan Lasha, who appeared with attorney Gloria Allred, also said they hoped they would be allowed to read victim impact statements before Cosby is sentenced on three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault .

Cosby was convicted of drugging and molesting a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004 in what became the first celebrity trial of the #MeToo era. A two day-sentencing hearing begins tomorrow in Montgomery County.

"I really think it's important that he spend some time behind bars," said Lublin, who said Cosby assaulted her when she was 23 in 1989. The then-model said Cosby prodded her to take two drinks to relax. "At some point, he should acknowledge what he's done, and do the time for the crime."

Lasha, who wept during her testimony at the trial last spring, said she prays Cosby is sentenced to 30 years. "He deserves every year."Lasha said she was a teenage aspiring actress in 1986 when she lay immobilized and unable to speak as Cosby touched her breast and rubbed himself against her leg. She said he gave her a pill he described as an antihistamine."He ruined my life at 17 years old," Lasha said. "I have nightmares about it this very day, and I want them to go away, just like him."

More than 60 other women accuse Cosby of sexual misconduct during his 50-year show business career. Five were allowed to testify, while others came to watch the court proceedings.

Allred said she believed the sentencing would be "sending a message" in the #MeToo era. She said Cosby should be sentenced to "a substantial period of time," shouldn't receive probation or house arrest, and shouldn't remain free pending appeal."Mr. Cosby should not be treated differently because he is a celebrity," she said. "Judgment day has finally arrived for this convicted sexual predator who betrayed the trust of so many women."

Lawyers for the 81-year-old, legally blind Cosby are expected to stress his age, health problems, legacy and philanthropy. Prosecutors hope to call other accusers to paint Cosby as a sexual predator deserving of prison.


'I'm a long shot' - Roosters' Cooper Cronk still a chance to play in NRL grand final

Sydney Roosters halfback Cooper Cronk admits he is a "long shot" to play in Sunday's NRL grand final against Melbourne due to a shoulder injury.

Cronk is racing the clock to be fit to take on his former club after suffering "severe" damage to his rotator cuff in the Roosters' preliminary final win over South Sydney.

The 34-year-old fronted media with a sling on Monday but has vowed to do everything he can to make himself available for the match.

"I could move it, the best thing is just to immobilise it so I can get some recovery done, try and strengthen it up so the muscles don't get worked over too much," Cronk said.

"The whole idea for the sling is to keep it in place, so it's protected, and do everything I can."

Cronk was unwilling to divulge the extent of his injury but was unsure about what his realistic chances were of taking the field.

"I'm a long shot. That's not lying," he said.

Should he complete a miraculous recovery, the Roosters playmaker is certain to need a painkilling injection and is adamant he could play through the pain.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Cooper Cronk of the Roosters holds his shoulder during the NRL Preliminary Final match between the Sydney Roosters and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Allianz Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Cooper Cronk of the Roosters holds his shoulder during the NRL Preliminary Final match between the Sydney Roosters and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Allianz Stadium in Sydney. Source: Getty

Having suffered the injury in the first half against the the Rabbitohs, Cronk bravely fought through the second half despite being unable to kick or run the ball.

"Pain is what it is, you make it out to be as much as you want it to be. I'll deal with it," he said.

"It's a step process. (I need to be) passing, kicking, tackling, just being able to functionally move it.

"The pain, I'm not superhuman, but the pain I'll be able to deal with.

"It's just whether I can functionally move it."

While he conceded it would be ideal to make an early call on his status in order to give his replacement time to mentally prepare, he has given himself until kick-off to decide.

Utility Ryan Matterson and back-up halfback Sean O'Sullivan are options to take his place.

"There's no doubt that whoever does play, needs the repetitions. But I think considering the magnitude of the game, I might be given up to kick-off," he said.

"Eighty per cent's a decent number. I'd go out there at 50 per cent. I'd go out there at 30 per cent.

"The whole idea about this game is we're in an opportunity to play in a grand final."

Cronk says he will do everything he can to play in his side's final match against the Melbourne Storm. Source: Sydney Roosters


Second woman accuses Trump's Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault

The Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled a hearing Friday for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, a woman who says he sexually assaulted her as a teenager, as a claim of sexual misconduct emerged from another woman.

The New Yorker magazine reported today that Senate Democrats were investigating a second woman's accusation of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh dating to the 1983-84 academic year, Kavanaugh's first at Yale University.

The New Yorker said 53-year-old Deborah Ramirez described the incident in an interview after being contacted by the magazine.

Ramirez recalled that Kavanaugh exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party, thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away, the magazine reported.

In a statement provided by the White House, Kavanaugh said the event "did not happen" and that the allegation was "a smear, plain and simple."

A White House spokeswoman added in a second statement that the allegation was "designed to tear down a good man."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, called for the "immediate postponement" of any further action on Kavanaugh's nomination.

She also asked the committee's chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, to have the FBI investigate the allegations of both Ford and Ramirez.

The New Yorker said it contacted Ramirez after learning of a possible involvement in an incident with Kavanaugh and that the allegation came to Democratic senators through a civil rights lawyer. She had been considering speaking to the magazine for at least a week.

Meanwhile, Republicans were pressing for a swift hearing and a vote.

Christine Blasey Ford says she’ll give evidence against Brett Kavanaugh, as long as Senators ensure her safety. Source: Breakfast

The magazine reported that Ramirez was reluctant at first to speak publicly "partly because her memories contained gaps because she had been drinking at the time of the alleged incident."

She also acknowledged reluctance "to characterise Kavanaugh's role in the alleged incident with certainty."

The magazine reported that after "six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney, Ramirez said that she felt confident enough of her recollections" to recall the incident.

The new information came hours after the Senate committee agreed to a date and time for a hearing after nearly a week of uncertainty over whether Ford would appear to tell her story.

The agreement and the latest accusation set the stage for a dramatic showdown as Kavanaugh and Ford each tell their side of the story.

The developments could also determine the fate of Kavanaugh's confirmation, which hangs on the votes of a handful of senators.

President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is sworn-in before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, September 4, 2018, to begin his testimony in his confirmation hearing to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. Source: Associated Press