2015 NSWTA Country Championships

first_img42 teams from across country New South Wales will travel to Dubbo this weekend to compete in the 2015 New South Wales Touch Association’s Country Championships. The Riverbank Touch Ovals, home of the Dubbo Touch Association, will host the event, which commences on Saturday, 24 October 2015. Teams will compete across seven divisions at the two day event – Men’s Open/Men’s 20’s, Women’s Open, Mixed Open, Women’s 20’s/30’s, Men’s Seniors/Masters, Women’s Masters and Men’s 50’s/55’s. 2014 NSWTA Country Championships results:Men’s OpenDoyalson Dragons 9 defeated Wollongong Devils (2) 2Women’s OpenBerkeley Vale Panthers 5 defeated Wallsend Wolves 1Mixed OpenPort Macquarie 7 defeated Wallsend Wolves 6Women’s 20’sNewcastle City 5 defeated Wagga Wagga 1Men’s 30’sWallsend Wolves 9 defeated Maitland Redbacks 5Women’s 30’sNelson Bay Neptunes 4 defeated Walllsend Wolves 0Senior MixedNelson Bay Neptunes 5 defeated Peninsula Piranhas 4 (Drop-off)Men’s 40’sWallsend Wolves 6 defeated Nelson Bay Neptunes 2Women’s 40’sCentral Coast Dolphins 4 defeated Newcastle City 2Men’s 45’sResult: Newcastle City 4 defeated Jerrabomberra Storm 2Men’s 50’sWollongong Devils 6 defeated Newcastle City 2Men’s 55’sBeresfield Bandits 8 defeated Wallsend Wolves 0Affiliate ChampionWallsend Wolves Stay tuned to the NSWTA website and social media channels for further coverage of the 2015 NSWTA Country Championships: Website – www.nswtouch.com.auFacebook – www.facebook.com/nswtouchTwitter – www.twitter.com/nsw_touch #ctrychamps Instagram – www.instagram.com/nswtouchRelated LinksNSW Country Champslast_img read more

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a month agoOgbonna: West Ham players not about money and flash cars

first_imgOgbonna: West Ham players not about money and flash carsby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveWest Ham defender Angelo Ogbonna says there’s excitement amongst the players about what they can achieve this season.The calibre of the players themselves at West Ham has also gone up. New £50million striker Sebastian Haller has netted in each of the club’s last two Premier League wins.“We are blessed because we not only have good players but good people. Diop. Rice, Fredericks. Some players go out and they buy cars and spend money. These players are West Ham are humble with their feet on the ground.”Ogbonna is equally respectful of Monday’s hosts Aston Villa, despite defeats in three of their four League games so far.“It will be a tough game,” he told the Mirror. “A game for us to see how far we have come.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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a month agoArsenal fullback Kolasinac talks for first time about car-jacking incident

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Arsenal fullback Kolasinac talks for first time about car-jacking incidentby Freddie Taylora month agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal fullback Sead Kolasinac insists he is focused on football again.The Bosnia international and teammate Mesut Ozil were the victims of an attempted carjacking last month, with both players only recently returning to action.Speaking ahead of Thursday’s Europa League clash with Frankfurt, Kolasinac insisted he is ready to play.He said: “About what happened I don’t want to talk about it in details. It’s happened. It belongs in the past. The same with Mesut.”We are back and we focused on our jobs.”Well of course I’m happy to be back. Of course mentally this was hard, missing also training for a couple of days. I made up for it. “I’m back and happy to be back with the team and able to perform with them.” last_img read more

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17 days agoArsenal defender Mustafi laughs off ‘irrational’ criticism: I’m mentally strong

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Arsenal defender Mustafi laughs off ‘irrational’ criticism: I’m mentally strongby Freddie Taylor17 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveShkodran Mustafi has laughed off a poll naming his as the world’s second worst defender.The Arsenal stopper finished behind Manchester United’s Phil Jones in a survey conducted by Spanish newspaper Marca, who asked 150,000 people who was the world’s worst defender.But Mustafi says he isn’t bothered by the poll results.”In the first two years after my move to Arsenal in 2016, things went very well for me,” Mustafi told German outlet Speigel. “But shortly after Christmas 2018 there was a kink. I’ve made a few mistakes and they’ve created a mess that I’ve never experienced before.”Mustafi added: “There were days when I really doubted something about myself. But at some point I realised that I am mentally strong.”Something my wife said helped me a lot: ‘If you were really as bad as people are making you out, you would never have been a World Champion and Arsenal player, something must have brought you here’. Since then I can handle it better.”I’m self-critical enough to realise that I made mistakes. I can also deal with tough criticism. “But the criticism has become escalated and irrational. I have become a target. At some point, people even blamed me for a defeat I had not played in at all.” last_img read more

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What If An Evil Commissioner Turned Hank Aarons Homers Into Singles

Last week I wrote about Hank Aaron, who recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of his record-breaking 715th home run. I concluded that Aaron would still have been a great player — and would very likely have made the Baseball Hall of Fame — even if all of his home runs had been counted as singles instead.Or at least — that’s almost what I wrote. What I actually wrote left a lot of room for interpretation (emphasis added from original):What if Aaron had never hit a home run? What if those 755 round-trippers had fallen for base hits instead? (If we’re trying to isolate the effect of his power, that seems like the fairer way to do it, instead of turning them into popups or something.) Would he still be a Hall of Famer?If all of his homers had been singles, Aaron would still have his 3,771 hits.The ambiguity is over the means by which we’re turning Aaron’s home runs into singles. When writing the original post, I’d imagined that this was accomplished by some sort of accounting trick. After Aaron retired, some Evil Commissioner decreed that all of Aaron’s homers would be counted as singles in baseball’s record book (like how the NCAA sometimes retroactively forfeits a team’s wins after it’s determined to have used an ineligible player); but it wouldn’t have changed what happened on the field.But what if the change had occurred on the field instead? So as not to violate any laws of physics, we can imagine it happened by means of a ground rule. Before Aaron made his major league debut, our Evil Commissioner decreed that any ball hit over the fence in fair territory by Henry Louis Aaron would be counted as a single rather than a home run. This rule applied to Hank Aaron and only to Hank Aaron. Everybody knew about the rule, including Hank Aaron, the pitchers who faced Hank Aaron, and the teams who employed Hank Aaron, and they were free to adjust their strategies accordingly.1A couple of complications: First, is Aaron allowed to hit inside-the-park home runs? Sure, let’s let him; he hit only one during the course of his career anyway.Next, what happens to the baserunners when Aaron hits a ground-rule single? Do they advance only one base? This would make Hank Aaron’s ground-rule singles less valuable than regular singles, since baserunners sometimes advance from first to third or score from second on a base hit. So let’s imagine that our Evil Commissioner decrees that a set of Strat-O-Matic dice shall be thrown by the umpires when Hank Aaron hits a ground-rule single. The baserunners will then be allowed to take an extra base in accordance with league-wide averages for runner advancement.This thought experiment is starting to get a bit complicated. Still, it gets to the point that the economists Scott Sumner and Tyler Cowen have made, which is that changing the ground rules for Aaron would have changed the way he and the pitchers who faced him approached the game. It thereby might have affected the rest of Aaron’s batting line and not just his home runs. There are several such effects to consider.Aaron would have drawn fewer walksThe number of walks drawn by a hitter is partly a function of his plate discipline and partly a matter of how much the pitcher fears him. The reason to risk walking a hitter, as Cowen notes, should be largely a function of his extra-base power. There’s not much reason to pitch around a singles hitter and give him a free pass to first base when most of the time the best he’s going to do is get to first base anyway by means of a base hit.This is clearest in the case of intentional walks.2Or at least it should be obvious in theory; whether it’s quite so obvious to pitchers and managers is another question. I was surprised to discover that singles hitters like Ichiro Suzuki and Wade Boggs each led their league in intentional walks multiple times during the course of their careers. Some of these intentional walks may have been prudent if first base was open and there were runners in scoring position. But I’d guess that many of them were not very smart. Still, the aggregate trend is suggestive of rational behavior. In the 2013 season, the correlation between a hitter’s rate of intentional walks drawn and his isolated power was .44. The correlation between intentional walks and his rate of singles per at-bat was essentially zero (.03).Aaron’s unintentional walks would probably also have declined if he weren’t allowed to hit home runs. According to data compiled by Fangraphs, the percentage of pitches thrown in the strike zone to major league hitters varies between about 40 percent and 55 percent. The hitters on the low end of the range are power hitters (Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, Vladimir Guerrero, Pablo Sandoval); those at the top end are singles hitters (David Eckstein, Jason Kendall, Chone Figgins, Juan Pierre). A homerless Hank Aaron would have seen considerably more strikes.Aaron would have hit for a higher batting averageSeeing more pitches in the strike zone would have made it easier for Aaron to make contact. From 2009 to 2013, the league batting average for at-bats that concluded on a pitch thrown within the strike zone was .291; for pitches outside the strike zone, it was just .175.3Players were also 3.6 times more likely to hit home runs on at-bats that concluded on pitches thrown in the strike zone, although that doesn’t help Homerless Hank. (This research was provided to me by Mark Simon of ESPN Stats & Info.)A quick calculation from these figures shows that if Aaron finished an additional 10 percent of his at-bats on pitches thrown inside the strike zone, he’d boost his career batting average by 12 points (from .305 to .317). However, that’s a crude estimate. We’d also have to consider how Aaron and the pitchers and defenses who faced him would have changed their whole approach to the at-bat.There’s reason to think that Aaron would have adapted to these conditions more readily than his opponents. He was a smart and versatile hitter; Sports Illustrated’s 1958 scouting report described how Aaron was very difficult to defend because he could hit to all fields and leg out infield hits (emphasis added from original):Man who excites the experts is Henry Aaron, of the loose, free swing. Called “best wrist hitter in baseball,” he’s actually an arm hitter, lashing pitch with masterful coordination of forearms, biceps, wrists and bat. Slumped through June but has had best record in league since then. No set way to fix defenses against him, since he hits to all fields, bunts beautifully, is fast enough to beat out infield hits. He’s also a good, if lackadaisical, outfielder, with a fine arm. The team’s big man.Furthermore, we have some experimental evidence on cases in which Aaron had an incentive to hit for contact. He performed very well in these situations.Singles increase in value relative to home runs when there are runners in scoring position. For his career, Aaron hit .322 with runners in scoring position.4Aaron accomplished this by means of hitting more singles; 20.4 percent of his at-bats with runners in scoring position concluded with singles, compared to 17.6 percent with the bases empty. His rate of extra-base hits was largely unchanged. Note that there is not a strong systematic tendency for players to hit for a higher average with runners in scoring position. In 2013, major leaguers hit .255 as a group with runners in scoring position, compared to .253 for all at-bats.Singles become more valuable still when there are runners in scoring position and the score is tied late in the game. In these cases, either a single or a homer will usually score the go-ahead run and win the game, so the hitter should be hitting for contact and the pitcher should be trying to prevent contact. I looked for at-bats on Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index when Aaron hit with runners in scoring position in the seventh inning or later of a tied game. It’s a small sample — just 139 at-bats. But Aaron hit .331 in these situations for his career.Another natural experiment comes from cases in which home runs aren’t necessarily less valuable, but are harder to hit. Of the ballparks Aaron played at regularly during his career, the one least conducive to home runs was almost certainly Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, where the left field and right field power alleys were 392 and 395 feet away from home plate, respectively. From 1954 (Aaron’s debut season) until the Pittsburgh Pirates’ last full season in Forbes Field in 1969, the Pirates hit 65 percent more home runs in road games than at Forbes Field. They also hit for a slightly higher batting average in Forbes Field than on the road, although the difference was modest (.267 versus .259).How about Hank Aaron? He adapted wonderfully to Forbes Field, hitting .338 for his career in 639 at-bats there. That’s a little bit better even than Pirates great Roberto Clemente (.329), whose game was tailor-made for Forbes Field.Aaron might have seen less playing timeThe no-homers ground rule might have made teams more reluctant to employ Aaron, especially toward the end of his career. After breaking the home run record as a member of the Atlanta Braves, Aaron played two farewell seasons as a designated hitter for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1975 and 1976. He hit just .234 and .229 during those seasons. The Brewers were terrible back then, but they might not have had much patience for Aaron if he didn’t compensate for his poor batting averages with occasional home runs.It’s also plausible that the start of Aaron’s major league career would have been delayed, but this case is more debatable. Aaron’s potential as a singles hitter would have been evident quite early. He began his professional career as a 17-year-old in the Negro Leagues, where he hit .366 in recorded at-bats as a member of the Indianapolis Clowns. Purchased by the Braves for $10,000, he then hit .336 and .362 in minor league seasons in 1952 and 1953.5Furthermore, the Braves had an opening for Aaron since they had traded the veteran outfielder Sid Gordon at the end of the 1953 season. Press accounts from the time do not seem to mention Aaron’s emergence as a motivating factor for the Braves to trade Gordon, though it may have played into their thinking.Aaron might have stolen more basesIn the comments on my original post, some readers noted that if Aaron had hit more singles, he’d have had more opportunity to steal bases. This is true — although I also have Homerless Hank drawing fewer walks and perhaps getting less playing time than the real Aaron, which would counteract his increased rate of singles.It’s probably the case, though, that Aaron could have stolen more bases if he’d wanted to. He was reasonably fast early in his career, as the Sports Illustrated scouting report mentions. But the stolen base was not in vogue in the 1950s and Aaron rarely attempted to steal. Steals became a much more popular strategy in the 1960s, however, and Aaron proved to be a proficient base-stealer. He stole 240 bases during his career and was successful on 77 percent of his steal attempts, leading the National League in stolen base percentage in 1966 and 1968. His high rate of success suggests that Aaron may have left a few opportunities on the table. Perhaps if he had been cast as a singles hitter, his teams would have expected him to be more active on the bases. He presumably also would have hit first or second in the batting order rather than third or fourth, which means he’d reach base more often with second base open.Aaron might have hit doubles and triples at a higher rateIf Aaron had only been credited with singles on balls that cleared the fence, he would have had reason to swing for the gaps more often in an effort to hit doubles and triples.In general, however, it’s not all that easy for players to try to hit doubles. The league leaders in doubles change quite a lot from year to year and the lists mostly comprise good overall hitters who play in stadiums like Fenway Park that are conductive to doubles. Still, none of those hitters faces incentives where doubles are actually more valuable than balls hit over the fence. As the scouting reports and batting splits makes clear, Aaron could hit to all fields and was smart about adapting his approach to the situation. I imagine that he’d find a way to hit a few more doubles and triples.Summing upThe real Hank Aaron hit for a .305/.374/.555 “slash line” (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage). If all his home runs had been changed to singles after the fact, his line would have been .305/.374/.371 instead. But this doesn’t account for the changes Aaron and the pitchers might have made as they adapted to the ground rule.It’s just a guess, of course — but I imagine that Aaron would have hit somewhere in the .320s as a result of seeing more strikes and changing his approach to make more contact. His slugging average would have gone up accordingly, perhaps also boosted by a few extra doubles and triples. However, he would have drawn fewer walks, which could offset any gains in his on-base percentage. I envision his slash line as being something like .325/.375/.405, which is reasonably similar to Rod Carew’s.I don’t think Homerless Hank would have been in any jeopardy of failing to notch 3,000 hits. He may even have reached 4,000. The real Hank Aaron had 3,771 hits, and I have Homerless Hank hitting for a higher batting average. I also have him drawing fewer walks, which means more opportunities to put the ball in play. In fact, a .325/.375/.405 batting line would translate to roughly 4,150 hits given the number of plate appearances Aaron had. That would put him in striking distance of Ty Cobb, who had 4,189 hits. (Pete Rose surpassed Cobb’s record in 1985 and finished with 4,256 hits.)I also imagine that Homerless Hank wouldn’t have been very productive in the last couple of seasons of his career; his batting average over his final three seasons was .244. Teams don’t normally have much interest in singles hitters who hit .244. Still, they sometimes find spots for players who are pursuing career landmarks; Rose was somewhere between marginally productive and counterproductive after the age of 40, and yet he got (and gave himself as player-manager) another 2,469 plate appearances. If the Braves or the Brewers had been so generous to Aaron, it’s possible the Home Run King would have ended up as baseball’s Hit King instead. read more

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Football No 10 Ohio State searches for revival opportunity against Nebraska

Ohio State sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins (2) carries the ball downfield in the fourth quarter of the game against Minnesota on Oct. 13. Ohio State won. 30-14. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorOhio State needed a bye week more than pretty much any team in the nation.Following a 49-20 loss to Purdue, which came after disappointing outings against Minnesota and Indiana, the Buckeyes were left with various areas to improve before they had to face another opponent.Now, head coach Urban Meyer wants to move past the defeat and into his team’s next matchup.“We’re in the grind,” Meyer said. “This is all about getting ready for Nebraska, and moving forward.”Senior offensive tackle Isaiah Prince is not exactly forgetting about the loss to the Boilermakers: he is using his anger and taking it into Saturday.“If I lose, it’s a bad day for me. Whether it’s a video game, a rep, I don’t like losing. So yeah, I’m mad,” Prince said.  “I just want to see the Buckeyes play angry and pissed off, and let everybody know we’re still here.” Nebraska comes in with a two-game winning streak against Minnesota and Bethune-Cookman after losing its first six games to start the season.Head coach Scott Frost is in his first season with the Cornhuskers after leading UCF to an undefeated record, including a victory over then-No. 7 Auburn in the Peach Bowl.Frost has brought his offensive coaching ability to Nebraska, with the Cornhuskers ranking in the top 50 in the NCAA in rushing, passing and total offense.Freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez has gained momentum as the season progressed, breaking 400 total yards in three of his past five contests. On the season, Martinez is up to 1,656 passing and 408 rushing yards, completing 66.3 percent of his throws for 15 total touchdowns and six interceptions.Meyer said Martinez is an “elite guy” that offers a dual-threat ability, and who has “done a great job” over his past two games.Martinez’s main weapon is redshirt sophomore wide receiver JD Spielman, who has 53 catches for 686 yards and seven touchdowns.Spielman has been compared to Purdue freshman wide receiver Rondale Moore, who caught 12 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns against the Buckeyes two weeks ago. Meyer said Spielman is “very close” to Moore, and a “very talented guy.”Junior safety Jordan Fuller covered Spielman often in Ohio State’s matchup with Nebraska last season in the nickel, and he said he remembers the talent the then-redshirt freshman could bring.“Really talented guy, quick and fast, so we definitely gotta keep our eyes on him,” Fuller said. “He enjoys space, though, so don’t give it to him.”Defensively, Nebraska has struggled in all fronts, but mostly in the passing game. The Cornhuskers allow the 20th-most passing yards with 272.0 per game. This has given teams the opportunity to light up Nebraska’s defense for 33.4 points a game, 29th-worst in the nation.The Cornhuskers had allowed 24 points or more in every game this year prior to their 45-9 win over Bethune-Cookman.PredictionNebraska has some playmakers to work with on the offensive end, and Spielman could find some space in the middle of the field if Ohio State has yet to make any adjustments since the Purdue loss.Martinez could find success in the option game, much like Penn State redshirt senior quarterback Trace McSorley did in his record-breaking performance against the Buckeyes a month ago.But Nebraska ran into Ohio State at the wrong time.After losing to Iowa by 31 last season, the Buckeyes came out a week later and annihilated a then-No. 12 Michigan State team 48-3, scoring 35 unanswered points less than 25 minutes into the game.If Ohio State squeaked out a close victory over the Boilermakers before the bye, maybe Nebraska had a chance. But as it stands, the Cornhuskers are running into a buzzsaw, coming up against a Buckeyes team that is both better on paper and incredibly angry.Even if all of that wasn’t enough, the lackluster pass defense will not do Nebraska any favors against redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins, and only time will tell if sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins and redshirt junior running back Mike Weber will finally break loose on a subpar Cornhusker rush defense.If Ohio State comes out as mad as it did against the Spartans last year, this will get ugly, fast. If not, the Buckeyes are still the much better team, and should be able to handle any scares the Nebraska offense could give.Wyatt Crosher: 52-10 Ohio StateColin Gay: 49-14 Ohio StateEdward Sutelan: 42-21 Ohio StateRachel Bules: 45-10 Ohio State read more

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Phil Foden to sign 6year extension with Manchester City despite lack

first_imgThe teenage prodigy has been linked with clubs like Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain, among other, but the 18-year-old prefers to continue playing for his childhood club.Manchester City’s Phil Foden will sign a new six-year contract with the Premier League champions on Monday, according to the Telegraph. Foden only has 13 appearances for Man City this season and has yet to start a league match for Pep Guardiola’s team.Multiple teams have asked for Foden on loan but Guardiola believes the youngster will benefit more from being around their first team. Despite pressure to play Foden, Pep insists he is being careful with the midfielder’s growth and development.Foden trusts Guardiola’s judgment and knows he’s in good hands. The player and coach relationship between the two is second-to-none, with the Telegraph reporting that his teammates call him ‘Pep’s lad’ in reference to the manager’s fondness of the teenage Englishman.Victor Wanyama, Tottenham Hotspur, Premier LeaguePochettino admits Wanyama remains in his Spurs plans Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Kenyan international, Victor Wanyama, was the protagonist of a summer transfer saga, but in the end, he is set to stay at Tottenham Hotspur.Last year, Khaldoon al-Mubarak, the Manchester City chairman, said he wants at least one academy player to make it to the first team every year.“I’d like at least a player, if not two, playing and competing at the first team level from the academy every year,” he said. “That is what I would like. Can we do that? We will try everything we can. Certainly, everyone knows that ambition and target and today I think the academy is producing.“The short answer is that the academy is producing what we aspire for it to produce and it is doing it now. I’m not talking about the future, I’m talking about now because I know what we have.”last_img read more

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Harry Winks praises Moussa Sissoko

first_imgThe English footballer wanted to represent his country in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia but an ankle injury prevented this.In 2017, Harry Winks was part of the England national team, he was ready to represent his nation at the FIFA World Cup in Russia.But ankle problems took him away from his dream and he had to watch on television how five of his Tottenham Hotspur footballers contributed to England’s best run in almost 20 years.And now, the player only wants to become a great player.“I really enjoy playing in the team with Moussa [Sissoko],” he said to the club’s official website trying to explain how he feels.“We complement each other well. We’ve had a partnership for the last couple of months now and it’s been going really well.”“We’re getting results and that’s the most important thing but we both help the team out as much as we possibly can in our own individual ways and I’m just thankful that in the games we’re getting the results we need,” he explained.“No, nothing specifically together. I guess on the pitch it just comes together well and we perform well. We just like playing alongside each other!”Harry Maguire, Manchester UnitedLiverpool legend Nicol slams Harry Maguire’s Man United form Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Steve Nicol believes Harry Maguire has made some “horrendous mistakes” recently, and has failed to find his best form since joining Manchester United.“[Sissoko] He’s been phenomenal,” he explained.“He’s been one of the most key players for us this season because his all-around game is massive. He’s solid off the ball, solid on the ball and he’s an important figure for us.”“He’s had difficult spells over the last couple of seasons with game time, playing in various positions and getting a run of games. We train with him every day, so we know how good he is and we’re all so happy to see him doing so well and being able to show the fans how important he is for us,” he explained.“He’s had disappointments he’s had to deal with, difficult spells to get through and that what takes you to the next level, it toughens you up. If you go through difficult spells you remember them and it’s the character building every player needs to go to the next level.”💪#OneOfOurOwn pic.twitter.com/pFuWmZwNsc— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 20, 2019last_img read more

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