BASKETBALL: NBA skills coach Phil Handy, who has trained stars including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Aussie star Ben Simmons, says Melbourne United has the potential* to rival* the Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors in top NBA preseason matches next month.
Australia’s NBL champions travel to Philadelphia next month, for a clash with NBA Rookie of the Year Simmons and 76ers recruit Jonah Bolden, and then Toronto to tackle the Raptors.
United surprised many fans last year, stretching Russell Westbrook’s Oklahoma City Thunder to one point.
Handy has worked closely with United during the past two weeks in Melbourne and warned the US sides to watch out.
“Now with the NBA and NBL preseason games … people will get a chance to understand they’re real competitive over here (in Australia),” Handy said.
CRICKET: Banned Australian batsman Steve Smith is back in top spot in the ICC Test batting rankings despite not having played since March.
The 29-year-old was suspended for a year and lost his captaincy following his part in the ball-tampering scandal against South Africa, but his ranking points have not changed.
India skipper Virat Kohli had taken the No. 1 place after scoring 200 runs in his team’s first-Test defeat by England, but slipped back after managing only 40 in the second match of the series at Lord’s last week. Smith is playing T20 cricket in the Caribbean Premier League as he prepares for a possible return to the international game next year.
NRL: Penrith has suffered a massive blow* just three weeks out from the NRL finals with veteran five-eighth James Maloney ruled out for the rest of the regular season with a knee injury.
Having clawed their way into the top four with three consecutive* come-from-behind victories, the Panthers must now continue their charge towards September without their main playmaker*.
Following coach Anthony Griffin’s sacking last week, the timing of Maloney’s injury couldn’t be worse for rookie* coach Cameron Ciraldo.
potential: likely to develop into something in future
rival: be equal to
consecutive: in a row
playmaker: sets up chances to score
rookie: new to a position or team
1. Who has Steve Smith regained the top ICC batting ranking from?
2. Name the two NBA teams that Melbourne United will take on in the US.
3. What sort of injury has James Maloney suffered?
After reading the article, with a partner, highlight as many connectives as you can find in pink. Discuss if these are being used as conjunctions, or to join ideas and create flow.
HAVE YOUR SAY: Do you think Melbourne United can beat the Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors? Why or why not?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking.