Boyd still getting used to captain’s role

Darius Boyd admits it is daunting to think of the legendary names that have preceded him as Brisbane captain and concedes he is still getting used to his new role.

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Boyd was announced as the new Broncos skipper earlier this month following in the footsteps of Queensland royalty such as Wally Lewis, Darren Lockyer and Allan Langer.

The 29-year-old has never captained at any level and baulked at the prospect when it was first broached by Wayne Bennett last year.

But he said he will have a huge sense of pride when he leads the Broncos out for the first time against Warrington on Saturday (Sunday 0630 AEDT).

“When I did the press conference I realised the enormity of it and became a bit overwhelmed by it all,” Boyd told AAP.

“But I feel hugely honoured and proud to have been given the job

“I’ve been lucky to see how some of the great ones have done it.

“But I am not going to change what I do. I don’t say a lot. I talk when something needs to be said. I’ll lead by actions.”

Talking freely wasn’t Boyd’s strong point earlier in his career and he developed a disdain for the media which came to a head in an infamous TV press conference that was abruptly aborted after he gave a series of one-word answers.

Boyd acknowledged that his well-documented battles with depression, including a stint in rehab, helped him mature and he feels much more comfortable in his own skin than he did earlier in his career.

“It’s a big job to get first up, I’ve never captained anyone before,” he said.

“Wayne asked me a while ago what I thought about it and I wrestled with it in my head for a while.

“It’s a massive job and a big ask and I didn’t think my head was in the right place to do it. But I feel I’m ready now.”

Boyd succeeds Corey Parker as captain after being preferred to established international and Queensland teammates Sam Thaiday and Matt Gillett in addition to Broncos stalwarts Andrew McCullough and Alex Glenn.

However, he said he will be looking to all of them for assistance as he gets to grips with the job of becoming the face of one of the biggest teams in Australia.

“To be honest, even now there are parts of the job that don’t come naturally to me but I’ll do the best I can,” he said.

“But I’m lucky, I have guys like Sammy, Gillo and Macca to turn to and I won’t have any hesitation to leaning on them when I need them.”

Best-case scenario a 3-0 loss: Harbhajan

If everything goes to plan for Australia in India, the best the tourists can hope for is eking out a draw in one of their four Tests.

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That’s the assessment of the upcoming series by former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh, who’s predicting a resounding victory by the home side.

“If Australia play well, India will win 3-0. That is if Australia play well,” Harbhajan told The New Daily.

“Otherwise, 4-0.”

Australia head into the series against the world No.1 Test side as outsiders, having not won a match on the subcontinent since 2011.

Their most recent Test victory on Indian soil came in 2004.

Singh, a long-time antagonist of Australia who allegedly called former allrounder Andrew Symonds a “monkey”, sees the visitor’s lack of batting experience in Asia as their biggest downfall.

“I don’t think the wickets are going to be that easy for them,” said Harbhajan, who has 417 Test wickets to his name.

“If the ball starts spinning from the first ball, I don’t think they will survive for long.

“This team, apart from (David) Warner and (Steve) Smith, I don’t think will be able to play the game they play in Australian conditions here in India.

“That Australian team in the past had so much will and belief. I don’t think this team has the belief to win in these conditions.”

Harbhajan also questioned Australia’s spin credentials, saying frontline options Nathan Lyon, Steve O’Keefe, Ashton Agar and Mitchell Swepson will struggle to adjust to Indian conditions.

“I don’t think they have the quality to do so. It is different bowling here and bowling there (in Australia),” he said.

“From the first ball you need to bowl that correct speed.

“Not many spinners have done that in India for the last 15 years.”

YouTube, Disney scrap PewDiePie over ‘anti-Semitic’ videos

YouTube and Walt Disney Co have cut ties with influential Swedish social media star PewDiePie after he posted a series of videos deemed anti-Semitic.

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YouTube said it had cancelled the second season of the comedian’s reality show, Scare PewDiePie and taken his channel, which has some 53 million followers, off its premium advertising service.

“We’ve decided to cancel the release of ‘Scare PewDiePie’ season 2 and we’re removing the PewDiePie channel from Google Preferred,” a YouTube representative told Hollywood trade publication Variety on Tuesday.

Disney’s Maker Studios unit, which owns the channel, told the Wall Street Journal on Monday that it was severing its ties with PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, after an investigation by the newspaper turned up nine videos featuring Nazi imagery or anti-Semitic jokes.

“Although Felix has created a following by being provocative and irreverent, he clearly went too far in this case, and the resulting videos are inappropriate,” a Maker Studios spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal.

PewDiePie was among the most followed stars on YouTube, and his videos have been watched collectively more 14 billion times, according to the website. In 2016, he was on Time’s magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people.

In a recent stunt, he paid two people in India to hold up a sign that read “death to all Jews” and then responded to it with criticism while terming it a joke.

Kjellberg, 27, defended his content in a Tumblr posting over the weekend, saying he did not endorse hate-based groups.

“I think of the content that I create as entertainment, and not a place for any serious political commentary,” he said. “I know my audience understand that, and that is why they come to my channel.

“Though this was not my intention, I understand that these jokes were ultimately offensive.”

Collingwood play down Wells’ calf niggle

Collingwood insist star recruit Daniel Wells remains on track for the AFL season despite suffering more calf problems.

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Wells was scheduled to play three quarters in a VFL intra-club match on Wednesday night but copped a kick to the calf and was pulled from the ground at halftime.

The 32-year-old’s pre-season had already been disrupted by his persistent calf issues but Magpies coach Nathan Buckley says the latest niggle is no cause for concern.

“He’s good,” Buckley said after Collingwood’s opening pre-season win over Essendon on Thursday night.

“We didn’t take any risks and pulled him after two quarters but he’ll train this week and continue his step up in work rate and load.”

The former North Melbourne midfielder played 19 games last season but lower-leg issues restricted him to just 12 matches over the previous two years.

Wells had not been expected to play against Essendon but last week declared he intended to play in at least one of the two remaining pre-season games.

Collingwood have a fortnight off before travelling to Western Australia to face Fremantle but it is unclear whether Wells will be fit for that clash or their game against Richmond on March 11.

The Magpies are set to welcome back skipper Scott Pendlebury and midfield ace Adam Treloar as they prepare for the season proper.

“The players that were rested for this game will play in the next two,” Buckley said.

“If there’s anyone else we need to manage, we will. But it’s pretty much trying to get our best mix together, build the chemistry and continue to build momentum.”

Migrants, refugees stranded in Serbia march towards Hungary

Hundreds of migrants and refugees stranded in Serbia have set off on foot from the capital Belgrade towards the closed Hungarian border.

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Police escorted them as they chanted, ‘”Open the border! Open the border, Hungary!”

Some carried banners, one of them reading, “We are people, not animals.”

Nearly 7,000 migrants and refugees, most fleeing war and poverty in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, are trapped in Serbia.

They have been prevented from continuing further into Europe by fences now running the length of the Hungarian-Serbian border.

A man from Pakistan named Farad, among those walking, says he has walked to the Hungarian border 10 times in the past two months.

“I go to border because border is closed and I have been two months here and I have 10 times walked to border (inaudible). So, today, all people go to border, because I am appealing for Hungary open the border please.”

Hungary has not accepted the migrants and refugees the European Union is trying to relocate from Italy and Greece.

The country’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, is proposing a constitutional amendment that would ban the mass settlement of people without parliament’s approval.

He says it would reflect the wishes of voters who, in a weekend referendum, overwhelmingly approved the government’s stance against the EU’s mandatory quotas.

“We have to say clearly that we ban mandatory mass settlements. We have to make it clear that this is a question of sovereignty and that no decision in Brussels can call into question Hungary’s inalienable right of disposal on matters of territorial integrity and its population.”

Less than half of the Hungarian electorate voted in the referendum, though, rendering the results officially invalid.

The flow of migrants and refugees elsewhere in Europe is not easing.

In Italy, more than 200 migrants, including children travelling alone, were brought ashore yesterday after being rescued in the Mediterranean Sea.

About 6,000 had been rescued and 22 found dead on the maritime route from North Africa on Monday.

The International Organisation for Migration says more than 130,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Italy since the start of the year.

Speaking in Brussels, United States secretary of state John Kerry says the approach of some European leaders to the crisis has been admirable.

He warns, though, that, ultimately, ending the conflicts many are fleeing will be the only long-lasting resolution.

“Ending the war in Syria is imperative for many reasons, including the need to reduce the flow, or ease the flow, into Europe of migrants and refugees.

“To some, formulating the right response to refugees is as easy as putting up a green light or a red one — they just think it’s simple,” he said.

“But, in fact, the problem, as you know, has many dimensions, related to legal responsibilities, resources, security, safe transit, human trafficking, gender abuse and the special needs of children.

“Ultimately, however, the only fully satisfactory solution to the refugee dilemma is to stop the wars.”