Logjam atop the AFL ladder

Clutch goals from ice-cool duo Steve Johnson and David Mundy have helped ensure an ever-increasing logjam on the AFL ladder.

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GWS have replaced slumping Adelaide as premiership favourites, although the Giants needed a last-minute goal at home from Johnson on Saturday to see off a spirited challenge from a Collingwood side who have won only two games and sit in second-last spot.

The Crows suffered a second straight loss – this time by 41 points at home to rank outsiders Melbourne – but stay in top spot on the table with a 6-2 win-loss record, ahead of the Giants and West Coast on percentage.

The next six teams are all at 5-3, including ninth-placed Fremantle, who won for the fifth time in six matches on Sunday.

Mundy kicked a winner after the siren against Richmond on Sunday for the second time in three years.

It enabled the Dockers to sneak home 10.12 (72) to 10.10 (70) after they had held what seemed like an unassailable 30-point lead at the final change.

“The competition is very even – I think we’re seeing that on a weekly basis and within games, quarter to quarter,” said Dockers coach Ross Lyon.

“If you’re not near your best or you drop off, you can get exposed pretty quickly.

“It’s a fortunate position for all clubs because if you prepare well and you’re committed, you can be competitive.”

That synopsis could just as easily have applied to Saturday night’s game at the MCG, when Essendon belied a recent poor run of just one win in their previous five matches by downing tackle-shy Geelong 17.8 (110) to 13.15 (93).

Like Richmond, the Cats have now dropped three games on the bounce after starting the year with five straight wins.

Geelong now face a season-defining run of three straight matches at the redeveloped Simonds Stadium against fellow top-four aspirants the Western Bulldogs, Port Adelaide and Adelaide.

“I hope we don’t try to pretend that playing at home we fix all of our problems,” said coach Chris Scott.

“We’d like to play 11 games there, we haven’t played there at all until round nine and I’m confident we play it pretty well.

“But once again I probably shouldn’t even say that because we need to concentrate on what we are now, not reflect on what we were four weeks ago and certainly not what we were years ago.”

Port Adelaide belted Gold Coast 16.14 (110) to 4.14 (38) in Shanghai on Sunday to move up to fourth.

The free-scoring Power boast the best percentage in the competition (150.8).

Sydney ended the round with a comprehensive 18.12 (120) to 11.12 (78) win over North Melbourne.

Businesses brace as cyber threat lingers

Technical staff are scrambling to patch computers and restore infected ones, amid fears that the ransomware worm that stopped car factories, hospitals, shops and schools could wreak fresh havoc when employees log back on after the weekend.

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The spread of the virus dubbed WannaCry – “ransomware” which locked up more than 100,000 computers – had slowed, cybersecurity experts said on Sunday, but they warned that the respite may be brief.

New versions of the worm were expected, and the extent of the damage from Friday’s attack was still unclear.

Marin Ivezic, cybersecurity partner at PwC, said that some clients had been “working around the clock since the story broke” to restore systems and install software updates, or patches, or restore systems from backups.

Microsoft released patches last month and on Friday to fix a vulnerability that allowed the worm to spread across networks, a rare and powerful feature that caused infections to surge on Friday.

Code for exploiting that bug, which is known as “Eternal Blue,” was released on the internet in March by a hacking group known as the Shadow Brokers.

The group claimed it was stolen from a repository of National Security Agency hacking tools. The agency has not responded to requests for comment.

Hong Kong-based Ivezic said that the ransomware was forcing some more “mature” clients affected by the worm to abandon their usual cautious testing of patches “to do unscheduled downtime and urgent patching which is causing some inconvenience.”

He declined to identify which clients had been affected.

Monday was expected to be a busy day, especially in Asia which may not have seen the worst of the impact yet, as companies and organisations turned on their computers.

“Expect to hear a lot more about this tomorrow morning when users are back in their offices and might fall for phishing emails” or other as yet unconfirmed ways the worm may propagate, said Christian Karam, a Singapore-based security researcher.

Targets both large and small have been hit.

Renault on Saturday said it had halted manufacturing at plants in Sandouville, France, and Romania to prevent the spread of ransomware in its systems.

Among the other victims is a Nissan manufacturing plant in Sunderland, northeast England.

Hundreds of hospitals and clinics in the British National Health Service were infected on Friday, forcing them to send patients to other facilities.

German rail operator Deutsche Bahn said some electronic signs at stations announcing arrivals and departures were infected.

In Asia, some hospitals, schools, universities and other institutions were affected. International shipper FedEx Corp said some of its Windows computers were also breached.

Telecommunications company Telefonica was among the targets in Spain. Portugal Telecom and Telefonica Argentina both said they were also targeted.

A Jakarta hospital said on Sunday that the cyber virus had infected 400 computers, disrupting the registration of patients and finding records. The hospital said it expected big queues on Monday when about 500 people were due to register.

In Singapore, a company that supplies digital signage, MediaOnline, was rushing to fix its systems after a technician’s error had led to 12 kiosks being infected in two of the island’s malls.

Symantec, a cybersecurity company, predicted infections so far would cost tens of millions of dollars, mostly from cleaning corporate networks.

Ransoms paid amount to tens of thousands of dollars, one analyst said, but he predicted they would rise.

Governments and private security firms on Saturday said that they expected hackers to tweak the malicious code used in Friday’s attack, restoring the ability to self-replicate.

Aust business hit by ransomware attack

An Australian business has fallen victim to a global malware attack and there are investigations into two other reports, the federal government says.

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The so-called ransomware has wormed its way into thousands of computer systems in an apparent extortion plot, shutting users out unless they coughed up a payment.

Cyber Security Minister Dan Tehan says the government has received reports of the private sector being impacted, but not commonwealth organisations.

“There has been one incident of the ransomware hitting a business here in Australia and there could be two other incidents where it has occurred, although we are trying to confirm that,” Mr Tehan told Sky on Sunday evening.

“We’re not talking about a government organisation or a hospital or anything like that.

“We’re obviously working with that business, the Australian Cyber Security Centre is engaging with them.”

Earlier on Sunday, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said authorities were working to confirm if the reports were linked to the global attack.

“The difficulty is, of course, there are literally hundreds of instances of ransomware in Australia each week, so we’re currently seeking to confirm whether these are examples of the particular ransomware that has caused so much havoc for example in the United Kingdom,” she told reporters in Cairns.

Mr Tehan said Australian business boardrooms needed to be conscious of the impacts of ransomware.

“And we’ve got to make sure at a departmental level, government level, departmental heads … that they’re taking the necessary steps,” he told Sky.

“They’re aware of this. They became aware of it when we had the incident with the Census, so there are no excuses. They get well resourced for their information technology.”

In Perth, Senator Scott Ludlam warned Australians to keep their computers up to date against such threats and hit out against cyberweapon creation by the US.

“We’ve seen what happens when the US NSA (National Security Agency) … develops hacking tools, effectively weapons for breaking in to ordinary people’s computers then loses control of one of those exploits that has then been effectively weaponised by a criminal organisation that is now seeking to ransom people,” he told reporters.

“I think we need to keep a much closer eye on what government agencies are doing with these cyber weapons .. because they could’ve tipped off the government, they could have tipped off users of these operating systems but they didn’t, they kept those exploits to themeslves.”

The ransomware attack struck British National Health Service organisations, along with computer networks of companies and municipalities in dozens of other countries.

A number of hospitals in England and Scotland were forced to cancel procedures after dozens of NHS systems were brought down in Friday’s attack.

Spanish telco giant Telefonica and US delivery service FedEx were among the businesses affected.

Port tear Suns apart as AFL lands in China

Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade has lamented their 72-point AFL capitulation in Shanghai as one of the most disappointing moments of his career.

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Port Adelaide could not have made a better China debut and coach Ken Hinkley praised their ruthlessness in the 16.14 (110) to 4.14 (38) domination.

The Suns had said repeatedly pre-match that they were determined to overcome the inconsistency that has plagued their form.

But a week after a great win over Geelong, they were woeful on Sunday in the historic match at Jiangwan Stadium.

Eade said the loss left him feeling “pretty flat”.

“That’s as disappointed as I’ve been – I didn’t see that coming,” he said.

“The preparation was good, the attitude seemed good.

“We were just smashed in tight, (in) contested ball.

“We just didn’t seem to have enough get up and go to fight early.”

As the Suns mull over whether they want to play in the Shanghai match again, Eade has no doubts.

“We’d certainly like another chance, to redeem ourselves … because that’s not us,” he said.

There was drama 10 minutes before the first bounce when Suns defender Rory Thompson pulled out of the side, with Keegan Brooksby taking his place.

However, Eade said that was no explanation for why they played so badly.

The Suns’ nightmare was a dream result for Port, who have driven the push in to China.

Hinkley said it was crucial that the team played well, to back the club’s efforts.

“I’m really proud – obviously from a club point of view, there’s been a lot go in to this,” he said.

“So to come here and then back that up for them, with all the work they’ve done, it was really important we put on a strong team performance.”

It left Port well-placed at 5-3 going in to their bye, while the Suns are 3-5.

Hinkley also noted that by ruthlessly restricting Gold Coast and keeping them to just four goals, it was an important boost for Port’s percentage.

Midfielder Brad Ebert was best afield, despite only flying to Shanghai two days ago after the birth of his son Leo.

“It’s been a big week or two,” Ebert said.

After plenty of pre-match speculation about his fitness, Port star Robbie Gray kicked two goals despite not looking 100 per cent.

“Rob’s fine, I’m probably sick of talking about him … he hobbles around at the best of times,” Hinkley said.

And Hinkley stressed Sunday is no one-off China match for Port.

“We can’t wait to defend the title – we’re undefeated here in Shanghai,” he said.

“It is not just … excuse the expression, a Mickey Mouse game, once-off – this is what we want to do as a football club.”

Koch enjoys an AFL highlight in Shanghai

David Koch stood on the Jiangwan Stadium boundary line at halftime on Sunday, watching his granddaughter Matilda playing Auskick.

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The scoreboard showed Port Adelaide leading Gold Coast by seven goals and the fans were showing Koch lots of love.

Everyone wanted a photo with him, everyone wanted to congratulate him.

It was put to the Port president that the only way he could feel happier at a football match is if his team wins the AFL flag.

“That’s perfectly fair,” he said.

It will take several years and a lot more hard work before Koch knows whether Port’s China experiment works.

But this was the start they needed.

The 72-point win over Gold Coast was the cherry on top of the cake – the main thing is the game went off without any noticeable dramas.

After all the pre-match concerns about air quality, travel and who could wear which guernsey, Port emphatically answered the critics.

And the fans lapped it up.

“Set aside everything else for a second – something like this brings all these people together,” Koch said.

“That’s what I love – there’s my granddaughter, playing Auskick against some Chinese kid.”

Alistair “Sandy” Payne was one of the fans keen to pat Koch on the back.

He and his wife Dr Michelle Stone are Port fans from Adelaide and they made the Shanghai match the centrepiece of a 10-day China holiday.

“We’ve been the Great Wall, Michelle’s sat next to a panda – this has been fantastic,” Payne said.

Mining magnate Gina Rinehart was also spotted in the crowd, wearing a Port scarf.

No alcohol was on sale for the general public, but no-one seemed to mind.

Cynics will point to a couple of notable sections of empty seats on the outer wing, but AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan noted all the public areas were full.

The game attracted 10,118 fans and, if anything, the AFL wants a bigger crowd capacity next year.

The AFL said about 2000 to 3000 local fans attended – it looked more like around a thousand – but they were enthusiastic and lapped up the game.

“Someone was yelling ‘go Richie, go Richie’ and then someone turned around and said ‘no, it’s Ah Chee’,” McLachlan said, referring to the Port player.

And in the end, the number of locals in the crowd is not the big test for the AFL – it’s what their government thinks of the concept.