ESSENDON COACH JAMES HIRD HAS BEEN GIVEN EXTRA TIME TO RESPOND TO AFL CHARGES AGAINST HIM. THE AFL COMMISSION WAS SCHEDULED TO HEAR CHARGES AGAINST HIRD, CLUB DOCTOR BRUCE REID, FOOTBALL MANAGER DANNY CORCORAN AND ASSISTANT COACH MARK THOMPSON NEXT MONDAY. BUT THE AFL WEBSITE SAYS THE LEAGUE HAS NOW TOLD HIRD'S LAWYERS THE CHARGES DO NOT HAVE TO BE HEARD IN FULL ON THAT DATE. HIRD'S LAWYERS HAVE DEMANDED THERE BE AN INDEPENDENT OPEN HEARING AND HAVE INDICATED THEY COULD TAKE THE MATTER TO COURT.

IN THE NRL, ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA CENTRE MATT COOPER HAS ANNOUNCED HE WILL RETIRE, BRINGING AN END TO A CAREER SPANNING 13 SEASONS. COOPER PLAYED 243 GAMES FOR THE DRAGONS, THE THIRD MOST FOR THE CLUB BEHIND BEN HORNBY AND NORM PROVAN. COOPER ALSO REPRESENTED NEW SOUTH WALES IN STATE OF ORIGIN 13 TIMES, AND AUSTRALIA SEVEN TIMES. THE 34 YEAR OLD WON'T PLAY AGAIN, AFTER TEARING A PECTORAL MUSCLE LAST MONTH.

THE NEW AUSTRALIAN NETBALL CAPTAIN LAURA GEITZ SAYS SHE'S LOOKING FORWARD TO TESTING HER LEADERSHIP SKILLS IN THE UPCOMING SERIES AGAINST NEW ZEALAND.

THE QUEENSLAND FIREBIRD WAS NAMED AS THE NEW NATIONAL SKIPPER TODAY.

MANCHESTER CITY'S EPL CAMPAIGN STARTED WITH A WIN THIS MORNING OVER NEWCASTLE LAST SEASON'S RUNNERS-UP TOOK JUST SIX MINUTES TO OPEN THE SCORING AND HAD SEVERAL CHANCES BUT IT ENDED 4-0 TO THE HOME SIDE THANKS TO GOALS TO SILVA, AGUERO, TOURE AND NASRI. CITY SPENT AROUND $140 MILLION ON ATTACKING TALENT FOR NEW MANAGER MANUEL PELLEGRINI IN THE OFF-SEASON.