• Jeff McCloy says he still has ‘unfinished business’ on Newcastle City Council


    WOULD HE RUN AGAIN: Former lord mayor Jeff McCloy says that he’s asked if he’d run for mayor ‘almost every day’, and while it might be unlikely, he hasn’t ruled out a return. Picture: Cole BennettsWOULD Jeff McCloy ever return to local politics?
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    Well, the answer’s complicated.

    Mr McCloy, the larger-than-life personality who dramatically won, and then lost, the city’s lord mayoralty between 2012 and 2014, has remained a highly visible figure in Newcastle’s political scene since he resigned in the heat ofthe Independent Commission Against Corruption’s inquiry into political donations made before the 2011 state election.

    From interventions about the controversial light rail route, to challenging the ICAC in the High Court of , Mr McCloy has lost none of his famously forthright nature.

    But since the conclusion of ICAC’sOperation Spicer investigation, which found Mr McCloy“acted with the intention”of evading laws about thedisclosure of political donations and the ban on donations from property developers, the question being asked in some circles is:would he ever run again?

    The man himselfsays that he’s onlyan outside chance of putting his hand up in September,but don’t rule him outcompletely.

    “Look when I walk down the street in Newcastle or I’m in the company of certain people, or really just anywhere in the community I almost get asked every day,” Mr McCloy told theNewcastle Herald.

    “It’s difficult. I don’t think so, but it’s still this thought that crosses my mind every now and again because there is just so much unfinished business.

    “I’ll leave it there, for now, I think.”

    Watch this space, then.

    If he was ever tempted back onto the public stage though, the well-resourced independent who managed to match the Labor machine at the 2012 electionwould pose a formidable challenge to the established parties.

    The Liberal Party is still undecided about who their candidate might be, and the city’s current Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes, has weathered a tough few months of negative publicity over her council expenses.

    Mr McCloy declined to offer a commentary on the council’s direction since his resignation –saying he would “keep those thoughts private” –but did offer what appeared to be aveiled swipe at Cr Nelmes, saying that he “ran into staff from time to time” but that it was “best not to repeat things”.

    Mr McCloy resigned in 2014 after he admitted to giving donations to three Liberal Party candidates who became MPs in the lead up to the 2012 election, famously telling the inquiry that at times he felt “like a walking ATM”.

    Mr McCloy has previouslytried to overturn the ban on developers donating to politicians in the High Court, and unsuccessfully challenged the ICAC’s conduct in the Supreme Court.

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  • OpinionThe Post Office: our crumbling monument to inertia


    OUTDOOR PERCH: Even the pigeons are fed up with the city’s ‘imploding urinal’.G’DAY whingers.
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    It’s early May and the cold winds of change are blowing through the future jewel-in-the-Asia-Pacific. Gav the NBN weatherman said last Wednesday that it is time to pull out the door sausage and cover up the cracks. I typed “door sausage” straight into the Google machine. I now await the imminent arrival ofA Current Affair and the NSW police.

    I wish the cold winds of change would blow on the Newcastle Post Office. The government’s parliamentary secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald has provided a $150 000 heritage grant that will go towards “stabilising” the building. Will the gift from NSW taxpayers be repaid if and when its owners – the Awabakal Land Council – manage to flog it off? This whole caper looks more and more like torturous demolition by neglect. A landmark building is now little more than a gaping sore – an imploding urinal that stands as a crumbling monument to inertia, very bad decisions and ongoing buck passing.

    The ALC was put into administration last October after investigations into its governance and financial administration revealed significant problems. ALC boss at the time Richard Green was talking up big overseas investors backing post office redevelopment. Sounded promising. Nothing eventuated.

    Information about the type and scope of allegations against anyone in the ALC have not been revealed nor discussed openly by the government, the opposition or the ALC. It’s certain there was plenty of internal bickering – but that’s par for the course for many organisations – from footy clubs to the UN.Attempts to get a copy of the investigator’s report – under NSW Freedom of Information laws – to then Minister Leslie Williams that resulted in the appointment of an administrator to run the ALC have been refused. Attempts to get a copy of the ALC’s response to the allegations were also refused. The NSW agency responsible, the Department of Education, argued that it is not in the public interest for either report to be made public. An appeal to the Information Commissioner against the agency’s decision to not release the documents resulted in the Commissioner making “no recommendation”.

    One of the reasons given for the refusal to release the reports is that matters relating to alleged fraud, corruption, mismanagement or misappropriation at the ALC may be potentially investigated by the NSW police, ICAC and/or the NSW Ombudsman. Release of the documents could have a prejudicial effect on investigation. Fair enough, but once a decision is made to either charge or not charge persons, that reason for not releasing the documents will dissipate. Prudent document redaction can sort out defamation potentialities if no charges are laid. Remove the door sausage.

    There is no obligation for the ALC to answer inquiries from the media and they have long chosen to engage with the media on their own terms. Media calls and inquiries go unanswered and unreturned. That is their right. Equally, there is no obligation for the media to act as an ALC cheer squad and cover their “announcements” that are self-congratulatory or promise pie-in-the-sky schemes.But given the future of the city’s most iconic building lies chiefly with the ALC, surely the people of Newcastle have some right to know if, when and what sort of shenanigans may have been going on in that organisation.

    Should we hold our collective breath or back the post office’s bulldozing? It’s been 15 bloody years and there’s no end in sight.

    Cold winds indeed.

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  • Robert Dillon: Sporting Declaration


    UNCERTAINTY: Newcastle Knights skipper Trent Hodkinson is set to play in reserve grade this weekend after being dropped by coach Nathan Brown. Picture: Getty Images AFTER Newcastle’s round-one loss to the Titans on the Gold Coast last season, Sporting Declaration stopped at Jupiters Casino for a beer and a bite to eat.
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    Pretty much the first person I bumped into was Tyrone Roberts, who was out with his new scrumbase partner, Ashley Taylor.

    I’m not sure if they were having a gamblebut what can be said without doubt, with the benefit of hindsight, is the Titans have backed a winner, albeit by default.

    Roberts and Taylor might never have paired up at the Gold Coast, other than for exceptional circumstances.

    In 2015, Gold Coast thought they had signed Daly Cherry-Evans, only for the former Test half to renege on the deal at the 11thhour to re-sign with Manly.

    In the meantime, the Titans lost five-eighth Aidan Sezer, who agreed to join Canberra.

    That left Gold Coast with one half for 2016, rookie Kane Elgey, and as the season progressed, alternative options were few and far between.

    In August they took a punt on 20-year-old Taylor, who was yet to play an NRL game for Brisbane. A week or so later they signed Roberts, whose two-year-deal was partially subsidised by a $200,000 payout from Newcastle.

    The reason Roberts was available was because, even though he had a year to run on his contract, the Knights had recruited Canterbury and NSW Origin halfback Trent Hodkinson to replace him.

    At the time, signing Hodkinson appeared a wise strategic move. But less than halfway into his three-season deal, the club captain is facing an uncertain future after being dumped to reserve grade by coach Nathan Brown.

    Rewind two years and the Knights could surely never have imagined such a scenario unfolding.

    Hodkinson was considered the best halfback in the state and a player capable of alleviating the pressure building onKnights coach Rick Stone.

    Stone’s halves that season were to be Roberts and Jarrod Mullen, but the latter broke a bone in his foot in round 10 and did not play again that season.

    In his absence, Roberts struggled with the responsibility of taking over as primary playmaker. As the losses mounted, Newcastle reached the conclusion that they needed a more consistent andreliable No.7.

    The two on the market were James Maloney and Hodkinson. Maloney eventually switched from the Roosters to Cronulla, helping them win a premiership in his first season.

    Hodkinson joined the Knights, collecting a wooden spoon straight up.

    The planthat he would form a complementary partnership with Mullen remains sadly unfulfilled.

    In theory theyappeared ideally matched.

    Hodkinson is a right-foot kicker, Mullen left-footed. Hodkinson is an organiser, Mullen’s strength was his running game.

    The Knights were happy to invest more than $3 million in the pair over three years, believing they would provide the stability and organisation around which they could build a successful team.

    If only.

    As it panned out, Hodkinson and Mullenplayed only 14 games together, for one win.

    Stone did not even get to coach his star recruit. He was sacked before Hodkinson hadarrived.

    After an injury-plagued 2016, Mullen tested positive to a banned steroid and is now awaiting a suspension that is expected to end his career.

    And whether Hodkinson appears again in Newcastle’s top team is a matter of conjecture.

    The master plan Newcastle officials hatched two years ago has unravalled spectacularly. Yet to suggest that they should have shown more foresight seems, to me, a tad harsh.

    On reflection, it always seemed strange that Canterbury –a club famed for its solidarity –had not foughtharder to retain their NSW Origin halfback.

    Yet the notion that he arrived in Newcastle with a bung knee, which has since worsened, is not evidenced by his career record.

    In the three seasons before he joined the Knights, Hodkinson played in 20, 25 and 19 games for the Bulldogs –the latter cut short by a dislocated wrist –and six Origins.

    Before he was dropped last week, he had played in 30 of a possible 31 games for Newcastle –more than any of his teammates.

    That does not suggest a player who is a lame duck.

    Moreover, if his on-field performances have come under scrutiny, perhaps it could be noted that in the six seasons before he joined Newcastle, only once did Hodkinson’s teams not make the finals.

    It’s a far tougher proposition playing for –statistically at least –the worst team ofthe NRL era.

    All of which must remind Roberts that being off-loaded by Newcastle was the luckiest break of his career.

    He hasplayed in 29 of the Titans’33games since the start of last season, including the qualifying-final loss to Brisbane.

    This season he’s shown his versatility by playing in the halves, off the bench, hooker and fullback.

    The 25-year-old is heading into the best years of his career, and the Titans are reportedly keen to re-sign him.

    If he had his time over, I doubt he would change a thing. Somehow it’s hard to imagine the Knights expressing similar sentiments.

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  • Police investigate after missile thrown at players during Wests Tigers match


    Not happy: Tigers fans showed their disapproval of departing stars Mitchell Moses and James Tedesco. Photo: NRL ImageryThe Wests Tigers and police are investigating an incident after Saturday night’s match between the Tigers and Sharks at Leichhardt Oval in which a projectile was launched in the direction of the players.
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    Fairfax Media understands the projectile was believed to be aimed at departing Tigers five-eighth Mitchell Moses, which prompted an angry response from Sharks prop Andrew Fifita.

    The Cronulla Sharks have continued their undefeated away run this season with a 22-16 win over the Wests Tigers, though there was early controversy over a disallowed try.

    Vision of a riled-up Fifita was shown on the broadcast on Saturday night, later admitting in an interview with 2GB that he was defending Moses.

    Moses has been heavily criticised by his own supporters after opting to sign with Parramatta next season.

    He has also asked for several releases from his contract to link with the Eels this season, however the club won’t let him leave until they find a replacement.

    Moses has been one of the Tigers’ best players since announcing his defection three weeks ago, however he was unable to recapture that form in the 22-16 loss to the premiers on Saturday night.

    The Tigers and the police are looking through the footage and will continue to investigate.

    The incident happenedon a night the Tigers fans refused to hide their displeasure over the decision of Moses, Aaron Woods and James Tedesco to leave the club.

    Despite the club sending an email to members pleading with them to respect their skipper, Woods was once again booed by his home supporters.

    There were a number of banners erected taking aim at the players, with Woods called a “dog” and Tedesco a “cock” in reference to his expected defection to the Roosters next season.

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  • Quad bike free training expanded by Innovation Minister Matt Kean in Whittingham announcement.


    WELL-LOVED: Popular Blandford farmer John Begg, 60, was killed in a suspected quad bike accident in March.
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    THE STATE government will expand a multi-million dollar education program in a bid to stem the tide of quad bike tragedies on Hunterfarms.

    There have been five quad bike deaths in NSW thisyear. The toll has included two young children and 60-year-old John Begg, a popularfarmer from Blandford in the Upper Hunter.

    Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Matt Kean was in Whittingham on Sunday to announce free quad bike training and helmets would be offered to all farmers in regionalNSW.

    “This means farmers are saving an extra $230 on top of the existing rebates,” he said.

    “We want to do everything we can to make sure no one else is seriously injured or killed.”

    The program is being offeredin response to the findings of a 2015coronial inquiry.Labor has called for an urgent bipartisan summit into quad bike safety, but Mr Kean questioned the value of such a measure.

    “Labor wants to talk but we’re going to act,” hesaid.

    TACKING ACTION: Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen, farmer Max Wake and Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Matt Kean at Whittingham on Sunday. A free quad bike education program was announced.

    Under the education program previously, farmers would pay up to $510 to attend anapproved training course and would receive a rebate of $310.

    They can now undertake the training for free, and if they attend an approved program will receive a free helmet worth around $120.

    Since the launch of the $2 million education program last year, more than 200 farmers have attended training days at Tocal College.

    There have been 113 deaths from quad bike accidents nationally since 2011, with 32 incidents in NSW.

    “Each fatality was someone’s loved one, and has a devastating impact on families and communities,” Mr Kean said.

    “We know time is money to farmers and it’s not easy for them to give up a day’s work to undergo quad bike training.

    “We can’t put more hours in the day but we can make the training free, and encourage farmers to use helmets.”

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  • Chinan sheep shearer Beau St George killed in French car crash


    Beau St George, his fiance Hermini Gourd and their daughter Joan. Picture: Facebook
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    A former Illawara man killed in a head-on crash inFrance is being remembered by as an honest, hard-working guy who would do anything for anyone.

    Beau St George, 33, died at the scene when his car smashed into anotheron a dangerous stretch of road between Valensole and Manosque in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.

    Mr St Georgewas in the country to marry his French girlfriend Herminie Gouard.

    His mother Liz St George posted on Facebook, saying: “We’re all devastated with the loss of our beautiful son Beau in a car accident in France yesterday. Just a few short weeks before his wedding to the love of his life”.

    She posted a photo of Mr St Georgewith fiancee Herminie Gouard and their young daughter Joan.

    Friend Kevin Manderson met Mr St George when he was working in the Illawarra for several years and played league for the University of Wollongong.

    It’s believed he based himself in the region in between stints working remotely as a sheep shearer.

    “If he had two shoes and one shoelace and you needed it, he’d be working barefoot. That’s just the kind of guy he was,” Mr Manderson said.

    “Whenever we needed help, or needed to move, there was no question you’d shoot him a text and he was there.

    “[Herminie]and Beau arejust two genuinely honest, awesome people.”

    Owner of Full Circle MMA Russell Thompson who trained Mr St George for some time said he was a loving, genuine guy with “old school values”.

    While friend and former Dragons star James Storer posted on Facebook, descibing hims as “one of the best guys you would ever meet, with a young family, love you brother”.

    The accident happened around 6am Thursday (French time). Another manwas also injured and taken to hospital for treatment.

    The story,n sheep shearer Beau St George killed in French car crash, first appeared on the Illawarra Mercury.

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  • Knights rest after seventh straight defeat


    FROM BACK PAGEThe rest of the Knights squad will now havea weekend off, depending uponfurther representativeannouncements expected on Monday for city andcountry origin squads as well as other nations such as Fiji.
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    Speaking after the most recentloss Knights coach Nathan Brown said the byehad arrived at an ideal time for Newcastle, who have recorded just one win in 2017,and gavethe group a chance to freshen up before hosting Canberra at McDonald Jones Stadium on May 14.

    “It’s good for us andgives guys time off to recover,” he said.

    “We’ll train parts of the week, have the weekend off to freshen up and then come backinto the Canberra game at home on a Sunday afternoon.

    “As we showed today in the first half we are more than capable, we just need to do things a little bit better andfor a little bit longer.”

    The Knights led 8-0 after the opening 20 minutes and were up by two at the break, but were kept scoreless in the second half as the Titans ran in 32 unanswered points in front of 10,511 spectators.

    Brown said much of that momentum swing came down to weight of possession and comical errors–with the Knights holding just 37 per cent of the ball, making 109 more tackles and having 15 less completed sets of six.

    “What the guys will get to see [on the video] will be some mistakes they made in the secondhalf that were quite comical,” Brown said.

    “One or two of the tries they see, guys will thinkif Ijust did myjob here, which isn’t a lot what they needed to do but very basic, what effect it would’ve had on the score board.

    “They’llalso see in the first half, doing exactly the same thingvery well, what effect that has on the team and the scoreboard.

    “And that’s the challenge for us, is being able to do things wellfor long periods, and generally, which is only commonsense, the longer wedo it for the closer we’re in contests.

    “But when we have those weights of possession against us inboth first half second half, we’re not in position at the moment to compete.”

    Utility forward Josh King enjoyed his first start in the top grade this season whilehalfback Jaelen Feeney was cleared of a major rib injury.

    TOUGH DAY OUT: The Newcastle Knights gather themselves after conceding one of seven tries against the Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Picture: Getty Images

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  • Newcastle Rugby League: Central beat Lakes 34-18 at St John Ovalphotos


    Murray steers Central home against old club EFFORT: Central’s Jace Delaney looks to get the ball away against Lakes at St John Oval on Sunday. The Butcher Boys defeated the Seagulls 34-18. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
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    TweetFacebook Newcastle RL: Central v Lakes at St John Oval on April 30Pictures by Jonathan CarrollBrad Murray steered Central Newcastle to a 34-18victory on Sunday in his first match againstformer club Lakesatnew home ground St John Oval.

    The Butcher Boys halfback scored a try, kicked fivegoals and helped control the play in delivering asolid second-round triumphoverhis one-timeteammates.

    It was only two seasons agothat Murray was holding aloft the Newcastle Rugby League premiership trophy with the Seagulls, afterpreviouslystriking success with Western Suburbs, but 2017 has him chasing that winning feeling once again wearing fresh colours.

    “I was a bit nervous actually,” the former NRL playmaker said.

    “I had two good yearsthere [at Lakes] andreally enjoyed myself, so I didn’t want to make it about me and the club, I just wanted to come back and play footy and hopefully Idid that [for Central today].

    “I was lucky enough to win a premiership there [at Lakes] in 2015 and the same thing happened at Wests, but you’ve just got to move on. We’re still mates, when you win apremiership withpeople you never forget that.

    “Obviously weknew they [Lakes] were going to be tough after beating Macquarie last week, but they’re a young side and when they get Chris Adams back they will be much better.I think theywillbe there at the back end of the year.”

    Lakes were missing skipper Chris Adams, who was a late withdrawal with a wrist injury, and lost lock Casey Burgess to a send off for backchat in the closing stages.

    But coach Dean Noonan was offering no excuses for the visiting Seagulls.

    “It was pretty straight forward from where we stood,” Noonan said.

    “We were up against a team with far more intent and purpose then what we had. We just spoke about that then [in the dressing sheds] and in this competition, more than ever this year, if you’re not going to turn up with the right intent and purpose in what you’re doing you’re not going to get the job done. That’s what happened today.”

    Central shotto an early 10-0 lead, in front of a healthy home crowd, viaa double to captain Ethan Cook.

    Lakes struck back courtesy of fullback Jamie Ghoulmieh and centre Lee McClintock, reducing the margin to two.

    A line break made by Central fullback Jake Maizen on halfway proved a turning point and the hosts went into the break leading 16-8.

    Tries were traded after half-time –Central’s winger Cameron Anderson followed by a second to McClintock – makingit 22-14.

    Around the hour mark Murray nabbed eight straight individual points, converting his own try and knocking over a penalty, before Maizen crossed for his brace and ensured unbeaten Central remainin a share of the competition lead.

    Lakes winger Kyle Kennedy scored a consolation try on full-time.

    LADDER: Wests,Central 4, Maitland, Souths, Lakes, Macquarie2, Kurri, Cessnock 0.

    PREVIOUS: Newcastle Rugby League wrap from Saturday

    MILESTONE: Kurri prop Mick Campton joins 300 club

    VIDEO: Fallout from opening round melee

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  • Kris Lees weighs up next assignment for Felines after Hawkesbury Rush win


    Newcastle trainer Kris Lees is likely to have a strong hand in the listed Ortensia Stakes (1100 metres) at the Scone carnival on May 13, even if he takes Felines on a different path.
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    RAPID: Felines and jockey Hugh Bowman lead the field across the line in the Hawkesbury Rush on Saturday. Picture: bradleyphotos苏州夜总会招聘.au

    Fifth in the group 1 The Galaxy, Felines resumed from a six-week let-up to win the $125,000 Hawkesbury Rush (1100m) on Saturday as the $4.20 favourite carrying 57 kilograms.

    The five-year-old mare, with Hugh Bowman aboard, hit the lead with about 200m to go and held on for a half-length win to provide the only highlight for the Hunter at the stand-alone meeting.

    Lees said the Ortensia Stakes was an option for Felines, which is owned by well-known businessman Gerry Harvey,but left the door open to later sprints in Brisbane or Sydney.

    He said the listed Lightning Handicap(1000m) atEagle Farm on June 3 was a possible next targetfor Felines, which would be nominated for the Ortensia Stakes.

    “She pulled up well,” Lees said on Sunday.

    “It was a good effort, she carried a good weight and beat a good field.She’s a consistent mare.”

    As for her next assignment, Lees said: “Maybe Scone, or I might keep her for some nice races in Brisbane and also over the winter in Sydney, so we might just keep her runs spaced. We will just decide later.”

    While undecided about Felines, Lees saidDal Cielo would be headed to the Ortensia Stakes. Dal Cielo, a two-time winner over 1000m in Sydney this year, was a last-start second in the group 3 Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on March 25.The four-year-old gelding will trial at Wyong on Monday and Lees said “he’ll run well fresh” at Scone.

    Lees said Brook Road, eighth in the Hawkesbury Rush, was a potentialOrtensia Stakes starter but would more likely head to Brisbane a week later. Histhird runner in the Hawkesbury Rush, Clearly Innocent, was ninth but impressive at the finish on debut for the stable ahead of his Scone campaign.

    The 2016 Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) champion for now-retired Scone trainer Greg Bennett will return to defend his title.Lees said Clearly Innocent would bebetter for the day out and “really hard to beat”on his Hawkesbury effort, which was his first race since last in the Chatham Stakes at Flemington on November 3.

    Lees and Scone trainer Rodney Northam were winners at the Tamworth Cup meeting on Sunday.

    Northam and Cessnock jockey Robert Thompson won a maiden with Dreamnomore but were fourth in the Cup, won by Timeless Prince,with After All That. Lees and Newcastle jockey Andrew Gibbons claimed the last, a class 2, with Sadhika.

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  • Port Adelaide proves far too strong for Brisbane Lions


    Port Adelaide powers to win | Photos Robbie Gray of the Power celebrates with fans after the win at The Gabba on Saturday. Photo by Jason O’Brien/AFL Media/Getty Images
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    Oliie Wines of the Power celebrates with fans after his side’s win at The Gabba. Photo by Jason O’Brien/AFL Media/Getty Images

    Port Adelaide celebrate victory after the round six AFL match. Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

    Port Adelaide players sing the team song to celebrate their win at The Gabba. Photo by Jason O’Brien/AFL Media/Getty Images

    Nick Robertson of the Lions competes for ball possession. Photo by Jason O’Brien/AFL Media/Getty Images

    Daniel Rich of the Lions is tackled by Jackson Trengove. Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

    Jasper Pittard of the Power kicks the ball at The Gabba on Saturday afternoon. Photo by Jason O’Brien/AFL Media/Getty Images

    Ollie Wines of the Power gets a handpass away against the Brisbane Lions. Photo by Jason O’Brien/AFL Media/Getty Images

    Jackson Trengrove of the Power celebrates a goal at The Gabba on Saturday afternoon. Photo by Jason O’Brien/AFL Media/Getty Images

    Jarman Impey of the Power celebrates kicking a goal. Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

    Paddy Ryder of the Power celebrates victory with fans at The Gabba. Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

    Jack Hombsch of the Power attempts to break away from the defence. Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

    Dayne Zorko of the Lions is pressured by the defence. Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

    Charlie Dixon of the Power gets a handball away at The Gabba. Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

    Lions players look dejected after their the round six loss to the Port Adelaide Power at The Gabba. Photo by Jason O’Brien/AFL Media/Getty Images

    TweetFacebookFull time at the Gabba. #AFLLionsPowerpic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/PLZtfdlhnW

    — Port Adelaide FC (@PAFC) April 29, 2017A clever intercept by Chad Wingard gives Robbie Gray an easy goal. #AFLLionsPowerpic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/Z4uAzOKcnQ

    — AFL (@AFL) April 29, 2017

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  • Hunters lose without Suzy


    Dane Suttle led Newcastle’s scoring in a loss to Central Coast.IT was a tough night at the office for the Newcastle Hunters at Broadmeadow on Saturday.
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    Playing without triple Olympian Suzy Batkovic (back), the Waratah Basketball League women’s champions were thumped 90-52 by the star-studded Manly Warringah Sea Eagles.

    The Hunters men then suffered a third straight loss, going down 87-68 to Central Coast Crusaders after trailing 40-36 at half-time, to slump to a 2-7 win-loss record.

    Captain Alison Ebzery posted a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double for Newcastle, who slipped to sixth with a 2-4 record, and playmaker Cherub Lum scored a team-high 15 points.

    Manly were led by former Opals forward Belinda Snell (24 points, seven rebounds, seven assists) and Waratah League leading scorer Erin Todd (24 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, six steals).

    “It’s pretty simple: You’ve got to put the ball in the hole. Manly shot 41 per cent and we shot 26 per cent, so we need to become more aggressive defensively,” coach Mark Gledson said.

    “Rebounding was another issue. It’s an effort area and we were very poor as Manly out-rebounded us 54-38.”

    Like the Hunters women, the men had just eight players to rotate because of injuries and other commitments, leaving coach Darren Nichols with few options once the Crusaders took control.

    Central Coast won the battle of the boards 56-40 and shot 51 per cent from the floor to Newcastle’s 31.

    “We were out-rebounded again and shot a poor team shooting percentage again,” Nichols said.

    “If we don’t allow ourselves to compete on an even playing field, we will struggle to win. At least these are areas we can work on at training.”

    Newcastle import Dane Suttle led all scorers with 23 points and 11 rebounds, and he was supported on the scoresheet by Nathan Ruprecht (14), Jacob Foy (12) and Laurence York (10).

    Mitch Rueter (20 points, seven rebounds), Matthew Bateup (15 points, eight rebounds), James Trustum (15 points, four rebounds) and Callum Jenkins (14 points, 12 rebounds) did most of the damage for the Crusaders.

    The Hunters men and women will play Norths Bears at Broadmeadow next Saturday.

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  • ‘Give me proof of panther’: Cynic offers $5k for big cat’s capture


    Bede Crasnich isn’t buying the black panther legend. But he’ll pay $5k for anyone who can show him an Illawarra-caught big cat in the flesh.Wollongong councilor Bede Crasnich doesn’t want to be a big cat cynic.
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    The stories of a panther, or panthers, roaming the Illawarra escarpment captured his imagination years ago.

    He’s read all the newspaper articles on the topic.

    Bede CrasnichHere, Kitty: The paw print was the only undisturbed one of its kind in the area. It is shown against an 8cm Bic lighter. Picture: John Geragotellis

    Dog spoors (front and hind) produce a perfect ‘x’ when lines are drawn between the toes and the planter pad, Mr King suggests.

    … the same rule does not apply to these tracks, produced by a female leopard. Source: Vaughan King

    Mr King believes consistent reports of a large black cat roaming the Illawarra escarpment relate to multiple melanistic (black) Asiatic leopards (pictured). Supplied.

    Vaughan King. Source: Facebook

    Vaughan King works with a Sumatran tiger, Juma, at Zoo. Picture: supplied

    Vaughan King works with a Sumatran tiger, Juma, at Zoo. Picture: supplied

    Sumatran tiger spoor.

    TweetFacebook“There are some pictures you’ll see online which look convincing, but physical proof?” Cr Crasnich said.

    “If you want proof kangaroos exist, you find their bodies. If you want proof deer exist, you find their bodies.

    “Why is is, after 80 years of big cat sightings, we have not found a single bit of physical evidence?”

    Read more:You know you’refrom Wollongong when …

    What Cr Crasnich will buy, is proof.

    He’s offered to pay $5000 to anyone who can show him an Illawarra-caught panther.

    The big cat must be captured alive, and must be unharmed, he stresses.

    And he’ll only cough up the cash for a proper panther.

    The panther photo at the top is a fake but Wollongong City Councillor Bede Crasnich is putting up a reward for the real thing.

    ​“It has to be a jungle cat. It has to have cougar, panther or any sort of exotic at in its genome,” he said.

    “If it’s just a big feral cat that’s gone through a bit of living I’m not interested.

    “I want tests done before I’ll part with cash.”

    A photograph of an eight-centimetre paw print is the latest ‘sighting’ to rouse the big cat legend, in turn setting off a wave of reported sightings.

    An Appin man,John Geragotellis, noticed the print off Austinmer’s Buttonshaw Drive on Easter Monday.

    His photograph piqued the interest of former Zoo big cat handler Vaughan King, founder of the recently formedn Big Cat Research group.

    Mr King visited the Illawarra last month to search for further signs of the print’s creator. He found nothing, but has vowed to return the the sighting “hotspot” with his own cameras.

    He will have to produce very convincing images to sway the disenchanted Cr Crasnich.

    “What I think it is, is really large, feral cats, that from a distance look like jungle cats,” he said.

    “You want [the legend]to be real, more than it is.”

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  • Saints prove too strong for Hawthorn Hawks at University of Tasmania Stadium


    St Kilda secures big victory | Photos Jade Gresham of the Saints takes a photo with a fan after the Saints defeated the Hawks at University of Tasmania Stadium. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images
    SuZhou Night Recruitment

    The Saints celebrate after they defeated the Hawks at University of Tasmania Stadium. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

    Nick Riewoldt of the Saints is challenged by James Frawley of the Hawks at University of Tasmania Stadium. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

    Leigh Montagna of the Saints takes the ball in front of Paul Puopolo of the Hawks during the round six AFL match. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

    Ben McEvoy of the Hawks is challenged by Nathan Brown of the Saints. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

    Josh Gibson of the Hawks reaches for the ball during the round six AFL match against St Kilda Saints. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

    Will Langford of the Hawks is challenged by Jack Steele of the Saints. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

    Nick Riewoldt of the Saints controls the ball. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

    Blake Hardwick of the Hawks controls the ball during the round six AFL match. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

    Tim Membrey of the Saints marks the ball during the round six AFL match. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

    Koby Stevens of the Saints controls the ball during the round six AFL match. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

    Jack Billings of the Saints kicks the ball during the round six AFL match. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

    Jarryd Roughead of the Hawks runs with the ball at University of Tasmania Stadium. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

    James Frawley of the Hawks handballs during the round six AFL match at University of Tasmania Stadium. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

    Jarryd Roughead of the Hawks leads his players off the ground after they were defeated by the Saints on Saturday afternoon. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

    TweetFacebookUnbelievable feeling #GoSainters😇 #AFLHawksSaintspic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/x6LVEtm3b3

    — St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) April 29, 2017Jack Steven has been awarded the Blue Ribbon Cup medal #AFLHawksSaintspic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/TSuetYdtrv

    — St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) April 29, 2017

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