Dec
12
  • Jeff McCloy says he still has ‘unfinished business’ on Newcastle City Council

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    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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Dec
12
  • OpinionThe Post Office: our crumbling monument to inertia

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    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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Dec
12
  • Robert Dillon: Sporting Declaration

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    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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May
13
  • One Nation under fresh scrutiny over possible electoral breaches

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    Pauline Hanson poses in front of the One Nation plane during her “Fed Up” tour. Photo: Onenation苏州夜总会招聘.auLabor has referred Pauline Hanson’s One Nation to Queensland authorities amid claims the party has breached electoral rules.
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    ALP senator Murray Watt has asked the Queensland Electoral Commission to investigate a report that One Nation secretly switched legal structures last year and now risks being deregistered as a party.

    The report inThe Saturday Paperclaimed One Nation’s operating structure was changed in November last year from that of an unincorporated association to an incorporated association. The report said the change was made to shift legal liability away from senior party officers.

    The report goes on to allege Senator Hanson, the party’s registered officer, failed to notify the QEC or One Nation members as required under electoral laws. It also says that under this new structure the party’s constitution does not comply with the requirements of a registered political party.

    Labor senator Murray Watt has referred One Nation to the Queensland Electoral Commission. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

    Senator Watt says the episode was consistent with One Nation’s bid to centralise power to a small number of party officers in Queensland.

    In a letter to Queensland Electoral Commissioner Walter van der Merwe, Senator Watt says if the allegations are true they may amount to grounds for the cancellation of the party’s registration in Queensland.

    “If these series of allegations are correct they suggest a pattern of behaviour by Senator Hanson and PHON’s senior officials and a belief that they do not need to comply with n laws, in a manner expected of all other political parties,” Senator Watt said in his letter.

    “I ask you to investigate these serious allegations concerning PHON’s registration, and take any required action to ensure compliance with the Electoral Act.”

    A spokesman for Ms Hanson said: “At this time the party is making no comment.”

    This is the third matter recently referred to authorities.

    It has been previously alleged that the party has been collecting GST without proper n Tax Office approval. There are also claims the party failed to properly declare the donation of a light plane used by Ms Hanson.

    In an episode of the ABC’sFour Cornerslast month former One Nation treasurer Ian Nelson claimed he urged Senator Hanson and her high-profile chief of staff James Ashby to disclose the donation but was overruled.

    Mr Nelson, who has since fallen out with Senator Hanson, alleged Melbourne property developer Bill McNee transferred funds to buy the plane to Mr Ashby and that it was insured in his name. Ms Hanson used the Jabiru plane – decorated with party logos – to campaign for last year’s election.

    However Mr Ashby says his company bought the plane and he was happy for the AEC to investigate the matter.

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May
13
  • Illegal brothel complaints spike after NSW government blocks sex industry reform

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    Complaints about the spread of illegal brothels have jumped by more than a third in Sydney since recommendations to improve industry regulations were blocked by the NSW government last year.
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    Fairfax Media can reveal that since a proposed licensing system and specialist police unit were rejected in May 2016, the City of Sydney has witnessed a 37 per cent increase in reports from disgruntled businesses and members of the public, triggering 80 separate investigations that can take up to two years to complete. One of those involves an alleged illegal sex establishment located less than 100 metres from St Andrew’s Cathedral School in Sydney’s CBD.

    The head of the NSW Police Sex Crimes Squad recently warned a NSW Parliamentary inquiry into human trafficking that exploited overseas workers were slipping through the cracks because there was now no way to identify – or stop – underground brothels.

    “The industry should be regulated and if someone wants to operate as a prostitute they should be licensed,” Detective Superintendent Linda Howlett told the hearing.

    When asked if she thought it would “limit human trafficking of young women into “, she replied: “I do, because … in order to get a licence you know they have had to provide their passport, all their details.”

    Former premier Mike Baird established a brothel inquiry in 2015 after an extensive Fairfax Media investigation showed that councils had become powerless to prevent illegal parlours opening anywhere, including alongside schools, learning centres and within residential buildings.

    Hundreds of those businesses were found masquerading as remedial massage centres – with some even offering medicare rebates on sexual services. But when councils, such as Hornsby, invested more than $60,000 trying to individually close them through the courts – they failed on legal technicalities. In the words of Local Government NSW president Keith Rhoades: “We have the ridiculous state of affairs in which councils are forced to waste ratepayers’ money hiring private investigators to go undercover and actually buy sex from prostitutes to obtain the necessary proof to launch a prosecution.”

    Among those to give evidence at the inquiry was former deputy police commissioner Nick Kaldas, who spoke of Asian sex workers on student and tourist visas being drawn into a life of virtual slavery. The committee recommended a new standalone police unit to work alongside councils, with greater powers to enter premises and monitor illegal activity. However, the Baird government declined to rubber stamp those changes, arguing it would recriminalise prostitution and put the health of sex workers at risk.

    The decision sparked celebrations among sex industry groups who had pointed out that police had previously been stripped of such powers and the industry decriminalised, in the mid-’90s, because of widespread corruption.

    But a year on, statistics demonstrate that councils such as the City of Sydney are having to dedicate even more resources trying to curb the spread of illegal operators. Superintendent Howlett placed the issue firmly back on the agenda by advising the current human trafficking committee that, until the industry was licensed, Asian sex workers would continue to suffer, off the grid, in underground parlours.

    Last month she told the hearing about victims who had journeyed to knowing they were to work as prostitutes and pay off a certain amount of money. However, on arrival, the conditions changed, their debts tripled and their passports were taken.

    “The hurdle for us is that the ladies who come here will all be on student visas. The industry is not regulated in any way, shape or form. We do not have the powers to go in and check.”

    Superintendent Howlett acknowledged there remains “a lot of angst” surrounding the introduction of greater police powers over the sex industry. “I realise what happened in the past. I do not necessarily agree it would happen in the future,” she said of the brothel-related police corruption uncovered at the Wood Royal Commission two decades ago.

    “It is not a criminal offence to be a prostitute in NSW. A lot of girls [sex workers] who are n citizens use the outreach services, get the appropriate health checks and so on. My concern is there are probably a lot of girls who are coming into this country … and do not know what their rights are.”

    Do you know more? [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au

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May
13
  • Cross training comes in various forms and has many health benefits

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    I have never been much of a gardener. To be honest, I have never seen the appeal.
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    But until recently, when I spentfive hours on the end of a mattockas we overhauled our backyard, I never really appreciated the physical and mental benefits garden work provided.

    I was less than 10 minutes into my slog when I realised this could be exactly the cross training I needed as I prepared for some upcoming long runs I have signed up for in an attempt to be Fit at 40 this year.

    Cross training is basically challenging your body and firing up muscles that may not be specifically targeted when you run, for example.

    This could be cycling, swimming, hitting the gym for a fitness class and there are many benefits, including adding a new challenge to training, breaking up the monotony of the same training sessions if you are starting to feel a bit stale, as well as improving muscle balance and possible injury prevention.

    So, as I wielded the mattock and repeatedly sunk it deep into the soil, I could feelvarious parts of my body getting a good workout.

    It did not take long before I could feel my whole core working hard. First it was my abdomen, back and hips. Then my hamstrings started to burn and the muscles of my shoulders were firing.

    Then when I picked up the shears for some hand hedging, my whole arms felt the impact.

    I felt invigorated as well as a touch worried about the severe case of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, also sometimes referred to as second-day soreness which generally has you walking pretty gingerly) I knew I was destined for.

    It wasn’t just the muscular benefit I knew I was getting, I also felt a strong sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, and an improved mindset.

    There was something good about being outside in the fresh air while also achieving a household task that the whole family can essentially take part in.

    INCIDENTAL EXERCISE: Mowing the lawn can achieve much more than keeping your lawn in order. It gets the heart rate up and uses plenty of muscles. Picture: Andy Zakeli

    It can be of benefit to all ages. The kidswere helping lift things out of the way and moving clippings around the yard to various piles.

    MANUAL WORK: Staying active does not have to mean running kilometres on end or lifting heavy weights at the gym.

    I found a great article atwww.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/, on the health benefits of having an “edible garden”.

    It said, “Research shows that gardening is a healthy activity” and went on to list many benefits, including:“Enjoyment– from the physical activity; exercise– physical activity improves your endurance, strength, mobility and flexibility” and “relaxation– helps you relax and reduce stress levels”.

    It also suggested things like having a warm-up before you start so you don’t hurt yourself. Treat it like a fitness session and ensure your muscles are warm and ready to work.

    Drinking plenty of water and bending at the knees when lifting were also good tips. Gardeningcan involve a lot of bending overand, if not done properly, can cause strain on different parts of your body.

    Not everyone likes running, or is able to run, but there are other ways to be active that are good for your mind and body.

    Getting the right posture

    I have enlisted the help of Wickham physiotherapist Felicity Dan, ofThe Physio&Pilates Co (www.thephysioandpilatesco苏州夜总会招聘),for some exercise tips for runners ahead of the Winery Running Festivalon July 16.

    Herfirst tip is“Finding your running posture”:

    Stand with your feet directly under your hips with yourweight evenly distributed. Push your feetinto the ground and spread the ground apart.Hold for threeseconds, then relax. Keep your hips level, draw your shoulder blades down and back and lengthen through the back of your neck. This is good forabdomen, hipand knee muscles and forimproving power and efficiency in your run.

    Upcoming fitness events

    Run With a Story, May 7, Fernleigh Track:Raisingmoney for community members in need of assistance. 5km, 10km, 15km, 30km, 45km or 60km. Find out more atplanetfitness苏州夜总会招聘.au/run-with-a-story/.

    Memory Walk & Jog, May 21, Tulkaba Park in Teralba:Raisingfunds and awareness for dementia and offering6.5km or 3km options.www.memorywalk苏州夜总会招聘.au/.

    Raffertys Coastal Run, July 8, Lake Macquarie:An 11km, 22km or 35km trail run along the stunning coastline of historic Catherine Hill Bay and the Munmorah State Conservation Area. raffertyscoastalrun苏州夜总会招聘.au.

    Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of thre. [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au.

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May
13
  • NNSW NPL: Valentine pip Jets Youth to jump to top of table and Eagles win with stunning strikesvideo

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    VALENTINE coach Darren Sills knew hisside had made big strides in the openingrounds of the the Northern NSW National Premier League, but there was one element missing.
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    JUST AHEAD: Valentine’s Josh Murray, a former Newcastle Jets Youth player, wins a header over Kieran Hayes on Saturday in their round eight NPL 1-0 victory at Cahill Oval. Picture: Marina Neil

    That box has now been ticked after Valentine recorded a hard-fought 1-0 win over the Jets Youth team at Cahill Oval on Saturday.

    The victory, Valentine’s fifth, movedthem to 15 points and the ladder lead before Sunday’s games.

    WORK HORSE: Matt Paul battles Jackson Frendo for possession on Saturday. His first-half strike was enough to secure Valentine a 1-0 win over the Newcastle Jets Youth team at Cahill Oval. Picture: Marina Neil

    “Good teams are able to grind out a result,” Sills said. “I said to the boys in the sheds after the game we must be a good team because we went all right today.”

    A Matt Paul goal in the 40thminute was the difference against a Jets outfit that gave as good as they got.

    “I seriously don’t know why the Jets are at the bottom,” Sills said. “They have a lot of good engines in them and their system is quite good.We were very happy to get away with the result.”

    Paul was again among Valentine’s best and Sills said his goal typified what he meant to the team.

    “Matty Paul was outside the box calling for the ball,” Sills said. “Scott McGinley slipped a ball to Alex Tserepas out wide. Matt Paul made a late run to the far post and tapped in a cross.I can’t believe he got there. His engines are amazing.”

    The win was Valentine’s fourth straight and a confidence boost heading into a testing fortnight against Hamilton Olympic (home)and Edgeworth (away).

    “The main thing for us is that we have won four in a rowand had three clean sheets in a row,” Sills said. “That is what we pride ourselves on. Last year we conceded so many goals (43), and we are working really hard to turn that around.

    “The next two weeks will be a big test but they are the games you want to play. It doesn’t take much to get the boys up for that. Playing them off the back of four wins in a row has to help.”

    Edgeworth beat Charlestown 2-0 on Saturday night thanks to cracking long-range strikes from Kieran Sanders and Brody Taylor at Jack McLaughlan Oval.

    Sanders’swerving, dipping strike from outside the box gave the Eagles the lead in the 36thminute and Taylor hit his own highlight-reel shot in the 63rd.

    The win, which followed a 1-0 midweek victory over the Jets Youth, lifted Edgeworth to 12 points from seven games.

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May
13
  • Newcastle Rugby League: Wests spoil Kurri Kurri’s 300 party but coach Matt Lantry wants more

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    CRUNCH: Callan Richardson crossed for a try in Wests 36-6 win over Kurri Kurri on Saturday. WESTERN Suburbs spoiled the party for Kurri Kurri prop Mick Campton on Saturday and made it consecutive wins to open the Newcastle Rugby League season.
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    But coach Matt Lantry insists the Rosellas will need to improve on the 36-6 win over the Bulldogs at Kurri on Saturday to compete with the competition heavyweights.

    Wests led 6-0 at half-time and 12-6 midway through the second half before breaking the game open.

    Lantry, who is in his first season at Harker Oval, was highly critical of the error rate in the opening 40 minutes.

    “We made nine errors in the first half and completed at 55 per cent,” Lantry said. “We addressed thatand came out and played some good footy in the second half.”

    The Rosellas host Lakes on Sunday at Harker Oval.

    “We are well off the pace with where we need to be with the footy,” Lantry said.

    “I’m comfortable with where we are at defensively. But if we turn up with that attitude with the footy and complete at that rate, Lakes will make us pay.”

    A Wests victory was not how Campton hadhoped to mark his 300th game.

    At Peacock Field, Macquarie coach Adam Bettridge admitted the Scorpions got out of jail after fullback Mitch Manson scored a converted try late to snatch a 28-26 win over a plucky Maitland.

    “We didn’t deserve to win,” Bettridge said. “They were the better side and it wasgood to get out of jail.

    “After Mitch scored, they had three sets on out line and we managed to hold them out, which was the positive from it.

    “Anyone who takes Maitland lightly will get their pants pulled down. They are a good side. It was a gutsy win and a win we needed leading into the state cup.”

    At Cessnock Sportsground, Souths five-eighth Ryan Glanville scored a hat-trick to help steer the Lions to a 28-8 triumph over the Goannas.

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Apr
13
  • NRL: Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown on contrasting halves against Gold Coast Titans

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    Half good, half bad for Knights DISAPPOINTED: Newcastle Knights halfback Jaelen Feeney (right) after the Gold Coast Titans scored one of their seven tries at home on Saturday. Picture: Getty Images
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    TweetFacebookPHOTOS: Knights v Titans on Gold Coast

    CHANCE: Newcastle advances to second straight Harold Matthews Cup decider

    OWNERSHIP: NRL boss Todd Greenberg meets with Wests

    Weight of possession and comical errors.

    They were the main points addressed by Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown on Saturday after his last-placed NRL team slumped to a seventh straight loss, going down 38-8 to theGold Coast Titans.

    The visitors led 8-6 at the break but were kept scoreless in the second half as the Titans piled on 32unanswered points in front of 10,511 spectators at Cbus Super Stadium.

    And Brown said much of that momentum swing came down to not having the ball and giving it upcheaply –with the Knights holding just 37 per cent possession, 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. We handle it for the first half, but in the second half they burnus bad.”

    Knightsskipper Sione Mata’utia, who left the field fora head injury assessment [HIA], said when he returned down20-8 just inside the final quarter he felt the game was still in the balance.

    “When I came back on after I passed the HIA, I thought we could come back,” Mata’utia said.

    “But then we leaked a few more tries and after that point it was about finishing strong, showing pride in the jersey and trying to get the most out of the time left.”

    The round nine fixture started with such promise, Matat’utia saving a try at one end before fellow second-rowerSam Stone scored from a repeat set down the other.

    Five-eighth Brock Lamb added the extras and a penalty goal in soon after, on the back ofa 50 metrebreak in midfield from prop Daniel Saifiti, and the Knights led 8-0 followingan impressive opening 20 minutes.

    But for the next hour the Titans scored all the points, slowly wrestledcontrol and eventually ranaway with it, including doubles to new Gold Coast centre pairing Jarryd Hayne and Konrad Hurrell.

    Brown also namedlate changes for Newcastlebefore kick-off, including Josh King starting for the first time this seasonafter12 appearances last year while Luke Yates shifted back to the bench and Anthony Tupou missed out.

    “Joshhas beenin reserve grade, he’s been back there for a fair period and been playing really well,” Brown said.

    “Toops was desperate to come to theclub and offer his experience, but it means he plays some weeks and other weeks he gets overlooked in favour of younger kids. He understands his role.

    “So it’snot a form thing for Toops, it’s just Josh deserves to play and so does Stoney and Yatesy.”

    As for recently dropped captain Trent Hodkinson, who was part of a 42-26 loss to Wests Tigers in NSW Cupon Saturday, it would be the same situationas everyone else according to Brown.

    “Trent played today in reserve grade at a similar time to usso I’mnot sure how he played and couldn’t answer that,” Brown said.

    “He will be judged on his performance as all players are.”

    The main injury concern for Newcastle was recalled halfback Jaelen Feeney, who was taken to hospital after full-time for precautionary scans on his ribs following a crunching tackle from Hurrell leading to a try in the 73rdminute.

    “There’s a few knocks but we’re not seeing anything that concerns us long term, Idon’t think,” Brown said.

    Brown said the upcoming bye had arrived at an ideal timefor the Knights, who have recorded just one win in 2017,and gavethe squad 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.”

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Apr
13
  • Black Diamond AFL: Stretched Newcastle City show character to out-last Warners Bay

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    IMPRESSIVE RETURN: Cameron Keast kicked three goals for the Blues in his first hit out of the season. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
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    NEWCASTLE City coach Mitch Knighthas neverdoubted the talent ofhis young troops.

    Now he knows that the have character to go with it.

    The Blues made it consecutive Black Diamond AFL wins with a hard-fought 12.13-85 to 6.6-42 win over Warners Bay at No.1 Sportsground on Saturday, despite playing almost three quarters with only one substitute.

    Centre half-forward Nick Gill (hamstring), midfielder Macaulay O’Malley (foot) and full-forward Max Quinlan (groin) succumbed to injury inside two minutes of the second quarter.

    “We lost two key targets up forward and one of our starting midfielders,” Knight said. “The fact we were able to hold them outshows their character. The boys were absolutely stuffed at the end of the game. Hugh Blanchfield is a 17-year-old kid who played really well last week and had another solid game today. He got time in the midfield due to injuries and was great. He is growing in confidence week to week.Due to the recruitment ban we haven’t been able to blood the young ones as we would like. They have been thrown in the deep end a little in that respect. I was very happy with the character we were able to show to grind out the game.In saying that, we were up against a young Warners Bay side who were without a few senior guys.”

    The Blues set up the win with a dominant first quarter in which they held Warners Bay scoreless.

    “We have been trying to improve our starts,” Knight said. “The past two weeks have been reallypleasing.We kicked eight goals in the first quarter last week and today we kicked 5.8. We have a pretty solid backline and I was impressed with their work again today.”

    Cameron Keast kicked three majors in his first game of the campaign and Pat Gilligham also bagged three.

    “Having Cameron back was great,” Knight said. “He was another key target up forward and kicked a few goals which was pleasing.Pat is a class act and it is pleasing that he has run into some form.His work rate was high, presented really well through the centre of the ground and was able to kick a few goals as well.”

    Youngster Corey Deverell andRobSchindler-Taylor were the Bulldogs’ best.

    In the other games, Kurt Fleming kicked four majors to help steer unbeaten leaders Terrigal Avoca to a20.15-135 to8.7-55 victory over an under-manned Cardiff at Moore Oval.

    At Dick Burwell Oval, Luke Price landed five majors and Billy Barton and Ben Eddy four each as Nelson Bay stormed past Killarney Vale21.16-142 to10.8-68.

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Apr
13
  • Sydney Swans’ Gary Rohan stretchered off at MCG

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    Gary Rohan stretchered off at MCG TweetFacebookCarlton heap misery on SwansCARLTON 1.3 5.4 10.7 15.7 (97)
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    SYDNEY 3.2 6.6 8.10 11.12 (78)

    The Sydney Swans entered this match with a precarious 0-5 record. This was the personification of a must-win match for last year’s grand finalists and a constant of the AFL finals.

    For a club that was last in this position all the way back to 1993 – when half of Carlton’s team on Saturday wasn’t even born – there was an element of entering the unknown when nothing but a victory would suffice to ignite their season.

    But no one bothered to tell Carlton about what was at stake for the red and white brigade in this MCG encounter.

    The young Blues pulled off a magnificent coup at the ‘G, on the back of a dominant second half, to keep the Swans winless and improve their own stocks to two wins and with some handy momentum heading into the middle stages of the season.

    On a forgettable day for Sydney, they also had to endure the pain of seeing Gary Rohan fall heavily on his head in a contest with Sam Rowe in the third quarter. The Swan was later up and talking in hospital with a fullrange of movement and awaiting scans.

    Carlton had a range of contributors but special mention must be made of the game of defender Alex Silvagni in his first game for the Blues. The former Fremantle defender won his battle with Lance Franklin, the Sydney forward finishing with just one goal.

    Marc Murphy, Bryce Gibbs, the evergreen Kade Simpson, along with Sam Docherty and Sam Rowe, were all excellent contributors

    At half-time it was Sydney’s six goals to Carlton’s five majors. Most were still anticipatingthe inevitable Sydney surge and an eventual victory over their more inexperienced opponents.

    The opposite happened. The Blues were revitalised by the break. Ed Curnow managed a goal after just 30 seconds and Matthew Wright’s second goal 90 second later saw them snatch the lead. They weren’t to relinquish it again.

    A third Carlton goal for the quarter, this one off the boot of Jacob Weitering, had them out to a 10-point lead after seven minutes. Time to throw away the script.

    Wright managed his third goal in the confusion when Rohan went down and, upon the restart, the small forward picked up his third goal for the quarter upon the re-start and Carlton had surged to a 23-point lead.

    Late majors to Zac Jones and Callum Sinclair calmed Sydney’s nerves but the job was still ahead of them in the final stanza.

    Carlton kept up their intensity and a trifecta of majors through Patrick Cripps, Matthew Kreuzer and Charlie Curnow sealed the contest and put icing on the cake.

    Earlier, the opening of the match before 32,678 fans was very much 16th versus 18th. Both teams were stop-start in their approach and style. Indecision was the order of the day.

    The Swans did eke out their way to an 11-point quarter-time lead, courtesy of three goals to one, but without doing anything of consequence. The Swans of 2016, and of modern history for that matter, hadn’t yet materialised in 2017 and now, may not ever do so.

    After Simpson snagged the first major of the second quarter, Franklinreplied two minutes later with a classic, well, a very classic Buddy moment. Buried deep in the left forward pocket on the 50-metre arc under the MCG scoreboard, he slotted his solitary goal on his left foot off just one step.

    To Carlton’s credit, they hung on. Forward Levi Casboult came into the game in a big way and his excellent pack mark and conversion on nine minutes had the Blues grasping at Sydney’s feet.

    In typical fashion, the Swans put their noses over the ball and the next two goals – through Tom Papley and Isaac Heeney after a questionable free kick – gave them the edge at the main breakbut not by much.

    The sides had combined for 11 goals at the main break and uncertainty hovered over the outcome.

    Franklinhad been patchy but Carlton were being well served by Docherty (22 possessions), Murphy (19 touches) and Simpson (14 possessions).

    That pattern continued and the rest is history. And the Swans are too for 2017. Another finals campaign is an eternity away.

    TheSwans now host Brisbane Lions at the SCG next Sunday while resurgent Carlton meet old foes Collingwood in an intriguing clash at the MCG next Saturday.

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Mar
13
  • Breakthrough as Kenya poised to elect first female governors

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    Joyce Laboso Kenya’s?deputy parliamentary speaker Photo: Twitter/@DrJoyceLaboso
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    Nairobi:Women are likely to be elected for the first time to some of Kenya’s powerful governor positions after making historic gains in party primaries this week, experts said, heralding a political breakthrough for the patriarchal society.

    Kenya has East Africa’s lowest female representation in parliament – at 19 per cent – and women have struggled to make gains in the face of violence, intimidation and sexism.

    That looks set to change in August’s elections.

    “This time, at least two women are almost guaranteed for the position,” said Macharia Munene, a professor of international relations at Nairobi’s United States International University.

    “They might win because they have proven themselves as capable leaders in previously held positions.”

    Kenyans will vote for their president, parliament and county representatives on August 8.

    The ruling Jubilee party and the opposition National Super Alliance, known by its acronym NASA, both elected women to run as county governors in primaries concluding on Sunday.

    None of Kenya’s 47 counties, which manage local infrastructure, are headed by a female governor, an influential position overseeing budgets worth billions of shillings.

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    [Martha Karua, former Kenyan presidential candidate, is running a governor position.]

    Martha Karua, former Kenyan presidential candidate, is running a governor position.Photo: Supplied

    The counties get about 20 per cent of national revenues. They can also raise local taxes. In return, they must provide most health facilities, pre-schools, and local infrastructure.

    Anne Waiguru, who is standing in the Jubilee stronghold of Kirinyaga, some 100 km northeast of the capital Nairobi, has a good chance of victory, Munene said.

    She was the powerful minister for devolution and planning until she resigned in 2015, saying that unsubstantiated corruption allegations had taken a toll on her health.

    Joyce Laboso, the deputy parliamentary speaker, is also well poised to win the western county of Bomet for Jubilee, he said.

    “We have stepped up this year,” Labososaid. “Society must stop thinking that women are mere flower girls.”

    Wavinya Ndeti, who was a member of parliament until 2013, is vying on a NASA ticket, while two of the three women to have stood for the Kenyan presidency – former ministers Martha Karua and Charity Ngilu – are both running under their own parties.

    “Women have proved that they can be good leaders who want to change the lives of their people,” said Ngilu, who was Kenya’s first female presidential candidate in 1997.

    Women usually lack the political clout and money to get nominated by the main players in primaries, where voters choose party candidates, often amid violent clashes.

    “Apart from the physical violence we suffer during campaigns, we are also subjected to a lot of emotional abuse,” said Laboso.

    Female candidates often hire bodyguards after threats of rape and beatings, sexual slurs or curses from elders for violating tradition.

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Mar
13
  • Half arrested in Donald Trump’s immigration raids had traffic convictions or no record

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    Washington:About half of the 675 immigrants picked up in roundups across the United States in the days after President Donald Trump took office either had no criminal convictions or had committed traffic offences, mostly drunken driving, as their most serious crimes, according to data obtained byThe Washington Post.
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    Records provided by congressional aides Friday offered the most detailed look yet at the backgrounds of the individuals rounded up and targeted for deportation in early February by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents assigned to regional offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio and New York.

    Two people had been convicted of homicide, 80 had been convicted of assault, and 57 had convictions for “dangerous drugs.” Many of the most serious criminals were given top billing in ICE news statements about the operation.

    The largest single group – 163 immigrants convicted of traffic offences – was mentioned only briefly. Over 90 percent of those cases involved drunken driving, ICE said Friday. Of those taken into custody in the raids, 177 had no criminal convictions at all, though 66 had charges pending, largely immigration or traffic offences.

    The raids were part of a nationwide immigration roundup dubbed Operation Cross Check, which accounts for a small portion of the 21,362 immigrants the Trump administration took into custody for deportation proceedings from January through mid-March.

    The two-month total represents a 32 per cent increase in deportation arrests over the same period last year. Most are criminals, administration officials have said. But 5,441 were not criminals, double the number of undocumented immigrants arrested for deportation a year earlier. The administration has released a detailed breakdown of the criminal records only of the raids in early February.

    Trump has said that public safety threats are his top priority. Shortly after he was elected, he vowed to first deport serious criminals from the United States.

    But critics say immigration agents instead have also targeted students, parents of US citizens who do not have serious criminal records and minor offenders.

    “That makes me so angry,” said Kica Matos, a spokeswoman for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, which is organising demonstrations Monday to protest Trump’s immigration policies. She said that many of the DUI convictions are years-old and that the data “confirms our worst fears, which is that this administration is really trying to deport as many as possible regardless of whether they have a criminal record.”

    President Barack Obama also deported thousands of people who never committed crimes, but toward the end of his administration, he imposed strict new rules that prioritised the arrest of criminals.

    The Trump administration has said the current president also wants to prioritise deporting criminals. But officials add that anyone in the United States illegally could be detained and deported.

    “As Secretary Kelly has made clear, ICE will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement,” said ICE spokeswoman Jennifer Elzea, referring to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. “All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”

    ICE arrested immigrants across the United States in February as part of Operation Cross Check, an initiative that seeks to detain immigrants that also occurred during the Obama administration.

    Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Centre for Immigration Studies, which favours limits on immigration, said ICE is properly enforcing immigration laws by arresting criminals and people in the United States without papers.

    “Those are legitimate reasons to remove people,” she said. “ICE officers are no longer operating under the restraints imposed by the Obama administration. They’re not forced to look the other way when they encounter people who are removable.”

    Congressional aides said the information from ICE follows months of frustration from lawmakers that the agency is not responding fast enough to requests for information.

    After initially being supportive of Kelly, many Democrats have turned on him, believing he is being less than forthcoming about his sprawling department’s moves to implement Trump’s immigration policy.

    Kelly, a retired Marine general, shot back at congressional critics last week in a speech at George Washington University.

    “If lawmakers do not like the laws they’ve passed and we are charged to enforce, then they should have the courage and skill to change the laws,” Kelly said. “Otherwise they should shut up and support the men and women on the front lines.”

    That kind of approach “wasn’t a constructive way to deal with Congress,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said in an interview Friday. Democrats, he said, are frustrated by Trump’s immigration policies but are unable to change laws because they don’t currently control Congress.

    “That kind of language ought to be jettisoned,” Hoyer said.

    The Washington Post

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