Monthly Archives:March 2019

Tigers skipper Cotchin faces fitness test ( admin posted on March 28th, 2019 )

Richmond expect skipper Trent Cotchin to be fit to face Fremantle at the MCG.Richmond expect Trent Cotchin to be available to face Fremantle but a decision on the Tigers skipper could be left until the last minute.

Cotchin was set to be put through his paces before Sunday’s AFL clash at the MCG after hurting his left knee during a best-afield performance in the Tigers’ victory over Collingwood.

“He’ll train today and we’ll make a call after training … he’s probable, at this stage,” coach Damien Hardwick told reporters on Friday.

“We’ve had a pretty light week. He’s been doing some bits and pieces but so have probably the majority of our side because we’ve had the two games in a relatively short period.

“At this stage, we’ll probably give him until the last minute but that may change in the course of training. If we know he’s not going to play, we’ll just call it.”

Sunday’s game will be Richmond’s third in the space of 13 days as a result of the Anzac Eve fixture against Melbourne.

But if the Tigers’ fourth quarters this season are anything to go by, fitness is far from a concern for the reigning premiers.

The AFL ladder-leaders are top of the competition for fourth-quarter scoring, having steamrolled Collingwood and Melbourne at the death in recent weeks.

“It’s a strength of ours, there’s no doubt,” Hardwick said.

“The fitness of our boys through our strength and conditioning program, we’re really happy with.

“We play an incredibly hard style of game on the weekends and we don’t train a great deal during the week because they get all their work on the weekends.

“We’re really enthused by that, we’re impressed by that and when the players are asked to go again, they respond every week.”

Richmond’s historic 12-game winning streak at the MCG has them outright favourites with bookmakers to claim back-to-back flags.

But the home of football will hold little fear for the 11th-placed Dockers, who have won their last three encounters with Richmond at the MCG.

Fremantle midfielder David Mundy has proven to be a thorn in the Tigers’ side, booting a match-winning goal after the siren in last year’s meeting and a pivotal late goal two years earlier.

“He’s a good player. He’s put the nail in our coffin quite a few times David so if he doesn’t make the plane trip I’ll be happy,” Hardwick joked.

Australian Associated Press

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Hunters prepared for bare-knuckle bout ( admin posted on March 28th, 2019 )

NEWCASTLE Hunters are bracing for a “street-fight” when they welcome arch rivals Central Coast Crusaders to Broadmeadow for the Waratah Basketball League men’s game on Saturday.

Hunters coach Darren Nichols said his players had not forgotten the 101-63 beating they took against the Crusaders at Terrigal last July. Newcastle’s 18-year-old guard Jacob Foy sustained a broken nose in that game.

BACK: Josh Morgan

“We’re expecting a street-fight,” Nichols said. “The way they play, they’re always very physical.

“It’s always a tough night against Crusaders, and we’ll be without our big men Jono Howe and Steve Davis so that will add to Ben Hawkesley’s defensive responsibility trying to stop Callum Jenkins.

“But we’ll welcome back Josh Morgan and we’ve been playing pretty well this season so we just need to be ready for whatever they throw at us.”

Newcastle (6-2) are third after their 96-73 victory over Penrith last Saturday. Central Coast (3-4) are seventh.

The Hunters women’s team will try to extend their winning streak to four when they host the fifth-placed Crusaders (2-3).

After a slow start, Newcastle have crushed Penrith (81-22), Hills (80-42) and Sydney (70-30) to climb to fourth with a 4-3 win-loss record. In contrast, the fifth-placed Crusaders (2-3) have dropped their past three after opening their campaign with victories over Penrith (68-54) and Bankstown (60-48).

The games will start one hour earlier than originally scheduled, to avoid a clash with the A-League grand finalat nearby McDonald Jones Stadium.

The women’s game will start at 4pm and the men’s game will follow at 6pm. Youth League games will start at noon (women) and 2pm (men).

“After a 1-3 start to the season against four of the best teams in the league, it was a tough start for us, but we’ve found a bit of form in the last few weeks and it’s great to see the girls starting to jell on the court,” Newcastle women’s coach Shannon Seebohm said.

“We had some new players come in this season, so it was always going to take a bit of time to develop some chemistry and learn to play together, but we’ve been able to do that in the past few games and hopefully we can take that into this weekend against a tough opponent in Central Coast.”

The Crusaders added former Maitland junior Emily Keith, a member of Newcastle’s championship-winning women’s team in 2016, to their squad during the off-season.


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Extra police on street for A-League grand final in Newcastle ( admin posted on March 28th, 2019 )

Detective Superintendent Wayne Humphrey, who is leading this weekend’s police operation, with Newcastle City Council CEO Jeremy Bath and Keolis Downer corporate affairs director Andrew Fletcher at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday. Picture: Jonathan CarrollThere will be a bolstered police presence in Newcastle on Saturdayas tens of thousands of football fans head to McDonald Jones Stadium, King Edward Park andthe city’s pubs and clubs to watch the Newcastle Jets play for the A-League title.

But the message from Detective Superintendent Wayne Humphrey is simple–have fun, be patient and don’t break the law.

Detective Superintendent Humphrey,the operation commander for grand final night in Newcastle, saidan extra 200 police wouldhit the streets withsupport from the PolAir helicopter, dog squad and officers on horseback.

Read more: ‘Elated’: Watch Jets fan Nikoli, 10, win a car with TV goal

“Have fun, you can be raucous and barrack, but if you do anything that is unlawful, criminal or disturbs the peace, you will be dealt with by police,” he said.

“There’s nothing wrong with being boisterous, but there is certainly something wrong with being criminal, unlawful or anti-social.

“There may be a fine line and we will show as much discretion and patience as we can, but at the end of the day the idiot behaviour of one [person] will not be excused–it’s about everyone having a good time.”

Detective Superintendent Wayne Humphrey and Keolis Downer corporate affairs director Andrew Fletcher on Friday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Police are urging people to use public transport if possible and be patient intraffic if travelling by car is the only option.

There will be rolling road blocks throughBroadmeadow from 6pm as theJets and Melbourne Victory official supporter groups march to McDonald Jones Stadium.

Read more:Playing shirts go by the thousands as fans rush to get Jets gear

Clear ways will be set up along both sides of Turton Road and cars that are parked there will be towed.

Keolis Downer corporate affairs director Andrew Fletcher said extra bus services from Swansea Heads, Queens Wharf via Mayfield and Glendalehad been arranged for Saturday night and the Stockton Ferry would operate until 1am to give people plenty of time to get home.

A free park and ride service will run to the stadiumfrom Wallsend Library, Westfield Kotara and Customs House and return after the match.

But Mr Fletcher saidthe extra bus services–which aren’t park and ride shuttles–will require an Opal card.

Newcastle City Council CEO Jeremy Bath saidabout 15,000 people were expected at the King Edward Park screening.

He said the shuttle bus transporting people to the live site from Bar Beach carpark and Queens Wharf would be free and the mall parking station on King Street would be open and offer free parking all day.

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Adelaide won’t push Walker before Showdown ( admin posted on March 28th, 2019 )

Adelaide’s Taylor Walker will miss the AFL clash with Carlton in a bid to fit for the Showdown.Adelaide captain Taylor Walker is expected to return next week for their AFL clash with Port Adelaide.

The Crows will be without captain Taylor Walker, who injured his hamstring against Gold Coast, when they take on Carlton at Adelaide Oval on Saturday but he’s likely to be back the following week for the Showdown.

“He was pretty keen to push it this week to play but we decided to go conservative with him. He should be available for the showdown,” assistant coach Ben Hart told reporters on Friday.

Adelaide go in heavy favourites against the winless Blues, who have started the season 0-6 for the first time in their history, but the Crows assistant coach warned against complacency.

“If you look at Carlton they have been in games, their best is good enough. They have probably had a little trouble sustaining that for the full four-quarter effort,” Hart said.

The game will see recruit Bryce Gibbs, who spent 10 years at Carlton, go up against his former teammates for the first time.

“He can probably expect a bit of heat coming his way but he will be ready for that,” Hart said.

The star midfielder has been in great touch since returning to South Australia, averaging career-highs in disposals and clearances and Hart said he could go to another level.

“His ability to win the footy and get it going our way and pick up on our game style pretty quickly has been invaluable,” Hart said.

Carlton face a huge task to cause an upset with star young forward Charlie Curnow and Caleb Marchbank ruled out with ankle injuries.

But big man Matthew Kreuzer will make a welcome return.

Australian Associated Press

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Newcastle’s Birdwood Flag shines at National Trust Heritage Awards ( admin posted on March 28th, 2019 )

Celebrated: Dr Patricia Gillard said the red silk flag helped tell a story, which encouraged connection and understanding. Picture: Max Mason HubersTHE Newcastle team that organised the restoration of what could be the country’s oldest national flag hasbeen praised for itsingenuity, after it wasawarded a prestigious prize.

The Birdwood Heritage Committee –chaired by Dr Patricia Gillard –wasnamed winnerof the National Trust Heritage Awards’ interior and objects category for itswork to restore the 1917 Birdwood Flag, which was born in the Hunter and presented on thebattlefield to the Commander of the Australian Imperial Force.

National Trust of Australia (NSW) chief executive Debbie Mills said the project stood out because of its complexity; the way it revealed the story of the flag; and the ensign’svalue to soldiers and inthe debate over what the national flagshould be.

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Labor under pressure to pledge dole hike ( admin posted on March 1st, 2019 )

Labor’s national conference could debate an increase to dole payments under a Shorten government.Labor’s national conference will be asked to commit to a rise in the dole.

Darcy Byrne, the Labor mayor of Sydney’s Inner West Council, is lobbying conference delegates ahead of the July meeting to enshrine a promise to raise the level of Newstart payments in the first term of a Labor federal government.

“For a quarter of a century the lowest paid Australians have gone without any increase in income,” Mr Byrne said on Friday.

“Giving the poorest Australians a decent standard of living is a moral issue and quite obviously should be a Labor cause.”

No consensus has been reached on what the level should be lifted to.

Newstart pays a single person with no children $545.80 a fortnight, or $39 a day. For a couple, it equates to $35.20 a day or $17.60 a person.

A rise in the allowance has been backed by the Business Councils of Australia, prominent economist Chris Richardson and the Greens.

Labor has only committed to a “root and branch” review, however leader Bill Shorten had questioned how anyone could live on such a low payment.

“Failure to increase the meagre income of unemployed Australians in the first term of a Labor government would risk this national outrage continuing indefinitely,” Mr Byrne said.

The government says Newstart is not designed to be a permanent source of income.

Australian Associated Press

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Hawaii volcano erupts, forcing evacuations ( admin posted on March 1st, 2019 )

Hundreds of people are under an evacuation order after the Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island came to life, belching ash into the sky and spewing fountains of lava in a residential area, officials say.

The volcano, one of five on the island, erupted on Thursday after a series of earthquakes over the last couple of days, including a 5.0 tremor earlier in the day, the US Geological Survey reported on its website.

Residents in the Puna communities of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions, home to about 1700 people, were ordered to evacuate after public works officials reported steam and lava spewing from a crack, according to the county’s Civil Defense Agency.

Two emergency shelters were opened to take in evacuees, the Civil Defense Agency said, while Governor David Ige activated the Hawaii National Guard to provide emergency response help.

“Please be alert and prepare now to keep your family safe,” he said on Twitter to residents living near the volcano.

No injuries or deaths were reported.

Resident Ikaika Marzo told Hawaii News Now that he saw “fountains” of lava as high as 38 metres. Other residents also told the news network that they smelled burning brush and heard tree branches snapping.

The Hawaii Fire Department reported extremely high levels of dangerous sulfur dioxide gas detected in the evacuation area, the Civil Defense Agency said.

Footage from a drone aired on the Hawaii News Now website showed lava incinerating trees as it crept near structures.

A 150-metre fissure erupted with lava for about two hours in Leilani Estates, the Hawaii Volcano Observatory said on its website.

Lava, which can reach temperatures of about 1150C, spread less than about 10 m (33 ft) around 10 mentres from the fissure, the observatory said.

“The opening phases of fissure eruptions are dynamic and uncertain. Additional erupting fissures and new lava outbreaks may occur,” it said.

A plume of red ash rose from the volcano’s Pu’u ‘O’o vent high into the sky over the island, according to photos on social media.

The Puna Geothermal plant was shutting down, according to local media, while Hawaii Electric Light said crews were disconnecting power in the areas impacted by the active lava flow.

The Kilauea Volcano has been erupting nearly continuously for more than three decades. Lava flows from the volcano have covered 125 sq km, according to the US Geological Survey.

Local officials closed volcano viewing areas while a portion of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was also closed.

Australian Associated Press

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Robert Dillon: Why the Jets have learned from the past ( admin posted on March 1st, 2019 )

GARY van Egmond either possesses a crystal ball, or he has a greater understanding of football than his critics would have you believe.

SPOILS OF VICTORY: Gary van Egmond with the A-League trophy after Newcastle’s 2008 grand final win against Central Coast. Picture: Ryan Osland

Twelve months ago, the day after Newcastle Jets sacked Mark Jones as head coach, van Egmond sent me a prophetic text.

“It will be better next season,” he predicted.

“Why so?” I asked.

“The squad will be better,” he replied.

The logic, presumably, was that Jets owner Martin Lee, embarrassed after finishing last in his first season at the helm, would invest in players capable of giving his team a fighting chance.

That process had already begun before Jones was shown the door. Dimi Petratos, Daniel Georgievski and Roy O’Donovan had either signed or were well down the track in negotiations, but unfortunately for Jones, he never got the chance to coach them.

Instead Lee turned to the A-League’s most experienced tactician, two-time championship winner Ernie Merrick, and gave him enough backing to assemble what the Scotsman has repeatedly described as “a high-quality squad”.

Merrick has produced a minor miracle by steering the wooden spooners into Saturday’s grand final. If the Jets beat Melbourne Victory at McDonald Jones Stadium, they will become the first A-League team to go from worst to first in the space of a season.

From van Egmond’s viewpoint, regardless of Saturday’s result, the most reassuring aspect of Newcastle’s resurrection is that the club now appears capable of long-term stability and success, on and off the pitch.

It was a different story 10 years ago, whenthe man they call “Dutchy” masterminded Newcastle’sfirst A-League grand final win, a 1-0 triumph against Derby rivals Central Coast Mariners.

Within days of hoisting the trophy, van Egmond’s championship team was disintegrating. The grand final goalscorer, Mark Bridge, signed with Sydney FC, along with born-and-bred Novocastrian midfielder Stuart Muialik.

Defender Andrew Durante, man of the match in the decider, accepted a deal with Wellington Phoenix.

The exodus continued in coming months, as James Holland, Ante Covic and the Griffiths twins, Joel and Adam, headed for greener pastures.

Newcastle nosedived from first to last in the space of a season and van Egmond, frustrated by the management of Con Constantine, and concerned that his own head might be on the chopping block, bailed out to accept a position atthe Australian Institute of Sport.

Asked to reflect on that tumultuous period, van Egmond told Sporting Declaration:”It was very difficult, and the worst bit was that we didn’t have to lose them.

“It’s 100 per cent not what you want. Especially considering who those players were, and how much time we had put into developing them.”

Ten years on, van Egmond is confident the Jets will not venture down the same misguided path.

For the first time, he says, the club’s key personnel –Lee, Merrick, CEO Lawrie McKinna and football-operations manager Joel Griffiths –are “all on the same page”.

“With Joel being involved in that [Constantine] era, he would have seen good things and bad things,” van Egmond said. “He’s now in a position to ensure they don’t repeat the mistakes.

“I guess if you can learn from history, that’s fantastic.

“Plus you’ve got the two wily Scots [Merrick and McKinna] there, and it’s great to see that their knowledge is delivering success for Newcastle.”

Van Egmond said that the Jets were no longer just a franchise, largely because of McKinna’s concerted efforts to form links with Newcastle’s football and business communities.

“It’s completely different now,” van Egmond said.

“Martin Lee, as an owner, he’s not hands-on in running the club. He leaves a lot of it to Lawrie.

“And what Lawrie has done really well is brought the football back to the football community to Newcastle. There was a time when people looked at the club as being above the community.

“Now it’s integrated, and that’s really important

“It looks like it’s going to have a lot of sustainable success for a number of years because it’s so stable off the field. We’ve never had that before.”

With regards to Saturday’s grand final, van Egmond sees “a lot of similarities” between Merrick’s men and his own champion outfit: potent strike forces, industrious midfielders and experienced defenders.

He was confident that Newcastle, if they play to their potential, wouldsecure the trophy on home turf.

“They’reat home, and they’regoing to have such a parochial crowd behind them,” he said.

“They’ll be the12th man.

“We’ve got home-ground advantage, Victory have come through a very physical semi-final and they’ll have certain people [assistant coaches Jean-Paul de Marigny and Dean Anastasiadis] who are unavailable because of suspension.

“They’ll use that to create a siege mentality to galvanise them, and they certainly have some very dangerous players. But if theback six can contain their front third, I’ve got no doubt that Newcastle’s front third can expose theirback four.”

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A-League: Jets coach Ernie Merrick says all the pressure on Victory ( admin posted on March 1st, 2019 )

GRAND PRIZE: Melbourne Victory captain Carl Valeri and Jets skipper Nigel Boogaard with the A-League trophy they will be playing for on Saturday night. Picture: Jonathan CarrollNewcastle may be the feel-good story of the A-League but Jets coach Ernie Merrick says all the pressure will be on Melbourne Victory in thegrand final at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday night.

Victory, arguably the biggest club in Australia, have featured in three of the past four domestic deciders.

They boast a cavalcade of stars, headed by million-dollar men James Troisi and Besart Berisha and have an operating budget that dwarfs the Jets’ spend.

“The pressure is on them,” said Merrick, who spent five years at Victory and led them to two championships. “They spend a lot of money on players. They won it in 2015 and lost last year. They will be pretty keen to win, and I think the pressure is on them. I have tried to take the pressure off our boys by getting them to relax and enjoy themselves. When it comes to [the game]our boys will perform and we will see who the better team on the night is.”

Victory finished the season in fourth spot on 41 points, nine behind the second placed Jets, but have won seven off their last nine games, including an epic 3-2 triumph over Sydney FC in the semi.

Told about Merrick’s view, Muscat said: “We are just worrying about ourselves. I don’t know what Newcastle’s budget is. What we do know is that, regardless, we have earnedthe right to be here though our performances. We have performed really well. We are really happy to be here and we have earned every inch of what we have got over the past couple of weeks.”

A-League: Jets coach Ernie Merrick says all the pressure on Victory TweetFacebook Grand final press conferencePictures: Jonathan CarrollAs expected, Jets midfielder Ben Kantarovski (hamstring) and keeper Jack Duncan (quad) have been ruled out.Veteran gloveman Ivan Necevski will be on the Jets’bench after Football Federation Australia granted the club special dispensation.

Necevski, who spent three months at the Jets earlier in the campaign, is on loan from NSW Premier League clubApia Leichhardt.

“We were practising penalties because I lost a grand final on penalties, and we have been practising a few weeks and the boys have scored nearly every penalty until Necevski came in,” Merrick said. “He stopped half the penalties, so hopefully the players have sharpened up and are not negative at taking penalties. Ivan has fitted right in. The boys know him well from earlier in the season”.

In a break from recent convention, the grand-final opponents held separate pre-match press conferences in Newcastle on Friday.

The move was at the behest of the Jets. However, Merrick refuted that the change in protocol was due to his relationship with Muscat.

“In 2006 in the first grand final their were separate press conferences between Lawrie McKinna andPierreMichaelLittbarski,” Merrick said. “Because John Kosmina and I had a bit of laugh and banter they decided to have the press conference for the second final with the two of us together. “I thought it would be a once off but unfortunately they stuck with it. I say unfortunately because I think it can detract from what it is all about. Newcastle is the first provincial town to host an A-League ground final. We want to be the best hosts, we want to focus on performance and the players, not on the coaches, and banter between the coaches.I can’t think of anything worse than having to listen to their responses, and the them having to listen to mine.It doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world. It is not a boxing match, where we square up and face each other. There are no problems between Kevin and I and we have this game to look forward to. Let’s focus on the game and the quality of the football. We want to play free-flowing football.”

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Surface could force Ryder out of AFL side ( admin posted on March 1st, 2019 )

Paddy Ryder’s return for Port Adelaide against West Coast will depend on the Optus Stadium surface.Concerns about the Optus Stadium surface mean Port Adelaide star Paddy Ryder might be a last-minute withdrawal from the AFL clash with West Coast.

The All-Australian ruckman is set to make his eagerly awaited return from an achilles injury in Saturday’s match at the new venue.

There have been ongoing concerns about the hardness of the playing surface.

Power coach Ken Hinkley says they will inspect the turf before making the final call on Ryder.

It could mean Ryder returns in next week’s Showdown against Adelaide.

“We understand the hardness of the deck is an issue, not just for us, but every team, particularly for the Western Australian teams that are playing there every week,” Hinkley said.

“There’s injuries coming out of it and that’s a significant issue, one that we had to consider really closely.

“If we get there tomorrow and we feel that there’s any issue at all with Paddy, we won’t take that risk because of the deck.”

Port can’t train at the new venue but will inspect the surface on Friday afternoon.

“It’s not the ideal preparation but it’s the preparation we deal with,” Hinkley said.

Ryder has missed the last five games with his injury.

Sam Powell-Pepper has served his three-game AFL suspension but he and Tom Rockliff were not picked for the Eagles clash.

“He’s missed a fair bit of footy and he’s had a bit going on,” Hinkley said of Powell-Pepper’s off-field issue.

“Same with Rockliff, they’ve both missed a little bit of football so we thought the smart thing to do was to give them the extra game in the SANFL, and hopefully they’ll be ready for the Showdown next week.”

Chad Wingard was ruled out of the Perth trip because of a hamstring injury but Hinkley said he also could return for the Showdown.

“It’s not that bad a hamstring. He’s running already so we’re pretty positive about the outcome,” Hinkley said.

“He’s a chance for next week but we won’t risk him.”

Australian Associated Press

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