Battered Wests visit desperate Bulldogs

OUT: Wests centre Brad Tighe will miss Saturday’s game with a hamstring injury. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers Brad Tighe has been added to a growing injury list at Wests as the Rosellas set for Saturday’s crucial clash with a desperate Bulldogs at Kurri Sportsground.
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The former NRL star won’t feature in the Newcastle Rugby League catch-up game, the only first-grade fixture being played this weekend, after succumbing to a hamstring strain.

Wests centre Tighe joins backline trio Ryan Stig, Sam Keenan andJames Eliasin the casualty ward as well as prop Felise Taufaao and hooker Chris Knight.Rosellas lock Warren Schillings (ankle) was scheduled to undergo a fitness test at training on Friday night.

“We’ve been bashed around a little bit,” Lantry told the Newcastle Herald.

“But the 17 blokes we put on the field tomorrow [Saturday] will do a job. Injuries aren’t an excuse for us.”

Kurri have their own share of wounded players with in-form Kahn Juhnke, who played with a broken hand last week, becoming the third Bulldogs front-rowersidelined with injury.

Mick Campton (broken arm) and Peter Cronin (fractured eye socket) are the other props out for the season along with experienced utilitySam Wooden (back).

“Losing three front rowers certainly hurts us and Kahn in particular had been massive, probably the most consistent player in the middle third,” Kurri coach Ron Griffiths said.

“But we take the same mantra into this week as every other week. We’ve got to work hard for each other and the result will look after itself.”

In terms of the overall competition standings,Wests are equal fourthbut a win would put them in a three-way share of the lead.

Kurri have slipped outside the top five and sit four points behind the Rosellas, but victory would halvethe gap and keep their finals hopes alive with three rounds remaining in the regular season.

The upcoming match was originally scheduled for round seven, but transferred upon request of Wests because of representative commitments.

Kurri had won four of six games at that stage, but havelost all-bar one since.

Wests were 50-50 at the same point, but have a 4-2win-loss record afterwards.

LADDER: Maitland, Lakes 16; Central 15; Souths, Wests 14; Cessnock, Kurri 10; Macquarie 7.


Premier dodges Vic Labor raid questions

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and his ministers are yet to learn whether they will face police questioning over Labor’s $388,000 election campaign rort.
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Mr Andrews says the fraud squad has not asked to speak to any MPs about the misuse of taxpayer funds for staff during the successful 2014 campaign.

“Not that I’m aware of,” he told reporters on Friday while trying to avoid questions about the probe, which comes less than four months before the November 24 state poll.

“I don’t intend to be a commentator on those matters. I just don’t think it’s appropriate”.

When asked if he expected to be interviewed, Mr Andrews said it was up to police.

It was the premier’s first public appearance since the arrests of 17 people in Melbourne, regional Victoria, NSW and the Northern Territory on Thursday morning, which was followed by the cancellation of several public appearances by Labor ministers.

The early morning raids were criticised by Victorian Labor secretary Samuel Rae, who labelled them “completely unnecessary” given previous assurances of co-operation.

He also said some of those arrested were told by police they did not need legal representation while being interviewed.

When asked about Mr Rae’s criticism of police, the premier said he agreed with and supported “the notion of him being able to put a statement out like that” but declined to comment further.

Among the Labor field officers questioned on Thursday was Jake Finnigan, a campaigner-turned-whistleblower and former staffer for-now Police Minister Lisa Neville.

He said he was arrested for “making a false document” and strip-searched at a police station before being put in a cell, a practice the force said was in line with standard procedures.

Mr Finnigan was told he could be charged on summons at a later date.

No charges have been laid in the fraud and extortion squad investigation.

An inquiry by Ombudsman Deborah Glass in March found the systematic misuse of taxpayer money by 21 past and present MPs in breach of parliamentary guidelines.

The criminal investigation was announced a week ago and Mr Andrews said the party would cover any subsequent legal costs.

Speaking about the police arrests, shadow attorney-general John Pusetto said “one of their motivations was to ensure there was no collusion between witnesses, which is not uncommon in police investigations”.

Six cabinet ministers were named in Ms Glass’ report including Gayle Tierney (Corrections) and Martin Pakula (Attorney-General) and the opposition has repeatedly called for them to step down.


Samsaruh feeling ‘lucky’ to join This That’s next story

ON FIRE: Melbourne based 20-year-old singer-songwriter Samsaruh stormed onto the festival tour scene after a number of major single releases. Picture: Meg CollinsSamsaruh has already shared the stage with major acts like Hot Dub Time Machine, Peking Duk and Slumberjack, but she still gets excited when she sees who she’ll be performing alongside at new festivals.
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The 20-year-old singer songwriter from Melbourne also admitted she’s been keeping an eye on the This That line-ups since its debut in 2015, and “can’t quite believe”her name is part of the festival’s fourth year.

“There’s so many amazing names already coming to This That for 2018, and it’s kind of a bit surreal and luckythat I’ve been included in that,” Samsaruh said. “I was having a look at the other artists that had been announced and getting excited about playing alongside, people like Amy Shark.”

“I think [This That] is a really cool festival, I’ve been loving it for years, and nowI get to share in its story.”

Samsaruh recently released a new single, Speaking Fire.

Samsaruh, who recently released her newest singleSpeaking Fire, confirmed she’d be bringing her popular tracks to Wickham Park in November, and said she was looking forward to sharing a live version of her newer music.

“They’re all so fun to perform, and I’m really looking forward to getting to share Speaking Fire,” she said. “I always have a good time when I get to sing and play, and Beautiful Killer and Golden to Thrive of course are really cool to play at festivals.”

More Newcastle festival newsThe Living End crowns Scene & Heard’s debut line-upSticky Fingers removed from This That festival billRL Grime confirmed as Newcastle festival’s headliner“In terms of covers, I’m not one hundred per cent sure what I’m doing yet, but I might try my hand at a few if I can,” she added with a laugh.

“I honestly am just looking forward to getting to Newcastle, feeling the vibe and having a really good party –I used to look out for all the This That announcements and you guys always get really good bands coming to town. I want to share that happy feeling I’ve got with everyone when I play.”

Although This That is the next thing on the horizon that Novocastrian punters can enjoy, Samsaruh also confirmed she’s been working on “tons of songs” that she’s chomping at the bit to release.

“I’m always working on new stuff, I just enjoy getting music together, and I have so many songs that I just want to get out there now and start sharing, to the point where I kind of have to slow myself down,” she said.

“New music is always really fun, and I have tons of songs that I can’t wait to show everyone. Right now I’m performing, but there’s two parts of being an artist and being in the studio is the other part of that.

“It’s so amazing because it’s a chance to really play with it and get so much emotion into all the tracks.”

Samsaruh will play at This That at Wickham Park on November 3.

More recent newsFamily road trip in aid of drought-stricken rural farmersYoung sports stars turn out for Ebzery, Poolman and HarrisonHearts open when ex-pats pull creative community togetherThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


Hawks coach Clarkson eyeing new AFL deal

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson is expected to sign a contract to stay on until 2022.Four-time AFL premiership coach Alastair Clarkson is committed to Hawthorn but says discussions on a contract extension remain preliminary.
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Clarkson is out of contract at the end of 2019 but has brought forward discussions on a new deal which could keep him at the club until 2022.

The 50-year-old has described the talks as “very, very preliminary” and says further discussions are likely to be delayed until the end of the season, with the seventh-placed Hawks focused on securing a finals berth over the coming weeks.

“It was just one discussion that happened between my manager and the CEO about a month ago and nothing has happened since,” Clarkson said on Friday.

“We’re in discussions like this all the time because I’m coach of the club and trying to work out the direction of our footy club over the long term. All our planning is along the lines that the next four weeks is pretty important to us.

“We’ll probably just park things until the end of the year, I reckon, and do what we originally intended to do and have a discussion about it then.”

Hawthorn’s longest-serving coach, Clarkson has overseen 323 games since taking over at the end of 2004.

The master tactician has said it’s doubtful he would ever coach another club and on Friday reinforced his desire to lead the Hawks to another flag.

“I’m invested in this group of players and the club in terms of our next immediate phase of trying to prepare ourselves for our next piece of silverware,” Clarkson said.

“What actual timeframe and tenure that attaches in terms of my contract is immaterial, really.

“It’s all about the club and this group of players and where we think we can take them. Whether I’m the bloke that’s going to be steering that or someone else, we’re really excited about the direction the club’s going and we’ll work those things out later on.”


Northstars host red-hot Brave

SAVES: Newcastle Northstars goalkeeper Dayne Davis. Picture: Phil TaylorThe Northstars have yet to beat the ladder-leading Canberra Brave this season and Newcastle coach Joey Theriault wants to buckthe trend at home on Sunday.
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In three previous meetings during2018the Brave have finished on top, a collective 11-4 from two outings in Canberra and 4-2 at Warners Bay on April 28.

The Northstars are now chasing competition points to make next month’s Australian Ice Hockey Leaguefinals and Theriault reckons his troops are up for the challenge.

“Everybody is buzzing for this one,” he said.

“We know what we’ve got to do for the rest of the season, now it’s just a matter of going out there and getting it done.Wins and points is what we need, but we know they are tough opponents.”

The Northstars, who sit on the edge of play-off positions infourth with five games remaining, will be up against Brave import Hayden Dawes for the first time.

“He [Dawes] is six-foot-eight on flat foot, so he’s a big unit,” Theriault said.

“We haven’t played him yet in those three games. He showed up after the first two and then was back home in Canada for his sister’s wedding.I’m not sure what kind of difference he will make?”

Theriault said the Northstars were at full strength, outside Czech forward Tomas Landa (concussion) who is setting himself to return against the Sydney Bears next Sunday after training this week.

Newcastle are coming off back-to-back wins in Melbourne on theweekend, collecting 11 of 12 possible points fromtwo trips south of the state border this year.

Canberra are staying in the Hunter on Saturday night after playing the Ice Dogs in Sydney that same afternoon.

Sunday’s clashat Hunter Ice Skating Stadium starts at 4pm.


Sport, gambling don’t have to go together

Has gambling become the main game for sports fans? Odds are, for someit has. And why not?
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You don’t even have to leave the comfort ofyour lounge room– it’s just the click of a button away.

Access to betting apps makes it easy for underage sports followersto slip into a routine where placing a bet … or two, or three… becomes the norm.

It’s not hard to see why it captures their attention. Gambling advertising is as common as a pub or a hairdresser in a country town.

Not only that, there’s television stations throwing to betting companies before games,and print publications introducing special multi-page betting guides. It’s allhaving an impact.

Betting is not as simple as picking a winner now.Your footy team is 24 points up and loses? Don’t fear, you’ll still get your money backif you’ve placed a bet online. The line, the margin,first goal kicker, half-time score –you name it, it’s an option.

Former Victorian premier and Hawthorn Football Club president Jeff Kennett came out firing last week, citing smartphone betting as the AFL’s biggest battle. He labelled it a “scourge”, saying some players used their downtime to place bets on horse racing or other sports and “they finish their career without anything at all in terms of cash”.

The AFL Players’ Association speaks to its draftees about the impacts of gambling every year. They’re educated on the pitfalls.

But maybe more needs to be done at the grassroots level, or even in the education system.

It’s not uncommon to hear junior players talking to their mates at country sporting venues about which bet to place.

Older people at the footywho enjoy a punt chat openly about the odds on the next horse race at some track hundreds of kilometres away.

As John Smith flies for a mark of the year contender, heads are down waiting to find out if their punt paid off.

In 2015, an Australian Gambling Research Centre study found that more than 570,000 adults regularly bet on sports. And 41 per cent, or 234,000 adults, experienced one or more gambling problems.

Males (88 per cent) aged between 18 and 49 (75 per cent) accounted for the bulk of the nation’s sports betting.

Gambling is not illegal, and it’s OKto enjoy a flutter. It can be a thrill.

But whatever happened to the special grand final or Melbourne Cup Day bet among family and friends to add a little spice to the contest or race? When did that stop being enough?

Justine McCullagh-Beasy is a Fairfax journalist.


Blues push for minor crown

BATTLE: Norths and Souths will go head-to-again in the Hunter Coast Premier Hockey League on Sunday. Picture: Max Mason-HubersNorths will be close to full strength when they faceundermanned rivalsSouths at Newcastleon Sunday as the Blues continue their tiltat the Hunter Coast Premier Hockey League minor premiership.
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The competition leaders are down only Ben Howey while the Lions are missing 12 of their 19-player first-grade squad on representative duties.

Following the round-18encounteragainstequal-third Souths (19), Norths (22) have a top-of-the table clash with Gosford (21) and a byebefore finishing away to The Entrance (6) on August 26.

“The boys are really looking forward to the run home,” Northscoach Dave Willott said.“But this is a big game that we need to win to keep our minor premiership hopes alive.”

Norths are coming off a 14-0 thrashing of University (0), which featured a season-high haul of eight goals to striker Rory Walker.

Souths went down 3-0 on the road to the fifth-placed Rams (15), who are without Matt Brown, Josh Magann, Ryan Simpson andTom Forbes in a key fixture against joint-third Wests (19) in Maitland on Sunday.

University travel to meet Gosford atthe Central Coast on Sunday.

Meanwhile, veteran John Fernance opened the scoring and Souths teammate Ben Hanlan nabbed a doubleasNSW beat Victoria 4-0 in the first round of the Australian Country Championships in Berrion Friday.

Elsewhere and the Hockeyroos will face off against the Netherlands on Sunday (1.30am AEST) for a place in the women’sWorld Cup final in London.

LADDER: Norths 22;Gosford 21; Souths, Wests 19; Maitland 15; The Entrance 6; University 0.


Buckley meeting forced our hand: Suns CEO

Gold Coast CEO Mark Evans admits Tom Lynch’s late-season axing as co-captain probably wouldn’t have happened had Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley not publicly revealed he had met with him.
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Restricted free agent Lynch informed the Suns he would be leaving the club at the end of the AFL season to return to Victoria, with the Magpies among a number of teams in the mix for his signature.

Buckley confirmed last month he had personally met with Lynch, who was in Melbourne for knee surgery, and later expressed regret over his comments.

In a pointed critique of Buckley’s methods, Evans said the coach could have gone about things differently as Victorian clubs now circle their departing key forward.

“The last two weeks haven’t been terrific for the code I don’t think, in terms of this issue,” he told media on Friday.

“It’s difficult to be false when you’re asked a question, but also difficult to completely blurt out everything … I think we’d be in a different spot if that hadn’t happened.”

Free agency rules mean clubs can’t publicly make an offer for Lynch until October.

Evans justified the club’s internal pressure on Lynch to make an early call on his future despite that.

“One way or another we had pressed Tom pretty hard over the last couple of months for answers and I can’t back away from that,” Evans said.

“It feels like it was the right thing for the Gold Coast Suns to get its ship in order.

“I’m not sure you can have your cake and eat it too, (but) we’d probably prefer it wasn’t public.”

Standing alongside Evans, Suns coach Stuart Dew said Buckley’s actions had put a spanner in the works.

“I think he went on radio to say if he had his time again he wouldn’t have put it on the radar,” he said, acknowledging that the pair had spoken.

“I think he was aware that that put it out in the public eye and did change the look of it.”

Lynch informed his teammates and the club’s board of his decision to leave on Thursday after eight years at the club and was then told he would be stripped of his co-captaincy.

The 25-year-old could earn around $1.2 million a season on a five-year deal at his next club.

Collingwood and Richmond appear to be front-runners after Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson confirmed on Friday he had not met with Lynch.

“I think there’s a fair few clubs that would be interested in Tom’s services,” Clarkson said.

“We’re certainly one of those teams but we’ll have to see how that all plays out over the next little while.”


New month, new hopes for fresh Dragons

Dragons coach Paul McGregor wants to look forward and has left a forgetful July behind him.Paul McGregor woke up on Wednesday morning, turned over a new leaf in his calendar and waved goodbye to July.
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Come Saturday against the Warriors, he expects his St George Illawarra players to do likewise.

The competition front-runners for the opening 16 rounds of the competition had a July to forget after they began the month first and ended it fourth.

They dropped three of four games, including last week’s 36-18 loss to the Sydney Roosters that has left some questioning if the slide is set to continue.

According to McGregor though, there shouldn’t be any doubts.

No team has maintained a winning record through every month of the season and while he’s not interested in their draw, the Warriors clash is their last against a top-eight team.

“I think every team at different stages go through a month where they could be better. We’ve been through that, that’s July,” McGregor said.

“We had a really good debrief after the Roosters on our performance as a team and I feel that there were three key work-ons from the game, one in attack, one in defence and our mindset.

“All systems are underpinned by an excellence of attitude and we’re working towards that.

“We certainly dominated in that facet in the first 10 weeks – we had the best attitude of any team and collectively that’s why we won eight out of 10 games.”

The Dragons’ consistency through the early season has seen them rewarded on the ladder – even through this tough patch.

They’re the only team to have remained in the top four from the opening round until today – something McGregor has taken great pride in.

But that run could go close to ending if they are beaten by the Warriors in Wollongong on Saturday, where they’ll need to overcome a fellow top-eight team for the first time since round nine.

“This competition is ruthless,” McGregor said.

“From round one to now round 21 we are the only side that’s still in the top four. So it’s really important we stay there.

“And that’s what our attitude is towards. Our vision at the start of the year was about having the team first and our purpose was about making the top four.

“Nothing has changed and we’ve got a real focus around that tomorrow.”

Meanwhile McGregor is happy with the fitness of Origin stars Tyson Frizell and Jack de Belin, while winger Nene Macdonald could still be another fortnight away as he continues to battle a foot injury.


* The Dragons have their best record against the Warriors, winning 21 of 27 games.

* The Dragons average the most points in the 20 minutes after halftime (6.6), while the Warriors score the equal-second least (3.3).

* The Warriors average the most offloads in the NRL (12.9), while the Dragons rank second (12.4).

*Stats: Fox Sports Stats


Short Takes August 6: readers have their say on the day’s news

GEE, I wonder how some of the overpaid actors who play the round ball game would have reacted with an injury similar to Sam Keenan atCessnock (“Sam still eyeing finals despite horror injury”, Herald 31/7). They would probably fall into a coma and have to be taken away by the rescue helicopter.
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Graeme Bennett,Warners BayI WAITwith trepidation forthe reaction from the NERG (Newcastle East Residence Group) and those in their harbourside apartments if we do actually end up with a container terminal (“Port chief chasing container trade”, Herald 1/8). With the increase in shipping, the sound of those horns going off will make their complaints about live music and late night venues pale into insignificance. God knows, they’ve complained about everything else. I’ll give you tip, it’s a working harbour.

Tony Mansfield,LambtonI WATCHED NBN news onThursday night, and I see some Stockton residents up in arms about council plans to relocate the child care centre playground for safety reasons. Apparently they weren’t consulted or they missed the planning submission window,and then they complained it would affect their view! For God’s sake, it’s a kid’s playground.Get over it.

Tony Morley,WaratahTHEimagined nightmare projected by Dennis Crampton (Short Takes 1/8) of “Bill Shortstop” living in the Lodge can surely be no worse than the current reality of Malcolm Talkbull ruining the country.

Peter Lacey,Coal PointIN REPLY to CharlesFarley (Short Takes 3/8):my Pete Garrett dance is only second to the great man himself and I generate more power than anything Tesla has. Dole bludgers should be forced to Garrett on treadmills to power the nation.

Steve Barnett,Fingal BayMAL Meninga is now an Immortal. Back in 1995, at the start of the Super League War, he asked whatrugby league had ever done for him? “Absolutely nothing”. Even then, he flew across the world in business class, staying in five-star hotels whileearning well in excess of $ 500,000 a yearplaying rugby league. Some people have a short memory.

David Davies,Blackalls ParkI ATTENDED both days of the examination of Brett Walker regarding his father’s theft of clients’ money (“I still don’t recall”, Herald 2/8). I can’t recall ever of hearing so many “I can’t recalls” emanating from one person in my life. I really can’t recall.

James Todhunter,Hamilton SouthWITHregard to the Sausage King competition (“Hunter butchers sizzle in annual competition”, Herald 3/8):it would be nice if the sausages they sell in their shops in some way resembled the ones they enter.

Sandy Buchanan,LargsBRAD Hill, one day you’re praising and defending Malcolm Turnbull, the next you’re rubbishing him in display of opportunism that would make a politician blush. How embarrassing? It’s not only Malcolm who’s confused and lost his way.

Colin Fordham,Lambton


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