Monthly Archives: October 2018

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Warriors bid for Waddell

TRAVIS Waddell’s brief stint with the Newcastle Knights appears to be over after he attracted an offer from the New Zealand Warriors.
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Waddell, who was released by Canberra at the end of last season, signed with Brisbane club Souths Logan but has been training with the Knights and played in their trial match against South Sydney last week.

Newcastle had proposed using the Aboriginal All Stars hooker as a stopgap, training with them once a month and coming into contention for a call-up if there was an injury crisis. But in the meantime the Warriors have shown concrete interest.

‘‘He’s got an offer to go to the Warriors,’’ Knights coach Wayne Bennett said yesterday.

‘‘That’s probably where he’ll finish up. I’m not totally sure. That’s a decision he’s got to make. He’s in the process now, I think.

‘‘We just haven’t moved our position. There’s not any bargaining going on, or a tussle for him.’’

Bennett was confident the Knights had ample depth to cover dummy-half, even with veteran Danny Buderus expected to miss the opening rounds of the season after recent back surgery.

Matt Hilder will start at rake in tonight’s hit-out against Cronulla at Tamworth, and Chris Adams will come off the bench to give him some respite.

Bennett also has the option of moving skipper Kurt Gidley to hooker, allowing him to bring on playmaker Tyrone Roberts, who scored two tries in the win against Souths.

‘‘I think we’ve all seen Kurt play enough at hooker to know that, if push comes to shove, he can do that job,’’ Bennett said.

‘‘All the indications are Danny will be back to play most of the season.’’

Bennett has stuck with the same starting line-up as last week but said there were vacancies that needed filling, especially on the bench.

‘‘That’s what they’re all fighting for,’’ he said. ‘‘There’s still one or two positions there I’m not really convinced about at the moment.’’

The coach said former NSW Origin winger James McManus, who has been recovering from a knee injury, would receive game time tonight in the second half.

‘‘We’ll give him a bit of a run and make sure everything’s fine and he should be fit to start the season,’’ Bennett said.

After complaining last week about the ruck-wrestling against Souths, Bennett said he had spoken to referees coach Daniel Anderson but was reluctant to divulge details.

‘‘I had a good conversation with Daniel,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s all I want to say on it.’’

AAP reports: Warriors coach Matthew Elliott is expecting more intensity from his players in their final pre-season match today against Brisbane in Dunedin.

The Warriors have lost trial matches against Gold Coast and Penrith and Elliott wants an improvement in their last hit-out before they play Parramatta on March 9.

‘‘We want to improve from game to game, and that applies to the Broncos,’’ he said.

‘‘They have a young, athletic, very physical team. They’ll be a good challenge and measuring stick for us.’’

Elliott, who is entering his first season with the Warriors, is excited by the challenge after their eight-win, 16-loss record last year.

‘‘A lot of guys had their first hit-out against Penrith and we are just in a bit of a process at the moment,’’ Elliott said.

‘‘We haven’t been too concerned about results.

‘‘The scoreboard [32-18] disappointed me last week, and it wasn’t the performance we were looking for, but we’ll improve.’’

Former Melbourne and Newcastle back-rower Todd Lowrie will make his debut and Jerome Ropati returns from injury.

Elliott is happy to have both on deck.

‘‘He [Lowrie] played for a premiership-winning side last year and he’s brought a lot of unity to our team as far as the style of game he has under his belt.

‘‘Jerome has come back from two serious knee injuries and this game is more about getting him back on the park again and letting him accumulate some confidence,’’ Elliott said.

Elliott said the Warriors had not set a goal for the season as they rebuild from a shaky 2012.

‘‘We’re going to prepare to win every game and let the results look after themselves,’’ he said.

‘‘It will be a tough season but, if you out-prepare your opposition, it gives you the best opportunity to win. Last year is not a reference point for me.’’

Pita Godinet has replaced the injured Alehana Mara on the bench for the Warriors.

Captain Sam Thaiday, who is coming back from shoulder surgery, will come off the bench for the Broncos.

TRAVIS WADDELL

Perfect setting

Fairytales sometimes really do come true.
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Last week’s expose on the church ruin on the side of the Federal Highway just north of Collector (Kirkdale Intrigue, pages 38-39) prompted a number of readers to confess about their yearning to be married in the romantic rural setting.

“Oh, I’ve always loved that church from the time I first saw it as a kid with its stone walls, shingled roof and vestry,” gushes Sharon Jones of Wanniassa. ”It just looked so perfect for a place to exchange nuptials.”

In response to this column’s shout-out if anyone has actually been married in the church, Charles Body of Kaleen and Ken Charlton of Ainslie both dug up an old Canberra Times article from 1976 (Workman Whistling by Jon Prance, May 3) that revealed there was at least one documented wedding in the church’s heyday – that of a local farmer, Mr J.A. Baxter, who exchanged vows in the church in 1921. “The article also suggests that the church closed in the late 1940s or early 1950s,” Body says.

Body also dusted off a copy of the Goulburn Herald and Chronicle dated December 9, 1874, published shortly after the church’s opening, which claims that it “will hold about eighty persons comfortably”.

“Far be it from me to argue with the Goulburn Herald and Chronicle, but the newspaper’s definition of ‘comfortably’ must be different from yours and mine,” writes Body, referring to the church’s diminutive dimensions.

Surprisingly, given its state of disrepair, my request for further information on the landmark church flushed out details of at least two contemporary weddings.

Firstly, Craig Shrimpton of Edinburgh in Scotland reports that he married his now ex-wife in the stone church in 1998.

“Like a lot of people, I had driven past it countless times and wondered what it was,” my far-flung correspondent says. ”When we were looking for a venue we decided it could be worth a look. So we approached the property owners and they let us have a look around. They were really friendly and helpful folks.

“At the time, it was basically a massive rabbit warren. Still, the place itself looked great under a blue sky. So we teed up a local lad to come in and level the floor. It was a great day and a fantastic location, and thankfully we got very lucky with the weather.”

As to the questionable church capacity, “I think we had around 50 and it was pretty squeezy and standing room only but we had left some space at the front and there were a few patches of the floor that were very soft and uneven so people avoided those,” Shrimpton reports. “Perhaps they could get 80 in back in the day when it had a floor but it would be tight.”

Secondly, Heather Aspinall of Ainslie reports that she “attended a delightful wedding at the church in December 1999.”

Aspinall reports that her friend, Peita Littleton, “had always wanted to be married there”.

Now, I’m not too sure if celebrations got out of hand at Shrimpton’s shindig for the condition of the church must have deteriorated somewhat in the year between the weddings because Aspinall reports, “unfortunately, the church itself was in too poor a state to allow people inside but the property owners were happy for the couple to be wedded in the grounds”.

Littleton’s big day was apparently quite a spectacle and, just like Shrimpton’s, was blessed with good weather. “It was a glorious sunny day, not at all cold or windy (as you can see from all of the hats in the photo) and the wedding had some spectacular arrivals with someone flying in with a helicopter and landing in the field next door,” Aspinall reports. “It was a memorable event and a beautiful old building, although I was rather glad not to have gone inside when I saw the state of the roof.”

Shrimpton was also a tad disheartened with the state of the building at the time of his wedding. “It seems a shame for it to be so derelict when we have so little in the way of buildings of that age and structure,” he says.

”Ironically, living in Scotland now, I see so many churches of that age that have been converted into houses, bars, lighting stores etc all over the show. It actually makes me think we should be better looking after these kind of properties in Australia.”

STOP PRESS: It seems Shrimpton’s wish for the crumbling church to be preserved has been partially granted.

While Kevin McCloud and his team from Grand Designs hasn’t quite got hold of it yet and turned it into a roadside tavern or quaint B&B, Jude Dodd, who has been travelling the Federal Highway regularly for 40 years, ”recently noticed that the church is now sporting a new dark grey roof (colourbond or painted corrugated iron), and a brand new door in a similar colour.”SPOTTED

Regular readers may recall this column’s feature last year on an elaborate network of rope bridges and “glider poles” that over the past five years has been strategically placed along sections of the Hume Highway in Victoria, and near the New South Wales/Victoria border, to help threatened marsupials such as the squirrel glider (Petaurus norfolcensis) cross the busy highway safely (A Glider’s Best Friend, August 4, 2012) .

Since the inception of the odd looking man-made structures (below), Kylie Soanes, a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne, has used motion-triggered cameras to spy on animals that use the crossing and has undertaken some initial evaluation of their use by the threatened critters.

“It began slowly, with only a few gliders tentatively inspecting the structures during the first two years. However, since then, both the rope bridges and glider poles have become popular, with squirrel gliders crossing more than 2000 times,” Soanes reports. Soanes’s cameras have also detected common brushtail possums, common ringtail possums, sugar gliders, brush-tailed phascogales, and even a goanna using the structures to cross the freeway.MAILBAG

BIG NUTS

Ken Wood of Holt has taken exception to this column’s recent claim that Big Cone Pines (Pinus coulteri), such as those growing in the Bendora Arboretum in the Brindabellas, produce the world’s biggest pine cones (Back to Life, January 19). My aptly-named correspondent reckons such a lofty title ought to belong, instead, to the colossal cones of a Queensland native, the Bunya Pine (Araucaria bidwillii). Wood even cites a story he recalls from the late 1940s when living in northern NSW as part of his claim: “A local resident was sitting in a deck chair under one of the trees in his front yard. He went inside the house and, on his return, he found one of these cones had fallen through the chair that he had recently vacated.”

Unfortunately for Wood, his coney claim is dismissed on a technicality for, although the Bunya Pine does produce watermelon-sized cones much larger and heavier (some over 10 kilograms in weight) than those of the Pinus coulteri, it is not actually a true pine – rather, as its scientific name indicates, an araucaria.

Did You Know? The Bunya Pine Lawn at Lanyon Homestead in the ACT, a popular wedding location, is closed every March – due to “the falling of cones” from the two large Bunyas that grow there.

CONTACT TIM

Email: timtheyowieman@bigpond南京夜网 or Twitter: @TimYowie or write to me c/o The Canberra Times 9 Pirie St, Fyshwick.

PS: Don’t forget there’s a full moon this Tuesday so if the cloud stays away it should be an opportunity to witness the ”Stairway to the Moon” phenomenon on Lake George, which this column recently named as one of our region’s Top 5 sights to behold (Nature’s Wonders, February 9). If you do snap any photos of the reflection of a rising full moon on the lake’s shallow waters that give the illusion of a magical stairway leading up to the moon, I’d love to see them.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Lundy rejects doubts on ASADA independence

A STINGING assessment of Australia’s recent record of exposing drug cheats in sport, from one of the nation’s leading anti-doping experts, has been rebuked by the federal Sports Minister.
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Dr Michael Ashenden, an expert in blood doping who has worked for the World Anti-Doping Agency, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and the International Cycling Union, said Australia had ”rested on its laurels” since the Sydney Olympics.

Questioning the autonomy of ASADA – a suggestion Sport Minister Kate Lundy strongly rejected – Ashenden said the Australian government ”should be embarrassed about its track record on anti-doping”.

Describing ASADA, who he has worked for and advised, as a body with ”exciting potential”, Ashenden said ”for some reason things just haven’t clicked and the results they’ve produced so far have been pretty modest”.

”I think the Australian government has rested on its laurels since the Sydney Olympics … an era when it was quite rightly regarded as a world leader in anti-doping.

”Since then, nothing startling has come from Australia. In fact nowadays we are out of step on important issues, such as the debate about zero tolerance toward past drug use by athletes and support staff. I think the Australian government should be embarrassed about its track record on anti-doping.

”Australia is an international laughing stock regarding how our favourite son Shane Warne was treated when he was found to have used a diuretic.

”In the last 13 years since our lab has been able to detect EPO, we have found just one Australian athlete who blood doped. Frankly that is ridiculous. It seems to me either we’re a nation of angels, or we’re not doing what it takes to catch the cheats.”

Ashenden regards the US Anti-Doping Agency as ”far and away” the world’s best.

”A crucial difference is that USADA are autonomous, whereas ASADA must ultimately answer to our minister for sport,” he said.

”I worry that situation presents a conflict of interest, because public servants are obligated to serve their minister and the last thing a minister for sport wants is a doping scandal.”

Senator Lundy refuted Ashenden’s claim about ASADA’s autonomy, saying: ”These comments show a complete lack of regard for the legislative independence of ASADA and its testing and investigations of athletes.

”The most recent work by ASADA and the ACC [Australian Crime Commission] is proof that the Australian government is committed to deal with the serious issues confronting the integrity of Australian sport.

”As a government organisation, ASADA is arguably more accountable to taxpayers who invest significantly in Australian sport than a private organisation ever could be.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Stilnox and stupidity

WITH apologies to Jane Austen …
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“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of great sporting talent, will, upon going through Customs on his first major overseas representative tour for Australia, lose 10 years from his mental age.” No exceptions.

Eighteen-year-olds will laugh at eight-year-old fart jokes, 22-year-olds will act like 12-year-olds and even 26-year-olds will still have an embarrassing compulsion to act like juveniles.

So it has been through the sporting ages – including in the experience of this correspondent – so it is, and so it will be in the future.

And so it was clearly with the members of the 4 x 100 metre relay team, just before the London Olympics as – in a sport where the difference between victory and defeat is measured in as little as a hundredth of a second – they still thought it would be fun, and “bonding”, to take sleeping pills, possibly mixed with the Red Bull drink, before carrying on like idiots and waking up other team members.

For me, the issue is less about the fact that most of this relay team behaved like dickheads, and far more a question of where was the senior and mature leadership in this team, to curb this natural infantility? Where was the coach, where was the management, where were the older members of the team, as all this

was going on? Why weren’t they pulling the younger ones into line? How did the culture of the whole set-up so lose its way?

We know where the 27-year-old Eamon Sullivan was, on his third Olympics. He was there on the night, in the middle of the throng, as he and his teammates take the AOC-proscribed drug of Stilnox, provided by him, a week before the biggest sporting contest of their lives. He was there as those team members then carried on with it, by waking up other team members with random calls, door-knocking and possibly worse.

Mate, with your experience, did it not occur to you that, as the senior member of the team, it was up to you to call off the jam, to say this is not the go? And what about you, Matthew Targett, also 27, and on your second Olympic Games? Never a thought that maybe as one of the adults in the piece, your duty was to settle everyone down, the way mature members did it for you in 2008?

And finally you, Australian coach Leigh Nugent? This kind of stuff was going on, on your watch, and you claim you knew nothing about the taking of the Stilnox at the time, and have barely heard about it since? Please. This is either truthful or untruthful, and it is a moot point as to which is more appalling.

If truthful, how distant must you have been from the team you are charged with guiding, that you could not have known about it? If you did know about it however, how the hell can you not have knocked heads together the following day to stop this kind of nonsense cold?

For we have all seen the results, or lack thereof. Millions of taxpayer dollars had been put towards preparing your team, with battalions of dietitians, sports psychologists and scientists unleashed, even as tens of thousands of laps were swum by your charges in the best environments imaginable – all for the worst results in the modern era. And yet somehow, this ludicrously infantile and damaging nonsense happened in the crucial immediate lead-up to the contest, without you raising a word against it.

Your watch, Leigh Nugent. Your responsibility. Do the right thing.

Twitter: @Peter_Fitz

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Fallen stars: shameful games began long before the Olympics

In deep water … James Magnussen, centre, with Cameron McEvoy, left, and Eamon Sullivan at their news conference on Friday.”INSPIRE a generation” was the motto of the London Olympic Games. But what might the rising pool of Australian swimmers make of the public shaming of the men’s 4 x 100 metre relay team?
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That they were ”truly, sincerely, deeply” sorry for taking a banned drug less than a fortnight before the Games was not in doubt – each athlete atoned in turn for the media. One television station brought no less than seven cameras to the Sydney mea culpa – Julia Gillard would be grateful for so many.

Asked who had taken the prescription sedative Stilnox, after the ”hypnotic drug” had been banned by the Australian Olympic Committee, five men raised their hand like errant schoolboys: Tommaso D’Orsogna, James Magnussen, Cameron McEvoy, Eamon Sullivan and Matt Targett.

Only James Roberts abstained. But he could still face sanctions, with Magnussen and McEvoy, for ”inappropriate behaviour” towards two female team members at the pre-Games camp in Manchester. The swimmers admitted making prank calls and knocking on the women’s hotel door but denied allegations they entered their room.

The entire team denied drinking alcohol or staying up late. ”We were all in bed by 10.30pm,” they said in a joint statement.

They now face a Swimming Australia integrity panel inquiry, though you might expect any penalty will pale against the pain of missing out on an expected gold medal in London.

A sheen of sweat lit the face of Magnussen, who looked into his lap with a thousand-yard stare. His ”childish behaviour” could cost him the $10,000 he received from the AOC for winning a silver medal in the 100 metres freestyle.

He discovered then the pain of being beaten by a fingernail. Now here was the full face slap of public ignominy. ”I think one of the reasons I agreed to go along with this night is I was feeling under so much pressure and it had been building for the best part of a year,” he said. ”The chance to

sort of bond with these guys and, you know, be normal for one night were my intentions.”

Taking Stilnox did not affect his performance in the pool, he insisted.

That infamous Manchester evening in July 2012 began with a movie – The Dark Knight Rises – and tapas before talk turned to initiation rituals. Senior squad members Sullivan and Targett spoke about taking Stilnox and it was decided, the team said, ”to continue in what we felt was a harmless activity and tradition”.

The tablets were prescribed to Sullivan and Targett before the AOC ban and dispensed in Australia. Each team member – barring Roberts – took a tablet. ”Hindsight is a wonderful thing and of course I regret my decision, and as a senior member of the team I should have stood up and shown more leadership at the time,” Sullivan said.

Head coach Leigh Nugent was told the next day about the prank calls and doorknocks but failed to act. Yet Swimming Australia’s president, Barclay Nettlefold, expressed full confidence in his coach on Friday.

The AOC said it would await the report of a Swimming Australia integrity panel before deciding on possible penalties, such as withdrawing the athletes’ funding. The AOC has also engaged a QC to conduct its own investigation.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.