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  • admin 16:13 on 12/17/2018  

    The embattled owner of the Donut King and Gloria Jeans brands has again lowered its profit guidance, only three weeks after warning investors of a weaker than expected first half.
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    Retail Food Group said on Tuesday that it would no longer achieve a profit of $22 million for the six months to June 30.

    RFG’s shares dived as much as 10 per cent on the news, before recovering to close down 6 per cent at $2.32.

    The company, which also owns the Brumby’s Bakeries, Crust Pizza, Pizza Capers and Michel’s Patisserie chains, did not say what it now expected its profit to be other than “less than the $22 million” advised on December 19.

    RFG said the lower than expected result was because revenue from new master franchise agreements for its Crust Pizza and Donut King in the UK would not be received during the first half of 2018.

    Instead the profit from the two new agreements would boost RFG’s second-half results.

    “RFG’s financial results for first half of 2018 are still in preparation and will be released once RFG’s financial statements for the period have been finalised,” the company said in a statement.

    RFG’s shares plunged 25 per cent in December when the group said it expected its first-half profit to fall to $22 million, well down on the $33.5 million it posted during the same period a year earlier.

    The downgrades come after Fairfax Media revealed in December that the group was using a brutal business model that had sent hundreds of franchisees within its network to the wall financially.

    Fairfax’s investigation uncovered rampant underpayment of workers within RFG’s brands as a result of the unfair business model for franchisees, and highlighted the company’s misuse of marketing funds contributed by franchisees.

    RFG has said it had appointed Deloitte to conduct a review of its n business, including the terms of its agreements with franchisees and the alleged underpayment of workers.

    The media investigations led to a sharp plunge in RFG’s share price, with its shares tumbling from $4.40 to a low of $1.62 in December before recovering slightly to trade at around $2.40.

    RFG’s share price has also been affected by short-sellers, who believe the company’s financial bona fides don’t stack up.

    Totus Capital fund manager Ben McGarry, who has been shorting RFG since before the Fairfax Media investigation, said nothing had improved for the company in the past month.

    “The company is still facing the twin issues of the balance sheet problems and the business model to fix and until it does it’s going to stay under pressure,” Mr McGarry said.

    “We’ve had another downgrade today and they can’t even quantify it – it’s just ‘less than $22 million’. It’s difficult to see how it is going to bounce.”

    Continue reading Shares in Gloria Jeans owner dive as it warns on profit again
     
  • admin 16:13 on 12/17/2018  

    Residents in the rural village of Gundaroo north of Canberra are up in arms over a proposal that could see their sewerage centralised in preparation for future development in the area.
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    A Yass Valley Council survey found 75 per cent of residents opposed the plan, with many already having spent thousands of dollars on their own management system.

    The council is currently considering three developer proposals in the area that will ultimately double the population. As a result, it is looking to centralise sewage treatment to accommodate the proposals.

    Residents in the rural village of Gundaroo north of Canberra are up in arms over a proposal that could see their sewerage centralised in preparation for future development in the area. Photo: Karleen Minney

    Located about 40 kilometres north of Canberra’s centre, Gundaroo currently does not have a centralised sewerage system.

    Water supply is sourced from bore water and rainwater tanks. Onsite treatment systems manage sewage and treated effluent – these systems require residents to operate and maintain them.

    President of the Gundaroo Community Association Moraig McKenna said village residents had been told that if the result of the council survey was negative then there would be no sewerage plant for the area.

    About 200 surveys were issued to residents, with 120 returned, and 75 per cent against the plans.

    “We are disappointed that the council has chosen to go forward with a sewage treatment plant for Gundaroo against the advice of its director of engineering and the majority of the community as determined by a the Yass Valley Council’s own survey of village residents,” Ms McKenna said.

    Many residents have already spent thousands on their own management system. From left to right, Gundaroo residents Ian Jones and Abram Hays. Photo: Karleen Minney

    “We are not against growth. We have always stated that we think that Gundaroo should grow over time through the infill of existing blocks within the village boundaries.”

    But director of planning for Yass Valley Council Chris Berry said the scheme had not yet been approved because “there is still some further investigation and consultation to be undertaken”.

    “The final design of the scheme has not yet been completed to enable an approval for the works to be issued,” Mr Berry said.

    “While council resolved to undertake further investigations, to finalise the design, it also determined to apply for a 50 per cent subsidy under a state government funding program for the Gundaroo scheme.”

    He said the public works department looked into several options for the collection and treatment of wastewater and sewage from existing and proposed development in Gundaroo.

    “The preferred option in the report was a gravity collection system and a centralised sewage treatment of oxidation ponds with evaporation or pasture irrigation,” Mr Berry said.

    “Essentially each property connects to a reticulated sewer main which transfers wastewater and sewage by gravity to a sewage treatment plant. The treated output from the plant is discharged to the Yass River or used to irrigate pasture.”

    Gundaroo local Abram Hays said residents had a number of concerns, primarily the council ignoring residents.

    “The councillors seem to have decided that they would ignore both their own staff and the views of Gundaroo residents which they sort as part of a consolation process,” Mr Hays said.

    “What we face is a situation where we as residents are going to have to pay for sewerage that will increase the profits of development conducted either side of this village.”

    He said many residents had already put in “expensive, environmentally responsible septic systems”, spending thousands of dollars.

    “We put the best systems in to ensure that we have responsible environmental outcomes,” he said.

    “Often when we use water, we recycle that water and use it on our gardens, we lose all of that, we lose that investment, we lose the ability to use that water and this town doesn’t have reticulated water.”

    Mr Berry said the council was particularly concerned about the cost to local residents and had directed staff to investigate options to alleviate the impact of high connection costs.

    “If the subsidy is not successful then this investigation would need to examine these implications also.”

    Continue reading Nearby town up in arms over planned sewerage system
     
  • admin 16:13 on 12/17/2018  

    Scott Street closed for light rail construction Scott Street
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    Workers pour the first section of track on the former rail corridor, near Steel Street, on Tuesday morning.

    Scott Street

    TweetFacebook Scott Street closed to trafficMost of the Newcastle light rail route along Hunter and Scott streets is now closed to traffic and parking as construction work ramps up on the project.

    Workers shut off three blocks of Scott Street, from Newcomen Street to Pacific Street, overnight,leaving access lanes into apartment garages. They also shut another block of Hunter Street east of Darby Street.

    Cars and buses in Watt Street were still able to cross Scott Street.

    Read more

    Burger joint caught in light rail sandwichPremier opens door on rail reliefMinister: Time to look forwardQuestions over light rail business caseLight rail at twice the priceThe light rail route narrows at Scott Street, where cars and trams will share one lane in each direction beside a wider footpath along the Market Street Lawn and Newcastle train station.

    A concept drawing shows cars and trams sharing common lanes as the route narrows in Scott Street. Work has started on this section of the line.

    Further west, on the section of the route running along the former rail corridor, contractors for Downer EDI poured the first strip of concretebetween Worth Place and Steel Streeton Tuesday morning.

    Another blockof Hunter Street, from Union Street to Auckland Street, was closed last week, but two lanes of traffic between Auckland and Merewether streets reopened late in December on either side of the first section ofrails to be laid.

    It is unclear how long the work will take, but the Revitalising Newcastle website says trams will start running in early 2019.

    A concept plan for the light rail stop in Pacific Park.

    The work will include replacing a 1909 sewer line buried six metres below parts of Scott and Hunterstreets, which will extend the construction period in some areas and result in water outages.

    Parking will be removed permanently along the entire 1.7km stretch of light rail from Worth Place to Telford Street, near Newcastle beach.

    Continue reading Scott Street closed for Newcastle light rail construction
     
  • admin 20:44 on 09/18/2019  

    Glenn Maxwell staked his claim for a one-day international recall but his fighting effort couldn’t mask the same old problems for the Melbourne Stars, whose season is now surely just a salvage mission after they slumped to their fifth loss from as many games on Tuesday night at Adelaide Oval.
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    Axed from ‘s ODI side last week before having his training habits questioned by captain Steve Smith, Maxwell was innovative at times on Tuesday night, hitting seven fours and one six as he compiled 60 from 39 balls, eventually falling to Peter Siddle with the last ball of the 18th over after the Stars won the toss and elected to bat. Some late hitting from captain John Hastings (17 not out from 10 balls) helped the Stars to 6-151, giving them a fighting chance.

    But forget about the “Big Show”, there weren’t enough side acts for the Stars. Half-centuries from Alex Carey and Travis Head, and some late thrashing from Colin Ingram – dropped in the deep by Maxwell with 13 balls remaining – was enough for the Strikers to secure an eight-wicket win with eight balls to spare, and move them back to the top of the ladder.

    It was something of a different looking Stars XI, with Scott Boland back in place of Michael Beer, and Seb Gotch replacing Luke Wright, who the club said had hurt his back slipping in the bathroom on Monday night.

    But despite the inclusions the early overs had an all too familiar look for the Stars. Against his former side, Ben Dunk was dismissed for one by Michael Neser, Dunk’s fourth single-digit score in five knocks this season. Having made public that this would be his last season with the Stars, Kevin Pietersen went for a wild swing and was bowled by Billy Stanlake for five, while Handscomb – wearing a shirt in which his name was missing the letter ‘S’ – looked a man short not only on letters but on time in the middle, gone for just one after top edging Ben Laughlin to be caught by wicketkeeper Carey.

    With a replacement for the injured Chris Lynn set to be announced imminently ahead of ‘s first ODI against England at the MCG on Sunday, Maxwell had the public backing of n cricket great and new national Twenty20 team assistant coach Ricky Ponting, and thrived, rescuing the struggling Stars from a seemingly dire position at 4-51 in the eighth over against the Adelaide Strikers when Marcus Stoinis fell for 39.

    Maxwell ensured it wouldn’t be a rout, but the Stars had the same old problem with the ball: they couldn’t build enough pressure with wickets. They have taken a measly seven in their past three games, not a winning formula.

    The recalled Boland was again punished, conceding 26 runs from his two overs, while Stoinis also went for more than 11 an over from his four.

    Ponting had said on Channel Ten’s coverage of the game that Maxwell should be the man to replace Lynn, but the at-times outspoken Maxwell was content to let his cricket do the talking. He wasn’t done after his efforts with the bat, combining with gloveman Peter Handscomb to end a 50-run opening stand from the Strikers, with Jake Weatherald stumped for 18, but it was all to no avail on the night.

    The Stars remain on the bottom of the ladder, with their next match against the Melbourne Renegades at Etihad Stadium on Friday night. They will lose one-day representatives Stoinis, Adam Zampa, and who knows, maybe Maxwell, for that match, although the club said it was hopeful Wright would be available to return.

    Continue reading Maxwell fires, but Stars lose again
     
  • admin 20:44 on 09/18/2019  

    AFL legend Mark ‘Bomber’ Thompson has been arrested as part of an investigation into drug trafficking, but the premiership coach has been released without charge.
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    In a short statement issued on Tuesday afternoon, police confirmed a 54-year-old from Port Melbourne was arrested and released earlier that day, “pending further enquiries”.

    Thompson’s Port Melbourne renovated warehouse was raided at 9.30am last Friday.

    Mark Thompson (left) has not been charged. Thomas Windsor (top right) has been charged as part of the drug probe, as has Karl Holt. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo and Bendigo Advertiser

    It can be revealed that two men allegedly involved in the drug trafficking operation that resulted in a police raid at Thompson’s home have links to outlaw bikie gangs.

    Karl “Bang Bang” Holt and Thomas Windsor were charged with trafficking a drug of dependence, after raids in Geelongand Port Melbourne.

    Mr Holt – who purports to drive a black Mercedes-Benz sedan with the numberplate NOBA1L- and Mr Windsor both have links to bikies in the Geelong region, sources say.

    The pair are heavily tattooed, with Mr Holt having a picture of a gun and the words “bang bang”, his nickname, tattooed on his hands.

    Mr Holt, 31, from Lara, and Mr Windsor, 28, from Port Melbourne, were both remanded in custody.

    A22-year-old woman from Mill Park was also charged with trafficking a drug of dependence.

    It is understood the charges related to varioussubstances.They have beenremanded to faceGeelong Magistrates’ Court at later dates.

    A Victoria Police spokeswoman confirmed three people had been charged, and had been remanded in custody.

    “No further arrests have been made and, as the investigation is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment any further at this stage,” she said.

    It is not clear how Thompson is allegedly connected to the investigation.

    The police involved in the search at Thompson’s home were from the Southern Metro and Geelong divisional response units, who are broadly tasked to investigate property crime and illegal drug activity.

    When contacted on Saturday, Mr Thompson denied his home had been raided, but footageof police executing a warrant on the Rouse Street property,taken from a neighbouring home,emerged on Monday.

    Thompson, 54, led the Cats to premierships in 2007 and 2009 but quit the club in 2010 to join Essendon, the club he had once captained, as a senior assistant to James Hird.

    He became embroiled in the supplements saga which led to 34 past and present Essendon players being suspended for the 2016 season.

    Thompson was fined $30,000 for his role in the scandal, one which had seen him replace a suspended Hird as coach in 2014 but later lose any interest in the sport.

    He revealed last year the saga had made him “bitter and twisted” and contributed to the breakdown of his marriage.

    The Age

    Continue reading Mark ‘Bomber’ Thompson arrested without charge in drug trafficking investigation
     
  • admin 20:44 on 09/18/2019  

    Education Minister Rob Stokes says opening up selective schools to local students would create a more equitable education system, as the NSW Department of Education reviews the decades-old system for teaching the state’s brightest students.
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    Mr Stokes said the selective system should not “create a rigid, separated public education system”.

    “While recognising that selective schools have a history and are popular, is it correct that local kids must walk past a local public selective school that is closed to them?” he said.

    “We need to have public schools that are inclusive of everyone rather than deliberately separate children on the basis that some are gifted and talented and others are not.

    “There may be merit in opening up selective schools to local enrolments and providing more local opportunities to selective classes in comprehensive schools.”

    It is understood the idea involves introducing comprehensive streams to selective schools.

    It comes as the department continues a wide-ranging review of its gifted and talented policy for NSW public schools, including an overhaul of the entry test for selective schools amid concerns that wealthy families are able to game the system by engaging expensive tutoring services.

    NSW currently has 19 fully selective and 29 partially selective schools, the most of any state, and the Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) shows that the state’s top-performing selective schools such as James Ruse, Baulkham Hills and North Sydney Boys are significantly more advantaged than exclusive private schools such as The King’s School and Knox Grammar.

    ICSEA scores are used by the n Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) to assess the socio-educational background of a school’s student cohort based on geographical location and parental education and occupation, with a higher score indicating a higher level of advantage.

    “Is it correct that local kids must walk past a local public selective school that is closed to them?” Education Minister Rob Stokes said. Photo: Robert Pearce

    The median ICSEA score in NSW is 1000.

    James Ruse has an ICSEA score of 1240 and North Sydney Boys has a score of 1210, compared with King’s score of 1160, and Knox’s score of 1178.

    Additionally, selective schools consistently outperform private and comprehensive schools in the Higher School Certificate, and comprised nine out of the top 10 schools by performance in last year’s exams, including the privately selective Sydney Grammar.

    Professor of education at the University of Sydney, Anthony Welch, said that a local intake to selective schools could ensure they better reflect the wider population.

    “What we know about those schools is that they’re increasingly selective not merely in academic terms but in social terms too,” Professor Welch said.

    “Having a wider intake and more mixed classes would improve equity.”

    Professor Welch said selective schools also impact nearby comprehensive schools.

    “They cream off all the high-achieving kids from the whole area, so the impact on neighbouring schools is quite the opposite,” he said.

    Mother-of-two Licia Heath, from Sydney’s east, said having two selective schools, Sydney Boys and Sydney Girls, in the area has contributed to overcrowding at her local comprehensive school, Rose Bay Secondary College, which had 1132 students in 2017.

    “We think the school’s going to be in absolutely dire straits,” said Ms Heath, who is a spokeswoman for the Community for Local Options for Secondary Education (CLOSE), which is calling for a new comprehensive co-educational high school for the area.

    Ms Heath said she’d be happy to send her sons Jude and Leo Jungwirth, aged 9 and 6, respectively, to Sydney Boys if it was opened to local students.

    “I’ve had a look at the academic requirements and possibly one of our sons would get into it, but we want them to be at the same school,” she said.

    Labor’s spokesman for education Jihad Dib said that he supports opening up selective schools but is also pushing for more selective streams in comprehensive schools.

    “Opening up selective schools to students who are otherwise excluded will ensure they’ve got the opportunity to go to a high-performing school,” Mr Dib said.

    “But what I’d really like to see are selective streams in every school so kids who want a selective school education can go to their local school.”

    Continue reading Push to open up selective schools for more ‘inclusive’ education
     
  • admin 20:44 on 09/18/2019  

    I guess I could boycott travel to Israel – but I doubt it would make much difference. No one really cares when you make grandiose statements and you’re a nobody.
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    A few Israeli restaurants would miss out on some business as a result of my decision. A few bars would sell fewer beers. Maybe a hotel or two would miss out on a booking.

    In other words, my boycott would serve only to hurt the normal nobodies of Israel – the people such as myself. A few businesses might be harmed, slightly, but world leaders wouldn’t blink an eye.

    If I were Lorde, however – if I were a musician who’d sold millions of records and had almost 8 million followers on Twitter – then a boycott of Israel would mean something. Then, people would take notice.

    And of course, it has, and they have. A few weeks ago the Kiwi singer announced she was cancelling a concert in Israel after fans wrote to her, claiming that to perform in the country would show tacit support for its continued encroachment on Palestinian territory.

    So Lorde pulled out, and people in certain quarters have obviously been upset. Jewish leaders, plus the Israeli ambassador to New Zealand, plus, you know, lots of angry people on Twitter, have criticised the decision. An American rabbi took out an ad in the Washington Post to label the 21-year-old a “bigot”.

    For the record, I’m on board with Lorde’s decision. While I don’t think a boycott from me would make any difference in the world to the situation in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, a boycott from Lorde does. If nothing else, it starts a conversation. It increases worldwide awareness that maybe there’s a problem here that needs addressing with more than just America’s ham-fisted neo-diplomacy. See for yourself

    For us regular travellers, however, I would definitely not encourage any similar actions, regardless of how you feel about the situation in the Middle East. Maybe you think Israel’s increased occupation of Palestinian territory is wrong. Maybe you think Israelis are in an incredibly precarious position and should do whatever they can to protect themselves.

    Whatever you think, you should go to Israel and the Palestinian Territories. You should see these places for yourself. You should meet the people involved. You should judge it for what it is, rather than what you’ve been told.

    And that’s not to say that your opinion, once you arrive, will necessarily be swayed one way or the other. Maybe a visit there will change your mind; maybe it will just serve to confirm the things you already believed.

    I spent a few weeks in 2016 touring Israel and the Palestinian Territories and I loved every second of it. I loved the people I met, Israeli and Palestinian. I loved the history of the place. I loved having the chance to taste and feel this amazing part of the world.

    Food tours are taking off in an area that is far better known for its religious tourism.

    On the final night of my stay there I was sitting with a few fellow travellers, talking about the things we’d seen, saying how amazing it had been to see everything with our own eyes and better understand it all. “Exactly,” one of the people there said. “I mean, the things the Israelis have to go through just to survive … It’s horrific.”

    That’s kind of funny, I thought, because I was feeling the exact opposite. I’d been touched by the stories I’d heard in Palestine, by the sight of walls dividing territory, by the experience of queuing up in a car to get into Ramallah, by the clear case of haves and have-nots – those with rights and those with no rights – that was taking place in front of me. Surely it’s the Palestinians who are suffering?

    But not everyone sees things the same way, and that’s fine. The important thing is simply that you see it.

    I’ve never been a fan of travel boycotts. You don’t strike a blow against a powerful and detested regime by staying at home. You just strike a series of small blows against everyday people in foreign lands who could very well feel exactly the same way as you do.

    You don’t just deny yourself the chance to meet these people and hear different stories and make judgments for yourself. You also deny those citizens your business, and your viewpoints, and your experiences. Everyone remains as they were. Everyone loses. Except, of course, that hated regime.

    Lorde’s decision to boycott Israel is a powerful one that has a lot of meaning. But as travellers, your decision, and my decision, means very little to the world at large. In fact electing to boycott a country inevitably does more harm than good.

    So yes, you should go to Israel and the Palestinian Territories. You should go to Tel Aviv and Haifa, Jerusalem and Ramallah. You should go to Nablus and Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jericho. You should meet people there. See things. Make your own decisions.

    And then tell the world.

    Have you travelled to Israel and the Palestinian Territories? Would you recommend it? Do you think travel boycotts are effective, or a waste of time?

    Email: [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au

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    ???See also: Six countries that are surprisingly easy to visit

    See also: The world’s toughest customs and immigration

    Continue reading Lorde no: Here’s why travellers shouldn’t boycott Israel
     
  • admin 20:44 on 09/18/2019  

    October 7, 2017 – Turnbull Stakes day – was a beautiful one at Flemington racecourse.
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    Crowds had flocked to the course to see world champion racehorse Winx make her return to Melbourne.

    While all eyes were fixated on the great mare, Aquanita stablehand Greg Nelliganushered another runner that day, the Robert Smerdon-trained Lovani, into the swabbing stall.

    It was an ideal time. All eyes were on Winx and few were concerned with Lovani apparently having a nervous pre-race urination.

    But unknown to Nelligan, Racing Victoria’s integrity team were hard at work and caught him in the act of administering an oral paste to Lovani.

    The sheer arrogance – to treat a horse on race day, metres away from officialdom in the stall normally used to collect drug samples – beggars belief.

    The investigation that followed the detection of Lovani’s treatment uncovered a vast and intricate web of alleged corruption and raceday treatments dating back nearly 10 years.

    Now Racing Victoria stewards have levelled more than 250 charges at eight employees from the all-powerful Aquanita racing stable, making this the biggest corruption scandal in racing since the Fine Cotton ring-in nearly 35 years ago.

    Those charged include Aquanita trainers Smerdon (115 charges), Tony Vasil (7), Stuart Webb (3) and Queensland-based Liam Birchley (3).

    The other Aquanita staff charged were Nelligan (123), Denise Nelligan (13), Danny Garland (2) and former Aquanita employee Trent Pennuto (4).

    All were charged under a rarely used rule, AR 175(a), involving “any dishonest, corrupt or fraudulent, improper or dishonourable action or practice in connection with racing”.

    Other charges relate to betting activity on the Aquanita horses, including “laying them”, or betting to lose.

    This is a shocking indictment on Aquanita racing, the biggest thoroughbred training operation in .

    So serious are the charges that Racing Victoria have left the door open for the accused to be stood down from racing.

    The investigation is ongoing, and it is possible that more charges will be laid soon.

    Greg Nelligan, who incurred the most charges, was also charged with possession of syringes, needles, stomach tubes and other instruments used for treating horses.

    Fairfax Media understands that a number of other regulatory bodies have been briefed or a likely to follow the enquiry now that the charges have been made public. These include the Office of Racing Integrity, Victoria Police, the n Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and the n Tax Office.

    This is because the alleged race day treatment and subsequent betting activities might be perceived as “defrauding the betting public”.

    A number of harness racing identities in Queensland have been charged by the Queensland Police Racing Squad with such charges and are awaiting a court date.

    Continue reading Shock as racing faces its biggest scandal since Fine Cotton
     
  • admin 10:50 on 08/18/2019  

    England players could be given berths in Cricket ‘s Futures League competition as part of an agreement between the two boards aimed at making the Ashes more competitive.
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    As applied the finishing touches to its 4-0 hammering of Joe Root’s side on Monday, senior officials from CA and the England and Wales Cricket Board began discussions about changing future Ashes tours.

    There are worries from both countries over the one-sided nature of recent battles and, in particular, the massive advantage held by the home team. Only one visiting side has won a series since Steve Waugh’s ns retained the urn in 2001.

    Although England won here in 2010/11, they were whitewashed in 2006/07 and 2013/14 and were comprehensively beaten this summer by an n team that started the series ranked fifth.

    Among the areas being looked at are the schedule, quality of opposition in tour games and participation in each other’s domestic competitions.

    England players would be given the chance to play in the Futures League, a second XI state competition, which would expose their players to n conditions.

    It is more common to see ns playing in England’s first-class competition, which has 18 teams compared to six in the Sheffield Shield. This was point of bemusement for England coach Trevor Bayliss after the Adelaide Test.

    The states have room for one international player on their lists but with the n season coinciding with England’s winter tours they are not seen as practical options. Leggie Mason Crane, who made his debut in the fifth Test, played for NSW last season but came over to play grade cricket in Sydney and was not on a state contract.

    Both boards are concerned by the quality of opposition in tour games, which may result in more matches against the England Lions in ‘s future tours.

    The last time a visiting team played an “A” side was in the 2010/11 series in , which mirrored the preceding Ashes in 2009.

    will want to play warm up matches on venues that will stage a Test. It’s believed is the only full member nation which stages warm up matches at Test venues.

    Acclimatising to foreign conditions will be less of an issue for Steve Smith’s men next year with the World Cup to be held in England before the Ashes.

    The length of the tournament should provide opportunities for to practice with the red Dukes ball, particularly leading into matches against non-Test nations.

    Smith, David Warner, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins are all regulars in ‘s Test and one-day sides.

    has already implemented strategies aimed at improving their chances of winning in England. CA started using the Dukes ball in last season’s Shield and bring them back again after the break for the Big Bash League.

    The fallout has started from England’s poor campaign with Bayliss confirming he will step down after the 2019 series. While Bayliss has transformed England in the limited-overs arena, his Test record has been modest with 15 wins from 38 games and three from 19 away.

    “I told Andrew Strauss probably 12 months ago that September 2019 I’m contracted to and that would see me out. I’ve never been anywhere any more than four of five years,” Bayliss said.

    “Whether you’re going well or not I’ve always felt that roundabout that four-year mark is time to change. A new voice, a slightly different approach slightly reinvigorates things. So I passed that on him 12 months ago.”

    Despite losing 4-0, England is unlikely to make wholesale changes for its series in New Zealand. But underperforming duo Mark Stoneman and James Vince may not get another chance back home if they do not lift against the Black Caps.

    “It’s about slowly getting them (new players) involved, not necessarily in the team but around the squad to begin with and filtering them into the team when positions become available or when they force their way in,” Bayliss said.

    “It’s not going to be an overnight success. If you bring three or four young blokes into the team it will be a slower process as they learn what the international game is about.”

    Continue reading Changes flagged for future Ashes tours
     
  • admin 10:50 on 08/18/2019  

    9/1/18 Bernard Tomic is seen during his match with Yoshihito Nishioka at the 2018 Kooyong Classic, Melbourne. Photograph by Chris HopkinsBernard Tomic will draw on his experience in going from qualifiers to the quarter-finals at Wimbledon seven years ago as the 25-year-old fights for his tennis future and a main draw berth in this year’s n Open.
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    Overlooked for a discretionary wildcard from Tennis last month, Tomic says he won’t need assistance from the sport’s governing body as he seeks to qualify for a 10th consecutive n Open and reignite his career.

    Asked about missing out on a wildcard after Tennis took a hardline approach on the world No.143, Tomic was somewhat tight-lipped and said he was happy to do things his way.

    “I never needed the help of Tennis to achieve what I’ve achieved in my career,” Tomic said.

    “For me it’s not a big problem.”

    Tomic featured in an exhibition match at Kooyong on Tuesday, losing 3-6, 3-6 to Yoshihito Nishioka, a young Japanese player with a career high world ranking of 58.

    Asked about his motivation levels and having to negotiate the tricky path of qualifying against seasoned opponents and hungry youngsters, Tomic referenced his rags-to-riches run at Wimbledon seven years ago.

    “For me, it’s in the back of my mind. I know if you’re playing the right tennis ??? good things will come,” he said.

    “Tomorrow I will play, so I have to be ready.”

    Tomic will face Vincent Millot in qualifying on Wednesday, a Frenchman ranked 191 in the world.

    The controversial n, whose tennis career has been in free-fall through a disastrous 2017, admitted he sometimes looks uncommitted on court, but stressed he was motivated to do well in .

    “My hunger has always been there, it’s always been there to achieve stuff. Sometimes I probably look a bit lazy and stuff, but that’s me. I don’t really go about it 100 per cent,” he said.

    “I think this year has to be a good year for me, I know a couple of years back I was 130 in the world, and was also top 20 for two years after that.”

    Tomic has achieved some of his best grand slam results in Melbourne and can point to a 17-9 career record.

    “I’ve been (at) the n Open 10 times, since I was 15 years old,” he said.

    “I think I’ve made fourth rounds, or three or four third rounds, so I was very consistent at the n Open throughout my whole career.

    “I’d love to qualify and do well but it’s going to be tough. There’s a lot of good players in quallies and you have to respect everyone, so I’ll see how it goes.”

    Tomic was happy to douse speculation that instead of trying to move up the rankings, he would instead take up a place in the next series of I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here, the Network Ten reality show set in the African jungle.

    “I have no idea who started that,” he said.

    The one-time world No.17 said he needed to find consistency in his game.

    “I need to get back playing consistently ??? for me that’s the main priority in 2018. We’ll see how it goes. Obviously there’s another 10 years of my career left. For me, it’s not a problem.”

    Continue reading ‘I never needed the help of Tennis China’: Tomic set for qualifying
     
  • admin 10:50 on 08/18/2019  

    On December 20, Todd Greenberg dispatched a friendly email to club bosses wishing them season’s greetings for Christmas and New Year.
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    Apparently, a season exists outside of the rugby league season. Many of us call it “hell”. While the NRL chief executive had their attention, he wanted to remind them about all the great things the game had achieved in 2017.

    A new digital network! New stadiums! New owners for the Titans and Knights! A new strategic plan! A new collective bargaining agreement! New! New! New! Yay! Yay! Yay!

    As one club boss told this column: “He forgot to add how the game has run out of money, but anyway …”

    “Importantly,” Greenberg said in his email, “I believe we have made significant progress this year building a greater level of trust and collaboration among the game’s largest stakeholders. This has been a key focus for me and one that will continue into the New Year.”

    This is where Greenberg often bemuses the audience he’s speaking to. Because they know as much as he does that it’s bullshit. Trust and collaboration have never been the game’s strongest points, so much so that the clubs and the state leagues had to hold a gun to the commission’s head in the past year so it could have its own people on board. On February 21, at the NRL’s annual general meeting, the “independent commission” becomes the “sort-of independent commission” when two appointees from the clubs and one each from the NSWRL and QRL join the party.

    The most significant change, though, is the man being bundled out the door: chairman John Grant, who is about to climb aboard a new gravy train headed towards the Rugby League International Federation. Mark the day down as the exact moment when Greenberg has one season to prove why he should keep his job.

    No longer hamstrung by a chairman who micro-managed every detail of the game and not much of it particularly well, this is Greenberg’s time to shine. His time to show us what he stands for. His vision for the game in the next five years. His time to give us less of Todd Greenberg, the politician, and more of Todd Greenberg, the leader of the game.

    Greenberg abhors the “politician” tag often attached to him and that’s fair enough: it suggests he is more worried about keeping his job than doing his job. I’m sure he does more than conceive ways to look good.

    Often, the claim is unfair. Last year he backed same-sex marriage and was heavily lambasted for taking a stance on a “political issue” just for the sake of politically correct publicity.

    In reality, he had done so after a heartfelt letter from openly gay former player Ian Roberts. Greenberg took the stance on behalf of the game because he felt it was the right thing to do. And it was.

    That said, there were two incidents last year that made many wonder where his priorities rested.

    The first came in August when Kangaroos and NSW playmaker James Maloney, in an interview with Fairfax Media, squared up NRL management at the height of tense pay negotiations, claiming they were “just accessories” compared to the game’s most important “stakeholder”, the players.

    Greenberg issued a statement the day the story appeared, twisting Maloney’s comments so it appeared that he’d had a shot at the fans. It seemed extraordinarily reactive.

    The second instance came a few weeks later when Sharks coach Shane Flanagan and Manly’s Trent Barrett were fined for taking aim at referees following their sides’ exit from the finals.

    Greenberg called a media conference, took out Mr Smack and told everyone to “grow up”. He was right, of course, but this particular smackdown could’ve happened at any stage in the past two years. Like Maloney, the coaches were easy targets, incapable of striking back. Greenberg would never pick a fight with those who could hurt him most.

    It’s probably why he is one of the game’s great survivors, from Bulldogs chief executive, to NRL head of football who fell out with his then boss, Dave Smith, before replacing him two years later, before he then fell out with his chairman, only to also see him off. That is House of Cards stuff.

    But all that’s in the past now. From February 21, Greenberg has a new boss. He used to be a politician, too. Grant ushered former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie onto the commission in July last year, and it was widely considered at the time to be a two-fingered salute to the all-powerful Sydney clubs: another Queenslander, like Grant, in control. It was viewed by many with great suspicion. As the months have gone by and Beattie edges closer to the top job, there is some optimism in the game about a new dawn.

    Greenberg, in particular, is said to be enthusiastic about what he can achieve working under a chairman who he can trust and is prepared to do what’s best for the game, not just appease angry clubs.

    Because there is a lot to be done.

    Rugby league played a part in securing the $2.3 billion overhaul of Allianz and ANZ stadiums, but it cannot claim responsibility for it. This season, more than ever, it needs to start doing as much as possible to get people to its matches.

    Away from the NRL, at the grassroots level, junior, bush and and suburban clubs are screaming out for more support. They are tired of watching their participation numbers dwindle. They are tired of seeing the deeply resourced AFL increasingly swamp them as the NRL trots out participation numbers that have been overinflated by touch footy players.

    We’ve just witnessed a superb World Cup, especially because of Tonga. Does the NRL have any vision for international footy? Or will it simply shrug its shoulders and say its an RLIF thing, talk to them?

    Of course, the game faces many more issues and problems, not least its apparent lack of money. But if there is one thing it is lacking it’s a sense of direction.

    In his email, Greenberg asked all the clubs to schedule a time before the season starts when he can meet their boards and then their players. It will provide a perfect opportunity for him to tell them what the game stands for. What he stands for.

    And, after that, he should talk to the most important stakeholder out of the lot … you.

    Continue reading Greenberg has one year to show us why he should keep his job
     
  • admin 10:50 on 08/18/2019  

    Adelaide: A superb Melbourne Stars debut from 16-year-old Annabel Sutherland wasn’t enough to get her side over the line as a Tabatha Saville four from the last ball of the match gave the Adelaide Strikers a one-wicket win at Adelaide Oval on Tuesday.
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    Sutherland, the daughter of Cricket chief James Sutherland and sister of talented all-rounder Will Sutherland, played four games for the Melbourne Renegades last season but hadn’t bowled in the Women’s Big Bash League until Tuesday, when she was included in the Stars’ XI for the first time.

    Stars openers Lizelle Lee (52 from 52 balls) and Katie Mack (42 from 34) helped their team to a total of 5-132 from their 20 overs. The game was in the balance with the Strikers 2-70 after 11 overs when Stars captain Kristen Beams, back from a finger injury, brought Sutherland into the attack. The seamer struck with her first ball, claiming the scalp of n international Tahlia McGrath for 13, caught at mid off by Anna Lanning. Sutherland took three more wickets to finish with 4-20 from her four overs.

    But the Strikers weren’t done with yet. The match came down to the wire, with Beams getting a hand to a straight drive from Saville to run out non-striker Alex Price with four runs needed from the last three balls. Beams bowled a dot ball the next ball, but with one ball left she bowled a chest high no-ball. Saville then struck a four off a free hit through deep backward point to win the match by one wicket on the last ball of the game.

    The loss further reduced the Stars’ already slim finals hopes. They are three games and net run rate adrift of fourth-placed Brisbane Heat, with six matches to play.

    Sutherland said she’d been told by Stars coach David Hemp at the team’s hotel on Tuesday morning that she’d be playing. It was too late for her family to make it for the game but she was confident they’d be watching a live stream on the Cricket website, and was anticipating some phone chats with her parents and Will.

    She said it was “an amazing feeling” to bowl so successfully, while the final over was “a rollercoaster”.

    “We didn’t finish as well as we would’ve liked, but I guess that’s cricket and we can’t do much about it,” Sutherland said.

    The Stars’ English all-rounder Georgia Elwiss missed the game with a finger injury and is set to be assessed ahead of the side’s next games against Brisbane in Mackay on Friday night and Saturday night.

    Continue reading Last-ball drama ends in heartbreak for Melbourne Stars
     
  • admin 10:50 on 08/18/2019  

    A new kind of court will help clear case backlogs by discouraging last-minute guilty pleas, a NSW trial suggests.
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    But the NSW Bar Association has said adopting the approach would not do much to fix an underfunded system “near breaking point”.

    From March 2015, District Court judge Ian McClintock presided over a “rolling list” court where dedicated teams of prosecution and defence lawyers appeared before him alone, rather than diverting to other judges after adjournments.

    Don Weatherburn, director of the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, said after nearly 30 years of mooted solutions to court delays, the trial had shown “spectacular” results.

    The new court system allowed for senior lawyers to negotiate sooner, saving time and money, proponents say. Photo: James Davies

    “I’ve never seen anything they have done that produces effects as dramatic as this,” Mr Weatherburn said. “It shows you can actually change the system.”

    The crime research bureau measured the success of the new court by randomly allocating Legal Aid cases between the regular lists and Judge McClintock’s rolling list.

    Criminals who pleaded guilty early in either were entitled to sentence reductions of up to 25 per cent.

    In the rolling list court, 58 per cent of cases ended in a guilty plea before trial, compared with 22 per cent in the regular courts.

    Mr Weatherburn said the difference came down to one of two factors, or some combination of the two.

    First, the “docket” system of appearing before a single judge throughout a case meant “instantly the inducement to seek an adjournment to get before some other judge is gone”.

    Second, placing senior lawyers on both sides in dedicated teams allowed for negotiations over charges and trial issues to happen much earlier, he said.

    Rolling list cases also progressed from committal hearings to trials 40 per cent sooner and were finalised more quickly.

    Legal Aid solicitor Sally McLaughlin, one of the early participants, said the court allowed for an immediate dialogue and “real trust” with public prosecutors.

    “There’s an efficiency in knowing your counterpart well, knowing how they operate,” Ms McLaughlin said.

    A spokeswoman for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions said it was “extremely pleased” with the results.

    Attorney-General Mark Speakman said while the rolling list court was an initiative of Chief Judge Derek Price, this year the government would introduce statewide reforms requiring early negotiations between senior prosecutors and defence lawyers.

    “This will include appointing senior counsel sooner and providing continuity in defence and prosecution, leading to more open communication and earlier plea negotiations,” Mr Speakman said.

    But NSW Bar Association president Arthur Moses, SC, said “with the criminal justice system near breaking point due to delays, the District Court needs more than a new case management approach to reduce the backlog”.

    Mr Moses said the government needed to appoint more judges and provide more funding for Legal Aid and senior lawyers to deal with the “tsunami of cases”.

    While the rolling list court produced more guilty pleas overall, researchers found the increase was not significant enough to prove anything. The new system did not lead to shorter, more focused trials, as had been predicted from early results.

    Continue reading Criminals pleading guilty much earlier in new kind of court
     
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