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Duty calls: Sharpe puts retirement on hold again

NATHAN SHARPE has answered the mayday call from Australian rugby and will play on through the four-Test tour of Europe next month.
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Sharpe said he wanted to help the Wallabies through the toughest international season he could remember and would delay his retirement for a second time and finish his 111-Test career playing against Wales – for the 14th time – in Cardiff on December 2.

“Playing for Australia is something I have never taken for granted. As such, to be asked to continue beyond the deadline I had set for myself was both flattering but also a request that was very difficult to turn down,” Sharpe said.

“I have never known a season where the Wallabies have faced such adversity as we have this year. To show the spirit and character that the team has is a mark of how the group has grown, both individually and collectively, and I have enjoyed playing my part in that.

“The opportunity to lead the Wallabies again on what will be a challenging but exciting tour was too tempting. It is not easy to say no to your country.”

Sharpe, 34, had planned to retire at the end of the Super Rugby season but agreed to play through the Rugby Championship and final Bledisloe Cup match after a career-best performance in the three-Test series against Wales in June.

The Wallabies’ second-row stocks were ravaged by Dan Vickerman’s forced retirement and a long-term injury to first-choice captain James Horwill.

Deans has spent the past 12 months cultivating the likes of Sitaleki Timani, Dave Dennis and Kane Douglas and Reds second-rower Rob Simmons is a regular member of the match 22. But without Sharpe the Wallabies lack the hard-won composure the Queenslander brings to the table.

His decision to play on past the Brisbane Test against the All Blacks next weekend also helps fill a leadership vacuum in the squad left following injuries to back-up captain David Pocock and his replacement Will Genia.

“You only have to look at what he has achieved with the group since he took over as captain,” Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said.

”His influence has been immense, he is arguably playing the best rugby of his career but, most importantly, he is enjoying the experience.

“Sharpey’s presence and leadership has been a constant throughout the year – one of the few aspects of continuity that we’ve had through a season that is probably without precedent in terms of disruption.

“For that reason, it was straightforward asking him to continue … While he has a range of other commitments in his life, and touring means putting them on hold again, I had no doubt that he would be keen to continue.”

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Heart wary of the danger in depleted Phoenix

MELBOURNE Heart is well aware of the potential banana skin that a ravaged Wellington Phoenix side, which will field as many as four debutants, represents when it lines up at AAMI Park on Sunday.
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Wellington, impressive 2-0 winners over Sydney in round one, has been gutted by the demands of the New Zealand national team, which has taken six of its players, and the Solomon Islands side, which has called up Benjamin Totori.

”We have got to approach the game as if it’s a normal match,” said Heart’s former English Premier League midfielder Richie Garcia.

”The players who come into the side will be doubly eager to impress and hold their position. They looked like a very hard-working and physical team against Sydney and it will be a difficult task for us.”

For several seasons, Paul Ifill, who played at Millwall, Sheffield United and Crystal Palace. has been the Phoenix’s go-to man and Garcia, who played at West Ham and Hull City in England, knows all about him.

”We have come up against each other in the past,” he said. ”He has done well wherever he has gone, he has always scored goals, so he will be a very dangerous player we have to watch in this match.”

For Garcia, the slower rhythms of the A-League are something he is still getting used to. The wait for the season to start seemed interminable and, even now, he is restless because he has to wait nine days to play his second game. It’s certainly another world to the hurly-burly of the Premiership, and the even busier Championship, where league and cup games come thick and fast.

”It’s odd for me. Normally we have played three games [in the first week of a new season] by now and you are tired and can’t move,” said Garcia. ”I am used to being a lot busier, but as I have been told, when all the travelling starts I will probably be grateful for the recovery time. But the travel won’t be a problem. I am going to have to get used to it but when I have been on international duty I have played in Australia then flown back to England and played the next day.”

Garcia said he was surprised by the intensity and speed of Friday’s season-opener against Victory.

”It was quite a fast-paced game, quite intense. I was expecting it to be a bit slower, so that was good for me that it was at high intensity,” he said. ”Maybe there were a few more turnovers, but that’s what you expect when the game is played at a good pace. Players always want to play in front of big crowds and the atmosphere was great, and the crowd.”

Although he struggled with injuries in his final seasons in England, Garcia, who played for the Socceroos in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, said his body was at a good stage and he was enjoying the deeper midfield role he had been asked to occupy by John Aloisi.

”I am growing into my new role and enjoying it, but I want to chip in with a few goals as well, I don’t want to lose that from my game,” he said.

”Defending is something new for me, but I made my debut at centre midfield for West Ham and played for the state team in WA as a kid in that position, so I know it.

”When you get off to a winning start it always brings confidence. It’s just a matter of going back to back this weekend.”

WEEK TWO(All games on Fox Sports) ADELAIDE UTD v WANDERERSHindmarsh Stadium, 7.30pm The Reds defied expectations with a 2-0 away win in round one against a fancied Newcastle. Not bad considering they had only just arrived back in the country after an Asian Champions League quarter-final a few days earlier. Dario Vidosic netted the first that day, but he is an absentee tonight through injury. WSW ground out a scoreless draw in its first game against Central Coast and will be better for the run. Japanese star Shinji Ono could start this time, but even his presence might not be enough to stop the Adelaide gaining another three points.

SYDNEY FC v JETSSydney Football Stadium, tomorrow, 5.30pm The game all Sydney has been waiting for since it was announced that Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero was coming to the harbour city. Del Piero created a good impression in his first appearance in last week’s season opener in Wellington, but his teammates didn’t as Sydney crashed to a 2-0 loss. Emile Heskey is the other big name on show in this game, the former English Premiership striker having made his debut for his new team in the surprise loss to Adelaide. Promoters will be hoping both get on the scoresheet. They might, and this game could end in a draw.

ROAR v VICTORYSuncorp Stadium, tomorrow, 7.45pm Another fixture rife with possibility as the FFA’s policy of setting up tantalising matches in the early rounds of the season delivers another potential delight. Ange Postecoglou, Victory’s new coach, returns to the scene of his triumphs having led Brisbane to the past two A-League titles, to face a team now helmed by his former assistant, Rado Vidosic. Victory could struggle without Thompson, Milligan and Rojas, and it would be no surprise to see the Roar get back to its winning ways.

HEART v PHOENIXAAMI Park, Sunday, 3pm Heart has been the best backed team this round, and it is hardly surprising that John Aloisi’s side should be odds-on to record its second win in a row with the Phoenix missing seven first-team squad members because of Oceania World Cup qualifiers over the next week. Heart will be cock-a-hoop after its derby win and can go on with the job here.

MARINERS v GLORYBluetongue Stadium, Sunday, 5pm A game that might offer some measure of revenge for the Mariners, who were defeated at this venue by Perth Glory in the preliminary final last season. The Mariners got off to a stuttering start with a scoreless draw against Wanderers, while Perth got its own form of revenge by defeating reigning premier Brisbane last weekend. Perth these days is tough, organised and competitive home or away but so are the Mariners, who are always difficult to beat. This game could end up with the spoils shared.

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NZ hoop set for big time

JAMES McDonald has never won a Guineas in Australia or at home in New Zealand, but at the top of his wishlist is the Caulfield Guineas. He hardly expects to win tomorrow’s race, but he can’t wait for the opportunity.
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McDonald takes the Caulfield Guineas ride on Ashokan for John O’Shea, who is in the running for a classic placing if he can recapture his best Sydney form. McDonald could hope for nothing better.

”I have always wanted to have a ride in the Caulfield Guineas. It is one of those races that captures my imagination,” he said.

”It is a stallion-making race and these are races that everyone talks about, and I wanted to be involved in them and win them.

”When I made the decision to come [to Australia] it was these days with the big atmosphere which made it an easy one.”

McDonald first came to Australia to ride in the big time last year and freely admits he was a bit green.

”There is a lot more pressure over here,” he said. ”There is [pressure] at home as well, but it is different here. It is constant.

”I’m a lot more street-wise about it now than I was 12 months ago. I had that month in Hong Kong, which is really competitive, and I learned a lot from John Moore. It is just about being a bit tougher.”

McDonald is an undoubted talent but the difference from his ride in last year’s Golden Rose on Foxwedge and his winning effort on It’s A Dundeel in the Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick was marked.

”I think it is about having confidence to make a move and not second guessing yourself,” he said. ”I was very confident going into the race. I thought I was on the right horse.

”It will be a bit different on the weekend because we are taking on a champion in Pierro. He is just a superstar.

”Ashokan is a horse that is going to put himself in the race and his runs going into this have been very good without winning.

”I think the mile will really suit him.”

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Gate may be open for Caulfield Cup

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Imported galloper Gatewood is well supported to win on his Australian debut in tomorrow’s Herbert Power Stakes at Caulfield, despite the concession yesterday from his trainer John Gosden that the horse faced a tough task. ”It’s a learning curve travelling a horse that far and we’re happy with the profile we have so far but let’s be clear about it – it’s a big ask,” Gosden told Sky Sports Radio. ”He settled in great, he travelled well. The most important thing is he ate and he drank on the way. The great thing about horses, unlike us, they don’t drink alcohol on a plane, he didn’t dehydrate too much.” Gatewood has been backed from $5 to $4 for tomorrow’s race over the Caulfield Cup distance and Gosden said that if he could earn a run in the $2.5 million handicap the following week, he could pull off an upset. ”I think he’ll suit the racing [in Australia] well,” Gosden said. ”He’s a progressive horse.”Frankel closes in on memorable farewell

The countdown is on for the farewell run for the world’s leading thoroughbred, Frankel, who this week galloped strongly at Newmarket in preparation for next Saturday’s group 1 Champion Stakes at Ascot. Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for Frankel’s owner Prince Khalid Abdullah, said the son of Galileo did everything required of him by trainer Sir Henry Cecil. ”Everything went very well, it was a good bit of work and we were all very happy. It’s so far, so good,” Grimthorpe said. Frankel will perform in front of royalty in the Champion Stakes with the Queen to travel to the Berkshire course to see the superstar in action for the final time.

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The next best

Pipe-opener: Sydney colt Epaulette wins the Caulfield Guineas Prelude a fortnight ago. Now for the main game tomorrow.HISTORY often plays a big part when assessing the premier races on a day such as tomorrow’s Caulfield Guineas meeting. Trends can appear in certain eras and that is certainly the case with the feature sprint race, the Schillaci Stakes.
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Over the past nine years, eight three-year-old fillies have run in the Schillaci with all but one of those ultimately clinching a top-four finish. That filly was Jade Diva, who finished fifth in 2004. The others were multiple black-type fillies: Karuta Queen (2nd behind Black Caviar in 2011); Paprika (4th in 2009); Royal Asscher (2nd in 2007); Nediym’s Glow (3rd in 2006); Danerich (2nd in 2005); Alizes (2nd in 2004) and Halibery (1st in 2003).

OK, there is only one winner among that group, but it appears you can bank on a quality sprinting filly getting into the finish. In tomorrow’s race, there is one three-year-old among the 10 runners, she is a female, she is already a stakes winner and, above all, she is likely to offer plenty of value, as she is at $26 in early markets. MALASUN (Race 4, No. 10) might fly under the radar a little in this race after what appeared to be a disappointing first-up flop at Moonee Valley. But she carried the weight penalty (1.5 kilograms) and she led that day at a sizzling tempo, allowing Love For Ransom and Stella Lante – who were at the tail of the field turning for home – to fly home late and swamp her.

Also, that run was at 1200 metres and her first run since immaturity forced trainer Mick Price to send her to the paddock when in the running for Blue Diamond Stakes favouritism.

She is back to the pure sprinter’s course tomorrow and even though she is drawn a touch awkwardly in barrier nine, she has just 51 kilograms and so can jump and run and keeping running.


Have something each-way on Malasun and also rove her around numbers 1, 2, 5, 7, 8 and 9 in trifectas.


A MARE’S sprint race with a capacity field at the end of a long day’s racing can present its problems for punters looking to carry on a winning day or recoup losses. But tomorrow features the return of a mare that might be something special and I think we can safely bank on SHEILA’S STAR (Race 9, No. 11) to get the job done.

In five runs for Caulfield trainer Mick Price, she has won three convincingly before injuring herself when beaten in a stakes race in Adelaide before a spell. Her three wins on end were over 1400 metres and she was beaten first-up over 1200 metres but drew poorly that day and got back in the ruck before finishing on strongly. The manner of her three wins last campaign were of a horse capable of taking a large step in class.

Sheila’s Star was a work in progress last campaign and now, as a fully matured five-year-old, should be able to take up an ideal spot on or just off the speed from her inside barrier. It is certainly notable that Glen Boss takes the mount and given his current form, he should give her every chance of a first-up win.

The hardest for her to beat may well be the horse that Boss rode at her last start. The Darley-trained mare DETOURS (No. 3) did not enjoy the best of runs first-up late last month as she was caught wide but still managed to win with authority. This mare has promised much and looks set for an excellent spring campaign.

It was difficult not to be taken with the Victorian debut of MISS MARX (No. 4), who came from a seemingly impossible position to win at Caulfield. She had run second to More Joyous in Sydney before that so you have to trust her form. But the query with her is that while Sheila’s Star and Detours have inside gates, she may again be forced back from gate 13 and may have to rely on luck to win.


You might try Sheila’s Star one-out in the quaddie and if you have a ”live” ticket, lay off on Detours and include Miss Marx in trifectas.


APART from the Caulfield Guineas, the most intense race tomorrow surely is the Herbert Power Stakes, where the winner grabs a spot in next Saturday’s $2.5 million Caulfield Cup. The race brings together horses from all sorts of form lines and indeed from different parts of the world, and with such a prize at the end of this race, the time to perform is now.

The horses are fit, the jockeys are hungry (in more ways than one) and so the best and most adaptable stayer should win. Three especially appeal.

IRONSTEIN (No. 3) has not won a race since he thrashed in rivals in the group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington last spring, but his past two starts when finishing fast in the Kingston Town Stakes in Sydney and JRA Stakes at Moonee Valley over 2000m have been most impressive. At Moonee Valley, he settled at the tail of the field and found trouble in the run before flashing home to finish within two lengths of Bianmick. He meets that horse 1.5 kilograms better and has a definite advantage over Bianmick at the barriers.

I suspect MR O’CEIRIN (No. 10) will prove a tough horse to get past. Out to 2400m this bold front-runner should enjoy the slightly slower tempo and might be able to dictate. He’s enjoyed a perfect build-up to this trip and with Glen Boss aboard is set to produce a career-best performance.

The John Gosden-trained GATEWOOD (No. 2) appeals as the wildcard of the race. He returned to racing with just a maiden win next to his name in May at York in Britain and immediately began a dramatic rise through his classes. At his most recent start at Deauville, France, in August he was beaten a neck in a group 2 over 2500m. That form is surely strong enough to win here so it’s a matter of how well he’s settled in.


A great betting race suggests a tidy reward in multiples. Take 2, 3, and 10 in quaddies and take the same numbers to finish in the top two in trifectas around the field.

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State’s health services in financial stress

HALF of Melbourne’s health services have reported losses for the last financial year, and one rural hospital is in serious financial stress as it struggles to meet growing demand for its services.
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The losses come as Victoria’s health system continues to buckle under increasing pressure, with figures showing scores of Victorians are waiting too long for ambulances and hospital care.

A swag of annual reports tabled in Parliament yesterday revealed half of Melbourne’s 14 health services reported deficits for the 2011-12 financial year.

Northern Health, which runs the Northern Hospital in Epping, reported the largest loss of $5.24 million. It was followed by Eastern Health and Southern Health, which both lost nearly $2.9 million, and Western Health, which came in $1.68 million short.

Eastern Health runs Box Hill and Maroondah hospitals; Southern Health runs Monash Medical Centre and Dandenong Hospital; and Western Health runs the Sunshine and Western hospitals.

The West Gippsland Healthcare Group, which runs a hospital serving about 40,000 people in Warragul, also reported a deficit of $1.3 million, along with solvency stress.

In a frank annual report statement, president Brian Davey and chief executive Dan Weeks said demand for its services had significantly exceeded the group’s funding allocation last year, resulting in a loss.

They flagged more pain this year and said the group was unlikely to reduce their elective surgery waiting list in the foreseeable future.

”The year ahead is likely to be very challenging for West Gippsland Healthcare Group, as we struggle to balance our funding allocation with the ever increasing demand for services,” they wrote.

In response to questions about Northern Health’s deficit, chief executive Greg Pullen said the network was in a ”rapidly growing, complex and diverse community” and was budgeting to break even this financial year.

Ambulance Victoria’s 2011-12 annual report posted a $3.35 million loss and said its response times continued to decline, with paramedics taking longer than 15 minutes to respond to one in four cases.

They responded within time in 75 per cent of cases, down from 77 per cent the previous year, and below the target of 85 per cent.

The Department of Health’s annual report showed that while Victorian emergency departments treated all urgent patients immediately last year, nearly a third of category three patients (people with moderate to severe blood loss or persistent vomiting) were not treated within the government’s target of 30 minutes.

Thousands of Victorians waiting for semi-urgent elective surgery also waited too long, with just 72 per cent of category two patients getting their surgery within the government’s target of 90 days.

Victorian Health Minister David Davis said his government had increased health spending to a record $13.68 billion this year and was working with the West Gippsland Healthcare Group to improve its position.

But Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said the coalition’s health funding was ”hopelessly inadequate” and meant hospitals were going backwards. ”You see the decline in the bottom line for the health services and in clinical outcomes,” he said.

The president of the Victorian branch of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Stephen Parnis, said there was an ”increasing level of duress” in the health system, which was trying to cope with rising demand from a growing and ageing population.

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Getting physical with Geoffrey Edelsten

Dr Geoffrey Edelsten (left) waits for his wife Brynne (right) on the red carpet at Crown on Brownlow night.Geoffrey Edelsten has, of course, been in the news recently.
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His autobiography, Enigma, is a rollicking read. During his single days, one of his notable flings was with busty blonde Number 96 siren Abigail, who was desired by many.

Edelsten wrote: ”She was an animal in bed, a ferocious lover who left me gasping.”

Before dessert, they had dinner and Edelsten was baffled when Abigail ordered a carrot.

The wearer of bedazzling diamantes also recounts losing his virginity under the stars in the back garden of the home of the lucky girl — after she put a sheet on the wet grass.

”With the ground sheet squeaking beneath us, I became a true man.” It’s best I stop right here.Lazenby chased by two Bonds

His name is Lazenby, George Lazenby. The actor who played debonair James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service will be at the Astor tomorrow to introduce a remastered version of the 1969 film. The Australian-born man who played the famous secret agent will take part in a Q&A to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Bond franchise but fans should contain their excitement because Lazenby won’t be sharing all of himself. A note to ticket-holders says: ”Mr Lazenby will not be posing for fan photographs or signing autographs.” That is because he’s in Oz for the Armageddon Expo fan-fest and will be posing for happy snaps and signing autographs for a fee. Two fans extremely interested in Lazenby’s visit are Michael Ward and Stephen Hall, performers in the show Bond-A-Rama! who re-create scenes from 22 Bond films in 75 minutes. The stunt marathon occurs at Chapel off Chapel from October 17, a highlight being a video message from Lazenby. The duo tracked him down in LA and what could have been a mission impossible became possible after months of emailing and, finally, a ”yes”. Then Ward and Hall jumped on a plane and filmed the clip.

Lazenby may not be as forthcoming as he was in a documentary about Bond’s 50th anniversary when recalling the role’s tremendous fringe benefits. ”I don’t want to brag, but I had at least one girl a day,” he said. ”There was a tent on set where the stuntmen used to keep the mattresses they fell on in fight scenes. It was a good place to take a chick if you were in a hurry.” Lazenby is invited to Bond-A-Rama! to reminisce about his martini-sipping, pistol-pointing days and his special bond with the ladies.Goldblum still alive

Despite being declared dead in a premature tweet by Channel Nine’s Richard Wilkins, US actor Jeff Goldblum is still very much alive. We know this because 3AW’s celebrity magnet Donna Demaio is holidaying in LA, saw him and being someone who always obtains photographic evidence of her A-list encounters, she posed with Goldblum.

Her holiday scrapbook also has snaps with singer Keith Urban in LA and actor Matthew Broderick in NY. Wait, there’s more. Someone else she saw in LA was Aussie menswear designer Dom Bagnato, but this time he posed with her hubby, Michael Wooldridge.Frodo’s tennis lesson

There’s tennis elbow and an elbow for tennis. Captain Frodo, the pliable performer who squeezes his body through unstrung tennis racquets, is reaching for the sweatbands for the Melbourne Festival premiere of La Soiree tomorrow.

The ensemble comprises stars from La Clique, the triple-A avantgardists who’ll turn the Forum into a eye-popping den of cabaret, burlesque and vaudeville. Norwegian-born Frodo, the son of a magician who calls Melbourne home, headlines the show with Ursula Martinez and her vanishing hanky, David O’Mer, the ”Bath Boy”, and bewitching others.

A ticket to the premiere is so in demand that people who have not been invited have brazenly emailed the publicist to RSVP, even offering to audition for a ticket by contorting through a tennis racquet.

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Titans give Kelly last chance at big-time 

LIFELINE: Albert Kelly playing for Central Newcastle in July. Picture: Brock PerksAFTER blowing opportunities to establish himself as an NRL player with Cronulla and Newcastle, talented utility Albert Kelly has been thrown a lifeline by the Gold Coast Titans.
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Kelly hails from Macksville, the same NSW country town as his cousin Greg Inglis.

There were some who felt he was just as talented as Inglis when he headed to Parramatta straight out of high school.

But he has had a turbulent career, sacked mid-season by the Sharks in 2011 and then dumped by Newcastle after a nightclub incident this year.

Kelly has a four-month trial period to show the Titans he is serious about fulfilling his potential and that he wants to get his young life back on track.

Titans football manager Scott Clark said yesterday that the club became aware of Kelly’s plight through their many indigenous community programs.

“His manager came into contact with our guys working in the field and told us about Albert,” Clark said.

“We told him about the opportunities to work with indigenous people off the field and it all stemmed from there. Before you knew it, we were in negotiations about a playing contract as well.”

Kelly, who can play halfback or fullback, will have to tick some boxes before being offered a contract, but he has been given a chance many thought would not come his way again.

“Albert has an opportunity to train with the full-time squad over the off-season and play some trial matches during the pre-season,” Clark said.

“I spoke to him on Wednesday night and I think deep down he knows this could be his last crack, although you’d never say that. We know he can play footy, he’s a great player.

“I’ll never compare anyone to Preston Campbell but Albert’s got that freakish ability to do things that Preston would do on the field.

“He’s also had a child recently, which can sometimes put some perspective into his life.

“We’ve been able to provide a positive environment for other players who’ve had off-field issues in the past, so hopefully Albert can make the most of his opportunity here with the Titans.”

Kelly is the third off-season recruit for the Titans after 19-year-old English fullback Matt Russell signed a two-year deal and former Canberra lower-grade prop Mark Ioane a one-year deal. They will join Queensland representative David Taylor as new faces at the club when the Titans’ pre-season begins on November 5.

● Former Dragon Rangi Chase is weighing up a return to the NRL next season with St George Illawarra.

The 26-year-old Super League playmaker’s move from Castleford to Hull fell through last week due to visa problems.

Chase was the 2011 Super League player of the year.


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V’landys wants fair crack of whip with NJC members

ANSWERS: Racing NSW boss Peter V’landys. Picture: Kitty HillRACING NSW chief Peter V’landys could be in for a fiery reception when he fronts Newcastle Jockey Club’s annual general meeting on November 27.
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V’landys confirmed yesterday that he would be at the meeting.

He said he wanted to address “scaremongering and misinformation” over the $12 million Racing NSW grant to the Broadmeadow club.

The annual general meeting will start at 6pm.

“I want to put things straight . . . this is not a takeover of the NJC by Racing NSW,” V’landys said.

“I want to let members know that and answer their questions.”

The Racing NSW grant of $12 million for renovating and building on the course proper and B grass has a proviso attached – that Racing NSW has three appointees on a new-look seven-person Newcastle board.

For that to happen, the NJC constitution will have to be changed, and that needs a 75 per cent vote.

“This is not only happening in Newcastle,” V’landys said.

“We have done this all over the state.

“There has been so much scaremongering and misinformation about the money that I have to speak out about it, and the AGM is the perfect place for that.

“The appointment of three representatives on the NJC board is no reflection on the present administrators.

“We feel that this new board set-up would be skill-based.

“We will be looking for the best people in Newcastle from the business world that can help the building program and continued success for the next 20 years at Broadmeadow.

“These might be people who would not be prepared to stand for a public election but are interested in helping the NJC.

“This is a huge project rebuilding two tracks, and we need people that can get it done.

“The point is that the casting vote will be with the NJC, who will have four elected representatives on the board.”

V’landys’s comments came after a meeting this week of NJC members who are against the proposed change to the constitution.

They will present a petition to the NJC today calling for a general meeting to discuss the matter.

More than 50 people attended Tuesday’s meeting.

“The meeting was strong that the changes proposed are against what the club needs right now,” said Richard Davis, who chaired the meeting.

“Given the short time frame to communicate the meeting to the membership of just five days, the co-ordinators were gobsmacked by an attendance in excess of 50.

“Attendees included members, trainers, the press and six members of the NJC board.

“The attendance of 60 per cent of the board could be used as a yardstick to judge the meeting’s credibility.

“The main items on the advertised agenda were pertaining to future change of club governance and the involuntary redundancy of our racing manager, John Curtis,” Davis said.

“These were hot topics taking up all but 15 minutes of the two-hour meeting.”

Davis said the dislike of the “big stick approach” from Racing NSW was “most evident”.

“Is this a takeover in disguise of the NJC by Racing NSW was a question which was asked at the meeting,” Davis said.

Stable Talk, Page 87

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Let’s (not) talk about sex

BREAK out the vanilla sarsaparilla! The word misogyny was barely mentioned in Australia’s House of Pain today.
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Christopher Pyne, for whom too much is never enough, managed to spit the word once, but whatever he was trying to say was promptly swallowed by Labor’s Anthony Albanese moving that he no longer be heard.

Australia’s parliamentarians had scared themselves witless with a word that has had half the country scrambling for a dictionary.

Worse, just when the shouting had settled to a dull moan, an alleged comedian had managed to push the language alarm to code red with an alleged joke that fell flatter than a stale beer at a union smoko.

After a week of Labor accusing Tony Abbott of rampant sexism and the Abbott troops dishing it back over the government’s unfortunate choice of a texting Speaker, the Prime Minister and several senior colleagues dragged themselves to a dinner organised by the CFMEU in Parliament House on Wednesday evening.

The star turn was a wisecracker rejoicing in the stage name Fair Go For Billionaires. Ms Gillard and several colleagues, happily for them, had left before Fair Go let fly with a “joke” that would make a Peter Slipper text message blush.

It concerned Abbott and his chief of staff, Peta Credlin, and was so odious — and defamatory — no sensible newspaper would repeat it.

Treasurer Wayne Swan, Trade Minister Craig Emerson and Housing Minister Brendan O’Connor were unfortunate enough to have remained in the audience. They recognised they were in a pickle only slightly less appalling than if they had blundered in to an Alan Jones prawn night.

As word of the horror slowly seeped out, Ms Gillard and her team went on to the highest alert to distance themselves from Fair Go’s loathsome view of humour. Ms Gillard called the CFMEU’s national secretary declaring the comments so offensive and so wrong they should never have been made.

CFMEU officials said that if they’d known such a jape was to be made, they’d have torn Fair Go off the stage before he got to it.

The agency representing Fair Go, Manic Studios (of course) issued a grovelling apology to Abbott and Ms Credlin, pleading “poor judgment” and offering that “the joke was a last-minute inclusion and crossed the line”.

Liberal Senator Eric Abetz suggested Ms Gillard arrange a boycott of CFMEU publications — the sort of thing that had happened to Jones and his radio show after his bout of septic mouth.

By question time, no one was joking about anything and most of the hollering was confined to safe old standards like the carbon tax and employment figures. The Coalition tried to revive the Slipper text affair, but it never got off the ground.

Fair Go had finally killed any appetite for jibes about misogyny in the House of Pain. For which, perhaps, he ought to receive some credit. Or not.

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

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