Monthly Archives: March 2019

The Block: One couple may not finish room as tight budgets bite

While the contestants on The Block may well be going up (upstairs, that is), some appear to be heading in the opposite direction when it comes to executing.
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Jason and Sarah are like two lost souls this week … even Jason, who will normally talk your ear off about his woes and his plans for the house, was melancholy and without purpose. It was hard to feel anything other than they’ve given up. Let’s hope not, as even though in real-estate speak “renovator’s delight” is a decidedly enticing catch phrase, it’s not going to cut it on The Block.

Over in house four, Wombat who is flying solo (except for the large marsupial strapped to his chest), has well and truly got his work cut out for him. There are a few flags in the space they’re creating, namely in the orientation of the room. And I would also implore these boys to dial the masculinity down as much as they can. Less man-cave and more parent sanctuary.

Ronnie and Georgia claim to be adding drama to their suite by adding in a hallway, but for me, it just seems like wasted space. I understand their intention in having a proper walkway/entrance and the idea of adding “drama”, but this incredible master suite already has that in spades – it’s on a floor of its own. For me, drama at the cost of a few square metres may put some buyers off. Having said that, we’re coming to rely on Ronnie and Georgia for drama and they’re not ones to shy away from glamour so let’s see what they deliver.

I think Hannah and Clint are the ones taking the smartest route this week. I know the Grafico wallpaper they’ve gone with will be polarising to many. I personally love it and think it’s striking in it’s beauty. They have a fabulous walk-in-robe. Not too big, not too small and it’s armed with lots of practical nooks and crannies. Show me a female buyer who wouldn’t rush towards that.

Josh and Elyse’s stunning master space would have, could have and should have taken the prize from me this week. It’s stunning but, with no door, I am left dumbstruck.

They’re pitching this house at families and even without kids, watch a few episodes of The Brady Bunch and you’ll know that large groups of people make noise, teenagers roam the house at all hours studying, eating and getting home late. And don’t even get me started on young children making an unwelcome visit to a parent’s room. A master suite needs a door. Full stop. Related: Everyone wants open-plan – or do they?Related: The dilemma of a blank canvasRelated: Getting it right for the kids

On the plus side, it looks like their bathroom is going to be a room of beauty. I can’t wait to see their tiles. And yes, the en suite has a door.

NRL: It means “everything” for Lachlan Fitzgibbon to stay at Newcastle Knightsphotos

Knights fans will have to get used to seeing the distinctive long locks of Lachlan Fitzgibbon for a littlelonger.
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Not only is he keen to keep the rangy mane over the off-season and maintaintheold-school tape approach for next year, but he will once again be playing in Newcastle.

The 23-year-old Merewether-based South Newcastle junior has signed a two-year deal with the Knights, which will keep the back-rower at the NRL club until the end of 2019.

Fitzgibbon on board for Knights’ long haul BACK: Newcastle Knights second-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon, who has re-signed at the NRL club until the end of 2017, crashes over for his eighth try of the season on Sunday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

TweetFacebook Lachlan FitzgibbonPictures by Jonathan CarrollFitzgibbon had already achieved a dream by debuting in 2015but the Lions productwill now continue to wear his belovedred and blue after impressing with eight tries, including Sunday’s double,from14 appearances in a barnstormingback-end to the season.

“It meanseverything,”he said following Wednesday’s announcement.

“Being a local junior your number one goal in life is topull on an NRL jersey and even more so being at home.

“We’re luckyenough in Newcastle to be a one town team and every junior here wants to play for the Knights.”

Fitzgibbonwas coming off-contract and in August theKnights tabled an offer, butdespite the distraction of rumoured interest from elsewhere he said leaving was a“last resort” and the security of finally extending his existing dealwas welcomed.

“My first priority was always to stay in Newcastle,” he said.

“Ilove being here, it’s myhome town and Idon’t really want to leave at any stage so to belocked in for the next couple of years is unreal.

“Whether there was interest from anyone else I’m not too sure, Ileft that for my manager tosort out.

“But Ithink the club knew, my manger knew, and my family and friends knew that I wanted to stay.

“That being said Browny wanted me to stay as well, which gave me added confidence.

“We wanted to come up with a deal by the end of the season leading into next year and now there’s a bit of a break soI can hit the ground running [for pre-season training] on November 1.”

Fitzgibbon was inspired by the weekend’s turn out at old boys’ day–both from famed ex-players to crowd attendance once again supporting a last-placed team.

The second-rower feels the Knights are well placed to move up the ladder in the years ahead and he wants to help lead the push forward.

”There’sbeen a lot of growth over the last year in particular,” he said.

“A lot of us played a bit before our time and whileI’m still [relatively]inexperienced I don’tsee myself as a young bloke anymore.

“I’ll be 24 next year and a lot of boys will be hitting their straps at around the right age to make a mark in first grade.

“Plus a couple of recruits coming in will definitely help for bigger and better things next season.”

As for losing the “little tape addition” and a possible summer trim.

“No she’s staying,” he said.

“Until I get conned enough by my missusor someone elseto cut it off.”

At least 11 players remain off-contract at the Knights, including centre Peter Mata’utia.

Others includeBrendan Elliot, Luke Yates, Josh Starling, Jack Stockwell, Jaelen Feeney, Pauli Pauli, Jacob Gagan, Will Pearsall, David Bhana and Tyrone Amey.

It is believed Mata’utia has been offered a deal.

In other contract negotiations Knights’ targets Adam Blair (Broncos) and Gerard Beale (Sharks) have been approachedbut are yet to confirm if they will play in Newcastle or elsewhere. Both have been strongly linked to the New Zealand Warriors.

PREVIOUS: The setback that kick started his NRL career

AUGUST 7: Deal put forward by Knights

NATHAN ROSS: Pain is the price of victory

Urgent national ban on dangerous aluminium cladding needed: report

Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building on Wednesday morning, Saturday, June 17, 2017. Public fury over the London high-rise fire is mounting as exhausted London firefighters continue their grim search Saturday for victims of the inferno that killed at least 30 people. (David Mirzoeff/PA via AP)Removal of aluminium cladding from Canberra’s Centenary Hospital and other public buildings should come with an urgent national ban on the dangerous products, a Senate committee has warned.
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Flammable composite cladding – blamed for a catastrophic fire which killed more than 80 people inside London’s Grenfell Tower – is present in tens of thousands of n buildings and makes up as much as 10 per cent of the cladding on the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children.

Parliament’s Standing Committee on Economics called for an urgent national ban on the importation, sale and use of the dangerous polyethylene core aluminium composite panels, as well as for state and territory governments to establish a national licensing scheme for builders.

The committee, which has considered dangerous building products over three years and received more than 160 submissions, also called for beefed up penalties for breaches of the construction code and more funding for the Federal Safety Commissioner.

It said there had been extensive delays in the development and implementation of policies to address non-compliance and non-conformity in the building industry and long lag times in addressing a 2014 fire at Melbourne’s Lacrosse residential tower.

Labor’s spokesman on innovation, industry, science and research, Kim Carr, said the panels represented a fundamental failure of public safety akin to deadly asbestos.

He blamed decades of deregulation and privitisation and said use of the cheaper, imported combustible products saved builders just $3 per square metre.

“It’s been more good luck than good management that no one has been burned to death. More than 80 people were killed in England and we could have a similar circumstance here,” he said.

“We have the case of Canberra and while we don’t know how many buildings there are in Canberra specifically, the question is why are there any at all?

“The Commonwealth government needs to take some leadership here. Nationally consistency is required.”

Last month an independent assessment of the hospital found the panels represented a “credible fire risk”, including where panels had been installed over emergency exits and evacuation areas.

The Grenfell tragedy has prompted audits around and the world.

The fire is believed to have rapidly spread because of the exterior cladding, made of aluminum and polyethylene.

An audit of about 100 Commonwealth-owned buildings in Canberra is under way and the ACT government says the hospital is the only building identified so far by a desktop audit.

Territory schools are being reviewed as part of the probe.

Senator Carr said the committee had been told of clear breaches of the national building code, widespread certification fraud, product substitution and counterfeiting.

“I’ve never seen a set of submissions from such a wide range of people, particularly in an industry so diffuse as the building industry, with so uniform responses to what is a comprehensive failure of public accountability for safety,” he said.

“We banned asbestos because we’ve realised how dangerous it is. There is not a safe use of this product for high rise buildings, it is against the building code, and yet it is on tens of thousands of buildings.”

A final report from the committee is due in April 2018.

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Six burning questions ahead of Crows v Giants

We answer six key questions heading into Thursday night’s qualifying final between Adelaide and Greater Western Sydney.
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DOES THE GIANTS MIDFIELD HAVE THE TOUGHNESS AND MATURITY REQUIRED TO WIN BIG FINALS?

For anyone who watched the club’s performance in their maiden final 12 months ago against Sydney, the answer is a resounding yes.

But such intensity has been rarely seen from the Giants this season. They were poor against Geelong, who blitzed them for contested possession and tackled with more intent and vigour.

Worryingly for the Giants, it was a similar scenario in round one against the Crows when they were crushed by an avalanche of goals in the second half.

It’s time for the likes of Josh Kelly, Dylan Shiel, Stephen Coniglio and Lachie Whitfield to be the stars of today rather than the next big thing.

Giants midfielder Josh Kelly. Photo: AAP

CAN ADELAIDE OVERCOME THE LOSS OF RORY SLOANE?

If someone had said two years ago the Crows would start favourite in a final without Patrick Dangerfield and Rory Sloane you’d load up on whoever they were playing.

The Crows are a more accomplished team now but this is a major test with Sloane out after appendix surgery.

Adelaide have struggled this year when the 27-year-old has been tagged so you’d think him not being out there at all will suit the Giants.

The catch is the Crows will have spent much of the fortnight planning without Sloane, and the likes of Matt and Brad Crouch and Richard Douglas are good enough to cover for him as a one off.

HAS THE END COME FOR STEVIE J?

It’s dangerous to write off a champion but getting axed on the eve of the finals does not bode well for the mercurial forward.

Not even an injury to Devon Smith, who plays a similar role to him, could save Johnson.

The veteran can still produce moments of brilliance but injuries have caught up with him. The mind is still there but he no longer has the body capable of getting the job done.

Also against him is the fact that he struggles to play back-to-back weeks

Outside of an injury, it will be difficult for Johnson to break back into the Giants’ team.

End of the line? Stevie J. Photo: AAP

ARE THE CROWS IN A FORM SLUMP?

At face value yes, but not if you scratch deeper. While losing the final two games of the home and away season is not ideal, the Crows could not have hoped for a better pipe opener to September action.

Against Sydney, they won many of the key statistical areas but let themselves down in front of goal to lose narrowly.

Despite missing bookends Taylor Walker and Daniel Talia, they were admirable in defeat against a West Coast team that was playing for its season.

In both games they were up against teams that had more on the line and competitive for long periods. Before that, they had won six games and drawn another.

The Crows faced an Eagles side playing for its season. Photo: AAP

WHICH DEFENCE IS BETTER EQUIPPED TO HANDLE THE FIREPOWER?

At one end there’s Walker, Josh Jenkins, Eddie Betts and Tom Lynch. At the other end there’s Jonathon Patton, Jeremy Cameron, Rory Lobb and Toby Greene.

???Alex Keath had shaped as a potential weak link for the Giants to exploit but Talia’s return along with Kyle Hartigan’s recent comeback gives the Crows’ defence more steel.

Whoever Jake Lever goes to will need to present well in order to stop him from zoning off as a third man up in marking contests.

The Giants’ defence has been their weakest third on paper but is now better equipped to withstand long periods of pressure.

Back in the side: Daniel Talia. Photo: AAP

DO THE GIANTS HAVE ONE BIG MAN TOO MANY IN THE FORWARD LINE?

Patton, Cameron and Lobb look an imposing combination on paper but problems arise when they don’t mark the ball as none are known for their pressure at ground level.

Locking the ball in their forward line has not been a strong suit for the Giants, and they will need to improve otherwise the Crows will cut them up on the rebound.

Matt de Boer’s inclusion will help but they will need one of their top-end recruits, possibly Jacob Hopper, to sacrifice their game for this blue-collar role.

Footage released after ‘encounter’ with Tasmanian tiger

Tasmanian tiger: Trio release footage they claim is sighting of thylacineCredit: Booth Richardson Tiger TeamThree men have released footage of what they claim is a Tasmanian tiger – proof, they say, the animal is not extinct.
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Greg Booth, his father George “Joe” Booth and Adrian “Richo” Richardson on Wednesday revealed video and stills of what they say is a Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine.

But Tasmanian wildlife biologist Nick Mooney said there was a “one in three” chance the grainy footage showed a thylacine.

Mr Mooney said while it was “the most interesting bit of video I’ve seen”, the camera’s wide-angle lens distorted the image and the animal was “a bit small” to be thylacine.

“It’s not the sort of thing you’d bet on, even with someone else’s money,” he said.

Mr Mooney said the image more likely showed a spotted quoll – a species related to the thylacine and still native to Tasmania.

The last confirmed thylacine died in captivity in the Hobart Zoo in 1936.

The release of the footage comes one day before the 81st anniversary of the death of that thylacine.

The men, who call themselves Booth Richardson Tiger Team, are the latest of numerous people to claim proof of the thylacine’s continued existence.

Greg Booth, fromOuse in Tasmania’s Central Highlands, said he spotted the animal while out on a bush track with his father in April 2015.

Mr Booth refused to reveal exactly where he had seen the animal (he didn’t want the site disturbed), but said it was within 50 kilometres of Maydena, in the state’s south-west.

He was adamant he counted 11 stripes on the animal’sbody, which he said he saw for up to eight seconds.

“It had like a really big head, really long snout nose,” he said at a press conference in Hobart on Wednesday. “Its ears were not so much pointed but really flared.

“It had white around the eyes, really dark brown eyes, and set well back within the skull of the animal.

“I noticed the front legs of the animal and it was sitting down and actually looked at me. I was within eight to nine foot [about 2.5 metres] of the animal.

“So he sat down and I noticed his paws – he had fur over his paws.”

Mr Booth said he hardly slept for several nights after the sighting.

“You try to get a wink of sleep and you wake up thinking about it,” he said. “I still don’t believe it … but it was there.”

Mr Booth and his father set up cameras to record the animal. A year later, they sent footage to Mr Richardson, who had been researching thylacines for decades.

“Richo near dropped to the floor, I think,” Mr Booth said.

Mr Richardson agreed: “I knew then that it would change science on the animal.”

The group set up 14 $200 cameras to gather proof, sorting through up to 700 photographs at a time until switching to video.

They claim to have captured the animal on video last November.

Mr Booth said he never believed in the thylacine’s continued existence but had no doubt about what he saw.

“Cause I seen it. I know what it is,” he told journalists in Hobart.

The team claims to have heard two thylacines during site visits; sometimes barking, other times making a high, wolf-like call.

Mr Mooney said he couldn’t rule out the possibility the thylacine – like the recently rediscovered night parrot – might still exist.

The most probable outcome of the latest sighting, however, was a likely surge in thylacine hunters.

“Doubtlessly, it will bring them out of the woodwork,” he said.

– with Rob Inglis,The Examiner