Monthly Archives: April 2019

ARU to face Senate inquiry after chopping Western Force

The n Rugby Union will be the subject of a Senate inquiry into the future of the code after a motion from West n politician Linda Reynolds was passed in the Upper House on Wednesday.
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In light of RugbyWA losing its appeal in the NSW Supreme Court to keep the Western Force in Super Rugby next year, Senator Reynolds asked that an inquiry to be established to look into a number of issues, including:

– ARU board deliberations leading to the decision to reduce n teams from five to four.

– Whether there continues to be a truly national national rugby union footprint in .

– The role of national and state-based bodies in encouraging greater national participation in rugby.

– The corporate governance arrangements and composition of national and state-based rugby bodies, including community representation on those bodies

– The impact of the decision to reduce the number of n teams on national participation in rugby.

The matter will be referred to the Community Affairs References Committee and the inquiry is expected to report back to the Senate by November.

“Having a look at the lack of transparency in the decision-making process of how they ended up picking Western Force to go, clearly indicates to me that there is something deeply in trouble, or troublesome, in the heart of ARU,” Reynolds said.

“We’ve heard variously that it was about money, about the number of teams. Western Force is the nation’s third-largest rugby-playing community, and its removal from the national competition will leave n rugby all the poorer.”

The ARU released documents on Tuesday evening outlining why it had cut the Force, which will no doubt be used as evidence during the inquiry.

It is an extraordinary length to go to after what has been a tumultuous year for rugby in .

RugbyWA released a statement last month which read: “RugbyWA strongly supports the call for a Senate inquiry based on the ARU’s misinformation as to their financial position and their lack of information available for the reasons for removing the Western Force.”

Meanwhile, Force backer Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest and RugbyWA are still exploring their legal options and will likely make an announcement on Thursday as to whether they will take their appeal to the Court of Appeal or the High Court.

Players, coaches, administrators, staff and fans were left shattered on Tuesday after the NSW Supreme Court dismissed an appeal to from RugbyWA to keep the Force in Super Rugby for 2018.

While Forrest has already made it clear he plans to fight the decision further up the legal chain, there is a sense in the west that perhaps fighting on might not be worth it given decisions from an arbitrator and the NSW Supreme Court have both gone the way of the ARU.

The ARU has made contact with RugbyWA since the decision was handed down and the two parties are working through the difficult logistical process that is shutting down a team.

The killer blow for those at the Force, however, was the ARU’s reluctance to accept Forrest’s staggering $50 million offer, which could have done the world of good for the code in .

Meanwhile, Forrest’s declaration that he will bankroll a breakaway rugby competition has piqued the interest of a number of unions in the Indo-Pacific region that have an appetite to be involved.

Fairfax Media understands that since the billionaire gave a snapshot of the six-team competition he had in mind, there has been a surprising number of rugby nations come forward and inquire about what the rebel league could entail.

It is believed Hong Kong, Singapore as well as rugby administrators from New Zealand and South Africa – both countries that field teams in Super Rugby – have made contact regarding the competition.

RugbyWA is said to have been surprised by the amount of interest from overseas.

A few weeks ago Forrest flagged the idea of creating his own rugby competition, somewhat in protest at the ARU’s decision to cut the Force, but it was on Tuesday that rugby unions from Asia picked up the phone to find out what the fuss was about.

Forrest’s plan is well advanced and it is expected he will outline more details about which teams, where matches will be played and the like, early next week.

Meanwhile, SANZAAR has sprung into action to get its draw for Super Rugby sorted.

Rather than sitting on its hands, SANZAAR has had a draw waiting to go for some time now and says it will be released in about two weeks.

For context, last year’s draw was released on September 20, meaning it will come out at a similar time despite the frustrating delays associated with cutting an n team.

More DRS woes for Aussies as Tigers apply clamps

Day three: as it happened
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Chittagong: Matthew Wade lost another battle with the decision review system while Glenn Maxwell and Pat Cummins had their own DRS misadventures as suffered yet another collapse.

A day which had started with so much promise for the tourists turned into a damp squib with the hosts – despite continuing to drop catches – looking likely to keep the tourists’ first innings lead in double figures after rain delayed the start of play. Needing only to draw the match to win the series, the Tigers spread the field to keep ‘s run rate in check while also taking regular wickets. lost 6-78 and were 9-377 when bad light stopped play, a first innings lead of just 72 after bowling Bangladesh out for 305 on Tuesday.

Wade, whose position in the XI had been in doubt leading up to the match, couldn’t heed captain Steve Smith’s call for more runs, trapped lbw to a moving ball from left-arm quick Mustafizur Rahman, who celebrated his 22nd birthday with a third wicket for the innings. In the first Test Wade made five and four, falling foul of the DRS twice, having failed to a review a decision that would have been overturned in the first innings before unsuccessfully challenging a call in the second dig.

Just as he had been in the first Test, Maxwell was at the crease with his former Victorian teammate when the call to review was made. The all-rounder was involved in another poor review the very next over when he departed for 38 when the third umpire was consulted for an inside edge off the bowling of spinner Mehedi Hasan. Cummins fell lbw to Mehedi shortly after, a successful review from the Tigers reinforced by Bangladesh’s Nasir Hossain, who could face disciplinary action after raising his index finger while standing next to the umpire.

Ashton Agar was dropped on 21 but fell one run later to Shakib Al Hasan, with Steve O’Keefe (eight) and Nathan Lyon (0) unbeaten at the close of play.

Earlier, David Warner made another century but only after being involved in the run out of Peter Handscomb in pursuit of his 100th run. Shakib hadn’t yet taken control of this match like he did the first Test of the series, but with a direct hit he ended Warner and Handscomb’s 152-run stand, with the Victorian gone for 82 after overcoming debilitating heat exhaustion the previous evening. Warner was himself almost run out, again forced to retreat as he looked for that elusive run. Finally, it came though, leaping into the air as is his custom after a drive through extra cover for four.

It was just his fifth boundary of the innings, while the 209 deliveries it took him to reach the mark made it the slowest of his 20 Test hundreds. He’d also been given lives on 52, when he was dropped at short leg by Mominul Haque, and on 73, when Mushfiqur made a mess of a stumping attempt.

His knock ended on 123, Mustafizur claiming the crucial scalp with a bouncer, caught at leg-gully by Imrul Kayes.

Hilton Cartwright and Maxwell moved into the lead, almost making it to tea before Cartwright edged Mehedi to slip on 18. It was a moment of redemption for the spinner, who had put down Maxwell at gully when he was on 10, before spilling a difficult, and painful, return catch with the West n on six.

After a terrific day two, Warner and Handscomb were looking to further close the gap, starting day three at 2-225, but their task was harder after a thunderstorm pushed back play until after lunch.

Brisbane’s apartment market is correcting faster than predicted

Apartment oversupply in Brisbane could soon be a distant – if a little hysterical – memory, according to property experts.
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Analysts Urbis have released their Brisbane Apartment Essentials report for the second quarter of the year, and things are looking a little brighter than six months ago; or as associate director Paul Riga put it: “the sun’s coming out through the clouds”.

His report showed that apartment sales within inner Brisbane were at a relatively steady volume (up to 311 sales from 302 last quarter) and the average sale price of new units was at an all-time high: $725,563.

In the past 12 months, unit prices have fallen across Brisbane and seemingly in response, construction approvals plummeted.

All sorts of predictions were made about the market, including a potential 10 per cent fall in rents by the end of the year.

Mr Riga said it appeared the fears were overblown, as the market was now correcting itself faster than the most hopeful predictions had anticipated.

“As we predicted in the previous quarters, our sales were steady,” he said. “That’s predicted to continue of the next few quarters as there’s very limited product coming through the pipeline.”

The spike in average price was attributed to several premium products selling well, but Mr Riga said it was still a good win for the market. Related: Brisbane rents predicted to fall 10 per cent in 12 monthsRelated: Biggest quarterly drop in prices in March since 2011Related: River city rental yields on the slide

“We’re still confident about the inner Brisbane market. It’s got the right fundamentals there,” he said. “This product is being absorbed in a better way than originally expected.”

Mortgage broker Red & Co’s Kieran Foster agreed with Mr Riga’s assessment that Brisbane was recovering faster than most expected.

“The market has self-corrected itself quicker than anyone had anticipated,” he said.

Mr Foster said mutual apprehension from the Brisbane City Council, buyers, developers, and banks caused things to settle down in a timely manner.

“The amount of new projects starting are coming to a grinding halt, with a lot of the ones under construction mainly sold I think it’ll level out,” he said.

The rental market was another indicator how the apartment market was doing, and Mr Riga said vacancy rates in the inner city were remaining low.

“The signs for new apartments are relatively positive. That indicates there’s a higher level of demand for new product over established product,” he said. “Overall, it shows that people are voting with their rental dollars. They’re taking and absorbing the product we’ve seen come through.

“We’re looking forward to see what the rental data from the June report shows when it comes through.”

Mr Riga said if the apartment market remained steady for the next two quarters, Brisbane could be out of the woods by the end of the year.

Sporting declaration: Why Jets fans are half as good as Knights supporters

BACK IT UP: The Newcastle Jets prepare to take on Sydney FC in round four last A-League season at McDonald Jones Stadium. Picture: Jonathan CarrollNewcastle football lovers are all talk.
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Soccer supporters, that is.Lovers of the world game, the beautiful game.

After seven seasons of covering the code for the Newcastle Heraldand previous campaignsfor other publications, I can’t come to any other conclusion. Many of them are simply frauds.

For me, the passion for football in the region is unquestionable. That’s not the problem.

Talking to coaches, players, fans and administrators over 17 years of doing this job, there’s no doubting their love for the sport.

It’s infectious, and rising participation rates reflect the overwhelming popularity of the codefor players, male and female, of many ages.

Last year, Northern NSW Football said registrations hadgrown by 42 per centin the previous decade to 64,186. Around the same time, NSW Country Rugby League said its registrations were down to about 56,000.

Why then do crowd numbers for the Newcastle Jets lag so far behind the Knights?

Last Sunday, the Knights, with their third consecutive wooden spoon guaranteed, attracted a crowd of 20,535 at McDonald Jones Stadium for their final-round clash with the Sharks. In 12 A-League seasons, Jets fans have bettered that number only four times.

When they wereheaded forthe wooden spoon, their second in the past three years,in their final home game last season, the Jets had a crowd of 9380.

The Knights this year had a lowest crowd of10,997 and highest of21,412.The Jets last season peaked at 11,873 and bottomed out at 5642.

That’s why Newcastle soccer fans are frauds. Not all of them, of course, but the numbers don’t lie. In the stat that means the most, the region’s football supporters are half as good as their league counterparts.

So why don’t moreback up their passion for football with numbers through the gate at Jets games?

There’s a couple of obvious reasons why adisparity exists.

The Hunter is a rugby league heartland, producing some of the greats of the game, and generations have followed other NRL clubs since well before the Knights were founded.That obviously helps drawing a crowd week in, week out.

And while the A-League has taken giant steps in expanding and improving the top level of football in , it remains a long way off the best competitions in the world.The NRL, meanwhile,is the best rugby league competition on the planet, so that helps as well.

On the flipside, rugby league players and supporters at a local level are sometimes at their own match when the Knights are playing. Jets fans have no such excuse.

However, you can’t blame on-field results for a lack of support. The Knights have proven that.

The Jets have not made the finals since 2010 but the Knights have just had the worst three-year run in NRL history.Despite that, theiraveragehome crowd this season was 15,619. The Jets averaged8645 last campaign.

Anyway, enough of numbers. The point is, fans putting hands in their pockets to support their team makes all the difference.

The past two NSWRL/ARL teams to finish last three years in a row –Gold Coast Chargers (1991-93) and Newtown Jets (1976-78) –were gone a few years later.The Knights keep powering on.

The Jets have faced an uncertain future more than once but now have the relative security of Chinese owner Martin Lee.But real fans can’t expect to keep a team, let alone a successful one, if they don’t show up.

So why discuss this now, a month out from the A-League season?

Sunday’sshow of support for the struggling Knights struck me. Sure, it was old boys’ day and the20thanniversary of the club’s epic ARL grand final win, but what a crowd.

Then I had great chat with a tired Edgeworth coach Damian Zane on Monday, after his side lost the Northern NSW NPL grand final 2-0 to Lambton Jaffas in extra-time on Saturday night.

It was the first NPL decider at McDonald Jones Stadium and I was keen to follow up on reactions about the crowd figure of 4174, the atmosphere and the future of the fixtureat a 33,000-capacity stadium.

We got on to difference betweenfootball fans in and those overseas, and why a sport booming in participation in the Hunter can’t draw a better crowd to watch its A-League side.

“Whether we’re top of the league or bottom, we should be packing that joint out,” Zane said of the Jets.

He remembered how he was heart-broken when the Newcastle Breakers collapsed and the town was left without a club.

It’s not a stretch to say that could happen again, continuing a long history of failed Newcastle clubs, if passion for football doesn’t convert to dollars and cents support.

Look, I didn’t grow up with football. Like many of my schoolmates at Rutherford High, I was brought up on a steady diet of rugby league. We even gave the soccer types a bit of stick (sorryCouso).But plenty has changed in 20 somethingyears andthe sleeping giant of n sport has awoken in many ways.Still, in the Hunter at least, the Jets remain in the shadow of the Knights.

I’d love a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone complain about the Knights hoggingsports sponsorship coin in the Hunter. But those backers follow fans.

Now seems the perfect time for football supporters to push their team, their code, into the light. Theywanted Mark Jones gone and a proven coach brought in, along with quality signings.

Enter two-time A-League coach of the year Ernie Merrick and Dimi Petratos, Daniel Georgievski,Roy O’Donovan andNikolai Topor-Stanley.

Over to you, football fans. The time is coming to show up or shut up.

Two men found guilty over death, sex assault of Lynette Daley on NSW beach

Adrian Attwater (left) has been found guilty of manslaughter and aggravated sexual assault of Lynette Daley (centre). Paul Maris (right) has been found guilty of aggravated sexual assault and hindering the discovery of evidence. Photos: AAPTwo men have been found guilty over the death and sexual assault of Lynette Daley on a remote northern NSW beach nearly seven years ago.
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Ms Daley, 33, died from injuries sustained in the violent sex act with her “‘on-again-off-again” boyfriend Adrian Attwater, 42, and Paul Maris, 47, on a 2011 Day camping trip to Ten Mile Beach.

Following a five-week trial at the Coffs Harbour Supreme Court, a jury on Wednesday found Attwater guilty of manslaughter and aggravated sexual assault, and Maris guilty of aggravated sexual assault and hindering the discovery of evidence.

An autopsy found Ms Daley died from blood loss fromhorrific internal and external injuries after a violent sex act was performed on her.

Crown prosecutor Philip Strickland SC told the court in his opening address that the two men and Ms Daley “them drank a lot of alcohol on that day”.

At dusk, they stopped halfway up the beach in Maris’ troop carrier whereAttwatterand Daley got on a mattress in the back.

Attwater”repeatedly and vigorously” sexually assaulted Ms Daley for a couple of minutes, Mr Strickland said.

Maris joined in with a sex act atAttwater’sinvitation, the barrister told the court.

Lynette Daley

Attwateronly stopped the assault when he noticed blood on his hand and Maris later burnt her bra and the bloodstained mattress “because it stank,” the Crown said.

Confronting photos shown in court showed injuries to Ms Daley that caused significant blood loss.

The assault “substantially or significantly contributed to her death,” Mr Strickland said.

Her autopsy also revealed a small amount of methylamphetamine and a blood alcohol concentration of 0.303 – meaning she was “grossly intoxicated”.

Adrian Attwater has been found guilty of manslaughter and aggravated sexual assault. Photo: AAP

The prosecutor saidAttwatertold police “she was blind, she was off her f—ing face last night”.

Attwaterclaimed Ms Daley had a fit or seizure in the ocean when she went for a swim while naked and he performed CPR after dragging her back to shore.

When questioned about how the trio came to have group sex,Attwatersaid: “These things happen … girls will be girls, boys will be boys.”

Both men told police they thought it was consensual.

Paul Maris has been found guilty of aggravated sexual assault and hindering the discovery of evidence. Photo: AAP

Mr Strickland said Maris told police: “Well she didn’t object when I jumped in the back, she’d moved over to give me oral.”

Police initially charged Attwaterand Marisover Ms Daley’s deathbut, in 2012, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to proceed with the prosecution.

Last year,theDPP, Lloyd Babb, SC,took the rare step of asking an independentlegal adviserto review the case, including whether Attwaterand Maris should proceed to trial.

That review followed aFour Cornersinvestigation, in which the two men now charged over Ms Daley’s death were shown in police videos recorded at the time of Ms Daley’s deathdescribing events that took place in the back of Mr Maris’ four-wheel-drive.

Ms Daley’s family and supporters had been highly critical ofthe DPP for not prosecuting the two men.