Monthly Archives: September 2019

Hunter students head to Youth Rodeo Association national finals in Texas

Youngsters saddle up and head to USA for the ride of their lives Buckle up: Thomas Hutton and Olivia Priestley-Halliday will leave on June 6 and compete from June 14 to 17. Picture: Max Mason Hubers



facebookSHAREtwitterTWEETemailwhatsappOLIVIA Priestley-Halliday’s after-school chores includemore than just homework– and more than just her.

The 11-year-old devotes almost every hour of daylight she’s not in the classroom to feeding, bathing and working her horse Kakadu Dundee. She wouldn’t have it any other way.

Olivia, 11, will represent Aus at a USA rodeo competition in June. pic.twitter苏州美甲学校/lbhKMuXVRq

— Helen Gregory (@HGregory_Herald) March 26, 2017

Olivia and her friend Thomas Hutton have been selected in a junior team of 16 to represent Australia at the upcoming Youth Rodeo Association national finals in Gonzales, Texas. They will compete in barrel racing, western pole bendingandfigure eights to win prizes from a pool of three trailers, 66 saddles, 171 buckles, a scholarship and cash.Thomas will also compete in goat tying.

“I cried, I was just so shocked,” Olivia said. “I did not think I would make it this far until I got to high school so I’m feeling both nervous and excited. I love competing andhaving a pet that’s so big and so cuddly.”

Due to distance they will “outsource” their mounts, posing an extra challenge.

Thomas said he was “pretty excited” and hoped the rodeo would bring him one step closer to his dream of working with horses. Olivia said they both hoped to bring home a buckle. “But even if I don’t it will still have been a great experience to go over and a pleasure to ride in the team.” The pair are no strangers to rodeos and both have made the top 15 in their age group for the past two of the Australian Bushman’s Campdraft Association’s national finals. Their families are holding a jackpot barrel racing day on May 6 at Branxton Showground and a trivia night on May 19 at Maitland Showground to raise funds. Email [email protected]苏州美甲学校.

Socceroos in sticky spot and nerve-shredding nights await

Staying unbeaten and picking up points in every game is all well and good, but not very helpful when all you do is draw — especially while your key opponents are winning.


Six games down in the 10 match World Cup qualifying tournament and Australia is still in the hunt, but Ange Postecoglou and his team will be starting to feel the pressure after their 1-1 draw against Iraq in Tehran overnight.

The Socceroos were, in the end, quite fortunate to cling on for a draw having taken a first half lead with a rare international goal from Matthew Leckie.

Admittedly this was a match played on a cabbage patch pitch in muddy conditions more reminiscent of the lower divisions in England than for a World Cup qualifier, but that in theory should have suited the Socceroos, many of whose starting line do, in fact, play in The Championship, or have experienced life in England’s lower leagues earlier in their career.

Australia is now in tricky spot in the battle for a guaranteed place in the World Cup finals in Russia.

Saudi Arabia, who are flying, are three points clear on 13 points having won 3-0 in Thailand (where Australia could only draw last November), while Japan are second, also on 13 points, following their 2-0 win in the United Arab Emirates.

The best that can be said at the moment is that Australia’s destiny still lies in its own hands, with three of its final four matches at home with the only test on the road a difficult trip to Tokyo. But they wouldn’t want to be facing Thailand in their final match in September knowing that they simply had to win to make it to Russia.

Tuesday night’s game in Sydney against the UAE looms as a must win affair now. The Emiratis are a point behind the Socceroos and would know that defeat would surely spell the end of their World Cup ambitions.

Postecoglou experimented with a changed line up and different structure for the Iraq game, shifting to a back three with four in midfield and Jackson Irvine, given a chance from the start,.

His selection favoured men who are playing regularly – something that no-one can really complain about – and certainly Irvine, who has been an excellent contributor to a struggling Burton team in the Championship, showed that he has plenty to offer with his energy, competitiveness and ability to pop up in threatening areas.

Mitch Langerak, who has been between the posts for Stuttgart while erstwhile number one Mat Ryan has been kicking his heels for much of the season on Valencia’s bench, was also given an opportunity and he is another who proved that he is certainly good enough to retain a place in the starting line up, making a handful of critical saves particularly as Iraq threw the kitchen sink at Australia in a desperate second half.

Australia might be champions of Asia, but they don’t look it right now.

All too often in this game passes were overhit, underhit or missed their target or players simply miscontrolled the ball as possession was surrendered too easily.

Once more the Socceroos looked toothless in front of goal. Leckie’s excellent header came from a Mooy corner – a set piece – while the previous three goals the national team had scored had come from the penalty spot courtesy of Mile Jedinak against Thailand and Japan. Its a legitimate question to ask how or when they will score from open play.

Did the switch to a new system hinder them? They are all professionals, the best the country has to choose from, so they should be able to cope with a change of set up with a minimum of fuss.

And as the coach pointed out after the game, a lot of the time they were dealing with high balls as Iraq went route one in search of a direct path to goal: that is a relatively unsophisticated strategy and centre backs should be able to contest aerial battles whether they are playing in a back three or four.

The gap has been closing for years. Australia no longer has the Premier League stars it once had, nor does it have the intimidatory power those big names once gave it when they ran out against Asian teams.

There is plenty of work to be done. Their destiny lies in their own hands, but it its by no means a done deal….

Millar goes on tour with Matilda, parents list family home

Whale Beach weekender tops the suburb’s highest sales this year at $8 millionHelpmann Awards 2016: Matilda the Musical sweeps the board with 13 winsSecure Parking CEO Garth Mathews selling his Mona Vale mansion


Actor James Millar hopefully already said his goodbyes and packed up his things from his family home in Kenthurst before he went to Perth recently, because by the time he gets back the April 8 auction will have passed and – fingers crossed – someone will have paid $4.25 million to $4.65 million for the resort-style estate.

Millar, who is touring with Tim Minchin’s Matilda the Musical playing Miss Trunchbull (for which he won a Helpmann award last year), has called the Kenthurst property home since 1982 when he was two and his parents Graham and Gaye purchased the 2.17-hectare property for $90,000.

And it’s been his home in Sydney ever since. Known as Sandalwood Park, the five-bedroom residence comes with a heated pool, a billiard room, spa, tennis court and guest quarters.

The Millars are off to the northern beaches, prompting the listing with Will Hampson and Kate Lumby, of Lumby Hampson. Best in the valley

JP Morgan’s managing director Andrew Best is set to off-load his Kangaroo Valley retreat, Baltard II, for more than $4 million.

At that level the sale might almost match the $4.3 million the state government has paid JP Morgan for financial advice on the proposed sale of the land titles registry.

Speaking of which, those same public records show Best, a long-time Centennial Park local with his wife Natalie, paid $1.8 million for the 38 hectares in 2006.

The lavishly appointed weekender with tennis court and pool is listed with Belle Property Berry’s Nick and Gary Dale.On song in Enmore

Opera singer John Wegner and his wife Mignon have sold their Enmore Victorian terrace for a smidge over $2 million.

The four-time Helpmann award winner and former principal artist at Opera Australia retired due to Parkinson’s disease.

The three-bedroom house last traded in 1994 for $300,000, and was beautifully renovated before it was sold by Tina O’Connor, of Ray White Annandale.Woollahra to Prague

Philanthropist, former publisher and art collector Tom Schrecker has long split his time between his homes in Sydney, London, Prague and Val D’Isere, but having now settled permanently in the Czech Republic he is selling his long-held Woollahra base.

The three-bedroom penthouse has not traded since 1978 when it was sold for $115,000 by fur merchant Telian Goldberg and his wife Kety.

Schreck was one of the 669 Jewish children rescued from Prague before the Nazi invasion of 1939 by Sir Nicholas Winton, who later moved to Australia and became Asia Pacific director of Readers Digest.

Harriet France, of Sotheby’s International, is asking $2 million. Making tracks

High-profile barrister Nancy Mikhaiel is offloading her former Victorian-era home in Randwick now she’s ensconced in her $8.5 million beachside home nearby.

Given its position on Alison Road opposite Randwick Racecourse, the house is fittingly named Shahzada after the purebred Arabian stallion that was imported from England to Australia in 1925.

Mikhaiel, whose clients have included jailed former MP Eddie Obeid and broadcaster Alan Jones, purchased the 500-square-metre property in 2009 for $2.1 million.

Seaton Jones and Peter Taylor, of Ray White TaylorJones, are asking $3.3 million to $3.5 million ahead of the April 8 auction. Fundie lists in Birchgrove

Fund manager James Simpson has not long completed a renovation of his waterfront residence in Birchgrove and has it up for sale with a $7 million guide and an April 4 auction.

Simpson is off to Mosman and the $11 million house he purchased in early 2015 from Nicolette Pappas, wife of NAB senior executive and Gina Rinehart’s preferred banker Spiro Pappas. Incidentally, the Pappas clan have since taken to North Bondi, where they paid $8.55 million two years ago.

Simpson paid a bullish $7.2 million for his Birchgrove property in 2007 from lawyer Susan Hilliard and her partner, former PowerTel chief Shane Allan.

It is now listed with Robert Page and Cae Thomas, of Black Diamondz Concierge.

Newcastle District Cricket Association: Hamilton-Wickham favourites over Belmont according to opposition captains

HIGH FIVE: Hamwicks celebrate a wicket. Picture: Max Mason-HubersHamilton-Wickham will go into this weekend’s grand final against minor premiers Belmont as clear favourites at No.1 Sportsground according to the majority of Newcastle District Cricket Association first grade captains.


Opposition skippers cited a variety of reasons why the 2016-2017 title would go the Pumas way, rather than the Lake Macquarie Club.

Who was named #NDCA1617 player of the year? #DeCourcyLunch#MerewetherSurfhouse#[email protected]@CtryCric_NSWpic.twitter苏州美甲学校/hgfArWa4fb

— Josh Callinan (@joshuacallinan) March 24, 2017

“They just have a good all round side,” Wallsend leader Steve Storey said.

Charlestownprovided a combination of factors.

“They have been there before and haveexperienced players,” Steve Mace said.

Scott Mackenzieput it down to recent successover Belmont.

“They probably have the mental edge after their T20 wina couple of weeks ago,” Waratah-Mayfield’s mentorsaid.

However, Shane Burley couldn’t split them.

“Tough one becausethere’s some genuine match winners in both sides who can win a final on their day,” the Wests bosssaid.

CLEARED: Belmont’s Ray Cooper passes fitness test

FEATURE: Tom Dwyer stays true to Hamwicks

WEATHER: Rusty but rested for grand final after rain


Richard Green (Cardiff-Boolaroo): Hamwicks–“Close one but I think their bowling is better.”

Steve Mace (Charlestown): Hamwicks–“They have been there before and haveexperienced players. Belmont rely heavily on Mark Littlewood and have been bowled out for a few low scores this year.”

Jack Downing (Newcastle City): Hamwicks–“I can’t see them being beaten with the experience they have. The bowling attack is quality and I think they will get the job done.”

Matt Gawthrop (University): Hamwicks–“They’ve been there too many times to lose another one. I think their aggressive style with the bat in particular will be more effective on what’s more than likely going to be a pretty average wicket at No.1.”

Steve Storey (Wallsend):Hamwicks – “They just have a good all round side.”

Scott Mackenzie (Waratah-Mayfield):Hamwicks –“They probably have the mental edge after their T20 win a couple of weeks ago.”

Shane Burley (Wests): Even –“Tough one becausethere’s some genuine match winners in both sides who can win a final on their day. Toss/weather may play a part, especially if it ends up being over two weekends. Very even match, I’m on the fence.”

What to see this weekend: The best of Queensland property

Millionaires compete over Gold Coast’s most expensive homesRecord-breaking $18.48m sale a new era for BrisbaneWhy 2017 is the ‘year to watch’ for the Brisbane apartment market


10 Sunnymeade Place, Mudgeeraba

10 Sunnymeade Place, Mudgeeraba, is a Hamptons inspired haven Photo: Harcourts Coastal

Auction in rooms, Wednesday, April 5, 11am

6 bed, 6 bath, 3 car

Open Saturday March 25, 3pm – 3.30pm and Sunday March 26, 11am- 11.30am

Agent: Katrina Walsh, Harcourts Coastal 0429 899 295

Hamptons tragics beware: this Gold Coast home will steal your heart.

Set on a beautifully manicured one-acre block only 15 minutes from Broadbeach, its timeless interiors and luxurious finishes are attracting buyers from across the country, agent Katrina Walsh says.

“The style of this home is just that exquisite, I’ve had interest from buyers everywhere,” she says.

“It really suits the Gold Coast lifestyle, particularly this prestigious gated enclave.”

The house itself is expansive – around 80 squares in fact – and it’s drop-dead gorgeous inside. Featuring a gabled roof line, handcrafted doors, handmade and internationally sourced tiles, custom lights from the Hamptons in the USA, coffered ceilings and custom made leadlight main entrance doors, it’s a property with warmth as well as style.

Wonderfully bright and light inside, it has a strong connection to the outdoors and the extravagant entertaining terrace overlooking the pool.

With six bedrooms, a master suite with a shared balcony, private study and a luxury guest wing, it’s as spacious as it is gorgeous. 84 Dewar Terrace, Sherwood

84 Dewar Terrace, Sherwood, features elegant interiors. Photo: Place Graceville


3 bed, 1 bath, 2 car

Open Saturday March 25, 10am – 10.45am

Brad Robson, Place Graceville 0414 73 437

The cute exterior of this timber Sherwood home belies an absolutely gorgeous and elegant interior.

Considered entry-level buying into the high side of Sherwood, it’s surrounded by multi million-dollar high-end homes, agent Brad Robson says.

“This place is simply gorgeous but the key things here is the position. This is where you want to be in Sherwood, this is where all the expensive property is,” he says. “A home nearby recently sold for $3 million.”

The house has been restored by the current owners, who have done a beautiful job incorporating contemporary fittings in with the original character.

A hushed colour palette and warm timber floors evoke a sophisticated feel, while features like the commerical-style kitchen which opens out to the expansive entertainer’s deck makes the most of the leafy aspect outside.

The spacious master suite has been beautifully finished with eggshell blue walls, timber floors and ornate cornices. There are another two bedrooms which are serviced by a large, central family bathroom. Other features include air conditioning, lush gardens, a white picket fence and garage space for two or more vehicles.

Built in the 1930s, this home is located just moments away from local schools, Sherwood Arboretum and the lifestyle and shopping amenities located on Sherwood Road.29 Rockbourne Terrace, Paddington

29 Rockbourne Terrace, Paddington Photo: Ray White Paddington

Auction on site, Saturday April 8, at 3pm

5 bed, 2 bath, 2 car

Open Saturday March 25, 11am – 11.45am and 1pm – 1.30pm

Agent: Max Hadgelias, Ray White Paddington 0411 276 372

Paddington is not short on cute cottages, but this circa 1890s Queenslander is a genuine piece of history.

Named “Rhondda” after the Welsh Valley, its original features have been carefully preserved and it stands today as a wonderful example of some of Brisbane’s prettiest early architecture.

Better yet, it sits on over 1,100 square metres of premier Paddington land, with a massive 40-metre frontage. It’s being offered as a package on two titles of land (house on 743 square metres and land on 404 square metres).

“These outstanding properties offer astute buyers a rare opportunity to purchase a genuine Queenslander filled with rich character and heritage within easy walking distance of iconic restaurants, bars and boutique shops on Latrobe Terrace,” agent Max Hadgelias says.

The interior has stunning period features, including rich timber floorboards, high ceilings, sash windows, breezeways, VJ panelling, cornices and large casement windows.

There’s plenty of space, with five bedrooms, two bathrooms, a nursery, family room and spectacular formal living room complete with ornate ceilings, heritage fireplace and stained glass doors.

The house is positioned four kilometres from the CBD and only a moments walk to local transport facilities, parklands, Suncorp Stadium and Rosalie Village.

19/19 Thorn Street, Kangaroo Point

19/19 Thorn Street, Kangaroo Point Photo: LJ Hooker Cannon Hill

Offers over $560,000

2 bed, 2 bath, 2 car

Open Saturday March 25, 10.30am – 11am

Agent: Deanne Hansom, LJ Hooker Cannon Hill, 0403 066 191

This spacious, light-filled loft-style apartment is already drawing collective “wow”s from potential buyers, agent Deanne Hansom says.

“Everyone keeps asking me if it’s on the top floor. The moment you walk in, there’s this amazing sense of space, natural light and wonderful views. It’s just so open,” Ms Hansom says.

And although it isn’t on the top floor, it may as well be. With entertaining space on two separate decks, it has a wonderful outlooks from both sides, including views of the Kangaroo Point locale, city and hinterland .

Soaring double height ceilings and windows positioned up high do a great job of catching the light, while two generous bedrooms complete with built-in robes capture prevailing breezes.

There is a modern kitchen opening overlooking all living areas, secure lift access, a common area including a BBQ area, gardens and large roof line covered area.

The apartment is within walking distance of buses, CityCats, the Story Bridge Hotel and the beautiful parklands fronting the river. If you don’t want to walk, it has two secure car spaces.

TheatreTween time takes offKen Longworth

THE NEXT STEP: The live stage version of the popular Canadian series will be in Newcastle next month.THE popularity of the Canadian television show The Next Step with Australian viewers was shown last year when a tour of a 90-minute live stage version featuring 10 of the cast members sold out long before the trek to five state capitals took place.


A second tour begins in April, with more cities included. Newcastle’s Civic Theatre will host the show on April 13.The Next Step is a tongue-in-cheek send-up of live reality shows, centred on teenage dance students as they navigate life, love, rehearsals and competitions. While the show, which premiered in 2013, is aimed at tweens, it has won a following among adults, and is into its fifth season.Most of the performers are dancers who have developed acting skills in their time with the show. The 90-minute stage show features solos, duets, trios and group numbers, with choreography bytwo cast members, Jordan Clark and Trevor Tordjman. The other cast members on the tour are Brittany Raymond, Victoria Baldesarra, Lamar Johnson, Isaac Lupien, Myles Erlick, Briar Nolet, Isaiah Peck and Shelby Bain.The show is at the Civic Theatre on April 13 at 6.30pm. Tickets: $71.30 to $86.60. Bookings: 4929 1977.

On cueWEA Hunter’s 2017 Diploma of Musical Theatre students will do their first public performance together in On Cue, a collection of numbers from classical and contemporary Broadway musicals that will include dance as well as song. On Cue is at the Civic Playhouse on Friday, March 31, at 7pm. The performers are Kimberley Dingle, Sarah Graham, Cassie Hamilton, Nina Herron, Christopher Shanko, Jade Shearman, Prue Stark, Jack Twelvetree and Andrew Wu. Tickets: $15.30. Bookings: 4929 1977.

Sacred ritesHUNTER Singers will present the first concert in their three-show 2017 subscription series at Adamstown Uniting Church on Sunday, April 2, at 2pm. The program, Sacred Rites, will feature sacred music from around the world, including works by J.S. Bach and John Leavitt, as well as Australian composers. Special guests will be new group, Quintus, comprising local singers Paul Bevan, Paul Morris, Paul Tenorio, Chris Allan and Peter Guy. Tickets are $25, concession $20, school-age children $10. Bookings: trybooking苏州美甲学校.

Sing AlongADAMSTOWN Uniting Church is also the venue for the year’s first Sing Along to the Shows in its Dungeon performance space on April 8 at 2pm. The show, Around the World, will feature songs that mention places including Ipanema, Paris, London, Rioand Australia. There will also be a celebration of Dame Vera Lynn’s recent 100th birthday. Entry is $10.

Theatre Review Lord of the Flies

THEATRE REVIEWLord of the FliesHunter Drama, at Hamilton Public School HallEnded SaturdayDIRECTOR Charlotte De Wit’s decision to use an all-female cast in Nigel Williams’ stage adaptation of William Golding’s story about schoolboys trying to survive after their plane crashes on a desert island showed how universal its characters and situations are.


And while plans to stage the production outdoors in Blackbutt Reserve were shelved a couple of days before opening because of forecast wet weather, the presentation in a theatrical hall had the opening night audience watching intently through its 95-minute running time, with the actors and production team making good use of different levels and spaces bedecked with trees and plants to create the various island settings.

Onlookers were gripped from the opening moments, as the girls appeared singly and in groups, with the different school uniforms indicating the individuality that came through when they got together. The two girls who became leaders of incompatible teams, Alexandra Jensen’s Ralph and Isabelle Clements’ Jack, showed their natures from the outset, with Ralph putting forward the need to start and maintain a fire that would be visible from a rescue ship, and Jack being more intent on hunting for wild animals such as pigs. Jack’s bullying of Piggy (Evie Lawrence), a nervous girl wearing glasses, foreshadowed her later more vicious behaviour. The other eight actors – Kate Wooden, Matilda Dickinson, Ruby McNamara, Hannah Hickey, Jessica Morgan, Indigo Howland, Lucy Johnson and Bella Sykes – likewise brought out the very different natures of the survivors. Wooden’s Simon, for example, had a secret place in the jungle where she could relax, while Dickinson’s Roger, initially a loner, showed an increasingly violent streak as she became Jack’s second-in-command.

Lighting was used well to create the brightness of the fire and the darkness that descended onto the island. The changing nature of the clothes, with the different school costumes being discarded by most of the students and replaced by more drab and increasingly dirty wear, showed the passing of time. The appearance of blood on skins and clothes likewise made evident the growing desperation and barbarity of the girls, as they killed more animals and fought among themselves.

‘You are doing what ISIS wants’: Malcolm Turnbull and ministers slam Hanson over Muslim ban

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his ministers have slammed One Nation leader Pauline Hanson’s proposal of a so-called “Muslim ban” in the wake of the London terror attack, arguing her policy is dangerous and would worsen the impact of terrorism.


In a provocative video published hours after the London attack, in which four people died, Senator Hanson noted the hashtag #PrayForLondon, which was being used to express sympathy around the world.

“I have my own hashtag … it’s #Pray4MuslimBan,” she said.” That is how you solve the problem. Put a ban on it and then let’s deal with the issues here.”

Her office clarified she was advocating One Nation’s existing policies on Islam – such as a ban on Muslim immigration and an inquiry into whether Islam is a religion or political ideology – not prohibition of the practise of Islam.

Mr Turnbull on Friday launched his most severe criticism of Senator Hanson to date, arguing her policies were dangerous and would only incite hatred of Muslims, which was the goal of terrorist groups such as Islamic State.

“If the problem is terrorism, policies like that would only make it worse,” he told 3AW radio. “The object of the terrorist, the Islamist terrorist, is to get the broader society to turn on Muslims at large.

“Their recruiting message to Muslims and Australian Muslims is to say ‘this country doesn’t really want you, you’re not really Australian, they all hate you’.

“Inciting hatred against any part of the Australian community is always dangerous. It undermines the mutual respect that we have in our community.

“If you seek to attribute to all Australian Muslims or all Muslims responsibility for the crimes of ISIL [Islamic State in the Levant], then you are doing what ISIL wants. That is the classic strategy of the terrorist and it has been forever.”

Mr Turnbull said he had raised these points directly with Senator Hanson on previous occasions. He also noted the perpetrator of the crime in London was born in Britain, rather than migrating there from the Middle East.

The man was identified by police as 52-year-old Khalid Masood, who was born in Kent, had a criminal record and had previously been investigated by British spy agencies for violent extremism.

The Prime Minister was joined in his condemnation of Senator Hanson by cabinet colleagues Christopher Pyne and Scott Morrison.

Mr Pyne told Channel Seven’s Sunrise the video was counter-productive because public attacks on Muslims led to less co-operation with authorities from Muslim communities.

“The agencies tell us that when there are attacks on Muslims as a group … it stops the information flowing to the government and to the agencies,” he said.

“We’re not about to deport Australian citizens who are Muslims because of any kind of xenophobic campaign … they are as Australian as anyone else.”

Mr Morrison labelled Senator Hanson’s comments “reckless and irresponsible”, and said the occasion called for diligent security work, rather than “knee-jerk responses”.

“That’s not a time to be pursuing political agendas, it’s a time for focusing on keeping Australians safe, and ensuring that all Australians – every single Australian, regardless of your race, your ethnicity, your background, your religion – is safe,” he told Sky News.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the Liberal Party should put One Nation last on how to vote cards.

“If Malcolm Turnbull thinks One Nation is helping ISIS, he should stop helping One Nation get elected,” Mr Shorten said.

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Banned Bombers come back into new world order

The start to any new AFL season will be marked by most clubs unveiling at least a couple of new faces. Occasionally, there’ll be the return of a long-term injury casualty. But never has a club had close to half a team come back to the fold after a year away from the game.


That’s the extraordinary position in which Essendon find themselves on Saturday night going into the opening of the 2017 season against Hawthorn at the MCG.

It’s a big occasion for the Bombers, the impossible weight of the supplements scandal finally lifted after four hellish years. But a lot has changed even in the 18-odd months since the 10 players remaining at the club who were suspended by the Court of Arbitration for Sport last took the field for premiership points. iFrameResize({resizedCallback : function(messageData){}},’#pez_iframe_afl_video’);

The group includes veteran Jobe Watson who, in his last game for Essendon, was captain and a Brownlow medallist, and now in his next is neither, with his successor as skipper another of that group, Dyson Heppell.

There’s ruckman Tom Bellchambers who, in his absence, has been superseded as the No.1 man by former Brisbane Lion Matthew Leuenberger. And All-Australian defender Cale Hooker, whose temporary pinch-hitting as a forward in his last outings seems to have become a permanent shift.

And there’s no fewer than seven midfielders, nearly all a regular part of Essendon’s best 22 in 2015, but who return to find far more competition for a spot in the mix.

As the Bombers not only covered the gaping holes left by the CAS suspensions last year but looked to rebuild for the future under John Worsfold, the wheels of change kept spinning.

Zach Merrett, in 2015 still only a promising youngster, became in 2016 an elite midfielder, a best-and-fairest winner, and in 2017 is also a vice-captain. Draftee Darcy Parish fitted immediately into the midfield mix, and is an integral part of the engine room.

Orazio Fantasia and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti emerged as excitement machines up forward, an area in which Essendon have long struggled. And two more supposed “top-ups” – James Kelly and Matt Dea – acquitted themselves so well they remain part of the mix.

It’s a world away from the Essendon of which the 10 returnees were last a part. Just how do they fit in to the new Bomber order? Let’s take a look on a case-by-case basis.


Including last year’s suspension, the big ruckman has played just 18 games in three years, also beset by ankle, foot and more recently a knee injury, from which he returned in a VFL practice game only last weekend. Definitely behind Leuenberger in the queue for No.1 ruck spot, though he, too, is injured. Coach John Worsfold isn’t opposed to playing both now the Dons have some nippy little men up forward, but that’s currently a moot point in a position where Essendon now look the thinnest.


Was in career-best form midway through 2015 when a foot injury ended his season. Returns with perhaps even more responsibility. “Trav has had a crack in at the centre bounces on a few occasions in the pre-season and it’s worked pretty well for us,” says Essendon football manager Rob Kerr. Colyer will spend time on a wing and could also have spells up forward. He and small forwards Josh Green and Fantasia are likely to take turns to act as centre-square “shock troopers” when more pace out of the middle is required.


The new Bomber skipper might have less change to his role than any of the other returning players. Heppell, who led the Dons for clearances and contested ball in 2015, is still No.1 midfielder, though with the on-ball division now batting a lot deeper, Worsfold might have more flexibility with his captain than previous coach James Hird did. “He might get asked to play at half-back at different times and could find himself on a wing,” says Kerr. “We’ve got a few players in that category, and he’s one.”


The strongly built midfielder has played just five games since the end of 2014 after his 2015 season was ruined by a serious groin injury requiring surgery. In a deeper midfield, he’s no longer a walk-up start, but his capacity to run with opposition key on-ballers will earn him selection more often than not. “It’s a pretty good string to his bow that not everyone else has,” says Kerr.


The former All-Australian defender was switched forward in the second half of 2015, averaging two goals a game. And with Joe Daniher still needing support up forward, it’s there Hooker will stay. “One will play higher pushing up the ground and one deep, so it will be fairly dynamic,” says Kerr. The Hooker-Daniher combination will involve some “learning as we go”, he says. “We haven’t seen a lot of these two together, and ‘Joey’ has had another good season under his belt since Cale played up forward.”


Of the 10 returning suspended players, it’s Howlett who might have to fight hardest to win a spot in the best 22. Once an automatic midfield pick because of his work ethic, Howlett, a good tackler, has more recently been used as a defensive forward. His problem is that with the emergence of Fantasia and McDonald-Tipungwuti, and recruitment of Green, the Dons have an army of small forwards. That might see Howlett squeezed out of not just one, but two parts of the preferred line-up.


The All-Australian centre half-back of 2015 was arguably the player Essendon was most anxious about re-committing to the club. Will be the undisputed general of the Bomber defence with Hooker playing forward, and fellow keys Michael Hartley, Patrick Ambrose and Mitch Brown very much support staff. Kerr says the Bombers will be looking for Hurley to provide effective rebound as well. “He’s a good kick, so we want him to do that as well as be someone who can quell a good opponent,” he says.


None of the banned 10 have played as little as Myers. Injured in the opening minutes of the first game of 2015, he was injured again in his only other appearance, giving him effectively one half of football since the 2014 elimination final. A finger injury means he’ll miss at least the first month of this season, too. That said, fully fit, Myers is a walk-up start. “He’s an inside mid with a long, penetrating kick. He’s probably the one we’d be looking for to launch the ball into our forward 50,” says Kerr.


After weighing up retirement, the 30-year-old was given a one-year deal by the Dons. Not everyone thinks he’ll be a regular with newer faces rotating through midfield. But the other side of the argument is that, relieved of the pressure of a weekly tag, with which he has sometimes struggled, Stanton can provide Essendon with his trademark endurance running from the luxury of a wing, or rebound off half-back, where he spent most of the pre-season.


Now 32, the former skipper can’t be relied upon to carry the midfield. The good news is Essendon probably won’t need him to, thanks to the emergence of Zach Merrett and Parish. That means Watson looks set to spend more time than ever before up forward. “He can certainly take a grab and he’s got reasonable forward craft in terms of his leading,” says Kerr. Watson has only once kicked more than 16 goals in a season. That may change substantially in 2017. iFrameResize({resizedCallback : function(messageData){}},’#pez_iframe_afl_tiles’);

University of Newcastle academic to speak at NSW Upper House inquiry into students with disability or special needs

Dr David Roy. Picture: Max Mason-HubersUNIVERSITY of Newcastle academic David Roy is hoping theNSW Upper House inquiry into students with disability or special needs in schools will be remembered as a“watershed moment” for the sector.


School of Education lecturer and advocate Mr Roy will be the first parent of a child with disabilities to speak at the inquiry’s first public hearing, atParliament Houseon March 27.

“It’s important the first people to be heard at the hearingare representatives from the Department of Education, the biggest providers of education for children with disabilities,” Dr Roy said.

“It’s very reassuring the next group parliamentarians will be hearing from directly is parents willing to speak up with real concerns.

“I hope it will be a watershed moment and children’s voices are heard. What I’m hearing from Canberra is this could act as a potential push for a Royal Commission into the education of children with a disability.”

Dr Roy said he was pleased at the number of submissions –260 – but concerned at the “disturbing number”of parents who asked for their names to be suppressed.

“Some of the Legislative Committee members have been readingunredacted submissions and are horrified,” he said. “Staff members are getting psychological support because they’re reading horrific stuff.”

He said schools needed cameras in classrooms to protect both teachers and students, independent bodies to investigate complaints,more training for teachers, greater consultation with families aboutneeds and more inclusion for students with disabilities. “Funding is important but Gonski will not solve this, weneed to change attitudes.”