Councils oppose forced mergers

CENTROC has officially expressed its opposition to forced amalgamation.
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Bathurst Council Chambers.

Representatives of the 17 member councils met at Mount Panorama on Thursday to discuss the Independent Local Government Review Panel’s final report into the state’s councils.

The panel has made it clear that councils should consider forming alliances.

Earlier this year representatives of Bathurst Regional Council travelled to the Hunter region to see firsthand the preferred model for joint council ventures.

On Thursday, CEO of the Hunter group of councils Roger Stephan outlined how their model works to CENTROC members who did not make the trip.

The mayors and general managers of Bathurst, Oberon, Lithgow and Blayney councils have already met to discuss the option of forming a voluntary alliance.

Bathurst mayor Gary Rush is of the opinion that if these councils take a proactive approach, it would indicate they were in control of their own destiny.

The Bathurst mayor said CENTROC would be making a submission that it does not support the formation of mandatory joint organisations, however, he said certain aspects of the review were well received.

Cr Rush said member councils were cautious, and wished to explore all the options before any decisions were made.

“No council used the opportunity to state their position,” he said. “It is fair to say all local government areas realise there is a lot to consider. However, they don’t want any collaboration to be mandatory.

“I personally think there are advantages in having discussions and looking at how we can work together to achieve positive outcomes, particularly in relation to financial and resource sharing,” he said.

Cr Rush said chair of Central West Tourism, Norm Mann also spoke at Thursday’s CENTROC meeting.

He said they learned some funds have been allocated for distribution among local councils.

In the Bathurst region, these funds will go towards initiatives already planned.

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Brillante helps prop up Jets defence

HIGH FLYER: Josh Brillante.JETS coach Clayton Zane has no doubts that Josh Brillante will develop into a leader in the middle of the park, most likely at an overseas club.
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But for now Brillante is of most value to the Jets at right fullback.

The 20-year-old will line up on the flank for a fifth straight game against Western Sydney Wanderers at Pirtek Stadium in Parramatta tomorrow.

‘‘The loss of Scott Neville [to a season-ending knee injury] has hurt us a lot more than anticipated,’’ Zane said.

‘‘We didn’t want to get to the situation where we had to revert to midfielders playing at right back, but he has done a great job since coming in there.

‘‘We know away from home we are going to get a very solid defender, but he also gives us a little bit going forward as well. ‘‘In the future I can see him being an inspirational leader in the middle of the park.

‘‘But he needs to do a job for the team now, and he has done it so far.’’

After joining Newcastle from the Gold Coast, Brillante made his debut for the Jets at right back last season.

He makes no secret of his preference for playing in midfield but is content to fill whatever role is required.

‘‘When I first came to the club I played a lot of right back,’’ he said. ‘‘They are obviously very different roles, especially defence-wise.

‘‘I see myself as a midfielder. I grew up playing in midfield and enjoy that position the most. For now, it’s whatever is best for the team.’’

A fringe player in his maiden season at the Jets, Brillante grabbed the spotlight after a breakout campaign for the Young Socceroos at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in June.

His efforts in midfield were highlighted by a wonder strike against El Salvador. The goal, and his all-round performance, attracted attention from European clubs headed by Everton, Schalke and Lazio.

Managed by former Socceroos midfielder Vince Grella, Brillante has another year to run on his contract at the Jets but has aspirations of playing in Europe.

‘‘His mentality can’t be faulted,’’ Zane said. ‘‘He is the first to training every morning and quite often the last to leave.

‘‘He has the look about him of a kid who has one thing on his mind – to play in a bigger league abroad.

‘‘He knows the only way to do that is through persistent performances for Newcastle.’’

Brillante can’t help but smile when the El Salvador goal is mentioned, but he is yet to score a goal in the A-League.

‘‘To score a goal like that gave me a lot of confidence,’’ he said. ‘‘Even at right back, I have been having a lot of shots. Hopefully I get a bit of luck and put one in the back of the net.

‘‘Wanderers are very good in transition. As a fullback you want to get forward, but your first role is as a defender.’’

The Jets came from 2-1 down to grab a late equaliser in their last encounter with the Wanderers at Hunter Stadium four weeks ago.

Since then they have gone down to Phoenix 3-2 at home, upset Brisbane 1-0 away and lost to Sydney 2-0 (home) to slip to eighth place on 23 points, four outside the six.

It’s not do or die, but Zane said it was vital that the Jets ‘‘stay in contact with the rest of the pack’’.

‘‘There are still enough games to potentially finish in the top four,’’ Zane said. ‘‘Our thinking is that we can’t fall too far away from the pack.

‘‘We need to give ourselves every chance coming into the last three or four matches.’’

Kew Jaliens returns from suspension and Joel Griffiths is set to start his first game.

‘‘We are looking at a little more thrust going forward,’’ Zane said. ‘‘Wanderers try and control teams without the ball a lot more. We want people in the front third to take a little bit more initiative and take chances higher up the pitch.

‘‘There will be a lot of moments in the match where they want us to have the ball.

‘‘I don’t want players to shy away from a slower build-up. They just need to be able to read the game, when to quicken the tempo, when to be a bit more direct with Emile [Heskey], and choose their moment in the final third to take initiative.’’

Wanderers are lining up for a third game in nine days. They won 2-0 in Perth 2-0 last week before a demoralising 3-1 loss to Ulsan in the Asian Champions League on Wednesday.

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Jailed for fire bomb threat

A MAN has been jailed for threatening to fire bomb a house and assaulting a woman holding a two-week-old baby.
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Warwick Maxwell Toomey, 42, faced charges of common assault, stalking and intimidating and contravening the restrictions of an apprehended violence order when he appeared in Dubbo Local Court via video link from the Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre in Sydney.

Magistrate Andrew Eckhold said the offences had been very serious.

“You were initially dealt with by circle (sentencing) and were placed on a three-year bond for assault,” the magistrate said.

“You have had extensive drug issues over a long period of time.

“Your background is tragic – your parents had issues with alcohol and you developed a physical addiction.

“You went to rehabilitation but left (a drug and alcohol centre) after three months and started using drugs again.

“In some ways it is a miracle that you are still alive.”

Magistrate Eckhold revoked the good behaviour bond previously imposed by the court and sentenced Toomey to 14 months jail, to date from January 15 this year. An eight-month non-parole period was imposed.

Toomey was jailed for 12 months for stalking and intimidating. A four-month non-parole period was set.

Toomey was placed on a two-year good behaviour for contravening the apprehended violence order.

Magistrate Eckhold made a finding of special circumstances due to Toomey’s need for drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

“You are to be directed to full-time rehabilitation upon your release from jail,” the magistrate said.

“The bond is to supervised by Community Corrections.”

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Greek star hopes for A-League attention

Former Greek international Sotirios Kyrgiakos has agreed to a two-game guest stint with NSW Premier League side Sydney Olympic.
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The 34-year old will make his debut for the ex-NSL champions against Blacktown Spartans on March 23 and is hoping to catch the eye of A-League clubs for next season.

Kyrgiakos has enjoyed a 15-year professional career with clubs such as Liverpool, Sunderland, Rangers, AEK Athens, Panathinaikos, Eintracht Frankfurt, and most recently, Wolfsburg.

While he missed Greece’s Euro 2004 triumph with a knee injury, he played at Euro 2008 and in the 2010 World Cup, accumulating 61 international caps.

Kyrgiakos said he first thought about moving to Australia when he was part of the Greek squad that played at the MCG in 2006.

“When I met Sydney Olympic technical director Arthur Diles in Athens, I was instantly excited by the opportunity to visit a country I briefly visited in 2006 when Greece played Australia in Melbourne,” he said.

“I’ll never forget nearly 100,000 people at the stadium that night. Greeks in foreign countries have achieved so much and I am aware of the great progress football is making in Australia, attracting star players like [Alessandro] Del Piero, [William] Gallas and [Emile] Heskey.”

Kyrgiakos says he still believes he has what it takes to earn a professional contract in the A-League.

“I am in very good physical condition and I am very focused on playing well for Sydney Olympic. But I want to play for another couple of years and the A-League appeals to me,” he said.

“I have had offers over the past six months from Europe but I want my last contract to be about a new experience, an exciting league and the A-League offers that.”

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Report from Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority warned against waste dumping plan

Dredging waste: Scientific advice opposing the dumping of waste in the Great Barrier Reef was ignored. Photo: Bloomberg NewsThe federal government ignored scientific advice when the dumping of millions of tonnes of dredging waste from a mining project into the Great Barrier Reef was approved.
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Documents released under freedom of information laws show the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority warned that approval should not be granted for dumping sediment waste into the reef to make way for a coal project.

”The proposal to dredge and dispose of up to 1.6 million cubic metres of sediment per year … has the potential to cause long-term irreversible harm to areas of the Great Barrier Reef,” the authority’s own report reads.

Under the proposal, the seabed would be dredged to create berths for six coal ships for the Abbot Point coal port expansion. The dredged waste would then be dumped in the Great Barrier Reef.

The report’s author warned particularly of the effects on seagrass meadows and coral reefs.

And yet the chairman of the authority, Russell Reichelt, approved the dumpings late last year.

”The approved disposal area consists of sand, silt and clay and does not contain coral reefs or seagrass beds,” he said in January.

Queensland campaigner for Greenpeace Louise Mathieson said though it may be true the immediate disposal area has no seagrass, muddy plumes can spread for up to 80 kilometres. ”I think the chairman was downplaying the impact of dredging and dumping,” she said. ”What he said does not reflect the expert advice that was coming from staff about the real impacts the project could have, especially the risks to water quality.”

In its dredging permit assessment, the authority states that seagrass in the vicinity of the dredging activity is likely to be affected by the dumping, primarily by reduced light and increased water sediment.

”Coral reefs around Holbourne Island, Nares Rock, Camp Reef, Horseshoe Bay and Cape Upstart also have the potential to be affected by turbid plumes and sedimentation,” the assessment said.

The original application from North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation sought approval to dredge and dump 3 million cubic metres of spoil in the reef waters as part of coal terminal expansion plans at Abbot Point, north of Bowen.

Former federal environment minister Mark Butler extended the deadline for a decision on the application twice last year before the federal election.

Ms Mathieson said whilst these documents go some way in suggesting why a decision was delayed several times under Labor, they do not explain the approval granted by Greg Hunt, the present minister. But Mr Hunt says the groundwork for backing the dumping plan was made by previous state and federal Labor governments.

”This was Labor’s project, announced by Anna Bligh as a massive expansion and then upgraded to a super-terminal with 38 million cubic metres of dredging,” he said. ”The final approval was one-twelfth of this at 3 million cubic metres … I was advised the proposal put forward for offshore disposal was the best option available.”

In a statement released by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, chairman Russell Reichelt said the documents released are “preliminary working drafts which were never submitted to the delegate, the senior manager responsible for the GBRMPA’s decision”.

He said the draft permit assessment took place prior to the application of rigorous conditions, “the strictest ever imposed on an application of this type,” which included a requirement for North Queensland Bulk Ports to offset the amount of fine sediments released into the environment by 150 per cent.

Should prevailing conditions such as waves, wind and currents contribute to the displacement of sediment towards sensitive habitats, disposal is not to proceed.

In addition, the Authority included a requirement that a five-year water quality monitoring program is to be implemented in addition to real-time monitoring, a condition which Mr Reichelt says is the “longest ever required for such a program”.

“Without these robust conditions GBRMPA is likely to have said ‘no’ to the application,” he said.

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Oscars: Getting a nod just a barrel of laughs for David Clayton

Nominee: Animation supervisor David Clayton with orcs from the Hobbit films. Photo: Ross Giblin Bombur barreling along in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Photo: Warner Bros.
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Dwarves in barrels racing down a river. A dragon buried beneath gold and jewels. Battles against exotic creatures.

Animation supervisor David Clayton has the kind of job he would never have imagined while he was growing up in Australia: creating visual effects for the Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy in New Zealand.

Nor would he have imagined being nominated for an Academy Award two years in a row, with every chance of a third consecutive nod, given there are plans for a spectacular finale to the trilogy.

After making an animated short film, Clayton was offered a job on The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King more than a decade ago.

As he moved on to King Kong, X-Men: The Last Stand and Avatar, he joined dozens of Australians working behind the scenes in the film industry that Jackson built in Wellington.

”The ultimate challenge is to make sure any character we create is realistic and engaging and entertaining and holds up to the live-action performers they’re surrounded by,” he said.

Clayton is most proud of the dragon and dwarves-down-the-river scenes in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

”I started working on the barrel sequence years and years ago [when it was planned for the first Hobbit movie],” he said. ”The shot where Bombur bounces down the slope and he’s squashing all the orcs, that was originally my idea so I’m always stoked to see that go down well with an audience.”

While Clayton has been looking forward to his second trip to the Oscars, expecting it to be less nerve-racking than the first, he has no expectations of winning.

”I definitely feel like Gravity is a foregone conclusion,” he said. ”The visual effects were totally integrated into the story itself – the visual effects were the story – so they deserve everything they get.”

When the Hobbit trilogy wraps, Clayton has no shortage of work options at Weta Digital.

”We’ve got the Avatar sequels 2, 3 and a prequel,” he said. ”If I sign up for that, that’s going to be six or more years of steady work.”

Australia’s other Oscar nominees are Cate Blanchett for best actress on Blue Jasmine, Catherine Martin for both best production design, with Beverley Dunn, and best costumes on The Great Gatsby and Michael Wilkinson for best costumes on American Hustle.

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Brendan Reeves secures sweep in first round of the Australian Rally Championship

National Capital Rally champion Brendan Reeves overcame a 1.2-second deficit in the final stage to secure a clean sweep at the opening round of the Australian Rally Championship.
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The 25-year-old Victorian backed up his heat win on Saturday’s eight stages with another overall victory on Sunday.

Reeves was pushed across the seven stages on Sunday by Scott Pedder, crossing the finishing line just 5.4 seconds in front, with Canberra’s Adrian Coppin picking up his second-straight third place, 1:48.8 behind the leader.

”Going into the third-last stage we took the lead back and then Scott took the lead back again,” Reeves said.

”We were sitting on the start line of the last stage 1.2 seconds behind and we had to give everything, so it was a great feeling to know we took it all back on the last stage.

”He was two minutes in front of me on the road so I knew we would know either way once I was finished. We just threw everything at it and hit quite a lot of things and found a lot of holes out there, but got through the stage unscathed and came out on top.”

Reeves won five of the seven stages in the ARC division on Sunday to make it 10 from 15 stages for the weekend.

Defending champion Eli Evans was forced to pull out on Saturday after sustaining extensive mechanical damage in a crash on the opening day.

Reeves competed in the US last year, but has set his sights on continuing his strong form at the next round of the ARC in Western Australia in April.

”We just want to focus on the Australian title this year,” he said.

”We tried and we failed last year, so we want to make sure we get it this year.”

Rally legend Neal Bates and long-time navigator Coral Taylor showed all their experience in winning the Classic section in their 1980 Toyota Celica.

Bates declared he would be a certain starter at next year’s event after being blown away by the quality of the course.

He said it was one of the best Canberra rallies he had contested.

”The roads were fantastic, the organisation was fantastic. We were doing very similar times to the top guys.

”We won three stages outright yesterday, to be doing that in a 1980 Celica, we’re very happy.”

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Caroline Buchanan bemoans lack of Olympic-level track

Canberra is home to BMX world champion Caroline Buchanan, but not to an Olympic-standard BMX track.
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Buchanan, 23, would love one to be built at Stromlo Forest Park so Canberra can host the 2016 national championships.

Buchanan comfortably won the ACT state title at Melba on Sunday, winning three of her four races.

ellow Olympian Luke Madill won the men’s title.

The ACT state championships usually form part of the national series, but new regulations on track specifications meant the Melba track did not make the grade this year.

Buchanan is confident it will be back on the tour next year.

Bitumen is needed on two more turns to meet the standard.

Buchanan’s next race is the Perth leg of the national series in two weeks as she builds towards the Aussie nationals, the start of Olympic qualifiers and defending her world championship title.

She missed out on the Aussie national title last year but is hoping to reclaim that crown in Shepparton in May.

Track requirements for nationals have also risen, but Buchanan hopes a track can be built at Stromlo so the capital can host the championships in two years.

However, she conceded it would be an expensive project.

”It could be a while, but ideally it would be great to have that facility in Canberra, with the AIS here, with ACTAS, with Canberra being the cycling capital.

”I believe we’ve got everything else here, we’re just missing that Olympic-standard BMX track,” Buchanan said.

”I will be pushing for it … but it’s something that’s not cheap.

”There’s only one [Olympic standard track] in Australia at the moment and that’s on the Gold Coast and they put about $3 million into it.”

Buchanan will head to Perth to begin her preparations for the first World Cup in Manchester in April.

Then the Olympic Games selection process for Rio de Janeiro in 2016 begins at the third World Cup event in Berlin in June.

From there it’s all eyes on the world titles in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, in July.

Buchanan won’t be the only Canberran heading to the worlds – both members of her ”Next Gen” stable, Mikayla Rose, from Canberra, and Sydney’s Paige Harding, will go, too.

Buchanan has taken the pair under her wing as part of her mentoring program.

She said the $10,000 needed in donations for the pair to get to the Netherlands had been reached on Saturday night.

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Michael Clarke wills his way to century as Australia passes 400

Scorecard \ As it happened
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Rarely has a stint of 25 balls to a single batsman seemed such an eternity. Yet it was exactly that for Michael Clarke, and his well-wishers back in Australia and around the world. Eventually, he got the run he needed to take him off 99 to arguably his grittiest Test century.

Australia’s captain and his heir apparent, Steve Smith, entrenched their team’s mighty position in the third Test in Cape Town by thwarting South Africa’s seamers with the second new ball and taking their team beyond 400 in the opening session of day two.

At lunch at Newlands the visitors were 4-434 after 114 overs, with Clarke on 137 and new number-six batsman Shane Watson on 21.

Australia maintained its record of conceding no more than a wicket in a session, with the departure of Smith for an aggressive 84, to end a fourth-wicket partnership of 184, the only breakthrough made by the Proteas. Across the session, which again featured only 26 overs, the visitors compiled 1-103.

The visitors resumed at 3-331, with Clarke on 92 and Smith on 50. The captain added seven runs from his first nine deliveries to reach 99, but was denied a comfortable progression to three figures by the unrelenting accuracy of seamer Kyle Abbott.

Initially the player most anxious for Clarke to reach his milestone was Smith, who was given a life on 50 at the non-striker’s end after his urge for a single that would have brought up his partner’s century was rejected, forcing a mid-pitch retreat.

A sign of Clarke’s composure throughout the period was his willingness to leave deliveries from Abbott, who was getting mild swing in each direction, on length as well as line that passed perilously close to his stumps.

The biggest disappointment for the Proteas was the contrast between the opening spells of Abbott and Vernon Philander. After day one their bowling coach Allan Donald had stressed the importance of seamers stepping up in the absence of Dale Steyn, who injured his hamstring on day one. While second-gamer Abbott rose to that challenge – his yielded only one run in six overs – senior bowler Vernon Philander conceded 39 runs in the same period. This included Smith stunning lifting a half-volley from the bowler ranked the world’s best high back over his head for six.

All but one of the 24 balls Clarke had been stuck on 99 for were delivered by Abbott. The 25th was a gentle half-volley from Philander that the Australia captain duly dispatched to the cover-point boundary to reach a richly deserved milestone.

Among Clarke’s 26 preceding Test centuries only two had taken longer to reach than the 215 balls in this match against South Africa: 218 against New Zealand in Adelaide in December 2008 and 219 against India in Delhi in October 2008.

With that burden of getting off 99 shed Clarke struck two more boundaries to end Philander’s over – and spell – to make it three boundaries in four deliveries.

It was not just the tepid bowling of Philander that Smith took a liking to. Just before Australia went to drinks without losing a wicket, with the second new ball then 20 overs old, the right-hander contemptuously lifted the menacing Morkel over extra-cover for six. On the other side of the break he superbly lifted Morkel just short of the long-on boundary with another crisp full-faced strike.

Smith missed out on being Australia’s third century-maker for the innings after he attempted to cut left-arm finger-spinner Dean Elgar off the back foot and chopped onto his stumps. The 84 runs he scored took him past 1000 runs since his recall to the Test team almost a year ago, and took the 24-year-old’s record since he pivotal Ashes century in Perth to 500 runs at 55.56.

Watson survived a first-ball leg-before referral against him, from Elgar, to got to lunch at 21 from just 19 balls, which included hoisting Elgar over the long-off boundary with the second-last ball before the break. While the timing of such a shot could normally be criticised, given the circumstance it seemed a warranted blow to a seemingly a South Africa line-up undoubtedly disheartened by the absence of its best bowler.

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No redundancy for disability workers 

THE state government does not intend to offer redundancy payments to disability sector workers who decline to move to the private sector under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
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STAFF ANGRY: Union delegate Michael Grant.

Legislation denying public servants the traditional redundancy payments offered during privatisations have stunned the union movement.

But the state government has defended the new laws, saying “the NDIS Enabling Act makes it possible for us to . . . plan for all aspects of transition to the NDIS over the next few years”.

In a series of questions and answers posted on the Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) website, the government acknowledges passing legislation “that enables it to forcibly transfer ADHC employees to the not-for-profit/for profit sectors, without compensation”.

Asked if anything similar had happened before, the government responded by saying there needed to be “continuity of support for ADHC clients . . . to ensure an experienced, skilled workforce is retained in the service system”.

Public Service Association organiser Paul James said government promises to maintain the conditions of transferring workers were likely to prove hollow.

“While the government says conditions cannot be varied ‘except in accordance with any applicable industrial law’, the private disability services are already pushing to have the relevant laws changed,” Mr James said.

The changes would affect more than 1000 staff at the Stockton Centre and another 13,000 or so people in other ADHC jobs set to go by 2018.

NSW Nurses Association Stockton delegate Michael Grant said Stockton Centre employees were “extremely angry”.

It was morally wrong for the government not to offer redundancy payments to those who did not want to transfer to the NDIS, especially if their existing jobs were no longer needed and they were being forced to retrain, he said.

The government was even denying that the ADHC changes were a privatisation.

“They’re saying a privatisation is where they sell a business to the private sector but because they are giving it away, it’s not a privatisation. That is a ridiculous statement.”

Redundancy would be one of the issues pushed by the unions at a consultative forum with the government in Sydney on Thursday.

Mr Grant said the nurses’ association was holding a public forum on the NDIS at Newcastle Panthers on Tuesday, March 11, at 6pm.

Mr James said this would be preceded by a members-only PSA meeting at the same venue at 4.30pm.

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Jets need a way to bring it home

MAN IN THE MIDDLE: Kew Jaliens is mobbed by teammates after opening the scoring. Picture: Getty Images SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 02: Kew Jaliens of the Jets celebrates with team mates after scoring the opening goal as Ante Covic of the Wanderers shows his frustration during the round 21 A-League match between the Western Sydney Wanderers and the Newcastle Jets at Parramatta Stadium on March 2, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 02: Kew Jaliens of the Jets celebrates with team mates after scoring the opening goal as Ante Covic of the Wanderers shows his frustration during the round 21 A-League match between the Western Sydney Wanderers and the Newcastle Jets at Parramatta Stadium on March 2, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Jets defeat Wanderers 2-0: photos

Jets give finals hope the kiss of life

NOW to do it at home.

Newcastle Jets produced their most disciplined performance of the season to dispose of a flat Western Sydney Wanderers 2-0 at Pirtek Stadium last night and kiss life into their play-off hopes.

A goal in each half to Kew Jaliens (35th minute) and Adam Taggart (65th) – his 10th for the campaign – was enough to seal three points and move them within reach of the top six.

The win leapfrogged the Jets above the Melbourne Heart, who they host on Saturday, and two points adrift of sixth-placed Sydney FC.

“It was a win to stay in touch with the pack,” satisfied Jets coach Clayton Zane said.

“The players knew the importance.

“It wasn’t the most compete match in terms of what we are capable of but a very good reaction based on the performance last week.

“[Against Sydney] we lacked a cutting edge in the final third. Today we had that. We always looked like we had goals in us.

“A little bit of counter-attacking, and I guess that is the way we seem to get success away from home.”

The Jets are the only team in the league to beat the top three – Brisbane (twice), Wanderers and Adelaide – away from home.

Winning at Turton Road has been the issue.

Ten games have yielded 10 points from two wins, four draws and four losses, the worst record in the competition.

With four of the remaining six games at Hunter Stadium, it’s a statistic they need to fix and fast.

“I think it is a little bit of belief,” Zane said.

“Part of that is putting the ball in the back of the net.

“We need to use the result today to try and convince them that they can do it at home. It is still in our hands.”

The Jets entered the round-21 fixture in ninth place, five points behind Sydney FC.

They couldn’t afford to give the top six any more space and fielded their most attacking line-up of the season.

Joel Griffiths came in for his first start, Andrew Hoole returned on the left of midfield and Josh Mitchell was preferred over Taylor Regan to partner Jaliens at the back.

“I think the addition of Griffo and Hooley into the team, I wouldn’t say it gave us more football, but those two, in particular, were quite composed when they received the ball in wide areas,” Zane said.

“Taggs was always a threat on the counter-attack.

“Emile showed a bit of intuition.

“He realised there was a big hole in behind the striker and was smart enough to go and play there.”

Wanderers coach Tony Popovic made two changes from the 3-1 loss to Ulsan Hyundai in their opening Asian Champions League group game on Wednesday.

Drizzle added to an already heavy and slippery surface.

The usually vocal Wanderers supporters group, the Red and Black Block, stayed silent to protest against sanctions imposed after flares were lit during the ACL clash.

The lacklustre atmosphere flowed on to the team.

“From start to finish, we were very flat, which is uncharacteristic from us,” Popovic lamented.

“You hope they pick it up as the game goes on, but it just didn’t happen.

“The little things that we do very well – winning the first ball, winning the second ball – we struggled with that throughout the game and we lacked a bit of spark in possession.”

The Jets dictated the tempo early and opened the Wanderers on the break, only to be let down by the final ball.

Eventually, their enterprise paid dividends in the 35th minute, and Jaliens was the unlikely assassin.

Left unmarked at the back post, he met an inch-perfect cross from Hoole with a powerful header.

Taggart went close to doubling the lead on the hour when he ran on to a through ball from Heskey but was denied by a brilliant save from Ante Covic.

Covic could not do anything to stop the Jets striker five minutes later.

Collecting a ball over the top from Heskey, Taggart wriggled past Nikolai Topor-Stanley and fired a shot that deflected off the heel of Matthew Spiranovic and into the left corner.

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CPI pumps pensioners’ pay

THE federal government has announced a boost to pension payments to help 3.6 million pensioners keep pace with rising living costs.
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The increase will come into effect on March 20 and is aimed at helping pensioners keep up with the cost of living, the federal government says.

Federal Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews said the payment rise had been driven by the consumer price index increase of 1.9 per cent for the first six months to December 2013.

“The Coalition government is pleased to deliver increases to those on the age pension, disability support pension, carer payment and veterans’ income support,” Mr Andrews said yesterday.

He signalled another rise would occur in September to reflect growth in the CPI or the pensioner and beneficiary living cost index, whichever was higher.

Single age pensioners would receive an increase of $15.70 a fortnight, while age pensioner couples would receive an extra $23.80 a fortnight.

“This means total pension payments for people on the maximum rate will be $842.80 a fortnight for singles and $1270.60 a fortnight for couples,” Mr Andrews said.

One million allowance recipients would also benefit from a boost to income support payments such as Newstart and Parenting Payment as of March 20.

The announcement comes as the government is reportedly considering combining disability payments and payments to the unemployed into a single welfare payment.

Mr Andrews said the government needed to tackle welfare reform because the budget was in a dire position.

The federal opposition believed any move to combine the dole and disability pensions into a universal payment was just putting the boot into disabled people.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten accused the government of persecuting people with disabilities and seeking to slash their incomes.

“They seem to believe that everyone on the disability pension is rorting the system,” he said.

“That isn’t true.”

The head of the government’s welfare review, Patrick McClure, recommended to the Howard government in 2000 that it create a single, unified payment for all welfare recipients with top- up amounts based on further need. AAP

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Super Rugby: Clyde Rathbone backs No.8 Tim Cree to make the grade for Brumbies

Two tries and a super-consistent start to the season with the ACT XV has Brumbies winger Clyde Rathbone believing Tim Cree deserves a spot on a Super Rugby roster.
Nanjing Night Net

And while Cree had a cracking game in the ACT XV’s 32-23 loss to the Argentina Pampas at Duntroon on Sunday, Rathbone only lasted 40 minutes before succumbing to a persistent hamstring injury.

Cree shone at No.8 as the ACT pushed the Argentinian A team right up to the final whistle. It was only sealed when Pampas five-eighth Patricio Fernandez scored his second intercept try in the dying seconds.

Rathbone was one of several Brumbies to have a run for the ACT, along with Allan Alaalatoa, Josh Mann-Rea, Jordan Smiler, JP Smith and Stephan van der Walt.

”Timmy Cree had an outstanding game, played really, really well,” Rathbone said on Sunday.

”He trained with us through the pre-season. He’s a guy that should get an opportunity somewhere.”

Rathbone produced several heavy hits in the first half, but a hamstring problem ended his game early.

He wanted to get through a full 80 minutes to try and push for selection for the Brumbies’ trip to Wellington this week, but was hampered by a tendon problem that has preventing him from running flat out.

The 32-year-old felt it would only set him back for two or three weeks.

”I had a cortisone [injection] last week, [but it] didn’t seem to make a huge difference,” he said.

”I just can’t seem to get above 80 per cent without feeling it, so back to the drawing board on Monday and come up with a game plan.

”It’s not massively serious, but it’s concerning.

”It won’t be a long-term thing, but I’m making it worse by playing, not better.”

ARGENTINA PAMPAS 32 (Patricio Fernandez 2, Matias Alemanno tries, a penalty try; Fernandez, 2 pens, 3 cons) bt ACT XV 23 (Tim Cree 2, Matt Hawke, tries; Rodney Iona, con, 2 pens).

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

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