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Monthly Archives: January 2019

Sea Eagles in hunt for new prop as merry-go-round fires up

THE expected departures of Beau Ryan and Chris Heighington to Cronulla could pave the way for Manly prop Brent Kite to join Wests Tigers next season.
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While all parties were yesterday denying speculation of the NRL’s latest player merry-go-round, the Herald was told that player agents have been advised that the Sea Eagles are looking for a new prop next season.

The Sharks’ signing of Ryan and Heighington is also expected to result in the club releasing Kiwis international Jeremy Smith to join Newcastle next season. Liam Fulton and Lote Tuqiri are also expected to re-sign with the Tigers.

Both Manly and Wests Tigers are rumoured to have salary cap problems, with NRL salary cap auditor Ian Schubert reportedly refusing to register Sea Eagles fullback Brett Stewart’s new contract until the club resolves the problem.

A Manly official told the Herald that Kite was under contract next season, while the Sharks denied they had yet signed Ryan or Heighington.

However, it is understood that deals with both Tigers players are close to being finalised – much to the frustration of disappointed teammates, who were unhappy last year that the club released Bryce Gibbs and Andrew Fifita to make way for the signing of Adam Blair.

Captain and hooker Robbie Farah has also been linked to Parramatta but he is expected to remain at the Tigers for next season at least.

Speculation was rife a year ago about Ryan and Heighington joining Penrith this season but both stayed with the Tigers.

Heighington, now the English representative lock, was on contract with the Tigers until the end of the next season but the club is understood to have baulked at offering him an extension, given the failure of the squad to reach the finals this year.

Heighington was approached about a three-year deal with Cronulla, which he has clearly found difficult to ignore given his future at the Tigers was clouded.

Ryan’s impending departure is peculiar given his announcement on The Footy Show during the season that he had agreed to a new deal with the Tigers. Yet that deal was never formalised, and with Heighington’s future in the air, it appears certain it will not be.

Heighington and Ryan are good friends and are both popular members of the Tigers, which means the playing group will be hit hard by the departures, a year after Gibbs and Fifita left for Cronulla.

Ryan’s manager Wayne Beavis maintained he had signed ”no contract with Wests Tigers”, but that does appear to be a formality.

The Tigers are expected to announce that Tuqiri has agreed to a new deal with the club, which will ensure that his NRL career does not end with a broken arm.

Fulton is also believed to be close to finalising a new deal to remain at the Tigers beyond next season.

Meanwhile, Manly prop Jason King will be named today for Friday night’s preliminary final, despite failing to finish the match against North Queensland due to a shoulder injury. King was forced from the field with the same injury during the previous week’s loss to the Bulldogs.

Sea Eagles coach Geoff Toovey yesterday admitted there was a silver lining to his side being forced to play against North Queensland last weekend. ”It was actually a good thing for us, we ended up finding some form against North Queensland, and I think that will stand us in good stead for Melbourne.”

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

Traders fear bike lanes could roll businesses

Cyclist numbers along Wellington Street, Collingwood, have been rising 20 per cent every year since 2004.TAILOR Peter Toumbourou has fought off major threats to his business during his many years in the rag trade – the lifting of tariffs and the arrival of cheap imports, and large buyers going out of business as retail conditions sagged.
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But the latest threat to his suit-making enterprise is one he never anticipated – a proposed ”Copenhagen-style” separated bicycle lane outside his factory’s front door.

”The thing that’s going to kill us doesn’t have tariffs, it has two wheels,” Mr Toumbourou says.

He manages Travellers Apparel on Wellington Street in Collingwood, the last major suit manufacturer still standing in Australia, with up to 120 people working for it.

The company tailors suits for several Australian labels, as well as making uniforms for large corporations and government agencies. Many of them collect their orders directly from the factory.

But the proposal to build a separated bike lane along Wellington Street includes the removal of 117 parking spaces and removing parking entirely from one side of the street. Mr Toumbourou stresses that he is in favour of promoting cycling, but says parking is ”the life blood” of his family’s business, with an estimated 60 to 80 trucks a day stopping there.

”Our problem is that we’ve got almost no other access to our building other than people parking in front of our factory,” he says.

The Yarra City Council will hear submissions on the proposal tonight and there is a chance it could vote on the issue. If not, it is unlikely to be decided before elections are held next month.

Wellington Street is a major and preferred north-south bicycle route in Melbourne’s inner north. According to the City of Yarra, the route is booming, with cyclist numbers growing 20 per cent every year since 2004.

This year, the council recorded 416 city-bound cyclists on Wellington Street in the morning peak, compared with 101 cyclists in 2004.

Bicycle Network Victoria’s Garry Brennan says the proposal to build separated bike lanes is excellent, because the street is already choked at the peak, and there is no capacity to increase traffic volumes along there other than by bicycle.

He says the concerns of businesses such as Travellers Apparel regarding lost parking are legitimate, but that the proposal includes options such as accessing parking in nearby back streets, or imposing time restrictions on parking spaces currently available all day.

”If these businesses need parking, there are solutions,” Mr Brennan says.

The Textiles Clothing and Footwear Union is asking the City of Yarra to find a compromise that would not jeopardise the livelihoods of its members who work at the Collingwood factory.

”If you drive out businesses such as Travellers Apparel through the unintended consequences of policies like this one, you actually lose what is part of the great charm and attractiveness of communities like Collingwood,” says Michele O’Neil, the union’s national secretary.

Follow MySmallBusiness on Twitter @MySmallBusiness

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

Reynolds gives credit to father, teammates

Adam Reynolds’s only regret last Saturday night was that his father, Mark, couldn’t be at ANZ Stadium for the Rabbitohs’ historic finals defeat of Canberra after breaking his foot a few days earlier. ”Unfortunately, he had to watch the game from home but he has told me how proud he was,” Reynolds said of his record-breaking feat of becoming only the second South Sydney player to score 200 points in a season. The NRL rookie of the year crossed for a try and kicked seven goals to take his tally for the season to 204 – second only to Eric Simms, who achieved the feat four times between 1967 and 1971. While unaware of the achievement until after the game, Reynolds said he owed much to his father for the hours he spent with him practising kicking since the Rabbitohs halfback started playing at four years of age. Despite having a strike rate of almost 85 per cent with his goalkicking this season, Reynolds praised his teammates for his points-scoring feat. ”The boys have really made that possible for me to score so many points through all the tries I did and giving me the opportunity to kick goals,” he said.
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THE NUMBERS

115 – Metres Issac Luke makes per game. He has run for more than 100 metres in 16 of his 21 games this year, and is lengths ahead of his final counterparts. Cameron Smith is the next best (68.7m), ahead of Matt Ballin (43.2m) and Michael Ennis (23.5m).

92 – Tackles missed by Josh Reynolds this season. The Bulldogs five-eighth has missed more than any player remaining in the competition, ahead of Anthony Watmough (85), David Taylor (84) and Michael Ennis (82).

1975 – The year Manly last lost a preliminary final. They went down 28-13 to eventual premiers, Eastern Suburbs.

1 – Tries Joe Galuvao, Vic Mauro and George Rose need to score to avoid the end-of-season nudey run.

ODD FACT

South Sydney have only played the Bulldogs in a finals match on two occasions. One of them was the 1967 grand final, which they won 12-10. The other time was a qualifying final loss in 1986.

RUSSELL CROWE

Russell Crowe @russellcrowe – ”17km bike ride, shoulder routine, bench dumb-bells.”

WHAT WOULD DESSIE SAY?

Alessandro Del Piero was yesterday asked how he would cope with the level of expectation on his shoulders at Sydney FC. Here’s what Dessie would say: ”The Western Sydney Wanderers are a very good football side. They’ve signed fellow Italian Adam D’Apuzzo from APIA Leichhardt.”

THE LAST TIME SOUTH SYDNEY WON A PRELIMINARY FINAL…

 Michael Maguire wasn’t born

 Hawthorn won the VFL Premiership

 The top-grossing movie was Fiddler on the Roof

 George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord topped the charts worldwide

 William McMahon was prime minister of Australia

 Evonne Goolagong was named Australian of the Year

 Western Suburbs won the wooden spoon

  The first cricket one-day international was played

 Charles Coody won the US Masters

 Arsenal were English First Division champions

THE BEST OF THE BEARDS

If you were picking a team from the final four sides based on facial hair, this would be the best of it. David Taylor barely qualifies in beard or five-eighth stakes, but he’s as good a No.6 as the North Sydney Beards could afford. Frank Pritchard will lead the side, just shaving Sam Kasiano for the captaincy tag. Jaiman Lowe was the bolter and will make his representative debut. Coach Russell Crowe, who is in New York shooting his latest film, will do his coaching via Skype.

Team name: North Sydney Beards

  1. Brett Stewart

 2. Sisa Waqa

 3. Frank Pritchard (c)

 4. Greg Inglis

 5. Dane Nielsen

 6. David Taylor

 7. Glenn Stewart

 8. Sam Kasiano

 9. Nathan Peats

 10. Jaiman Lowe

 11. Roy Asotasi

 12. Eddy Pettybourne

 13. Anthony Watmough

 Coach: Russell Crowe

 18th man: Matt Gillett – He’s not in the finals and he has no beard but with that name, it’s a no-brainer.

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

Game basks in the glow of A-League’s newest superstar

The place card at yesterday’s media conference summed it all up: ”Alessandro Del Piero – The Star”.
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That he is, to say the least. Of course, that ”star” technically referred to the hotel where Del Piero was staying, but rarely has there been such a fitting double entendre.

Those outside the game have dubbed it the ”Del Piero effect”, and the moniker looks likely to stick. He is proving a one-man publicity machine like no other.

Wonderfully, and somewhat frustratingly, Football Federation Australia could not engineer a marketing campaign for the A-League half as effective as this signing. Newspapers and news bulletins are bulging with football at the height of the NRL and AFL finals series.

It is an extraordinary scenario, and long-suffering fans are wondering when they will wake up.

We have all sat there, in coffee shops and pubs, staring glumly into our lattes and lagers wondering what could be done to shift the local game from its idle state. That long-craved spotlight, however fleeting, is here.

What stood out about Del Piero yesterday was his impeccable demeanour. Two decades at the height of arguably the world’s toughest league could give rise to all kinds of arrogance, perhaps justifiably.

But his humility was most refreshing. There was no big-noting. The closest was when he offered a gentle reminder that for all the expectations that exist here, they are not even close to what he has had before. Yet even that was delivered so subtly that the reporter who asked laughed.

When pressed about the 2006 World Cup and the infamous last-second penalty earned by Fabio Grosso, groans and jeers were audible from the fans standing at the rear of the room. But Del Piero’s reply appeased all with a mix of humour and honesty.

His English is better than most expected, but even he fist-pumped when the media conference evolved into Italian. This circus will take a bit of getting used to for everyone, not least the man himself. One gets the feeling the first time he will truly be comfortable will come later today when he trains for the first time at Allianz Stadium.

In the midst of such exuberance, it is hard not to be sucked into thinking Del Piero is the panacea for all the game’s ills. If only.

However, while football still battles myriad issues, his arrival is a pointer to the potential within. It is another reminder in the slowly growing showcase that the game has the capacity to go where other codes cannot.

It is a moment in time to reflect on what is possible if the game pulls its collective finger out. What if the next Del Piero is running around in western Sydney? Can we find him? Can we turn him into a star of the A-League and then Europe?

The Australian public is clearly hungry for heroes, perhaps hungrier than it thought. Del Piero should serve to inspire us to find and cultivate our own, not fill us with the dread of what happens when, inevitably, his time is up. Such was the pull of the Italian that at yesterday’s media conference, journalists from all sectors of the media and walks of life were drawn to him. Those media outlets seldom kind to football, oft-defined by repeated, disparaging references to ”soccer”, were among those keenest to embrace Del Piero mania. How the tide can turn.

It was only last month that the game was back on its knees, beholden to dramatic headlines and explosive images about the ”ethnic” problem. Now, parents who might have wondered whether to sign their families up for Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers memberships have been scrambling for tickets.

The worry now is not what will happen if you go to an A-League match. The worry is what you’ll be missing out on if you don’t go.

On that note, tickets go on sale this Friday for Sydney FC’s first home match of the season, against the Newcastle Jets. They are expected to fly out the door. If you want prime position to watch Del Piero unleash his magic, don’t wait until game day. A sell-out is not out of the question.

The spotlight? We could get used to this.

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

Blown away: Del puts wind up fans over that penalty

SIX years on, a nation still wakes up in the middle of the night. Did Fabio Grosso dive? Or did Lucas Neill bring him down?
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Either way, the decision of Spanish referee Luis Cantalejo to award that penalty in the round of 16 match at the World Cup remains enough to spark heated debate from Australian fans.

Perhaps only Grosso and Neill know whether it was a penalty, but that didn’t stop the question being put to Grosso’s friend, Alessandro Del Piero, at his first Australian news conference yesterday.

”Because we were 10 [men], Fabio said to me: ‘Ale, I am very tired’ – in the last minute of the game, injury time – ‘I’m really tired,”’ Del Piero said. ”And I am thinking probably that’s why, the wind and something else put Fabio downstairs.”

The answer brought universal laughter at yesterday’s press conference before he got serious.

”But I think, after jokes, sometimes there are moments where you have everything. And for us 2006 was the perfect World Cup,” he said. ”Everything goes in the right place, also [in] that match. And that’s why we won.”

Grosso confirmed two years ago that he ”accentuated a little bit” when he felt contact from the Socceroos defender – although he, like Del Piero, believed it was a penalty.

“It’s been a long time since 2006 but I say this with as much sincerity as I possibly can,” Grosso said. “In this instance when Neill slid in, maybe I accentuated it a little bit.

”However, you must remember it was the last minute of an extremely difficult game, and everyone was tired.”

While Francesco Totti would score the resulting penalty to knock Australia out, Grosso would go on to score the first goal of the semi-final win over Germany and then net the winning goal in the penalty shoot-out in the final.

In an interesting twist, Grosso, now 34, has also shown interest in moving to the A-League to finish his career.

SEBASTIAN HASSETT

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