Mobsters Inc.

Big hitters: Paul McCarthy and Amanda Bishop. Photo: ABC TVFrom its opening frames, it is clear there is something very, very different about Ray Donovan (Showcase, Tuesday, 8.30pm). The writing is meticulous, but so is the writing on so many shows. As viewers, eating freely from a buffet that includes Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and Dexter, brilliant writing is almost passe. It shouldn’t be, but in the midst of such an embarrassment of riches, it’s easy to be … meh.
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Liev Schreiber – it’s pronounced Lee-ev, in case you were wondering – is Ray Donovan, a ”fixer” for the rich and famous in Los Angeles. And for a moment it looks like Ray Donovan – the show, not the man – might be another one of those almost intriguing but ultimately shallow wrapped-up-in-itself LA stories. Entourage, anyone?

But then we meet Ray Donovan – the man, not the show – and things start to get interesting. This is one deeply, deeply flawed guy. So flawed he makes Don Draper look like St Peter. His siblings, Terry (Eddie Marsan) and Bunchy (Dash Mihok), seem so impossibly damaged, each in their own way, that they wrap elder brother Ray in ever more intriguing layers of complexity.

And then, onto that, writer Ann Biderman drops Jon Voight as Mickey, Ray’s dad, whose return to the family has all the cold discomfort of a Mafia don’s final kiss. This is a family who will be forever altered by the sins of the father, and the resulting rage of the son.

In that sense, we might be looking at the first show to properly inherit the mantle of The Sopranos, the crime drama that is perhaps HBO’s greatest contribution to the genre, Sex and the City and crimes against fashion notwithstanding. Ray Donovan isn’t a pure crime show, however, and The Sopranos has left mighty big concrete shoes to fill.

Seemingly worlds away – change of continent, change of accent, change of genre, change of tone – is the ABC’s new foray into political satire, Wednesday Night Fever (ABC1, Wednesday, 9.30pm). Sketch comedy is the bastard child of sitcom, so this sits less easily on the national mantle.

The first episode was given a hasty rewrite at the 11th hour because of the tectonic shift in the political landscape, so much of the action was driven by Paul McCarthy as Kevin Rudd and Amanda Bishop as Julia Gillard. Both deliver accomplished studies of their targets.

Some of the impersonations were a little less entire, notably Kim Kardashian and Ruby Rose, but both are ripe targets for satire. Taking potshots at Shane Warne is lazier, and depends on a mostly outdated suite of characteristics. The parody of Clive Palmer seemed like much more fun.

”Downton Abbott” might have been the debut episode’s finest moment, or even the sight of Dave Eastgate pushed into leather pants and a decidedly

heavy-metal motif, had it all not been followed by a Julia Gillard rendition of I Dreamed a Dream, the anthem from the musical Les Miserables, performed by Bishop. ”But the factions come at night,” she warbled, ”with the Murdoch press behind them.”

Sketch is a perfidious genre. It is often criticised for only getting it half right, an assessment that often ignores the fact that even the very best sketch comedies only get it half right. French & Saunders and The Fast Show were on the money only half the time.

Ditto Fast Forward and The Naked Vicar Show, Australia’s top shelf of older sketch shows. What is clear, though, is that Australia’s political establishment has turned itself into a national joke. And anyone brave enough to kick it deserves a round of applause.

Ruth Ritchie is on leave.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

杭州龙凤 04/12/2018

OPINION: Good sports don’t need all that booze

MONEY GAME: The link between sport and alcohol is established, among other things, by brands slapped across the jerseys of top sports performers.IN Australia, one in four people are members of, or participate in, community sport.
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Community sports clubs make an important contribution to our way of life, providing an opportunity for physical activity, recreation, social interaction, volunteering, and social cohesion for young and old alike.

In some clubs, however, the way alcohol is made available and managed diminishes this positive contribution.

The association between community sport and alcohol is a reflection of that between sport and alcohol in Australia generally.

The Australian cricket team wears sports caps emblazoned with a beer sponsor’s logo, an image of a brewer is across the chest of every NSW State of Origin player, and commentators applaud players celebrating their victory with alcohol.

A little-known consequence of this association is that sports players and fans consume alcohol at higher levels than the general community.

As a consequence, they are at greater risk of being involved in assaults, injured through motor vehicle accidents, and being at risk of alcohol dependence.

The Australian Drug Foundation’s “Good Sports” accreditation program has been working with community sports clubs for over a decade to reduce the harm associated with excessive alcohol use by players, members and fans.

The program supports clubs to implement alcohol management practices consistent with liquor licensing legislation, including the avoidance of under-age drinking, drinking games and alcohol promotions, providing safe transport options for patrons, sourcing sponsorship from non-alcohol-related organisations and promoting a healthy, family friendly club.

Nationally there are more than 5800 sporting clubs enrolled in the program, with 161 accredited in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region.

The program has had many positive impacts on sporting clubs and their members.

For example, accreditation with the program saw a dramatic improvement in the reputation and fortunes of the Thurgoona AFL Football/Netball club, that was previously known for alcohol-fuelled incidents, poor on-field behaviour and team performance, and low club membership.

Accreditation with the Good Sports program saw an increase in club membership and game attendance, a $124,000 increase in sponsorship income, substantial reductions in alcohol-related incidents and the club climbing the competition ladder.

The positive impact of the program has been supported in a recent randomised, controlled trial conducted by the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Population Health and the Australian Drug Foundation.

The trial, conducted in Hunter New England, Central Coast and Sydney football clubs, found that members of clubs that implemented the program were less likely to consume alcohol at risky levels, and less likely to be at risk of alcohol-related problems than members of clubs that did not implement the program.

Importantly, the trial also found the clubs that implemented the program did not suffer a loss of revenue.

For the community to obtain the most benefit from initiatives like the Good Sports program, the number of sports clubs able to participate in it must be maximised.

Given the high cost and difficulty of achieving this across metropolitan, regional and rural areas, a need exists to identify sustainable ways of providing ongoing support to clubs.

Based on the positive findings of the program, and positive feedback from clubs, the partnership between the University, Hunter New England Health and the Australian Drug Foundation is about to embark on developing additional strategies to support sports clubs who want to implement the program.

The partnership, funded by the Australian Research Council, will develop and implement web-based resources such as information, checklists, tools and other resources so that community sports clubs can better manage the availability and supply of alcohol.

In this way, clubs right across Australia will be able to simultaneously access support in a cost-effective way.

If we are to reduce the unacceptable burden of alcohol-related problems, all sections of the community need to consider the ways in which they can contribute to achieving this objective.

Through their adoption of the Good Sports program, community sports clubs have demonstrated a willingness to make such a contribution.

Through our work, we seek to ensure that such clubs have the best available support to do so.

Professor John Wiggers, Dr Luke Wolfenden and Melanie Kingsland, of the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle. Further information regarding the Good Sports program can be obtained from the Australian Drug Foundation.

杭州龙凤 04/12/2018

Agar strikes again – this time with the ball

LIVE SCORECARD
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Runs began to flow against the second new ball at Trent Bridge as England ensured Australia would have to complete a tricky chase to win the first Test.

Peter Siddle made a crucial breakthrough before tea, removing the fast-scoring Matt Prior for 31 with an aggressive short ball that was pulled hard to Ed Cowan at short mid-wicket.

The England wicketkeeper’s departure came as a huge relief to Australia, whose plan to tempt him to hit square through the off-side almost worked when Cowan, who had spent much of the game off the field with a stomach bug, misjudged a chance at backward point.

England was 6-230 at tea with a lead of 165. Ian Bell was well set on 56 and Stuart Broad, wearing a prominent pad on the shoulder that was hit by James Pattinson in the first innings, on one.

Batting in the fourth innings at Trent Bridge is never easy, never mind with the added tension of an Ashes series opener and Australia’s recent penchant for rapid collapses.

During the epic 2005 series England wobbled on the way to 129 and got the runs seven wickets down. The highest successful runchase in Nottingham is England’s 284 to beat New Zealand in 2004, and only three times has the team batting last here made more than 200 to win the game.

The pitch offered some spin on day three – Ashton Agar continued his dream debut by turning one off the outside edge of Jonny Bairstow’s bat; the young No.6 caught behind for 15. There was some up and down movement for the quicks, too.

After England resumed at 2-80, normal Test batting resumed for a while after Agar’s enchanting debut innings.

Kevin Pietersen, perhaps the only player in either team outrageous enough to take the breath away as the young Australian did the day before, made a responsible 64 in a promising partnership of 110 with his captain.Pattinson, more accurate than in previous spells, made the first breakthrough when Pietersen dragged a drive onto middle stump.

Then Agar, back on the field of dreams where he changed the first Test with the bat, made his first mark with the ball. He was picked ahead of Nathan Lyon primarily for his ability to turn the ball away from England’s right-handed batsmen but his first victim was the left-handed captain, a man with the powers of concentration to bat for days.

Agar aimed an arm ball into the rough, which popped up off the outside edge of Cook’s bat and was caught by a leaping Michael Clarke at slip.

The young left-arm spinner had collected 2-53 from 20 overs by the tea break.

With England’s captain and its most dangerous batsman, Pietersen, back in the dressing room, Pattinson took aim at the middle order.

The 23-year-old spearhead made life difficult for England’s batsmen with a hint of reverse swing. He jagged a ball back off the pitch at Bairstow, narrowly missing his stumps, then speared in a yorker.

The Australians launched an unsuccessful review for lbw, but the ball was swinging down leg and Bairstow survived.

Chris Rogers took the field wearing a black armband to honour the father of a Prahran teammate who died suddenly during the week.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

杭州龙凤 04/12/2018

PICTURES: Great white shark in Lake 

A PROLONGED brush with a great white shark in Lake Macquarie has left a grandfather vowing to put an end to 50 years of swimming there.
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Phill Loader and his 16-year-old grandson Caleb spent 10 minutes drifting in their dinghy on Thursday afternoon as the two-metre shark ghosted alongside them.

The encounter was in shallow water, 80 metres from the Belmont 16ft Sailing Club, and ended when Mr Loader and Caleb grew “uncomfortable” and turned back to shore.

CHILLING: The two-metre shark spent 10 minutes swimming alongside their dinghy.

CHILLING: Phill Loader, who was with his grandson, Caleb, says it was just like something out of a movie.

CHILLING: The two-metre shark spent 10 minutes swimming alongside their dinghy.

“It kept coming back and swimming alongside of the boat and at one point, he turned on his side to have a look at us,” Mr Loader, 60, said. “This shark was doing all the things people fear they do. This was like something from a movie.”

Sydney Aquarium aquarist Martin Garwood confirmed the shark was a great white (Carcharodon carcharias) based on the anglers’ photos.

“It appears to be a juvenile of about one to three years old,” Mr Garwood said. “It’s really unusual to see this species inside a headland like Lake Macquarie. They are usually coastal/pelagic.”

In 50 years of swimming in and boating on the lake, Mr Loader, of Belmont North, said he had seen sharks in it “maybe once or twice” near the Swansea channel.

He and his mates used to have swimming races off the sailing club. Not any more.

“I wouldn’t be doing any swimming in the lake whatsoever after this,” he said.

“I’m not comfortable letting any of my grandkids swim in the lake any more.”

Jason Nunn, from Fisherman’s Warehouse at Marks Point, said a great white’s stare was an unforgettable experience.

“They eyeball you when they pull up beside the boat. They are a very intimidating fish,” he said.

Mr Nunn said sightings of the shark, which was probably attracted to the lake by large schools of tailor, had been reported since the June long weekend.

“There were some guys drifting for flathead in about three metres of water near Swansea Gardens Caravan Park and it just buzzed them on the Saturday of the long weekend,” he said.

Its dorsal fin was seen about 50 metres from swimmers at Coon Island the next day.

“There’s no way I’d be swimming in the lake. I’ve got no doubt it’s looking for a decent feed,” Mr Nunn said.

He said the shark may have taken over the territory that an aggressive seal had occupied around the island until relatively recently.

Sailability, a group for disabled and disadvantaged people, launches about a dozen boats on that part of Lake Macquarie four days a week.

A larger regatta is planned for next month.

Belmont 16ft sailing co-ordinator Danny Anderson said the club safety policy was to bring all boats back to shore whenever someone saw a shark.

“I don’t know that we’d change that or else we’d never go, would we?” Mr Anderson said.

The number of shark sightings on the lake had increased markedly in the past five years from virtually none, he said.

“Though I sail every weekend and I’ve only ever seen a few.”

Lake Macquarie shark sightings

■February 2004 A three-metre bull or whaler shark is sighted near a group of children at Belmont Bay.

■February 2004 A 2.5m shark passes under a sailing boat 500m from Belmont 16 Foot Sailing Club.

■March 2004 A shark fin appears only a few metres behind a wakeboarder in Crangan Bay.

■April 2004 A 2.5m bull or tiger shark surfaces next to a runabout near the Cockle Creek boat ramp.

■July 2004 Scalloped hammerheads measuring 1.8m and 2.5m are caught near the Eraring power station water outlet.

■October 2005 A 1.8m shark is cited ‘‘within jumping distance’’ of the rocks at Reids Reserve, Swansea Channel.

■August 2009 A 2m hammerhead is caught near Eraring Power Station.

■July 2011 A 2.7m hammerhead shark beaches itself at Myuna Bay.

■August 2011 A 1.5m hammerhead shark is found dead at Myuna Bay.

杭州龙凤 04/12/2018

Heartbreak fires up Mogg for title tilt

Jesse Mogg is desperate to end his big-game heartbreak. Photo: Jay CronanBrumbies fullback Jesse Mogg will use two years of big-game heartbreak for motivation to ensure he doesn’t let another opportunity slip as the ACT chases a Super Rugby title.
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A week after the biggest moment of his career – a Wallabies debut in front of 83,000 fans – Mogg will spearhead the Brumbies’ hopes of clinching a top-two spot on the ladder before the finals begin.

Mogg hopes the pain of playing in a losing Test series to the British and Irish Lions and the lingering memory of the Brumbies’ last-round choke from last season will finally deliver the success he craves. ”Everyone knows how much last year hurt us [at the Brumbies] and given a second chance, I’m not going to let it slip again,” Mogg said.

”We’ve taken opportunities this year and if we get another one we’ll take it. I think we’ve got the squad to reach the top [of Super Rugby]. You can’t dwell on losses.”

The Brumbies will resume their Super Rugby season when they play the Western Force in Perth on Saturday night.

If results go their way, the Brumbies have an opportunity to finish in the top two if they beat the Force with a bonus point.

Mogg is desperate to play in the finals after his debut season came to a shuddering halt when the Brumbies faltered at the last hurdle last year.

Two years ago Mogg was playing club rugby in Canberra, but the 24-year-old has established himself as one of the most exciting fullbacks in the competition.

His form was rewarded when he was called into the Wallabies squad for the Lions series and he made his debut in the series-deciding Test last weekend.

With his first touch he burst through a hole and the rangy fullback appeared certain to score before being cut down by an ankle tap.

”I got a lot of confidence out of the Wallabies game and I’ll just be back at the Brumbies and try not to overplay my hand,” the Brumbies ace said.

”We’ve got a massive job ahead of us. We can’t bring the disappointment from the Wallabies back to the Brumbies, we’ve got to be ready to win a Super Rugby championship.

”This Force game is the perfect chance to build into the finals … the intensity has lifted, we’ve moved on and [are] just concentrating on this weekend.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

杭州龙凤 04/12/2018

Thompson avoids pitfalls of fame

Colourful past, bright future … Joel Thompson. Photo: Melissa AdamsJoel Thompson still remembers his first police interview when he was just 13.
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The Canberra Raiders forward readily admits he ”could be in Goulburn jail” had he continued on the wrong path of his rocky upbringing.

So as speculation builds about whether suspended centre Blake Ferguson has the full support of his Raiders teammates, Thompson is vocal about why he can relate better than most.

Both are indigenous rugby league stars who have found themselves in trouble off-field. And both were taken from their parents as teenagers to live with their grandmothers.

”Fergie’s not that bad, he just gets in situations where people take advantage of him,” Thompson said.

”He’s a good fella and has a big heart, people sometimes forget about that and see all the bad things that are done.”

Thompson, 24, now works part-time at the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre. He is also an ambassador for the NRL’s Learn, Earn Legend! indigenous education program. He believes it’s his duty to share his story so others can make better choices.

He will always be grateful for the guiding hand of his grandparents, who gave him a home.

”I had my first police interview at 13 and was getting into trouble with my cousins, break-and-enters, and things like that,” Thompson said.

”I was going down the wrong track but my nan and pop gave me a good wording to when I had nowhere else to go, and I’m very thankful for that. I feel like I’m in the position now where I should be helping youth, and helping them pick the right path like I have.

”It’s easy to stay in that cycle and it’s hard to break out, but you have to use the people around you to get out, and I’m happy I did.

”If I wasn’t playing footy, I wanted to have a good job to make my nan proud.”

Ferguson has been staying at Anthony Mundine’s Hurstville home a few days a week, as he prepares to defend an indecent assault charge on July 16. He is serving a four-week ban from football.

”I don’t know how much I can say without getting in trouble, but I feel like he’s definitely copped it a fair bit,” Thompson said of Ferguson. ”Nothing’s been proven, and he’s copped this suspension.”

As part of his rehabilitation program, Ferguson has also been doing community service with troubled indigenous youth.

He is helping Mundine with the under-12 Alexandria Rovers team he coaches and has been doing a program at Redfern’s National Indigenous Centre of Excellence.

On Friday he was in Griffith, in country NSW, to help with NAIDOC Week celebrations. Thompson hopes he will remain involved long-term.

”It would be good for Fergie to keep doing this stuff,” he said. ”I tell him a fair bit that people look up to him, and I can’t wait to see him back playing.

”He’s been getting help from Mundine and it’s up to Fergie now to take that on, I think he will.”

Thompson’s AILC youths graduated from their leadership program at last Sunday’s win over North Queensland at Canberra Stadium. ”That was a proud moment for me, they graduated at half-time,” he said.

”This is the type of work I want to get into after footy. The community and welfare work is rewarding, sometimes I enjoy it more than my footy.”

The NRL has taken great steps to improve the mentoring and education of indigenous players, but Thompson believes plenty more can be done. Although he is moving to Wollongong to begin a three-year deal with the Dragons next year, he wants to be involved for the long haul.

”I think there needs to be more education and more programs, it’s only going to help players in trouble. A few years ago I wouldn’t have cared about anyone, it would have been all about myself, but I feel I’m in a position where I should be helping more people.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

杭州龙凤 04/12/2018

Wallsend mum busted for ‘guns’

ROWENA Aglio, of Wallsend, was just trying to order props for her sons who were involved in theatre but wound up with two counts of importing illegal firearms on her record.
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Mrs Aglio believes she is an innocent victim of poor legislation covering the sale and ownership of imitation or toy firearms.

The Newcastle Herald has reported this week how imitation guns – that look remarkably real – are readily available for purchase in Hunter stores.

STORY: Minister calls for ban on realistic toy guns

STORY: Police replica gun fears

STORY: Replica gun used in armed hold-up

Police have complained that a legal loophole allowing the guns to be sold as “toys” makes it too easy for criminals to buy them and use them in hold-ups.

The law does, however, leave room for the prosecution of buyers, and it trapped Mrs Aglio.

STORY: Replica guns toy with the rules

“The boys were looking at buying actual replica guns because they were making some short movies. We had looked at places like Go-Lo and Toys-R-Us, but they wanted something more realistic,” Mrs Aglio said.

“They found these guns online. They were called toy, replica guns.”

Mrs Aglio ordered the fake weapons using her credit card and waited for delivery.

Several weeks later, she received a letter from the Customs service explaining that the goods had been seized as illegal firearms.

Understandably, the letter made her nervous but there was no phone number so she decided to wait and see what happened.

The next day, Mrs Aglio received a second, “much more official-looking” letter which stated that Customs had seized a second package with illegal goods.

“The guns were put into two separate packages, so it was recorded as two attempts to import illegal firearms,” Mrs Aglio told the Herald. “They told me I’d be prosecuted if I ‘tried’ it again.”

Mrs Aglio said Customs told her if she committed any further breach, either in her travels or online shopping it would mean a “third strike”, and criminal proceedings.

“When I phoned Customs the woman said they were definitely replica items and were illegal because people could use them in armed hold-ups,” she said.

“I tried to explain that they were only being used as drama props but she said it didn’t matter.

“[She] said I could appeal but that I would lose,” said Mrs Aglio. “It’s left us really quite nervous.”

杭州龙凤 04/12/2018

TAFEs accused of rorting system to boost funds

The state government will crack down on training providers found putting staff and students through unnecessary basic courses so they can maximise government subsidies.
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Enrolments in ”foundation” courses for students who lack literacy and numeracy skills soared in the first quarter of this year. These courses racked up more than $61 million in government funding in the first three months of the year, according to opposition estimates.

The government clampdown comes amid reports that some TAFEs have enrolled teachers with postgraduate degrees in foundation subjects.

One long-term teacher at The Gordon TAFE said she was told to complete two government-funded foundation subjects despite holding postgraduate qualifications. She said she learnt little as she breezed through one of the subjects in 90 minutes, although it was supposed to take 20 hours.

”I just think it’s totally wrong,” she said. ”It’s extremely upsetting to me to see such a valuable education resource treated with contempt.”

The teacher said she was told to enrol in one technology subject that failed to cover any material outlined in the course guide and instead focused briefly on using a new student management system. She said teachers felt uncomfortable about the training but believed they had no choice. ”They’re not going to rock the boat. They need their jobs.”

The Gordon TAFE said it had always been transparent about professional development policies.

”The introduction of a new critical business system earlier this year created a skills gap within the institute,” it said in a statement. ”To ensure relevant staff were proficient with the new system, they completed two units from Certificate III in general education for adults.” The statement said the units were delivered in accordance with compliance requirements.

Foundation course enrolments rose almost 42 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period in 2012. However, TAFE enrolments fell for apprentices and trainees, students with disabilities and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Higher Education and Skills Minister Peter Hall said the government was aware of ”a number of instances” where foundation courses appeared to be misused. ”The Victorian government will … investigate options to make sure foundation courses are used for their intended purpose.”

Last year it was revealed the government would slash almost $300 million from the TAFE sector.

Opposition spokesman for higher education and skills Steve Herbert said it was unfortunate some TAFEs were resorting to ”manipulation of the system”. ‘It is clear cash-strapped TAFEs in their desperation to maintain services and provide support to students are relying on the overuse of foundation course enrolments,” he said.

[email protected]上海夜生活m.au

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

杭州龙凤 04/12/2018

Phoenix look for lift in State Cup finals

TIME TO RISE: Chris Brown takes on Jets Youth striker Kale Bradbury. Picture: Max Mason-HubersSENIOR Valentine player Chris Brown believes this weekend’s trip to Coffs Harbour for the State Cup finals is just what Phoenix need before they try to rescue their place in the Northern NSW State League.
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Valentine, the inaugural winners of the State Cup in 2010, will represent the southern pool in the annual knockout along with fellow State League side Edgeworth and lower-division qualifiers Dudley-Redhead and Swansea today in the quarter-finals at BCU International Stadium.

Phoenix play Lismore Workers today for a place in tomorrow’s semi-finals.

Edgeworth play Coffs City, Dudley-Redhead take on Urunga and Swansea clash with Lennox Head. The winners of the semi-finals then play off for the $4000 first prize.

Valentine head to Coffs Harbour fresh from securing their first point under new coaches Alan Hackett and Ian Brogan.

The Central Coast pair took over from the axed Lindsay Tapp last month and had two losses before Phoenix came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-all with the Jaffas on Wednesday night at Edden Oval.

Nick Hills and Craig Wieckowski scored in the second half to move last-placed Valentine to eight points from 14 games.

They are two points behind next best Lake Macquarie, who have two games in hand.

Brown, who is in his third season at Valentine, said the trip away was perfect timing for Phoenix as they look to charge home late to avoid relegation.

“I don’t think it could have come a better time,” the 26-year-old Scotsman said.

“With the new coaches coming in, it’s a bit of a morale booster. It is a good chance to get to know the new coaches and for them to know us, off the park as well.

“I think it’s a good chance to build that team morale for the rest of the season.”

A product of the Dundee youth system, Brown played at South Cardiff when he came to Australia then Edgeworth, Broadmeadow and Toronto Awaba before joining Phoenix.

The well-travelled left midfielder or left fullback has seen plenty of changes at football clubs and believes the Phoenix players have handled the recent upheaval “very well”.

“We are all very open and honest and we get on well together on and off the park.

“We’ve just got to roll with the punches and try and save ourselves from relegation.

“There was a bit of shock, but when the results don’t go your way, the manager is the first one in the firing line, I guess, across the board in all levels of football.”

He said communication between players and coaches and intensity levels at training had improved since Brogan and Hackett had come on board.

“It’s been a bit of a revitalisation, I think, with the new coaches,” he said.

“Players want to impress them and there’s a bit more competition for places.

“They have different ideas to what Lindsay had.”

The State Cup presents Valentine with their only chance of winning a first-grade trophy this year.

“Winning silverware is why we all play so we’re not going to go up there half-hearted,” Brown said.

杭州龙凤 04/12/2018

White gives Brumbies plan for future

The ACT Brumbies are preparing for their biggest month in a decade, but captain Ben Mowen says the club should use a drought-breaking finals berth to start a six-year succession plan to ensure ”the program is always moving forward”.
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Brumbies coach Jake White missed out on the Wallabies job earlier this week and he will remain in Canberra for the last two years of his Super Rugby contract.

White’s No.1 priority is Super Rugby success with the Brumbies, but he makes no secret of his desire to return to international coaching at the end of the 2015 season.

It allows the Brumbies to plan years in advance and avoid a last-minute scramble for a replacement.

The majority of the Brumbies’ players have re-signed for the next two seasons while chief executive Andrew Fagan is negotiating an extension in his role and a deal could be finalised in coming weeks.

But in a blow, athletic performance director Dean Benton – the man credited with turning the Brumbies into one of the fittest teams in Super Rugby – will leave Canberra at the end of the season.

ACT and Wallabies great Owen Finegan says assistants Stephen Larkham and Laurie Fisher could be ready-made replacements for White if the Brumbies promote from within.

But the club could also opt to scour the globe for a new leader if the right candidates are available.

Either way, Mowen said White’s intentions gave the club clarity and the opportunity to set plans in place for long-term success.

”One of the advantages of having a coach who is that clear what his ambitions are is that there are already going to be strategies in place for succession planning in terms of players and coaching,” Mowen said.

”It’s not a two-year plan [until 2015], it’s going to be a six-year plan. That’s a fortunate position to be in when you consider the Brumbies recent history of three coaches [in the past three seasons].

”Jake wants to get the Brumbies job done and have success here and then go international.”

The Brumbies’ immediate focus is on beating the Western Force on Saturday night to give them momentum going into the finals.

They will be playing finals for the first time since 2004 and in his two years in charge White has turned the club from cellar dweller into contenders.

White was in a two-man race to be the next Wallabies coach, but lost out to Queensland’s Ewen McKenzie.

He has also been linked to the England and Irish coaching jobs in the past but with the World Cup just two years away the top international positions are unlikely to change before the tournament in England.

Brumbies chairman Sean Hammond said the club would use the off-season to set a 10-year strategic plan for success on and off the field.

But Hammond said the Brumbies were unlikely to start planning for White’s successor until at least the end of next year.

”You definitely start to think about succession and the rugby program is in pretty good shape,” Hammond said.

”We haven’t started anything official … there’s a lot of time for the planning to take place and it’s not something we’ve got down to look at. We just don’t know what will happen. There’s a lot we have to do first with our move [from Griffith to the University of Canberra] … the priority is this season, a new home, new capital and future-proofing the organisation.”

with David Polkinghorne

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

杭州龙凤 04/12/2018

Shillington reaches out to Ferguson

Raiders prop David Shillington has contacted suspended teammate Blake Ferguson to assure him he still wants to play alongside him.
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But Fairfax Media understands some senior Raiders players remain unhappy about the club’s leniency dealing with previous off-field issues, which has now reached crisis point with Josh Dugan’s sacking, Ferguson charged with indecent assault and questions being raised about Canberra’s culture.

Shillington and Raiders skipper Terry Campese attempted on Friday to quell reports of turmoil among the club’s senior leadership and coach David Furner.

But there is a growing frustration from senior players that they are being blamed for a poor culture, despite their attempts to enforce more disciplinary measures.

Shillington, who started the 2013 NRL season as stand-in Raiders captain, confirmed Fairfax Media reports he quit the club’s senior leadership group about a month ago.

The timing coincided with Ferguson being charged with indecent assault over an alleged incident at a Cronulla bar on the eve of NSW Origin camp.

Shillington, who was also dropped from the Queensland State of Origin team and relegated to the Raiders bench, declined to be interviewed and declare the exact reason why he quit.

In a text to Fairfax Media, Shillington wrote ”it was causing too big of a distraction”.

But it’s understood he is one of the players who shares the frustration over club discipline.

Shillington denied he had personally called for Ferguson’s sacking.

”I’ve spoken to Fergo about that and he completely understands where I’m at with everything,” Shillington texted.

”After his incident with [Josh Dugan] on the rooftop we stuck by him and committed to helping him improve himself.”

Ferguson was supposed to have been on his last chance with the club before the incident in Cronulla, but the club has said it will support him. The Origin winger is due to face a Sydney Court on Tuesday.

Furner and other senior Raiders players refused to comment publicly on Friday.

There is, however, a simmering unrest among some senior players about the leniency shown by Furner towards disciplining Dugan and Ferguson in the past, which has led to this point.

There is also some disenchantment that the senior playing group is powerless.

The Raiders presented a dossier of 18 misdemeanours to the NRL when they sacked Dugan in March, including five that involved police.

Dugan and Ferguson were both stood down for one match last year, after Dugan was out drinking while injured and Ferguson reported to training under the influence of alcohol. But the senior playing group’s recommendation that they be demoted to NSW Cup was ignored.

Ferguson was again stood down for only one NRL match for his part in the drinking incident with Dugan in March. Senior players had recommended longer.

There is the perception that Dugan and Ferguson had been allowed to get away with too much because of their on-field abilities.

But Campese played down any friction among the club’s leadership group and administration.

”My understanding was [Shillington was stood down] because of his form and he wanted to get back into the Queensland side,” Campese said.

”The senior leadership group still meets once a week, it’s all sweet.

”I don’t think there’s any dramas, I think it’s a storm in a teacup.

”I don’t know where all this stuff’s coming from that people are unhappy. As a team we’re travelling all right. Of course there’s still things we can learn as a leadership group and a club, but we’ve got to learn to grow from these things and learn from these off-field incidents and set better examples.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.