Archives - January, 2019



31 Jan 19

CARDIFF Hawks junior Isaac Heeney has again exceeded expectations, making the NSW/ACT Rams under-18 squad as a bottom-age player for the AFL national titles.
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The onballer will play for the Rams against South Australia at Blacktown International Sportspark on Saturday in round one of the five-game series.

Heeney was voted best on ground in all three matches for the Rams under-16s at the national championships last year but was not expecting to make the under-18s side this year at his first attempt.

However, the Black Hill product impressed coaches during matches for the Sydney Swans under-18s against their Greater Western Sydney counterparts to be one of only a handful of under-17s talents to gain selection.

The achievement comes after a stellar 2012 which included his national title feats, selection in the Australian Institute of Sport program and securing an inaugural Jim Stynes Scholarship.

He was one of only 11 juniors Australia-wide and the only player in NSW to receive the scholarship, which is worth up to $20,000 over two years and helps ease the financial burden of football, travel and education expenses.

Terrigal-Avoca’s Thomas Head is in the under-19 Rams.

NSW/ACT play Victorian Metro on June9 at Visy Park, Northern Territory at Blacktown on June22, Queensland at Visy Park on June29 and Tasmania at Victoria Park on July4.

■ Coach Stewart Bell is confident of an improved showing from Newcastle at this weekend’s Australian Little League Championships on the Gold Coast.

Half of the 14-player squad are returning from last year’s under-13 national baseball tournament.

That experience, along with the players’ improvement at training and practice games in recent weeks, has Bell confident of a top-eight finish.

“Seven kids had the experience of playing last year,” he said. ‘‘That will help because last year it took us a day and a half to get our jaws off the ground and realise we can compete with these teams.

“You try not to get too confident when you go into tournaments like these, but if we play to our best, you never know how far we’ll go.”

Newcastle have been drawn in Pool A with Canberra and three West Australian teams, Perth Central, Swan Hills and Port Hedland.

Bell expects his team to be fighting for second place in the pool behind West Australian champions Perth Central.

If they can achieve that goal, they will qualify for the quarter-finals and have the chance to improve on last year’s eighth-place finish.

For the first time, the winner of the tournament will gain direct entry into the Little League World Series in Williamsport, in the US, in August.

“Not that I think we’re a genuine hope of competing for that position,” Bell said.

‘‘But it’s just a great little incentive to be played for.’’

The squad have been training hard in preparation for the championships, but Bell has reminded his players to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

‘‘Baseball gets serious enough as you get older so we really emphasise the fun factor,’’ he said. ‘‘By doing that we’ve been getting good results because they’re having fun.’’

The titles run from Saturday to Wednesday.

Newcastle: Brett Allen (Belmont), Olivia Cameron (Maitland), Sam Cooke (Boomerangs), Hayden Daniels (White Sox), Sam Faulkner (Boomerangs), Ryan Hudson (Toronto), Bradley Martin (White Sox), Joshua McDonald (Boomerangs), Izaak McIntyre (Boomerangs), Sam McLean (Belmont), Kingsley Williams (Boomerangs), Nathan Williams (Boomerangs), Rixon Wingrove (Phoenix Charlestown), Samuel Winpenny (Phoenix Charlestown).

Cardiff player Isaac Heeney, left, and Warners Bay player Sam Gibbons, right in action last season.


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31 Jan 19

STEPPING UP: Kobie Ferguson at Emerging Jets training last night. Picture: Max Mason-HubersWHEN Kobie Ferguson stepped out against reigning Herald Women’s Premier League major premiers Adamstown in round one this year, she was more than a bit nervous – and for good reason.
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Not only was she playing her first game of senior football, she was doing it at age 13 as a central midfielder.

But Ferguson, who celebrated her 14th birthday in late March, proved an integral part of the Emerging Jets under-18 girls side, who are now second in their debut season in the WPL first-grade competition after 10 rounds.

The Hunter Sports High School year 9 student is one of several players under 16 years of age in the squad taking on the likes of Jets W-League captain and former Matilda Hayley Crawford.

‘‘It’s really good. I’m enjoying stepping up and playing against the older girls at such a young age and playing against the best girls in Newcastle,’’ Ferguson said.

‘‘I was really nervous about it at first, but I just thought I’d take it one step at a time and try and improve a lot at training.

‘‘I’ve obviously improved over time and this has built my confidence a lot, playing against older girls.’’

Emerging Jets coach Wayne O’Sullivan said Ferguson had shown skills and composure beyond her years to play ‘‘a very significant role’’ in the side.

‘‘The mindset a lot of the time is to play younger players outside the game to give them an opportunity to see the game and find the speed of it, but it’s really not a problem for Kobie,’’ O’Sullivan said.

‘‘When we talk about technical players and the emphasis of what we want to do, she’s right in amongst it.

‘‘She’s not blessed with raw speed, and a lot of the time the younger girls who are identified and pushed forward quickly are the ones who are more powerful and quicker.

‘‘Kobie is only medium-sized for her age, but technically she is very strong and she has great awareness, therefore you can play her in the middle of the game and it’s not a problem.’’

He said Ferguson had come along in leaps and bounds in her time with the Emerging Jets by doing the hard yards.

‘‘Every eight weeks, the players are given formal assessments based on FFA standardised testing, and Kobie’s first assessment was not great,’’ he said.

‘‘But she has a very good work ethic and over the next eight weeks she was very good and she improved out of sight.’’

Ferguson has been going up against and impressing opponents she hopes to one day join in the national W-League competition and beyond.

‘‘I’ve always looked up to the Matildas and it would be a dream come true to play for them when I’m older,’’ Ferguson said.

‘‘But it would also be a dream come true to play in the W-League as well. That’s what I’m aiming to do.’’

In the short-term, Ferguson is hoping to help the Northern NSW under-15 side win the National Youth Championship for girls in Coffs Harbour in July.

It will be her third national age titles.

In under 13s, Ferguson made the All Stars side, which was selected from performances at the national tournament.

Ashlee Brodigan is another player born in 1999 who is in the under-18 Emerging Jets side and competing at the national titles.

Emerging Jets Lisa Cochrane, Maddison Dean, Jorjia Hogg, Kalista Hunter, Corinne Krupa, Beth Le Gay Brereton, Sophie Nenadovic, Sophie O’Brien, Hannah Southwell and Clare Wheeler also made the NNSW under 15s.


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31 Jan 19

The Adam Goodes incident has put the issue of abuse during AFL matches in the limelight. Photo: Luis Enrique AscuiThe AFL has fast-tracked a scoreboard campaign in which star footballers will appeal to fans to stop abusing players, as the powerful image of a shattered Adam Goodes is still fresh in the minds of football fans.
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The move gained momentum after Friday night’s vilification incident which saw the devastated Swans co-captain retreat to the MCG rooms during the final quarter of the Sydney-Collingwood game after being called an ”ape” by a young Magpie supporter.

Cyril Rioli, Kieren Jack, Travis Boak and Tom Scully are among the players who will record messages to their supporters to be broadcast on scoreboards at AFL grounds around Australia this week.

The proposal from the league’s new football operations boss, Mark Evans, will see players from all 18 teams urge their fans to behave in an appropriate manner towards the opposition. Each message will come with the tagline: ”Cheer your heart out, but always do it with respect.”

Evans was at pains to point out on Monday that the message involved all kinds of inappropriate crowd abuse, including indecent language and racial, religious and homophobic vilification.

Evans said Goodes’ devastation and subsequent moving explanation of his reaction, followed by Stephen Milne’s admission on Sunday that he had been significantly affected by the personal attacks constantly aimed at him during games, meant the campaign could be launched at a time when vilification was fresh in football supporters’ minds.

The AFL had not planned to roll out the player appeals until round 11 and had chosen not to run them during the indigenous round in the belief that it was a week for positive messages.

The messages will be displayed at Sunday’s Melbourne-Hawthorn game at the MCG in which Nathan Jones and Rioli will feature in scoreboard telecasts, finishing with a graphic featuring details on reporting anti-social behaviour via text message.

Adelaide’s Rory Sloane and a Fremantle opponent will deliver similar pleas at AAMI Stadium, with Port Adelaide’s captain Boak and a senior Western Bulldogs opponent to do the same at TIO Stadium in Darwin. North Melbourne captain Andrew Swallow is expected to feature in the clash against St Kilda.

The view from Sydney was that Goodes had already delivered a powerful message and the Swans game against Essendon on Saturday at the SCG will feature their co-captain Jack.

Saints captain Nick Riewoldt planted the seed for the idea at AFL headquarters when the captains held their annual meeting with the commission and the league executive in March. Riewoldt told the commission he believed spectator abuse had become worse over his years in the game and Evans was prompted by an American football campaign on NFL scoreboards featuring star players.

The AFL Players Association will also re-release posters at venues featuring star footballers above the slogan: ”Our teams are made up of many colours: Wear them with pride, not prejudice.”

Milne told Channel Nine on Sunday: ”It’s a bit of a touchy subject. Nothing really changes with me. What happened on Friday night was very sad for the game … But I cop a few words which aren’t good for anyone. I’ve got a couple of kids and they go to the footy and my family and parents have to cop the abuse. So the sooner we can stamp it out the better.”

Evans said: ”We don’t want people coming to the game being subjected to abuse and we don’t want it to happen to our players.”

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


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31 Jan 19

Ray Gunston, caretaker chief executive of the embattled Essendon Football Club, has been shortlisted for the top job at racing’s broadcasting network TVN.
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Gunston took over from Ian Robson, who resigned as Essendon chief last week amid allegations of the use of illegal substances on players at the club, but is being keenly pursued for the TVN role.

Gunston, a former boss of Tattersalls and non-executive director of Sigma Pharmaceuticals Ltd, is one of the leading candidates for the TVN position, which is believed to carry an annual salary of $800,000 a year, after other high-profile targets passed on the role, including former Football Federation Australia chief Ben Buckley and News Ltd’s Michael Miller.

This followed the departure of former News Ltd boss John Hartigan from the position of TVN chairman earlier this year after he observed that a dysfunctional board and a restrictive shareholder agreement rendered the position unworkable.

TVN has been split by controversy and inept commercial dealings over the past 12 months and a fierce split between board members in Melbourne and Sydney has cost the racing industry significant income.

Racing administrators are uneasy about the state of the business because of the amount of money spent on consultants and payroll.

The favourite for the TVN role is former Channel Seven chief executive Peter Lewis, who was the architect of the deal that saw TVN pay $2million a year to Seven for a free-to-air platform to broadcast select race meetings. Lewis then signed corporate bookmaker Tom Waterhouse to a $5 million a year deal, securing a boon result for Seven.

Lewis spent 13 years at Seven West Media but left the position as chief executive earlier this year.

Former Washington Redskins administrator Bruce Mann is also on a shortlist of candidates to be considered by the TVN board after finishing a 10-year role with XYZnetworks last year, as is acting TVN chief executive Stephen Dole.

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


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