1 Mar 19

Talkin’ Teams, Tuesday, May 28

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The latest news from the NRL as clubs name their sides for round 12.

Talkin’ Teams: So Laurie Daley still hasn’t named a replacement for the injured Kurt Gidley. I spoke to him last week and he told me that he had two teams in mind. He had one with Gallen at prop and another team with Gallen at lock. I believe Gidley was picked with the thought of playing Gallen in the front row, so don’t be surprised to see a reshuffled side now that the Knights skipper has had to withdraw. I expect Gallen to move back to lock, with Lewis on the bench. That will allow Daley to pick one of Willie Mason, Aaron Woods, Aiden Tolman or Tim Grant. Considering Queensland have named a team without a recognised prop on the bench, the Blues should go for a big bopper. That’s just my opinion. Looking forward to the abuse when I get it wrong. Who would you pick?

Talkin’ Teams: With no Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott, Brent Tate and James Tamou, it’s an experienced looking Cowboys side to take on the Titans on Sunday.

Cowboys: 1. Clint Greenshields 2. Ashley Graham 3. Antonio Winterstein 4. Kane Linnett 5. Kalifa Faifai Loa 6. Michael Morgan 7. Robert Lui 8. Ashton Sims 9. Rory Kostjasyn 10. Scott Bolton 11. Tariq Sims 12. Glenn Hall 13. Dallas Johnson. Interchange: 14. Ray Thompson 15. Joel Riethmuller 16. Ricky Thorby 17. Jason Taumalolo 18. Ethan Lowe 19. Blake Leary.null

Talkin’ Teams: Dave Taylor returns from injury for the Titans, who are missing Ashley Harrison, Nate Myles and Greg Bird on Origin duty. William Zillman will captain the side in their absence.

Titans: 1 William Zillman, 2 Kevin Gordon, 3 Brad Takairangi, 4 Jamal Idris, 5 Anthony Don, 6 Aidan Sezer, 7 Albert Kelly, 8 Luke Bailey, 9 Matt Srama, 10 Luke Douglas, 11 David Taylor, 12 Mark Minichiello, 13 Luke O’Dwyer. Interchange: 14 Ryan James, 15 Mark Ioane, 16 Jamie Dowling, 17 Sam Irwin

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1 Mar 19

Jets open pre-season against Bulldogs

ON THE BALL: James Virgili and Ruben Zadkovich train at Ray Watt Oval yesterday. Picture: Ryan OslandTHE Newcastle Jets will open their pre-season campaign against Northern NSW minnows Plattsburg Maryland.
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The Bulldogs, who play in the third-tier Zone Football Premier League, is the junior club of former Socceroos striker and Jets youth team coach Clayton Zane and has also produced former national league regulars Peter Juchniewicz and Brad Wieczorek.

The Jets assembled yesterday for the start of the first main phase of the pre-season. The game against Plattsburg is on June 26 with a venue yet to be confirmed.

Marquee striker Emile Heskey is not due back from England until July and the Jets’ four Young Socceroos, Connor Chapman, Josh Brillante, Adam Taggart and Andrew Hoole, will be at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Turkey.

The rest of the squad are expected to play some part.

‘‘We will go into games pretty quickly, starting with lesser opposition and building up as we have done previously,’’ Jets coach Gary van Egmond said yesterday.

‘‘We have a game against Plattsburg and we want another game against similar opposition.

‘‘We will be working the players pretty hard in this phase and they will be fatigued.

‘‘We still want to play reasonable football against a team who is going to want to do well.’’

Plattsburg player-coach Mal Hinchliffe, who works for Zane’s InZane Football academy, said his players were ‘‘buzzing’’ when told about the friendly.

‘‘We are looking at it as an experience, a game of footy they will never forget,’’ Hinchliffe said.

‘‘It is not often you get these experiences, the opportunity to play against the likes of Michael Bridges, who has played so many games in the English Premier League. A lot of them were in disbelief.’’

Plattsburg are sixth on the ladder with two wins from seven games and are still alive in the State Cup.

‘‘We have had a bit of an unlucky start to the season,’’ said Hinchliffe, who returned to Newcastle after nine years in Germany.

‘‘There are some good players, but they can’t commit to training three times a week with a state league club. Most of them are former Wallsend High boys. They are hard workers and fight to the end.’’

The Jets have opened their account against Northern NSW State League clubs in previous seasons.

Van Egmond said they would still face state league rivals as they approached the season, which begins against Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium on October 11.

‘‘We have divided the pre-season into three stages of about six weeks, which is similar to last season,’’ the coach said.

‘‘We are looking at going to the AIS in Canberra again, Tamworth again, and there is some talk about going to Townsville and maybe Coffs Harbour.

‘‘We want to take the game regional, from a Northern NSW point of view, and interstate if we can.’’

The Jets have at least three places to fill on their roster.

Blackburn Rovers and former North Queensland Fury goalkeeper Seb Usai and Adelaide shotstopper John Solari began a trial yesterday for the No.3 spot vacated by Jack Duncan’s exit to Perth.

Usai, 23, has spent the past 18 months at Championship club Blackburn Rovers. He featured on the bench but did not play a first-team game.

Solari, 20, plays for Adelaide Premier League club White City and is still eligible for youth league.

The Jets had 10 contracted players on deck yesterday.

Craig Goodwin has been given an extended break, while Ben Kennedy (knee) and Josh Mitchell (knee) are recovering from surgery.


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1 Mar 19

High hopes for Naiqama, Mata’utia

OFF-contact outside backs Kevin Naiqama and Peter Mata’utia are expected to receive another chance to advertise their wares in the NRL shop window when Newcastle take on competition leaders South Sydney at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.
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The Knights are set to field a depleted squad minus their three main strike weapons, skipper Kurt Gidley, fullback Darius Boyd and winger Akuila Uate, all of whom are either unavailable or in doubt with injuries.

Gidley and Boyd were selected by NSW and Queensland respectively for Origin I tomorrow week, but Newcastle’s skipper was a shock withdrawal last night because of a foot injury.

Boyd also faces a race to prove his fitness for the series opener after injuring his lower leg/ankle in Sunday’s 28-12 loss to the Warriors in Auckland.

Despite the Knights stating on their website yesterday that Boyd had been ‘‘cleared of serious injury following scans on Monday’’, there are fears he has suffered a syndesmosis injury, which means tearing the ligament that binds that tibia and fibula.

Queensland have named Melbourne winger Justin O’Neill on standby in case Boyd is ruled out.

Uate was replaced early in the second half with rib-cartilage damage and would appear at long odds to line up against the Rabbitohs.

Rib-cartilage injuries are notoriously painful and, while players sometimes carry them into games with the aid of pain-killing injections, this usually delays the healing process.

Uate is expected to have scans today and until he has those results, Knights physiotherapist Phil Coles said ‘‘we can’t be sure on time frames’’.

Uate’s likely absence would create a selection dilemma for Knights coach Wayne Bennett, leaving him with an extra vacancy in his backline.

Kevin Naiqama, who scored two tries against Canterbury nine days ago but did not retain his position, is a certain selection, either at fullback or on the wing.

Mata’utia, who has not played in the top grade since June 9 last year in a 32-16 loss to Canberra, is the next most experienced candidate.

Naiqama has scored nine tries in his 10-game NRL career and Bennett admitted after his performance against the Bulldogs that it would be ‘‘almost impossible’’ for the Knights to retain him, because he was ready to establish himself as a first-grader.

It is understood other NRL clubs – and rugby union outfits – are already circling the 24-year-old.

Mata’utia appeared a rising star when he made his NRL debut in 2011 but was cruelled by injuries last season.

The former Australian Schoolboy’s manager has been negotiating with the Knights recently about contract extensions for Mata’utia and his younger brothers Chanel, Pat and Sione, who also play for the Knights.

Other possible replacement options include powerful centre Siuatonga Likiliki or even goalkicking winger Josh Mantellato, who has been a prolific pointscorer in the NSW Cup for the past two seasons.

Veteran centre Timana Tahu, who was dropped after the 44-14 loss to Canberra three games ago, has not played since because of a calf injury.

Gidley’s unavailability means Travis Waddell is likely to be promoted from the bench to the starting side.

Waddell may have to share the dummy-half duties with a stop-gap hooker, such as Neville Costigan, to accommodate the return from suspension of enforcer Jeremy Smith.

Smith has missed five club games and the Anzac Test match since being found guilty of a dangerous throw on Matt Robinson in the round-six win Penrith.

The 33-year-old’s return will be welcomed by Bennett, who admitted Newcastle were overpowered and physically intimidated by South Sydney’s giant pack in two heavy defeats last season.

KEVIN NAIQAMA


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1 Mar 19

Mustangs reel as coach leaves

THE Maitland Mustangs are in turmoil after the resignation of Waratah Basketball League men’s coach David Richards and the imminent departure of general manager Chris Heath.
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Richards resigned yesterday under mounting pressure after the Mustangs won just one of their first 10 games this season.

Heath is expected to do likewise tomorrow would not comment yesterday.

The Newcastle Herald has been told Heath’s exit is not directly related to Richards’s decision to step down.

‘‘I made my decision in the best interests of the team, based on my own expectations and what I delivered,’’ Richards said yesterday.

‘‘Due to my own poor performance, I decided to stand down.

‘‘I’m not sure who will take over. That is a decision for Maitland. But I think the team is capable of winning some games and I expect them to get some wins soon.’’

Maitland’s 86-72 home loss to Bankstown on Saturday was their sixth straight.

Their only victory was by one point against winless Sutherland on April 13, but five of their nine losses were by six points or less.

Speculation about Richards’s future began after the Mustangs were humbled 91-50 by arch-rivals Newcastle at Broadmeadow this month, which ensured the Hunters retained the coveted Kibble-Mallon Cup for another year.

Mustangs player Luke Boyle, assisted by older brother Adam and Maitland basketball guru Tim Mallon, said he would replace Richards on an interim basis, but the Mustangs have sounded out former Hunters coach Darren Nichols as a permanent replacement.

Nichols coached the Hunters for the past four years but resigned in February after falling out with Newcastle Basketball general manager Ivan Spyrdz and members of the board.

Spyrdz resigned a fortnight ago after almost five years in the Broadmeadow front office. He began a new job last week as general manager of Newcastle-based public relations company Eclipse Media, Events and PR.

Luke Boyle was Maitland’s player-coach last year but stepped down to concentrate on playing, which created the vacancy Richards filled.

‘‘It’s only on an interim basis at the moment with the assistance of Tim and Adam, and hopefully I won’t have to do it for too long,’’ Luke said yesterday.

‘‘I don’t want to do it forever, because I just want to worry about playing. It’s just to fill the void until we can find someone, and hopefully that will be by the end of the week.

‘‘I feel a bit sorry for him because we were a new team and he was given a pretty difficult task, and five of our losses were by six points or less.’’

The off-season departure of veterans Kieran Gleeson, Andy Allen, Matt Dick, Butch Hays and Josh Clifford meant Richards had to rebuild team led by reigning WBL Most Valuable Player Mitchell Rueter, 201cm Canadian import Robert Nortmann, Luke and Joel Boyle, Maitland stalwart Wayne Brown and several Hunters state and youth league players.

The Mustangs play Penrith and Sutherland on the road this weekend before a two-week break.

Nichols said he had spoken to the Mustangs ‘‘but I have not had an official offer’’.

If he takes the job, Nichols would almost certainly call on Newcastle stalwart Larry Davidson to be his assistant.

‘‘I have been asked to take on the position, but it’s a big decision and it’s not one I will make by myself because it impacts on my family,’’ Nichols said.

‘‘I very much want to coach again at that level, but I’m just not sure if I want to do it this soon.’’

PRESSURE: David Richards, who resigned yesterday. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers


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1 Mar 19

Gai fined but may face more charges

Bad day: Gai Waterhouse leaves the inquiry on Monday. She was fined $5500. Photo: Marco Del GrandeGai Waterhouse could face further charges from More Joyous’ autumn campaign after she was fined $5500 for failing to keep proper records and failing to report a condition to stewards that could affect performance leading into last month’s All Aged Stakes.
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Stewards will also investigate a record of More Joyous being lame on the Tuesday before she ran fifth in the Queen Of The Turf at Rosehill on April 6.

The lameness improved on the Wednesday before the Queen Of The Turf and was recorded in the treatment book.

Waterhouse was fined $500 for not having More Joyous’ treatment book up to date when stewards took it on the night of the All Aged Stakes on April 27, as the inquiry was launched. It revealed the lameness issue before the previous start.

”We will also look at whether treatment given before the Queen Of The Turf ought to have been reported, and will do that on a separate date,” steward Ray Murrihy said as he summed up the findings.

Waterhouse told the inquiry on Monday that news had reached the Queen in England and it had been a ”shoddy” inquiry and ”incredibly cruel, unfair and disgraceful” on her and her family.

She questioned Nash Rawiller’s ride and the condition of the Randwick track, which stewards regarded in assessing a $5000 fine for not reporting More Joyous’ sore neck under rules that compel trainers to report a condition that may have had affected the performance of a horse in a race.

Her counsel Malcolm Ramage, QC, said his advice would be to appeal the guilty finding and the fine.

Waterhouse said she had the final decision on running More Joyous, just as she had with any of the 130 horses in her stable.

”There was no problem in my opinion,” she said. ”I’m not some hick from the bush. I’m qualified in what I do.”

Murrihy had earlier pressed Waterhouse on when she would report a problem with a runner from her stable.

Waterhouse said she wanted every horse from her stable to win and would not send them out if there was problem.

Stewards had set out 10 factors that should have led Waterhouse to report the problem with More Joyous. Murrihy said those 10 points were to be looked on individually rather than in totality.

”For you to have so many triggers, we wouldn’t expect you to ignore them,” Murrihy said. ”It was a clear breach of your requirement to report a condition to us.

”It shouldn’t have been hidden away from the gaze of the authorities. We shouldn’t have been kept in the dark. The public that supported the horse are entitled to know if there had been problems.”

Earlier in the inquiry, owner John Singleton was fined $15,000 for conduct prejudicial to racing after making claims in interviews that Waterhouse’s bookmaker son Tom had been telling his mates the champion mare ”couldn’t win”.

The explosive claim sparked the inquiry but stewards cleared Tom Waterhouse of any wrongdoing.

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31 Jan 19

Hawks’ Isaac Heeney in NSW squad

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

Kobie Ferguson, Emerging Jets star

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

Stars in anti-abuse push

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.”

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31 Jan 19

TVN chases Dons boss

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.

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29 Dec 18

Epaulette to shoulder big weight in Stradbroke

Kerrin McEvoy guides Epaulette home in the Doomben 10,000. Photo: Tertius PickardTrainer Peter Snowden is likely to let Doomben 10,000 winner Epaulette shoulder the weight of history in the Stradbroke Handicap after the three-year-old was assigned 56 kilograms for the group 1 contest on June 8.
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”He’s been set specifically for two races [the 10,000 and the Stradbroke] and barring injury I’d say he will be running,” said Snowden.

Buffering is topweight with 58. It leaves Epaulette carrying significantly more weight than older and more seasoned sprinters.

Epaulette must not only set a modern weight-carrying record for a three-year-old in the Stradbroke if he is to win, he must also buck a trend of failures by Doomben 10,000 winners seeking to claim the Brisbane sprint double.

Just one horse in the last 30 years, Campaign King, has won both races in the same year.

Snowden had feared an unsuitable handicap for Epaulette following Saturday’s dominant 10,000 victory, but said after looking at the likely field, he expected the colt to receive between 55 and 56.

”It’s what we expected after we had a look at the race and talked about it this morning. It will be a tough ask for him,” Snowden said.

Epaulette produced a remarkable final burst to claim Saturday’s Doomben 10,000 at weight-for-age, but will now meet a number of his rivals from that race on worse conditions in the Stradbroke, including fellow three-year-old and BTC Cup winner Your Song, who was assigned 54 after finishing sixth in Saturday’s race.

Snowden is taking consolation in the dominance of the victory and the fact that Epaulette had recovered so well following the race.

”He’s been to the beach and seems to have come through in great shape,” he said. ”They went hard in the 10,000 and if you look at his best performances, the Golden Rose, the TJ Smith, and Saturday’s race, the horse appreciates a strong speed. He’s going to get that again in the Stradbroke.”

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