Anniversary Highway: After All That in position to break luckless run

Scone trainer Rod Northam, right, talks to jockey Hugh Bowman after a My Tagoson victory. Picture: AAP SCONE trainer Rod Northam hopes a change of luck at the draw will help After All That break a frustrating run in the $200,000 Anniversary Highway at Randwick on Saturday.
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After All That, to be ridden by Cessnock champion Robert Thompson, will jump from gate three in the 1400-metre Highway race which has boosted prizemoney as part of The Everest program.

The six-year-old Time Thief gelding was eighth in the group 2 The Shorts from gate two last start but was fifth, fourth and second twice in his four previous starts in country cup and championships company from double-figure barriers.

After All That finished second toAnniversary Handicap favourite Suncraze in a trial at Newcastle in preparation for Saturday’s race and Northam was confident of a bold showing.

“I think his run first-up was quite good and he had a nice trial at Newcastle two weeks ago that I was really happy with,” Northam said.“He’s drawn well to get a nice run so he should be there when the whips are cracking.

“It’s the first time we’ve drawn a barrier in a long time and we have been going back on him from wide barriers, but tomorrow we should be able to sit a bit handier, get a soft run and hopefully get a bit of luck in the straight.”

Northam also has My Tagoson in the $100,000 Highway Consolation, which was created midweek to cater for huge nominations in theAnniversary Highway.

At Cessnock on Friday, Hammoon Boy took out the Jungle Juice Cup for jockey Chris O’Brien and Tamworth trainer Sue Grills.

Newcastle jockey Blake Spriggs had a winning double at the meeting with Alvin Purple and Tale Of Eight.

As for My Tagoson, Northam said: “He’s racing well and haswon last two down there. I freshened him up for this race. The 1400 is short of his best distance but he’s won over it at Randwick and Hughie Bowman is riding him. He’s drawn wide but that shouldn’t worry him. He’ll get back and hopefully there’s enough speed on for him to come home.”

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Barnaby Joyce to face Melbourne Cup field in snap poll

GW/SMH. Portrait of leader of the Nationals and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce for a story by Frank Robson. Photographed on his parents property about 55kms from Tamworth. Pic by Nic Walker. Date 29th April 2016.Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce could face a Melbourne Cup-sized field of candidates in a New England byelection, with Labor, One Nation, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, and former independent MP Tony Windsor all looking to stand.
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The Nationals are already making preparations in case the High Court orders a byelection, with campaign booth ‘captains’ contacted and rosters being prepared for volunteers to work on pre-poll stations.

The High Court this week held three days of hearings on whether the so-called “citizenship seven” – Mr Joyce and six senators – were validly elected in accordance with section 44 of the constitution, which prevents dual nationals from serving in Parliament. Mr Joyce discovered in August he was a New Zealand citizen by descent.

Chief justice Susan Kiefel has said the bench will endeavour to deliver rulings “as soon as possible”.

The Turnbull government has a one seat majority in the House of Representatives and is sweating on the ruling in Mr Joyce’s case; Labor has said it will not provide a ‘paired’ vote in the event Mr Joyce has to re-contest his seat.

This would see the government temporarily reduced to 75 seats in the 150 member chamber, giving Labor a chance to destabilise the government and potentially force passage of a banking royal commission and reverse to cuts to penalty rates.

Nationals operatives in Mr Joyce’s northern NSW seat of New England told Fairfax Media on Friday there was a growing expectation a byelection will be ordered – despite repeated assurances from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, based on advice from the Solicitor-General, the government was confident Mr Joyce would not be ruled ineligible.

The expectation on the ground is that Mr Joyce will win any snap poll and potentially increase his primary vote from an already high 52.3 per cent.

“People have the shits about this,” a Nationals operative said. “Barnaby was born here and we voted for him. There are more important issues to worry about. I wouldn’t be surprised if increases his margin.”

Mr Joyce told the Northern Daily Leader on Friday he was enduring “an anxious wait, it would be ridiculous to say anything else”.

“I’m hoping the decision either way is made as quickly as possible, so we know exactly what we’re off to next,” he said.

“If it goes against us, we go to a byelection straight away. If it goes with us, we just get back to work.”

Mr Joyce said he was prepared to face voters again “but we won’t get ahead of ourselves, we’ll stay humble and let people make up their own mind.”

Labor senator Sam Dastyari has said his party would stand a candidate in any byelection, though the ALP typically does not poll well in the conservative seat.

Mr Windsor, a bitter rival of Mr Joyce who previously held the seat and has joined the High Court fight against the Deputy Prime Minister, is also a chance to stand. He has declined to reveal his intentions.

A One Nation spokesman said the party had not selected a candidate but had strong support in the area and would likely enter the contest.

“People feel let down by the Nationals, so there are a lot of calls from locals for us to run, and we have to give that consideration once the High Court makes it ruling,” the spokesman said.

In the unlikely event One Nation won the seat, the party would achieve official party status for the first time, which would ensure more resources and staff.

Similarly, NSW Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP Robert Borsak told Fairfax Media: “We are certainly considering it [standing a candidate], if we can find the right candidate we will”.

The minor party hopes to win state seats at byelections in southern NSW this weekend.

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New era dawns: Ashes 2019 set to launch Test Championship

The Ashes of 2019 is pencilled in to be the first series played in the world Test championship.
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A meeting of the International Cricket Council board on Friday in Auckland gave approval to the introduction of a nine-nation Test championship from 2019 and a 13-country one-day league from 2020.

Cricket chief executive James Sutherland, who had pushed hard for the introduction of a new structure to give more context to matches in the Test and 50-over formats, labelled the development “a really significant moment in international cricket history”.

The Test championship is likely to begin when tour England in two years’ time.

“The Ashes will continue to be the biggest Test event that we play in but these matches will have even greater meaning than they do currently, if that’s possible,” Sutherland said.

“In fact, looking at the draft schedule it may well be that the first ever series of this championship is the Ashes series of 2019.”

In Tests, each of the nine teams will play six series over two years – three at home and three away – with each series being between two and five Tests in length. The leading two countries will then contest a final, most likely to be held at Lord’s. The ODI league will see teams play four home-and-away series each, with all series three matches long. The league table will also contribute to World Cup qualification.

“I think this is the first time that there has been broad structure and context for international cricket,” Sutherland said. “It’s a tremendous step forward.”

While all matches in the Test championship will be played over five days, the ICC gave approval for a trial of four-day matches up until the 2019 World Cup between countries that agree to play them.

That won’t include , however, with Sutherland saying on Friday that he could not envision Steve Smith’s team playing a Test over four days in that period based on the current schedule.

Sutherland said that when the championship kicked off, would play slightly less Test cricket than the team does now.

ICC chief executive Dave Richardson said the green light given to the Test and one-day championships was a a result of a “collective desire to secure a vibrant future for international bilateral cricket”.

“The approval of both leagues is the conclusion of two years of work from the members who have explored a whole range of options to bring context to every game,” Richardson said.

“The ICC Board decision today means we can now go and finalise a playing schedule for the first edition as well as the points system, hosting arrangements and competition terms.”

England had pushed behind the scenes for four-day Tests to get the nod in an effort to make the format more commercially viable.

“Our priority was to develop an international cricket structure that gave context and meaning across international cricket and particularly in the Test arena,” Richardson said. “This has been delivered and every Test in the new league will be a five-day Test format.

“However, throughout the discussions about the future of Test cricket it became clear that whilst context is crucial we must also consider alternatives and trial initiatives that may support the future viability of Test cricket. The trial is exactly that, a trial, just in the same way day-night Tests and technology have been trialled by members.

“Four-day Tests will also provide the new Test playing countries with more opportunities to play the longer version of the game against more experienced opponents, which, in turn, will help them to hone their skills and close the gap with the top nine ranked teams.”

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Tour de France champ trades Paris for Canberra

Michael Matthews was easy to spot in Canberra on Friday morning.
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If his Tour de France green jersey didn’t make him stand out, the fact he was the only one not huffing and puffing in a Vikings Cycling Club bunch ride certainly did the trick.

Matthews got a fitting homecoming in the capital when he joined more than 150 casual riders for a 30 kilometre low-key lap around the city.

The leafy suburbs of Red Hill and ANU are a world away from the high-pressure battles that led to the 27-year-old winning the green jersey three months ago in the world’s most famous cycling race.

So Matthews had no problem dropping off the front of the pack and filtering his way through eight different bunches to give casual riders a dream start to the day.

It was part of a flying visit back to Canberra as Matthews spends a handful of days with family and friends as he nears the end of his professional season.

But rather than a Civic reception or a parade to celebrate his remarkable season, Matthews opted for going back to his roots and rubbing shoulders with cycling enthusiasts.

Matthews started at the Vikings in 2006 and president Simon Tennent said riders were in awe when they jumped on their bikes at 6am

“It was unbelievable. He wore his green jersey and he couldn’t move without someone coming up next to him wanting to take a picture when we were either stopped or off the bike,” Tennent said.

“It was a great privilege to have him back at the club he first started at more than 10 years ago. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook苏州夜场招聘/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));

Thanks for coming to our weekly bunch ride Michael Matthews. Celebrating your Green Jersey win at this year’s le Tour de France and doing the Vikings Cycling Club proud. Viva l?? Tour! Welshy..Posted by Vikings Cycling Club on Thursday, October 12, 2017

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Newcastle harness racing: Tomlins thrilled to receive Dick Osborn Medal

LOCHINVAR harness racing stalwarts Pam and Bill Tomlin are coming off their greatest win but not expecting another at Newcastle International Paceway on Saturday night.
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RECOGNISED: Pam Tomlin, left, and Bill Tomlin, right, with driver Steve Hedges in 2004. Picture: Darren Pateman

The Tomlins were given the Dick Osborn Medal for services to the industry at the Newcastle and Hunter Valley awards last week.The couple are life members of the Newcastle Harness Racing Club and remain involved in owning, breeding and training.Pam was the NHRCsecretary for more than a decade and Bill was instrumental in constructing the Newcastle track and maintaining it over several stints as curator.They were both friends of Osborn, the late legendary trainer-driver, and said it was a great thrill to take out the award.

Superstar Glowie, the only pacer trained by Bill, will race in the C1 heat of the Menangle Country Series at Newcastle on Saturday night but will start from the extreme outside in gate 10.

“No hope, not from out there,” Bill said. “If Dale [Spencer] drives her out of the gate, she doesn’t get home. She’s going to have to drop out and get a cart and hopefully she gets home. It’s a pretty good field.”

Also at last week’s function, Peter Allen won the Ros Falconer Memorial Awardfor services to the industry.

The Aaron Goadsby-trained Takara Truffle was named Newcastle Horse of the Year, Clayton Harmey claimed the Newcastle and Hunter Valleypremierships, Mark Callaghan andBrad Elder shared the drivers’ titles andStacie ElliottandLaura Spencertook out the Newcastle lady trainers’ and drivers’ titles respectively.

Yourblueyescrying was most successful filly and Lethal Star the top mare. TheMathew Jenkins Encouragement award went toJake Hughes.

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China Post commits new electric delivery vehicle prototype to eight-week Hamilton trial

Post trials new high-capacity postie delivery vehicle in Newcastle suburbs TEST DRIVE: Long-time postie Steven Richards volunteered for the trial, which is slated to run for eight weeks at Hamilton.
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TEST DRIVE: Long-time postie Steven Richards volunteered for the trial, which is slated to run for eight weeks at Hamilton.

TEST DRIVE: Newcastle MP Sharon Claydon said the trial was a good fit for Newcastel, which she described as having a “strong electric vehicle culture”.

TweetFacebookIt has three wheels, can travel up to 45 kilometres per hour, is electrically powered, and can deliver three times more letters and parcels in a single run than the averagepostie bike.

And it’s making the rounds at Hamilton for the next eight weeks.

Steven Richards – a long-time postie of 15 years- is the man at the wheel of the new, Swiss-made trial vehicle, designed to deliver greater volumes of letters and, more importantly, parcels to local homes.

“I love the idea of the electric vehicle – the quietness. The Post is always trying to move forward,” he said.

Continued growth in online shopping and declining letter volumes has meant that parcel deliveries have come to account for the majority of Post’s total revenue.

Formerly, parcels represented a relatively thin slice of the revenue pie – around 25 percent – but over the past decade, that number has ballooned to more than 70 percent.

Meanwhile, letter volumes have nearly halved.

“As our business transforms, so too are the jobs that our workforce are doing,” NSW manager Colin Hindle said.

“A few years ago, we equipped our posties so they can deliver small parcels and this latest initiative allow them to deliver even more – helping to ensure they roles remain meaningful well into the future.”

The Newcastle trial follows an earlier run at Hobart, while the e-vehicles have already been used in Germany and Switzerland as international postal authorities move towards greater carrying capacity, improved driver safety, and lower emission vehicles.

The new three-wheeler is slightly slimmer than the traditional postie bike, has a 10-hour battery life, and can travel on both the road and footpath.

“We still give way, pull to the side, and make sure [everyone] has plenty of room,” Mr Richards said.

“Newcastle is the first regional, non-capital that it has been to,” Newcastle MP Sharon Claydon said.

The trial was a neat fit for the city, which has a “strong electric vehicle culture,” Ms Claydon added.

“I think having an EV for Post is a great addition to what is already a growing culture here in Newcastle.”

The vehicle can carry up to 1200 letters and 100 small parcels in a single load – around 195 kilograms in weight.

Pending the trial’s outcome, Post has indicated it will identify “suitable areas across our network” to integrate the new vehicles with the traditional delivery stable.

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Call for more proof of private health savings

Consumer advocates have called for more evidence that households will see savings as a result of the federal government’s private health insurance changes
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On Friday, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced changes that would allow insurers to give discounts to young ns on their hospital insurance premiums. This would result in young people saving 2 per cent for every year before they turn 30, capped at 10 per cent. It would be phased out when they turn 40.

Mr Hunt also said private health insurers would save $1 billion over four years because of a deal that would reduce the cost of prostheses. The saving would be passed on to customers.

“Across the board, we hope to save hundreds of dollars over the coming three years – very significant outcomes for people,” he said.

When asked if he could guarantee savings, Mr Hunt told ABC Radio: “These are matters for the private sector, but they have guaranteed that they will pass through every dollar.”

On Friday, Bupa confirmed “every dollar saved will be passed on to customers”. It was joined by other funds, including HCF, Medibank and nib.

But consumer group Choice called for more information about the overhaul, which plans for savings to begin from next year.

“We haven’t seen the detail from the government on this,” Choice spokeswoman Erin Turner said. “We’re hopeful the reforms will benefit consumers, [but] the terms and conditions matter.”

Labor said young people who signed up to an “average” product would save only about 70?? a week.

“There is absolutely no guarantee in this package that there will be a lower private health insurance premium rise in April next year – no guarantee at all,” opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King told reporters in Melbourne.

Fairfax Media understands the government is not able to make specific predictions about how much consumers will save because of differences between policies and individual circumstances. But come next April, when insurers make their routine request to increase premiums, they will have to demonstrate they have passed on savings from the prostheses changes to the n Prudential Regulation Authority.

The health insurance package will also scrap coverage for some natural therapies, such as yoga, aromatherapy, Pilates and tai chi. It will also make it easier for hospital insurance holders to upgrade their cover for mental health services, as well as requiring insurers to categorise their products as gold, silver, bronze or basic to make them easier to understand.

The changes, some of which will need to pass Parliament, were broadly welcomed by the n Medical Association.

“The framework for positive reform of the private health insurance industry is now in place,” AMA president Michael Gannon said, adding the fine detail of the new prostheses arrangements and how pregnancy would be covered needed further work.

The Consumers Health Forum said the package was “likely to deliver not only lower premium increases in the medium-term but hopefully clearer consumer-friendly policies”.

But chief executive Leanne Wells questioned the planned discounts for younger people.

“[This] threatens to undermine the community-rating principle fundamental to n health insurance, which is meant to treat everybody equally regardless of age or health status,” she said. “Health funds, presumably, are hoping that more young members will help subsidise the more costly demands of older members.”

With Gina Cerasiotis

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Tussle at the top: The suburbs with a median house price of $2m+

60 St Georges Road, ToorakFor Saturday Age property graphic running 14/10Melbourne’s property price growth might be starting to slow, but in the city’s most prestigious pockets, wealthy residents are jockeying for prime position.
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There are 16 suburbs with a median house price above $2 million and another nine suburbs above $1.9 million, according to the latest Domain State of the Market Report.

The new data also shows that, across the city, 131 suburbs have a median house price above $1 million. In the last year alone, 71 suburbs have joined the once-exclusive club.

Toorak leads the prestige pack with a median house price of $4.37 million followed by East Melbourne at $3,932,500.

It is the first time East Melbourne has broken through the $3 million mark and its dramatic price increase reflects a string of remarkable sales in the tightly-held neighbourhood.

Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson said the suburbs joining and leaving the club could fluctuate from quarter to quarter due to the number and types of properties being sold.

“It’s a very narrow field in Melbourne, the $2 million club, we’re only talking a handful of suburbs,” Dr Wilson said.

Paul Caine, a real estate director who has worked in the suburb for two decades, said the small number of houses that are listed in East Melbourne each quarter often sell for between $4 million and $5 million.

“The last cheap house was $2.65 million,” Mr Caine said. “That’s politely referred to as entry-level.”

He described the suburb’s property market as stable and expensive to enter, but a “safe place to park capital for the long term”.

Mr Caine said residents aged in their 60s and 70s were selling terraces and mansions, and downsizing to luxury apartments in the area.

Within the prestige market, the solid growth within the past year has been twofold. Firstly, suburb median prices can be lifted by the hefty sums developers are willing to fork out for large blocks of land they can subdivide and make a neat profit from.

And secondly, swarms of ageing baby-boomers are downsizing, thus large family homes in the city’s most coveted neighbourhoods are consistently being listed on the market.

Buxton’s Peter Hickey said Hampton, a bayside suburb bordering Brighton and Sandringham, was a prime example. Its median house price has, for the first time, exceeded $2 million.

Mr Hickey said many downsizers wanted to stay in the area, and quality villas or apartments were now fetching well above $1.5 million.

“It’s highly sought after by people who haven’t lived here … and the people who have lived here never want to leave,” he said.

“It’s like a game of musical chairs and there’s not enough chairs out there.”

Dr Wilson said it was difficult for buyers to get a foot into the above $2 million market.

“Price rises are forming a barrier to entry for buyers, particularly those buyers that are trading up into these areas,” he said.

“In this sort of stratospheric price range, it’s very much a market that’s characterised by those who are established in ultra prestige.”

At the other end of the market, suburbs knocking on the door of the $1 million club include the inner north outliers Coburg and Preston, with medians hitting $990,000 and $950,000 respectively.

Harcourts Preston Real Estate owner Paul Castello said he had seen Preston’s median go from $100,000 to nearly a million in 20 years, and put it down to the migration of buyers from the inner city.

“It still offers everything the inner city offers,” Mr Castello said. “It’s well serviced by everything, transport, the market – people come from far and wide to the Preston Market.”

Dr Wilson said the once industrial suburbs would continue to grow.

“The prospects for areas such as Coburg and Preston are very, very strong and they will be in that million dollar club sooner rather than later,” he said.

Other suburbs with medians over $950,000 for the first time in the past year include Maribyrnong, Ringwood North, Spotswood and Heatherton.

– With Brendan Bale

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AFL must not tolerate knuckle-dragging treatment of women

AFL Grand Final Richmond family day punt road Tigers on stage Jack Graham’s premiership medal 1/10/2017 Picture:Wayne Ludbey Way back when, I publicly accused Brendon Fevola of “visual rape”, for first taking the photo of Lara Bingle in the shower against her will, and then passing it on – against her will. In the AFL case that has dominated the sporting headlines this week, of a young bare-breasted woman with a grand final Premiership medal dangling between. It was taken, with her consent, by one of the Richmond players, who then, at her request, deleted the photo from his phone – before retrieving it from the deleted folder and passing it on to one, or several mates, whereupon it went viral.
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The player has not yet been identified and the police are investigating. Defenders of the player maintain it is a misdemeanour only, on the grounds she consented to the photo, and is not identified by it.

They don’t get it. Yes, you and I don’t know her name – and hopefully never will – but in her own community the fact that it is her is well-known, and she is the one left feeling violated, because of the sheer venality of the player retrieving and then passing the photo on. Yes, the Richmond player’s offence is a lesser one than Fevola’s, but, ultimately, the AFL must punish and punish hard if they are at all serious about dragging football from the knuckle-dragging treatment of women, and into the 21st Century. Who can challenge Tim Cahill?

Well done, Tim Cahill, for saving the day against Syria and nailing the two crucial goals that needed to stay alive in the World Cup qualifications. But why, once again, does have to rely on a bloke nudging 40 – he’ll be 38 in December – to get the job done? Where are the young, hungry generations rising up, to push him out? It would be exactly like the Wallabies still relying on Phil Waugh to get the job done, because no Michael Hooper or David Pocock had come along, to move him along!

Wasn’t the A-League meant to provide the perfect nursery to produce champions? Or is it that, with the A-League, the Cahills, Kewells, Bosnichs et al, no longer have to leave to go after riches and glory – and thus getting experience in the really big leagues – meaning that our cream is not nearly as creamy as it once was. I note the Olyroos haven’t made it to the last two Olympics, and while the under-17 World Cup is happening right now, we don’t have a team there. What is going on? (And if as a soccer person, you say I have no clue, I say, “Thanks, Scoop. So give us the John Dory! What is going on?”)

Cometh the hour: Tim Cahill celebrates his extra-time winner. Photo: AAP

A fair exchange?

And we think we have problems, with our World Cup qualification. The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is feeling so grim about the Netherlands missing out on the World Cup – after making the semi-finals last time – he said this week he’d be willing to swap the entire Dutch province of Limburg with Belgium, in return for the services of the Belgian and Manchester City ace Kevin De Bruyne.

“Of course,” he allowed, “this is a great sacrifice for Dutch society. They are such nice people and we will certainly miss them. But yes, sometimes you have to make difficult choices and recognise your priorities.”

Listen, I don’t suppose we could get the Kiwis to take both Pauline Hanson and her whole seat of Oxley, could we, in return for All Blacks skipper Kieran Read, could we? And we could throw in a set of steak knives? Oh, alright, you Kiwis, anything! Name your price!

OK, OK, OK. You can have Pauline and Oxley for free. Please?

Does father figure?

Think of it as The Umpire Strikes Back. TFF has long maintained there is no more beautiful town in in the springtime than Beechworth, right there in the northern part of Kelly Country. And they do things differently in those parts. A case in point, concerns an n football umpire, just suspended until the end of 2018 for “making contact with a player”, the first incident of its kind in the area. It happened after an episode in a match between the Beechworth Bushrangers under-14 side and their Wodonga Saints counterparts. All the reports are framed carefully and the umpire is unnamed but, reading between the lines, I am guessing it is significant that the umpire had a son playing for the Bushrangers, while a player for the other team, the Wodonga Saints, was also suspended for rough play …

As to other reports that periodically emerge, and one just last week, which maintain that Ned Kelly played n football, allow me to say two things, as one of his biographers. Firstly, nonsense – there is no primary documentation of any description, which links Ned to an Aussie rules side, much as it would be a fabulous story if it was true. Secondly, the sport he did excel in, beyond stealing horses – where he was the world heavyweight champion to beat them all – was bare-knuckle boxing. Step into the next item for an account.

Kelly goes Wild

See, despite the fact that Ned Kelly and the Kelly Gang stole around 250 horses, Ned did a three-year stint at Pentridge, from the age of 16, for a horse that he didn’t steal. The bloke who had, Wild Wright, had manouevred so that Ned took the blame. Upon emerging with a zebra sun-tan, in the rising summer of 1874, Ned went looking for Wild, and found him having a drink at Beechworth’s Imperial Hotel. Never one to hide from confrontation, Ned takes it upon himself to push through the mob, to tell Wild a few things that have long been on his mind. The pub quietens. No one speaks to Wild Wright – the toughest and most naturally violent bastard in all of north-eastern Victoria, and that region’s bare-knuckle champion to boot. But Ned does.

Sensing an opportunity, the publican invites the two men and whichever patrons would like to watch, to take their fight out the back, on the small patch of grass right by the bubbling Spring Creek. In short order the clientele of the entire hotel, for no one wants to miss it, files out the back, holding their beers and licking their lips in anticipation.

The 19-year-old Ned Kelly is, in the old money, six foot neat and 12 stone, without an ounce of fat on him. Twenty-five-year-oldWild Wright is six feet one inch for 13 stone, and is equally all muscle and gristle, while instead of a head, he really has a solid cone of bone.

First the publican draws “the scratch” – simply a line in the dirt – and now the two combatants must line up on opposite sides of it, bare-knuckled. Whatever happens, they must come back to the scratch, and the end of each round has nothing to do with time, and is all to do with whether one draws blood from the other, or is knocked down. At this point, each man’s “picker-up” has 30 seconds to get his man back in shape ready for the next round. The combatant has eight seconds to get back to the scratch before it begins again. All is in readiness …

As the crowd presses close, emitting a guttural raw that comes not just from them, but from ages past, the two begin to shape-up and the fists begin to fly.

Wright is vicious and no doubt about it, aiming blow after blow at Kelly’s nose as with his experience he know this is the quickest way to not only demoralise a man, as the blood bursts forth, but also to weaken him if the blood flows copiously enough. And yet Ned is fast and nimble, swaying out of the way of most of Wild’s furious flurries, before crashing in with his own body blows to Wright’s ribs.

From both sides, blood is drawn, as are knockdowns, but for round after round, as the sun begins to wane, neither man gives an inch, as the ground around the scratch – redrawn many times by the publican as their boots scuff it away – becomes sprinkled with red.

It is the best fight anyone has ever seen and the ongoing roar of the crowd brings others from far and wide, as the crowd gets bigger still and so does the roar, meaning the crowd gets bigger still!

Finally, the death knell … after an horrific 20th round, more like a slaughter than a fight, Wright tries to come back to the scratch, but either can’t or won’t and instead waves a bloody hand of defeat.

Ned Kelly bested him.

A boxer? Absolutely.

But an Aussie rules players, no. And in any case he would have been wasted. What they said

Matthew Johns on Triple M, after the latest meltdown of Nick Kyrgios: “That is bullshit. This bloke … it’s just disgraceful behaviour. People pay good money to watch this match. He tells supporters courtside that if he loses the first set he’s going to walk off, does it, then tries to go and apologise on Twitter saying he’s got a tummy bug. Please.”

How does Israel Folau score so many tries? He now has the fifth-most by a Wallaby: “To be honest, I go into a game not thinking about scoring tries and I think that’s the key. Once you go into a game thinking about tries, you’re not thinking about your role as a player for the team.”

Nick Stiles on being sacked as Reds coach: “You go from the obsessive routine of coaching, all the time you spend thinking about it, the phone calls, the injury updates and to what … vacuuming. I’m going to let the dust settle before making a call on what comes next.” Good luck, Nick. If you were doing the vacuuming right, there’d be no dust left to settle.

Teigan Power on marrying Alex McKinnon: “It doesn’t worry me if he walks me [down the aisle], or is just standing at the altar; I still get to marry the man of my dreams.” That young woman has got something special, that makes her, among other things, mesmerising television. Good luck to them both, for a long and happy future together.

Scotland football manager Gordon Strachan wants the Scottish to beef-up: “Genetically, we are behind. In the last campaign we were the second-smallest, apart from Spain. Maybe we get big women and men together and see what we can do?”

Tim Cahill: “I’m just happy the boss gave me the opportunity. Any player with conviction will score. I’m not going to waste an opportunity. I feel great.”

Steve Waugh on Ben Stokes: “It’s a tough one. If it was anyone in the n side, they wouldn’t be picked. You can’t do that these days in public. It just didn’t look good and it’s a bad image for the game.”

Mitchell Starc wants the n cricket fans to abuse the English, especially Ben Stokes: “I guess I’d love if he was out here. I’d love for the n crowd to get stuck into him the way the Poms get stuck into our blokes over there.” I reckon we’re better than that.

Betty Klimenko on winning Bathurst: “And today we took it to the mountain … and I like to know that I’m the first woman, ever, to win the Bathurst 1000 as an owner. It’s magical. And now I need to finish my cigarette.”

Benji Marshall, who is leaving the Broncos, on what makes it such a great club: “There’s not a dickhead in the group.”

Iceland soccer player Aron Gunnarsson on making the World Cup: “In my opinion we were in the most difficult group, but we decided that we were just going to finish this. We had no interest in some play-off bother.” A pity we didn’t embrace the same notion. Helllloooo, play-off bother!

Cameron Smith on the defections from the Kangaroos: “World Cup year is almost like a year off where you can pick where you want to play if you have any type of heritage in some nation.”

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire channelling Donald Trump: “We’re a big club at the moment, we have to get back to being a great club.”

Josh Dugan, says he has turned over a new leaf. No, really. “I’ve been training a fair bit. I haven’t been going out partying. Not that I do that. I want to repay the faith Mal has shown in me by picking me. I will be trying to steer away from [alcohol] as much as I can and focus on my footy.” Team of the week

The Socceroos. Beat Syria 2-1 to avoid elimination from the World Cup. Their final challenge will be to beat Honduras in home-and-away battles.

Tim Cahill. Bloody hell that bloke delivers. Delivered the goals that needed to stay alive in the World Cup.

Ange Postecoglou. The Socceroos coach has announced that, whatever happens, he won’t be taking the n team to the World Cup.

Isaac Mitchell. The middle-order batsman for Stockinbingal, down Riverina way, nailed a 40-ball century, with eight sixes and a dozen fours, to steer his team to victory over the Temora Leprechauns last Saturday arvo. Strangely, it was his maiden century.

Wellness Walk and the Bridge Walk for Mental Health. Both walks start tomorrow from Government House and are to raise awareness for Mental Health Week. You can either go over the coat-hanger or to the Botanical Gardens. Go to wellnesswalk成都模特佳丽招聘.au for more details.

Winx. The girl-horse now has 21 wins in a row.

The n Stockman tour. Coached by Wallabies Chris Roche and Tony Melrose and boasting 25 players from regional , they’re about to play two matches in NZ and three in Argentina.

Simona Halep. New women’s No.1-ranked tennis player. Odd then, that you and I have not heard of her?

Josh Papalii. Born in Auckland, he moved to aged five and played all his junior football in Queensland, before playing for both Queensland and . In the World Cup, he will be representing Samoa.

Tamworth Cycle Club. Sent 70 athletes to Forster for the ultimate triathlon and they all, in particular the women’s team, starred.

Balmain Touch Football Association women’s team. After beating Hills Hornets, the Tigresses are into the grand final of the Vawdon Cup.

Twitter: @Peter_Fitz

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Transgender footballer nominates for AFLW draft

Transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey has nominated for the AFLW draft but just five days out teams still don’t know if they can pick her.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

The AFL is deliberating whether the 190-centimetre, 100-kilogram ruck is eligible to enter the second AFLW draft after it confirmed Mouncey’s nomination on Friday.

Mouncey has expressed her desire to become the first elite transgender footballer in the country after starring for the Ainslie Tricolours in the AFL Canberra women’s competition this season.

The AFL confirmed a decision on whether the 27-year-old was eligible would be announced before the draft on Wednesday.

“The AFL is determining whether Hannah is eligible to be drafted,” an AFL spokesperson said.

Mouncey played for the handball team which unsuccessfully tried to qualify for the Rio Olympics, before beginning hormone treatment almost two years ago.

After watching the success of the inaugural AFLW season Mouncey has previously told the Outer Sanctum podcast she wanted to test herself at the next level.

Mouncey accepts she will be seen differently but hopes teams and fans can simply embrace her ability – which she promises to deliver in spades.

“I know I’m different and not necessarily in a good way or bad way, but I know I am going to be seen differently,” Mouncey said.

“People have said ‘With how big you are you’ll probably hold back a bit so you don’t hurt anyone’ and I’m like ‘Well no, I’m not going to hold back, that defeats the whole purpose’.

“I had my ribs broken in my last game so I know they can hit me as hard as I can hit them and do damage. It is different and I know it is seen differently but I won’t approach it any differently.”

Mouncey said she is comfortable with the attention that will come as the first transgender player in the AFLW, but emphasised she has to get there first.

“You’ve gotta get picked up first and it’s not like that’s a given. But if people have an interest in me because I’m transgender then that is what it is,” Mouncey said.

“I can’t control that and to be honest I’ve probably seen and heard everything you possibly can in the negative sense, so that’s not going to hold any fears for me.

“Once you work past the red tape to actually playing [it gets easier] … I’m just keen to play and hopefully I get picked up and whatever happens outside that isn’t something I can control.”

The AFL follows International Olympic Committee regulations which state an athlete must prove their testosterone level is below 10 nanomoles per litre, a requirement which Mouncey comfortably meets.

“Physiologically things are different, not having any testosterone at this weight makes recovery difficult which is probably something I didn’t factor in, so there’s a bit of trial and error,” Mouncey said.

“I’m really just figuring it out as I go along, recovery is longer and I can’t eat as much, but also not having a male metabolism you have to watch what you eat.”

Ainslie men’s coach Chris Rourke said Mouncey should be eligible for the draft because she was already approved to play in an AFL-sanctioned competition this season.

“I’ve spoken to Hannah a few times and she’s a registered female player who qualifies to play here so she should be allowed to play in the AFLW,” Rourke said.

“They test for testosterone levels and she comes in below so she is right to play. It’s a different world from when I grew up but it’s fantastic for footy and I hope she’s allowed to play and gets drafted. We’re wishing her all the best here at Ainslie FC.”

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