Archive for February, 2019

THE NSW Rugby League has an obligation to send a strong message that violence won’t be tolerated, Group 11 secretary Ross McDermott said.

A 34-year-old trainer was stood down by Cronulla Junior Rugby League and will face court after it was alleged he attacked a 16-year-old referee during an under-12s match in Sydney.

The referee had to be taken to the Children’s Hospital at Randwick, where he was treated for bruising.

McDermott said the sport’s governing bodies had to show the safety of participants was the number one priority and anyone who resorted to violence wasn’t welcome in the sport.

At a time when Group 11 and the wider rugby league community was struggling to attract referees, McDermott said the sport had to make their stance clear.

“We are doing everything we can to attract young kids to refereeing and then you get incidents like this that turn them away. It’s up to the NSW Rugby League to take a stand and it’s also a police issue now,” he said.

“The person has been suspended from all rugby league pending police action and if they are found guilty, they should get a strong sentence.”

McDermott said Group 11 had been working hard to attract new referees and keep their existing ones and he said the main reason people were handing in their whistle was time, rather than any concerns over safety.

“We have been working closely with our referees and Willy Barnes and whilst abuse is an issue, it’s not the top issue for our referees,” he said.

“The biggest problem is time. People are finding it hard to commit every week when they have other things going on in their lives.

“Our numbers are better now than they were a couple of years ago but it’s still week to week problem because someone will say they can do these weeks but not this one.”

There were a range of ways the group has been trying to increase numbers, McDermott said, and some of them had focused on refereeing as a different challenge to playing.

“We are always on the lookout for new referees so if anyone is interested they should contact us,” McDermott said.

“We have a couple of very good young referees, a 14 and 15-year-old but we aren’t going to rush them along, we are just going to allow them to develop.”

“One approach we are trying to take is encouraging kids who might otherwise not continue in the sport to become a referee. Once they reach 15 or 16 a lot of kids don’t keep playing but they still have a love for the sport and this is a way they can stay involved.

“Former players are also taking it up and they tell us they still love running out and making sure the game is a good spectacle for the crowds.”

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FORMER Vic Premier and rural veterinarian Denis Napthine will share his insights on the politics of animal welfare at Livestock SA’s Southern Region AGM dinner meeting.

GUEST SPEAKER: Former Vic premier Dennis Napthine will address the Livestock SA’s southern region annual general meeting.

Dr Napthine, who is based at Port Fairy, worked as a rural veterinarian prior to entering Vic state parliament in 1988. He represented the regional south-west corner of Vic for more than 25 years, including many years as a frontbencher and culminating in a period as Premier from 2013-2014.

Livestock SA Southern Region secretary Tom Dawkins said Dr Napthine’s presentation would be very timely and highly relevant for livestock producers in the South East.

“We’re particularly fortunate to be able to draw on the wisdom and significant experience of someone like Dr Napthine, with a professional background as both a rural veterinarian and a political leader who spent decades representing regional communities and the livestock sector,” Mr Dawkins said.

“Our industry is more aware than ever about the community’s interest in livestock welfare and we welcome this valuable opportunity to discuss the challenges, risks and opportunities arising from the ongoing discussion about animal welfare.”

Alongside the AGM and dinner will be a combined workshop to provide an update and consultation on the SA Sheep Industry Blueprint and the Southern Australian Meat Research Council.

The workshop will be held at The Barn at Mount Gambier on Wednesday July 27 at 4pm, with the dinner after from 7pm.

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ABOVE AND BEYOND: Alex Read chips Weston’s Benn Kelly to score in Adamstown’s 2-1 win at Adamstown Oval. Picture: Sproule Sports FocusPART of the reason forNorth Queensland Fury striker Alex Read’sswitch from Maitland to Adamstown this year was to get back up front and score goals.

So when Adamstown had similar struggles to the 2015 Magpiesat the back, coach Graham Law was reluctant to ask Read to do the job.

He didn’t have to. With an injury-hit Adamstown sitting on three points from seven games,Read volunteered. His efforts in defence, and a goal from a corner against Weston,helped Rosebud to a 2-1 win over the Bears and a shock 3-3 draw with Broadmeadow.

Law said Read was brilliant in the much-needed results.

“We have a really young defence, and his experience has totally transferred the pressure off the boys at the back,” Law said.

“I signed him from Maitland because he wanted the opportunity to play up front, but when I’ve needed him, he’s stepped up to the plate and said I’ll go to the back if that’s what’s needed.”

Read, who played two A-League games in 2011, was switched to defence halfway through Maitland’s season last year as they faced the threat of relegation. He helped steady the ship for the Magpies and was their joint player of the year.

He said the desire to play up front again was“alittle bit” behind the move to Rosebud“but I just do whatever’s best for the team”.

“He asked me where I wanted to go and I said if I’ve got to go to the back for the team, then that’s all right,” Read said.“We’ve got Dan Clements coming back in soon from injury, so hopefully he fills that role and I get to go back up front again.”

With as many as 10 new facesanda horror run with injury andsuspended goalkeepers, Adamstown made a shocking start to thisseason.

Read, though,believed they had turned the cornerahead of the clash with leaders Hamilton at Adamstown Oval on Sunday.

“We’re playing more as a team, which is good,” Read said.“We’re fighting for each other compared to just thinking about ourselves, so that definitely helps. We’re putting the effort in at training and working hard for each other.”

Law said Read and midfielderDayne Pawlik had been key men.

“Dayne’s really stepped up to the plate this year and taken on a massive leadership role,” Law said.“He’s been probably my most consistent performer this year and Alex Read going into central defence, he’s been brilliant.”

Law said it had taken himself and the new-look team time to gel but he was confident they would put in good performances against Olympic and beyond.

“I wanted to play a different type of football, but we’ve found a formula that suits the players we’ve got,” Law said.

“With so many new players, it’s taken us a while to figure each other out.The boys are getting comfortable with each others’ gamesand we’re starting to get some players back from injury.”

“It’s a real team this year, there’s no individuals. It’s a team effort and this weekend will be a big test for us because we’re playing well now and we’re coming up against what I see as the benchmark for the compthis weekend. Not just because they are top, but they’ve been pretty good in doing it as well.

“We’re travelling all right now and I’ve got a sneaky feeling we’ll put in a good performance on the weekend and over the back-end of the season.”

ROD Hannifey spends more time on the road than most.

So it is reasonable to suspect he knows a thing or two about the conditions on our main highways.

The Dubbo-based truckie is calling on governments to pour more money into preventative maintenance of major roads in a bid to curb a growing road toll and accident rate.

“I’ve spoken with people from Vic Roads, the Roads and Maritime Service and the TMR (Department of Transport and Main Roads) in Queensland over the past three weeks about various issues and the thing they all tell me is they have no money to fix things,” Mr Hannifey said.

“I was coming out of Brisbane one day and there was a pothole developing in the highway, so I called and they basically said they couldn’t do anything about it.

“That happens because no work goes into the roads when the dips and bumps start developing. In a truck we feel those things long before a car driver would, and if they were fixed up early and some prevention work done then in the long haul it would save all the governments lots of money.

“There’s a federal election coming up in a few weeks and I would love to see someone put it on the agenda.”

Mr Hannifey does more than 200,000 kilometres a year in the cabin of a big rig and, while he admits trucks do play a role in the wear and tear of roads, he also acknowledges that if those behind the wheel were listened to more road conditions would be much better.

Not perfect, but significantly better.

“On some of these roads you can have 3000 trucks a night hitting a bump and of course the wear and tear of that will affect the road,” he said.

“Hitting those bumps and potholes also causes wear and tear on our trucks and our bodies.

“The truckies feel it too because for every action there will be an equal and opposite reaction.

“There’s bad patches along the Hume Highway on the way into Melbourne, and there’s also bad patches in and out of Brisbane.

“It’s a problem across all states really.

” The national roads used to be a federal issue but they were relinquished to the individual states and now they have differing standards.

“If we had a national standard that they had to adhere to, and we were working on fixing problems when they first started to arise, then the roads would be safer for everyone, whether you drive a truck or car or bus, or even ride a motorbike.

“You will never get it perfect but if we had those standards in place we would have a significantly better and safer road network,” Mr Hannifey said.

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Westfund’s Nicole Hilliard with Westfund member Desurae Archer and Pink Lady Jo Rosser. Photo: BELINDA SOOLEA CANCER centre in Dubbo has the backing of one local business, whose employees know only too well the health needs of people in regional areas.

Regional health insurer Westfund has welcomed a $25 million election commitment for the establishment of an integrated cancer care centre at Dubbo Hospital.

“A cancer care centre is essential for quality health outcomes for not only our members in and around Dubbo but for the people of the western area of NSW,” Westfund Regional Manager Central West NSW Nicole Hilliard said. Westfund’s commitment to Western NSW is evidenced by claims expenditure of about $12 million annually toward the region’s healthcare providers including private and public hospitals, doctors and dentists.

Ms Hilliard said the situation enforced the general disparity which existed between health care infrastructure and the provision of services between city and country.

“Regional people generally experience higher mortality rates and lower life expectancy than their urban counterparts,” she said.

“The development of an integrated cancer care centre in a regional centre such as Dubbo would go a long way towards bridging this gap.”

The election ‘promise’ was announced recently by the Nationals and reiterated last weekend during a visit to the city by Fiona Nash, and represents a $25 million ‘if re-elected’ commitment to integrate cancer care services into the ongoing redevelopment at Dubbo Hospital.

It has been estimated the proposed centre would boost the health district’s services and increase health outcomes for as many as 270,000 residents.

The announcement follows on from the initiation of a well-supported community petition calling for government funding of the service, as well as claims from Member for Parkes Mark Coulton that patients were choosing ‘death over treatment’ rather than face travelling to Sydney for medical intervention.

Federal Labor declined to match the Nationals’ election commitment, listing concerns over staffing and lack of accommodation as reasoning.

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