Blues plot to nullify Roos’ Brown in AFL

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Carlton are planning a team effort to shut down North Melbourne’s Ben Brown in their AFL clash.It will be all hands on deck for winless Carlton as they try to nullify North Melbourne AFL forward Ben Brown.

Brown, who is the third-highest goal scorer with 10.2 after three rounds, will be a key target in Saturday night’s clash in his home state Tasmania.

Hobart’s Bellerive Oval was a fruitful hunting ground last season for Brown, headlined by a decisive four-goal haul in round 19 against Melbourne.

Carlton assistant coach John Barker said the task of blunting the 25-year-old woould not be given to one man.

“We play a strong team defence. We don’t want to be relying on any one person to shut one opposition player down,” he said.

“There’s a real requirement on our mids to apply enough pressure so we disrupt the supply that goes to Ben.”

The Blues have lost their opening three matches, throwing away promising starts against Richmond in round one and last weekend against Collingwood.

“We’ve had periods of play where we’ve been really good and, obviously, periods of play where our method hasn’t quite stood up,” Barker said.

Carlton have recalled Jack Silvagni and also named 2017’s No.10 draft pick Lochie O’Brien as well as Cam O’Shea.

North have regained vice-captain and star defender Robbie Tarrant but are without Nathan Hrovat (fractured thumb).

Barker said ruckman Matthew Kreuzer was primed for a fired-up Todd Goldstein after the Kangaroos’ ruckman was outplayed comprehensively last weekend by his Melbourne opposite Max Gawn.

“I think they’re both great ruckman – strong contested players. It’s going to be a great contest in the middle,” Barker added.

North have won 11 from 13 at their home away from home, while it’s Carlton’s first regular-season match at Bellerive Oval.

“Any new ground we go to is going have subtle differences,” Barker said.

“We’ve talked about them. We’ll adjust our game plan accordingly.”

Australian Associated Press

TPP pushes ahead as Trump rethinks pullout

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Trade Minister Steven Ciobo says a new TPP deal won’t be changed to appease the United States.Australia has welcomed signs the US may seek to re-join a Pacific trade deal, but won’t put the latest agreement on hold while Donald Trump makes up his mind.

A White House spokesman confirmed the president – who pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership last year – had assigned his top trade advisers, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and his new chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, “to take another look at whether or not a better deal could be negotiated”.

However, Mr Trump tweeted on Friday he would only join the TPP “if the deal were substantially better than the deal offered to Pres. Obama”.

“We already have BILATERAL deals with six of the eleven nations in TPP, and are working to make a deal with the biggest of those nations, Japan, who has hit us hard on trade for years!” he wrote.

Australia’s Trade Minister Steve Ciobo said while US interest was welcome, the TPP 11 – as they are now known – were on track to bring the agreement into effect by the start of 2019.

“We’ve got a deal, it’s a good deal, 11 countries have signed up and we are all working to put the deal into effect,” Mr Ciobo told reporters on the Gold Coast on Friday.

“I can’t see that all being thrown open now to appease the United States.”

But he said the agreement partners, who had “little appetite for substantial negotiation”, would welcome the US coming back to the table.

“We will have discussions.”

The TPP 11 countries are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam.

The text of the agreement has been tabled in the Australian parliament and two committees are examining it.

A national interest analysis showed the deal would significantly enhance Australia’s economic relationships.

Australian Greens trade spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said reports of Mr Trump taking fresh interest in the deal were bad news.

“Many of the worst features of the first dud deal were put on ice as an attempt to build a new deal out of the rubble. But everything that’s on ice gets defrosted if the US comes back to the table,” she said.

She said longer monopoly rights on medicines would punish Australians suffering from conditions like cancer or rheumatoid arthritis by making medicine more expensive.

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso was cautious about the president’s decision.

Trump “is a person who could change temperamentally, so he may say something different the next day”, Mr Aso said.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Mr Trump are expected to discuss the TPP at their summit meeting next week.

Australian Associated Press

AFL Giants feel at home in Canberra: Davis

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Greater Western Sydney’s co-captain Phil Davis knows the Giants have an advantage in Canberra.Canberra’s UNSW Oval has become a fortress for Greater Western Sydney and co-captain Phil Davis is determined it stays that way.

The Giants have won seven AFL games straight at their second home ground, having not lost there since round 17, 2015.

Three of those seven wins have come by more than 80 points, with the last two premiers Richmond and Western Bulldogs among the victims of those routs.

Davis believes there’s something different about the ground that GWS are able to exploit.

They take on Fremantle on Saturday at the venue in a battle of teams with 2-1 records.

The Dockers are virtual strangers to Canberra. Their only appearance there was in 2002 when they lost to North Melbourne by one point.

Davis said the Giants felt comfortable taking on any opponent at the ground.

“We’ve obviously won a lot more games (overall) in the last few years but (other) teams find it hard to win here,” Davis said on Friday.

“I think it’s a slightly unique ground with the dimensions and how it plays with the wind so we feel comfortable here and always get great support.”

Leon Cameron’s Giants will take on Fremantle boosted by the returns of star small forward Toby Greene and veteran defender Ryan Griffen.

Former Bulldogs captain Griffen is playing his first game since round three last year after recovering from persistent ankle injuries.

Ruckman Dawson Simpson has been recalled for the mammoth task of facing Dockers big man Aaron Sandilands, with Rory Lobb missing through bone bruising.

The Giants’ midfield has also taken a hit, with All-Australian Josh Kelly out with groin soreness.

But Davis said the on-ball battle would be a highlight as Dylan Shiel, Callan Ward and Stephen Coniglio went up against Nathan Fyfe and Lachie Neale.

“It will be a really big challenge with the midfield battle because we’ve got an all-star midfield and they’ve got an all-star midfield,” Davis said.

Fremantle are settled following their 28-point defeat of Gold Coast last Saturday, and have kept the same line-up.

Australian Associated Press

Never trust them’: Hunter bikies refused peace deal

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SHOW OF FORCE: Police raiding the Nomads’ Islington clubhouse as part of a major crackdown on Hunter bikie gangs. Police claim they tried to broker a truce between the Nomads and Finks to end public violence.SENIOR police tried to broker a peace deal between warring Hunter bikies but a truce was outright refused.

Police claim the peace deal was discussed in a meeting between a Strike Force Darnay investigators and senior Nomads members after the March 16 firebombing of a motorcycle owned by Finks bikie Andrew Chambers.

According to documents tendered to the NSW Supreme Court, Nomads members offered Detective Inspector George Radmore a “guarantee” there would be no more violence towards the rival Finks until the two groups could meet.

However, hopes for a truce were scuttled two weeks later when police asked a senior member of the Finks whether he would be willing to meet with the Nomads to discuss a resolution.

“The member stated that he would never take part in such a meeting as he would never trust them,” Detective Inspector Radmore wrote.

He added: “The member was very aggressive in his attitude towards the Nomads. In further conversation with the member about how he saw an end to the conflict, the member stated that the only was for them to be locked up in gaol and he would never feel safe until they were, no matter what agreements were reached, as he did not trust them to honour the agreements.”�0�2

On the same day as that meeting, the documents state Mr Radmore made a phone call to Finks boss Andrew Robert Manners, who is in jail.

According to the police affidavit, Mr Manners wanted police to support his bail application so he could resolve the conflict, apparently stating he was the only Fink who could meet with the Nomads to end the feud�0�2�0�2�0�2.

The Police Commissioner is currently fighting in the Supreme Court for a Serious Crime Prevention Order to be placed on five members from each of the feuding clubs. The applications – labelled as “draconian” –and the first of their kind brought in NSW– are part of a major police crackdown.

The restrictions that could be imposed on the men include not being allowed to associate with each other, banned from pubs and clubs, banned from travelling in any vehicle from 9pm to 6am, and restricted from using encrypted communications like Wickr, Snapchat or WhatsApp.

They could also be restricted from owning more than one mobile phone,and must produce their phone and passwords to police upon request.

Mr Radmore claimed there was an “urgentneed” for the order even if a temporary truce was reached.

“Gangs cannot choose when to uphold the law, or on terms that suit them. By their very nature OMCG [Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs] are outlaws, and proudly advertise that,” he wrote.

Hunter innovators’ projects among CSIRO’s top contenders

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Thinking outside the box: Joss Kesby, Gavin Cross and Donovan Jones, who said his team’s project “allows users to be fully engaged and immereses them in situations we can’t create in real life”. Picture: Simone De PeakA new forecasting system that will allow hybrid power stations to reduce their use of diesel – and could save the world $7.25 billion over the next seven years – is one of three Hunter projects being celebrated for its innovation.

A trio of homegrown science and technology research teams have made it into the final 10 of CSIRO’s ON Accelerate program, which has included three months ofcoaching in business and entrepreneurial skills to help bring their ideas from the laboratory tomarket.

Their participationwill peakon April 19, when they present their projectsto potential investors, industry collaborators, entrepreneurs and research peers.

CSIRO Energy Centre Mayfield product development manager Gavin Cross said his team’sCloud180CAMaimed to tackle the problem of cloud cover adversely impacting the ability of solar fields to produce energy.

“Diesel generators at hybrid power stations across Australia, nearby islands and even Hawaii have to run 100 per cent of the time even when there areblue skies just in case a cloud moves in, so they can continue to supply electricity needed on site,” he said.

“The Cloud180CAM will provide a highly accurate forecast to the power station controller 30 minutes ahead–and updateevery 10 seconds–to tell the station that cloud is coming and to start the diesel generators at a certain point.They can then turn off and turn on the generators when required.

“This will unlock the full potential of the solar farm and the hybrid power station and reduce the amount of diesel used on site by a minimum of 20 per cent.”

Mr Cross said this could save $7.25 billion in diesel across the globe between now and 2025, as well as reduce emissions.

He said the technology could also be used on grid connected solar systems of all sizes and a national network of sensors couldprovide forecasts intosmart homes of the future.

Diffuse Energy founder and managing director Joss Kesby will present his team’s idea, asmall wind turbine that canproduce nearly twice the power output of existing turbines of the same size thanks to the rotor blades beingenclosed within a diffuser, or an aerodynamically shaped cylinder.

“We’re initially targeting the yachting market with 900 millimetre diameter diffusersthat will deliver all of their energy needs,” he said.

“Then we’ll look at larger ones with a two metre diameter for farms, isolated communities and developing countries.”

University of Newcastle deputy program convener for the Bachelor of Midwifery, Donovan Jones, said his team’s CareGiVR platform usedvirtual and augmented reality technology to givehealth professionals an immersive way to learn,practice and demonstrate procedures anytime and anywhere.

Newcastle Jets looking for A-League lift

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Second-placed Newcastle are out to snap an A-League losing skid when they play Central Coast.Slumping A-League high-flyers Newcastle are seeking a timely confidence boost against a lowly local rival with multiple motivations.

While the Jets are guaranteed second spot and a home semi-final going into their final-round away game to Central Coast, they have lost three straight.

The ninth-placed Mariners have plenty to play for despite missing out on finals for a fourth straight season.

They could still end up with the wooden spoon if they lose.

Newly appointed head coach Mike Mulvey will attend the game in Gosford and Mariners stalwart Josh Rose will play his final match.

Newcastle have conceded 10 goals across their three defeats, not scoring in those games after netting at least once in their previous 23 fixtures.

“We’re coming of the back of a few poor results the last few weeks and going into a home semi, this will definitely be a game where we need to perform, we need to do well and get our confidence back up,” Jets midfielder Riley McGree said.

“Motivation always has to be high in every game but specifically coming off the back of the performances we’ve been having, I think we definitely need to lift as a team to get the result on the weekend.

“We have to focus on the basics, getting forward, getting to attacking positions and everyone has the licence to do that and everyone has the ability to do that.

“Everyone just needs to get in the box, create chances and defend well.”

Mariners caretaker coach Wayne O’Sullivan believes Mulvey’s presence at Saturday’s game will spark his players.

“Hopefully that will add another little element of spice to it and hopefully generate an extra element of energy should we need it,” O’Sullivan said.

He expected the final appearance of popular 36-year-old defender Rose before his retirement would also lift the Mariners, who have lost five straight.

“That in itself will add another dimension for us as well as being an F3 derby,” O’Sullivan said.

“He’ll start and hopefully we can give him the performance he deserves.”


* The Mariners have lost their past five games. The last time they lost more in succession was a six-game drought in February-March 2016.

* Newcastle have won just one of their past eight away games in NSW.

* Central Coast have scored a league-low 10 first-half goals this season.

Statistics supplied by Opta

Australian Associated Press

Pearson watches on Australia’s meagre day

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Laetisha Scanlan claimed gold for Australia in the women’s trap on the Gold Coast.On Australia’s least successful day at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Sally Pearson watched a Nigerian hurdler take the gold medal designed for her.

Pearson’s injury-enforced absence hit home on Friday night when Oluwatobiloba Amusan won the 100m hurdles in a time 0.40 seconds slower than the Australian’s personal best.

The event was meant to be a joyous Games highlight for the host nation and Pearson – instead, the Olympic and world champion sat in the stands, nursing an Achilles injury.

Australia harvested just two gold medals on Friday the 13th – the nation’s most meagre medal day of the Games.

Shooter Lateisha Scanlan (women’s trap) and lawn bowler Aaron Wilson (men’s singles) triumphed – the host nation now has 65 golds, 34 more than next-best England.

Scanlan, on her 28th birthday, scraped into the trap final via a sudden-death shoot-off – and then won gold with a Games record, hitting 38 of 50 targets.

The crowd delivered an impromptu rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ and Scanlan wept tears of joy when hugging her father after securing consecutive Commonwealth titles.

“To go back-to-back, I’m rapt. I can’t even describe the feeling,” she said.

Lawn bowler Wilson celebrated in a different manner: he stripped off his shirt and, bare-chested, lapped up the cheers of the parochial crowd.

Wilson became just the third Australian bowler to win men’s singles gold.

And he credited his unusual celebration to 2006 Commonwealth men’s singles champion, countryman Kelvin Kerkow, who went topless after his win in Melbourne.

“He sent me a clip going back to when the Games (team) were selected and he said ‘this could be you’,” Wilson said.

“Obviously I had a look at it. I couldn’t help myself when it came down to the moment, chucked the shirt off, didn’t know where it went, but it was all in the groove.”

Wilson’s triumph came just hours after Australia men’s fours lawn bowlers were beaten for gold by Scotland.

Also snaring silver on Friday was 20-year-old shooter Sergei Evglevski in the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol event.

The son of six-time Commonwealth champion Lalita Yauhleuskaya was eclipsed by Indian 15-year-old Anish Bhanwala.

Australia’s 10m platform synchronised team of Domonic Bedggood and Declan Stacey, who first met each other 15 years ago when rival gymnasts, bagged bronze behind two English pairs.

And Bedggood took another bronze later when paired with Matthew Carter in the 3m springboard synchro final.

Fellow Australian divers Georgia Sheehan (silver) and Esther Qin (bronze) collected medals in the 1m springboard.

And compatriot Nina Kennedy took the bronze in the women’s pole vault.

There was success in the boxing ring with five fighters progressing to gold medal bouts on Saturday.

Australia’s women’s basketballers thrashed New Zealand 109-50 to advance into Sunday’s gold medal game against England.

And the nation’s men’s hockey team scraped past the Poms 2-1 in a semi-final, setting up a gold play-off against New Zealand on Saturday.

Australia’s Olympic champion women’s rugby sevens team started their campaign with two wins to assure a semi-final spot.

Australian Associated Press

Barry Humphries brings stages of a great life to Newcastle

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GETTING PERSONAL: Spend the night with a legend. The Civic Theatre hosts Barry Humphries: The Man Behind the Mask next month. 

AUSTRALIAN actor Barry Humphries moved to London in 1959, when he was 25, and became renowned for the characters he created on stage, including Dame Edna Everage, Sir Les Paterson and Sandy Stone, as well as his theatre and film roles.

But Humphries has maintained his Australian relationships, returning to Melbourne around three times a year to visit family members, and making occasional tours in predominantly comic roles.

He will begin a very different Australian tour at Newcastle’s Civic Theatre next month, in a show titled Barry Humphries: The Man Behind the Mask, in which he’ll talk about the personal issues he has encountered over the decades, who else was concerned, and how they were resolved.He reveals, for example, how Dame Edna Everage, who began her stage life in a one-person show he presented in London in 1962, actually grew from a woman who greeted audience members from the stage in a Melbourne University revue that he appeared in at the end of 1955.

The show will have performances at the Civic on Saturday, May 5, at 8pm, and Sunday, May 6, at 1pm.

READ MORE: Humphries bares all in new show The Barry Humphries show will be one of two looking at generally unrevealed matters in well-known performers’ lives that will come to Newcastle in May. The other event, The Orchid & the Crow, a comedy cabaret written by and featuring Daniel Tobias, who is a member of the comedy duo band Die Roten Punkte, can be seen at the Civic Playhouse on Friday and Saturday, May 11 and 12, at 8pm, plus a 2pm Saturday matinee.

The show, which reveals the amusing reasons for its title, looks at how Tobias reacted in 2004, when he was aged 29, to doctors finding that he was suffering from testicular cancer which was at a stage close to causing his death. The story has been lightened by the incorporation of new songs, written in collaboration with his Die Roten Punkte partner Clare Bartholomew, that include a 1980s-style rock number, a Doris Day-mode romantic piece, and an amusing Italian operatic work. The show uses background videos to underline the nature of some of the story’s events. And The Orchid & the Crow, which was first staged in 2015, has won awards at festivals in Edinburgh and Canada.

READ MORE: Humphries behind the mask Tobias tells how he was inspired to battle the cancer by reading a book that a nurse handed to him. The book’s author, seven times winner of the Tour de France bicycle race, Lance Armstrong, had also tackled late-stage testicular cancer, by asking medical practitioners questions about the illness and demanding honest answers. Tobias adopted a similar approach.

Tickets: Civic Theatre box-office, 4929 1977 or through Ticketek.

Church Street DramasTHIS year marks the 200th anniversary of the issue of the first land grants in Maitland, and the Maitland 200 Years On events celebrating the birth of what became a major regional city will include a theatrical work, Church Street Dramas, that will show in an entertaining way a series of news making incidents that occurred in houses and blocks of land along the title thoroughfare in the past century. The series of short plays, written and directed by Maitland Repertory Theatre life member Frank Oakes, and presented by The Friends of Grossmann House and Maitland Repertory Theatre, will be staged where the events happened.

Many audience members are likely to be surprised that a few small blocks of Church Street could produce such a variety of funny, gruesome and stirring stories, which show child killers, ghosts, wild bulls, murderers and more. And at the end of the show, patrons will dine in suitable style at historic Brough House, with the meal included in the ticket price.

The performances will begin at Brough House, 73 Church Street, at 4.30pm, with shows on Friday, April 20, Saturday, April 21, Sunday, April 22, Thursday, April 26, Friday, April 27, and Sunday, April 29. Tickets – $33, concession and National Trust 

Optus admits ‘racist’ ad was unacceptable

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Optus has condemned a job ad seeking “Anglo Saxon” candidates from its outlet in Sydney.Telecommunications giant Optus has become embroiled in a racism row after a store on Sydney’s affluent lower north shore advertised for “Anglo Saxon” retail assistants.

An ad posted on Seek on Thursday stated the Neutral Bay outlet was looking for a casual retail consultant and noted it would prefer “candidates who are Anglo Saxon”.

The ad, taken down on Friday morning, has been widely condemned by unions, politicians and social media users.

“Optus proudly supports diversity and employs staff representing more than 70 nationalities,” Optus human resources vice president Vaughan Paul said in a statement on Friday.

“This error is completely unacceptable and a clear breach of our advertising standards and commitment to equal opportunity employment.”

Mr Paul said Optus would be looking to take “disciplinary action” against those involved.

The union representing Optus workers slammed the “blatantly racist” ad and called for an investigation into the company’s hiring policies.

“How did this racist requirement end up in an ad at all?” CEPU national secretary Greg Rayner said in a statement.

“This is extremely concerning and we have to get to the bottom of how this happened.”

State Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi says she was “appalled” by the advert which revealed the racism that often remains hidden.

“Racial discrimination is common in Australia for job seekers who may be otherwise suitable for the job but are rejected based on ethnic-sounding names, accents or skin colour,” she told AAP in a statement.

Australian Associated Press

Aussie Scanlan takes gold in trap shooting

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Birthday girl Laetisha Scanlan has defended her Commonweath title in the women’s trap.Australian shooter Laetisha Scanlan has backed up her 2014 Commonwealth Games trap triumph with another gold medal at Belmont.

Celebrating her 28th birthday, Scanlan hit 38 of her 50 targets on Friday to finish atop the podium for the second straight Games, edging out Northern Ireland’s Kirsty Barr in a nailbiting finish.

It comes after Olympic gold medallist and world No.1 Catherine Skinner – one of only eight Australians to win gold in Rio – crashed out in qualifying.

It was a case of deja vu for the Victorian, who had to win a sudden-death shoot-off to book her spot in the final – just as she did in Glasgow.

“I don’t know why I make it so hard for myself,” a teary-eyed Scanlan told the crowd after sealing victory.

She capitalised after New Zealand’s Natalie Rooney, who Skinner beat to win gold in 2016, was the first to miss in the shoot-out by failing to shatter her eighth target.

She was never headed after taking the lead in the final, despite missing twice in her last five shots to give Barr an opening.

She was then serenaded by an impromptu rendition of Happy Birthday by packed crowd at the Brisbane complex before Scanlan made a beeline for her father, who first got her into the sport.

It is Australia’s third gold medal in shooting and eighth in total with one day of competition to go.

Australian Associated Press