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Knights call on spirit of ’88 to fight off Warriors

CELEBRATION: Try scorer Tyler Randell, left, with Korbin Sims and Sione Mata’utia on Saturday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
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ACTING Knights skipper Beau Scott described it as ‘‘an ugly win’’.

But they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and from where Newcastle’s 1988 ‘‘Originals’’ were sitting, there must have been a lot to like about Saturday’s 24-14 victory against the Warriors at Hunter Stadium.

Of the 35 surviving players who appeared in the club’s inaugural campaign, 32 travelled from far and wide to attend the 2015 season-opener and lend some moral support to their modern-day counterparts.

Foundation skipper Sam Stewart even delivered an emotional pre-match speech, reflecting on what it meant to wear the red and blue and why those days remain among his most cherished memories.

Some of Newcastle’s current players were not even born when Stewart and his fellow pioneers were living out their dreams, but on Saturday’s evidence the two generations have more in common than just the jerseys on their backs.

In 1988, Newcastle’s no-name battlers went into most games as rank outsiders.

Yet what they lacked in silky skills they made up for with blue-collar grit and toil.

Their coach, the late Allan McMahon, asked them on a weekly basis to ‘‘put your bodies on the line’’ and so they did, without a thought of self-preservation.

They ran hard and tackled even harder, and on the days when the opposition were in a different class, they still competed gamely from kick-off until full-time.

Simple, but effective.

On Saturday, at times you could have been forgiven for thinking nothing much had changed in 27 years.

Midway through the second half, a lesser team than Newcastle may have been thinking it wasn’t their day.

Stung by a contentious eight-point try, then another six-pointer 11 seconds before half-time, the Knights found themselves reduced to 12 men when bench forward David Fa’alogo was sin-binned for a professional foul.

By this stage the Warriors led 14-6 and it appeared almost inevitable they would score again to put Newcastle out of their misery.

Instead the Knights just kept turning up, scrapping and scrambling and forcing errors with last-ditch defence.

Against all odds, they picked up a try with only 12 men on the field, then hit the lead when Scone-born rookie Tyler Randell, a bright prospect who exudes the spirit of ’88, scored from dummy-half.

A further try from Robbie Rochow clinched two points that on another day might have headed back across the Tasman with the Warriors.

McMahon could only have dreamed about the firepower that incumbent Knights coach Rick Stone has at his disposal.

Akuila Uate was back to his explosive best, centre Dane Gagai scored two tries and took a crucial intercept, Joey Leilua was a handful for the defence and teenage Test star Sione Mata’utia reminded everyone of his enormous potential.

Stone admitted he was disappointed with the kicking game of his halves, Jarrod Mullen and Tyrone Roberts, but the resilience of his forwards was encouraging.

All this, too, in the absence of skipper Kurt Gidley, a late withdrawal because of a hamstring strain, and while new signing Tariq Sims remains under suspension.

In recent years, no Gidley, no chance, was a time-honoured theory when assessing Newcastle’s prospects.

On Saturday, the Knights scarcely missed a beat without him.

Indeed, with the game’s premier utility sidelined, Randell produced a Gidley-esque performance, playing hooker, halfback and briefly centre to stake a worthy claim for retention.

Stone expects Gidley will be fit for Saturday’s trip to Townsville to face North Queensland, which will create one of those dilemmas that coaches enjoy.

Who to leave out? It’s a tough call, but a scenario Stone will no doubt to prefer to the quandary of wondering who he can bring in.

For Stone, it was a ‘‘satisfying’’ start to his second stint as Newcastle’s head coach, but he is pragmatic enough to realise there are no trophies presented after round one.

‘‘We’ve got heaps of improvement in us, and no doubt the Warriors have too,’’ he said.

‘‘That’s fair. It’s only the first game. We’ve got a long way to go and we’ve got a team there that showed they’re willing to stand up for each other and support each other and really defend for each other.

‘‘Any time you’ve got that sort of makings in your footy team, you’ve got a positive vibe. That’s a good one for us.’’

An ugly win, perhaps. But for the crowd of 16,146, including 32 long-retired footballers, in so many ways it was a sight for sore eyes.

Inspirational Price offers lessons for us all in lifeEDITORIAL

Maitland can be justifiably proud of its sportsmen and women after another 12 months of sporting excellence.
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The achievements were highlighted at the annual Maitland Sportsperson of the Year Awards on Friday night.

This year’s senior winner Toby Price stood proudly among his peers with state, national and international accolades to his name.

But Price’s story on where he came from to earn national and international acclaim is the stuff of legends.

A racing accident in 2013 left the endurance motorcyclist in a critical care bed with a broken neck.

He not only battled to walk again, but got back on his motorcycle, ­overcoming all sorts of physical and psychological traumas to reach the top of his sport and earn selection in the Dakar Rally, the pinnacle of the sport and the toughest motor sport race in the world.

Price’s third place in Dakar put him in contention for a 2015 award ­nomination.

His example will hopefully inspire generations to come that you can ­overcome adversity, reset your goals and achieve them.

Each nominee is an inspiration in how to set and achieve goals step by step. You do not become a champion without a lot of hard work over ­numerous years.

But it’s not just a lesson for our elite athletes. Success in the arts, academia, trades and business all follow the same incremental approach.

There are no shortcuts to success.

Humility to learn from mistakes and take on board the advice of coaches, perseverance to overcome setbacks and flat periods, and self-belief are vital.

Fulfilling your potential is a step-by-step process we can all embark upon.

Read the story here

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Medicare co-payment could still happen – bulk-billed patients may face gap fees

Health Minister Sussan Ley. Photo: Andrew MearesDespite declaring its Medicare co-payment “dead, buried and cremated,” the Abbott government is considering proposals to give GPs the option of charging gap fees to bulk-billed patients.
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Under the current rules, if a doctor bulk bills a patient, they must accept the Medicare rebate of $37.05 as full payment for the service. Alternatively, the doctor must forgo the Medicare rebate and charge the patient a higher fee upfront, usually about $70. The patient then claims the $37.05 rebate from Medicare.

A change to allow gap charges would reduce out-of-pocket costs for patients who already pay upfront to see their doctor, but would mean the end of free care for some patients, and some advocates predict the change would push up fees over time.

Despite last week jettisoning a planned $5 cut to Medicare rebates, Health Minister Sussan Ley is exploring alternative options to make well-off patients contribute more to the cost of their healthcare and reduce what she sees as unacceptably high rates of bulk billing among non-concessional patients. About seven in 10 services to non-concessional patients are delivered at no charge to the patient.

Doctors groups have long argued for the ability to charge gap fees without giving up the Medicare rebate, and such a change would give doctors the ability to recover income lost through a four-year freeze on rebate indexation.

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners president Frank Jones said the current rules forced doctors to absorb costs for items such as bandages and vaccines, which were used in treating bulk-billed patients.

“This can affect the viability of a practice. If services such as wound care and vaccination are not viable, the alternative would be having patients treated at a local hospital at a much higher cost,” Dr Jones said.

He insisted the change would not affect disadvantaged patients, because GPs would ask for a contribution only from patients who they knew could afford to pay.

Australian Medical Association president Brian Owler said his organisation had long supported such a change, which he said would benefit patients who are currently privately billed, because they would not need to pay the amount of the Medicare rebate upfront.

Ms Ley said the idea was “something doctors across the country have consistently raised with me during my consultations and we’ll obviously consider any realistic proposal that reduces upfront costs for patients and cuts red tape for GPs”.

But this was only one of many ideas she was considering as part of wide-ranging discussions about “holistic” Medicare reform, and she wanted to ensure any future changes had “broad support from health professionals, patients, the public and Parliament”.

Such a change would require legislation and could not proceed without the support of either Labor, the Greens or six other Senate crossbenchers.

Labor health spokeswoman Catherine King did not rule out supporting such a change but said her party would not be supporting “any legislation that drives up out of pocket costs and undermines Medicare and universal access to healthcare”.

“Given the government is now on to its fifth version of the GP tax without ever once bringing legislation before the Parliament, we’ll wait to see the detail, if any, of this latest proposal,” Ms King said.

Greens health spokesman Richard di Natale said his party would vote against such a change, which he said would “be the end of bulk billing” and would “open the floodgates to huge out-of-pocket costs”.

Palmer United Party Senate leader Glenn Lazarus said such a change would increase doctors incomes but “hurt everyday Australians”.

Consumers Health Forum spokesman Mark Metherell said gap fees would “erode universal healthcare” and “be a further slide down the slippery slope to a two-tiered health system, where those who can afford to see the doctor have no problems with access, but those who can’t face new barriers”.

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Court time is a good time for local talent

MILDURA’S teen tennis stars did it toughyesterday in the first qualifying roundMildura Grand Tennis International tournament.
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TOUGH DAY: Hard-hitting Geelong player Adam Lasky (pictured) proved too much for Zac Robinson at the Mildura Grand Tennis International yesterday, while Mildura’s other wildcard entrant Sheree Moore (below) suffered a similar fate.Pictures: Louise Donges

However, despite wildcard entries Zac Robinson and Sheree Moore both going down in their respective matches, it was a learning curve for both 17-year-olds.

“I played well, I wasn’t really worried about the outcome,” Zac said about his 6-1, 6-2 loss to Geelong 20-year-old Adam Lasky.

“It was a good learning experience, I don’t get exposed to tennis like this very often.

“It’s a very professional competitioncompared to the other tournaments I play in – it helps my performance.”

Zac spoke highly of his opponent, who made use of his experience to get on top.

“I’ve seen (Lasky) play before, he’s a good grass-court player,” he said.

“He can hit a ball a lot harder than me.

It’s good to get exposed to that type ofcompetition.”

Lasky, who made the second-round qualifiers of the tournament two years ago, was modest in victory and gave a nod to his younger opponent.

“Zac’s a good grass court player, being from here,” he said.

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Riding roads in tribute

MISSION: Luke Stojanovic rides from The Rock to Lockhart to honour his friend Kim Hunt and raise money for a special cause. Picture: Kieren L TillyAN UNLIKELY friendship betweena motocross enthusiast and mother of threepaved the way for a triumphantfund-raising venture.
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LukeStojanovic, 25,rode a purpose-builtbike from The Rock to Lockhart on Saturdayinmemory of his latefriend,Kim Hunt.

Hesustained critical brain injuries when he came off hisbike inLockhart in 2012.

Lukeovercame his initial20 per cent chance of survival, but he is unable to walk or talk.

He spent nine months in Sydney’s Liverpool Brain Trauma Unit, where he forged a special friendship with Kim, who was recovering from a car accident on theLockhart-BoreeCreek Road that same year.

Tragically, Kim, 41,and her family –husband Geoff, 44 and childrenFletcher, 10, Mia, 8, and Phoebe, 6 –were found shot dead on their Lockhart property “Watch Hill” lastSeptember.

Kim was due to ride alongside Luke in a fund-raiser for the hospital they shared next month.

Instead, she had a special place on a different ride that honoured her and her family.

“Luke wanted to make Kim proud,” Luke’s motherKimStojanovicsaid.

“I think she was his angel sitting on his shoulder and pushing him the whole way.

“Kim progressed a lot quicker than what he did, but shewas always a wealth of encouragement.”

Luke and his best mate Jackson Strong’s mother,MandyStrong, rallied together to organise the ride to raise money forthe Wagga Base Hospital Intensive Care Unit and the Liverpool BrainTrauma Unit.

More than 170 people rode from Wagga to LockhartviaMangoplahand The Rock on Saturday to raise $7000 for the cause– and counting.

Ride organiserMandyStrong said 170 cyclists from around the Riverina and his hometown of St Georges Basin rode sections of the course, including son Jackson, who ran alongside Luke.

“It was fantastic,” she said.

“I think it was a really cathartic thing for Lockhart to talk about Kim and the family in a really positive way and Luke allowed that.”

Mrs Strong thankedthe Hunt and Blake families for allowing the ride to go ahead, the Lockhart community andeveryone who supported the cause.

MrsStojanovicpraised all thosewho have beeninvolved in Luke’s recovery.

“He’s built of gutsy stuff,” she said.

“Luke is still fighting his own battles and he’s wanting to help others.”

As he was being unstrapped out of his bike,he signedto his mum,“The sky’s the limit.”

Donations can still be madeby transferring toThe Luke Stono’s Kim Hunt and Family Memorial Ride,BSB 633000 andaccount number 133614735.

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Redbacks set to tackle Ox-Cents

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BATHURST City have secured second spot in the Bathurst District Cricket Association first grade and set up a major semi-final with Oxford Centennials for the second straight year after eclipsing St Pat’s Old Boys on Saturday.

After some point alterations on the ladder, the Saints actually went into day two sitting inside the top four, but with Redbacks resuming their first innings at 4-77, needing just 35 more to win the first innings, it was unlikely that they would stay there.

Nonetheless St Pat’s finished their season on a bright note as captain Adam Ryan hit his maiden first grade century and Connor Slattery broke through for his first 50 in the top grade.

Still, it didn’t change the result which was decided in the first half hour of play.

Resuming their 49-run partnership, Scott Rice and Shabbir Dhamani carried their side past their target before both falling in quick succession, Rice for 59 and Dhamani for 46.

Knowing that he and his brother Adam would have to do the bulk of the bowling in St Pats’ second innings, Redbacks captain Ben Orme called an end to his team’s innings at 6-131.

Batting a second time, the Saints knew that only a monstrous haul of bonus points or a freak outright win would get them into the finals based on what they knew about the other matches in the round.

Slattery played the anchor role after losing opening partner Jared Rowe cheaply, and with Ryan alongside him the two set about racking up some big runs.

Ryan has long been regarded as one of the cleanest stroke players in the competition, but has made a habit of hitting brisk 50s and 60s without turning them into bigger scores.

After he was gifted a couple of lives, he wasn’t going to miss this opportunity and he hit shots all around the wicket on his way to 113.

At the other end Slattery steadily made his way to an unbeaten 60, Ryan eventually declaring at 2-180.

It left Redbacks needing 161 off just 12 overs to win, a fairly remote possibility.

Still, without even intending to, they gave it a shake thanks to Greg Adams (56 not out) and Kirby Earle (48 not out).

After losing Ben Orme for 14 the pair tore into the Pat’s attack and Redbacks finished at 1-120.

“We got out of the game what we needed to get out of it,” Ben Orme said.

“We needed the win to get us into the top two. We wanted to spend some time at the crease. We bowled well last week, that’s all you can ask.

“I thought there wasn’t much point batting on too far after we got in front. We were missing Jarrod Urza, Cohen Schubert and Joey Coughlan as far as bowling went, so Adam and I were going to have to do a lot of bowling.

“It was great to be able to get Kel Cooke back for a game as well. He took 0-4 off five overs and bowled seriously quick.”

City now get the chance to square off against the in-form Ox-Cents side who they defeated in the corresponding match last year, before going on to win the title when their rematch in the grand final was washed-out.

HAPPY: Ben Orme was content with what his Bathurst City team achieved from their final round match with St Pat’s Old Boys which concluded on Saturday. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 030715cpats4a

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Shire aims at payout over lakes ‘stuff-up’

WENTWORTH Shire will demand compensation from the NSW Government over the Menindee Lakes scheme “stuff-up”, which has threatened to leave Pooncarie dry.
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The shire would be responsible for providing water to a number of landowners in the Pooncarie district at great expense if their supply ran out.

While the NSW Office ofWater will make a contribution, the shire will truck drinkingwater to Pooncarie township as well as properties that have no access to stock and domestic supply.

Minister for Water and Western NSW Kevin Humphries admitted the Menindee Lakes had been mismanaged at a recent meeting of councils in Condobolin, according to Cr Don McKinnon.

“We’re asking for an apology. (The minister) did agree it was a stuff-up,” he said.

The Darling River is expected to stop flowing during the latter half of this year.

Cr McKinnon said answers were needed on future management of water along the Darling, including supply to Broken Hill.

A spokesperson for Mr Humphries said: “The minister is working to strengthen the tri-state agreement to deliver the best outcomes for all affected stakeholders, including the people of Broken Hill and the Menindee region.”

A major infrastructure report released in November recommended constructing a pipeline from the Murray River to supply the Silver City.

The pipeline, which will cost NSW several hundred million dollars, would likely begin near Lock 9 and could spell the end of management of the Menindee Lakes.

“We’re concerned if it goes back to natural flow towns like Pooncarie will have no water at all,” Cr McKinnon said.

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Long road to isolation

in response to the article titled “Too fragile” (SD, February 24), I would like to point out that the Arumpo Road does not stop at Mungo and is in fact the main route from Mildura to Ivanhoe.
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The road is utilised by the vast majority of people who live from Hatfield to Ivanhoe and beyond.

The remoteness of our location is, at times, a disadvantage, but it is enhanced by the atrocious condition of the road from Mungo to Mildura upon which we travel at least a couple of times a month to shop for groceries and so on.

At present the road is challenging in a four-wheel drive vehicle, but would be downright dangerous in a sedan.

For years the shires have been grading and patching the worst

areas of the road, only for it to deteriorate shortly after.

For years those of us who regularly travel to Mildura have been living in hope that one day soon we would see the road sealed.

It astounds me that there are some who believe that sealing the Arumpo Road would have a detrimental impact on the Lake Mungo lunette and who would prefer to discourage tourism to the national park by keeping the road as it is.

Now that most shires are progressively thinking and actively upgrading, I find this view very narrow-minded.

Tourists can choose not to rattle their vehicles down that road but people living in the outback do not have that luxury.

Kylie Rees,

Peneena Station, Ivanhoe, NSW

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Rosie Batty says victims of domestic violence are being let down by the legal system

Australian of the Year Rosie Batty has questioned why women have to “work so hard to be believed” when they report domestic violence and called for the legal system to be overhauled to better support victims.
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Ms Batty, whose son, Luke, was murdered inFebruary last year by his father, said the legal system too often was “not prepared to support and validate the experiences of the victims”.

“Our organisations who respond and should be responding with the best interests of our victims in mind … disappoint and let us down because, you see, strangely, a woman can’t be believed,” she said on Sunday.

“What’s that about? Why do we have to work so hard to be believed?”

Ms Batty was speaking at the All About Women festival at the Sydney Opera House, which coincided with International Women’s Day. She said that many women had “woeful” experiences in the courts and there was a misconception that abuse was always physical.

“We have to work until we have every policeman, every magistrate, every judge understanding the complexities of family violence,” she said. “I will not stop until that happens. Currently what can happen throughout our court processes is if there hasn’t been a violent incident recently it’s [regarded as] an indication of future safety, which is absolutely not the case. Past behaviour is a predictor of future behaviour.”

She added that children’s safety was sometimes seen as secondary to the rights of a parent to see a child, which was an “absolute flaw that cannot continue”.

Ignorance about family violence existed in every profession and at all tiers of leadership, she said, and specialist services were vital so that victims did not feel “criticised or judged”.

Ms Batty, who has backed calls for a national crisis summit on violence against women, choked back tears as she described “how proud Luke would be at what I am doing”. She said that family violence had been an issue for decades and “no one wanted to know”.

“Luke was killed as the ultimate act of power and control because violence is a gender issue. The reason people listen to me is because Luke died in a public place, killed by the man who loved him. That story is horrific … and nobody can dispute it.”

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service 1800 737 732 

Men’s Referral Service 1300 766 491

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Jeff McCloy disputes corruption findings over developments in New South Wales

Developer and former Newcastle major Jeff McCloy. Photo: Cole BennettsA series of corruption findings in NSW relating to property developments are likely to be only the “disclosed tip of a much larger problem”, the High Court has been told.
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The NSW solicitor-general, Michael Sexton, SC, has defended the state-wide ban on political donations from property developers as a wealthy developer seeks to have the laws struck down by the court.

Lawyers for developer and former Newcastle mayor Jeff McCloy, who has admitted giving more than $30,000 in secret donations to Liberal candidates before the last election, claim the ban infringes the implied freedom of political communication in the Constitution.

Mr McCloy’s legal team have told the court there have been “only eight” instances in NSW over 25 years in which commissions of inquiry have “found corruption to have occurred in connection with property developments”.

They say the requirement that donors publicly disclose their payments is enough to safeguard the integrity of the political process because “the light of publicity is the surest scourge of potential corruption”.

But Mr Sexton, who heads the legal team representing the state, says in written submissions to the court that “eight adverse reports over that period is no small matter, and there is good reason to think it is but the disclosed tip of a much larger problem”.

A full bench of seven judges is expected to hear Mr McCloy’s challenge to the developer donations ban in June, although a date has not yet been set.

Mr McCloy’s legal team have said their challenge extends to an entire division of the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act, which also bans donations from the alcohol, tobacco and gambling industries.

But Mr Sexton points out that Mr McCloy does not have standing – a legally recognised interest or connection that allows a person to bring a court case – in relation to donations from other industries.

Sydney Law School professor Anne Twomey, an expert in constitutional law, said the question of standing will not be a major issue in the case.

“Even if the judgment itself only deals with the property developers [ban], if the reason for knocking that down would apply to the others, then they would generally be regarded by the state as being invalid and would be repealed,” Professor Twomey said.

The High Court ruled in December 2013 that a similar ban on donations by trade unions and corporations was invalid.

The Baird government announced a raft of proposed changes to political donations laws earlier this month, including a requirement for donations to be disclosed online and in real time for six months before an election.

Professor Twomey said a difficult issue that may arise is whether changes to donations laws that were passed after the developer donations ban – including caps on the maximum amount that can be donated to parties and candidates – meant the “continuing existence” of the developer donations ban was “harder to justify”.

Mr McCloy is also challenging the cap on donations, as his $10,000 contributions were in excess of the $2000 cap for individual candidates and $5000 cap for parties.

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