Benji starts bright in new code

Benji Marshall has made an encouraging start to his Super Rugby career, getting through 40 minutes for the Blues in his first game of rugby union in more than a decade.
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The former West Tigers and Kiwis rugby league star played the opening two quarters at five-eighth in the Blues’ 38-35 pre-season loss to the Hurricanes on Saturday in Masterton.There was no sign of nerves from Marshall, who distributed the ball well, made the odd run at the line and took on the responsibility of re-starts and kicking for touch.Marshall tried his trademark sidestep once – and met the considerable force of Hurricanes flanker Ardie Savea – but mostly, he was content sticking to basics and getting a feel for his new position.

‘‘I didn’t set the game on fire but, in terms of trying to get control and feel for playing 10, everything I wanted to get I got out of it,’’ said a happy Marshall.‘‘It wasn’t about being the best player on the field. It was just trying to get through what we practised and get a feel for the game.’’

Marshall didn’t shy away in defence, although he failed to hold on to Tim Bateman in the build-up to the Hurricanes’ third try. He even opted to get stuck into a couple of rucks, with mixed results.

Blues coach John Kirwan was pleased with Marshall’s first hitout and ruled out a switch to fullback.

‘‘I think (first-five) is his position,’’ said Kirwan. ‘‘He certainly put his hand up today so we’ll put him out there again next week and we’ll just keep working on him. It was a good start.’’

The match, in front of a sold-out crowd of 6000, was an entertaining one, which produced 11 tries – six for the Hurricanes and five for the Blues.

The Blues recovered from a 19-0 deficit to lead 21-19 at halftime, and 35-24 at three-quarter time, but more direct running from the Hurricanes in the final spell produced the rewards and lock James Broadhurst scored the winning try with eight minutes to go.

AAP

Fatal crash closes Sturt Highway near Hay

SUNDAY 12.30pm:THE condition of a female involved in yesterday’s horror crash near Hay is improving.
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Initial reports indicated the passenger was taken to Hay Hospital with life-threatening injuries.

She has since been transferred to Griffith Base Hospital, where a spokeswoman said she remained in a stable condition.

Police are yet to provide any further information aboutthe crash and the ages of all involved remain unknown.

The Sturt Highway reopened shortly before 1am this morning.

The scene of a fatal crash between a car and truck on the Sturt Highway east of Hay. The accident, which occurred shortly before 5pm on Saturday forced the closure of the highway. Picture: Daisy Huntly

The scene of a fatal crash between a car and truck on the Sturt Highway east of Hay. The accident, which occurred shortly before 5pm on Saturday forced the closure of the highway. Picture: Daisy Huntly

The scene of a fatal crash between a car and truck on the Sturt Highway east of Hay. The accident, which occurred shortly before 5pm on Saturday forced the closure of the highway. Picture: Daisy Huntly

The crash scene near Hay. Pic: Daisy Huntly

The crash scene near Hay. Pic: Daisy Huntly

The crash scene near Hay. Pic: Daisy Huntly

SATURDAY 9pm:A FEMALE is deadand another is fighting for their life after a car and truck collided near Hay this afternoon.

Emergency services were called to the crash on the Sturt Highway, about 10km east of Hay, just before 5pm.

A female passenger of the sedan died at the scene.

Another female passenger was taken to Hay Hospital with life-threatening injuries, while the male driver suffered minor injuries.

Their ages are not yet known.

The truck driver was not injured but taken to hospital to undergo mandatory blood and urine testing.

Police from Deniliquin Local Area Command have launched an investigation into the crash and are appealing for any witnesses to come forward.

The highway is still closed in both directions.

SATURDAY 5.30pm:The Sturt Highway is closed in both directions 10km east of Hay due to a serious car and truck accident.

Westbound motorists can detour via Murrumbidgee River Road, then take the Mid Western Highway to Hay to then rejoin the Sturt Highway.

Eastbound motorists are advised to use the Mid Western Highway to Goolgowi, then take the Kidman Way to Griffith to then rejoin the Sturt Highway.

Emergency services are on site working to clear the accident and reopen the highway.

There is no forecast at this stage as to when the highway will be reopened.

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Who is the Labor candidate, asks Jay Weatherill

IN an embarrassing moment for embattledSouth Australian Premier Jay Weatherill, the Labor leader admitted while in in Crystal Brook on Saturdayhedidn’t know who the local Labor candidate was for theMarch 15 state election.
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The seat, seen as crucial for Labor to retain office, is to becontested by candidate Marcus Connelly, the nephew of a late former Speaker inthe Don Dunstan era.

MrWeatherillwas visiting a command station for the Country FireService atCrystal Brook,near Port Pirie, when hewasasked by Fairfax Media aboutMrConnelly’s absence.

He replied: “Who isMarcus Connelly?”

After being told he was the local candidate MrWeatherillcontinuedthat hewas on a “flying visit so we’re justpopping in here”.

He praised the dedication and skill of firefighters involvedin the marathon Bangor blaze then inspected the incident control room.

When he emerged the said to the Premierhe was surprised he didn’tknow who the candidate was. MrWeatherillsmiled and said “yes”.

He said Mr Connelly was probably not available and reiterated thathe was “just coming through this big area”.

Later, talking to another reporter, MrWeatherillmentioned that theLabor Party was seeking to promote “our Labor Partycandidate” but did not mention Mr Connelly by name.

Earlier, when contacted by Fairfax Media, Mr Connelly said he wasunaware of the Premier’s visit.

This incident comes barely 24 hours after Mr Weatherill said he was prepared to do “whatever it takes” to present a unified government ahead of the March 15 state election.

The newly-created ‘faceless man’ in Port Pirie politics, Marcus Connelly said he was ‘disappointed’ that the Premier had not known who he was.

“I can understand that he is extremely busy and that there are a lot of new candidates, but that is disappointing,” he said.

“He has probably only met me once.

“Coming through my region, he should have some idea who the Labor candidate is.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill.

“I had a phone call about it later in the day. To be fair to them, there was a courtesy phone call.”

Labor candidate Marcus Connelly

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Affectionate vandal shows how tough it is for galleries to protect exhibits

Darned cheek: the 19th century Narcissus with the vandalism exposed on his buttock. The 19th century Narcissus with the vandalism exposed on his buttock.
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It probably seemed like an innocent peck on the cheek. But the Art Gallery of NSW took a dim view of the visitor who kissed a 19th-century statue of Narcissus with red lipstick, leaving a large stain on its buttock.

”Vandalised” was the word used to describe the kiss, which occurred in January 2012, one week after another visitor pulled the nose off a statue of a clown by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone.

In another attack in June 2013, an 11th-century sandstone sculpture of a female torso was spat on.

These acts of vandalism are among 89 reported incidents of damage to artworks at the Art Gallery of NSW over the past three years.

Documents obtained by Fairfax Media following a freedom of information request show that works in the gallery’s collection have been vandalised by visitors, damaged by staff and harmed during functions held at NSW’s leading public art institution.

At a function in May 2013, a painting by indigenous artist Emily Kam Ngwarray was splashed with food, according to the incident report:

”A tomato canape wielding visitor lost control of her topping, which flew across the barriers in front of the work … Several dried droplets of red material were located on the work at the lower edge right of centre.”

The report stated there was no apparent damage to the painting but noted that it was possible that not all the spilt food had been removed.

An incident report relating to Cy Twombly’s Three Studies from the Temeraire, for which the gallery paid $4.5 million in 2004, stated it had been damaged on display and noted the presence of ”surface dirt”.

Damage to paintings by Brett Whiteley and Picasso, in both cases by children, were also reported.

Whiteley’s The Balcony 2 was ”touched by [a] boy who left a palm print in the dusty surface of the painting,” according to a February 2013 report. In November 2013, it was reported that the frame surrounding Picasso’s Nude in a Rocking Chair was ”probably scratched accidentally by a child, not by an adult”.

The gallery’s director of collections, Suhanya Raffel, said most of the 1.3 million who visited the gallery each year respected and enjoyed the collection. ”The majority of visitor incidents are fairly minor, accidental and not malicious – often the result of curiosity, which we do not consider as vandalism,” she said.

Sydney College of the Arts dean Colin Rhodes said the best way to protect artworks would be to have a guard in every room of the gallery.

”A human presence who is looking after the space, that’s easily the best way of doing things,” he said. ”The trouble with cameras is they might catch everything, but it’s after the event.”

However, excessive security risked alienating visitors. ”Art is made for people to enjoy. The further away it is from an audience, the less easy it is for them to enjoy and understand,” Professor Rhodes said.

In Victoria, the NGV last year admitted a 2000-year-old statue from its collection was damaged when it was dropped from a forklift. It has also admitted that one of its new acquisitions, a glass bauble-encrusted stuffed deer, had overheated in its front window.

The Roman marble figure from the first century BC, Archaistic Kore, believed to be valued at $1 million to $2 million, was dropped and smashed while it was being moved.

Artworks at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra have also been vandalised and damaged by staff, with 23 incidents reported in 2012 and 2013.

Among the artworks damaged were paintings by Fred Williams, Roy Lichtenstein and Arthur Boyd. Several sculptures in the gallery’s collection were vandalised with graffiti, including one that had ”Josh Latif Rules” scratched into it.

An NGA spokesman said risk assessments were carried out on how to display art, but the gallery had no plans to beef up security.

Gallery staff and catering contractors at the Art Gallery of NSW have also caused serious damage to artworks.

In May 2011, a gallery painter driving a forklift ”knocked” a table that then hit the installation Turns in Arabba by Hany Armanious, who represented Australia at the 2011 Venice Biennale.

”Many objects fell over resulting in damage to 14 components as well as damage to the wooden cabinet,” the report noted.

Several artworks have been damaged when falling off the walls of the Art Gallery of NSW after the failure of velcro hanging mechanisms.

Human error was identified in several reports, such as an April 2012 incident relating to Nam June Paik’s Kaldor Candle. The report criticised gallery staff.

”Without proper instructions or approval for treating the artwork, installation staff removed wax residue from the horizontal TV screens using metal scrapers, a commercial spray, adhesive remover and cloths,” the report said. ”The curator had not directed them to do so, nor did they seek advice from conservation prior to cleaning.”

Similarly, the lid of a 19th-century ivory vase was dropped ”during a hasty deinstallation”, according to a 2012 report. Another artwork was damaged after it was installed upside down and displayed in the wrong position for ”a few weeks”.

But Ms Raffel said damage caused to artworks by staff was rare.

”In the period of the three years we had 89 incidents, of which only five were related to staff,” she said. ”Our gallery staff have moved thousands of artworks in that three-year period.”

Ms Raffel said it was rarely possible to calculate the cost of damage to artworks as repairs were conducted in house. Moving artworks and erecting barriers to keep visitors at a distance were among the actions taken to protect the collection.

The Art Gallery of NSW is a venue-for-hire for corporate events and hosts functions at which food and alcohol are served. But champagne, canapes and canvases do not always mix.

At a function in May 2013, a bag of ice fell off a trolley, splashing water onto Peter Powditch’s Seascape II painting. The incident report noted an extensive number of stains on the work and suggested that the ”placement of a painting outside the lift on ground level may not be a safe position for a large-scale work”.

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Voters’ support for republic hits 20-year low

Support for a republic has dwindled, even in younger Australians.Backing for an Australian republic has collapsed to a 20-year low, with just 39.4 per cent of Australians saying they support a republic.
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Support was lowest among older Australians and Generation Y voters, with people aged 35 to 65 most supportive of Australia abandoning the monarchy.

An exclusive ReachTEL poll of more than 2100 Australians, conducted on Thursday night for Fairfax, shows 41.6 per cent oppose the country becoming a republic, and 19 per cent had no opinion on the issue.

Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy national convener David Flint said the findings were a ”time bomb” for the republican movement, with support among 18 to 35 year olds at 35.6 per cent. More people in this age bracket oppose a republic than support it. Only people aged over 65 had a lower rate of support (30.7 per cent) for Australia becoming a republic.

”That is a time bomb, I believe, for republicans, because you don’t have that investment for the future,” Professor Flint said.

Not only were young people disinterested in a republic, he believed, they were favourable to the monarchy partly because of the star power of the ”young royals”, Princes William and Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.

But Geoff Gallop, chairman of the Australian Republican Movement, said: ”Polls will come and go, but we’ve been encouraged by the support we’ve been getting, and our campaign will continue.” Mr Gallop said higher support for a republic among Generation X and baby boomer voters could be explained by them having participated in the 1999 referendum, and remembering the 1975 constitutional crisis.

The poll was conducted less than a week after Prime Minister Tony Abbott named General Peter Cosgrove as the next governor-general, the Queen’s representative in Australia. Mr Abbott said he could ”not think of a better person” to fill the governor-general role than General Cosgrove. ”Throughout his life, he has demonstrated a commitment to our country and a commitment to service,” Mr Abbott said. ”He has given service of the very highest order to our country. I am confident that in this new role he will continue to deliver to a grateful nation leadership beyond politics.”

General Cosgrove was roundly endorsed by male voters in the ReachTEL poll, with 61.9 per cent of men saying the decorated veteran was a better choice than Quentin Bryce. Ms Bryce, who five years ago became the first female governor-general, is due to retire next month.

Women were more supportive of Ms Bryce, with 47.4 per cent saying she was a better governor-general, compared with 52.6 per cent of women supporting General Cosgrove.

In November, Ms Bryce used the final Boyer lecture of the year to publicly support the push for Australia to become a republic. Ms Bryce said she hoped the nation would evolve into a country where same sex marriage was legal, ”and where perhaps, my friends, one day, one young girl or boy may even grow up to be our nation’s first head of state”.

At the time, Mr Abbott, a staunch monarchist, said: ”It’s more than appropriate for the Governor-General, approaching the end of her term, to express a personal view.”

According to the ReachTEL poll, women were less likely to support Australia becoming a republic (with 36 per cent support) than men (with 43 per cent support).

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Don’t embellish the facts on asylum seekers, ABC warns staff

As the ABC comes under government scrutiny, staff have been warned not to ”embellish” or add ”any flourish” to asylum seekers’ claims they have been mistreated by border protection forces.
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Head of ABC news content Gaven Morris sent the directive to the organisation’s top brass on Friday morning, less than 24 hours after the government announced it would conduct an ”efficiency study” into the ABC’s operations.

In an email obtained by Fairfax Media, Mr Morris instructed senior staff to advise their teams about reporting on ”incidents at sea”. He said staff should ensure that the reports ”stick to the basics”.

”As you know we currently have a set of claims by asylum seekers our editorial teams are continuing to work hard to get an accurate account of and to verify,” he wrote.

”During this process all our output should reflect the basic facts before us … we don’t need to interpret them beyond what we know, nor should be [sic] editorialising or seeking to add adjectives or any flourish.

”We’re not seeking to describe or embellish the allegations with descriptions like torture or mistreatment or violence and we’re not reporting whether we have proved or disproved anything the media has previously reported – the allegations and responses stand for themselves.”

When asked to comment on the email, Mr Morris said: ”The note was to senior editors on my team reinforcing the ABC’s enduring editorial approach. Amid the continuing varying reports of what may or may not have happened at sea and the responses to it, it was intended as a reminder that ABC News should continue to do as we always do and report the facts before us.”

The government’s efficiency study, announced on Thursday by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, will focus on the day-to-day operational and financial running of the ABC and SBS. The terms of reference stress ”it is not a study of the quality of the national broadcaster’s programs, products and services, or the responsibilities set out in their charters, but of the efficiency of the delivery of those services to the Australian public”.

But the review’s announcement came after a week of sustained pressure on the national broadcaster, including an extraordinary attack by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who suggested the ABC was being unpatriotic in its reports of asylum seekers’ allegations against officials.

On Wednesday, Mr Abbott argued that journalists should give the navy the ”benefit of the doubt” when it came to claims of wrongdoing, and said: ”A lot of people feel at the moment that the ABC instinctively takes everyone’s side but Australia’s.”

The ABC has come under sustained pressure from News Corp publications over its reporting on allegations by asylum seekers they were mistreated by Australian navy officers.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has described as ”a pretty poor effort” the ABC’s reports that asylum seekers suffered burns because of treatment by the navy, calling the claims ”unfounded, unsubstantiated, outrageous allegations against our navy and our Customs and border protection service”.

A ReachTEL poll conducted for Fairfax Media on Thursday showed the majority of Australians believed the ABC was politically neutral in its reporting.

That figure rose to 63.5 per cent among women, compared with 55.5 per cent among men.

Overall, 32.2 per cent believed the ABC was biased towards the Labor Party, while just 8.2 per cent said it was biased towards the Coalition.

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Quality drivers keep Bathurst 12 Hour on the move

Speed machine: Rick Kelly will drive a Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 in the Bathurst 12 Hour.With Australian motor sport dominated since the mid 1990s by the trumpeting, elephantine presence of V8 Supercars, other forms of racing have had to battle hard to be seen and heard. V8 Supercars tended to grab the lion’s share of sponsors, attract more mainstream media coverage and fan support, and collar strong television deals.
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While not yet threatening the top-dog status of V8 Supercars, the revived annual Bathurst 12 Hour has been inexorably growing in popularity here and internationally. It cheekily uses ”The Ultimate Aussie Endurance Race” as its catch cry.

Next Sunday’s Bathurst 12 Hour has pulled a bumper entry of 44 cars, many from abroad. But it is the quality of the driver entry and the long list of explosively quick, technically fascinating, production-based GT3 cars that impress most.

Among the drivers are a DTM champ, a world touring car champ, three with formula one experience, five Bathurst 1000 winners, three V8 Supercars champions and three FIA GT world champions.

If the weather co-operates, count on a GT3 car or Radical SR8 smashing the lap record of two minutes, 4.6 seconds (set by a formula three car) at the recently resurfaced 6.2-kilometre circuit. The lap record for V8 supercars is Jamie Whincup’s 2:08.46 in 2007. Some leading GT drivers believe the 12 Hour pole next Saturday could be a 2:03. Last year’s winning team Erebus, returns with two Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGs and a stellar line-up led by the world’s most successful GT endurance racer, Bernd Schneider, who last year enjoyed wins in Dubai, Bathurst, the Nurburgring [twice], Spa and Abu Dhabi. The DTM legend will share the No.1 SLS with Maro Engel and Nico Bastian. The regular Mercedes successes in GT endurance races last year suggests the SLS V8 remains the benchmark.

New Erebus Motorsport V8 recruit Will Davison will take the wheel of the No.63 SLS – last year’s pole winner – for his sportscar debut. Youngster Jack Le Brocq and seasoned Greg Crick are co-driving that SLS.

Favoured too are six Audi R8 LMS rockets with a driving line-up that includes gun Brits Oliver Gavin and Rob Huff, Germans Christopher Mies and Markus Winkelhock and local V8 goers Jason Bright, Warren Luff and Dean Fiore. Mies was part of the winning Audi squads in 2011 and 2012, Gavin is a four-time 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner and Huff a past world touring car champion.

A growing number of V8 Supercars drivers have chased starts in the Bathurst 12 Hour because the cars are so enjoyable to drive, and a good result could springboard them into major GT races overseas.

Ex-formula one driver Mika Salo will to share a Ferrari F458 Italia GT3 2013 with Craig Lowndes and John Bowe.

Benefiting from his V8 Supercars links with Nissan is Rick Kelly, sharing a Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 with a mixed bag of foreigners from the Nissan family: Katsumasa Cyio, Alex Buncombe and Wolfgang Reip.

Actor Eric Bana, a previous Bathurst 12 Hour competitor, returns to share a Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 with mates Peter Hill and Simon Middleton. Ferrari and Lamborghini are not the only Italian marques on the grid. Three tiny Abarth 500s (based on the Fiat 500) have more than one mountain to climb. Their initial hurdle is to qualify, which means lap times within 130 per cent of the pole car. They’re aiming at a lap of 2:40 to make the cut.

The final three hours of the Bathurst 12 Hour will be shown by SBS on Sunday.

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Unequivocal convinces Noel Mayfield-Smith to aim high in autumn

On the rise: Unequivocal, left, is set for bigger races. Photo: Jenny EvansNoel Mayfield-Smith is eyeing off the rich two-year-old autumn races with his only juvenile, Unequivocal, after she upstaged favourite Delectation at Rosehill on Saturday.
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The Hawkesbury-trained filly was purchased for $38,000 and proved that she belonged in metropolitan-class racing with her defeat of Chris Waller’s Delectation.

Mayfield-Smith declared the filly would aim high in the autumn.

”Where do two-year-olds go that win? Where’s everyone aiming for? But which route and whether you get there or not is two different things,” he said when asked where the Not A Single Doubt filly would head. ”I’ve got ideas but they’re all in my head at the moment. It’s my one and only two-year-old, so it would want to go good.

”She’s a strong horse and has always been able to hit the line. I think 1400m will be even better for her but she can run a really strong 1200m off a strong speed.”

Unequivocal took her revenge on her last-start conqueror Peggy Jean, which finished third, after Irish rider Padraig Beggy drove between horses at the 300 metres before running down Delectation inside the last 100m. ”You can’t take anything away from this horse,” Mayfield-Smith said. ”She raced well at her first start, showed ability and she can hit the line. Last start when she had to go forward, she wobbled a bit before she got to the top of the rise then she got going, whereas today she just hit it and got moving. He [Beggy] is a bloody good rider.”

Beggy, who secured his first city winner since moving to Australia last April, didn’t panic after Delectation cruised up to him and looked a winner with a furlong to go.

”I travelled well and once Hughie [Bowman] got half a length up on me I still had a feeling in the last 100 metres that I’d get there and I won with a little bit in hand,” Beggy said. ”I had to get out of a little pocket and when Hughie only got half a length in front, I knew I’d make it up.”

While Bowman said Delectation’s first-up run was good, Tommy Berry indicated that Peggy Jean would be suited to a rise in distance. ”She hung in the other day and probably hung in a little worse today,” Berry said. ”She’s still learning her trade, but she’s got plenty of ability.”

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Heat not to blame for death of filly Kiss A Rose at Caulfield, says vet

There was high drama and then tragedy in the mounting yard at Caulfield on Saturday as three-year-old Kiss A Rose collapsed and died after running in the $120,000 W.J. Adams Stakes. The Peter Moody-trained filly had finished unplaced behind the mare Shamal Wind in the feature event over 1000 metres. As she was brought in to be unsaddled in the enclosure directly in front of the stands she collapsed. Her strapper and stable and Racing Victoria staff vainly showered her with water and ice. The Racing Victoria veterinary surgeon on duty, Grace Forbes, said her death was not related to the heat. Racing Victoria’s heat policy comes into play when ”the wet bulb”, which measures humidity, registers 28 or above or the temperature tops 35 degrees. A Racing Victoria spokesman said the highest point the wet bulb reached on Saturday was 27.7 and the temperature 31.5 degrees. Champion jockey Glen Boss, who rode the heavily backed but well beaten favourite Lord of the Sky in the race, was fuming at the length of time the horses were left waiting at the barriers in warm temperatures before the event got under way. ”We were down there seven minutes before we jumped. My horse was gone before we even ran,” an angry Boss said afterwards. An autopsy will be conducted.
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OLIVER GETS IT RIGHT

After having the choice of the plum rides on race favourites Bull Point and Prince Harada, it was no surprise to see Damien Oliver sporting a big smile after Australian Guineas aspirant Bull Point scored a resounding first-up win in the group 3 Manfred Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield. ”They are both good colts and were hard to split,” Oliver said. ”I rode them in consecutive days a couple of weeks ago and this bloke [Bull Point] really pleased me, the way he worked with the blinkers on.” On Saturday, Oliver was able to settle Bull Point ($3.70) behind the speed, just ahead of Prince Harada (the $2.80 favourite) which was raced a little keenly in the early stages. Oliver eased Bull Point out three wide as the field came around the turn and after grabbing the leader, Worth A Ransom ($20), at the 150m, drew away to win by 1¼ lengths. ”He put himself into a good position and then showed good acceleration,” Olive said. Prince Harada came wide with his run in the straight but failed to finish off the race and was photo-finished out of third placing by The Quarterback ($11). While Cox Plate winner Shamus Award remains the $8 favourite for the $500,000 group 1 Australian Guineas at Flemington on March 1, Sportsbet wound Bull Point from $13 into $9 second favourite for the race.

WALLER TO CODDLE CERISE

Chris Waller plans to use a softly-softly approach with All Cerise in a bid to emulate the success of Australian Oaks heroine Royal Descent. ”The autumn’s obviously upon us, but what we learnt with Royal Descent last time [is] if you look after them you can still get them to some big targets as well,” Waller said after All Cerise’s win at Rosehill on Saturday. ”We’ll take small steps and try to keep her winning and we’ll sneak her up in distances.” The Redoute’s Choice filly towed Hugh Bowman into the 1400m restricted race for three-year-olds at the turn and quickly sped by Gai Waterhouse’s Forever Loved ($4.40), which stuck on for second from Casino Dancer ($31). Quizzed about what trip All Cerise, the $2.20 favourite, would relish, Waller said: ”Hopefully 2400m [of the Oaks] … We’ve nursed her and are getting the benefit of that now. She looked very strong coming into the race and that’s obviously a positive sign.”

SEASIDE ENDS DROUGHT

Peter Snowden hailed Darley mare Seaside’s transformation from a ”speedy squib” to a more settled racehorse. The four-year-old charged home off a slow tempo to end a 14-month winless drought in the fillies and mares benchmark 77, prompting Snowden to hint he will go in search of black type. ”She used to be a bit of a speedy squib before, but she settles better now,” he said. ”That was a good effort today because they went steady and then sprinted. She’s had to come from 2½ lengths off that speed. When you’re not winning you’re going for lesser races all the time, but when you can win you can aim a little bit higher. There might be a nice stakes race in her this time in.” Tommy Berry warmed the saddle for a hurt Kerrin McEvoy as Seaside ($2.50 favourite) collared Watabout ($4) in the last 100m.

ROSEHILL SPECIALIST

John O’Shea will be doing his best to keep sprinter Kencella at Rosehill following a dominant win. The four-year-old led all the way to make it five wins from eight starts. And O’Shea said that while Rosehill suited him perfectly, the horse could be exposed in a more hotly run race. ”He appreciates having his runs spaced and at the moment he’s eating up this 1100m at Rosehill and I’ll probably try and keep him here if I can … if he got into a race where they got running from the start then that would provide him with some issues, but at the moment he can get out and travel easily without being gassed.”

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Ginninderra paceman Cameron Suidgeest set to be a star of the Futures after five-wicket haul against Eastlake

Ginninderra bowler Cameron Suidgeest in action on Saturday. Photo: Graham TidyTHEY were on opposite sides on Saturday, but Eastlake batsman Matthew Gawthorp saw enough from Ginninderra quick Cameron Suidgeest to declare he can make an impact in the national Futures League.
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Gawthorp took the bragging rights of the soon-to-be ACT Comets teammates in leading Eastlake to a three-wicket first-innings win over Ginninderra at Kippax Oval on Saturday.

An unbeaten 80 from Gawthorp helped Eastlake out of the mire at 6-128 to finish at 223 in reply to Ginninderra’s 182.

Suidgeest was the star of the show with the ball, taking 5-82 from 21 overs to almost single-handedly lead the Tigers to victory.

He now has 31 wickets for the season at an average of 12.9.

It’s no wonder the Wagga Wagga product has been called into the Comets squad and could debut as early as February 10 against Victoria at Manuka Oval .

”I think he’ll definitely contribute to the Comets,” Gawthorp said.

”He’s improved in leaps and bounds this year and has probably picked up a yard of pace”

Eastlake was desperate to bounce back from last week’s loss in the semi-final of the John Gallop Cup to Tuggeranong.

Gawthorp came to the crease with Eastlake struggling at 3-32 and received solid support from Sri Lankan veteran Anil Rideegammanagedara (59).

But when Suidgeest knocked over Rideegammanagedara and Luke Bartley (0) in quick succession, Eastlake was on the ropes.

”There were a few nervous moments,” Gawthorp said.

”There were some balls that were rolling and some that were kicking, but you didn’t really know what you were going to get.

”It’s a pretty important victory with the finals just around the corner.”

Meanwhile, centuries from Beau McClintock and Joe Cooke led Wests/UC to an incredible three-wicket victory against Weston Creek Molonglo.

In serious trouble resuming at 2-31 in reply to Weston Creek’s 7-318 (dec), McClintock made 113 and Cooke 105 as part of a 214-run stand for the fourth wicket.

Queanbeyan claimed a valuable outright win with a dominant performance against Tuggeranong. Trailing by 74 runs on the first innings, Tuggeranong could only make 172 in its second dig, Queanbeyan passing the total with seven wickets remaining.

North Canberra Gungahlin hung on for a draw in its match with ANU, scoring 9-133 from 85 overs chasing 9-283 (dec).

Attention turns to the final of the John Gallop Cup one-day competition, with Queanbeyan taking on Tuggeranong at Manuka Oval on Sunday from 2.30pm.

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Shipard scores on return

Canberra United is on top of the table and returning star Sally Shipard capped her emotional comeback with a rare goal in a record-equalling thumping of the lowly Newcastle Jets.
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Everything went right for the Green Machine as it survived the 38-degree heat to put the Jets to the sword with a 5-0 flogging on Saturday.

The biggest cheer from the 662 fans at McKellar Park was reserved for Shipard, who found the back of the net after just 10 minutes in her first game back from career-threatening knee injuries.

It was the champion midfielder’s first game for the season and just her sixth in the past two campaigns.

The 57-game Matildas veteran was ecstatic to get through her 45 minutes of action unscathed before being replaced at half-time.

”It felt like an emotion I hadn’t felt in a while,” Shipard said.

”I didn’t really feel like I’ve been away from the game all that long, but I guess my lungs knew very different.

”It was a great game to come back and I’m very chuffed about the amount of support I’ve had to get back out there.”

The timing of Shipard’s return couldn’t be better now there are just two weeks until the finals.

Shipard, the 2011-12 W-League player of the year in United’s championship season, injured her right knee while playing in Germany in 2012, and was restricted to just five games last season.

She was supposed to make her comeback two months ago, but suffered swelling in her left knee.

But all that was forgotten when she fired the ball into the back of the net from close range off a perfect assist from teammate Lori Lindsey.

United coach Liesbeth Migchelsen’s side has won four games in a row, including the last three in the space of six days, to rocket to the top of the ladder.

While Sydney FC can reclaim top spot with a win against the Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday, United can clinch the league championship and a chance at a home grand final when it faces the Sky Blues in a week’s time.

United quickly established its dominance in handing the Jets an 11th straight loss this season. Super striker Michelle Heyman opened the scoring in the seventh minute.

Shipard doubled the advantage before defender Ellie Brush scored from a header. Second-half strikes from Georgia Yeoman-Dale and Jennifer Bisset rounded out a superb team performance.

The result equals the biggest winning margin in United’s six-year history and also equals the most goals the team has scored in a single game.

CANBERRA UNITED 5 (Michelle Heyman 7m, Sally Shipard 10m, Ellie Brush 27m, Georgia Yeoman-Dale 46m, Jennifer Bisset 63m) bt NEWCASTLE JETS 0 at McKellar Park. Referee: Rebecca Durcau.

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Milford to give his all to Raiders

Anthony Milford has pledged to give his all for the Raiders this season. Photo: Rohan ThomsonThey’re the words all Canberra fans have been waiting to hear from Anthony Milford – ”I’m giving my all to the Raiders; I owe it to them.”
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The teenage sensation has vowed to give his best effort in his final season with the Raiders, claiming Canberra has the talent to ”shock” the NRL and push for the club’s first premiership in 20 years.

Milford quashed suggestions he wouldn’t be on his game this season, the 19-year-old also declaring his ambition to break into Queensland’s dominant State of Origin squad as early as this year.

Milford’s messy request for a release from the Raiders, and his subsequent decision to sign with the Brisbane Broncos for 2015, rankled many Raiders fans.

But Milford, who was discovered by the Raiders at 13, said he would not be holding anything back in his final season in Canberra.

”I’m not going to lack anything for what’s gone on,” he said.

”I’m here for this year and I want to try to do what everyone else is trying to do, and that’s win a competition.

”Our team will shock a few people this year – with the players we’ve got and the depth we’ve got.

”Fingers crossed we go really good and everyone steps up.

”I’m giving my all to the Raiders; I owe it to them. I’ve been with them for a while and they’ve done the right thing by me, so I’ll do the same.”

After electing to join the Broncos so he could be closer to his tight-knit family in Brisbane, Milford said he was desperate to help the Raiders lift the trophy for the first time since 1994.

New Raiders coach Ricky Stuart immediately identified Milford as a pillar of the club when he took the job in October last year.

Stuart travelled to Brisbane to speak with Milford and his family before he signed with the Broncos.

”Ricky was really good; he just spoke about what was important in life, and it was family,” Milford said.

”He didn’t try to pressure me into making a decision whether to go here or there.

”He told me to ‘do what’s best for you and your family’, and I appreciated that.”

After starring for Samoa in the World Cup, Milford is being rested for Canberra’s opening trial match and the Auckland Nines.

Having won the Mal Meninga Medal last year at full-back, and earmarked as a future half with the Broncos, he said he was happy to fill whatever role suits the Raiders.

An invitation to a recent Queensland Emerging Origin squad camp in Brisbane with Queensland Academy of Sport coach Wayne Bennett shows how highly regarded he is by representative selectors.

”I learnt a lot, especially from Wayne. The stuff he says, you try to take it in and use it,” Milford said.

”Playing for Queensland is one of my goals for this year and in the future.”

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Nathan Hart hopes to win place at world track cycling championships

A BROKEN wrist prevented his father from representing Australia at the world track cycling championships more than 30 years ago. Now Nathan Hart will play the waiting game to find out whether he’ll get to this year’s worlds in Colombia later this month.
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Hart won silver in the sprint at the Australian championships in Adelaide on Friday night, following in the footsteps of his father Braham, who won silver at the nationals in 1983.

The 20-year-old grew up in Tuggeranong and came through the same ACT Academy of Sport talent search that unearthed road cyclist Michael Matthews.

While Hart follows the road cycling, he is built for the speed of the track and even when he did athletics as a kid it was always the sprint events he did better in.

He was hoping to be part of Australia’s team sprint at the worlds in Cali starting in 24 days.

Hart said finishing second to Matthew Glaetzer was completely unexpected, earning him his first individual medal at a nationals.

The former Erindale College student got through to the final after Shane Perkins withdrew from their semi-final due to a back injury.

He represented Australia for the first time at a World Cup meet in Mexico in December, where he picked up bronze in the team sprint – the event he hopes to compete in at the worlds.

”Very happy, extremely happy [with silver], it was a little bit unexpected, I wasn’t really focusing on the sprint all that much leading into these nationals, but definitely pretty excited about getting the silver, especially behind someone like Matthew Glaetzer who’s riding super fast at the moment,” Hart said.

”I’ve got some OK form at the moment, I’ve come to national champs with as good a form as I can and ridden as well as I can and I suppose most of it is out of my control at the moment.”

And Hart’s not getting carried away with his chances of going to Colombia.

He said he was one of ”a few” who could get the nod to join likely duo Glaetzer and Perkins in Cali.

Canberran Daniel Ellis, who now lives in Adelaide and is making a comeback from a year off, and Victoria’s Jacob Schmid were also in the mix.

”I’ve been focusing on first wheel for the team sprint … trying to improve my time … trying to be the first rider in the team, getting off to a super-quick start from a standstill,” Hart said.

”There’s a few riders in contention, I’m one of them, Danny Ellis … Jake Schmid who’s also riding similar times in the first-wheel sprint, but really it’d take one of us to really step up and knock a couple of tenths off our PB to put our name forward and really have a concrete position in that team.”

Fellow Canberran Bec Wiasak picked up bronze in the women’s 25km points race.

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