Archive for February, 2019 | Monthly archive page

Hunters quintet gain NSW Country selection nod

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

MYLES CHERRY NEWCASTLE Hunters basketballers Myles Cherry, Will Howell, Joel Rauch, Cassidy McLean and Lara McSpadden have been named in their respective NSW Country teams to compete at the Australian championships in Ballarat in April.
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Maitland’s Rachel Williams was also selected in the girls’ team, and Newcastle’s Demi Wilson was retained as one of five train-on reserves.

Newcastle’s Jacob Foy was included as a reserve for the boys’ team, to be coached by Newcastle’s Martin McLean. Maitland’s Tim Mallon and Gosford’s Michael Cassidy will assist McLean, and Newcastle’s Gerry Mason will manage the team.

Foy’s former Port Macquarie teammate Elliot Starr, Hunter Sports High School student Matt Kenyon and Armidale’s Makuach Maluach, were named with Cherry, Rauch and Howell in the 10-player boys’ team.

■ Valentine orienteering sisters Erika and Mikayla Enderby won two medals each at the Oceania Championships in Tasmania last month.

In the absence of her 10-year-old sister Mikayla, who competed for the first time in under-12s, eight-year-old Erika won the under-10s long-course and finished second in middle distance.

In her first competition in under-12s, Mikayla was the highest-ranked Australian in finishing second to a New Zealand girl over the sprint course and in the middle-distance event.

Mikayla won the under-10 sprint, middle-distance and long-course races at the Australian championships in Perth last October, and Erika was runner-up to her in the middle-distance and long-course events and finished third in the sprint.

The sisters have been nominated in the junior female sportsperson of the year category of the Lake Macquarie Sports Awards at Belmont 16-Footers later this month.

Their next major orienteering competition will be the Easter three-day event in South Australia.

■ Former Newcastle Youth train-on squad member Adam Edgar has quickly made his mark with the Nike Academy in England.

Edgar, 16, was one of eight new faces to win six-month, full-time stays in the Nike Football Academy through the company’s Most Wanted competition, which offers places to the best uncontracted teenage players from around the world.

The academy trains in England’s national football centre at St George’s Park in Burton-upon-Trent and plays against some of the best youth teams in Europe.

A tall striker, Edgar scored the third goal in a 3-0 win over the FC Barcelona’s under-19 team last week.

The Nike line-up was due to take on Liverpool FC Academy overnight.

■ Mayfield triathlete Lorcan Redmond is in top form on and off the track ahead of this month’s Triathlon Australia Super Sprint national championships in Devonport.

Redmond has enjoyed a stellar few months, winning the 15 years Oceania triathlon championship three weeks ago in Penrith and backing that up with record-breaking efforts on the track a fortnight later at Glendale.

He raced in the 1500-metres and 3000-metres events at the NSW Athletics Country Championships at Hunter Sports Centre. Up against 16 and 17-year-old athletes in the 1500m, Redmond finished a close second in a personal best time of four minutes, 8.80 seconds. It smashed the 15 years’ NSW Country record of 2012 Olympic marathoner Martin Dent (4.15.19).

He ran an even more impressive race in the 3000m, winning and clocking a PB of 8.47.66 to break Liam Henderson’s 15 years’ meet record of 9.09 and Dent’s 16-17 years mark of 8.57.50.

Redmond’s triathlon wins in Penrith followed his victories in the first round of the Super Sprint series on the Gold Coast before Christmas.

■ Newcastle Netball Association’s under-15s side equalled its best performance at the International Youth Sports Challenge in Singapore when second to New Zealand’s Mount Albert Grammar School (MAGS).

Newcastle defeated Hunter rivals Lakeside in the semi-finals to earn a grand final against MAGS, who beat them in the 2011 decider.

Newcastle matched it with MAGS until turnovers in the final quarter gave the Kiwis a four-goal win.

Hayes in element with cut andt hrust

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

MENTAL APPEAL: Isaac Hayes, in white, stretches out during a training session. Picture: Ryan OslandLIKE many boys, Newcastle’s Isaac Hayes was fascinated with sword-fighting.
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Popular media is full of films, television shows and books that glamourise wielding a sword.

That interest is beginning to produce results for the 16-year-old as he prepares to represent Australia at the 2015 Cadet Fencing World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in April.

Before he jets off to the former Soviet nation, Hayes will compete at the Asian Junior and Cadet Championships in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

– ISAAC HAYES

‘‘I’ve never really competed at that level before, so I don’t know what it’s like outside the country,’’ Hayes said.

It all began for the year 11 St Philip’s College student when he walked into the Newcastle PCYC aged 11.

‘‘I got invited to go to the PCYC with one of my mates, who’s long since quit, but I stayed on,’’ he said.

‘‘I was always super into swords. I thought they were cool.

‘‘There is an initial attraction of being able to use swords and fight with swords and that kind of thing, but once I got more into it I fell in love with the mental side of the game.’’

Hayes is excelling in the mental side of fencing and it is where Newcastle PCYC Fencing Club coach Sam Hughes plans to focus in his preparation for Tashkent.

‘‘We’ll be working on his ability to realise what other people are doing to him and what he’s doing to them,’’ Hughes said.

‘‘Also we’ll work on footwork and the ability to move on the strip and being in the right place and how to move in and out.

‘‘Another thing is speed and strength. The mental game makes a difference between a good athlete and a good fencer.’’

There are three types of fencing based on the sword used – foil, sabre and épée.

Hayes will compete in the épée category.

Épée is a thrusting sword and it features a large circle guard that extends towards the pommel, covering the hand.

To record hits, the tip of the blade must touch the opponent.

Unlike foil and sabre, épée does not use the ‘‘right of way’’ system and allows simultaneous hits by both fencers.

Hayes is ranked fifth in Australia in the under-18 cadet category, but was selected for the three-man squad in Tashkent.

‘‘They have to select wisely and pick which ones are going to go and get the best bang for your buck and for the sport in Australia,’’ Hughes said.

‘‘They have selected him because they think he’ll perform well over there for his age group.’’

Scot circling as time ticks away for Nathan Tinkler

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

TIME is almost up for besieged Newcastle Jets owner Nathan Tinkler.
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Football Federation Australia has effectively issued Tinkler with a show-cause notice following last-ditch crisis talks between the former billionaire and FFA chief executive David Gallop on Monday.

Adding further intrigue to the Jets ownership wrangle, the Newcastle Herald has learnt that Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson is in Australia, suggesting the Scottish Premier League club are still in the frame.

There was also speculation on Monday night that Argentinian striker Jeronimo could be set to join the list of player departures.

Central to Tinkler’s discussions with Gallop were debts well in excess of $500,000, including $140,00 to Northern NSW and unpaid superannuation to players and staff.

Tinkler had given an undertaking to settle the club’s accounts and rectify other operational issues, including the appointment of a chief executive, by last Saturday.

“FFA advised the Jets that it has decided to give the club a formal notice in relation to its financial state,’’ an FFA spokesperson said.

‘‘The Jets will be given a short period to respond to the formal notice.”

After saying in an interview last week that ‘‘creditors are getting paid as we speak’’ and ‘‘it will all be resolved’’ Tinkler again told the FFA that outstanding liabilities would be met and key staffing levels upgraded to A-League standard.

“FFA today held another round of talks with Nathan Tinkler and received assurances about his intention to recapitalise the Newcastle Jets and comprehensively address urgent issues in the club’s operation,” an FFA spokesman said.

Tinkler was not available for comment on Monday night.

After putting the Jets up for sale in August, Tinkler took the club off the market last month despite an approach from Dundee United, who baulked at the $5million price tag.

But notwithstanding Tinkler’s regular denials, the Tangerines are keeping close tabs on developments at FFA headquarters and majority stakeholder Thompson is in Australia visiting his daughter.

“The interest is still there,’’ Thompson told the Newcastle Herald. “I think there is an opportunity for A-League clubs to be successful on and off the field, whether it’s the Jets or other clubs.

‘‘We have shown we can build something sustainable in Scotland.

‘‘We have made a profit over the past five years and I’m not aware of too many other clubs who have achieved that.

“Australia is a growth market for the game while in Scotland, in general, the game is struggling.

‘‘But we have shown what can be achieved if you do the right things. I have no doubt you could transfer that success to Australia.’’

Dundee United sit fourth on the SPL table and beat Aberdeen 2-1 on Saturday to book a berth in the ScottishLeague Cup final against Celtic.

While Tinkler held talks with FFA, the Professional Footballers Australia players union was awaiting revised termination offers for the five players the club moved to sack last week.

Captain Kew Jaliens, 2008 grand final hero Joel Griffiths, David Carney, Adrian Madaschi and Billy Celeski were told on Wednesday night that their contracts would be terminated.

Jeronimo, who is the Jets’ equal leading goal scorer with three goals, is understood to unhappy with the recent events at the club and wants out.

The club has proposed to pay out Jaliens, Griffiths, Madaschi and Celeski, who are off contract at the end of the season.

However, the players union has requested clauses be added to protect player entitlements and outstanding statutory obligations, including superannuation.

‘‘Nothing has changed with regards to our position,’’ PFA spokesman Beau Busch said. ‘‘We have not received revised termination offers. That status quo remains.’’

The PFA is also awaiting a response from the Jets regarding Carney.

After initially offering to pay out the final 18 months of his contract, the Jets moved to sack the former Socceroo, with no payout, over three alleged breaches.

Carney has accepted two breaches but has formally rejected the third. If an agreement cannot be reached, the matter is likely to go to arbitration.

Teenage Knights star Sione Mata’utia faces 10 weeks on sidelines

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

STRETCHING OUT: Sione Mata’utia, right, attempts to tackle Eels back Corey Norman during the Auckland Nines tournament on Saturday. Picture: Getty ImagesBOOM Knights youngster Sione Mata’utia could miss up to 10weeks of the NRL season after damaging his ankle in the Auckland Nines.
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Australia’s youngest international is understood to have suffered a syndesmosis injury in Newcastle’s third pool game of the pre-season showcase against Manly at Eden Park on Sunday.

If Mata’utia’s worst fears are realised, it would be an unfortunate case of deja vu after Jarrod Mullen tore his hamstring in the Nines last year.

Newcastle’s on-field general, Mullen missed the opening five games last season. The Knights won just once without him during that stretch and never recovered.

A hobbling Mata’utia was placed in a moon boot on the team’s return journey to Newcastle on Monday. The 18-year-old utility back will have scans this week to determine the extent of the damage, but the worst-case scenario could mean Mata’utia is sidelined for the first 10 rounds.

That would deny him a chance to retain his green-and-gold jersey for Australia’s Anzac Test against Four Nations champions New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium on May 1, or playing in the City-Country game at Wagga Wagga on May 3.

After playing just seven NRL games last season, Mata’utia became the Kangaroos’ youngest-ever Test player when he made his debut on the wing against England in a Four Nations game against England at AAMI Park last November.

He went on to play two more Tests, including the final, which the Kiwis won 22-18 at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

Though established finishers James McManus (foot) and Aku Uate (knee) have recovered from the injuries that prematurely ended their 2014 campaigns, Mata’utia would have challenged the NSW Origin representatives for a place in Newcastle’s team for their season-opener against the Warriors at Hunter Stadium on March 7.

Mata’utia is also capable of playing fullback or centre, where he is competing for spots with versatile skipper Kurt Gidley and strike weapons Dane Gagai and Joey Leilua.

The Knights are blessed with depth in the back line positions. Coach Rick Stone has the luxury of calling on Mata’utia’s older brothers, Chanel and Pat, Nines standout Jake Mamo and livewire fullback Nathan Ross during pre-season trials against Port Macquarie and Wauchope in Port Macquarie on February 14, and the Canberra Raiders at Queanbeyan on February 21.

The Mata’utias are yet to settle a dispute with their manager, Chris Haddad, which is hindering the progress of retention negotiations with the Knights.

Though the three brothers have signed letters of agreement to join the Bulldogs on four-year deals from 2016 onwards, the Knights have until June 30 to make counter-offers that the club hopes will convince them to continue their careers in Newcastle.

The Knights cannot proceed with any new contract talks until they know who is representing the brothers as their agent.

Off-season Knights recruit Carlos Tuimavave also suffered an ankle injury in the Auckland Nines but the former Warriors utility is expected to be eligible for round-one selection.

Parramatta were hardest hit by injuries at the Nines, as promising hooker Kaysa Pritchard tore a pectoral muscle and faces an extended stint on the sideline.

Eels teammates Chris Sandow (ankle), Ken Edwards (knee) and Brad Takairangi (ankle) returned to Sydney to have scans on Monday.

Young Sharks half Fa’amanu Brown’s season is already over after he tore a knee ligament in Cronulla’s semi-final victory over the Sydney Roosters.

Protectionist back on track with impressive trial

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

FULL STRIDE: Hugh Bowman rides Protectionist, right, in a barrier trial at Broadmeadow on Monday. Picture: Marina NeilTRAINER Kris Lees was elated with the barrier trial performances of 2014 Melbourne Cup hero Protectionist, Caulfield Cup placegetter Lucia Valentina and his group-winning filly Onemorezeta at Broadmeadow on Monday.
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The trio were having their first barrier trials since spelling at Lees’ property on the outskirts of Cessnock following successful Melbourne spring campaigns.

Protectionist was not extended to win a six-horse 1200metre trial, while Lucia Valentina was strong at the end of a classy 900m trial.

Onemorezeta, winner of the group3 The Roses at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, finished powerfully to win a 900m trial.

Leading Sydney jockey Hugh Bowman rode all three gallopers.

‘‘It was a very nice trial by Protectionist over an unsuitable distance,’’ Lees told the Newcastle Herald on Monday.

‘‘He made good ground between the 600m and 200m marks and Hugh let him coast to the line.

‘‘Protectionist spelled well and he is only 14kilograms above his racing weight.

‘‘He is most likely to run first-up in the Peter Young at Caulfield on February 28.

‘‘I will probably give him an exhibition gallop between races at the Broadmeadow meeting on Thursday, February 19, before heading to Melbourne.

Protectionist will run in the Australian Cup at Flemington on March 14. Then he will return home and run in either the BMW or Queen Elizabeth during The Championships.

‘‘The autumn program is congested and these European horses like their races spaced,’’ Lees said.

‘‘He has never raced every two weeks let alone one week.

‘‘Protectionist may not be sharp enough for the Queen Elizabeth but time will tell.’’

Lucia Valentina will not be going to Melbourne and will only have a maximum of four runs during the autumn.

“It was a terrific trial by Lucia Valentina over the short course,’’ Lees said.

‘‘It was a pacey lot and Hugh gave her a pipe-opener from halfway up the straight.’’

She worked home well and the mare will open her campaign in the group2 Apollo Stakes over 1400m at Randwick on Saturday week.

‘‘Then it will be the Chipping Norton, Ranvet and Queen Elizabeth,’’ Lees said.

‘‘Onemorezeta was very impressive in her trial and we will try her over a bit longer in the autumn.

‘‘She won the group race over 1100m at Flemington but she was strong late.

‘‘She should get 1200 to 1400m and resumes in the Light Fingers at Randwick on Saturday week.’’

Lees’ other Championships contender, Gold Seventy Seven, is in light work and he returns to Lees’ Broadmeadow stable next week.

Lees said the unbeaten colt would have one lead-up race before The Championships.