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Roosters hold off fast-finishing Broncos to win thriller

Boyd Cordner’s Herculean week ended on Saturday with a two-try, 80-minute effort as his Sydney Roosters held off a fast-finishing Brisbane for an 18-16 win at Allianz Stadium.
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The Roosters and Blues captain played 160 minutes in 72 hours, with Saturday’s thriller coming only three nights after Cordner scored a try as he led NSW to a massive win in the State of Origin series opener at Suncorp Stadium.

Cordner’s three-try week also included more than 300 run metres and 65 tackles in an effort Roosters coach Trent Robinson labelled “incredible”.

“The week that he’s had and then to go and play 80 minutes again – he needs to be lauded for what he did out there tonight and broke open the game to score that try in the first half and then to take it away,” Robinson said.

Cordner’s second try came from a Jake Friend grubber that Jordan Kahu spilled on his own goal line, allowing the Roosters back-rower to scoop up the ball and score what proved to be the match-winner. But the win was soured by a groin injury to winger Daniel Tupou, who left the field early in the second stanza.

The home side led 18-6 with seven minutes to go in front of 12,236 fans before Queensland Origin representative Corey Oates and then Tautau Moga scored late on to erode the margin to two.

Cordner and Oates were two of nine players backing up from Wednesday night, and it was the Roosters quartet who fired the best shots with Queenslanders Aidan Guerra and Dylan Napa, and NSW’s Blake Ferguson also playing strong games.

“That’s who we are, we pride ourselves on backing up, play a tough game of Origin but we want to turn up for the boys here,” Cordner said.

“This is where we invest a lot of our time, all of our time, this is our home. I pride myself on turning up for the boys no matter what. Aidan, Dylan and Fergo all played really good games tonight.

“We’ll enjoy our rest now, a couple of days off we might get and then we’re back into next week.”

Cordner said backing up from Origin so quickly had been beneficial for his mental approach to the Broncos game.

“To tell you the truth, I don’t find it too difficult, probably physically more than mentally,” Cordner said.

“I thought mentally I was really good today with the game on Wednesday night and how it went, it was obviously a really physical game. I wasn’t at 100 per cent physically but mentally I was sweet and I think that’s what got me through.

“It might sound a bit weird but I don’t mind backing up. I find that sometimes you find through the game physically, you find it easier. I don’t know how it works, I don’t mind it.

“I wouldn’t have minded playing last night. I think it’s because you’re really calm going into the game, you’re not thinking about it all week and you don’t have to spend all that nervous energy worrying about plays or the opposition as much. You just go in with a clear head and sometimes it works good for you.”

The Roosters leapfrogged Brisbane into the top four with their ninth win of the season, and still have two byes up their sleeve.

Oates, Sam Thaiday, Darius Boyd, Matt Gillett and Josh McGuire all backed up for the Broncos after playing for Queensland on Wednesday.

“When you coach the Broncos you never give up, they keep at it, I thought we could’ve pulled it off,” Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett said.

“Tough game and both teams came to do their best here tonight. It finished up being the two points. When it comes down to one play in the last second of the game, it’s not what you want.”

Victory over Dons sends Giants top of the ladder

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 3.3 10.5 15.5 18.9 (117) ESSENDON 5.3 7.7 10.10 15.11 (101) GOALS: Greater Western Sydney – Greene 3, Scully 3, Williams 3, Lloyd, Shiel, Perryman, Cameron, Kelly, Whitfield, De Boer, Kennedy, Taranto. Essendon – Green 3, McDonald-Tipungwuti 2, Hooker 2, Fantasia 2, Bellchambers 2, McKenna, Myers, Daniher, Colyer.BEST: GWS – Kelly, Greene, Williams, Whitfield, Shiel, Tomlinson. Essendon – Merrett, Gleeson, Watson, Bellchambers, Hooker.INJURIES: GWS – Nil. Essendon: McKenna (leg).UMPIRES: Donlon, McInerney, Fisher, O’Gorman.CROWD: 13,671 at Spotless Stadium.
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Greater Western Sydney haven’t yet scaled Everest, but after five-and-a-half seasons, they have reached the summit of the AFL’s K2. For the first time in the expansion club’s history, the Giants will end a round atop the ladder after they beat Essendon by 16 points at Spotless Stadium on Saturday, their fourth win in a row.

The Bombers were far from embarrassed in veteran Brendon Goddard’s 300th game, and gave the Giants a scare when Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti kicked goals in quick succession midway through the final quarter as Essendon charged, with the margin closing to just nine points, but the men in red and black are again in the red, having lost two in a row, falling to 5-6, with a game against in-form Port Adelaide at Etihad Stadium to come before the Dons’ bye.

The Dons will rue some untidy kicking for goal and weren’t helped by some dubious umpiring, but that shouldn’t detract from the Giants’ achievement. They have reached this summit despite a horrendous run of injuries during the first half of the season, and a look at who’s to return before the finals – Steve Johnson, Brett Deledio, Rory Lobb, Jacob Hopper, Ryan Griffen, Nick Haynes, Devon Smith and Stephen Coniglio – should send a shiver down the spine of all their premiership rivals.

This GWS win was all the more meritorious given they were coming off a six-day break, and had returned from a trip to Perth last weekend.

Despite their casualties, the Giants are still fielding a team with plenty of supremely talented players every weekend. Surely none have been more influential in their climb to the top of the ladder than Josh Kelly, who at this rate could be underpaid next year regardless of whether he chooses to stay at GWS, or head back to Victoria to join North Melbourne or St Kilda.

The midfielder was relentless, racking up 38 disposals of which very few were wasted. In the final term as the Dons gave themselves a sniff, Kelly’s composure was vital. He had plenty of helpers though. Zac Williams found plenty of the ball too, and drifted forward to kick a career-high three goals, including a last quarter-settler, while Dylan Shiel and Lachie Whitfield were strong midfield contributors, Toby Greene shone up forward, and Adam Tomlinson limited Joe Daniher’s influence.

While not entirely dominant, the Giants were tracking comfortably enough for the first 20 minutes, breaking out to a 14-point lead.

The highlight of that early period came from Tom Scully, who having missed last weekend’s win against West Coast returned with a beautiful running goal from just inside the boundary line 40 metres out.

Essendon were struggling to string the ball together with much fluency, but with little warning they clicked into gear. Zach Merrett and David Zaharakis were proving highly effective, while veterans Jobe Watson and Ben Howlett both showed signs they aren’t yet spent causes with classy baulks to set up majors for Conor McKenna and Orazio Fantasia respectively, as the Dons shot ahead with four majors in seven minutes.

GWS midfielders Callan Ward, Shiel and Scully had all been quiet, and coach Leon Cameron gave his charges a tongue-lashing at the quarter-time huddle.

The second term was a frustrating one for the Dons, who failed to take their chances in front of goal. The Giants – despite their long injury list – still have too much class to let a team get off the hook. GWS clawed their way to 16-point lead at half-time on the back of brilliance from the supremely talented Greene, Kelly and Whitfield.

Greene’s freakish efforts – which included a stunning overhead mark – appeared more remarkable given he looked to be labouring early in the game with an ankle injury.

The Giants threatened to break the game open but Essendon were determined, never allowing the margin to get beyond 27 points. Merrett was terrific and a big reason his side threatened in the last quarter, while Martin Gleeson was solid in defence, and Watson found plenty of the ball in the clinches. But for the fourth week in a row the Giants won a game by less than three goals.

Votes

J. Kelly (GWS) 9

T. Greene (GWS) 7

Z. Williams (GWS) 7

Z. Merrett (Ess) 6

L. Whitfield (GWS) 6

Cusack breaks Owls’ hearts with double

The Canberra Royals looked at each other in stunned silence on Saturday after ACT Brumbies forward Tom Cusack scored a second-half double to secure a great escape victory which left the Uni-Norths Owls’ heartbroken.
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Royals continued their unbeaten John I Dent Cup season but were given an unexpected scare when the Owls threatened to pull off a remarkable turnaround in Canberra’s premier division.

Royals held on for a one-point win, beating the Owls 27-26 just two months after the Phillip-based club thrashed the Owls 76-12 in the opening game of the season.

The Owls went within a whisker of a brilliant triumph, but missed a tough sideline conversion in the dying minutes and had a drop goal charged down after the siren in a shattering end to a game of eye-catching tries and brutal defence.

Cusack and Brumbies teammate Lolo Fakaosilea traded friendly barbs and tries in the second half, but it was Cusack who let out a sigh of relief after the closest game of Royals’ season.

Cusack put Royals in front in the last 10 minutes with his second try, but Fakaosilea hit back with time running out to get the Owls within a point.

“We stuck with each other and that was the important thing,” Fakaosilea said.

“It was a pretty good rivalry with me and a [Cusack], but he obviously led them from the front foot and was a danger player we had to shut down. When we did that, it opened up spaces for us.

“I thought we were going to steal that one. It’s a tough one to take but we know we played well and we gave ourselves a chance.”

Few gave the Owls a chance of challenging the rampaging Royals, especially after a 64-point thumping in the first game of the year.

Royals had won every game of the year by an average margin of 43 points while the Owls have been fighting to stay in top-four contention.

It looked like the Royals would streak clear when they scored 20 unanswered points after conceding the first try.

But the gutsy Owls clawed their way back into the contest and hit the front when Sam Irwin converted from the sideline for a 21–20 lead.

Their time in front lasted less than 90 seconds before Cusack scored again, but Fakaosilea forced his way over in the corner to close the gap.

The Owls threw everything at Royals in the dying seconds in a bid to end their winning streak, but every player from both teams stood in silence after the referee blew the full-time whistle.

“If you told me before the game we’d get two bonus points and lose by one … after losing the first game against them by [64 points], we probably would have taken it,” said Owls coach Dan Hooper.

“But to get so close and be in their zone at the end there, to not get it is disappointed. But we have to be estatic, no team has got within 20 points of them so we have to be positive.

“We’ve set that standard now so the trick now is keeping it in every game rather than fluctuating.”

The Owls are now seven points outside the top four as they chase a drought-breaking finals spot while Royals are flying high with a perfect record after eight games.

They weren’t at their peak against the Owls, but coach Wayne Southwell urged his players to bank the winning belief for the rest of the year.

“We were always going to have one of those days when we didn’t execute. We got too fancy at times … but it’s back to our character and we hung in there,” Southwell said.

“It didn’t look pretty for a while, but it is a win. Uni played well and it’s always tough playing them [at ANU]. We didn’t execute well, I think we bombed four tries. It wasn’t the best but it was belief.”

AT A GLANCE

John I Dent Cup: ROYALS 27 (T Cusack 2, L Kimber, G Morseu tries; P Rolando 2 conversions, penalty) bt UNI-NORTHS OWLS 26 (L Fakaosilea, S Irwin, D Bennett, L Berry tries; S Irwin 3 conversions); WESTS 71 bt EASTS 10; QUEANBEYAN WHITES 29 bt GUNGAHLIN EAGLES 14.

Women: Royals 45 bt Uni-Norths Owls 7, Gungahlin Eagloes 32 bt ADFA 15.

Reserve grade: Royals 28 bt Uni-Norths Owls 26, Wests 22 bt Easts 19, Gungahlin Eagles 47 bt Queanbeyan Whites 14.

Colts: Uni-Norths Owls 43 bt Royals 14, Easts 45 bt Wests 0, Gungahlin Eagles 19 bt Queanbeyan Whites 12.

FIRST DIVISION

First grade: Gungahlin Eagles 40 bt Queanbeyan Whites 33, Easts 26 bt Wests 12, Royals 47 bt Uni-Norths Owls 5, ADFA 45 bt Cooma 17, Tuggeranong VIkings 47 bt Young 8, Hall 31 bt Goulburn 21.

Second grade: Queanbeyan Whites 21 bt Gungahlin Eagles 10, Royals 31 bt Uni-Norths Owls 19, ADFA 17 bt Cooma 0, Tuggeranong Vikings 76 bt Young 0, Goulburn 47 bt Boorowa 0.

BDAFL: Cardiff Hawks strike late to down Warners Bay Bulldogs

Jake RoachWarners Bay coach Marty Reiman could not fault the effort of his young side despite another close loss, this time to second-placed Cardiff, on Saturday in their winless Black Diamond AFL campaign.
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The Bulldogs led with five minutes remaining but went down12.8 (80) to 10.11(71) after two late goals from Hawk Josh Murphyat Hillsborough Oval in round nine.

Reiman was disappointed his side let the game slip away but praised their efforts after a tough opening.

“The boys battled hard,” Reiman said.

“We lost two players in the first minute, our centre-half back Luke Roach to a shoulder injury and Ben Hunter in the middle to a calf,so we played out the whole game really with 20 players.

“We’re a young side and we’ve stayed competitive this year, so it’s not too bad.

“We haven’t won a game but we’ve been in so many. I think that’s four we’ve lost by less than two goals, so we’ve just got to keep persisting.”

The Bulldogs led by 10 points at half-time but were down by nine at the last break before edging ahead 70-67.

“We should have won three or four games now but we’re only a young side and keep letting opportunities slip,” Reiman said.

He said Kayne Gibbs kicked five goals for his side, while Jake Roach was one of their best.

Cardiff coach Nathan Harkness said Murphy,Marcus Deleur and Chad Mayo were among the Hawks’ best.

Harkness said his understrength side were lucky in the end but kept enough in reserve for the all-important final 10 minutes.

“We had so many outs today and had eight changes,” Harkness said.

“It’s hard to get an continuity with our side at the moment but the players did well to get through in the end.”

Elsewhere in round nine, Terrigal Avoca remained unbeaten with a10.13(73) to 7.9(51) win over Nelson Bay andNewcastle City defeated Killarney Vale 5.8(38) to 3.10(28).

NHRU: Wanderers remain unbeaten with gutsy win over Waratahsphotos

LIONHEART: Wanderers forward Ben Ham was a standout for his side in the win over The Waratahs on Saturday. Picture: Jonathan CarrollThe return of Luke Sherwood and a marathon effort from Ben Ham have helped Wanderers remain Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union unbeaten leaders witha 26-18 win over The Waratahs at Waratah Oval on Saturday.
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Wanderers dig deep to hold out Tahs | photos Wanderer Ben Ham

TweetFacebook Wanderers v The WaratahsJonathan Carroll images from Wanderers v The Waratahs on SaturdayAfter an early exchange of penalties, Tahs player-coach Carl Manu scored in the 12thminute to give the hosts an 8-3 lead. They extended the advantage in the 18thminute with another Joel Ford penalty kick.

Luke Simmons landed a penalty in the 20thminute then converted afterSherwood burrowed over in the 32ndminute to put the visitors 13-11 ahead.

Lock Doug McKillop scored in the 38thminute and Simmons’ conversion gave Wanderers a 20-11 half-time lead.

Two more Wanderers penalties gave them a 26-11 edge in the 54thminute but the Waratahs threatened a comeback when giant loose-head propTalanoa Taufaao crashed over five minutes later.

The Tahs, though, were unable to break the Two Blues again.

Wanderers coach Viv Paasi said Ham and Sherwood were standouts up against the imposing Tahs pack.

“Ben Ham had to work all week so he played second grade, but then he ended up having to come on five, 10 minutes into the game,” Paasi said.

“He ended up playing 150 minutes of footy today and he was one of our best in first grade so that says a fair bit about what sort of player he is and what he brings to the team.

“It was Luke Sherwood’s first game in first grade this year.He’s taken a step back this year but he played on the side for us and got three Anderson Medal points, so hewas really goodfor us and so was Bailey Hefren. Our back row were standouts and halfback Nathan Sherwood was strong as well.”

Paasi was proud of the effort to hold out the Tahs after going with a more mobile pack.

“We had to get into the grind a little bit today and conditions kind of played into that,” he said.

“It was a good win, because they are a top-five team and it was definitely a good challenge for us.

“It was a pretty brutal contest in the sense that they have some big guys and we had to really stand up.

“We had a smaller forward pack today, especially in our back row, and everyone had to stand up and make sure we got good ball for our backs.

“I think our forwards worked well. We could have been better in patches but we definitely showed some good composure when the game was in the balance. We were just able to hold our line, which was good.”

Elsewhere in round seven, winger RatuDelanimate scored twice as second-placed Hamilton edged out Southern Beaches 24-22,Merewether Carlton’s Matt Hay also grabbed a double as they beatLake Macquarie 36-17, Maitland defeated University 24-18 and Nelson Baydowned Singleton 39-12.

Vixens stunned as Lightning claim grand final berth

SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING 56 (Bassett 44/47, Wood 12/14)MELBOURNE VIXENS 55 (Kumwenda 33/38, Philip 22/26 )MVP: Caitlin Bassett (Lightning) CROWD: 3763 at Margaret Court Arena
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No week off. No home grand final. Perhaps no grand final at all. Such is the new reality for the Melbourne Vixens, whose 56-55 loss to Sunshine Coast Lightning means they must now must take the preliminary final route if they are to reach the inaugural Super Netball decider in Brisbane on June 17.

Following a dominating 44-goal display from Lightning spearhead Caitlin Bassett, Vixens coach Simone McKinnis was left to articulate the positives from a semi-final defeat that came despite the minor premiers having led by five goals in the third quarter and three early in the last. But, from most angles, this was a surprise result, particularly considering the 11-goal margin at the same stadium five weeks ago. Few had seen this one coming.

“You don’t beat a team like Lightning as we did last time and not think that they’re gonna learn a lot from it. I think defensively they put a bit of hesitancy into our play, but for me, too, you’ve still got to be able to just let it, go, back yourself and just let it go,” McKinnis said before disappearing for the team debrief at Margaret Court Arena.

“Pretty much the key message is we’re back next week, and there are benefits to needing to play next week. We all think it’s nice ‘oh, let’s have a week off’, but to be honest I was thinking this week, if we have the week off what’s that’s gonna look like, and part of me [thinks] there are benefits to having to play on and go through with it.

“We’ve got another chance at it. We’ve played some super good netball all year, they’ve earned the second chance and they’ll take what they need to out of that in terms of competing in a final match and we go and give it our best next weekend.”

Scores were level at quarter-time, the Vixens ahead by one at the half after a Jo Weston defensive rebound converted by Tegan Philip had helped to gain a minor advantage. By then, after a quiet two-from-four-attempt opening period, Philip had worked her way into the game, scoring eight from nine to relieve the scoring load on shooter Mwai Kumwenda and extend a partnership that has been exceptional all season.

Both coaches were content to keep the faith with their respective starting line-ups, Noeline Taurua declining to call a timeout even when the Vixens built a 34-29 lead just over five minutes into the third term. Yet just when it seemed the hosts were gaining control, the Lightning came again, trimming the deficit to one, Bassett piling on 14 in 15 minutes despite the best efforts of the persistent Emily Mannix.

In the last, Melbourne were up by three early, before a slightly sloppy period which helped the surging Sunshine Coast to draw level, and then ahead by three before McKinnis finally called her team together with five minutes left and the score 49-52.

With Bassett parked under the post, the Lightning have the capacity to score quickly, but the Vixens could not force quite enough turnover ball – or capitalise on that they did earn – to bridge the gap that had opened. Thus the side that had entered the finals having won more quarters and scored more goals than any other must take the long way to a grand final that won’t be at home.

“It was a good hard tough match, which I guess is finals netball,” McKinnis said, lamenting a diminished workrate during the final quarter before a late surge that left her young team a single goal short.

“I think they can certainly take a lot from that game. We spoke before the game that finals is [play at] that intensity, and particularly that first quarter it’s gonna be ‘wow’, and they’ve been learning all year. They’ll take a lot from that and they know what it takes to win a final.”

The Vixens will thus host the Giants, who won their knockout semi against the Magpies, in a preliminary final next Saturday night at Hisense Arena, while the Lightning prepare for the June 17 grand final in Brisbane.

More heritage homes could be demolished under new planning laws

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 11: Planning Minister Richard Wynne announcing the new Plan Melbourne scheme at a family house in Mentone on March 11, 2017 in Melbourne, . (Photo by Jesse Marlow/Fairfax Media)Developer demolishes Kew mansion, advertises block for double the priceDemolition properties across Melbourne sell for millionsBuyers pay millions for Melbourne vacant land
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Pressure is mounting on the state government to take a city-wide approach to heritage protection, following community outrage at a string of high-profile mansion demolitions in Melbourne’s leafy eastern suburbs.

It comes three months after the Andrews government’s refreshed Plan Melbourne blueprint removed the cap on the number of homes allowed on blocks in neighbourhood residential zones – once a fortress against higher density. Planning and heritage experts say rising developer demand stemming from the changes is putting further strain on gaps in local heritage protections.

The property market is increasingly luring developer dollars to any property without heritage restrictions; agents regularly market a slew of perfectly liveable homes with “land boxes” across them. Although councils such as Boroondara are completing their own $1 million municipality-wide heritage study (the first of its kind), other councils may not have the political will or resources to undertake expensive, up-to-date heritage overlay studies.

The National Trust of ‘s Victorian branch is calling on the state government to increase funding for councils to be able to do further strategic heritage work.

“We would like to see an increase in resourcing for heritage at a local government level across the board,” advocacy manager Felicity Watson said, adding that a holistic approach to heritage was needed. “I think there’s an urgent need do that, particularly in light of the latest iteration of Plan Melbourne.”

Ms Watson said recent examples – such as the demolition of Gough Whitlam’s Kew birth home, Ngara, and the $9.6 million Kew mansion, Forres, demolished and put back on the market as an empty block at almost double the price following the zone changes – highlighted a need for councils to review heritage policies, particularly given the concept of heritage changed.

Councils often lacked resources to do proper strategic planning work or implement regulations to get their planning schemes to a strong position, said RMIT University senior planning lecturer Joe Hurley.

“And you need both to deal with all the pressure which will come in the current climate, if you don’t have that policy in place, then it’s always a rearguard action,” Dr Hurley said. “You have these issues where [councils] say, maybe that shouldn’t have happened, but we didn’t have our house in order and it got let through.”

Dr Hurley said there was increasing tension between the protectionist local governments and the state, wanting to relax that over-protection.

“There’s two ways to go: either we say it’s open slather, open season, and wherever the market says we can make money, we should consolidate. Or we have an approach that says, ‘yes, we want this investment and consolidation, but we want a broader community engagement about where we have it and where we don’t.”

There has been an unequal application of heritage planning controls across Melbourne, according to University of Melbourne PhD Candidate James Lesh. For example, the inner city has residential protections achieved in the 1970s and 1980s as part of sustained resident advocacy.

“Why should the inner suburbs have such relatively strong residential controls, when the middle suburbs don’t? Simply because those suburbs had the right people living there at the right time, when there was the political and social will?” Mr Lesh said.

“Refreshed studies should be done for the middle suburbs, where there are numerous 19th and 20th century places that might be protected in some way.”

Boroondara mayor Phillip Healey said although the council had significant concerns about the potential for greater demolition of properties, the fact there was now no limit on the number of dwellings that could be built on one lot was its major concern.

“In the [recent Kew] example, we’ve gone from a cap of two dwellings to a result that could easily accommodate 20,” Cr Healey said. “We are very concerned by these changes and expect to see demolition of Boroondara’s wonderful period homes and neighbourhoods.”

Community concerns about heritage demolition are also predicted to increase in areas such as Yarraville, Footscray and Brunswick over coming years, with buyers spending a premium to move into neighbourhoods for their period character.

Architects who work in the area have responded to the Kew demolition by assuring local communities it would be unlikely that what was built in place would not respond to the neighbourhood’s existing character.

“The reality is no-one is doing ‘dog boxes’ in those suburbs; generally they have to cough up a bit of money for those sites, so what’s built is mostly architecturally designed and doesn’t come cheap,” Toby Ewert, director of Ewert Leaf.

He said because there was such strong competition from developers in those areas, and demand from local downsizers, there was no market for cheaply-built homes.

Nick Travers, director of Techne, said good architects would aim to work with a site’s history and, from a sustainability point of view, should incorporate objects from a house after a demolition and not just throw everything in the skip.

A spokesman for Mr Wynne said Plan Melbourne would help to protect and celebrate what made Melbourne special, such as heritage strip shopping centres. “As part of Plan Melbourne, the planning department will work with local councils to enhance and improve local heritage planning policies and assessment processes,” he said.

Lower returns ahead for investors

So far, financial year superannuation fund returns have been good with the prospect of double digit returns if world share markets don’t tank in June. The driving forces have been higher commodity prices and US markets reaching record highs.
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The prospects for leading world economies including Europe and the US have improved, leading to confidence in a modest increase in projected world growth rates. The dampening effect of higher US interest rates hasn’t to date been significant with world interest rates remaining at historically low levels.

Against this general background, the government’s $140 billion Future Fund has lowered its earnings targets to inflation plus a real return of between 4 and 5 per cent. Future inflation rates are likely to remain low if the recent trend of slow wages growth continues and the n dollar doesn’t fall suddenly.

For super fund investors, future returns around the Future Fund target rate of 6 per cent or slightly higher would be an attractive result provided that it doesn’t involve the possibility of future negative returns. Now that fixed interest returns ae low and both property and equity markets are at relatively high levels, achieving higher returns would involve considerable risks.

Especially after the 2017 changes limiting tax-free pension accounts to $1.6 million, retirees will experience a sharp fall in their retirement income in any period of low and negative returns. The new rules don’t allow any replenishing of pension accounts once the $1.6 million cap is triggered placing a high priority on achieving regular positive returns.

At older ages where the minimum annual pension requirement is higher, retirees will inevitably be forced to draw upon their fund capital to pay their pensions. At these ages, there’s an increased need to achieve positive investment returns and avoid periods of negative income.

All these factors point to the need to have diversified conservative portfolios in situations where rebuilding investment assets is not an option. The severe tightening of the age pension assets test by using a 7.8 per cent taper rate has moreover reduced the scope for receiving a part age pension to cushion the impact of lower pension fund earnings rates.

With future investment returns likely to be lower than those in the recovery period after the global financial crisis, retirees facing a long period of retirement will need to boost their account balances before they retire. The short-sighted decision to limit future concessional contributions to $25,000 annually will make this task even more difficult for those with relatively small current account balances.

The combined impact of lower investment returns, the tougher assets test and reduced scope to boost super balances will make the task of funding a comfortable retirement more difficult than it ever has been.

Daryl Dixon is the executive chairman of Dixon Advisory. [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au

Waratahs leave it too late against Chiefs in Hamilton

Four second-half tries gave the NSW Waratahs a chance to produce a miracle win, but it wasn’t enough as the Chiefs ran away 46-31 winners in Hamilton on Saturday.
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With the Brumbies cruising to a 32-3 win against the Rebels in Canberra, the Tahs’ horror season is officially over. The side from the ACT will be the only n team in this year’s finals series, as they topped the group and secured a quarter-final berth with the win.

Staring down the barrel of their heaviest defeat this year, Rob Horne’s 50th minute intercept try and Will Skelton’s clever work from a rolling maul put the Waratahs down 32-17 with 23 minutes remaining and with a faint hope of victory.

That hope grew even more when Cam Clark (73rd) and Sekope Kepu (74th) both scored tries of their own to get the score to 39-31, but all chances were extinguished when James Lowe crossed for his hat-trick in the 79th minute.

“The damage was done in the early stages of the second half,” coach Daryl Gibson said. “The Chiefs got on an excellent roll and then for us the yellow cards were pretty costly.

“While against New Zealand teams we remain very competitive, we’re still not good enough to win.

“Already being down 15 points at half-time made it difficult. I’ve always known we’ve had excellent fight and we’ll always come back and keep ourselves in the contest, but our missed tackle ratio was high … so it’s hard to be competitive if you miss that many tackles.”

The numbers for n rugby teams are becoming even more depressing, with the Waratahs’ latest defeat marking loss No.22 this year for Aussie sides against their New Zealand rivals.

As for the Waratahs themselves, they have now been beaten in nine of their 13 matches in what will go down as one of their worst seasons in history.

The Waratahs went into the last match before the June Test window knowing nothing but a win would suffice.

Now they will return to Sydney with their season over, with games against the Jaguares in Sydney and Western Force in Perth remaining in July.

Gibson has sounded like a broken record in recent weeks, asking for an 80-minute performance from his side, something they have been striving for all season.

On the evidence we have seen this year, it might be a while before NSW achieve this – at least for as long as they give away easy ball through turnovers and schoolboy errors.

NSW have been the second worst team in the competition for turnovers conceded, and that was no more evident than in the early passages of play when Tom Robertson and Clark gave the ball away thanks to hungry Chiefs players over the ball.

It is an area that has crippled the Waratahs at stages this year.

The Chiefs edged ahead with a penalty goal before Bernard Foley missed a relatively easy attempt shortly after.

The frustration would have bubbled over in the 15th minute when Mitchell Brown crossed for the first five-pointer of the match.

In the lead-up, three Waratahs players missed tackles on Anton Lienert-Brown, who passed to another Chiefs player, who then offloaded to Brown in what was all too easy for the hosts as they went 10-0 up.

The Waratahs struggled for possession and territory in the opening half, making their goal of establishing quality front-foot ball all the more harder thanks to the brilliant work of Chiefs five-eighth Damian McKenzie, who set up Lowe for the second try of the game.

McKenzie’s ability to create something from nothing is admirable and the lightning speed at which he passes the ball put him in a different league to incumbent Wallabies No.10 Bernard Foley on Saturday.

All year captain Michael Hooper has begged his Waratahs to show better discipline across the 80 minutes.

Last week it was Dean Mumm, and on Saturday it was Tolu Latu who had a brain fade in the 38th minute, tripping McKenzie who was trying to regather a short chip over the top.

A yellow card was warranted, but it has been the story of the Waratahs’ year, with Latu – and then Paddy Ryan late in the match for aggravating a situation – becoming the ninth and 10th NSW players to be sent to the bin.

The silver lining? Watching prop Kepu trying to throw lineouts, albeit with a degree of success.

The half-time score of 18-3 flattered the Waratahs, for the Chiefs could have piled on 30 points by that stage.

That was evidenced in the three minutes back after the break when Lowe crossed for his second try thanks to a perfectly timed out-the-back pass from halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow.

Then it was Kerr-Barlow who got in on the action, scoring one of his own before a McKenzie conversion put the Chiefs ahead 32-2.

Kepu’s try will go down in rugby folklore, with the big prop running 60 metres and fending off McKenzie to plant the ball down in the corner in one of the great displays of strength and determination.

One girl’s fight against child marriages in India

New Delhi: When Vijayalaxmi Sharma was 13 and heard that her best friend Meena was getting married, she wasn’t shocked. Every girl in Pachala village in Rajasthan where she lived got married at puberty.
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Vijaylaxmi attended the wedding and enjoyed dressing up for it. The shock came later when Meena became pregnant, developed complications, and died in childbirth, aged 14.

Her death set Sharma thinking and wondering if that might be her destiny too.

“All the girls in my extended family and all the girls in every village around here got married early,” Sharma told Fairfax Media this week. People here venerate parents who get their daughters married early because they have discharged their responsibility and have no tension.”

She wanted to avoid the same fate and wanted to continue studying. Her instincts were reinforced when some voluntary workers came to her school and explained the devastating consequences that child marriage can have for young girls: early motherhood can harm their physical growth, their mental and emotional development, and their health. Child marriage denies a girl her right to health, education and choice.

In some Indian states, including Rajasthan, almost six in 10 girls marry as children. Nationally, about half of Indian women are married before they turn 18 – the minimum legal age of marriage for boys and girls.

Poverty and ignorance are two reasons for child marriage. Another is a patriarchal culture that dictates that brides must be virgins. To ensure this, parents have to prevent daughters from dating and losing their virginity, bringing dishonour to the family, and the best way to do this is marry them off while they are still very young.

Sharma managed to avoid a child marriage and has campaigned to persuade parents in her own village and the surrounding ones not to marry their girls early.

This sole crusader, now 21, has been active in 13 villages, working with a small group of friends to spread awareness by going door to door, putting on street plays, and using puppet shows to project the message. She has managed to prevent around 50 child marriages.

But her first battle was with her own parents when she turned 14 and discovered that they were looking for a husband for her. The next few months were an ordeal. When she said she wanted to defer marriage until she had studied, her parents were dumbfounded. Girls in Rajasthan are not meant to voice their opinions. They are meant to obey.

If the girl is disobedient, the parents are mocked by neighbours. For her impudence, Sharma was locked up in a room without food or water. Her two younger brothers, who are fond of her, used to secretly share their food with her.

“My father said he was ashamed of me. He said I was the only girl in the village still unmarried. And it was true. I was the only one my age who wasn’t married,” she said.

The struggle lasted until her parents finally accepted that she was adamant. Moreover, she told them that she would finance her education herself without taking a penny from them. Sharma continued going to school and paid her fees by sewing clothes and giving tuition to other children.

In the initial stages of her campaign to persuade villagers of the ills of child marriage, she hit a wall. Because of her age, they didn’t take her seriously.

“If I don’t marry my daughter, are you prepared to take her on and look after her,” some asked. Others laughed when she told them her age and pushed her out of the house.

It was only when two things happened that the tide began slowly to turn. First, some members of a voluntary group from a nearby town began to lend her support. The fact that they were adults made villagers take Sharma more seriously.

Second, they saw her practical commitment to her cause: “I used to donate my clothes to girls whose parents were really poor. I used to ask the teacher to waive their fees so that girls could continue studying. When people began seeing that I wasn’t just saying ‘don’t marry your girls’ but also helping them practically, then attitudes began changing.”

Eventually her parents also threw their weight behind her. And then finally, the head of the village council – the sarpanch or headman – also lent his authority to her campaign. By now, in any case, villagers were a little nervous about her. This teenager with a low, gravelly, masculine voice, was capable of reporting a child marriage to the police the moment she got wind of the preparations.

“People became nervous about getting into trouble with the police,” she said. “That was another useful factor because under the law, no one can get married before the age of 18.”

Apart from the efforts of non-government organisations and individuals like Sharma, education and awareness have gradually been eroding child marriage. Many districts of Rajasthan, for example, have reported a decline in recent years.

Sharma, who went on to get a degree from Rajasthan University, is happy that she made her contribution. “Every time I felt disheartened, I used to picture Mamta in her wedding finery and her dead body a few months later.”

Will she ever get married? “Oh yes. If my parents supported me on this, that is the least I owe them now that I have finished my education,” she said. “I have promised them I will marry the man they choose for me.”