New Brumbies coach declares he’s ready for challenge

Brumbies CEO Michael Thomson speaks about Dan McKellars appointment as head coach for 2018.Brumbies captains run (02/06/17) Photo by Karleen MinneyDan McKellar’s coaching ambitions started as a teenager and says the time is right to take a leap into a Super Rugby job after being unveiled as the ACT Brumbies’ new coach.
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The Brumbies announced McKellar’s appointment on Friday and he will have two years to guide the club to a championship when he replaces Stephen Larkham next season.

The Brumbies will play the Melbourne Rebels at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night in what could be Larkham’s last match in the capital if they fail to make the play-offs.

There will be a changing of the guard next year in the coaching ranks and the Brumbies are searching for a back-line mentor to replace Larkham, but it is expected defence guru Peter Ryan will stay on the support team

The bulk of the playing squad is also on the verge of signing new deals to give McKellar a chance to have continuity in his rookie campaign.

The players were told of McKellar’s two-year deal on Thursday morning and captain Sam Carter declared it would not be a distraction from a bid to seal a finals berth when they play the Rebels.

McKellar has been playing a support role to Larkham since the end of 2013 as the Brumbies forwards coach, but has been promoted after a wide-ranging search for Larkham’s replacement.

The former Queensland Reds prop and Tuggeranong Vikings coach has built his post-playing career over the past 14 years and says he’s ready to fill Larkham’s shoes.

“I’ve always aspired to be a head coach. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do when the time was right and when I was ready,” McKellar said.

“I’ve come through the pathway programs and I feel as a coach I’m ready to take this opportunity. What is important is that I surround myself with the right people.

“It’s an exciting day for myself, but I full understand what is most important is beating a strong Rebels team on Saturday night and trying to achieve something with this team over the next couple of months.”

Larkham will be based in Canberra when he becomes a full-time Wallabies assistant coach at the end of the year.

Larkham will leave a massive hole at the Brumbies given he’s revered for what he did in a glittering Super Rugby and Wallabies career as well as a successful start to his coaching.

McKellar’s journey into the top job has been via the road-less travelled having played 150 premier grade games for Souths in Brisbane and being part of the Reds squad from 2005-06.

He has had playing and coaching stints in Scotland, Ireland and Japan before landing in Canberra to join the Brumbies.

“I was an OK player, but I certainly didn’t kick field goals to win World Cup semi-finals [like Larkham],” McKellar joked.

“I suppose I retired pretty early as a player as a 30-year-old, and coaching has always been something I’ve wanted to do from a young age.

“I’ve had 14 years of experience and I consider myself a coach, not a former player who has turned to coaching. I’m confident in the work I’ve done and the pathway I’ve come through.

“My long-term vision is all about sustainable success for the organisation. I want to make sure that the day someone takes over from me as head coach, that the club is in a much better place.

“We want to provide a realistic pathway for young players in the ACT to play Super Rugby.”

The Brumbies were inundated with applications from around the world, including former Test mentors, after Larkham announced he was leaving the post.

“There were a couple of things that stood out very clearly in Dan’s application,” said Brumbies boss Michael Thomson.

“First of all his vision for the club and where he wants to take it. That lines up with where we want to take it. You only need to look at the reaction of the player group to know we’re very thrilled to have Dan on board.”

The Brumbies hope to announce a long list of player re-signings in the coming weeks to follow McKellar’s appointment after the ARU lifted a ban on the contract process.

McKellar has taken the reins of the Brumbies’ forward pack in the past four seasons, but assured fans he was keen to play an attacking brand of rugby to build on Larkham’s work.

The Brumbies can all but clinch a finals spot if they beat the Rebels and the NSW Waratahs lose against the Waikato Chiefs on Saturday.

“Although I’m obviously a forwards coach and that’s my specialty, I certainly have strong ideas of how I like teams to attack,” McKellar said.

“Short term I think it’s about the brand of football we’re aspiring to play. What we’re trying to evolve is an attacking style. That will continue.”

SUPER RUGBY ROUND 15

Saturday: ACT Brumbies v Melbourne Rebels at Canberra Stadium, 7.45pm. Tickets available from Ticketek.

Brumbies team: 15. Tom Banks, 14. Henry Speight, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Kyle Godwin, 11. Aidan Toua, 10. Wharenui Hawera, 9. Joe Powell, 8. Jordan Smiler, 7. Chris Alcock, 6. Scott Fardy, 5. Sam Carter, 4. Rory Arnold, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 2. Josh Mann-Rea, 1. Nic Mayhew. Reserves: 16. Robbie Abel, 17. Faalelei Sione, 18. Les Leuluaialii-Makin, 19. Tom Staniforth, 20. Jarrad Butler, 21. De Wet Roos, 22. Andrew Muirhead, 23. Nigel Ah Wong.

Rebels team: 15. Reece Hodge, 14. Sefa Naivalu, 13. Tom English, 12. Mitch Inman, 11. Marika Koroibete, 10. Ben Volavola, 9. Nic Sirzaker, 8. Amanaki Mafi, 7. Colby Faingaa, 6. Hugh Sinclair, 5. Lopeti Timani, 4. Steve Cummins, 3. Tyrel Lomax. 2. James Hanson, 1. Toby Smith. Reserves: 16. Siliva Siliva, 17. Cruze Ah Nau, 18. Laurie Weeks, 19. Culum Retallick, 20. Will Miller, 21. Ben Meehan, 22. Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23. Jonah Placid.

Wall St helps ASX recover from May slump

AFR photo. generic ASX stock board shares investors investment portfolioShares bounced solidly higher on Friday, with strong performances across most sectors helping the index recoup losses made earlier in the week.
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The benchmark S&P/ASX200 opened very strongly on Friday, after a strong Wall Street session saw both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq close at record highs following strong economic data. It closed up 0.9 per cent at 5788.1, a narrow 0.6 per cent gain for the week.

It’s the second weekly gain for the index, which might suggest it’s leaving the doldrums of May behind. But AMP Capital’s head of investment strategy Shane Oliver warned shares remained “vulnerable ot a short-term setback”.

“We are now in a weaker seasonal period for shares with risks around Trump, North Korea, Chinese growth and the Fed’s next rate hike providing potential triggers,” he said.

“However, with valuations remaining okay – particularly outside of the US, global monetary conditions remaining easy and profits improving on the back of stronger global growth, we continue to see any pullback in shares as an opportunity to ‘buy the dips’. Shares are likely to trend higher on a 6-12 month horizon.”

Energy stocks were hard hit over the week, comprising many of the ASX200’s biggest losers over the five sessions.

Most other sectors traded into the black, with the heavyweight big four banks finishing up, recovering some of their outsized losses in May. Commonwealth Bank and Westpac both gained 0.3 per cent over the week, ANZ was up 0.2 while NAB jumped 0.8 per cent over the five sessions.

Shares in Macquarie added 1.3 per cent over the week, as sources from the millionaire factory hinted the company could be moving off-shore to avoid the bank levy imposed in the budget.

Iron ore futures halted a six-day fall, climbing 2 per cent on Friday to provide some support to the big miners. BHP gained 1.4 per cent on Friday and 0.3 per cent over the five sessions. Rio Tinto also had a good Friday but couldn’t reverse the week’s falls, closing down 1.3 per cent from Monday’s open. The materials sector as a whole rose 0.4 per cent over the week.

The week’s best performance among the top 200 stocks was Janus Henderson Group, a newly-completed merger between Henderson Global Investors and Janus Capital, which surged 5.4 per cent on Friday and 11.5 per cent over the week.

Meanwhile, logistics giant Qube left a trading halt on Friday after completing a $350 million capital raising to fund a new Sydney freight exchange. It was up 0.8 per cent on Friday.

Stock watch: Telstra

Telstra rose 1.4 per cent $4.49 after Goldman Sachs analysts upgraded it to a ‘buy’ with a price target of $5. Goldman’s analysts lauded Telstra’s “dominant networks (the fastest in ), its vast scale, and a clear, domestic focused strategy”, which they argued “has put the company in a strong position to successfully navigate an increasingly competitive market. At current pricing, Telstra’s valuation is attractive, with a dividend yield that is amongst the highest in the market.” Telstra hasn’t exactly been a portfolio rocket this year, with shares down nearly 12 per cent due to concerns that increased competition will hit earnings and eventually the dividend. But the worst seems to be over – its share price has recovered since its mid-April low of $4.00. Market movers

Nikkei breaks barrier

Japan’s Nikkei share average shot through the 20,000-point barrier for the first time since December 2015 after a batch of strong US economic data lifted Wall Street and the US currency against the yen. The Nikkei swept through 20,000 in early trade making a 1.3 per cent advance to 20,115.23, its highest level since August 2015. The index was poised to post weekly gains of 2.1 per cent. The threshold of “20,000 is a big technical and psychological level for traders,” said Gavin Parry, managing director at Parry International Trading.

n dollar

The n dollar recorded another weekly loss amid broad strength in the greenback and on lingering concerns from an unexpected slump in China’s manufacturing activity. The Aussie hovered just above a three-week low of US73.72??, and is poised to end the week around 0.9 per cent lower, its sixth week in the red in the past seven.The currency is struggling to recover ground after the private Caixin purchasing managers’ survey Thursday showed that China’s manufacturing activity had contracted for the first time in nearly a year.

New home sales

Sales of new homes rose slightly in April, new figures showed, but the housing industry remained concerned the improvement won’t halt a continuing weakening in construction and buying activity. The new home sales report from the Housing Industry Association shows new home sales rose 0.8 per cent nationally in April, with New South Wales, Victoria and South all recording increases in sales of detached housing. HIA senior economist Geordan Murray warned the April rise would not negate a continuing downward trend, pointing to policy changes as creating uncertainty and threatening activity.

Small caps

While the benchmark index had a “brutal” month in May, to quote Macquarie’s analysts as they digested the ASX200’s 3.4 per cent monthly decline, not everywhere suffered as badly. “Small caps significantly outperformed their large cap counterparts,” a Macquarie note stated, with the Small Ords index finishing down 2.1 per cent compared to a 5.76 per cent fall in the ASX20. Telcos and utilities, up 3.4 per cent and 1.0 per cent respectively, were another bright spot in the dour market, as investors chased safe yields over growth. Most global markets had a good month.

Double murderer Lance Rhodes sentenced to 40 years jail

Scene of a double murder in Kennedy Parade, Lalor Park in Sydney’s west. Photo: Peter Rae Wednesday 9 September 2015A drug addict who bludgeoned his mother and a young relative to death as they attempted to escape his ice-fuelled rage has been jailed for at least 30 years.
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Dressed in prison greens, Lance Rhodes, 36, did not appear to react as he was handed a maximum of 40 years in jail in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday.

Justice Stephen Campbell said Rhodes was in the grip of an “ice-induced psychosis” when the “terrible events” of September 8, 2015 unfolded.

After consuming a cocktail of substances, Rhodes stabbed his mother Linda Adams, 63, in the back as she tried to run away from him after he grabbed a large knife from the kitchen of the Lalor Park home they shared.

He continued to stab her as she lay helpless on the ground. Rhodes then picked up a 28-kilogram concrete statue and repeatedly hit her on the head with it, smashing her skull.

Rhodes returned to the home, grabbed a young child relative by the neck of his shirt and stabbed him in the chest before bashing his head against a wall.

The boy managed to escape, but Rhodes caught up with him outside and bludgeoned him to death with a stone.

“Die, just fucking die, I don’t care,” Rhodes was heard to say.

Covered in blood, Rhodes attempted to attack another woman, Annabelle Saludo???, by getting into her car. He hit the windows, yelled “F—ing open up” and then ran after the car and tried to lift it as the woman attempted to escape.

When Senior Constable Steve Lewis arrived, Rhodes picked up a water meter cover and walked towards him, saying, “Let’s go”.

Ms Adams’ body was found only two metres from the front door of her neighbour’s home. The boy’s body was found near a tree in the yard of the home he had fled.

Justice Campbell said “doubtless this offending would never have occurred” but for Rhodes’ self-induced intoxication.

The court heard that shortly before the killings, Rhodes had returned to his home and said, “We’re going to have some fun tonight”.

“They are in the house ??? they are in the house ??? don’t worry I’ll get rid of them,” he was later heard saying.

While Justice Campbell accepted that the attack commenced “impulsively”, he said Rhodes had persisted with it and it was “accompanied by determination”.

The court heard Rhodes had a troubled childhood and started using cannabis when he was a teenager before moving onto heroin, speed and ice.

Before the double murder, he had been consuming ice for nine months.

Rhodes told police he could not remember killing his mother and the child and repeatedly said he was unwell.

“I know I clicked it. I’m insane. I need real professional help,” Rhodes told police in an interview. “I was in a different world.

“Everything was spacey. It was like being in a dark cloud.”

But Justice Campbell was sceptical that Rhodes had no memory of the events, saying his repeated concern to present himself as a paranoid schizophrenic was an attempt to provide justification for his behaviour.

Outside court, Ms Adams’ daughter Tina Rhodes said she loved her mother and the child.

“No matter how long the sentence is, it will not bring back two beautiful people we have lost,” she said.

Rhodes will be eligible for parole in 2045.

NRL: Billy Slater scores twice in Melbourne Storm’s 40-12 win against Newcastle Knights

CHAMPION: Billy SlaterCHAMPION fullback Billy Slater highlighted the madness of his Queensland Origin omission with a sensational display in Melbourne’s 40-12win against Newcastle at AAMI Park on Friday night.
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Slater scored two tries and threw the final pass for two others as the competition leaders–minus skipper Cameron Smith–outclassed the cellar-dwelling Knights.

Slater, restricted to eight games in 2015 and 2016 by shoulder surgery, returned to action in round three this season as though he had never been away.

TRY TIME: Suliasi Vunivalu opens the scoring for Melbourne.

But the 25-Test veteran, widely regarded as the greatest fullback of all time, was controversially not selected for Queensland in Origin I after the Maroons preferred Darius Boyd as their last line of defence.

In Slater’s absence, Queensland copped a 28-4 trouncing on home soil on Wednesday night.

Friday night’s performance is likely to pile pressure on selectors to recall the 33-year-old.

After an early try by prolific winger Suliasi Vunivalu, Slater laid on the second with a one-handed overhead pass to Josh Addo-Carr on the opposite flank.

Three minutes later, he produced another try assist for back-rower Felise Kaufusi.

Newcastle hit back with a Ken Sio try to reduce the deficit to 16-6 at half-time, but with Lachlan Fitzgibbon in the sin-bin and having been hammered 7-3 in the first-half penalties, they were always likely to struggle against the NRL’s best second-half team.

Slater scored in the 43rdminute, grounding a Cooper Cronk grubber kick, and broke clear 10 minutes later to make it a double.

That took his NRL career try tally to 177, of which 19 have come against Newcastle –equalling the record held by giant Warriors winger Manu Vatuvei.

Vunivalu also scored a brace, the ninth of his 32-game career, to go with two hat-tricks and a quadruple.

Melbourne’s other tries were scored by rookie hooker Brandon Smith and centre Cheyse Blair.

Slater proved he was mortal in the 73rdminute when he unsuccessfully tried to kick a ball dead and missed. Fitzgibbon dived on the ball to score a consolation try for Newcastle.

The win lifted Melbourne to 22 points, four points clear of second-placed Cronulla.

Newcastle remains last on six points, two points adrift of Wests Tigers and South Sydney.

Cronk said he’d love Slater to be back in the Queensland side.

“From a personal point of view, he’s doing all the right things and you’d love for him to have the story of getting back to the level of playing Origin,”Cronk said.

“He cherishes the Maroon jersey.

“But then, there’s the other side in that I’ve got no idea what the selectors are thinking … the one thing I can say is that Billy is getting back to the form we all know he’s capable of.

“He’ll just concentrate on what he can do and, when the team is named, hopefully Billy’s a part of it.”

Melbourne burst out of the blocks and raced to a 16-0 lead, but the Knights continued to battle bravely and were rewarded with a spectacular try in the corner to winger Ken Sio.

He was unlucky not to collect a second minutes later when the final pass was ruled forward.

Knights coach Nathan Brown said Cronk and Slater had more experience than his whole starting side combined.

He said his team were outmuscled.

“Physically, they were far too big and powerful for us,”Brown said.

“We really struggled physically to contain their forwards.”

Kyrgios’ grief for grandfather “massively amplified”

The man who helped Pat Cash to a Wimbledon crown says grief is “massively amplified” for professional athletes after Nick Kyrgios’ shock French Open exit.
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Kyrgios pointed to the death of his grandfather in April after his second round capitulation against South African world No. 56 Kevin Anderson on Friday morning.

Former Olympics sport psychologist Jeff Bond said people grieve differently, but being under an immense media spotlight dramatically affects the process.

Kyrgios was cruising before his serve failed him in the second set and the Canberran went on to lose 5-7 6-4 6-1 6-2, dropping the final two sets in just over an hour.

“After my grandpa passing, I just lost a lot of motivation to do anything, really,” Kyrgios said post match.

“When I was back home, it was tough. I mean, I can’t talk about it. I can’t.”

Bond said it would have been tough for grief-striken Kyrgios to produce his best tennis but added he understands skeptics questioning ‘s best player.

“It’s very hard to predict how people will process the event that causes the grief, some choose not to address it or can’t at the time, so they internalise the grief and it pops out later,” Bond said.

“Usually, like most traumatic memories, grief seems to pop up when we least want it to and when we’re not in such a great space.

“The skeptics would say Nick Kyrgios won the first round in great style and looked terrific and then if you look a the scoreline in the second round and didn’t know any better you’d say he gave up.

“The 6-1 6-2 on a sliding scale usually indicates they don’t want to be out there. Skeptics say why blame the passing of your grandfather a few months ago when it didn’t it affect you in the first round.

“Is it is just excuse making or is it genuine? It’s very hard to tell.”

Anderson took advantage of Kyrgios’ meltdown and secured his second win in as many meetings with the world No.19.

“I was in his head after winning that second set,” Anderson said.

“He was struggling with his own battles, I didn’t give him a way to get back in the match. So it’s something that I knew I needed to do, and I thought I was able to execute that very well today.”

Bond said in the professional sporting ranks, tennis players are among the most vulnerable to self implode during play.

“One of the reasons I love working with tennis players is because there is no place to hide, you can make all the excuses in the world but at the end of the day you’ve lost and it’s your fault,” Bond said.

“Your ego is out there for your opponent to step on and they love to step on it, and I’m sure a lot of players out there would love to step on Nick’s.

“Players use excuses because their ego has just been smashed. It is true many athletes look to blame external circumstances when things don’t go well – injury, weather, umpires, crowd.

“It’s a protection of the ego but who knows with Nick Kyrgios, he’s a conundrum for most people who try to analyse behaviour in sport.”

Bond worked with Cash at the height of his powers in the 1980s and said there were similarities between the former world No. 4 and Kyrgios.

“Patrick’s behaviour was misinterpreted by many people on many occasions. He came across as the brash spoilt brat extrovert, but when I met him he turned out to be the exact opposite,” Bond said.

“It’s very difficult looking from the outside to understand some of those inner processes and I don’t think anyone knows Nick Kyrgios other than his parents and family.

“I’m sure sometimes his behaviour even bewilders them as it does the rest of us. I would say Pat and Nick are similar to the extent we don’t understand these complex individuals.”

The sights, sounds and tastes of Spain

You’ll love the colours… traditional flamenco dresses at a house in Andalusia.A seven-night cruise along Portugal’s beautiful Douro River is a highlight of a 21-night tour of Spain and Portugal being offered in April and September next year.
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The fully escorted tour, conducted by The Senior newspaper in association with Travelrite and Evergreen Tours, will take travellers to a special corner of Europe cherished for its historic cities and towns, lively cafe culture and stunning scenery.

The land and river tour, to be escorted by The Senior’s well-travelled tour leader, Lyne Hirsch, will take in Madrid, Granada, Cordoba, Seville, Vega de Terron and Salamanca in Spain, and Lisbon, Porto, Pocinho and Regua in Portugal. The departure dates are April 30 and September 3.

This will be a leisurely tour with three nights spent in Seville and two-night stays in Madrid, Granada, Cordoba and Lisbon.

Travellers will get to know each other at the welcome dinner in Madrid, which will be held at Sobrino de Botín, the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the world.

The next day the group will travel by train to Granada, first on the AVE high-speed train, covering nearly 500 kilometres in a little over two hours, and then on a more sedate regional train to take in the views of the Andalusian countryside.

Plaza de Espana in Seville.

Over the next few days the group will visit the Alhambra Palace in Granada, which is a castle, a fortress, a royal palace and also a town, and Cordoba, capital of the Arab kingdom of Al-Andalus, a seat of learning and home to the magnificent Cordoba Mosque Cathedral.

Then it’s off to Seville, famous for its flamenco dancing, bullfighting and myriad cafes and tapas bars. There will be time to explore the charming barrio Santa Cruz, the old Jewish quarter of Seville with its narrow streets of whitewashed houses, glorious balconies and hidden squares shaded by flowering orange trees.

The Andalusian landscape is littered with white villages and the tour will visit Ronda, which is regarded as one of the most beautiful, before travelling to Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, a city steeped in history.

The highlights of Lisbon will be enjoyed over the next two days with free time to explore the culinary delights of this fascinating city.

The unhurried pace continues with the cruise along the Douro River from the city of Porto. The newly launched Emerald Radiance carries only 112 passengers, promising an intimate way to travel. Riverview Suites, a spacious new cabin, are located on the Horizon Deck. The suites feature panoramic vistas from the drop-down windows and a separate bedroomand living area with a flat-screen TV with infotainment system.

Go shopping at Salamanca Markets.

Not that guests will be spending much time looking at television as the views along the river while dining al fresco will far surpass anything seen on the small screen.

The Douro Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site sparsely populated with quaint villages, working vineyards and small farms.

Days of relaxed cruising will be matched by interesting shore trips such as the baroque village of Lamego to see the remains of a Roman sanctuary and battlements before an afternoon sailing to Vega de Terron, gateway to Spain.

Travellers will be taken to the city of Salamanca, home to one of the oldest universities in Europe and a lively student town. With its grand squares and medieval structures, the walking tour will feel like a step back in time.

The tour is priced from $11,215, which includes flights, accommodation, guided sightseeing, tours, meals and entertainment with no hidden extras.

The tour caters particularly well for those travelling alone. In fact, a third of those taking river cruises travel on their own and find it easy to make friends on tours like this with a small and convivial group of fellow travellers.

For a full colour brochure phone 1800 630 343.

Its ONE up for Soccer as it shifts to Ten

So, the FFA has got its wish and gets the A-League on to a free to air commercial network for the first time in a deal which sees Network Ten become soccer’s terrestrial television partner.
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But what does it all mean?

Is soccer now poised to make the breakthrough all those who for decades have argued that it is on the cusp of doing, with a mainstream television audience giving it a critical mass of supporters to add to its record number of participants.

Or is the deal merely a hedge by a TV station fearful of losing its main television sport product, Big Bash Cricket, stashing away something like soccer as a back up lest it has nothing to engage its audience with during the summer?

Yes, soccer is now on Ten. Well, sort of. Its actually going to be broadcast on Ten’s secondary platform, One, live on Saturday nights for what will be the week’s blockbuster game.

This is not an unusual occurrence, it should be said. In the UK, horse racing has just signed a money-making deal with the leading FTA commercial network ITV, but many of the telecasts are being shown on secondary platforms ITV 3 and ITV 4 there.

The deal it delivers a much broader potential customer base than SBS’ second channel, the ghetto to which Friday night A-League coverage had been consigned.

And given the popularity of many of Ten’s offerings on its main channel – Master Chef and a slew of reality and celebrity driven shows – the opportunities for cross promotion are terrific.

Given the multinational mix of so many A-League sides, a specially themed soccer Master Chef might provide compelling.

Melbourne Victory’s former centre back, Spaniard Alan Baro, could weigh in with a Paella, while Brisbane’s ex marquee man Thomas Broich could supply sauerkraut and sausages, Frenchman Fahid Ben Khalfallah might play sommelier with the wine, German raised Kosovan Besart Berisha could bring the beer while South Americans like Bruno Fornaroli and Fernando Brandan from Melbourne City could show us all how to cook a streak properly. The possibilities would seem endless.

So from that point of view the deal gets a tick. It’s certainly an improvement on Viceland, whatever that was.

Quite how invested Ten will be remains to be seen. The free-to-air broadcaster is picking up lock stock and barrel the Fox Sports commentary and production of the Saturday night game, so we can expect a lot of cross promotion for Fox, too, as the pay television operator takes every opportunity to promote its subscription deals.

Moneywise this deal is hardly earth-shattering.

FFA hoped, when it began a lengthy bid process for the rights, that there would be intense competition from existing broadcaster Fox and a host of rival operators – Seven, Nine and Ten, and perhaps Optus and other streaming or telco companies.

David Gallop, the FFA CEO, was often heard to be musing that a $100 million a year deal might be possible.

Chump change when compared to the billions that AFL and NRL generate, but a nice little earner when compared to the $240 million deal hammered out between Ten and Fox Sports for V8 Supercars, covering the 2015-2020 period, and certainly likely to be a lot more than the undisclosed sum netball received from Nine and Telstra when it struck its most recent agreement.

In the end interest was zero, with none of the mainstream companies interested in shelling out a sizeable sum for the free to air rights.

Fox was the only game in town, inking a $346 million deal for the next six years, a sum which averages out at less than $60 million a year: still miles better than where the game was a decade ago, but less than where it was aspiring to go.

It is through that deal that the FTA rights now go to Ten.

Because the consultants hired by the FFA to broker a rich deal failed to get a result, the free-to-air rights go back to Fox, who will now pay a further $2 million to the game’s governing body and then charge Ten a fee for supplying it with content.

There are two ways of looking at the failure to secure a big money free-to-air deal.

Either those charged with selling the product weren’t good enough to get one or that they tried their best but ran up against a brutal reality: that the big media beasts do not see soccer as that much of an attraction, certainly not if they are expected to pay through the nose to get it.

The next few years, when soccer is on a more accessible station should give a far better indication of which of those propositions is true.

The new deal kicks in for the upcoming A-League campaign, starting in October, and for Socceroos games after the World Cup Qualifiers finish later this year.

The 7.30 Saturday night game will be broadcast live and it is expected that it will feature the competition’s blockbuster games amongst the best supported teams.

Lightning fast Morseu making big impression

Rugby sevens speedster George Morseu was recruited to Canberra this year to play for the Royals. Photo: Sitthixay DitthavongGeorge Morseu has travelled the world playing sevens rugby, but the Canberra Royals flyer hopes he’s found a home in the capital for to launch his career.
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Morseu has been a revelation for Royals this year and has become a crucial cog in their unbeaten John I Dent Cup season.

He got his chance to impress when Andrew Muirhead was called into the ACT Brumbies side two weeks ago and has scored five tries in two games to repay coach Wayne Southwell.

But he only emerged on the Royals’ radar after sevens tournament in Darwin and players convinced him to move to Canberra to join the club.

It’s no surprise Royals players wanted him in the capital. Morseu clocked a 100 metre sprint time of 10.66 seconds in high school.

He now juggles work as a teaching aid with his rugby ambitions after making his international debut for Papua New Guinea in Hong Kong last year.

Born in the Torres Straight Islands, Morseu grew up on a small island surrounded by family and he is the nephew of ‘s first indigenous Olympic basketballer Danny Morseu.

But the isolated island life didn’t suit him and rugby has taken him on an international tour.

“I’ve travelled a lot with sevens,” Morseu said

“I decided to come to Canberra from Brisbane for work, and I already knew some of the boys from Royals so the club fit with me.”

Morseu’s attacking brilliance has been a superb addition to a well-oiled Royals machine, which averages 55 points per game this year.

He will get another chance against the Uni-Norths Owls on Saturday after Muirhead kept his spot on the Brumbies’ bench for a Super Rugby clash at Canberra Stadium.

“Whether it’s in the starting XV, or its off the bench, George is going to play a big part in what we do from here until the end of the season,” Southwell said.

“His gifts are clear to see. He has some work to do and he’s improving a lot. You cannot coach the pace George has, you’re born with it.”

Despite Royals’ dominance, Southwell says his players have shown no signs of easing off.

“It’s a testament to the character of the boys, that we’ve never had to deal with any complacency in the group,” Southwell said.

“We’re very lucky that we have such a strong leaders in the club who set the standards, and make sure that our high performance is maintained each week.

“There’s a hunger in the group, to achieve big things this year. Being perfect is impossible, but our goal is to finish in the top two, and try and play exciting footy, that challenges the players.”

Morseu echoed his coaches message, saying the team was focused on preparing well and training hard.

“All the boys are here ever Tuesday and Thursday, working skills, trying to get better”, Morseu added.

“It’s a great club. Not just on the field either. They’ve made me feel very welcome and I’m very happy to be part of this team”.

The competition-leading Royals scored 76 points against the Owls in their first meeting this season, but Southwell expects a bigger test this time around.

“I think they’ve improved enormously over the past couple of weeks,” Southwell said.

“I watched the tape of their game against Queanbeyan and they were excellent that day, particularly around the edges.

“From our perspective, we want to improve our attacking rugby on Saturday, which last week probably wasn’t where we want it to be.

“They will be gunning for us, as all teams will be now that we are the front runners.”

JOHN I DENT CUP ROUND 10

Saturday: Queanbeyan Whites v Gungahlin Eagles at Campese Field, Easts v Wests at Griffith Oval, Uni-Norths Owls v Royals at ANU North. All games at 3.05pm. Bye: Tuggeranong Vikings.

Impressive Hooper putting pressure on Moore for captaincy: Poidevin

World Cup-winning Wallaby Simon Poidevin says Michael Hooper is “putting all the pressure in the world” on Stephen Moore to take his position as n captain.
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Moore has captained the Wallabies 25 times since 2014 and has been a successful leader during that period, taking the team to the World Cup final in 2015.

There is a view that Moore, 34, won’t play until the 2019 World Cup in Japan and therefore should be relieved of the captaincy in order to give it to the player most likely to lead at the tournament. That player is Hooper.

But Wallabies coach Michael Cheika last week came out in staunch defence of Moore, saying he would lead in the June series.

Poidevin supports Cheika’s decision to keep faith in Moore, but warned Hooper was continuously putting forward a more appealing package to be handed the reigns.

“His performances as Waratahs captain have just been outstanding and he’ll be putting all the pressure in the world on Stephen Moore,” Poidevin told Fairfax Media. “I support the fact Stephen Moore has been retained as captain, but no one is promised that role going forward so everyone has got to fight for their positions, which is a good position to be in.”

The big question will be whether Moore can live up to the high standards he has set for himself in recent years.

There is no suggestion he can’t, but with fellow hookers Tatafu Polota-Nau and Tolu Latu breathing down his neck, Moore will have stiff competition to hold onto his starting position for the entire year.

Whether or not Moore has a little ‘c’ next to his name, his leadership shouldn’t be underestimated.

A veteran of 117 Tests since 2005, Moore has confirmed his status as one of ‘s greatest hookers and commands the respect of the players regardless of whether he is captain.

If Cheika wants a captain who leads by example, Poidevin said he need look no further than Hooper, who led the Wallabies 13 times in 2014.

“Michael Hooper is a freak,” Poidevin said. “His performances on the field for the Waratahs this year and the Wallabies last year have been world-class. He’s far from being a David Pocock; he’s an explosive runner, he’s a tenacious defender and he gets his fair number of turnovers at the breakdown. For me, he’s a class above most people.”

One Nation remains anti-Asian as well as anti-Muslim: report

Senator Pauline Hanson during Budget Estimates at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday 30 May 2017. Photo: Andrew Meares A new study of One Nation’s stance on racial issues has found that, while the party has shifted its rhetoric from the “Asianisation of ” to the perceived threat of Islam, the party remains broadly anti-Asian and increasingly anti-Chinese.
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The author of the study, Phil Dorling, has analysed policy positions and public statements by One Nation’s leader Pauline Hanson over two decades in public life.

During her maiden speech to Parliament, Hanson infamously declared that was at risk of “being swamped by Asians”.

On her return to Parliament last year, she said the nation was now at risk of being “swamped by Muslims”.

After One Nation’s return to the political centre stage last year, the Liberal Party moved to accept it into the mainstream. Senator Arthur Sinodinos declared that it had “evolved” and the West n Liberal Party forged a preference deal with it.

But Dorling says there is no evidence of such evolution. He argues that Hanson instinctively changes her rhetoric to suit current sentiment on the far right of the n political spectrum.

In the report, to be published by progressive think tank the Institute, Dorling writes that, when the party emerged in 1996, Hanson harnessed concern on the right about Chinese and Vietnamese immigration and the Labor Party’s declaration that was an Asian nation.

He notes that Hanson’s focus on Islam did not begin after the attacks of September 11, 2001, but after the Cronulla riots, which broke out as a result of anti-Muslim sentiment fanned in part by conservative media.

“[Hanson] is an instinctive politician. She has some deep-seated ideas about race and culture and small government, but beyond that she is an opportunist,” Dorling told Fairfax Media.

As a result, Dorling says, Hanson is keeping her rhetoric targeted at Islam, while focusing the party’s preoccupation with the so-called “Asianisation of ” on China and Chinese ns.

“She sees China and Chinese ns as a more viable political target at the moment,” as a result of public disquiet at the rise of China and Chinese investment in , Dorling told Fairfax Media.

“Fear of Chinese investment and acquisition of land and infrastructure are major One Nation themes, as is the alleged impact of the entry of Asian, predominantly Chinese, workers and students, on n employment and housing costs,” he writes in the report.

“In 2014, in an article posted on the One Nation website under her own name, Pauline Hanson expressed strong opposition to the China- free-trade agreement, with one of her ‘greatest concerns’ being the prospect of increased movement of Chinese labour into and Chinese ownership of n land and infrastructure.

“Senator Hanson and One Nation are opposed to free-trade agreements broadly, but it is very clear that ‘s agreement with China is a focus of particular concern.”

The report notes that, during an interview with radio host Kyle Sandilands last year, Hanson boasted members of her party had “Asian wives” and that the party had recently fielded two Asian n candidates.

One was the Chinese n Tshung Chang, who contested the Legislative Assembly district of Riverton in the West n election in March.

Chang described One Nation’s assimilation policy as a “triple A” approach.

“No matter where you are from, you should Assimilate, Accept and Adapt … if you come here, you should abide to [sic] n laws and not break any rules,” he is quoted in the report as saying.

The second was Taiwan-born Shan Ju Lin who was selected to contest the Queensland state electorate of Bundamba.

“I feel the Chinese Communist Party is a great threat to because they bought a lot of businesses and our harbours and properties,” she told the ABC, Dorling reports.

“They will take over power of . They will form their own government. Would you like 20 million people to move to ? Would you like to see that happen?”

Lin was eventually dumped as a candidate after making homophobic remarks, but Dorling argues her positioning on China could flag a future One Nation stance.

“A broad anti-Asian stance would probably be politically counter-productive for One Nation, but a specifically anti-China approach could prove attractive,” he writes.

“Nationalist movements such as One Nation have a long track record of targeting so-called ‘fifth columns’ linked to threatening external powers.

“This may prove an relatively easy shift when concerns about China’s international ambitions and domestic influence in are featuring not only in far-right political discourse such as commentary by [conservative commentator] Andrew Bolt, but also in mainstream national security and media commentary.”

The report is titled: Still anti-Asian? Anti-Chinese? One Nation policies on Asian immigration and multiculturalism.