Monthly Archives: December 2018

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Bontempelli stars, Dogs down Lions in AFL

Western Bulldogs superstar Marcus Bontempelli has struck late to consign Brisbane to a 14-point loss and their worst post-merger start to an AFL season.

The Lions slashed the margin to eight points midway through Saturday night’s final term before Bontempelli slotted his fourth goal, killing Brisbane’s momentum and helping the Dogs to a hard-fought 16.11 (107) to 14.9 (93) victory.

Stand-in skipper Bontempelli also gathered 24 disposals while playing in the forward line for the majority of the game, while gun midfielder Jack Macrae continued his sensational start to the season with a career-best 47 touches.

“I thought our contest and our hardness around the footy was first-rate,” Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said.

“I think we kicked 7.3 from forward-half turnovers, which we’re pretty happy with … it was nice to get some result there.”

The Bulldogs’ third-consecutive victory came at a cost, with rising star Aaron Naughton suffering an ankle injury during the first quarter.

The key defender left the ground in the arms of trainers and played no further part in the game after twisting his ankle in a contest with Lions forward Eric Hipwood.

Bottom-placed Brisbane will be left to regret another opportunity gone begging after single-digit losses to Collingwood, Gold Coast and Port Adelaide.

The Lions kept the margin within four goals throughout and were strong around the ball, helped by a brilliant performance from ruckman Stefan Martin (49 hitouts),

Dayne Zorko was tagged by Mitch Honeychurch but backed up his outstanding showing last week against Collingwood with 24 touches and four goals. Charlie Cameron finished with three goals and nine tackles.

Star recruit Cameron’s third goal had the surging Lions poised to snatch their first victory since beating Gold Coast in round 21 last season.

But Lewis Taylor’s errant handpass fell straight into the Bulldogs’ arms and Bontempelli was able to run into an open goal and consign the Lions to more late heartbreak.

“We’re a bit sick of it,” Brisbane coach Chris Fagan said of their narrow losses.

“When the whips are cracking, we’re still not quite good enough to get over the line.”

Turnovers out of defence proved costly for Brisbane throughout the game, while big-name Lions Dayne Beams (17 disposals) and Daniel Rich (15) were unable to break the game open.

Brisbane’s 0-8 record is their worst start to a season since 1991 when they lost their first nine games as the Bears, before merging with Fitzroy ahead of the 1997 season.

The Lions might be set for more pain as they look to avoid a repeat of last year’s wooden spoon with games against Hawthorn and Sydney to come.

Magpies open Super Netball account

Caitlyn Thwaites has tallied 55 goals in Collingwood’s 70-50 Super Netball win over Adelaide.The Collingwood Magpies have recorded their first win of the Super Netball season, defeating the Adelaide Thunderbirds 70-50.

Playing their first home game this campaign, Magpies Netball proved too strong for the less-experienced Thunderbirds on Saturday night at Hisense Arena, despite losing midcourter Kim Ravaillion before the match with a knee injury.

The Magpies led by five goals at halftime and outscored the Thunderbirds 18-8 in the third quarter to put the result out of reach, finishing with eight competitions points for winning every quarter.

Caitlin Thwaites was a dominant figure in attack for the Magpies with 55 goals at 96 per cent accuracy, while former Lightning captain Erin Bell scored 15 goals against her old club.

After losses to the Vixens and Fever to open the season, Magpies coach Kristy Keppich-Birrell was happy to see her side maintain their performance across the four quarters.

“I think it was a game that really built. The scoreboard doesn’t really reflect the pressure between the two teams,” Keppich-Birrell said.

“I think across the game, we stuck to our processes and the outcome came.”

Jamaican-born shooter Shimona Nelson finished with 37 goals from 42 attempts for the winless Lightning, who suffered their third heavy loss.

The Thunderbirds grabbed an early lead with Nelson looking dangerous, but the Magpies soon took control of the quarter, scoring four goals from turnovers to establish a 17-13 lead.

Collingwood kept rolling in the second quarter, extending the lead to eight goals with a series of trademark Sharni Layton intercepts bringing large cheers from the home fans.

But the Thunderbirds closed the half with four of the last five goals, cutting the Magpies’ lead to 32-27 at the main break.

The Lightning closed the gap to four goals early in the third quarter, but the home side quickly took over with Thwaites sinking 14 of 15 shots, including seven goals in a row, to build an unassailable 50-35 lead with one quarter to play.

The Magpies return on Sunday week to Margaret Court Arena to face the struggling Sunshine Coast Lightning, the defending champions yet to open their account for the season. The Thunderbirds will host the Melbourne Vixens.

Storm need to find NRL consistency: Smith

Felise Kaufusi has scored a try for Melbourne in their 28-14 NRL win over Gold Coast at Suncorp.Melbourne NRL captain Cameron Smith believes the Storm must find consistency in their game to remain a premiership threat this season, after overcoming a slow start to beat Gold Coast.

The Storm needed three second-half tries to erase an eight-point deficit against the lowly Titans on Saturday and cement their spot in the top four.

Christian Welch’s sin-binning for a professional foul that stopped a probable Alexander Brimson try gave the Titans a late sniff, but Josh Addo-Carr scooped up a loose pass to seal the contest.

Asked whether this year’s new-look side could defend their crown, Smith said: “I think we can if we get some consistency about us.”

Storm coach Craig Bellamy also challenged his team to string some strong performances together, but was delighted to come out on top in a close contest for the first time this year.

“The games we’ve won, we’ve won by reasonable amounts. I know, in the end, it was 14 points – we scored a late try – but I was just real happy that we got through a real close game today,” he said.

Looking to snap a run of four-straight losses, the Titans stunned the defending premiers to get to a 14-8 lead before being hit by a crippling sequence of injuries.

At one stage, Garth Brennan’s bench was empty after Jarrod Wallace (head knock), Will Matthews (head knock), Kevin Proctor (groin) and Keegan Hipgrave (wrist) were all in the casualty ward.

Wallace and Hipgrave returned but another head clash put Jack Stockwell out of action, while Melbourne half Ryley Jacks was also ruled out of the clash with concussion.

Melbourne took advantage of the league’s worst defensive team with a Curtis Scott try and two Cameron Smith penalty goals to jump to an 8-0 advantage early at Suncorp Stadium.

But sparked by some big tackling from debutante half Brimson and some uncharacteristic Storm handling errors, the Titans were able to steady through Ashley Taylor.

Taylor first went short to Titans debutant Brenko Lee in the right corner, before Taylor made the most of a Billy Slater fumble to put his other centre Dale Copley away for the eight-point lead at the break.

Injury spoiled the Titans’ second-half plans as tries to Felise Kaufusi and Cameron Munster edged the Storm clear for their sixth win of the season.

“Things are going against us at this point with some injuries. Down to no reserves at stages in that second half, but that’s footy,” Titans coach Garth Brennan said.

“I’m really proud of the performance the boys put in. There was plenty of guts showed there tonight.”

Waratahs suffer Super Rugby heartbreak

The NSW Waratahs are crying foul after giving up the biggest lead in Super Rugby history in a heartbreaking 31-29 loss to the mighty Crusaders.

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson, himself a multiple championship winner with New Zealand’s powerhouse franchise, was full of praise on Saturday night for the Crusaders after they overhauled a 29-0 first-half deficit.

But he rued no action being taken against Crusaders prop Joe Moody for taking out Waratahs centre Kurtley Beale in the lead-up to the home team’s first try in the 35th minute.

“That’s an elbow to the throat of a player unprotected. It’s a red-card offence. The try should not be scored. The guy should not be on the field,” former Wallaby-turned-Fox Sports analyst Rod Kafer said in commentary.

Gibson was unable to hide his frustration after the Waratahs had to settle for a losing bonus point to retain their n conference lead.

“A couple of decisions proved really costly – obviously the Joe Moody incident with the elbow, which the referees missed,” he said.

“In my book, it’s an elbow to the head so I’m sure the powers that be are looking at that.”

The Waratahs led 29-0 after as many minutes following a dream start at AMI Stadium, only to concede five unanswered tries to fall painfully short in their bold bid to end a 14-year winless drought in Christchurch.

The Crusaders’ epic escape also extended New Zealand teams’ winning streak over n opposition to 39 matches since the Waratahs beat the Chiefs in May, 2016 in Sydney.

Waratahs five-eighth Bernard Foley had the chance to snatch victory late but missed a 40-metre penalty – 15 minutes after also hooking an easier attempt.

Ultimately, though, the Waratahs paid the price for their ill-discipline with yellow cards for halfback Nick Phipps and winger Taqele Naiyaravoro either side of halftime leaving the visitors a man down for 20 minutes of the dramatic encounter.

“It’s hard to beat these guys with 14 men,” said vanquished captain Michael Hooper.

“We can stack points on quickly and play a really exciting brand of rugby and put a top team under pressure.

“We know what we’re capable of and it’s disappointing we let that one slip.”

The Waratahs had arrived across the Tasman on Friday to a protester confronting Israel Folau for his controversial online posts about homosexuality.

But it clearly didn’t rattle the superstar fullback as he delivered a blinding first-half display that silenced the shellshocked home crowd until the Crusaders began to mount their incredible revival.

Winger Cam Clark bagged NSW’s first try after a superb counter-attack sparked by Foley, who missed the conversion but added a penalty for an 8-0 start.

A Naiyaravoro intercept try extended the Tahs’ lead to 15-0.

It was 22-0 after 24 minutes when Folau started and finished his own spectacular try by soaring high in contact to retrieve a Crusaders bomb and combining with Beale.

When Folau won another aerial contest to set up NSW’s fourth try through Curtis Rona, the Waratahs were flying.

But the Crusaders turned the helter-skelter match with three quickfire five-pointers through Moody, Codie Taylor and a coach killer to Seta Tamanivalu, four minutes after the halftime buzzer following Phipps’ dismissal, to cut the deficit to 29-19.

Winger Braydon Ennor crossed out wide while Naiyaravoro was in the bin, before the Crusaders finally hit the front in the 68th minute with a penalty try after repeated NSW scrum infringements on their own line.

Reds’ Super season hits new low in Tokyo

Hayden Parker (2nd L) has bagged 36 points in the Sunwolves’ Super Rugby thrashing of the Qld Reds.Queensland Reds coach Brad Thorn says his side “got what they deserved”, with the pumped-up Sunwolves claiming their first Super Rugby match win of the season with a 63-28 hammering in Tokyo.

Kiwi-born five-eighth Hayden Parker did much of the damage for the Sunwolves at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium with a personal tally of 36 points.

He finished off a brilliant first-half team try and kicked 12 goals from 12 attempts, while Sunwolves winger Hosea Saumaki also had a day out, collecting a hat-trick of tries.

While the Sunwolves deserved the win, the Reds did themselves no favours.

Through lazy play, they conceded 12 penalties to hand their opponents 21 points, their attack lacked creativity, defence was lacklustre and their kicking game was below par as well.

Thorn said his team were simply beaten by the better team on the day.

“There was lot of poor, basic footy out there and we got what we deserved,” Thorn said.

“Hats off to Hayden Parker who scored 30-odd points; the forwards were good; they were really good at the breakdown so well done to them,” Thorn said.

“They were by far the better side.”

After upsetting South African heavyweights the Lions in their last match, the Reds were riding high but instead became the first n team to lose to the Sunwolves.

“You saw the performance and attitude against the Lions and then today, it just wasn’t on par,” Thorn said.

“It’s frustrating – it’s a long way to come to perform like that.”

Sitting third in the n conference, the shock loss meant they blew a golden chance to make up ground on the NSW Waratahs and Melbourne Rebels.

They next face tough encounters against the Hurricanes and Highlanders.

While Parker opened with a penalty goal in the first minute of the game, the Reds scored the first try with hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa planting the ball at the back of their rolling maul.

Halfback Ben Lucas darted from the back of a maul to plant the ball across the line in the 21st minute and Reds were out to 14-9 lead.

But penalty goals kept the home side in touch before lock Grant Hattingh scored after an obvious forward pass was overlooked by the TMO.

Three minutes later, Parker crossed after a superb team try which he converted for a 26-14 scoreline and momentum was with the Sunwolves.

The Reds tried to rally in the second half with their reserves lifting the tempo.

However, any small chance of a comeback was snuffed out in the 69th minute when the Sunwolves were awarded a penalty try and Duncan Paia’aua was yellow-carded for a high tackle as he tried to bring down Jason Emery.

Demons smash Suns in dull Gabba AFL affair

Melbourne have hammered the Gold Coast Suns by an emphatic 69 points at the Gabba.Records tumbled for all the wrong reasons at the Gabba as Melbourne scored a breezy 69-point AFL victory over Gold Coast in front of a pitiful crowd.

Tom McDonald kicked a career-high five goals for the Demons who ran away with the contest in the final term, prevailing 21.20 (146) to 11.11 (77) on Saturday evening for their third win in a row.

Despite perfect conditions, only 6060 punters turned up to watch – and most of them were Melbourne fans.

It was the lowest attendance for a match in Brisbane, beating the previous mark from 1991 when the Bears also hosted the Demons.

It was also the eighth-lowest AFL crowd since 1997.

The match was played on neutral territory at the Gabba because Metricon Stadium is still being converted back into AFL mode after the Commonwealth Games.

The empty stands certainly didn’t inspire a great contest, with neither side hitting particularly great heights in a clash that took on an eerie, almost funereal tone at times.

Melbourne dominated general play but should have put the game to bed much earlier than they did.

They entered their forward 50 zone a whopping 83 times – equalling the AFL record set by North Melbourne against Greater Western Sydney during the Giants’ 2013 debut season.

“It’s pleasing that we want to play a forward-half game,” Demons coach Simon Goodwin said.

“But we acknowledge Gold Coast. They’ve been on the road for eight weeks and a really tough travel schedule. We understand they probably weren’t at their best.”

Gold Coast were within 18 points late in the third term but were blown away thereafter, with the Demons piling on eight goals in the last quarter.

It became worse for the struggling Suns – midfielder David Swallow spent much of the match getting treatment on his knee, while co-captain Steven May risked a possible suspension by clumsily making contact with umpire David Harris.

Earlier in the day, Gold Coast’s NEAFL side – which included 11 AFL-listed players – failed to kick a goal in a 92-point defeat to the Brisbane Lions.

Coach Stuart Dew acknowledged it was a bad day all round for the club.

“But I’m not surprised. That’s why I’m here, for the challenge,” Dew said.

“We lacked resilience, no doubt. Our execution really hurt us at times.

“We’ve got some clear pointers where we want to take the football club … we’ve got a really clear picture of what we need to do and work on.”

Carlton rallies to first win of AFL season

Carlton’s Curnow brothers have powered the Blues to their first win of the season, denying Essendon by 13 points in a gritty AFL thriller.

The Blues claimed their first win at the MCG in over a year after emerging victorious 14.7 (91) to 10.18 (78).

There were nine lead changes on a wintry Melbourne afternoon, with neither side able to kick clear in an engrossing – if not high quality – affair.

At the last, the young Blues side stood up, led by Charlie and Ed Curnow.

Charlie took four thumping marks inside 50 and kicked two goals in the third term to arrest Essendon’s momentum, while Ed powered the Blues at ground level all afternoon with 13 tackles.

Patrick Cripps, Matthew Kreuzer and Liam Jones were also super for Carlton, roared on by their patient fans among the 44,669 in attendance.

The result will heap pressure on besieged Bombers coach John Worsfold.

The West Coast legend signed a contract extension after a round one defeat of minor premiers Adelaide, but has led Essendon to just a single win since.

Worsfold said he was “frustrated and disappointed”, suggesting his team were paying well inside themselves.

“We’re not playing at the level that we’d like to be,” he said.

“(We’re) seeing players that are making errors that maybe that you don’t expect from those players. Across the board.”

Carlton began as if sensing an opportunity for a breakthrough triumph.

The Blues were bright and determined, and led by two goals when Harry McKay’s long bomb from 60 metres eluded a retreating Essendon pair to bounce through.

They couldn’t maintain the rage, yielding the momentum to Essendon in the second term.

Bombers leaders Dyson Heppell and David Zaharakis converted marks inside 50 to push them to a one-point half-time lead.

After three losses in a row, the Bombers’ lack of confidence seemed to be holding them back from turning territory into a larger lead.

Then the Bombers fell victim to their third-quarter hoodoo once more.

Essendon were yet to win the term all season and Charlie Curnow kept that streak running.

Both sides missed chances in front of goal, but Essendon’s wastefulness – kicking 4.12 in the middle two quarters – was especially costly.

Shaun McKernan’s goal to open the final term made him the Bombers’ first multiple goalkicker and gave Worsfold’s side a lifeline.

Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti put them ahead at the five-minute mark but from there Brendon Bolton’s side took control.

Sam Petreveski-Seton, Jed Lamb and Sam Kerridge took the contest away from Essendon with consecutive goals, allowing a host of Blues to sing the club song for the first time.

Carlton coach Brendon Bolton said pride was his dominant feeling after ending the club’s longest-ever wait for a first win of the season.

“They’ve been up against it, our players,” he said.

“We had quite a few youngsters out there … for them to experience that feeling of winning is really important for them.”

Slumping GWS won’t rush back AFL players

GWS co-captain Phil Davis has joined a growing injury list after the Giants’ AFL loss to West Coast.Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron won’t be panicked into rushing players back into the AFL “marathon” after admitting his side are in a form slump.

The Giants suffered successive losses for the first time this season after going down by 25 points to West Coast on Saturday at Spotless Stadium.

GWS have won only one of their past four and have averaged just over 60 points a game across that stretch.

Compounding the form loss is the growing injury toll, with Matt de Boer (hamstring) likely to miss next week’s game against North Melbourne and key defender and co-captain Phil Davis suffering concussion in the Eagles clash.

All-n star Josh Kelly might be one player in contention to come back next week after missing five games with groin soreness.

“Kelly has had a really good week-and-a-half, two weeks, but we’ve got to be really mindful of when we brought Toby (Greene) back in – maybe it was a little bit too early,” Cameron said.

“When you are down on form and struggling a little bit, there’s always that decision that you reach out for some of your players that are coming back from injuries and whether you go down that track.

“But we’ve got to be really careful of that. If he’s not right, he’s not right,

“It’s only round eight and we want to make sure these players are playing some really good footy through that middle part of the year.

“It’s a huge marathon, we know that and, right now, we’ve had a couple of little blips in the marathon.”

Cameron lamented poor disposal efficiency and decision making by his side.

“When you’re in form, clearly you make better decisions. We’re out of form and we’re making worse decisions,” he said.

“But as long as you do not compromise on some of the other areas of the game that you are chugging along pretty well, then it will turn.

“We’ve got to work on our decison making we’ve got to keep staying positive because it’s deflating when you actually turn the footy over.

“But there’s no excuses you’ve just got to keep hanging in there.

“We’re going through this form slump at the moment. I’m really confident we can come out the other end.”

More Chinans are retiring with a second property, report finds

Property isking when it comes to ns’ retirement plans thanks to a heavily preferential tax system that could worsenhousing affordability, experts say.

Thirty per cent of older ns retired with a second property under their belt by 2014, growing from 25 per cent in 2002, according to the n Housing and Urban Research Institute’s (AHURI)latest report.

While retireesheldmore properties, the proportion of retirement wealth made up by the family home decreased from 46 per cent to 39 per cent.

The proportion of retirementwealth made up by investment properties grew from 9 per cent to 15 per cent over the same period.

Lead author of the paper, University of Sydney’s Associate Professor Stephen Whelan said current tax settings encouraged retirees to use property as a retirement strategy, and the impacts could be seen in the housing market.

“Owner-occupiers are treated more generously in the tax system and there’s implicit incentives to accumulate wealth in housing,” said Mr Whelan.

“We’re providing opportunities to leverage existing properties and accumulating properties, which put pressures on housing prices.”

Theresearch, which analysed Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in (HILDA) data collected from 2002 to 2014,found older n households were unlikely to sell off their investmentproperties to maintain eligibility for agepension.

The family home is considered an exempt asset under the agepensionmeans test,but homeowners are allowed to hold $250,000 in non-exempt assets, such as investment properties,before theirpensionis reduced.

While investment properties are not exempt, other incentivesmotivated retirees to buy into property, according to Mr Whelan.

“Rules around negative gearing, and indirectly superannuation, might be encouraging people to purchase a second property as a retirement strategy,” said Mr Whelan.

AMP Capital’s chief economist Shane Oliver said retirees may have decided that the benefits of investment properties outweigh the potential loss of the pension.

“It seems ns are so sold on the property story they’re not worried about the impact of missing out on the pension in part or in full,” said Dr Oliver.

He said investing heavilyin propertyleft retirees in a more vulnerable position than years gone by as they risked exposure to the volatility of the property market.

Brendan Coates, a fellow at public policy think tank the Grattan Institute, said the country’s propensity for property investment and a preferential tax system for investorswas worsening housing affordability.

“They’re [retirees] often saving more than they need to and bequeathing their property to the next generation,” said Mr Coates, addingthis trend could lead to increasedinequality andexacerbate the housing crisis.

He believed theproposal in the federal budget to extend the Pension Loan Schemeto all retirees was a good move for older ns who want to age in their own homes and addressing inequity in years to come.

The AHURI report suggested the age pension could be changed to become more “tenure neutral”instead of a retirement income system that favours people who can afford home ownership.

Mr Whelanquestionedwhether the current tax settings have struck the right balance in terms of fairness and equity.

“The person who is renting and has a million dollars in the bank wouldn’t get an aged pension. But the person who owns a million-dollarhouse would be eligible for an aged pension,” said Mr Whelan.


96-year-old Doris Jones is transported back in time with special visit

Young at heart: Doris Jones, 96, gets a visit from Lucy the pony at Whiddon aged care home in Redhead on Friday. Picture: Marina NeilFor Doris Jones, time with her beloved horse Johnnywas one of the most memorable periods of her life.

Decades later, as a 96-years-old woman, Doris was given thechance to go back in time as part of a relationship-based care program at Whiddon–the aged care home where shenow lives.

Lucy the 12-year-old pony was brought into the Redhead Road home on Friday to spend the morning with Ms Jones, who enjoyed feeding her carrots and brushing her mane while surrounded by family.

Lucy the pony helps Doris, 96, back to yesteryear Young at heart: Doris Jones, 96, gets a visit from Lucy the pony at Whiddon aged care home in Redhead on Friday. Picture: Marina Neil

Young at heart: Doris Jones, 96, gets a visit from Lucy the pony at Whiddon aged care home in Redhead on Friday. Picture: Marina Neil

Young at heart: Doris Jones, 96, gets a visit from Lucy the pony at Whiddon aged care home in Redhead on Friday. Picture: Marina Neil

Doris Jones in her late teens with her beloved horse Johnny.

Young at heart: Doris Jones, 96, gets a visit from Lucy the pony at Whiddon aged care home in Redhead on Friday. Picture: Marina Neil

Young at heart: Doris Jones, 96, gets a visit from Lucy the pony at Whiddon aged care home in Redhead on Friday. Picture: Marina Neil

TweetFacebook Lucy visits Doris, 96Pictures: Marina NeilHer daughter Lynne Burns said Ms Jones’ memory had begun to fade in recent years, but talk of Johnny had become more frequent recently.

Read more:Mothers come in all shapes and sizes

Ms Burns said pony club was a big part of Ms Jones’ life when she was in her late teens and early 20s and was the place young Dorismet her husband.

“She’s sort of forgotten a bit of her more recent life,” Ms Burnssaid.

“At times, when you talk about the last few years before she came into the home she doesn’t really remember it.She’s been talking about [Johnny]more and more lately.”

Young at heart: Doris Jones, 96, gets a visit from Lucy the pony at Whiddon aged care home in Redhead on Friday. Picture: Marina Neil

Tara Carmen, who coordinates the relationship-based care program at Whiddon known asBest Week,said the initiative involved staff members putting their heads together to come up with something special they could do for each resident.

“Basicallywe work with the families and work with the residents, get to know who they were a little bit before they came here,” Ms Carmensaid. “As Doris’ family will tell you, she’s got a long history with horses.

“It’s great, these types of opportunities –all the residents get to get involved.”

Newcastle Herald