Women’s Ashes 2015: Southern Stars want to solve batting stumbles as series ends

Cardiff: With the women’s Ashes won, Southern Stars coach Matthew Mott has turned his attention to fixing the team’s stuttering scoring in Monday’s series-ending match in Cardiff.
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Across both Twenty20 matches no Stars batter has passed 30, which has been a big factor in their meagre scores of 8-122 and 7-107. Their batters have also allowed England’s new-ball bowlers, Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole, to lock them down and not even rotate the strike, let alone find the boundary.

Coach Mott had held NSW’s ability to post only 8-121 in 2007-08 and then keep Queensland to 115 as the best Twenty20 stifling bowling performance he had been a part of, but said it was trumped by the Stars limiting England to 87 on a pitch he thought should have produced scores of about 140.

The coach lamented their batters had not realised more quickly they should have amended their tactics once Brunt and Shrubsole tied them down.

“It’s certainly something we’ve spoken about, trying to be a bit more aggressive at the top. We’ve picked out fielders regularly with our strong shots. We’ve probably lacked a bit of that subtlety, just dropping the hand, finding the gaps and maybe not going as hard,” he said. “That’s the challenge we’ve got ahead of us. We need to be a lot better than that. We really need to go out and play with freedom, but also rotate the strike a lot better.”

Off all the batters Jess Cameron is arguably the only one likely to be satisfied with her performances so far in the Twenty20 component of the series, having finished unbeaten at better than a run a ball in both matches.

The Stars are expected to field an unchanged team for the final match. That would result in leg-spinner Kristen Beams remaining on the sidelines, along with off-spinner Erin Osborne, fast-bowler Holly Ferling and reserve wicketkeeper Beth Mooney.

“I had a really good chat to ‘Beamsy’ and tried to put her in the picture as to where she’s at. She unfortunately got injured at the wrong time, and Grace Harris has come in and done well,” Mott said.

“With the balance of the team, we realised after game one we might’ve got that wrong, with too many spin options – and Rene Farrell really vindicated the decision to bring her back in. I can’t see any change in that line-up at this stage. We’d love to be able to play Beamsy and give her an opportunity, but we’ll pick what we think is the best XI for Cardiff.”

Even though the final match will have no bearing on the series result, beyond Australia’s winning margin, Mott said having the World Twenty20 early next year would ensure the match is greeted with customary intensity from the Stars players.

“We certainly celebrated that win and enjoyed it . . . but we’ll be trying to win it as much as the other games,” he said. “From individuals’ point of view, there’s plenty to play for with the World Cup coming up.”

ENGLAND (from): Charlotte Edwards (c), Heather Knight (vc), Katherine Brunt, Georgia Elwiss, Lydia Greenway, Rebecca Grundy, Jenny Gunn, Dani Hazell, Laura Marsh, Natalie Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor, Lauren Winfield, Danni Wyatt.

SOUTHERN STARS (from): Meg Lanning (c), Alex Blackwell (vc), Kristen Beams, Jess Cameron, Sarah Coyte, Rene Farrell, Holly Ferling, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney, Erin Osborne, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani.

Jesse Hogan is covering the women’s Ashes with the support of Cricket Australia

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Novocastrian faithful mob Gidley like rock star in last home-town appearance

Kurt Gidley: a career in photos
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The 10 games that made Kurt Gidley: photos

Another stirring effort required from Knights

EVEN a man of Kurt Gidley’s famed fitness levels was entitled to be exhausted.

For more than an hour after Newcastle’s nail-biting 20-18 loss to Canterbury, his final match at Hunter Stadium, the inspirational Knights skipper was public property.

Making speeches. Signing autographs. Posing for selfies. Accepting kisses and cuddles from Knights nannas.

High-fiving all and sundry, while a live band belted out tunes and the masses queued for a minute of his time.

At one point, Bulldogs coach Des Hasler emerged from the bowels of the stadium to pay his respects personally to both Gidley and retiring veteran Clint Newton, then wandered back to the dressing room without a word to anyone else.

And finally, just when Gidley was wondering when he would get a chance to draw breath, came a barrage of media interviews.

Never once did a beaming smile leave his face.

All of which was a reminder that while there have been bigger, faster, stronger and more skilful players to have worn the blue and red, there have been no better clubmen.

Knights coach Danny Buderus hit the nail on the head at the post-match press conference when he said: ‘‘You’d be happy if your kids grew up like Kurt, that’s for sure.’’

Given the enormity of the occasion, it would have been easy for a lesser character to lose focus.

Not only was it Gidley’s last appearance at Turton Road before he leaves to play for Warrington next year, it was also his 250th game in the NRL. Before the game kicked off, he ran through the traditional Old Boys guard of honour, embraced his wife and parents and carried his two young daughters through a giant banner to salute the parochial crowd of 23,604.

Then somehow, as if flicking a switch, the former Test and Origin handyman was back in game mode and focused on the task at hand. The ultimate professional, as always.

Twelve minutes into proceedings, the 33-year-old conjured up the game’s opening try with a deft chip kick that eluded Bulldogs fullback Brett Morris and bounced opportunely for Tariq Sims to score. His sideline conversion reaffirmed home-town hopes that perhaps this would be Gidley’s night.

But by half-time, the visitors led 14-6 and this eternal perfectionist was not satisfied with his contribution.

‘‘I thought I was a little bit quiet in the first half and I had a bit of a think at half-time,’’ he said.

‘‘I realised this was my last chance to put everything on the line and bust my arse for my teammates and the fans.’’

Gidley has produced countless match-winning performances for the Knights since his 2001 debut.

The crowd farewell to Kurt Gidley. Picture Newcastle Knights via Twitter

The golden point field goal in Brisbane. The semi-final win at home against Manly. The hooker-fullback experiment at Penrith. The conversion after full-time against Melbourne last year.

But surely Saturday’s display rates alongside any of them.

Eight runs for 86 attacking metres, 31 tackles, a try assist, a goal … and in the 70th minute, a trademark try with a dummy and a jink, the 80th of his top-grade career.

Suddenly the home side were within two points. The game hung in the balance until the final play, but the Bulldogs rudely refused to relinquish their lead.

It was a result that the Western Suburbs Rosellas junior accepted with mixed emotions. For the first time in his career, defeat did not seem such a catastrophic event.

‘‘A win would have been great,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m not dirty on losing. It was a wonderful occasion. We didn’t give up, and we showed plenty of character. I think that’s important for me to remember.’’

When the siren sounded, and he was hoisted on the shoulders of teammates Newton and Kade Snowden to salute the fans, a few tears were inevitable.

‘‘I’m an emotional guy when it comes to something you care about, and I couldn’t be prouder to represent and captain my home town,’’ he said.

‘‘To play my 250th game, at home, in front of the fans, my wife and two kids, my parents, grandparents, and all the ex-players, it couldn’t have worked out any better.’’

And so just 80 minutes remain until an era ends.

For the first time since Kurt’s brother Matthew debuted 19 years ago, the Gidley name will not feature on Newcastle’s playing roster.

To put that in context, the Gidleys have appeared in a combined 471 games for the Knights. Andrew and Matthew Johns managed 425.

The Novocastrian faithful acknowledged this historic juncture by mobbing Kurt like a rock star after his home-ground farewell.

‘‘These people have supported me since before I debuted in first grade,’’ he said afterwards.

‘‘I came through up Jersey Flegg, back when all three grades played on the one day.

‘‘So people have a real connection with the team in Newcastle, I think because it’s such a close community.

‘‘People see you around the streets, at the shopping centres and obviously at the footy, and there’s a real connection with the fans.

‘‘It was the least I can do to thank them.’’

The feeling, clearly, was mutual.

What an amazing turnout to farewell captain Kurt Gidley! #goKnights#ThanksGidspic.twitter上海夜网m/J7jPnB5kNi

— Newcastle Knights (@NRLKnights) August 29, 2015

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RENEE VALENTINE: Time to set new goals for spring

“Now spring is upon us it is time to set new goals. These will be different for everyone”.AS I bid good riddance to winter today and prepare to embrace spring tomorrow, I thought it would be a good chance to report my findings from my own personal research into ways to implement and maintain daily physical activity in a time-poor environment.
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OK, it was not a real study but at the start of winter I set myself the task of performing 10 minutes of physical activity daily in June, 15 minutes in July and 20minutes in August.

The reasoning was that I wanted to regain my pre-baby fitness by summer but had previously found it too easy to excuse myself from exercise if time did not allow. My objective was to establish a daily exercise habit by the start of spring.

Last week I jinxed myself by saying our household had been lucky to avoid any sickness this winter, so my final week of the campaign hit a hurdle in the form of a 48-hour bug my son brought home from school.

But what I did find was that because I had been making myself exercise daily for those couple of days, where I could not exercise I was really conscious of it and was itching to do something by the time I had regained my usual energy levels.

So what I found was that I was more conscious of doing something every day and once I got in the habit of doing it, then I felt guilty if I did not do something and would find time to exercise, even if just in five-minute or 10-minute blocks.

Anyway, if you are struggling to find ways to implement physical activity in your day, then I can highly recommend doing it this way and slowly building up to 30 minutes each day.

According to the federal Department of Health, regular daily exercise can help reduce the risk of some cancers and help with rehabilitation, improve blood pressure and cholesterol, help maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, among other things.

Now spring is upon us it is time to set new goals. These will be different for everyone, but there are 13 weeks of spring and plenty of time to establish some good exercise habits of your own. And there are plenty of events coming up to help get you moving. Here are a few things you could consider doing in spring.

It is not too late to sign up for Steptember (steptember上海夜网.au/) or Go for Gynae month (goforgynae上海夜网.au/), where you commit to doing 10,000 steps each day in September to raise awareness and support for much-needed causes while also getting yourself active.

Next week Lifeline Newcastle & Hunter will celebrate suicide prevention with a dawn walk at Fort Scratchley on September 10 (lifelinehunter上海夜网.au).

Run Newcastle is Sunday week and the Maitland River Run (September 27), iStadium Run Newcastle (October 11) and the Fernleigh 15 (October 18) are all coming up.

The change in seasons usually signals various summer sports competitions starting, so get a team together or find a team to join. Summer competitions are a great way to socialise as well as get fitter. Try a parkrun, the weekly free, timed five-kilometre event held in a supportive and encouraging environment all over the Hunter region.

Or join a running club. There are a few free ones like PureRun, held every Wednesdays at 6pm from Darby Street or The Esplanade at Warners Bay.

Ring a few gyms and see what offers they are currently running. You will generally find gyms offering free classes this time of year. Or you could try something totally different like a salsa class, polercise or stand-up paddleboarding.

Renee Valentine is a qualifiedpersonal trainer and mother of [email protected]上海夜网m.

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Bart Cummings: The simple secret to his success

Bart Cummings at his Leilani Lodge stables at Randwick. Photo: Steve ChristoCummings could win posthumous 13th Melbourne CupChris Roots: The legend I knewWhy he was so much better than the restWaterhouse, Abbott lead tributesA legend in every sense of the wordKing of the one-linersObituary
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What was his secret? Beyond all the horse-whispering mysteries, the unerring gut feeling, the gnomish one-liners, behind the sheer sense for the animal, what did Bart Cummings think he had that none of his rivals had?

In 2010, after several months working together on his autobiography, Bart finally trusted me enough to bring it out. From a desk drawer in his woody, carpeted, not-changed-since-the-1970s office at Leilani Lodge in Randwick, he pulled out a packet of cards.

“This,” he said.

They were ordinary file cards covered with his handwriting. Each card had information on a horse: how long it had spelled, the date it returned to the stables, what it ate each day, its training regime, what medical treatment it had received.

“This?” I said.

Conversations with Bart were long but also short, if you know what I mean. And what I wanted to say about the secret cards, but couldn’t, was that they were so mind-bogglingly simple. In fact, if you knew nothing about horses but were given a bunch to look after, you’d probably note precisely this information in much the same way.

“Can I make a copy of one?” I said.

“Why?”

“For the book. It would interest people to see how you go about it.”

Bart reached across and snatched the card away.

“So – that’s a no?”

“They’re secret,” he said. “I don’t want any other trainers knowing about them.”

“But,” I thought how to put this gently, “they’re just common sense, aren’t they?”

He nodded, as if I’d finally got the point. “That’s why we can’t show anyone. Common sense. Nobody else has it.”

As frustrating as it was, the exchange was the nearest I felt I got to capturing the true Bart: the competitiveness, the paranoia, the old-fashioned simplicity, and the mischief, the glee that he’d got away with it under their noses. He was doing what he’d always been doing, what his father had been doing, and the world had over-complicated things, moved on to ideas that were seldom as good as those of the past.

Yet while he preserved the past, Bart did not live in it. He was too competitive, too focused on the next thing coming up, the next horse and the next race, to be great at reminiscing over his life. He was 82 at the time, always gentlemanly, always friendly and available, but conversations were constantly interrupted by chats with his then manager Bill Charles, other staff, owners, vets, or his grandson and protege James, about what he had running in the fourth at Warwick Farm the next day. A new two-year-old held more interest for him than Think Big’s two Melbourne Cups.

But through his horses of the present, you could see his relationships with horses of the past. Towards them he was kindly, glimpsing their quirks and hints of personality, but he wasn’t false or soppy; above all they were riddles to be solved. He was constantly thinking and plotting. So when we talked about some of his greats, such as Saintly or Light Fingers or Galilee or Let’s Elope, he didn’t recall the races so much as the problems leading up to them, the health setbacks, the unforeseen form lapses, the arguments with jockeys. (Actually, not arguments so much as jockeys making mistakes and excuses, and Bart telling them …)

He wasn’t great on some details. Of his father Jim, undoubtedly the biggest influence on Bart’s life, I asked, “What did he look like?”

After a long pause to consider, Bart said: “Normal.”

“Normal?”

“Just a normal … man.”

I considered the son of this man: the liquid dark eyes, the whipped-cream eyebrows, the storm front of white hair. Anything but normal.

“Did he look anything like you, Bart, any features you had in common, anything about the way he spoke?”

Bart considered, and nodded. “That’s right,” he eventually said. “Just normal.”

Although he knew clearly where he stood in the racing and sporting world, Bart did see himself as just a normal man, a practitioner of common sense methods that he suspected the rest of the world might have forgotten. He didn’t deal in cliches or fake kind words for his rivals, who he saw as foes, and he could be harsh on those who fell short of his standards, but he had many people working close to him who were loyal for decades, and who loved him dearly.

He and his wife Val were a couple of their generation, unsentimental, bantering cheekily with each other, genuine, opinionated, extremely patriotic, forward-looking and unrelentingly competitive.

Nothing beats winning, he said. But when you tried to draw him on how this drive had made him such an exceptional trainer and unique person, a giant of Australian life – he was beyond flattery, but it was hard to see how the hugeness of his achievement really hit home with him – those dark eyes would blink at you in puzzlement and he would say, “Why would anyone be any different?”

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TIM ROBERTS: Fighting the Farrell fight

The fight for Blackbutt Reserve: Tom Farrell’s passion for the nature site takes centre stage in hi biography, A Powerhouse of a Man.TODAY, Blackbutt Reserve sits in the heart of Newcastle, a wonderful bushland and parkland for all communities to enjoy. Its tranquillity and natural habitat are a joy to experience. Yet few people realise what a battle it was to keep this choice land as a natural reserve.
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In his biography of Tom Farrell, author Christopher Mooney takes the reader through Blackbutt’s history, starting from Farrell’s original ambition to pass on his love of this area for his fellow community members to enjoy, to the more than 40 years of battles he and like-minded supporters sustained and finally overcame to make it happen.

From a young age, Farrell felt that Blackbutt had to be preserved for all future generations. He realised that to fulfil his wish, it was necessary for the public to own the Blackbutt land. The first opportunity occurred in 1932 when the Scottish Australian mining company that originally owned much of Lambton, New Lambton and Kotara released blocks of land for sale in what is now Blackbutt Reserve. Due to the Great Depression, only four blocks of land were sold. Farrell purchased an acre block in Grinsell Street, Kotara, for £45.

He also recognised that local council support was essential to provide sufficient funds to buy up the much larger Blackbutt total land area and gain community support for the land. He enlisted support to call a municipal conference of Hamilton, Newcastle, New Lambton, Wallsend, Carrington and Merewether councils to discuss the issue. The municipal conference passed a unanimous motion that the various owners of the Blackbutt area be approached with a view to donating land for a national reserve.

Although the mining company (the major land-holder) responded favourably, agreeing to make a free dedication of 75acres of land in the Blackbutt area, the councils could not meet the conditions set down by the company due to the difficult economic conditions. Thus, progress towards establishing Blackbutt as a national park was not possible for a number of years.

You will have to wait until next week to learn more, or you could buy Tom Farrell – A Powerhouse of a Man by C.Mooney.

with Peter Kofler

Professor Tim Roberts is director of the University of Newcastle’s Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment.

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Another stirring effort required from Knights

Another stirring effort required from Knights Kurt Gidley farewells the Newcastle crowd. Picture: Peter Stoop
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Kurt Gidley farewells the Newcastle crowd. Picture: Peter Stoop

Kurt Gidley farewells the Newcastle crowd. Picture: Peter Stoop

Kurt Gidley tests the Bulldogs defence on Saturday. Picture: Peter Stoop

Kurt Gidley tests the Bulldogs defence on Saturday. Picture: Peter Stoop

Kurt Gidley crosses the line in his farewell home game. Picture: Peter Stoop

Kurt Gidley celebrates after scoring on Saturday. Picture: Peter Stoop

Kurt Gidley is swamped by his Knights teammates. Picture: Peter Stoop

Kurt Gidley farewells the Newcastle crowd. Picture: Peter Stoop

Kurt Gidley farewells the Newcastle crowd. Picture: Peter Stoop

Kurt Gidley farewells the Newcastle crowd. Picture: Peter Stoop

Kurt Gidley farewells the Newcastle crowd. Picture: Peter Stoop

August 2015: Kurt Gidley ahead of list game for the Newcastle Knights. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Kurt Gidley, who announced he will leave the Newcastle Knights at the end of this season, with his wife Brooke, and daughters Arabella, aged two, and Macy, aged 5 months. Picture: Ryan Osland

Kurt Gidley, who will leave the Newcastle Knights at the end of this season, at a press conference announcing his decision on Monday. Picture: Ryan Osland

Kurt Gidley, who will leave the Newcastle Knights at the end of this season, holds his daughter Arabella an dshakes hands with longtime team mate Danny Buderus, as his wife Brooke and other daughter Macy look on. Picture: Ryan Osland

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, Newcastle Knights legend, former NSW captain and Australian representative captain, though the years. From the Newcastle Herald archives.

Kurt Gidley, who will leave the Newcastle Knights at the end of this season, at a press conference announcing his decision on Monday. Picture: Ryan Osland

Kurt Gidley, who will leave the Newcastle Knights at the end of this season, at a press conference announcing his decision on Monday. Picture: Ryan Osland

Kurt Gidley, who will leave the Newcastle Knights at the end of this season, at a press conference announcing his decision on Monday. Picture: Ryan Osland

Kurt Gidley, who will leave the Newcastle Knights at the end of this season, at a press conference announcing his decision on Monday. Picture: Ryan Osland

Kurt Gidley, who will leave the Newcastle Knights at the end of this season, at a press conference announcing his decision on Monday. Picture: Ryan Osland

TweetFacebookFaithful mob Gidley like rock star

Knights fall in Gidley farewell

Kurt Gidley ready for emotional farewell

ONCE more, with feeling.

Departing Knights Kurt Gidley, Clint Newton, Beau Scott and Tyrone Roberts will have to climb aboard for another ride on the emotional roller-coaster as they prepare for a final game in the red and blue that Newcastle must win to avoid the wooden spoon.

The Knights were 14th heading into the penultimate round of the season. But their 20-18 loss to Canterbury at Hunter Stadium on Saturday, combined with wins on Sunday by Wests Tigers and Gold Coast against the Warriors and St George Illawarra respectively, has left Newcastle in the competition cellar.

They are equal last with the Panthers, who they play at Penrith Stadium on Saturday, but have an inferior for-and-against record (minus-80 compared to minus-136).

Penrith play Canberra in the national capital on Monday night. If they beat the Raiders, the Knights would be unable to leapfrog them unless they won by a landslide on Saturday.

Newcastle would then need to beat the Panthers and hope the Eels, Canberra, Gold Coast, the Tigers and/or the Warriors lose their last-round games to have any hope of finishing better than last.

There is an unlikely chance that, even if the Knights win, they might still not escape the wooden spoon.

The dire predicament is a sobering postscript to the festive atmosphere at Hunter Stadium on Saturday night, when a season-best crowd of 23,406 turned out to farewell Gidley, Newton, Scott and Roberts.

Gidley is joining Warrington next season, Scott has signed for Parramatta, Roberts for Gold Coast and Newton is retiring.

Between them, they have played more than 500 NRL games for Newcastle.

Gidley was philosophical about the loss to Canterbury, saying he was proud of the team’s performance and his own, regardless of the result.

But the unexpected string of results over the weekend has suddenly raised the stakes, and Gidley has no intention of signing off this week without securing the two competition points that Newcastle need to avoid the spoon.

‘‘I’d love to finish on a great note,’’ Gidley told the Newcastle Herald. ‘‘I want the bus ride home next week to be a feeling of satisfaction of getting the job done in my last game for the club.

‘‘That’ll be a memory that will last forever, for sure.

‘‘It’s my last game, and something I want to remember for all the right reasons.’’

Newton, who like Gidley was born and bred in Newcastle and debuted for the Knights in 2001, said focusing on the game against Canterbury had been a challenge because of the unique emotional build-up.

‘‘It’s difficult,’’ he said. ‘‘I’ll probably have a bit of a comedown in the next couple of days.

‘‘But we’ve still got a job to do next week.’’

Newcastle will be sweating on the match review panel’s interpretation of an incident involving Kade Snowden and Bulldogs forward Greg Eastwood in the second minute of Saturday’s clash.

Snowden was placed on report for high contact and could be facing his second suspension of the season.

He was banned for a week for a careless grade-one high shot on Cronulla’s Matt Prior in March, continuing his unhappy judiciary record over the past few seasons.

‘‘We’ll see where that one goes … I don’t know where Kade’s charge sheet will be or what will happen, but we’ve got one more game to go and we need Kade Snowden playing,’’ Knights coach Danny Buderus said.

Buderus said Snowden’s front-row partner, Korbin Sims, was likely to be available to tackle Penrith despite being carried from the field with an ankle injury in the second half against Canterbury.

Newton said he tried to remain ‘‘in the moment’’ during his 42 minutes of game time but could not help some nostalgic thoughts in his final home game for the Knights.

‘‘You just try and focus on that, but I certainly took a few moments out there to take some mental snapshots of how good it is to play for this football club, and the supporters and my family and stuff like that,’’ he said. ‘‘I had a look around at times and that will stay with me forever.

‘‘But this is an emotional game, and hence you see grown men cry sometimes.’’

The 34-year-old hopes to play a role in Newcastle’s NSW Cup finals campaign but admitted it was hard to comprehend he had played his last game at the ground he first visited as a six-year-old during the Knights’ 1988 foundation season.

‘‘I still feel like there’s going to be more tomorrows, but there’s not,’’ he said.

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TRICIA HOGBIN: Magical memories

Kids need time to play. A cubby and playdough farm that evolved from ‘‘free time’’. Pictures: Tricia HogbinI APPRECIATE the importance of not over-scheduling my daughter’s time. For extracurricular activities we’ve always had the rule of ‘‘swimming plus one’’. But we’ve been cheating. I gave in to my desire to give my daughter as many opportunities as possible.
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We squeezed swimming and gymnastics into one afternoon – and briefly ignored the fact that her schedule included three structured activities. But then my daughter reminded me that what she wants most is ‘‘more time to just play’’.

Time to play is what our children need most. Unstructured play is how they learn to imagine, create, communicate, and resolve problems. It’s how they learn to live a meaningful life.

Two recent moments of free play reminded me how valuable time to simply play is.

I made a batch of play-dough. At eight I thought my daughter might be too old for play-dough. But I was wrong. She and a friend grabbed some animal figures and built a paddock, horse jumps, stables and a farm house. They spent hours in their imaginary world absorbed in meaningful creative play.

On another day they built a cubby with sticks and decorated it with bunting. They proudly told me ‘‘we made it all by ourselves’’ and asked to build a campfire. I appreciate the importance of safe childhood risk-taking as much as free play – so agreed. One of my favourite quotes is from outdoor play advocate Richard Louv: ‘‘Small risks taken early (and the natural world is good place to take those risks) can prepare children to avoid more onerous risks later in life.’’

I wandered back to their cubby with matches, a picnic hamper, pan and a batch of pancake batter. They proudly cooked their own pancakes and after lunch set about adding more rooms to their cubby. Free time, some sticks and an opportunity to create their own world evolved into a magical moment I’m guessing they will remember for a very long time.

A similar childhood play session is one of my favourite memories. The moment was so insignificant that my mum can’t even remember it. It was school holidays and my mum was busy – so she gave me a block of clay to keep me occupied. I can clearly remember the joy I felt in having hours to sit and lose myself in creating with my own hands. It’s moments like this that matter. I had pottery lessons later in my childhood. But that moment instilled in me a love for creating with clay – far more than the structured lessons did.

Childhood is not a race or a competition. Our children don’t need to be drowning in extracurricular activities to become talented and capable. What they need is plenty of empty moments. They need time to be bored. It’s the moments of boredom that force them to learn how to entertain themselves.

We each have a lifetime to discover and nurture interests. We don’t need to do everything we desire immediately. I’m yet to act on my desire to create with clay. I will one day. But there’s no rush. Similarly, my daughter is dropping gymnastics for now. Perhaps she’ll drop guitar lessons one day to take up gymnastics again. Or she may move onto something completely different.

Our children don’t need to excel at everything right now. There’s no sense in rushing their one and only precious childhood.

Tricia shares tips for living better with less at littleecofootprints上海夜网m and on Instagram (TriciaEco).

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Sharon Claydon supports fossil fuel divestment dialogue with community

CSIRO Director Energy Business Unit Peter Mayfield with Kotara High School students Sofia Davey, Stanton and Newcastle MP Sharon Claydon inspecting CSIRO solar research facilities at Newcastle. Photo by PHIL HEARNE NEWCASTLE MP and former Newcastle City councillor Sharon Claydon believes community consultation is essential to any transition away from fossil fuels.
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Ms Claydon declined to say if she supported her Labor colleagues’ controversial motion to preference renewable energy investments over those linked to fossil fuels.

‘‘It’s a long time since I’ve been able to comment on Newcastle City Council but I do know for the federal Labor party, we have a commitment to having a goal of reaching 50 per cent renewables by 2030,’’ she said.

‘‘We will do that in both consultation with the industry and the broader community.’’

Ms Claydon made the comments while visiting CSIRO clean energy centre at Steel River with local high school students late last week.

She said the centre’s research was an essential part of helping to meet the region’s future energy needs.

The other essential element of that transition was consultation, especially for a region with an history steeped in coal.

‘‘Whatever transitions occur need to be in close partnership with with men and women who have real skin in the game in terms of their industry, which is undergoing massive transformation,’’ she said.

Ms Claydon, would not say if she believed Labor councillors should have taken their proposal to the community before it was presented to council.

‘‘I’m unable to comment on their consultation process. As a federal member of parliament I would absolutely involve my community in those discussions,’’ she said.

Kotara High School students Sofia Davey and Sarah Stanton inspecting CSIRO solar research facilities at Newcastle. Photo by PHIL HEARNE

Year 11 Kotara High students Sofia Davey and Sarah Stanton were among those who visited the CSIRO clean energy centre.

‘‘I’m really keen to see what sort of work is happening, especially locally, and how researchers are finding ways to benefit society,’’ she said.

‘‘I’m also interested in seeing where we can take subjects like physics, chemistry and biology after school.’’

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Youth unemployment surges in Hunter

One in five youths in the Hunter, outside Newcastle, are out of work, according to new figures.YOUTH unemployment in the Hunter, outside Newcastle, has risen to 20.6per cent and is the highest in NSW, according to new figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
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The jobless rate for 15 to 24-year-olds is 15.1per cent in the Newcastle/Lake Macquarie region and 14.9per cent on the Central Coast.

The youth unemployment rate in the Maitland area is about five times the jobless rate for young people living in Sydney’s northern beaches, which is 5.2per cent.

Politicians from the government and opposition have said the situation was unacceptable.

Parliamentary secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald said he was unhappy to hear that the youth unemployment rate in the Hunter had broken the 20per cent mark.

‘‘As a government, we have got to do better,’’ he said.

‘‘The Hunter is feeling the cyclic effects of the price crunch in the coal industry, which has flow-on effects.

‘‘It’s a difficult space out there.’’

Mr MacDonald said the government was still working out how its new Jobs For NSW initiative, which is expected to create 150,000 new positions across the state, could help the Hunter.

Jobs For NSW will deliver $190 million over the next four years to boost job creation across the state.

But opposition spokeswoman for the Hunter Jodie Harrison said Premier Mike Baird cut funding for regional jobs programs.

‘‘More than one in five young people in the Hunter cannot find a job,’’ she said.

‘‘It is simply unfair that where a young person has grown up can give such disadvantage.

‘‘How can the Premier cut regional funding and leave Hunter families knowing that their kids are four times more likely to be unemployed than young people in the Premier’s electorate?’’

The youth unemployment rate in the Hunter, outside Newcastle, jumped from 5.8per cent to 16.8per cent between the beginning of 2013 and June, 2014. It was floating around the 15er cent mark at the beginning of this year.

Youth Express CEO Julie Eldridge told Fairfax Media in January that the region’s jobless rate for young people was ‘‘scarily high’’.

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Revitalisation forum discusses city’s future: poll

Sir Bob Parker, mayor of Christchurch, is visiting Newcastle to discuss the city’s revitalisation. Picture by Brock PerksNEWCASTLE’S ‘great bones’ were the key to transforming the former steel city into one of the world’s great regional cities, former Christchurch, New Zealand mayor Sir Bob Parker said on Sunday.
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A veteran of the urban transformation process, Sir Bob told a Revitalising Newcastle forum he had no doubt Newcastle would once again become a thriving urban centre because of the passion that Novocastraians displayed about its future.

‘‘Christchurch had to go through a similar ground-up transformation when we rather would not have,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m very optimistic about Newcastle because I can see plenty of people who are passionate about this place.’’

More than 100 people attended the weekend’s UrbanGrowth NSW community workshops about the city’s future.

Newcastle train station was among the locations that participants visited to discuss urban renewal opportunities.

Sir Bob said the city’s natural beauty, educational resources, such as the university, the port, and rich natural resources of the Hunter were the bones, or building blocks, of a great city.

‘‘You wouldn’t get better bones to build a city around anywhere in the world,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s a question of what do you want to do? How do you strengthen it to make it a place that people want to come to.’’

UrbanGrowth NSW program director Michael Cassel said community participation and feedback were essential components of the revitalisation process.

“For example, some people expressed the view that the land in the heavy rail corridor should be mainly parkland, while others wanted it transformed into active recreational and cultural opportunities,’’ he said.

‘‘Others felt that some of the land should be used for enterprises that stimulate the economy and attract investment to the city centre, including educational, jobs and innovation hubs, with a range of housing to support new jobs in the city.’’

Community feedback from last year generally supported:

• Reinstating Hunter Street as a thriving main street where people can shop and enjoy cultural and leisure activities

• Improving connections between the city centre and the waterfront

• Creating a mix of housing types in the city centre

• Introduction of new jobs and educational facilities in the city centre • Restoring and sensitively reusing heritage buildings such as Newcastle Railway Station

• Enhancing active recreation areas along the waterfront.

For more information or to participate in online engagement initiatives, visit www.revitalisingnewcastle上海夜网m.au

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