Olympic fight back to reach NPL grand final

Olympic fight back to reach NPL grand final Scenes from the NPL semi-final between Lambton Jaffas and Hamilton Olympic on Sunday. Olympic players celebrate their equaliser with their fans. Picture: Peter Stoop
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Scenes from the NPL semi-final between Lambton Jaffas and Hamilton Olympic on Sunday. Picture: Peter Stoop

Scenes from the NPL semi-final between Lambton Jaffas and Hamilton Olympic on Sunday. Picture: Peter Stoop

Scenes from the NPL semi-final between Lambton Jaffas and Hamilton Olympic on Sunday. Picture: Peter Stoop

Scenes from the NPL semi-final between Lambton Jaffas and Hamilton Olympic on Sunday. Picture: Peter Stoop

Scenes from the NPL semi-final between Lambton Jaffas and Hamilton Olympic on Sunday. Picture: Peter Stoop

Scenes from the NPL semi-final between Lambton Jaffas and Hamilton Olympic on Sunday. Picture: Peter Stoop

Scenes from the NPL semi-final between Lambton Jaffas and Hamilton Olympic on Sunday. Picture: Peter Stoop

Scenes from the NPL semi-final between Lambton Jaffas and Hamilton Olympic on Sunday. Picture: Peter Stoop

Scenes from the NPL semi-final between Lambton Jaffas and Hamilton Olympic on Sunday. Jaffas Luke Remmington scores a goal and celebrates with a backflip. Picture: Peter Stoop

Scenes from the NPL semi-final between Lambton Jaffas and Hamilton Olympic on Sunday. Jaffas Luke Remmington scores a goal and celebrates with a backflip. Picture: Peter Stoop

Scenes from the NPL semi-final between Lambton Jaffas and Hamilton Olympic on Sunday. Olympic players celebrate their equaliser with their fans. Picture: Peter Stoop

Scenes from the NPL semi-final between Lambton Jaffas and Hamilton Olympic on Sunday. Olympic players celebrate their equaliser with their fans. Picture: Peter Stoop

Scenes from the NPL semi-final between Lambton Jaffas and Hamilton Olympic on Sunday. Olympic players celebrate their win after extra time. Picture: Peter Stoop

Scenes from the NPL semi-final between Lambton Jaffas and Hamilton Olympic on Sunday. Olympic players celebrate their win after extra time. Picture: Peter Stoop

TweetFacebookCOACH Michael Bolch praised the work of his substitutes, one of whom appears set to miss the grand final, after Hamilton drew 2-2 with Lambton Jaffas in an extra-time thriller to go into the Northern NSW National Premier decider.

Hamilton were down 2-0 on Sunday at Edden Oval and 3-2 behind on aggregate before a 77th-minute header from Pat Brown off an Andrew Swan cross brought the two-leg semi-final to 3-3.

The goal took the game into extra-time, and Olympic continued to pile on the pressure in extra-time before Rhys Cooper ran through onto a Kane Goodchild flick-on and buried his one-on-one chance in the 111th minute to give Hamilton the overall win and a date with minor premiers Edgeworth.

Despite the surprise absence of midfield linchpin Jobe Wheelhouse to an ankle injury, the David Tanchevski-coached Jaffas controlled most of the match.

Goals from Luke Remington (45th minute) and Riley McNaughton (55th) put the defending major premiers in the box seat before Olympic brought on Matt Swan and Jason Korotkich for Ben Koina and an ill Simon Mooney in the 59th minute. In the 73rd minute, the Jaffas lost Jamie Byrnes to a calf injury and the tide turned even more.

‘‘We were 2-0 down, but the boys dug deep and kept going and going,’’ Bolch said.

‘‘[Brad Swancott] made a couple of really good saves for them at the end and I’ll agree with Tanch from last week, they were the better side today – for 70 minutes anyway.

‘‘I thought the subs we put on did really well for us. They changed the game.

‘‘Matt Swan has had a hamstring problem we’ve nursed him through, but he is a quality player to have on the bench.

‘‘Koro did really well, too. He gave us energy in the middle of the park.’’

However, in a blow to Olympic, Matt Swan is set to miss the grand final after securing a new job in Western Australia. He is due to fly out on Thursday.

As well as Wheelhouse, the Jaffas were without Hakan Canli and Kevin Davison.

Tanchevski agreed that the changes late in the game were decisive.

‘‘The first 70 we were really good,’’ Tanchevski said. ‘‘But the changes hurt us. We had two injuries and I had three boys on the bench who were 17 years of age and under22s who had hardly any first-grade time.

‘‘Alex Palozzi was the only regular first-grader there.

‘‘Their subs came on and made a difference for them, whereas we were running a bit thin today. That probably hurt us a bit.’’

However, he was full of praise for teenager defender Michael Williams and former Leeds United star Michael Bridges, who made a rare starting appearance in place of Wheelhouse and set up Remington’s goal with a deft touch.

‘‘Michael Williams had a great game and was our players’ player,’’ he said.

‘‘Bridgey and Jamie Byrnes did well for us and when they came off. That’s when we lost our way a bit.’’

Hamilton play the Eagles in the grand final on Sunday.

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REAL NRL: Wests crush Central to hold top spot for play-offs

REAL NRL: Wests crush Central Action from the Real NRL game Central v Wests on Sunday. Wests celebrate. Photo by Marina Neil
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Action from the Real NRL game Central v Wests on Sunday. Wests celebrate. Photo by Marina Neil

Action from the Real NRL game Central v Wests on Sunday. Wests #12 Matt Herman. Photo by Marina Neil

Action from the Real NRL game Central v Wests on Sunday. Wests #12 Matt Herman tackled by Central #6 Ethan Cook.Photo by Marina Neil

Action from the Real NRL game Central v Wests on Sunday. Wests #9 Chris Knight. Photo by Marina Neil

TweetFacebookWESTERN Suburbs coach Dean Botham asked his players how badly they wanted the Newcastle Rugby League minor premiership.

On Sunday, the Rosellas delivered an emphatic response by beating Central 44-18 at St John Oval to secure a third-straight minor title and the club championship.

Lakes United’s 36-4 win on Saturday over Souths gave the Seagulls a superior for and against, and meant Wests required at least a draw to remain in first place before next weekend’s semi-finals.

‘‘I said, ‘How bad do you want it. Show me your desperation’,’’ Botham said.

‘‘It was about going out and earning some respect today.’’

Wests had been far from convincing over the past month, but they played with more fluency in attack.

Centre Simon Williams opened with two tries and props Ryan Petro and Mark Taufua and winger Ryan Lamb all crossed the chalk for a 26-6 lead at half-time.

‘‘I’m a bit wary of showing too much during the year to our opposition so we did change a few little things and the boys quite liked those changes and they seemed to gel,’’ Botham said.

The attacking flair continued in the second half as Wests piled on tries from Callan Richardson (two) and Matt Herman.

Butcher Boys winger Liam Boney scored off a bomb and prop Jarome Wilson barged over, but the home side never threatened the defending premiers.

Souths’ loss guaranteed Central safe passage through to a second consecutive finals series, so captain-coach Rowan Kelly opted to rest Cruise Wilson, Brett Jarrett, Tim Penny and Matt Baker, who have niggles.

Central face the Goannas at Cessnock Sportsground in the elimination semi-final, which will likely be held on Saturday.

‘‘I’m disappointed we lost, as you don’t want to lose in front of your home fans, but in the end we’ve got to dust ourselves off and prepare for next week,’’ Kelly said.

Not even a 70-minute performance from former international and NSW State of Origin second-rower, Andrew Ryan, and a large Sleapy’s Day crowd could inspire Souths to keep their semi-final hopes live.

Lakes piled on 26 unanswered points in the second half against the Lions.

Ryan started the match, just his third since retiring from Canterbury in 2011, and he was still among Souths’ top performers.

Both sides were scrappy in the opening 40 minutes, before Lakes took control following a Souths mistake off the first set of the second half.

Fullback Jack Mackin scored off a backline move, then prop Tim Harlow and centre Josh Charles crossed for tries within 10 minutes to blow the score out to 24-4.

It was the Lions’ fourth straight loss after they spent the majority of the season in the top four.

Macquarie coach Barrie Moore believes his side are carrying superior form into the semi-finals than in past years after defeating Maitland 42-20 at Maitland Sportsground.

The victory and the Goannas’ 28-20 loss to Kurri Kurri at Cessnock Sportsground allowed the Scorpions to steal third spot and a second shot in the finals.

The Scorpions will play Lakes in the qualifying semi-final at Cahill Oval.

Macquarie have lost six straight semi-final matches since 2012, but Moore believes that is about to change.

‘‘Every year it happens and we worry about this thing about the semis, but we’ve got some good form going at the moment,’’ Moore said.

Halfback Mick Moran was rested due to a shoulder niggle and teenager Travis Edwards was impressive as his replacement.

Cessnock’s pre-finals form has been less convincing. The Goannas have lost five of their past seven games.

Their horror injury toll was further compounded by prop Alec Fata breaking his arm and centre Brendan Williams was heavily concussed.

The Goannas led 20-6 at half-time, but conceded off the second-half kick-off and from there Bulldogs stormed to victory to avoid the wooden spoon.

‘‘I just thought we were poor in the first half, let alone the second half,’’ Cessnock coach Craig Miller said.

‘‘We need to regather really quickly. I just don’t think a performance like that will get us past next week, it was as poor a performance I’ve been a part of.’’

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Legendary trainer Bart Cummings dies

OBITUARY: The King is dead
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JAMES ‘BART’ CUMMINGS

1927-2015

AS the racing industry mourns one of its own, the broader community is also coming to terms with the loss of Bart Cummings who has died aged 87.

While many people can’t name the latest premiership winning trainers, Bart Cummings is etched in Australian folklore because of his association with the Melbourne Cup, known as the race that stops the nation on the first Tuesday in November.

Cummings won 12. To put that in perspective, Lee Freedman has won five and with the influx of international horses now targeting the race, his chances of another seven are remote.

The champion trainer’s family have accepted the NSW government’s offer of a state funeral.

Cummings died in the early hours of Sunday morning and Prime Minister Tony Abbott is among those to acknowledge his passing.

‘‘Australia has lost a sporting giant and a racing legend,’’ Mr Abbott said. ‘‘Few people have dominated a sport like Bart Cummings did.

‘‘Race day will not be the same without him.’’

The Cups aside, Cummings won another 256 group one races, the last two in partnership with his grandson James.

Only the late TJ Smith with 279 won more and along with Cummings and the late CS Hayes, was an inaugural inductee to the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2001.

The three were adversaries in a time when racing was a people’s sport and crowds flocked to the tracks. Cummings had already trained eight Cup winners when his stable crashed along with the stock market in 1989.

He had entered into a handshake agreement with a group of financiers to form the Cups King syndicate, and after shelling out $22million on yearlings, Cummings was left with the lot.

With the support of his long-time friend, four-time Melbourne Cup winning owner, Malaysian businessman Dato Tan Chin Nam, he avoided bankruptcy and managed to keep his property, Princes Farm, where he died surrounded by his family.

‘‘He has done more than enough for me in his life. We have had our differences but at the end of the day bygones are bygones. A friend in need is a friend indeed and Bart Cummings is a great mate of mine,’’ Dato Tan said on Sunday.

Cummings was revered by the jockeys who rode for him and those who wished they had, and had the respect of the trainers he competed against.

Glen Boss rode many times for Cummings, most notably on the horse many consider his best, So You Think who did not win a Melbourne Cup.

He did win two Cox Plates, the first in 2009 with Boss aboard.

‘‘You treated him with so much respect because he’s an icon. He’s our Donald Bradman of our sport,’’ Boss said. ‘‘There’s no greater icon that I’ve ever seen. TJ’s up there, but what he has done – you look at his record and scratch your head and you can’t get your brain around what he has actually done.’’

A 20-year-old Blake Shinn rode Cummings’ last Cup winner, Viewed, in 2008 when the Dato Tan-owned horse held off the challenge of Bauer by a nose.

‘‘As a young kid on the big stage – looking back – all you need is confidence to do the job and that’s what he gave me,’’ Shinn said.

‘‘He said ‘son go and enjoy the moment. Put him in a good spot and if he’s good enough he’ll do the job’ and we got the job done.’’

As Cummings health declined, he took a backward step from the day-to-day running of the stable and spent most of his time at Princes Farm on the north-western outskirts of Sydney.

Last Friday marked the 61st wedding anniversary of Cummings and his wife Valmae. AAP

IF a 16-year-old Bart Cummings had taken medical advice to combat the chronic asthma that plagued him, the history of Australian racing would be different and so much poorer.

Cummings was given a simple cure for the chronic condition he had suffered all his life.

“It’s easy, stay away from horses and chaff,” his doctor told him.

It wasn’t easy, it was impossible and Cummings immediately hightailed it back to his father Jim’s stable to feed the horses.

Seven decades and 12 Melbourne Cups later, Cummings is firmly entrenched in Australian folklore as the Cups King. But he was anything but a once-a-year trainer and his record of 268 group-1 victories has only been bettered by the late T.J. Smith with 279.

“I don’t keep records,” Cummings once said. “That may sound strange but I never look back, I only look ahead. You can’t dwell on the past. Racing goes on and you have to go with it.”

So what were his secrets?

The training regime? “A good horse will win the race you train him for,” was the reply.

Is it in the feed? “I like to feed horses as much as they will eat.”

Cummings was famous for his one-liners, his sardonic grin and the sparkle in the eyes beneath a pretty impressive set of eyebrows.

But he never uttered a word without thinking, never smiled without reason and what those twinkling eyes saw set him apart from everyone else.

That Cummings remained in the game as long as he did was testament to his steely determination and resolve to pick himself up after adversity.

“All trainers, no matter how good, go through a battling stage,” he reflected.

“It’s just a matter of having the determination to go on and I hoped the breaks would not be long in coming.” AAP

A great sadness clouds over the Industry with the news of Bart Cummings’ passing.The Cups King’s legacy remembered – past, present & future.

-Gai Waterhouse

So sad to learn of the death of Bart Cummings, legend of the track and giant of the sport.

– Tony Abbott

You’d swear Bart Cummings was part horse with his ability to develop a winner. Was comfortable in a bush pub or with the Queen. #legend #rip

– Kurt Fearnley

Very sad to hear the passing of legendary racehorse trainer Bart Cummings. One of the greats!! #cupsking

– David Warner

Australian sport has lost its grandfather in the passing of Bart Cummings. Genius and legend so easily fit #RIPBart

-Gerard Whateley

Sombre day with the MASTER of our sport sadly passing away. Forever grateful & thanks for the memories JBC #RIPBart

–Blake Shinn

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Animal rights groups lash puppy farm inquiry

A dead dog at a puppy farm in Armidale Photo: Supplied Debra Tranter, the founder of Oscars Law, has slammed the findings of the parliamentary inquiry. Photo: Penny Stephens
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Animal Welfare groups have slammed the NSW parliamentary inquiry into puppy farms, claiming that the committee’s findings only repeat old recommendations and do not go far enough to address dangerous breeding practices.

The joint inquiry into companion animal breeding practices handed down its recommendations on Thursday, after a series of investigations by Fairfax Media and Animal rights group Oscar’s Law uncovered hundreds of dogs at several farms living in “inhumane and abhorrent” conditions.

Chief among the recommendations is a breeder licensing scheme. The NSW government failed to implement the proposal three years ago after it was first put forward by the Companion Animal Task Force.

“I think it’s ironic that recommendation one is just to implement previous recommendations,” said RSPCA NSW chief executive Steve Coleman,  “We made it clear that a lot of this work has been scoped before we just need the government to implement it.”

The investigations revealed puppies from uninhabitable farms were being transported around the country to pet stores and sold on popular trading websites. At one farm a dog had been left inside a dog food bag to rot, while at another a vet report revealed a pregnant female terrier had been left unaided while her intestines had eviscerated.

The breeder licensing scheme would require dog breeders to register their operations and include the licence number with the sale of each puppy. The number would allow the puppy to be traced directly back to the breeder.

The committee’s chair, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, who has had four puppy farms raided in his electorate in the past year, said the move would empower consumers.

“Why do people buy free range eggs?” he said.  “Because the community is becoming more educated and speaking with their shopping habits, we need to have the strong regulatory system to ensure people don’t buy puppies that are unlicensed.”

While Mr Marshall hopes that consumers will vote with their wallets, Mr Coleman said under current funding arrangements the RSPCA does not have the resources to be able to effectively police rogue puppy farmers throughout the state.

“It’s going to take additional staff and up to eight additional inspectors, which cost up to $120,000 a year each to be able to effectively visit these farms once a year at the very least,” said Mr Coleman.

Mr Marshall acknowledged that resourcing was “the elephant in the room.”

He called on fellow Nationals MP and newly-minted Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair to take on the committee’s recommendations and recognise that the government had to increase resources to combat puppy farming.

The inquiry also suggested that local council rangers could aid the RSPCA by being granted powers to inspect suspicious farms.

“That is the only major change I noticed,” said Mr Coleman. “Chances are they will know what’s going on and hopefully they will be able to take action.”

The founder of Oscars Law, Debra Tranter, criticised the committee for not recommending a ban on puppies in pet shops, a minimum staff to dog ratio, or a limit on the amount of litters a dog could breed.

“How can a puppy farm with two staff members and 300 dogs who are breeding for up to 10 years produce healthy puppies?,” said Ms Tranter. “We have proved that it is simply not possible.”

The NSW government has until January to respond to the committee’s recommendations.

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Late inclusion Sam Fogarty inspires Merewether win

Late inclusion Fogarty inspires Merewether win Scenes from the Merewether Carlton v University NHRU game on Sunday. Picture Brock Perks
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Scenes from the Merewether Carlton v University NHRU game on Sunday. Picture Brock Perks

Scenes from the Merewether Carlton v University NHRU game on Sunday. Picture Brock Perks

Scenes from the Merewether Carlton v University NHRU game on Sunday. Picture Brock Perks

Scenes from the Merewether Carlton v University NHRU game on Sunday. Picture Brock Perks

Scenes from the Merewether Carlton v University NHRU game on Sunday. Picture Brock Perks

Scenes from the Merewether Carlton v University NHRU game on Sunday. Picture Brock Perks

Scenes from the Merewether Carlton v University NHRU game on Sunday. Picture Brock Perks

Scenes from the Merewether Carlton v University NHRU game on Sunday. Picture Brock Perks

Scenes from the Merewether Carlton v University NHRU game on Sunday. Picture Brock Perks

Scenes from the Merewether Carlton v University NHRU game on Sunday. Picture Brock Perks

Scenes from the Merewether Carlton v University NHRU game on Sunday. Picture Brock Perks

Scenes from the Merewether Carlton v University NHRU game on Sunday. Picture Brock Perks

Scenes from the Merewether Carlton v University NHRU game on Sunday. Picture Brock Perks

Scenes from the Merewether Carlton v University NHRU game on Sunday. Picture Brock Perks

Scenes from the Merewether Carlton v University NHRU game on Sunday. Picture Brock Perks

Scenes from the Merewether Carlton v University NHRU game on Sunday. Picture Brock Perks

Scenes from the Merewether Carlton v University NHRU game on Sunday. Picture Brock Perks

Scenes from the Merewether Carlton v University NHRU game on Sunday. Picture Brock Perks

Scenes from the Merewether Carlton v University NHRU game on Sunday. Picture Brock Perks

Scenes from the Merewether Carlton v University NHRU game on Sunday. Picture Brock Perks

Scenes from the Merewether Carlton v University NHRU game on Sunday. Picture Brock Perks

Scenes from the Merewether Carlton v University NHRU game on Sunday. Picture Brock Perks

TweetFacebookSAM Fogarty was named on the bench, started at outside centre, shifted to inside centre after five minutes, and by full-time had inspired Merewether Carlton to a 27-6 victory over University in the elimination semi-final at No.2 Sportsground on Sunday.

Merewether scored four tries and kept their line intact to qualify for another Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union sudden-death semi at No.2 on Sunday against The Waratahs, who were beaten 22-19 by Wanderers at No.2 on Saturday.

Fogarty threw the final pass for the first of right winger Sam Rouse’s two tries, and he combined with backline partner Rapine Mason to create a try under the crossbar for left winger Luke Toovey just before half-time to give the Greens a 17-3 lead at the break.

The long-haired centre was equally effective in defence, earning the nod as players’ player.

Greens captain Gareth Ernst was ruled out because of a hand injury he sustained against The Waratahs a fortnight ago.

In the backline reshuffle, Jay Strachan started at halfback, Blake Creighton played fullback and Fogarty ran on as outside centre.

Greens coach Jason Toby had to make another switch after five minutes when inside centre Kent Hatchwell suffered concussion and had to be helped from the field.

‘‘Defensively, Sam led that line-up in midfield and really set the platform for us in defence, so I thought he was our best today along with Patty Ireland on the side of the scrum,’’ Toby said.

‘‘Our defence was one of the big positives out of today, to hold them to no tries.

‘‘We have leaked a few points over the last few weeks, so it was good to have that structure and solidness back in our defence, and the attitude was a lot better in that second half.’’

Toby said Hatchwell would be monitored this week but was unlikely to play on Sunday.

‘‘They’re still assessing Kent now, but he’s had a few head knocks this year, so we’ll have to assess him through the week,’’ he said.

Merewether created several scoring chances in the first half but crossed for only two tries and did not take advantage of the strong southerly at their backs.

Uni, in their first final in five years, began dominating possession early in the second half and cut the deficit to 17-6 in the 49th minute when Jack Rixon kicked his second penalty.

Captain Sam Berry made ground almost every time he touched the ball in broken play, but Uni could not convert possession into points and became frustrated as they chased the game.

Creighton created Rouse’s second try with a well placed chip kick to the corner in the 62nd minute to extend Merewether’s lead to 22-6, then Strachan sealed the deal with a solo scoot to score in the 76th minute.

‘‘It was a bit of a danger game for us because it was their first semi-final in a couple of years and they were always going to be all pumped up for it, too, so it was good to see us weather that storm and play ourselves out of that rut that we were in early on,’’ Toby said.

‘‘We ended up playing some good footy and scoring some good tries, so that was pleasing.

‘‘We weren’t that patient in the first half.

‘‘We had the wind and probably didn’t use that as much as we should have and we squandered some chances, so it came down to patience.’’

Toby said the Greens could not afford to be so reckless against The Waratahs on Sunday.

‘‘They won’t give us many chances and we’ll have to be defensively good because they’re one of the best attacking sides in the comp,’’ he said.

‘‘They throw the ball around and test you quite a bit, so our attitude in defence has to be right.

‘‘And we need to score points – you’ve got to score points to beat Waratah – so it’s all about our execution, and we’ll be concentrating on that this week.’’

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Unwanted Farah star of the show

Robbie Farah acknowledges the support of fans after the Tigers’ win on Sunday. Picture: Getty ImagesROBBIE Farah’s future at the Wests Tigers remains clouded despite his starring role in the joint venture’s 50-16 rout of the Warriors at Campbelltown Stadium on Sunday.
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Farah responded to management’s request last week for him to look for another club next season with a consummate performance, scoring one try and setting up another three as the Tigers moved off the bottom of the NRL ladder.

The crowd of 6711 made their feelings known when they broke into a “Robbie” chant regularly, and many in the stands brandished signs in support of the Tigers skipper.

After the match, Farah said he was not treating it as his last in Tigers’ colours at the venue.

“It was pretty amazing. I think Luke Brooks even said he got goosebumps hearing it, and it wasn’t even his name,” Farah said.

“You can just imagine how it felt for me. The support and to hear that and to see how everyone was behind me, it’s just been overwhelming.

“To be honest, when I scored that try and the chant went up, I had a tear in the eye.

“It’s pretty emotional.”

Farah said he would have no problem working with coach Jason Taylor next year, after he had asked him to move on to free up salary cap space.

Taylor praised Farah’s effort.

“Robbie and I have worked together all week, and that’s why we got that performance,” Taylor said.

“It was a good performance and a fitting performance.”

The fans roundly booed Taylor as he came from the field after the warm-up.

The Tigers jumped to 14th on the NRL ladder with the two points but Penrith can move back ahead with a win over Canberra on Monday night.

Wests ensured Keith Galloway and Pat Richards went out winners in their final home games for the club.

Warriors coach Andrew McFadden admitted there were some on his team who simply weren’t up to scratch after suffering their seventh loss in a row.

Fullback Sam Tomkins’ NRL career is likely over after he injured his ankle trying to chase down a runaway Tim Simona in the second half.

Charlie Gubb faces scrutiny from the match review committee after he was put on report for two shoulder charges.

“We’re a boat full of holes and we’re trying to plug one at a time,” McFadden said.

“At the moment we’ve got some senior blokes that are flogging their guts out, some young kids that are inexperienced and learning the hard way and some guys that probably aren’t up to it.”

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Boxer Josh English rebounds from Commonwealth Games snub

From left, Charles Keama and Ivan Pavich in action during the Men’s Fly (52kg). Photo: Melissa AdamsShattered at having his Commonwealth Games dream ripped away from him, Gosford boxer Josh English debated giving the sport away.
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He is relieved he didn’t after booking a spot on Australia’s world championship squad with a walkover win at the Oceania championships in Canberra on Sunday.

The 23-year-old didn’t have to set foot in the ring for the 49kg division final after Papua New Guinean Charlie Keama opted to fight in the 52kg class, which he won.

It was an anti-climax, but English is happy he pressed on with his career and booked his world championships place at Doha in five weeks.

English made the squad for last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but he missed out after women’s boxing was introduced to the schedule for the first time.

“I made the team but because women’s boxing was entered, they had to cut two weight divisions out of the men,” he said.

“They cut mine and the 64kg division, the two they thought would be the toughest to win medals in. I was planning on giving it away but the start of the year I had a chat with a close friend and decided to set my goals on the world championships.

“I didn’t fight today but the goal was to get a ticket to the world championships, so the result was the same.”

After failing to win a single medal four years earlier, Australia won two gold and a silver at Glasgow last year, coach Kevin Smith’s first big tournament at the helm.

English is confident he can press for a medal at Doha, which would guarantee him an Olympics spot next year. “You have to medal over there to qualify automatically, but I’m confident at my best I can beat anyone,” he said.

“It [Australian boxing] is on the way back, especially with Kevin as coach, he’s doing good things and is very knowledgeable with his experience.”

OCEANIA CHAMPIONSHIPS FINALS

56kg: Boe Warawara (Van) bt Jayden Hansen (Aus)

81kg: Aaron Spagnolo (Aus) bt Pasefika Iti (Asa)

60kg: Chad Milnes (NZ) bt Joshua Keirl (Aus)

52kg: Charles Keama (PNG) bt Ivan Pavich (NZ)

Over 91kg: Joe Goodall (Aus) bt Patrick Mailata (NZ)

91kg: David Nykia (NZ) bt Jason Whateley (Aus)

75kg: Daniel Lewis (Aus) bt Jonathan Keama (PNG)

69kg: Joshua Nykia (NZ) bt Nathan Webber (Aus)

64kg: David Biddle (Aus) bt Colan Caleb (NRU)

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Bloomfield buys piece of Integra mine

New part-owner Bloomfield will run the open-cut Rix’s Creek North mine. Glencore have no current plans to restart the Integra underground mine.BRAZILIAN mining company Vale has signed an agreement to sell its Integra mining operation near Singleton to Hunter company Bloomfield and international operator Glencore.
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Integra has an underground and open-cut operation that it shut last year on a “care and maintenance” basis, putting 500 people out of work.

In an announcement last week, Bloomfield announced that it would take over the open-cut mine, which was originally known as Camberwell, its coal washery and a rail loop joining the mine to the main rail line.

In the same announcement, Glencore said it would take over the underground mine, formerly known as Glennies Creek.

It would also have a right to use the coal washery and rail facilities on a “cost-plus basis”.

The deal was still subject to regulatory approval and was expected to be finalised in coming weeks.

Bloomfield managing director John Richards said the company intended to run the open-cut mine from its adjacent Rix’s Creek operation, and call it Rix’s Creek North.

The head of Glencore’s Australian coal operations, Ian Cribb, said the company had not yet decided an operational future for the underground mine, and a decision was not expected for some months.

Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union district president Peter Jordan said the union welcomed the purchase, which was a sign of confidence in the industry.

It was too early to say how many jobs would be created but the union was talking to Bloomfield about its labour requirements for Rix’s Creek North.

Mr Richards said the long-term future of the coal industry was sound with solid demand for growth through advanced and developing countries.

“New high-efficiency power plants and other technologies are helping to reduce emissions from power generation,” Mr Richards said.

“Buying [the open-cut mine, a coal washery and a rail loop] is a logical and unique opportunity that will strengthen our ability to operate over the long term,” Mr Richards said.

“This deal will breathe new life into the Integra open-cut site and will sustain local employment.”

Mr Cribb said buying the underground leases gave Glencore the potential to “realise synergies from adjoining tenements”.

“While the Integra underground had been a profitable semi-hard coking coal mine in the past, it was placed on care and maintenance in 2014 and Glencore has no plans to restart the operation in the near term,” he said.

“We intend to evaluate a number of options for the Integra underground mine in the months ahead,” Mr Cribb said.

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China is set to display its military ambitions to the world this week

China wins first round on South China Sea contest
Shanghai night field

China will roll out its latest weaponry through the heart of Beijing this week in a massive parade widely seen as a public show of its growing military capability and ambitions.

The military parade on Thursday, the first under President Xi Jinping’s leadership, is billed by Beijing as a sincere commemoration for those who fought and died in World War Two.

But Western leaders, including Australia’s, have shunned Beijing’s invitations, worried that the none-too-subtle projection of military power is no more than an exercise in drum-beating nationalism, at a time of heightened tensions in the East and South China seas.

For Mr Xi, who as chairman of China’s Central Military Commission is also the commander of the world’s largest army, it is another milestone in his centralisation of authority since his elevation to power in 2012.

“There’s this focus [where] they really need to build up their effectiveness in maritime and the ability to project power,” says Tai Ming Cheung, director of the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation in San Diego. “What Xi Jinping talks about is the ability to not just be able to fight wars but win wars. This is his message.”

In a historical context, the military parade also sends a message to Japan over what China perceives as their refusal to fully atone for wartime acts – a thorny issue that has haunted the relationship between the two Asian powers.

Military parades of such scale are usually held for every tenth 10th anniversary of the country’s founding. Rather than wait until 2019, Mr Xi declared a new national holiday, Victory Day. (The full title –  the 70th anniversary of Chinese People’s Anti-Japanese War and the World Anti-Fascist War Victory Commemoration Day – is revealing).

“The display of military hardware on the one hand abundantly shows our national defence and military achievements,” says National Defence University professor Qiao Liang. “On the other hand, it also shows the People’s Liberation Army of China’s complete determination and ability to defend the country’s sovereignty and territory.”

But beyond the arrays of tanks, air echelon formations and 12,000 goose-stepping soldiers trained to march the length of Tiananmen square with 128 precise steps in 66 seconds, Mr Xi’s show of strength comes just at the most testing period of his leadership.

A ferocious sell-off on China’s sharemarkets has underscored concerns that the country’s economy is slowing markedly, and undergoing an unprecedentedly difficult transition. In Tianjin, dramatic explosions at a chemical warehouse led to tragic loss of life and accusations of corruption, lax enforcement of safety standards and environmental cover-ups.

Both issues have led to people, both in and out of China, openly questioning the leadership’s credentials to an extent not seen previously during Mr Xi’s reign.

In more ways than one, the parade is a big deal for Mr Xi, and no effort has been spared to ensure its smooth running.

Beijing has been bathed in uncharacteristically blue skies for the past week as the capital prepares for virtual lockdown. More than 850,000 security personnel and volunteers will be mobilised. Factories and construction sites have been ordered shut and half of the city’s cars forced off the roads two weeks in advance.

The overt militarisation prompted a diplomatic headache for Western nations, worried their absence might offend China but wary of being seen to endorse the military spectacle.

Among those who will attend are Russian President Vladimir Putin, and leaders from Pakistan, South Africa, Sudan, Cuba and Egypt.

But US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister, David Cameron have shunned the event. Australia is sending Michael Ronaldson, the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.

Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, confirmed last week that he – unsurprisingly – would not attend.

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Canberra paceman Jason Behrendorff using extra pace to reach Australian goal after injury spell

Canberra fast bowler Jason Behrendorff has his sights set on breaking into the Australian team with an arsenal of extra pace and a refined technique.
Shanghai night field

Having been sidelined for five months with stress fractures in his back, the 25-year-old left-armer has returned to bowling in preparation for the start of the domestic season in October.

Behrendorff will spearhead the Western Australian pace bowling attack and will also be a key component in the Perth Scorchers attempting to win three straight Big Bash League titles.

It was after the BBL final at Manuka Oval in January when MRI scans found Behrendorff had sustained a partial fracture to a bone in his back, leading to him missing the rest of the summer.

Behrendorff was on the verge of higher honours having been named the domestic cricketer of the year and in the mix as a World Cup and Ashes bolter.

“Going through the rehab period was really quite tough at times because you go through highs and lows,” Behrendorff said.

“To have those goals that you can write down and see, this is where I want to be in four weeks’ time, eight weeks’ time, at the top of my list is playing for Australia.

“That’s a big goal for me and hopefully it’s not too far away.”

Behrendorff emerged as a damaging fast bowler in all three forms of the game.

He was one of the premier bowlers in the BBL, finishing as the second highest wicket-taker with 15 wickets at an average of 16.73 and an economy rate of 6.28.

Behrendorff also claimed 40 wickets at 22.75 in the Sheffield Shield and 11 wickets in the national one-day competition, while taking four wickets for the PM’s XI against England in January.

He began bowling last month having made a slight alteration to his action to alleviate the stress on his back.

Behrendorff hopes those changes, along with a greater emphasis on strength training, will allow him to bowl in the low to mid-140km/h range more often while still having his trademark late swing.

“I hope the combination I’ve been doing on my action and the increased strength I’m able to get through my work in the gym will get me a little bit quicker,” he said.

“If I’m swinging the ball at high 130s, low 140s, then you’re always in the game.”

Behrendorff is on track for the start of the one-day competition on October 5.

“The most important thing is making sure I start the season well,” he said.

“If I start the season well, start taking wickets again, you never know what can happen. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time.”

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