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Archive for August, 2019

NPL: Lambton Jaffas keen to lift for Ridge Mapu after career-ending injury

LAMBTON Jaffas will rally for Ridge Mapu in their NNSW NPL semi-final against Edgeworth on Saturday after the 25-year-old retired following news he needs a fourth knee reconstruction.

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TIGHT: Ridge Mapu, centre, is swamped by teammates after scoring in last year’s 2-0 extra-time grand final win over Edgeworth at McDonald Jones Stadium. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Mapu went down in the final-round 2-1 loss to Lake Macquarie last Saturday with a suspected anterior cruciate ligament injury.Jaffas coach James Pascoe said scans confirmed the damage and Mapu had called it a day.

“I think it’s the right decision for him,” Pascoe said.

“It’s the third time he’s done it in that left leg and he’s done the right one as well before. He works in the construction game so he needs his legs right.It’s unfortunate for him. He’s been terrific the last couple of years for us.”

He said the loss would provide added motivation for the Jaffas, who beat Edgeworth in the grand final last season but have come into this year’s play-offs in fourth spot and after two losses.

“You don’t need anymore to play for in a semi-final, but when something like that happens to someone who’s worked as hard as Ridge has, and is as popular as he is, the boys will bind together and try and get a result for him,” he said.

Pascoe said the Jaffas were otherwise fully fit for the first leg atEdden Oval.

Edgeworth, premiers for a fourth consecutive season, will be without Daniel McBreen (overseas) and Aaron McLoughlin (Achilles).

Meanwhile, Eagles coach Damian Zane respondedto a comment this week from Pascoe that “I don’t think here’s any doubt we’ve got better players than them”.

“When there’s talk about better players and things like that, I think that’s disrespectful, but the players have a chuckle,” Zane said.”Depending what you want, they might be better.Each coach has a way they want to play and I’m sure certain guys wouldn’t fit into other teams, so it’s an opinion.”

“Anyway, it’s not tennis, it’s a team sport.”

Despite losing key players from last season, Edgeworth won the league by 11 points this year –the biggest margin of Zane’s four-peat.

“They fit in well with what we try to do,” he said of his players.

“I think sometimes too many chefs in the kitchen isn’t the best option, and it probably showed a bit last year with us. The balance wasn’t quite right, whereas this year, for whatever reason, they’ve all got along and worked hard.”

The Jaffas won their round one clash with Edgeworth 4-3 and drew their second. Zane believed his side would be much stronger third time around.

“I was watching the round one game, and we’re a different team to then,” he said.

“We struggled in the Heritage Cup, and that round one game we started slow and worked our way into it.

“Wewalked away from that with a bit of confidence and I looked at the team I put out, and I probably got a few things wrong. We’ve come a long away since then. It’s a credit to the players, because everyone was writing them off.

“I know there’s talk about Lambton having our measure but we won the Cup game last year, and they wanted to win that as much as we did.

“And essentially the grand final was a draw as far as 90 minutes goes. That was even, the first game this year they scored a 93rdminute winner and then we gave them a draw. So I don’t think there’s anything in it.”

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Palaszczuk to consider Katter response

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is considering Katter’s n Party’s response to her demand that its state members denounce Senator Fraser Anning’s divisive maiden speech.

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KAP replied on Friday to a letter from the premier calling on it to denounce the controversial federal MP’s speech by 5pm.

Senator Anning sparked fury among parliamentarians and the public when he used the Nazi-associated term “final solution” during his first speech last week.

In calling for a ban on Muslim immigration and a plebiscite he said “the final solution to the immigration problem of course is a popular vote.”

Spokesmen for both the premier and KAP declined to comment about the contents of the letter sent by state leader Robbie Katter.

Earlier in the day, Mr Katter said he would not denounce Senator Anning’s speech after the premier suggested a review of its staffing hinged on the party condemning the senator.

“I think they’re skating on very thin ice legally, appropriating money or misappropriating money in the parliament for the purposes of whether or whether they do not agree with someone’s political view,” Mr Katter told reporters.

He said he and fellow Katter party MPs Shane Knuth and Nick Dametto shared three parliamentary staff and he also had four staff spread across his two electorate offices.

He said cutting back on staff would slow the party’s daily operations and efforts to deliver on its parliamentary agenda.

Mr Katter also accused the Palaszczuk government of colluding with the Liberal National Party to disadvantage the KAP.

“They’ve already increased our electorate sizes and they’ve made it more difficult for us and now they’re talking about reducing more resources,” he said.

“Everywhere we walk here they just keep trying to tie our hands behind our back.”

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Sydney cafe shuts: Owner blames light rail

A Sydney cafe owner who’s shutting the doors on her 16-year-old business blames the much-delayed eastern suburbs light rail project for its demise.

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Angela Vithoulkas claims her cafe in the heart of the CBD was once the state’s busiest but it’s been unable to withstand a drop-off in customers caused by construction works along George Street.

“If we can’t make it on the corner of what is supposed to be the CBD’s busiest street, how do the other businesses cope?” the cafe owner and independent city councillor told reporters on Friday.

Cr Vithoulkas said customers didn’t want to be bombarded with noise and covered in dust as they sat just metres from workers drilling into ‘s oldest street.

“Why would you go there when you can go somewhere else?” she said.

“This has been the big question from day one.”

The light rail, linking the CBD to the city’s eastern suburbs, was budgeted at $1.6 billion but has ballooned to an estimated $2.1 billion amid delays and contract disputes.

Transport for NSW says it’s paid $9 million in rental assistance to help 86 business along the route cope with lost revenue.

But Cr Vithoulkas says the eligibility criteria were too narrow and any help was “a band-aid for open heart surgery”.

Opposition leader Luke Foley says hard-working small-business people were struggling in Surry Hills, Kensington and Randwick.

“What have they got in return? They’ve had their teeth kicked in by a heartless government,” the Labor leader told reporters on Friday.

NSW Small Business Commissioner Robyn Hobbs told a parliamentary inquiry into the project this week her office had been “constantly speaking” to businesses.

She said rental data from 2013 showed “real consistency” with current lease rates along the light rail route and cited Kensington as an example.

“If you looked at the raw data, you would say, ‘Kensington looks like it is a difficult area’,” Ms Hobbs said.

“But when you drill down, they have always had a very high vacancy rate in Kensington.”

TfNSW recently widened rental assistance criteria to small businesses employing between 21 and 49 full-time equivalent employees.

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Storm halfback on standby to replace Smith

Cameron Smith is trying to overcome a back injury for Melbourne’s NRL clash against Gold Coast.Melbourne will be forced to call on makeshift hooker Ryley Jacks for their NRL clash with Gold Coast if skipper Cameron Smith doesn’t pass final fitness tests on his injured back.

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Coach Craig Bellamy says halfback Jacks has only worn the No.9 jersey before at training but they have no fit hookers left at the club, with Brandon Smith, Harry Grant and Billy Walters also injured.

Smith will travel on Friday to the Gold Coast, where the Storm will base themselves until midway through next week to freshen up with the finals looming.

He’s done limited training this week after suffering the injury in their win over Parramatta although Melbourne are still hopeful he will play as the club pushes to win successive minor premierships.

“He’s impossible to replace just with what he brings to our team,” Bellamy said of Smith.

“But we won’t take any unnecessary chances and we will put Ryley in there if we have to.”

Bellamy said Jacks had been given a crash course in playing No.9.

“A couple of things with dummy half, it’s not just following the big guys around, it’s the amount of times you’ve got to bend over to get the ball and pass it, that’s the thing they have trouble with.

“And also defending in the middle is more hectic than out on an edge, and he’s realised those couple of things during the week.”

Melbourne lead the NRL ladder going into their clash with the 12th-placed Titans but Bellamy was cautious about what the home side could bring.

He said the Titans had proven in last round’s comeback over Manly their ability to score from anywhere.

“They got some real talented footy players in that team so we know it’s going to be real tough up there,” Bellamy said.

“Their comeback against Manly was quite remarkable – probably one of the biggest turnarounds I’ve seen in a game this year.

“I’m sure after last week they will be very confident.”

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NEWCASTLE RLSouth Newcastle fullback Lachlan Walmsley is hot property as his side prepares for a final round minor premiership battle with Lakes United at Cahill Oval

Exciting South Newcastle fullback Lachlan Walmsley is being targeted by rival clubs for next season as the Lions prepare to go into battle against Lakes United with the minor premiership at stake at Cahill Oval on Saturday.

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The outstanding form of the young fullback is one of the reasons why Souths have emerged as a seriouspremiership threat this season under coach Ben Cross.

The Lionscan claim the minor title with a final round win over the Seagulls with Walmsley’s influence duringthe season not going unnoticed at other clubs.

“He’s an exciting young player so it’s nosurprise there is a few clubs looking at him,” arivalofficial said.

Cross is hopeful Walmsley won’t leave for another local club.

“I spoke to him not long ago and he is pretty keen to stay and I have a good relationship with him,” Cross said.

“If I lose him, I hope it’s not to the local comp but a higher level of footy because that’s what he deserves.That’s my aim for him.I’m happy to lose players but I’d rather see them go to a higher level rather than just jump from club to club in this competition.”

Souths, Lakes and Maitland [all on 18] can all finish first on Saturdaydepending on results with Maitland looking to shore up at least a top two finish with a win over fifth-placed Kurri at Kurri.

In demand: South Newcastle fullback Lachlan Walmsley [pictured left, congratulating teammate Elgen Peterson] shapes as a key figure in the Lions’ bid to win the minor premiership on Saturday against Lakes. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.

A win and a Souths’ loss would likely see the Pickers finish on top.

Lakes, with an inferior for and against to their rivals, need to beat Souths and hope Kurri can take down Maitland.

“We’ll just be doing our best to win and at least finish top two but I’ve got the utmost respect for Crossy and Souths so it won’t be easy,”Lakes coach Todd Edwards said.

Cross sayscontaining Lakes hooker Chris Randall will be a big focus for his side.

Just as the racefor top spot is intense, the fight for fifth and the battle to avoid the wooden spoon is also going down the wire this weekend.

The equation for Kurri [16] is simple. A win or a draw with Maitland at home secures them a play-off berth.

Wests [14] must beat Macquarie in their game at Toronto on Saturdayand hope Maitland win to sneak in.

The Scorpions will claim the wooden spoon if they fail to cause a boilover.

Macquarie coach Adam Bettridge is expecting injured Wests halfback Luke Walsh to play.

In the only game on Sunday, fourth-placed Central is at home to Cessnock.

Mathematically, Central [17] can still finish top but a win should guarantee them at least a top three finish.

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