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Liberal ministers lament gender imbalance

by admin on 17/12/2018

Senior federal government minister Marise Payne concedes the Liberals have a “very serious” problem with the number of women in parliament.
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Less than a quarter of federal Liberal MPs are women, compared to almost 50 per cent of Labor politicians.

Liberal frontbencher Sussan Ley believes her party should consider adopting quotas to address the pitifully low percentage.

“If you look at our party, the picture tells its own story,” Ms Ley said.

While stopping short of explicitly endorsing the proposal, which the party has long opposed, Senator Payne bemoaned having to cast her mind back a long way to recall a rosier time for Liberal women.

“I think that we do have a very serious issue concerning the role of women in the parliamentary process and also in efforts to engage more across the community,” the foreign minister said on Friday.

“We did a very good job in 1996 … in the election of the Howard government to ensure we had a very broadly representative team facing the community.

“We’ve proven we can do it, I know that we can do it again.”

Ms Ley admits she is no fan of quotas, but wondered whether the party should consider them.

“We don’t have enough women. The issue has to start long before you get to parliament.”

However, Victorian Liberal Leader Matthew Guy is confident there are no such issues in his state.

“I’ve got plenty of women – I think it’s nine of 13 marginal seat candidates are women – I’ve said I want to get more women into parliament, and I do. After this election, I hope I will,” he told reporters.

“We’ve had a 50:50 system in our branch networks, in our electorate council networks, in our administrative committee since 1944.”

The gender imbalance has bubbled alongside claims from Liberal MP Julia Banks and Senator Lucy Gichuhi that they were bullied and harassed by male colleagues during last month’s bitter leadership coup.

The behaviour forced Ms Banks to resign from parliament.

Cabinet minister Christopher Pyne said it was unacceptable senior Liberal Party figures responded by telling Ms Banks to “toughen up”.

He also took aim at Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly for telling her to “roll with the punches”.

“It was a particularly bad choice of words,” Mr Pyne said.

“What we all need to do is be a lot more caring of each other … people need to grow up.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison insists the Liberal Party has the right structures in place to deal with bullying, and rejected claims Ms Banks mistreated her 2016 campaign staff.

Manu gets set to erase finals heartbreak

by admin on 17/12/2018

Joseph Manu says getting dropped for last year’s NRL finals series was the best thing for him.After being the Sydney Roosters’ hard luck story of last year’s NRL finals, rising star Joseph Manu is ready to make up for lost time.
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The New Zealand native comes into Saturday’s qualifying final against Cronulla in blockbusting form, leading Roosters coach Trent Robinson to declare he has come of age.

Last week the bulldozing centre terrorised Parramatta defenders in the Tri-Colours’ 44-10 win to clinch the minor premiership, carving out 179 metres as well as scoring a first-half try.

The week prior he nearly pulled off one of the tries of the year when he barrelled over three Brisbane defenders before agonisingly being denied by a desperate Darius Boyd cover tackle which forced him to tread on the sideline.

But wind back the clock 12 months ago and Manu was relegated to reserve grade on the eve of September, denying him his first taste of NRL finals football.

Despite playing in the side’s final round win over the Gold Coast, he was overlooked in favour of Ryan Matterson for the club’s finals series.

“I feel like I’ve grown,” Manu said.

“Last year getting dropped was tough but I’ve think it was the best thing for me.

“Just learning a few things that I had to do. This year has been a big year for me and I’m really proud of how far I’ve come.”

Robinson praised Manu following last week’s win over the Eels and he was earlier in the year rewarded with a contract extension until the end of the 2020 season.

Manu has been a grand final specialist coming through the grades at the Roosters – winning titles with their SG Ball and under-20s sides.

Next year there will be heated competition for spots in the Roosters backline with English veteran Ryan Hall and Brett Morris replacing Parramatta-bound Blake Ferguson.

Robinson will have the difficult task of fitting six first-class players – also including James Tedesco, Latrell Mitchell and Daniel Tupou – into five spots.

Manu said he hadn’t considered his place in the team next season but felt like he’d grown as a player this year.

“I feel like I’m a bit more confident there and calling the ball and playing outside awesome players has helped me out for the whole season,” Manu said.

“It’s been a long season and I’ve improved a lot. I’ve still got a lot to improve in my game.”

Call for crane audit after Melbourne death

by admin on 17/12/2018

The construction union is calling for safety inspections of dozens of cranes across Victorian worksites following the death of a man in Melbourne’s east.
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The 46-year-old died after he and a co-worker were submerged in concrete which fell from a crane at a Box Hill construction site on Thursday afternoon.

The other man, 28, remains in the Royal Melbourne Hospital in a critical condition.

The CFMEU’s Gerard Ayers has called for the operator of the crane, Clark Cranes, to suspend the operation of between 80 and 100 cranes at Victorian worksites until they are audited.

“We’re calling for a thorough, comprehensive inspection to make sure all of those Clark Cranes are operating to their manufacturers’ specifications before they recommence work,” Dr Ayers told AAP on Friday.

‘We hear this all the time … that there are mechanical issues with different cranes.

“We suspect that this crane might also have some mechanical faults that are also recorded in the log book.”

The CFMEU says Clark Cranes was also involved in a crane collapse at Richmond in July.

Clark Cranes declined to comment when contacted by AAP.

The mother of the 46-year-old worker killed on Thursday was “extremely traumatised,” Dr Ayers told reporters. The man was not married and did not have children.

The union says he’s the seventh person to have died on a Victorian construction site this year.

“We cannot continue the way we are; we have to take a deep breath, slow down and look at how we are doing the work,” Dr Ayers said.

A third man suffered minor injuries in Thursday’s incident, while counselling has been organised for workers who were at the site and those nearby who rushed to assist.

WorkSafe investigators were at the scene on Friday investigating the crane and other work systems.

“Cranes are complex, so there is a lot of careful work required to determine the cause of this tragic incident,” acting health and safety executive director Paul Fowler said.

In a separate incident on Thursday, a woman in her 40s died after being run over by a prime mover loaded with an excavator at Donvale.

There have been 18 workplace fatalities in the state this year, WorkSafe says.

Income tax gets lower, fairer: treasurer

by admin on 18/08/2019

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says lower income earners will get more under the government’s tax plan.Workers are being reassured by the federal government their income tax is going down, after Labor used new budget analysis to argue the economy is not working in the interests of middle ns.
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People earning low-to-middle incomes will be hardest hit by rising average tax rates over the coming decade, the analysis released by the Parliamentary Budget Office found.

But Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says under the government’s tax plan, low and middle income earners are receiving up to $530 in immediate relief each year.

“Our personal income tax plan is making income tax lower, fairer and simpler for all ns,” he told AAP.

The budget office’s analysis found tax rates will go up largely because as wages rise, people will pay more tax on their increased income.

It noted the government’s tax cuts will slow the process.

Mr Frydenberg said the government’s move to lift tax brackets is also designed to protect ns from the phenomenon, known as “bracket creep”.

Labor spokesman Jim Chalmers said the budget office’s report showed the government is not managing the economy for middle ns.

“At a time when wages are growing at record lows and households are struggling to keep pace with the cost of living, now is not the time to be prioritising tax relief at the top end,” he said.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said strong economic and employment growth will mean people’s pay packets get heavier in time.

“Of course wages over time are expected to go up, and it’s not just our view, that is also the view of the Reserve Bank governor and that is the orthodox view of how wages evolve,” he told Sky News on Friday.

The economy in 2017/18 expanded at its fastest annual pace in the latest quarter since the mining boom six years ago, figures released on Wednesday showed.

Buckley backs returning Pies for AFL final

by admin on 18/08/2019

Tyson Goldsack’s marking ability will be a big positive for the Magpies’ defence against West Coast.Nathan Buckley admits Collingwood’s decision to pick Tyson Goldsack, Adam Treloar and Jeremy Howe for Saturday’s AFL qualifying final against West Coast is a gamble.
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But the Magpies coach is adamant the recently-injured trio will provide the right mix to conquer the Eagles at their Optus Stadium fortress.

Key defender Goldsack’s senior return comes just six months after the 31-year-old underwent a knee reconstruction, while Treloar has missed the past nine games after suffering a highly unusual double-hamstring injury.

Howe hasn’t played at any level in six weeks after copping a nasty cork to his thigh which required minor surgical intervention.

“Given that Tyson hasn’t played for a while, Adz has missed a bit of footy and Howie has missed our last five or six weeks, there’s some form of question mark in regard to that,” Buckley told reporters at Melbourne Airport on Friday.

“But if you had all the information and you’d seen the block of training these guys have put in, all three of them, you wouldn’t be concerned about their capacity to do what they need to do.

“Finals intensity goes up but that’ll be a test for all 44 players.”

The trio won recalls at the expense of Jack Madgen, Nathan Murphy and Adam Oxley who were all dropped for the trip to Perth to meet an Eagles side bolstered by the return of spearhead Josh Kennedy from a five-match absence because of a fractured shin.

Goldsack’s return is a shock considering his time on the sidelines but few teams have been able to stop the fearsome tandem of Kennedy and Jack Darling, and the growing likelihood that Kennedy would play reinforced Buckley’s convictions.

“We’re coming up against a side that’s got some real strength in the air,” he said.

“We’ve existed with a back six with some aerial capabilities but Goldy definitely strengthens that and so does Howie.

“That’s probably a part of our make-up that we feel like we’ve strengthened with these selections and it’s going to be an important part of getting the job done.”

West Coast also recalled speedster Lewis Jetta, while Oscar Allen and Will Schofield were omitted.

The Eagles’ uncontested marking and ability to retain possession has been a trademark this season but Buckley noted they were also capable of moving the ball at speed and supplying their dangerous small forwards.

He was also quick to rubbish talk of the Magpies’ preparations being thrown into “chaos” after a group of 13 early-departing players had a lengthy flight delay on Thursday night.

“I had a couple of red lights on the way here as well … everything seems to be against us,” a deadpan Buckley said.

“We’ll see if we can get over it and find a way.”

Companies fined over Hungry Jack’s death

by admin on 18/08/2019

Hungry Jack’s and two rubbish contractors have been fined after a man was fatally crushed by a bin.The death of an elderly man who was crushed by a bin outside a Melbourne Hungry Jack’s store has cost the fast food chain and its rubbish contractors $275,000 each.
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Rex Haysom, 86, was killed and his wife Moira injured in March 2013 as they crossed the Mill Park store’s car park, past a loading bay where a rubbish truck was emptying a recycling bin.

A Visy Paper driver, contracted by Veolia, had lifted the bin over the top of the truck to empty it and was placing it back on the ground at the front of the loading bay outside the store, just after midday on March 8.

He had checked his surrounds and not seen the couple as they crossed in front of the truck.

They were both struck by the bin and taken to hospital, where Mr Haysom later died.

Judge Trevor Wraight said Mr Haysom’s death had a profound effect on the man’s family, including his daughter who gave the court a victim impact statement.

The driver also made a statement about the severe depression he’d suffered since the incident.

He has been hospitalised several times as a suicide risk and continues to have nightmares.

Judge Wraight said steps had been taken since to reduce the risks, including arranging rubbish pick-up closer to the store opening time to avoid having trucks manoeuvring around the confined car park space during high pedestrian periods.

He said while he believed the incident was reasonably foreseeable, it was on the outer limits.

Hungry Jack’s, Visy Paper and Veolia were each found guilty at trial of failing to ensure a person other than an employee is not subject to risk, under occupational health and safety laws.

Each was fined $275,000.

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Andrew James Benn plans to appeal against severity of maximum 40 year jail term

by admin on 18/08/2019

PREDATOR: After pleading guilty to 21 counts of rape, Andrew James Benn was jailed for a maximum of 40 years in Newcastle District Court. He has lodged an intention to appeal against the severity of the sentence to the CCA.SADISTIC rapist Andrew James Benn intends to appeal against the length of his maximum 40-year jail term, the Newcastle Herald can reveal.
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Benn, 29, who raped or sexually assaulted 14 young women and teenage girls who he met through Facebook, Tinder or Snapchat between 2012 and 2017, filed a notice of intention to appeal against the severity of his jail term to the Court of Criminal Appeal on August 28, less than two weeks after he was jailed for at least 30 years in Newcastle District Court.

The appeal does not yet have a hearing date in the Supreme Court.

Fundamentally, Benn’s defence, led by solicitor John Anthony, will have to prove the sentence was “manifestly excessive” in order to reduce his jail term.

Benn is the Hunter’s worst serial rapist and will have spent more than half his life behind bars when, at the age of 57, he first becomes eligible for parole in 2047.

During Benn’s sentencing on August 16, Judge Ellis read out his “indicative sentences” for each of the 33 counts, including 21 counts of rape, which he said, if imposed, would have totaled an “American Style number” of 169-and-a-half years in jail.

Instead, Judge Ellis imposed an aggregate sentence of 40 years, with a non-parole period of 30 years.

It is believed to be longest sentence that Judge Ellis, the experienced Chief Judge of Newcastle’s District Court, has ordered during his time on the bench.

The public gallery in Newcastle District Court was packed with victims and their supporters as Judge Ellis read his lengthy judgement which detailed Benn’s depraved acts, which included repeatedly raping women, forcing himself on girls using “extreme violence”, sex with girls as young as 15, blackmailing and threatening victims that the “Hells Angels” would “make them disappear” if they went to police and laughing in the face of desperate and crying victims. “The treatment of the many victims was nothing short of despicable,” Judge Ellis said. “His conduct over the four-year period was evil.He left a path of emotional and physical damage for the victims.The sentence I impose is unlikely to the mitigate the harm for the victims, but hopefully it provides some sort of closure.”

In interviews with theHerald six of the women revealed the profound impact the attacks had on them and encouraged other women who are the victims of rape or sexual assault to come forward and speak out.

The women who spoke to the Herald described the effects Benn’s attacks had on them, which included suffering PTSD, living in “constant fear”, losing or having to leave their jobs and their homes, moving out of the Hunter andcontemplating or attempting suicide.

Kavanaugh steers clear of Trump criticism

by admin on 18/08/2019

Some critics have expressed concern Brett Kavanaugh could be a rubber stamp for Donald Trump.US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh says he believes the judiciary has broad authority to check the power of the White House, but has refused to criticise the man who selected him, President Donald Trump.
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In a second day of testimony, Kavanaugh declined to comment on Trump’s criticism of the judiciary or offer praise of the president’s character.

Democrats at Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearing also pressed the conservative federal appeals court judge over newly-released emails highlighting his views on abortion and racial issues after a partisan fight over the public release of the documents.

The documents released on Thursday dated from Kavanaugh’s service in the White House under Republican President George W. Bush more than a decade ago. Democrats had objected to an earlier decision by the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Republican leadership not to make the emails public.

The third day of the confirmation hearing again was repeatedly interrupted by protesters hostile to Kavanaugh. The nominee, enduring back-to-back days of lengthy questioning, remained in good humor, making no gaffes that were likely to derail his confirmation in a Senate narrowly controlled by Trump’s fellow Republicans, despite the efforts of Democrats opposed to him.

Some critics have expressed concern Kavanaugh could be a rubber stamp for Trump and protect him from lawsuits and investigations.

Asked by Democratic Senator Cory Booker whether he was picked because of an expectation of loyalty to Trump, Kavanaugh responded: “My only loyalty is to the Constitution. I’m an independent judge.”

Kavanaugh refused to say whether he had “the greatest respect” for Trump, a phrase Booker said he had used when describing Bush.

Boks brace for Beale-led Wallaby attack

by admin on 18/07/2019

South African captain Siya Kolisi is wary of what new Wallabies No.10 Kurtley Beale will bring to the host’s attack when they meet in Brisbane on Saturday.
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Both sides have tweaked their squads for the must-win Rugby Championship clash, with Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx and n five-eighth Bernard Foley relegated to the bench.

But Kolisi says his men are equipped to stifle Beale’s attacking prowess and overcome a poor Brisbane record.

“Putting Kurtley Beale there, obviously they want to attack, he’s a very good attacking fly-half,” Kolisi said of the move to bench Foley for the first time since 2014.

The Wallabies have notched their two biggest victories against the Springboks at Suncorp Stadium, while the South Africans have won just three of their last 14 Tests away from home.

In the visitor’s favour is the late scratching of serial breakdown pest David Pocock (neck), who had kept the Springboks on high alert this week.

“We know they’re very smart and good at the breakdown as well. Two of the best in the world,” Kolisi said of Pocock and Michael Hooper before news of Pocock’s withdrawal surfaced.

“But you can’t really just watch him, because if we just watch him then Michael Hooper will have a go as well.”

They will still need to contend with returning fullback Israel Folau (ankle) successfully completing Friday’s captain’s run.

“Dammit,” coach Rassie Erasmus smirked when told of Folau’s healthy status.

“No i’m joking; he’s world-class we’ve got to counter aerially, he’s the best in the world in the air.

“I want these guys to experience that if we want to have a realistic chance of being a world class team.”

Erasmus’ decision to make six changes from the side that lost 32-19 to Argentina last month raised eyebrows in the n camp, with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika wondering aloud on Thursday if they had become a side opposition teams rested their best against.

The newly installed captain said the side’s long-term focus was on next year’s World Cup in Japan, but has backed Saturday night’s side to deliver knowing that wins remained essential along the way.

“There would be nothing better than executing the coach’s plan while winning,” he said.

“Obviously people will look at it differently because of the loss (to Argentina) but we knew three weeks ago of these changes.”

Morrison’s sermon a pitch to MPs, voters

by admin on 18/07/2019

n Prime Minister Scott Morrison believes in the power of prayer.It was a sermon, no other word for it.
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Scott Morrison laid out his vision for the country and his party in a speech at the Robert Menzies Centre forum in Albury.

It was Preacher Morrison, with all the hallmarks of a Protestant Sunday morning service.

The “power of prayer” featured, as did a call for the audience to put their hands up in the air.

There was a joke about struggling to remember Bible verses in Sunday school.

The sermon finished with a call to action.

“We all love . Of course, we do. But do we love all ns? That’s a different question, isn’t it?” Morrison said on Thursday.

“We’ve got to. That’s what brings a country together. You love all ns if you love .”

Morrison returned to Menzies in a bid to remind his fractured party what brought them together in the first place.

Labor does this sort of thing all the time, harking back to Ben Chifley and Gough Whitlam when it feels like the party has lost its way.

The Liberal divide between the conservatives and the moderates is as deep as it has been in years.

One of the reasons the conservatives hated Malcolm Turnbull was because they thought he wasn’t a true Liberal.

Even though he gave ground to them in every policy area, they thought he was still dragging the party to the left.

Morrison, a former party director, has been described as a “creature of the party”. If anyone knows how to bring the Liberals back together, it should be him.

“(Menzies) talked about the importance of freedoms. Of faith. Of religion. Of speech. Of association,” Morrison said.

“That’s a great place to start a party, I reckon. And it’s a great place to continue to run a party from.

“In coming here today, a new generation of Liberal leaders are embracing all of those beliefs.”

Will it work?

At this stage anything is worth trying.

The polls were devastating immediately after the spill.

Damaging leaks about the policies Turnbull was going to roll out are continuing, taking the shine off Morrison’s future agenda.

Some MPs are talking about bullying and intimidation they faced during the leadership drama.

And Morrison doesn’t even have a clear majority, thanks to Turnbull’s decision to leave parliament.

If the prime minister is to avoid an electoral whacking, he has to claw back a heap of ground.

He doesn’t have a lot of policy to work with – the National Energy Guarantee (R.I.P) and the big business tax cuts (also R.I.P) were the only main things left on Turnbull’s agenda.

So Morrison picked a fight with the CFMEU, talked about “gender whisperers” in schools, and dumped the plan to raise the aged pension age from 67 to 70 to fill the policy void.

He also has to connect with the n people.

Turnbull was a relentless optimist, always talking up , the economy, whatever the topic was.

Morrison’s positive approach so far appears grounded in his Christian faith, but in a different way to previous religious prime ministers.

Tony Abbott had his strident Catholicism, Turnbull barely mentioned faith but did talk a lot about love, and Kevin Rudd was famously an Anglican with a sharp tongue.

Morrison spoke like the Pentecostal pastor he would have heard so often.

Encouragement to love everyone. The importance of family. Look after your mates – and that means he believes in the Medicare safety net.

is not the United States; blatant appeals to God and faith are treated differently here.

But Morrison is speaking to a part of middle not specifically represented in recent political history.

Mums and dads across the political divide who pack the kids off to church on a Sunday morning, donate their time, volunteer to help out.

The Liberal party desperately needs volunteers, and it desperately needs votes.

Pastor Scott is trying everything, and if this sticks, expect to see him back at the pulpit before too long.

Forum for views on tot killer’s sentence

by admin on 18/07/2019

Bill Potts urges those outraged by Andrew O’Sullivan’s sentence to read the judgment.Queensland legal experts have urged the public to make their views known about the sentence handed to a man who killed toddler Mason Jet Lee.
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William Andrew O’Sullivan has been given a nine-year sentence for the death of 22-month-old Mason and will be eligible for parole in less than four years.

O’Sullivan beat Mason so severely he caused internal injuries including a ruptured intestine.

Child protection advocates as well as the state opposition have called the sentence deeply inadequate and are calling for the sentencing system to be overhauled.

The Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council is conducting a review of sentencing in child death cases, due to report back to the state government in October.

The council has already found as part of its review that Queensland child killers are more likely to be convicted of manslaughter than murder, and spend less time behind bars than people who kill adults.

Council chairman John Robertson said despite the official deadline for public submissions closing, he would welcome people making relevant submissions about the Mason case.

“The work that we have already done is all on our website and I would encourage anyone interested in the complexity of sentencing and how difficult it is from case to case to read that,” Mr Robertson told ABC radio.

He said judges already took community expectations into account when sentencing, but reviews like the one the council was doing could give a clearer picture about those expectations.

Meanwhile, Bill Potts from the Queensland Law Society has urged those outraged by the sentence to read the judgment from Chief Justice Catherine Holmes.

Mr Potts said in general child death cases were very hard to prosecute because there was often a lack of hard evidence.

He said the chief justice took into account several factors, including that O’Sullivan had no previous violent convictions and his early guilty plea, balanced against the cruelty involved and O’Sullivan’s lack of remorse.

“In these types of matters it’s obviously outrageous and challenging, it’s a failure of humanity, so in those cases we shouldn’t react just emotionally, we should actually react with evidence based views about what community standards are and what penalties should apply,” Mr Potts told ABC Radio.

Mr Potts encouraged people to contact the QSAC or their local MP if they were unhappy about the sentence.

“People are not powerless, people have a voice and that voice should be heard.”

NEWCASTLE RLKurri Bulldogs are chasing six straight wins when they meet Central in the Real NRL minor semifinal at Kurri on Saturday.

by admin on 18/07/2019

Kurri coach Ron Griffiths does not subscribe to the theory a wounded Central team is running on old legs and are there for the taking in Saturday’sNewcastle RL minor semifinal at Kurri.
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The inform Bulldogs are chasing a sixth straight win and are brimming with confidence after dismantling Maitland in last weekend’s elimination semfinal.

In contrast, Central iscoming off a demoralising 46-12 qualifying semi loss to South Newcastle at home and have chief playmaker Brad Murray battling a hamstring tear and in major doubt.

The suggestion around local league circles is Central’s reliance on a number of aging veterans, including the likes of Terence Seu Seu, Steve Gordon and Simon Williams, will bring them undone in the big games against fleetfooted, younger rivals.

But Griffiths was having none of that on Friday.

“As you get older, you work out the short-cuts and they have got us twice this season and both times, that was very evident,”Griffiths said.

“Both times, their experience out-shone what we produced so we know we have to change a few things andtry something different that we think might work for us.

“But at the end of the day, we just have a simple game plan and just make sure every time we take the park, we are willing to do whatever it takes for each other.”

Griffiths described injured fullback Kade Hardy, who suffered a shocking ankle dislocation and break during the win over Maitland, as “irreplaceable” but is hopefula big home ground advantage will play in his side’s favour.

Doubtful: Central playmaker Brad Murray [top] has a hamstring tear and is in extreme doubt for the minor semifinal showdown against Kurri at Kurri. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.

It will be a big day for Mitch Cullen with the Bulldogs lock celebrating his 150thgrade game for the club.

Central coach Craig Miller admits he has few options if Murray is ruled out but believes his side’s experience can be the difference in the pressure-cooker atmosphere at Kurri.

“Brad will try and train tonight but we’ll have to fabricate something if he can’t play,” Miller said on Friday.

“There is no doubt we were off the pace terribly last week but the boys who are being criticised as being too old are the same boys who helped getus to second so they must be doing a fair bit right.”

Lakes United coach Todd Edwards has pinpointed five-eighth Ryan Glanville and fullback Lachlan Walmsley as the major threats when his side hosts South Newcastle in the major semfinal at Cahill Oval on Sunday.

The winner will progress to the grandfinal with the loser taking on the winner of the Central/Kurri game in the preliminary final at Townson Oval next weekend.

Edwards said his side’s win over the Lions in the final round a fortnight ago will have no bearing on the outcome of this one.

“They were hugely impressive against Central with Glanville and their fullback leading the way but their two centres are very good and we’ll need to do a good job on Tori Freeman and Cameron King up front,” he said.

Green and gold would suit Pangai: McGuire

by admin on 18/07/2019

Tongan Tevita Pangai (C) could make the NSW Origin squad if he switches to playing for .Rugby league Test lock Josh McGuire says Tevita Pangai wouldn’t look out of place in green and gold – but he can’t stomach the idea of his Brisbane teammate as a Blue.
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Pangai’s allegiances may soon be tested with the Kangaroos set to consider picking the hulking Broncos back-rower for the end of season -Tonga Test in New Zealand.

Pangai has stayed loyal to Tonga following their 2017 World Cup semi-final success, reportedly knocking back NSW Origin interest this year to remain eligible for the Mate Ma’a.

The move appeared to backfire when Pangai was forced to withdraw from Tonga’s Pacific Test win over Samoa in June with a rib complaint then watched NSW clinch their second Origin series triumph in 13 years.

Kangaroos forward McGuire did his best to tempt Pangai to make the switch before running out together for the Broncos’ NRL elimination final against St George Illawarra on Sunday.

However, Queensland No.13 McGuire realised Pangai’s defection may come at a high price – seeing his Sydney-born teammate play for NSW.

“It’s good for the game he has pledged to Tonga but he wouldn’t look out of place in the green and gold jersey,” McGuire said.

“If he plays for NSW, I wouldn’t be a massive fan of that to be honest.

“But we have a wealth of riches with young forwards at the club and he is one who has taken the year by storm.”

It is not just the Kangaroos who have Pangai in their sights.

The off-contract 22-year-old recently flew to Newcastle to meet with the Knights while another four clubs have registered interest after his breakout season.

Some Sydney-based clubs are reportedly offering Pangai $800,000 per season.

The Broncos may struggle to compete with big money offers after re-signing youngsters Jaydn Su’A, Payne Haas and Jamayne Isaako while upgrading Test back-rower Matt Gillett’s contract.

McGuire kept his fingers crossed that Brisbane would retain Pangai along with another breakout star of the 2018 season – prop Matt Lodge.

McGuire said Lodge had shown form worthy of State of Origin selection in his first NRL season in four years after he was involved in a drunken home invasion in New York in 2015.

“I have never seen a player have so much pressure on him and perform at such a high level for a young fella,” McGuire said.

“He is definitely of Origin calibre.

“I am glad he didn’t get chucked in the mix this year because he didn’t need that added pressure but I would be very surprised if I don’t see him there next year.”