‘It’s hard to hold back my anger’: Maddie’s father

THE father of the hoax collar-bomb victim Madeline Pulver has criticised attempts by his daughter’s attacker to distance himself from the crime, describing Paul Peters as a ‘‘pretty flawed individual’’ who did an ‘‘unbelievably callous thing to our daughter’’.
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Bill Pulver and his wife Belinda sat through a sentencing hearing on Wednesday, in which a psychiatrist said  Peters was in a ‘‘psychotic state’’ when he attached a fake collar bomb to Ms Pulver’s neck on August 3 last year.

The court had also previously heard that Peters could not recall the actual crime, and only remembers walking up the steps of the Pulvers’ Mosman home. He says his memory returned about 2 hours later, when he had returned to the central coast.

Speaking after the day’s hearing, Mr Pulver said he did not believe Peters’s claim of temporary amnesia, saying his family believed the attack had been an ‘‘extraordinarily well-planned event’’.

‘‘He has very conveniently managed to forget the hour and a half when all of this nasty stuff took place, but then when he got to Avoca he logged on to three separate computers to check whether we had responded to his note,’’ Mr Pulver said.

‘‘It’s very clear this is simply an extortion case and while I don’t really question that there are some mental health issues, I think ultimately it’s an extortion.’’

He simply didn’t buy the idea being proffered that it was just a ‘‘clumsy’’ crime and Peters had wanted to get caught so he could be properly treated for a worsening psychiatric condition.

‘‘No –  he very nearly got away with it. The only reason he got caught [was because] Maddie rang me, and I immediately called the police,’’ he said.

‘‘She didn’t know at the time that this extortion letter was there. If I had known there was an extortion letter I ask myself the question many times – would I have actually rung the police? I’m really not sure what I would have done. He was unlucky not to get away with this.’’

Clutching his wife’s hand, Mr Pulver said at times he felt fury at the evidence being presented.

‘‘To be honest I look over at what I think is a pretty flawed individual, who did an unbelievably callous thing to our daughter and it’s just not normal behaviour, so it’s challenging at times to restrain the anger.

‘‘I think it’s ruined his life, his family know what it’s done …  he’ll still live with this for the rest of his life.’’

He said Maddie was unlikely to ever come to court, because ‘‘she doesn’t want to front him’’.

The consultant psychiatrist Dr Jonathan Phillips had earlier told the District Court that his diagnosis of a ‘‘psychosis’’ did not mean Peters’s actions were not well thought out.

Dr Phillips said that assessing Peters was as complex as any case he had tackled and there were times he struggled to understand what the former businessman was talking about.

The court heard that electronic evidence showed Peters had edited two ransom documents contained on a USB stick attached to the fake bomb for a total of 503 minutes.

Judge Peter Zahra will sentence Peters later this month.

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Sobering study of strained relations

COMPLEX: Niels Arestrup in You Will Be My Son.You Will Be My Son (M)
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Stars Niels Arestrup, Lorant Deutsch, Patrick Chesnais, Anne Marivin, Nicolas Bridet; directed by Gilles Legrand; 102 minutes.

The relationship between a father and a son is a complex one: love can sometimes be tainted – on one or both sides – by other, less positive feelings, such as disappointment, envy, resentment, competitiveness and excessive expectations. This sobering French film deals with two father-son relationships and won’t be for all tastes. Emotionally, it isn’t the easiest viewing, but despite a melodramatic turn towards the end, it’s a well-acted, atmospheric story. Just don’t go in expecting a frothy Gallic romp.

Widower Paul de Marseul (Niels Arestrup) runs a successful vineyard that has been in the family for generations. His son Martin (Lorant Deutsch) works in administration for him but Paul is contemptuous of his abilities as a winemaker and seldom passes up an opportunity to belittle the somewhat diffident young man and treat him with scorn and disdain. Tellingly, he has more respect for Martin’s feisty wife Alice (Anne Marivin), though she doesn’t like him because of his treatment of her husband.

Paul’s longtime estate manager, Francois (Patrick Chesnais), is dying and Martin hopes this will be his opportunity to take on a bigger role in the business. But when Francois’s son Philippe (Nicolas Bridet) arrives, having quit his winemaking job in California to be with his father, the situation becomes even more fraught. Paul is impressed with Philippe’s abilities and lavishes the praise and attention on him that he never gave Martin – even to the extent of offering him the job of estate manager when his father dies.

Although the film tends to take Martin’s side, there is complexity and depth to the characters and situations enabling us to see various points of view: Paul, though cruel, is concerned for the future of the renowned vineyard and may be justified in thinking Martin isn’t as talented a winemaker as Philippe, although how much of this situation is of Paul’s creation is arguable. Philippe, who doesn’t seem to be a bad sort, is uncomfortably caught up in the dysfunctional relationship of Paul and Martin. And Francois has his own resentments at the situation that is developing and his advice to his son is not without merit.

The music can be a little overbearing and, as noted, there’s one crucial twist that might seem a bit much. But the story, told well in straightforward fashion by director and co-writer Gilles Legrand, is a strong one. This is a film for people who like a good character piece with fine performances and something to think about.

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Cooper cops $40,000 fine from ARU for outbursts

Quade Cooper gives a statement to the media after the disciplinary hearing. Quade Cooper at ARU headquarters after the hearing.
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Quade Cooper arrives at ARU headquarters.


QUADE COOPER’S future in Australian rugby remains in limbo after the Wallabies five-eighth was fined $40,000 for criticising the team and coach Robbie Deans.

Although Cooper has signed a three-year deal with Super Rugby franchise the Reds, the ARU withdrew its top-up contract after the injured playmaker’s remarks in September.

Deputy chief executive Matt Carroll said the ARU had noted the tribunal’s findings and would consider the next step in the contracting process.

”ARU placed contract negotiations with Quade Cooper on hold until the tribunal process had been finalised,” he said.

”Given the tribunal has handed down its decision, this matter as far as we are concerned has been finalised. ARU will now look at how we address the contract situation involving Quade Cooper.”

After more than four hours of hearings and deliberations at the ARU headquarters in St Leonards on Wednesday, the three-person tribunal found Cooper had breached the ARU’s code of conduct in two separate instances.

He was fined $10,000 for a post on Twitter criticising an ARU-licensed computer game, Rugby Challenge, and $50,000 for comments he made in the general media and on Twitter, in which he called the Wallabies culture ”toxic” and criticised the team’s style of play under Deans.

A $20,000 portion of that was suspended, as was a three-match ban, but both will be activated if Cooper breaches the code of conduct again at any point in the next two years.

The Reds playmaker apologised to rugby fans and said he received a ”very fair hearing” at ARU headquarters. ”I’m very happy with the outcome and obviously the sentence that’s been handed to me, full respect for that, and I understand that I fell well below par for what it means to be a Wallaby, and for all the supporters who are out there, my apologies,” he said.

Cooper must wait while the ARU decides whether to put its contract offer back on the table.

But in the aftermath of the four-hour hearing, Cooper, who has battled a knee injury all year and will sit out the Wallabies end-of-year tour to Europe, broached the subject of playing again in the gold jersey. ”From now I’m just looking forward to the future, and hopefully having a big year with not only my state but the Wallabies and very much looking forward to overcoming my injury and getting back on the field,” he said.

Meanwhile, back-rower Alexandre Lapandry was called up by France coach Philippe Saint-Andre on Tuesday for the Test against the Wallabies in Paris on November 10 in place of the injured flanker Wenceslas Lauret.

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Best of the rest: Arnold has talent in the bank for semi

Central Coast remain positive as they prepare for their semi-final clash against the Victory on Sunday, despite the despair of letting three valuable points slip from their grasp midweek and the fatigue of a 26-hour return flight home from China.
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The Mariners conceded two late goals to lose to Guizhou Renhe in the Asian Champions League on Tuesday night, and their woes were compounded by a gruelling return trip. But the players say the difficult schedule and result have not affected their focus.

Coach Graham Arnold rested seven senior players from the squad that travelled to China.

”Obviously it’s a long trip but we’ve got plenty of days to recover. There are seven boys at home who are nice and fresh so we’ll have a nice relaxing day today and get back into training tomorrow, and look forward to a big game on Sunday,” Mariners defender Zach Anderson said. ”We’ve done it for a few weeks now, and Arnie’s been strategic in the way he has rested a few players … It affects different players in different ways.”

The likes of Patrick Zwaanswijk, Mike McGlinchey, Nick Montgomery, Mile Sterjovski and Daniel McBreen remained in Gosford to rest, but striker Mitchell Duke believes those who did travel will still be fit to play on Sunday. Arnold named a preliminary match squad on Thursday evening, and included all players who played against Guizhou Renhe.

”All the boys are looking forward to getting back home and resting in our own bed,” he said.

”It will be a nice recovery day before [going] back to business tomorrow. We’ll be fine, we like to not have any excuses.”

Duke scored the Mariners’ only goal of the game against Guizhou with a first-half penalty that ended the club’s woes from the spot. The Mariners missed four straight penalties in the latter stages of the season but Duke’s spot-kick followed a successful Daniel McBreen penalty in their final A-League game of the season.

The 22-year-old is hopeful that his goal has relieved his teammates of pressure because the prospect of a penalty shoot-out could define their season.

”[McBreen] scored one a few weeks ago against Melbourne Heart so it was good to add on top of that, and basically keep it going and not putting any pressure on the team, especially when coming into the possibility of games going to penalty shoot-outs,” Duke said.

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2013 AFL round three teams

Jack WattsFREMANTLE v ESSENDON, Patersons Stadium, 8.40pm AEST, Friday 12 April
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FREMANTLEB: L.Spurr Z.Dawson M.JohnsonHB: N.Suban L.McPharlin D.PearceC: T.Mzungu R.Crowley C.PearceHF: H.Ballantyne M.Pavlich N.FyfeF: K.Bradley C.Mayne M.WaltersFOLL: J.Griffin D.Mundy S.HillI/C: M.De Boer P.Duffield M.Barlow C.SutcliffeEMG: T.Sheridan J.Hannath H.CrozierIN: H.Ballantyne OUT: H.Crozier (omitted)

ESSENDONB: M.Hibberd C.Hooker D.FletcherHB: D.Myers J.Carlisle C.DempseyC: D.Heppell J.Watson B.GoddardHF: B.Stanton S.Crameri T.ColyerF: A.Davey P.Ryder M.HurleyFOLL: T.Bellchambers B.Howlett H.HockingI/C: D.Zaharakis J.Melksham E.Kavanagh N.KommerEMG: J.Merrett L.Jetta D.HilleIN: T.Colyer , E.Kavanagh OUT: M.Baguley (ankle) , J.Merrett (omitted)

NORTH MELBOURNE v SYDNEY SWANS, Blundstone Arena, 1.45pm AEST, Saturday 13 April

NORTH MELBOURNEB: McMahon Thompson Firrito                       HB: Mullett Grima Atley                            C: Wells Bastinac Anthony                         HF: Cunnington Tarrant Hansen                      F: Thomas Petrie Adams                            FOLL: Goldstein Swallow Ziebell                                        I/C: Wright Hine Macmillan Gibson                   EMG: Garner Harper Daw                              IN: Wright Hine                                    OUT: Harper Jacobs                                  NEW: Taylor Hine, 21, Gold Coast

SYDNEY SWANSB: Mattner Grundy Smith                           HB: McVeigh T Richards Malceski                    C: Everitt K Jack Jetta                           HF: O’Keefe Reid McGlynn                           F: Pyke Goodes Hannebery                          FOLL: Mumford Kennedy Bolton                                         I/C: Armstrong Bird Parker Roberts-Thomson          EMG: Morton Rampe White                             IN: Armstrong                                      OUT: Shaw (abdominal strain)

MELBOURNE v WEST COAST, MCG, 2.10pm AEST, Saturday 13 April

MELBOURNEB: Jetta Frawley Terlich                          HB: Trengove McDonald Garland                      C: Evans Grimes Viney                             HF: M Jones Clark Howe                             F: Davey Sellar Byrnes                            FOLL: Jamar Sylvia  N Jones                                        I/C: Toumpas Pedersen Tapscott Bail                 EMG: Watts Rodan Spencer                            IN: Bail Tapscott Jetta Pedersen Evans             OUT: Rodan Gillies (groin) Blease Watts Nicholson

WEST COASTB: Schofield Glass A Selwood                      HB: Hurn Brown Waters                              C: Gaff Priddis Masten                            HF: Embley Kennedy Hams                            F: Darling Hill LeCras                            FOLL: Cox S Selwood Shuey                                          I/C: Butler Cripps Kerr Sinclair                    EMG: Brennan Dalziell Wilson                        IN: Kerr LeCras                                    OUT: Dalziell Sheppard (shoulder)

GWS GIANTS v ST KILDA, Manuka Stadium, 4.40pm AEST, Saturday 13 April

GWS GIANTSB: Kennedy Mohr Gilham                            HB: Bugg Davis Hampton                             C: Hoskin-Elliott Ward Whitfield                  HF: Scully Cameron Coniglio                        F: Giles Patton Smith                             FOLL: Brogan Treloar Greene                                         I/C: Plowman Reid Shiel Sumner                      EMG: Darley Frost Miles                             IN: Reid                                           OUT: Palmer (calf)

ST KILDAB: Wright Fisher Roberton                         HB: Geary Stanley Gilbert                          C: Newnes Hayes Dal Santo                         HF: Montagna Riewoldt Milera                       F: Milne Lee Saad                                 FOLL: McEvoy Armitage Steven                                         I/C: Jones Siposs Blake Maister                     EMG: Ray Simpkin Dunell                             IN: Lee Wright                                     OUT: Schneider (hamstring) Dempster (hand)          NEW: Nathan Wright, 19, Dandenong U18; Tom Lee, 22, Claremont (WAFL)

GEELONG v CARLTON, Etihad Stadium, 7.40pm, Saturday 13 April

GEELONGB: T Hunt Lonergan Enright                        HB: Corey Mackie Taylor                            C: Duncan Bartel Chapman                          HF: Stokes Podsiadly Motlop                        F: West Hawkins Varcoe                            FOLL: Blicavs Selwood Johnson                                        I/C: Christensen Smedts Caddy Murdoch               EMG: Horlin-Smith Stringer Thurlow                  IN: Johnson Murdoch                                OUT: Kelly (calf) Brown

CARLTONB: C.Yarran M.Jamison L.HendersonHB: Z.Tuohy D.Armfield B.GibbsC: K.Simpson A.Carrazzo M.RobinsonHF: C.Judd A.Walker J.GarlettF: D.Buckley S.Hampson S.RoweFOLL: M.Kreuzer M.Murphy B.McLeanI/C: A.Joseph K.Lucas H.Scotland M.DaviesEMG: T.Bell J.Bootsma L.CasboultIN: A.Joseph , S.Hampson , D.Buckley , H.Scotland OUT: J.Laidler (omitted) , L.Casboult (omitted) , T.Bell (omitted) , J.Bootsma (omitted) NEW: D.Buckley

GOLD COAST SUNS v BRISBANE LIONS, Metricon Stadium, 7.40pm AEST, Saturday 13 April

GOLD COASTBacks:         Wilkinson Warnock Hutchins                     Half-backs:    Shaw Thompson Broughton                        Centres:       Rischitelli Ablett Harbrow                     Half-forwards: Bennell May A Hall                             Forwards:      Brennan Day Matera                             Followers:     Dixon Hunt Swallow                                        Interchange:   Smith O’Meara Russell Allen                    Emergencies:   Horsley Cameron Taylor                         In:            Broughton Allen                                Out:           Murphy (shoulder) Prestia (hip)

BRISBANE LIONSBacks:         Golby Merrett Raines                           Half-backs:    Adcock Patfull Yeo                             Centres:       Redden Rockliff Hanley                         Half-forwards: Zorko Brown Green                              Forwards:      McKeever Martin McGrath                        Followers:     Leuenberger Rich Moloney                                        Interchange:   Polec Bewick Polkinghorne Mayes                Emergencies:   Harwood Karnezis Lester                        In:            Polec McKeever Mayes                           Out:           Karnezis Lester Beams (knee)                   New:           Sam Mayes, 18, North Adelaide (SANFL)

RICHMOND v WESTERN BULLDOGS, Etihad Stadium, 1.10pm, Sunday 14 April

RICHMONDB: Morris Rance Chaplin                           HB: Grimes Petterd Houli                           C: Newman Cotchin Conca                           HF: Deledio Edwards Jackson                        F: McGuane Riewoldt Vickery                       FOLL: Maric Martin Tuck                                           I/C: Ellis King Grigg Batchelor  EMG: Knights Nahas VlastuinWESTERN BULLDOGSBacks:   Goodes Morris Picken                          Half-backs:    Cooney Roughead Young                         Centres:       Lower Cross Smith                             Half-forwards: Wallis Jones Giansiracusa                     Forwards:      Murphy Minson Dickson                          Followers:     Cordy Griffen  Liberatore                                     Interchange: Dahlhaus Higgins Wood  Stevens  EMG: Macrae Johannisen MarkovicIn: Wood                           Out: Johannisen                                                     COLLINGWOOD v HAWTHORN, MCG, 3.15pm AEST, Sunday 14 April

COLLINGWOODB: Brown Toovey Reid                              HB: Clarke Shaw O’Brien                            C: Sidebottom Swan D Thomas                       HF: Elliott Cloke Lynch                            F: Sinclair Goldsack Dwyer                        FOLL: Hudson Pendlebury Blair                                          I/C: Fasolo Russell Johnson FrostEMG: Macaffer J Thomas SeedsmanIN: D Thomas Hudson Frost Fasolo          OUT: Jolly (ribs) Maxwell (wrist) Macaffer Seedsman                 NEW: Ben Hudson, 34, Brisbane Lions

HAWTHORNB: Gibson Schoenmakers Guerra                     HB: Hodge Stratton Birchall                        C: Shiels Mitchell Hill                           HF: Rioli Franklin Breust                          F: Hale Roughead Puopolo                          FOLL: Bailey Burgoyne Lewis                                          I/C: Anderson Duryea Smith GunstonEMG: Grimley Savage Cheney  IN: Duryea Gunston                  OUT: Sewell (hamstring), Savage                             NEW: Taylor Duryea, 21, Murray U18

PORT ADELAIDE v ADELAIDE, AAMI Stadium, 4.40pm AEST, Sunday 14 April

PORT ADELAIDEB: Jonas Carlile O’Shea                           HB: Pittard Trengove Stevenson                     C: Cornes Boak Broadbent                          HF: Monfries Westhoff P Stewart                    F: Wingard Schulz Neade                           FOLL: Lobbe Brad Ebert Hartlett                                       I/C: Heath Mitchell Renouf WinesEMG: Gray Cassisi Moore        IN: Renouf                     OUT: Redden

ADELAIDEB: Brown Rutten Otten                             HB: Jaensch Talia Reilly                           C: van Berlo S Thompson Mackay                    HF: Petrenko Walker Sloane                         F: Douglas Jenkins Porplyzia                      FOLL: Jacobs Dangerfield Wright                                         I/C: Crouch Henderson Johncock VinceEMG: Callinan Kerridge Lynch       IN: Johncock                        OUT: Callinan

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Warning as Tuiali’i gets his breath back

Former All Blacks No.8 Mose Tuiali’i wants to build on the momentum of his first game in New Zealand since 2008 when the Highlanders seek to break their Super Rugby duck against the Brumbies in Dunedin on Friday. Tuiali’i, 32, was a standout player for the winless Highlanders in last week’s loss to the Blues in Auckland, having answered a SOS call from coach Jamie Joseph to reinforce the injury-hit franchise. It had been two months since Tuiali’i had played for his Japanese club, Yamaha. ”The lungs were burning a bit,” he said. ”I was surprised how well I lasted.”Thorn tells Highlanders to do a Broncos
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The ”granddaddy” of Super Rugby is drawing inspiration from the 1999 Brisbane Broncos to lead a Highlanders revival and Brad Thorn (pictured) is confident his team can stun the Brumbies on Friday night. The Highlanders are languishing at the bottom of the ladder and searching for their first win of the season, despite boasting All Blacks talent on their roster. The Broncos won one of their first 10 games in 1999 but stormed home to make the finals with a young Thorn in the second row. Now the 38-year-old says the Highlanders can go on a similar run. ”It’s a good test of character,” he said.

Chris DuttonMcAfee welcomed to RUPA board

The Rugby Union Players’ Association has opened its doors to women members for the first time and appointed World Cup-winning former Australian captain Cheryl McAfee to its board. RUPA chairman Bruce Hodgkinson, SC, said rugby had not looked after women players well enough. ”When you look at their achievements, the world cups they’ve won and the tournaments they’ve won, they have been great ambassadors for Australia and for the sport, and they deserve to be looked after in a proper way,” Hodgkinson said.

Georgina Robinson1234

The number of metres the Waratahs lead the Super Rugby competition by after seven games.Cooper denies rift with Deans

Quade Cooper has denied any continuing rift with Wallabies coach Robbie Deans after his surprise omission from a 30-man planning camp ahead of the British and Irish Lions series. Cooper is out of Deans’ prospective squad for the blockbuster three-Test series in June but he’s taken the non-selection on the chin. Preparing to fly to Hamilton for the Queensland Reds’ clash with the Chiefs, the 38-Test playmaker downplayed his omission. ”It’s no big issue, really, because we have a big season ahead of us,” Cooper said. ”The major issue is turning up in the Waikato and having a good game.”


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Change at the top for struggling Rebels

Regime change is under way at the Rebels, with chief executive Steve Boland set to announce his resignation. Boland, who took over from former chief executive Ross Oakley in 2011, will return to the corporate jungle, where he occupied senior roles at corporate giants Visy and Veolia before making a foray into rugby administration. And while Boland’s departure is not quite the ”death spiral” some of the club’s detractors would like it to be, there is more change in the works for the struggling club. Whispers of an ARU takeover grow stronger, with some senior figures in favour of the idea in some form. Which form that will be is the sticking point but the ARU has developed a couple of different bailout models over the years, saving the Reds in 2010 and stepping in to run the Waratahs for three years in 2000. ARU boss Bill Pulver has also paved the way for such a move, telling News Ltd a week ago that the Rebels and the Force ”are deserving of a unique amount of help”.Manly unhappy
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Rebels coach Damien Hill, meanwhile, has drawn the ire of Sydney club Manly by following in the footsteps of Brumbies coach Jake White and quarantining some of his players. Manly players Eddie Aholelei, Pat Leafa, Jordy Reid and Cadeyrn Neville have been told they may be kept in Melbourne to play club rugby and will not be able to return to Sydney to play in the Shute Shield. The Rebels confirmed this move had been flagged but would be imposed on a case by case basis and not take the form of a blanket ban, as was the case in Canberra. Marlins president David Begg raised the issue at the club’s season launch last week and told the Breakdown he was extremely disappointed. ”We don’t understand how playing club football in Melbourne will develop them as players,” Begg said. ”In fact it will, in my view, prejudice their development. Until this year we had worked very well in partnership with the Rebels. The fact they have done this, and the timing of the decision in the week before Shute Shield started, is most unfortunate.” Hill was unapologetic, saying he would take the option that would best suit the individual. ”It’s a balance of performance, development and welfare of the player,” he said. ”In saying that, there is a responsibility to contribute to growing the standard of the local competition in Victoria.”Centre search

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has been hard at work looking for a centre to replace the departing Berrick Barnes and an announcement from Moore Park could come as soon as next week. Barnes is due to join Japanese club Panasonic Wild Knights after the third Bledisloe Test in late October and while Test centre Rob Horne was moved to No. 12 early this season, we hear Cheika wants another quality No. 12 with a strong kicking game. Centres are in short supply at the moment, with most contracted around Australia. The Force, who announced the signing of Reds outside back Luke Morahan this week, are also chasing Brumbies centre Zack Holmes as well as his teammate, halfback Ian Prior.Plan ‘unrealistic’

As the National Women’s Sevens Championship gears up at St Ignatius College, Riverview this weekend, there is talk of centralising both the men’s and women’s national programs this year. Brisbane is on the cards for the men, while Canberra is another option owing to the close working relationship the ARU enjoys with the Australian Institute of Sport. And while centralisation is crucial for talent development in the lead up to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, not everyone thinks it is a good idea for the women’s program. Sevens Rugby World Cup-winning former Australian captain Cheryl McAfee says the women’s program is not ready to be centralised. ”I think it’s really unrealistic, [the sport] is not professional and the girls juggle careers and training,” McAfee said. ”When you’ve got girls who have spent years establishing themselves at work it’s a bit much asking them to drop everything and move states for rugby that does not pay you a lot of money and does not put food on the table and a roof over your head. If it was professional they could look at doing that.” The tournament includes two teams each from NSW and Queensland, one each from the ACT, Northern Territory, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.

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Ono declares himself the proud product of the boss

Big in Australia: Marquee man Shinji Ono (centre) leads the way at Wanderers training on Thursday. Photo: Brendan Esposito Western Sydney Wanderers are just 180 minutes away from clinching one of the more spectacular fairytale stories of Australian sport. But the A-League’s greatest prize means much more than glory and sentiment for Shinji Ono.
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Just nine months ago, sections of the Japanese media boldly stated that Ono’s decorated 15-year career was over. The former star of the Blue Samurai struggled to finish games and spent lengthy spells languishing in the physio room at his hometown club, Shimizu S-Pulse. With his eminence deteriorating at a faster pace than the condition of his knee, Ono decided to roll the dice once more when he was presented with the opportunity to move to Australia. Now, with the Premiers’ Plate in one hand and the other within reach of the A-League ring, Ono has no doubts that the faith of coach Tony Popovic saved his career.

”In Japan, some people say ‘Shinji Ono is already finished’ … because I didn’t play for five, six months,” Ono says. ”I just believe in myself all the time that I can do more. At the time, Tony Popovic called me and [asked] if I want to, to come to our team to play. I was very happy, he saved my life.”

Ono assured the Wanderers boss that the worst of his injury woes were in the past but he was still struggling to regain match fitness. With a new team, in a new league, in a new country, Ono had little information to predict his performance. His task of guiding the Wanderers became all the more difficult when he was immediately branded one of the three poster-boys of the competition. Arriving only a matter of days after Alessandro Del Piero and Emile Heskey, Ono was warned that his reception at Sydney was not going to be a quiet affair. The 33-year-old was still unprepared for the fanfare and subsequent pressure that greeted his entrance.

”[There] was big pressure because before five, six months I didn’t play before I came here. Not one game. So I don’t know how I can do, how I can help, I didn’t know,” Ono says. ”Because Del Piero and Heskey score a lot before I score, I have also big pressure … The people like big names, but I told you all the time, I’m not big player like the other two players. I have some big pressure but also the same time, I always thought when I score one, the next goal comes so quickly. I knew that. I always try to have patience and just believe myself to try to have hard work every day.”

Twenty-four games, seven goals and one premiership later, Ono relieved the burden of expectation and attributes his success in the A-League to a coach he says is the best he has ever played for.

”First thing, I believe him, I just didn’t know about this team,” Ono says. ”I have been together with this team, training with the boys and I believe. After more time training with the team, I believe more.”

After shaking off a niggling groin injury and declared fit to play in Friday night’s semi-final against Brisbane Roar, Ono reiterates his disinterest in the Japanese media’s opinion of him. Although there’s no hiding his desire to prove a point to some of his doubters in his homeland. The Wanderers have already secured their path to next year’s Asian Champions League, and while the group stage draw remains some time away, Ono has his hopes set on only one outcome.

”I hope to play any Japanese club,” he says. ”It doesn’t matter which … We have confidence to beat them. Already we’re excited to play Asia but now we have play-offs, we want to achieve more with the club. We want to get another title.”

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Jeers are grist to Berisha’s mill way out west

 It has taken just one season for fervent Western Sydney Wanderers fans to turn Parramatta Stadium into one of the most intimidating venues for visiting sides in Australian football.
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The chants are deafening and, on occasion, so is the silence. The colours are ubiquitous and the European-style atmosphere has buried a host of sides, with the Wanderers winning four and drawing one of their past five in the west.

Add it all together and Brisbane striker Besart Berisha could scarcely be more at home. Nothing fuels the Albanian goalsneak’s lust for scoring like a torrent of disdain pouring from the stands. The man the league loves to hate – and one the Roar wouldn’t trade for quids – can expect that much and more on Friday night in the sudden-death A-League semi-final.

A 12-match undefeated streak and an injury query over Brisbane’s key man Thomas Broich, who will play despite a heel injury, has the Wanderers firm favourites to move into the grand final after winning the league in their debut campaign.

In the way are the Roar, a side that has won the past two A-League grand finals, arriving in Sydney on a hot streak and backing their sudden-death experience over a Wanderers side resuming from a two-week break.

The night seems tailor-made for Berisha. He was front and centre in last season’s grand final, going down in the box in what remains the most controversial penalty in A-League history.

With the spring back in his step and having rekindled his touch in the front third, Berisha could be the curse of the Wanderers. ”He’s got that big-match mentality. He’s been there and done it. He lives for it,” Roar coach Mike Mulvey said.

Mulvey wants his team to soak up the atmosphere. ”The most important thing I’ll be telling my players is, ‘Be in the moment. Live in the moment, don’t wait for it to pass you by.’ If we do that as a complete 11, it should lead to a good performance, and if that is good enough on the night, we’ll find ourself in the final,” he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

TOPICS: Dennis Malone back on air 

RADIO REHAB: Reporter Dennis Malone has returned to the studio after a near-fatal accident on his bike. Picture: Simone De PeakNEARLY five months after a bike crash almost killed him, 1233 ABC Newcastle reporter Dennis Malone came back to work yesterday.
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It was a quiet return. He’ll work two days a week, for a while. But he’s glad to be working at all.

‘‘I was on life support being taken to John Hunter,’’ the 58-year-old told Topics.

‘‘They gathered my family and told them I probably wasn’t going to make it, and if I did, I’d be a vegetable.’’

A motorist found Malone, a keen cyclist, lying unconscious next to his bike at the Jesmond roundabout in January. It was 4pm. He can’t remember the fall, or being taken to hospital, but paramedics told him later that only one witness had called triple-0.

‘‘I think I’d be quite scared to get back on a bike,’’ Malone said.

‘‘It made me realise how flipping dangerous Newcastle is for cyclists.’’

Ever the news junkie, one of his first questions was ‘‘Did my phone survive?’’

The father of four suffered a brain injury as well as damage to his back.

He knows there’s plenty of rehab ahead, and is grateful for the love and support of his wife Heather and his 1233 colleagues. While in hospital, he was buoyed by the arrival of his first grandchild, Macy.

‘‘Dulcet tones’’ is a hackneyed phrase, but we suspect the return of Malone’s soothing baritone will be music to listeners’ ears.

Goulden voice

YOU can download an iPhone app that gives directions in Ray Warren’s voice as you drive.

Now, there isn’t a Phil Gould one, but if there was …

‘‘I love Sunday afternoon. There’s something about [Honeysuckle/Nobbys/West Wallsend]. On a Sunday afternoon.’’

‘‘[When someone beats you to a parking spot] You can’t take this off him. You just can’t.’’

‘‘[When you go the wrong way] No. No. No. No. No.’’

Life and art, and Kim

TOPICS has its doubts about North Korea’s threats to the US, and not just because Kim Jong-un is a basketball fan.

A Hollywood blockbuster called Olympus Has Fallen premieres next week. And in a sign we’ve moved on from Russians and Arabs, the villains are North Korean.

Gerard Butler stars as a Secret Service agent trying to wrest back the controls of America from a band of North Koreans, who’ve seized the White House and want to nuke everyone. Or something.

It all seems an amazing parallel with real-life events. Is this a marketing campaign that Kim has been in on the whole time? Pyongyang could certainly use the cash.

Travellers’ tales

SPEAKING of which, with Topics readers being a worldly lot, has anyone been to North Korea? It won’t have been a stop-off to Dubai. They only admit 2000 Westerners a year, and they give you a chaperone.

‘‘A trip to North Korea is strictly on its government’s terms, and it’s essential to accept that you’ll have no independence during your trip,’’ says Lonely Planet.

‘‘You’ll be accompanied by two government-approved local guides at all times and only hear a very one-sided view of history throughout the trip.’’

Apparently food is so scarce, they keep your lunch leftovers.

FISHING: Bluefins brighten up catch

FISH OF THE WEEK 12/4/13: Bryson Prince caught this jewfish in Newcastle Harbour whilst competing in the H&D Mitre 10 Twin Rivers Fishing Classic last weekend.Browse Herald Fish File here.
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BLUEFIN tuna have turned up inside Nelson Bay this week around the wreck at Salamander Bay and Wanda Head.

“They’ve been getting them on live slimies up to 22 kilograms,” Graham Duffy, from Salamander Bait and Tackle, said.

“Both Gibbers have been firing well for them too, and other land-based platforms like Tomaree.”

Action out wide has been a little slow.

Scott Morris, from Newcastle Game Fishing Club, reported a few small black marlin operating in the 30 to 50 fathom range last Saturday and the odd dolphin fish.

There’s been a few kings caught on the troll around the Sisters and Broughton Island.

Jew have been active on the V and 21 reefs and inside the bay around Salamander, Middle Island and Soldiers Point.

Whiting and tailor have been active on the beach and inside the bay.

Mud crabs are on the march in Tilligerry Creek and up the reaches of the Karuah River.

Blackfish are starting to school up in good numbers around the usual spots like Little Beach, both breakwalls and Tomaree.

Big challenge, big prizes

ALL of the above will be good news for spearfishos who converge on Nelson Bay this Saturday to chase more than $3000 in cash and prizes at the Nelson Bay Big Fish Challenge, which kicks off at 7am at Shoal Bay boat ramp.

Contestants have six hours to shoot one fish. The biggest weighed takes the cash.

The public are welcome to attend the weigh-in from 2pm at the boat ramp.

Yellowtail best jew bait

GRAHAM Mason, from Compleat Angler at Toronto, reports there’s been some nice jew being caught in the deeper holes in Lake Macquarie.

“I think the rain has freshened things up a bit. Live yellowtails are the best bait,” Graham said.

“There’s been a few tailor getting around too, going for deep divers.

“Guys in the kayaks have been having a crack with Yazuri crystal minnows.

“They generally troll them behind and if they get any action, they stop and start casting.”

Monster mud crabs

CHRIS Parkinson and his mate Robert Matthew got an unusual catch near Warners Bay on Sunday night.

While bream fishing, they pulled in two mud crabs. The male weighed in at a chunky 1.4 kilograms.

“He was holding on to a peeled prawn with one nipper and his girlfriend with something else,” Chris reported.

“He did not move until we removed his friend then he decided to try and eat everything in sight.

“After several minutes trying to get our toes and feet out of his way, we managed to get him in the esky.

“It was high fives all round and tasted great as well.”

Check out the photo and all the latest additions to the Herald Fish File hereat

Classic winners on a roll

COMPETITORS in the H&D Mitre 10 Twin Rivers Fishing Classic held last weekend at Raymond Terrace got a lot of nice jew in Newcastle Harbour.

“Zac Bowen got the biggest, 12.3 kilograms cleaned,” event spokesman Gerrard Cunningham said.

“Ricky Turner, who fished the breakwall, got the heaviest bag, about 18 kilograms, and he had three jew in that.”

Mick Stone got one weighing 10kg.

Fishing was good over the three days, particularly from Hexham/Tomago downriver.

“That tiny bit of rain last week freshened it up and made this area hot,” Gerrard said. “All anglers reported good catches.

“I’d imagine the jewie would be still quite prevalent this weekend.

“You’d have to think if the harbour is firing, you’d have to be able to pick up some along Stockton Beach.”

Junction Inn Fishing Club tyro Ally Mason claimed the nipper crown.

Locky Rutherford made it a trifecta with his third junior crown in a row.

Bev Hewitt went one better with her fourth successive victory in the lady’s division.

Darren Christinson got the biggest flathead, Peter Kennedy the biggest bream and Bree Goddard the biggest whiting, while Karen Peak peaked out with the biggest luderick.

The major lucky door prize, a Quintrex Explorer with five horsepower Yamaha motor on trailer, donated by H&D Mitre 10, valued at over $7000, was won by Michelle Scoles.

“Michelle works behind the bar at The Junction Inn Hotel,” Gerrard said.

“She registers each year but doesn’t fish. She’s got a boat now and there’ll be plenty of old salts keen to show her ropes.”

Organisers were particularly pleased with how the post-Easter scheduling worked.

“We used to clash with the Trailer Boat Tournament and the Pirtek, so we’ve pushed it back and it’s worked out really well,” Gerrard said.

“We expect to donate approximately $2000 to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter once again this year.”

The Twin Rivers Fishing Classic has been going for eight years and total donations are fast approaching $10,000.

Force v Crusaders

nib Stadium, Perth, Saturday (AEST)Last meeting: Round 18 2012 – Crusaders 38 bt Force 24 at Christchurch Stadium Head-to-head: Played 7 Force 1 Crusaders 4 drawn 2 In Perth: Played 4 Force 1 Crusaders 2 drawn 1Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (RSA)TV: Live, FoxSports 2TAB Sportsbet: Force $3.50 Crusaders $1.28
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Steve Samuelson writes: The Force always trouble the Crusaders in Perth and their cause is helped by the absence of All Blacks quartet Dan Carter, Kieran Read, Matt Todd and Sam Whitelock. The Force need to play with more endeavour and rising star Kyle Godwin needs to be fed more ball.

AAP writes: Force coach Michael Foley was quick to admit his side’s 30-23 defeat to the Rebels last week was their worst performance of the season. Compounding their woes was the loss of in-form lock Hugh McMeniman, who will miss at least six weeks with a fractured shoulder.

The Crusaders were also dealt a heavy blow with five-eighth Dan Carter ruled out after tweaking his hamstring. The Crusaders have opted to rest forwards Sam Whitelock and Matt Todd. The Force have notched just one win this season and are in danger of finishing last in the Aussie conference, while the Crusaders (3-3) need to get a wriggle on to make the finals.

FORCE: Jayden Hayward, Alfie Mafi, Junior Rasolea, Kyle Godwin, Ed Stubbs, Sam Norton-Knight, Alby Mathewson, Richard Brown, Matt Hodgson (capt), Ben McCalman, Sam Wykes, Toby Lynn, Salesi Ma’afu, Heath Tessmann, Pek Cowan. Reserves: Ben Whittaker, Tetera Faulkner, Rory Walton, Chris Alcock, Mick Snowden, Sias Ebersohn, Patrick Dellit.

CRUSADERS: Israel Dagg, Adam Whitelock, Robbie Fruean, Ryan Crotty, Tom Marshall, Tyler Bleyendaal, Andy Ellis, Luke Whitelock, Shane Christie, George Whitelock (capt), Dominic Bird, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Ben Funnell, Joe Moody, Tom Donnelly, Jordan Taufua, Willi Heinz, Telusa Veainu, Zac Guildford.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Stormers v Sharks

Newlands Stadium, Cape Town, Sunday 1.05am (AEST)Last meeting: Round 3 2013 – Sharks 12 bt Stormers 6 at Kings Park StadiumHead-to-head: Played 20 Stormers 9 Sharks 11In Cape Town: Played 9 Stormers 5 Sharks 4Referee: Craig Joubert (RSA)TV: Live, FoxSports 2TAB Sportsbet: Stormers $1.70 Sharks $2.05
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Steve Samuelson writes: Both teams have struggled to score tries this season with the Sharks scoring 10 of their 13 five-pointers against the Melbourne Rabble. The Stormers have been beaten only once in Cape Town this year, thanks to a heroic defensive effort by the Crusaders. Back the home side in a low-scoring game.

AAP writes: The consistent Crusaders are the measuring stick for this match, just pipping the Stormers and then falling short of toppling the Sharks. The Stormers are at home where they’ve won 10 of their past 12. However one of those losses was against the Sharks, who they also fell to in round three.

Stormers five-eighth Elton Jantjies is out injured, replaced by rookie Gary van Aswegen, while fullback Jaco Taute has ruptured an ACL. Sharks winger Sean Robinson debuts and back-rower Jean Deysel returns to cover for an injured Jacques Botes. Expect another tight SA derby.

STORMERS: Joe Pietersen, Damian de Allende, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers (capt), Gio Aplon, Gary van Aswegen, Dewaldt Duvenage, Duane Vermeulen, Michael Rhodes, Siya Kolisi, Andries Bekker, De Kock Steenkamp, Frans Malherbe, Deon Fourie, Steven Kitshoff. Reserves: Martin Bezuidenhout, Pat Cilliers, Gerbrandt Grobler, Nizaam Carr, Louis Schreuder, Kurt Coleman, Cheslin Kolbe

SHARKS: Francois Steyn, Sean Robinson, Paul Jordaan, Meyer Bosman, JP Pietersen, Patrick Lambie, Cobus Reinach, Keegan Daniel (capt), Ryan Kankowski, Marcell Coetzee, Franco van der Merwe, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jannie du Plessis, Kyle Cooper, Tendai Mtawarira. Reserves: Craig Burden, Wiehahn Herbst, Anton Bresler, Jean Deysel, Charl McLeod, Riaan Viljoen, Odwa Ndungane

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.