post by admin | | Closed

Nitro Circus’ Jackson Strong injured in fireworks explosion

Original source:The Daily Advertiser
Nanjing Night Net

Lockhart’s motocross star Jackson Strong is one of two menseriously hurt in a fireworks explosion at his home.

Details of the incident are still being gathered, but Mr Strong’s father, Lyndon,confirmed his son had been hurt in a New Year’s fireworks blast.

Strong has made an international name for himself in the daring motocross arena, rising from performing at the Lockhart Show as a youth to bagging swags of medals on the international stage.

PHOTOS: Jackson Strong in action

Strong, the reigning X Games Best Trick gold medalist,has ridden for Nitro Circus and most recently performed in Wagga as part of the Nitro Circus regional tour.

Ambulance media said paramedics responded to reports of a fireworks explosion on Milbrulong Road about 12.10am today.

A spokeswoman said two patients were taken to Wagga Base Hospital.

Jackson Strong, 22,is reported to be the more seriously hurt.

He suffered a serious leg injury as well as chest and facial injuries.

Pictures of Mr Strong’s facial injuries have been posted on his website www.jackostrong南京夜网.

“His left leg around his thigh is the worst part,” a worriedLyndon Strong said.

“He will pull through, no worries at all.”

He was flown into Wagga by helicopter and thenafter treatment at the base hospital was flown by plane to Sydney where he was admitted to the burns unit of St George Hospital.

A second man suffered a lower leg wound.

He is believed to be a good friend of Mr Jackson and was celebrating the new year with him.

X Games gold medallist and Nitro Circus star Jackson Strong has been injured in a fireworks explosion. WARNING: NEXT PICTURE CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT

Jackson Strong posted this photo of his injuries on his website, jackostrong南京夜网

Ambulance media said he was a 20-year-old, but a spokeswoman for Murrumbidgee Local Health District said it was believed he was 28.

He is being treated in Wagga Base Hospital and is in a stable condition.

It is believed the incident happened on Mr Strong’s family property, where he regularly spends time and has filmed for a documentary,Headstrong.

In 2012, Strong became the first Australian to win back-to-back gold medals in the X Games Moto Best Trick category after creating history with the first-ever front-slip in competition and unveiling a body varial, The Jack.

Lockhart Shire Council did not have a fireworks display for New Year’s Eve.

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

post by admin | | Closed

Baby Isaac the first of 2014

THE new year will be filled with hope and joy for Naomi and Jonathan Stucken who on Wednesdaywelcomed their first baby to the world.
Nanjing Night Net

Baby Isaac, 12 days overdue when he was finally born at 1.35am on New Year’s Day, was also the first baby born at Orange Hospital in 2014.

He weighed 4.48 kilograms (9.8 pounds) and was 60 centimetres (23.6 inches) long.

“It’s been a bit of a marathon, but I’m just so happy he’s here,” Mrs Stucken said.

The first-time parents said they were a little nervous leading up to the birth, which was scheduled at Orange hospital instead of their home town in Cowra, due to a lack of an anesthetist over the festive period.

“When you know he’s so big I was quite nervous,” Mrs Stucken said.

“But I was very happy and relieved when he came out safely.

The name Isaac is an ancient translation meaning’he will laugh’, a fact the couple were aware of whentheychose the name based onone of their favourite bible stories.

Mrs Stucken said she had nothing but praise for the staff in Orange hospital’s maternity ward.

“I don’t think you’d have better service in Sydney, their standard of care is amazing,” Mrs Stucken said.

“Staff have been amazing and everyone we’ve spoken to is so helpful.”

[email protected]南京夜网.au

THE BEST NEW YEAR: Naomi and Jonathan Stucken with son Isaac, who was the first baby born at Orange Hospital in 2014. Photo: LUKE SCHUYLER

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

post by admin | | Closed

Vansittart Park hosts thousands at NYE party

HAILED A SUCCESS: Mount Gambier Community Events Management Inc (MGCEMI) chair Steve Toope was pleased with how the fourth annual New Year’s Eve community celebrations were received. Pictures: BRETT KENNEDY NEED FOR SPEED: Cooper Bobridge (8) got behind the wheel of the go-karts, one of many amusements for the hundreds of children on site.
Nanjing Night Net

VISITORS GALORE: Mount Gambier’s New Year’s Eve community celebrations attracted many visitors, including Adelaide’s Kobi, 8, and Levi Swanson, 5, and Lily Cunningham, 3, who enjoyed building a block tower.

HEAVY HITTING: The Riot City Wrestling crew was once again a smash hit with the crowd, as many cheered on GD Grimm, who outmuscled his opponent.

BUBBLE TROUBLE: Cassidy Lynagh, 5, was extra bubbly Tuesday night at the Mount Gambier Community New Year’s Eve celebrations.

NO SEATING ROOM: Adelaide-based Circus Elements entertainer Scott Griffin got the crowd involved in his performance.

VANSITTART Park hosted thousands of revellers on New Years Eveas families and friends came together to usher in 2014 at the fourth annual Mount Gambier Community New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Residents flocked into the venue from the Wehl Street entrance, making their way to the centre of the oval where jumping castles, merry-go-rounds, musicians and wrestlers waited to entertain the festive crowds.

Mount Gambier Community Events Management Incorporated chair Steve Toope said he was happy with the community response.

“I think it all went pretty well, the weather gods were definitely smiling on us,” Mr Toope said.

“You only have to look out the window today (Wednesday) to realise we were lucky.

“At the end of the day we didn’t have any hassles or hitches.

“We aim to get about 3500-4500 people and at a rough guess I’d say we were around the mark.

“It was a similar size crowd to 2012.”

Mr Toope said he received positive feedback from residents throughout the night.

“The fireworks were obviously well-received and everyone seemed happy with the range of entertainment,” he said.

“From an organiser point of view, I’ve really got nothing to complain about.”

Mr Toope said the central Vansittart Park location once again proved to be a winner.

“The one thing I see on New Year’s Eve when I’m walking about the area is that from a family perspective, it’s a good venue to go to,” he said.

“The kids can go off and parents know they will be safe and you see all the extended family catching up with a rug on the grass.

“From my point of view, I look at it as one of those events that friends and families can really come together, sit down and have a chat to catch up.

“From a parent’s perspective, if the kids are being entertained, then that can mean the parents or grandparents are in for an easier night.”

With live music a strong feature of the night, Mr Toope said the committee’s gamble on securing the services of Adelaide band Platinum Plus paid off.

“I think they went down really well, they were a tight outfit,” he said.

“We sort of punted that they’d fit the demographic and that’s exactly what happened.

“It was very easy listening and family friendly, so they were a good fit.”

While a large portion of the crowd left after the early fireworks, Mr Toope said organisers were prepared for the exodus, with other people still entering the venue right up until the stroke of midnight.

“That’s how we’ve designed the night, because we understand a lot of people have younger families,” he said.

While the committee has barely had time to celebrate the beginning of 2014 with plenty of packing up done yesterday morning, the next installment is already on their minds.

post by admin | | Closed

Newcastle cricket bodies weigh up amalgamation

ALL cricket in Newcastle soon could be controlled by one governing body with a full-time general manager if a proposed amalgamation of associations is accepted.
Nanjing Night Net

A meeting will be held in February to discuss a proposal to merge the Newcastle District Cricket Association (NDCA), Newcastle City and Suburban Cricket (C&S), their respective umpires bodies and the Newcastle Junior Cricket Association (NJCA) under one administrative umbrella.

The aim is to streamline administration and reduce the duplicity of roles.

All five associations form the Newcastle cricket zone and meet regularly. However, no decisions are made at zone level and the power lies in the separate associations.

Under the proposal, an eight-person Newcastle Cricket board of directors would be elected.

The board would hire a full-time general manager and game development officer to run the competitions, generate sponsorship and liaise with government.

Subcommittees for district cricket, juniors, C&S, umpires, the judiciary and representative cricket will operate but will answer to the board.

District and C&S have always operated separately and historically the relationship between the associations has been tense.

But, under their current committees, the two associations have formed a working relationship and many district clubs have also developed links with C&S outfits.

‘‘I think we all agree it’s a fairly convoluted system at the moment, having multiple associations with multiple secretaries and multiple presidents and judiciaries,’’ NDCA chairman Paul Marjoribanks said.

‘‘Everything is duplicated and triplicated, and I think we need to simplify it.’’

The NDCA, C&S and the juniors pay honorariums to committee members for work and out-of-pocket expenses.

Marjoribanks said that money, plus grants from Cricket NSW, could finance the general manager’s position.

‘‘If somebody was dedicated to just fostering cricket with sponsors, the media, our governments bodies, then it’s just a one-touch point for Newcastle cricket,’’ he said.

‘‘At the moment it’s volunteers doing the best they can outside their normal jobs.’’

Other major sporting codes in Newcastle such as rugby league, rugby union, AFL, basketball and football have long paid general managers to operate their competitions.

C&S registrar Gary Stuart is in favour of the proposal but admits there will be several obstacles to overcome, including costs and the conservatism of some board members.

Stuart said he would invite Marjoribanks to address the C&S committee’s monthly meeting on January 20 to explain the proposal in greater detail.

‘‘For C&S it will all come down to cost and what they will get out of it for an increased cost,’’ Stuart said.

‘‘That, I think, will be the stumbling block C&S-wise as 70per cent are just pub teams.

‘‘They pay their $100 a year and their pub picks up the rest.

‘‘If there’s an increase, they will be asking questions about why.’’

Three seasons ago, Newcastle Junior Cricket Association employed a part-time administrator in Sharyn Beck.

Secretary Jason McKendry said the appointment had helped boost playing numbers and created new midweek competitions.

‘‘The juniors do have a part-time administrator working for us, and while I know the senior bodies pay honorariums, at the end of the day the game is still run by volunteers,’’ McKendry said.

‘‘In the modern world realistically we’re probably not doing the best for the game in the region by not having a management structure through the zone to best look after the game.’’

post by admin | | Closed

Stud industry loses stalwart Cliff Ellis

A PILLAR of the Hunter’s horse industry has died just days after his 87th birthday.
Nanjing Night Net

Long-standing horse industry TAFE teacher Cliff Ellis, whose career as a horse breeder and breaker earned him the admiration of the horse industry, died on December 30.

Retiring to Scone in 2000, Mr Ellis retained his passion for all things equine after a lifetime working with horses in and around the Upper Hunter.

He was a regular in the Scone Horse Festival until 2011 and an inaugural committee man for the Hunter Valley Breeders Association.

He also served on the Scone Race Club committee and was recognised as Scone Horse Week VIP in 1999.

He also received a Hunter Valley Bloodhorse Breeders’ Association Service to Industry award in 1987.

Born in Denman, Mr Ellis undertook his high schooling by correspondence during World War II. His formal education was cut short due to his father’s inability to find help on the farm.

That need drew Mr Ellis, 14, closer to his eventual career working with horses.

He began in the industry after the family farm was sold in 1949, taking work at Holbrook as a horse breaker.

In 1953 he moved on to Oakleigh stud, where he bred 1959 Scone Cup winner Johnno, a horse that earned notoriety after swimming to safety in a major flood in the Hawkesbury.

Mr Ellis married his wife, Jenifer, in 1961 and the pair welcomed son Tim in 1966 during a stint working in Emu Vale.

During that period away from the region he bought Kingdon Farm before returning to the Hunter in 1971 as stud manager at Yarraman Park.

He eventually left that job to establish Kingdon Farm as a base for preparing yearlings for sale.

The property was also used for spelling and foaling, with stallions including Blazing Ruler and Sungazer standing at the property.

Mr Ellis’s funeral service will be held at 11am at St Luke’s Church in Scone on January 7.

HAPPY AT THE RACES: Ellis, who bred 1959 Scone Cup winner Johnno, at Scone.

post by admin | | Closed

Region missing out on Chinese tourists

THE Hunter remains a drawcard for travellers from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the United States and within Australia, rather than the booming Chinese tourism market that has hit Sydney with force, new figures show.
Nanjing Night Net

But that should be about to change, the region’s tourism boss says, and we should smarten up our act to prepare, particularly ahead of the planned expansion of Newcastle Airport opening the market to south-east Asia.

Figures released by Destination NSW show a 20per cent fall in the amount of money international travellers staying overnight in the Hunter spent in the year to September.

The drop, of about $35million in a year, is being blamed on the high Australian dollar and was despite the number of international tourists staying overnight growing slightly – to 115,000 or a 3.9per cent share of the NSW market.

The region’s performance was stronger on the home front, with a 6.1per cent increase in domestic overnight travellers.

The growth was above the statewide rate of 5.4per cent, but the number of domestic overnight visitors to the Hunter was only slightly higher than levels in 2001.

Overall, tourist spending in the region in 2013 totalled $1.4billion, down $110million from 2012.

The government declared this week that the state was experiencing a ‘‘Chinese tourism boom’’, with an 18per cent increase in the number of tourists from mainland China visiting NSW.

However, the figures suggest Chinese tourists are squarely focused on Sydney and few are venturing to the Hunter and other regional areas of the state.

China did not rank among the top five sources of international tourists visiting the region.

Will Creedon, chairman of the Hunter Visitor Economy, formerly Tourism Hunter, said he was confident the number of tourists from China and other Asian countries would increase in the next few years as they made repeat visits and ventured further afield.

To capitalise, the region needed to prepare by developing a greater awareness of other customs and cultures, and boosting translation services and tourist information available in other languages.

‘‘Tourism in the Hunter has long been synonymous with Europe and America,’’ he said.

‘‘However the world is shifting and we should ensure we shift with it.’’

Hunter Visitor Economy, formed earlier this year, involves the region’s 11 councils and aims to co-ordinate tourism strategies and spending between local government areas that should give the entire region a competitive advantage in attracting visitors and government funding.

Mr Creedon said the organisation would focus its efforts this year on improving the quality of digital information about the region, and targeting events, festivals and business tourism.

Hot air ballooning over Cessnock’s wine country.

post by admin | | Closed

TOPICS: It’s dog nil, duck one

OUR year is off to a perfect start because we’ve received an email with the subject line ‘‘Duck beats dog’’.
Nanjing Night Net

It’s from Col Maybury, our trusted Kurri Kurri correspondent, and it’s about a drama (pictured) that’s unfolding in his yard. A fox, reckons Col, has put a grisly end to a mother duck and some of her ducklings.

But the surviving ducklings have a fighter in their corner.

‘‘George, our father wood duck, raised the three,’’ says Col.

‘‘They are teenagers now and eat from our hands. Sophie our dog is terrified of them. Today, George savagely attacked. Score: dog nil, duck one.’’

Punitive gifting

A READER, who doesn’t wished to be named, reports that she was one of the legion of Hunter shoppers who bought gift cards this festive season (Topics, December27).

Unimpressed by a lack of recent phone calls from her son, our reader sent him a few vouchers for Christmas. But there was a catch.

‘‘I posted my son a nice Christmas card with four $100 uncharged gift cards enclosed,’’ she says.

‘‘One from Just Jeans, one from Westfield and two from Visa. I actually think this is funnier than giving someone scratched ‘scratchies’.’’

Topics wonders if she has since heard from her son.

Brother, it’s tough

JANUARY1 was a big day for the Hangover Brothers, as customers pelted the mysterious fast-food delivery crew with demands.

‘‘Is Hamilton pide shop open?’’ wrote one on the Brothers’ Facebook page. Good news: it was.

‘‘Can you bring me beer yet?’’ asked another. They couldn’t.

Another customer, perhaps overcome by the festivities, had an understandable enquiry.

‘‘Do you guys babysit?’’

Extended August

YESTERDAY, Topics gave you 14 reasons to love 2014.

We kind of ran out after six, but we got there. Today, reader John offers a reason to love August 2014.

‘‘August 2014 will be unique insofar as it will have five Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays,’’ he tells us.

‘‘Now that’s a long weekend.’’

John says it won’t happen again for some 823 years.

Urban creepies

OK, what’s going on here?

First Topics hears that, thanks to fierce bushfires and record November rain, the number of snakes migrating to the suburbs has skyrocketed (Newcastle Herald, December18).

Then we find out there’s a thing called ‘‘funnel web season’’ (Herald, January1), which sounds like mango or apricot season except that instead of biting into delicious fruit, you might get bitten into by things from your nightmares.

With all the creepy-crawlies around, we’d like to hear about the worst place you’ve found a spider or snake. It might’ve been the pool, a gumboot, the glovebox …

We’ll start. The setting is Brisbane’s outskirts, 1991. A young Topics is playing with our cousin, who owns a toy car garage which has an elevator shaft. Except that when the toy elevator reaches its top floor, the door opens and out slides the head of a black snake.

We’ll never shake that image. Send your snake or spider tale to [email protected]南京夜网.au.

LAW OF THE JUNGLE: As the surviving ducks try to just get on with it, father duck George shows Sophie the dog who’s the real boss of the Maybury menagerie.

post by admin | | Closed

IAN KIRKWOOD: Big Brother is phoning

WHEN mobile phones first came into use, the big fear was radiation.
Nanjing Night Net

Governments and the big phone companies said everything was safe but the worry remained that all of that electromagnetic energy pouring in and out from our ear-held phones would cause brain tumours.

More recently, the biggest controversy over the new era of mobiles, the increasingly ubiquitous smartphones, has been over their security – or lack of it – in the face of apparently dedicated hacking by a plethora of global spy agencies.

The latest bout of smartphone controversy emerged this week in Germany, when a Wikileaks-linked computer security expert, Jacob Appelbaum, told a technology conference that the US National Security Agency had phone-hacking capabilities that were ‘‘even worse than your worst nightmares’’.

‘‘What I am going to show you today is wrist-slittingly depressing,’’ Appelbaum told his audience in a presentation that is available online, including from his Twitter feed.

Reports of his disclosures were carried by Fairfax Media yesterday but the in-depth coverage – some of it written by him and his associates – is in the English edition of the prominent German news outlet, Der Spiegel.

In a series of articles this week, Appelbaum and his associates outlined years of work by the NSA, some of it sourced from documents obtained by Wikileaks whistleblower Edward Snowden and some of it obtained through freedom of information applications. At least some of the documents were reportedly marked ‘‘FVEY’’, which is short for the ‘‘five eyes’’ group of nations; the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Reading the Der Spiegel coverage and listening to Appelbaum’s speech, the smartphone hacking is presented as just one aspect of a massive NSA intelligence operation that aims at nothing less than total coverage of the entire global internet and telecommunications systems.

An arm of the NSA known as the Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, reportedly began operations in 1997, when, as Der Spiegel says, ‘‘not even 2per cent of the world’s population had internet access and no-one had yet thought of Facebook, YouTube of Twitter’’.

The TAO operation began at Fort Meade, Maryland, and its ‘‘task was clear from the beginning – to work around the clock to find ways to hack into global communications traffic’’.

With the US already in the midst of a diplomatic row over phone-tapping – Der Spiegel said Angela Merkel had been a target since 2002, three years before she was elected chancellor – Appelbaum’s revelations seem destined to renew the controversy.

While a number of phone companies, including Apple, have responded to Appelbaum’s claims, none that I can find have disputed them.

As reported by Associated Press, Apple said it had never worked with the NSA to deliberately weaken its products, promising that it would ‘‘defend our customers from security attacks, regardless of who is behind them.’’

Importantly, the ‘‘malware’’ that the NSA is apparently able to implant on iPhones and other devices is apparently able to work whether or not the phone is turned on, enabling the agency to suck up every conversation, and every bit of information, that the targeted phone has carried.

Many of us, probably, will accept such surveillance as a necessary impost but it seems an enormous invasion of privacy, especially when you remember the stink that was caused in 1985 when the Hawke Labor government wanted individual information collated on an Australia Card, at least partly to deter tax avoidance and health and welfare fraud. If our governments do have access to all of our digital communication, then Big Brother truly is watching, and 2014 is indeed 1984.

post by admin | | Closed

New Year’s Eve extravaganza in Sydney was a head trip for artist Reg Mombassa

A tired but relieved Reg Mombassa has admitted letting millions of people around the world peer ”inside” his head as part of Sydney’s New Year’s Eve extravaganza was a somewhat nervy experience.
Nanjing Night Net

The short fireworks show, between the main fireworks at 9pm and midnight, was based on Mombassa’s work Cranium Universe and depicted the inner workings of the artist’s brain as a group of planets and stars.

”It’s about the idea that every human perceives the world and the universe at large in their own head, really,” he says. ”It’s an illusion in some respects although I do believe that reality exists.”

The centrepiece of Mombassa’s contribution to the night was the unveiling of a single blinking eye on the Harbour Bridge gazing down on the 1.5 million revellers.

”Eyes are interesting,” he said. ”Everyone is fascinated by eyes. The first thing you look at in a face is the eye. Also with the harbour setting, the eye is like a watery harbour in the landscape of the face as well as being the window to the soul – and the soul is theoretically a fairly deep piece of work.”

Mombassa’s characteristic absurdist artwork was seen all around the city on hundreds of 4.5-metre banners as well as on the sides of buses and on thousands of posters before the event.

”I really appreciated being asked to do it,” he said. ”There are hundreds of artists who would have liked to have a crack at it. I really appreciated having a wider audience for my stuff.”

Mombassa, who was involved in the 2000 Olympic closing ceremony, said New Year’s Eve 2013 was a career highlight, but he was not expecting a repeat performance for 2014. ”I think it’s a one-shot job, really. I probably could do it again but I’m not sure I’d want to. Someone else should do it; you shouldn’t hog something like that.”

Art critic John McDonald is not entirely convinced about the artistic merit of Sydney’s New Year’s Eve spectacle – despite the input this year from Mombassa.

”He’s a recognised artist and a very versatile figure,” he said. ”Whether that gives the whole spectacle more integrity, I think that’s really in the eye of the beholder. I don’t think you can analyse fireworks very deeply.”

McDonald was surprised at Mombassa’s role, describing him as an ”intimate artist”. ”He does very lyrical and quirky things, but usually it’s on a pretty small scale. It was kind of strange to see him dragged up into the spotlight.” He also said the pressure to keep making the fireworks bigger and better would only become more intense each year.

Former Sydney Festival director Leo Schofield agreed. ”You’ve always got to do something as good as your last,” he said. ”There’s always this urge to do something novel and new, and a public expectation that should be such.”

Schofield was not present at Tuesday night’s celebrations but had a more liberal approach to the artistic merits of the display.

”I think they are a great celebratory and ceremonial thing,” he said. ”Once upon a time, they were works of art. Great historical celebrations have always been marked by fireworks.”

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

post by admin | | Closed

TonyAbbott meets Ashes cricketers

Welcome: Margie and Tony Abbott say hello to Australia captain Michael Clarke. Photo: Anthony Johnson After 41 days of hostilities, sledging on and off the pitch and a war of attrition, the Australian and English cricket teams look to have settled their differences – for the time being.
Nanjing Night Net

Prime Minister Tony Abbott welcomed the touring party and victorious Australian squad to his temporary residence at Kirribilli and made his best effort at breaking the ice following England’s tumultuous summer.

”Under a gorgeous Australian sky, beside the sparkling waters of Sydney Harbour, I think we can safely say we’ve got the English cricket team exactly where we want them,” Mr Abbott joked.

Cricketers always say they like to leave the unpleasant stuff on the field and share a beer after the game. This was not quite the case on Wednesday. Stuart Broad had a cup of tea, Joe Root a lemon, lime and bitters, and Mitchell Johnson, the most menacing of them all, just a sparkling mineral water.

Children descended on to Mr Abbott’s adopted backyard, overlooking the harbour, and played with their joyful fathers. For players and their families, it was a lovely way to forget about leather and willow for a few hours.

The whitewash Australia will be looking to inflict on their colonial birthparents is not dissimilar to the drubbing Mr Abbott gave Kevin Rudd in September.

Oh, how times can change. At a time when Mr Rudd was thrashed into retirement, just like Graeme Swann at the WACA Ground, both England and Mr Abbott were at the height of their power. Well-drilled, thorough and ostensibly unflappable. It seemed unfathomable a few months ago that Mr Abbott could be down in the polls. It seemed absolutely unthinkable that Cook, Root, Pietersen and Bell would not score a hundred Down Under. As they say, cricket can be a funny game, and by the state of our man in charge, politics too.

For Mr Abbott, his first 105 days in power have been as slow as the English cricket team’s run rate this summer. With the new year upon us, he too will be aiming for more victories in the new year.

His message to Cook that the English need not worry about the past is reminiscent of his own political mantra for the new year. Mr Abbott and Cook need to be prepared for the future more than anyone. The PM’s Medicare dilemmas and abolition of the carbon tax combined with Cook’s wearing top order pose some difficult problems for two successful and proven leaders gripped in the midst of their toughest hour.

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

post by admin | | Closed

Wellington seal comeback win

Wanderers to be sold as Primo boss achieves coveted goal
Nanjing Night Net

Barely three weeks ago, Wellington Phoenix weren’t just winless but hopeless. Winning at Parramatta Stadium would have seemed a fanciful prospect.

Indeed, when the Phoenix trailed 1-0 after Mark Bridge’s flick, you could have picked up triple-figure odds on the visitors scoring three times in the next 20 minutes.

Now the Phoenix, instead of being doomed to a wooden-spoon battle with Melbourne Heart, are equal on points with seventh-placed Adelaide. Finals are back on their agenda.

This was a victory engineered in the dugout as much as on the pitch. Ernie Merrick, once derided for his blunt tactics at Melbourne Victory, had to work out a way to turn the match in his favour once they fell behind on the hour mark.

The introduction of Tyler Boyd – a 19-year-old forward without an A-League goal to his name – was a cunning masterstroke.

Boyd scored one, set up another and combined with Stein Huysegems to shred the seemingly impenetrable Wanderers rearguard.

It was the first time an away team has  scored three goals at Parramatta Stadium, and the first time the Wanderers have been beaten on home soil all season.

They’ve now taken five points from the Wanderers in three games. That’s not to be sniffed at – nor is the fact that of the six goals scored by away teams at the venue in this campaign, the Kiwis have bagged four of them.

Some will be tempted to point the finger at Wanderers coach Tony Popovic for aggressively rotating his squad again. He made no fewer  than six changes to the starting team that drew 1-1 at Melbourne Victory.

There’s merit to that point but the real truth is  once they went ahead, they relaxed. All three goals came down the right-hand side as sloppy organisation opened holes.

While the sides were poles apart  going into the match – second-top versus  second-bottom – there didn’t appear much of a class gulf early.  However, the Wanderers did squander a couple of good early chances as Bridge headed over and Aaron Mooy’s volley troubled Glen Moss but neither troubled the scorer.

The Wanderers looked at their best down the right, where the hard work of Jerome Polenz and Youssouf Hersi was rewarded by Shinjo Ono’s vision, continually exploiting Kenny Cunningham’s inferior work rate. At times, left-back Manny Muscat was having to mind two or more of them without support.

Ono very nearly scored on the brink of half-time when his well-timed header appeared goal-bound, only to strike the underside of the crossbar.

Luck aside, Wellington’s work through the middle was keeping them in the contest. Spaniard Albert Riera brought a rhythmic motion to holding midfield while Jason Hicks showed glimpses as a No.10 before being changed for Matthew Ridenton at half-time.

He was beaten to the bench by Louis Fenton, who dislocated his shoulder in what could be the third bad injury in a week for the Phoenix. In the 1-0 win over Melbourne Heart, Paul Ifill snapped his Achilles  and Carlos Hernandez suffered a fractured wrist.

The bad news was made even worse as the Wanderers broke through to score the first of the evening. A delightful three-way move involving Hersi, Ono and Bridge ended with the latter being put through on goal.

Moss raced out to Bridge but the former Sydney forward was able to tap the ball over the keeper with the edge of his toe.

Merrick’s answer to falling behind was to turn to young Boyd in a decision that changed the match.

Most of the 14,151 fans were  stunned as Huysegems wriggled his way to the byline before poking across goal to Boyd, who was in the right place to prod home.

But the Phoenix weren’t done yet, nor was their big Belgian. Sensing the game was up for grabs, he outmuscled Mooy and  went one on one against Nikolai Topor-Stanley. Huysegems had feigned one way and then the other before placing a superb shot into the far corner.

By now the hosts were reeling and had  lost their shape. The Phoenix had the audacity to chase a third, and who else but Boyd and Huysegems combined to put an exclamation mark on the biggest upset of the season.

WELLINGTON PHOENIX 3 (Tyler Boyd 68m, Stein Huysegems 78m, 83m) bt WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS 1 (Mark Bridge 62m) at Pirtek Stadium. Crowd: 14,151. Referee: Lucien Laverdue.

Ladder after start of round 13 This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

post by admin | | Closed

Chris Waller’s Permit steals Travolta’s big moment at Randwick

Outside chance: Blake Shinn rode Permit (No.2) to victory in the Tatersalls Club Cup. He was later suspended. Photo: Anthony JohnsonChris Waller’s Sydney staying arsenal again left a sour taste in the mouth of the Gai Waterhouse camp after Permit gunned down tearaway leader Travolta in the Tattersalls Club Cup on Wednesday.
Nanjing Night Net

Six days after I’m Imposing fought back to beat Travolta in the group 3 Summer Cup on Boxing Day, this time it was Permit’s turn to steal a stakes success from Tulloch Lodge in the listed feature at Randwick.

It was the seven-year-old’s second straight black-type success, capping a remarkable return to form after winning the Christmas Cup on the Kensington track last month. Permit was a one-time Sydney Cup favourite, but badly lost his form last season before Waller weaved his magic again.

Waller will toy with starting Permit, which was forced to do the donkey work lugging the field up behind Travolta, in the Australia Day Cup over the same course and distance.

”We won’t be setting him for The BMW or anything like that during the carnival, we’ll just take one race at a time,” Waller said. ”[I’ll] try to talk the handicapper into not giving him too much weight. He has done his job, but what do you do? Do you wait and he might come back and find it tough? Or there’s the Australia Day Cup over 2400 metres, where we might have a few going for that.”

Joe Pride’s Destiny’s Kiss was favourite at $2.10 in the Tattersalls Club Cup, but couldn’t reel in the leading pair after having every chance from near the back of the field. Despite stumbling out of the gates, Adam Hyeronimus whisked Travolta to the lead and he opened up a big mid-race break while Permit led the chasing brigade.

But Hyeronimus was again left with that sinking feeling after Permit collared Waterhouse’s runner in the shadow of the winning post. It was Waller’s second straight win in the headline act on New Year’s Day after Moriarty won the corresponding race last year.

”He just keeps rolling and doesn’t give in,” Waller said of Permit. ”It was a classic English staying race and I guess you can say he just outstayed them. You could say he had a pacemaker out in front which kept giving him something to chase. It didn’t fall off at the 400-metre mark and it kept him honest all the way to the line.

”He’s just a perfect gentleman [at home]. We don’t have a stable pony – we’re one of the few stables that don’t – but he might be putting his hand up one day.”

Added jockey Blake Shinn: ”You’ve just got to take your hat off to Chris. [Permit] has got that spark back in him. A couple of preparations ago he took all before him in the staying ranks and he might win a really good race this autumn over a staying distance. We found a great rhythm and when it got into a dogfight he was there for me.”

Hyeronimus lamented Travolta’s slow start and the big weight of 59 kilograms as the five-year-old fell a short neck shy of his second listed win of the summer.

”He’s not jumping really clean, which probably isn’t helping,” he said. ”He’s giving me a bit to do to get to the front. He rolled along nice and picked up well at the 600 [metres]. He’s getting found out a little bit with the weight, and the blinkers can probably come off now over the 2400 [metres].”

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

post by admin | | Closed

Federer eases into quarter-finals

Roger Federer is enjoying life in the fast lane in Brisbane as he laps up the type of speedy playing surface he has been advocating for years.
Nanjing Night Net

But how well it prepares him for the more-sluggish Australian Open venues remains to be seen, although the world number six said he always preferred to go from fast to slow, rather than be ambushed with a lightning surface at the start of a major tournament.

The top seed began his summer with a crisp 6-4 6-2 victory over Finnish journeyman Jarkko Nieminen on Pat Rafter Arena on Wednesday night and was quick to praise the slick courts, which amplify his natural attacking game and ability to end points as early as possible.

It was more than enough to keep good friend and tour veteran Nieminen reaching, with Federer warming into the contest on the back of nine aces and pinpoint power from the baseline.

The Swiss great has long been an outspoken supporter of faster playing surfaces in an era where many of the hard courts have been tamed, greatly aiding the defence of some of Federer’s greatest rivals.

Federer remains a fundamentally aggressive player and while slower courts make for longer rallies – pleasing fans and organisers – he’s come to believe the balance of power has been shifted too far in favour of noted scramblers like Novak Djokovic, who return the previously unreturnable.

“It’s an easy fix. Just make quicker courts, then it’s hard to defend,” Federer said after a loss to Djokovic in the ATP finals in London two years ago. “Attacking style is more important. It’s only on this type of slow courts that you can defend the way we are all doing right now.”

Brisbane seems to get his tick of approval, with Federer just one of the players noting the relative increase in pace on the plexicushion courts that have been baking in the Queensland heatwave.

Melbourne Park is played on the same surface but it tends to be notably slower. Federer won three of his four Australian Open titles on the faster Rebound Ace surface before it was controversially reolaced in 2008.

“It depends how Melbourne is going to be playing but I prefer to go from fast to slower because then you usually return better,” Federer said on Wednesday night.

“I like it a bit faster, to be honest.  It’s just nice when the slider drags a bit or the slice stays a bit lower and guys don’t just eat it up, even though it’s a decent slice. So I think it’s a good thing that it’s a bit faster here.”

The pace of the surface will certainly play into Federer’s hands in Brisbane, where he is the top seed and hot favourite to collect the title in his maiden appearance.

At 32 and coming off his first season since 2002 where he didn’t add to his exorbitant tally of 17 Grand Slams, Federer is seeking every advantage he can get as he tries to stay in touch with the new group of faces now dominating the mens game.

Quicker surfaces would help, as may new coach Stefan Edberg, the Swedish serve-and-volley ace who will join his coaching staff in Mebourne after spending time in Federer’s camp in Dubai.

After a six-week break – a long one for Federer – the early signs were promising. He was pleased with his matter-of-fact disposal of Nieminen, a win that sets up a quarter-final with Australian Marinko Matosevic, who defeated American Sam Querrey earlier in the day.

The key facets of his game, the serve, the forehand, the net play, appear to be in good working order as he takes another step towards the opening Slam of the year.

“Tonight you come out of it and think, ‘Okay, I’ve been serving okay, my forehand is going well, my movement is okay, I’m seeing the ball okay, I’m getting used to the conditions’,” Federer said.

“I expect myself to play a bit better in the next match, even though today was already very good for a first match in so many weeks, to be honest, and against Nieminen who can play very good tennis.”

In the other result late on Wednesday night, women’s second seed and world number two Victoria Azarenka had an easy time of things against Australia’s Casey Dellacqua, advancing after a 6-3 6-1 victory.

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