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Nitro Circus’ Jackson Strong injured in fireworks explosion

Original source:The Daily Advertiser
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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.

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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.
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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

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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.
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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.

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Drowning danger lurking in pools

THE head of Royal Life Saving NSW urged adults to be alert to the dangers of the holiday season yesterday after another Hunter child had to be rescued from a near drowning on New Year’s Eve.
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An 18-month-old boy was recovering in hospital yesterday after he was found unconscious in a Thornton backyard spa.

An Ambulance NSW spokeswoman said paramedics had been called to Woodlands Drive shortly before 7pm after the toddler was discovered.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation began before paramedics arrived, the spokeswoman said. And the child was taken to the John Hunter Hospital in a critical condition.

Police said the boy had been placed in an induced coma but later regained consciousness.

The child was reportedly recovering well and was in a stable condition last night.

The New Year’s Eve incident was at least the fifth near-drowning with a young child in the region last month.

A three-year-old girl was saved at Aberglasslyn on December13, and a Buff Point child was also flown to hospital after nearly drowning in a pool.

A Belmont child, aged 2, was pulled unconscious from a Sydney pool at the start of December.

Last week, a Warnervale two-year-old was revived by her father after she was found floating lifeless in the pool.

Royal Life Saving NSW chief executive David Macallister said he was unfamiliar with the specifics of each incident.

But December and January, with their special holidays and social occasions, loomed as a dangerous period for backyard pools.

Mr Macallister said adults needed to take turns formally watching children in or around pools.

‘‘Otherwise what the adults tend to do is they gather around the barbecue and they’re in their own world,’’ he said.

Even during short sojourns, such as grabbing a drink or answering the door, children should be out of the pool until a supervisor returned, Mr Macallister said.

He said pool alarms and other equipment, though useful, should only be a contingency.

‘‘There’s no substitute for adult supervision,’’ he said.

Central Hunter police duty officer Acting Inspector Joe Krzanic said it was another timely reminder for parents to remain vigilant with their children around pools this summer.

He said police were making inquiries but the incident was not being treated as suspicious.

Royal Life Saving NSW chief executive David Macallister

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Council directors’ suspensions still a mystery

IT’S the curious debacle which has now cost Newcastle ratepayers tens of thousands of dollars and shows no sign of ending.
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It has been six weeks since Newcastle City Council suspended two senior employees on full pay.

This infuriated some, who have called it ‘‘an absolute disgrace’’, ‘‘yet another farce’’, ‘‘a massive waste of ratepayer money’’ and ‘‘an incredible denial of natural justice’’.

Newcastle Art Gallery director Ron Ramsey and his boss, the council future cities director Judy Jaeger, were suspended on full pay on November20 by the council’s general manager, Ken Gouldthorp.

No reason was given for the suspension, and there is no implication from anyone that the pair has done anything wrong.

Mr Gouldthorp is holidaying in Queensland, and the council’s public relations team was maintaining its line yesterday that it would not comment on ‘‘staffing issues’’.

But the Newcastle Herald can confirm the suspensions were extended because of the holiday season, and Mr Ramsey and Ms Jaeger were only interviewed by the council’s external investigator several days before Christmas, four weeks after they were initially stood down.

Given that they have been on full pay for six weeks, their roles have been back-filled and the council has hired a consultant investigator, the cost of the exercise so far has been conservatively put at more than $30,000.

‘‘It’s an absolute disgrace,’’ Cr Tim Crakanthorp said.

‘‘I say that for three reasons. Firstly, their [Ramsey and Jaeger] reputations are being badly damaged, regardless of whether or not they did anything wrong; secondly, because the suspensions and replacements are costing us a lot of money; and thirdly because I wouldn’t be surprised if there were legal ramifications down the track which may cost the council even more.’’

Robert Henderson, chairman of the art gallery foundation, was equally critical.

‘‘It’s an incredible denial of natural justice,’’ he said.

‘‘What’s more disgusting is that mud sticks. No one knows why they have been stood down – they’ve been gagged and essentially put under house arrest because, while they’re suspended [on full pay], they can’t go anywhere in case they get called into work or into a meeting with the investigator.

‘‘I will never understand why the suspensions came before the investigation. Shouldn’t it happen the other way around?’’

Lord mayor Jeff McCloy said that though he agreed the investigation ‘‘had gone on too long’’, councillors ‘‘shouldn’t involve themselves’’ in the matter.

It was a ‘‘staff issue’’, which would be resolved by the current investigation, he said.

The council would not comment further or provide any indication of when the investigation might conclude.

Mr Ramsay and Ms Jaeger have been ordered by Mr Gouldthorp to make no public comment.

Judy Jaeger and Ron Ramsey

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Johnson tells Poms to hold their ground

TEARAWAY quick Mitchell Johnson has accused England of deliberately backing away from fast bowlers as a tactic to unsettle Australia’s pacemen.
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It is not uncommon for batsmen to walk away from a delivery if members of the crowd appear in their line of vision, but Johnson says the regularity with which it has happened during the Ashes indicates England are doing it for other reasons.

And the fiery left-armer says he expects Andy Flower’s men to continue to employ it in the fifth and final Test at the SCG, starting tomorrow.

‘‘That’s how they play the game and have always played the game since I’ve been playing,’’ he said yesterday.

‘‘It’s always happened so I don’t think they’ll change.

‘‘It definitely is frustrating when it happens all the time but that’s part of the game, it’s part of their tactics.’’

The issue came to a head in the Boxing Day Test when Englishman Kevin Pietersen walked away during Johnson’s run-up, causing the series leading wicket-taker to react angrily.

Johnson chucked the ball in Pietersen’s direction and shared words soon after.

But Johnson says he won’t be playing nice if England try it again in Sydney.

‘‘The only thing I regret is throwing the ball,’’ he said.

‘‘I think that was probably a little bit inappropriate, but the rest of it was fine.

‘‘I just let [Pietersen] know that he needed to stop doing it.

‘‘The sight screens are big enough. He should be watching the game. I won’t back down if it happens again.’’

If it is a tactic, it’s not working. Johnson, who has taken 31 wickets at 14.32 this series, said he was spurred on by Pietersen’s hasty retreat in Melbourne, where he claimed 3-25 in the second innings.

‘‘Not long after that I got Bairstow out, so it was probably a tactic that didn’t work on his behalf that time.’’

As Australia chase an astonishing 5-0 clean sweep of England, just four months after losing 3-0 in England, Johnson admitted he felt little sympathy for the old enemy.

Johnson, more than most, has copped flak from a ruthless Barmy Army, whose infamous chants took him to his lowest points on the cricket pitch. But the hurt he felt in the past is simply making his resurrection all the sweeter.

‘‘It’s definitely a lot sweeter to me. I was quite emotional in Perth. I found it difficult to bowl the last two overs,’’ he said. ‘‘Just the emotions were flowing and all the memories of all the bad times were there and I finally had that urn in my hand.

‘‘Just to prove to myself that I was able to come back and to be able to do it.’’

● New Zealand batsman Corey Anderson smashed the fastest one-day international 100, taking just 36 balls to reach a century against the West Indies yesterday.

Left-hander Anderson, 23, hit the 12th six of his innings off spinner Nikita Miller in the 18th over at the small Queenstown ground to reach three figures.

He eclipsed Pakistani Shahid Afridi’s previous record of 37 balls, set against Sri Lanka in Nairobi in 1996.

Anderson finished unbeaten on 131, having smashed 14 sixes as New Zealand posted 4-283 in a match shortened by rain to 21 overs per side. He was supported by Jesse Ryder, whose 104 off 46 balls was itself the sixth-fastest ton in ODIs.

Their main assault started in the 12th over as the pair combined to take 19 off Jason Holder. Anderson smashed four sixes in the next over, off Sunil Narine, then repeated the trick two overs later off Ravi Rampaul. At that stage Anderson had hit 10 sixes in the space of 16 balls. Rampaul took 0-64 off three overs.

IRRITATED: Mitchell Johnson confronts Kevin Pietersen in Melbourne. Picture: Getty Images

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Burns fuming over card

PERTH Glory skipper Jacob Burns appears certain to miss Saturday night’s showdown with Newcastle at Hunter Stadium after a bizarre send-off in his team’s 2-1 loss to Central Coast on Tuesday.
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Burns left the pitch in the 90th minute to receive treatment for a gashed head, sustained after an errant elbow from Mile Sterjovski.

Once the veteran was bandaged and had changed shirts, as per the regulations, he was delayed from re-entering the field by the fourth official and voiced his frustration. His outburst earned a yellow card for dissent, which followed an earlier booking for repeated infringements, and he received his marching orders.

At the time, the game was hanging in the balance at 1-1, but the Mariners snatched a 96th-minute winner via Michael McGlinchey against their 10-man opponents.

If that was not enough to infuriate Burns, he now faces the prospect of his second suspension this season.

He will serve a mandatory game on the sidelines and longer if the match-review panels feel it is warranted.

Burns said after the game that he would ask Perth to challenge any suspension.

‘‘Absolutely. I’ll do whatever I can,’’ he said.

But to have Burns’s ban overturned, Glory would need to provide evidence of ‘‘obvious error’’ by match officials.

If they cannot do that, the 35-year-old could be outed for an additional game under the ‘‘frivolous appeal’’ provisions.

Burns and Glory coach Kenny Lowe were livid with the officials after the game.

“Poor refereeing decision. First of all when I copped an elbow got split open, [I had to change] three shirts, wrapped my head up, stopped the blood, still won’t let me on,’’ Burns said. ‘‘The time’s ticking, the team needs you to be on there, the dying moments when you need to be on there and the fourth official does you for dissent so you can’t come back with a minute to go.

‘‘Mate, it’s incredibly poor. I’ve never seen that before.”

Lowe said: ‘‘I haven’t got a clue. It’s the first time I’ve seen a player sent off while he’s off the pitch.’’

Perth’s misfortune could be timely for Newcastle.

The likely loss of Burns will put further strain on a Glory line-up already without senior defenders Scott Jamieson (Achilles) and William Gallas (calf) plus prolific striker Shane Smeltz (ankle).

Newcastle, who drew 0-0 at home with Perth in round two, will be eager to capitalise against a depleted opponent who have won only once in two months.

After Sunday’s 1-0 loss in Adelaide, the Jets have slipped to fifth and will scarcely have a better opportunity to bounce back from what they labelled a ‘‘flat’’ performance.

More A-League, Page 33

SIDELINED: Jacob Burns.

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HSG due to deliver audit on time

THE Newcastle Knights members club has been assured that Hunter Sports Group will deliver on time its annual independent audit, confirming all terms and conditions of Nathan Tinkler’s 2011 takeover are being honoured.
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The audited statement, conducted by Crosbie Warren Sinclair, is due to be completed by January 15.

The members club then has until January 27 to rubber-stamp it or raise objections.

The yearly audit was a stipulation before Tinkler was allowed to buy the Knights, to ensure that certain key commitments were being upheld.

These included providing $10million worth of sponsorship, sufficient working capital for day-to-day football and administrative operations, $2.5million for junior development, and $300,000 to the Newcastle Rugby League.

HSG is also required to have in place a $10.3million bank guarantee by January 21, plus a CPI-adjusted increase.

The audit issue sparked controversy 12 months ago when HSG asked for, and received, an extension from the original due date of December 15, 2012, to January 21, 2013.

Knights officials said the change was necessary so the audit could incorporate the full calendar year.

But given that the deferral coincided with the Australian Taxation Office filing documents in the Federal Court to liquidate eight companies linked to Tinkler, including the Knights, Newcastle Jets and HSG, over $3.19million in unpaid taxes, not surprisingly there was widespread concern.

Eventually the tax debts were settled and the members club were satisfied that the audit complied.

Members club chairman Nick Dan said yesterday that he recently discussed this year’s audit with Tinkler’s former legal adviser, Aimee Hyde, who assured him there would be no problems.

The Herald understands the Newcastle Rugby League was satisfied its funding component was met after it received a large deposit this week.

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Wanderers to be sold

Wellington stun Western Sydney with comeback win
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Football Federation Australia is on the verge of selling the Western Sydney Wanderers after a sale price was agreed with a private consortium headed by Primo Smallgoods boss Paul Lederer.

Lederer has long-been mooted as the likely candidate to buy the Wanderers’ and has been in discussions about a financial stake in an A-League club for several years. He has submitted a joint offer alongside Pirtek founder Peter Duncan and a mystery Chinese businessman to take over the club.

Despite appointing equity firm UBS to find a potential buyer, the FFA has been in no rush to complete the proposed $15 million sale after the seeing the club’s surging popularity continue this year. The FFA has not disclosed if their valuation, which was formulated several months ago, has been met or exceeded.

There is a chance the deal could be completed as early as March but if the FFA is not satisfied with the arrangement, a sale may be held off until the end of the season.

That was only the positive news for the club to emerge from Parramatta Stadium on New Years’ Day as they slumped to a 3-1 defeat to Wellington Phoenix.

Wanderers coach Tony Popovic was at a loss to explain their capitulation in the final 25 minutes, where they conceded three times.

“It wasn’t our best [performance]. We scored first but they got a good equaliser and then we got punished for our mistakes,” Popovic said. “It’s the first time we’ve played at home this season and have lost. We’ve got to learn from it, which we will, and we’ll move on quickly.”

Popovic said his side was so keen to find a winning goal that they let their defence slip.

“At 1-1, I was still comfortable but I think we tried too hard and tried to force the issue,” he said. “They took advantage and that’s a credit to them. It’s a first for us and the players are disappointed. We’re not going to look too deep into it.”

Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick said such a performance from his side was certainly due.

“The boys tell me they can’t remember being a goal behind and coming back to win but I think that’s to do with the mental approach they’ve got now. We’ve been working on that day since one of pre-season,” he said. “All round we’ve been playing good football [this season], I think there’s only two games we haven’t been played well but the law of averages says it’s got to come good and it did tonight.”

Merrick said 19-year-old substitute Tyler Boyd, who scored one and set up another after coming on, would take his game to the next level after that performance.

“He played a fair bit last year but didn’t seem to have a sense of purpose about him but now he understands more about the job and he has a sense of purpose on the field,” Merrick said. “He did a very good job tonight. I couldn’t ask anything else of him.”

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Partnership needed to drive game ahead

TO anyone on the outside, it may have appeared strange that for the past 92 years Newcastle district cricket and Newcastle City and Suburban cricket have operated as separate entities.
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Since C&S was launched in 1921-22, the two associations have at times had a bitter relationship, and many players are ardently opposed to the rival competition. Any cross-over was deemed impossible.

The latest proposal to amalgamate the competitions, their respective umpires association and Newcastle Junior Cricket Association into one governing body is long overdue.

Cricket in Australia faces plenty of challenges to remain the nation’s No.1 summer sport. Due to changing work hours and family pressures, the free Saturday afternoon to chase around leather in the hot sun is a luxury that is becoming increasingly unavailable to many people.

Both the NDCA and C&S are in the business of promoting cricket, so it makes sense to pool their resources to face these challenges together instead of in competition.

Already the links forged between district and C&S clubs are proving beneficial and creating more flexibility for cricketers, especially those who cannot commit every Saturday.

Under a new proposal, an elected eight-person board of directors would appoint a paid general manager to run Newcastle cricket. This is another overdue step.

As long as the position is affordable long-term, it should benefit Newcastle cricket.

Local rugby league, rugby union, AFL, football and basketball all have a general manager or chief executive.

In recent years the NDCA, C&S and junior committees have worked diligently to further the sport, but they are all volunteers.

Due to a lack of time they are unable to dedicate the necessary manpower to grow cricket to its potential.

That includes boosting sponsorship, lobbying government for upgrades to No.1 Sportsground to cater for more elite cricket and introducing midweek competitions.

Plenty of negotiating and fine-tuning of the details will need to occur before one governing body is running Newcastle cricket.

It could be three or four seasons before it comes into operation.

In the meantime it is a proposal worthy of discussion.

POWER OF ONE: Cricket in Newcastle could come under the control of one administrative body. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

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Rising Phoenix stun Wanderers at home

STEIN Huysegems and Tyler Boyd combined to sink Western Sydney Wanderers’ undefeated home record and continue Wellington Phoenix’s remarkable A-League mid-season resurgence.
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The Phoenix scored a 3-1 come-from-behind win over the Wanderers at Pirtek Stadium last night with Huysegems scoring two goals and setting up one for Boyd.

The Phoenix duo put on an attacking clinic after the home side had gone up 1-0 in the 62nd minute through Mark Bridge after great a deft chip from Shinji Ono.

But Boyd struck back in the 68th minute before Huysegems’s brace came in the 78th and 83rd minutes, the second a stunning back heel.

The win is the third straight for the Phoenix after previously enduring a winless start to the season.

The loss was the Wanderers’ first at home since January 6 last year.

With Ono and Tomi Yuric back and Michael Beauchamp wearing the captain’s armband, the Wanderers controlled much of the contest until after their first goal.

The hosts probably should have gone into the break ahead.

A Juric header flew over the bar in the 14th minute after he was incorrectly ruled offside, before a powerful shot from Aaron Mooy was deflected wide by Phoenix goalkeeper Glenn Moss.

Then, in the final minute of time in the opening half, an Ono header hit the bar.

With Youssouf Hersi constantly threatening the Phoenix defence after the break, the Wanderers always looked likely to score, and it was a well-deserved lead when they went 1-0 up.

But then the game turned on its head as Boyd and Huysegems dominated to secure the upset win for the Phoenix to give Wanderers coach Tony Popovic plenty to ponder in the new year.

Boyd slid in at the far post to guide in a low Huysegems cross from the right.

The bald Belgian then dispossessed Mooy and rammed home a low left-foot finish inside the far post before Boyd drove in a low cross, which Huysegems flicked in deftly past Covic.

● Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said his only fear for the 2014 World Cup was players gloating over past victories and failing to be humble in the face of the great challenge ahead in Brazil.

‘‘We have to forget the past and not gloat over what we have won in previous years,’’ Del Bosque said.

‘‘Humility is not an empty word. When I ask for it, it is because it is the path to success.’’

Spain, champions of Europe in 2008 and 2012 and World Cup winners in 2010, face fierce competition in the tournament, which kicks off in Brazil on June 12.

‘‘The players have won a lot, almost everything, and their vision is not the same as it was five or six years ago. That is my only fear. We come back to humbleness. You have to be humble, sportsmen, and good lads.’’ AFP

AIRBORN: The Wanderers’ Michael Beauchamp tackles Wellington’s Louis Fenton at Pirtek Stadium last night. Picture: Getty Images

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One new year’s resolution for Johnson

Mitchell Johnson doesn’t deal in new year’s resolutions. And when you’ve been travelling as well as the reborn Australian fast bowler over the past few months, why bother changing a thing?
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Even as a new year has arrived, Johnson is still coming to terms with what he accomplished at the tail end of the last.

“I haven’t stepped back and had a look at it yet,” said Johnson, who has 31 wickets for the Ashes series with Friday’s fifth match in Sydney to come. “That’s something that when I’ve retired or finished this series I can have a look at and be really proud of.

“I’m proud of it at the moment but I don’t think it’s really sunk in. Even winning the Test in Perth, I don’t think it’d really sunk in yet that we’d won the Ashes so that’s why I think we want to win 5-0. We’ve got that hunger there.

“We want to go on with it so that desire is still there and it’s something we’ll look back in years to come and be really proud of and hopefully be one of the greatest teams to have played in the modern era.”

That final statement sums up what an astonishing turnaround Johnson and Australia have managed to stage this summer. He was there in India when they were dubbed the worst team to tour there nine months ago, and wasn’t even part of the squad that was then beaten 3-0 in England.

Number one in the world, a place in the history books – Michael Clarke’s Australians had kept their lofty ambitions in check for much of the series. But now that England are thoroughly buried and they have their own mojo back, they want to make sure it doesn’t go the way of Johnson’s ‘mo, which will finally get the razor treatment after Sydney.

Just how realistic their goals are will be determined next month when they meet the world’s best side, South Africa, on the Proteas’ turf. It was in Johannesburg more than two years ago that Australia last won a Test away from home against one of the major powers of world cricket – South Africa, England or India – and their record on the road last year showcased just how challenging they have found it to excel in foreign territory.

With a new lease of life Johnson, at 32, can hardly be blamed for feeling as if he can conquer the world.

“It’s just staying as fresh as possible mentally and physically. We’ve got a little bit more time off this year,” he said. “So it’s just having those times when I’m able to get back home and do the right things back home.

“One of the big things for me has been to be able to keep my gym work up. Keep that strength going, just keep being around positive people and keep enjoying my cricket. Which is what I have been doing over this past year. It’s pretty simple really, I don’t want to over-complicate it.”

That is exactly what Clarke has endeavoured to do in his management of Johnson against England, with spectacular results.

Reaching speeds of 155.8km/h in the Boxing Day Test and having used the short ball to devastating effect since the series began, Johnson’s hold over the opposition can be traced back to a basic tactical instruction from Clarke: Bowl fast.

“My role has been very clear,” Johnson said. “In the past I’ve felt I’ve had to play different roles, and sometimes that still happens where you have to back off a little bit and maybe tighten it up a little bit.

“In general my role has been to go out there, bowl fast, be aggressive, bowl in short spells. I’m very comfortable with that.”

An SCG wicket with a healthy tinge of green awaits him on Friday, and against a hungry quick with an eye on a whitewash that could be more bad news for England.

“There was a lot of talk about 5-0 the other way,” Johnson said. “I’ve been involved in a lot of losses against England [so] we really want to make it 5-0.

“And to be at this ground in Sydney, the wicket is looking pretty good for us fast bowlers so would be nice to go away from this 5-0 up and be one of the only teams in history to do that.”

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

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Sydney Thunder left dumbstruck by incredible run of outs in loss to Melbourne Stars

Match stats / As it happened
Nanjing Night Net

As if coming up against the international standard Melbourne Stars wasn’t hard enough, the weather toyed with Sydney Thunder on Wednesday night at ANZ Stadium, throwing out captain Mike Hussey’s plans to finally crack a win for the hapless side.

Defending a decent score of 6-155 on a two-paced drop-in deck, Hussey was given advice that rain was coming, leading him to turn to his strike bowlers early.

“Our plans changed quite a lot throughout the night,” a frustrated but composed Hussey said.

“We were told there was quite a bit of rain coming. So we wanted to use our good bowlers up front and try and keep them behind the par score. Then the next message came out that ‘No, no, there’s not going to be any rain’. Obviously things changed quite a bit.”

Hussey said it was “obvious” that the Stars would target Tillakaratne Dilshan, but the Thunder was left with no option but to bowl the Sri Lankan off spinner and medium pacer Scott Coyte in four of the final six overs.

With Brad Hodge (64 not out from 36 balls) and David Hussey (16 off 13) at the crease, there was little chance of the Thunder holding on and the finally relented with five balls remaining.

“It’s frustrating, for sure. I like to win,” Hussey said. “But I’m still very encouraged. We’ve got a choice. We can either bow our heads and feel sorry for ourselves and get down on ourselves and start arguing. Or we can remain positive and keep backing each other and keep trying to play our brand of cricket. I’m sure that’s what we will do.

“We were very competitive again tonight. We were playing against a fantastic team and to push them all the way to the last over was a very good effort.”

Besides the weather, luck deserted the Thunder. Matt Wade (44 off 40) survived a huge appeal from Dirk Nannes when on zero. Later, Dilshan threw down the stumps to catch David Hussey out of his crease – but the bail did not completely dislodge.

“When you’re going well, those little bits of luck tend to go your way,” said Mike Hussey, who scored 66 from 48 in the Thunder’s innings.

“Unfortunately they’re not going our way at the moment. But if we keep staying positive, keep backing each other, keep trying to execute our skills, the worm will turn and those little things will go our way. And when they do, then hopefully a few wins go with that.”

Hodge said experience proved the key at the end for the Stars, who finish a clean sweep of Sydney and return to Melbourne atop the Big Bash League table with three wins from three matches.

“Between me and Huss we’ve probably played about 400 T20 matches, so we probably used our head a little bit to try and think through the situation,” Hodge said.

“I guess experience is worth a lot. That’s probably the main difference in terms of the Melbourne Stars winning more matches in their history than the Thunder.”

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