Monthly Archives: September 2018

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Live A-League: Wanderers v Phoenix

Do the Poznan: Wanderers fans dance the night away. Photo: Cameron SpencerFollow live coverage as Western Sydney host Brisbane.

Welcome to our live coverage of Western Sydney Wanderers v Wellington Phoenix. Shane Brady here with you for the next two hours.

The Phoenix finally cracked it for a win two weeks and backed it up with another so this game could be closer than the gap between these two sides on the table might suggest.

The Phoenix’s lowly position has belied some of the football they have played, and but for some diabolical finishing they could be much higher as they have always been hard to beat.

The Wanderers go into this match with the lingering distraction of ugly incidents off the field and we hope it does not become a regular occurrence.

Everyone enjoys the spectacle of the Red and Black Bloc but hooliganism is one thing football in this country does not need.

Not long now until the action unfolds on the pitch where Tomi Juric announced his return from injury with a bang last week. It will take something to top that flying volley, surely one of the contenders for goal of the season.

No Matthew Spiranovic or Tahj Minniecon for the hosts as they make six changes but Shinji Ono and Youssouff Hersi will start.

The Nix have lost Carlos Hernandez for six weeks with a broken list, a big blow to the visitors.

1 min: The Nix kick off and we’re away. The ball goes dead and the Wanderers have a goal kick that releases Tomi Juric but he is flagged offside, wrongly as well. 0-0

2 min: Friendly fire as Polenz and La Rocca collide in an aerial challenge but they appear to be OK. 0-0

4 min: Brockie almost stole in on goal after an error by Polenz but Wanderers skipper Michael Beauchamp, back in the side, made a timely tackle that had be spot-on on the edge of the area. 0-0

6 min: The Nix get an early shot away through Cunningham but it is blocked by Mooy. They are putting together some decent possession in the Wanderers half and don’t seem overawed by their opposition. 0-0

8 min: The Nix win a corner and go short. The ball drops in the area but Huysegems’ shot is blocked and falls to Covic. They go straight down the other end and win a corner but it is easily cleared. 0-0

9 min: The Wanderers win another corner as Bridge breake through on goal but his touch is heavy and forces him wide, allowing the Nix defence to block his shot. Huysegems again clears the resultant corner but the hosts seemed to have joined the game now. 0-0

11 min: Muscat gets boxed in trying to play out and the clearance falls to Ono. Fenton’s attempted chest back to the keeper falls dangerously to Bridge but his shot is smothered for a corner. La Rocca meets the header but it is deflected wide. That was close. 0-0

14 min: Juric puts a beautiful cross on La Rocca’s head clear on goal but it flies just over. It wouldn’t have counted as he was flagged offside. The Wanderers are starting to flex their muscles. 0-0

16 min: Lia wins a free kick outside the area. Brockie curls it but can’t beat the wall. 0-0

17 min: Bridge wins a corner, the Wanderers’ 5th so far, but again they fail to beat the first man. Polenz bombs a long ball into the box but Moss is all over it. 0-0

19 min: Brockie pounces on a loose pass in defence and finds Huysegems but the Wanderers are able to regroup and defuse the attack. 0-0

22 min: No Hernandez, no Ifill, no worries so far for the Nix as they look composed on the ball and terrier-like in defence, pressing the Wanderers across the park. 0-0

24 min: Huysegems fashions a shot out of nowhere in a crowded area but it flies wide. Nice footwork from the big man, who has been in fine form for the Nix. 0-0

26 min: The Nix have been camped in the Wanderers’ half for a couple of minutes now but can’t penetrate their watertight defence. 0-0

29 min: Riera finds Fenton with a lovely sand wedge over the defence. Hicks shoots but it is deflected behind for a corner.

An absorbing battle so far. 0-0

31 min: Mooy hits a volley low and hard but Moss is able to parry it away and it is cleared for a corner. The Wanderers try a variation with better results but the ball goes dead off Juric for a goal kick. 0-0

33 min: First card of the match as Cunningham collects Polenz late, not the first time he has had a nibble at his opponent. 0-0

34 min: Penalty area pinball as the ball drops to Ono who backheels to Hersi but they are crowded out and win a free kick to relieve the pressure. 0-0

35 min: Hersi bursts through and releases Ono on the right flank but his cross is overhit and the Nix regroup and Moss is able to snuff out the danger. 0-0

37 min: The Nix defence is very well marshalled to thwart the Wanderers’ attack. They come again through Hersi but Mooy’s cross is cleared and La Rocca fouls Fenton in an aerial contest. Hersi is starting to make inroads down the right. 0-0

40 min: Fenton is tackled in a 50-50 trying to burst through the Wanderers defence and has hurt his bung shoulder. He will have to come off. A shame as he is a talented young fullback. That hurts. Boxall comes on as the injuries mount for the Nix. 0-0

43 min: The Wanderers ping it around crisply and find Hersi on the right. He teases in another inviting cross but again the Nix are able to clear. Then Hersi and Juric exchange a one-two in the box but his shot is scuffed straight at Moss. All roads lead to Hersi at the moment. 0-0

45 min: Hicks finds Boxall down the right but his cross is intercepted by Covic and the Wanderers come again. Polenz hits a perfect cross on to Ono clear in front of goal but he hits the post and it bounces just the wrong side of the line and the Nix get a huge let-off. 0-0

46 min: Just the one minute added and the whistle goes for half-time in a very absorbing battle. The best chance fell to the Wanderers at the end of the half but chances have been few and far between despite the attacking flair shown by both sides. The Nix have obviously done their homework and are well in this match despite their mounting injury toll. Will they be able to keep it up for another 45 minutes? Join us again in a quarter of an hour and find out.

Happy New (World Cup) Year by the way. This is a good way to kick it off.

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Spies count the cost

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) may have made publicly available secret files opened on ”persons of interest” during its Cold War on home-grown communism, but surveillance footage from that time is apparently not so easily accessed. Filmmaker Haydn Keenan, who made 1980s Australian cult movies Going Down and Pandemonium, scoured the ”darkened corners” of the National Archives to find the astounding, disturbing and blackly amusing footage revealed in his four-part 2013 Walkley-nominated series, Persons of Interest.

”It was extremely difficult to get access to the archival footage, as the existence of it was not acknowledged for quite some time,” Keenan says. ”There seemed to be huge gaps in what was available. I thought, well, either they stopped shooting surveillance film, or it is around somewhere. We ended up tracking down about 100 hours, so that was a massive breakthrough.”

Footage of the targets profiled in the series – Roger Milliss, Michael Hyde, Frank Hardy and Gary Foley – is chilling when cut with interviews with the targets themselves, along with academics and former ASIO spies. Narrated by Keenan, with the eerily soothing voice of actress Mercia Deane-Johns reading the files, the series reveals a human aspect to this notorious chapter of Australian history, from both sides of the operation.

The targets, when filmed reading their deeply personal and damning files for the first time, and the men who spied on them, when recalling their work and its damage to their own lives, are visibly overcome with bitterness and regret. One prominent Australian, whom Keenan will not name, pulled out of the series when his ASIO file revealed his lifelong best friend was a spy.

”He just went weak at the knees. His jaw dropped,” Keenan says. He says watching the men read their files was ”incredibly fascinating … It’s like a dark biography that’s written about you, by someone who neither likes nor trusts you, so it takes the worst option. So everything you do proves this hypothesis and that’s ultimately where ASIO fell down, because they shoehorned every bit of evidence into proving their hypothesis, as opposed to taking a scientific approach. They ended up drowning in their own information.”

Finding former ASIO spies was difficult enough. Finding ones who would speak on camera was almost impossible. But Keenan convinced Phil Geary and Tom Shepherd, along with another former spy who agreed only to be filmed in darkness, to share their stories.

”One of the really sad things that came out was that there was this other side [to the spies] that [the targets] hadn’t been aware of. They thought they were these bastards who’d gone in and ruined people’s lives, but in the end they were naive. They were always approached with the same line, ‘Would you like to help your country?’.

”And if you say ‘yes’, you will be drawn into a web out of which you cannot extricate yourself without paying a very high price. I think it became apparent to both Phil Geary and Tom Shepherd that the people they were reporting on were not going to overthrow the state by violence. They didn’t have the capacity. As Tom Shepherd says in the Frank Hardy episode, they were just people who believed in communism, believed in a fair go, believed in equality for women and a just society. The reports [the spies] were handing in were blighting the lives of those people, even though they may not have realised it.

”You may just find that you couldn’t get a job, or you’d get a job and a few weeks later, you’d get the sack. And as Tom Shepherd says at the end, ‘They say, we will always look after you. Well they won’t, and I’m not the only one’.”

Personal curiosity has so far not driven Keenan, who, in the 1960s, attended protests supporting the development of the Australian film industry, to inquire as to whether he has an ASIO file.

”I regarded myself as a humanist and, therefore, probably left of centre and leaning towards socialism, but the split between Mao and the society line of communists was pretty extreme. My theory now is that I don’t think we’ve heard the end of socialist humanism. We all have a dishwasher and two cars and four tellies and still people do not seem happy. Still, the split in Australia, where it shouldn’t be, between haves and have-nots, seems to increase. If there’s a class war, it’s been run by the right wing in Australia, and they’re winning.

”And yet, I started out thinking, ‘Oh ASIO, those buggers, the poor left’. As I went on, I started to move back towards ASIO, and I’ve ended up in the middle. I think we need an efficient professional intelligence service.”

Keenan hopes Persons of Interest will serve both as an account of systemic injustice and as a warning.

”It might be the history we could learn from. As [Justice] Michael Kirby says in the series, ‘A healthy scepticism never goes astray’.”

Persons of Interest airs on Tuesday, January 7 at 8.30pm on SBS One.

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Racing: Dances on Stars waltzes through crowd to win Carrington Stakes

Jockey Brenton Avdulla Photo: Jenny Evans Brenton Avdulla only saw daylight late and Gerald Ryan is intent on making good with another small window of opportunity after Dances On Stars’ Carrington Stakes (1100 metres) win at Randwick on Wednesday.

Hopelessly held up for a run for the majority of the long Randwick straight, Avdulla and Dances On Stars charged through a narrow passage late to win the listed sprint.

“It was just a matter of when the gap would come,” Avdulla said after Dances On Stars swelled its earnings past $350,000. “I tried nine times and missed and on the 10th time I was lucky.

“He’s a very promising horse, and he was racing against the better three-year-olds in Brisbane, and he never disgraced himself. I got enough luck from the 100 [metres] and he was good enough to do it.”

Dances On Stars ($4) is another progeny of Oakleigh Plate winner Snitzel, with which Rosehill-based Ryan has had so much success. And he wants to cash in over racing’s off-season with the four-year-old after he went into the Carrington Stakes without a trial.

“We had a go at the glory as a two and three-year-old, and now we just want to place him where he can win,” Ryan said. “It was all about today and … a race like the Canterbury Stakes in three weeks [would be suitable]. You’ve just got to get what you can before the good horses come back around.”

Avdulla snagged Dances On Stars back to the tail of the field, and always had plenty of horse underneath him rounding for home, even if an obvious run didn’t present itself immediately.

After electing to follow Glyn Schofield’s Hidden Warrior ($12), Avdulla changed tack a couple of times before bursting through to beat the Newcastle sprinter by a short neck. Another resuming horse, Dee’n’gee ($7.50), finished a further half-neck back in third.

“I jumped him out the other day, and it was the most decent hitout he’s had,” Avdulla said. ‘I thought there was going to be a bit more speed than there actually was, but it probably worked out in my favour.

“He’s only got a short turn of foot on him so that’s the way I rode him.”

Meanwhile, the royally bred Atmospherical maintained an unbeaten start to her career after sailing home to win a three-year-old restricted race (1100m).

Fresh from a debut win at Kembla Grange, David Pfieffer’s filly, a half-sister to Gai’s Choice and Peron, scooted home to beat Pirandello to notch her second straight win.

Atmospherical ($2.30 in to $1.80) was passed in as a yearling with Pfieffer, who has set up a successful satellite stable at Toowoomba, not needing long to lease her to a loyal band of clients.

“I sent an email out through my stable to see if anyone was interested, and in about 35 minutes it was done,” Pfieffer said. “Not long before that Gai’s Choice won three in a row and ran third in a group 1.

“If we’re going to find a stakes race she’s got to come up in her rating a little bit, and we’re better off trying to give her a go in one of these. When you’re competing here against Snowden and Waller, you’ve got to produce horses like this and maintain strike rates.”

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‘Never seen better’: McGrath in awe

United cause: The Australian team pose with Glenn McGrath and the baggy pink cap they will wear for the Pink Test at the SCG. Photo: Kate Geraghty Photo: kate geraghtyGlenn McGrath has hailed Australia’s red-hot attack as being ‘‘as good as I’ve ever seen’’ as the home side aims to complete a ‘‘pinkwash’’ of England in the fifth Test.

The former great, who has more Test wickets than any other paceman in the game, is in awe of the manner Australia have systematically dismantled England’s batsmen, reducing what was once a world-class top seven into a rabble.

England’s batsmen have made just one century between them in four Tests, do not have a batsman averaging above 36, and have passed 350 in just one of eight innings this series.

“Looking at the way the bowling unit has gone about its business this series, that’s probably as good as I have ever seen,’’ McGrath said on Wednesday. ‘‘They have got good bowling plans, they are bowling well, they are executing their plans well and it’s working; there’s no weak link in the unit. It’s been as good as I have ever seen.’’

That is a big statement coming from the 43-year-old McGrath, who was part of some of the greatest attacks fielded by an Australian side. McGrath’s partnership with arguably the greatest bowler of all, Shane Warne, is well known but he also formed a menacing pace combination with the likes of Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie and Michael Kasprowicz.

Lee is one of only four Australians in the 300-club while Gillespie is sixth in Australia’s all-time list.

McGrath has been particularly impressed by Mitchell Johnson, but said he was not surprised by the quick’s stunning resurgence despite his habit in the past of turning in hot and cold performances.

The left-armer, with 31 wickets at 14 and three player-of-the-match awards, has arguably been the difference between the two sides.

‘‘I don’t think you could have predicted him to go any better but to bowl at that pace with that consistency, and aggression and hostility; he’s not only taking wickets but lifted the whole of the Aussie boys as well,’’ McGrath said. ‘‘When you’ve got a guy bowling like that, and has an X-factor, it just lifts the whole team.

‘‘You need someone to lead the attack and he’s well and truly doing it. I can’t remember the last time someone’s bowled with this hostility and had such impact.’’

The added bonus of Johnson’s dominance has been the effect he has had on England’s psyche.

‘‘Without a doubt, you don’t see someone bowling up around the 150 km/h [mark] and with that aggression and that hostility and that in-your-face attitude, they have just been shellshocked,’’ McGrath said.

‘‘Six wickets down and they are all out for bugger all, the last four or five wickets they haven’t been getting much. When you can do that you are all over them.’’

McGrath said Johnson, who has lengthened his run-up under the tutelage of Dennis Lillee, was a different bowler both technically and mentally to the one who melted against England in 2009 and 2010-11.

Given McGrath’s habit of predicting a whitewash victory for Australia before every series, it seems only fitting the home side can complete a 5-0 clean sweep in Sydney in the “Pink” Test named after the charity he helped co-found with his first wife, Jane, who died in 2008.

‘‘It was never in doubt really,’’ McGrath joked. ‘‘Always happy to make a prediction but I was a little bit hesitant at the start but after day two of Brisbane I said definitely 5-0.

‘‘England had issues over in the Ashes in the UK. Australia were finding their feet with Boof [coach Darren Lehmann] coming in and all the big moments they lost. Three-nil was an unrealistic scoreline to how the series went. I thought England had a lot of issues then and this series they’ve all come out.’’

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Newcastle fireworks: cracker or fizzer? Poll

FOR some, it was a cracker, but for many who vented on social media on Wednesday Newcastle’s New Year’s Eve fireworks were a five-star fizzer.

Hundreds of disgruntled revellers took to Facebook and Twitter only minutes after the final shells exploded over Nobbys, many stuck in traffic standstills in the city and at Stockton.

‘‘Newcastle council should be known as McScrooge Council,’’ reveller Kris Kelly said.

‘‘Absolutely pathetic,’’ said Susan Thorpe.

‘‘Looked like Newcastle council bought the cheapest fireworks they could,’’ said Peter Snow.

‘‘Worst fireworks in Newcastle in over 20 years,’’ wrote John Burke.

To be fair, about 40,000 people flocked to the harbourfront on New Year’s Eve. About 100 sent complaints to the Newcastle Herald. There was little or no praise.

Most of the complainants said the fireworks were ordinary and couldn’t be seen from many of the usual vantage points because they were launched near Nobbys headland instead of the usual launch site at Horseshoe Beach where the larger crowds had gathered. At Stockton, the fireworks appeared ‘‘a long way away’’, many said.

Some left early, saying the ‘‘bigger and better 9pm fireworks’’ promised by the council after cancelling the midnight fireworks, didn’t ring true.

In the city and at Stockton, traffic came to a standstill, with many revellers saying they sat idle in traffic for an hour following the ‘‘disappointing’’ fireworks.

The Herald was able to confirm on Wednesday that the event cost Newcastle ratepayers $120,000, of which $20,000 was spent on fireworks. The budget was not less than that spent on previous New Year’s Eve celebrations.

A council spokesperson yesterday said the event created ‘‘a fun, safe atmosphere for families’’ on an ‘‘incident-free evening’’.

‘‘We don’t have a multimillion-dollar budget, but we do try to get as much bang for our buck as possible,’’ she said.

‘‘Aside from the fireworks, there is security, toilets, fencing, traffic management, lighting towers, foreshore entertainment and St John Ambulance that need to be paid for.’’

Lord mayor Jeff McCloy didn’t see the fireworks, but defended the event.

‘‘My goodness, if these people who complain want to contribute some money in some way, then we can make sure that we do better,’’ he said.