Dragons serve Golden Googars with their first taste of defeat

DEFENDING Barwon-Darling Water Cup premiers Walgett toppled the previously undefeated Brewarrina 28-26 in the senior match-of-the-round last weekend while Enngonia surged up the table with two weekend wins in a critical round of rugby league.
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The Dragons prevailed in a two-point thriller against the Golden Googars at Geoff New Ovals, Brewarrina on Sunday.

Perennial leading pointscorer Willie Wright was at his best again, the five-eighth scoring a try and booting four decisive goals in the Dragons’ victory.

He was well supported by hard-working lock Richard Dennis in a solid team performance.

Brewarrina had a host of good performers including play makers Charlie McHughes, Duane Gordon, Jack Simpson and Edward Simpson in what is a versatile all-round side.

The Googars boast five players that have scored five tries or more during 2014, and the points were shared around again in a match that boasted 10 individual try-scorers.

Sunday’s result means the minor premiership comes down to this weekend’s final round.

Walgett hosts Collarenebri on Saturday while Brewarrina travels to Bourke to play the Warriors on Sunday.

However top spot and a home major semi-final may not be the best omen for either Brewarrina or Walgett when the two sides clash again in the major semi-final in a fortnight’s time as both have scored away wins against each other during the regular season.

The power plays of the weekend came from the Enngonia who moved rapidly up the ladder with a pair of victories against Goodooga (30-0 on forfeit) and Collarenebri (46-38).

With confirmation the Outlaws and Bourke both received one point for an abandoned round six game, it meant Enngonia picked up five competition points in the last week.

Now on 10 points, Enngonia will collect two points for the round 10 bye.

Victory against Goodooga on Sunday in a deferred match from round two could hand the Outlaws third place on the ladder and a home minor semi-final.

Enngonia made the massive trek to Collarenebri on Sunday (July 20) and did enough to hold out a tired Bulldogs outfit in a high-scoring match.

The Bulldogs were backing up from a 30-4 loss to Bourke on Saturday at Collarenebri.

The Outlaws were also meant to double up but had fresh legs after Goodooga forfeited Saturday’s clash scheduled for Enngonia Sportsground.

On Sunday, Enngonia’s Reuben Barker (three tries and two goals) and Jeremy Edwards (two tries and two goals) had big says in the outcome against the Bulldogs while another youngster in Lochlan Peters (two tries) shone for Collarenebri.

The Outlaws also benefitted from second-rower Samual Shillingsworth’s bustling surges forward.

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Asbestos report sparks action in Donnybrook

A report highlighting 120 WA schools containing asbestos has sparked action to ensure the safety of schools and students at Donnybrook District High School.A REPORT highlighting 120 WA schools containing asbestos has sparked action to ensure the safety of schools and students at Donnybrook District High School.
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The 2013 Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Audit highlighted 35 of those schools as having asbestos back in 2010. The report was released recently under freedom of information.

“The Barnett Government has failed to keep up with maintenance at our schools and some of these health risks have been known since 2010,” Labor spokesman for the South West Mick Murray said.

Donnybrook District High School was listed in the report as being at the highest risk level. However, this referred to one particular site and not the whole school.

Donnybrook District High School Principal Peter Fitzgerald said as he understood the issue, and he had not been advised to the contrary, the asbestos was in a situation where it was stable and not a risk. It was also in one area of the school and not throughout.

“Where there is risk, we act to the extent that we are enabled to act. I am not enabled to act to remove asbestos. That is managed through other agencies who act on behalf of the department,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

“The professionals who do the assessment have deemed it to be safe. The requirement is for us to do nothing; at some future time they may remove it, that’s not a school decision, that’s a decision of the department’s agents.

“My understanding is that it is not a risk in its current state to the health or to the integrity and safety of everyone here.”

Mr Fitzgerald met on Thursday July 24 with a representative of the BMW, an arm of the Department of Treasury and Finance, who are responsible for managing all government buildings.

“He inspected a section of screening at Bentley Street which has attracted a high risk rating and is recommending that action be taken to remove the asbestos product in the screens and that these be replaced with a colourbond type product,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

“Once this is approved, and I expect this will happen quickly, then he will put in place a plan to remove the asbestos product.

“This process is done in accordance with industry protocols which involve appropriate notifications, the employment of licensed specialists and adherence to laws relating to disposal. The work itself will happen at a time outside school hours, probably over a weekend.”

Education Minister Peter Collier assured parents statewide following the release of the report that the state government was taking every precaution with children’s health in managing asbestos in schools.

Mr Collier said the Western Australian Advisory Committee on Hazardous Substances had advised that exposure to asbestos cement material in WA public schools represented very little risk to health.

“Environmental health experts advise that undisturbed asbestos poses an extremely low risk to health, and where it is located in areas that are unlikely to be disturbed, there is no urgent need to remove it,” Mr Collier said.

“That said, the state government has an ongoing program of asbestos removal in schools where it presents a possible risk, and last financial year we spent approximately $2million on associated repairs and maintenance.”

Further, he said all asbestos roofing on Western Australian schools had long since been removed and replaced.

Mr Collier said the thorough Building Condition Assessment reports carried out at every school provided a clear picture of where asbestos was located, and identified those spots where there could be a greater chance of the material being disturbed.

“Out of nearly 800 schools, there were only 14 schools where inspectors found one or two spots in the school where the risk rating was 1, meaning the asbestos is probably weathered and has a higher chance of being disturbed and exposed,” he said.

“Let me stress, this does not mean the whole school is at high risk.

“In those cases, the Department of Education acts quickly and assesses the best way to minimise any hazard.

“That may involve removing the asbestos altogether, which is done under controlled conditions and when no students or staff are present, or it may involve other work such as cutting off a tree branch that is brushing up against an asbestos panel, or sealing and enclosing the asbestos.

“Schools are in regular contact with the department if they have any health and safety concerns about their facilities, and experts can be dispatched quickly to assess the issue and fix it if necessary.”

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NSW Governor Dame Marie Bashir opens new school gym

Bashir house students Mikayla Lilli, Katelin Koprivec and Alexia Mihalopoulos meet Dame Marie Bashir at the opening. Picture: GREG TOTMANNSW Governor Dame Marie Bashir was humbled to be invited to open the new buildings at St Mary Star of the Sea College in her role as patron of house Bashir at the school.
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At an opening ceremony on Thursday morning, Dame Marie told the crowd of students and special guests how touched she was to take part in the celebrations.

She later told the Mercury she felt “humble” that many of the young women, including Bashir house captain Alexia Mihalopoulos, considered her a role model.

“I feel very humble about that,” she said.

“It’s an absolutely indescribable honour because it’s about young people, which are the joy of my life, and it’s about education, which as Nelson Mandela said is the most powerful weapon of all.

“Of course educated young women in Australia, for centuries virtually, have helped build the nation.

“They’ve gone into every field and we see them now going into things like aeronautical engineering, extraordinary things because of their courage and the encouragement of a good society.”

Dame Marie said she was pleased to see the continued work of The Sisters of the Good Samaritan, who founded the college.

Bishop Peter Ingham was on hand to bless the $11 million facilities, which include a new gymnasium, sports science area, cafeteria and learning spaces.

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Event attracts Olympian

A RECORD number of competitors will take part in this weekend’s Mildura Horse Trials.
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LUCY Boseley and Kelly Fyfe, pictured with her horse Zed, will compete in the annual Mildura Horse Trials this weekend. A record number of entrants Awill take part in the trials, hosted by the Mildura-Alcheringa Pony Club. Picture: Clancy Shipsides

About 140 horses have been entered for the event, including by Beijing Olympic silver medallist Megan Jones and former Australian representative Robert Palm.

The horse trials, the biggest of its kind in northern Victoria, will consist of dressage and show jumping on Saturday and cross country on Sunday, with about 75 per cent of competitors coming from outside the region.

Local riders Lucy Boseley and Kelly Fyfe will compete in the top class (pre-novice) in a field of 20.

Boseley, who has been riding since she was three years old, said it would be good to test herself against riders who have competed internationally.

“It’s not so much the competition but being able to experience that different standard of competition, which you don’t get a pony club level,” Boseley said.

“Megan Jones is my idol so it will be good to compete against her, which you probably don’t get in too many other sports.

“There’s a few other big names coming up here as well.”

The trials will attract competitors from across Victoria, NSW and South Australia.

It will be Boseley’s first pre-novice event.

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Friday’s Sunraysia Daily 25/07/2014.

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NSW Waratahs coach Michael Cheika backs push for global game

A push for an integrated global rugby season from as early as 2016 appeared to die in recent months but there are powerful voices claiming it must not be given up on.
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Waratahs coach Michael Cheika said the growth of rugby internationally depended on the integration of the northern and southern hemisphere seasons and the flow of players between markets.

“Rugby, if it wants to go forward as a sport, has to have a global season,” Cheika said this week.

“Right now, they’re just trying to squeeze all the juice out of a small orange, whereas if you had a bigger orange, you’ll get a lot more juice out of it.

“Just like you see the A-League benefiting from having players come here after their careers are over, it would let the game flourish across the globe because you can increase the number of major players if you have a global season.”

The plans, championed by the International Rugby Players’ Association and supported by the southern hemisphere unions last year, were effectively killed off for a while by the member unions of the Six Nations tournament.

A global season would have moved the southern hemisphere Test window from June to July, leaving Super Rugby to run unbroken from February to July.

In the northern hemisphere, the European domestic season would have started and finished later (October to June) but the Six Nations schedule and November Tests would have stayed put, as well as the Rugby Championship and World Cup windows.

A global season would not only do away with the momentum-sapping June Test window, but also have an impact on player movements.

“I’m not talking about the big teams, the smaller nations will be able to have access to players to grow their game,” Cheika said.

“When players are getting to 32 or 33 and their game is ending, they might have the opportunity to go and play and get paid well in a young country. The global season would let them market to players directly. I think the linking-up of teams internationally makes all sorts of things possible.”

His comments tie in nicely to speculation the Waratahs are exploring the idea of formally linking with Japanese clubs.

At least one of the parties interested in a private equity takeover of the minor premiers has this sort of scenario front and centre of their plans to maximise the Waratahs brand – and their own investment.


Brumby Jack is the story that keeps on giving, with Cheika cheekily telling the Breakdown this week the Brumbies mascot could call him for tickets if he struggles to get a guernsey at Allianz Stadium on Saturday.

Cheika also told us he would not mind if the polyester horse galloped sideline during the match, and jokingly speculated he may take the reins and lead him down from the stands in the manner of a gracious host.

That would be a sight, although Brumby Jack might be forgiven for shying away considering the impression the NSW coach left the last time he was in Canberra.


Will Brumbies five-eighth Matt Toomua drop into his new Sydney love nest during his stay in the big smoke this weekend?

Toomua and partner Ellyse Perry are the new owners of a house in Chatswood, which was quietly but strategically purchased after the in-demand playmaker inked a long-term deal with the Brumbies two months ago.


One year and 18 Tests into his tenure, Ewen McKenzie continues to fine-tune his Wallabies set-up.

While the 32 players selected in his squad for the Rugby Championship dominated headlines this week, McKenzie has been making changes behind the scenes as well.

Three key figures have moved on. Analyst Andrew Sullivan, physiotherapist Andrew Ryan and logistics manager Matt Sheppard have all left the Wallabies since the side’s clean-sweep of France last month.

They join former team manager Bob Egerton, who resigned earlier this year.

Cathal Garvey, who was employed as a business analyst at the ARU for two years, has taken over from Sullivan in the important role of rugby analyst. Replacements for the others are yet to be determined.


In other movements, Waratahs strength and conditioning coach and former England sevens representative Tom Tombleson is leaving NSW to take up a role with the England Test side.

Tombleson, a strength specialist working alongside the Waratahs’ director of physical performance Haydn Masters, has been instrumental in the minor premiers’ superior fitness this season and will be a huge asset to Stuart Lancaster’s side as it prepares for next year’s World Cup.


Best of luck to the Wallaroos, who leave for France on Sunday for the women’s World Cup.

Australia are in Pool C alongside South Africa, Wales and the hosts. The tournament starts on August 1.

Fox Sports, which has broadcast the past two women’s World Cups, will televise all of the Wallaroos’ pool matches, plus the semi-finals and final, live.

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Julia Gillard said she’d stand down to make me prime minister: Greg Combet

Former climate change minister Greg Combet and prime minister Julia Gillard. Photo: Andrew MearesFormer Labor prime minister Julia Gillard offered to resign in favour of Greg Combet at the height of Labor’s leadership instability ahead of the 2013 election.
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Mr Combet makes the explosive claim in a new book about his time in politics.

The former climate change and industry minister has revealed he spoke privately to Ms Gillard about the difficulties she faced in a closed door meeting.

“I thought there needed to be a caucus ballot for the leadership once and for all, we couldn’t have had two leaders going to the election fighting Tony Abbott which was the situation we were in,” Mr Combet has told the ABC’s 7.30 program.

“Julia surprised me at that discussion by suggesting she would stand down in favour of me if I stood”.

Mr Combet added that he didn’t know if he would have won in a ballot against former prime minister Kevin Rudd.

Mr Combet says he was also offended by Mr Rudd’s suggestion, in 2007, that he needed to be “de-unionised” after being elected to parliament “a bit offensive”.

more to come

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Julia Gillard asked me to take over, Greg Combet says

Former Labor prime minister Julia Gillard offered to resign in favour of Greg Combet at the height of Labor’s leadership instability before the 2013 election.
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Mr Combet makes the explosive claim in a new book about his time in politics.

The former climate change and industry minister has revealed he spoke privately to Ms Gillard about the difficulties she faced in a closed door meeting.

“I thought there needed to be a caucus ballot for the leadership once and for all, we couldn’t have had two leaders going to the election fighting Tony Abbott which was the situation we were in,” Mr Combet has told the ABC’s 7.30 program.

“Julia surprised me at that discussion by suggesting she would stand down in favour of me if I stood.”

Mr Combet added that he didn’t know if he would have won in a ballot against former prime minister Kevin Rudd, who took over the prime ministership from Ms Gillard.

Mr Combet says he was also offended by Mr Rudd’s suggestion in 2007 that he needed to be “de-unionised” after being elected to Parliament.

More to come

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Cascade Coal to appeal cancellation of licences

Cascade Coal, which had its licences cancelled by the NSW government without compensation after a corruption inquiry involving former Labor ministers Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald, will seek to have the decision overturned in the High Court.
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On Thursday, the mining company announced it had filed a writ seeking an order that the legislation passed by the NSW Parliament, allowing for the cancellation of two lucrative exploration licences, was invalid.

It follows a similar move by a former Cascade Coal director, Travers Duncan, and another company, NuCoal Resources, last month.

Special legislation to cancel the licences held by Cascade Coal and NuCoal Resources passed State Parliament in late January.

The legislation – which cancelled the licences and confirmed compensation would not be payable to the companies – was announced by then premier Barry O’Farrell after he received advice from the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Last year, the ICAC found Mr Macdonald and Mr Obeid acted corruptly by agreeing to create a mining tenement over the Obeid family’s farm at Mount Penny in the Bylong Valley in 2008.

The decision delivered the Obeids $30 million with the promise of at least $30 million more.

Five Cascade investors were found by the commission to have acted corruptly by concealing the Obeids’ involvement in the mining tenement.

The ICAC also found Mr Macdonald acted corruptly in 2008 by granting a licence at Doyles Creek to a company then headed by former union official John Maitland. The company, Doyles Creek Mining, was later taken over by NuCoal Resources.

The commission subsequently advised the NSW government the licences were so “tainted by corruption” they should be cancelled.

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Radical preachers needed to correct misconceptions, says former terrorism detainee

“If they can’t change these radicals, then no one can”: Zaky Mallah. Photo: SuppliedSending controversial sheikhs into prisons to deliver speeches and “re-teach” Islam is the only way to address the risk of radicalisation behind bars, Australia’s first terrorism detainee says.
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Parramatta man Zaky Mallah, who was jailed in 2003 under anti-terrorism laws, said deradicalisation programs in prisons were “ineffective and a waste of money” and the only option was to call on former radical preachers to “correct the misconceptions”.

“Salafi leaders started this ‘call for jihad’ in Australia in the mid-’90s and now we are stuck with the radicals that these imams have created,” he said. “These leaders are the only hope we have right now.”

Fairfax reported on Thursday that recruitment to Islam was active inside NSW jails and Corrective Services was co-operating with the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation to crack down on the radicalisation of inmates.

Mr Mallah said many of the headline-grabbing sheikhs of the 1990s, including Feiz Mohammad and Jamil El Biza, have become moderate in the past few years but the jihad rhetoric has stuck with their former followers and students.

“These leaders need to be permitted into the prison system, be on the patrol to speak to these inmates to get them rethinking on their ideology,” he said. “If they can’t change these radicals, then no one can. Not ASIO, not the Feds, and no ‘program’.”

Mr Mallah claims he converted 12 inmates to Islam during his two-year stint in Goulburn and Silverwater jails. He said he had “no idea” where they were now.

“Radical inmates talk the talk; I doubt they will walk the walk upon their release,” he said. “Most will be on heavy parole and most just want to get on with their life.”

The Australian National Imams Council is preparing to send volunteer imams into jails for Friday prayers.

Council secretary Sheikh Shady Alsuleiman told a Corrective Services-sponsored conference last month that radicalisation exists in prisons because “emotions are very high and they have this sentiment of being oppressed by the authorities”.

He said the only way to counter-attack it was to have imams visit prisons “to try to put some sense into their minds”.

Corrective Services NSW has 34 chaplains, including two Muslim chaplains, who provide spiritual care to inmates in about 30 jails. Sheikhs and imams also visit Friday prayers in some jails.

A spokesman for Corrective Services NSW said the prison chaplaincy service was considered a “global leader” and all chaplains were carefully selected.

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Lenders’ mortgage fees rise

BALANCING ACT: Borrowers should do a review every so often to make sure their mortgage is still competitive with other lenders.  
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While the big banks have been attracting headlines as they cut interest rates on their fixed interest mortgages, home buyers have to keep a sharp eye on the fees and charges.

That is especially so as the falls in lenders’ revenue from mortgage fees, which have occurred since the Global Financial Crisis, have come to an end. The year to June 30, 2013 was the first year-on-year rise in the home loan fees revenue since the GFC, Reserve Bank data shows.

Households paid $1.226 billion in home loan fees for the year to June 30, 2013 compared with $1.221 billion for the previous year, or an increase of 0.4 per cent. That is in sharp contrast to the falls of the previous financial years. For example, for the year to June 30, 2012, fees fell 0.5 per cent and fell 10.8 per cent for the year to June 30, 2011.

And the lure of discounting on home loans should not distract from the fees and charges. Home buyers borrowing at least $1 million with at least a 20 per cent deposit and a good credit history are able to obtain discounts of up to 1.2 percentage points off the advertised rates on standard variable rate mortgages, says Philip Sangster, a mortgage broker with Mortgage Choice.

He says discounts of up to 1 percentage point are usually available to home loan customers borrowing at least $500,000 and up to 0.7 percentage points for those borrowing more than $250,000. At the time of writing the big banks, with the exception of ANZ, had slashed their 5-year fixed rate mortgage rates to 4.99 per cent – a record low rate.

Analysis by comparator website RateCity shows these five-year rates, after factoring-in fees, are market-leading. However, Michelle Hutchison, a spokesperson for comparator website finder南京夜网.au, says fees and charges can add thousands to the cost of a loan.

Many of the trickier fees have been removed or reduced in recent years, making it easier for consumers to assess the true cost of the loan. For example, exit fees on home loans taken out since July 1, 2011 have been banned.

Exit fees usually apply when a loan is terminated within the first three to five years, though the period can be longer. They go by a variety of names including deferred establishment fees and early repayment fees. Exit fees should not be confused with the standard discharge fees charged on the termination of the loan or with the “break” fees that can be charged on early termination of fixed-rate mortgages and reflect any financial loss by the lender.

The Australian Bankers’ Association points out total bank fees from households are about 20 per cent below the peak in 2009. Housing loans fees, despite the recent increase, have fallen by 11 per cent since 2009.

The association puts that down to competition and the reduction or removal of a number of fees such as mortgage exit fees. “Exception” fees, which include penalty fees on late mortgage payments, are almost 60 per cent lower than 2009, in part as a result of class legal actions against unfair penalty fees.

“There are plenty of home loans that do not charge fees and non-bank lenders are often more competitive than banks”, Hutchison says. “So it is worth shopping around for a cheaper deal,” she says. “Just make sure you find out all of the fees involved, not just the interest rate,” she says.

She says borrowers should do a review every so often to make sure their mortgage is still competitive with other lenders. That is what Peter Forster, a 37-year-old office manager from Melbourne, did.

Not happy with what he was paying on his mortgage he went online to see what was available. He switched to the National Australia Bank after the bank offered him a discount of 0.7 percentage points off its advertised standard variable rate on his average-sized mortgage as part of NAB’s wealth package.


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Australian squash player Zac Alexander leaves Glasgow after losing verdict

Disappointment: Zac Alexander has been forced out of the Australian squash squad at the Commonwealth Games. Photo: Lannon HarleySquash player Zac Alexander has flown out of Glasgow after losing his place on the Australian team on the eve of the Commonwealth Games due to a verdict by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
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The New York-based 25-year-old was a member of the five-man men’s doubles squad in Scotland but was replaced at the last minute by Newcastle’s Matthew Karwalski, who won a two-month legal battle for selection on the eve of competition. While Karwalski is en route to Glasgow to take up his spot in the team, Alexander left the athletes’ village before Wednesday night’s opening ceremony at Celtic Park.

“He left Scottish soil [on Wednesday],” Australian team chef de mission Steve Moneghetti said. “I certainly did [speak to him] and may I say if you talk about people and the way they conduct themselves, Zac Alexander has been exemplary in this process. An outstanding Australian.

“He was seriously so good. I was just amazed at the way he understood the process. I was just chatting to him about making sure that he realised that it was a decision that was made, it was no reflection on him. As a team we stood behind him, and at the end of the day he’ll learn from the experience. There was no difficulty in the delivery because he was so professional and so strong with it.”

Alexander, the seventh-ranked Australian, had been selected ahead of third-ranked Karwalski when the team for Glasgow was announced in May, triggering the 28-year-old’s appeal. Moneghetti said the Australian Commonwealth Games Association paid for Alexander’s flight out of Scotland but the Queenslander had minimised disruption on the team by taking the bad news well.

“He organised his own bookings, so got on the internet and changed his own flights. He was happy to go,” Moneghetti said. “We had to go through the process for a like-for-like replacement and he understood that and was keen to go. The effect [on the team] can be unsettled but he made he did it so quietly and didn’t want to have any ruffles to the rest of the team. Seriously, he was an outstanding individual in the way he coped with the situation.”

Moneghetti believed there would be no awkwardness when Karwalski arrived in the athletes’ village to link up with the doubles squad, which begins competition on Tuesday. “It’s very clear-cut. The appeal process has been done and Squash Australia and the ACGA have been responsible for that process,” he said. “He comes into this village as an Australian Commonwealth Games team member. He’ll certainly be welcomed into the village.”

Meanwhile, Moneghetti confirmed track star Sally Pearson and rugby sevens captain Ed Jenkins had been chosen as the Australian representatives at an athletes’ lunch with the Queen in Glasgow on Thursday.

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Insurance initiatives a big leap forward

Journeyman: Former Rabbitohs, Sharks, Dragons and Storm forward Michael Greenfield’s career was cut short by a neck problem. Photo: Simon Alekna Fallen Eagle: Richie Fa’aoso had to retire due to a serious neck injury. Photo: Jonathan Carroll
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Career cut short: Former Wests Tigers forward Simon Dwyer. Photo: Jeff de Pasquale

There was no insurance scheme or foundation when Richie Fa’aoso broke his neck, an injury that robbed him of a grand final berth and ended his career prematurely.

But the former Manly forward is pleased rugby league is on the cusp of introducing two historic initiatives to ensure players do not slip through the cracks.

“If they can set up those things for the future, that would be great,” Fa’aoso said.

“There’s nothing worse than not knowing what to do. Especially with me, I went in straight from school and didn’t do any courses. That’s my fault. I’ve got no complaints, I hope the guys are looked after.”

The NRL has indicated a foundation will be set up, most likely by the end of the year, to help players such as Fa’aoso, Simon Dwyer and Michael Greenfield – a trio who have sustained career-ending injuries without a safety net.

The governing body has also committed to introducing a whole-of-game insurance scheme from March next year to ensure all players are comprehensively covered.

However, players are faced with a crucial decision in the next week over whether to approve an interim insurance product until then. The 16 club bosses unanimously backed the proposed cover at a meeting at Rugby League Central on Thursday, but the ultimate decision now rests with the players.

The Rugby League Players’ Association has presented its constituents with the policy and a vote will most probably be taken on whether to proceed within a week.

The proposed scheme will “top up” existing insurance arrangements to double the payout for total and permanent disability injuries to $1 million. At this point, only the top 25 contracted players at each club will be covered for injuries, including quadriplegia, loss of sight or loss of limbs.

“I wouldn’t put anything towards the players I didn’t believe in,” said RLPA president Clint Newton, who plays for Newcastle.

“I’m not a person sitting behind a desk rolling out a scheme for players when I’m not a part of it.

“I’m a [current] player, I understand what is required to be a professional sports person and the risks involved. And this is the best interim policy we can provide for the players.

“I can’t stress enough it’s the best policy we can provide and it’s the best one for me as a rugby league player.”

Player welfare is a hot topic after the game banded together in the RiseForAlex round to raise funds for injured former Newcastle forward Alex McKinnon. NRL supporters donated more than $1 million last week for the cause. Fans have again been asked to help out with “Roar for a cause”, a fund-raiser for Dwyer. The former Wests Tigers forward had a career-ending injury in 2011 and a function will be held at Wests Campbelltown on August 1 to help him transition to a post-football career.

Fa’aoso, whose final year of his Sea Eagles contract remains honoured, said he was grateful the game had not forgotten him and thanked officials, including NRL welfare officer Nigel Vagana, for checking on his progress.

“They have been good and are helping out,” he said.

NRL CEO Dave Smith said officials were committed to ensuring injured players would never be left without support.

“At the end of the day, this is a very, very safe game. But when tragic accidents happen, as they did with Alex, we need to make sure we are catering for players not just within their playing contracts but realising it is going to impact on their lives,” he said.

Asked if rugby league was behind other codes in relation to player welfare, South Sydney CEO Shane Richardson said: “I think what Dave and his team are trying to do is bring us up to date with other codes in this area, there’s no question mark about that. In many parts of the game [they are bringing us] up to date. It’s about going forward, not going back.”

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Demons discover five more premiership flags are missing after 1948 flag sale prompts search

The surprise re-emergence of Melbourne Demon’s 1948 premiership flag on an internet auction site has alerted the Melbourne Football Club that it is also missing five other premiership flags.
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The Demons are now aware that the 1926, 1941, 1955, 1956 and 1957 flags are no longer in the club collection.

The person who came to posses the 1948 item has advertised it for $80,000on eBay.

Melbourne received a tip-off and reported the matter to the AFL. Police tracked the flag to a house in Moama, north of the Murray River, in New South Wales.

The flag – one of 12 the club has won since 1900 – is in a fragile state. Its discovery raises the question of how it ended up out of the Demons’ possession in the first place.

Melbourne Cricket Club museums manager Jed Smith said there is no evidence of the flag being in the MCC’s care “since the 20th century”.

“It’s been a long time since it was identified as being here,” he said, adding that simply “losing track” of an item was unlikely given the sophisticated catalogue system used by museums and galleries today.

“It’s very rare for us. The MCC has taken its own heritage very seriously for a very long time.”

While police investigate how the flag ended up on a clothesline in Moama, the football world is now double checking that no other valuable items have gone AWOL.

Smith said that until 20 years ago, cups, flags, uniforms and photographs were roughly stored, thrown out or forgotten.

“The museum world is very different to what it was 15 or 20 years ago,” he said. “There was no sports memorabilia market. Taking care of cups and flags and other items wasn’t taken seriously and people didn’t care what happened in the past. It’s a very different environment now.”

Smiths believes that given the highly public way the flag was being sold, it was unlikely to have been stolen. Instead, he believes the item was either lent to a player from the premiership side or his family who forgot to return it and ended up in a cupboard, where it was later discovered.

“It’s wonderful it’s been found but unfortunate it came by way of the police,” he said.

Richmond sports memorabilia store Legends & Heroes is approached daily  by punters hoping to off-load no-longer-wanted items.

Manager Matt Albers said he has “definitely had people come in and you’ve wondered how they’ve acquired the item”.

“I had the police come in the other day asking if I’d been approached about buying a medal that’s apparently been stolen. You do see things like that now and then.”

In the wake of the Dees’ flag discovery, renewed efforts are being made to track down other lost items from Australia’s sporting past. Smith said: “If anyone out there sees something that they think belongs to a club, they should hand it back.”

Former Melbourne historian Lynda Carroll believes that if the flag is authentic, it should be housed at the MCC. “ It shouldn’t be anywhere else,” she said.

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