Action group called to fight CSG

Residents are being urged to form an action group to deal with the potential impacts of planned exploration or mining of coal seam gas (CSG) in the region.
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The Dubbo Field Naturalist and Conservation Society yesterday sent out fliers inviting the community to a CSG information session.

A Dubbo CSG action group will be formed at the meeting.

Plans for CSG exploration in a 9400 square kilometre area centred on Dubbo were announced in March.

The NSW government announced a six-month statewide freeze on CSG exploration activity later that month. The freeze expires on September 26.

The society’s president, Mr Tim Hosking, said the CSG action group would be a voice for the public, similar to those established in other regions like Coonabarabran and Coonamble.

“Groups in other areas have conducted marches, lobbied the local government to take a position,” he said.

“We’re facilitating a group to be formed- we will support the group, but we’re not equipped to tackle the issue ourselves.”

Mr Hosking said the issue affected much more than just the environment.

“At DFN&CS we are very worried about the ecosystem and the landscapes, but it’s not just an environmental issue. It affects agricultural productivity, housing, agricultural business,” he said.

The society plans to educate the community on the ins-and-outs of CSG mining, including the dangers at a public information session at the Dubbo RSL Memorial Club on August 24.

It will involve members of Lock-the-Gate, the lobby group strongly opposed to CSG mining, and other protest groups.

Mr Hosking said he expected hundreds of people would attend the meeting.

Dubbo City Council has not yet established a position on CSG exploration or extraction.

Lock-the-Gate has urged residents to ask the council to oppose the renewal of CSG and unconventional gas licenses.

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Coolah coach fires up finals opponents

Wellington are confident of going further in the finals series Coolah coach Andrew McFadyen’s has fired the first salvo in the debate over who will win the Graincorp rugby union championship. Its finals weekend with Wellington home to the Dubbo Rhinos and Coolah facing Yeoval.
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“Whoever wins on the weekend [between Yeoval and Coolah], I believe they will host the grand final. They will carry the momentum on,” he said.

McFadyen told the Mudgee Guardian’s Ben Harris Yeoval would start as warm favourites.

“They are a good team, they are a complete side and they are coached really well,” he said.

“It should be a cracker of a day.”

Coolah is bringing a supporters’ bus to Yeoval to even up the noise levels on Saturday. The battle of the small towns is going to hit fever pitch with the local community in Yeoval preparing to lift their side which always appears to ‘grow an extra leg’ when the finals come around.

McFadyen’s words will strike hard at Wellington’s chances but its not deterring the Redbacks matter of fact it maybe the motivation they need to spring a surprise in the finals.

The Kennard park ground is expected to draw strong support from Dubbo Rhino fans as their second side pushed the Gold team last week in preparation for what is expected to be a tremendous match.

McFadyen’s words will strike hard at Wellington’s chances but its not deterring the Redbacks matter of fact it maybe the motivation they need to spring a surprise in the finals.

The Kennard park ground is expected to draw strong support from Dubbo Rhino fans as their second side pushed the Gold team last week in preparation for what is expected to be a tremendous match.

‘’ Its good they consider us as threat . We like being the underdog ’’ Redbacks president David Grant said.

‘’ We have been hit by injuries this season but I think the other sides need to be reminded we have been in every match until the last few minutes and our team just won’t give up’’ he said.

‘’Last week against Geurie was really good preparation for this match. They got in our face early and it made the Redbacks lift our game. We’re encouraging all our supporters to get to Kennard Park at 3.15 Sunday because this will be a big match’’

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Cowboys meet Dubbo Macquarie

Cowboys captain coach Justin Toomey – White has been in hot form.The Wellington Cowboys are buoyed by the return of Blockbusting centre Chris Jones and Ken Everson will be given a roving commission at half back for Sundays must win group 11 rugby league match against Dubbo Macquarie at Apex Oval.
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Regular halfback Richard Peckham is on the verge of coming back into the side after an injury but the club says he is not right just yet.

Wellington go into the crucial match off the back of two tough wins against Narromine and Forbes and now go on the road against Macquarie and Cyms.

Captain coach Justin Toomey White says the side has trained well and are confident of performing in the run to the finals.

‘’We also welcome the return of Ben McGregor plus we have a solid bench so we’re up for it’’ he said.

Sundays side is : 1 Norm West 2 Jake Tolhurst, 3 Robbie Donn, 4 Chris Jones, 5 Scott Thompson, 6 Keiran Brien, 7 Ken Everson, 8 Ben McGregor, 9 Trent Forrest, 10 Chris Thompson, 11 Justin Toomey White (c/c), 12 Shannon Ireland, 13 Ryan Humphries. Reserves : Paul Black, Nathan Smith, Michael Ryan, Nathan Thompson.

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Miles thriving in second shot

By drafting Anthony Miles last year Richmond, by definition, believed the GWS discard had something to offer. But just how much he has already offered in six weeks has shocked the club.
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Since the 22-year-old was elevated from the rookie list for his club debut in round 12, no Tiger matches him for contested possessions (68), while across the league only recognised extractors Tom Liberatore and Andrew Swallow exceed his tally of 41 clearances.

In those six matches the midfielder has averaged 26 disposals, and thrice attracted votes in the AFL Coaches’ Association best-player award.

After his 26-disposal, eight-clearance, six inside-50 display in the Tigers’ past match – the shock home win against Port Adelaide – coach Damien Hardwick admitted he did not expect Miles to be making such a significant contribution.

“You’ve got to love those players that continually surprise you at every level. He’s done it all his career,” he said.

Miles’ potential as an inside-midfielder was reflected in him finishing runner-up in the 2009 Murray Bushrangers’ best-and-fairest, despite being a bottom-age player. That form earned Miles, who hails from the NSW-side Murray River town of Howlong, a contract as a zone player for GWS.

Beyond a six-week stint late in the Giants’ first year in 2012 Miles struggled for opportunities. After only 10 senior matches in two seasons he was culled at the end of last season.

As a player manager, an obvious tenet of Marty Pask’s role is to promote his clients, especially those with an uncertain future. But for a select few, such advocacy becomes impassioned and relentless as a means to “keep ramming home that player’s potential”, such as a few years ago with the then little-known Michael Barlow.

After Miles generated no interest in both the trade period and the national draft, Pask’s haranguing succeeded “at the 11th hour” when it came to the rookie draft, courtesy of the Tigers.

“I annoyed [head recruiter] Blair Hartley at Richmond enough to give him an opportunity,” Pask said.

Once Miles arrived at Richmond, one of the club’s assistant coaches Mark Williams (the Sandringham premiership coach, not the Port Adelaide one also at the club), sought a scouting report from a former teammate of his, Darren Ogier, who had been his under-18 coach at Murray Bushrangers. Ogier was happy to share his observations of the “fierce competitor” he last coached in 2010.

“In an under, with a cheeky grin. He loved it. The harder it got the cheekier the grin. He was the first one in and the last one up,” the Murray coach recalled. “He was very good at extracting the ball from stoppages. His inside work was something that really stood out to me. He just read the ball extremely well in clearances.”

Ogier does not express any gripes towards the Giants for rarely selecting Miles from their “plethora of talented midfielders”. He instead focuses on his satisfaction that the now bigger-bodied Miles, who will play his seventh match of the season on Friday night away to West Coast, is thriving at senior level.

“More than anything, I’m just rapt he’s got a second chance,” he said. “It’s certainly been a great couple of months for him … fingers crossed he continues to build on that.”

While Jake King’s looming return to fitness could force Miles back to the rookie list, there is little doubt the Tigers, in that event, will be ensuring he can replace another injured player or be their nominated mid-season upgrade, so he remains eligible to finish the season.

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Newcastle Knights will come back stronger after horror NRL season, says chairman Paul Harragon

Club in turmoil: Knights chairman Paul Harragon. Photo: Stuart QuinnA player in jail, one in a wheelchair, another in a mental health clinic, an owner gone broke and a coach who has quit.
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Some clubs wouldn’t survive a season like Newcastle have endured this year but Knights chairman Paul Harragon believes they will come out of it stronger than ever.

“One thing I do know is that this club has gone through an evolution to a point now where it is in the best position ever to be a powerhouse club,” Harragon says.

The man who led the Knights to their 1997 grand final win over Manly, which all but ended the Super League war, has always bled red and blue. The way the city rallied behind last weekend’s fund-raising efforts for Alex McKinnon demonstrated many others in Newcastle do too.

It is unlikely any other club in the NRL is as closely bound to the area it represents as the Knights, whose players helped fans cope with the 1989 earthquake and mine closures of the late 1990s, while feeding off the support of people who lined the road to Sydney to farewell the team before their 1997 and 2001 grand final triumphs.

Yet since the departure of Michael Hagan – another member of the club’s hall of fame – as coach in 2006, there has been a disconnect between Newcastle and the Knights. Fans reacted to not having one of their own in charge, to not having as many local players in the team, and ultimately, to a club they viewed as a plaything for Nathan Tinkler.

However, the “Newcastle” chant that reverberated around an emotion-charged Hunter Stadium on Sunday as a crowd of 26,401 – the Knights biggest home attendance of the season – turned out to support McKinnon, suggested fans feel it is their club again.

“In the history of the club, we have had some tumultuous years. We have had years where we have been close to administration and folding and carried large debts and all sorts of obstacles, but certainly this year takes the cake,” Harragon said of a season that has also seen Russell Packer jailed, Darius Boyd seek treatment for depression, Zane Tetevano sacked, Willie Mason arrested for drink driving, players go unpaid by Tinkler, and coach Wayne Bennett quit to join Brisbane.

“Right from the very start, it has just been incident after incident, but true to Newcastle and Hunter Valley form, people haven’t shied away. In fact, if anything, they have rallied around and we are gaining strength under fairly bad weather. Right now we are about as low as we can be, but with a huge light at the end of the tunnel.”

That light comes not only from the renewed support of fans but the opportunity to rebuild a club that has struggled financially almost from the time it was founded in 1988. It was only kept afloat by the support of fans and funding grants during the Super League war, when both the Australian Rugby League and News Ltd identified Newcastle as pivotal to the battle for control of the game.

Former ARL chief executive John Quayle, who oversaw the Knights admission and was in charge of the game during the Super League war, believes the club is just as important now.

Quayle, who has been engaged by the ARL Commission to help Newcastle through their transitional ownership period after Tinkler was forced to relinquish control of the club two months ago, said the Knights had been on the verge of bankruptcy before the former billionaire took over, but the NRL “would not have let them go”.

“I think back in our time, we never had any doubts that Newcastle had to be a major player in the long-term success of league and we have seen that,” Quayle said.

“You have got the fifth biggest city in Australia, you have got everything that is going forward, and that is why it is important that league moves with the city and again becomes the heart of the city.

“You can have a lot of sporting clubs around but if they don’t have a heart, they don’t work that long.”

Despite the turmoil caused by Tinkler’s three-year reign, Newcastle now have $5.1 million in the bank and the NRL is planning to establish a seven-person board, which would comprise of four independent directors, two representatives of the club’s new shareholders and a nominee from the Knights Members Club.

“The benefits for the club are that there is a clean sheet of paper and a new board and new ownership and new coach,” Harragon said. “In professional sport, you rarely get the opportunity to start from scratch.”

Quayle said the NRL had not ruled out further private ownership for the Knights, but the club would always retain its ties to the Newcastle community.

“There is nothing wrong with that, as long as the structure is set up so that if a partner comes in and then goes out, the club always remains viable,” he said. “That is what we must get right this time.”

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Business takes the lead

Business owners have been told the pick up of Industrial Waste will finish in the local government area from September 30 in line with a number of other councils.
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A letter has been sent to businesses. Some are not happy with the decision however local business owner Peter Lewsam at the Cow and Calf believes after a meeting with the mayor of Wellington and Technical Services says there is a strong possibility of the decision being a gain for the community.

‘’I and other business owners believe there is an opportunity for a local business to take on the pick up and delivery of industrial waste and at the same time maintain a reasonable cost for business and a return on investment for the new local business that picks it up’’

The mayor agrees with Mr Lewsam and is urging the Business Chamber to chat about the issue at its Monday meeting.

Mr Lewsam says affected business owners can call him on 0400376535.

Cr David Grant asked questions about the service at Council’s Ordinary meeting citing he was pleased that staff and Mr Lewsam were talking about the options going forward.

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Alan’s a shooting star

ALAN Collins has been selected as the 2014 Northern Mallee Sports Star of the Year for the month of May.
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CHAMPION: Alan Collins saw huge success at the Australian National Smallbore Championship in April.Picture: Carmel Zaccone

Collins was nominated by the Mildura Smallbore Rifle Club.

In April, Collins competed at the Australian National Smallbore Championship in Adelaide.

He placed second in the Open and A Grade 50m Class 3 events.

Collins also competed against 30 competitors in the veterans class and was the top shooter in that class.

Collins was selected as a state representative and was the top scorer for the team, which came second in the team competition.

As the May winner, Collins receives a voucher proudly sponsored by Sportspower and is now eligible for the 2014 Merbein and District Community Bank 97.9 Sun FM Northern Mallee Sports Star of the Year.

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

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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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