AFL competition leader slips to third

NEW England Nomads and Tamworth Kangaroos set up a showdown for the minor premiership in Armidale next week with wins on Saturday.

The Kangaroos got over Gunnedah 18-16-124 to 14-10-94 at Gunnedah while the Nomads rolled competition leaders Inverell 13-13-91 to 11-15-81.

It sees the Saints drop back to third with the Nomads and Roos sharing top spot with one game to go.

The Nomads got the jump on the Saints in the third quarter and led by four goals heading into the final term.

“They came back pretty well in the last quarter but we just managed to kick a couple of steadying goals,” Nomads coach Tom Granleese said.

“I was glad when the siren went.”

It was a fitting way to commemorate 50 years of AFL in Armidale and there were plenty of former players, officials and coaches on hand to watch.

“It was just fantastic to do it with all the old boys and old girls,” Granleese said.

He said their fitness and running game was probably where they got the


“Our ground is so wide and we have quite a few smaller, zippy players,” he said.

Particularly in the third quarter they used that well.

“We played to our game plan and used our runners well.

“And our ball movement hurt Inverell,” Granleese said.

They also did a good job shutting down the feed into the Saints forwards.

“Our pressure upfield was what did it,” he said.

The midfield really worked hard to stop them getting quality ball to their forward line.

Ash Cruickshank led the way on the scoreboard for the Nomads, kicking five, while Caleb Dobos and Weston Whitby potted two each.

Whitby and Cruickshank were also among their best along with Zac Economou.

At Gunnedah, the Bulldogs launched a final quarter fightback but couldn’t bridge the gap after the Roos had led 109-58 at three-quarter time.

Dan Overeem and Matt Hodge were again the Roos’ main targets, booting four each, while Chris Gee kicked four for the Bulldogs.

Down at Muswellbrook the Cats kept themselves in the hunt for an unlikely finals berth with a hard fought 17-8-110 to 14-11-95 win over the Tamworth Swans.

It was a see-sawing contest with the Swans in front at the first and third breaks only for the Cats to over-run them and with a five-goal final term snatch a 15-point win and go level with the Bulldogs who are ahead on


Stuart McAdam and Kenneth Garland were both prominent for the Cats kicking four, while Brendon Smith chipped in with three.

For the Swans, Paul Tapper and Scott Nowland booted three.

TABLE: New England Nomads 44 (161.58%), Tamworth Kangaroos 44 (138.33%), Inverell Saints 40, Gunnedah Bulldogs 16 (80.72), Muswellbrook Cats 16 (47.18%), Tamworth Swans 8.

Tamworth Kangaroos’ Lachlan Maloney just manages to squeeze this kick away before Gunnedah’s Scott Hardy can spoil. Photo: Barry Smith 040812BSE07

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Record numbers at Muster but more wanted in 2013

A RECORD 5000 people have helped elevate the annual Ernest Henry Mining Curry Merry Muster Festival to new heights, according to organiser Peta McIntyre.

As the three-day celebration wound down late yesterday, Ms McIntyre and her weary band of volunteers were basking in the glow of success with figures up 50 per cent on the previous year.

“It’s been awesome,” said McIntyre who still looked fresh in her blue and white cowgirl fear and hat.

“We’ve had a lot of enquiries from interstate.

“There has been a lot of people travelling and we’ve been getting 2-3 calls per day over the past few weeks.”

That was reflected in the attendance at yesterday’s Bush Poet’s Breakfast where at least half the 90 attendees were from out of town, some from as far as Western Australia and Tasmania.

Ms McIntyre said she believed the success of the festival was her committee’s focus on ensuring there was plenty of family entertainment, “and not just a rodeo, to cater for everyone”.

“It’s also a lot to do with our advance brochures.

“A lot of competitors also came from out of town,” she said.

There were record numbers at nearly every event.

The street parade attracted 40 floats and cars on Saturday night, and numbers at the Country Teddy Bears Picnic on Friday morning caught organisers by surprise with about 60 children.

“The face painter was really working, but she was very patient.

“This (picnic) was our best one, by far,” she said.

Ms McIntyre said the committee made a conscious effort to “make everything affordable” to encourage people to stay longer.

She said the success of this festival has encouraged her to “take it to the next level” by organising a Volunteer Crew like at the Julia Creek Dirt ‘n’ Dust Festival.

“They have got it well organised and we need to do that for the future.

“We only have a limited number of volunteers.”

More pictures in sport, multimedia.

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Local Government Listening Tour receives a positive response

MORE business training for councillors is one of the suggestions that has been made to the Independent Local Government Review Panel as it winds its way to Dubbo.

The panel is on its Local Government Listening Tour that will take in 18 regional communities by August 23.

It is the first of four rounds of public consultation as part of the review of local government, ordered by NSW Local Government Minister Don Page at the urging of the NSW Local Government and Shires Association.

Minister Page expected that the review would bring about a “genuine shift” in the way councils operated.

Across 12 months the panel led by Professor Graham Sansom will look into the financial sustainability of councils, the way they deliver services, the size and scale of councils of the future and the way they make community decisions.

Professor Sansom reported of the panel being “encouraged by the feedback” from regional and rural NSW communities.

“So far, we’ve heard stories of economic change, population shift and the struggle to provide and maintain community infrastructure from regional and rural communities, but we have also heard positive ideas for embracing new technologies and improving council revenue streams,” he said.

“What is clear from these discussions is that people care deeply about their communities and want to see them survive and prosper.

“Our challenge is to find a way of strengthening local government to support those aims.”

Other changes suggested to the panel have related to long-term revenue streams, the election system and fixing roads.

The current consultation is designed to set the scene for the review and focuses on a series of key questions, outlined in the discussion paper called Strengthening your Community.

The paper is available on the review website www.localgovernmentreview.

The Local Government Listening Tour will include separate meetings for councils and the community in the Savannah Room of Taronga Western Plains Zoo on August 17 at 10am and 2pm respectively.

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Council’s cycle plan is exciting 

Cycle ways have been on the agenda of both Maitland City Council and residents for a number of years but while there have been many suggestions there has been little in the way of progress.

That appears to be about to change with a comprehensive report outlining several routes for consideration to be voted on at the next council meeting on August 14.

Two suggested routes are between Maitland and Morpeth and Maitland and Walka Water Works – both of which are worthy of further consideration by councillors, being popular destinations in their own right.

More cycle ways would solve two of Maitland’s major problems; traffic congestion, and a lack of attractions to attract people to Maitland and keep residents from

looking to Newcastle and further afield for recreation and entertainment.

Cycle ways were part of the council’s Maitland 2021 strategic plan, and were seen by focus groups and others as one of the ways to create a more vibrant heart of the city.

Travel to any major European city and bikes are a major part of just that.

Already one Heritage Mall trader has had a vision of bikes-for-hire ventures at various locations in central Maitland, including the train station.

Bikes have also played a part in keeping traffic

congestion and environmental pollution in check.

Safety, however, must be of paramount importance; only last Thursday a cyclist died when his bike was hit by a car at Tarro, on the main road between Maitland and Newcastle.

The plan before council has much to offer, but as the mayor of Maitland, Cr Peter Blackmore has said on many occasions, cycle ways need careful planning.

We’ve got to get them, but we’ve got to get them right.

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Leading table tennis players face off in Horsham

SERVE IT UP: Warrnambool representative Ben Taylor is a picture of concentration during play at the regional tournament. Picture: PAUL CARRACHERLEADING regional table tennis players went head-to-head in Horsham this weekend.

Horsham Table Tennis Association hosted an annual regional tournament, which pits the association’s best players against counterparts from Mount Gambier, Hamilton and Warrnambool.

Association president Jeff Pekin said the two-day tournament, at the Maydale Pavilion at Horsham Showground, was a great success.

“It was good to see a lot of younger players involved and a lot of first-time association representatives too,” he said. “There was also some experienced players, with both Warrnambool and Hamilton having former state representatives in their teams.

“The standard was high.”

Warrnambool triumphed, winning 86 rubbers to collect the overall aggregate award.

Hamilton was runner-up with 44 rubbers, ahead of Horsham with 36 and Mount Gambier with 32.

Mr Pekin said Warrnambool dominated the competition, winning all three sections.

It won the Donahue Shield in the men’s competition, edging out Hamilton.

Horsham finished third, with both Leon Forrest and James Pyke winning six of their nine rubbers.

Warrnambool also took home the Beaurepaires Shield in the women’s competition.

Hamilton was again runner-up.

Mr Pekin made special mention of Jedda Heard, a Horsham junior who filled in for the Mount Gambier team.

Warrnambool also won the junior boys section, with Mount Gambier finishing runner-up.

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Western Phantoms post straight sets win

DESPERATION: Phantom Dimitrios Vettos lunges for the ball as team-mates Brady King and Josh Gordon watch on. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRIWESTERN Phantoms’ men’s reserves team continued to build towards a Volleyball Victoria state league competition finals campaign with a straight sets win on Saturday night.

The Phantoms played Yarra Ranges at St Brigid’s College stadium and recorded a 25-18, 25-17, 25-17 win.

Coach David Berry said his side showed its class in the crucial stages of the match.

“Yarra Ranges didn’t play the closing stages of each set well, where we did,” he said.

Berry was impressed with the support for the Phantoms, who were playing a rescheduled round 11 match.

“We were pleasantly surprised by the support, especially given the Horsham Hornets were playing in basketball finals at the same time,” he said.

“Yarra Ranges were appreciative and spoke kindly about us at the end of the game.”

Tim Ladlow and Chris Radford returned to the Phantoms’ line-up.

Berry said it was important the duo got court time in the lead-up to finals.

“We used all 10 players. Everyone got on the court,” Berry said.

“Tim played well he is a very deceptive player.”

Nick Adamson also returned to the Phantoms team, replacing Jimmy Winzar in the middle blocker role.

The ladder-leaders now have two home and away matches left before finals begin.

In a blow to the side, regular Phantom Tim Eldridge injured his hamstring playing football for Horsham RSL Diggers in the Wimmera Football League on Saturday.

Berry said the injury could prevent Eldridge from qualifying for finals.

The Phantoms’ men’s division two and women’s division two teams both had byes this week.

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Reservists recognised at Horsham Reserve Forces Day

HONOUR: Captain Dave Ellis, reservist James Fidler and Major Carl Edwards with the new 15 Transport Squadron RACT training depot sign at Reserve Forces Day in Horsham yesterday. The depot was offi cially named the James Lawson Depot after Lieutenant Colonel James Lawson. Picture: PAUL CARRACHERPRESENT-DAY reservists in the Wimmera and western Victoria were recognised at the eighth Reserve Forces Day in Horsham yesterday.

The day also recognised the service of Australia’s past ‘citizen soldiers’.

The service was in conjunction with an open day at the 15 Transport Squadron RACT training depot, where replicas of Second World War weapons, military vehicles and other pieces of equipment were on display.

The service included the renaming of the depot to James Lawson Depot in honour of Lieutenant Colonel James Lawson.

Lawson moved to Australia from England in 1905 and was commissioned second lieutenant in the 19th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Victorian Mounted Rifles in 1912.

He later joined the Australian Imperial Force and served in Egypt, Sinai and Beersheba.

He won the Distinguished Service Order and returned home in 1919 where he became a stock and station agent at Rupanyup.

He reverted to part-time soldiering with the Australian Military Forces and was promoted to lieutenant colonel and commander of the regiment in 1927.

Horsham Reserve Forces Day chairman Bob Lockwood said the army reserve had a special place in Australian history.

He said the day had great significance for reservists and their families.

“It was great for past members to have a look at the old barracks and see where they were recruited from,” he said.

Horsham Reserve Forces Day committee secretary Jim Amos said Horsham was the only city not in a metropolitan area to have a Reserve Forces Day.

“It is about coming back to remember those who are not with us and to promote the reserve unit,” he said.

“It is great to catch up with everyone I served with.”

Mr Amos said he was pleased to see so many young people attend the service.

“We are aiming at the young ones because they are the future,” he said.

For more pictures from the event, see this week’s editions of the Mail-Times.

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Marrar strong before losing plot in fourth

MARRAR took a big step towards playing Farrer League finals with an important win over Northern Jets at the weekend.

The Bombers took charge from the opening bounce and streaked away to hold a big lead at the last break at Langtry Oval on Saturday.

A massive fourth quarter from the visiting team had Marrar on the ropes and defending a meagre nine-point lead when the finals siren blew, but held on to win 16.11 (107) to Jets’ 15.8 (98).

Marrar coach Danny Malone was impressed by his team’s effort for the first three quarters but knows complacency could have cost the Bombers a finals spot.

“Over three quarters I thought we were terrific,” Malone said.

“We made a pact today that our intensity would be up and we would work really hard around the footy.

“For three quarters we did that really well.”

Marrar got on the board early through Brad Turner but Northern Jets fired back with two goals of their own to snatch the lead.

That was as far as the visitors got in the first quarter as Marrar kicked away to lead by 27 points at the first break.

Dean Howard was on song early and ended up with four goals, and combined with Craig Websdale and Turner up front to take the home team to a 13.10 (88) to 7.4 (46) lead by three-quarter time.

Marrar looked home and hosed and took its foot off the pedal in the final term, much to the delight of the Jets. The Jets began to work well in the centre, delivering the ball into their forwards and piled on the goals at an alarming rate.

They kicked 8.4 for the term and finished just nine points shy of an unthinkable comeback.

“If we’re talking finals there can’t be any repeats of the last quarter,” Malone admitted.

“We just didn’t give them the respect, we didn’t do the hard stuff.”

Turner was named best for Marrar for taking countless big grabs and kicking five goals, while Adam Howard was outstanding jumping and punching across half back.

Graeme Reid was busy around the middle of the ground as was Mitch Balding.

Marrar could be without hard man Matt Barnes for a few weeks with suspected broken ribs.

Barnes copped a knee from Jamie Grintell in the third quarter running back into a contest and an ambulance was called.

ON THE RUN: Marrar’s Brett Howard, with the Jets’ Matthew Carroll hot behind him, puts the foot down. Picture: Michael Frogley

FAR REACH: Northern Jets player Jack Fisher grabs for Marrar’s Shannon Williams. Picture: Michael Frogley

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Aussie Brendan:  he’s our  boi, boi, boi …

Pat Sexton of Thornton hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep for weeks.

First there was Wimbledon. Then the Tour de France. Now there’s the Olympics.

But there’s no way she’ll be popping into bed anytime soon.

She’ll stay glued to her television this week as she watches her grandson, triathlete Brendan Sexton, take on the rest of the world.

Sexton – who celebrates his 27th birthday today – will make his Olympic debut tomorrow, representing Australia in the London 2012 men’s triathlon.

But cake and candles will be the furthest thing from his mind as Sexton prepares his swim, bike and run legs to complete the Hyde Park course for what will be the biggest race of his career.

And motivation, if it wasn’t already, will be sky high after watching national teammate Erin Densham claim bronze in the women’s triathlon on Saturday.

Plus there is the terrific amount of support Sexton has received from back home, including grandma Pat, which help make the sacrifices worthwhile.

“This gives me huge satisfaction and a great sense of pride that I’ve been able to get this far representing Maitland,” Sexton said.

Mrs Sexton has been flying the “flag” – a bed sheet – from her front verandah since day one of the Olympics.

“I always knew Brendan would achieve something great,” Mrs Sexton said yesterday.

“Sport is his life.

“Brendan was a very good cross-country runner when he was at school. Both he and his sister Melanie [also a world-class triathlete] are very talented.

“I’m so proud of all my grandchildren,” the grandmother of 10 and great-grandmother of six, said.

Mrs Sexton has been watching fellow Maitlander, Simon Orchard and the Kookaburras, all week and said she was equally proud of him.

Sexton has posted an image of his grandmother’s decorated house on his Facebook page.

n See sport for Brendan Sexton’s full interview with Josh Callinan in London for the 2012 Olympic Games.

CHEER SQUAD: Grandmother Pat Sexton with Shannon Cedar, Ewan Sexton, Loren Pevitt, Kathryn Pevitt, Slab Heaton, Elijah Cedar 4, Wilhelm Cedar 7, Aleshia Lyons, Brayden Cedar, 4 and Aimee Pevitt. Picture by CATH BOWEN

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Science workshop a magnet for students

YEAR 12 science students will be given a rare opportunity to boost their Higher School Certificate (HSC) results thanks to a series of exam workshops at Kinross Wolaroi School on Sunday.

The “meet the markers” event is open to all Orange students and will give them a firsthand account of what HSC markers expect when they’re grading science papers.

Kinross Wolaroi School science teacher Catherine Litchfield, who helped organise the workshops run by the Science Teachers’ Association, said all students would benefit from attending.

“It is very rare that we get HSC markers up to regional areas,” she said.

“Our kids usually have to travel to Sydney to get access to these lectures and it’s hard and expensive, so I don’t want country students to miss out on what their Sydney peers have easy access to.”

Mrs Litchfield said lectures would include information on a range of exam topics including common errors, good exam responses and the terminology favoured by markers.

“All students should come, they’re going to get improvements in their HSC results if they do come,” she said.

Mrs Litchfield said the workshops would also prove useful as a revision session for the HSC trials and exams later this year.

Teachers will also be able to attend HSC preparation workshops.

Anyone wanting more information about the event should contact their school’s science department or Kinross Wolaroi.

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SWEET SCIENCE: Year 12 students (l-r) Sophie Matthews (James Sheahan), Skye Haigh (Kinross Wolaroi), Patrick Jasprizza (James Sheahan), Jacqui Morgan (Kinross Wolaroi), Caitlin Herbert (Kinross Wolaroi), Gretel Bailey-Preston (Kinross Wolaroi) and Emma Fauler (Kinross Wolaroi) are looking to take advantage of a science workshop before Higher School Certificate exams. Photo: JAIME BRIDGE 0804jpscience1

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