Player claims Muswellbrook’s $1.3m Saturday Lotto prize

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

AFTER five days, a NSW Lotteries player has come forward to claim the $1.3m prize from Saturday Lotto $20 Million Superdraw that was won with an entry bought from Muswellbrook’s Southside Newsagency.

The 36-game QuickPick entry won Muswellbrook’s newest millionaire a division one prize of $1,333,333.34.

But, just who exactly landed the windfall will remain a mystery, as the winner has spoken to NSW Lotteries in secret to claim their cash bonanza.

NSW Lotteries spokesperson Matt Hart said while all Saturday Lotto customers dreamt of becoming an overnight millionaire, the winning Muswellbrook ticket had made that dream a reality for another player this week.

“We speak with winners every day and while most winners dream of winning big, many don’t ever expect it will happen to them,” he said.

“In fact since July 1 this year, there have already been 77 division one winning entries purchased by NSW Lotteries customers – that’s a lot of winning smiles on the faces of players.”

The division one winning entry was purchased from Southside Newsagency in Maitland Road.

Southside Newsagency owner Pankaj Monga said the store was excited that it had sold a division one winning ticket.

“Congratulations to the winner! It’s great that our missing millionaire has come forward to claim their prize,” he said.

“We’ve been really busy this week with a lot of people coming into the store to check their tickets because they had heard that we’d sold a division one winning entry.”

NSW Lotteries reminds players of the importance of registering their tickets to a Players Club Card so all of their prizes are secure and they can be contacted directly with the good news of a big win.

Ninja Warriors get a grip in Newcastlevideos, photos

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

Ninja Warriors get a grip in Newcastle | videos, photos NEW CHALLENGE: Snowboarder Stephanie Magiros, who competed at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, races at Ninja Parc Cooks Hill on Thursday night. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

BALANCING ACT: Elite competitor Josh O’Sullivan warms up before Thursday night’s race.

HANGING TOUGH: Newcastle teenager Xanthea Vazey.

Stephanie Magiros

Tommy Leung

April Mutton

Xanthea Vazey

Gemma Rolfe

Elite competitors warm up.

Ryan Phillips

Ben Sillay

Josh O’Sullivan

Elite winner Josh Gray on the podium.

Michael Gleeson

Michael Gleeson

TweetFacebookAmerican Ninja Warrior.

Some of the competitors from that series, including former army fitness instructor Michael Gleeson, flexed their muscles at Ninja Park Cooks Hill, formerly known as Howzat, on Thursday.

14-year-old Xanthea Vazey shows how it’s doneAlso competing was Olympic snowboarder and former gymnast Stephanie Magiros, of Sydney, and Newcastle bouldering youth national titleholder Ben Abel.

But 24-year-old Josh Gray upstaged them all, completing the Ninja Parc in three minutes and 22 seconds.

Also on the podium in the elite category were two bolters from Cardiff, 30-year-old rigger and vegetarian Reuban Keeley and 26-year-old gymnastics and fitness instructor Ryan Phillips.

Kotara High student Xanthea Vazey, 14, who trains six times a week at Pulse Climbing, was second against a field of adult men and women in the open category.

Ninja Parc regular April Mutton was third, behind winner Matt Turner.

Stephanie Magiros conquers an obstacle.“I’ve pushed myself as a snowboarder,I’ve pushed myself as a gymnast, and now I get to push myself as a ninja,” Magiros said.

Gray took home a cheque for $1000 in what Ninja Parc managing director John Pirlo said would be the first of many races at the venue.

Man jailed for 11 months after bashing a kangaroo to death in Bunbury

12/12/2018 Posted by admin

A man was jailed for 11 months after bashing a kangaroo in near Bunbury. Photo: ABC NewsA man who brutally bashed a kangaroo to death with a crowbar with another man near Bunbury will spend almost a year behind bars.

Craig Jamie House and Vance Geoffrey Jarvis, who represented themselves in court, both pleaded guilty in the Bunbury Magistrates Court on Tuesday to ill-treatment of an animal, according to the ABC.

Mr House was jailed for 11 months’ while Jarvis was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.

It’s believed to be the first ever jail sentence for someone charged with animal cruelty in WA.

The court was shown confronting video footage of the kangaroos’ death in June 2015, which police found on a computer after raiding a home on an unrelated matter.

The video showed the two men and a dog collaring the kangaroo into a dam before House strikes the roo with a crowbar before dragging the animal’s lifeless body from the dam.

Magistrate Evan Shackleton said House struck the first blow to the kangaroo and instructed Jarvis to join in, according to the ABC.

“Sneak out to it man, as soon as it lunges ‘boosh’, take ya thongs off,” House can be heard yelling to Jarvis.

House told the court he killed the kangaroo for food because he had fallen on hard times and used the metal bar because his gun license was confiscated two years earlier.

“I tried to put out the roo in the most humanely way I could,” House told the court.

The magistrate disagreed with House claiming there were “large elements of animal cruelty”.

“In my view, you were having fun tormenting that kangaroo,” he said.

RSPCA WA chief executive David van Ooran told the ABC it was it was “incredibly rare” for someone to be given a jail term for animal cruelty.

“I can’t think of a time in recent years and decades where this has occurred,” Mr van Ooran said.

“This is a very strong penalty and a very appropriate penalty … it was clearly a horrific and sickening act against a defenceless animal, behaviour like this is completely unacceptable.

“It’s excellent to see that the magistrate in this case has awarded a prison term.”


Man charged with murder over fatal shooting of Bill Panagakos in Petersham

14/09/2019 Posted by admin

Police at the scene on Railway Street, Petersham, in 2014. Photo: Nick MoirA man has been charged with murder after an inner-west cafe owner was shot dead in a late-night ambush.
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Bill​ Panagakos​ was shot on March 5, 2014, his 45th birthday, and left in a pool of blood on Railway Street, Petersham, just after 11pm.

His business partner Gazi​ Safarjalani​, who lists his job online as the manager of Mr Panagakos’ now-defunct cafe, was arrested on Wednesday night following a three-year investigation.

The 36-year-old did not apply for bail in Burwood Local Court on Thursday.

Mr Panagakos lived in a boarding house in Ashfield and had served time in prison for drug supply several years before he was killed.

He had gone on to open a cafe, Gossip Cafe, in the Top Ryde shopping centre but the parent company stopped trading in 2013.

Mr Panagakos and Mr Safarjalani were both listed as directors of the company, BP & GS Pty Ltd.

Mr Safarjalani, from Lidcombe, described himself online as a hospitality worker who had managed Gossip Cafe since 2009.

Fairfax Media understands that police will allege the killing was drug related.

 Residents in Petersham reported hearing up to five gunshots on the night of Mr Panagakos’ death and ran out onto the street to find him lying on the footpath. He died at the scene.

“It was three shots and then two and then some kind of yelling,” Petersham resident Megan O’Connell said at the time.

“We honestly just thought it was kids mucking around.”

On Thursday, police said witnesses reported seeing two men running from the area, and despite an extensive search, no one was located.

Detectives from the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad and Marrickville Local Area Command established Strike Force Arrandale to investigate.

Mr Safarjalani will return to court on May 4.

Conwoman Sanaa Derbas jailed for dating scam targeting lonely men

14/09/2019 Posted by admin

Sanaa Derbas appearing in court earlier this month. Photo: Daniel MunozA Sydney conwoman who swindled more than $2 million from lonely men she met through online dating services has been jailed for at least 18 months.
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After the sentence was delivered, Sanaa Derbas, 42, looked from the dock at her family, broke into tears and cried, “My kids please … please.”

Inconsolable, she yelled out, “I love you”, repeatedly to agitated and tearful family members before she was led away by Correctional Services officers.

The mother-of-four adopted multiple aliases and fabricated stories about being too poor to eat, her children dying and medical emergencies to drain the bank accounts of the men.

Maintaining the rort for several years, she kept elaborate diaries with the contact numbers of hundreds of men and the bogus details she had given them about herself.

In the Downing Centre District Court on Thursday, Judge Paul Conlon said that Derbas had used “calculated cunning and guile” in preying on the benevolence of her victims.

Judge Conlon said she had shown an “unwavering determination” to “bleed them dry” over a considerable period of time.

“Those she targeted were lonely, vulnerable people. Vulnerable because each was craving companionship,” Judge Conlon said.

Derbas pleaded guilty in August last year to 11 counts, relating to seven men, of dishonestly obtaining money by deception.

She befriended each of her victims through mobile phone-based dating services, Lavalife, Clique and Meeting Point, tricking them into thinking they were in some form of relationship before she asked to borrow money from them.

After sharing a coffee and dinner, Derbas stole more than $1.7 million from one man.

She told the man, 69, she needed the money to pay her mortgage and later claimed she could not repay it because her son had died of swine flu.

“Seeing my mum last night and feeling her cold body did something to me that I couldn’t shake. Baby please don’t leave me,” she messaged another of her victims.

“No matter what you think, I do love you. For some beautiful reason I look forward to spending every day for the rest of me life with you … I just wish mum had met you,” she wrote to another.

As well as concocting intricate back stories, Derbas would call the men from different phones assuming different identities to justify why her alias could not repay the money to them.

Police found 15 mobile phones during a search of her home, and exchanges with 20 men other than those connected to the charges for which she was sentenced.

For some of the men, her rort started when she asked them to deposit money into her bank account so she could book an expensive hotel for them in the city.

One victim, who transferred Derbas a total of $93,523, ended up questioning her legitimacy after she told him that her mother had died and she needed money for funeral costs.

When he told her that he was going to police, Derbas responded by saying, “How is borrowing money a fraud?”

The man later said to her: “I really hope u don’t have kids that might have to pay a huge price when u get caught.”

The court has heard that Derbas has now sold all her assets – including her house in south-western Sydney and three cars – in a bid to pay the money back. Reparation of $745,000 has so far been made.

She told a psychiatrist that her fraudulent behaviour started as a result of a drug debt and cocaine habit which caused her to spend $10,000 to $12,000 a week.

But Judge Conlon said her rort continued out of greed and, to use Derbas’ own words, “became her new business”.

Derbas was sentenced to a maximum of 3½ years’ jail.

She will be eligible for parole in August 2018.

Ron Medich ‘distraught’ when firebombing charges against McGurk dropped

14/09/2019 Posted by admin

Ron Medich was said to be ‘distraught’ that charges against McGurk had been dropped. Photo: Jessica HromasIn the hours before Michael McGurk was murdered, property developer Ron Medich had an emotional phone conversation with a police officer in which he expressed his distress that firebombing charges against his former business partner had been dropped.
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“The bastard’s at the Chop House restaurant celebrating as we speak,” Mr Medich told Senior Constable Ray Hetherington.

Giving evidence at Mr Medich’s murder trial, Detective Hetherington said it caught him by surprise to hear how “distraught” Mr Medich was.

On the evening of September 3, 2009, within hours of the call, Detective Hetherington was informed that 45-year-old McGurk had been shot in the back of the head outside his Cremorne home.

Detective Hetherington said that he had arrested McGurk in January 2009 over the firebombing of the Beaconsfield house of valuer Stewart Rowan as well as the Point Piper home of Adam Tilley.

The jury has heard that Mr Medich previously owned Mr Tilley’s house and lent him money to purchase it. When the Tilleys fell behind with their repayments, Mr Medich organised for McGurk to deal with the matter.

Mr Medich initially posted the $100,000 surety for McGurk’s bail. Mr Medich later withdrew and another property developer Bob Ell put up the money, the court heard.

Mr Hetherington said he thought the police case was strong and he was disappointed when the DPP decided to drop the charges against McGurk on August 20, 2009.

The detective said he had been in regular contact with Mr Medich over the matter as he was to be a witness. In his lunchtime call with Mr Medich he said he advised him to concentrate on the civil matters against McGurk.

The court has heard that the pair were embroiled in a string of legal battles, which were costing Mr Medich a fortune.

In other evidence Ron Mason, a former member of an Aboriginal land council at Narooma, said that several months before McGurk’s murder, Mr Medich’s then close friend Lucky Gattellari asked Mr Mason if he knew any dying Aboriginal people who might like to do a murder.

Mr Mason, 72, said he had business dealings with Gattellari and Mr Medich over land deals near Narooma and an Aboriginal funeral business for which Mr Mason said he sourced clients.

Gattellari told Mr Mason he needed someone “bumped off” straight away as the unnamed person was costing Mr Medich $100,000 a week.

Mr Mason said he made arrangements to introduce his daughter’s father-in-law Harry (also known as Danny) Landini, whom Mr Mason said was known “round the traps” as a hitman.

Mr Mason said he understood Mr Landini planned to ask for $50,000 and then “rip off” Gattellari.

The court heard that Gattellari’s driver Senad Kaminic met Mr Landini at the Malabar RSL club. The meeting appeared not to be a success as Gattellari subsequently complained to Mr Mason about “the imbeciles” Mr Mason was introducing as potential hitmen.

Mr Mason said he had no conversations with Mr Medich about the plans to find a hitman and that his dealings on the matter were solely with Gattellari.

Gattellari received a substantial discount on his sentence in return for giving evidence against Mr Medich, who has pleaded not guilty to the murder.

Nicholas Marchesi and Lucas Patchett launch Orange Sky Digital

14/09/2019 Posted by admin

Mobile laundry founders, Nicholas Marchesi and Lucas Patchett’s latest initiative is a vehicle filled with folding chairs and a large screen equipped with mobile and internet technology. Photo: Wolter Peeters “Overwhelmingly what people who are experiencing homelessness want is a safe, permanent, affordable home”: acting chief executive of the Council to Homeless Persons, Kate Colvin. Photo: Wolter Peeters
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Lucas Patchett and Nicholas Marchesi’s mobile laundry service attracted $1.47 million in donations and reported a profit of $1.16 million in 2016. Photo: Paul Harris

They have provided a laundry on wheels and mobile showers.

But Nicholas Marchesi and Lucas Patchett’s latest initiative to assist people who are homeless is hi-tech – an orange hatchback filled with folding chairs and a large screen equipped with mobile and internet technology.

The duo, both 22, described their new service, Orange Sky Digital, as a vehicle to create positive conversations and foster a sense of community.

“Essentially what we can do with this vehicle is play – it might be – pictures, video and or music, which sparks up a conversation,” Mr Patchett said.

It will also provide information about crisis accommodation, food, employment and mental health services.

“There are so many great community services available but many of those who experience homelessness, they just don’t know how to access support,” Mr Patchett said in a statement.

But their efforts with the digital project and Orange Sky Laundry – for which they were named Young ns of the Year in 2016 – have been criticised as ineffective and undermining the dignity of people who are homeless.

“I think they are doing something to try and help but their intentions don’t match the outcomes. They’re wrong,” said Dr Cameron Parsell, a senior researcher at the University of Queensland’s Institute of Social Science Research.

“Just because what people are doing is in the name of benevolence, it doesn’t mean it’s right.”

Mr Marchesi said: “A washing machine, a shower and Orange Sky Digital won’t put a roof over someone’s head. But that’s not our core mission. Our mission is to positively connect people.”

The Brisbane-based duo relied on their “homeless friends” for advice: “Lucas and I are two young blokes who are volunteers and by no means are we experts in the homelessness sector.”

Through their new venture, homeless people will also be able to create content about services.

“A homeless friend might shoot a video about the Wayside Chapel or about a rehab clinic in town,” Mr Marchesi said. “I guess more informed homeless friends and more informed volunteers mean that we can positively connect our homeless friends better.”

A registered charity, Orange Sky reported a profit of $1.16 million in the 2015-16 financial year.

“Any money we make is reinvested into our charity,” Mr Marchesi said.

Experts in the homeless sector, however, argue that attention and money should be directed at ending homelessness, not providing temporary “comfort measures”.

Dr Parsell said services such as mobile laundry and shower facilities undermined the dignity of people who are homeless.

“Not only is it ineffective, it really undermines any dignity person may feel having to shower and wash in public spaces, particularly when we know ending their homelessness is possible and cost-effective,” he said.

“It constitutes a failure to come up with any kind of just and innovative solution that focuses on housing.”

Dr Parsell said his research, published last year in the British Journal of Social Work, showed it cost the taxpayer more to keep a person chronically homeless ($48,217 each) than to provide permanent housing ($35,117).

“It would be much better as a society to redirect that goodwill to provide housing.”

The acting chief executive of the Council to Homeless Persons, Kate Colvin, said more public and community housing would provide vulnerable people with options beyond “dodgy” rooming houses, caravan parks and crisis accommodation.

“Philanthropists and organisations need to consider where to channel their energy and funding,” she said. “And the reality is that ending homelessness starts with boosting affordable housing, not providing comfort measures.”

The chief executive of the Mercy Foundation, Felicity Reynolds, said providing amenities such as laundry and showers normalises homelessness.

“I’d be careful about criticising other people’s well-meant efforts,” she said. “But I think we should end homelessness and not endlessly service it.”

The n Bureau of Statistics counted more than 100,000 people as homeless in 2011, but only 6 per cent were living on the streets, according to Ms Reynolds.

George Clooney slings ‘Hollywood elitist’ label back at Donald Trump

14/09/2019 Posted by admin

Actor George Clooney has singled out a fundamental hypocrisy of Donald Trump’s administration: they’re part of the “Hollywood elite” that their supporters supposedly reject.
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The label, a sure-bet on conservative blogs and alt-right Twitter, has become a regular throwaway among Trump’s supporters, so often levelled at outspoken celebrities as a way of deriding their largely liberal views.

Appearing on the French TV program Recontres de Cinema, Clooney – who publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton at the 2016 US election ­– flipped the accusation while defending Meryl Streep’s anti-Trump acceptance speech at last month’s Golden Globes.

“This is the part that makes me a little crazy. When Meryl spoke, everyone on that one side was like, ‘Well, Hollywood elitist, Hollywood speaking’,” he said.

“Donald Trump has 22 acting credits,” Clooney said, referencing the president’s cameos on everything from Home Alone 2 to The Nanny and Sabrina The Teenage Witch.

“He collects $US120,000 ($156,000) a year from a Screen Actor’s Guild pension fund. He is a Hollywood elitist.”

“Steve Bannon is a failed film writer and director. That’s the truth, that’s what he’s done,” he added, turning his attention to Trump’s controversial chief strategist.

Bannon’s pre-political forays into Hollywood are well documented. Before directing documentaries on conservative heroes like Ronald Reagan and Sarah Palin, he was producing festival-bait like Julie Taymor’s Titus and The Indian Runner by that other famous liberal “Hollywood elite”, Sean Penn.

“[Bannon] wrote a Shakespearean rap musical about the LA riots that he couldn’t get made, you know, which is a shock,” Clooney mocked.

“He made a lot of money off Seinfeld. He’s elitist – Hollywood. That’s the reality, if you want to look at it that way.”

“So I look at when people say Meryl shouldn’t speak up – of course she should speak up,” he added, defending his Fantastic Mr Fox co-star.

“She has every right to speak up. She’s an American citizen, and she was an American citizen long before she was an icon.”

It’s not the first time that Clooney – who’s currently directing the crime thriller Suburbicon, starring Matt Damon – has hit back at Trump and his administration.

“I didn’t vote for him, I don’t support him, and I don’t think he’s the right choice,” the actor said when asked to comment following Trump’s infamous “over-rated” Twitter quip at Streep. Rencontres de cinéma du 19/02 – Spécial césar

NZ Guineas winner La Bella Diosa arrives early because of earthquake damage

14/08/2019 Posted by admin

Wizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all Racing
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La Bella Diosa’s efforts on the racetrack demanded she come to for the autumn but the reason she is here for Saturday’s Surround Stakes has as much to do with things off the track in New Zealand.

Rangiora trainer Mandy Brown has arrived in Sydney looking to add n black type to La Bella Diosa’s 1000 Guineas win at home in the spring. But it was the earthquake in the Canterbury area that led to her arriving so early.

“When you have that New Zealand group 1 you need to get the n form to back it up,” Brown said. “We were always going to come over but being from the South Island it was easier to come over early than head to the North Island to race right now.

“The main highway north has been cut by the earthquake around Christchurch, so it adds hours to the trip. It was actually easier to fly to Sydney than stay in New Zealand.

“We know we are going to be up against the good fillies here but she is pretty good herself.”

La Bella Diosa is the favourite for the n Oaks during The Championships after her storming success in the 1000 Guineas where she came from last. She became So You Think’s first group 1 winner and has a strong female line as she is out of a Star Way mare and has Grosvenor in the preceding generation.

Jason Collett has been booked for the ride and liked what he saw of her on film from her four wins in six starts, and was smiling even more after riding her on Tuesday morning.

“She is a group 1 winner at home and has some quality about her,” Collett said. “I thought she would be competitive at 1400 metres and get better as the races stretch out.

“But when you look at the race on Saturday – Global Glamour, Foxplay, Omei Sword and Spright –  there is nowhere to hide. It is the best bunch of fillies for quite a while.

“I was not lacking in confidence and the gallop just confirmed what I thought of her. She has been winning coming around them in New Zealand and is still pretty raw so she is going to improve.”

Collett didn’t ride on Thursday because of a virus but will be right for Randwick.

Brown, who trains in partnership with husband Matt, has based herself at the John Sargent stable at Randwick and will be keeping a close eye on La Bella Diosa.

“She is a bit quirky and it is why she came to us because we train off our property outside Christchurch and we can give her some one-on-one care,” she said.

“We had to start her preparation over here somewhere and this race fits into an Oaks preparation. She is going to get back and if she runs home and finishes in the first six, it would be a good effort against these sprinting fillies.

“She is going to get better when she steps up to a mile next time and the Oaks is our target.”

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How much are taxpayers spending to bring Brazil, Argentina to the ‘G?

14/08/2019 Posted by admin

Victorian taxpayers will see little change out of $10 million for the privilege of watching the SuperClasico between Argentina and Brazil at the MCG on June 9 and the match between the Socceroos and the Brazilians at the same ground on June 13.
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The deal for the two matches involving the five time world champions Brazil is a coup for , but is a tight squeeze for Ange Postecoglou’s Socceroos, who will play in the Confederations Cup shortly afterwards.

But there is a very real possibility that Argentina could stay on and play another match, sources say, with an Asian team flown in to provide opposition to help them prepare for their final round of World Cup qualifiers in August, September and October.

The ns will play a crucial World Cup qualifier on June 8 against Saudi Arabia in Adelaide, then fly back to Melbourne to face the Brazilians five days later before hopping on a plane for a long international flight to Sochi, in Russia, to begin their Confederations Cup campaign a few days afterwards.

‘s first match in their group is against world champions Germany on June 19, meaning they will barely have time to acclimatise before facing off against the Germans.

Playing Brazil, a South American nation, will be good practice for the Socceroos’ subsequent Confederations Cup match against Chile.

But the timing of the game raises eyebrows given how little turnaround time the Socceroos will have before the Germany match.

And there will be questions about the likely state of the pitch given that the traditional Queen’s Birthday AFL game between Collingwood and Melbourne is due to be played at the MCG on June 12.

Still, for a cash-strapped FFA, desperate to boost its coffers in the face of increasing demands for more money from A-League clubs, any financial windfall from a game like this will sit well on the balance sheet and may have outweighed other considerations.

The Brazil game also represents a major opportunity for the FFA and the national team to rebuild its brand.

The Socceroos used to be a really hot ticket when they hardly played at home; now they are in FIFA’s Asian region the qualifying games come thick and fast, to the extent that crowds have dropped.

Many games are now played at smaller venues in Adelaide, Perth and Canberra to reflect the waning interest in games against little-known Asian opponents.

But matches involving the likes of Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Neymar and the plethora of top players both Brazil and Argentina can boast on their playing roster should excite fans and bring plenty of interstate visitors to Victoria.

The $10 million cost of getting the two leading nations to for the next instalment of their long standing rivalry is similar to the amount by which taxpayers subsidised the first ICC tournament, involving Real Madrid, Manchester City and Roma in the winter of 2015.

However the government and the underwriters of the second ICC were left counting the cost last season when Juventus, Tottenham and Athletico Madrid failed to attract the same interest. During the winter of 2016 the Copa America and European Championships were played, the two international competitions having an impact on the players the big clubs sent here for the ICC.

There will not be an ICC this year as a result, although organisers hope that the appearance of Brazil and Argentina will more than compensate.

The Albicelestes are far from assured of direct World Cup qualification from their difficult South American group and there is a suggestion that head coach Edgardo Bauza may have an extended camp in Melbourne to prepare for their final four qualifiers – against Uruguay (late August) Venezuela (September) and Peru and Ecuador (October).

Conditions in Melbourne – cool at that time of year – would be ideal, and the distance would almost certainly mean the media circus that usually follows Messi and his Argentine teammates around would not be anywhere near as large.

Don’t expect fresh faces in Socceroos squad, says Postecoglou

14/08/2019 Posted by admin

Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou will stick to the tried and tested rather than throw in any wildcards as he looks to guide his team through a series of difficult tests over the next five months.
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In short order, the national team plays World Cup qualifiers in Iraq, at home against the UAE, then Saudi Arabia in Adelaide as the battle for places in Russia in 2018 intensifies.

The Socceroos then face Brazil in a glamour game at the MCG before heading to Russia to face world champions Germany, South American champions Chile and African champion Cameroon in the Confederations Cup.

“I don’t think it’s a new faces kind of year. This year’s the most important year in the World Cup cycle because you’re going into the last (games), whether you qualify or not,” Postecoglou said.

“Our trial period of players (is virtually complete) and everything has happened in the last two years, since the Asian Cup.

“This year will be about consolidating a group of players and hopefully reaping the rewards of the hard work we’ve done so far. That’s not to exclude anyone breaking through, we’ve still got six months, but I wouldn’t expect too many new faces.

“We spent a lot of time last year developing some of our players for whom it was their first World Cup qualifying experience .

“We put a lot of time into guys like Mat Ryan, Trent Sainsbury, Massimo Luongo, Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic.

“We wanted to make sure that they got as much game time (as possible) over the last 12 months knowing we had some tough trips in there.”

How ready they are will only be proven in the series of difficult challenges they face.

“You don’t know what sort of progress they make, that will be judged by how they go this year, having been through what they went through last year.

“This year will be the measure of that. We’ve got some big games with some big consequences but all the games are going to be played in conditions that should suit our football.”

FFA announce ruling on Wanderers banner

14/08/2019 Posted by admin

At the centre of the storm: A cropped section of the offending banner.Football Federation has found Western Sydney Wanderers guilty of bringing the game into disrepute and fined the club $20,000 in response to an offensive banner raised by their supporters during last weekend’s Sydney derby.
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The FFA opted not to deduct competition points from the club after it vowed to ban 14 members of its active supporter group, the Red and Black Bloc. Several leaders of the RBB were among those who will be denied entry to games for 18 months by the club, who took the unusual step in cancelling their own fans’ memberships.

The club threatened to disband the RBB and active supporter area if the group breaches the spectator code of behaviour with either poor behaviour at games or offensive messages on social media. Those RBB members banned for raising the offensive banner will also be forced to undergo a recognised social inclusion program before they can reapply for season tickets.

The Wanderers were staring down the barrel of a points deduction, with a suspended three-point penalty in danger of being triggered by serious incidents of fan trouble. While sections of the media, gay and lesbian rights groups and rival clubs urged FFA to come down hard on the Wanderers and the RBB, it’s understood the hardline stance the club took towards their supporters was sufficient to appease the governing body.

Fairfax Media understands FFA wasn’t pleased that it took the Wanderers four days to issue such a stern condemnation of the offensive banner raised in last weekend’s Sydney derby that depicted Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold performing oral sex. However, FFA was encouraged with the severity in which the Wanderers eventually identified and punished several leaders of the RBB and took responsibility for the behaviour of their supporters.

The club has a history of fan troubles since its inception in 2012 and FFA came under pressure to issue the harshest punishment possible and take points off the Wanderers. Sources suggest the governing body believes the response from the club is strong enough to influence the behaviour of its fans. FFA sources informed TheHerald that the Wanderers unprecedented action against their fans was a strong showing of leadership that has not before been seen by a club that has been criticised in the past for not doing enough to curb the behaviour of the RBB.

“While we have noted and were pleased with the positive proactive measures undertaken by the Western Sydney Wanderers the fine reflects the fact clubs are responsible for the actions of their spectators and managing the approval of the game-day banners and activities of their active fan groups,” Greg O’Rourke, head of the A-League, said.

“The actions of the Western Sydney Wanderers spectators responsible for displaying the banner and the ensuing celebration of the banner on social media were completely unacceptable.”

The Wanderers issued a brief statement on Thursday afternoon accepting the fine and verdict. FFA are also investigating allegations of brawls involving supporters of the Wanderers and Sydney FC that reportedly took place during Saturday’s game.

The Wanderers were hit with a suspended three-point penalty in February last year when fans lit dozens of flares during a match. The suspended penalty was extended for another 12 months after their active supporters ignited a number of flares during the first Sydney derby this season in October.

FFA has not ruled out activating the points penalty in the event of another serious incident that is consistent with past behaviour.

Melbourne City look to add to Sydney FC misery – and Tim Cahill the man to inflict the damage

14/08/2019 Posted by admin

Tim Cahill of Melbourne City is set for a key role against Sydney FC. Photo: Robert CianfloneBig games demand big performances from big players.
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In the n game there is no bigger name than Tim Cahill.

And as far as the A-League goes, there is no bigger match this weekend than the clash at AAMI Park on Friday night when Melbourne City hosts Sydney FC.

So surely Cahill, who only made a cameo appearance in the dying stages of City’s impressive 5-1 win in Wellington last weekend, will come in from the relative wilderness and play a role from the start of this game.

City coach Michael Valkanis was trying to keep the guessing game going on Thursday when he faced the media when he suggested that he hadn’t quite made his mind up as to whether Cahill would start or not.

“It’s a big game, and Timmy is a big game player, he is involved, I am sure he will play his part,” the coach said.

So he’s now only an impact player, age and condition having taken its toll on the now 37-year-old? Is that why he no longer starts every match? Or has Anthony Caceres, who has started the last two matches, scoring in Wellington, done enough to keep the talismanic Socceroo on the bench for another game.

Valkanis was quick to scotch that suggestion. “He’s not only used as an impact player – tomorrow he could be used from the start, ” the coach said, a point supported by the fact that most of Cahill’s goals for City this season have come in the first hour of games, and the majority in the first half of matches in which he has been in the starting eleven.

Key defender Michael Jakobsen is one man definitely missing for another week, the centre back still not having recovered from the calf injury that has kept him out of recent games.

But defender Ivan Franjic, who like Jakobsen missed the draw with Brisbane and the win over Wellington, is back from injury and pushing for a place in the starting line-up.

Much will depend on the structure that Valkanis wants to use against the team that lost its air of invincibility in acrimonious circumstances in last weekend’s Sydney derby when the Sky Blues went down to local rivals Western Sydney Wanderers. It was Sydney’s first loss of the season in the A-League.

“There are two different options and we are training for both formations. Franjic is back but we have to be careful with Jakobsen, knowing we are in the final straight. We are hoping that we will get him back in the next few weeks.”

Valkanis was delighted with the way City got back to scoring form in New Zealand and said that performance, allied to the effort shown by a suspension depleted squad in the draw with Brisbane, had impressed on all players at the club that no one’s position could be taken for granted.

“The players know this, that’s why we have a big squad, we go by performance and training and what the game will require, we picked the team that will be best for the match we are playing.”

Opposition doesn’t come much tougher than Sydney, and Valkanis, for one, is not expecting there to be any psychological comedown after Graham Arnold’s team sustained its first loss of the season.

“They are not vulnerable. I really don’t think so. Their team is on top, they are the best in at the moment.

“They have many good players capable of winning games, Alex Brosque has had a fantastic season, so has Rhyan Grant, so has Michael Zullo, adding extra capabilities going forward.

“They are very well organised, it’s a typical Graham Arnold organisation.

“I am not going to go by what happened last week, they will be organised and structured. Arnold’s teams don’t change at all, they do the simple things very well, their defensive organisation is very good, where they press you, where they attack.”

Before the Wanderers win last weekend City was the only team who had beaten Sydney, defeating them 1-0 in the Cup Final in November when Cahill, naturally, headed home the only goal of the game.

Neither that match, nor the subsequent 1-1 draw in Sydney in the next A-League match, has any bearing on Friday’s fixtures, the City boss insists.

“We can’t dwell in the past winning the Cup Final, it was a long time ago, it was great winning the first piece of silverware for the club, but that’s gone.”