Battle royal of the Harrys to hit Sydney

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Sydney will become ground zero in the battle of the Harrys this weekend, with Prince Harry and the equally infamous pop royal Harry Styles both flying into the harbour city on Friday.
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Officially, one of them is here to “review the fleet”, though it will be Sydney’s fair maidens who will eagerly be volunteering for their own review when the world’s two hottest Harrys touch down.

So ladies, start your engines.

While Prince Harry, who arrives on a commercial flight from London, is the official guest of the International Fleet Review, he will be in town for only about 48 hours.

Despite such a brief visit, plans are already afoot to make the most of what limited off-duty time the 29-year-old prince is expected have during his stay at the five-star Shangri-La Hotel in The Rocks.

A private party is planned for Saturday night, but he might also take in some of the night spots on Friday night – jet lag and official engagements permitting. There is talk of security teams sweeping several venues in case the prince wants to take in the city’s nocturnal delights.

A similar operation was carried out in 2010 when his older brother, Prince William, came to Sydney when he downed mojitos at Bungalow 8 on Kings Street Wharf.

Meanwhile, a few hundred metres away from Prince Harry’s Sydney digs, Harry Styles and his One Direction band mates are expected to check into the equally swish Park Hyatt Hotel, after arriving in Sydney aboard their private jet, which has been criss-crossing Australasia for the past week leaving a slipstream of screaming teenage girls in their wake.

One Direction’s first Sydney show is scheduled for Saturday night, leaving Friday night free for the boy band to wreak havoc on Sydney’s nightlife.

Styles, who alone is reportedly worth $24 million, has a reputation for partying and is considered one of the band members more popular among their legion of pubescent fans.

The 19-year-old has so far enjoyed his downtime Down Under by hitting the gaming tables at Perth’s Crown Casino in Perth.

But his management has expressed concern about his penchant for casinos, especially since he reportedly blew a six-figure sum on a roulette table.

Undeterred, Styles has a “17 Black” tattoo on his left shoulder, which is apparently a reference to the roulette wheel.

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‘Ridiculous workload’ – Alan Kohler ends ABC’s Inside Business

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The ‘‘ridiculous’’ workload of host Alan Kohler has put paid to ABC TV’s Sunday morning business show, Inside Business, after 12 years on air.
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Kohler, who also works for News Limited, will continue presenting his finance segment during the ABC’s flagship 7pm news bulletin.

He said that writing a column for website Eureka Report in addition to filming Inside Business meant his workload on Fridays was ‘‘ridiculous’’.

He also writes three columns a week for the Business Spectator website, where he is editor-in-chief.

‘‘I’m not lining anything up, no no no,’’ Kohler said. ‘‘This is to have more of a sensible working life.’’

Last year Kohler and his business partners, Robert Gottliebsen and Stephen Bartholomeusz, sold their company Australian Independent Business Media, which publishes Business Spectator and the Eureka Report, to News Limited for a reported $30 million.

Kohler said the ABC decided to stop broadcasting Inside Business after he told the government broadcaster he was stepping down as host.

‘‘I’ve been doing Inside Business for 12 years, it really has been great,’’ he said. ‘‘I’ve really enjoyed it. I designed the program, started it off, had fantastic people working on it.

‘‘I really enjoyed doing the TV interviews, so I’m going to miss that. I’d like to find a way to continue doing interviews, if I can.’’

He said he initially opposed the show’s recent change in format from magazine-style to chat show but as ‘‘time went on I warmed to it’’.

‘‘I think in the end it was actually a good move and I think the show improved.’’

He said the decision to wind up Inside Business had nothing to do with criticism last year that he had a conflict of interest following the sale of Australian Independent Business Media to News Limited.

The end of Inside Business is a win for Nine, which this year started broadcasting Financial Review Sunday using talent from The Australian Financial Review, published by BusinessDay’s owner, Fairfax Media.

However, ABC current affairs head Bruce Belsham said the government broadcaster ‘‘remains committed to strong business coverage’’.

‘‘We will continue to work with Alan on a range of business content,” he said in a statement issued by the ABC.

From next year sports panel show Offsiders, hosted by Barrie Cassidy, will directly follow politics panel show Insiders, also hosted by Cassidy.

Inside Business is to broadcast for the last time on December 1.

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Tell-tale sign? Cemetery setting for Breaking Bad finale screening

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Eerie … A scene from the finale of Breaking Bad, starring Bryan Cranston as Walter White.Breaking Bad crew and cast, including Bryan Cranston (centre left) next to Aaron Paul (in yellow), at the Hollywood Cemetery. Photo: Michael Idato
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Gilligan wanting Walt White to winBreaking Bad spoilers v spoilsports

It seems fitting that the final episode of the dark series Breaking Bad would be screened in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Cemetery; a magnificent, sprawling gothic necropolis whose tombstones record the who’s who (or used to be) of Tinseltown’s A-list.

The show’s creator, producer/writer Vince Gilligan, and its cast, including Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, gathered on a stage surrounded by diehard fans, friends and the gods and ghosts of Hollywood.

“You have changed history,” Aaron Paul said to the show’s producer Vince Gilligan. “You have changed television. I cannot begin to thank you for giving me a career.”

Paul described his co-star Bryan Cranston as his mentor. “Without him I would not be the actor I am today,” Paul said.

Cranston paid tribute to the show’s crew.

“We were together for 13 or 14 hours a day,” he said. “These are our family members. The crew are the unheralded heroes of our show.”

The gothic backdrop, and those luminous ghosts whose star is diminished but never extinguished, set the stage for what may go down in history as the biggest TV finale since the end of M*A*S*H. On more than 25 hectares of landscaped memorial park are the remains of Cecil B. DeMille, Peter Finch, Fay Wray and Rudolph Valentino. Even Terry, the cairn terrier who played Toto in the Wizard of Oz, is buried here.

The special event was organised by one of the show’s stars, Aaron Paul, with the proceeds going to his wife Lauren Parsekian’s anti-bullying non-profit organisation, The Kind Campaign.

Last episode ever of Breaking Bad. It would not be possible without all of you. Thank you all for the amazing ride. Love you Vince!!!!— Aaron Paul (@aaronpaul_8) September 30, 2013

“@Provennoble100: @betsy_brandt The End Of An Era. :'(”. So true. XO— Betsy Brandt (@betsy_brandt) September 30, 2013

As the sun set on the Hollywood hills behind the cemetery, the total funds raiused had reached US$1.8 million.

When tickets for the event went on sale on September 4 they sold out within minutes. The guests were not the first to see the episode – that honour went to fans on the US east coast, which is three hours ahead – but they did get to see it with the cast and crew.

The final episode, 75 minutes long with commercials, was preceded by a special screening of the pilot episode. After the screening, members of the cast and crew answered questions from guest host, American talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.

Gilligan revealed the producers considered a range of ways to finish the series.

“Our six writers considered just about every possible outcome with this thing. This was the one that felt right,” he said.

Cranston said the cemetery screening was the first time many of the cast and crew had seen the final episode.

“I saw it in a very unfortunate situation, [when] we did the DVD commentary and I was watching and going silent,” Cranston said. “It was a strange way to see it for the first time.”

The event was organised so Gilligan and the cast could take their final bow for a television series which, despite a modest kick off in 2008, had become one of the most critically-acclaimed TV dramas of all time.

Well, this is it. The last episode ever of Breaking Bad. Thank you for sharing this ride with me. Without you we never would have lasted.— Bryan Cranston (@BryanCranston) September 29, 2013

Let’s do this bitch!!! Get ready everyone for some madness.— Aaron Paul (@aaronpaul_8) September 29, 2013

In the short space of five years it has become the benchmark by which other dramas are now measured.

Among the VIP guests at the cemetery screening were actor Ewan McGregor, Netflix boss Ted Sarandos, porn icon Ron Jeremy, and music legend Marilyn Manson.

Vince Gilligan. Creator of Breaking Bad. Thank you. You’ve changed my life http://t.co/pahkIBlMPp— dean norris (@deanjnorris) September 29, 2013

Breaking Bad party in NYC! Me, Michael Slovis, Andy Vogeli, and the rest of the family. #mariegaritaspic.twitter南京夜网/lWvbo1Wytu— Betsy Brandt (@betsy_brandt) September 30, 2013

Michael Idato is reporting from the Hollywood Cemetery in LA.

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

Mar 10

DVD review: The Great Gatsby

THE GREAT GATSBY (M)
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Warner Bros, 143 minutes

BAZ Luhrmann should make only musicals.

The Great Gatsby is a quasi-musical. Its jittery camera moves seem as if they’re trying to catch the rhythms of the Charleston and one of Gatsby’s guests is right when he likens a party scene to an amusement park.

The turrets and crenellations of the Gatsby castle on the shores of Long Island Sound bear a strong resemblance to the Disneyland logo.

Every line of dialogue is underlined by music. Not that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s prose is neglected. The voice-over narration is relentless, delivered by Tobey Maguire’s Nick Carraway, whose reedy drawl battles to do justice to the more mellow music of Fitzgerald’s sentences.

Maguire has to anchor the film and he’s not nearly strong or interesting enough for the job. He’s fine during the lighter moments. His mild manner and habitually quizzical expression strike the right comic notes, but the more serious stuff leaves him blank-faced.

Fortunately, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Gatsby is more compelling and now the baby face has matured into classic handsomeness, he can turn on the Gatsby glamour but he, too, has difficulty fighting against the distractions of the surrounding sights and sounds.

In the film’s first half, Luhrmann’s direction is so nervy that he can’t let a sequence run for more than 30 seconds without interruption. There is much inter-cutting and overlaying with swooping transitions between locations and a proliferation of funny angles.

The script does some tinkering with the novel. Nick is telling the story from a sanitarium where he’s gone to recuperate from a breakdown following his experiences with Gatsby, Daisy and Tom, her boor of a husband, played with swaggering conviction by Joel Edgerton.

Nick’s therapist (an avuncular Jack Thompson) suggests his patient would do better to write an account of what has happened instead of trying to talk about it. And it’s not a bad ploy since it puts the following events in context without giving away too much too soon. But you don’t really need to see Nick’s typed words come floating towards you as he utters them.

Amid the overkill, there are assorted delights. One of them is Elizabeth Debicki’s Jordan Baker, the elegant young golfing champion with whom Nick falls half in love. And there’s the film’s greatest success – Carey Mulligan’s Daisy. Not only is she graceful enough to carry off costumes which might have swamped another actress, she has the voice for the part. Her silvery tones help craft a seemingly guileless performance edged with a languid sophistication. It also allows her to crack now and again, to reveal the helplessness that makes Daisy so dangerous.

But you don’t get much chance to dwell on these nuances until the film’s second half, when Luhrmann finally allows his stars some breathing space. And even then, he and his co-writer Craig Pearce are busy underlining everything. One of the joys of Fitzgerald’s style is his delicacy. He leaves room for your imagination to do some work of its own.

Gatsby’s efforts to rewrite the past are translated into the sense of longing and regret he feels as he contemplates the stretch of water which divides him and his excesses from the old moneyed estates like the Buchanans’ on the other side of the bay.

As he stands gazing at this glittering expanse and the green light which shines from Buchanans’ dock, he might be wishing he could walk on water. It’s a message you get from the film, as well. But no imagination is required. It’s hammered into the dialogue with an insistence that strips the story of its ambivalence and its mystery. They really should have gone all the way and made

Gatsby: The Musical.

Rating: ★★★

– Sandra Hall

DEAD MAN DOWN (MA 15+)

Universal Sony, 110 minutes

COLIN Farrell and Noomi Rapace make a provocative pair in this New York thriller with an explosive ending.

This dark, brooding story is unpredictable and unsavoury, yet grabbing.

Both actors have difficult roles, coming from two different places to an emotional meeting place in the middle of a dangerous situation. Rapace, who still seems to be on the outer of the American cinematic scene despite her fantastic lead as Lisbeth Salander in the original Dragon Tattoo movies, slowly reels in Farrell, eventually getting him to do her bidding.

Rating:★★★

– Jim Kellar

DEADFALL (MA 15+)

Hopscotch Entertainment, 91 minutes

CRIME thrillers are such a saturated genre, it’s hard to find a new seam, a new vein, that captures your attention and draws you in.

Perhaps the secret in this case is the attraction of the two leading actors, Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde, as brother and sister Addison and Liza. They are on the run, a cunning pair with Bana the emotional master of his sister ever since their traumatic childhood days.

Bana is fearless, ruthless and violent, a bedeviling spirit with a just a touch of kindness.

Wilde, forced to find her own way out of trouble, is befriended by a just-out-of-jail Charlie Hunnam, and shows signs of pulling away from the potent force of her big brother.

The showdown comes at Hunnam’s parents’ country house, with Kris Kristofferson and Sissy Spacek teaming up as wholesome parents who only want what is best for their son.

If you can stomach Bana as the bad guy, you will get your thrills out of this flick.

Rating:★★★

– Jim Kellar

WINNERS

THE winners of last week’s DVD, The Walking Dead Season three were: Kathy Kelly, of Kahibah; Diane Grogan, of Whitebridge; Jann Bessant, of Raymond Terrace; Martin Laws, of Hinton; and Edward Kucharski, of Rutherford.

OVERKILL: Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan are highlights in The Great Gatsby.

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Mar 10

OPINION: We support pet-friendly rental properties

RECENTLY theNewcastle Herald reported on the difficulty some renters have finding properties that will allow them to keep their pets.
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We at Mark Dowling Real Estate strive to educate our landlords about the positive aspects of letting their property as a pet-friendly rental.

Part of our story began when we were renting a property ourselves in 1997. We were forced to move as our rented home was put up for sale and at the time we had a blue cattle dog that made inspections difficult.

We found it very hard to find a rental house and we ended up renting a barely livable property in Broadmeadow. It was a completely rundown house but it did have good fences and the dog loved the backyard.

As we started MDRE Property Advantage in Mayfield, we had a lot of space in our windows, so we contacted pet rescue groups and displayed their animals in the window, and we also started to accept donations for the animals such as blankets, beds and food.

We have some great people in the area that drop off items for the dogs all the time.

We have been very successful in convincing our landlords to accept pets and currently 86per cent of our rental properties are pet-friendly.

Many new landlords and investors are not aware of the recent changes to the Residential Tenancy Act.

The act states that only tenants with pets can now be asked to have their carpets cleaned when they vacate a property.

We find that tenants with pets in general make an effort in looking after their rental property as they know how difficult it is to get another pet-friendly house.

We have a number of tenants with pets that we have retained over the years. When the property they were living in sold, we then moved them on to another of our properties.

We also work closely with Dog Rescue Newcastle and display the dogs that they have up for adoption in our window.

We try to educate tenants and other clients about the importance of adopting a pet from a rescue group instead of buying it from a shop or breeder. There are literally hundreds of dogs and cats, every breed and age available, in the Hunter today.

We also make sure that we match the type of pet with the correct property, large breeds and puppies need more room to move, while smaller and older pets are better suited to smaller yards, or units and villas, depending on the strata bylaws.

Some applicants nowadays, when they apply for a property, include a pet resume with a photo of the pet and information about the pet. Some even provide a pet reference from a previous real estate agent or landlord.

I feel that it’s important to work towards a change in attitude about allowing tenants to keep pets.

Investors need to realise that a huge number of people have pets today and we need to change the way we think and not hold on to old-fashioned ways.

Fatima Dowling is a real estate agent and co-owner of Mark Dowling Real Estate, Mayfield.

Mar 10

Knox trial on again but minus accused

Florence, Italy: A court hearing Amanda Knox’s second appeals trial on Monday accepted a request to run additional DNA tests on the presumed weapon in the murder of Meredith Kercher, but rejected most other defence requests for new testimony or evidence.
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Presiding Judge Alessandro Nencini said the court agreed to test one DNA trace not previously examined because it had been deemed too small. A court-ordered review in the first appeals trial, which acquitted both Knox and her former Italian boyfriend, discredited DNA evidence on the kitchen knife linked to Kercher.

The court also agreed to the prosecution’s request to again hear testimony from a jailed Mafioso, Luciano Aviello, who has accused his brother in the murder. Aviello, a mobster who has been convicted of several crimes including defamation, is to testify on Friday.

Italy’s highest court in March ordered a new trial for Knox and her former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, overturning their acquittals in Kercher’s gruesome 2007 killing. The star defendant and her former boyfriend were both absent at its opening Monday.

During opening statements, lawyers for Knox and Sollecito requested an array of new expert opinions and evidence to reach a definitive verdict, but the court rejected most of them.

Knox defence lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova said there was a risk of an “infinite trial,” since the charge of murder has no statute of limitations. Sollecito’s lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno, asked the court to accept only “reliable evidence,” saying the intense media attention on the case had affected the three previous trials.

The appellate court in Florence is expected to re-examine forensic evidence to determine whether Knox and her ex-boyfriend helped kill the 21-year-old Kercher while the two women shared an apartment in the Umbrian university town of Perugia. The prosecution advanced the theory that Kercher died during a sex-fuelled game gone bad.

Knox, now a 26-year-old University of Washington student in Seattle, has not returned to Italy for the current trial, nor is she compelled by law to do so. The appellate court noted the absence both of Knox and Sollecito, but did not declare either in contempt.

“We refute the idea that because Amanda is not coming, that Amanda is guilty, that Amanda is using a strategy. Amanda always said she was a friend of Meredith’s. Amanda has always respected the Italian justice system,” one of Knox’s defence lawyers, Luciano Ghirga, told reporters before the trial opened.

Knox and Sollecito, now 29, were convicted and later acquitted in Kercher’s death. Knox served four years of a 26-year sentence, including three years on a slander conviction for falsely accusing a Perugia bar owner in the murder, before leaving Italy a free woman after her 2011 acquittal.

The bar owner, Diya “Patrick” Lumumba, showed up at the trial Monday, saying he did so to underline the damage he suffered from Knox’s false accusations. “I say the same thing I said six years ago. I think she is guilty, and that is why she slandered me,” Lumumba told reporters.

Knox’s conviction for slandering Lumumba has been confirmed by the high court, but it asked the Florence appeals court to examine whether to reinstate an aggravating circumstance that Knox lied to derail the investigation and protect herself from becoming a murder suspect.

In its first move, the Florence court rejected a motion by Knox’s lawyers to exclude Lumumba from the new appeals trial as a civil participant, a status that allows him to seek further damages. His lawyer says Lumumba is owed more than 103,000 euros ($149,235) in legal fees.

Knox’s protracted legal battle in Italy has made her a cause celebre in the United States and has put the Italian justice system under scrutiny. The Italian system does not include US Fifth Amendment protection against a defendant being put in double jeopardy by government prosecution.

At the same time, the trials have left the Kercher family without clear answers in the death of their daughter.

Kercher’s body was found in November 2007 in her bedroom of the house she shared with Knox in Perugia, a central Italian town popular with foreign exchange students. Her throat had been slashed.

A third man, Rudy Guede, was convicted in the slaying and is serving a 16-year term. That court found that Guede had not acted alone.

“We are still convinced of the presence of all three of the defendants at the scene of the crime,” Kercher family lawyer Francesco Maresca told reporters. “I think (Knox) is talking too much, sincerely, and this attitude of continuous playing the victim is inappropriate.”

In its stunning 2011 acquittal that overturned Knox and Sollecito’s convictions, a Perugia appeals court criticised virtually the prosecution’s entire case.

The appellate court noted that the murder weapon was never found, said that DNA tests were faulty, and that prosecutors provided no murder motive.

Yet the Court of Cassation ruling was likewise strident, criticising the appeals court ruling and saying it “openly collides with objective facts of the case”. The high court said the appellate judges had ignored some evidence, considered other evidence insufficiently and undervalued the fact that Knox had initially accused a man of committing the crime who had nothing to do with it.

Amanda Knox’s retrial for her alleged role in the murder of British student Meredith Kercher is the latest chapter in a tortuous legal process that has dragged on for six years.

While the trial will reopen old wounds for the families involved, the two main players will be absent from court.

Ms Knox, 26, has confirmed in recent interviews she will not return to Italy – not because she fears being incriminated again, she insists, but because she is innocent and also cannot afford the air fare.

Her co-accused, Raffaele Sollecito, 29, with whom she was having a relationship in the days before the murder was committed, is also unlikely to attend the start of the trial. Neither he nor Ms Knox is obliged to be in court.

Prosecutors claimed Ms Kercher, 21, from Coulsdon in Surrey, died as a result of a sex game organised by Ms Knox, Mr Sollecito and Rudy Guede, a drug dealer who was born in Ivory Coast.

AP

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Mar 10

Tensions run as high as the stakes in Indonesia

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is greeted by Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa on his arrival in Jakarta for an official visit. Photo: Alex EllinghausenIf there were any feelings of tension between Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa and Tony Abbott over boat policy, both were doing their best to hide it as they gripped hands and grinned at the Halim airforce base in Jakarta yesterday afternoon.
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Mr Abbott lurched up to Mr Natalegawa for a two-handed shake, his Foreign Minister Julie Bishop also smiling behind him as she descended the steps.

The Prime Minister began his first overseas trip as Prime Minister yesterday afternoon, and the stakes could barely be higher. Mr Natalegawa has been adamant since March 2010, when Mr Abbott first announced his boat tow-back policy, that it was unacceptable, and his opposition is only growing, on the basis that it offends Indonesian sovereignty.

With that in mind, Mr Abbott’s first call on Indonesia could be interpreted as a sop to Indonesian sensitivities.

At the Heroes Cemetery in the Jakarta suburb of Kalibata, 7000 veterans of the Indonesian battle for independence from the Dutch are buried.

It’s a proud and well-kept patch of ground, with helmets placed on every grave. It’s also a well-trodden route for foreign leaders. Then Defence Minister Stephen Smith went there in April; British Prime Minister David Cameron in 2012.

Each came looking to use a symbol to deepen the relationship with Indonesia; but neither confronted the hurdles that Mr Abbott has erected between himself and goal.

As he mounted the marble steps to the Merdeka (Freedom) Palace for his meeting with Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Mr Abbott’s fists were clenched.

He knows he’ll need more than a two-handed shake and a grin to get what he wants in Jakarta.

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

Mar 10

Better halves: Manly pair thrive on greater role

As they set about trying to finish Manly’s season in the best possible way, the Sea Eagles’ brilliant halves have reflected on the advice they received before the start of it.
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In the off-season, coach Geoff Toovey told halfback Daly Cherry-Evans and five-eighth Kieran Foran to become more involved in the team’s attack – even if it meant making more mistakes. The result has been clear: their form has been one of the key reasons they will chase their second premiership as a halves combination against Sydney Roosters on Sunday.

“The coaching staff has been a big part in us getting our hands on the ball more, which has led to us making more mistakes, but also coming up with better options,” Cherry-Evans said. “Our gameplan has been altered – not changed, but altered a little – so me and Kieran are getting our hands on the ball more, and also getting the strike players the ball more, Jamie Lyon and Steve Matai and Brett Stewart.

“I think it’s been a good move. As everyone does in the pre-season, you just try to better yourself, and better your side. That’s what the coaching staff has done this year.”

The pair is already considered the best halves combination in the competition, and according to many the best in some time, yet the scary part about the partnership is how much better 23-year-old Foran and 24-year-old Cherry-Evans could get.

“For us to stand around and think we’ve done it all would be absolutely ridiculous,” Cherry-Evans said. “That’s not the type of person me and Kieran are. We’re competitive, we’re always trying to take our game to the next level, and we’ll continue to do that for seasons ahead for as long as we’re playing next to each other.”

Said Foran: “We’re still very early on in both our careers. The more experience we get, and the more games we play together on the biggest stage, we’ll just grow and grow.

“I don’t think there’s a limit on how good you can get as a player.

“We work really hard on our combination together, we do talk a lot of footy together and discuss what we feel we can do out there each week. We put a lot of effort into it. It’d be great to be together for many years to come.”

Cherry-Evans, contracted until the end of 2015, has been linked with a move to Brisbane in recent months, but Foran is desperate for his partner to hang around for the long haul.

“I don’t want to see him go anywhere,” Foran said. “I think he’s been great for us here, and I think he’s got so much good footy left in him at the club.

“I’d love him to hang around, along with the fact that I love playing with him as well. All the other boys do too. Hopefully he hangs around. I think he knows how I feel about that. I don’t want to see him go.”

For his part, Cherry-Evans said he wouldn’t be, in the short term.

“I don’t know what more I can say for it to go away,” he said. “I’m contracted with Manly for the next two years. I have no intention of breaking that.

“I honestly smile and laugh at it, because there’s nothing I can do for it to go away.”

In many people’s eyes, Cherry-Evans has been the form halfback of the competition this year, while Foran, as tough as they come in his position, complements him. Many feel that together they will rival or even better the most successful halves combinations of recent decades.

A win on Sunday, against the Roosters’ pairing of Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney, will only strengthen their standing among the great partnerships.

“It’s still surreal, to be playing in my second grand final,” Foran said. “I’m just very fortunate to be involved in such a great footy club. You hear about blokes that go through their whole careers and don’t feature in one grand final, and don’t win one comp. I’ve been fortunate enough to win one here, and playing for a second.”

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

Feb 10

Jennings family set for huge day of deciders

Day of reckoning: Michael Jennings is ready for the big one. Photo: Wolter PeetersSydney Roosters centre Michael Jennings says at the start of the season he hadn’t expected to be playing in Sunday’s grand final – let alone have brother George play on the same day.
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Jennings, who joined the Roosters after receiving an off-season release from Penrith, will watch as George plays for the Panthers in the under-20s curtainraiser against the Warriors before preparing for his own game.

“I wish we were playing for the same team but unfortunately we are not,” Jennings said. “I am so proud of him and he will obviously be playing before us, so it should be a good day for the family. I am excited for him.”

Jennings said he had not thought about winning a premiership this season when he signed with the Roosters after being on the outer at Penrith.

However, the NSW Origin centre said Roosters coach Trent Robinson had helped him to make changes on and off the field that improved his game.

“To be honest, I didn’t expect to be here at the start of the season,” Jennings said. “I was just really nervous coming to a new club and I really just wanted to do my job and do everything right by the team and earn the boys’ respect.

“It has changed my whole life off the field and especially on the field. I am more clear about what I am doing and I am more mature in my approach.

“Obviously it was a new club, a new attitude and I had to change a lot of things.”

Despite being committed to the Roosters, Jennings said he would not try to persuade George – a centre or winger – to move from Penrith or even to choose a career in the NRL.

“I tell him to do whatever he wants to do. Whatever path he chooses is his decision, I won’t try to change that,” he said.

“That’s his decision because he is quality, he is good enough. It is just the choice and if he really wants to be there.”

Jennings also has another brother, Robert, coming through the juniors ranks with Penrith’s SG Ball under-18s team. “Everyone has got good raps on him but there is still a long way,” Jennings said.

“It was my goal to see my brothers come up.”

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

Feb 10

Watmough rejects silvertails tag

“We were battlers there for a while, we’re getting back there but we’re definitely not the silvertails”: Anthony Watmough (far right). Photo: Marco Del GrandeGrand final week: Read The Manly Mirror
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Anthony Watmough implored rugby league supporters from Sydney’s west to get behind Manly in Sunday’s grand final by describing his Sea Eagles as their socio-economic brethren and not the long-despised silvertails.

Manly was bestowed the tag by Fairfax columnist Roy Masters in the late 1970s when he coached the Western Suburbs Magpies. He declared a class war when he baptised the Magpies “the fibros” and the beachside Sea Eagles “the silvertails” to make the perceived differences in personal wealth between the two areas a cause for his team to fight for.

It stuck, but as Watmough prepared for the NRL decider against Sydney Roosters – a team that represents Sydney’s most expensive real estate – the tough forward said that life on and off the field on the northern beaches was far from a sunbake in the land of milk and honey.

“How are we the silvertails?” said a bemused Watmough. “[Our club] has been broke, we’ve been brought up from the ashes … we’ve been together for a long time. I don’t know how we’re the silvertails. We were battlers there for a while, we’re getting back there but we’re definitely not the silvertails.”

Watmough, who moved to Narrabeen when he was only eight, described life for the average Joes on the peninsula as a constant struggle. “People don’t own their own houses over here,” he said. “People choose to live here and pay rent and work their butt off to pay their rent because of the lifestyle; it’s a great lifestyle over here but the mums and dads who work 70 or 80 hours a week, to come home to pay the $1000 rent so their kids can have a good lifestyle and good upbringing, they’re the battlers.

“I don’t think any of my mates own a house.

“They just work hard to pay the rent to live the lifestyle they do.”

Watmough said he would give his all for his mates – and other battlers – from Narrabeen and beyond on Sunday.

“It means a lot to me,” Watmough said of the place he calls home. “Playing for Narrabeen, I was a Narrabeen junior, all the guys get behind us and it’s such a good feeling knowing that support is there. And it’s not just Narrabeen, you go down the road and every second person now is congratulating you.

“The buzz around this area is amazing at grand final time. We explained it to the guys who haven’t experienced it before, we just said sit back and enjoy this week because it’s going to be something special you’ll remember.”

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

Feb 10

She’s Archie keeps giving Weir reason to be happy

When 40-1 shot She’s Archie nearly pulled off a huge boilover in the 2003 Melbourne Cup, beating home all bar the mighty Makybe Diva, the four-year-old mare put little-known trainer Darren Weir on the map.
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Back then, Ballarat-based Weir was familiar to punters who ploughed Victoria’s provincial circuit in pursuit of winners, but his metropolitan success rate was low. That year, for example, he had only four city winners, and the following season he had none at all.

These days, Weir has a much higher profile: he prepares the Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance De Lune, has become a group 1-winning handler and is atop the Melbourne metropolitan trainers’ table.

But he is still closely connected with the mare that almost gave him the biggest prize in Australian racing.

May’s Dream, a daughter of She’s Archie (by New Approach) scored easily in the opening race at Caulfield on Sunday and shapes as a likely chance to allow Weir to tick another career box by giving him his first classic winner, in the Thousand Guineas.

The filly won with a minimum of fuss under Nick Hall, running down the David Hayes-trained Bulbula in the straight to score in the manner of a progressive filly and gain her second win in four starts. It was the first winner in a treble on the day for Hall, who has a high opinion of the lightly raced three-year-old.

Weir will press on to the Guineas, for which May’s Dream is among the main challengers to the favourite, Guelph. But the trainer’s only concern is that May’s Dream is a small filly and a late foal and she may not stand up to the rigours of a demanding spring campaign.

”She began better than expected and Nick gave her a beautiful ride and she was really strong to the line,” Weir said after she won over 1400 metres in a small field on Sunday. ”The Thousand Guineas is the plan … the only query is that she is a November foal, and looking at her in the yard, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of her.”

May’s Dream is the third foal of She’s Archie, whose name still brings a smile to Weir. ”She’s Archie came along at the right time in my career. She was a great horse to us and it’s great to get one out of her that looks as though it’s got a bit of potential.”

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

Feb 10

Hoop dreams: how to stay in the black this spring

Still got it: Jim Cassidy. Photo: Mick TsikasDuring the spring carnival millions of dollars will be wagered on the biggest races in the country, and the decisions by the jockeys on what to ride and how to ride their mounts will decide which horses salute.
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While the horses change and trainers have their influence, the common thread in all group 1s is the men who ride them. Who is the best and why are they the best? Here’s Roots ‘n’ All’s rankings.Group 1

Glen Boss

No one is more outwardly confident than Boss. He has the ride on Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance De Lune and Rupert Clarke winner Rebel Dane. He rides light and will be highly sought by trainers and owners.

Hugh Bowman

Always in high demand and will ride in most of the major group 1s. Given the right horse, Bowman usually gets the job done. Should find some handy rides.

Jim Cassidy

On 99 group 1 wins in a great career. He has the rides on Zoustar and Hawkspur, which he has declared the Melbourne Cup winner. Might not get the opportunities, but is still highly effective.

Kerrin McEvoy

Should open his group 1 account for the year on Guelph in the Flight Stakes on Saturday and also has the ride on Doncaster winner Sacred Falls for Chris Waller in the Epsom, though being Darley’s No.1 can limit outside opportunities.

Craig Newitt

Already has two group 1s in his bag. Not the first name that comes to mind when big rides are on offer but can ride light, which is an advantage.

Nash Rawiller

A good chance of kicking off his tally for this season with Fiorente in the Turnbull. He has been at the top of his game for the past couple of years. Rides for Gai Waterhouse and when he doesn’t, Chris Waller is keen to put him on.

Michael Rodd

Should have the rides on Atlantic Jewel and Super Cool, which is right in the Caulfield Cup mix, as stable jockey for Mark Kavanagh. Only kicked home two group 1 winners last season but was placed in 19 of 39 top-level rides.

Craig Williams

Only had three group 1 winners last year but is always on the top of the list of trainers. He will have to decide what to ride, rather than taking the first offer that comes.Group 2

Tom Berry

Had a breakthrough season in 2012-13 and now must back it up. He has the backing of the Waterhouse yard and will have fond memories of this weekend last year when he won the Epsom-Metropolitan double on Fat Al and Glencadam Gold.

James McDonald

Champion Kiwi finding his way at the top level. His past five group 1 wins in Australia have been on It’s A Dundeel. He is one of the stars of the spring but McDonald needs to prove himself on other rides.

Luke Nolen

Nolen will always be known for his deeds in the salmon and black spots of Black Caviar. Stable rider for Peter Moody and will get his chances to shine during the carnival, although his team looks a little slim at the moment.

Damien Oliver

Controversy dogged Oliver last spring and eventually led to 10 months on the sidelines for placing a bet. He has come back focused but got a suspension on Friday night, so misses this weekend.

Glyn Schofield

The former South African has travelled the world riding and proven himself in many markets. He has a great book on Saturday with Boban in the Epsom and Moriarty in The Metropolitan.

Blake Shinn

Already a Melbourne Cup winner on Viewed, Shinn has worked hard to get back to the top level after a lengthy ban for betting. He won the George Main on Streama and rides equal Epsom favourite Toydini. Both are trained by Guy Walter, for who he does most of his riding.

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

Feb 10

Fire destroys family’s bus, home, business

TO a group of arsonists on a late-night spree of senseless vandalism they must have been just two more vehicles that could be spray-painted and torched.
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But to a young family on the other side of the world, the two motorhomes parked in a quiet Heatherbrae street were their life, their livelihood and their home.

Trish Tucker-May, her husband Joe May and their children Roary, 3, and Jack-Patrick, 5, were in England in early August when an Australian friend sent them a link to a story on the Newcastle Herald website about two motorhomes that had been gutted by fire.

Ms Tucker-May, who runs a mobile fresh-pressed juice business, and Mr May, a clown, have split the past 10 years between England and Australia, stopping at festivals like Glastonbury in the UK before spending summer travelling to places like the Woodford Folk Festival, WOMADelaide, Rainbow Serpent in Victoria and the Tasmanian Circus Festival back home.

‘‘While we are in Australia we are on the road for four or five months,’’ Ms Tucker-May said.

‘‘Our bus is where we live, where we home-school our children and where we run our businesses.

‘‘It is our everything – our office, our lounge room, our bedroom and the way we travel to each festival.’’

Ms Tucker-May said without family in Forster they would be homeless when they returned to Australia.

‘‘We have festivals booked and rents paid and now our season cannot happen,’’ she said.

‘‘This has deeply shocked our family.’’

Ms Tucker-May said in 20 minutes vandals had destroyed what her family had worked 10 years for. ‘‘Vandalism sucks,’’ she said. ‘‘It destroys people’s livelihood, it destroys people’s homes. ‘‘It took us 10 years of work to buy that bus.

‘‘We are not rich grey nomads travelling around in our retirement fund, we are a hard-working family making a living out of our small businesses and that has a lot of challenges.

‘‘Your actions have ruined what we have worked for.’’

She said a mix-up with the paperwork had meant the bus was not insured.

The motorhome blaze was one of more than 20 late-night fires across Port Stephens within a few weeks.

Police suspect an arsonist or arsonists are responsible.

Friends in England have started a crowd funding page to raise money to buy a new bus/home for the family.

The page can be found at: http://www.gofundme南京夜网/4dohv0

HOMELESS: The Tucker-May family have lost their home in a suspicious fire which gutted their motorhomes.

UP IN SMOKE: The two motorhomes were destroyed in a fire believed to have been started by arsonists.

UP IN SMOKE: The two motorhomes were destroyed in a fire believed to have been started by arsonists.

UP IN SMOKE: The two motorhomes were destroyed in a fire believed to have been started by arsonists.