Prodigal son’s Titanic mess: Hayne’s clown routine wears thin

Where to? Hayne was given his chance to prove that Parra mattered a year ago, but the club had the door slammed in their face. Photo: Dave HuntSo let’s get this straight. Jarryd Hayne leaves Parramatta to chase his American dream but says if he ever returns to the NRL, it will only be to the Eels.
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He then breaks that promise and signs with the Titans, despite Parramatta offering him a contract that, in hindsight, looks generous.

Now things have gone sour on the Gold Coast and Parramatta are supposed to welcome him back with open arms? Not even in Hayne’s charmed world does that make sense. Sure, the romantics want to see the prodigal son return home, but that ship has sailed. Parramatta are not the club they were when Hayne left.

Hayne was given his chance to prove that Parra mattered a year ago, but the club had the door slammed in their face.

We’ve heard the whispers since. Fairfax Media reported earlier in the year that Hayne had put out the feelers about returning to the Eels when he was weighing up whether to take up the $1.2 million option to stay on the Gold Coast.

At the right price and if Hayne was coming over with the right mindset, the Eels would have contemplated it. But not now.

As the Titans are now realising, there’s a circus that comes with Hayne’s signature. It can be fun at first, but how many times can you watch the same clown routine without growing bored?

Parramatta are a club yearning for success. They don’t need negative headlines – they’ve had enough of them in the past few seasons to last a lifetime.

Now, Corey Norman would have been told what to say to reporters when he fronted to fulfil his media commitments on Monday.

Asked about the possibility of Hayne returning to the club, Norman said, “I’m happy with the team we’ve got here and I’m focused on the team we’ve got here”.

Hooker Cameron King followed the party line: “I think Bevan [French] is doing a pretty good job [at fullback] for us, so that’s all I’ll say about that”.

You can’t help but think those comments are a general reflection of Hayne’s current standing at the Eels, regardless of how much they like him as a bloke.

If you’d asked the players the same question 12 months ago, the answers would have been different. In fact, they were.

“That would be massive if Haynesy comes back,” Clint Gutherson said last year. There was no such excitement this time around.

When Ivan Cleary took over at Wests Tigers earlier this year, he said his coaching philosophy was that “the star of the team is the team”.

That’s the mentality Brad Arthur coaches with at the Eels. That is why when Gutherson, their best player this season, was ruled out through injury, the Eels were able to pick themselves up and continue their winning ways.

This isn’t personal. Arthur probably has a better relationship with Hayne than any of the coaches who have tried to crack the enigma that is J. Hayne. But Arthur has put too much into rebuilding this team to see it all go to waste for the sake of writing Hayne’s happily ever-after.

Hayne should be remembered as one of the most brilliant footballers to lace on a boot in this country. Truth is, the longer the circus continues the less likely he will be remembered for his football at all.

Solar thermal gets the green light

SOLAR THERMAL: 150-megawatt solar thermal power plant has been secured for Port Augusta.After an anxious five-year wait, Port Augusta is celebratingtheannouncement of a solar thermal plant 30 kilometres south of the town.
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Following an open tender process, SolarReserve has been awarded the contract to supply all of the governments power needs in a 150MW solar thermal power plant, the largest of its kind in the world.

The $650 million facility will be called Aurora andis set to begin construction in 2018, providing 650 local jobs during this phase.

The project is estimated to be completed in 2020 where there will be 50 ongoing positions.

With the government paying no more than $78 per megawatt hour, the plant will be able to provide between eight and 10 hours of storage and has no requirement for gas- or oil-generated electricity as back a backup.

Premier Jay Weatherill said the project will “deliver more competition to the energy market and put a downward pressure on power prices for households and businesses”.

“The Port Augusta story is a stark example of the transition of the South Australian economy, with the closure of a dirty coal-fired power station, and now the commissioning of this world leading renewable energy project.”

Repower Port Augusta chairmanGary Rowbottom has praised the announcement as a huge win for the community and South Australia as a whole.

“For over five years, local Port Augusta community members campaigned for solar thermal alongside the city council unions, local business, health groups, climate groups and renewable energy groups from across Australia as part of the Repower Port Augusta Alliance,” he said.

“We thank Premier Weatherill and the South Australian Government for listening to our community’s overwhelming call and backing this innovative, job-creating solar technology that locks in Port Augusta as an energy powerhouse for SA once again.”

The solar power technology works by usingthousands of mirrors known as heliostats to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a tower which then heats molten salt.

The Transcontinental

Woollen mill sale done deal

WANGARATTA Woollen Mills and associated company Australian Country Spinners have been bought by a similar Bendigo-based business.
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Bendigo Woollen Mills confirmed the purchase on Monday in a move which makes it the biggest manufacturer and distributor of hand-knitting yarn in Australia and New Zealand.

The Wangaratta mill is a larger operation and has four times the sales of Bendigo and produces 2.5 times as much product.

Bendigo Woollen Mills owner and founder Colin Walker said the Wangaratta business was scaling back its staff levels in recent times, but he was keen to ensure it had a viable future in Australia.

“I wanted to invest in these iconic Australian yarn brands, so their future as truly Australian Made products is now assured,” he said.

“Our plans for the Wangaratta site are now under review.

“We will have a better idea of the direction we will take after two months, but there is a great sense of history with the Wangaratta Woollen Mills.

“We will have ongoing plans for it, that could include turning it into a tourist mill.

Bendigo Woollen Mills owner Colin Walker

“In Bendigo, we have been expanding in recent years, adding another warehouse and half-a-dozen more staff.”

Wangaratta Woollen Mills opened in 1923, and manufactures brands including Patons, Cleckheaton, Panda and Shepherd.

Bendigo will manufacture these brands after the full takeover of Australian Country Spinners.

Wangaratta Woollen Mills couldn’t be reached for comment on Monday.

It presently employs around 100 people both at the Wangaratta siteand in the pattern, design and marketing teams in Melbourne.

The Wangaratta Woollen Mills workforce peaked in the 1960s with an estimated 800 employees.

One of the biggest job cuts came in 2011 when it cut 49 jobs with a further 50-plus positions going about three years earlier.

Fifi Box: ‘I was sexually assaulted by high profile celebrity’

Radio personality Fifi Box has spoken publicly for the first time about being sexually assaulted during an interview with a “high profile” male celebrity more than a decade ago. Box who detailed the incident onThe Fifi, Dave, Fev & Byron Show,said that the celebrity, who was twice her age, “grabbed” her head and “forced it down into his crotch.”
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The 40-year-old was inspired byTaylor Swift’s countersuitagainst DJ David Mueller, who allegedly groped the pop-star during a meet-and-greet, to share her story. Mueller, who initiated the litigation, had hiscase againstdismissed.

Fifi Box spoke out after Taylor Swift fronted court to counter sue DJ. Photo: Wayne Taylor

Box,a mother-of-one, said Swift’s case made her reflect on her own experience of sexual assault in the workplace.

“I can say that I’ve found myself, as a young woman particularly working in the media, in situations where I’ve found myself uncomfortable,” she revealed on her Fox FM Melbourne radio show on Monday morning.

“You could argue I’ve been sexually assaulted, and yet laughed or giggled my way through I because I’ve been scared or intimidated by the situation.”

Aged around 24 or 25at the time of the incident, Box told her radio listeners that the “very high profile” star “would’ve been in his 50s.”

“He sat in the studio and during the interview, he was touching me — reaching over and grabbing and stroking my leg — then grabbed my head and forced it down into his crotch. Actually rubbed my head in his crotch.”

Just asSwifttestifiedin courtlast week, Box also recalled going into a state of shock.

“A part of you is shocked. Is this guy actually doing this to me? You’re trying to be polite and you’re nervous. Our boss came into the studio and I thought, ‘Oh thank god, he’s here to save me’. [But] Our boss wanted a photo with that person. In that moment I’m thinking, maybe what happened to me is fine?

“But it can happen, and in other situations, It’s when you walk away you think, I’m not happy with that.”

Radio personality, Byron Cooke who is currently one of Box’s co-hosts witnessed the incident at the time. While the celebrity still remains anonymous, Cooke said this morning he later refused to air the prerecorded interview, despite the male’s high-profile.

“It felt like 1981 with this dude, not that it was ever right. But it sounded wrong, looked wrong, and it was wrong,” Cooke said on the show.

Cooke also said that neither he or Box would tolerate such behaviour in today’s radio workplace, and encouraged other women to speak out against badbehaviour in the same way Swift did.

“Knowing what we know now, we would not have accepted that and we would’ve been a hell of a lot more vocal than we were,” he said.

“We were both kids in that situation. In the moment, it was awkwardly laughed off because we thought, I don’t know, maybe that’s what happens. It wasn’t right.”

Health warning for Sydneysiders as smoky haze set to linger

Smoke lingers over Sydney CBD after a weekend of hazard reduction burns on the Central Coast and Blue Mountains. Photo: Ryan StuartA thick blanket of smoke has left Sydneysiders breathing “very poor” air, with more hazard burns expected to keep the haze around for another day.
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Residents woke to the thick haze over the city on Monday as firefighters conducted backburning to prepare for a “significant fire season”.

Westerly winds pushed the smoke over Sydney from hazard reduction burns carried out in the Southern Highlands on Sunday.

Smoke plume modelling indicated inversion, which locks air over low lying areas, would ease on Monday morning and the haze would dissipate soon after – but that didn’t happen.

Air quality monitors reported high amounts of particles and low visibility in numerous suburbs – with “poor” and “very poor” air hanging around until late on Monday evening.

Smoke lingers over Sydney CBD after a weekend of hazard reduction burns on the Central Coast and Blue Mountains. Photo: Ryan Stuart

Hazard reduction burns continued through Monday as firefighters took advantage of still air and cool weather. That is expected to result in more smoke settling over the city until Tuesday afternoon, the spokesman said.

NSW Health’s environmental health director, Ben Scalley, says small particles in the smoke could travel deep into people’s lungs.

The elderly, children and people with heart and lung conditions were most at risk, Dr Scalley said.

“Smoke may aggravate existing heart and lung conditions and cause irritated eyes, coughing and wheezing.

“If their symptoms persist, it’s important they do seek medical advice.”

With time quickly running out before the summer fire season, the Rural Fire Service is planning a number of other burn-offs in the coming weeks to minimise risks after a dry winter has increased the fuel load throughout the state.

“We do have a lot of burns to do … we have had below average rainfall in the majority of NSW and we are certainly cautious with no substantial rain forecast in the near future,” another RFS spokesman said.

“They are predicting we are in for a very significant fire season … it is vital we undertake the hazard reduction burns at this time of year when the conditions are right.”