Hawks bt Suns, stay in AFL top eight mix

Written by admin on 27/09/2019 Categories: 广州桑拿

Hawthorn have overcome errant kicking and a sluggish start to beat Gold Coast by 53 points in their AFL clash in Launceston.
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The Hawks trailed by nine points at quarter-time but did enough to beat the fading Suns 13.18 (96) to 5.13 (43) on Saturday in front of 9007 fans.

Hawthorn’s third-straight victory keeps them in the top-eight mix, while the battling Suns have lost eight in a row.

“We got jumped a little bit at the start,” Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson admitted.

“It was a tough game of footy. At no stage was there any real flow in the game, except perhaps late when we got two or three goals that made it look like it was a big margin.”

Both teams sprayed countless set shots throughout the afternoon, including several from in front.

Jack Gunston kicked three goals after copping a hit below the belt during warm-up and a calf cork early on, while Liam Shiels finished with a game-high 33 touches.

Veteran Shaun Burgoyne sat out the last quarter with ice on his troublesome hamstring but Clarkson said it was precautionary.

“He complained about being a bit sore and tired,” Clarkson said.

“There was no point taking a risk with him. We’ll monitor it during the early part of next week.”

Despite the final margin, the Suns dominated territory early, with talls Tom Lynch and Peter Wright combining for three opening-term goals.

But it went pear-shaped for Gold Coast, who only scored 0.5 in the middle quarters.

Coach Stuart Dew was able to find some positives after last week’s narrow loss to St Kilda.

“Our boys had a crack. We were really beaten by some outside class in the end,” he said.

“We had our looks but weren’t able to capitalise.

“I think they kept their feet better and were stronger in the tackles as well.”

Hawthorn took a 37-24 lead into halftime, punctuated just before the break by a high-flying grab from Taylor Duryea.

In line with the theme of the day, he kicked a behind.

The Suns rallied late in the third quarter but squandered their chances, missing three kickable set shots in a row.

Hawthorn found their radar in the dying stages, with skipper Jarryd Roughead icing the win with a major from the final kick of the day.

Australian Associated Press

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N Korea about to return US war remains

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The US military says it is moving “assets” to a US air base near South Korea’s capital and to the inter-Korean border to prepare for North Korea’s returning of the remains of American soldiers who have been missing since the 1950-53 Korean War.
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But US Forces Korea spokesman Colonel Chad Carroll denied a report by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency that US military vehicles carrying more than 200 caskets were planning to cross into North Korea on Saturday.

North Korea agreed to send home US war remains during the June 12 summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.

Carroll said in an email that the US-led UN Command was moving “assets” to an American air base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, south of Seoul, and to the Joint Security Area at the border to prepare for the process, but that plans were “still preliminary.”

Earlier on Saturday, Yonhap cited an unnamed source as saying that about 30 US military vehicles carrying 215 caskets were expected to cross into the North on Saturday afternoon. Carroll called the report “completely false,” but didn’t immediately reply to an inquiry about the number of caskets being readied.

Between 1996 and 2005, joint US-North Korea military search teams conducted 33 recovery operations that collected 229 sets of American remains.

But efforts to recover and return other remains have stalled for more than a decade because of the North’s nuclear weapons development and US claims that the safety of recovery teams it sent during the administration of former President George W Bush was not sufficiently guaranteed.

Earlier the Pentagon announced the indefinite suspension of joint military exercises between the US and South Korea, following a promise made by President Donald Trump at the North Korean summit.

Australian Associated Press

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Cheika’s extraordinary approach to referee

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An exasperated Michael Cheika took the extraordinary step of inviting the referee and his assistants to the post-match press conference after Australia’s series-deciding loss to Ireland.
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The Wallabies coach was so bewildered by a series of contentious calls that went against his team in the 20-16 loss on Saturday night that he approached the referees’ liaison officer to have him ask French whistleblower Pascal Gauzere and TMO Ben Skeen to explain themselves to the media.

Cheika wanted to refer the inevitable questions about their performance to Gauzere but said the referee “didn’t want to” take up the offer.

“I don’t want to be the guy who looks like he’s a moaner because that’s how it always ends up,” Cheika said.

“You get portrayed as a moaner or a whinger, so let’s just get on with it and they can answer it themselves, to be honest.

“I don’t know if that happens in rugby but …”

The most puzzling call came in the 31st minute when Israel Folau was sin-binned for what Skeen deemed to be unnecessary contact from the Wallabies fullback on Peter O’Mahony during an aerial contest that resulted in the Ireland captain being concussed after landing awkwardly on the Allianz Stadium turf.

Replays showed Folau clearly going for the ball and not O’Mahony.

Cheika was asked if World Rugby needed to further clarify rules around such aerial challenges in light of French fullback Benjamin Fall being sent off by Australian referee Angus Gardner last week against New Zealand only for the red card to be retrospectively cancelled by the governing body.

“The key word these days is ‘clear’ and ‘obvious’, isn’t it? I don’t know anything that’s clear and obvious in a game of footy. Nothing, right? But they run with it,” Cheika said.

“Look at Angus last week. I really felt for him. He made the decision based on rules that they give him and then they left him out (to hang). Took away the red card, basically said you made the wrong call.

“So I’m not sure how you can clarify it any more or clarify it any less, to be honest.

“Rugby, there’s no black and white in this game. It’s a lot of grey and it’s about the interpretations in the grey so, yeah, I don’t know how they can clarify it, so there’s not much point in me asking about clarification.”

Cheika said he’d tried to clarify interpretations around tackling players without the ball with officials between the first and second Tests, only to be left frustrated by seeing Wallabies halfback Will Genia break his arm in an off-the-ball challenge last Saturday in Melbourne.

Cheika was also furious about a penalty late in the game, when the series was on the line, against Australia’s replacement hooker Tolu Latu for not releasing the tackled Irish player before winning a turnover.

“The only people that can answer the questions are the referee or the referees’ boss,” he said.

“Really, or if we’re fair dinkum, they’re the only people that can answer it because I’m only going to give you one side of the story. I’m sure Ireland will have another side of the story.

“But it’s all little things, I don’t know. I’ll just keep it to myself.”

Australian Associated Press

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Belgium belt Tunisia in ominous warning

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Belgium seem to be getting better and better, maybe even the best yet at the World Cup.
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It’s still early but a hugely talented Belgium squad made a big statement with a 5-2 rout of Tunisia.

No team has scored more goals than Belgium’s eight so far, and only Cristiano Ronaldo can match Romelu Lukaku’s tally of four.

Belgium have yet to face South American or European opposition, however, and playing England on Thursday should decide who advances to the round of 16 as the winner of Group H.

“In the end, we need to play better teams and have better focus,” Lukaku, who has scored two goals in each of Belgium’s two victories, said.

No player has had back-to-back World Cup games like that since Diego Maradona in 1986, though Argentina’s iconic captain did it in the quarter-final – against England – and semi-final – against Belgium – before lifting the trophy.

Though Belgiumare a long way from a first World Cup title, they have looked like the most complete attacking force in Russia.

On Saturday, Eden Hazard scored twice in the dominant display that produced the highest scoring game of tournament.

It could have been more. After replacing Hazard in the 68th minute, substitute Michy Batshuayi had several good chances before scoring in stoppage time.

“I think the whole of Belgium should celebrate,” coach Roberto Martinez, who has overseen a 21-game unbeaten run since losing to his native Spain in his first game in charge in September 2016, said.

If Belgium had one worry, though, it was allowing Tunisia to score twice. The tenacious North Africans also got five of their 15 shots on target.

The Belgians were rampant at times and had the luxury of taking off Lukaku and Hazard early in the second half to nurse injury concerns.

Martinez said Lukaku had pain in his right ankle and Hazard hurt a calf muscle.

Still, it could suit the coach to rotate his line-up against England with more decisive games ahead.

“In a tournament like the World Cup you’re only as good as the 23 players, so there will be opportunities for the other players,” Martinez said.

At at Spartak Stadium, Hazard scored with a sixth-minute penalty kick he earned by being tripped, and Lukaku angled a low, left-foot shot into the corner of Tunisia’s goal in the 16th.

“We knew that if we scored early, the game would be easy,” Hazard said. “So after five minutes we scored, and we controlled the game.”

The Tunisians cut the lead when defender Dylan Bronn headed in a goal in the 18th minute, but Belgium wasn’t done.

Lukaku clipped a right-foot shot over advancing goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha in first-half stoppage time. Hazard then ran on to a long pass in the 51st, flicked the ball around Ben Mustapha and shot into an empty net.

Tunisia captain Wahbi Khazri then scored with almost the last kick of the match.

Australian Associated Press

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Tathra resident comes up with innovative house plan after devastating bushfire

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One of the houses lost in the Tathra bushfire, and Lies Paijmans (inset), whose own house was burnt down in the March disaster.A woman from Tathra who lost her house in the recent bushfire has come up with an innovative concept forrebuilding.
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On March 18, LiesPaijmans was in Bermagui when she heard about a fire nearTathra.

After stopping in Mogareeka and seeing it approach the town, she headed home and sawpeople packing and leaving, including one of her sisters, who lived next door.

“I went into my house andgrabbed my laptop and iPad, and that was all,” she said.

“I wandered around a bit aimlessly; I just had no plan, I didn’t expect it to happen.”

“It was pretty hard to take it in, it was just shocking. What else can you say?”

She drove to Mogareeka, from where she could hear gas bottles popping in the heat,and watched the bushfire hit the town.

Read more:Shocking photos of Tathra show scenes of utter devastation

“I was completely convinced the whole of my street would have been burnt,” she said.

“I texted my son and told him‘get ready to say goodbye to your house’.”

Later when she was in Brogoshe got the news she both dreaded and expected,that her house had burnt down– although it wasthe only one on her street.

It had been her home for 14 years, where she had lived with her parents when taking care of them and she had lost may treasured items, such as photo albums and paintings by family members.

An aerial shot of the raging bushfire.

“It was pretty hard to take it in, it was just shocking. What else can you say?” she said.

Ms Paijmanssaid it was also hard on her other sister who had the house built for their parents to live in, asall the sympathy cameto her but not her sister who also felt traumatised.

“I think that’s the case for a lot of people in Tathra. They didn’t necessarily lose anything, or only some things, but felt like they didn’t deserve the attention when there wereother people that lost everything,” she said.

While she went through a stage where she did not even want to see the remains ofherhouse again, she realised rebuilding was an opportunity to look into the future and came up with the idea of communal living.

Dozens of homes were destroyed as the bushfire tore through the South Coast town.

The plan is to build a house with several self-contained rooms as well as a common living and kitchen space soresidents can look after each other as they grow older, which means that in the long term they could continue to live at home for longer instead of moving into an aged care facility.

Both permaculture and sustainable principles would be utilised during the construction process.

Ms Paijmans has been to most of the community meetings in the aftermath of the fire, but said adisappointingaspectwas the absence of a process to get the community actively involved in sharing stories and ideas and being part of the whole decision making process, rather than passive recipients of the help provided, as wonderful as this has been.

“I think it’s a shame the recovery process hasn’t focused more on community involvement in the decision processes and sharing people’s stories in a structured way,” she said.

“If as a community we want to get stronger…it will only happen effectively if we do it through self-determination.”

While she said the Tathra community was recovering slowly, she said there were still many people who were traumatised and easily triggered.

“That sort of trauma can take a long time to recover from, it can take years,” she said.

“I think the best thing for me is I’ve got such a good network of friends and family so the process has been less traumatic for me than maybe it has been for other people.

“I did go through a period of being completely overwhelmed by grief, loss and shock.

“I loved my house, I loved my garden. It was the perfect place and to have it all just gone feels like a tragic waste.

“At least no-one died, no-one was hurt. That would have been a very different feeling.”

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Lightning and Giants draw in Super Netball

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The Sunshine Coast Lightning and the Giants have played out a 53-53 Super Netball draw.Sunshine Coast Lightning have rallied after a poor start against the second-placed Giants for a fiery conclusion in a 53-53 Super Netball draw.
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Australian captain Caitlin Bassett claimed her 40th goal from 44 attempts on the buzzer to bring her side – who had been eight goals behind at one stage – back to level pegging on the Sunshine Coast.

Starting at wing defence, Madeline McAuliffe moved into centre towards the end of the first period and helped lead the Lightning fightback from early in the second.

“I think we’re good sometimes when we have to fight and that’s what we do when we’re down,” she told the Nine Network.

“Unfortunately, we just can’t wait until we get to that position to do it so we just need to make sure we’re doing that consistently throughout the quarter.”

There was an intense battle in the Lightning’s defensive third as momentum swung their way from the Giants’ shooters to goal defence Karla Pretorius and goal keeper Geva Mentor.

Last season’s MVP Mentor typically discouraged any passes over the top with her vertical coverage, while the disruptive Pretorius often managed to get her hand to the ball and claimed two intercepts – impacts not lost on Giants goal shooter Susan Pettitt (21/25).

“I think Geva and Karla have really stepped up that ante,” Pettitt said. “We’ve probably slipped into what they wanted to do to us.”

The shooter was replaced at halftime by the more-imposing Kristina Brice, who missed three of five attempts despite getting into good shooting positions. The switch was reversed mid-quarter after just eight minutes.

Three of the Giants’ five wins this season have been by three or less goals but, on this occasion, they could not find the final touch – the two sides splitting competition and bonus points, with the Lightning claiming the second and third quarters.

Australian Associated Press

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Labor to counter NBN ‘horror stories’

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Labor has launched a plan to end NBN “horror stories” by ensuring compensation is paid to small businesses and families if service is not up to scratch.
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But Communications Minister Mitch Fifield says the opposition is simply playing catch-up to the “real action” that has been taken by the Turnbull government to improve consumer safeguards.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says if elected to government Labor would put in place penalties for NBN Co under-performance, allowing for compensation.

In 2017, complaints about the National Broadband Network increased by 204 per cent.

But Labor says there are no meaningful remedies to make NBN accountable for missed appointments and customer downtime.

“We all know someone with an NBN horror story under Turnbull,” Mr Shorten said.

“Parents taking half a day off work only for a technician not to turn up for the fifth time, small businesses out of action for weeks because a fault isn’t fixed.”

NBN Co should lift its game on customer service or pay the price, he said.

There would be clear standards for connection time-frames, fault repairs and missed technician appointments.

Missing the time-frames would result in fines for NBN Co and compensation for customers.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission would have oversight.

Labor plans to work with the ACCC, NBN Co and experts to finalise the standards and penalties.

But Senator Fifield says under the direction of the government the Australian Communications and Media Authority is already putting in place enforceable standards, backed by penalties to make consumers are not left without working internet and phone service when connecting to the NBN.

“Labor are completely in the dark, floating thought bubbles that disregard the independent regulator’s inquiry, which is still to report,” Mr Fifield said in a statement.

Australian Associated Press

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Why Leah Jay participates in the Big Freeze: to rid the world of MND

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Climbing for good: Newcastle woman Leah Jay on her Everest trek in 2017.As she pushed towards the summit of Everest in the pre-dawn on May 22 last year – every step in slow motion, gasping for breath in the high-altitude air – Leah Jay thought not of her discomfort, the cold, the dark, the sheer drops on either side of the narrow ridge she was traversing, nor even the elusive prize that lay a just ahead at the top of the mountain. Instead, her thoughts were consumed by the struggles and fears of another.
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Leahwas thinking of her teenage son, Elliot, and the ordeal he had endured 10 years earlier when he was suddenly struck, then swiftly taken, by motor neurone disease.

“I was constantly thinking about Elliot and what he experienced,” Leah says softly. “I was trying to imagine what it would be like to be 19 and facing death, with your body deteriorating, and you can’t speak and you can’t breathe … that was my driving force.”

In 2007, Elliot Jay was an intelligent, fun-loving teenager who, in his mother’s words, “sucked the life out of life”.

Early that year, Elliot had started to limp and stumble a little. Leah, a well-known Newcastle property management specialist, wasn’t overly concerned.

Suspecting a sporting injury or some other minor ailment, she sent her son off to the GP.

“We had no idea what we were in for,” she says. “It took four or five months for Elliot to be diagnosed with MND but over that time he was rapidly deteriorating. The progression of the disease through his body over those few months – it was fierce.”

Motor neurone disease, or MND, is an unforgiving disease. It attacks the muscles that allow people to move, speak, breathe and swallow. The nerve cells, or neurones, that control those muscles degenerate and eventually die, stripping the sufferer of the ability to perform all bodily functions.

Change of life: Leah Jay got herself fit to meet the challenge of tackling the Seven Summits. Picture: Liz Kalaf

Sometimes the progression of the disease is slow, such as in the case of Stephen Hawking who lived with MND for more than 50 years. In Elliot’s case, the onset was rapid.

“There’s no cure, we knew that straight away,” Leah says, “Elliot accepted it. He knew he was on borrowed time. So what he decided to do, which was what I decided to do from that point, was live every day.

“He took the reins and made sure we all had memories of the last 10 months of his life that we’ll never forget. Strange as it may seem, he led us on that journey. He directed it; he directed the end of his life.”

By early 2008, Elliot was bedridden and his body was failing him. His ability to speak was starting to go, too,but while he still had the use of his voice, he delivered to his mother some blunt advice that sowed the seeds for what would blossom into her passion for mountain climbing.

“He said to me one day, very matter of fact, ‘Mum I’m going to die’,” Leah recalls. “And I don’t want you to become one of those mums who goes weird because their kid has died. Go and enjoy life.

Leah Jay, on her son Elliot, who died of MNDTHE CHALLENGELeah Jay, conqueror of six of the world’s Seven Summits (the highest mountains on each continent) and one of a small group of Australian women to have stood on the summit of Everest, allows herself a wry smile when she recalls the genesis of her mountain climbing exploits.

“Elliot would be laughing his head off about all this,” she says. “We used to go down to Burwood Beach so he could go surfing and he would tease me because I struggled to walk back up the hill on the way home. Seriously, I was that unfit.”

After Elliot’s death, there was an inevitable period of mourning for Leah. She had her days “when you just can’t get up off the sofa”. She started walking and doing yoga, and found that being active and outdoors were good for her mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Near what would have been Elliot’s 21st birthday, an opportunity arose to trek the Kokoda Track to raise money for MND research. Leah completed the trek with her daughter, Emily, Elliot’s father, Geoff, and a group of Elliot’s friends who had remained a strong support unitsince his death.

“It was goddam hard; I really struggled,” Leah says. “But I got through it and then I started to think, ‘OK, what else can I do?’”

A trip to the Himalayas triggered an interest in trekking, which in turn led to an ascent of Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa at 5895 metres, and the most accessible of the Seven Summits.

All of a sudden, mountain climbing was on Leah’s agenda.

A few more trekking trips to Nepal followed before Leah took on her next major challenge in 2014: a technically difficult Himalayan mountain called Ama Dablam.

Successfully completing that climb was “huge”, she says.

“I thought, if I can do that, I’ve got a good chance of summiting Everest and climbing all the other peaks of the Seven Summits.”

Leah scaled Russia’s Mount Elbrus in 2014, followed by Aconcagua (Argentina), Carstensz Pyramid (Indonesia) and Vinson Massif (Antarctica) in 2015.

She got just short of the summit of Denali, in Alaska, the highest peak in North America, in 2016 before bad weather halted the expedition.

“You get on a roll,” Leah says ofher transformation from an exercise-agnostic middle-aged suburban mum to advanced mountaineer. “Each mountain is a little different, and you learn new techniques.

“Climbing mountains is a lot of mental toughness as well. You have to develop confidence and learn to overcome fear.”

By 2017, Leah felt she was ready to tackle the big one: Mount Everest.

TOUGHENING UP On the way up: Leah Jay traversing through the mountains on her Mount Everest trek.

At the time her Everest preparation began, Leah was already in the habit of running eight to 15 kilometres four days a week, doing strength training twice a week and yoga another two days. For Everest, she amped the training up further: running six days a week, sometimes twice a day, extra, high-intensity strength workouts, hill sessions, a fresh food diet and absolutely no alcohol.

“For Everest, you have to get right outside of your comfort zone, you have to be 150 per cent prepared,” she says. “I’d deliberately get up at 4.30 in the morning when it was cold and dark and horrible, because when you are on a mountain you have to just get up and go. You can’t wait until the sun comes up and it’s nice and bright.”

About seven months after that rigid training ritual began, Leah trekked up to Everest base camp to begin the final preparation for her climb. She would spend eight weeks on the mountain in total.

From base camp, an attempt to scale Everest requires several rotations. To acclimatise and build up their red blood cells, climbers have to climb to camps one, two and three, spending various amounts of time at each, before descending to base camp again to regain their strength.

Leah’s expedition nearly ended after the first rotation and her first experience of ascending and descending the notorious Khumba Icefall, an avalanche-prone, unstable landscape of jagged pinnacles, sheer ice walls and wide crevasses that are crossed by narrow ladders.

“I was so petrified after that first climb through the icefall that I just couldn’t face the thought of going back up; the thought made me physically ill,” she says.

“I rang my daughter, Emily, and told her I thought I had bitten off more than I could chew. But we talked about it and she convinced me to go on.

“I think it was the fear of failure that made me change my mind, and knowing that I had been through way worse when Elliot was dying. I thought about Elliot and everything he had to face and the fear he had to overcome, and I decided that surely I could go out and climb up a few more ladders and go over a few more crevasses.

“Plus, I had had in my mind that if I could get to the highest point on the planet, then that’s probably the closest I could get to Elliot. So that thought played a massive part in keeping me going.”

Incredibly difficult: Leah Jay crossing a crevice on her Mount Everest trek.

Leah pushed on, but the mountain had a few more challenges to throw at her. Arriving at camp four before the night of her summit attempt, there was a dead body on the ground, a stark reminder of the potential dangers that lay ahead. The victim had attempted to summit Everest without oxygen. His climbing mate was alive but gravely ill, and succumbed a few hours later.

On the night of May 21 2017, Leah and her expedition group left the relative comfort of their tents, precariously perched on the South Col at camp four, to begin their final ascent, hoping to reach the summit around dawn.

“Everything is difficult at that altitude,” Leah says. “You are in survival mode. You can’t eat, you can’t sleep, you don’t have a lot of energy but you have to draw on your reserves. You can actually feel your body dying.”

Climbing in slow motion, Leah made it to the top – then promptly went blind in her right eye, courtesy of an aneurism that struck as she stood on the summit. The problem would eventually clear but the loss of vision on one side made for an ‘horrendous’ descent back to camp four.

But before that setback, Leah had the opportunity to experience her fleeting few minutes on the roof of the world, soaking in the stunning view and savouring her personal triumph. She had achieved what she had set out to do. Not just in reaching the summit, but in making a spiritual connection with Elliot.

“As I got to the summit, I felt I was the closest I could be to Elliot here in this world,” she reflects.

“He was there. I felt his presence and I felt a huge sense of relief that I had been able to do it.

“I had climbed as high as I could to try to reach him.”

THE BIG FREEZELeah Jay on her mission to honour her son Elliot. Video by Amy De LoreLeah Jay is just back from Denali. It was the only one of the Seven Summits she failed to conquer on first attempt, so she returned in May to tick it off the list. Unfortunately, bad weather struck again, and at the moment she is undecided on a future attempt. She admits, though, that her climbing campaign really climaxed with Everest last year.

“It sort of tied things up with Elliot,” she says. “After Everest, I found a total sense of peace and centeredness that I really hadn’t experienced before.”

What started out as a very personal journey for Leah has segued into a platform for advocacy. People love to hear about her mountain climbing adventures, so she has become, reluctantly, a popular public speaker and, in turn, a front woman for the MND cause.

This time next week, she will supporting more than 20 sliders launching themselves down a slippery dip into a pool of icy water at the No 1 Sports Ground, as the chairperson of the Big Freeze, a super-charged version of the ice bucket challenge popular on Facebook a few years ago.

Each slider is tasked with raising at least $5,000 for the charity Fight MND. Among the participants will be Chris Fanning, who was diagnosed with MND in February, and his wife and children. Many of the sliders have a direct connection to the disease through family or friends who have been afflicted.

Leah was a slider in last year’s Big Freeze, which raised more than $109,000. This year the target is $150,000.

“I never set out to do any of this, but it does help to raise the profile of MND and I’m fortunate to be able to use something that I enjoy doing to promote that cause,” Leah says.

“What drives me to keep going is awareness of the disease, and funding for a cure.

“As soon as we can find a cure to eradicate this beast of a disease, none of us will have to do this any more.”

The Big Freeze Newcastle will be held from 2.30pm on Saturday June 23 at No 1 Sports Ground. For more details, or to support a slider, visit Newcastlefreeze南京夜网 or phone 0499 014 954.

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

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Coaches not ducking Origin II pressure

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Freddy reckons under pressure State of Origin rookies remind him of paddling ducks.Pressure comes in all shapes, all sizes. And to borrow some Brad Fittler-speak, all sorts of animals too.
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With so many NSW rookies playing State of Origin this year – at last count there were 12 – the Blues coach reckons he can actually identify which critter it is that encapsulates the kind pressure he’s talking about as well.

“It’s like the duck,” Fittler said on Saturday. “The duck looks calm on top but the feet are paddling.”

“There’s a bit of duck going on.”

The NSW legend is not just 80 minutes away from claiming a series win in his first year holding the clipboard, he’s also on the cusp of what could be generational Origin change – and not before time either.

Blues fans have suffered through 11 series defeats in 12 years.

“It’s a shame that the state’s gone through what it has,” veteran five eighth James Maloney concedes.

” … things are due for a change (and) we’re the ones that have got to make that happen.”

It’s a truism not lost on 46-year-old Fittler, who’s own career as NSW playmaker was long and decorated.

A memorable charge-down try in his final game for the Blues in their triumphant 2004 decider in Sydney is etched in Origin folklore.

But as coach, he will largely be helpless once his troops run onto ANZ Stadium on Sunday evening.

Asked whether he has allowed himself to visualise a Blues victory, Fittler said: “The blokes have all the say in how that goes. I just sit in the box and do some paddling, really.”

His alternative methods as mentor have largely overshadowed counterpart Kevin Walters’ approach to the opening two camps of this series.

Whereas Fittler has been an open book regarding his out-of-the-box thinking, Walters’ usual dry wit has somewhat dried up.

The Maroons champion was caught out when he had to deal with the late withdrawal of Billy Slater in game one and then he bit back at the media this week after they questioned his naming of the Maroons squad in alphabetical order.

Slater, who has already announced he will retire from representative football after the series, is a confirmed starter in game two, with hotshot debutant Kalyn Ponga on the bench.

Walters was in the exact same position last year, with Queensland down in the series and saved in games two and three by the heroics of Slater, Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston.

This time, after two straight series victories, the 50-year-old says he’s welcoming the pressure.

“Everyone feels pressure but I am pretty fortunate to have a great set of guys and staff who have shared the load this week,” Walters said on Saturday.

“I am very confident we can go out and give a really good performance against the Blues. Is that going to be good enough? We will have to wait and see.”


– Of the eight series that have had a match played in Melbourne, seven of them have been won by the team who wins in Melbourne.

– The past 17 Origins in Sydney have been decided by 10 points or less.

– NSW have not scored 20+ points in back-to-back Origins since 2009-10, and not in the same series since 2005.

Australian Associated Press

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Ponga can be Qld Maroons great: Walters

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No pressure, Kalyn.
Nanjing Night Net

The lead-up to Sunday’s State of Origin game two in Sydney was already intense enough for Queensland rookie Kalyn Ponga.

Now Maroons mentor Kevin Walters has unwittingly cranked it up another level by predicting the 20-year-old can emulate Billy Slater and become one of the Maroons’ greats.

A fullback was always going to dominate Queensland’s build-up to Origin II with Slater playing his 30th game for the Maroons.

However, it is Newcastle No.1 Ponga who has been hogging the headlines before his long-awaited debut off the Maroons’ bench.

And Walters has not tried to hose down the hype, saying Ponga is destined for greatness, just like Slater who had also made his Origin debut at 20.

“We’ve had many players over the years debut at his age and they have come through to be some of our greatest Origin players,” Walters said.

“He’s a courageous player and that suits Origin. But we don’t want him to do anything different to what he has been doing with the Knights.”

At 20 years and 86 days, Ponga will become the youngest Origin player since NSW’s Will Hopoate in 2011 (19 years and 37 days) and the youngest Queenslander since Israel Folau in 2008 (19 years and 48 days).

But the question remains – how will Queensland use Ponga as a bench utility?

Ponga spent time training at fullback in Queensland’s captain’s run on Saturday at ANZ Stadium, adding more intrigue ahead of his debut.

“How we use him will be determined on how the game is flowing but the good thing is he has the 14 jumper on for us,” Walters said.

While Ponga had dominated the build-up, Walters said there would be only one fullback on the team’s minds on Sunday – Slater.

The veteran will finally kick-start his final Origin series in his milestone game after overcoming a hamstring injury that had forced his last-minute withdrawal before the series opener.

Slater becomes the 11th player and 10th Queenslander to join the 30-game Origin club.

“Bill has been one of the great Origin players of all time. We want to get the result Billy wants (on Sunday),” Walters said of Slater who will play his first game in five weeks in Origin II.

“If you could model a Queensland State of Origin player around someone, he is one you would think of with all his traits.

“We expect him to get a bit of a workout from NSW but it is not the first time they have tried to sort him out.”

Slater scored the last of his 12 Origin tries in game three 2014, his only four-pointer in his past 12 matches for Queensland.

Australian Associated Press

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