Hawks bt Suns, stay in AFL top eight mix

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

Tathra resident comes up with innovative house plan after devastating bushfire

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.”

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

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.

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Ponga can be Qld Maroons great: Walters

No pressure, Kalyn.
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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

WA Lib by-election win a Labor smackdown

The Liberals have won back the West Australian state seat of Darling Range in a massive smackdown of the McGowan government 15 months after Labor swept to power in a landslide victory.
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Alyssa Hayden, a two-term Barnett government upper house MP, beat Labor candidate Tania Lawrence, a former Woodside manager.

The by-election was triggered by the resignation of Barry Urban after colossal lies about his background were uncovered, including wearing a police medal for investigating war crimes in Bosnia despite never having served there.

So it was gobsmacking when the government found itself embroiled in another credibility crisis with its first candidate, Colleen Yates, who apparently didn’t fib to the party but committed the lesser crime of exaggerating about her tertiary qualifications in an online profile.

“It was a very tough by-election and very tough circumstances as we are all aware,” Premier Mark McGowan told party members on Saturday.

He said the “circumstances” were beyond Labor’s control but he had previously admitted the party’s vetting process had to be improved, insisting Ms Lawrence had been subject to a higher level of scrutiny when unveiling her as the new candidate three weeks ago.

He blamed the loss on the controversies, saying they had clearly hit Labor in the polling booths although it was always hard to win a by-election in government.

“The result is one we will review, clearly, in coming days and weeks, and take heed of what the people of Darling Range have said to us.”

During last-minute campaigning, Ms Hayden seized on the controversies plus a fresh one that erupted on Thursday when Water Minister Dave Kelly allegedly made a headbutt gesture at Nationals leader Mia Davies during a heated debate in parliament.

Ms Hayden described the gesture, which Mr Kelly vehemently denies making and was not caught on camera, as “disgraceful”.

“This is a chance for the people of Darling Range to say we will not tolerate bad behaviour, we will not tolerate lies and broken promises,” she said.

“Labor are not fit to govern in my opinion.”

She said voters in the traditionally Liberal-held seat had indicated they were deeply disappointed by the Urban scandal.

The Liberals also campaigned against big hikes in household fees and charges, which kick in on July 1, but Labor defended that argument by saying it was cleaning up the financial mess left by the previous government.

Both parties had said they expected the poll would be a tight race, but Opposition Leader Mike Nahan had leaned on the side of pessimism, saying toppling Mr Urban’s 5.8 per cent swing was “a big ask”.

Ms Lawrence, who made it to polling day with her reputation intact, said she would have another go at politics at future elections.

Labor still has a massive upper house majority of 40 out of 59 seats.

Australian Associated Press

Warning for distracted Vic pedestrians

People have been urged not to look at their phones while walking, after a spike in traffic deaths.Pedestrians in Victoria are being urged to look up from their phones and try using just one headphone, so they’re not distracted when walking near traffic following a spike in pedestrian deaths.
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Victoria Police says more pedestrians have died in the first six months of 2018 compared to 2017 – 17 this year compared to 11 in 2017.

“In the last 12 months we’ve had a significant increase in pedestrian deaths on our roads,” Road policing assistant commissioner Doug Fryer told reporters on Saturday.

“Unfortunately we’re seeing an increase in distraction with those on pushbikes, pedestrians using mobile phones, and in particular people wearing headsets whose auditory and cognitive ability and awareness are somewhat distracted.”

The number of pedestrian deaths has risen despite the state’s overall road toll tracking lower at 101, compared to 115 for the same period in 2017.

It’s believed pedestrian distractions such as headphones have been a contributor to the spike in deaths.

“We’re just urging all Victorians to look up and look out for each other,” Mr Fryer said.

“Look where you’re going. Make sure you can see the vehicles around you and don’t be distracted by your mobile phone when walking.”

While it’s difficult to determine how many accidents involving pedestrians are linked to headphone distractions, police say people are increasingly distracted when walking near traffic.

“We all see it, everyone who travels through the city. There are so many pedestrians walking out on footpaths with their heads down, either texting or listening to music,” Mr Fryer said.

“A simple safety activity of looking up, instead of looking down, could save their lives.”

Australian Associated Press

Blues’ Tedesco relishes Slater match-up

James Tedesco is ready for his battle with Billy Slater in the second State of Origin match.NSW star James Tedesco has credited his forward pack with laying the platform for his man of the match performance in the State of Origin opener, and says things will be looking good for the Blues in game two if they can do it again.
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Tedesco looms as a pivotal figure when NSW attempt to seal a series victory at ANZ Stadium on Sunday, with Queensland on high alert for his breaks through the ruck.

But while the NSW fullback doesn’t completely expect the opportunities to dry up.

“There’s always going to be chances late in the either half, when everyone gets tired. It’s just up to the smaller guys like the halves, hooker and myself to see them,” Tedesco told AAP.

While the Blues’ backline have been heralded for their combined 41 tackle breaks in game one, Tedesco said a good performance by the team’s forward pack at the MCG allowed them to play over the advantage line.

And no matter when the Maroons devise to stop him in game two, he declared he’ll be ready.

“I’m used to being targeted. Maybe with some kick returns, they could target be more,” he said.

“Obviously they’re going to try and tighten up the middle of defence. But if we get those quick play-the-balls again, it’s hard to stop.”

The match also marks the rare occasion where Tedesco faces Queensland champion Billy Slater.

Despite making his debut in 2012, the 25-year-old has only faced the incumbent Kangaroos fullback five times across the NRL and Origin arenas – winning just once.

Tedesco, who is likely to be a prime contender to replace Slater’s spot for Australia at the end of the year, said he was relishing coming up against one of the game’s greats.

“I actually can’t remember the last time I played him. Obviously I was expecting to come up against him in game one,” Tedesco said.

“It’s always a big challenge coming up against him. It’s only his last couple of rep games now so no doubt he’ll be in for a big one. But I’m ready for it.”

Tedesco is ranked third in the NRL for tackle breaks, metres and kick return metres, but leads the league in support plays.


2013: Rd 5: Melbourne 26 bt Wests Tigers 12

2013: Rd 16: Wests Tigers 22 bt Melbourne 4

2017: Rd 4: Melbourne 22 bt Wests Tigers 14

2017: Origin II: Queensland 18 bt NSW 16

2017: Origin III: Queensland 22 bt NSW 6

Australian Associated Press

Newcastle rugby: Hamilton storm home to end Merewether’s unbeaten run

OVER: Hamilton Hooker Chris Ale crashes over for a try in the Hawks’ 29-17 win at Passmore Oval on Saturday. Picture: Stewart HazellCO-COACH Trent Considine was adamant that Merewether had no-one to blame but themselves after they fell to their first loss of the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union season, going down 29-17 to Hamilton at a soggy Passmore Oval on Saturday.
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“We handed the game to them,” a blunt Considine said. “We turned over too much ball. Ateam like that is going to punish you when you cough up the ball in your own half. We just weren’t as clinical as we have been previously. They probably had 70 per cent of the ball and we had to do a lot of defending.”

The Greens, who had strung eight wins together, led 7-0 early and 10-3 midway through the first half.

However, they paid the price for a series of cheap turnovers as the Hawks scored 18 unanswered points to open a 21-10 advantage.

Hamilton storm home to end Merewether’s unbeaten run Sam Dart

Laufiso Vasegote

Carl Manu

Adrian Delore

TweetFacebook NHRU Round 10Pictures: Stewart HazellSam Bright scored a brilliant try under the posts to get the Greens back in the game and change momentum with 10 minutes remaining.

“Weneeded someone to come up with a big play but it just didn’t happen,” Considine said.

The win moved the Hawks to 36 points, a point a drift of the Greens.

Nelson Bay moved to third spot after they accounted for Lake Macquarie 41-3at Walters Park.

Though beaten, it was a much improved performance from the Roos, who were bolstered by the inclusion of former North Harbour Rays Sione Ala andBrian Sefanaia. Lake Macquarie had conceded more than 110 points in each of the four previous games.

At No.2 Sportsground, Maitland were too strong for Wanderers 47-31, but the visitors nearly paid the price for a 10-minute lapse.

The Blacks led 19-12 at the break and and stretched the margin to 33-19 midway through the second half. However, the Two Blues hit back with three tries in seven minutes to close to 33-31.

But a turnover and penalty, put the Blacks back on the front foot and Carl Manu sliced through from close rangeto end the revival. Dan Runchel iced the game with a try from a charge down at the death.

Adrian Delore was the star with a double to lead Southern Beaches to a 42-35 triumph over Singleton at Ernie Calland Field and end a three game losing streak.

Toxic fears: Farmers warned not to eat the beef they sell

Farmers near Esso’s Longford gas plant and the East Sale RAAF Base in Gippsland have been warned not to eat meat, offal or dairy from their own livestock due to contamination by toxic chemicals but there are no restrictions on them selling such products.
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Elevated levels of PFAS — per- and poly-fluoroalkyl chemicals historically used in firefighting foam — have been detected in 45 cattle and 45 sheep on three properties near Esso Longford, Victoria’s chief veterinary officer Dr Charles Milne has confirmed toThe Age.

Another cattle herd near the RAAF Base was also tested recently for PFAS but the results were not yet in, Dr Milne said.

The two sites are among about 90 locations around Australia where PFAS has been detected. At least 16 of those sites are in Victoria,The Agerevealed this week.

The Country Fire Authority’s Fiskville training academy west of Melbourne, shut down after a series of complaints about the incidence of cancer among some of its former staff, is so far the single biggest case of PFAS exposure in Victoria. Some livestock near Fiskville has been tested for PFAS too.

But Gippsland in the state’s east has more confirmed sites where PFAS has been detected than any other region in the state.

Gippsland is renowned for its dairy, beef and fisheries, as well as natural attractions including unspoilt beaches and wetland areas of international significance.

A cow in Heart Morass wetlands. Photo: Joe Armao

However, its rich resources including coal and gas reserves mean it has for many years attracted some of the heaviest industry in Victoria.

PFAS has spread beyond the boundaries of both RAAF East Sale and Esso Longford, and has been detected on nearby properties as well as popular nearby hunting and fishing spots.

It has been measured in levels above Australian government guidelines in some groundwater, surface water, soils and sediment near both the Esso and RAAF sites, including at adjacent properties, in water sources that could be used for livestock.

Esso has fenced off some seven dams on properties near its Longford plant to stop livestock from drinking PFAS-contaminated water. Current government guidelines do not specify acceptable levels of PFAS for irrigation or livestock watering.

Such is the concern among nearby residents and farmers that some are considering a class action and have made plans to meet in the next few weeks to decide how to proceed. Many are, however, reluctant to speak publicly due to the effect that PFAS contamination could have on their livelihoods.

The potential risks to humans of consuming livestock exposed to PFAS dependon the likelihood of people eating sufficient quantities, Dr Milne said.

“If a beef animal goes into an abattoir, it will be sold to wherever and people use small parts of the animal,” he said. “But if it is home-killed, then the family’s going to eat the whole animal.”

There areno regulations in Australia for maximum recommended levels of PFAS in food for human consumption, according to Dr Milne, nor are there any overseas.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) says there is no “consistent evidence that these chemicals cause any adverse health effects in humans, including people highly exposed occupationally”.

SAFEMEAT, the Australian body that oversees systems to ensure the delivery of safe and hygienic meat products to the marketplace, formed a PFAS working group and is maintaining a “watching brief” on contamination associated with the use of firefighting chemicals, it said in its 2016/17 annual report.

Ask about PFAS and its health effects and the chorus from state and Commonwealth governments and agencies is that there is no current evidence that PFAS exposure has a substantial impact on people’s health.

However, as Fairfax Media’s investigation has shown, numerous people around Australia and in the US have expressed serious fears about the health effects of PFAS exposure.

Some cattle farmers near the Oakey and Williamtown bases in Queensland and NSW have previously expressed fears they could be selling contaminated meat due to PFAS exposure.

Birds at the Heart Morass wetlands in Gippsland. The EPA has issued warnings about consumption of ducks and fish caught in the area. Photo: Joe Armao

This week a long-delayed US Department of Healthreportwas released, showing that PFAS chemicals found in public water supplies around America are threatening human health at concentrations seven to 10 times lower than previously realised.

New York’s Attorney-General has since launched legal action against five manufacturers of PFAS chemicals including 3M.

In the very state where 3M (formerly known as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing) was founded,Fairfax Media revealed the deaths of five young people from cancerand a further 16 cancer survivors who attended Tartan Senior High School in Oakdale since 2002. All were diagnosed during their primary, middle or high school years, or within 10 years of graduating.

AnInterim Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment investigation into PFAS at RAAF Base East Sale, conducted by environmental consulting firm Senversa for the Defence department and released in December, found elevated risks of exposure to PFAS through a variety of avenues, including livestock on or in the vicinity of the base.

It lists “home consumption of meat, offal and milk raised on-site” and “public consumption of meat, offal and milk raised on-site” among those risks.

It also lists home consumption of duck meat and liver from birds hunted at the Heart Morass wetlands,even at low rates such as once a month, and of fish caught from the wetlands, among elevated risks of PFAS exposure.

In response to questions fromThe Age, a Defence spokeswoman said there had been “no precautionary advice issued by state authorities relating to the consumption of meat, offal and milk from livestock within the investigation area”.

The spokeswoman said the final report is currently being prepared and will include further analysis of on-base livestock and will be released in 2018.

Other potential sources of PFAS identified in a Defence department study include West Sale Airport and industrial sites around Morwell, west of Sale, including former coal mines and coal fired power stations, where the firefighting foams were used, as well as Gippsland Water’s Dutson Downs water treatment plant.

Dr Milne said Agriculture Victoria had tested livestock in “a number of sites” across Victoria for PFAS, mainly concentrated on areas where firefighting foam had been used.

In Gippsland its testing had concentrated on areas surrounding the East Sale and Longford plants.

“We’re aware of four properties in Gippsland where cattle and sheep have been blood tested,” Dr Milne said.

“Three of those are cattle and sheep grazed in the vicinity of the Esso Longford plant. On those three farms a total of 45 cattle and 45 sheep have been tested. In those animals, measurable levels of PFAs were detected in the serum.

“We’re also aware of another herd of cattle, a fourth, just cattle, that have been blood sampled for PFAS. But we’re not aware of the results. The Department of Defence is leading that investigation.”

Agriculture Victoria had purchased some of the PFAS-affected livestock in Gippsland to conduct its own longitudinal study on them, Dr Milne said, as there was little research in Australia or internationally about how long the chemicals linger in cattle, sheep and pigs.

Its initial tests on sheep showed PFAS levels dropped significantly within several weeks of them being moved to clear pasture, he said. He suspected that would take longer in cattle and pigs.

The EPA said it had only issued alerts in relation to hunting and fishing, not livestock.

“The only public health advice Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has provided to date, both publicly and to residents, is the advisory around eels, fish and ducks caught at Heart and Dowd Morass,” a spokesman said.

Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the EPA was working to identify and manage PFAS contamination sites across Victoria, “to protect the community and prevent any harms posed by this substance”.

“Our government is also working with the Commonwealth and other states to develop a united response to PFAS contamination sites across the country,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

With Carrie Fellner

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

Qld confident Napa will play Origin II

What coach Kevin Walters has demanded from Queensland in Sunday’s must-win State of Origin game two in Sydney is simple – greatness.
Nanjing Night Net

That may be easier said than done by a team with a distinct lack of it, as it begins life without their big three – retired legends Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston.

But Walters is confident the new look Maroons can reach another level and provide a fitting salute to yet another great – Billy Slater – in his 30th Origin.

After so far cutting a cranky figure at their Gold Coast camp, Walters appeared to be breathing easier on Saturday after Sydney Roosters prop Dylan Napa emerged unscathed from the captain’s run at ANZ Stadium.

He is yet to receive the official nod but is all but confirmed to start in Queensland’s front row, despite an ankle concern.

Walters believes Queensland are primed to test NSW in a game they must win to keep the series alive.

But to be any chance of extending Queensland’s stunning run of 11 series wins in 12 years, Walters said his new-look team must emulate their greats.

“Our performance in game one was good but it wasn’t great. To win a game in Origin you’ve got to be great,” Walters said.

“NSW were that in game one. That’s what we are trying to achieve in game two, to be great.”

Walters hinted fiery redhead Napa’s aggression would help them reach their lofty goal.

“He brings first and foremost aggression. Dylan would be the first to admit that he didn’t quite get that right with his aggression in game one,” Walters said.

“If we can get that right he will be a huge asset for the Maroons.

“That’s why we are giving him every opportunity to play.”

Walters was keen to avoid any more distractions after a horror build-up to the series opener in Melbourne, where three players were nursed through training and Billy Slater (hamstring) pulled out days before the game.

But Walters said he retained Napa for their game two buildup after the forward surprised him by completing both their full training sessions.

“I didn’t expect him to be running too much on Wednesday but he trained fully with the team, did exactly what was required,” Walters said.

Slater, 35, also began their game two preparation on the Maroons injury list but has been cleared to play, finally kick-starting his swansong Origin series after missing game one.

Walters claimed Queensland were desperate to toast Slater in his 30th Origin, making him the 11th player and 10th Queenslander to reach the milestone.

“We want to get the result, not that he deserves, but what Billy wants, and we want the same result,” Walters said.

Australian Associated Press