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Jets to play Juventus in private trial match

Juventus celebrates after scoring against the A-League All-Stars in Sydney on Sunday.​NEWCASTLE Jets are set to take on Italian giants Juventus in a friendly behind closed doors in Sydney on Wednesday.
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Fresh from a last-minute 3-2 win over the A-League All Stars at ANZ Stadium on Sunday, the Italian champions are understood to want another hit-out before they leave Australia on the next leg of their pre-season tour.

They meet Singapore All Stars on Saturday.

The Jets were the only A-League opposition in the area available.

Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC are involved in FFA Cup round of 32 matches tonight.

Central Coast Mariners are in action in the nationwide knockout tomorrow night.

Although yet to be officially confirmed, the friendly presents a rare opportunity for the Jets to play against one of the biggest clubs in the world.

It understood the match will be played at Juventus’s Sydney base – Jubiliee Oval, Kogarah.

Juventus, who won a record 30th Serie A title in May, are coached by Massimiliano Allegri and boast superstars such as Andrea Pirlo, Carlos Tevez and Gigi Buffon.

Jets keeper Mark Birighitti played the final 20 minutes off the bench for the A-League All Stars against Juve.

There will only be players and coaching staff on deck tomorrow, but for most of the Jets it will be the best opposition they will have played.

The Jets accounted for a David Beckham-led LA Galaxy 2-1 at Hunter Stadium in November 2010.

Home-grown youngsters Taylor Regan, Jacob Pepper and James Virgili played that match in front of 23,317 in Newcastle.

The Jets head to Townsville next week for a nine-day tournament featuring Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar.

They kick off their A-League season away to the Central Coast Mariners on October 11.

Call to future-proof Wagga Livestock Marketing Centre

Councillor Alan Brown called for a detailed financial and operational report to be developed for the Wagga Livestock Marketing Centre at council’s policy and strategy committee meeting on Monday night. WAGGA CITY COUNCIL
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PLANNING for Wagga Livestock Marketing Centre’s (LMC) future failed to muster any opposition from the city’s elected representatives on Monday night.

A notice of motion, tabled at the policy and strategy committee meeting by Councillor Alan Brown, called for a detailed financial and operational report to be developed.

Cr Brown said a proper examination of the LMC was needed and that some of the money collected should be used to better market stock in the future.

“It is one of the most lucrative areas of council operations … but I’m concerned we haven’t done enough as far as protecting it forward, particularly with the cattle handling area,” Cr Brown told the meeting.

Despite sheep operations “working very well”, Cr Brown said the cattle area wasn’t designed to cater for the through put it was currently getting.

“We need to look forward as to where our market’s likely to go,” he said.

“It’s become obvious that we’re one of four major regional selling centres in the state and we’re increasing our importance in that area … we need to look forward to what we need in the future for a marketing centre.”

Cr Brown also asked the report to consider technological trends, including internet selling.

“I’m surprised, to be honest, to see how much livestock is still going through physical markets.”

The provision of thereport could beconsidered further by the full sitting of council on August 25.

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Alleged sex groomer appears in court

AN ARMIDALE man accused of grooming a young girl for sex has appeared in court for the first time.
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Robert Leslie Watson walked into Armidale Local Court yesterday, charged with three counts of procuring a person under 16 years old following an undercover police sting in the car park of a family restaurant in Armidale on July 1.

Detectives from the Sex Crime Squad’s Child Exploitation Internet Unit surrounded the 34-year-old in the car park and allege he was there to meet a young girl.

It was at this point that police pounced, and revealed undercover officers had been posing as a13-year-old girl online.

As part of the police facts, officers allege Watson was sexually explicit and made inappropriate comments towards a 13-year-old girl online.

The investigation was prompted after NSW Police were alerted by the United States’ National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children in January to certain information involving suspected illegalactivities.

Computers, cannabis and a set of nunchakus, as well as electronic storage devices, which police said they will forensically analyse, were seized as part of the investigation following a raid on the man’sArmidale home.

As a result of the search, Watson is facing one count each of possessing a prohibited drug and possessing a prohibited weapon.

In court yesterday, Watson did not enter any pleas to the charges and the court heard the child sex charges will be referred onto to the DPP to be prosecuted.

Magistrate Karen Stafford continued Watson’s bail with the case to return to court later this month.

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Laura Dunn makes Australian rowing senior A crew

LAURA DUNN AFTER two disappointments at cut-throat selection trials, Laura Dunn cried tears of joy when she became the first Hunter rower to make an Australian senior A crew.
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The 26-year-old, who grew up in Belmont but now lives in Sydney, is with the Australian team at the AIS European Training Centre in Lake Varese, Italy, preparing for the World Rowing Championships to be held in Amsterdam from August 24-31.

A product of the Central Districts Rowing Association, Dunn is likely to be part of the women’s lightweight quad sculls crew.

Dunn earned an invitation to trial for the Australian squad after making the single sculls A final at the national titles in March at Penrith.

She then survived an eight-day trial at Penrith in April, in which contenders are cut after every day of competition and testing.

After falling short twice before, Dunn was overwhelmed when told she had made the elite team.

‘‘There were tears of joy,’’ Dunn said.

‘‘It’s something I’ve been working hard at for a very long time.

‘‘You get knocked down and decide whether or not you want to pick your head up again and live like a student for another year and give it another crack.

‘‘But I decided to stick with it and it’s paid off.’’

The selection gives Dunn a special place in Hunter sporting history.

Fellow Novocastrian Hugh McLeod has competed for Australia at under-23 level and rowers from the Manning River region have reached the pinnacle of the sport, but Dunn is believed to be the first from the Hunter to gain a senior A seat.

Dunn moved to Sydney to study at UTS in 2006 but said she was a ‘‘Novocastrian through and through’’ and proud to represent the region on the world stage.

‘‘There’s a lot of the Hunter rowing community who come to Sydney for regattas and they see you around, they know your face, which is lovely, and they’ve all been very supportive throughout all this,’’ she said.

‘‘They know I’ve been around for a while and I’ve worked hard to finally crack it.

‘‘It’s great.’’

The former Warners Bay High and Hunter School of Performing Arts student will head to Amsterdam buoyed by strong performances in 2014.

She was a member of the winning open lightweight quad crew and second-placed open lightweight doubles team at nationals, which was also a World Cup event.

She also helped the NSW lightweight quad crew finish second in the interstate Victoria Cup.

Past the world titles, Dunn is hoping to push for a spot on the only Olympic lightweight women’s crew, the double sculls, for the 2016 Rio Games.

Cameron Walters puts foot down in Queensland

Cameron Walters has risen to third in the Australian Formula Ford Series.MOTORSPORT
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MtKemblaracing car driver Cameron Walters made it back-to-back round wins in the Australian Formula Ford Series in Queensland over the weekend.

After claiming the second round of the season at Winton six weeks ago, Walters continued his super form to claim honours at Queensland Raceway.

“We were a bit off the pace on Friday but made some changes to get to where we want to be,” Walters said.

“On Saturday we qualified second fastest and, in race one, we got the jump and got out in front. We got first in race one and then second in races two and three, which was good enough to get us the round win.”

The victory moved Walter up to third in the series, 20 points off top spot.

The ranking is made more remarkable by the fact he missed the opening round of the season.

He looks poised to continue his rise up the standings with three rounds remaining.

“We have a two-month break before the next two rounds. They are my local rounds in Goulburn and in Sydney,” Walters said.

“The first is at Wakefield Park and then we will head to Sydney Motorsport Park.

“Without the support of The Lagoon, Auto Pro Unanderra, Starmart Unanderra, Fastway Couriers Wollongong, All Ways Rigging Gear and Poolwerx Illawarra, we wouldn’t get to the meetings.”

The season ends at Phillip Island with the ‘Island of Magic’ round.

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Council considers purchase

BIG BUY: Stephen King’s spectacular Stargazer III sculpture could become a permanent fixture in the forecourt of the Tamworth Regional Gallery. Photo: Barry Smith 080514BSA03
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A TOWERING sculpture greeting visitors to the Tamworth Regional Gallery could become a permanent addition to the city’s art collection.

Tamworth’s councillors will decide at a meeting tonight whether to purchase the six-metre high Stargazer III sculpture for $44,000.

The statue, by internationally-acclaimed Walcha artist Stephen King, has been on display in the gallery’s forecourt since May.

But the popularity of the eye-catching wooden sculpture has prompted Tamworth Regional Council to consider its purchase.

Art gallery manager Sandra McMahon, in her report to council, said Mr King was willing to sell the piece for $40,000 – plus $4000 GST.

She said the sculpture’s installation in the forecourt was a trial to gauge the public’s reaction and anecdotal feedback “has beenpositive”.

“If this sculpture is to become permanent, a formal development application would be required,” she said.

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Corey Hale late call up forFiji International

Corey HaleBELMONT’S Corey Hale jetted out for Suva yesterday morning after receiving a late call-up for the OneAsia Tour’s $1.06 million Fiji International starting on Thursday.
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The left-hander was originally 13th on the reserve list but, after withdrawals, was offered an entry.

In February, Hale earned his OneAsia Tour card by finishing equal third at the Q-School in California.

There will be plenty of familiar faces on the fairways of Natadola Bay Championships Golf Course.

Fresh from his US tour, Charlestown’s Jake Higginbottom will be among the Hunter contingent, along with Aaron Townsend (Charlestown), Callan O’Reilly (Toronto), Leigh McKechnie (Waratah) and Edward Stedman (Vintage).

■ Last year’s NSW Regional Championships winner Nathan Waters will not be back to defend his title after withdrawing to play Sydney pennants.

The Scone member and Will Barnett have both pulled out of the Hunter River District team for this weekend’s NSW Regionals at Muswellbrook in order to help Long Reef qualify for the Eric Apperly finals.

Fellow Long Reef teammates Dylan Perry and Tom Bateman have opted to forgo pennants and play for Hunter River.

On Sunday, Long Reef defeated Avondale 5-1 and their main rival Bankstown lost to Cumberland 5-1.

Long Reef must beat Cromer in the final round by at least 4-2 to qualify over Cumberland for the finals.

■ The Newcastle District side has also been affected by Sydney pennants commitments with leading colt Brayden Petersen and junior Blake Windred unavailable for NSW Regionals.

Juniors Jye Forrester, Luke Ferrier and Joe D’arcy have also withdrawn.

Newcastle are the defending team champions and field a strong senior contingent of Andrew Haigh, Justin Ely, Greg McMillan, Michael Wade, Steve Hassett and Mick Coutman.

Last month, Hassett played his first district match since relinquishing his professional status in late 2012 after eight seasons.

The Muree member will likely be Newcastle’s best chance of winning individual honours.

■ The first time Karuah veteran Ray Howells had a hole in one 14 years ago it bounced in off a tree.

There was no fluke this time, just pure sweet swinging, when the 12-marker carded his second ace on Saturday during club competition.

Using a nine iron on the 117-metre par-three fourth hole, Howells struck it over the bunker and rolled it into the cup.

Howells, who had been Karuah’s long-time president until April, had been off the course for six weeks due to a kidney stone.

Playing partner and Karuah captain Darren Searl said it was the talk of the clubhouse on Saturday evening.

“Everyone was asking him which tree did you bounce it off this time?” Searl said.

Level crossings focus of latest police blitz

LOCAL police have launched a fresh blitz on level crossings as part of a rail crackdown.
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The operation is targetingillegal and dangerous activity around rail lines and crossings, in particular local motorists who run the gauntlet and risk an accident or a “near miss”.

It’s part of rail safety week and police warn it’s all about driving the message of safety for motorists and rail staff andcommuters.

“It’s about providing a highvisibility presence and enforcing the requirements,” New England Acting Inspector Chris Pieterse said.

“We’re getting involved with enforcement and education about the consequences and offences committed by disobeying the rules and running the risks of ruining lives.”

Dozens of level crossings and rail hot spots will be watched this week by police across the Barwon, Oxley and New England commands.

Police said there are no second chances and warn everyone needs to be vigilant whether you’re a local or a visitor.

“Where possible we’re increasing our proactive taskings and patrols around the commands, particularly in the Armidale and Uralla area,”

Acting Inspector Pieterse said.

According to statistics, police took action against 392 people in 2013 for level crossing-related offences – a jump of 45 per cent on the previous year.

Traffic and Highway Patrol Command Senior SergeantMick Timms said police would target risky behaviour to ensure lives aren’t lost.

“Pushing the limits at level crossings to beat a train is dangerous and risky, and losing your life rather than waiting a few moments is incomprehensible, he said.

“Police will be out to ensure all drivers use caution at level crossings by stopping when appropriate, as well as remaining alert and focussed, not using mobile phones or being distracted while driving.”

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State flags triumphs for Tomakin and Malua Bay

Malua Bay bowlers celebrate winning the NSW State pennants grade 3 flag.BOWLS
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South Coast clubs Tomakin and Malua Bay won prized State Pennant flags, while Taren Point are kings of the blue-ribbon grade 1 for a second straight year.

With former Corrimal star and reigning co-NSW Bowler of the Year John Green playing a key role, Taren Point made it back-to-back finals wins over Belrose 56-47, at Belrose BC on Monday.

Green played third for Wayne Turley in a 17-13 win over Shawn Thompson, leaving Belrose as beaten state grade 1 finalists for a fourth straight year.

Meanwhile, Tomakin BC won the grade 4 flag and Malua Bay the grade 3 state final in a great day for South Coast Zone 7.

Tomakin beat Cabra Vale Diggers (Zone 12) 52-49 in a tense final at Ettalong Memorial BC in which Diggers won two of the three rinks.

Ethan Tierney beat Tomakin skip Ken Franklin 16-15 and Tomakin’s Henry Butler and partners were also beaten by a shot, 17-16 by Mark Short.

But Les Vincent and his Tomakin partners won their rink 21-16 against Stephen Smith to give the South Coast club an overall win by three shots, after 63 ends.

Tomakin were worthy champions after winning their three sectional matches and beating Barmedman (Zone 8) by 11 shots in Sunday’s semi-final.

Meanwhile, Malua Bay celebrated their greatest day in club bowls by beating Molong (Zone 5) 59-55 in the grade 3 final at Mt Lewis BC.

Malua Bay held a 20-shot lead midway through the final but had to withstand a Molong comeback.

Former South African national champion Eric Johannes, who had stints with Warilla, Oak Flats and Corrimal, was the catalyst for the Bay’s win.

Johannes skipped his team to a vital 10-shot win in the final after winning his semi-final against Rydalmere Central by 17 shots.

Tony Melrose also skipped his Malua Bay team to a two-shot win in the final, while Doug Ebsworth lost a tough rink 23-15.

“It’s an awesome achievement,” Johannes said. “We’ve lots of guys aged in their 60s and 70s in our team so to win a state flag is just a great day for everyone at the club.”

In the other state finals, Cabramatta beat Taren Point 73-47 in the grade 2 final and Narrandera beat South Tamworth 63-45 in the grade 5 decider.

Lawson overcame Westport 71-38 in grade 6 and Coonamble beat Gulgong 70-46 in the grade 7 final.

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Gavin Holder named Country’s best

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Gavin Holder

Atthe ripe old age of 31, Camden Rams captain Gavin Holder has finally claimed his first Will Tanner Medal as the NSW Country Player of the Year.

Holder, a long-serving Country stalwart and the team captain for the past three years, finished runner-up on two previous occasions before making it third time lucky with another superb representative campaign in 2014.

University’s Paul Tuala went close to capturing Country Player of the Year honours for the second straight season but was narrowly outpolled by Holder.

“I was surprised to actually get it with the quality of the Country side this year,” Holder said.

“I’m always proud to wear the Country jersey and be a part of Country rugby, so I’m pretty proud to win player of the year.”

A Rams junior, Holder broke into first grade in 2004 with West Harbour in the Shute Shield.

He returned to Camden in 2006 and fulfilled a long-time goal when he led Camden to their first Illawarra premiership in 18 years last season.

He is likely to remain available for Illawarra and Country selection in 2015.

“I haven’t really decided yet,” he said.

“The Country Championships are in the Illawarra next year, so that might suck me back into it.”

Fourth-placed Camden are walking a semi-finals tightrope over the closing rounds and face a huge challenge against unbeaten leaders Avondale on Saturday.

“As long as we win one of our next two games we should be pretty close to the finals,” Holder said.

The Rams beat Avondale 20-10 in last year’s grand final.

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