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Robb presses ‘perfect’ button

ROBB College struck its fifth and most definitive blow yet to student rivals St Alberts on Saturday.
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Robb second-rower Jock Tonkin braces for the dual defence of Ben Sandell (6) and Alex Pay as teammate Will Rains looks on. Photo: www.pixonline南京夜网.au

Last year’s minor premiers were left licking their wounds after Robb trounced them 46-12.

It was a huge statement, not just in terms of student bragging rights, but after they themselves had been thrashed by Armidale the previous week.

“It was an amazing turnaround,” Robb co-coach Jim Boland said.

“It was as good as I’ve seen them play. It was like someone switched a button.”

It was like a firestorm for Albies in the first half except the wall of flames was green and white.

“The first 25 minutes was just outstanding. It was nearly perfect rugby,” Boland said.

The result was a 29-nil lead at half-time.

“We’ve been working on this pattern of play for two years and it finally came off,” he said.

“They didn’t miss tackles, didn’t turn the ball over and they kept the intensity up.

“They didn’t play well and then fall asleep.”

As the scoreboard suggests they attacked well, but they were equally strong in defence.

“We made ground in defence,” Boland said.

The talk was there and the confidence in each other.

“They had confidence in the player beside them,” he said.

“They knew someone would be there to take the next attacker.”

Skipper Tom Kent was huge for them.

On top of his regular busy work-rate he scored two tries picking up the ball from the back of the scrum and racing 50m to score, and not surprisingly got the three points.

Fellow back-rower Lachlan Jones got the two and earned high praise from Boland for his effort on debut.

“It was one of the best debut games I’ve seen,” he said.

“He tackled and tackled andtackled.”

David James was also very strong again at fullback but it was hard to single players out.

Albies coach Tom Newsome was succinct in his appraisal – they were outplayed.

“Credit where credit is due – they played all over us,” he said.

The signs were there early.

“They came out really well and our guys made some errors and they capitalised,” he said.

“Our problem was they were more enthusiastic than us.”

“Then when we got the ball and got opportunities we gave it up to easily.

“As a result we couldn’t get any momentum.”

He said they certainly learnt a few lessons.

No-one really stood out for them but Jack King and Alex Pay both played pretty well in a beaten team.

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Region’s hospitals to get millions more

South West Healthcare acting chief executive Andrew Trigg said the state government’s cash injection reflected increased demand from patients since the Warrnambool Base underwent extensive renovations three years ago.HOSPITALS across the south-west including Warrnambool Base have received a financial boost from Spring Street to meet increased demand.
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South West Healthcare will have an operational budget of more than $111 million for this financial year, nearly $5.7 million more than the 2013-14 period.

The figure represents a budgetary increase of 5.4 per cent for the health care group, which operates the Warrnambool Base and Camperdown hospitals as well as community health centres in Lismore and Macarthur.

South West Healthcare acting chief executive Andrew Trigg said the cash injection reflected increased demand from patients since the Warrnambool Base underwent extensive renovations three years ago.

“We had in excess of 17,000 inpatients during 2013-14, which was a record for us,” Mr Trigg said.

“I think (the funding) is an acknowledgement of the strong sub-regional demand we’ve seen over the past few years.

“It will meet the increased demand for a range of services, so it will be welcomed by staff here.”

Moyne Health Services has received a $5.43 million budget for the 2014-15 period, which is $100,000 more than last financial year, representing a 1.8 per cent rise.

Premier Denis Napthine said all of the region’s hospitals delivered high-quality health care at a time when more people required their services.

“There has been significant growth in the number of services delivered in Warrnambool in recent years,” said Dr Napthine, who is also South West Coast MP.

“This funding boost will ensure that services continue to meet demand and that the highest level of care continues to be provided to our community.”

Meanwhile, Portland District Health secured an operational budget of more than $24 million, which is $1 million extra on last financial year.

The rise represents a 4.6 per cent increase compared to the 2013-14 period.

Heywood Rural Health will have an operational budget of $2.84 million this financial year, an extra $40,000 on last financial year. Figures for Terang Mortlake Health Services and Western District Health Services were not available yesterday.

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Rolled by Redbacks

THE bell was tolling at South Tamworth Bowling Club, but not for the home side in their State Grade 5 Pennants Final against Narrandera Redbacks.
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Winning skip Steve Graham arrows this one down with some venom to match the Redback sting. Photos: Barry Smith 110814BSC15

It was tolling a wedding march for Narrandera and one of the Redback bachelors – Richard Durnan.

He had announced to his lawn bowling clubmates before the weekend’s State Pennants Finals at the South and West Tamworth clubs, he’d marry his sweetheart, Maree Tuckett if the Redbacks won.

“Richard said he’d marry her if we won the flag,” confirmed Redbacks team manager Kevin English.

“He made the big announcement. He’ll have 14 best men if he does.”

Durnan wasn’t saying too much other than offering a sheepish grin when his team-mates and supporters started the “here comes the bride” chant during the officialpresentations.

It was a light-hearted moment for a team that travelled about nine hours by coach to play at Tamworth, then won its way into the No. 5 Playoff Final before beating the home club South Tamworth 63-45 on their own rinks.

Both Narrandera and South were vying for their second state flags.

South had won the State No. 2s back in 1999 while Narrandera had won the No 3s at Taree in 2000.

The visitors were always in control and led by 10 shots after 46 ends before South made a run and got to within four shots.

The Redbacks had edged out to another 10 shot lead by the 55th end and when two of their fours “dropped five shot” results they had suddenly taken an unbeatable 61-42 lead.

“Dropping those two five-shot at a vital stage was where we won it,” Kevin English said.

Tamworth manager Chris Herden agreed.

“They got 13 shots in three ends,” Herden said.

“That’s what killed us.

“It’s been a good weekend though.

“The boys were happy to get this far. You’ve got to be happy to make a state final anytime.”

Royal NSW Bowling Association vice president Lyle Keats has been to many state pennants playoffs and reckoned he had not seen any better organised tournament.

He thought the two Tamworth clubs, South and West, put together a brilliant weekend.

“Congratulations to both sides too,” he said.

“It was a very good game of quality bowls and played in great spirit.”

The Steve Graham-skipped four won its clash 17-15 but the Greg Harris-skipped and Owen Walker-skipped 4s lost 26-17 and 22-11 respectively.

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Mark Birighitti’s coffee date with Juventus goalie Gigi Buffon

GET-TOGETHER: Keepers Gigi Buffon and Mark Birighitti after Sunday’s match.IT was a cup of coffee Mark Birighitti will cherish forever.
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The advice the Jets goalkeeper received from Juventus shot-stopper Gigi Buffon will be equally treasured.

Birighitti spent 40 minutes with his idol at the Italian team’s Sydney hotel on Monday.

The previous night, the 23-year-old had played the final 20 minutes for the A-League All Stars in a credible 3-2 loss to the Serie-A champions.

After exchanging shirts with Buffon and Andrea Pirlo post-game, Birighitti’s All Stars teammate and Juventus legend Alessandro Del Piero arranged a get-together for the keepers.

‘‘It was amazing to spend time with Buffon,’’ Birighitti said.

‘‘We had a coffee and he told me about his experiences and gave me some advice, which was amazing.

‘‘He said, ‘No matter where you play, no matter what the game is, if you have things on your mind, if there is stuff happening overseas, always focus on the present moment. Focus on the job at hand and don’t get too far ahead of yourself’.

‘‘He knew I was at the Newcastle Jets and had the experience of going to the World Cup and was close to signing in Germany.

‘‘He said, ‘Now you are at Newcastle, you focus on Newcastle. That is your team and make sure you perform week-in, week-out for them. Europe will always be there. If you perform well at your club, you will get opportunities to go overseas. If you don’t perform at your club, it is a different story’.

‘‘We spoke about a range of things but that was the thing that stuck with me.

‘‘Getting advice off him – he has played at the highest level, is a world champion and has done everything in world football.

‘‘To hear that from his mouth was music to my ears.’’

Birighitti returns to the Jets and the reality of a preseason training today.

Ben Kennedy finished last season as the Jets’ first-choice gloveman and has been in-goal for the opening three trials.

‘‘I can’t wait to get back now and knuckle down to training,’’ Birighitti said.

‘‘I have had an amazing few months – going to the World Cup and then getting into the All Star team.

‘‘It is only going to make me hungrier for the season to start.

‘‘BK is a good goalkeeper.

‘‘It is up to me now. I just want to focus on my own game and make sure I perform day-in day-out at training.

‘‘As Buffon said, I have to focus on the present and not get too far ahead of myself.’’

Against Juventus, the score was locked at 1-1 when Birighitti replaced Eugene Galekovic.

Western Sydney striker Tomi Juric regained the lead for the All Stars with a thumping shot but late goals to Paul Pogba and Simone Pepe sealed the win for the Italians.

Both strikes were sublime and gave Birighitti little hope of saving them.

‘‘Their accuracy rate is so high,’’ Birighitti said.

‘‘When world-class players get an opportunity, they execute them. You give them a little sniff and they take it. You make a mistake and they punish.

‘‘In saying that, we gave it a real good crack.

‘‘We kept the ball well. That was one thing [coach] Josep Gombau was big on.

‘‘He wanted us to try and play football, play with freedom and enjoy the experience.’’

Doubts Knights can retain Willie Mason, Chris Houston, David Fa’alogo

Willie Mason INCOMING coach Rick Stone has indicated the Knights could struggle to retain all three off-contract senior forwards Willie Mason, Chris Houston and David Fa’alogo.
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The Knights confirmed yesterday that Stone will replace Wayne Bennett for the next two years, but Bennett will remain in charge for the rest of this season.

Stone will concentrate on trying to win a premiership with the club’s NSW Cup squad before taking the reins from Bennett, but he wants to meet Knights chief executive Matt Gidley as soon as possible to start planning for next year.

‘‘There’s a few things – staff and player roster are important – so myself and Matt have got to get on to that pretty much straight away,’’ Stone said.

‘‘That’s going to be an important one, particularly for the players and staff that are involved in that situation, so that’s something we’ve got to get cracking at straight away.

‘‘I’m comfortable to keep my role in what I’ve been doing as assistant coach and NSW Cup coach for the rest of the year. I’ve got four games to go in the NRL, and hopefully we’ve got a few more games at NYC and NSW Cup once the semi-finals roll around.

‘‘We’ll get a review process sorted out at the end of the year and we’ll start planning and putting some things together to get ourselves ready for the next off-season.’’

Chris Houston

Stone said the Knights needed to bolster their front-row stocks for 2015.

Mason wants to continue playing next season, and his manager Sam Ayoub said he had been negotiating with two other NRL clubs on Mason’s behalf.

Houston and Fa’alogo want to stay at the Knights but contract talks were put on hold while they waited for Bennett’s successor to be named.

‘‘They’re three senior players that are obviously unsigned, and they’re players that we need to talk about as a group and make some decisions on, going forward,’’ Stone said. ‘‘Once we get our cap position sorted out, and we understand what our priorities are as a club, they’re all three great players and you’d probably like to keep them all at the club, but it may not be possible depending on where our position is in the cap when we finish this year.’’

Meanwhile, NSW winger James McManus is unlikely to play again this season.

David Fa’alogo

McManus suffered a toe injury in the Blues’ 32-8 loss to Queensland in the third State of Origin game on July 9 then backed up in Newcastle’s 31-18 victory over Cronulla at Remondis Stadium four days later but has not played since.

Knights high-performance manager Jeremy Hickmans said last night that McManus would wear a protective CAM Boot for two or three weeks ‘‘so we’re not sure if he will return this season’’.

Hickmans said scans had cleared fullback Sione Mata’utia of a broken jaw.

The 18-year-old rookie was injured in a tackle by Storm prop Tim Glasby during Newcastle’s miraculous 32-30 victory at Hunter Stadium last Saturday night.

Glasby was charged yesterday with a grade-one careless high tackle but escaped suspension.

Whether Mata’utia plays against the Warriors at Hunter Stadium next Sunday could depend on the fitness of five-eighth Jarrod Mullen, who missed the Storm win due to a torn abdominal muscle.

If Mullen returns against the Warriors, as expected, captain Kurt Gidley is likely to replace Mata’utia at fullback, where he was originally selected for the Melbourne game.

Hickmans said Beau Scott should return after missing the Storm victory due to concussion but fellow back-rower Robbie Rochow will need to pass a CogSport test this week to be cleared to take his place against the Warriors.

Hickmans said Darius Boyd, who has not played since checking himself into a mental health facility three weeks ago seeking treatment for depression, remained sidelined indefinitely.

Josh Leeson reports: Hull Kingston Rovers have confirmed the signing of Knights winger Josh Mantellato, as first reported in the Herald last Thursday. Mantellato finalised a three-year deal yesterday with the English Super League club.

The 27-year-old goal-kicking winger has been a point-scoring machine in the NSW Cup but his opportunities in the NRL have been limited.

Mantellato told the Newcastle Herald last week he was keen on a move to the English Super League as he expected future first-grade opportunities were unlikely given the emergence of rookie outside backs Chanel Mata’utia and Jake Mamo.

Croker hopes Raiders fans will give Dugan hard time

Josh DuganRUGBY LEAGUE
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Canberracentre Jarrod Croker says he hopes Raiders fans will get stuck into his former teammate Josh Dugan when he returns to GIO Stadium for the first time this Saturday.

Dugan was sacked by the Raiders last year after a string of off-field incidents, leaving a sour taste in the mouths of many frustrated NRL fans – not to mention a few teammates.

But the NSW State of Origin star has since re-ignited his career at St George Illawarra, and this Saturday’s clash in Canberra will be his first visit back to his old stomping ground.

When asked if he was hoping the crowd wouldn’t get stuck into his former teammate and friend, Croker replied with a smile: “I’d like them to get into him a bit but he’s the sort of player that will probably thrive off the back of that.

“He’ll be down here for a big game and will have all his boys geed up as well.

Croker added that the pre-game talk would be about how good a player Dugan is, not his history at the club.

“We know how good a player he is, he’s the Origin centre. So that’s what’s going to be talked about,” he said. – AAP

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Tenterfield golfer takes fifth title on sandgreens

BARRABA Golf Club hosted the NSW Women’s Sandgreen Championships on the weekend and more than 70 players from all over the state teed off in the two-day event.
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Tenterfield’s Val Davidson triumphed for the fifth time after carding rounds of 79, 77 on the par 71 layout.

She beat Inverell’s ElizabethHobday by one shot with Walcha’s Julie Presnell the 36 hole nett winner with 135, also by a shot and also from another Walcha golfer, VickiHeffernan.

“We had a huge weekend,” said Barraba Golf Club’s Stacey Etheridge.

o Further details will be on tomorrow’s Golf Page

In Tamworth last Friday 22 teams took to the tree-lined Tamworth Golf Club for the annual Cystic Fibrosis Charity day. Eighty eight players teed off in the nine hole competition with the Regional Plant Hire team of Garry Smith, Robert Burns, Richard Herden and Gerry Exton winning the nine hole competition around the back nine with a fine eight under par round.

Around the front nine the team of Andrew Penman, Neil Alderton, Neil Harvey and Stewart “Boo” Pyne fired a three under par round to win the green shirts. About $7500 was raised on a magnificent day, said charity golf day organiser Peter Roulstone.

Harvey Norman and many of its suppliers supplied many of the trophies and auction items.

“It was a great day,” Peter Roulstone said.

“Eighty eight players and 22 teams took part in the nine hole afternoon. All money raised goes to cysticfibrosis.”

The Casino kilted quartet (from left) Rosco Franey, Owie Newell, Spearo Ensby and CQ Yates take a break at Friday’s cystic fibrosis charity golf day at Tamworth Golf Club. Photo: Gareth Gardner 080814GGB04

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Homing in on university options – using GPS

Warrnambool Primary School pupils (from left) Xavier Mitchem, 12, Fraser Marris, 12, Syrenite Hewson, 12, Sophie O’Brien, 11, and Marli Cooke, 11, help hide geocaches around the Deakin University campus.140807LP03 Picture: LEANNE PICKETTGEOCACHING is hide-and-seek with a modern techno twist and yesterday seven “treasures” were hidden at Deakin University, awaiting discovery.
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Warrnambool Primary School and fourth-year education students at Deakin’s Warrnambool campus created the new geocaches — all with a theme related to courses at the uni.

Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game where participants navigate to a specific set of GPS co-ordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.

Some of the sites have geographic or historic connections to the campus, with geocaches hidden near the water towers, soccer pitch and football oval.

The sites will be incorporated into an expanded annual “amazing race” program that seeks to demystify higher education and raise the aspirations of local students by introducing them to life on the campus.

Students from 13 schools across Warrnambool and the surrounding district are involved, as well as South West TAFE.

Deakin University Warrnambool Community Partnership Program project manager Rashmita Samrai said the visiting students used iPads and a GPS to find their way around the campus.

“The event showcases the role of technology in education and gives Deakin students an authentic way to work directly with schools,” she said.

“It will scope employment pathways for local young people in priority industries and raise aspirations for tertiary education.”

A log, school desk and drink container are some of the geocaches that have been hidden across the campus.

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ALP seeks new Polwarth candidate

A NEW Labor party candidate for the safe Liberal seat of Polwarth is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
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In April, Labor endorsed former firefighter Joe Brown to take on state Transport Minister Terry Mulder, but Mr Brown pulled out of the race last month.

Labor upper house MP for the Western Victoria region Jaala Pulford said it was disappointing a candidate like Mr Brown couldn’t continue, and that earlier reports he had been dumped by the party were incorrect.

“Joe Brown is a strong voice for Labor in the south-west and a passionate campaigner for quality healthcare, schools and jobs. Joe suffered a terrible injury in his work as a firefighter,” Ms Pulford said.

“Sadly, some ongoing health issues mean that continuing to be our Polwarth candidate has not been possible for Joe, however he and I look forward to joining our new candidate on the campaign trail.”

The Standard reported last month it was believed Mr Brown had been dumped by the party after all references to him disappeared from social media and party websites and documents without explanation.

The Standard tried to contact ALP state headquarters more than 10 times over a week-long period to find out why Mr Brown was no longer listed as a candidate, but phone calls were not answered and messages not returned.

Attempts were also made to contact Mr Brown, who took to social media on Sunday night saying he was unable to be contacted because he didn’t wish to speak to The Standard.

Ms Pulford said a new candidate for the seat would be announced some time in the next two weeks.

Mr Mulder holds the seat with a massive 13 per cent margin and it is one of the few seats that Labor has never won.

Polwarth extends east from Panmure and includes Mortlake, Terang, Camperdown, Port Campbell, Timboon, Cobden, Lismore and Derrinallum.

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League legend talks night and day

NSW BLUES coach and former Canberra and Australian rugby league star Laurie Daley will be the guest speaker at the University of New England (UNE) Sports Awards Invitational Evening to be held on Wednesday, September 24.
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“Laurie has had a fantastic year, being the first NSW coach in eight years to claim the State of Origin title,” director UNE Life Dave Schmude, said.

“To achieve this he had a number of challenges to overcome and it will be great to hear his story. I know our students and clubs are very excited about having the opportunity to listen to him speak.” Schmude said, “The awards night is an opportunity to recognise our athletes and celebrate all of those who have achieved outstanding results in their chosen sport or have been involved in sport, either by coaching or contributing in other ways.”

“At UNE we are very fortunate to have exceptional sporting facilities, with superb playing fields, state-of-the-art training facilities and a range of academic programs associated with sport.”

As well as attending the sports awards, Daley will be speaking at the New England Mutual (NEM) Business Breakfast, to be held at the Armidale City Bowling Club on Thursday September 25.

“We have partnered with organisations such as UNE on more than one occasion to ensure experiences like this are made accessible to the wider Armidale Community,” NEM chief marketing officer Darren Schaefer said.

o Meanwhile, a rare Monday training run for Justin Hodges has the Broncos preparing to welcome back their star centre for Thursday night’s big NRL clash with South Sydney.

Hodges sweated it out for about 25 minutes by himself at Red Hill as he ran sprints, shuttles and also dummy-half drills in a bid to prove he’d quickly overcome his hamstring injury to play at ANZ Stadium.

The 31-year-old hardly missed a beat in his fitness test and gave the thumbs-up as he returned to the sheds before for his side’s closed training session.

“He’ll make the right decision for himself and the team,” said fellow co-captain Corey Parker.

But with just two field sessions to prepare for the in-form Rabbitohs, it was crucial Hodges, who normally rests up at the start of the week, took part on Monday.

Centre partner Dale Copley revealed Hodges, who had an injection last week as he missed Friday night’s 41-10 thumping of Canterbury, returned to training onSaturday.

Blues coach Laurie Daley will be Armidale in September as guest speaker at the UNE Sports Awards Evening and the New England Mutual Community Business Breakfast.

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