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Woman robbed at Fairy Meadow station

A woman was robbed by two boys, one believed to be about 10 years old, at Fairy Meadow on Sunday.
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The woman, 30, was walking down stairs at Fairy Meadow train station at 5.50pm when two boys ran towards her, police said.

One of the boys pushed the woman before grabbing her mobile phone and headphones and then running off towards Elliotts Road.

A few minutes later, one of the boys ran back to the woman and returned her headphones.

Police want to speak to two boys about the incident.

The first boy is described as being of Caucasian appearance, about 10 years old, about 140 centimetres tall, with a skinny build and blond hair. He was last seen wearing a white and black sports shift, dark-coloured shorts, running shoes and a black baseball cap.

The second male is described as being about 15 years old, with a skinny build and tanned skin.

He was last seen wearing a light silver T-shirt and long tracksuit pants.

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Bashing victim’s mother says coward’s punch focus right move

MR CRAMPThe mother of bashing victim Simon Cramp has welcomed the focus on “coward punches” this Brain Injury Awareness Week.
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Primbee’s Angela Cramp said her son’s life changed forever after a drunken and unprovoked attack in Sydney’s CBD on June 2, 2013.

Simon, then 26, suffered life-threatening head injuries and underwent surgery to relieve pressure on his brain and remains at risk of seizures for the rest of his life.

Mrs Cramp said it was important that the national awareness campaign puts its focus on the coward’s punch, which has killed 90 Australians in the past 10 years – 28 in NSW.

Brain Injury Awareness Week, which runs until Sunday, turns the spotlight on the many more Australians that survive.

“It’s very topical for our family and for so many others who have been injured and are now dealing with acquired brain injury in the last year,” Mrs Cramp said.

“It’s terrible enough for people who have it through accident but when it’s through assault because someone thought it might be entertaining to do that to someone is just horrific. It’s hard to believe these people do not understand the consequences of their actions.

“The impact on the victim and their family, and the cost to the community from one punch is devastating.”

Mrs Cramp considers her family among the “lucky ones” because their son made a good recovery.

“We have seen so many people whose lives are shattered because their loved one has died, or has survived but has been confined to a wheelchair,” she said.

“Simon still has to accept that his life has changed forever because he had to guard himself against knocks to the head and seizures but he is one of the lucky ones.

“We continue to help raise awareness of these attacks and through increased exposure, there has been a reduction in the last six months. Meanwhile, the terminology has been changed – it’s now known as a coward’s punch not a king hit, which is right because there’s nothing regal about it.”

Headway and the Illawarra Brain Injury Service are hosting an inter-agency day for their clients at Northern Bowl, Corrimal, on Tuesday to mark the awareness week.

Headway manager Robyn Russell said the culture of “binge drinking” had led to an increase of alcohol-fuelled assaults resulting in brain injury over the past decade.

“Brain injury is often referred to as the hidden disability because it’s not always apparent that someone has one,” she said.

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Parents back KidzWish program

The program will help kids such as Kiara Risku, 12, realise their potential. Picture: ANDY ZAKELIA new KidzWish program will help Illawarra children with Down syndrome, such as Kiara Risku, reach their full potential.
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The 12-year-old Dapto girl has struggled with communication and mobility all her life, yet parents Vanessa and Sam have never been able to access the formal speech or occupational therapy she needs.

Mrs Risku welcomed the new KidzWish program – a combination of speech, occupational and physiotherapy – which will help her cope better at school and in social situations.

“I had so much trouble trying to access these type of services when Kiara was little that I just gave up, as she had so many medical issues that we had to focus on,” she said.

“The waiting lists for publicly funded services were years long and we just couldn’t afford to pay for private treatment with all the medical costs we have to fork out.

“So Kiara just missed out and she has not progressed as much as she would have as a result. Now we’re excited that she may finally be able to get the one-on-one therapy she needs.”

KidzWish is hoping to raise $100,000 at a special fund-raising dinner on Wednesday to fund the program – the first of its kind in the Illawarra.

“Services in the Illawarra for children with Down syndrome have tended to focus on their acute care and medical needs such as swallowing difficulties and heart conditions,” KidzWish speech pathologist Alysia Revell said.

“While it’s vital to focus on these things, there’s been limited services which focus on helping these children develop their play, their communication and their motor skills.

“That’s why we plan to set up this new trans-disciplinary service which will help each child achieve their maximum potential and be better able to engage with their peers and in community activities.”

Ms Revell said the program would focus on early intervention, but children such as Kiara who had missed out would also be eligible.

The Voice 2013 runner-up Luke Kennedy will headline the entertainment at the inaugural KidzWish Orange All Stars dinner at the Lagoon restaurant.

Other guests include Ed Halmagyi from Better Homes and Gardens and Wave FM announcer Jade Papesch, who will talk about her journey with baby Lulu, who has Down syndrome.

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OPINION: Rick Stone reaches out to Newcastle faithful

BACK IN CHARGE: Rick Stone with Matt Gidley yesterday. Picture: Darren PatemanOUR town, our team … our coach.
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In Rick Stone, the Knights have appointed the right man to replace the departing Wayne Bennett.

Someone who, unlike Bennett, was born and bred in Newcastle and not only understands the unique symbiotic relationship between the community and the club, but cares about it.

Bennett might have won an unprecedented seven premierships but hindsight would suggest he was never the right fit for the Knights.

From the moment he arrived in town, in late 2011, it was clear that the veteran tactician was here to do a job on his own terms.

‘‘I know what works,’’ he stated repeatedly.

Nobody was arguing, given his remarkable track record.

Bennett’s only focus was winning games. The rest could take care of itself.

All of which may have been well and good if his team had upheld their end of the bargain.

But from the outset they struggled to live up to the expectations created by the hype and hysteria of the Nathan Tinkler takeover.

By midway through last season, Bennett’s second in charge, crowd figures were painting a sorry picture.

Even though Newcastle’s performance had improved on their 2012 campaign and they were heading towards the playoffs, attendances at Turton Road were declining.

There were also conspicuous numbers of vacant corporate boxes in Hunter Stadium.

To pin all this on Bennett would be unfair.

There were a host of contributing factors, not least the unwanted reputation Tinkler had gained.

But it was significant that Stone, whose reinstatement as Newcastle’s head coach for the next two seasons was confirmed at a press conference yesterday, said that reconnecting with the Novocastrian faithful would be a priority.

‘‘I think the connection between the town and the team is really important for membership, and it’s really important for our supporter base, and it’s really important that the players feel there’s a connection there as well,’’ Stone said.

‘‘It’s a unique situation Newcastle, in the one team, one town, and it’s a traditional true blue-collar rugby league landscape. Everyone’s got an opinion on the Knights – good, bad or indifferent – and we all understand everyone deserves their own opinion.

‘‘But it’s important we give them the appropriate information when it’s the right time.’’

Stone acknowledged the need for ‘‘transparency’’ and how the home-town media play a role.

‘‘The people of Newcastle want to know about their team and they want to know the little idiosyncrasies about some of their players and some of the feel-good stories as well, and we’d like to see that happen, for sure,’’ he said.

Nonetheless, coaches are judged on results, not their PR policies.

In Stone’s first tenure, which stretched from late 2009 until the end of 2011, he won 25 of 54 games, including two play-off defeats.

Given that the 2010 season was overshadowed by the Danny Wicks drugs scandal and the following campaign was disrupted by Bennett’s remote-control cleanout of players, it was a respectable effort.

But to guarantee his retention beyond the end of 2016, Stone will be relying on improved performances, especially after he declared this time he is inheriting a stronger squad than he did five years earlier after the sacking of Brian Smith.

‘‘I think player personnel, we’re probably a little bit stronger,’’ he said. ‘‘We’ve got some real competitive, hard-nosed senior players in our group still, which is obviously a bonus. The Beau Scotts and the Jeremy Smiths, they’re players that weren’t in our list the last time I was coach.’’ Knights chief executive Matt Gidley said there were some quality contenders for the job Bennett will vacate, ‘‘half a dozen’’ of whom were closely considered.

But every other candidate would have represented a gamble, to some degree.

With Stone, the Knights know what they are getting – someone who has been loyal to the club since 2006, has a tireless work ethic, a commitment to junior development and a close relationship with his players and staff.

Above all else he is a Novocastrian, and coaching his home-town club is not just a job.

It will be a labour of love.

Eagles lifted by Dunn’s nine

NARRABRI Eagles might have re-ignited their Essential Energy Tamworth AFL season with Saturday’s 39-point win over Gunnedah Bulldogs, as Inverell Saints handed New England Nomads their first loss of the season and the Tamworth Roos made a “clean swoop” of the Tamworth Swans.
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Swans hard man Chris Wilson secures this ball as Roos youngsters Daniel Leon (left) and Rhett Graham (right) look on. The Roos kicked clear in the second half to win Saturday’s local derby. Photo: Barry Smith 090814BSD02

Todd Dunn’s arrival in Narrabri has helped re-energise and reform the Eagles this season.

Some great results early on had the Eagles looking at a top three spot before a string of defeats left it anchored in fourth spot on the TAFL table.

On Saturday the Eagles grabbed their first win in a month when spearheaded by Dunn’s nine goals to a 22.5 137 to 14.14 98 victory over the

Bulldogs.

While Dunn was outstanding Giulio Hiemoana, Mark Barrow, Daniel Hughes, Michael McConnell and Connor Richardson all had big games for the Eagles.

Andrew George has been one of the Bulldogs best and he kicked six goals for the John Woolaston-coached side.

Ryan Cooper, Keith Lee, Cameron Milne, Troy Sands and Luke Curgenven also starred for the Bulldogs with cricketers Milne and Sands also bagging three goals apiece.

Teenage Swan forward Thomas Byrnes continued his good season, kicking five goals for the Swans as they flew to a half time lead in the third of their Billy Holder Cup games at No. 1 Oval on Saturday.

But the Swans were overrun in the second half as the Roos swooped for a clean sweep in all three games this season.

The Roos shared the goals around too with stalwart Dan Overeem and Nicholas Frawley kicking three apiece and Ryan Painter and Rhett Graham two apiece.

Overeem and Graham were two of the Roos best along with Matt Hughes, Ian Leys, Luke Robinson and big Matt Hopson. While Byrnes booted five for the Swans club, vet Gavin Knee also kicked two with Lachlan Rowling, Chris Wilson, Josh McRae, Shane Kilby and Steve Fairless among their best.

Up in Inverell the Saints celebrated their first win over the Nomads since 2012 when they kicked 13.8 86 to the Nomads’ 11.17 83.

Luke Selig was the Saints man of the match with another outstanding effort in the middle of the park.

He also booted three goals while Lachlan McDonald also kicked four in an energetic effort up front.

Tom Williams, Scott Fermor, Darren Pithers and Justin Pay also starred for the Saints.

The Nomads didn’t have their kicking boots on, nailing 17 behinds as Weston Whitby kicked five goals.

Whitby, Mark Spencer, Tom Hunt, Jon Freund, Mathew Foley and Charles Bender were the Nomads best. They head to Gunnedah this Saturday to play the Bulldogs, while the Saints travel to Tamworth to tackle the resurgent Roos with the Swans off to Narrabri to take on the Eagles in a battle of the birds.

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Union plea on Bulli Hospital attacks

Picture: ROBERT PEETThe Health Services Union is demanding action after a spate of attacks on staff at Bulli Hospital in the last month.
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According to the union, one health and safety assistant (HASA) was punched in the face and another in the genitals while a nurse was choked and two others required physio after being attacked by patients.

Bulli Hospital provides a combination of inpatient, outpatient and community health services and specialises in multidisciplinary geriatric care.

HSU NSW secretary Gerard Hayes said understaffing at the hospital was putting pressure on all staff.

“Staff at Bulli Hospital should not have to put their own health and safety on the line simply to do their job. This is simply unacceptable,” he said. “Budget cuts are again playing havoc with the ability of our members to work safely and securely.

“We are seeking a commitment from management that at least two health and safety assistants are on shift at any one time. Anything less than that puts our members at risk.”

NSW Nurses and Midwives Association regional organiser Mark Murphy said hospital staff should be protected at work.

“The association is aware there’s been a number of extremely aggressive incidents involving our members,” he said.

“Members of the [union] branch at Bulli have met with management and an action plan is being worked through to ensure our members’ – and other patients’ – safety in the future.

“It is unacceptable in today’s society for our members to be injured by patients in the workplace.”

Mr Murphy said branch were meeting on Tuesday to discuss the issue further.

A hospital worker, who did not wish to be named, contacted the Mercury about the assaults.

The worker said staff were concerned for their safety and wanted more security backup.

“Speaking from my point of view, I’ve had to take patients down when there has been no other alternative,” the worker said.

“If I hadn’t have intervened a staff member would have been seriously assaulted or killed.”

A spokesperson for Bulli Hospital said the hospital worked hard to implement strategies to deal with challenging patients.

“Bulli Hospital treats many patients, most of whom are elderly and living with degenerative conditions like dementia, which can result in aggression in some people,” the spokesperson said.

“As part of the management plan for aggressive or challenging patients, the hospital has worked extensively, over the past 12 months in particular, to develop a range of strategies, programs and education for staff with organisations including Alzheimer’s Australia.

“These are aimed at striking a balance between maintaining the care, dignity and respect of our patients, regardless of their condition, and the safety and well-being of all staff.

“This can be a challenge, but the hospital is working extremely hard to implement strategies to best deal with caring for people with complex requirements; this includes ensuring an appropriate number of staff on both night and day.”

The hospital spokesperson said all of the action plans, patient management strategies and hospital processes were constantly reviewed, amid consultation with staff and other experts.

“Staff are always encouraged to provide feedback or discuss any concerns. To date, this [recent] matter has not been raised with hospital management by staff or unions,” the spokesperson said.

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Idea has beers helping soldiers

Former soldier Nathan Pitt came up with a plan to help injured comrades. Picture: ANDY ZAKELIWhen you buy a schooner of Australia Draught, you are quite literally helping injured Australian soldiers and their families.
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The new beer comes from the makers of Broo Lager and state manager Nathan Pitt, who lives in Flinders, said 20 per cent of the proceeds from Australia Draught were donated to two military welfare groups.

Mr Pitt, himself a former serviceman who served in Afghanistan, said the idea came up while talking with Broo Limited owner and “best mate” Kent Grogan.

“I suggested it to Kent – being a serviceman and having a large number of friends who have departed and been injured due to their service,” Mr Pitt said.

“I ran it past Grogs and he said, ‘right let’s give 20 per cent to it’.”

Mr Pitt said he joined the company only after he finished serving in Afghanistan – even though Mr Grogan had been asking him to do it for years.

“I said ‘mate, the mission hasn’t been completed, we’re still at war and I can’t leave’,” Mr Pitt said. “I couldn’t leave the army and help develop the beer while mates of mine were still serving overseas. It didn’t sit well with me.”

But he started work there after being discharged in October last year as Australia pulled troops from Afghanistan.

“I see Australia Draught’s commitment to my brothers and their families is something that goes well beyond what I can do with a rifle in my hand,” he said.

As far as the beer itself goes, Mr Pitt said the target market was “beer-drinking Australians”.

“It’s a very broad market I know, but there’s never been a beer like ours,” he said. “Every beer would have its local identity. Carlton products were drunk down in Victoria. Tooheys products were drunk in NSW, nobody’s ever done a nation-based beer the entire country can relate to.”

At the moment the beer is only on tap at four places in the region – Towradgi Beach Hotel, Windang and Albion Park bowling clubs and Robertson Hotel.

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Knights go back to the future with coach Rick Stone: video

CONFIDENT: Rick Stone on Monday. Picture: Darren PatemanDEPARTING coach Wayne Bennett reckons it will take ‘‘four or five years’’ to rebuild the Knights.
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Rick Stone cannot afford to wait that long.

The Knights confirmed yesterday that Stone, who Bennett succeeded three years ago as part of Nathan Tinkler’s take-over, will replace the Brisbane Broncos-bound mentor as Newcastle’s NRL coach for the next two seasons.

The announcement ended weeks of speculation since Bennett said on July 10 that he would not be returning to coach the Knights for a fourth season next year, though Stone was always among the favourites to replace him and firmed to odds-on when Garth Brennan withdrew from the race.

Two weeks earlier, when he was still undecided about his own future, Bennett emerged from a planning meeting with Knights chief executive Matt Gidley and club adviser John Quayle and suggested transforming Newcastle into a super-power would require more than a ‘‘quick fix’’.

‘‘It’s going to take four or five years, I’ve got no doubt about that at all, to get it up to speed and where they want to take it, and they want to do it with a new board and a new direction – all those things that are important,’’ Bennett told the Newcastle Herald.

Stone is understandably more bullish about the Knights’ foreseeable future.

Sitting alongside Gidley at a media conference at the club’s Mayfield headquarters yesterday to announce the second coming of the Stone age, the 47-year-old father of three sons was asked if Bennett’s prediction of a five-year plan was too pessimistic.

Please enable Javascript to watch this video‘‘I’d like to think so,’’ Stone said.

‘‘I’ve only got two, so I’ve got to get busy and see if we can make someinroads in the next two, which would be really important.

‘‘I’m confident we can do it, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.’’

An assistant coach to Michael Hagan in 2006 and Brian Smith from 2007, Stone succeeded Smith with four rounds left in 2009 and coached the Knights in 54 NRL games until he stepped aside at the end of 2011 to make way for Bennett.

The Lakes United product and former carpenter continued at the Knights as an assistant to Bennett and has been Newcastle’s NSW Cup coach for the past two seasons, taking the club’s second-tier squad within a game of last year’s grand final and back to the finals this season.

Stone coached the Knights to the 2009 and 2011 NRL finals and believes that is an attainable goal next season.

‘‘Initially, you need to get yourself into the top eight obviously, and I think we’ve got a roster that’s capable of doing that, and I’m sure Wayne would be the first to admit there’s still a roster here that’s capable of doing that,’’ he said.

‘‘I think Penrith are a great example of making some decent recruitment decisions and working hard as a group – not a flashy playing staff – but they have really got themselves in a good position this year, and we could possibly model ourselves on something like that.

‘‘At different times this year, we have let ourselves down and we haven’t played as well as we need to. We need to get some consistency back.

‘‘It’s funny, because when I finished the job [in 2011], we were just starting to get some consistency, and it took a couple of years to get there.

‘‘We’ve seen the same sort of thing probably rear its head in the last couple of years where the consistency hasn’t been good enough. It hasn’t been good enough for NRL standard, we got some at the back end of last year when we made a run for the semi-finals, but apart from then, it’s fair to say that we need to improve with that.’’

Gidley said Newcastle’s players welcomed Stone’s appointment.

‘‘Rick was always going to be a very strong candidate for the job, but given how important the role is, we felt we needed to go through a thorough process before we came to this position,’’ Gidley said.

‘‘One of the keys is Rick has been a part of this group for the last three years, and he’s been in a senior coaching role at our club since 2006, so he understands the type of club we are and the type of club we can be, so that’s really important.’’

Gidley said the club’s selection subcommittee of himself, Quayle and chairman Paul Harragon seriously considered the claims of six other candidates but Stone was a stand-out.

Stone dismissed any suggestion he had been promised a second chance by Tinkler or Knights management as part of a gentlemen’s agreement or otherwise, saying ‘‘I don’t think there’s any real guarantees in the game of rugby league in this day and age’’.

‘‘You don’t get many chances to come back and coach at the same NRL club as head coach, so it’s a unique situation for myself,’’ Stone said. ‘‘I’d like to think I’ve been pretty patient over those three years, and learnt a lot, and understand a little bit about Newcastle from the juniors right through to the top grade, and I’m really excited about our future.’’

Stone, who steered Fiji to the World Cup semi-finals last year, believed he was inheriting a stronger roster than the one he took to the 2011 finals, and that he would be a better NRL coach second time around after three years working with Bennett.

‘‘I think you mature. Every year you’re involved in coaching, you mature and you learn a little bit more from the experiences you take out of it,’’ he said.

‘‘I learned plenty from Wayne. He handles things really professionally. He’s an experienced campaigner, he’s been around, he knows how to coach in big games and I learned plenty out of the semi-final series we played last year.

‘‘The last three years has been a great learning experience,’’ Stone said.

Monday’s Swan Hill Gallop results

TRACK GOOD(3)
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1-MURRAY DOWNS MDN PLATE 1204m: 1.90 fav THE SPITFIRE (b/br c 3y Fastnet Rock – Arborea. Trainer: David Hayes & Tom Dabernig) 58 (C A Robertson) 1, 15.00 SOPHIE’S FINALE 56 (Jack Hill) 2, 7.00 NIELSON 58 (B Rawiller) 3. Then followed: 13.00 Blue Jangles 3.20 Justalittlesquirt 18.00 Swashbuckler 15.00 Molyullah 21.00 Gold Seal last. All started. 1-1/2 len, lg hd. Time: 1:12.48. (No sect time).

2-BETFAIR POWER TO PUNTER MDN 1304m: 8.00 WILAUDIE (b m 4y Econsul (NZ) – Zals (NZ). Trainer: D K Weir) 56.5 (D Yendall) 1, 15.00 AIRFARE 56.5 (Dean Holland) 2, 5.50 HERE COMES THEBOOM 56 (C A Robertson) 3. Then followed: 3.80 Magnakali 15.00 Reformer 3.50 fav Tremont 12.00 Solar Bravo 26.00 Bold Statement 7.00 Max Master 41.00 Here Comes Trouble 51.00 A Rizing Star last. All started. 1-3/4 len, 3/4 len. Time: 1:18.53. (No sect time).

3-CORP. MEMBERSHIP AVAIL. MDN 1604m: 7.00 DANGEROUS LIGHT (b/br m 4y Dangerous – Dance For Us. Trainer: Jamie Scott) 56.5 (Jacob Rule) 1, 8.00 COTTON DELIGHT 56.5 (Jarrod Fry) 2, 7.00 GOLDEN PERFUME 56.5 (Ms H Mc Kechnie) 3. Then followed: 2.00 fav Sonic Flash 36.00 Alachua County 21.00 Gold Viking 15.00 Vege Bill 26.00 Chelski 41.00 Common Rail last. Scr: More Than Sweet, Spiritual Manner, Topography, Waikiki Duke. 2-1/4 len, 1-1/2 len. Time: 1:39.19. (No sect time).

4-MURRAY MALLEE SERIES HEAT-BM64 2108m: 2.50 fav REBEL FORCE (b g 5y Rakti (GB) – Largo. Trainer: Patrick Payne) 60.5 (B Rawiller) 1, 2.60 JIMMY’S BETTER 59.5 (Jack Hill) 2, 15.00 LONHREIGN 56 (D Yendall) 3. Then followed: 8.50 Jungle Spirit 7.00 Zaytsev 13.00 Kavieng 41.00 Soul Of Gold last. All started. 1-1/2 len, lg hd. Time: 2:16.76. (No sect time).

5-QUAMBATOOK CUP 21 SEP (BM64) 979m: 15.00 THEBARWONPRINCE (b g 8y Bianconi (USA) – Echuca Beauty. Trainer: Ms G Johnstone) 57 (Jack Hill) 1, 10.00 REAL CALM 56.5 (Simon Miller) 2, 12.00 SHOWABITOFHEART 57.5 (Ms C Puls) 3. Then followed: 10.00 Monsieur Pierre 9.00 Sorority Queen 4.60 Johnny Roo Boy 41.00 Seulamont 11.00 My Lesson 4.00 fav Register 6.00 Bierbower 26.00 Positive Decision 8.00 General Amour last. All started. Lg nk, 3/4 len. Time: 0:56.25. (No sect time).

6-MURRAY MALLEE SERIES HEAT-BM64 1204m: 8.50 LIKA SHADOW (b g 5y Host (CHI) – Theresnothinglycra. Trainer: Ms G Johnstone) 60 (J Mott) 1, 15.00 WHEATSHEAF FLYER 58.5 (M Munday) 2, 4.40 MARK’S MATILDA 58 (Jacob Rule) 3. Then followed: 21.00 Racing Tycoon 6.50 Urban Bourbon 41.00 Viscera 5.50 Hayite 10.00 Red Tycoon 13.00 Curragh King 26.00 Chelembra 26.00 Poppy’s Boy 12.00 Art Teen 4.00 fav Ask The Boss last. Scr: Havana Mania. Lg hd, 1/2 hd. Time: 1:11.45. (No sect time).

7-POOLES ACCOUNTANTS HCP (58) 1204m: 7.50 MOIRA’S CHARM (b m 6y Keltrice – Exorcism. Trainer: Ms M Lawson) 58.5 (F Alesci) 1, 13.00 SULTANA 57.5 carr 54.5 (Ms J Payne) 2, 17.00 CHICAGO CHICK 59.5 (R N Booth) 3. Then followed: 20.00 Calmalist 5.00 Long Shadow 14.00 Browneyedhawk 13.00 Ewenfire 8.50 She’s Got Grunt 15.00 Testarita and 6.50 Isthistheone dh, 4.20 fav Maniere 16.00 Bim Bom Bay 41.00 Golden Ella last. Scr: Caniwin, Bikini Dancer, Silken Gown, Pumatilly. Hd, sht 1/2 hd. Time: 1:11.92. (No sect time).

8-SWAN HILL BUS LINES HCP (58) 1604m: 15.00 SURFSIDE (b g 6y Rock Of Gibraltar (IRE) – Good Gamble (USA). Trainer: V L Malady) 59 (Jack Hill) 1, 4.20 fav METEORIC 60 (C A Robertson) 2, 6.00 WHERE TO NEXT 60 (J Mott) 3. Then followed: 7.00 Poussin 8.00 Chicanes 8.00 Southern Road 21.00 Flinders Cat 41.00 Why Mallan 12.00 Dashing Stars 11.00 Sophie’s Tryst 6.00 Bench And Bar 19.00 Reign High last. Scr: Distant Century, Lachie’s A Star, River Flower, Honor The Moment. Scratched at barrier: Sir Tully (26.00). Prices shown are subject to a deduction of 3c win and 4c place. 1-1/4 len, nk. Time: 1:38.48. (No sect time).

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Dane Swan set to return for Magpies

It might be a week late but after the worst loss of the year in its drubbing by West Coast, Collingwood is likely to  welcome back Brownlow medallist Dane Swan as one of several changes to the team this week.
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With the Magpies slipping out of the eight and needing to win the remaining games against Brisbane Lions, GWS and Hawthorn to hope to play finals, Swan’s return would be as welcome as it is timely.

Swan is understood to be fully recovered from the planta facia problems that kept him out of the side, has returned to training and has been moving better than he was when he was playing in the  games before he was sidelined with injury. He is almost certain to  return  to play Brisbane this week.

After two games in the VFL, tough inside midfielder Luke Ball is also poised to return. Collingwood was belted in contested ball and clearances against West Coast, with Taylor Adam’s omission through injury hurting them. Ball would have struggled on the large Subiaco oval but against Brisbane in Melbourne this week he is expected to play.

Ruckman Brodie Grundy was best afield in the VFL pressing forward to kick with three goals – which is what the Magpies have been asking of both of their rucks – and more than 20 possessions rucking against Tom Bellchambers, who is also likely to return.

After losing by 10 goals to West Coast, in a loss coach Nathan Buckley admitted was worse than even the beltings by Gold Coast and Essendon as those losses were partly the product of fatigued players leading into the bye, the Magpies forecast significant change.

Patrick Karnezis, who was recruited in the off-season from Brisbane as a rangy medium-tall forward and potential midfielder, had his most prolific game yet collecting 28 possessions in the VFL and  is a chance to be included.

Small defenders Ben Sinclair and Josh Thomas  also did reasonably well in the VFL.

‘‘Whoever has performed in the twos [is in line for selection],’’ Buckley said after the game. ‘‘When blokes don’t perform they have been left out. You have to do so in the right balance – we don’t play 18 small forwards.’’

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