Archive Month: May 2019
May 28 , 2019 / By :

IT IS true that Collingwood’s chief executive Gary Pert genuinely believes that illegal drugs have infiltrated football clubs to a dangerous and damaging degree – a degree that the current AFL illicit drugs policy cannot hope to adequately address.

But it is equally true that Pert, his president Eddie McGuire and Magpies coach Nathan Buckley are desperately worried about what is taking place in their own backyard. Pert has been telling friends for weeks that he is tearing his hair out with concern over the behaviour of certain players at his club.

Pert must have known when he delivered his impassioned speech at the end of last week’s chief executives’ meeting on the Gold Coast that he would be putting his club in the spotlight. That he was prepared to take a stand is an indication of how worried he has become about the culture at his club.

Like many club chiefs he has become increasingly frustrated at how powerless the clubs are when it comes to drug abuse. They hear the stories, they ask questions but while anonymity remains the privilege of the out-of-season drug user they cannot hope to prove their suspicions unless a player tests positive three times during the season proper or is caught in a legal sense.

But what Collingwood does have in its favour is that it is a remarkably wealthy club. The Magpies are expected to announce an operating profit of about $5 million any day now. The club is rich, it is successful, it is powerful. Powerful enough to withstand a scandal and powerful enough to take a stand that could damage the team in the short term but help it in the long term.

Which is why Collingwood should seriously consider sacking Dane Swan. If it has not already.

Swan is not the only player at Collingwood who has been a law unto himself during his end-of-season break but he has been a dreadful influence for some time and to take a stand now could prove the correction required as Ray McLean moves in to rebuild the erosion of discipline and dedication and bring together what appears to have become a team divided.

The club has asked Swan whether he has been using drugs and he has denied it. St Kilda has unofficially confronted Sam Fisher with the same question in recent days and he denied it also. So did Ben Cousins for two years at West Coast. Even if Swan is telling the truth about drugs his cavalier behaviour has helped create a culture which is not healthy.

But what Collingwood does know is that Swan is one of its best players who does not want to be a leader. They know he turned up at training a month before the finals disoriented after a heavy night out. They know there have been plenty more heavy nights out over the past six weeks. Very heavy nights. There has also been at least one nasty fight in a public place.

Buckley said after Swan was suspended for two weeks for his transgression in August that the player – who has two years remaining on his contract – was remorseful. The view from Collingwood now is that the opposite seems to be the case. Fairfax Media could not find one senior person at Collingwood this week prepared to defend Swan.

Swan’s teammates with off-field misdemeanours to their name include Alan Didak – whose career is coming to an end, Ben Johnson (ditto) and 2012 Copeland Trophy winner Dayne Beams. Sharrod Wellingham has gone to West Coast with a public good riddance from his football boss Geoff Walsh. Clearly the club is trying to take a stand.

You would think that such a tragic occurrence as the death of John McCarthy during an end-of-season bender in Las Vegas would see the penny drop but for some players it hasn’t. Footballers have continued to holiday in Vegas and continue to take unacceptable risks.

You would think that more chief executives would have turned to West Coast chief executive Trevor Nisbett in a bid to learn from West Coast’s mistakes, its experience and its remedies. But only Pert over recent years has sounded out Nisbett.

You would think that the circumstances surrounding McCarthy’s passing would have been a top-of-agenda item at one of the club chief executives’ meetings since it happened but it has never even been officially raised. Port Adelaide boss Keith Thomas did say that the club would early in 2013 put in place a new policy for post-season trips.

AFL chief Andrew Demetriou was correct when he stated that illegal drugs are not simply an AFL issue but an issue for society. But Demetriou must know that the demands of the game when mixed with impressionable or wilful young men with plenty of money is a dangerous cocktail.

So the competition must attempt to show stronger leadership, as it has for two decades now where some social problems are concerned. The AFL players’ union must accept that there is a small but influential group of footballers who do not deserve their protection. And Collingwood, which continues to accept the mantle as a club of influence, should muster its considerable force and take a stand. Sometimes actions speak louder than words.

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

May 28 , 2019 / By :

IT’S game-on for our Newcastle geek who will try to outwit rather than erm … out style his way to the prize money on Beauty and the Geek tonight.

The grand final will see four couples, including the former University of Newcastle mechanical engineer student Richard ‘Chard’ Oldfield, compete for cash and a new car.

The winning couple will take home $100,000 to share and a Holden Barina each.

Here’s why Topics thinks Chard deserves to claim geek victory.

1. His nickname is Chard. Rick, Ricky, The Rickster we get. But Chard? That’s a pretty uncool nickname to be stuck with for adult life.

2. His partner in the series, Millie, is a professional bra-fitter and one TV columnist wrote ‘‘logs in the forest are smarter’’. Our man has done some hard yards in the elimination quizzes.

3. He cut his hair for the series. No geek was more attached to his long red locks.

4. All his female acquaintances are ‘‘friends’’. Chard told Topics he has been stuck in the friend zone his whole life. There’s nothing like a reality television title and a bit of cash to spark some female interest.

5. Because all the Novocastrians are doing it. This year the Hunter has taken out reality television titles on Masterchef and The Block. Chard from Whitebridge would be lucky number three.

The 2012 season final screens on Prime7 at 8.30pm.

Herald’s a lifelong habit

JACK McAulay has subscribed to the Newcastle Herald for a lifetime – 80 years to be exact.

Topics put the call out on Saturday to find the Herald’s longest-serving readers. We ran a story thanking two women who have clocked up 60 years and wanted to find more.

Mr McAulay, who is about to turn 92, has read the paper since he was 12.

‘‘I’ve read it ever since I was a kid at school. My parents had it delivered every morning to our Mayfield home,’’ he said.

Mr McAulay, who was the power plant foreman at BHP for a decade, gets the paper delivered to his Waratah West home daily and reads it from cover to cover.

He likes the news and sport, and he’s not too manly to enjoy the wedding pictures on Mondays.

Elsie Turnbull, 93, also gained her love of newspapers from her parents, who were subscribers.

When she married her husband Frederick in 1939 the couple starting getting the paper delivered to their Maitland home. Mrs Turnbull is so dedicated that she still gets the paper delivered to her home in Shoal Bay despite having many operations for macular degeneration.

She was recovering from an operation this week when Topics called.

‘‘Just a day or two and I’ll be back reading my Herald,’’ she told Topics.

Topics has a soft spot for Mrs Turnbull because we are suckers for a bit of flattery.

Her favourite section is ‘‘Topics of course’’.

EARNED VICTORY: Left, Chard does the tough rounds. Right, Chard with his beauty partner Millie.

DEDICATED: Jack McAulay has read the paper for eight decades. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

May 28 , 2019 / By :

Car of the year winnersIf the automotive landscape of 2012 is remembered for one thing, it will be that the thrill of driving is alive and kicking.

The point was driven home by Drive’s Car of the Year being awarded to the Toyota 86 GT, an unashamedly focused sports car, guaranteed to put a smile on the dial of those lucky enough to find themselves behind its steering wheel.

Anyone who thinks that choosing a sports car as the year’s best is elitist should look at the value-for-money equation.

With a list price of $29,990 the 86 costs less than many mainstream family cars, including the cheapest version of Toyota’s own four-cylinder Camry. In a global economy struggling to shake off the GFC blues, the combination of value and hedonistic driving enjoyment cannot be ignored.

Worried that performance cars are the natural enemy of the environment? Not when they’re powered by a naturally aspirated (not turbocharged), 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine capable of delivering an official 7.8 litres/100km fuel consumption figure.

The Toyota 86 coupe was, of course, developed in conjunction with Subaru. That company not only supplies the horizontally-opposed engine and builds the car in its own plant but also has the mechanically identical – give or take some minor differences in suspension tuning and tyre size – BRZ.

Given the vast similarities between the 86 and BRZ, the latter was unlucky not to win the award but that’s the way our Car of the Year awards work. The pair were both included in the Performance Car Under $60,000 category which the 86 won, largely because it is available at a cheaper price thanks to a reduced standard equipment list on the GT version.

Only a category winner can go on to take the major prize, so the BRZ missed out.

Take it from us though, the Subaru is every bit as thrilling to drive and those who want the BRZ’s higher equipment levels, do the sums and buy it will not be disappointed.

The Toyota won its category by scoring heavily in each judging criteria. Its engine might not have the outright horsepower of some performance cars, but it provides the perfect amount to exploit the 86’s nimble, rear-drive chassis.

It can be driven quietly and comfortably as a commuter car, albeit one with a stiffer than normal ride. On the track it can be easily provoked into lurid tail slides with its electronic stability control switched off, or remain commendably stable with it left on.

Equipment levels are not luxurious, but are more than adequate given the design goal of a low price and low weight for maximum performance. In terms of practicality, the rear seat is good for short trips (or shorter adults) and the folding rear seat means larger loads than a shallow boot would otherwise tolerate can be accommodated.

Five-star NCAP crash-worthiness indicates a safe structure, as does a full complement of seven airbags.

The Toyota 86 held its own over five days of gruelling driving and judging covering every available road condition.

Every car was taken around a road loop that distilled a wide variety of real-world conditions into something accessible for the judging panel, with its combined total of many decades of road-testing experience.

They included 100km/h highway driving, urban traffic conditions with suburban streets, traffic lights and school zones and pot-holed, low-speed, country roads.

The race track component wasn’t just a chance to cut high-speed laps. It gave a safe and controlled environment to explore steering and handling limits, but also included disciplines such as a swerve-and-recover lane change exercise, a slalom between traffic cones and a hard braking stop from 100km/h.

All the time, judges were noting the minute details of each car’s equipment levels, comfort, build quality, noise levels and all the other ponderables that determine category and overall winners. From all that, the 86 deserved to come up trumps.

The final vote between category winners to determine the overall winner was not a unanimous win for the 86 GT, however. Mazda’s CX-5 received three of the nine judges’ votes thanks largely to its brilliant diesel engine, sparkling dynamics and low fuel use.

The other two finalists that were debated heavily were the Kia Sorento SLi and Toyota Camry Hybrid H. Each were standouts and rounded out what was arguably the most impressive quartet of finalists for the coveted overall gong.

The Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI that took out last year’s Car of the Year and again won the Best Luxury Car Under $80,000 category in 2012 failed to make it to the final four – just.

Speaking of votes, there were a few interesting statistics to come out of the overall testing. For instance, eight of the category winners were carryover champions from last year, indicating that on the whole, a good car can remain difficult to beat.

The five new category winners were the Kia Sorento, Porsche 911, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Mazda CX-5 and, of course, the Toyota 86.

The Camry Hybrid’s win as Best Family Car made it the first hybrid champion, and also meant that along with Volkswagen and Mazda, Toyota had two category winners.

In technical terms, nine of the 13 category winners had four-cylinder engines, nine had turbocharged engines and seven were either diesel or hybrid powered.

The spread of dollar value for the 13 winners could hardly have been greater. They ranged from the $18,990 VW Polo 77TSI to the $262,600 Porsche 911 Carrera S.

And last, the 86 GT was the first Toyota to win the Car of the Year gong in the award’s seven-year history, and only the second non-German one at that.

So take a bow Toyota 86. You were the right car at the right time, and an almost perfectly executed sports car at that. Like Drive南京夜网.au on Facebook Follow Drive南京夜网.au on Twitter @Drivecomau

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

May 28 , 2019 / By :

Reg Kermonde, chief executive and chairman of Cabcharge, made his views of the two-strike system clear, as the company received its second strike against its executive remuneration report at today’s annual meeting.

More than 38 per cent of shares vote against adoption of the report, triggering a vote to spill the board.

But shareholders overwhemingly voted against the spill, with more than 86 per cent voting down the resolution.

“That’s not democracy,’’ Mr Kermode said of the two strike system. ‘‘And it’s not in the interest of any companies in this country.

‘‘Shareholder democracy is always about the majority, and not the loudest voice. That is the problem with the strike system, all it measures is [the] minority.’’

A board spill has to be called if more than 25 per cent of shareholders vote against the remuneration report two years in a row.

A representative from the Australian Shareholders’ Associtiation, Allan Goldin, voted against executive remuneration but was not in favour of a board spill.

‘‘We worry about the affect [the legislation] has on the company and the reputations of the directors. It is not something that is taken lightly,’’ he said.

Mr Kermonde also addressed concern over recent Reserve Bank criticism of its 10 per cent surcharge on taxi fares paid by card.

‘‘Suggestions that our industry could survive on 5 per cent because of some as-yet unaccepted draft report to the Victorian government on the Victorian taxi industry are not realistic and are likely to be met with significant resistance,’’ he said.

Research compiled by Deutsche Bank pointed to a possible bright side for Cabcharge if it were to be forced to reduce its surcharge.

‘‘A 5 per cent cap would affect smaller competitors disproportionately. We believe that this will see some players forced out of the industry and the consolidation of market share among the larger players.’’

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

May 28 , 2019 / By :

Guy Sebastian, Gotye, The Temper Trap and 360 are up for ARIAs.AUSTRALIAN music’s night of nights is upon us again.

The 26th annual ARIA Awards will screen on GO! Thursday from 7.30pm.

The Border Mail music writer JAMIE HORNE casts his eye over the nominees and comes up with his picks for the awards.

Use the YouTubeplayers to listen and watch some of the top chances in each category (not available on iPhone).

Breakthrough Artist Release

• 360 – Falling & Flying

• Alpine – A Is For Alpine

• Lanie Lane – To the Horses

• Matt Corby – Brother

• San Cisco – Awkward

The Winner: 360. It’s certainly belated but lock ‘Sixty’ in for this one on what might be a quiet night (awards-wise, at least) for the polarising Melbourne rapper.

Could steal it: Matt Corby

Best Independent Release

• Dappled Cities – Lake Air

• Katie Noonan and Karin Schaupp – Songs of the Southern Skies

• San Cisco – Awkward

• The Bamboos – Medicine Man

• The Jezabels – Prisoner

The Winner: The Jezebels. It’s a notoriously hard category to pick, but the momentum built by ‘The Jez’ last year should see them in good stead for this award.

Could steal it: Katie Noonan and Karin Schaupp

Best Adult Contemporary Album

• Darren Hayes – Secret Codes and Battleships

• Husky – Forever So

• Josh Pyke – Only Sparrows

• Katie Noonan and Karin Schaupp – Songs of the Southern Skies

• Missy Higgins – The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle

The Winner: Husky. Almost the ‘you’re past it as a pop artist’ category but these guys won’t care. Brilliant harmonies, superb soundscape, check ‘em out if you haven’t already.

Could steal it: Darren Hayes

Best Pop Release

• Gotye – Making Mirrors

• Guy Sebastian – Battle Scars

• Jessica Mauboy – Gotcha

• Kimbra – Vows

• San Cisco – Awkward

The Winner: Gotye. Called him music’s equivalent of Black Caviar in this column last year and, guess what, Nelly’s still unbeaten. A shoo-in, sorry Guy.

Could steal it: Guy Sebastian

Best Rock Album

• Children Collide – Monument

• Cold Chisel – No Plans

• Oh Mercy – Deep Heat

• The Jezabels – Prisoner

• The Temper Trap – The Temper Trap

The Winner: The Temper Trap. The heart says Chisel here, the head says Dougy Mandagi and the boys. On fire in 2012, having just played to more than 200,000 people on the Coldplay tour.

Could steal it: Cold Chisel

Best Urban Album

• 360 – Falling & Flying

• Hilltop Hoods – Drinking From the Sun

• Katalyst – Deep Impressions

• The Bamboos – Medicine Man

• The Herd – Future Shade

The Winner: Hilltop Hoods. 360 will be the favourite but the Adelaide superstars have NEVER been beaten in this category. The streak will continue.

Could steal it: 360

Best Country Album

• Beccy Cole – Songs and Pictures

• Catherine Britt – Always Never Enough

• McAlister Kemp – Country Proud

• The McClymonts – Two Worlds Collide

• Troy Cassar-Daley – Home

The Winner: Troy Cassar-Daley. Tough to split TCD and those sexy McClymont sisters. Cassar-Daley’s Home was straight from the heart after his Fernvale farm was swamped in the 2011 Queensland floods.

Could steal it: The McClymonts

Best Dance Release

• Havana Brown – When the Lights Go Out

• Hermitude – Hyperparadise

• Ivan Gough & Feenixpawl featuring Georgi Kay – In My Mind

• Knife Party – Rage Valley

• Sneaky Sound System – From Here to Anywhere

The Winner: Havana Brown. Sneaky’s CD was a ripper, but Havana has been an international sensation, topping the US dance charts with We Run The Night and becoming besties with Pitbull along the way.

Could steal it: Sneaky Sound System

Best Male Artist

• 360

• Angus Stone

• Gotye

• Guy Sebastian

• Keith Urban

• Matt Corby

The Winner: Guy Sebastian. Could 2012 be the year an ‘Idol’ finally wins a non-sales based ARIA? As Gough Whitlam said “It’s time”. Will clean up in 2013.

Could steal it: Gotye

Best Female Artist

• Jessica Mauboy

• Kimbra

• Lanie Lane

• Missy Higgins

• Washington

The Winner: Missy Higgins. Tough one again. Kimbra won it last year, Jess gets no ARIA love and Washington’s CD was too emo. Missy almost gave music away altogether — great choice sister!

Could steal it: Lanie Lane

Best Group

• Boy & Bear

• Cold Chisel

• Hilltop Hoods

• The Jezabels

• The Temper Trap

The Winner: Cold Chisel. Here’s where the old guard gets one back over the newbies, if only for nostalgia’s sake. After losing founding member Steve Prestwich to a brain tumor last year, this would be a fitting result.

Could steal it: The Temper Trap

Album of the Year

• 360 – Falling & Flying

• Gotye – Making Mirrors

• Missy Higgins – The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle

• The Jezabels – Prisoner

• The Temper Trap – The Temper Trap

The Winner: Gotye. Gets another shot and, unfortunately for standouts 360 and The Temper Trap, will add another pointy trophy to his growing collection. Next stop, Grammys.

Could steal it: Missy Higgins

ARIA Song of the Year (Publicly voted)

• 360 feat. Gossling – Boys Like You

• Delta Goodrem – Sitting On Top Of the World

• Guy Sebastian – Don’t Worry Be Happy

• Hilltop Hoods Featuring Sia – I Love It

• Jessica Mauboy & Stan Walker – Galaxy

• Justice Crew – Boom Boom

• Matt Corby – Brother

• Reece Mastin – Good Night

• Ricki-Lee – Do It Like That

• Timomatic – Set It Off

The Winner: Reece Mastin. The ‘Little Rockers’ will get Reecey over the line. It’s a popularity contest, this one, with the nominees based on sales performance. A shame Guy isn’t nominated for Battle Scars, he’d smack this one out of the ballpark. Matt Corby’s Brother is the BEST song of this lot but his fanbase might not be strong enough.

Could steal it: Guy Sebastian

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