Monthly Archives: September 2019

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Reynolds makes a friend with kindred spirit

In one Sydney household, NSW Origin five-eighth Josh Reynolds will be fondly remembered long after the dust settles from this year’s Blues series victory over Queensland all because he allowed for a little boy to feel as though he was six feet tall and bulletproof. Tommy Norenbergs, 8, is smaller than most boys in his class and was losing confidence in being able to compete against the bigger boys on the footy paddock. His father Craig, the head of the ABC radio’s Grandstand program, said the height disadvantage was of such a concern to his son that he asked former Bulldogs great, and an old mate, Steve Mortimer, to explain to Tommy that, like bull ants, smaller guys could be tough, hard and uncompromising.  “But Steve took it a step further,” Norenbergs snr said . “He spoke to Josh Reynolds and a few days later a personally handwritten letter from Josh, which was full of inspiring messages, arrived in the letterbox and it meant the world to Tommy.” Norenbergs said the letter told plenty about Reynolds, who had been one of his state’s best in the series victory that ended eight seasons of loss, and the spirit that drove him.  “Don’t ever let people say to you that you’re small because Steve, you and myself as an eight-year-old weren’t the biggest but we were all fast,” Reynolds wrote.  “And we were never scared of tackling big players because when you tackle them around the legs they fall down very quickly. I wish you good things when you play rugby league and never, ever give up.” “What Josh did is not just about a little boy wanting to play rugby league but feels he’s too small,” Norenbergs said. “He’s given him a message about life; you don’t have to be the biggest and best but as long as you put your wholehearted effort into something you can succeed.” The story did not end there. After Origin II, Tommy was invited by James Maroun, a diehard Bulldogs fan, to his son”s birthday where Reynolds, as a close family friend, was the special guest.”It was a kind offer by James but it allowed for Tommy to look Josh in the eye and to thank him for the letter,” he said. “Josh was a thorough gentleman, a wonderful ambassador for both the Bulldogs and rugby league. “He was so nice to Tommy. He said all the right things to Tommy, even though it was a birthday party and there was a lot of people waiting to get things signed, he spent a considerable amount of time with Tommy to have a chat about playing and he answered Tommy’s questions – and shy ones, at that – about rugby league. “Josh might not know it but he has made a friend for life. Based on what I saw, and what he did, Josh is the kind of person that I would hope Tommy grows up to be.” And Tommy penned a message on a thank-you card that ought to have allowed Reynolds to appreciate the impact he had had on several kids who look to him for inspiration when he wrote: “Thank you for inspiring me and everyone else with big hearts.”
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Channel Nine get shirty with rivals

If you’re wondering why your Thursday evening news does not feature any shirtless players in State of Origin dressing rooms, a new media edict is to blame. Channel Nine had been relaxed about rival network news crews filming in the sheds but became upset at what they saw as infringements of their exclusive rights earlier in the series, alleging reports filed from – and vision of – the playing surface, which is considered a no-no. So no interviews were permitted inside Suncorp Stadium by Seven, Ten or the ABC on Wednesday night. The media conferences represented the only vision rival networks were allowed to access. The channels responded by waiting for teams at their hotels, long after midnight.
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Spotlight on refs

While a dead rubber was never going to put as much pressure on referees as games one and two, there were still a few flashpoints. Whistler Ben Cummins screamed “penalty Brisbane” at one stage when he and partner Gerard Sutton missed the ball bouncing off one Blue and into the arms of another in an offside position. And Sin Bin is reliably informed that if an attacker drops the ball and then kicks it, under current interpretation this is now seen as an advantage taken. When it happened to Queensland, they got a scrum feed 20 metres from the NSW line. The Blues held them up four times, nonetheless, before Daly Cherry-Evans laid on a pearler of a try for Cameron Smith.

Pointing the finger

You would have thought all the stories about Arthur Beetson and the birth of Origin had already been told. On Wednesday, Queensland’s halfback in 1980 – Greg Oliphant – came up with one that was new to us. Speaking at the annual Southern Suburbs Origin lunch at Davies Park, Oliphant was joined by former nemesis Tom Raudonikis on stage for a round of yarns, MC’ed by former Magpies fullback Gary Belcher. At a certain point in this story, we’re going to have to revert to reporters’ speech for the sake of the squeamish among you.

“Arthur and I had a big feed a few hours before the game and Arthur, being a fair bit bigger than me, really enjoyed it,” Oliphant recounted. “Anyway, I was rooming with him and when we got back to the room, we watched some cartoons. Arthur loved cartoons, he was laughing away at them, and he then said ‘mate I feel crook. Oh, I feel really crook’. I thought ‘this is no good, Arthur Beetson sick just before the game’. I said to him ‘you might have to use the two fingers’. He said ‘what do you mean?’. I said ‘the two fingers, get it out of your body’. So he’s gone into the toilet and he is in there for ages, moaning. After a while, I went in to check on him.”

At this point we pause from direct quotes to describe what Oliphant found. Suffice to say, Big Artie had misunderstood his teammate’s instructions. “I said ‘you’re supposed to put them in your mouth!’” Oliphant continued, to howls of laughter from around 150 guests. He answered: “If I put these two in my mouth, I’ll really be sick.”

Mbye snubs NSW

Canterbury’s Moses Mbye wasn’t available for the NSW Cup representative side that played against Queensland in one of the two Origin curtain-raisers due to a foot injury. But Sin Bin has been told the diehard Queenslander wouldn’t have played anyway, he holds the blue jersey in such disdain. Mbye told his management and officials he had no intention or interest in representing NSW in anything.

Boys in Blues

NSW Police scored a big 38-12 win over their Queensland counterparts in the first game on Origin night. It was a reasonably high-profile clash with toe-poke conversions. In the second game, Canberra’s Mitch Cornish came off late in the 24-16 loss against the Maroons. He did not appear to be hurt as coach Jason Taylor gave Newcastle’s Tyler Randell the chance to impress.

Finding redemption, Michelle Wie now goes for pinnacle of Women’s Open

By most accounts, she was a busted flush, a spent force, a has-been in her sport. The rot had set in with a string of injuries, missed cuts, suspicious withdrawals and disqualifications. As far as everyone was concerned, she was history – at the age of 17.
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It was 2007, and the 13-year-old Michelle Wie’s sensational 2003 breakthrough at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, where she had played in the final group and finished ninth, was a quickly fading memory. She had kicked on for a couple of years, signed contracts worth an estimated $10 million on the day she turned professional, but her career had hit the skids. It was a classic tale of too much too young for the Hawaiian teenager.

At least it was then. Today, it is a far more compelling story of redemption and recovery, as Wie has come back from that period a stronger, smarter and more self-reliant player. She is far more comfortable with her fellow players than she once was. Since her move to Florida two years ago, a good many of them have become her neighbours, a significant few her friends.

Stacy Lewis ticks both boxes. The world No. 1 admits she and Wie have little in common – ”Michelle is a kind of artsy, goofy person, and I’m definitely not that.” But there is real warmth between the two women now.

”Now she hangs out with players more and she gets out and goes for dinner with people instead of just sticking with her team all the time,” Lewis says. ”That’s when it all changed, I think.”

Lewis comes to this week’s Women’s British Open at Royal Birkdale as reigning champion. She is the hottest player on the planet, but even she concedes that Wie, 24, is the more significant figure.

Wie’s victory at last month’s US Open at Pinehurst (Lewis finished second) confirmed that her recovery was complete, and Lewis has the grace to acknowledge that it can only be good for the sport.

”Everybody expects her to be on the leaderboard. You expect her to be there on Sunday and I think she expects that of herself, too.”

Wie has cut a careworn figure at this event in the past, but this year she has come to Southport with a smile on her face.

For years she had wondered what winning a major would feel like, and now she knows.

”I felt like a doughnut fresh out of the fryer,” Wie beamed. ”Rolling around in the sugar.”

Telegraph, London

New hospital plan is short on details, poll

NO TIME: Premier Mike Baird talks with Robyn Parker at the site of a proposed hospital on Metford Road. Picture: Ryan OslandIN a fleeting first visit to Maitland as NSW premier, Mike Baird inspected the site for the new Lower Hunter Hospital but left without revealing when construction would begin.
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Mr Baird said he expected the hospital would be built within five years, in line with the recommendation put forward in the clinical services plan released last year, but could not offer any details about when the first sod might be turned.

Mr Baird wanted construction to start “as soon as possible” and claimed the government had already fulfilled its pre-election promise to fast-track planning for the new hospital and acquire the site.

The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association general secretary, Brett Holmes, said members wanted confirmation the hospital would be a public facility instead of a “private hospital delivering services to public patients”.

And opposition spokeswoman for the Hunter Sonia Hornery questioned why the government had only allocated $6million out of the promised $20million for the project.

Mr Baird said more announcements would be made once the planning process had finished.

“My expectation will be that the hospital could be delivered, will be delivered, within the five-year timeframe,” Mr Baird said.

The site could house a public and private hospital similar to health facilities at the John Hunter, Hunter New England Health chief executive Michael DiRienzo said, but nothing had been decided.

Mr Baird was also vague about when the light rail project was likely to finish in the Newcastle CBD, and would not reveal his position on development in the heavy rail corridor.

He said the government was “listening to the community” and Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian would reveal the light rail schedule.

The Premier also waded into the debate surrounding section 94 contributions for the proposed fourth coal-loader at the Port of Newcastle, suggesting Newcastle City Council and Newcastle MP Tim Owen make a planning submission on how much the developers should pay.

In the normal course of events the T4 coal-loader proponents would be expected to contribute $48million (1per cent of the project’s value) to the council, but the Department of Planning suggested a payment of just $528,140.

TOPICS: Our Tim well suited for fine fashion sense

ELEGANT: Newcastle MP Tim Owen can cut a dashing figure. NEWCASTLE is a great looking place.
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The harbour, that lovely David Cohen building, even the lights from Kooragang look eerily beautiful at night.

But there’s one thing that really sets us apart from the rest of the state when it comes to appearance. It’s our local state member.

Yes, Topics is just going to come out and say it, we think Tim Owen is a darn snappy dresser.

Perhaps the best in all the Parliament.

Red suede shoes, bright blue trousers, floral shirts and bold ties, there’s seemingly nothing our man in Macquarie Street can’t pull off.

But is it the man who makes the suit, or the other way around? We asked the man with the pants to fill us in on his fashion secrets.

Topics: You’re obviously a snappy dresser, Tim, but do you think some of your parliamentary colleagues need to lift their game?

Tim Owen: They often rib me about getting ‘dressed in the dark’, but I tell them it’s called style. I guess each to their own, but yeah, I do think a few of them could lift.

T: You’re a fan of bright colours, blue trousers and the like, do you think any man can pull that kind of thing off?

TO: It’s about being confident but I also think it’s nice to be a little bit different. I like it if it looks good on me, not that I’m saying it looks good on me, I don’t know if it does or doesn’t, I’m not saying that.

T: No need to backtrack.

TO: But I do like bright colours, I think it makes you feel good, the standard life of a politician can be a bit boring too sometimes, so it’s nice to break out of that.

T: You were obviously in the military for a long time, do you think having to wear fatigues constantly made you long for brighter pastures?

TO: When you spend your life in a boring uniform it probably does make you, at times, want to seize the chance to stand out.

T: Do you have a favourite item of clothing? The red suede shoes perhaps? We love them.

TO: Not really. I have a pair of orange trousers.

T: Any tips for up and coming Newcastle politicians/fashionistas?

TO: Just wear something that you feel good in. Don’t let convention limit you.

HUNTER Water have been preparing tours of ‘‘The Res’’, the city’s first subterranean drinking water reservoir, since it announced it would publicly open it from 2015.

And they’ve found out some interesting facts in their research.

Among them, a few sea morals.

According to Jeremy Bath from Hunter Water, once upon a time an alternative to fresh water bathing was sea-bathing.

Newcastle had traditional ocean bathing places for men and women and doctors recommended regular sea-bathing and the application of sand ‘‘accompanied by a violent friction’’ was a good alternative to a domestic bath.

However, sea-bathing was illegal between 6am and 8pm and offenders (whether fully clothed or not) could be prosecuted and fined up to £1 for moral depravity.

STILL with The Res, and we reported earlier this month that entries to get a tour were going gangbusters, with an expectation of 10,000 by Christmas.

Well, they may have to adjust that estimate up again, because after less than a month open Hunter Water already has more than 5000 applications.