Jeweller death: fingerprints analysed, court hears

Dermot O’Toole, second from left, with his wife Bridget and sons Dale, Christian and Trent.Fingerprints on packaging that contained a knife that was used in the fatal stabbing of a Hastings jeweller are being analysed to determine if they belong to the man charged with his murder, a court has heard.
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Gavin Perry, 26, appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court court on Monday, charged with the murder of Dermot O’Toole, 64, who was allegedly stabbed for stock worth $200 at his shop, The Jewel Shed, on July 12.

Mr O’Toole’s wife of 41 years, Bridget, was also stabbed.

The court heard prosecutors were still waiting for the results of forensic testing, which included an analysis of fingerprints found on the packaging of a knife stolen from a nearby supermarket.

A blood sample from a nearby laneway, where Mr Perry was seen falling to the ground, was also analysed, the court heard.

As magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg went through the list of witnesses to be called at Mr Perry’s committal hearing, the court was told one witness had identified the accused man outside the shop, having met him the previous night.

Mrs O’Toole was one of six potential witnesses who would not have to give evidence at the committal, the court heard.

CCTV footage would be shown during the committal, the court was told.

Mr Perry, dressed in a green tracksuit in the dock, also faces charges of armed robbery and intentionally causing serious injury.

Members of Mr O’Toole’s family were in court for Monday’s proceedings.

Mr Perry was remanded in custody to appear again on March 24.

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Benefits of buying interstate

Thinking ahead: Ralph Nicholson at his home in Williamstown. Photo: Ken IrwinThere is no denying the residential property market is heating up as investors flood back in, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne. If your local area or state is getting more expensive, then perhaps it might be time to look interstate, at areas that are yet to become the next big thing.
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In fact, buying the current ”hot spot” is often a recipe for trouble as, if everybody already knows about it, the opportunities for growth have probably been exhausted.

The founder of property advice company Destiny Financial Solutions, Margaret Lomas, has 40 investment properties, many of which are interstate. She says buying interstate forces you to do more research about the property and area you are about to invest in. ”I think it’s a brilliant idea to buy interstate,” she says.

”It comes down to knowing how to ask the kind of questions that uncover the investment potential and growth drivers in an area.”

The problem with buying close to home, according to Lomas, is that we believe we know the area when we may not actually be as knowledgeable as we think. Interestingly, she also says seeing or inspecting a property is not always a good thing.

”I think actually looking at a property is dangerous, because it allows you to have an emotional buy-in,” Lomas says.

Property investor, journalist and author of Smart Property Investment Peter Cerexhe says that buying interstate can be a good idea, but that you need to be careful of when and how you do it.

”For a start, there is a well-known risk of buying property in haste while on holiday,” he says.

If you’re visiting a holiday town you might start to believe that property is cheap, just because it’s cheaper than home, which is probably a major capital city.

”A quick trip is potentially more dangerous than not going at all, if you are relying on the expertise of a reasonable professional,” he says.

Our case study Ralph, at left, relies on a network he has hooked into, via Destiny Financial Solutions, to inspect local properties that are not in his state of Victoria, but he doesn’t visit them himself.

Louis Christopher, managing director of property research company SQM Research, says you need to be careful of dodgy property promoters who are coming back into the market as it heats up. ”Whatever you do, don’t speak to property spruikers offering you free flights to the Gold Coast or whatever. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, the cost has got to go somewhere,” he says.

Different states also have different stamp duty structures and land tax, which you need to be aware of before you buy.

Capital gain potential

But the fundamentals for buying interstate and buying locally should not change. You need to find areas that have diversified industries, that is to say they do not rely on one sector such as tourism, councils with money to spend on infrastructure, growing household incomes and a growing population. ”You don’t want to be distracted just by the property,” Cerexhe says. ”The local economy is absolutely key.” And you should try to buy those areas before anyone else does.

You should also consider, like our case study Ralph, property structures that could appeal to the widest share of buyers, which in most cases are families.

All of the above might sound like a big ask, but it’s not impossible and you will end up with a much better investment than if you just jumped on the nearest property boom closest to you.Profile taken interstate

Ralph Nicholson is 53 and lives in Victoria, but four of his seven properties are outside that state. He has two in NSW and two in Queensland.

”I looked at my situation three years ago and I thought we may not have enough to survive comfortably,” he says.

His interstate property investment plan is therefore his retirement plan.

After one misstep buying in a bushfire prone area that took a long time to eventually sell, Ralph took it upon himself to get better educated and do more thorough research. ”As an investor you need confidence to buy in other markets, or else it’s a real risk and you’ve got to mitigate those risks by doing your research,” he says.

But he also values the local agent contacts he has found through his property investment adviser. ”I don’t think, even given the education, I would be confident buying in those areas unless I have those local contacts,” he says.

He buys properties that have the potential to appeal to the greatest market, which means residential houses for families with four bedrooms or at least three. ”I just try and buy garden-variety buildings, hopefully with enough land, because I place a fair degree of emphasis on land value.”

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Be realistic, vendors warned as selling season nears end

1028 Glenhuntly Road, Caulfield South, was sold under the hammer for $835,000. Photo: Ken IrwinProperty sellers are being warned to be realistic about the prices they can expect to achieve for their houses and flats with only five weeks left before the market closes for its summer hiatus.
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Melbourne turned in another solid set of results over the weekend with a few runaway successes, but some agents reported a shortage of bidders.

Melbourne’s clearance rate of 72 per cent over the weekend was derived from 925 auctions reported to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria; Australian Property Monitors (owned by Fairfax Media) reported a slightly higher 73 per cent from 692 results and research house RP Data produced a lower 69.2 per cent clearance rate from 996 results.

RP Data spokesman Robert Larocca said this was only the second weekend in 14 weeks with the clearance rate falling below 70 per cent.

”It’s too early to say the market’s pulling back but it certainly shows it’s not racing away from us,” Mr Larocca said.

Sydney had its biggest weekend of auctions with 784 properties under the hammer. APM reported an 84 per cent clearance rate.

The REIV data shows 124 properties sold before auction and 262 passed in – 142 of them on a vendor bid. A further 141 results have yet to be reported to the REIV.

While not a stellar performance, the market is much healthier than last year when a 59 per cent clearance rate was achieved on a weekend with 1100 auctions.

The solid results follow the Reserve Bank’s decision last week to keep the cash rate on hold for another month but there is some speculation that further cuts to the historic low rate of 2.5 per cent could occur next year in a bid to hold down the value of the dollar.

Some of the biggest deals of the weekend sold for close to their reserve prices. Kay & Burton’s Gowan Stubbings had the two biggest auctions in Toorak.

Just off Heyington Place, 3 Rostill Court fetched $3.02 million, only slightly over its $3 million reserve, with competition from two bidders. Mr Stubbings said the buyer planned to live in the house, which is on 692 square metres.

An hour later, he auctioned 21A Albany Road, a single-level three-bedroom townhouse. While the result is undisclosed, it is understood to have sold for $4.55 million after a single bid.

Mr Stubbings would not confirm the price but he emphasised how much time and effort went into educating vendors about the value of their properties. ”People have to be realistic about … valuing their homes. The buyer pool is big but vendors have to be realistic,” he said. ”We’ve really only got five weeks to go … there are buyers out there for pretty much everything so long as vendors meet the market.”

Williams Batters director Philippe Batters said: ”We find there are very, very good results but they aren’t happening all the time. I keep reading that we’re in a boom market; the trouble is, some vendors believe it.

”If a property is really good, people will fight for it. It doesn’t mean it’s really expensive, it just means it has special features,” Mr Batters said.

As summer is beckoning, the number of beach houses on the market has started to increase but the buyers are slow to arrive.

Prentice Real Estate agent Don Campbell put two properties from a deceased estate to auction on Saturday but the house at 19 Oxford Street, Sorrento, was passed in on a vendor bid of $500,000 and an adjoining block of vacant land was passed in, also on a vendor bid, at $450,000.

”Even in the current market, $450,000-$500,000 for a block of land in Sorrento is cheap, very cheap,” Mr Campbell said.

”Things down here are pretty slow. We’re not reflecting what’s going on uptown. Rye and Rosebud, the cheaper end of the market, are going well. But from Blairgowrie to Portsea, it’s very slow.

Kay & Burton had better luck in Flinders, where 14 Bass Street, a four-bedroom beach house with sea views, sold for $1.645 million.

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ACT Brumbies Sio brothers aim to join forces

Brumbies player Scott Sio, left,and his younger brother Patrick, who will be training with the squad in pre-season. Photo: Graham TidyRugby’s Sio brothers Scott and Patrick have only ever played together once, but they hope the second time will be in an ACT Brumbies jersey.
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Prop Scott has been at the Super Rugby club for two years and has been joined by younger brother Patrick for this pre-season.

Nineteen-year-old Patrick caught the Brumbies’ eye and was invited to train with the group until Christmas with the view to potentially joining the extended playing squad for the 2015 season.

While a large group of Brumbies are on the Wallabies’ European spring tour, Patrick came to Canberra three weeks ago to try to take his game to another level.

The back-rower will return to play with his Shute Shield club Eastwood next year and the Brumbies will watch his progress.

A strong season could result in him playing alongside his brother the following year.

”That’d be great [to play for the Brumbies with Scott],” Patrick said. ”I think I’ve only played one game with Scotty and that was many years ago.

”I’m looking forward to it, he’s always good to play with.

”He’s reached the pinnacle of rugby now so he’s not a bad guy to hang around with I guess, even if he is your brother.”

The Sio family turned Phillips Park, in Lidcombe in suburban Sydney, into a training ground, with father David leading the way.

David played prop for Samoa at the 1991 World Cup and has been a large part of his sons’ rugby development.

It was there they developed into a Wallabies prop with the potential for a long international career and a budding young back-rower keen to secure a Super Rugby contract.

Now Scott is also a mentor for his younger sibling.

”When we were young our dad used to run a lot of Sunday sessions, invite all of our very close friends and run us through skills and fitness,” Scott said. ”Any time we wanted to do extras we’d go down to the park and that’s where we still do our extras to this day, trying to improve our game.

”A lot of blood sweat and tears in that park, but it’s all been worth it in the end.”

Scott wants his younger brother to get as much as he can out of the opportunity with the Brumbies.

”Hopefully maybe we’ll pull on the jersey together one day, which would be amazing, but for him it’s really about where his opportunities lie and if that’s here, that’s great, but if it’s elsewhere I’ll support him 100 per cent,” Scott said.

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Postecoglou will invigorate Roos: Franjic

When Ange Postecoglou quit Brisbane Roar last year, Ivan Franjic, perhaps more than any other member of the club’s dual title-winning squad, was devastated.
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It was under Postecoglou that Franjic went from being a carpenter, fresh off the building sites of Melbourne’s outer suburbs, to being a two-time A-League winner and a capped Socceroo.

Franjic, 26, was actually signed by Frank Farina but as Farina was sacked shortly after Franjic’s arrival, Postecoglou is the man he credits with converting him from state league anonymity into the A-League’s elite.

“When Ange left us after winning the title twice I was gutted. He’d done so much for me that I’ll never forget,” he said. “I thought, ‘That’s it, I’m never going to work with him again,’ and that made me really sad. Then when he became national coach, I was rapt. It’s fantastic that he picked me for his first squad.”

Except for those on the receiving end of his initial Brisbane clean-out, Postecoglou inspires devotion from his players at two clubs.

Countless careers have been started and revived under Postecoglou, and Franjic is adamant the new boss’s magic dust will reinvigorate the national team, starting with next Wednesday’s friendly against Costa Rica at Allianz Stadium. “He’s a great coach and his best asset is that he gets the best out of every player, no matter what position they play,” Franjic said. “He doesn’t let you slack off, he always demands the best. He was the one who gave me that opportunity to play every week and gave me the confidence to back myself.”

Few players in the league have the versatility of Franjic. He began life in the A-League as a right-back, where his penchant for getting forward transformed him into a wide forward last year.

This year, however, coach Mike Mulvey has used him to great effect on the left – especially so in his game-winning performance against Wellington Phoenix – and as a holding midfielder.

“And I’ve also played as a right-midfielder and as a centre-half,” Franjic said.

There have even been calls for Franjic to be tried at the Socceroos’ troublesome left-back position, an idea he’s more than open to.

“Most people see me as a right-back, and Ange certainly played me as right-back at Brisbane, but I’ll play wherever he wants me,” he said. “But I actually prefer the left side to the right, because I naturally like to cut inside on my right foot and drive through the middle.”

It’s hard to believe Franjic was on building sites as recently as 2009. “I’m a third-generation carpenter, so I really expected that’s what I’d be doing now,” he said. “Instead, I’m with the Socceroos and hoping to go to Brazil.”

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Arrested Greenpeace crew moved to new location

On the move: Russia moved the crew of a Greenpeace Arctic protest ship from the northern port of Murmansk and put them on a train to Saint Petersburg. Photo: GreenpeaceRussia moved the crew of a Greenpeace Arctic protest ship from the northern port of Murmansk on Monday and put them on a train to Saint Petersburg, authorities and the organisation said.
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“The decision has been made to transfer all 30 of the accused to detention centres in Saint Petersburg,” the Investigative Committee said in a statement, saying that their charges “do not fall under the jurisdiction of courts in the Murmansk region.”

The 28 activists and two reporters, arrested in September after protesting against oil exploration in the Barents Sea, left their detention centre at 5:00 am (0100 GMT) on a bus and are now on a train, said Greenpeace spokeswoman Dannielle Taaffe.

The arrested crew of the ship Arctic Sunrise includes 26 foreigners from 18 countries held for nearly two months on charges of piracy and hooliganism after an attempt to scale an oil platform operated by Russia’s energy giant Gazprom.

The ride from Murmansk to Saint Petersburg is a journey of about 1,500 kilometres (950 miles) that usually takes about 27 hours.

One of Russia’s northern most cities, Murmansk endures polar nights in the winter, with temperatures often dropping to below minus 30 degrees Celsius (minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit).

Several activists in mid-September attempted to scale Russia’s Gazprom oil platform in the Pechora Sea, part of the Barents Sea, in protest at the firm’s exploration in the Arctic.

Russian authorities boarded the ship on September 19 and towed it to Murmansk.

Greenpeace says the authorities had no right to detain the Dutch-flagged ship in international waters.

Russian authorities initially accused the activists of carrying out illegal research, then charged them with piracy.

They then changed the piracy charge to hooliganism, an offence that can be punished by a maximum of seven years in prison. But Greenpeace said the piracy charge was never officially lifted.

Last month, Russian authorities also said the ship carried illegal drugs such as poppy straw and morphine, which Greenpeace denies.

The platform is located in Russia’s exclusive economic zone on the Arctic shelf, which means that most Russian laws do not apply there.


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Reddy aims to repay Arnold’s faith

In love with the game again: Liam Reddy. Photo: Simon BennettLiam Reddy accepts he can’t change the past, nor what anyone thinks of him. But he’s never been more determined to set things straight. It was only 18 months ago that Reddy had a brain explosion, one even he can’t quite get his head around.
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Dropped from the Sydney FC starting side and disaffected with the professional footballer’s lot, Reddy got drunk on a flight to Wellington before a preliminary final with the Phoenix.

Reddy, 32, accepts the stigma of what happened will linger for as long as he pulls on the gloves.

”That’s going to stay with me, I’ve got no doubt about that,” he said. ”But hopefully I can rectify that this year and they can start talking about my performance on the park rather than the last couple of years at Sydney. I’ve got to prove that I can be remembered for a guy that’s taken his second chance.”

Despite having a year to run on his contract, Sydney effectively tore up his deal and, with a glut of quality keepers in the A-League, Reddy was rendered virtually unemployable in Australia.

He ended up in Tehran but was scantly involved for Esteghlal. At rock bottom, Reddy joined NSW Premier League side Sydney United, where Mark Rudan had just taken charge. They went on to win the National Premier League, earning him a trial – and a contract – with Central Coast.

”They [Sydney United] took me in there, and that’s my junior club,” he said. ”I got back to enjoying football again because I probably hadn’t enjoyed football the last couple of years, and found my enjoyment and love for it again. Now I’ve come to a great club here with a great culture among the players. I’m fortunate that the club has given me an opportunity, and I’m hoping to repay them this year.”

The Mariners are the fifth A-League club Reddy has represented, after starting with Newcastle, followed by Brisbane for three seasons, Wellington for 12 games, then Sydney for two years.

Mariners coach Graham Arnold gave Reddy a chance to replace Justin Pasfield in Sunday’s match against Brisbane Roar after the latter’s howler in the F3 derby the previous week. He played a blinder – only denied a clean sheet by Kwame Yeboah’s last-minute cracker.

”I’ve been lucky. I’ve come off a good solid season at Sydney United, and finished with them in mid-September, and came straight into pre-season with these guys,” Reddy said. ”I feel sharp, and working with [Mariners’ goalkeeper coach] John Crawley has definitely added to my game and brought new things for me to learn.”

Arnold believes Reddy can make good on his promise. ”If he didn’t have any off-the-field problems at Sydney FC, he would still be their No.1 goalkeeper,” he said. ”He showed [against Brisbane] he’s got that quality.”

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Ryan Carters says Invitational XI ready to strike a blow

Ryan Carters in action against England during hteir last tour in 2010. Photo: Sebastian CostanzoRyan Carters believes the Australian Invitational XI can have a ”real crack” at England and attempt to inflict some psychological damage on the tourists ahead of the first Ashes Test.
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Canberra product Carters is one of several fringe players in the New South Wales squad who have been included, along with a handful of promising batsmen from around the country, for the four-day match at the SCG, starting Wednesday.

Australian limited-overs star Aaron Finch and former Test opener Ed Cowan headline an impressive batting line-up. The bowling stocks aren’t as strong, with the attack made up of NSW players left out of the Sheffield Shield squad.

England will be keen to gain some valuable match practice after rain interrupted last week’s hitout with Australia A in Hobart.

Carters believes this is the perfect opportunity to strike the first blow against England with just nine days to go before the first Ashes Test at the Gabba.

”Cricket Australia has selected a mixed team of the better first-class batsmen from around the country as well as members of the NSW squad to make up the XI,” he said. ”That shows they are looking to see how a few of the young batsmen go against the England bowling attack.

”Even though it’s a bit of a mixed bunch … we should gel pretty quickly and have a real crack at the English.”

It will be the second time Carters, 23, has faced England in the past three years. He produced a maiden half-century in his first-class debut the last time the old enemy visited these shores in 2010.

Carters made 68 playing for Victoria against an English bowling attack featuring Test contenders Tim Bresnan and Chris Tremlett.

The wicketkeeper-batsman donned the gloves for NSW in the shield opener, but has been squeezed out with the return of Test wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.

And he knows a big score against England will enhance his chances in the first-class arena.

”It’s a really exciting opportunity to test my skills against some of the best bowlers in the world,” Carters said. ”I definitely learnt a lot from the last time I played against them, watching how guys like Bresnan and Tremlett bowled, and how they used reverse swing was really impressive.”

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Cavalry look to $500,000 bonanza

Cavalry general manager Thom Carter. Photo: Melissa AdamsThe Canberra Cavalry could become the richest club in the Australian Baseball League if they can win the Asia Series in Taiwan to claim the $500,000 prizemoney.
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Cavalry general manager Thom Carter said they would be massive underdogs, up against Japan champions Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles and Taiwan runners-up EDA Rhinos for a spot in the finals, but they were flying out on Tuesday with the goal of being the first ABL team to win the tournament.

Highlighting the task they face, the Golden Eagles have several former Major League baseballers on their roster, including multiple Golden Glove winner Andruw Jones. Winning one of their games would be a massive achievement, let alone winning the series.

Carter said it would be an ”organisation-changing” windfall if they did, and the club would sit down with the ABL to work out how best to use the money, with junior development high on the list.

Major League Baseball is a major backer of both the Cavalry and the ABL, but it wants the league to be financially independent by 2015.

If the Cavalry wins the Asia Series, they’ll be even further ahead of their ABL rivals. ”Over the last four years we’ve been taking good steps to become financially solvent,” Carter said. ”This clearly would put us over the top and give us a good financial boost as we look to continue to not only grow the Canberra Cavalry brand, but grow the game of baseball in the region.

”It would really help us go a long way in some of the programs we’re looking to roll out.

”It’s an organisation-changing amount of money.”

The Cavalry will create history if they can beat either the Golden Eagles or the Rhinos and become the first ABL team to win a game in the Asia Series.

Perth Heat were crowned champions in the first two ABL seasons, but failed to win a game in the Asian competition.

Carter was unsure of the strength of the Taiwan league, which is called the Chinese Professional Baseball League, but felt the Cavs’ best chance came against the Rhinos.

There’s no doubting the standard in Japan, but Jones was the best centre-field in the MLB for a decade, he played in five All Star games, and won the Hank Aaron Award, Babe Ruth Home Run Award and Major League player of the year, all in 2005.

The Golden Eagles also boast Kenny Ray and Casey McGehee as former Major Leaguers on their roster.

”There is a beauty in one-game series; usually in a five- or seven-game series, the best team wins – I’m not saying we’re not the best team, I’m saying this rugby-type of atmosphere where it’s winner of one game advances is not something we’re used to in baseball,” Carter said.

”But it really gives an underdog like us an opportunity to steal a few games.”

The Cavalry play the Rhinos on Saturday at 3pm and then the Golden Eagles on Sunday at 4pm.

If they win one game they’ll likely progress to the finals, which start on Monday.

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Typhoon: Illawarra relatives wait, hope, pray

Mila Rawnsley and daughter Suzie Rawnsley are relieved to know their family members are safe. Picture: GREG TOTMAN Utter devastation: Illawarra grandmother Mila Rawnsley and her daughter Suzie Rawnsley have received confirmation that family members in the city of Tacloban have survived typhoon Haiyan, amid reports of death and destruction. But the two women continue to worry. Picture: GREG TOTMAN
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Utter devastation: Illawarra grandmother Mila Rawnsley and her daughter Suzie Rawnsley have received confirmation that family members in the city of Tacloban have survived typhoon Haiyan, amid reports of death and destruction. But the two women continue to worry. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

The first Mila Rawnsley knew of the tragedy that had befallen her home city in the Philippines was a message posted on Facebook by her nephew.

It said simply: “Pray for Tacloban.”

The Illawarra grandmother has done little else since typhoon Haiyan smashed into the city of 220,000, where up to 10,000 people are believed to have died.

After a tense wait, she could finally communicate with her elderly sisters and other relatives who live in the city.

With the help of her daughter Suzie Rawnsley, the grandmother learnt via a single social-media message that her family had survived.

However, in the same message she learnt they had no food or water and their homes had been destroyed.

She also learnt citizens of the city had begun to turn on each other as basic necessities became more scarce.

“My aunties are in their eighties so they are trying to get to the airport, but they can’t walk because people are attacking them,” Suzie Rawnsley said.

“People are attacking them for their food because it’s just a case of survival.

“I’ve only seen one message from family in Tacloban city, other than that I’m speaking to my family in Manila.”

The goal is to get those family members in Tacloban to Manila, but military aircraft are reportedly struggling with numbers.

Only 110 people can board each flight.

Media reports emerging from the city have painted a picture of utter devastation, with few buildings surviving the winds of up to 378km/h.

Beaches on the ordinarily beautiful coastline are reported to be littered with bodies since the typhoon made landfall on Friday.

As well as worrying about her family, Mila is unsure whether a family house has survived the carnage.

To take her mind off the disaster, Mila has been helping out her daughter with the grandchildren.

She also continues to pray.

“I have been praying to help the people there,” she said.

Filipino community rallies to offer help

THE Illawarra Filipino community has gone into overdrive, organising donations to reach the typhoon-ravaged cities and towns as soon as possible.

Multiple Filipino organisations have united, each looking into their financial books to see how much can be spared to send back home.

They have also been working on behalf of concerned members in an attempt to put them in touch with family and friends in devastated areas.

Marlene Harkness, from the Filipino Needy Children’s Fund Inc, said she had been ‘‘worried sick’’ until learning her family had survived.

‘‘I’ve spoken to my mum this morning finally,’’ Ms Harkness said at a Filipino community group meeting yesterday.

‘‘She said ‘We are all OK’ so thank God for that. But they need food they need water, they need their necessities.’’

She said due to the devastation, getting goods to the worst hit areas was difficult, however air drops had begun.

Filipino groups in the Illawarra that are undertaking fund-raising activities include Filipino Needy Children’s Fund Inc, the Australian Philippine Association, the Illawarra Filipino and Multicultural Group, Club Filipino Illawarra as well as Triple R Asian Grocery in Wollongong.

Donations can also be made to the Australian Red Cross, CARE Australia and UNICEF.

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THE LOWEDOWN: Roar come calling at a good time

I start my column today fighting desperately with the ‘‘I won’t affliction’’ that so often highlights a character flaw. Certainly I get results against ‘‘do the dishes’’, ‘‘make my bed’’ and the other easybeats like ‘‘pay my credit card on time’’, but geez I struggle with the big guns like ‘‘have another piece of cake’’ and ‘‘bet in every race’’.
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Today I’m determined not to use the cliche ‘‘a week’s a long time in football’’ and, given the events of the last 168 hours, it’s not going to be an easy assignment.

This time last week, Sydney FC coach Frank Farina was under enormous pressure, Jets coach Gary van Egmond was searching for his first win of the season, and Mark Schwarzer was the Socceroos goalkeeper.

Seven sleeps later, and Sydney are suddenly a team completely together, united for the cause, playing for the boss.

The frustration of opportunities lost in consecutive games for the Jets became building blocks for a good performance and three points in Adelaide.

Adelaide’s switch to a possession-based game promised much in the early rounds but is a loss or two away from inviting serious inspection.

If Melbourne Victory lose to the Wanderers at Parramatta on Saturday night, you can be sure many will be questioning their plight post Ange, and Kevin Muscat will suddenly have the spotlight shining on his rookie coaching status.

Point being, as I’ve opined on many occasions, things are seldom as bad as they seem, or are made out to be, and on the flipside, one good result does not translate to a permanent solution being found.

What has been resoundingly emphasised is that results dictate everything – from harmony to confidence, from scrutiny to perception, from employment to ‘‘looking at other opportunities’’, from criticism to praise. And just as quickly, one or two results can change everything again.

There was a lot to like about the Jets’ victory in Adelaide on Saturday, not the least of which was hearing their coach Gary van Egmond state at the end of the match, ‘‘today we controlled the game without the ball’’. Surely many saw some irony in that?

In truth, they did exactly that, and given Adelaide’s structured, methodical build-up, and van Egmond’s devotion to analysis of just such details, I suspected they might come up with the right answers.

For the second time in a week, I allowed a host of external factors and other statistics and opinions to cloud my judgment, and Fiorente and the Jets both delivered without my cash as extra handicap.

To be fair, the Jets have been building to this victory and have looked a better side since the introduction of Andrew Hoole as an attacking focal point on the right flank, and since van Egmond introduced Ben Kantarovski to anchor the midfield and allow Ruben Zadkovich and Josh Brillante to operate further up the pitch.

In essence, van Egmond has added an extra midfield player at the expense of an attacking type of player in the No.10 role. The Jets are pressing and winning the ball selectively and effectively and disrupting the opposition.

Many will see the irony in the Jets winning their first game of the season when having less than 40per cent of the ball, given the mantra of controlling games through possession. But it didn’t surprise your columnist.

As noted before on these pages, the Jets set up perfectly as a counter-attacking force. They have high pace in their front three players, power out of midfield in Zadkovich and Brillante, and fullbacks in Neville and Galloway who would run all day on a bowl of rice.

What they did exceptionally well on Saturday was force Adelaide to one side of the pitch, lock them in and dispossess or force an errant pass. The only time Adelaide threatened was when they were chasing the game, played the ball forward earlier, ad-libbed a little, and asked questions of individual Newcastle defenders, rather than the structure of the whole unit.

It will be interesting to see if Brisbane Roar coach Mike Mulvey is thinking along similar lines given Newcastle’s performances in their past two matches.

The Roar have looked like the benchmark in the competition in the early rounds, although van Egmond will no doubt remember the problems Melbourne Heart caused Brisbane in the first 45 minutes at Suncorp Stadium a fortnight ago by unexpectedly pressing them high with consistency and aggression. (Heart did eventually succumb 3-0.)

In the last two visits to Hunter Stadium, Brisbane have stuck resolutely to their play on the ground and to feet principles, and on both occasions the Jets played with a high defensive line and with forwards dropping off, effectively clogging the game in midfield.

If Brisbane, like Adelaide, stick rigidly on Sunday to what they always do, there is every chance the Jets will have the answers tactically and can hurt them in transition.

I think it’s a really good time for the Jets to be playing the Roar. Confidence is on the rise, Besart Berisha has been on the injured list, and Matt McKay is in camp with the Socceroos.

Van Egmond’s only problems may be in areas of team selection, with Emile Heskey playing his first minutes of the season on Saturday and Adam Taggart notching his first goal of the season against Adelaide.

That will be an interesting call on a night that promises plenty of intrigue, and perhaps some answers, on how well the Jets are really going.

And speaking of going, in a very different sense, Mark Schwarzer has called time on two decades of sterling service to the national team.

His reasons will be debated and second-guessed, but not in this column.

He leaves the national team set-up in the way he conducted himself while part of it: with honesty, dignity and a great sense of pride.

He leaves while still the best goalkeeper we have, in my humble opinion, on his terms, and while still a most valuable player, and who can argue with that?

Well, I can have a little gripe, because he was the last link for we old codgers from the halcyon days at Marconi in the late 80s and 90s to the current national team.

One last time for my son Alex: ‘‘Used to bend them past Schwarzy for fun at training mate!’’

Seriously, what a joy to have watched someone develop from the gangly kid with huge potential to the wonderful professional and national team hero he became.

Last word to one of his great rivals and contemporaries Mark Bosnich, who I once asked in an interview: ‘‘Who was Australia’s best ever goalkeeper, leaving humility to one side?’’

Bozza thought for a moment, and told the audience that consistency and longevity made Schwarzer the No.1, adding that to be still playing in the EPL at 40 was an amazing effort.

(Bozza did say to me privately that what he wanted to say was that Schwarzer was Australia’s best, but he was the best keeper in the world at one stage. Then he brought out that laugh!)

But his admiration for Schwarzer was absolutely genuine and warranted.

Top bloke, great pro and a fantastic goalkeeper for Australia. Thanks a million, big man.

RESULTS: Jets Adam Taggart celebrates a goal against the Mariners. Picture: Getty Images

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Goannas hoping to confirm Seu Seu position

CESSNOCK Goannas hope to resolve any issues with incoming coach Terrence Seu Seu and confirm his position for 2014 by Friday after a ‘‘productive’’ meeting with the hooker on Sunday night.
Nanjing Night Net

The former Knights, Cronulla and Manly rake was to take on the coaching vacancy left by the departure of Todd Edwards while continuing as a player. However, the Samoan international was reportedly close to walking away from the coaching job before pre-season training had even started.

Goannas secretary David Cleaves said the club was working with Seu Seu and hoped to still have him as coach.

‘‘We had a meeting and we are negotiating at the moment and we’ll have it all sorted, at the latest, by Friday,’’ Cleaves said.

‘‘It was a very productive meeting. We had a few members of the committee there and Terrence and we had a good all-round yarn.

‘‘We’re trying to resolve this and I’m pretty sure it will be by Friday.’’

Cleaves said Seu Seu ‘‘still wants to play footy’’ but there were issues around coaching he and the club needed to address.

He said Seu Seu wanted to get everything out in the open before pre-season training started.

The Herald has been told the Cessnock committee was meeting last night, possibly to talk with a replacement coach.

A meeting with the players is also set down for Friday.

The Goannas were shock losers to Kurri Kurri 23-16 in the elimination final this season. It came after three grand final losses in the previous four years.

Edwards was in charge for all three grand final campaigns but has stepped aside to coach the Knights SG Ball (under-18) side next season alongside former Maitland premiership-winner Trevor Ott.


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Palupe ready to lift squad

PREMIERSHIP-winning Waratahs captain Pala Palupe is one of five Anderson Medal winners named in a Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union train-on squad that boasts internationals, former Super Rugby players and NSW country representatives.
Nanjing Night Net

Coach Dan Beckett yesterday named an extended group for an assault on an unprecedented seventh-straight Caldwell Cup, the symbol of NSW Country rugby supremacy.

‘‘It’s a big squad and we took our time naming it because we wanted a group that can take Newcastle rugby to a new level,’’ Beckett said.

‘‘The program is not only about the country championships.

‘‘We will play some quality Sydney opposition in the lead-up and the performance against them will be just as important.’’

Palupe is joined by nine members of the Tahs outfit that beat Hamilton 17-15 in the grand final in September, including player-coach and former Canterbury Crusader Hayden Pedersen, Belgium international prop Alain Miriallakis and former Samoan fly-half Carl Manu.

‘‘The premiers always bring confidence and energy from a grand final win,’’ Beckett said.

‘‘We welcome that. They certainly unveiled a lot of talent in 2013.

‘‘Hayden Pedersen is keen to work with his players. The experience he and a number of others have will rub off on the younger players.

‘‘It is a good mix.’’

Dan Kevill, who won the Anderson Medal in 2009, returns to the representative scene after a long absence.

Gareth Ernst (2012), Mark Wade (2011) and Va Talaileva (2010, 2007) complete the best and fairest award winners.

Country reps Dylan Evans, Ben Harriss, Talaileva, Brendan Holliday and Luke Sherwood are going again.

There is also a host of exciting new talent headed by Matt Ireland, Tapaki Rahui, Blair Rush and Nathan Brennan.

Each of the 10 clubs are represented. Hamilton have the largest representation with 11.

Newcastle beat Illawarra 28-18 in the final in Tamworth last year and will again be short-priced favourites to continue their reign in Mudgee on March 28-29.

‘‘We learnt a lesson last year,’’ Beckett said.

‘‘No one was out to play rugby, they were just out there to try and stop us.

‘‘This year the mindset will be that the rugby is more important than anything else.

‘‘We are going to do everything we can to perform in a way that no one has seen.

‘‘We have depth and talent right across the board.

‘‘The next few months is about the group realising their responsibility and having the courage to try and do things different. A rugby revolution.

‘‘We will have a get together before Christmas and rip in from the start of January.’’

SELECTION: Waratahs No.8 Pala Palupe in action during this year’s NHRU grand final.

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