Monthly Archives: March 2019

Ashes 2013: Peter Siddle wants pacemen to be kept fresh

Stalwart spearhead Peter Siddle has defended the resting of fast bowlers before a busy Ashes schedule, saying critics of the decision don’t understand the demands on modern pacemen.
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Former Test greats Geoff Lawson and Glenn McGrath have criticised the resting of promising NSW speedster Josh Hazlewood from the just completed Sheffield Shield match against Victoria, continuing calls from past players for quicks to bowl more to avoid the injuries that have sidelined pacemen Pat Cummins, James Pattinson, Jackson Bird, Doug Bollinger and Mitchell Starc.

Siddle and fellow Ashes linchpin Ryan Harris will be rested from this week’s Shield games before next week’s first Test in Brisbane, and the 28-year-old Victorian said that made sense.

”That’s been the plan for a long time and … touch wood, everything goes all right. It is a five-Test series, so to be backing up continuously throughout the summer … [you need] a bit of a break. Have that now and get ready.”

Siddle said it was ”disappointing” that Lawson, the NSW fast-bowling coach, did not understand why such rests were necessary.

”The simple thing is that the games have increased. There’s a lot more games now than Geoff Lawson would have played,” Siddle told SEN on Monday. ”That’s the thing that annoys me a little bit. He’s had a long run of injuries throughout his career. It was said that his career lasted 10 years, and Mitchell Johnson played Geoff Lawson’s career in 3½. That’s a comparison of the games difference and where we’re at.”

In June, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said, ”You won’t see any of that rotation policy,” during this summer’s Ashes series, although selectors would still ”give players opportunities” in international limited-overs cricket to see how they responded.

Criticism of the policy reached fever pitch last summer after Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus were left out of a series-deciding Test in Perth against South Africa, days after nearly bowling their team to victory in Adelaide, and Starc was stood down from the Boxing Day line-up the week after bowling Australia to victory against Sri Lanka in Hobart.

The same day Sutherland made his comments, CA’s high performance manager, Pat Howard, seemed to contradict his boss.

”The workload management policy is still in place,” he said. ”The Ashes is obviously an extremely important series for us, and the selectors will select the best players available for every Test.

”However, if players are injured or we are not confident a player will finish the match, the selectors will consider this. Ultimately a player needs to be able to perform for an entire match.”

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Donation to help grieving families

WHEN Shellie O’Connell lost her third child, Lachlan, in 2002, when he was just three weeks old, her motivation to get out of bed was her two young daughters.
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Lachlan was born two months early and eventually succumbed to non-immune hydrops, or a build-up of fluid.

It took months before Mrs O’Connell realised that SIDS and Kids was an organisation that also assisted families who had lost children from non-SIDS causes, including miscarriage, stillbirth, in palliative care, accidents and drownings. When she visited its Hunter chapter’s office in Stewart Avenue, Hamilton, it was life-changing.

‘‘I didn’t feel so alone, I was talking to other families who had been through similar things, because at the time you are in a bubble, floating along, the world is still happening and you just want everything to stop.’’ Mrs O’Connell soon began volunteering at the drop-in centre, and when she learnt she was pregnant, once again found solace there.

Mrs O’Connell, whose fourth child, Cameron, will turn nine next week, works as a peer support representative at the centre. She was on hand yesterday with co-worker and SIDS and Kids Hunter Region general manager Kate Middleton when the centre received a $25,000 cheque from Beyond Bank (formerly Companion Credit Union).

Beyond chief executive Robert Keogh said the customer-owned bank had donated $8million to charities, not-for-profit organisations and community groups since 2007.

Mrs Middleton, a mother-of-three whose first child, Hamish, died of whooping cough, said the funds would enable the centre to employ a fund-raising person, allowing staff to focus on education campaigns.

SUPPORT: Shellie O’Connell found solace at SIDS and Kids in Hamilton. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

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No pause on Levee project

MAITLAND mayor Peter Blackmore has dismissed fears the city’s $14.7million Levee project could stall over a political fight.
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The major two-part development, which its hoped would provide a facelift and injection of life to the ailing Heritage Mall precinct, is earmarked to take a step forward tonight.

Councillors will confidentially discuss a shortlist of contractors to oversee the riverside re-invention, inviting those who made the cut to submit a formal tender.

Work on the Levee is scheduled to start in early 2014 but the project had fallen under a cloud after a major portion of funding was caught in political crossfire.

The Newcastle Herald has reported the federal government labelled $7million Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon announced for the project shortly before the election a ‘‘hoax’’.

Mr Fitzgibbon has slammed the Liberal government for failing to honour the commitment.

Cr Blackmore said the 2014 start date for the Levee was unchanged and the council would ‘‘make a determination’’ on funding.

Potentially moving to the next stage on Thursday by selecting a head contractor sent a clear message about the project’s future, he said.

‘‘We are giving a commitment it will be going ahead,’’ Cr Blackmore said.

He said many businesses had prepared for work in that timeframe, a commitment the council was not taking lightly.

‘‘We are certainly very conscious to make sure we can stick to that [early 2014] timeframe,’’ Cr Blackmore said.

Maitland councillors unanimously voted to forge ahead with the two-stage $14.7million project in June.

It would open the mall to traffic as well as creating a ‘‘river link’’ structure to connect the shopping promenade with the riverbank.

FACELIFT: A council concept image of the Levee project.

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Boom times ahead

Boomers head coach Andrej Lemanis conducts a coaching clinic at Maitland Federation Centre, Maitland. Pictures: Jonathan CarrollANDREJ Lemanis has been handed the keys to Australian basketball’s new Ferrari.
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A few of the colts still need breaking in but Lemanis feels privileged, rather than pressured, to be sitting in the driver’s seat with all that horsepower under the hood.

One of only a select few to have won National Basketball League titles as a player (South East Melbourne Magic 1992) and coach (New Zealand Breakers 2010-12), 44-year-old Lemanis was appointed Boomers coach in April after guiding the Breakers to a third-straight championship.

He navigated the first road block in August, steering the Boomers to a 2-0 sweep of New Zealand in the Oceania qualifying series to secure a spot in the FIBA World Cup in Spain next September, and his tenure includes that tournament and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Lemanis has at his disposal a core of players strutting their stuff in professional leagues in the United States and Europe, and others from the US college system, meaning Australian-based NBL players will struggle to make the cut when he trims his World Cup squad to 12 in July.

Andrew Bogut (Golden State Warriors), Matthew Dellavedova (Cleveland Cavaliers) and San Antonio’s Patrick Mills and Aron Baynes are in the National Basketball Association.

Joe Ingles (Israel), Brad Newley (Spain), David Barlow (Poland) and David Andersen and Ryan Broekhoff (both Turkey) are also “balling” on the world stage, and teenagers Dante Exum and Ben Simmons have been projected as first-round NBA draft picks.

Eighteen-year-old Exum and 17-year-old Simmons, a former Newcastle Hunters junior, are Australian-born sons of former NBL American imports Cecil Exum and Dave Simmons.

Other retired former Americans who stayed to raise families Down Under have inadvertently provided the Boomers with a nursery of second-generation athletes to pick from.

“It’s a really exciting time to be involved with the Boomers. I said when I got the job, and I still believe it, that we’ve got a good core of athletes there that have been together for a while,” Lemanis told the Newcastle Herald.

“If you look at Joe Ingles, Brad Newley, Patrick Mills, Matthew Dellavedova, all those guys are in their mid-20s, so it’s not like they’re at the end of their careers. They’re still in the prime of their careers, and someone like ‘Delly’ is just starting his international career.

“So to have that as a core of the group, and then to have these exciting young guys come through, who add this other special element with their athleticism and ability to just make plays out of nothing because of what they are athletically, that puts us in a really good position.”

Lemanis served his national senior-team apprenticeship as an assistant to Brett Brown at the 2010 World Championships in Turkey and 2012 Olympic Games in London. Brown is now head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA.

After the Tall Blacks series, where Exum and Simmons made their Boomers debuts, Lemanis went to Europe to check in with the likes of Newley, Ingles and Nathan Jawai, who will be sidelined for up to six months after suffering a neck trauma injury last month.

Lemanis does not anticipate the Boomers playing together again until they gather in Europe in August for training camp and trials before the World Cup.

“It’s now about staying in contact with those guys and monitoring how they’re going, and keeping a Boomers element to what they’re doing day-to-day on their own games and their skill development,” Lemanis said.

“We want them to understand that we’re here to support them, and if they need something from us, we’re only a phone call away and we’ll help them however we can.

“We want them to know that we can continue to help them and service them from afar – paying attention to them, and visiting with them to see their environments and see how they’re doing.

“I was lucky enough to do that when I went over to visit with some of our guys in Europe in September, but the reality is everyone’s in their own professional environment until the middle of June, then we will have a camp towards the end of July.

“At the end of that camp we will cut our squad to 12, pick our team, then we’ll head to Europe in early August and base ourselves out of Europe and seek some good quality competition and games leading into the World Cup.”

Whether 29-year-old Bogut, who has not played for Australia since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, suits up at the World Cup or the Rio Olympics remains to be seen, but Lemanis said Australia’s only No.1 NBA draft pick was keen to wear the green and gold again.

“Bogut’s skill level would be a tremendous asset to add to the group,” he said.

“I’ve had good conversations with Andrew, he’s certainly committed to the Boomers’ program, and he wants to be a Boomer. He’s just had an unbelievably unlucky run with injuries.

“He needs to be comfortable within himself that he can get through an NBA schedule – 82 games plus play-offs – have an off-season playing with the Boomers, then get through another 82-game season plus play-offs.

“He needs to be confident that his body can handle that but it would be very exciting for us, obviously, if he was able to make himself available.”

Bogut’s shocking run of bad luck, and the unavailability of other first-choice players for different reasons at different times, has given others an opportunity to represent the Boomers.

Lemanis hopes that leaves him with some tough choices to make in nine months, when he has to name an Australian team to take on the world.

The Boomers were beaten in the quarter-finals by eventual Olympic gold medallists USA in London, having finished 10th at the World Championships in Turkey in 2010.

It is a far cry from the golden era when they were fourth at the Olympics of 1988, 1996 and 2000, but it seems the only way is up for the most athletically gifted squad in Boomers history.

“To have that depth, it’s obviously a good position to be in.

“The more pressure there is on those guys to keep their spot in the roster, the better positioned we are as a nation to do well.

“There’s going to be good players that miss out . . . because at the end of the day, the coach has got to make a call and you’re only allowed to pick 12. That’s a good position to be in, if you’re leaving out good players as opposed to putting players in because you have to have 12.”

● Lemanis held a coaching clinic at Maitland Federation Centre last night and will be guest speaker at Hunter Sports High’s presentation dinner at Wests New Lambton tonight.

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TOPICS: Activities aplenty  in November rain

HERE’S the scenario.
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You have friends staying from overseas, or interstate, or Sydney. You’ve looked forward to showing off the Hunter, your home, with its beaches and vineyards and urban cool, and did you tell them about the coffee? You did? Just checking.

But it’s raining, like it did yesterday and it’s meant to today. That’s speared your plans. As Guns N’ Roses once observed, kind of, it’s hard to see the Hunter in the cold November rain.

So what to do in a wet week, without resorting to laser tag at Charlestown Square?

Learn stuff at Newcastle Museum

The real fun lurks in the science wing. Hoist a car off the ground with a rope, or put your nephew in his place in the speed gun-timed tennis ball throw. Handy hint: limber up.

Lace up at Hunter Ice Skating Stadium

So your guests won’t find the romance of the rink at New York’s Rockefeller Center. Who cares? With fewer people on the ice, promotions like Friday Sk8 Night and the chance to catch a North Stars hockey game, you’ll feel like you’re in a winter wonderland designed by Torvill and Dean.

Dip-netting in the Hunter Wetlands

Just you, the birds and whatever ends up squirming in your net. Bring a raincoat.

A spot of culture at the Lock-Up

The current artists in residence are Paul Howard and David Matthews. One’s curated projects for the Tate Modern, the other’s written for Esquire and The Guardian.

Laser tag at Strike Bowling, Charlestown Square

Oh, all right. To quote Saul in Breaking Bad, drum roll, please… it’s laser tag! Rollicking fun in the Hunter’s retail hub.

There you are – a list guaranteed to speed up a wet week. Got a wet-weather tip? Let us know.

It makes horse sense

IF New York gets rid of the horse-drawn carriages that clip-clop through Central Park, can Newcastle have them?

Hear us out. New York’s new mayor Bill de Blasio, who sounds like a bit of a killjoy, has vowed to end the tradition ‘‘within the first week on the job’’. Meanwhile, our city’s rethinking its transport.

So alongside the blimp network devised by eight-year-old Oscar Wood (Topics, November 6), we propose a horse interchange at Wickham, Broadmeadow or wherever the rail line ends.

Imagine a twilight trot through Civic Park, past Bar Beach, or even down Hunter Street. Kids could arrive at their school formals in them, instead of Hummers. The council would find the streets brimming with free compost.

Hemp conspiracy

WE asked for conspiracy theories (Topics, November 11). Were you followed? Then come in, sit down, have a tin-foil hat.

Brian Casey, of Lemon Tree Passage, opened our eyes to the ‘‘hemp conspiracy’’. It goes like this, according to a website called Higher Perspective.

‘‘Marijuana is not dangerous. Pot is not harmful to the human body or mind … However, marijuana is very much a danger to the oil companies, alcohol, tobacco industries, and a large number of chemical corporations.’’

Lots of goods used to be made from hemp, you see, until big business with an interest in replacing it with their own products bankrolled a smear campaign against poor Mary Jane*.

‘‘It’s fair-dinkum, I think,’’ says Brian.

This all began with Topics’ bafflement at the opposition to fluoridated water in the Byron Shire, on the grounds that it’s mass medication.

Kevin Butters, of Lambton, thinks the good folk of Byron are indulging in mass daftness.

‘‘Isn’t that where the locals won’t immunise their kids?’’ says Kevin.

‘‘To the best of my knowledge most toothpaste contains fluoride, so what do they brush their teeth with?’’

* slang for marijuana

DON’T FRET: There are plenty of things to do in Newcastle when the heavens unleash.

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