Weller gives Saints a chance against Roos


DESPITE North Melbourne rolling the reigning premier last weekend, Maverick Weller said the men from Arden Street were “definitely” beatable.

Weller and his St Kilda teammates fly to Tasmania this morning ahead of tomorrow’s encounter at Blundstone Arena, where they meet a Kangaroos outfit who are fresh from dismantling Hawthorn last Friday night.

Maverick Weller is looking forward to playing in Hobart this weekend. Picture: Getty Images.

But Weller isn’t reading too much into the result.

The former Burnie boy said North Melbourne’s form line this season suggested the team might be due for another slip-up.

The finals-bound Roos have won nine matches to date, but only twice have they claimed back-to-back wins.

“I think we’ve got a massive chance,” Weller, 22, told The Advocate yesterday.

“Everyone knows they’ve been up and down, and hopefully we can keep that trend going.

“It’s going to be wet and windy, and there’s going to be a massive focus on contested footy, so if we can win the ball in close we’ll back ourselves.”

Weller has been one of the rare shining lights for the struggling Saints since his debut for the club in round 7.

He capped off a stellar month of performances last weekend in the loss to Carlton, picking up 22 possessions and being named the team’s third best player.

“I’ve been trying to keep my approach to playing pretty simple and it’s working well,” Weller said.

“But it’s not much fun when you’re losing all the time and we’re pretty keen to end this [10-game] losing streak.”

Tomorrow’s clash in Hobart is just Weller’s second appearance in his home state after suiting up for ex-club Gold Coast at Aurora Stadium in 2011.

The hard-nosed midfielder said he was looking forward to playing in front of up to 15 family members and friends, who will make the trip down from the Coast.

Weller, who was picked up as a rookie in November last year, said contract extension negotiations would start soon and he was confident of being put permanently on St Kilda’s senior list.

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South Burnie players racking up the milestones


GAME milestone celebrations will have come thick and fast at the South Burnie Hockey Club this year with eight of its members reaching more than 200 games.

Three of its division 2 men’s members have or will reach the 650-game mark in the next fortnight, while three of its women members have reached 300, 400 and 600 games apiece.

South Burnie Hockey Club players who have or will reach milestone games this season, from left: Darrell Webb (600), Kyle Webb (200), Deb Davis (300), Cor Vander Vlist (650), Sharee Taylor (600), Wayne Edmunds (650), Helen Ainslie (400) and Robert Taylor (650). Picture: Stuart Wilson.

Between them, the eight members, Darrell Webb (600 games), Kyle Webb (200), Deb Davis (300), Cor Vander Vlist (650), Sharee Taylor (600), Wayne Edmunds (650), Helen Ainslie (400) and Robert Taylor (650) have amassed more than 4000 games.

Division 2 team member Wayne Edmunds said he reached his milestone about a month ago, but said it was always great to celebrate other people’s achievements.

“You don’t always like to talk about yourself but it’s good to celebrate those milestones with others,” Edmunds said.

Edmunds has been playing with fellow 650-gamer Rob Taylor since he started playing hockey years ago and said it was great relationships that made the sport so engaging.

“When you’ve played a few games with the same blokes you get to know their quirks and habits, you can always move to be in the right place,” Edmunds said.

The South Burnie Hockey Club prides itself on being a family club and Edmunds said junior hockey development was at the forefront of the club’s mind.

Edmunds said hockey appealed to all ages because it was more low-impact than a sport such as football and as it always promoted relationships on and off the field.

Robert Taylor will be next in line to reach his 650 games in a couple of weeks.

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CHFL: Smythesdale coach sacked after player revolt


Glenn TreacyA PLAYER revolt has aided in thesacking of Smythesdale coach Glenn Treacy.

The Bulldogs moved quickly to release Treacy from his position on Wednesday night, just days after senior players approached club president Nick Gray to raise their concerns following a 342-point drubbing at the hands of Central Highlands Football League powerhouse Bungaree.

Gray told The Courier Treacy’s style of coaching didn’t suit the group currently at the club.

“The main reason being there was a bit of unhappiness with Glenn’s style and the way he was coaching from the players,” Gray said.

“It was either going to be one or the other. If we lost our players, at this time of year, you don’t want to be doing that.”

Gray said the decision to release Treacy wasn’t made lightly.

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Gaff returns

A FAMILIAR face returns to the Ulverstone Schweppes Arena tomorrow night, but sadly this time he’s helping plot the demise of the North West Thunder and not leading them to victory.

American Eric Gaff said he would have mixed feelings about facing the Thunder, who he was an integral member of for three seasons from 2011.

Former North-West Thunder import Eric Gaff will return to face his ex-team on Saturday night when he suits up for Geelong. Picture: Katrina Dodd.

Gaff left the team in October last year, signing on the dotted line with rival SEABL club the Geelong Supercats after the North West board negligently failed to secure his services.

The Indiana native said he wished he had been handled with greater care, but he didn’t hold any grudges and was looking forward to lining up against his former club.

“It will be different to line-up against your friends, but in the end my job is to try and get the win and that’s what I’ll be doing,” Gaff said.

“After the game it will be good to catch up with them, but until then I won’t be too friendly to them.”

The road trip to Tasmania takes on extra significance for the Supercats, who still sit on top of the Eastern conference but fly to the Apple Isle on a three-game losing streak.

Gaff, a 208-centimetre centre, said it was crucial his side came away with wins against both Hobart tonight and the Thunder tomorrow.

“It’s never easy to come down to Tassie, but we need two wins to keep ourselves on top,” he said.

Gaff said he missed the family-like atmosphere at the Thunder, where, in particular, he grew a close bond with coach Phil Thomas and captain Nick Haywood. The 27-year-old said he regularly keeps in contact with the pair.

When asked was he surprised by the Thunder’s form this year, Gaff replied: “Not really”.

The SEABL website predicted the Coastal club to finish in the bottom two of the Southern conference in 2014 after it lost seven members of its roster in the off-season, five of which were starting players, including Gaff.

However, the Thunder’s current 13-5 win-loss record would suggest the so-called experts got it wrong.

“There was always a lot of good local players down there and it was just a matter of their younger guys stepping up,” Gaff said.

Tomorrow night’s game tips-off at 7.30pm at the Ulverstone Schweppes Arena.

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Peter Holmes a Court goes ahead with wedding despite train crash

Peter Holmes a Court and Alissa Everett. Photo: FacebookWhen Kara Poovey handed her husband William’s camera to Peter Holmes a Court, she asked him to fill it with happy photos of his wedding to Alissa Everett.

William Poovey was killed in a train accident last week that also broke Kara’s jaw. A freight train crashed into the tourist tram carrying Mr Holmes a Court, US photographer Ms Everett and their wedding party. Twenty people were injured in the smash.

On Thursday, Mr Holmes a Court revealed how the wedding went ahead, with a ceremony in Botswana that was ”smaller and quieter without Will”. In a statement on Facebook, he described Ms Poovey as ”an angel on this earth” who continued to light up the room with her ”teary smile”.

”Kara requested we rejoin our group in Botswana and gave us Will’s camera. She insisted we honour Will by following through with our wedding ceremony and filling the camera with beautiful photographs,” Mr Holmes a Court said.

”We are thrilled to be married, yet our hearts are broken for the loss of our dear friend.”

Mr Holmes a Court, a Sydney-based businessman and part-owner of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, and Ms Everett both sustained minor injuries in the crash.

”We are OK. Bruised, cut, stitched and strapped. These will fade and heal. Many others were hurt worse than us, and as a group we were very, very lucky,” Mr Holmes a Court said.

They raised $17,000 for survivors of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo and say one of the houses will be named in honour of Mr Poovey and his family.

The couple will delay their honeymoon until next year ”when smiles come easier”.

”Good will come from this if we rise to the challenge of living life as Will did: making the most of every day, adding laughter and joy to every room we enter, and deeply loving those close to us,” Mr Holmes a Court said.

The accident is being investigated by Zimbabwean authorities. Twenty people were reported hurt, including Mr Poovey and two others who survived with injuries.

A friend of Ms Everett told Fairfax Media the tram echoed with screams of terror as it slid more than 250 metres.

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Rolf Harris painting removed from Canberra school

Rolf Harris unveiling his painting Triptych 88 at the Erindale Centre in 1988, with Minister for the Arts and Territories Gary Punch and Member for Canberra Ros Kelly. Rolf Harris unveiling his painting Triptych 88 at the Erindale Centre in 1988.

A 13-metre-long Rolf Harris mural painted for Canberra as part of Australia’s bicentenary celebrations could be removed from a school after the disgraced entertainer was convicted of indecently assaulting four girls.

Erindale College is yet to determine the future of the three-paneled artwork, Triptych 88, which was painted by Harris in 1988 and now graces the entrance to the school’s theatre.

The 13.5-metre-long, 3-metre-high mural was a birthday gift to the city, commissioned by the Royal National Capital Agricultural Society and painted by Harris over the three-day Royal Canberra Show.

A second Harris artwork has already been removed from Chapman Primary School and a third painting at Harrison School could also be in the firing line.

An ACT government Education and Training spokesman said the directorate understood an artwork hanging in Chapman Primary School had been removed following consultation with parents.

He said a decision was yet to be made about the other artworks.

“We know of the existence of three Rolf Harris artworks in our public schools,” the spokesman said.

“We understand Chapman Primary School has taken down artwork following consultation with their parent community.

“Other artworks are at Erindale College and Harrison School. The directorate is working with these schools and their school communities regarding these artworks.”

The spokesman did not want to elaborate on discussions about the removal of the artworks.

Numerous Rolf Harris artworks and items have been purged from schools, institutions and galleries across Australia.

This includes the removal of two wobble boards and a leather jacket from Canberra’s National Museum of Australia last November. The items were removed as part of the gallery’s regular changeover program. But the removal coincided with allegations against Harris.

Harris was found guilty on June 30 of sexual offences between 1968 and 1986.

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Tackling Shipsterns monsters on a SUP

A BURNIE big-wave surfer has pushed the limits of a growing sport in stand-up paddle boarding.

Big-wave surfer Kyron Rathbone on his stand-up paddle board launches down the treacherous vertical take-off of a Shipstern Bluff monster.

Kyron Rathbone has been photographed taking his stand-up paddle board (SUP) down the six-metre face of the infamous Shipstern Bluff break, in the state’s South.

Mr Rathbone has been SUPing for the past five years and has always been on the lookout to push the envelope.

“There are a handful of guys around the world pushing the limits of paddle boarding.

“I have ridden waves at Shipsterns before on the paddle board but none as big as the previous ones,” Mr Rathbone said.

If you think Mr Rathbone is satisfied with his effort, you would be wrong and he wants to go bigger.

“The only problem with doing Shipsterns with paddle boards is the fact it’s always a big day.

“We spent seven to eight hours out on the water because we had to transport the boards on them.

“You can’t walk through the scrub with the boards because they are heavy.”

Most SUP’s aren’t really designed for going down big waves and Mr Rathbone said he had destroyed a few boards.

“This was the first day it had been a clean break.

“Over the past few times I have been at Shipsterns I have snapped a few boards.

“The one I ride is pretty much the most aggressive wave ride, but I don’t think you can design anything to go down something that big properly.”

Mr Rathbone said he is a frequent visitor back to Tasmania during these months to surf Shipsterns.

He also said later in the year he will travel to Hawaii to surf even bigger waves on his SUP.

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Hinkley wins place in Vic Country side

Cobden footballer Paul Hinkley will represent Victoria Country 1 this weekend. 140710AS21 Picture: AARON SAWALLPAUL Hinkley is preparing to write another chapter in his representative football career — six weeks after producing the feel-good story of an otherwise disappointing Hampden interleague campaign.

The Cobden utility, who kept former AFL star Brendan Fevola to one goal in Hampden league’s humbling 125-point loss to Ovens and Murray, will play for AFL Victoria Country’s number one squad against a strong metropolitan side at Werribee’s Chirnside Park tomorrow.

Hinkley’s selection stemmed from his gallant defensive efforts on Fevola at Wangaratta in May.

He was named in Vic Country 1’s final 24-strong line-up — teams will have six interchange players — on Wednesday night.

The chance to wear the Big V is an opportunity the Bombers tall can’t wait to grasp.

“It is a real honour. I didn’t expect to get selected to train, let alone make the final 24,” Hinkley said.

“It’s huge. I never thought I’d get a chance.

“Just getting your jumper presented to you was a big buzz.” Hinkley, who travelled to Melbourne for three Sunday training sessions in a bid to make the team, will meet his Vic Country 1 teammates in Geelong at 3pm today for tomorrow’s game, which was moved to Werribee after recent heavy rain at Kardinia Park.

The Cobden dairy farmer is unsure what position he’ll play in the one-off representative match but said he was ready to “test myself against the best” in the state.

Hinkley said he was just looking forward to the opportunity to “hang around with all these good footballers and learn a few things”.

The 196-centimetre Bomber, just as comfortable in the ruck as he is at centre half-back, believes Vic Country 1 has assembled a versatile side which could stretch its metropolitan-based opponents.

“We have blokes who can play either end and through the middle,” he said.

“There are a lot of good sized footballers there and our small guys are handy.

“The Metro team we are playing have two blokes 201cm and 100kg so they’re big lads.”

Hinkley, 26, will miss Cobden’s must-win clash with neighbour Camperdown at Leura Oval.

He said the Bombers had endured an up and down season to date.

“We all started off really well obviously with a new coach with new ideas,” Hinkley said.

“We were all up and about but I think everyone’s consistency dropped a bit.”

Vic Country 1 coach Peter Knights said Hinkley — Hampden’s only representative — had all the attributes to contribute at the next level.

“Over the last five weeks through training and match-day performances for his home club, his form has been terrific and his commitment excellent in regards to getting to trainings on Sunday mornings,” Knights said.

“We see Paul as a versatile player who can play as a ruck or defender.

“There is no doubt he is a very athletic, versatile player.”

Knights, who will turn to Koroit’s Joe McLaren as an assistant coach, said Vic Country 1 was content to play anywhere.

“Unfortunately one thing we can’t control is the weather,” he said.

“Unfortunately we won’t be at Simonds Stadium. It would have been an opportunity to play on an AFL ground which is disappointing (to miss out on).”

The clash will start at 2.15pm.

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Tassie is the ‘whole package’

TASMANIA should be more prepared to brag about itself if it wants to increase international visitor numbers.

That’s according to businessman, commentator and former Australian cricketer and VFL-AFL footballer Max Walker, who gave the keynote speech at the Cradle Coast Regional Tourism Forum in Latrobe yesterday.

Mr Walker, formerly of Tasmania, said the state needed to separate itself from other destinations in the minds of overseas tourists.

This would require creativity in its marketing, he said.

“How do we stand out from the rest of the world? That’s our challenge.”

Businessman, commentator and former Australian cricketer and VFL-AFL footballer Max Walker gave the keynote speech at the Cradle Coast Regional Tourism Forum in Latrobe yesterday. Picture: Katrina Docking.

Mr Walker said regular conferences to engage mainland businesses and open them to investing in Tasmanian tourism may assist the state’s industry.

It was important to speak positively about the state, Mr Walker said.

“Everyone in the community has to be so proud of where they live and what they’re doing together.”

Because the North-West did not have a single major attraction like Uluru, the region could consider making its people the focus of a tourism marketing campaign, Mr Walker said.

“[They] are so friendly and engaging. Why don’t we use the people?” he said.

“[The region] is fantastic but we don’t hear enough about it.”

Social media and online video provided the tourism industry opportunities to connect with people internationally, Mr Walker said.

There was a need to tell the state’s story across media including radio, online, mobile and print to target different generations, he said.

State needs to “talk up” vibrant cultural sceneCradle Coast Tourism Awards | photosCradle Coast Regional Tourism AwardsThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Hopes fade for boy snatched by wave at Pearl Beach

SWEEP: Searchers look for the missing boy off Pearl Beach.THE family of a young boy feared drowned off Pearl Beach on the Central Coast may have watched on helpless as he was swept away because they could not swim.

A massive air and sea search was launched yesterday afternoon after the five-year-old, who was said to have been playing with his siblings on the beach, was taken out to sea by a large wave about 1.50pm.

Despite a massive search, involving helicopters, jet-skis, numerous surf lifesavers, police divers and officers, and paramedics, there was no sign of the boy as daylight faded.

The search was winding down not long after nightfall and was expected to begin again at 8am, but police divers were expected to continue working into the night.

It is understood the family had rented a house on the beach and they were seen returning to the house last night.

But surf lifesavers believe the boy’s family members may not have known how to swim and were powerless to save him.

“They’re not sure whether anybody could actually swim,” a spokeswoman for Surf Life Saving NSW said.

There were other suggestions onlookers may have tried to assist the boy but could not.

One resident, who did not want to be named, said she spoke to a young boy who was the last to spot the child.

“The poor little mite, he was just so disturbed,” the woman said.