Monthly Archives: March 2019

One killed, four injured in Maitland Vale Road crash

One killed, four injured in Maitland Vale Road crash The scene at Maitland Vale Road early Thursday morning. Picture: Eddie O’Reilly
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The scene at Maitland Vale Road early Thursday morning. Picture: Eddie O’Reilly

The scene at Maitland Vale Road early Thursday morning. Picture: Eddie O’Reilly

The scene at Maitland Vale Road early Thursday morning. Picture: Eddie O’Reilly

The scene at Maitland Vale Road early Thursday morning. Picture: Eddie O’Reilly

The scene at Maitland Vale Road early Thursday morning. Picture: Eddie O’Reilly

TweetFacebookOne of the men was thrown from the vehicle on impact.

The accident occurred on Maitland Vale Road about11.15pmover a sweeping right hand bend.

Paramedics spent more than two hours stabilising the driver inside the Range Rover four-wheel drive as rescue personnel worked to free him.

Crash investigators were looking into the cause of the crash, which occurred around a 45km/hr s-bend on the rural road.

The Herald, Newcastle

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TONY BUTTERFIELD: Great game, but needs work

TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA – OCTOBER 05: Johnathan Thurston of the Cowboys speaks to the crowd during the North Queensland Cowboys NRL Grand Final fan day at 1300 Smiles Stadium on October 5, 2015 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
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AS I sit down to draft this week’s final column for the year, I feel a little out of breath.

It’s been a long haul.

Emerging from the annual hibernation in February, the new NRL season brought hope for all, including the struggling NRL clubs.

The Knights, in particular, had chins wagging they were final-eight prospects after just four rounds.

But, like the tortoise said to the hare, “that’s just chin-waggin”.

The NRL season is long, intense and physical, one of the most gruelling competitions in world sport. It’s longer than a marathon. And tougher than getting to the final two on Survivor.

And so it has proved to be some 31 brutal weeks later.

The spectacular season finale, with the Knights’ NSW Cup success thrown in, served up a tension-filled, action-packed, nail-biting banquet for local sports lovers the past two weeks.

Climaxing a second after the wobbly football left Johnathan Thurston’s right boot on Sunday night, the haze of energy from the occasion has not yet lifted for many league tragics.

When it does, the real state of the game can be assessed: big resource discrepancies between clubs; three clubs under NRL administration; confusion with rules; judiciaries; contract sanctity; refereeing; and declining crowd and junior numbers — to name but a few.

These are all clear indicators of a game that needs leadership and a massive tune-up.

Hopefully, before getting to work on these things, the NRL leadership, like the rest of us, will take a well earned moment to appreciate another season completed with a contest for the ages.

Some are saying it was the best GF ever. I prefer to think everyone sees these things through their own frame of reference, filtered by memories and the emotions they evoke.

All can be special in their own way, but this one will certainly be hard to beat, Knights ’97 included.

Importantly, like the Knights, where inaugural coach Allan McMahon received tributes for his foundation role in the premiership, the NQ club was quick to acknowledge the similar role played by their late coach Graham Murray. Muzza is credited with securing JT from the Bulldogs and building a squad with a solid junior base.

The squad that Muzza started delivered on Sunday night in a way that would have made the old coach very proud indeed. It also serves as a lesson to those trying to build a successful club roster – the good ones take time, astute planning and the best people.

A WELL deserved and hearty congrats to our brave NSW Cup side, who fell at the national final hurdle on Sunday. Their tremendous rally late in the season instilled some much-needed confidence, renewing some vigour about the club after difficult times.

On the day, Ipswich were probably a touch better, but there was little in it.

Controversially, an Ipswich Jets player dispensing some jungle justice on our attacking trump in Jake Mamo was allowed to remain on the field despite clocking our man, whose afternoon was thereafter spent on a merry-go-round.

Those who believe that incident did not affect the final scoreline must surely be Queenslanders. However, the only opinion that mattered was that of the match officials and video referee on the day. But they were about as effective as an ashtray on a motorbike.

Unacceptable in a grand final. In fact, it was unacceptable in the ’50s and ’60s and warranted a mandatory send-off even then. A weak and potentially costly failure not befitting the occasion or the effort of our brave Knights. Well done, fellas. Great season!

BACK to the first-grade grand final for a moment.

The question I’d like answered about the application of the golden-point rule is why there is a rule that can impugn the integrity of the outcome on league’s greatest day.

Did the best team win on Sunday? By the golden-point rule and on the scoreboard, yes — the Cowboys got field position quicker than the other mob and, bang, it was all over.

My problem with this is, by its very finality, a drawn grand final match is a significant sporting moment. It’s here, more than ever, that any result must be settled, and seen to be settled, by millions, with honour, integrity and fairness. The golden point doesn’t do that in my view, as exciting as Thurston’s field goal was.

Granted, the golden-point principle may be a sound mechanism to determine a winner in the week-to-week premiership tussle. I understand in this regard it is favoured by broadcasters for its ability to spike interest in viewers. I get all that.

But surely equity and common-sense require the Broncos get a go with the ball in extra time? After such a titanic and evenly balanced struggle? On grand final day?

And that’s the point – they never got their chance – and that’s bodgie.

I mean, to determine the ultimate victor of a competition, comprising 500 professional players, played over 200 games for 10 months of the year, costing a combined $350-$400 million to stage, broadcast to millions, with a system patently influenced by the random toss of a coin just doesn’t cut it in my mind.

Forget coming back next week, but rule makers could do worse than adopt the world game’s 10 minutes of extra time (each way), then golden point. In the biggest game of the year, the focus should be about respect for the players and all they have sacrificed. That respect should extend to allowing the contest to be properly and fairly concluded in the biggest moment of a player’s life. May we never see the likes of it again.

FAR be it from me to comment, but since many have . . . Johnathan Thurston is a superstar who will one day likely be anointed as one of the game’s so-called Immortals.

But I found calls this week for his immediate canonisation, more than likely traceable to his excitable management team, a tad premature.

More immediate is the shamefully delayed recognition of St George legend Norm Provan. If ever there was an Immortal, this bloke is the embodiment. Mentor and captain-coach to current Immortals John Raper and Reg Gasnier, Provan would play and win an astonishing 10 straight grand finals between 1956-65, captain-coaching the last four of those before retiring with more than 250 first-grade games and 16 Tests under his belt. Enormous. Unmatched?

The rest of his amazingly influential career can be found on Wikipedia, but the above exploits alone make a very strong argument for expeditious recognition.

At a spritely 82, it’s reported the six-foot-four giant affectionately known as “Sticks” is not in the best of health. Go on, committee guys, I reckon it would cheer him up no end and finally make a few things right.

As I sign off for the year I’m reminded of the privilege it is to submit weekly musings on the game and its people. To my loyal readers, I trust I haven’t wrongfully offended and hope I made sense most of the time. If I didn’t, then I’ve got something in the off-season to work on, and tips are always welcome.

Merry Xmas and good health to one and all (thought I’d get in early). It’s on again next year!

Regards, Butts

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Beaudesert girl off to state athletics titles

ON YOUR MARKS: Jimboomba girl and Beaudesert State School student Imogen Gee, 11, will compete at the State Primary School Athletics Championships on October 15 to 17.A BEAUDESERT athlete has earned her way toTownsville to compete at the Queensland State Primary Championships.
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Imogen Gee, 11, will facesome of the state’s best athletes at the track and field championships from October 15 to 17 at the Townsville Sports Reserve.

It was no mean feat for the the Beaudesert State School year sixstudentto make the state championships, just two years after she began running competitively.

To book her ticket to Townsville, Imogen finished first inher school athletics carnival 100m final, then finished second at the south coast district championships in the same event.

Imogen, who lives at Jimboomba,said it felt fantastic to come second in the district titles.

“I was shocked,” she said.

“It felt really good because the girl who came first was very professional, she trains a lot, so to come second was great.”

The talented 11-year-old has managed to excel despite no proper training, unlike some of her opponents who employ personal trainers and practice constantly.

Imogensaid she was excited aboutjetting off toTownsville alongside her father to compete against the state’s best.

“I’m really nervous, my dad has got me to train every day, lots of running and exercising,” she said.

“It will be my first trip to Townsville, I can’t wait. I’m confident I can do well but I’mpretty nervous.”

Imogen said she could not have done so well without the support of her family.

“They have all encouraged me and my dad has been out training me all the time, they have been really good for me,” she said.

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Tougher times for poor renters

Wodonga house seekerThe Border Mail he wason a disability pension, was single and supportedtwo children.
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The man, in his 30s, said he hadbeen looking for a house for a month and applied for about 10 places eachweek.

“To be honest, I’m at a stage where I don’t care what house or flat it is,” he said.

“Priorto this month Ihad been living in a tent, but a friend with a kind heart offered me a place to stay.

“I’m starting to get very disheartened with it all.

“It would be nice to have rooms for my children when they visit, but a safe place with aroof over our head is the main thing.”

There was little change in Wodonga from the previous quarter.

But regardless of that,the housing situation is slowly getting worse.

The Rural Housing Network, in the Hume region, has reported a 30 per cent increasein the number of people seeking urgent housing assistance.

Service development manager Laura Simpson said half of those were single people.

“Singles can face additional challenges in affording a private rental, because if they are on a low or fixed income it’s harder to afford the rent on your own,” she said.

“According to our datafinancial difficulty is the main reason why people sought assistance across all of our programs.”

The situation is better north of the Border where, on Thursday, there were about 20 affordable houses compared with one in Wodonga, she said.

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Gunnedah gets ready for the HSC

Eighty-one Year 12 students in Gunnedah will begin Higher School Certificate (HSC) exams next Monday.
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The exams will be undertaken by 43 students at St Mary’s College and 38 students at Gunnedah High School.

Statewide, more than 69,000 students will sit the HSC, with written exams to be held over 20 days between Monday, October 12 and Friday, November 6.

The first exam will be English standard and advanced. English is the only compulsory HSC subject.

Students who complete the HSC can apply for an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC).

ATAR’s assist universities to rank applicants for selection into courses, and give students an idea of their overall achievement in relation to other students.

St Mary’s College student Jake Somerville will undergo HSC examinations from October 12-29, starting off with standard English and finishing with studies of religion.

Aiming for about six hours of study a day, Jake said he was a bit nervous but was mostly looking forward to it all being over.

“I don’t really stress that much. I figure it’s not the end of the world but I guess some people would get pretty stressed out with it,” he said.

“I’m trying to do a lot of preparation for it.”

Jake has been completing past HSC papers and said he was concentrating his efforts on English, studies of religion, and physics, particularly the long written responses.

The HSC is a stepping stone to university, according to Jake.

“My parents have always said that university is very important and my sister has gone to Newcastle university,” he said.

The 17-year-old has his sights set on a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechatronics) at the University of Newcastle after a gap year.

Jake said he attended an open day at the university, which held introductions to courses on offer.

“There was a mechatronics one there, so I sat in on that and it just intrigued me,” he said.

The 2014 ATAR for the course was 74.70 and students must have undertaken HSC mathematics (band 5 or above ) or equivalent.

Jake said he enjoyed mathematics and would sit HSC exams for two-unit and three-unit mathematics.

The concept of robotics and unmanned vehicles holds Jake’s interest and the strong prospect of job availability following graduation from the four-year course.

“It’s a growing field,” Jake said.

“It’s expanding. It’s in very high demand.”

Jake and a group of his friends will celebrate the end of the HSC by spending a week in Coffs Harbour in late November.

Conscious of the many options available to her, Gunnedah High School student Meg Jaeger has found it difficult to settle on a university degree but thinks sociology may be her fit.

Meg has applied for early entry at the University of Newcastle, where she hopes to begin a Bachelor of Social Science next year.

Originally, Meg had planned to do a Bachelor of Science but recently decided it was no longer the path she wanted to pursue.

“I want to do more humanity stuff, so sociology,” Meg said.

“I’ll do probably a Bachelor of Social Science more for interest – you don’t really get a specific job at the end.

“It just interests me the way people work, why they do things and the reasons behind why they do things, and make the choices and have the beliefs they have.

“I’ve always been interested in this stuff but it was only this year that I’ve realised that there is actually things you can do with that.”

Meg said she considered applying for the police force after completing a university degree.

“I would be willing even to do some work experience before I applied, just to see what it’s like,” she said.

“That’s the problem with applying for uni and stuff.

“When you don’t know anything about the career that you’re studying for and you work out that you don’t like it, then it’s just a waste of time and money.

“I guess I’ve never really been the person to kind of choose what I want to do because I always change my mind. Just wherever I end up, just doing something I’m happy with.”

Meg’s HSC exams will run over a two-week period, rounding off with chemistry on Friday, October 23.

The 17-year-old said she had high hopes for successful results because she was first in two of her classes at school and did well in the HSC trials.

“I would be disappointed if I didn’t get around the same marks,” she said.

“If I got the same marks as in my trials, I would be happy, so I’ll be even happier if I improve.”

St Mary’s College student Charlie Waterford is keen to beat her brother and sister’s ATAR’s when she completes the HSC this year.

“I’m competitive against them,” she said.

“If I can beat them, I will be happy.”

Charlie will be sitting the HSC from October 12-29, finishing up with a Studies of Religion exam.

Aiming for an ATAR of 70 or above, Charlie said she hoped to do a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science at Charle Sturt University in Bathurst.

“Sport’s sort of my thing and I’m interested in it,” she said.

“I don’t want to be stuck inside. I like being outside.”

Charlie is committing a lot of study time to Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) in the hope of achieving a high enough ATAR.

“It’s my best subject,” she said.

Charlie said she would like to specialise in clinical rehabilitation but was also considering a diploma to allow her to teach PDHPE in schools, and has looked into teaching in other countries.

“I definitely want to travel,” she said.

With HSC exams just four days away, Charlie said she was a bit nervous but eager to get started.

“I just want to get it over and done with because it’s really dragging out but then at the same time I don’t want it to be finished because it means school’s finished and that’s a bit sad,” she said.

Charlie said Year 12 had been really good and she enjoyed the well-known routine of school.

The support of teachers and her results in the HSC trials motivated Charlie to improve her knowledge for the upcoming exams.

“Miss Wilson, the PE teacher, she has done so much for us. She’s given us 2001 to 2014 past paper questions, so I feel like she puts in heaps of effort, so I want to put in heaps of effort,” she said.

Group study is the one of the methods Gunnedah High School student Mitchell Brandon has been using to prepare for the HSC.

Mitchell and fellow Year 12 students have been regularly getting together at the High School to go through past papers and curriculum content with their teachers.

“We’re kind of all pushing each other, which is good,” he said.

“We try and bounce off each other and try and help each other out because we’ve all got to move up together to get the marks.”

Mitchell said he was committing more of his study time to physics because he felt it was a hard subject.

Undertaking physics, chemistry and mathematics at school has laid a good foundation of knowledge to assist Mitchell in his pursuit of a Bachelor of Surveying at the University of Newcastle.

“I’ve been out with some surveyors at the coal mines out there at Tarawonga and I was just going out there to see what kinds of jobs are about and surveying caught my eye,” he said.

“I was tossing up between engineering and surveying and engineering kind of was too much inside than what I liked.”

Mitchell said he only recently decided to pursue surveying but it was always his plan to go to university.

“Nowadays, you need a degree of some sort to get a decent job; sort of like if you want a higher job you’ve got to have the qualifications and nowadays that’s what uni is,” he said.

The 2014 ATAR for the surveying degreee at Newcastle was 71.25, according to Mitchell, but he is hoping to achieve 75.

“What happens on the day, happens on the day but I’ll try and put in as much as I can between now and then,” he said.

Following a gap year in Gunnedah, Mitchell said he hoped to find accommodation at the university campus.

“I want to do uni. I want to do the whole campus life. I reckon it would be good fun,” he said.

“It will be a good experience down there.”

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