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Syrian refugees could call city home in future

Men overwhelmed with emotion collapse onto the shore praying moments after arriving on the Greek island of Lesvos by rubber dinghy with approximately 45 refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan after a three hour journey from Turkey. Lesvos, Greece last month. Photo: Kate GeraghtySyrian refugees with no family connections in metropolitan areas are most likely to be settled in regional areas, however it is still unknown if they will come to Dubbo.
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Up to 7000 refugees will travel from Syria and the Middle East to NSW over the next 18 months with the first arrivals expected by the end of the year.

When asked if any of those 7000 would be settled in Dubbo, a Department of Social Services spokesperson said the federal government was continuing to work with state and territory leaders, the Australian Local Government Association and community organisations to discuss how they could contribute to the effort.

“Details of numbers and settlement locations are still to be determined,” the spokesperson said.

“In determining where humanitarian entrants might be referred for settlement services, the Department considers a wide range of factors including the size and composition of family groups, the availability of suitable and affordable accommodation, the existence of any links (family or friends), whether other refugee or migrant communities are in that location, the availability of access to mainstream services (including Centrelink and Medicare), availability of appropriate health services including torture and/or trauma services, access to English language tuition through the Adult Migrant English Program, access to appropriate translation and interpreting services, access to employment and education opportunities for children, adolescents and adults and opportunities for social participation and religious expression.”

NSW Co-ordinator-General for Refugee Resettlement Peter Shergold said many of the refugees would be well educated and have skills that would contribute to Australian society.

“Therefore the challenge is how can we harness that education and those skills so (refugees) can contribute to Australia as soon as possible,” he said.

“We do have to remind people that we have this proud tradition of accepting refugees and the refugees we are accepting are the ones who have borne the greatest pain.”

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Clinical services building almost finished

An aerial shot of the new clinical services building at Dubbo hospital. Photo: Contributed.THE KEYS of the new clinical services building of Dubbo Hospital will be in the hands of its acting general manager Graham Dyer in about three weeks.
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When workers in hard hats exit the building, he will lead its operational commissioning.

Within a few weeks of the completion of the two-storey building a start will be made on the refurbishment of the hospital’s renal unit.

It represents the final component of the $91.3 million stage one and two redevelopment of Dubbo’s public hospital.

Meanwhile, a committee has been formed to organise and run an open day at the new building, set to be a regional hub for surgery and maternity services.

Tours of the new clinical services building will be free but bookings will be essential.

“Details about how and when to book will be provided to the community once they are confirmed,” a Health infrastructure (HI) spokeswoman said on Thursday.

The state government body, managing the planning, design and delivery of capital works in the public health sector, has detailed work currently underway at the clinical services building now connected to Dubbo Hospital.

“Building works on the new clinical services building are now focused on fixtures and fitting placement, services commissioning, training, the installation of major clinical and office equipment, internal cleaning, and external works such as kerbing and footpaths, fencing and landscaping,” the HI spokeswoman said.

“These final activities are in readiness for the handover of the new facility to hospital in the coming weeks.”

The HI spokeswoman said the operational commissioning would take about six weeks.

“During operational commissioning, staff must begin the staged move into the new facility while continuing to provide existing patient care,” she said. “A key part of the transition planning process is to ensure minimal disruption to patient services. “During the operational commissioning period, staff must also undergo orientation and training to ensure they are familiar with their new work areas and work practices.”

The hospital’s renal unit will be expanded to accommodate five more chairs, taking the total number to 14.

“During the refurbishment period, renal services will be temporarily relocated away from building activities,” the HI spokeswoman said. “Further details about this relocation will be announced soon and renal patients will be notified directly.”

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Trio arrested after 150g ice seizure at Mataranka

ICE HAUL: Police discovered this 150-gram stash of methamphetamine hidden under the passenger seat of a vehicle at Mataranka on October 7. Photo: NORTHERN TERRITORY POLICETHREE men have been arrested on a range of drug charges after police discovered 150g of methamphetamine hidden in their vehicle at Mataranka on October 7.
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Detective Superintendent Kris Evans said at about 11am on Wednesday,a blue Holden Commodore pulled into a vehicle checkpoint established just outside of the township.

Upon a search of the vehicle, police located the ice secreted under the passenger seat.

Three males aged 23, 25 and 32 were arrested and charged with possessing a commercial quantity of methamphetamine, supplying a commercial quantity of methamphetamine and possessing a thing to administer a dangerous drug.

Police will allege the ice was bound for Darwin.

“Ice is terrible drug that is causing pain and anguish to our community,” Detective Superintendent Evans said.

“It is an illegal drug made in unhygienic conditions and manufactured by unqualified people.

“The police are committed to apprehending those that seek to profit from its supply.”

The men appeared in Katherine Magistrates Court on October 8.

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OPINION: No risk to democracy in union donations

JEFF MCCLOY THE High Court of Australia’s rejection of Jeff McCloy’s challenge to key aspects of NSW election funding laws has left Premier Mike Baird smiling.
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It’s spared him from having to clean up yet another mess involving political donations and the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s investigation of those secretly given for 2011 state election campaigns, including to several former Hunter MPs.

But it’s a safe bet those over at NSW Liberal Party HQ were crying into their coffee while reading the judgment handed down on Wednesday morning.

The ruling upheld the ban on property developer donations, a ban on in-kind support and caps on the amount of money that can be donated to state campaigns.

A decision in Mr McCloy’s favour would not only have put him beyond the reach of ICAC, but those in the Liberal camp who had handled thousands of dollars in ‘‘washed’’ donations from other developers in the lead-up to the election would have come out looking better too.

If the laws were declared invalid, then they couldn’t have been broken in the first place, be it by one developer handing over cash in envelopes or the funnelling of developers’ money through a slush fund into party coffers.

Instead, the message from the High Court is that developers can’t donate in NSW – but unions can.

What instilled Mr McCloy’s legal team with confidence was that Unions NSW had already successfully challenged a similar state ban on corporations and associations making donations.

It may smack of double standards to some that an array of unions can back the ALP while the Liberals aren’t allowed to turn to a section of the business community for similar support.

According to constitutional law expert Professor Anne Twomey, of the University of Sydney, this arises from the court determining that a link between the limits that had been imposed on unions and a corruption risk had not been properly established, whereas in Mr McCloy’s case the court recognised there was such a risk with developers who stood to benefit from planning decisions. This justified infringing the freedom of political communication implied in the constitution, and the developer ban was found a legitimate means of doing so.

As paraphrased by Justice Stephen Gageler, Mr McCloy’s legal team contended that the laws remove the preferential access to candidates and political parties, which would otherwise come to those who have the capacity and incentive to make large donations – an argument ‘‘as perceptive as it is brazen’’.

‘‘It goes to the heart of the mischief to which the provisions are directed,’’ Justice Gageler noted.

As Professor Twomey puts it: ‘‘It was a fairly extraordinary argument to have run and you would have thought it wouldn’t have gained a lot of sympathy for Mr McCloy.

‘‘Perhaps in the circumstances he was going for broke and so he did.’’

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Post sex sadness is a thing, but it’s different for men and women

Post sex sadness: more common than you know.She had been married for 20 years but after sex she would go and spend time by herself so her husband didn’t see her crying.
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It wasn’t that the sex or relationship was bad, Dr Robert Schweitzer explains of the woman.

Rather, Schweitzer, a professor of psychology and counselling at Queensland’s University of Technology, says she is one of many women who feel down and out after sex.

In fact, nearly half (46 per cent) of all women have experienced post-sex sadness – in the form of tears, depression or irritability, according to a new study conducted by Schweitzer.

While the study was small, with only 230 female participants, the findings echo research from earlier this year.

The previous study that looked at women and men across four different countries (Brazil, Canada, Norway and America), they found similar statistics across the board.

The female participants ‘sometimes’ experienced post-coital blues about 40 per cent of the time and ‘often’ experience it about 10 to 20 per cent of the time.

The statistics for the male participants were not dissimilar, but they experienced negative emotions after sex for vastly different reasons.

The women tended to feel vulnerable, remorseful or ‘needy’ while the men felt irritated or ​unattracted to their sexual partner, what researchers refer to as ‘avoidance’ negative postcoital emotions (NPE).

The results, the researchers hypothesise, are related to evolutionary function: the man’s perception of his partner’s sexual attractiveness can change for the worse (particularly in those who have had the greatest number of sex partners) to reduce the risk of him “making maladaptive commitments, and it is an integral part of male short-term mating psychology”.

The females, on the other hand, tended to feel emotional after one-night stands where they anticipated rejection.

Evolutionarily-speaking, the emotional shift gives them the “motivation needed to pursue long-term commitment, as a way of gaining access to resources and paternal care for her offspring”, the researchers said.

Although, the research, conducted by Brazilian psychologists, looked at short-term relationships or one night stands, NPE (or postcoital dysphoria PCD as it is sometimes referred to) can happen in intimate, long-term relationships too, as Schweitzer’s research shows.

“There appears to be no relationship between PCD and intimacy in close relationships,” he said in the study.

He suggests that some form of separation anxiety – where women feel sad following the sense of closeness and connection with their partners – may help to explain it. Similarly, he says a history of abuse can predict negative emotions after sex, but is “not the whole story”.

This sort of PCD is “much more common” with women, he says, noting he knows of only one man who has experienced it.

“We are told that the experience of sex is always positive,” Schweitzer says. “All we know is that some women seem to be more vulnerable [to feeling negative afterwards].

“I think there is something about sense of self. We give up our sense of self during sex – that’s part of the experience, but some women find it terrifying.”

For those women who do, he says it’s “important not to pathologise it”. It is a natural sensation that many women feel, to some degree or other at some point.

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BCA club firsts previews

I’M COMING BACK: Saman Jayantha will return for the Pointies in 2015-16.
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NORTH BALLARAT v GOLDEN POINTTwo-day match at Wendouree West

Last time they met: North Ballarat95 (SWright 39, DWhite 4-10, AWarrick 4-21) lost to Golden Point141 (DHiscock 35, SJayantha 27, MCations 3-31, BPeverill 2-15, JCrosbie 2-24, LLorenzen 2-25) round nine last season.

GOLDEN Point captain Josh White hasn’t reported too many comings and goings during a relatively quiet off-season for the club.

White said the senior sidehad not lost any players from the one that topped the ladder during the home and away rounds last campaign, withSri Lankan importSaman Jayantha expected to return for round two or three.

Bowler Peter Appleton is another missing for the round one fixture.

The Roosters, meanwhile, are looking to improve on a season that collected the wooden spoon in 2014-15.

North won just the one game in a horror campaign that included two defeats at the hands of Golden Point.​

PREDICTION: Pointies.

WENDOUREE v CORONET CITY

Two-day match at Wendouree 2

Last time they met: Wendouree 5-245 (H Pyke 111 not out, G Bell 41, C Roscholler 37) d Coronet City 67 (T LeLievre 4-19, S Peeters 2-7, A Prendergast 2-14) round nine last season

WENDOUREE

The Red Caps will field a severly depleted line-up in the opening round of the 2015-16 season.

Skipper Cole Roscholler has told The Courier he will miss until Christmas following wrist surgery, while bowler Sam Peeters is unlikely to play firsts until the new year with a knee issue.

Gun bat/wicket-keeper Heath Pyke is sidelined for the round one clash with a hamstring injury, while Roscholler said all-rounder Grant Bell is also out for the early rounds.

Boom recruit Tristan Dixon has been named in his comeback from a knee reconstruction.

CORONET CITY

The Coronet boys are planning without veteran Brendan Burns for the new campaign.

Captain Nathan Clarke said Burns has not committed to the 2015-16 season, but hoped recruits Luke Muscat (Northcote) and Zac Chisholm (Navarre) could measure up to firsts cricket this summer.

Missing for round one against the Red Caps will be the likes of all-rounder Dale Jeffrey (unavailable), bowler Simon Hucker (unavailable) and wicket-keeper Adrian Madden, who is struggling with a knee injury.

PREDICTION: Wendouree

BROWN HILL v DARLEY

Two-day match at Brown Hill

Last time they met: Brown Hill 7-295dec (S Harwood 134, T Knowles 47, A Code 26, R Ali 3-72, M Cape 2-44) d Darley 65 (M McMahon 4-12, S Harwood 4-16) and 135 (J Wilkie 57, O Smith 30, S Harwood 4-36, M McMahon 3-27, D Ferris 2-58) round 12 last season

BROWN HILL

A new-look Bulls bowling attack will be without Matt McMahon this weekend, while Shane Harwood is not expected to be used unless required.

Captain Ryan Knowles said Tom Bourke-Finn and Kyle Hayes are likely to take the new ball against the Lions and expected young all-rounder Fraser Hunt to make his debut in the A-grade side this weekend.

DARLEY

The Lions are under the care of new signing and captain Heath Pritchard for the first time this Saturday against the reigning premiers.

Pritchard, an all-rounder, is one of the big inclusions for the club this season, with the playing list bolstered by the addition of English recruits Harry Killoran and Rick Moore. Killoran, an 18-year-old right-hand batsman and off-spin bowler, will play in round one, with Moore set to arrive in Australia next week.

PREDICTION: Brown Hill

NAPOLEONS-SEBASTOPOL v BALLARAT-REDAN

Two-day match at Napoleons

Last time they met: Ballarat-Redan 140 (A Taylor 38, B Jones 31 not out, S Allan 29, L Rigby 4-17, L Young 2-15, L Corden 2-33) lost to Napoleons-Sebastopol 4-144 (L Rigby 49 not out, L Corden 42 not out) round nine last season

NAPOLEONS-SEBASTOPOL

Reigning EJ Cleary Medal winner Liam Rigby is set to miss the first half of the season while travelling overseas.

The Naps-Sebas all-rounder has been playing cricket in Europe and isn’t set to return until around Christmas.

He is a notable absentee for round one, alongside batsmen Tyler Dittloff and the returning Ben Trew.

All-rounder Simon Ringin is back for a full season after playing just one game last campaign.

BALLARAT-REDAN

The Combine are set to welcome a couple of additions to the senior side this weekend.

Captain-coach Bobby Hind is excited by the return of tall quick Toby Hutt to the club and the signing of all-rounder Michael Snaith, from Ballan. Both have been named to play against Naps-Sebas.

Hind said he believed the side was stronger than the one that finished seventh last season.

PREDICTION: Naps-Sebas

MT CLEAR v EAST BALLARAT

Two-day match at Mt Clear 2

Last time they met: East Ballarat 139 (J Barnett 30, M Goonan 5-32, J Tong 2-24) lost to Mt Clear 3-140 (S Coffey 58, L Sandwith 30, C Carter 2-37) round four last season

MT CLEAR

The Mounties begin redemption this Saturday after a wasted 2014-15 season.

The club was well fancied to win back-to-back premierships, but failed to make the finals in a shock end to the year.

Recruit Hayden Cartledge is among those unavailable for round one, while young former Derrinallum leg-spinner Tom Millard looms as a firsts player this season, but has been named in the seconds for round one.

EAST BALLARAT

A few new faces are set to step out for the Hawks, which are looking to improve from a sixth placing to last season.

Englishman Adam Ranson is set to debut for the club on Saturday, while former skipper Simon Irving and batting recruit Charles Murrie are named to take on the Mounties.

Irving has returned to the club after a few seasons away and is a major inclusion to a team that has said goodbye to English import Tanzeel Ali and all-rounder Jon Barnett, who has moved interstate.

PREDICTION: Mt Clear

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Soaring demand for silver coins despite modest rise in market generally

The gold and silver bullion bar range at the Perth Mint. Demand for silver coins and bullion bars in Australia has gone through the roof, not only because of increasing demand for precious metals but also because of new product launches by the Perth Mint.
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Sales of the Mint’s silver coins and bars jumped from 707,655 ounces in August to 3.35 million ounces in September – an almost fivefold increase.

At first glance, there would be no apparent reason for such a whopping increase. Silver reached a low around $US14.13 an ounce on August 26, and a peak near $US15.50 in September – a mere 8.4 per cent rise, indicative of a moderate lift in demand. It’s currently about$US15.67.

The reason is, said Perth Mint Group Manager Neil Vance, that most of the world’s silver is used for manufacturing or jewellery. Minted silver is a fraction of the market, with its own market dynamics, and these have been coming into play recently.

“It’s a small part of the market, no doubt,” he said.

The Perth Mint is Australia’s official bullion mint. Along with the Royal Australian Mint, it is also one of the only two mints producing coins for legal tender, such as the 20¢ coin. The Melbourne and Sydney mints closed decades ago.

To be sure, geopolitical events have played a role in the increased demand for coins and bullion, as with silver generally.

“It goes back to the first of July, when the Greek debt crisis raised its head again,” he said. “Then there were concerns about the Chinese stock market. What we’ve seen is certainly a boom in silver.”

But demand for minted product has far outstripped that for silver generally, said Mr Vance.

Speculative buying of coins and bullion had also fuelled demand, he said. “There’s a lot of buyers out there who feel there’s a silver shortage and they panic buy,” he said. “There isn’t actually a silver shortage, it’s just the manufacturing capabilities of getting the coins to market.”

As well, the launch in September of a new line of Australian silver bullion coins “certainly helped,” he said. “This takes us more into that high-volume silver coin trade the US Mint and the Royal Canadian Mint would be in.” Shortage of minted product

Mr Vance said that with the extra demand there was actually a shortage of minted product not only in Australia but in the world generally. “The US Mint and the Royal Canadian Mint are both on allocation. They’ve both had to increase capacity to deal with this,” he said. “We’re all in the same situation of not being able to supply the market’s demands.”

The US Mint began setting weekly sales quotas for its flagship American Eagle silver coins in July because it can’t meet demand, and the Canadian mint followed suit after record monthly sales in July.

It was too early to tell trends for this month, he said. “October figures are too early to tell but we believe October and November will be very strong months.”

Mr Vance said that although the mint charged a premium on top of the market’s silver price for its minted product, that premium had not increased in recent months.

Sales of gold coins had also markedly increased, said Mr Vance, going from 33,390 ounces in August to 63,791 in September. “But that’s been a pattern for the last three years,” he said.

Silver tends to track the price of that other previous metal, gold, except with more volatility. Gold, at $1142 per ounce, is currently 76 times more expensive than silver – historically, quite a wide spread. In 2013, the ratio was only about 60.

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Freedom and a2 Milk relationship sours over capital raising

A2 Milk chief executive Geoff Babidge says the $NZ40 million capital raising will help fund the company’s expansion in the US, China and Britain. Photo: Louise KennerleyThe Perich family-backed Freedom Foods has declared it will not participate in a2 Milk’s $NZ40 million ($36.6 million) capital raising, after it was caught by surprise.
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Freedom Foods, which is a2’s biggest shareholder, owning 19.2 per cent, had hoped to take over a2 in conjunction with US dairy giant Dean Foods.

But the bid collapsed after the US regulator launched an insider trading investigation into Dean.

This allowed a2 to steam ahead with is capital raising plans, which it had  agreed to halt after Dean and Freedom registered an expression of interest in the company in June.

A2 said the cash would help fuel its expansion across China, the US and Britain, after sales of its Platinum infant formula brand surged higher than it expected.

The capital raising, which Goldman Sachs has fully underwritten at a floor price of NZ67¢ a share, caught Freedom Foods’ chief executive Rory Macleod by surprise.

A company spokeswoman said Freedom would not participate in the capital raising.

“Freedom will not be participating at all,” she said. Caught off guard

Freedom’s shock comes after a2 chief executive Geoff Babidge was understood to be equally caught off guard when Freedom made the takeover bid in June.

It is believed Mr Babidge thought Freedom was selling down its stake, after it reclassified its a2 shares as being available for sale when it released its half-year financial results in March.

Mr Babidge was in the US, believed to be sounding out interest for a capital raising, when he received the call from Mr Macleod regarding the conditional bid. One of the conditions was to dump the equity raising, which a2 agreed to do.

It is understood Mr Macleod and Perich patriarch Tony Perich were concerned about the amount of cash a2 was spending as part of its expansion into the US. It is planning to spend $US20 million ($27.8 million) over the three next years, launching its products in American supermarkets.

The investment follows a2 revenue surging 40 per cent to $NZ155 million in FY15, thanks to strong demand for Platinum infant formula. But the strong growth led to a net loss of $NZ2 million after a slim $NZ10,000 profit in 2014.

The company is hoping to raise the new cash by tapping institutional investors and Mr Babidge said it was in the interests of all shareholders for the shareholder base to be broadened.

Freedom ruling itself out means its holding will shrink to 17.6 per cent, based on the new shares being issued at the floor price of NZ67¢ each. Derailed takeover plan

Fairfax Media revealed in August that the insider trading investigation into Dean by the US regulator had derailed the takeover plan. The investigation reportedly involved golfer Phil Mickelson and professional sports gambler William T. Walters.

Mr Babidge said on Thursday sales in China, Australia, New Zealand and its other Asia businesses for the first two months of FY16 were ahead of budget.

“Infant formula is emerging as a more significant and meaningful growth driver for the company than expected, with a current focus on sales in Australia and New Zealand and in China,” Mr Babidge said.

“In addition to the growth in infant formula, the prospects for growth of a2 Milk-branded whole milk powder are also encouraging.”

A2 Milk’s Platinum branded formula, which launched in August 2013, has become the second-biggest infant formula product in Australia, Coles’ sales data compiled by research firm Nielsen shows. Platinum sales leapt 445 per cent to $41.67 million for the 12 months to June 30.

Mr Babidge said in September the company’s infant formula sales were on track to triple this financial year, adding sales in July and August were about $13 million.

On Thursday he said sales in September were consistent with that growth.

The company also increased recently its debtor finance facility from $3 million to $10 million to “provide additional working capital flexibility”, he said.

The company was negotiating a further bank guarantee facility of $NZ10 million, he said.

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Harry and Ben McKay have talent spotters looking twice ahead of AFL national draft

Two of a kind: Twins Harry and Ben McKay from Warragul are hoping to hear their names called at the national draft. Photo: Simon Schluter Ben and Harry McKay are mirror image twins. Ben kicks with his right foot, Harry whirls around on his left. Harry has always been slightly more social, Ben has had the more sensitive side. Harry played as a key forward for their junior team at Warragul, with Ben lining up opposite him in defence. It makes sense that they have found their way to this week’s draft combine from slightly different directions.
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The brothers started in the same spot last summer, making the Gippsland Power squad for the first time. They were more confident than they had been as kids, and they’d grown a little bit, too. But while Harry settled easily into pre-season training, coming off his best year of junior football, Ben questioned why he was there, whether he should be there and how much he really wanted to keep going.

He couldn’t help but feel he was there because of Harry, that his 2014 season hadn’t been as impressive as his brother’s. He worried about Harry, in a way twins do: was he fitting in, feeling happy, doing all the right things? And he didn’t want to string the coach along, so before the team went away on a training camp to Mount Hotham in January, he called Leigh Brown to say he had decided to withdraw from the Power program.

It was a difficult call, one Ben put a lot of thought into. Harry tried to talk him around, and so did their mum and dad. “It was playing on my mind, every day and every night,” Ben said. “I just wasn’t really enjoying it. It was a bit of a struggle, I wasn’t really sure why I was there and worrying about Harry took my focus away from myself, a little bit. I probably wasn’t mature enough. I wasn’t ready for it the way Harry was.”

It didn’t take him too long. Playing back at Warragul, Ben made the senior team and started to feel more comfortable and confident. He had fun. He still liked to go and watch Harry play, and sitting with his parents at a game one weekend struck up a conversation with Winston Rous and Scott Lucas, who work together as player managers. “You should come and watch me play for Warragul,” he suggested tongue in cheek, and they did, telling him afterwards that if he wanted to make it to an AFL team he should go back to Gippsland. Ben did, so he called Brown again. “It was another tough phone call,” he said, “but it was what I wanted to do.”

What Harry had achieved in the meantime helped him make up his mind, partly because he could tell he didn’t need to worry about him any more and also because his competitive instincts kicked in and he realised there was no reason he couldn’t play well at TAC Cup level, too. Playing for the Power at the start of the season, Harry (the younger twin by one minute) played well enough early to get noticed by both recruiters and the Vic Country selectors. Feeling as if he hadn’t done enough in his first couple of championship games, he had a few chats with his father about what he could improve and decided he had to try to make more things happen, not do so much waiting around.

“I was trying to figure out the level and the speed of things. Once I found out more and started to feel like I wasn’t out of my depth and that I could get a kick, I started trying to work harder and get to more contests and always be on the move,” he said. “I had some goals about how many touches in a quarter I wanted to get, and that wasn’t everything because you’ve go to do all the team things. But if you have some goals around touches then it makes you keep running and keep working as hard as you can. It definitely helped.”

Harry played some exciting, eye-catching football, and towards the end of the championships started to feel like he might, maybe, be a real chance to get drafted. By the time he got back to Gippsland, Ben had trained his way back into the side and the pair played together for the last part of the season, sometimes at opposite ends of the ground but occasionally in the same forward line. Harry likes playing there because “you can take marks and run around, cover as much ground as you can”. Ben prefers to be in the front half, too, “because you’re more reliant on yourself in the forward line than the backline, I think. You can have more control and more influence on the game.”

Both brothers are what clubs like: big, athletic and agile, and both will get to show them more of what they can do at the combine. Things have happened quickly for both Ben and Harry and there will be even more to get used to when they are drafted at the end of next month. More than half the clubs have been out to see them – some have interviewed them together, others have spoken to them separately – and their interest has surprised both boys. “I’ve been amazed at what they see in the games, and what they know,” Ben said. “It’s an honour to think they might be interested in you. I never expected anything like this to happen.”

What’s next? Until the first half of this season the twins had played all of their football together, starting in the backyard. But if the draft takes them to different clubs, they think it could be a good thing. “If we went somewhere together we’d be able to help each other out and support each other, but if we went to our own clubs I think we’d get to be ourselves and focus on ourselves and find our own way a bit,” Harry said. “This has been the biggest time in our life and we’re just hoping it turns out well for both of us. I want everything to work out for Ben as much as for me. It’s all been pretty exciting.”

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Webber on track for three in a row

Mark Webber on last year’s podium at Fuji with teammates Timo Bernhard (left) and Brendon Hartley (right). Photo: Porsche.QUEANBEYAN’S Mark Webber will set his Porsche 919 Hybrid on course for a third straight win in the World Endurance Championship this Sunday, when the series touches down in Fuji, Japan.
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With the 2014 champions and Japanese race winners, Toyota, failing to win a race so far this year, Webber and his teammates, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley, will see a real chance to close in on the driver’s title and take a hat-trick of wins in the championship.

Webber’s father, Alan, said that his son’s form of late was a great opportunity for more success.

“They’ve won two on the trot now, so a third one would be lovely. Three in a row, that’s what we’re hoping for,” he said.

“The car’s fantastic and Mark’s driving well. As are his teammates.

“They’re great friends are Timo and Brendon… They get along like a house on fire.”

Alan attended the last race in Austin, Texas, the second of Webber’s recent consecutive wins.

“His first stint there was very, very strong. It was very pleasing the way he drove,” he said.

“He was very happy with the way it turned out.”

The 2015 season has already seen Webber driving at his best.

In addition to his wins in Austin and at the Nürburgring, Webber’s Porsche has also claimed podiums at Spa and Le Mans earlier in the year.

Webber’s run of recent good results currently has him placed second in the Driver’s Championship, along with teammates Bernhard and Hartley, 10 points behind the Audi-driving leaders Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fässler and Benoît Tréluyer.

Alan said the team was still wary of a title challenge from the other car, as well as championship leaders Audi.

“There’s still strong opposition from the other car, and Audi of course,” he said.

“This year, with the benefit of some new rules it’s sort of fallen into Porsche’s lap a little bit, but only through very hard work and clever engineering.

“Winning a championship is always nice, so let’s hope he can bring home the bacon.”

However, Porsche currently hold the advantage over Audi in the Manufacturer’s standings, 36 points clear with three races remaining.

Webber’s Porsche was strong at the Fuji circuit in 2014 when it finished third, despite picking up a puncture in the early laps.

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