Come on Aussie: Fawkner owner calls for patriotic support for Melbourne Cup

MADE IN AUSTRALIA: Fawkner with Cup jockey Nicholas Hall aboard. Picture: Getty ImagesFAWKNER’S owner has called on Australians to get fair dinkum and support one of their own in the Melbourne Cup.
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Nick Williams believes Fawkner can repel the northern hemisphere invasion on Tuesday. As well as the record 11 overseas-trained runners, another eight are imports and four are New Zealand bred.

Fawkner is a son of the unbeaten Reset, raced by Williams’ father, Lloyd, a four-time Melbourne Cup-winning owner who shares Fawkner with his son.

Fawkner’s dam, Dane Belltar, was placed in three Oaks at group 1 level and has passed on her staying credentials to her son.

‘‘He’s by Reset, which means he’s Australian bred,’’ Nick Williams said. ‘‘He’s also Australian-owned, Australian-reared and Australian trained, and I don’t think there’s another horse in the race we can say that about.

‘‘I hope the country gets behind him.’’

It seems many are with Fawkner, which has been well supported at between $9 and $10 since the field and barriers were finalised on Saturday.

The Williams family has its own imported Cup hope at Flemington, Sea Moon, one of the outsiders at $151.

Admire Rakti’s powerful Caulfield Cup win means he is the favourite to give Japan a second Cup, although he has eased slightly after drawing barrier eight, alongside Fawkner in nine.

But Admire Rakti’s trainer, Tomoyuki Umeda, is more than happy with the gate, saying eight is a lucky number in Japan.

Delta Blues and Pop Rock ran one-two in the Cup for Japan in 2006, but stricter quarantine regulations after the equine influenza outbreak a year later proved difficult.

Tokai Trick, 12th in 2010, is the only Japanese horse since then to make the trip to Australia for the Cup.

Admire Rakti will have an Australian connection via his jockey, Hong Kong’s premier rider, Zac Purton.

Against him is his top weight of 58.5kg. In 2005, Makybe Diva carried 58kg in her third Cup, the highest winning weight since 1969.

At the lower end of the weight scale, second favourite Lucia Valentina, third in the Caulfield Cup, will carry 53kg.

The Kris Lees-trained former New Zealand mare has never been over the 3200 metres of the Cup but was strong at the end of the 2400m at Caulfield.

Her jockey, Kerrin McEvoy, has been there and done it before, winning in 2000 on Brew, which qualified on the Saturday before the Cup.

Signoff will be aiming to do the same after winning his way through via the equivalent race on Saturday, the Lexus Stakes.

He is prepared by Melbourne trainer Darren Weir for businessman Gerry Ryan, who experienced victory with Americain four years ago.

Bloodstock agent John Foote secured Signoff at a yearling sale in England, and the Irish-bred gelding has done all his racing in Australia.

His Lexus win propelled him to single figures in markets and he will have international star Joao Moreira as his pilot.

The Hong Kong-based Brazilian was aboard for the Lexus on the same day he won the group1 Coolmore Stud Stakes on Brazen Beau and finished a close second on He’s Your Man in the Mackinnon Stakes won by Happy Trails.

Precedence flies the flag for the colonial-bred and the man who has won the Melbourne Cup more times than any other.

Bart Cummings has sent Precedence to the Cup three times, and this year the nine-year-old goes to the race under the names of the master and his training partner, grandson James.

Like the popular English horse Red Cadeaux, Precedence will be running in his fourth Cup. This time he will sport the green colours of his breeder and part-owner, Cambridge Stud proprietor Sir Patrick Hogan. His other owners include Dato Tan Chin Nam, who has won four Cups with Bart Cummings, who has trained 12 Cup winners.

Precedence is an outsider with bookmakers but will be much shorter on the tote as once-a-year punters take a chance on the Cups King.


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Arnold still not satisfied despite win over Mariners

Blues brothers:Sydney players celebrate with Terry Antonis after his stunning opener.Sydney FC back on top after 2-0 win over Mariners
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Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold is convinced his top-of-the-table side will only get better after relying on two set-pieces to secure a 2-0 win over the Central Coast Mariners at Allianz Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The home side appeared to dominate the contest but needed a stunning drive from Terry Antonis and a deflected effort from his midfield partner Milos Dimitrijevic to secure the result.

While the Mariners never really seemed in the contest after the Sky Blues went ahead in the first half, Arnold said the performance left room for improvement, even if it was their third straight win.

“Overall I was reasonably happy with our performance. At times we were sloppy but I’m happy to get the three points,” he said. “We’re getting better and better. It’s a lot of hard work [to progress] – and a lot of hard work on the training field.”

The Sky Blues might have also kept their second straight clean sheet but the coach felt they were more convincing against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium last Friday, which ended in the same scoreline.

“I was disappointed today with our defence. We didn’t press well, we were a bit off the pace with our intensity to press. But we’ve done a lot of work on it,” he said. “I think everyone knows for me that defence is first and foremost. We need to be strong, hard to beat and today showed if you work hard in defence, and you’re structurally strong, you can score off set pieces and that was the difference today.”

Arnold was full of praise for his old club, saying they gave the Sydney more trouble than the the scoreline suggested.

“The Mariners did well. They had the wide boys coming around the back and getting on the inside of Antonis and Dimitrijevic which made us change our system for the last 15-20 [minutes],” he said “You’ve got to give full credit to the Mariners. I thought they played extremely well. Mossy is doing a great job with them and I’m sure they’ll have a good season.”

Central Coast coach Phil Moss was upbeat with the overall performance in spite of conceding the decisive goals.

“It was very disappointing to concede two set pieces and we should have defended them better,” Moss said. “But I’m very proud of my boys. The performance was [good] and I thought we played some very good football in patches. I think we played our part in what was a very entertaining game and we pushed a big club like Sydney FC right to the last minute.”

Moss felt his side would have been in with a chance of snatching a point had they been able to force a goal during the second half – one of which should have come when Mitchell Duke had an 88th-penalty saved by Vedran Janjetovic.

“Even at 2-0, we just needed that goal,” he said. “Had Duke’s effort gone in off the cross bar, or the penalty of course, it could have been a different outcome.”

The Sky Blues will face a nervous wait on the fitness of Alex Brosque after the star striker badly twisted his ankle late in the match and needed to be substituted.

Brosque, who has been in superb form this season, was tangling with Mariners’ defender Jacob Poscoliero and was reaching for the ball when his right ankle contorted awkwardly.


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Parents mourn teenage son after lightning strike

“He did die doing what he loved best”: Mark and Peta Morrisey, parents of Jayden, who was killed after being struck by lightning. Photo: Max Mason-HubersFriends pay their respects to Jayden Morrissey
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It was Saturday morning when Mark Morrissey received a text message with an image of the beaming smile of his second-oldest son, Jayden, hanging out with mates on the popular Port Stephens strip of sand called One Mile Beach.

By 4.15pm – and after he hadn’t heard from the 15-year-old how he was battling with a weekend of beach fun – Mr Morrissey sent his son a text message with the same line so many parents have worded before: “Are you still alive?”

But Jayden would have been too busy in the surf and on the sand with his mates to get straight back to his dad.

Within an hour, a team of six paramedics and a doctor would start a 70-minute battle to save the popular Thornton teenager’s life after he was struck by a lightning bolt from a storm that had silently rushed over the beach’s southern headland and caught more than 100 beachgoers with nowhere to run.

They lost the battle.

“He could have been five metres up the beach, it could have been any of the other kids that were standing alongside him,” Mr Morrissey said on Sunday.

“He did die doing what he loved best – he loved the beach – but he certainly had plenty more journeys in his life.

“He didn’t deserve this.”

Mr Morrissey had dropped his son, the second-oldest of four and a year 9  student at Francis Greenway High School,  at One Mile Beach on Friday to enjoy a weekend with close friends.

They had had a laugh a minute at the caravan park on Friday night and returned to the beach first thing on Saturday morning as the heat started to warm up the sand.

They remained for most of the day before the storm cells drifted in without warning and caught everyone unaware.

Jayden and his friends were well clear of the water when the lightning struck.

“We need people to understand he was not in the water when the storm hit,” Mr Morrissey said.

“Police said there were more than 100 people on the beach.

“There was no warning of the storm, it came straight over the hill, they didn’t have time to react.

“They were where their towels were and [one of the adults in the group] turned around to call another two kids out of the water, and as he turned he saw Jayden drop to the ground holding his chest.”

Mr Morrissey, wife Peta, and three other sons, Brodi, 19, Jarryd, 11, and Logan, 8, have been left devastated.

But although they are searching for answers, they need their friends to know no one was to blame.

“[The adult] will never forgive himself and that is what we need people to understand – there is no blame to be levelled here, there is no hard feelings, it was just a freak accident,” Mr Morrissey said.

“I know people can never forgive themselves but you can’t wrap your kids up in cotton wool.

“If he wasn’t up there, he would have been at Nobbys – he would have been at the beach somewhere.”

Mr Morrissey said his son gave up rugby league several years ago to become a referee and was due to play in state touch football titles at Penrith this week.

Instead, his family will be facing the worst week imaginable.

“He never gave me an ounce of grief,” Mr Morrissey said.

“He was the best kid you could ever ask for.

“He had a cheeky grin, he was quick witted.

“All of the tributes on Facebook all said the same thing.”


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Melbourne Cup: Tiffany Schofield takes a back seat

Riding rivals: Chad Schofield with his father Glyn Schofield will both ride in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup. Photo: Chris HopkinsSpring racing: what you need to know
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Somewhere, out the back of Flemington and away from the 100,000 sets of eyes locked on the track on Tuesday, Tiffany Schofield will be listening to a radio. She reckons it might even be in a toilet under a grandstand. It is still better than watching live, she reasons.

“I don’t watch the races,” she said. “I actually prefer to listen. Even the other day when Chad had a fall [in the Moonee Valley Cup] I wasn’t watching, I was walking the dogs listening on the phone. I haven’t been watching for a while.”

How about making an exception when her husband Glyn and son Chad become   the first father and son to ride in a Melbourne Cup since 1968?

“I will [go to the track], but I will walk to the back and take a moment for myself,” she said.

That the pair have Melbourne Cup rides is quite incredible in itself.

Chad had a long-standing booking on Green Moon, which went belly up when Lloyd Williams withdrew the 2012 champion, before eventually hopping on Mr O’Ceirin. Glyn had been circling rides for weeks, but was only confirmed on OTI Racing’s Au Revoir late on Saturday afternoon.

“When Chad lost the ride on Green Moon on Saturday morning he immediately started trying to get under his father’s neck and get the ride on Au Revoir,” joked the Schofields’ manager Mark Van Triet, who also looks after Damien Oliver.

“They’re a very competitive group, but fortunately Glyn held the ride and Chad picked up another one. I think they go by, ‘I don’t like dad beating me’ or ‘I don’t like my son beating me’. It’s competitive in a good way … in a healthy way.”

That Glyn and Chad are on a pair of Melbourne Cup longshots almost seems irrelevant. The fact they have arrived at Australia’s biggest race day is a feat in itself. Injuries, falls and suspensions have plagued both this year.

Add to that the sudden death of Nathan Berry, married to Glyn’s daughter Whitney only three months earlier, and it is a year they would probably like to close the book on.

But the first Tuesday in November will be a cause for celebration in the household.

“You could say we’ve ridden in some big races over the carnival together, but I think the Cup is going to hold something different and be really special,” Glyn said.

“Nostalgia or sentiment shouldn’t get in the way and I’m sure there will be a time where we’ll look back at it [with great pride]. It’s a great race and great to be a part of it and to have my son there makes it a little more special.”

Chad, who two years ago as a teenage apprentice was close to riding alongside his dad in the Durban July, the biggest race in the Schofields’ native South Africa, added: “It’s special. Obviously we’re not on the most fancied of runners, but we’re in the race and we’ve got a chance.

“We’re both in it and even though we’ve both drawn a bit awkwardly, hopefully we can get a nice enough spot from the barrier and just enjoy the experience.”

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Darrin Gillies’ claim against lawyers thrown out of Supreme Court

Darrin Gillies outside Belmont court in 2004 HE’S filed lawsuits claiming damages and compensation in excess of $4 million against various defendants.
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Now former Newcastle property developer and convicted rapist Darrin Gillies has once again had one of his claims labelled an ‘‘abuse of process’’.

The most recent chapter ended on Friday where a case against his former lawyers, Nic Moir and Chris O’Brien, as well as the lawyers who opposed him in a suite of litigation a decade ago was summarily dismissed.

The dismissal came just months after a $4million claim against the victim of the sexual assault, a claim in relation to a property at Anna Bay and another suit against another set of lawyers were also thrown out by the Supreme Court.

Gillies was jailed in 2006 for six years and eight months with a non-parole period of five years after he was convicted of one count of sexual assault.

Gillies had filmed himself performing sex acts with a woman who was either heavily intoxicated or asleep at Warners Bay in 2004.

He was acquitted of other charges.

Gillies filed a number of lawsuits in the Supreme Court last December including one against the State of NSW claiming that police and prosecutors were motivated by malice.

That case was adjourned in September when the judge disqualified himself from hearing the case because he knew one of the prosecutors involved.

Gillies’ most recent case was against Mr Moir, Mr O’Brien and the partners at Harris Wheeler Lawyers.

Gillies claimed that he was owed about $88,000 in relation to a suite of litigation involving the parties a decade ago.

That claim was summarily dismissed on Friday with Justice Peter Garling saying:

‘‘It is an abuse of the process of this court for a litigant with no entitlement to bring proceedings, as Mr Gillies does not, to commence proceedings for claims which are clearly statute barred, as these claims are, in circumstances where the pleading is irrational and unintelligible.’’

The defendants, as in the other cases, were awarded costs.


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Jayden Morrissey, killed by lightning at One Mile Beach, mourned by friends, family

Jayden Morrissey sent his parents this photo from One Mile Beach at Port Stephens on Saturday morning.IT was Saturday morning when Mark Morrissey received a text message with an image of the beaming smile of his second-eldest son, Jayden.
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He was hanging out with mates on the popular Port Stephens strip of sand called One Mile Beach.

By 4.15pm, when he hadn’t heard again from the 15-year-old, Mr Morrissey sent his son a text like so many parents before: ‘‘Are you still alive?’’

Jayden was probably too busy in the surf and on the sand with his mates to get straight back to his dad.

But within an hour, a team of six paramedics and a doctor would start a 70-minute battle to save the popular Thornton teenager’s life.

Jayden was struck by lightning during a storm that had silently rushed over the beach’s southern headland and caught more than 100 beachgoers with nowhere to run.

The medical team lost their battle.

‘‘He could have been five metres up the beach, it could have been any of the other kids that were standing alongside him,’’ Mr Morrissey said on Sunday.

‘‘He did die doing what he loved best – he loved the beach – but he certainly had plenty more journeys in his life.

‘‘He didn’t deserve this.’’

Jayden’s parents Mark and Peta Morrissey at home on Sunday.

Mr Morrissey had dropped his son, the second eldest of four and a year9 student at Francis Greenway High School, up to One Mile Beach on Friday to enjoy a weekend with close friends.

They had had a laugh a minute at the caravan park on Friday night and returned to the beach first thing Saturday morning as the heat started to warm up the sand.

They remained for most of the day before the storm cells drifted in without warning and caught everyone unaware.

Jayden and his friends were well clear of the water when the lightning struck.

‘‘We need people to understand he was not in the water when the storm hit,’’ Mr Morrissey said.

‘‘Police said there was over 100 people on the beach.

‘‘There was no warning of the storm, it came straight over the hill, they didn’t have time to react.

‘‘They were where their towels were and [a friend of the group] turned around to call another two kids out of the water and as he turned he saw Jayden drop to the ground holding his chest.’’

Mr Morrissey, wife Peta, and their three other sons, Brodi, 19, Jarryd, 11, and Logan, 8, have been left devastated.

But although they are searching for answers, they need their friends to know that no one was to blame.

‘‘[The adult friend] will never forgive himself and that is what we need people to understand – there is no blame to be levelled here, there is no hard feelings, it was just a freak accident,’’ Mr Morrissey said.

‘‘I know people can never forgive themselves but you can’t wrap your kids up in cotton wool.

‘‘If he wasn’t up there, he would have been at Nobbys. He would have been at the beach somewhere.’’

Mr Morrissey said his son gave up rugby league several years ago to become a referee and was due to play in state touch football titles at Penrith later this week.

Instead, his family will be facing the worst week imaginable.

‘‘He never gave me an ounce of grief,’’ Mr Morrissey said. ‘‘He was the best kid you could ever ask for.

‘‘He had a cheeky grin, he was quick-witted.

‘‘All of the tributes on Facebook all said the same thing.’’

School friend Emmalee O’Brien questioned how ‘‘such a beautiful soul’’ could be taken so early.

‘‘Really hasn’t sunk in that I won’t be sitting next to you at school on Monday in class,’’ she wrote.

Jayden’s football club, the Thornton Beresfield Bears, also paid their respects. ‘‘It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of the sudden death of Jayden Morrissey,’’ the club posted on its Facebook page.

‘‘Our thoughts, prayers and sincerest condolences to family, friends and all who are affected.’’

Jayden is the second teenage player from the club to die in less than a fortnight. Harry Hofman, 19, died suddenly from a ruptured spleen on October 21.

Jayden Morrissey was killed after being struck by lightning. Photo: supplied

By TOM DECENT

FIFTEEN-year-old Jayden Morrissey, who attended Francis Greenway High School,was killed after being struck by lightningat One Mile Beach in Port Stephens while hanging out with two school friends.

Friends and family have paid tribute to the year 9 student, who was an avid footballer and referee who loved the beach. They have remembered him as a polite and cheerful boy.

“I really can’t believe it, to think I was just with him on Friday and texting him a few hours before he passed away breaks my heart,” Emmalee O’Brien, a school friend of Jayden’s, told Fairfax Media.

“When I heard the news I was absolutely shattered, it still feels like a nightmare and I’m going to go to school on Monday and I’ll walk into class and he will be sitting there waiting for me.

“He had such a beautiful soul and always put people before him. Jayden was always the first kid to stick up for me when I was getting picked on and always was cheering me up when I was down.”

One Mile Beach, Port Stephens.

Dozens of people paid their respects on social media to Jayden.

“The Maitland Pickers Rugby League Club would like to send theirdeepest & most heart felt condolences to Mark Morrissey and his family and friends with the tragic loss of there son Jayden Morrissey yesterday,” the MaitlandPickersRugbyLeagueClub posted on their Facebook page. “Our thoughts, prayers and sincerest condolences to family, friends and all who are affected.”

“No one will ever forget you mate such a stand out great guy,” Jack Cunningham wrote on a photo, while Kristy Bashford said: “You will be greatly missed Jayden, you were a great kid xxx,” Kristy Bashford wrote on a friend’s status update.

Jayden Morrissey, from Facebook


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Australia beats England 16-12in rugby league Four Nations nailbiter

HERO: Ben Hunt celebrates a try. Picture: Getty ImagesBEN Hunt cemented himself as one of the NRL’s premier playmakers this season, but it was his years spent as a utility that helped him spark Australia to their 16-12 Four Nations win over England.
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With England still holding their 12-4 half-time lead midway through the second half at AAMI Park on Sunday before 20,585 fans, Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens thrust Hunt into the action for Sam Thaiday in the 53rd minute and the result was almost instantaneous.

Hunt’s move into hooker, shifting captain Cameron Smith to lock, lifted the intensity of the attack and the home side scored two tries in four minutes to surge past England.

‘‘He was good. He has played dummy half before with the Broncos when he started playing first grade so he is not unfamiliar to that role,’’ Smith said.

‘‘He has great speed, he is a darty little thing and asked a few questions of the English defence around the middle so he was there on the spot when we needed him to score those four points to get us back in the match there.

‘‘He is a great young player for such a young guy. He has got such a great temperament he can play well in those situations.’’

Hunt pounced on a Smith grubber to score in the 57th minute, and when Daly Cherry-Evans put Greg Inglis over in the 64th minute Australia moved to 16-12 lead that was never headed.

The Kangaroos celebrate after a try by Greg Inglis during the Four Nations rugby league game against England at Melbourne’s AAMI Park on Sunday. Picture: Getty Images

The win, which keeps their tournament hopes alive, hung on a last-minute touchdown from England’s Ryan Hall that referee Gerard Sutton ruled out before sending to the video referee. Hall’s pinkie finger touched the Steeden from a Liam Farrell kick before it went dead, but Bernard Sutton ruled there was no downward pressure and no try.

‘‘I wasn’t sure, but the referee called no try, and had it been a try, Hall would have been celebrating,’’ Sheens said.

‘‘But he wasn’t. They were ready for the line dropout. The player told you, really. I think we got the right decision.’’

England coach Steve McNamara felt a try should have been given.

‘‘His finger certainly looked like it was applying some pressure on the ball when it was on the ground,’’ he said.

England led 12-4 at half-time after a spiteful opening in which Liam Farrell, Sean O’Loughlin and Greg Bird were put on report.

Australia scored first through Michael Jennings in the 17th minute after a Cherry-Evans bust, but an enterprising England then enjoyed the best of the first half.

Kallum Watkins crossed out wide after the visitors made numbers on the right in the 29th minute and Hall scored from a one-armed offload from Dan Sarginson in the 34th minute.

But after the break England were reluctant to throw the ball around and it cost them.

‘‘They got to a lead and they worked hard to protect it,’’ Sheens said.

The result means the Four Nations finalists will depend on the outcome and scorelines of next weekend’s final round fixtures between New Zealand and England in Dunedin on Saturday and Australia’s match with Samoa in Wollongong, with for and against possibly coming into the equations.

Sheens says Liam Farrell should be charged by the Four Nations match review committee for an ‘‘ugly’’ chicken-wing tackle on Inglis.

O’Loughlin was reported for tripping Smith and Bird found himself in trouble after an awkward tackle.

Australia have kept their Four Nations chances alive with a nailbiting 16-12 win over England at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Sunday.

A loss would have denied the Kangaroos a chance at making the tournament final in two weeks, and it looked possible at halftime with the visitors leading 12-4 after scoring two-tries-to-one.

But the English didn’t trouble the scorers in the second half, an 80th minute touchdown to winger Ryan Hall denied by video referee Bernard Sutton.

Two tries in seven minutes midway through the second half paved the way for the Australian win, with utility Ben Hunt sparking the home side’s attack after coming on in the 53rd minute.

Hunt pounced on a Cameron Smith grubber to score in the 57th minute and Greg Inglis put Australia ahead in the 64th minute, from there they were never headed.

Results and for and against from Australia’s match with Samoa and England’s clash with New Zealand next week will determine the tournament finalists in a fortnight’s time.

‘‘That was a real Test match,’’ Smith said after the game.

‘‘That was what international football is all about.’’

In a somewhat spiteful start to the game before 20,585 fans, three players, Liam Farrell, Sean O’Loughlin and Greg Bird were put on report in the opening 10 minutes, before the game settled down.

By then Australia had lost back-rower Beau Scott to a hamstring injury for the rest of the game.

The hosts opened the scoring in the 17th minute when a Daly Cherry-Evans inside ball put Greg Bird in the clear 50m out and he dished off for Michael Jennings to cross after making his way through some flimsy defence. Cameron Smith missed the easy conversion for a 4-0 scoreline.

England were not afraid to throw the ball around out wide and it paid dividends in the 29th minute when Ryan Hall made a huge bust upfield.

Daryl Clark was pulled into touch after being held at the end of the movement and from the ensuing penalty England threw it wide again, this time on their right, for Kallum Watkins to score out.Gareth Widdop’s conversion put the visitors ahead 6-4.

They added to that when Hall scored in the 34th minute from a lovely Dan Sarginson pass, and Widdop’s conversion edged England further ahead 12-4.

Jennings’ stepping created space out wide and an opportunity late but his pass to winger Josh Mansour flew into touch.

England counter-attacked and Tomkins burst upfield in the shadows of halftime but the promising raid broke down and they took an eight point lead into the break.


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Royal commission statement about Gillard ‘very damning’: Brandis

Attorney-General George Brandis say royal commission findings were “very damning” of Julia Gillard. Photo: Andrew Meares Ex-Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
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Attorney-General George Brandis has described a statement by counsel assisting the royal commission into union corruption about former prime minister Julia Gillard as “very damning”.

In an overview of submissions to the inquiry, Counsel Assisting Jeremy Stoljar said that Ms Gillard’s former boyfriend Bruce Wilson and sidekick Ralph Blewitt should be charged for a “sham” slush fund they ran in the 1990s.

Ms Gillard provided legal advice for setting up the fund when she worked at Slater and Gordon . In the document released on Friday, Mr Stoljar said that while she did not commit any crime and was not aware of the criminality of Mr Wilson and Mr Blewitt, “some aspects of her professional conduct as a solicitor appear questionable”.

Mr Stoljar added that evidence before the inquiry “supports a finding” that Ms Gillard was either a beneficiary or recipient “of certain funds from Mr Wilson”.

The former prime minister has always denied any wrongdoing and maintained that she did not receive money from the fund for her home renovations in the 1990s.

On Sunday, Senator Brandis said that Mr Stoljar’s statement was a serious one.

“I do think that the conclusions that counsel assisting the Royal Commission came to about Julia Gillard were very damning indeed,” he told Channel Ten.

“To describe the conduct of a lawyer, in dealing with money and setting up a series of arrangements through which money is channelled as ‘questionable’, I think, is a very serious thing to say indeed.”

Prime Minister Tony Abbott was less forthcoming, saying, “it would be probably premature for me to comment on matters that are still before the commission”.

On Saturday, Ms Gillard released a statement via Twitter, noting Mr Stoljar’s view that she did not commit any crime and was not aware of the criminality of others.

“In relation to other matters detailed in the submission relevant to Ms Gillard, her counsel will make submissions at the appropriate point.”

The Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption was set up by the Abbott government in March. Royal Commissioner Dyson Heydon is due to present his findings by December 31.


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Woman allegedly assaulted Surry Hills restaurant owner after refusing to pay bill

Inside the El Bulli Spanish restaurant in Surry Hills Sandra Nikolic allegedly attacked the owner of El Bulli and police. Photo: Facebook
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El Bulli Spanish restaurant owner Adrian Paita was allegedly attacked by Sandra Nikolic. Photo: Nine Network

A woman allegedly scratched the neck, chest and arms of the owner of an up-market tapas restaurant after her friend refused to pay the $289 bill, and then assaulted the police officer who arrested her, a Sydney court has heard.

Sandra Nikolic was dining with seven friends at the El Bulli Spanish restaurant on Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills, on Saturday night when she and another member of her party, Daniel McGinn, allegedly starting verbally abusing a waitress.

According to a police statement tendered in court, when the owner and manager of the restaurant, Adrian Paita, approached the pair and asked them not to swear at his staff members, Ms Nikolic allegedly replied “You get f—ed you f—ing c—.”

Mr McGinn allegedly said “We’re not welcome here, our money isn’t good enough – we should just leave without paying.”

Approximately one hour later, after the other members of their group had left, Ms Nikolic and Mr McGinn approached the register with the latter allegedly declaring “here’s $200, I want a receipt”.

When Mr McGinn allegedly refused to pay the remainder of the bill, Mr Paita allegedly told two other staff to “call the police” and “lock the door”.

When the owner stood between the pair of diners and the door, Ms Nikolic allegedly began ripping at his clothes and lashing out with her nails.

She allegedly scratched Mr Paita’s neck, arm, ear, chest, while Mr McGinn allegedly punched him repeatedly to the back and kidney area and kicked him in the knee.

When other restaurant staff intervened to assist Mr Paita by restraining the woman, Mr McGinn allegedly shouted, “This is sexual assault!” and attacked them.

When police arrived at the restaurant, Ms Nikolic allegedly resisted arrest and then kicked one of them as she was being assisted into a police van.

During a search, police allegedly found four tablets of the prescription drug diazepam.

Ms Nikolic was subsequently charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, resisting arrest and assaulting police.

Mr McGinn was charged with assault.

The pair were granted bail and ordered to return to court on November 14.

Ms Nikolic posted on Facebook that she was going to the restaurant to have her birthday there.

“To all my REAL FRIENDS on here i will be having a birthday party dinner thing if anyone is interested in coming let me know the plan is to go to the best restaurant ever for dinner el bulli spanish tapas and cocktails yum yum then maybe out for some dancing and much much more drinking its this saturday,” she said.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to Mr Paita as Mr Taipa.


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Wanderers to take on world’s best

RIYADH: Western Sydney Wanderers will leap out of the frying pan and into the fire after winning the Asian Champions League to set up a clash against one of Latin America’s biggest sides and potentially an historic encounter with European champions Real Madrid.
Shanghai night field

The Wanderers locked in a date with Mexican powerhouse Cruz Azul in the first round of the Club World Cup in Morocco next month after being crowned the champions of Asia. It will be the most difficult match played by an Australian club since 2000 when South Melbourne played Manchester United, Vasco de Gama and Necaxa in the group stage of the Club World Cup.

After conquering Guangzhou Evergrande, FC Seoul and the team of the Saudi kingdom, Al Hilal, It will not get any easier for the Wanderers with the next giant standing in their path measuring their support base in the millions.  According to a Mexican study conducted six years ago, more than 10 million people claimed to support Cruz Azul. That figure would have only grown since. Captained by one of Mexico’s greatest ever players, Gerrardo Torrado, the club was the first Mexican team to reach the final of the prestigious Copa Libertadores tournament. The Wanderers face the North American champions in Rabat, Morocco, on December 13 and should they achieve another seemingly impossible result, they will play Real Madrid three days later. A potential clash against the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, James Rodriguez and Sergio Ramos was talked about by the players in their celebrations but they were still awed to be playing one of the giants of Mexican football.

Wanderers are the fourth Australian club to play in the tournament and the first to qualify as Asian champions. South Melbourne paved the way in 2000 before Sydney FC qualified as the last Australian Oceania champions in 2006, losing to Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica and then beating Egyptian giants Al Ahly in the fifth place play-off. Adelaide United reached the 2008 competition as runners-up of Asia due to champions Gamba Osaka qualifying as hosts. Adelaide were knocked out by Gamba in the first round. The immediate task facing the Wanderers’ new administration will be cashing a cheque worth $1.7 million awarded as prizemoney for winning the ACL which will be the first of many lining the coffers of the club. The Wanderers stand to collect a minimum of $3 million in total as a result of their success in Riyadh, with $1.1 million guaranteed for competing in the Club World Cup and another $200,000 reported to be on offer as a bonus from sponsors.

The Wanderers will keep all prizemoney and the players will get a share of the reward, with a large cut of the ACL prizemoney reported to be on offer as a bonus shared across the squad.

More imminent though is a test against Wellington Phoenix in the A-League on Friday night, which must be difficult to prepare for after achieving the greatest result in Australian club football history.


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