Nasser Al-Shamrani spits at Western Sydney Wanderers’ Matthew Spiranovic

It is a shame that on the greatest night in Australian club football history, a pathetic serving of sour grapes will distort many of the headlines. The sight of Al-Hilal’s Nasser Al-Shamrani head-butting Western Sydney Wanderers’ defender Matthew Spiranovic as the match wound to a close was already bad enough. Little did we know worse was to come.
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Spiranovic, a substitute, held his peace until the final whistle, only wanting to get the job done for his side.

When the match did eventually finish, drawn out for what felt like a small eternity, the Wanderers burst into celebration at the miracle duck-egg scoreboard. As is their right, as you would expect. As Al-Hilal would have done if the situation was reversed.

Still, Spiranovic wanted Al-Shamrani – nicknamed “The Earthquake” for his ability to shock the opposition – to know what he’d done was wrong; that he’d broken the unspoken rules of conduct that exist between fellow professionals.

The timing, perhaps, wasn’t ideal, but the striker’s response was beyond disgusting.

Not bothering to reply to Spiranovic with words, Al-Shamrani spat straight at the defender. Truly, an abominable act of sportsmanship. Unacceptable on every level, and no wonder a brawl nearly ensued.

The Asian Football Confederation should be moved to act against Al-Shamrani but in their swirling political waters it is hard – perhaps impossible – to predict what sanction he may receive.

In short, the Gulf giants are a big wheel, politically. It was the head of their football association, Hafez Al Medlej, who backed away from the AFC presidential election in 2013 to give Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman a smooth ride to the top. These things get remembered

As much as Al-Shamrani deserves a ban or a fine from Kuala Lumpur, it’s just as likely he’ll be on the receiving end of a keenly-worded press release. Asian football tends to be like that.

In some ways, the Saudi Arabian subterfuge only added to the greatness of the aggregate victory.

Aside from Al-Shamrani’s spittle, the repeated use of laser-pointers, designed to blaze the pupils of Ante Covic, was appalling. Guangzhou Evergrande fans did it to Covic a few months back, so at least he had experience of knowing what being blinded is like. Referees must surely halt play – perhaps even more – when this happens.

It is impossible to defend the actions of a select few, be they players or fans, not even with a healthy dose of cultural context. But it is possible to tap into the powder keg of pressure that has been building since the moment Al-Hilal arrived home to prepare for the second leg.

Whatever pressure the Wanderers were under, you can double or triple that for the Blue Wave. So much money, so many royal connections, so much history. But, on this occasion, too much pride for their own good.

Although well-behaved in Australia, once they returned to Riyadh, the club – from the vice-president to the coach and players – reflected the same will of Uruguay in November 2005; most memorably through Alvaro Recoba’s infamous “divine right” claim.

The Kingdom believed victory was only a matter of time, and the streets prepared for the inevitable celebration. The players willed it to happen but destiny was, for once, conspiring wildly in favour of an Australian team.

But unlike our club and country teams of yesteryear, at least the Wanderers knew what was coming.

“It’ll be a hostile crowd and they will bring out all the tricks to try and put us off our game,” Spiranovic told Fairfax Media this week. “But I think the boys are aware of that, we know what to expect.”

That they did, and Australia was done proud. The same cannot be said for Al-Shamrani, who did his best to bring infamy to his club and his country.

Should the two nations meet at January’s Asian Cup – a quarter-final meeting is every chance, where Spiranovic would again mark Al-Shamrani – don’t think this country will forget in a hurry, even if the governing body conveniently does.


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LESS IS MORE: Growing organic strawberries

PESTICIDE-FREE: Home-grown organic strawberries are easy to grow, and they taste delicious. Picture: Tricia HogbinMY strawberry patch is bursting with sweet berries. I started last year with only 10 plants. I collected plantlets from those few founders and now have more than 100 plants. Next year I’m aiming for 1000. If you manage your strawberry plants properly, you can enjoy homegrown berries forever, without having to buy new plants every few years.
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Strawberry season is especially exciting in our household because I don’t buy strawberries. Conventionally grown strawberries are typically laden with pesticide residues. A 2008 study by CHOICE found pesticide residues in almost all the conventionally grown strawberries they tested. Anyone who has grown their own strawberries will know how susceptible they are to pests and fungal disease. Non-organic growers use a suite of pesticides to control these pests, making strawberries more likely to be contaminated than other fresh fruit. Washing your fruit isn’t the answer. Some pesticides are formulated to resist being washed off by rain and others penetrate right through the fruit.

Thankfully, for those of you who prefer your fruit to be free of pesticides, strawberries are one of the easiest fruits to grow in your backyard.

Here are my tips for growing organic strawberries.

Choose the right location

Choose a sunny spot for your patch to minimise the chance of fungal disease spoiling your fruit.

Build up your soil before planting

Large amounts of organic matter are vital for healthy and resilient strawberry plants. Prepare your soil in autumn, ready for late autumn or early winter plantings. I dug in horse manure, worm castings and compost at a rate of around one bucket per square metre.

Give plants plenty of space

Good air flow around plants will minimise the chance of fruit rotting. Space plants at least 30centimetres apart. Strawberry crowns will rot if buried, so make sure you leave the crown of each plant above the soil surface when planting.

Mulch heavily and fertilise regularly

Mulch your patch heavily to minimise weeds, retain water and keep soil cool. The mulch will also help to keep your fruit clean. Fertilise regularly with worm wee or liquid seaweed fertiliser. Stop fertilising as soon as the plants start fruiting to avoid seaweed-infused fruit.

Find a variety suitable for your area

The taste and resilience of strawberry plants varies between varieties. Trial a few varieties to find what grows best in your garden. Ipurchased two varieties and collected healthy runners from a neighbour’s thriving strawberry patch. The local plants performed far better than the purchased varieties.

Treat them like an annual

Strawberries are short-lived perennials and are most productive and healthy in their first year. I replant a new patch each year. Over summer, strawberry plants send out long horizontal stems called runners. Tiny plantlets form along these runners. I push aside mulch below each plantlet and anchor it in place by placing stones or soil along the runners. I collect these plantlets in late autumn, cutting the runners that connect them to their parent, and move them to the new patch.

Practice crop rotation

Strawberries are highly susceptible to soil-borne diseases. When choosing the location of a new patch, avoid areas that have grown other berries or members of the tomato family (Solanaceae) in previous years.

Give them plenty of water

Strawberry plants like plenty of water, especially when they are flowering and fruiting. However, leaves and fruit can rot if too wet. I water in the morning and water deeply less often.

Tricia Hogbin shares tips for living better with less at littleecofootprints杭州龙凤论坛m and onInstagram (TriciaEco).


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Labor promises $60m for St Vincent’s Hospital medical technology centre

State election full coverage
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Labor has promised one-third of the funding needed to build a $180 million centre for cutting-edge new medical technologies at St Vincent’s Hospital if elected.

Opposition leader Daniel Andrews said the biomedical engineering centre would be the first of its type in Australia and build on work already under way by partners includingthe Bionics Institute and Melbourne, Swinburne and Wollongong universities.

St Vincent’s Hospital director of orthopaedics Peter Choong said the Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery would allow experts to work closely with patients on the same site.

Projects included a recent world-first procedure to build a man a new heel bone using 3D printing, preventing him losing part of that leg to cancer.

Research was also under way on an implant to warn epileptic patients of an imminent seizure and deliver medication, he said.

Mr Andrews said a Labor state government would commit $60 million for the centre over four years,  and this would need to be matched by the federal government.

He said if Labor  were elected he would seek to meet Prime Minister Tony Abbott to discuss the project.

“The case is too compelling and I’m certain [the] Prime Minister and his government would be a very keen partner in such a visionary project,” he said.

The remaining $60 million contribution would come from the centre’s 10 partners, which have already raised $30 million.

Mr Andrews said the centre would create more than 1000 construction jobs and support “up to 10,000 jobs created over the next 15 years in this new sector”.

He said the state government was not being asked to provide recurrent funding for the centre, which would receive income from grants and partner institutions.

A spokesman for Health Minister David Davis would not commit to matching Labor’s $60 million promise for the centre.

“A number of significant medical research projects are currently under consideration,” he said.

“The Coalition has increased funding for medical research including a number of key capital projects such as the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre and the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre.”

Mr Davis’s spokesman also disputed Labor’s ability to attract federal funding for the project.

“Daniel Andrews has no credibility when it comes to funding agreements with the Commonwealth, given his stated intention to tear up the east-west contract and see Victoria lose $1.5 billion.”

Partners behind the project said the state government had provided more than $600,000 to complete a full business case and preliminary designs, and they were now “poised to take the next step together with state and federal government”.

Professor Choong said the centre would encourage collaboration  among disciplines that had historically been separate, such as engineering, medicine and biological sciences.

Partners in the centre said it would drive the commercialisation of “next-generation, high-value bio-engineering products”, securing a  large share of a burgeoning global market.


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Friends pay respect to boy killed by lightning strike

Jayden Morrissey was killed after being struck by lightning. Photo: Supplied Harry Hofman died suddenly from a ruptured spleen. Photo: Supplied
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There’s no rugby league club in Australia doing it tougher than the Thornton Beresfield Bears, after news filtered through on Saturday evening that a second teenage player from the club had died in less than a fortnight.

Days after the death of Harry Hofman, 19, who died suddenly from a ruptured spleen at his Beresfield home near Newcastle on October 21, the club was made aware last night, on the eve of its presentation day, that another one of its own had died in tragic circumstances.

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

“It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of the sudden death of Jayden Morrissey,” the Beresfield Bears posted on their Facebook page. “Our thoughts, prayers and sincerest condolences to family, friends and all who are affected.”

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.”

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

“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.


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Surfing a pain in the eye

Surfers are sustaining eye injuries after being hit with the nose, tail and fins of surfboards, a survey has found.
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A study of 10 cases identified in a survey of NSW opthalmologists found eye injuries affected surfers aged from nine to 71 years.

Patients had an average age of 35 years and eight out of the 10 injured surfers were male.

One of the injured surfers was learning to surf at the time while others were weekly or daily surfers.

In one case a surfer’s injury was so severe it resulted in the loss of an eye.

In four cases surfers had fractures to the bones that form the orbit, the bony cavity that contains the eye, while another surfer was left with fibreglass in this area.

Researchers led by the University of Sydney’s Save Sight Institute said most patients had a combination of eye injuries including bruising to the skin and soft tissue around the eye and lacerations to the eyelid.

One eye injury occurred while using a surfboard in a backyard swimming pool, while other injuries occurred at Queens Head and Forster on NSW’s north coast, Shellharbour on the south coast, and Maroubra and Bondi in Sydney’s east.

Five surfers were hit by their own boards, two with someone else’s board and information was not available for three patients.

Authors of the study, published on Sunday in the Medical Journal of Australia, said it confirmed that surfing carried “a small risk of severe ocular injury”.

They said injuries may have become more frequent in recent times due to overcrowding at beaches and design of modern surfboards, which can feature sharp noses.

Researchers led by ophthalmologist Juliette Howden said there were currently no government regulations or recommendations about surfboard design or wearing protective eyewear or headgear while surfing.

“It would be possible to attach soft rubber tips to the nose or tail of short boards and to make fins from flexible material such as rubber,” they said.

Researchers said further studies were needed to assess the effectiveness of protective gear or surfboard modifications at preventing eye injuries.


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No need for equity, says Newcrest Mining

Gold diggers: Newcrest’s Cadia Hill operation is exciting, the company says. Gold diggers: Newcrest’s Cadia Hill operation is exciting, the company says.
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Gold diggers: Newcrest’s Cadia Hill operation is exciting, the company says.

Gold diggers: Newcrest’s Cadia Hill operation is exciting, the company says.

Newcrest Mining chief executive Sandeep Biswas says the $US100 million recently paid off the gold miner’s debt pile is proof the company can get by without an equity raising.

The spectre of an equity raising has hung over Newcrest since the 2013 gold price slump cut into margins and raised concerns about the level of debt on the gold miner’s balance sheet.

Newcrest has about $A4.1 billion of debt on its balance sheet, pushing its gearing ratio to beyond 30 per cent.

Reducing that debt pile is the miner’s top priority but some analysts have warned recently the company won’t be able to generate enough cash to cover its debt and the growth spending it wants to do over the next five years.

But Mr Biswas said the $US100 million repayment was a reflection of the cash generated during the September quarter and a sign that Newcrest could fund itself.

“Under the current market and operating conditions the cash inflow from the Cadia ramp-up, the turnaround of Lihir and the EDGE (efficiency and cost reduction) program is sufficient to pay back our debt and get our gearing down and that is our primary focus,” he said.

Mr Biswas said shareholders should be excited by the early results at the recently expanded Cadia precinct, which produced at an “all-in sustaining cost” of $A207 an ounce during the September quarter.

“Look at Cadia’s cost base, $207 all-in sustaining cost, that is a massive margin and it is not even at full tilt, that is the potential of this company,” he said.

Newcrest chairman Peter Hay backed up those comments by saying shareholders had no need to be concerned about a dilutive equity raising.

Newcrest shareholders were not paid a dividend in the 2014 financial year and the company has said it would resume paying dividends only “when it is prudent to do so”.

But Mr Hay reassured shareholders on Friday that they would not have to wait until the miner reached its desired gearing ratio of 15 per cent, which is likely to be several years away.

“The point at which it becomes prudent to declare dividends again is not necessarily the gearing target so we will look at that,” he said.

“It is a balance, you have to make a judgment based on all those different factors, including the growth prospects and whatever capital demands there are on the company at the time.”


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James Cummings in good hands to continue family’s Melbourne Cup tradition

Wizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all RacingFull coverage: Melbourne Cup 2014Melbourne Cup sweep
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For James Cummings, the past 18 months have been a blurred whirlwind of firsts. There’s his first season as a trainer in partnership with his legendary grandfather, Bart. His first group-1 winner. And, on Tuesday, he will have his first Melbourne Cup runner in nine-year-old Precedence. Now there is the impending birth of his first child with wife Monica, who he married in July.

“We’re expecting our first child midway through next year,” Cummings, 26, says, smiling. “It’s been a very busy 18 months. It’s the best. That’s why you get married. There’s no point in being married if you’re not open to it. Interestingly, we travelled to East Africa on our honeymoon. What I learnt there was the beauty of youthful virility. Every tribe we spoke to, or every new location we went to, it was such an important facet of their lifestyle. It isn’t to be underestimated.”

No, it isn’t. The beauty of youthful virility for the Cummings family is that it has maintained a racing dynasty the stretches back to 1911, when Bart’s father, Jim, took out his trainer’s licence with the South Australian Jockey Club before claiming the 1950 Melbourne Cup with Comic Court.

It leads us to Tuesday’s race. Precedence will be Bart’s 79th runner in the Cup. It will be James’ first. “Welcome to the big league,” says Cummings jnr. “It’s like being welcomed to Test match footy.”

James became the family’s fourth-generation trainer at Leilani Lodge at Royal Randwick on August 1 last year.

Stepping up from the staffer saddling and clocking horses for Bart is one thing, but taking on the full responsibility of a trainer is an entirely different proposition. This young horseman, though, carries the added burden of expectation that comes with racing’s most famed and adored surname.

Is it ever too much to carry?

“I would say no, but I would say it without being dismissive of the threat or the concept of that being the case,” James says. “I say it because I’ve identified that I am my own biggest critic. I would usually be the last person in the room to blame the jockey because I feel that if I’d done a better job, if I’d thought about it a little harder, if I’d been more explicit in my instructions, things could’ve gone better.

“I’m blessed. It’s not only in my blood but I’ve grown up with it. I’ve learnt as much as I can through osmosis and experience, but my family has been passionate about training horses since 1911. We’re about treating horses well. If we look after our horses well, they’ll look after us. We live by that mantra.”

Time stands still for no man. Not even Bart. He is rising 87 and the chatter has already started – as it has in recent years – about whether he will or won’t be at Flemington on Tuesday. “He’s as well as he can be for a man who’s lived a good life,” James says. “If he comes out [to Flemington] people might not have seen him in a long while. He has aged. The body might be weak but the mind is willing. He’s sharp and on to you if you slip up.”

The lessons his grandfather have taught him, however, aren’t difficult for James to recall. Like the time when an expensive yearling came back to the from a spell.

Bart was sitting in his office, peering out through the venetian blinds. “That horse that’s been here a few days,” he told his grandson. “How are its sesamoids?”

A sesamoid is a bony formation at the back of a horse’s front fetlocks. “They seem OK,” James replied, puzzled. “There’s been no complaints.”

He checked the horse’s sesamoids and, sure enough, was astounded to discover the horse had proud sesamoids.

“How the hell did he know that?” James thought. “He’s in there behind his venetian blinds. How does he know that?”

Later that afternoon, Bart was having a cup of tea and going over the gallop sheets for the next morning’s trackwork. On his desk sat a spelling sheet, which details which horses have been in the paddock and for what reason. He noticed the expensive yearling’s name. Underlined in red pen was the word “sesamoids”.

Recalls James: “I burst out laughing. He saw me look at it and just chuckled. He tested me, and he was trying to train me. To be meticulous.”

A moment that captures the near-mythical reverence for Bart came nine years ago when he walked into the Crystal Club Lounge at Crown Casino. The room was buzzing with masters of the universe, captains of industry and enough celebrities to fill the Sunday social pages for a year.

Then the most successful trainer in Melbourne Cup history walked into the room, dressed in immaculate pinstripe suit and wearing aviator sunglasses. High society fell silent.

Ask James if he ever feels similarly awed and he shakes his head.

“No,” he says. “The question is an interesting one because how could I look at him any different? My other grandfather on my mother’s side died when I was young. People ask me if he’s like a normal grandfather. The answer is he’s my only grandfather. He’s a shy man. For a shy man, he has a lot of exposure. He’s not a fan of the long interview, it’s fair to say.”

Can James and Bart win with Precedence? It’s unlikely but they’re confident of a top-10 finish. The horse was trampled on in his last start in the Moonee Valley Cup. In the start before that, he had beaten home Signoff, which is now equal favourite to win on Tuesday.

Regardless of the result, it will be another brick laid down in the Cummings dynasty that shows no sign of fading, with another on the way.

“It was a watershed moment for Bart and Leilani Lodge [when I received my training licence],” James says. “Bart wasn’t coming to the track, and owners were starting to pull out. Reputation is so important, but it isn’t everything. They want authenticity in what they’re receiving, whether the horse is good or bad. I’m like that young Bart trying to listen to as many people who I can.”

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Richmond signs Taylor Hunt, Joel Hamling heads to Bulldogs

The paperwork to finalise the Taylor Hunt deal was lodged with the AFL on Sunday. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
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The paperwork to finalise the Taylor Hunt deal was lodged with the AFL on Sunday. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

The paperwork to finalise the Taylor Hunt deal was lodged with the AFL on Sunday. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Richmond has moved swiftly to secure former Geelong midfielder Taylor Hunt after the former Cat had accepted an offer to train with St Kilda.

And another former Cat, key backman Joel Hamling who did not make his senior debut in three years on the Geelong list, has been signed by the Western Bulldogs.

The paperwork to finalise the Hunt deal was lodged with the AFL on Sunday and will be confirmed by the league Monday.

St Kilda had made an offer to Hunt to train with the club with a view to signing him, but Richmond scuppered those plans when it offered a one-year deal for the onballer and tagger, who grew up a passionate Richmond supporter.

Geelong will this week secure former Melbourne midfielder Sam Blease. The pacy running player, who was taken with pick 17 in the 2008 national draft, was cut by the Demons last week. Geelong will sign him as a delisted free agent.

Carlton will  secure former Swan, Matthew Dick, a fast medium tall running defender, as a delisted free agent. The Blues will also secure  former Bulldog Jason Tutt. They will either pick up Tutt as a delisted free agent, or, should the Bulldogs not delist him, through the pre-season draft.

The Saints on Saturday signed delisted Swans player Tim Membrey after the list lodgement last Friday cleared players to be signed as delisted free agents.

The Saints have also asked former Adelaide pair Shaun McKernan and Jared Petrenko to train with the club in coming weeks. McKernan could fill a key position role with Rhys Stanley traded out of the club. Petrenko would shape a a potential rookie listing with his speed and defensive pressure.

The Tigers’ move to secure Hunt follows the earlier play to secure Jack Trengove from Melbourne in a trade. That deal fell through when the final scans in a medical examination uncovered complications with a foot problem.

Tigers football manager Dan Richardson said the Hunt move was plainly part of the club’s push to increase midfield depth of experienced talent as the 23-year-old had played 63 games in six seasons with the Cats.

“We have been clear in our intention to add to our midfield during the off-season, and we believe Taylor will be a strong addition to the club,” Richardson said.

“Taylor will complement our playing list with his speed and versatility, and we are confident he has his best football ahead of him.”

With other pieces of their emerging list starting to fall into place, the Western Bulldogs continued to add depth to another of their weak points – the key defender stocks.

Having already secured highly-rated draft prospect Zaine Cordy (son of Brian and brother of Ayce) as a father-son pick, the Dogs signed Hamling, a 195cm athletic defender who finished third in the club’s VFL best and fairest this season.

The 21-year-old former West Australian had attracted interest from several clubs since being delisted two weeks ago.

List manager Jason McCartney said the Dogs considered it important to secure another key defender who was already in the system, although Hamling has also shown versatility to suggest he could also be tried forward at different stages.

“Joel adds a different dynamic to that group with his raw athleticism,” McCartney said.

“Joel has been part of an elite development program at Geelong, and having watched closely throughout the year, we believe he is not far away from playing good consistent AFL football.”


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“Fake” White Ribbon website faces legal action

A men’s rights group has been accused of “hijacking” the name of a prominent anti-domestic violence group and is using it to publish “misinformation” about violence against women.
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White Ribbon is considering taking legal action to stop the group, which uses the same name and similar branding.

White Ribbon Australia is an anti-violence organisation that appoints high-profile men to make a public stance against violence and encourage other men to do the same.

The alleged fake website is owned and operated by A Voice for Men, which claims on its own website to “expose misandry on all levels in our culture” and to “educate men and boys about the threats they face in feminist governance and to promote an end to that governance.”

The domain names are very similar – whiteribbon杭州龙凤论坛.au is the genuine Australian branch and whiteribbon杭州龙凤论坛 is registered by A Voice for Men.

It recent weeks it has posted articles titled: “Refuting 40 years of lies about domestic violence” and “Why women’s shelters are hotbeds of gender hatred”.

White Ribbon Australia national executive of engagement and partnerships, Fayssal Sari, told Fairfax Media he is aware of at least one person who wanted to donate to the organisation, but accidently sent the money to the wrong account, via the website.

“There’s potential for some serious impact and that does concern us,” he said. “Any attempt to encourage donations to this non-bona fide organisation could constitute fraud. Our legal advice is that there is possible fraud in intellectual property infringement, particularly around the branding and use of the ribbon.

“We have more than 2000 ambassadors nationwide. For this site to come up and undermine what these good men are doing is really disappointing.”

The A Voice for Men’s website was registered in 2012 but its details are hidden behind a firewall, meaning it is impossible determine where it is based.

Mr Sari believes it is Canadian or American.  White Ribbon Australian registered their website in 2002.

University of Melbourne intellectual property expert Andrew Christie said A Voice for Men website “could be in big trouble” for using White Ribbon Australia’s trademarked name and similar logo.

However, he said taking legal action against the group could be problematic because it is likely based overseas and IP laws rarely cover international websites.

In Victoria, 29 women died in 2013 in relation to domestic violence, up from 15 in 2012. Family violence was a factor in 80 per cent of child deaths known to child protection services last year, up from 62 per cent in 2010.

The organisation found out about the competing website just weeks before its annual White Ribbon Day, on November 25. Hundreds of events have already been organised to raise funds to stop male violence against women.

Domestic Violence Victoria chief executive Fiona McCormack said she was horrified when she was told of the website.

“What happens if a woman is looking for information and if she came across a website that she thought had some merit or authority, and was provided with erroneous information? It’s such an irresponsible and unethical thing to do.”

She added it was “extraordinary” for the organisation’s brand to be “hijacked” to be used for purposes opposite to what it does.

“What they claim has absolutely no credibility. The overwhelming evidence that we have from the World Health Organisation, the United Nations, from research, provides a comprehensive picture of the cause of violence against women.”

Whiteribbon杭州龙凤论坛 was contacted for comment.


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Roy Higgins and ‘Mother’ capture hearts with Melbourne Cup win

Iconic image: Roy Higgins and Light Fingers after their 1965 Cup win. Photo: Supplied
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Iconic image: Roy Higgins and Light Fingers after their 1965 Cup win. Photo: Supplied

Iconic image: Roy Higgins and Light Fingers after their 1965 Cup win. Photo: Supplied

Wizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all RacingFull coverage: Melbourne Cup 2014

The pair of Bart Cummings and Roy Higgins won more than 100 stakes races, and they unearthed many a star of the turf. Their partnership dates back to not long after the young rider first moved to Melbourne.

The combination of Higgins’ lightning-fast instincts and Cummings’ brilliance as a trainer would reap many unforgettable wins on the track. One of the most memorable, of course, would be with the legendary thoroughbred Light Fingers.

According to Higgins, Light Fingers “felt more like a six-year-old mare than a three-year-old filly”. He nicknamed her “Mother” because she had that nature that allowed her to work as a lead pony for other horses, as well as nurturing or mothering some of the younger horses in the stable.

In the spring of 1965, Cummings not only had Light Fingers, but he had a handful of others, including his quality colt Ziema, to bolster his carnival team.

Where Light Fingers was as calm as a thoroughbred could be, Ziema was muscular and a bit wild. He would carry on, and buck, and throw his rider at trackwork. He would often only settle down when Light Fingers was brought along to lead him to the track. Higgins was aboard her when she was sent out favourite in the Caulfield Stakes, the week before the Caulfield Cup. However, 800 metres from home she clipped the champion Winfreux’s heels and almost toppled over. As her nose came dangerously close to the ground, she miraculously regained her feet and somehow managed to get herself back into rhythm in time to finish in third place.

It was a huge run, but it came at a cost. Given her great will to win, Light Fingers came out of the Caulfield Stakes stiff and sore with a ricked muscle in her neck and shoulder. She whinnied in pain one morning when a track jockey tried to get on her back to take her for a walk.

With her campaign in disarray, and battling a muscle injury, Light Fingers was only allowed to be slowly walked or swum in the Maribyrnong River, which runs adjacent to the Flemington Racecourse. Higgins wasn’t allowed to sit on her back until she got over her pain.

Her stablemate Ziema continued in his campaign towards the Melbourne Cup. He was unlucky in the Caulfield Cup, being severely interfered with before running second to Bore Head, before also being runner-up the following week in the Moonee Valley Cup. Meanwhile, with so much doubt over Light Fingers’ place in the Cup, Higgins was offered the ride on Matlock, who had shortened into Cup favourite. After a quick think, Higgins refused the offer, claiming that he couldn’t bear the thought of Light Fingers running and someone else on her. “My filly’s so good that if she gets to the post she just might win, and if she does it would break my heart not to be her rider,” he reiterated to the press a few days later.

A Melbourne Cup start was still up in the air and this remained so right up to the race, as Cummings was desperate to see more improvement. At dawn on Melbourne Cup morning, Higgins gave her another light jog over a furlong. Higgins said he felt that Light Fingers was two to three days off her best, but was still adamant that Light Fingers was well enough, and fit enough, to run in the Cup.

“It was that close,” Higgins recalled in a later interview. “She still needed a few more days to be 100 per cent, but Bart took the punt and ran her and I’m forever thankful that he did.”

Like most Melbourne Cups, that year’s race was two miles of incessant jostling and bumping. Higgins was wary of over- taxing Light Fingers by forcing her into unnecessary bumping duels. He had her in the front half of the field, with the plan of following Ziema, who was ridden by the then Adelaide-based jockey John J.J. Miller. Because Higgins knew how fit Ziema was, he was certain it was a winning strategy to trail Ziema and then have a late run at him and hope Light Fingers could outstay him. For Miller, his plan was to go ahead and wear Light Fingers down.

As the field straightened for home, three of the fancied runners, Yangtze, Ziema and Tobin Bronze, were sharing the lead until about a furlong and a half out from the post when Miller took Ziema past Yangtze, as that horse and Tobin Bronze both began to fade. As Ziema was going for home, there was only one horse emerging from the pack. It was Light Fingers.

With half a furlong to go, Ziema was still leading Light Fingers by three-quarters of a length, but Higgins suspected he had an ace up his sleeve. Ziema was bigger and no doubt fitter, but he felt that Light Fingers enjoyed a class and psychological edge over her rival.

Light Fingers moved up to Ziema’s girth, before moving up to his neck. The filly knew who she was chasing; after years of working as the lead pony for Ziema to calm him down and allow him to run past her in trackwork, here she was chasing him down, but the post was going to come too soon. However, Higgins felt that when Light Fingers got closer to Ziema, the colt became aware of her presence, and the jockey then knew he’d get to the post first.

“I realised I had it won about 30 yards from the winning post,” Higgins said later. “When suddenly Ziema changed stride, as a tired horse will do, and his tail sort of started to wave. I thought, ‘Well he has got nothing left and I am going strong’.

Miller, who had been riding for Cummings and for the emerging Colin Hayes in South Australia, said he thought he might have won but was happy to save on the result with Higgins after the line. “A stride past the post, Roy turned to me, he says, ‘What do you reckon?’ ” he recalled. “And I say, ‘I think I beat you, but I’ll save the monkey’. And he said, ‘No, no, no’. He relates the story later on and he said he knew he had got the money when I went to save the monkey.’

Cummings later said that he wouldn’t have minded a dead heat. But the developed print came up, and the course announcer said Light Fingers had won by a half-head. Higgins came in and he looked at Cummings and grinned, “Sorry I pipped you, Bart.” The picture of Higgins cradling Light Fingers’ head on their return to scale has become an iconic image of Australian racing. Australians quickly warmed to the country jockey made good and the little mare that beat them all with limited preparation.

As for Higgins’ connection to his horse, it is telling that in later years he refused to have any more than a few modest pictures in his house of any of the horses he rode, but he proudly displayed a large one of Light Fingers.

Edited extract from Roy Higgins: Australia’s Favourite Jockey by Patrick Bartley, Penguin, $39.99.

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