Monthly Archives: July 2019

Rugby World Cup 2015: Bernard Foley wants to inspire new generation of Wallabies

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Key player: Bernard Foley. Photo: Stuart WalmsleyRWC Schedule: When is the Rugby World Cup final?Full coverage of the 2015 Rugby World Cup

LONDON: Bernard Foley got up in the middle of the night 16 years ago to watch the Wallabies win the World Cup and spark the inspiration for his rugby career.

He remembers the tired eyes, the late nights and the moment John Eales lifted the Webb Ellis Cup after the Wallabies beat France in the final. Now he wants to give the same memories to a new generation as he chases his own slice of World Cup history in a blockbuster final against New Zealand.

Fans in will have to wake up at 3am on Sunday to see the Wallabies go for glory against the defending champion All Blacks. That has not been lost in the World Cup bubble, with players making a point to acknowledge the supporter base back home.

“I think this will be the highlight of my rugby career,” Foley said. “It’s something I’ll look back on and as a kid when I was growing up during that 1999 World Cup, I was really inspired by the Wallabies. I got up in the middle of the night to watch those games. For me, it’s replicating that and hopefully I can inspire 12 year olds to get up, get them excited to watch the Wallabies and be passionate.”

The battered and bruised Wallabies are rising again for their moment to shine in the World Cup spotlight. New Zealand are favourites to take the title and farewell greats Richie McCaw and Dan Carter with a perfect Test send off.

But the Wallabies want to spoil the party, and while has struggled in Bledisloe Cup matches for more than a decade, there’s a contingent of players who know what it’s like to spoil a Kiwi party.

The NSW Waratahs and Queensland Reds beat McCaw and Carter’s Canterbury Crusaders in the 2014 and 2011 Super Rugby finals respectively.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika was in charge of the Waratahs when Foley booted a last-minute penalty to break Crusaders hearts last year. “You can draw on those big games for sure and it’s great to win those, but you can’t really compare that to this week or the momentum,” Foley said. “What we’ve done as a side here has been great, we’ve really enjoyed it and what we’re trying to do is be really proud to go out there and put on a display for all the ns getting up in the middle of the night, the ones making a late dash here or the expats that are here already. I don’t think you can compare the two games, [but] you can take confidence that you’ve been in those games before but this is a new magnitude.”

Foley said the Wallabies were “battle ready” after a road to the final which has included wins against England, Wales, Scotland and Argentina. Most of those games have gone down to the dying minutes, with the exception of a Foley-inspired 20-point drubbing of England.

In contrast the All Blacks cruised through their group stages with easy wins against Georgia, Namibia and Tonga before belting France in the quarter-final. “As a side we’ve always had a great belief in our preparation and groundwork … putting that in place during games, the belief definitely grows,” Foley said. “We can draw on those challenges and times we’ve had in games when we start to face it again on Saturday. You can’t count on past wins or losses to help you.”

Foley joked that Wallabies attack coach Stephen Larkham had been showing replays of his 1999 semi-final winning drop-goal, as well as highlights from a 102-Test career, in team meetings. Sixteen years ago then Wallabies assistant coach Tim Lane pulled Larkham aside before extra-time and told him to take a drop goal attempt if the opportunity came up.

The result was a kick etched in history and the moment that spurred the Wallabies to World Cup glory.

Foley has scored 75 points in his five World Cup games and it’s not lost on him that his kicking moment could come against the All Blacks.

“[Larkham] hasn’t spoken about that in depth. It just comes down to the context of the game and as a playing unit out on the field, we will talk about it,” he said. “If the time is right to hit a field goal, we will take that opportunity.” 

The APS’s ‘gap in capability’

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Digital Transformation Office chief executive Paul Shetler wants better design and delivery in online services. Photo: Christopher PearceMore public service news

Public servants feel under-equipped to meet the challenge of the digital reforms about to sweep through the bureaucracy, according to the n Public Service Commission’s State of the Service report.

About a third of staff said they had not received training, while 28 per cent were learning on an ad-hoc basis as they did their job.

A quarter already had the skills needed for their job and 15 per cent were receiving formal digital skills training.

Digital Transformation Office chief executive Paul Shetler, whose agency will help agencies make digital reforms, said the survey identified a clear gap in capability.

The results showed only parts of some agencies were digitally capable while others had not developed capability.

“The need for comprehensive digital planning across the APS and the need to ensure digital strategies are integrated with broader agency strategic planning,” Mr Shetler said.

“What’s been lacking until recently has been a clear mandate for the way forward, a road map for the steps to take, and strong government support for the – sometimes small, sometimes radical – changes that need to be made.”

He said his office would play a major role in providing the road map.

Agencies have been working on “digital transformation plans” and putting together project teams to change the way they dealt with the public online.

“We’ll be working to increase our digital knowledge and capabilities right across the service,” Mr Shetler said.

“Digital transformation doesn’t need to be huge and overwhelming.

“Yes, some of us are dealing with services that cost millions of dollars and affect huge numbers of people.

“But we don’t need to change the world overnight.”

The survey found nearly two-thirds of federal public servants used their agency’s suite of digital technologies for carrying out tasks and interacting with colleagues.

Eighty-three percent believed digital technologies gave them greater access to information.

You’ll often hear me say, think big, start small. Part of our approach is picking out small parts of those large, complex services; getting an improved basic version out very quickly; then making incremental changes that can be tested, improved and gradually scaled-up.

Wallabies hope NFL-style restart gives them the edge

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RWC Schedule: When is the Rugby World Cup final?Full coverage of the 2015 Rugby World Cup

LONDON: It’s the gridiron-style tactic from Michael Cheika’s bag of tricks that has got the World Cup talking and it looms as a Wallabies weapon for the final.

The Wallabies will use their kick-off set-up against New Zealand in the World Cup final to ensure they are in the right mental frame for the trans-Tasman contest. The men in gold have mastered Cheika’s innovative restart, more familiar with the NFL than rugby union, to better challenge for possession at every opportunity.

That means lining up 10 metres behind halfway and hitting full speed by the time five-eighth Bernard Foley launches the ball into the air. Cheika used the same move at the NSW Waratahs to instil a new mentality from kick-offs, and winger Drew Mitchell said it was the “trigger” to be ready for action.

Instead of ambling down the field, wingers Mitchell and Adam Ashley-Cooper fly through the pack and attempt to leap above opposition players to pinch the ball, or at least put on extra pressure. “It’s one of those things where it can become a real tool,” Mitchell said.

“If you can put pressure on the receipt, or the kicker or wherever it may be then you may get a better outcome. For us it’s more of a trigger of a mindset thing than anything. If we’re starting on the 10-metre line and we don’t put in a hard chase then we’re even further off. It’s a good way for us to trigger the mind and say, ‘OK, we’re on here’ … really show our intent.”

There’s a method behind Cheika’s madness. He introduced the kick-off technique to the Wallabies when he took over the top job last year and said: “It’s symbolic, we’re prepared to run 10 metres to gain 20 centimetres at the other end if that’s what it takes.”

New Zealand kicker Dan Carter is an expert at giving his teammates plenty of time to chase through the kick-off and win back possession. It’s an area of the game that can often be neglected. But Wallabies five-eighth Foley said had poured hours of work into their restarts to make them a weapon instead of simply handing the opposition the ball.

“Those kicks we have worked on to maximise hang time and make them land where we want them to, and on players we think are maybe vulnerable,” Foley said. “We have a whole calling structure where we identify where the best place is to kick, and where [opponents] may be uneasy kicking out of. That’s a good mentality for us to be able to try and put them under pressure.” 

Why Sam Burgess is poised to return to South Sydney Rabbitohs

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Peter Dutton casts doubt on Russell Packer’s NRL return

South Sydney’s fall from grace this season may be the catalyst for Sam Burgess’ expected return, with the English dual international motivated by the challenge of helping the Rabbitohs win another premiership.

After being given time off by Bath coach Mike Ford to consider his playing future, Burgess could finalise a switch back from rugby union to the NRL before his scheduled return to training next Monday and officials from England’s Rugby Football League are believed to be helping with the move.

With Burgess wanting to re-join brothers George and Thomas at Souths and money no real problem for a club in which James Packer and Russell Crowe are owners, the only obstacle to him returning is a release from the remaining two years of his contract with Bath.

Ford is believed to be keen for Burgess to stay and continue his development in the forwards but few clubs will stand in the way of a player who wants to be elsewhere – especially when they could earn up to $1 million compensation, which is the amount Bath reportedly paid the Rabbitohs last year to release Burgess.

The NRL has confirmed that any transfer fee Souths pay Bath will not be included in their salary cap, nor will Burgess become the first player to benefit from the governing body’s ability to centrally contract stars it wants playing in the competition.

As a value will be placed on Burgess by the NRL, the Rabbitohs will have to make some adjustments to their 2016 roster to accommodate him but the departure of star hooker Issac Luke to the Warriors and Glenn Stewart to Catalans means the salary cap won’t pose a significant problem for the club.

Stewart was signed from Manly as a replacement for Burgess but failed to provide the same impact as the 26-year-old, who inspired Souths to their first premiership in 43 years after playing the 2014 grand final with a fractured eye-socket suffered in the opening tackle.

Had the Rabbitohs won back-to-back premierships, it is less likely that Burgess would want to return so soon but after they slumped to seventh place this season he has a desire to take the club back to the pinnacle he helped it reach last year.

The decision of twins, George and Thomas, to extend their contracts with Souths until the end of the 2018 season was viewed as an indication that Sam would return to the club at some stage in the next three years. But Fairfax Media has been told that moves for that to happen immediately hit a wall last week after Bath stood firm in their refusal to release him.

However, Burgess’ future was thrust into the spotlight when he attended last weekend’s league Test between England and France as a special guest of the RFL at the same time Bath were playing Wasps in Coventry. He was photographed sitting alongside England coach Steve McNamara during the record 84-4 win at Leigh Sports Village.

Burgess and his n fiancee Phoebe Hooke were in the same corporate box as RFL chief executive Nigel Wood and sources say they discussed with him and other high-ranking officials his wish to return to the NRL after a frustrating 12-month stint in rugby union, in which he was continually subjected to heavy criticism over his transition to the code as a centre.

With doubt surrounding the future of England coach Stuart Lancaster and backs coach Andy Farrell, who had convinced him to make the switch after the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, Burgess may be without the support of his two most powerful backers at international level next season.

Besides George and Thomas, Burgess’ elder brother Luke and mother Julie also live in Sydney, as does Hooke’s family.

Burgess would be a certain selection for England in next year’s Four Nations and while a stint with Super League premiers Leeds has been ruled out, RFL officials believe his return to league would significantly boost the chances of McNamara’s men winning the World Cup in the following season.

McNamara, who turned down a role as an assistant to Ford at Bath after the 2013 RLWC to join the coaching staff at Sydney Roosters, has a close relationship with Burgess after giving him his Super League debut as a 17-year-old with Bradford in 2006.

However, there is little chance of Burgess joining the Roosters or any other club as a clause in his deed of release from Souths gives the Rabbitohs first option on his services if returned to the NRL.

Gambling credit still available to punters despite Coalition pledge to ban it

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Bookies are still able to offer credit to punters, despite a Coalition pledge to ban it. Photo: Erin JonassonOnline bookmakers are still offering thousands of dollars in credit to punters more than two years after the federal Coalition promised to ban the practice because it was contrary to responsible gambling.

The August 2013 “Coalition’s Plan to Help Problem Gamblers” policy said responsible gambling was “all about people gambling within their means”.

“Extending lines of credit to gamblers runs contrary to this principle and the Coalition will legislate to prohibit the practice,” the policy stated.

Victorian Liberal MP Alan Tudge​, now an Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Social Services, championed the cause of banning credit betting after a constituent racked up an $80,000 debt with online bookie Sportsbet.

The Wantirna man said he had been lured to the bookmaker by free bets. Sportsbet took him to court to recoup the debt but a settlement was made out of court.

It is illegal in many states, including Victoria, for bookmakers to offer credit to punters but most online gambling companies are registered in the Northern Territory where such a ban does not exist so Victorian punters can still get credit.

Bookmakers can offer credit to a punter to keep betting when they have exhausted funds.

Before the September leadership spill, the federal government announced a review of online gambling laws, to be chaired by former NSW premier Barry O’Farrell.  The focus of the review was on illegal offshore bookmakers.

Mr Tudge told Fairfax Media that banning credit betting would be informed by Mr O’Farrell’s review.

“As a basic protective measure, you cannot get credit at a casino, and nor should you in the online space. It is too much of a conflict of interest for a gambling provider to also be a bank. It can lead to devastating consequences,” Mr Tudge said.

The peak body for financial counsellors in August called for urgent action to be taken against online corporate bookmakers.

“The most appropriate, and the strongest reform, would be to prohibit credit for gambling purposes,” the report said.

The Financial Counselling report Duds, Mugs and the A List, said without a ban government should change credit laws to include sports betting groups.

The n Wagering Council says it understands community concern around credit – what the industry refers to as “deferred settlement facilities” – but said the industry was already highly regulated.

“Any future policies developed to regulate the wagering industry must be evidence-based,” a spokesman said.

The council said that credit should not be offered to punters on an unsolicited basis.

Earlier this month the NT government set up a new code of practice for credit as condition of a bookmaker’s licence. It includes rules that credit can only be sought by the punter, not offered by the bookie.

Credit betting is not the only unfulfilled Coalition problem gambling election pledge.

In a move that enraged gambling reformers the Coalition promised to set up an advisory council made up of representatives from the clubs lobby to meet quarterly with the responsible minister to develop a detailed plan for the roll-out of appropriately targeted counselling and support services.

The states and territories would also be engaged to work on a self-exclusion process, where punters can have themselves banned from pokies venues.

The government is still considering establishing the advisory council and the Victorian government says it has had little correspondence with Canberra on other measures to curtail problem gambling. 

The Turnbull government says the O’Farrell review will investigate the effectiveness of existing protection measures for gamblers, including warnings, information resources and public information campaigns.

The Coalition did quickly fulfil its promise to stop the trial of a mandatory scheme in the ACT which forced gamblers to preset how much they were willing to lose on the pokies before playing.

Instead it pledged to support a national system where punters could opt to preset a limit if they wanted to – the policy said it would talk to the industry on how best to introduce a venue-based system of precommitment.

Hume get kudos for semi but should have stayed in Broady

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Hume City did themselves proud in their FFA Cup semi-final clash with A-League champions Melbourne Victory with a fighting display that kept them in the game until the 88th minute, when Victory was held to a slender 1-0 lead.

But two goals in the dying minutes of the game gave the big boys a 3-0 advantage, a scoreline that rather flattered them and did not reflect how much trouble the NPL Victoria side gave the A League standard bearers.

The only downside for Hume, which was looking to make this match a money spinner, was the crowd – just on 6,500.

Victory fans, for whom this was an away game, didn’t turn up in anything like the numbers that might have been expected – perhaps saving their cash for the final against Perth Glory, which will be played at AAMI Park on November 7.

Hume, as a NPL club, has a much smaller fan base; many of their supporters did show up and make a lot of noise, creating a good atmosphere.

But the question has to be asked: would this game have been better being played at Hume’s small ABD Stadium at Broadmeadows?

When the team from the northern suburbs first qualified to play Victory there was talk of the match being staged at Etihad Stadium, although that was contingent on Hume being able to sign one or more of a wish list of big name foreign players on a one-off basis.

Had they been able to secure the services of Ronaldinho, Arda Turan, David Trezeguet or Giorgios Karagounis the numbers would undoubtedly have been far greater.

But they didn’t, and there was a feeling, when the adventure ended, that their chances might have been better had they just stuck to their knitting and played the game in their ownenvironment, which would in the circumstances have turned into an anti-Victory fortress.

It is easy to be wise after the event, as  Lou Acevski, the Hume coach, acknowledged.

But he also admitted that his team might have had a better shot at pulling off one of the biggest upsets in the n domestic game had they stayed on their own pitch.

“Playing on your home turf, its small, its compact, I believe it would have been fantastic, but the FFA did not let us do that. The crowd of 6500 has done us no favours; at our place 5000 would have been capacity and the atmosphere would have been fantastic.”

James McDonald ready for ‘the best 15 minutes of Derby Day’ on Exosphere

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Out of this world: Jockey James McDonald rides Exosphere to win the Roman Consul Stakes. Photo: bradleyphotos杭州龙凤论坛m.auWizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all RacingFollow our Derby Day tips to find a winner

Exosphere has a name that is out of this world and the talent to match but he could quite easily have been something less terrestrial.

Godolphin gatekeeper of names Suzanne Philcox admits the name for the son of Lonhro out of a mare called Altitude caused her more trouble than most.

“I was looking at rising and lifting off but we couldn’t get anything to stick,” she said. “That’s when I went looking to atmosphere and the Greek and this came up; it is quite good for him. The horse makes the name and he has done that.”

The exosphere is actually the outer layer of Earth’s atmosphere.

The colt has certainly been out of this world since turning three – he is unbeaten and the winner of five of seven overall as he heads to Derby day at Flemington, the star of the program.

In Sydney, he won the Run To The Rose and then dominated in the Golden Rose before he blitzed his rivals in record time in the Roman Consul Stakes.

The $1.40 odds bookmakers are offering of another group 1 victory in Saturday’s Coolmore Stud Stakes will probably preclude most from backing the star but they will be able to enjoy it like jockey James McDonald.

The Godolphin-retained jockey rides the majority of the horses for the operation but it is days like Saturday that are special. “When you are involved in the quantity and quality of horse that there are at Godolphin, you are very lucky, but you look forward to the ones that stand out,” McDonald said. “This bloke does. The best thing about him is he is so straightforward to ride, so you can really enjoy it. He is just laid back, after the Golden Rose he was so relaxed that I could get excited and not worry about him being a smart arse and doing something stupid.

“When you get on him it is the best 15 minutes of the day because he is just a machine.”

McDonald will have a busy day at Flemington and other than Exosphere, he will ride Contributer in the Mackinnon Stakes and Etymology in the Victoria Derby for Godolphin, while Fenway will complete his group 1 rides for Lee and Shannon Hope in the Myer Classic.

“She was a nice ride to pick up and if you forget her last run, she is right in it,” McDonald said. “I’m really looking forward to getting back on Contributer, because I haven’t been on him for while.

“I know his form isn’t that great this spring but the bloke who rides his work has told me he has turned the corner in the past couple of weeks and is back like he was in the Sydney autumn.

“If that’s right, we might be in for a good result because they couldn’t beat him in the autumn.”

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