27 July
Comments Off on How to make sauerkraut

How to make sauerkraut

Sauerkraut with heirloom carrots: A crucial first step is to source quality, organic produce thriving with good bacteria. Photo: James Boddington After you have removed the outer tough and dirty leaves of the cabbage, cut it into quarters, remove the core then slice into fine slivers. Photo: James Boddington

Rinse the carrots gently then cut them into thin strips. Photo: James Boddington

Alternatively, use a food processor or mandolin to get the cabbage and carrots sliced thinly. Photo: James Boddington

Mix the vegetables together using your (clean) hands. Photo: James Boddington

Add salt, spices and herbs to the mixed vegetables. Photo: James Boddington

Toss the vegetables, salt, herbs and spices together thoroughly using your hands. Photo: James Boddington

After the salted mix has rested for 10-20 minutes, pound it to release liquid from vegetables. Photo: James Boddington

Place mixture into a jar or crock and press down firmly as you go. Photo: James Boddington

After pressing down, the vegetables should be completely immersed in the liquid with no air bubbles. Photo: James Boddington

Place some cabbage leaves like a lid over top of the mixture; the vegetables should have no contact with the air. Photo: James Boddington

Use a weight to compress the leaves down onto the mixture and leave for 24 hours. Remove weight then screw on lid (if using a jar, left). Leave at room temperature 36-48 hours then refrigerate. Photo: James Boddington

Arabella Forge’s step-by-step guide to making sauerkraut. Photo: James Boddington

These bacteria are essential to intestinal health; they make nutrients in food more easily available and make the food easier to digest.

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27 July
Comments Off on The tricky part of AirBnB

The tricky part of AirBnB

There are plenty of ways you could describe Alex, but I’m going to go with “interesting”.

At least, that’s how his profile made him sound.

Alex was a Beatles fan, you could tell by the Fab Four poster pasted on his kitchen wall. Oh, and the fact that the headline on his Airbnb entry was: “I love the Beatles!”

He was also a keen musician if the guitar in one of the photos and the speaker system in another were anything to go by.

Like I said, interesting. His apartment sounded interesting, too. Most people lead the little description of their place with something about the area of town it’s in or the number of bedrooms it has. Alex’s was a simple one-liner: “Funky in a good way.”

That got me over the line. Well, that and I had few other choices.

I was heading to the Swedish port town of Gothenburg, by all accounts a funky place in its own right, full of record stores and hip cafes.

It wasn’t, however, cheap. Nowhere in Sweden is cheap. The most basic hotel can set you back €100 ($127). So for Gothenburg I’d decided to think outside the box.

See, you don’t have to stay in hostels or hotels when you travel any more. You can go for something cheaper and homier.

Some people opt for couch surfing, dossing on the sofas of generous fellow travellers for the cost of providing interesting conversation. Others use websites such as Airbnb, hiring people’s spare rooms and/or entire apartments or houses around the world. I’d done it plenty of times. I’d already stayed in a top-floor flat in Berlin, in a two-bedder in Seville, in a lovely room in Amsterdam and what was basically a penthouse suite in Barcelona. All had worked out spectacularly – they’d been exactly like the photos on the website and had cost less than a pokey hotel room.

So I was confident in Alex, even though his Airbnb entry was on the quirkier side. According to Alex, I’d have access to the “adventure room” during my stay. I’d be surrounded by “vintage furniture”.

I’d be staying in “an area quickly becoming a haven for Gothenburg’s young, emerging artists”.

And – here’s the clincher – Alex promised I could “SLEEP IN AS LONG AS YOU WANT!”

He added: “Unlike every hotel in the civilised world, we will not wake you up.” Awesome. Also, unlike every hotel in Gothenburg, he was going to charge only €44 a night for me to sleep in his spare room, cook in his kitchen and relax in his adventure room. So I paid my money and signed up.

The arrival is always the trickiest part of an Airbnb stay. Given it’s not a hotel, there’s no 24-hour reception, so an appointment has to be made with the probably-non-English-speaking owner to collect keys and be shown around. This was going to prove a particular problem in Alex’s case, because he was on holiday in the US and had been for the past three months.

Fortunately, one of his previous tenants was still in Gothenburg and still had her key, so she’d be able to do the handover. I met Stephanie on a typically cold, grey Gothenburg afternoon, a light drizzle falling on our faces as we found each other near the central train station.

“How long are you staying with Alex?” Stephanie asked.

“Two nights.”

“Oh,” she said, looking slightly dubious. “That should be enough.”

We said our goodbyes and I jumped on the tram to Alex’s place, alighting in a fairly drab neighbourhood of uniform apartment blocks and quiet streets.

I had a feeling already that this area was becoming a haven for only one of Gothenburg’s young, emerging artists: Alex.

Around a corner and across a small clearing I found the door I was looking for, although as Alex hadn’t specified his apartment number I had to try the key in a few different doors before I found the right one.

I swung it open and discovered that Alex’s place was, as promised, funky. Although not in a good way. More in a dirty, hasn’t-been-aired-since-Stephanie-left way. The beds (or, rather, the mattresses on the floor) were slept in, the kitchen was messy and Alex was showing a real estate agent’s flair with his description of the furniture as “vintage”. I’d say “old”.

The “adventure room”, it turned out, was actually Alex’s bedroom, leading me to question what sort of adventure most of his guests got involved in. As Alex was on another continent, I’d sadly never find out.

Of course I’d paid my money by now, so for better or worse this would be my abode for the next two nights. I cleaned up the kitchen, ran the bed sheets through the wash and tried to enjoy myself as best I could.

On the bright side, I reasoned, with no one else living here, I really could sleep in as long as I wanted.

Have you ever used AirBnB, couch surfed, or otherwise stayed in a stranger’s home while travelling? What was your experience like? Post a comment below.

Join Ben Groundwater on a special 10-day cycling trip to historic Myanmar in November. For more details see smhshop苏州美甲美睫培训.au/adventureholidays.

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27 July
Comments Off on Samsung’s 5G will complement NBN, not replace it

Samsung’s 5G will complement NBN, not replace it

Super-fast wireless will never make fibre obsolete.

Samsung has reportedly “witnessed” one-gigabit-per-second wireless download speeds over a distance of two kilometres in its 5G trials. In theory such speeds would let you download an entire movie in seconds, on par with the gigabit speeds which the NBN will eventually deliver. So it’s time to scrap Australia’s national broadband network and just go wireless, right? Wrong.

Samsung’s so-called 5G wireless technology is still in the test phase and is at least seven years away from commercial deployment. Even if you could roll out this technology today, you’re not going to get gigabit speeds in real world conditions. The laws of physics dictate that wireless bandwidth is a shared resource and congestion is the enemy. The more people using a wireless network at once, the slower their download speeds and upload speeds. Not to mention the fact that wireless technologies are prone to interference and black spots, unlike a strand of fibre running to your door.

Whether you’re an advocate of Labor’s fibre to the home NBN plan or the Coalition’s fibre to the node alternative, you have to face the fact that a wireless-only solution for all of Australia is impractical. Sorry, but the laws of physics transcend politics and are not open to ideological debate. The only way you’re going to achieve gigabit download speeds from Samsung’s 5G network is if you’re the only person using that wireless tower – which is very unlikely to happen in the city unless you’re the sole survivor of the zombie apocalypse.

To see wireless congestion at work, you only need to look at the demise of Australia’s crowded 3G networks – which crawl to a halt in the CBD during peak times. The move to 4G LTE may have offered a reprieve, but congestion will again take its toll as more Australians upgrade to 4G devices.

Scrapping the NBN and trying to replace it solely with citywide mobile broadband would be a recipe for disaster. To get decent speeds you’d need a wireless tower on every street corner and fibre backbone to link them anyway. The role of wireless networks is to complement the NBN and cater to mobile users, not to take the place of fixed-line connections and shoulder a city’s entire broadband load. Even if you’re only using Wi-Fi enabled gadgets at home or in the office, that Wi-Fi network is probably relying on a fixed-line broadband connection.

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29 September
Comments Off on Mariners front up to monsters of Asia

Mariners front up to monsters of Asia

The motto of Guangzhou Evergrande simply sums up the Chinese club’s extraordinary ambition: ”Be the best forever.”

In their efforts to reach such heights, the club’s owners, Evergrande Real Estate Group, have outlaid a jaw-dropping sum since taking over in February 2010 – an estimated $40 million per season on players alone. That’s about four times more than the annual player spend at Australia’s richest sporting club, Collingwood. Wednesday night’s opponents in the Asian Champions League, the Central Coast Mariners, spend about $2.5 million.

Evergrande boast Paraguay’s Lucas Barrios and Brazilians Muriqui and Elkeson on their books but made global headlines for making Argentinian Dario Conca the third-highest-paid player in world football (he earns $12.5 million per season) in 2011. That’s six times what Alessandro Del Piero, the highest-paid footballer of any code in Australia, earns with Sydney FC.

Their coach, 2006 World Cup winner Marcello Lippi, was reluctant to join – until he saw the numbers. A club insider said Lippi told him: ”It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.” Another revealed the club built a full-size Italian restaurant inside the training ground for the use of Lippi and the seven staff he picked from Italy to join him.

After winning promotion in 2010, Evergrande have won back-to-back league titles and have taken 22 out of a possible 24 points this season. In eight games, they’ve scored 25 and conceded just four goals.

The Godfather-like figure in all this is the parent company’s chairman, Xu Jiayin. The company – one of the 10 largest in the Chinese real estate market – made a profit of $US11.78 billion last financial year.

Mariners coach Graham Arnold has made a living slaying Goliath, but it is all about context. Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC are relative minnows compared with this emerging monster of world football. Nonetheless, he insisted on Tuesday that ”we don’t fear anyone” and that he keenly embraces ”such an enormous challenge”.

”You can’t compare the A-League with the Asian Champions League. This game is probably the biggest game ever played on the [Central] Coast and hopefully there’s a big crowd to support us,” he said. ”But, as I said to the players, I’m really interested and excited to see our best performance, because we have to play better than what we do in the A-League. Our concentration and discipline has to be on for 95 minutes. Our ball retention has to be the best it’s ever been, because if you give away any cheap ball, they’ll kill you.”

The A-League season has long finished, but Arnold had no worries about match fitness.

”It’s been two weeks since our last game against [Kashiwa] Reysol and I think the brains were only switched on for 60 minutes,” he said, reflecting on conceding three second-half goals. ”We’ve had a couple of good weeks of training since and it’s a wonderful challenge for us to come up against one of the richest clubs in the world and one of the favourites for this competition. We’re fit and confident of a good result tomorrow night.”

Asked what a ”good result” meant, he replied: ”A clean sheet.”

Lippi said Del Piero – who he coached for almost a decade at Juventus – had warned him the Mariners would be ”very physical and organised”. ”We’ve come here to Australia and it’s very civilised and very beautiful. The staff and players will probably go to the beach,” he offered, knowing their luxury Terrigal hotel backs on to the water. ”But we are not here for a holiday. We are here for the win.”

Yet in spite of the staggering wage he’s earning, Lippi hinted he might be open to coaching in the A-League. ”Who knows? If I had the opportunity, I would think about it,” he said. ”It’s a beautiful country.”

29 September
Comments Off on Tahs more adventurous, says Larkham

Tahs more adventurous, says Larkham

The Waratahs are a different team to the one that fell startlingly short against the Brumbies in round four.

Brumbies backs coach and former Wallabies great Stephen Larkham said NSW had finally acquired the skills to match the ”adventurous” game plan they adopted under new coach Michael Cheika.

They failed miserably in their first attempt, going down 35-6 in Canberra in March, but Larkham believes recent wins against the Chiefs and Stormers show they are a changed and dangerous side. ”It’s all coming together for them now. They started the season with quite an adventurous game plan and I think it’s taken a little while for the skill to catch up to it,” he said. ”But I think it’s certainly caught up now, they’re a very dangerous attacking side from all areas of the field and they have the skill base now to play that style.”

Cheika was a frustrated character after what he called a less than perfect training session at The King’s School in Parramatta on Tuesday, reluctant to talk up the team’s development since that sobering night two months ago.

But Larkham said that performance was of less use to the Brumbies’ preparation than the Waratahs’ most recent victory against the Stormers, which was won 21-15 in the final few minutes.

”They’re a different team now, they’re playing with a lot more confidence and things are coming off … we’ll be going into this game a lot different to the way we went into the last game, with slightly different tactics and an awareness of the strengths the Waratahs have,” he said.

Attention this weekend will be on some individual match-ups as well as the competition implications of the derby, which could see the Waratahs narrow the gap on rivals the Reds and Brumbies.

On top of the battle between openside flankers Michael Hooper and George Smith, who appear to be vying for the starting Test No.7 jersey next month, fullbacks Israel Folau and Jesse Mogg will attract attention. But while Hooper and Smith are proven Test performers, neither Folau nor Mogg have worn the gold jersey. Their performances within the wider battle on Saturday will be closely watched by Wallabies selectors, who announce their initial 25-man squad the next day.

”Potentially [Wallabies selection] will be in the back of some players’ minds but we’ve made it clear here at the Brumbies that if the Brumbies do well then players will get picked for the Wallabies and that it’s not necessarily individuals who play well,” Larkham said. ”In the past it’s probably been the opposite for the Waratahs. If as an individual you play well you probably got picked for the Wallabies.”

While undoubtedly biased towards his own player, Larkham acknowledged the skills of Waratahs fullback Folau before calling Mogg a ”more natural fullback”.

”[Mogg] knows where to be, his instincts are good at fullback, so positionally he probably understands the game a bit better,” he said. ”Both have very good attacking qualities. Israel has a very good fend, very good feet and has a good offload, while Jesse has out-and-out speed and the ability to beat a man one-on-one quite easily.”

Folau played State of Origin and Test football during his time in rugby league, experience that will stand him in good stead if given a chance against the British and Irish Lions. Mogg has only played Super Rugby and only put two hands on the starting No.15 jersey at the Brumbies after teammate Robbie Coleman was injured at the beginning of last year.

But Larkham believes his charge has the strength to enter the Test fray. ”We’ve seen massive improvement over the last 12 months but his ability to prepare and know what he’s coming up against and to know exactly what he has to do, is outstanding.”

”I guess he’s only really been tested at Super Rugby level but I think he steps up consistently week in, week out there.”

29 September
Comments Off on Douglas wants to play through pain of loss

Douglas wants to play through pain of loss

Grieving Waratahs second-rower Kane Douglas has told coach Michael Cheika he wants to play against the Brumbies.

Douglas’ mother Trish passed away on Monday, six months after suffering a stroke in mid-air as she and husband Chris flew to Paris to watch their son play for the Wallabies.

Cheika said the Waratahs were thinking of the Douglas family. The second-rower did not train with the squad on Tuesday but Cheika said he would honour his decision.

”Kane wants to play. We’ll wait to see how the week pans out but if [he] wants to play then he will play,” he said. ”Like anyone in this situation – I’ve been there myself – if that’s a sacrifice that he’s prepared to make to want to play with his team then he’s going to play.”

Douglas spent considerable time looking after his mother, who stayed with him in Sydney for a period this year. He was joined by his brother, Gold Coast Titans player Luke Douglas, whenever he could make it down to visit, as well as brother Jake and father Chris.

The Waratahs were missing several players at their second training session on Tuesday, including winger Cam Crawford, No.8 Wycliff Palu and prop Sekope Kepu. Cheika said all three were carrying ”niggles” from the win over the Stormers.

”If you’re not training by now, we train tomorrow and have Thursday off, so guys will want to get on their pony if they want to play,” he said.

Cheika confirmed the Waratahs had agreed a path forward with marquee signing Israel Folau. It is understood the Australian Rugby Union has yet to finalise its component of the two-party deal. ”I’m happy with the negotiation from our end, it’s going OK,” Cheika said.

Folau is a near certainty to be in the 25-man Wallabies squad announced on Sunday.

29 September
Comments Off on Big man McGuire on for Friday

Big man McGuire on for Friday

The scuffle that saw Josh McGuire sin-binned. Photo: Mark KolbeJosh McGuire is thanking his lucky stars he can play against the Titans on Friday. But that doesn’t mean he’s about to deliver a gushing apology for whacking Parramatta’s Mitchell Allgood at the weekend.

The Brisbane prop was given a 10-minute stint in the bin in the one-point loss at Parramatta Stadium and almost had a seat in the Suncorp stands on Friday night, just missing a week suspension after entering an early guilty plea.

But McGuire wasn’t prepared to back down from his actions, saying he was only sticking up for halfback Peter Wallace after witnessing what he thought was a high shot.

McGuire and Allgood got into a wrestle before McGuire took it a step further, landing an uppercut on the chin before the punches started flying.

It was old-fashioned fisticuffs from the Brisbane prop, who said it was his traditional gig as a big man to look after his smaller playmaker.

‘‘That’s my job as a frontrower. You’ve got to protect your little man. I’m good mates with Wal and all I saw was him getting hit late,’’ McGuire said.

‘‘It was my first reaction. It was just footy and I hope there’s no hard feelings. I didn’t think I’d get sent for 10 but he got sent for 10. Both teams were even.’’

He didn’t think he’d spend 10 minutes in the bin, nor did he think he’d be a whisker away of missing yet another game in a season plagued by injury.

‘‘I would have been very disappointed to miss out on the local derby. At the end of the day, I just thought I was doing the right thing by my team. I’m lucky enough to take the early guilty plea and get away with it,’’ McGuire said.

‘‘It’s professional sport. There’s big men playing against each other. There’s aggression and there’s testosterone flying. I’m pretty sure the fans like watching it. No-one wants to be playing touch.’’

McGuire (calf) missed training on Tuesday along with Justin Hodges (hip), although both stand to be available for selection for the Friday night derby.

Ben Hunt will start at five-eighth in place of Scott Prince, another injury concern for Brisbane as they try to top up the win column before the testing State of Origin period.

Hunt has been used as a utility player off the bench, mostly filling in at hooker, but has always seen himself as more comfortable in the seven or the six jersey.

‘‘I’ve always wanted to play in the halves and, if he [Prince] finishes up here, hopefully I can learn a few things from him,’’ Hunt said.

‘‘I get a chance to fight for that position this weekend and, if I can get in there and play well, I’ll be happy.’’

29 September
Comments Off on Mannah pursues Origin recall

Mannah pursues Origin recall

While most NRL players try to avoid stacking on extra weight during the pre-season, Parramatta’s Tim Mannah says weight gain has been the catalyst to his career-best form as he aims to win back his NSW State of Origin jersey.

Mannah was told to put on at least five kilograms during the off-season at the advice of incoming coach Ricky Stuart. Despite his added size, Mannah is averaging almost 10 minutes more per game compared to last season and is making 20 metres more and seven extra tackles each match.

“I was able to do put the weight on and maintain and improve my fitness which has been a real bonus,” Mannah said. “I’m feeling that’s the biggest difference. Carrying the extra weight has given me a bit more presence on the field.”

Having already played four games for NSW, Mannah is looking to reclaim his Blues jersey after playing no part in last years season despite playing all three games in 2011.

“Yeah, I feel this is the best I’ve played,” Mannah said. “A lot of that has to come back to Ricky and his staff. [Trainer] Trent Elkin has put in a lot of hard work into us over the summer. The work we put in over the summer is starting to pay dividends. [Getting back into Origin] was a big motivation over the summer and pushing myself at training. I wanted to be the best player I can be.”

Football has been a welcome distraction for Mannah following the death of his brother Jon in January. Mannah said the Eels’ one-point win against Brisbane would be a much-needed confidence boost.

“I’ve got a really [strong] support system and people around me that make difficult times really easy,” Mannah said. “I found that whether it be footy club, family or my church friends, a lot of people have been around us and been great support.”

Mannah spent Tuesday afternoon transforming himself into looking like Eels great Peter Sterling. The tough prop spent about one hour at the mercy of make-up artists as part of Tip Top Sunblest launching an NRL card collection within their packs of bread.

“My brother and I used to collect the cards that came in the bread and fight over who used to get it,” he said. “They’ve got some plans for these big eyebrows. I’m not sure if they’ll have enough colour to cover them.”

29 August
Comments Off on Bennett wields the axe as star duo dropped

Bennett wields the axe as star duo dropped

Newcastle coach Wayne Bennett has reacted to the Knights’ capitulation against Canberra by dumping Chris Houston and Timana Tahu – two of their most experienced players – for the match against the Bulldogs at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.

Sending a clear message that no one will be spared the axe if he thinks their form is not up to scratch, Bennett relegated Houston and Tahu to the NSW Cup team to play Manly at Brookvale Oval on Saturday.

For 28-year-old Houston, one of five members of the Knights’ leadership group, it will be the first NRL game he has missed since returning to the club in 2011.

The last time he played in the lower grades was 2007, the year he made his NRL debut for the Dragons.

Houston missed four tackles and made two errors in their 44-14 loss to the Raiders.

Usually an 80-minute workhorse, he played 63 minutes against the Raiders. It was the fifth time in nine matches this year that he did not play the entire game.

Houston made 992 tackles last year, the fifth most of any NRL player, at an average of 41.3 a game. In nine starts this season, alternating between lock and the second row, that has dropped to 33.2 a game.

“He hasn’t been quite as dominant lately,” a Knights source said.

“He usually plays 80 minutes a game and he’s been replaced the last four games, and he usually averages around 40 tackles a game and those numbers are down a bit too. It’s still a shock, but knowing the sort of player he is, he’ll bounce back.”

David Fa’alogo will replace Houston at lock against the Bulldogs and Neville Costigan, who has played NSW Cup the past two weeks, has been recalled to the bench alongside Travis Waddell, Adam Cuthbertson and Korbin Sims.

Speaking on the club’s website yesterday, Knights assistant coach Rick Stone did not give any explanation why Houston was dropped.

“The back row is a new-look one with Robbie Rochow at 11, Alex McKinnon at 12, and Dave Fa’alogo comes in to take his place as number 13,” Stone said.

“Neville Costigan gets a recall after two games in NSW Cup, where he’s been really good. Good work for Nev, and we wish him well in his return.”

Houston said the players were embarrassed about their performance against the Raiders but he gave no indication that he thought his position was in jeopardy for the game against last year’s runners-up.

Houston revealed that Bennett had said little to the players since the half-time break against the Raiders, but they were just as disappointed as their coach.

“The silent treatment’s pretty bad. We copped it once last year as well,” Houston said.

“It’s not like we’re not feeling the pain that he’s feeling too, and that’s why it’s frustrating, but all we can do is have a good week at training and try to turn it around for the Dogs.”

Former Rooster Joseph “BJ” Leilua was named to replace Tahu in the centres. It will be Leilua’s second NRL start for the Knights after he made his debut in their 8-6 victory over Penrith on April 13.

“He’s been great, ‘BJ’ , in reserve grade in the last couple of weeks, and he’s been rewarded by the coach with a starting position this weekend,” Stone said.

Tahu, who has tallied 194 NRL games for the Knights, Eels and Panthers, is headed for his second stint in NSW Cup this year.

Just as the team did, the 32-year-old dual international started well against the Raiders. He threw the final flick pass for James McManus to score the first try of the game, but his missed tackle from a scrum led to the first of Blake Ferguson’s three tries later in the first half.

The Raiders targeted Tahu, James McManus and Newcastle’s left edge defenders, and Ferguson and winger Sandor Earl reaped the rewards by scoring three tries each.

Captain Kurt Gidley has been named to start at hooker to accommodate the return of five-eighth Jarrod Mullen, who missed the Canberra game due to a knee injury.

Stone said Mullen’s return alongside half Tyrone Roberts would improve the team’s kicking.

29 August
Comments Off on Winmar, AFL resolve dispute

Winmar, AFL resolve dispute

Nicky Winmar will return to Victoria Park, the scene of his simple, symbolic protest against racism 20 years ago, after agreeing to launch the AFL’s indigenous round.

The league has pledged to resolve a financial dispute with the former St Kilda star during his week in Melbourne, a trip that had also been threatened by Winmar’s recent health problems.

The two parties have agreed to discuss a settlement regarding the league’s use of the famous photograph that made Winmar an instant, if inadvertent, poster boy for reconciliation after St Kilda’s narrow win over Collingwood on April 17, 1993.

Those talks will be held next week, with Winmar to front the launch on Monday and also attend Saturday’s Dreamtime at the ‘G game between Essendon and Richmond, as a guest of home team the Tigers.

The famous image of Winmar lifting his jumper and pointing to his stomach, telling the Victoria Park crowd that he was black and proud of it, was used as a key part of the league’s season launch earlier this year. The moment, captured by photographer Wayne Ludbey, shows Winmar’s reaction to an afternoon of abuse from Collingwood supporters.

People close to Winmar, who played the last of his 251 games in 1999 for the Western Bulldogs, remain concerned at his lack of compensation for the widespread use of his image, and for his health, after he suffered a heart attack last year.

The AFL has been in regular contact with the 47-year-old, who now lives in Perth, through Jason Mifsud, the AFL’s community engagement manager, who was playing for the St Kilda reserves when Winmar made his stance.

The wingman’s gesture was re-created by a number of current-day indigenous stars in an advertisement produced to celebrate next week’s indigenous round.

Some of those players will join Winmar at the launch, which will also be attended by Gilbert McAdam, who played alongside Winmar for the Saints that day and was subjected to similar amounts of abuse.

Winmar’s gesture is also featured in an exhibition at the MCG’s National Sports Museum, and Winmar has told his story for a documentary, Silent Shout: the Nicky Winmar Story, produced by a filmmaker friend, Tim O’Brien, who hopes to screen it at international festivals.

”Nicky feels uncomfortable being the AFL’s poster boy,” O’Brien told Fairfax Media in March. ”What he symbolises doesn’t always sit comfortably with him and for much of the time he’s been in a dark place since that day.”

29 August
Comments Off on Senator bucks the odds on gambling

Senator bucks the odds on gambling

Federal Parliament will be asked on Wednesday to curb what might loosely be called the Tom Waterhouse effect. The Greens will move a bill aimed at drastically reducing the promotion of gambling during sports broadcasts. They will also present a 20,000-signature petition demanding such action.

The bill will seek to ban gambling ads before 9pm, ban the spruiking of live odds during sports broadcasts and other sports programs, and ban so-called ”cash for comment”, with commentators and guests paid to insinuate gambling information into their work.

”It is now virtually impossible to watch major sports without being subjected to multiple exhortations to bet on the outcome, either during the advertising breaks or, increasingly, by commentators during the event itself,” Greens senator Richard Di Natale will say by way of introduction.

Online betting has quadrupled since 2007 and is now worth almost $10 billion, excluding the unregulated offshore market, Di Natale says. As a corollary, gambling advertising on free-to-air has quadrupled in two years. Last year, 528 ads were broadcast collectively more than 20,000 times.

Adding to the potential for harm was a blurring of the lines between commentary and advertising. ”The recent inclusion of a prominent bookmaker as part of the rugby league coverage has caused concern for many,” he says.

Di Natale is especially concerned by research showing that children can name on average two or three betting firms, and discuss their favourite sports in terms of odds. ”Given the strictly adult nature of the product, many people are concerned about this overexposure to children and the way in which it may be normalising the connection between gambling and sport for them,” he says.

”The problem has escalated to the point where there is real potential for harm to children, setting them up as a new generation of problem gamblers.”

Di Natale says the policy of the major parties – essentially, self-regulation within an ultimatum – has failed. Networks had tightened their codes only minimally. For instance, a stricture on gambling advertisements during children’s programs left a loophole for sports broadcasts.

”Sports programs are among the most popular shows viewed by children,” he says. ”We would not tolerate the advertising of harmful products like gambling during Saturday morning cartoons,” he says. ”Yet for a sporting event broadcast at the same time, with as many child viewers, there is no restriction. This bill closes that loophole.”

The bill would ban live odds, restrict advertising and put an end to ”perhaps the most corrosive way that gambling has intruded into team sport”, the gambling expert. ”It would prevent such situations … where bookmakers join the commentary team, or where commentators slip references to odds or gambling services into their remarks about the game.”

29 August
Comments Off on Bye, bye to prospect of a longer season

Bye, bye to prospect of a longer season

The AFL has virtually ruled out extending the 2014 season to 24 games, with league chief Andrew Demetriou admitting that the lack of hope of reaching finals for close to one third of the clubs in the competition would prove one key negative to a longer season.

That sentiment was echoed by AFL players’ boss Matt Finnis, who said that the worrying unequal nature of the competition would only be ”exacerbated by a longer season”.

The AFL on Thursday will briefly outline a number of 2014 fixture alternatives at a meeting of all 18 club chiefs, with the league reportedly committed to two byes for its players next year and the prospect of a NAB Cup pre-season grand final increasingly unlikely.

Finnis said it would be inappropriate for the AFL to use the fixture as an equalisation tool. ”And the fact is that unless you play 17 games a season or 34 games a season the fixture is always going to be compromised, so let’s not compromise the intent to work on equalisation by using the fixture.

”The fixture is there to promote the integrity and public confidence in the game. Having said that, no one has put a document in front of me suggesting we will be playing 24 home-and-away games next year.”

AFL executive Simon Lethlean has been charged with reviewing the structure of both the AFL season and pre-season next year, despite the near-certainty that the MCG will remain unavailable until the end of March. Demetriou said that while the AFL would almost certainly bring forward the season opener to accommodate the extra bye, along with competitive threat faced by the two Sydney and two Queensland clubs against the NRL, it was unlikely to expand the home-and-away fixture by two games.

”We’ve said we are reviewing the season structure but extra games are highly unlikely for next year,” said Demetriou.

”There are lots of pros and lots of cons involved and the pros include more content on TV and therefore more revenue; more value for club members and the possibility of trying some differing ideas.

”We might play one or two of the extra games overseas for example. Those questions will all be reviewed but are unlikely to happen before 2015.”

The AFL Commission has committed to a competitive restructure in a bid to correct the growing divide between the richer and poorer AFL clubs – an issue described by outgoing Sydney chairman Richard Colless when he put the issue on the AFL table late last year as ”a ticking time bomb”.

The view of the players’ union is that its members are the only stakeholders in the AFL bearing the burden of equalisation under the salary cap rules and the AFL Players Association is this year undergoing a joint review of the economics behind the total player payments with the AFL.

While the players have indicated they would be prepared to play more premiership games in return for a longer pre-season break, a shorter pre-season fixture and with two byes; the lack of almost any hope of playing September being endured by Melbourne, the Western Bulldogs, Brisbane Lions and the two expansion teams has cast a negative pall over that prospect.

Not according to Port Adelaide veteran Kane Cornes, who said on Tuesday: ”The NAB Cup’s too long, four or five weeks. Usually you play a couple of internal game as well, it does tend to drag on a lot. I think two pre-season games would be more than enough and then to extend the season would be great for everyone – TV, supporters and the players would love it too.

”It’s certainly better than playing in a pre-season comp that not a lot of people care about.”

■ Former AFL deputy and CEO of Football Federation Australia Ben Buckley has joined the North Melbourne board, replacing Will Houghton QC, who is spending a year overseas with his family.

29 August
Comments Off on Work, rest and play philosophy gives Cats a fresh start

Work, rest and play philosophy gives Cats a fresh start

Geelong’s seamless start to the season will enable the club to continue its philosophy of resting players through the tough middle part of the season – something that helped shape its premiership line-up two years ago.

The Cats have achieved their seven-zip run despite starting the season with a significant injury list and losing players such as Travis Varcoe, Taylor Hunt, Daniel Menzel, Jared Rivers, Hamish McIntosh and others with medium to long-term injuries.

Paul Chapman will miss a fourth match this week with hamstring problems, although Joel Corey is set to return after missing one game with an injured knee. Hunt had surgery to repair his busted collarbone last Sunday morning and will miss up to eight weeks.

The current injury list will prevent the club from making enormous rotational changes heading into games against Collingwood, Port Adelaide, Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney, but football manager Neil Balme said the club planned to keep players fresh no matter how its year was positioned.

Since the Cats beat Collingwood for the 2011 flag, the likes of Jordan Murdoch, Billie Smedts, Cam Guthrie, Josh Caddy, George Horlin-Smith, Jordan Schroder and Hunt have added fresh depth to the playing list, with Jackson Thurlow making his debut against Essendon last week.

Only one player – Andrew Mackie last season – has completed a full season since Chris Scott took over as coach ahead of the 2011 season.

”It’s always on the agenda and it’s on the agenda now. Chris does it very well, talking with the conditioning and medical blokes about how to get through the season in the best possible shape,” Balme said.

”It’s always on the table, whether it’s looking at the amount of training they do or talking about whether we need to give them a week out of the team. It’s a sensitive one to talk about because you can sound like you compromise your team selection against certain teams, but it doesn’t really go that way and it shouldn’t have that stigma to it.

”You’ve got to pick your best team, but all those things are flowing along in the background whether you’re winning games or not. It probably helps when you’re winning, but in Chris’ mind, no player should really be playing in 22 rounds of home and away games.”

Balme said Corey, who missed the Cats’ win over Essendon with knee soreness, was a good example of someone who would have played had the stakes been higher.

He said there was no immediate plan to rest Tom Hawkins, who has been hampered at times by back soreness.

”He’s going OK. We’re happy with what he’s doing. He’ll keep going unless it gets worse, but if it’s not hurting him and he’s going well, he’ll play.

”Corey’s pretty certain to play but Chappy’s not quite right. They’ve thought he might be OK for the past couple of weeks but he’s not, so he won’t play.”