Powered by Huaxinzl!

July, 2019

ARU to meet on Sunday to prepare for vote on 15-team Super model

The fate of one of Australia’s five Super Rugby teams could be decided as soon as Monday after the Australian Rugby Union moved to bring to a head one of the most damaging periods of uncertainty in the history of the code in Australia.
Nanjing Night Net

Almost a month after South Africa, New Zealand, Argentina and Australia met in London to agree to a new competition structure for Super Rugby next season but decided to keep it a secret, the ARU board will meet on Sunday to prepare for a vote on the plan on Monday morning.

Though the four SANZAAR nations have maintained a strained silence, it is expected the ARU board will vote on a 15-team model that requires Australia to sacrifice one of its five Super Rugby licences and South Africa two of its six licences.

In an interesting development, however, the board’s nine directors, including chairman Cameron Clyne, ARU chief executive Bill Pulver and former Wallabies John Eales and Brett Robinson, will now also consider which of the five teams the ARU might sacrifice, with the nine-year-old Western Force looming as the team most likely ahead of the Melbourne Rebels and ACT Brumbies. It is a marked change from earlier messaging out of ARU headquarters, which emphasised agreeing to cut a team as a separate process from deciding which team that would be.

The change means one of those three teams could learn their fate as early as Monday and be forced to play out the remaining 10 rounds of this season in the knowledge they will not exist beyond August. However, there was also speculation earlier in the week that the position of Japanese team the Sunwolves was under scrutiny after the Force, Rebels and Brumbies worked hard to shore up financial and government support for their businesses.

News of an ARU vote comes despite prevarication from SA Rugby, the South African national union, which met on Thursday but had not by Friday told the other joint venture partners of its decision in any official capacity.

The ARU, which has come under enormous scrutiny and pressure over its handling of the vexed issue, appears intent on tying up its own end of the agreement and avoiding any further drawn-out speculation, which has plunged the code into a spiral of negative publicity for the past month.

The Rugby Union Players’ Association, which looks after the interests of Australia’s 160-odd professional players, implored the board to back a national footprint for the code.

“The ARU board undoubtedly has a wealth of professional expertise and respected business leaders, with a proven track record of growing businesses all over the globe,” chief executive Ross Xenos said.

“We’d like to see that same growth mindset applied to Australian rugby for a vibrant and prosperous five-team future, rather than making further cuts to the game in an attempt to shrink our way to success.

“The ARU should hold the line and retain all five Australian Super Rugby teams, not make any concessions because of the ills of the past.”

However, the ARU board’s approval alone would also not set in stone a 15-team format next season. Each of the unions in the SANZAAR joint venture must vote internally to approve the change and re-negotiate the remainder of a lucrative broadcast deal signed in 2015.

In the Australian case, it was not until late on Thursday that the ARU received sign-off from Fox Sports. The imprimatur of all broadcasters is key as the current deal is not due to expire until 2020. That includes British broadcaster Sky, whose enthusiasm for southern hemisphere rugby content led to the 147 per cent increase in the current deal.

In South Africa it has been reported that the Kings and Cheetahs are likely to face the chop, although strong opposition is expected from both teams. Crucially, South African broadcaster SuperSport is understood to support the proposed model in principle after ratings plunged under the 18-team format, which started in 2016.

Fairfax New Zealand reported that a return to a 15-team competition would probably see the format revert to three conferences, with Japan’s Sunwolves joining the Australian conference and Argentina’s Jaguares in the South African group. New Zealand would retain its five franchises in the third conference.

Under the 15-team Super Rugby format, which ran from 2011 through 2015, teams played two rounds of local derbies – eight in total, two more than they do now – followed by four games against opposition from the other two conferences.

Historical concerns centred on the inequality of the conferences and, in New Zealand, the limited prospects of Kiwi teams making the play-offs.

– with Liam Napier

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Can Sydney FC go on with job and take place among greats?

Be grateful for small mercies. Or be careful what you wish for.
Nanjing Night Net

Either thought may be applicable for soccer fans as they contemplate the run out of the current A-League season as it staggers towards its pre-finals conclusion.

Those who advocate a first-past-the-post system to be adopted in Australia, as is the case in most countries round the world, should be mindful of the second axiom.

If this operated here the season would have been over about six or seven weeks before it actually concludes on Easter Sunday. At least there will be something at stake in that game when Perth Glory entertain Melbourne City with both clubs jockeying for position for a finals berth.

Sydney’s all-round excellence was only officially ratified when they disposed of the Glory in Perth a couple of weeks ago when it became mathematically certain they would be Premiers. But the reality is that Graham Arnold’s team has been superior for so much of the season that the Premiers Plate was a foregone conclusion from some time in early February.

For the last six or so weeks of the season the real interest has been two-fold: could Sydney keep their run of sustained excellence going right to the end of the campaign, and which teams will fill the lower (from third place down) rungs of the finals ladder.

In that respect we should be grateful for the small mercy that is the finals system.

In the absence of something every soccer fan (save for the beancounters and business types at the FFA) wants, promotion and relegation, then the skirmishing for those finals spots is the only thing that has been able to sustain interest in the league these past few months.

Now, of course, we are moving to a different phase, and the fascination from mid-April onwards will be all about Sydney and whether they can seal the deal by actually winning the championship.

A title would be a fitting testament to their domination and all-round superiority, but those who like to slow down and survey the scene at car crashes and train wrecks will, of course, be hoping otherwise.

The Sky Blues’ worst nightmare would be to lose to their rivals Western Sydney Wanderers in a semi or grand final, although many would see that as a wonderfully ironic twist to a season that, Sydney apart, has not really set the pulses racing.

Even though their record is superb (only one league loss in 25 games) the Sky Blues took a long time to catch people’s imagination: Arnold-coached teams often do, as the former Mariners and Socceroo boss puts an emphasis on hard work, team structure and discipline and first of all makes his side hard to beat. But the brilliance of Milos Ninkovic, the all-round quality of Bobo and the hard work of the evergreen Alex Brosque has made them a compelling team to watch the longer the season has gone on and the more they have found their groove.

Still, there remains a chance that the Wanderers, a team that has skulked around in mid-table or out of finals contention for most of the season before putting together a strong burst of form in the last month or so of the campaign, could upset the applecart. They are in a rare vein of form, and have some previous here as they are the only side to have beaten Sydney during the regular season. They would relish a meeting with their rivals in the finals and would love nothing more than to destroy Sydney’s Championship dream.

Could Melbourne Victory, clearly the second-best team all season, burst the Sydney bubble in the cruellest of ways?

Their final few matches have been of soporific interest as, like Sydney, they have not been able to change position and be caught for second spot for several weeks. But they seem to be hitting a flat spot at just the wrong time, and having lost three of their last four, will need to start showing some sort of spark pretty soon for anyone to give them a chance.

Outside of these two it is hard to see any of the others stopping Sydney. Melbourne City have the firepower and big-game players in Bruno Fornaroli and Tim Cahill to have a puncher’s chance. Brisbane Roar are competitive with anyone on the day, but lack the consistency of Sydney, while it’s hard to see Perth Glory, another up-and-down unit, keeping it together for three finals games.

It looks like the title is Sydney’s to lose as they bid to become one of the all-time great A-League sides. They just have to keep on keeping on.

THE A-LEAGUE’S GREATEST

Brisbane Roar

Back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011. Put together a record, 36-game unbeaten run.

Melbourne Victory

Won a record first seven games straight in 2006-07, then scored a record 6-0 grand final win with Archie Thompson netting five goals.

Central Coast

Two grand finals in three years (2011 and 2013, when they were champions, and a Premiers Plate in 2012). Also produced several Socceroos in that era.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

That’s my scene, says Dave FaulknerPHOTOS, VIDEOS

That’s my scene, says Dave Faulkner | PHOTOS, VIDEOS GURUS AT GUM BALL: The Hoodoo Gurus are appearing at the Gum Ball this year.
Nanjing Night Net

GURUS AT GUM: The Hoodoo Gurus will headline next year’s Gum Ball.

LIFE OF A GURU: Dave Faulkner of the Hoodoo Gurus on stage.

MY SCENE: The Hoodoo Gurus in action. Picture: Simone De Peak

LIKE WOW: Hoodoo Gurus

GURU: Hoodoo Gurus lead singer Dave Faulkner. Picture: Simone De Peak

TweetFacebookYOU AM IYOU Am I are without doubt one of Australia’s all-time essential rock n’ roll bands. Two and a half decades on from their first album release, You Am I have not only had one of the longest and most successful recording careers in Australia, but are also without doubt one of our most loved live bands. Featuring guitarist and vocalist Tim Rogers along with band mates Russell Hopkinson on drums, Andy Kent on Bass, and (since 1999) Davey Lane on guitar, You Am I have released ten studio albums to date. The band has won a total of 10 ARIA Awards including Album of the year, Best Group and Best Independent Release.

RATCATRATCAT set the indie music scene alight, causing a stir among the major labels in 1990 with their Tingles EP and became known for their pop/punk guitar rock. They hit the big time by grabbing the coveted No. 1 spot on the ARIA chart for their smash single That Ain’t Bad. A year later, they went on to release their landmark album, Blind Love, which saw them at the top of the mainstream charts again with both the album and single, Don’t Go Now, peaking at No. 1. In 1998, Ratcat performed with new bassist, Nic Dalton (The Lemonheads among others), at the Homebake Festival.

STEVE KILBEYIT’S a unique band that finds itself cherished as a bona fide legend in the ARIA Hall of Fame while remaining a virtual enigma to the world that knows its name but The Church, led by the enigmatic Steve Kilbey, is just that. Since arriving in Australia half a century ago, Kilbey has forged a unique and frighteningly individual stream of musical thoughts including the church’s accidental signature tune, Under The Milky Way, being sung along with him by countless Australians. A songwriter of many musical tongues, Kilbey – band singer, songwriter and bassist, painter, writer, poet, actor, sage, dispenser of arcane wisdom, and much loved national treasure – has created an all-embracing artistic universe of unearthly beauty.

GANGGAJANGGANGgajang was formed in 1984 when Mark Callaghan, previously of The Riptides, and Buzz Bidstrup and Chris Bailey, formerly of The Angels, were commissioned to write songs for the ABC TV program Sweet & Sour. The songs became a debut album, the self-titled GANGgajang, with the hit singles Gimme Some Lovin, House of Cards, Giver of Life and the classic Sounds of Then (This is Australia). With the addition of Geoffrey Stapleton on keyboards, guitar and artwork, and Robert James on lead guitar, GANGgajang became a live entity.

THE ALLNITERSSYDNEY act The Allniters are considered the pioneers of Australian ska after they introduced the unique new style of music to the country in the ’80s. The Allnighters will always be remembered for their big sound, cracking tunes and eccentric exuberance. Mischievous and a little bit cheeky, they’re the most successful ska act in Australian history. Their legacy still lives on to this day and in 2013, The Allniters’ cover of Bobby Bloom’s Montego Bay was voted as one of the top 100 songs in Australia.

WIN tickets to Hope RocksThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Steamfest inspired photo shoot

Steamfest inspired photo shoot VINTAGE: The photos were taken at the old Pelaw Main railway station and featured our fantastic models, Stephen, Janelle and Bryce. Picture: Paul O’Brien, Mulbring photographer
Nanjing Night Net

VINTAGE: The photos were taken at the old Pelaw Main railway station and featured our fantastic models, Stephen, Janelle and Bryce. Picture: Paul O’Brien, Mulbring photographer

VINTAGE: The photos were taken at the old Pelaw Main railway station and featured our fantastic models, Stephen, Janelle and Bryce. Picture: Paul O’Brien, Mulbring photographer

VINTAGE: The photos were taken at the old Pelaw Main railway station and featured our fantastic models, Stephen, Janelle and Bryce. Picture: Paul O’Brien, Mulbring photographer

VINTAGE: The photos were taken at the old Pelaw Main railway station and featured our fantastic models, Stephen, Janelle and Bryce. Picture: Paul O’Brien, Mulbring photographer

VINTAGE: The photos were taken at the old Pelaw Main railway station and featured our fantastic models, Stephen, Janelle and Bryce. Picture: Paul O’Brien, Mulbring photographer

VINTAGE: The photos were taken at the old Pelaw Main railway station and featured our fantastic models, Stephen, Janelle and Bryce. Picture: Paul O’Brien, Mulbring photographer

VINTAGE: The photos were taken at the old Pelaw Main railway station and featured our fantastic models, Stephen, Janelle and Bryce. Picture: Paul O’Brien, Mulbring photographer

VINTAGE: The photos were taken at the old Pelaw Main railway station and featured our fantastic models, Stephen, Janelle and Bryce. Picture: Paul O’Brien, Mulbring photographer

VINTAGE: The photos were taken at the old Pelaw Main railway station and featured our fantastic models, Stephen, Janelle and Bryce. Picture: Paul O’Brien, Mulbring photographer

VINTAGE: The photos were taken at the old Pelaw Main railway station and featured our fantastic models, Stephen, Janelle and Bryce. Picture: Paul O’Brien, Mulbring photographer

VINTAGE: The photos were taken at the old Pelaw Main railway station and featured our fantastic models, Stephen, Janelle and Bryce. Picture: Paul O’Brien, Mulbring photographer

VINTAGE: The photos were taken at the old Pelaw Main railway station and featured our fantastic models, Stephen, Janelle and Bryce. Picture: Paul O’Brien, Mulbring photographer

VINTAGE: The photos were taken at the old Pelaw Main railway station and featured our fantastic models, Stephen, Janelle and Bryce. Picture: Paul O’Brien, Mulbring photographer

TweetFacebookMARJORIEThe photographsfeatures ‘Marjorie’ the little 0-4-0 class steam engine that lives at Richmond Vale Rail Museum. Marjorie was built by Clyde Engineering at Granville, NSW in 1938.She is very similar to the preserved Avonside locomotive ‘Kathleen’. Marjorie the locomotive worked at the John Lysaghts’ works in Newcastle.

At some stage it was fitted with roller bearings on the side rods/ cranks, which gives a distinctive look and presumably reduces maintenance! Marjorie was retired from use at Lysaghts in 1972 and was initially plinthed in a park at Edgeworth. Fortunately she was rescued from her plinth by Richmond Vale Railway and transferred to their Richmond Main Colliery site near Kurri Kurri. Restoration followed and Marjorie’s first day in service on the RVR occurred on 23 January 1986. Marjorie has since been a regular performer at the RVR, generally appearing in an attractive green livery.

RICHMOND VALE RAILWAYThe history of the Richmond Vale Railway goes back to 1857 when the first section was opened from Hexham, on the banks of the Hunter River, to Minmi near the Sugarloaf Range, a distance of five and a half miles. In 1904 John Brown, who had taken over complete control of the J. & A. Brown Company, started a branch line from this first section through the Sugarloaf Range to Richmond Main Colliery and Pelaw Main Colliery near Kurri Kurri – a distance of twenty-two miles. A large locomotive shed was constructed at Pelaw Main with a major repair shop at Hexham. Richmond Main Colliery was John “Baron” Brown’s pride and joy. This mine was once the largest vertical shaft mine in the Southern Hemisphere.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Crashes up at camera spotHunter speed camera map

Crashes up at camera spot | Hunter speed camera map UNWANTED RECORD: The fixed speed camera location on McCaffrey Drive, Rankin Park, has had a significant recent increase in crashes. Picture: Simone De Peak
Nanjing Night Net

UNWANTED RECORD: The fixed speed camera location on McCaffrey Drive, Rankin Park, has had a significant recent increase in crashes. Picture: Simone De Peak

UNWANTED RECORD: The fixed speed camera location on McCaffrey Drive, Rankin Park, has had a significant recent increase in crashes. Picture: Simone De Peak

UNWANTED RECORD: The fixed speed camera location on McCaffrey Drive, Rankin Park, has had a significant recent increase in crashes. Picture: Simone De Peak

TweetFacebookRANKIN Park is home tothe state’s only speed camera witha significant recent increase in crashes, but the NSW government has decided to keep it.

In five years sincethe camera was installed on McCaffery Drive therehas been a 367 per cent rise in “casualty crashes” there, starklyat odds with a statewidetrend of fewer crashesin fixed speed camera locations.

Over the sameperiod, the camera has caught about 10 speeding drivers a month.

It has alsocostmotoristsabout $30,000 a year in fines, out ofa Hunterannual speed camera toll for drivers of about $4 million.

But despite the Rankin Parkcamera being singled out for mentionin a Transport for NSW annual review of speed cameras, the government has ruled out removing or relocatingit.

A “comprehensive review” found the camera hadreduced traffic speeds on the downhill, or westbound, section of McCaffery Drive and should be retained.

“Fixed speed cameras in NSW are placed at specific locations with a known crash history,” a Transport for NSW spokesman said.

“Our aim is to slow drivers down, not fine them, which is why speed cameras are clearly signposted and all locations are published on theCentre for Road Safety website. Over 99 per cent of drivers in NSW do the right thing and pass speed cameras without being fined.”

Wallsend state Labor MP Sonia Hornery called on the government to consider moving the camera, but said therise in crashes on McCaffrey Drivewas a symptom of worseningtraffic.

“McCaffrey Drive is used as a rat run through to Wallsend and the Link Road. The government needs to get on with completing stage five of the Newcastle Inner City Bypass,” Ms Hornery said.

“The government should also review the positioning of the speed camera, given its remarkable failure to reduce casualty crashes in the area.”

Crashesnear the Rankin Park camera tend to be low-impact and the result of “poor decision-making”, relievingNorthern Region traffic tactician Bruce McGregor said, but aren’tnecessarily caused by the camera.

“It’s a heavily populated road at peak times, a main feeder road for John Hunter Hospital and areas of the city, the lake and even the Hunter,” Chief Inspector McGregor said.

“No matter which way you go there’s a heavy volume of traffic, so there’s always the chance of a crash.”

The review found crashes had decreased at all of the Hunter’s other fixed speed cameras, including those at Mayfield West, Gateshead, Sandgate, Lochinvar and Nords Wharf.

Transport has already decided to retainall the cameras except the one on Maitland Road at Sangate, which is under review.