Monthly Archives: September 2019


Sheep versus dogs; only one survives

SHOCKING LOSSES: Landholders in the Upper Hunter are faced with problems from escalating wild dog attacks. They say the dogs are leaving National Park and State Forests in search of food.Upper Hunter farmers are no longer in-charge of managing their properties that role has been snatched from them by a motleybunch of vicious ferals.


Wild dogs are now in charge ofareas east and west of Scone particularly in the headwaters of the Hunter River –Tomalla, Hunter Springs and Moonan Flat.

These eastern fall areas were once home to tens of thousands of sheep, in fact at one stage, the historic Belltrees property near Gundy ran 100,000 sheep.

Today commercial numbers of sheep are only found onsix properties between Scone and the Barrington Tops and the reason for this change in landuse is simply the impact of wild dogs.

No matter what the landholders do the attacks on their flocks areworsening and they are being forced to run cattle on land that is really not suited to beef production.

This is happening at a time of record returns for wool and fat lambs which just adds to the frustration of thefarmers.

On the prowl

Moonan Flat producer Gavin MacCallum said the vast majority of the land in his districtwas ideally suited to sheep production.

“But we have been forced out of sheep because of the pressure from wild dogs. No matter what we do their numbers increase and so do the attacks,” he said.

He, like his neighbours, hashad a gut full of asking for help and their pleas being ignored.

Fairfax Mediahas been told by a number of landholders the dogs are coming out of National Parks and State Forests.

“We weretold by staff from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) that they have caught, on camera, photographs of 40 dogs in just one week,” said Nathan Mamone, Tomalla.

Mr Mamone used to run 3000 sheep on his property, located one kilometrefrom Barrington Tops National Park, today that number is slashed and he runs cattle and works off-farm all thanks to dog attacks.

“Its just so depressing to get out each morning and see your sheep ravaged,” he said.

At Moonan Brook, Neville Hayne, “Castlesprings” says his battle with wild dogs takes up 70-80 per cent of his time.

“I am not spending anytime working on the farm I am just chasing dogs all day. I’ve gone through three quad bikes trying to control them, we are being chewed out by dogs,” said an exasperated Mr Hayne .

His wool cheque is already down $15,000 this year due to sheep losses from dog attacks.

He was critical of the NPWS use of perimeter mound baitingsaying it doesn’t work as dogs don’t like digging up meat.

“Its a complete failure and the situation is getting worse each year,” he said.

Mr Hayne said the dogs were also getting bolder and therefore more dangerous over time.

Across the valley near Merriwa Peter Campbell said dogs were a problem with landholders near Goulburn River National Park.

“As responsible landholders we have to control feral pests and weeds on our land but it appears NPWS don’t have to,” he said.

“We want managers of all public lands to adopt ourattitude when it comes to managing feral pests. These dogs will be harming native fauna as well as livestock.”

Mr Campbell said after lengthy negotiations landholders were able to get professional trappers into the Goulburn River National Park earlier this year.

“But it was at their costs and it took a long time to gain NPWS approval. The trappers caught six dogs,” said.

“Its was a great result but really should landholders have to pay for the management of the park.”

The six joined another 14 caught last year with Mr Campbell saying farmers were already reporting less attacks on their sheep thanks to the campaign.

“Imagine if we all worked together what could be achieved,” he said.

Anecdotal reports say wild dogs are now attacking calves near Barrington Tops National Park something landholders have long predicted.

Many frustrated and angry farmers are hopingthe formation of a funded trapper program run by Hunter Local Land Services will make an impact on the dog problem.

We want the NPWS to join this funded program so we are all working together for the betterment of the whole community, said Mr Campbell.

A sentiment supported by Mr MacCallum who along with others producers is sick and tired of talking to NPWS and getting no support.

“Parks are our neighbours but we are bearing the burnt of their poor management and that is so unfair. Why can a neighbour ruin your livelihood,”? asked Mr MacCallum.

Hunter LLS, Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) and mining companies have pledged funding for the trapper program that will start next financial year.

Mining giant Glencore will be funding $150,000 over three years in partnership with Hunter LLS to support wild dog control efforts across the Hunter.

“As part of our operations, we work closely with landholders across the Hunter on a daily basis so we understand the significant losses being caused by wild dogs,” said Glencore’sCommunity Relations Manager Craig Strudwick

Wild dogs caught on camera in the eastern fall district at the headwaters of the Hunter River.

“This funding will be in addition to the co-ordinated work we’re undertaking with neighbouring property owners at all of our sites to control wild dogs in the region.”

NPWS, spokesperson said last weekNPWS received a request from Hunter LLS, to contribute toa new wild dog program being developed for the Upper Hunter.

“Wild dog controlis a keypriority for NPWS in thisregion, and we will continue to work cooperativelywith LLS to identify opportunities to support the new program,” they said.

NPWS undertakes both strategic and reactive wild dog control programsat Barrington Tops National Park & State Conservation Area, Mt. Royal, Curracabundi, Goulburn River, Wollemi and Yengo National Parks, Camerons Gorge and Ben Halls Gap Nature Reserves, and other reserves across the region.

Techniques used by NPWS include ground and aerial baiting, M44 ejectors and trapping.


View from the top: North America’s tallest house is on the market

World’s most expensive home finished but still emptyAustralia’s changing skyline: Apartment towers surpassing recordsWorld’s new tallest pair of towers headed for Cambodia


For those who enjoy heights, but don’t want the hassle of sharing a supertall building with other residents ??? and who might enjoy, perhaps, some significant bragging rights ??? the perfect property is up for sale in the USA.

It’s the Falcon’s Nest in Prescott, Arizona. It’s the tallest house in North America, its 37 metres of height made up by 10 storeys, and at one point had the honour of being the tallest house in the world. Sadly, it’s now been beaten out by the 173 metre tall, $1 billion Antilla mansion in Mumbai, India.

North America’s tallest home – the ‘Falcon’s Nest’ in Arizona. Photo: Lauren Schleifer/falconnesttower广州桑拿

In fairness, it’s also dwarfed by the Thumb Butte, the 1985-metre volcanic plug it’s sitting next to. But you can’t buy that for $US1.5 million ($1.98 million), which is the current asking price.

It was designed by an architect, Sukumar Pal, for his family, and built in 1994 for around $US4 million. Shaped a bit like a chimney, it’s got three bedrooms, four bathrooms, 575 square metres of living space, a very fancy 185 square-metre solarium and a hydraulic glass elevator to shuttle the lucky residents up and down, with an entrance at the garage level.

Photo: Lauren Schleifer/falconnesttower广州桑拿

It’s got quite a small footprint, both physically, about 92 square metres, and environmentally, as the listing with Sotheby’s describes it as exemplifying “passive solar technologies as well as other unique & alternative power, heating & cooling source”.

It’s not the first time it’s come onto the market ??? it was listed for $US2.8 million in 2015, so the current price is a bit of a bargain.

In comparison, Australia’s tallest house, the Girvan House in the Hunter region of NSW, is about 30 metres high and also comprises of 10 storeys. It cost more than $2 million to build, according to the Newcastle Herald, and was put up for sale in 2012 with a price of $1.75 million.

Girvan House, in NSW. Photo: Newcastle Herald


Five highlights in your travel weekApril 7

The Langham … offering ‘Easter Escape’ packages in Melbourne.Until Sunday 30 April, guests can hop along to The Langham, for the exclusive Melbourne hotel’s ‘Easter Escape’ package.


The offer includes a extras such as buffet breakfast for two, a chocolate Easter surprise, complimentary valet parking and unlimited use of the hotel’s pool, pool deck, spa, sauna, steam rooms and gymnasium.

Bookings that include children also include a chocolate treat on each day of the stay, a Sing (the musical) drinking cup, a complimentary in-room viewing of Sing, and one Mini-Melba diner aged nine years and under dines for free at lunch per paying adult at Melba restaurant (with the exception of Easter Sunday).

The Easter Escape package is available from $355 per room per night.

Phone 1800 858 663 广州桑拿论坛langhamhotels广州桑拿 Peppers Craigieburn … could be home for a NSW Southern Highlands golfing getaway.

Peppers is offering a ‘Stay and Play’ golfing getaway in the NSW Southern Highlands.

Stay at Peppers Craigieburn from $245 per night in an Elms Wing Room or at Peppers Manor House from $269 per night in a Highland Queen Room, including breakfast for two.

Guests will receive a golf pass which contains six nine-hole vouchers to redeem at the eight participating local courses from Sunday to Friday.

Phone 1300 987 600广州桑拿论坛peppers广州桑拿广州桑拿论坛 Kangaroo Island … one of nature’s extraordinary paradises.

SeaLink has launched a range of one-to-five-night Kangaroo Island ‘Wilderness Trail’ on a 61-kilometre walking trail across one of the most rugged, remote and spectacular coastlines in Australia.

All packages include ferry travel, accommodation and coach transfers. Trails can be walked independently or with a guide in a small group.

The six-day package, for instance, is priced from $465 per adult twin-share and incorporates the full 61 kilometres of new and upgraded trails over five days, with highlights including Flinders Chase National Park, Kelly Hill Conservation Park and the Cape Bouguer Wilderness Protection Area.

广州桑拿论坛sealink广州桑拿广州桑拿论坛 Tali Wiru … includes an evening of fine dining on a remote sand dune in Central Australia.

Voyages Ayers Rock Resort’s exclusive evening event in the desert, Tali Wiru (meaning ‘beautiful dune’ in local Pitjantjatjara) includes an evening of fine dining on a remote sand dune overlooking Uluru and the distant domes of Kata Tjuta, with this season’s menu celebrating the ancient flavours of Indigenous Australia.

Guests enjoy champagne and canapes at sunset, accompanied by the sounds of a didgeridoo, followed by a four-course table d’hote menu with matched premium Australian wines.

A storyteller shares tales of Indigenous culture and the southern night sky and the evening ends with a port, cognac or native wattleseed-infused hot chocolate around the campfire.

Tali Wiru runs daily until October 15 and is priced at $345 per person, which is fully inclusive of return hotel transport, full menu, matched wines and entertainment.

Phone 1300 134 044广州桑拿论坛ayersrockresort广州桑拿广州桑拿论坛. The Barossa Valley … one of Australia’s most famous wine regions. Image courtesy of Barsossa & Beyond

Cruise Express has blended four of Australia’s major wine regions into a new cruise tour next March, spanning the continent from east to west.

The hosted, 10-night ‘Voyage to the Vineyards – East to West’ expedition from Melbourne to Perth includes visits to Victoria’s Goulburn Valley, South Australia’s Barossa Valley and also the Margaret River and Swan Valley wine regions in Western Australia.

A day trip on the heritage train, The Spirit of Progress, and wine-paired lunches are also featured in the itinerary aboard the Golden Princess.

Bookings made by April 30 will receive a bonus upgrade from a premium balcony cabin to a mini-suite.

Prices start at $3990 per person twin-share, including two nights accommodation in Melbourne and one in Perth.

Phone 1300 764 509广州桑拿论坛cruiseexpress广州桑拿广州桑拿论坛


Pro-Supercars graffiti discovered in Newcastle East End

GRAFFITI: A shed at Foreshore Park was hit by vandals this week during a pro-Supercars spray painting spree. East End residents have described the attack as an ongoing campaign. IN what residents regard as an act of retaliation, Newcastle’s East End has been hit with pro-Supercars graffiti.


Last Sundayit was discovered that vandals had spray-painted the historic United Services Club in Watt Street with anti-Supercars graffiti. In the days since there have beenreports of vandalism attacks on the East End in multiple locations.

The Newcastle 500 Supercars Australia event is due to be held in the East End of Newcastle in November. The event has been met with strong opposition from many residents living trackside.

The most recent act of vandalism wasdiscovered on Thursday when a wall at the heritage significant Joy Cummings Centre in Scott Street was emblazoned with “East Enderz love V8 Benderz”.

Pro-Supercar graffiti has also been discovered in Telford Street, Nobbys Road, Zaara Street, Fort Drive, Parnell Place, Foreshore Park and the lane-way between Scott and Alfred streets, according to residents.

East End resident Cath Whelan allegedthe vandalism was part of an ongoing campaign “bysome pro-V8 race supporters to harass the East End community”.

“We are being unfairly targeted for daring to question the location of this motor race through our suburban streets,” she said.

“We can only hope that the perpetrators are caught red-handed soon.”

Newcastle East End Residents Group secretary Joan Browning said her group was careful to operate within the law to express its opposition to the location of the race.

“We are doing our best to get our point across legally,” she said. “Any defacing of anybody’s property is unjustified, it’s illegal and it’s wrong.”

Meanwhile, Supercars can expect a call fromCessnock City Council. The council said itwanted to take full advantage of the Newcastle 500 to “show off the Hunter Valley wine country to the influx of spectators the V8 Supercars event is sure to attract”.

Cessnock City Councillor Jay Suvaal said the race was an opportunity for the tourism industry and it would be calling Supercars to invite the motor racing team to visit the local government area.

“We know this event is going to be absolutely huge, attracting thousands of people from across Australia,” Cr Suvaal said.

“What a fantastic chance to showcase our region and promote ourselves as a must see and do during people’s visit.”

Cessnock City Council and Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Alliance will work alongside local accommodation, transport and tourism operators to promote Hunter Valley wine country as the place to stay for those travelling to watch the race.

Cessnock Mayor Bob Pynsent supports the plan.

“[We] could reap real reward for our tourism operators and tourism industry now and into the future,”Cr Pynsent said.


Queen Elizabeth Stakes: Kris Lees looks for nice return from pair of outsiders

BIG DAY: Kris Lees after Lucia Valentina’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes win last year. Picture: Getty Images


ON the number of runners only, Newcastle trainer Kris Lees has twice as good a chanceof winning the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000 metres) than he did last year.

But when Winx is involved, the chances of any other horse winning seemingly disappear.

Lees heads to day two of The Championships at Randwick on Saturday with Sense Of Occasion and Singing chasing a slice of the Queen Elizabeth Stakes prizemoney he claimed the bulk of last year with Lucia Valentina’s stunning last-to-first victory.

Winx bypassed the race last year but will chase a 17thconsecutive career victory on Saturday and the$2.34 million first prize, which would take her to second on Australia’s all-time earners’ list at $12,778,925.

Sense Of Occasion was third in the Doncaster Mile last week and Lees said the following day the Villiers Stakes champion was high unlikely to back up in the Queen Elizabeth. However, Lees changed plans after Sense Of Occasion pulled well and was the likely topweight for his other option, next week’sJRA Plate.

Sense of Occasion was a $101 was TAB Fixed Odds and Singing, which was last in the group 2 Ajax Stakes on March 11, was $201.

“Obviously we’re not going to be beating the mare, but I think they will run well enough to earn connections a good cheque,” Lees said.

Second takes home $760,000 and last in the nine-horse field earns $30,000.

“I’d prefer not to be racing against her,” Lees said of taking on Winx.“I don’t get any thrill out it, that’s for sure”.

“She’s got to be right there,” he said of Winx’s ranking among the greats.“I don’t know how you compare from different eras, but she’s in a pretty dominant frame at the moment.”

Lees said his best chance at Randwick was Danish Twist, which won the Provincial Championship Final on the same day last year.

The five-year-old mare has drawn barrier two for the $1 million Coolmore Legacy Stakes (1600m) and backs up from strong finishes when fifth and third in the Star Kingdom Stakes and Coolmore Classic respectively.

“She’s come a long way in 12 months,” Lees said. “She’s got the right alley to give herself the right chance. It’s a very good race on paper, but I think she will run well.”

Newcastle trainer David Atkins’ Pacific Reign and Lees’ Princess Posh and Clevedon Bay are in the $400,000 Provincial Championships final.Lees also has Zestful and Savoureux (group 2 Sapphire Stakes) and Rosa Carolina (listed South Pacific Classic) racing.

Princess Posh has drawn 18 for the 1400m final but that will become 14 with scratchings.

“It appears a tricky draw but you don’t know until you watch a few races,” Lees said.

“If she can have any type of luck, she’ll be right there and Clevedon Bay is going really well as well.

“I think the favourite [Gwenda Markwell’s Pomelo] will be very hard to beat.”

Muswellbrook trainer Pat Farrell’s Alliterate will also race in the South Pacific Classic.

Meanwhile, Newcastle trainer Paul Perry bought one of the 17 $1 million-plus yearlings sold at this week’s Inglis Easter sales in Sydney.

Perry purchased a Redoute’s Choice-Stareel colt for an even million and two more horses at the three-day sale. The others were a Redoute’s Choice-Jeter colt for $150,000 and So You Think-Cutie Express colt for $220,000.

Lees purchased a Snitzel-Kneeling filly for $450,000 and a Dundeel-Plumm colt for $150,000.


Black Diamond AFL: Terrigal Avoca Panthers host Newcastle City Blues in grand final replayphotos

Panthers fresh attack despite Blues burn TweetFacebook Black Diamond AFL grand final 2016 Pictures by Simone De Peak+20Pictures by Simone De PeakMORE GALLERIES


facebookSHAREtwitterTWEETemailwhatsappNew coach Mark Skuse wants his Terrigal Avoca squad to approach Saturday’s grand final replay against Newcastle City with a clean slate but knows some of his players still hurt.

The Panthers lost last year’s Black Diamond AFL decider to the Blues by 61 points and host the same opponentsin round two at Hylton Moore Oval with former NEFL representative Skuse now in charge.

“I didn’t play last year and we want to take it as a new season,” Skuse said.

“But I know a few of the blokes who played are still burning a bit.

“We’rejust looking forward to playing at home and building from last week.”

The likes of Peter Van Dam (rested), Austin Clark (calf),Jayson Van Dam (hand) andJames Webster (knee) remain sidelined for the Central Coast squad.

Newcastle City will not have the services of co-coach Mitch Knight, Aaron Seen, Jackson Crawford or Hamish Thomson but Patrick Gillingham, Brodie Jones, Abe Gibson and Jamie Cleaver come into the squad.

Elsewhere in round two on Saturday and first up winners Cardiff and Nelson Bay clash at Hillsborough Oval while both Killarney Vale and Warners Bay will chase their maiden victory of 2017 at Adelaide Street Oval.

All games kick off at 2pm.

Also on Saturday inthe Black Diamond AFL women’s competition Killarney Vale host Lake Macquarie, Cardiff are at home to Nelson Bay, Singleton travel to meet Gosford, Maitland tackle Warners Bay (10am) and Wyong Lakes take on Muswellbrook (12pm) while Newcastle City’s two teams were set to gohead-to-head at Tulkaba Ovalon Friday night (7.30pm).

* Go totheherald广州桑拿广州桑拿论坛for the BarTV Sportslivestream of Terrigal v City at2pmon SaturdayROUND 1 WRAP: New-look Cardiff edge out reigning premiers

HOME: Hawks set up at junior base Hillsborough Oval for 2017

SHOT: Black Diamond goal-scoring star takes punt on NRL

In other men’s team changes, Cardiff have named teenagerLucas Borrow to debut in the forward line with Jack Pratt suspendedfor two weeks.

Nelson Bay are down injured duo Tom Wood (dislocated shoulder) and Jordan Pritchett (broken arm) but gun forward Luke Price (bruised knee) passed afitness test this week.

Killarney Vale welcome Liam Hassel and Beau Cubilo aboard with Dane Amidy and Ben Simpson both out while coach Scott Reed is unavailable for a few weeks.

Adelaide recruit Ben Kernahan gets his first run with Warners Bay.


Self-taught Lambton baker makes his mum proudFOOD BITES

POPULAR VOTE: Aman Deep, chef at Kings XI, won the inaugural Menulog Local Plate. Picture: Supplied


The battle for the online takeawayfood market has stepped up a notch, perhaps because of the looming threat that is Uber Eats.

Whatever the reason, though, consumers are ultimately the winners.

At the NewRun finish line on April 2, Menulog’sfirst Taste of the Town cook-off took place andKings XI and Lime Gourmet battled it out for the chance to win the inaugural Menulog Local Plate.

TheHamilton eateries faced off in a tightly contested cooking challenge, with Kings XI’ssignature butter chicken just pipping the post ahead of two pasta dishes from Lime Gourmet.

“We’re so excited to have won the very first Menulog Taste of the Town event. Online ordering is a big part of our business,” Kings XI chef Aman Deep said.

New customers are being offered $10 off an order from any of the 35 Newcastle restaurants on Menulog by entering the code “Newcastle10” at the checkout.

One proud mumA bakery Olympics of sorts took place at Hamilton TAFE recently – the Bakery Association of Australia Competition. Food & Wine heard from Dorothy Pinder, the proud mother of Roy Pinder, who owns and runsWilliams Artisan Bread & Espresso at Lambton.

Roy Pinder, of Williams Artisan Bread & Espresso in Lambton.

Here is what Roy had to say:

“I entered the competition knowing that I was competing against trade-qualifiedbakersand my skills in baking are only from what I have learnt over the years from practice, reading and others who inspire me from all over the world.

“I competed against 68 bakersfrom all over NSW and 370 presented products on the day.

“I thought if I could get some recognition for my efforts in one of the sections I would be happy. But to my amazement I won the Grand Champion Loaf of the Show for my traditional baguette. This was the top prize of the show and the highest pointed bread of the show. It comes with a Perpetual Shield and this is only the second time the shield has been awarded to a bakery in Newcastle in the past seven years.

“I also won Grand Champion for the gourmet bread section because Iwonthe traditional baguette andtraditional white sourdough categories, came second in ciabatta and third for flavoured sourdough.

“I won thirdprize for our gluten-free flourless orange cake in another section, which I have made thousands of times overthe years and is always a house favourite.

“When I was presented the awards by the judges I had tears in my eyes. I have had no formal training, only my passion for what I do.It just shows you that if you enjoy what you do and you have passion for it you can do anything.”

Roy has run Williams Artisan Bread & Espresso for the past 11 years. Two years ago he and his wife Maxine revamped the cafe to pursue a shared passion for baking sourdough bread.

“Maxine hadcompleted a chef’s trade and wanted to put her own twist on our menu offering, andwe have been really excited with the changes we have made,” Roy said.

“We have seen a real following for our food and our all-natural leavened sourdoughs. It brings us great pleasure to makegreat food, bread and coffee for our customers.”

Also successful at the bakery competition were: Exquisite Cakes by Lennart (first in novelty or wedding cake; secondin macaroons and fruit tartlets; third in decorated mud cake); Adam Dobbie from Woolworths Charlestown (first in fruit-filled tea cake); and Hamilton TAFE’s Dutchanee Sangsaway (thirdin the vienna category).

Bag an Ag BagIf you buy an Ag Bag at this year’s Sydney Royal Easter Showyou have the opportunity to make a difference in country NSW. It is the only showbag where 100 per cent of the proceeds directly support rural and regional communities throughthe Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) Foundation’s Community Futures Grant program. The showbag costs$20 but is valued at more than $60, andoffers a range of food and retail products donated by Australian companies.

Tocal returnsSpeaking of country,Tocal Field Days is happening May 5 to 7.This year the eventwill feature urban and community gardensand aims to encourage country and city residents alike to grow and cook their own food.“You don’t need a huge parcel of land to grow your own food and city families especially will be surprised and delighted at what they can do in their own backyards,” field day manager Wendy Franklin said.

Exhibitors will bring a vast array of products and services, from the latest in innovative farming techniques and technology, solar energy and fencing construction through to craft and food and wine products.The animal nursery will be back as well as the working dogs and horses, the Bake or Burn cooking competition and the infamous Penny Tocow, the purple cow.

Easter at CrowneCrowne Plaza Hunter Valley is going all out for Easter this year. Among the many events on offer this week is aHunter High Tea; anEaster Seafood Buffet Spectacular;Crowne Cinema Family Buffet and the annual Easter Egg Hunt.

Two- or three-course set menus at Redsalt Restaurantwill provide an alternative to the traditional buffet.

Redsalt Restaurant executive chef James Ashtonwill be baking his signaturehot cross bun, which will be part of the buffet offering and available for purchase at Lovedale Bar and Brewery. Also, children can learn the joys of cupcake decorating on April 15, with a pastry specialist from the hotel on hand to help.

Phone 4991 0000 for details and bookings.


Newcastle Hunter Rugby Union: Rival clubs Merewether and Wanderers clash in first round

NEW PLAYER: Sam Fogarty returns to Merewether at outside centre after a beneficial off-season with the NSW sevens program. Picture: Jonathan CarrollMerewether Carlton coach Mick Gill reckons Sam Fogarty has come back a different playerahead of the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Unionseason opener against old rivals Wanderers at No.1 Sportsground on Saturday.


Outside centre Fogartyspent the summer months with the NSW sevens program andwas the sole country-based player in the state side, which included the national championships in Adelaide in November, and Gill barely recognised him at Townson Oval in the lead up to their 2017 campaign.

“It was like we received a brand new player after that off-season with The Waratahs,” Gill said.

“Fogo had gained a yard of pace, he came backstronger, and his skillset was unbelievable. Just 100 per cent a better player.”

Fogarty will partnerskipper Jay Strachan in the centres, which Gillidentified as a key area for Merewether.

“That’s where our strength is,” Gill said.

“Both players have a licence to throw it around and I don’t want to lock them in anywhere. Rather than having to standsomewhere on the field they can go andfind their own opportunities.”

The rest of the backline has been shuffled around with Thomas Smith slotting into fly half after University recruit Will Frost injured his shoulder in a recent trial while versatile Blake Creighton could miss the year following a knee reconstruction.

The Greens forward pack is also a mixed bag –weakened without Alex Hills (Randwick) and prop WendallWilhelmus (shoulder surgery) but bolstered by flanker Billy Freeman (University) and back-rower Kent Hatchwell (return).

Butstability has been provided in drawing the Two Blues straight up according to Gill, allowing the group to gel in sight of last year’s grand finalists.

“It actually helped with our pre-season, giving us that extra motivation,” Gill said.

“Not that you need much motivation to play Wanderers …but it made those fitness sessions a bit easier.”

Wanderershave named five-eighth Luke Simmons as captain whilesecond-rower Doug McKillop (Scone),halfback Gus Locke (UK) and No.15 Josh McCormack (Maitland) all debutfor the hosts. Tom Emayel returns after two years abroad.

Elsewhere, two-time defending premiers Hamilton are at home to The Waratahs, Beaches travel to meet Maitland, Lake Macquarie tackleSingleton and University take on Nelson Bay.

*Go totheherald广州桑拿广州桑拿论坛for the BarTV Sportslivestream of Wanderers v Carlton at3pmon Saturday.SEASON PREVIEW: Who will take out the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union premiership?

PHOTOS: Hamilton claim back-to-back titles with grand final win over Wanderers

BLUE CARD: Concussion trial in Newcastle for 2017

Meanwhile, the NHRU season was officially launched at Wests City on Friday with former Wallabies coach Alan Jones the guest speaker at the annual Hawthorne Club luncheon.

And the women’s competition doesn’t start until April 22 but 10 Hunter players will represent NSW Country at the Southern States Championships in Wagga Wagga on Saturday.


NNSW NPL preview: Maitland brace for rested and smarting Edgeworth

KEY MAN: Marquee Matt Thompson also helps coach Maitland.


MATT Thompson believes Maitland are better this year, but they will need to be if they are going to challenge Edgeworth at Jack McLaughlan Oval on Saturday night.

The Magpies beat Newcastle Jets Youth 4-2 on Wednesday night at Speers Pointto belatedly open their NNSW NPL season after four washouts. Thompson scored the go-ahead goal early in the second half and Matt Comerford struck in injury time after it was 2-2 at half-time.

“It was just a good result, to get a game in and get through it unscathed,” Thompson said.“It’s not easy playing on that surface against a team that runs around a bit, after not playing for three weeks.”

They meet an Eagles sideon Saturday (7.30pm) in round five coming off the bye and smarting from a 2-1 loss to Lambton Jaffas. Maitland lost 4-3 to Edgeworth in the semi-finals last year and Thompson said they would need to improve.

“We talk about how we nearly beat them, but at the end of the day, they won and they probably never felt like they weregoing to lose it,” he said. “No doubt, we need to be better. We haven’t really lost in terms of personnel fromlast year. Obviously we lost [Dean] Heffernan, but we gained Shane [Cansdell-Sherriff], Andrew Pawiak and Josh Dutton-Black.I think we’re in better position than last year in that we have a strong 16, 17 players.”

Also Saturday, Valentine host Adamstown (2.30pm) and Hamilton welcome the Jets Youth (6pm). On Sunday, Charlestown host Broadmeadow and the Jaffas are away to Lake Macquarie.

* Go totheherald广州桑拿广州桑拿论坛for the BarTV Sports livestream of Lake Macquarie v Lambton JaffasEdgeworth coach Damian Zane, meanwhile, said attacking UK recruit Kieran Sanders would play under 20s on Saturday after serving a three-match ban carried over from his time with Far North Queensland Heat.

Zane said the Eagles had responded on the training paddock to the midweek loss to Jaffas.

“We trained on Saturday and it was quite a heavy and intense session,” Zane said.

”You can just seenow, all the cattle are back andplayers are looking around and seeing there’s a battle on now for spots.

“They are proud of what they have done the last couple of years and that loss stung them. It was a tad harsh to lose, but losing away to Lambton, there’s noshame in that. It was good for us, it’s got us going and I’ve seen it at training.

“I think the game showed up a couple of players who were a yard off as well. We’vegot a fair bit of work into them over the last week and a bit, so I expect a big performance from them.”

Thompson said “Edgy, for me, are the team to beat again”.

“Even though they had a loss to Lambton the other week, they have proven themselves over the last few years and they are a quality side,” he said.

Thompson said Ryan Clarke, who missed the win over Jets Youth with a hamstring problem, would likely return against Edgeworth.

Thompson, Maitland keeper Matt Trott, Adamstown’s Stuart Musialikand Edgeworth striker Daniel McBreen will back up on Sunday in the F3 Derby Legends Game at Central Coast Stadium before the A-League clash between Newcastle and the Mariners.

McBreen and Trott will play for the Mariners, whileThompson and Musialik will be in Newcastle’s line up for the seven-a-side exhibition.

“I’m not sure which one’s more important to be honest,” Thompson laughed about the two clashes this weekend with McBreen, who has been talking up the Legends Games rivalry.

“Hopefully we can get the win in both, that’s the plan.”


Harder for Australians to pay off mortgage by retirement than ever

10 ways to pay off a million-dollar mortgage fasterAustralians’ housing debt at all-time high after doubling in 11 yearsAustralians are entering twilight years with $150,000 of mortgage debt: ING Direct


Australia is the world’s most indebted country and more older Australians will now retire with a mortgage debt than ever before, a new report shows.

An increasing proportion of Australians will probably need to use some of their superannuation savings to get rid of leftover mortgage debtat retirement, the report prepared by economist Saul Eslake for the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees found.

The retirement income system had taken it for granted that Australians would have paid off their mortgages over the course of their working life, but the research found larger mortgages relative to incomes and first-home buyers getting on the ladder later in life were making this less likely.

The proportion of home owners who did not have a mortgage dropped from 61.7 per cent in 1996 to 47.9 per cent by 2011.

“In other words, compared to 15 years ago when almost three out of five home owners owned their home outright, home owners with a mortgage are now in the majority,” Mr Eslake’s research found.

In 2013-14, 88.2 per cent of homeowners aged 35 to 44 had outstanding mortgage debt. This was up from about 67 per cent in 1995-96.

One couple bucking the trend is Ai Shin Cruz, 31, and her husband Erik, 36 who paid off their Sydney mortgage in eight years and four months – and it was their first home.

But while they say they wouldn’t have been able to achieve it without frugal habits, they are also the lucky ones: they bought in pre-boom.

The couple bought a townhouse in November 2008, for $320,000. They had $110,000 in savings between them – having both saved while living with their parents – and were getting married in 2009.

After the first home owner grant and stamp duty concession, their mortgage came to about $210,000.

With a household income of just $65,000 for the majority of that time – Ai Shin is a stay at home mum and Erik works in IT – they’d paid off the entire sum by March 2017 – as well as raising three children, now aged six, four and one.

They attribute their success to “being minimalist” and refusing to buy into the idea of keeping up with the Joneses.

“My mum is a Vietnamese refugee from the 1970s and she’s a penny pincher,” Ms Cruz said.

“It’s ingrained in me … I still find it very difficult to spend money.”

But even this frugal couple counted their blessings they were able to buy when they did, Ms Cruz said.

Similar properties in Toongabbie have recently sold for about $600,000. “We’re committed to never having a mortgage again,” she said.

Though in Sydney or Melbourne the thought of a $210,000 mortgage can only be scoffed at – in NSW, the size of the average mortgage jumped tens of thousands of dollars each year during the property boom – the average Australian mortgage is $375,900, a sum that could quickly be paid down with some planning, Finder广州桑拿广州桑拿论坛 spokeswoman Bessie Hassan said.

Those on a 30-year term $300,000 mortgage with a 4.8 per cent rate would save more than $50,000 and cut down their repayment time by close to six years by paying an additional $250 a month.

Changing the frequency of the repayments to fortnightly would result in an extra repayment each year, paying down the loan even faster, and asking for a lower interest rate could prove effective.

Mortgage Choice chief executive John Flavell said it was still possible for borrowers to pay off their mortgage quicker provided they were diligent with their money.

He said they should budget and consider offset accounts and other facilities to reduce interest costs.

“A ‘good’ budget will factor in all of your regular spending habits, showing you how much you spend each month and how much you can save,” Mr Flavell said.

Spending $15 a day for lunch adds up to $75 in a working week. If these funds are redirected to additional payments on a $400,000 mortgage with a 4 per cent interest rate, this can save $77,000 in interest over the life of the loan.