NHRU: Hawks heading in right direction

ON THE BALL: Hamilton forwards Harry Veitch (right) and Tiueti Asi compete for possession during the Hawks’ 40-10 win over Maitland. Picture: Max Mason-HubersHAMILTON coach Scott Coleman stop short of saying the premiers were back but he believes they are headed in the right direction.
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The Hawks overpowered Maitland 40-10 at Marcellin Park on Saturdayto move within five points leaders Wanderers, who were upset 29-10 by Southern Beaches .

The win over the Blacks followed a 45-5 triumph over Southern Beaches, which brought an end to a two game losing streak.

The two losses occurred during the NSW Country program, to which the Hawks supplied five players and Coleman.

“Having the country players back has lifted the intensity in games and training,” Coleman said. “We are certainly playing at a higher tempo and with more composure. We are being patient and not traying to score off every phase.”

The Hawks scored just before halftime to open a 19-10 advantage. From there they took controll.

“Seva Rockoboro and Tiueti Asi were outstanding,” Coleman said. They got us on the front foot and gave the backs time and space to do their thing. Our lineout was also dominant. We won 6 of their throws.”

Southern Beaches coach JohanLourenspraised his forwards they ground out a 29-21 win over leaders Wanderers on Saturday.

Halfback Logan Hemopo scored andconverted a bonus-pointtry after strong build-up from his forwardsin the dyingminutes to put the hosts ahead at Ernie Callan Field.

“The boys dug in today,” Lourens said.

“The forward pack was just incredible today and I couldn’t really single anyone of them out. All eight were brilliant.

“We made a changeto our game for the match and it paid off.

“Wanderers are a very good side and the momentum turned back their way with 15 to go but luckily our boys took control again.”

Two Blues coach Viv Passi said there were no excuses from his side.

“They played really well and deserved the win,” Passi said.

“It was a grinding game, especially from them. They played to their strengths and we just didn’t react to it.”

At Townson Oval, The Waratahs upset Merewether Carlton 25-13.

The Waratahs went ahead 8-3 in the 21stminute with a try in the corner from makeshift fullbackAlistar Ledinghamafter the teams had exchanged penalties.

No.8 James Williams scored off a tight-head scrum win in the 40th minuteto give Merewether a 10-8 halftime lead.The teamstraded penalties early in the second half before the Tahs went ahead with a pick-and-drive try fromAlain Miriallakis.

Elsewhere, Daniel Faafete scored two tries as Lake Macquarie defeated Singleton 46-5,and Nelson Bay downed University 24-15.

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‘That threw me over the edge’: sledge from Kyrgios that hurt Chiller the most

Australian team boss Kitty Chiller wanted Rio authorities to bolster security. Photo: Robert CianfloneKitty Chiller was having breakfast in a cafe in Hobart earlier this year when someone drew her attention to a Twitter post from Nick Kyrgios.
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The 21-year-old tennis star had been jabbing away at her on social media for weeks; the likelihood of the Australian Olympic Committee endorsing his inclusion on the team for the Rio Olympics was diminishing with each insult.

But this latest one, as far as Chiller was concerned, crossed the line.

When one of Kyrgios’ followers pointed out that Chiller had finished 14th in modern pentathlon at the Sydney Olympics, he responded with this: “Haha she came 14th I don’t think that counts as competing in the olypmics [sic]”.

Chiller fired off an email to AOC media boss Mike Tancred.

“I have had it,” she wrote. “Absolutely unacceptable.”

Recalls Chiller: “That threw me over the edge. That cut me to the quick. In retrospect, that was an emotional response with me not being happy with 14th [in Sydney] 16 years ago. I’m sure, if I psychoanalysed it, that’s why it affected me.

“It also brought back – and this really annoys me – the times when people say, ‘Who’s she? What’s she done?’ That’s irrelevant. It’s f—ing irrelevant to what I’ve done in this role. It’s a perception of some people that if you’re not a gold medallist or swimmer or rower or track and field runner, you’re no good. Nobody knows my story.”

Her role is chef de mission – French for “head of mission” – of the Australian team competing in Rio in August but in another life she was an athlete.

Her story from her home country’s Olympics explains why Kyrgios’ flippant tweet wounded her, and also why she’s fixated on every athlete being treated equally in Rio.

Modern pentathlon’s obscurity conceals its brutality; a sport in which athletes compete in fencing, pistol shooting, swimming, show jumping and cross-country running.

Chiller took it on in 1982 hoping to become an Olympian two years later in Los Angeles. Instead, the women’s competition wasn’t admitted until 2000.

She turned 36 on the day of her event and was up against athletes in their mid-20s.

In the 18 months before Sydney, a horse reared back and broke her nose, she had pneumonia, fractured a skull, suffered foot injuries and went through a divorce from a husband who was also her physiotherapist. She was going to walk away from the sport but kept going out of respect for those who had supported her over the past 18 years.

Then, the day before the opening ceremony, she fractured her knee cap in training.

Because she was competing on the final day of competition, she stayed at home in Melbourne and by the time she walked back into the athletes’ village lugging 40 kilograms of gear, the party had well and truly started.

“Everyone was dressed up and suited and going to the closing ceremony,” Chiller recalls. “And I went into my room and just locked myself there … I didn’t feel part of the team. That night, there was a party outside, they took the sofa out [of her accommodation], fridge out, then there was water fight with a fire hydrant. At 2am, I went and slept in the medical personnel room and bunked in there until I had to get up at 4.30am.”

She laboured through the competition with her busted knee and finished 14th.

“Was my Olympic dream to finish 14th?” she asks. “No. I did the best I could. But it showed me that everyone should be treated equally. That the modern pentathlon on the last day is the same as the swimmers in the 4x100m relay on day five. I don’t want it to appear that I am bitter. There is not one ounce of anger in me. It’s just how it was.”

Since her appointment in 2013, she has become the omnipresent face of our Olympic team.

Snap question: who was Australia’s chef de mission at the London Olympics four years ago? If you said the bloke off Masterchef, go to the back of the classroom. If you said champion rower Nick Green, I’d suggest most of you Googled it first.

Chiller has created a new dynamic for a chef de mission. Isn’t it supposed to be about the athletes?

Says Chiller: “In my first pitch to the AOC executive, my mantra has been: ‘You can be chef de mission or you can do chef de mission’. You can be a wheel-in, wheel-out chef de mission. But every job I’ve had, I get involved. I can’t turn up on August 5 and say I’m your leader and do what I say.”

This is why you’ve seen Chiller at media opportunities trying her hand at canoe slalom, playing badminton, fluking three-pointers on the basketball court, and getting two black eyes from boxer Shelley Watts.

She absolutely refutes that she did so seeking attention and profile.

“That’s not why I did it. It was to get to know the athletes so they trusted me. That they knew me. You have to get them to buy into it, so I have to earn their respect and their trust. A lot of athletes I’ve met don’t know I’m an Olympian. But I want to earn their respect from them now before we arrived in Rio.”

She’s certainly not doing it for the money. Her full-time honorary role is worth $56,250 per year, according to the AOC’s 2015 annual report.

In her role in London as deputy chef de mission alongside swimmer Chris Fydler and under Green, she admits she struggled with the hierarchy that existed within the team.

“I was scared of the swimmers,” she says. “I went to the psychologist on day three in London and said, ‘What’s my place here? I’m with two blokes, two gold medallists, both from high-profile sports, what do I have to offer?’ So I felt sorry for myself for half an hour then I made a role and a place for myself.”

Chiller’s critics say she’s made too much of a place for herself in recent months. Social media, she says, was brutal throughout the Kyrgios saga.

“The personal abuse I got was just horrific. I know they’re trolls and I know Mike [Tancred] yells at me, ‘We tell the athletes not to listen to it’. But I had to go off social media for two weeks. I know I shouldn’t let it affect me, but it does. You can’t defend yourself, you can’t bite back. There’s hate mail and threats that Mike has protected me from I’ve only just found out about.”

Now, I’d been forewarned that Chiller is a crier, and that’s okay.

“I always cry,” she admits, with a smile.

But it takes one more question about how tough the Kyrgios-Tomic episode was and the emotion comes pouring out.

“It was awful … It’s not nice. It’s just lonely. It’s just really lonely. Everyone wants to be liked, so it wasn’t easy.”

Those in support of Chiller will say she did the right thing. The Australian campaign in London suffered from stories of Stilnox abuse, drunken incidents involving rowers and a “toxic culture” in swimming. More than anything, it was a team lacking equality.

Chiller decided to stand up to two brats – Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic – when nobody in their own entourage let alone from Tennis Australia had the temerity to do it. Finally, someone said “no”.

“I didn’t actually say no to him [Kyrgios],” she says. “I would rather look at it as standing up for the values of the team and what it means to be an Olympian. There were some people on watch who weren’t doing that.”

On the flipside, though, Chiller could’ve handled it better.

Surely, she should’ve risen above a public slanging match with a 21-year-old. She was on one side of the net firing away forehands from a media conference. Kyrgios was on the other side, using social media to fire back.

Could she not have just reached out and said, “Nick, this is silly. Let’s have a coffee and hug it out”?

“Don’t worry, I’ve beaten myself up about it in my own mind,” she says after a long pause. “The one mistake I made, at the very first AGM, where I put Tomic and Kyrgios in the same sentence … That’s what started the whole thing. That was wrong, I probably shouldn’t have done that.

“But do I regret how it played out … You know what? No. The national federation came out in defence of him. That’s what hurt me the most. They said, ‘He’s improved’. And this is where Shooting Australia stood up [to Michael Diamond, who was earlier this month banned from competing in Rio with police charges hanging over him]. They said, ‘No, we can’t say this athlete has a good standing with the sport’.”

So far, Chiller has talked a big game: on athlete behaviour around alcohol consumption, security in Rio and team performance.

When it comes to team behaviour, she says this: “I have a zero tolerance for disruptive behaviour. There’s no alcohol where competing athletes are residing. Am I going to go out and have a few drinks? Absolutely. I don’t want to send three people home because they’re drunk. If someone gets rolling drunk, and tip-toes down the corridor and goes to sleep, there’s a warning but they won’t be sent home.”

When it comes to team security, she offers this: “I would be stupid going over there assuming nothing will happen to one of our team members. I’m worried about the second week when athletes are going, ‘Let’s go to this nightclub’ and they go one block further back and they have a drink and they don’t have their wits about them.”

And when it comes to team performance, she is serious when she ambitiously says Australia can double its gold-medal haul in London from eight to 16 – but medals aren’t the benchmark.

“If we come back and we’re sixth or seventh and we’ve gone about it in the right way, and we can walk away with our head held high, I think Australia is a very forgiving nation. We would rather be the most respected in the team than the one with the most medals.”

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10 things to remind you of the good in humanity

It has been a tough few days around the world, but don’t lose faith just yet. There are plenty of things out there that will make you smile and restore you faith in humanity.
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Here are a few:

1.The NSW Police made this young boy’s dreams come true.Domenic Pace, who has cystic fibrosis, always wanted to be a superhero. With the helpMake-A-Wish Australia and the police hecarried out a vital rescue mission and saved the city of Sydney from dangerous villains.

2.The #IllRideWithYou hashtag to support Muslim commuters feel safe after the Sydney siege. Itwas startedby Tessa Kum, a TV content editor and writer who lives in Sydney.

Maybe start a hashtag? What’s in #illridewithyou?

— Sir Tessa (@sirtessa) December 15, 2014

3.The FREE HUGS campaign.Juan Mann started the campaign after returning to his hometown of Sydney. Hissole mission was to reach out and hug a stranger to brighten up their lives.

Picture: www.freehugscampaign上海龙凤419/

4.Councils and communities all over Australia are making changes so the state’s most beautiful places can be enjoyed by people with disabilities. Check out thiswheelchair-accessible matting at Williamstown Beach.

BEACH DAY: Brook Quinn tests the wheelchair-accessible matting. Photo: Supplied

5.These unlikely friends will definitely put a smile on your face.Dave Watson from NSWwas driving through a storm when he saw a baby magpie sitting abandonedon the side of the road. He took the little animal home to care for it and the two have been inseparable since. The magpie, named Chook, is even a local celebrity in the town on Dungog.

Dave Watson and Chook the magpie.

..oh and Chook’s best animal friend is a bunny calledBugalugs.

Chook, the magpie, at play with his best mate Bugalugs the rabbit.

6.A New Zealand tattoo artist, Jason Ward, appliesa stick-on tattoo to a woman with Down Syndrome, Suzie, every week.

Picture: Muscle and Ink facebook

7.Remember when dozens of passengers worked together to rock a train carriage back and forth to free a man caught in the gap at a Perth station?! Talk about team work.

8.Sam the koala, and this photograph,became a symbol of hope and resilience amidst the loss and trauma of Australia’s worst bushfires on record -Black Saturday.

This photographSam receiving water from the drink bottle of Country Fire Authority (CFA) firefighter, David Tree was a small piece of hope amidst the flames.

Photo: Russell Vickery

9.The general joy Pokemon GO has brought to a generation of people in Australia is fantastic…not to mention the hilarious photos.

Are you involved in Pokemon GO?

10.This is one from the wide worldof the internet. We don’t know who she is, or where she lives, but who does not love a free rainbow?!

Picture: violettaweird.blogspot上海龙凤419m.au/

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Bathurst police on the hunt for 46-year-old David Casey for assaultng father and discharging firearm

A 46-YEAR-OLD Bathurst man is on the run from police with residents warned he might be armed and dangerous.
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Police are appealing for information on the whereabouts of46-year-oldDavid Caseyafter he allegedly assaulted his father, discharged a firearm and fled in a car near Bathurst on Saturdaynight.

Caseyallegedly entered his parents’home in O’Connellarmed with a revolver about 10.30pm.

He allegedly threatened the pair before assaulting his 79-year-old father, causing serious injuries.

Police said Caseydischarged the revolver into the floor before fleeing in a white Holden Colorado utility with registration plates CDB-43L.

The 79-year-old man was treated by NSW Ambulance Paramedics before being taken to Bathurst Hospital with serious injuries.

A crime scene was established and investigations are continuing.

Officers are appealing for public assistance and are warning the public not to approach the man or the car, as he may be armed with a revolver and a rifle.

David Casey is described as Caucasian in appearance, 185cm to 190cm tall, with a thin build and brown hair.

He was last seen driving a white Holden Colorado utility with registration CDB-43L.

As David Casey may be armed, officers are urging anyone who knows the whereabouts of the man or the utility not to approach, but contact Triple-0immediately.

Police are urging anyone with information in relation to this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page athttps://nsw.crimestoppers上海龙凤419m.au/

Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence. Police areremindingpeople that they should not report crime information via the policeFacebook and Twitter pages.

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Kris Lees plans low-key barrier trial start for Lucia Valentina and La Romain

Front-runner: Damien Oliver rides Lucia Valentina to win The Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick. Photo: bradleyphotos上海龙凤419m.auIt is the time of year when Mondays and Tuesdays get has much focus as Saturday race meetings as the stars of the turf return at barrier trials in preparation for the spring.
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Newcastle trainer Kris Lees will be a focus on Monday as Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Lucia Valentina and Randwick Guineas victor La Romain step out at Wyong.

There will be little fanfare with Newcastle-based hoop Andrew Gibbons to ride Lucia Valentina and Matt Scorse jumping on La Romain.

“There was no need to have one of the big-name boys come up and ride at the first trial,” Lees said. “They aren’t there to do too much and won’t be off the bridle.

“It is about a trip away and getting a grass gallop to have them ready for August 20 at Randwick when they will resume. We just want them to tick over and stay happy.”

Damien Oliver has first refusal on Lucia Valentina but it is unclear whether he will ride her in the Warwick Stakes, which is possibly her only Sydney run of a campaign targeting the Cox Plate.

Christian Reith is likely to keep the ride on La Romain, which is being aimed at the Epsom Handicap.

Meanwhile, Chris Waller will start to roll out his spring team at the Rosehill barrier trials on Tuesday with his entries headed by four-time group 1 winner Preferment, which take on stayers Grand Marshall and Who Shot Thebarman in heat two, and Spring Champion Stakes winner Vanbrugh.

There are several two-year-old heats, which will provide a starting point for the Peter- and Paul Snowden-trained Defcon, Omei Sword from the Waller yard, Reisling Stakes winner French Fern and Crafty Cop.

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Mick Fanning wins at J-Bay in triumphant returnvideo

Back on top: Mick Fanning celebrates victory in South Africa. Photo: WSL/Kirstin Scholtz.Mick Fanning has capped an extraordinary return to the scene of last year’s shark attack, winning the World Surfing League event at Jeffreys Bay, South Africa.
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Fanning fought off what was believed to be a great white shark in the disbanded contest final of 2015, eventually fleeing the water uninjured with fellow Australian Julian Wilson.

On Saturday Fanning beat Hawaiian John John Florence in the final after taking out good friend Wilson in the semi-final.

In variable small swell, which saw the contest drag into its 11th day, Fanning beat Florence 17.70 points to 17.13.

Florence had beaten another Australian, Josh Kerr in the other semi-final.

An almost zen-like calm enveloped Fanning after the decider, the 35 year-old speaking in relaxed tones of his relationship with Wilson.

“He’s just one of those guys that always has your back,” Fanning said of Wilson, who came to his aid when the shark began to circle the three-time world champion.

As for winning in such emotional circumstances, Fanning said he’d made an early call to come back to J-Bay and was always going to stick by it.

“That was always the intention to come back – to right the wrongs of last year,” he said.

“Now we have, we can move on.

“It just feels a lot lighter not going for the world title and not having that pressure on.”

Fanning, on a reduced schedule this year after a difficult 12 months that included the shark attack, death of his brother and break-up of his marriage – overcame even more complications on the eve of the round six event after hurting his ankle while free-surfing.

Despite the win, he confirmed he would only surf one more event this season.

“I’ve already said I’ll go to Trestles (California) and that will be my last event of the year,” he said.

“World titles aren’t the biggest thing for me any more.”

Fanning, who went from 16th to fifth in the world rankings with the victory, was watched from the shore by his mother, Elizabeth Osborne.

Australian Matt Wilkinson still leads the men’s standings after six events.

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‘Racist redhead redneck’: Pauline Hanson cops spray in Cairns

Pauline Hanson has garnered significant Senate support in NSW, especially in the closest Coalition-held seats in outer-suburban, provincial and rural areas. Pauline Hanson was labelled a ‘racist redneck’ by an Indigenous leader when she attended an art fair in Cairns. Photo: Tertius Pickard
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Pauline Hanson has attempted to extend an olive branch to the Aboriginal community after Indigenous leader and land rights activist Murrandoo Yanner labelled her a “racist redneck” at an event in far north Queensland.

Tensions rose after the incoming Queensland senator arrived unannounced with a 60 Minutes film crew at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair on Saturday.

“You picked on Aboriginal people, now you are kicking the Muslims around,” Mr Yanner yelled as Ms Hanson walked down a flight of stairs about 2.30pm.

“You are just a racist redneck with your red hair. Go away, go back to Ipswich and your fish and chip shop.

“You’re a disgraceful, you are a woman lacking moral fibre, you are intellectually dishonest and you are not welcome here.”

A large group of people watching broke into applause, with some cheering and whistling.

The incident was filmed and posted on Facebook where it quickly went viral. By 11am on Sunday, it had been watched almost 100,000 times, shared more than 14,000 times and liked more than 22,000 times.

Ms Hanson responded with her own video on Sunday, posted on her Facebook page Pauline Hanson’s Please Explain.

She said she had received “great support” from the Indigenous community at the art fair but was “really ashamed to see what happened with Murrandoo Yanner … and his abuse of me”.

“This man stands for a lot of issues that I stand for as well. He doesn’t like politicians; well, either [sic] do I because I don’t trust them and we need to work together on that,” Ms Hanson said.

“Let’s bring accountability. He doesn’t like the violence and alcoholism in Aboriginal communities – another one of my issues that I spoke out against and I got called racist. The fact is we have to work together.

“Murrandoo, please, let’s work together on these issues that are important to me; important to the Aboriginal people. I think the perception about me was wrong and I’m here to support the Aboriginal community and Torres Strait Islanders. I’m your representative.”

A spokeswoman for the art fair, who saw the incident unfold, said she was surprised the One Nation party leader didn’t stop to engage with Mr Yanner at the time.

“She made no attempt to respond to him. Most other politicians would have,” she said.

Ms Hanson then walked around the fair ground, stopping to talk with people and hold a baby in front of the cameras.

The tension remained high, with some patrons asking what she was doing at the Indigenous event, the spokeswoman said.

“It was a tense feeling in the crowd. They were certainly on their toes,” she said.

The spokeswoman said the 60 Minutes crew had not sought accreditation before arriving to film at the event, causing concern for organisers.

Social media users also questioned why the crew was there. My question is for the proven inept #60Minutes crew on why they thought Pauline Hanson at #FirstNation art fair, ok https://t上海龙凤419/viocBvKvd4— Paul Dutton (@pauldutton1968) July 17, 2016Why did Pauline Hanson even turn up to that Indigenous art fair? Beyond to cause trouble/get attention. Murrandoo Yanner is bang on.— Elxn-Winning Machine (@misskylie77) July 16, 2016Why ? Oh, wait. Staging Racism. – Hanson turned up with a @Channel9 crew at the Cairns Indigenous Arts Fair. https://t上海龙凤419/QlGbe3vWZa— Dameyon Bonson (@DameyonBonson) July 16, 2016

The spokeswoman said all members of the public were welcome at the fair, however, media were required to get clearance first.

Ms Hanson has made a political comeback after being elected to the senate in the July 2 federal election.

She used her maiden speech when elected to the House of Representatives in 1996 to criticise Aboriginal land rights, welfare and reconciliation.

More recently, she called for a ban on Muslim immigration to Australia after the Orlando nightclub shooting in America last month.

Ms Hanson has declined to comment on the incident.

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David Vandyke eyes Golden Rose and Flight Stakes with Yankee Rose

Winning form: Zac Purton rides Yankee Rose to win The Inglis Sires’ at Randwick. Photo: bradleyphotos上海龙凤419m.auDavid Vandyke has never been afraid to break the mould when training Sires Produce Stakes winner Yankee Rose, but heading into the spring he is not locked into certain races on certain days.
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Yankee Rose is back in work in Vandyke’s new stable at Caloundra and he is shaping a program for her that includes the Golden Rose, for which is she is second favourite at $7, but focused on the Flight Stakes at Randwick on the October long weekend.

“She had about five weeks in the paddock and is holding her condition a bit better than she did previously and she is bit more mature,” Vandyke said. “It is a matter of how she comes to hand with what we do.

“We will trial her in two weeks on August 2 up here and then again two weeks after that and makes a decision where we start.

“The Golden Rose first-up is an option, as you know we have done that before, but The Run To The Rose could fit into a program if she is ready but we will let her show us that.

“My group 1 focus is the Flight Stakes against her own age and sex to get that Randwick mile she missed out on in the Champagne Stakes.

“She loves Randwick and it looks a great race for her but we are not as structured as we were in the autumn.”

Vandyke almost pulled off a coup in the Golden Slipper, when Yankee Rose first-up beat all but Capitalist, before she was too good in the Sires at The Championships. A hoof problem saw her miss the final leg of the two-year-old triple crown the Champagne Stakes.

“In the autumn we knew what we had to do, whereas this time we have a few more options. She could go to Melbourne but I would prefer to keep her preparation shorter and if she could win the Flight Stakes that could tick off another goal,” Vandyke said.

“I’m happy with her, so it is letting things unfold from now on. We have a very good filly and it is just a case of getting it right with her.”

Capitalist, which won his first trial back at Randwick on Friday, is the $5 Golden Rose favourite at TAB and in coming weeks the rising three-year-old we be rolled out at the barrier trials. Godolphin’s Astern and Telperion, fourth in the Golden Slipper and the Sires runner-up, are next in betting at $11.

Vandyke will look to have a couple of travelling partners to come to Sydney with Yankee Rose, but is waiting to see when handy stayers Maurua, Sir John Hawkwood and Astronomos return.

“They have gone down to spell at Waratah Thoroughbreds farm and a decision has yet to be made about where they’ll go in the spring,” Vandyke said.

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Newcastle Hunters veteran Adam Melmeth farewell home fans with dream three-pointer

Adam MelmethRETIRING Newcastle Hunters hero Adam Melmeth spent last week visualising all the possible ways his last Waratah Basketball League game at Broadmeadow would play out.
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Not once, he said, did he imagine he would knock down a three-pointer with the last shot of the game, but that is exactly how Melmeth’s final home appearance went down on Saturday night.

Melmeth’s bomb from in front of his bench iced a 96-70 victory over arch rivals Maitland Mustangs to secure second spot and qualification for a semi-final at Terrigal on August 13.

The 38-year-old guard, who epitomises the Hunters’ “heart and hustle” mantra, was swamped by teammates, family members and friends after the game, and he and captain Josh Morgan were presented with the Kibble Mallon Cup by Newcastle basketball icon Denis Kibble.

The Hunters’ sixth straight win improved their record to 14-5, and they will finish second regardless of the result of their last game of the regular season against Sutherland at Sutherland on Saturday.

Illawarra ended Newcastle’s 14-game winning streak with a 76-69 victory in Sunday’swomen’s game in Wollongong.Shannon Novosel led the Hunters with 22 points and 15 rebounds and Sophie Kleeman and Susi Walmsley had 13 points each.

In Saturday’smen’s game,Melmeth had extra reason to celebrate when Mayfield East Public School, where he is a teacher, claimed $5000 worth of sporting equipment by winning the Pivotal Cup skills tournament against teams from Hillsborough Public School and St Therese’s New Lambton.

“I couldn’t have asked for more. It’s been a great night all round,” said Melmeth, who will retire at the end of the season after 26 years in Hunters green.“When I was young I couldn’t wait to come into the change-rooms and experience everything that comes with playing for Newcastle, and this was a great way to finish.”

The former Hunter Pirates dynamo finished with seven points, four rebounds and one steal.Justynn Hammond (34 points, eight rebounds, three assists, three steals) and Russell Hinder (15 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, one steal) led the way for the Hunters.

Jacob Rauch (13 points, five rebounds) and Steve Davis (11 points) provided support off the bench, and Mitch Rueter led the Mustangs (6-11) with 21 points, six rebounds and two assists.

“It was great to see Mellymake that shot at the end, and great for the crowd that came out to support us,”Newcastle coach Larry Davidson said.

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Royle 11th in wild finish to Rio warm-up

Aaron Royle at the World Triathlon Series race on the Gold Coast in April. Picture: Getty ImagesNewcastle trathleteAaron Royle has finished 11thin his final race hitout before the Olympic Games.
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Royle trailed countrymenJake Birtwhistle (second) and Olympics teammate Ryan Ballie (fifth) in the World Triathlon Series sprint race in Hamburg on Saturday.

Royle and Bailie are both focusing on Rio and were coming off a period of hard training.

Birtwhistle, last year’s International Triathlon Union under-23 world champion, was elevated to silver in Germany after a weird and wild finish to the race.

The 21-year-old produced the race of his life then watched his name shuffle from third to fourth and back to third before finally he claimedthe second placing.

Birtwhistle surged into third on the finish line, behind Spain’s WTS leader Mario Mola and angry South African Richard Murray, who had served a 10-second penalty for placing his wetsuit in the wrong gear box.

The Tasmanian produced a fist pump as he crossed the line, butSpain’s Fernando Alarza flashed home on his outside and the electronic scoreboard was quick to lodge Alarza as third before a photo finish confirmed Birtwhistle officially third.

But the podium was far from settled. Murray, who stopped to serve the penalty before the finish shoot, remonstratedwith the ITU technical official, shouting: “What for? What for?”

He then resumed his raging run to the line, making gestures as he went.He was still upset anddemanding answers from officials after crossing the line, and theydisqualified him for “unsportsmanlike behaviour”.

In the end, Birtwhistle was awarded his best podium finish and Australia’s best male performance in a WTS race since Brad Kahlefeldt won Hamburg in 2011.

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