Independent senator John Madigan has suggested that HECS debts should be frozen for five years for primary caregivers. Photo: Alex EllinghausenA key crossbench senator has raised a five-year freeze on student debts for mothers who have graduated from university as a bargaining chip in negotiations over the government’s proposed higher education changes.
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Education Minister Christopher Pyne is continuing to negotiate with the Senate crossbenchers in the hope of striking a deal on his reform package, which includes allowing universities to charge as much as they want for a degree.

A Fairfax Media Ipsos poll, conducted between Thursday and Saturday last week, found 64 per cent of voters oppose deregulating university fees.

Independent Victorian Senator John Madigan, whose vote on the reforms could be crucial, said: “I’m concerned about the effects of higher HECS debts on women who graduate and have children.

“I’ve suggested that HECS debts should be frozen for five years for primary caregivers. Debts continuing to accrue interest while people are out of the workforce will have a nobbling effect on families with young children.”

Mr Madigan welcomed signals from Mr Pyne that he will abandon plans to peg student debts to the long-term government bond rate, rather than inflation, but said the government should go further.

Independent South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon praised Mr Madigan’s proposal as the type of “lateral thinking” that will be needed to strike a deal on university reform.

Senators Madigan and Xenophon told Fairfax Media they have serious concerns about fee deregulation but intense lobbying from the university sector has convinced them the current funding system is unsustainable. With Labor and the Greens opposed to fee deregulation, the government will need the support of six of the eight Senate crossbenchers to pass its reforms.

“Universities have been hit by funding cuts from both sides. They are starved of cash and need to be more viable,” Senator Xenophon said.

“I can see why they want fee deregulation but I am wary of unintended consequences.

“I don’t want to see the Americanisation of our universities where people are reluctant to take on lots of debt.”

Asked about negotiations with Mr Pyne, Senator Xenophon said: “He is as frustrating and enigmatic as he was when I lectured him at the University of South Australia 25 years ago.”

Senator Xenophon said the government had gone about reform in an “awful” way by announcing a complicated set of reforms in the May budget.

Senator Madigan said: “I’m very reticent on fee deregulation at this point of time. I don’t want to see families saddled with debts that will be higher than Ayers Rock to climb over.

“What the government is putting forward I wouldn’t accept – there would need to be a lot more safeguards put in place for me to consider supporting it.”

Mr Madigan, from Ballarat, said he was particularly concerned about the impact of the government’s policies on regional universities.

But he acknowledged that “no legislation is perfect” and he is open to a package that “ticks most of the boxes”.

“There is no doubt that something has to be done but it has to be done in a considered manner,” he said.

A spokesman for Mr Pyne said the package “represents essential reform that will expand opportunity for students and ensure our universities are sustainable and competitive internationally into the future.

As the Government has indicated on many occasions, this will inevitably involve negotiations with the cross benches as the Coalition does not have a majority in the Senate.”

Mr Pyne said on the weekend he was prepared to negotiate into the new year to strike a deal on higher education reform.

“Timelines can always be shifted and I’m not going to be hidebound by timing schedules,” Mr Pyne said. “What I want is an outcome for students and universities. That is a more important result than [meeting] timelines and schedules.”

Clive Palmer and Palmer United Party Senator Jacqui Lambie have said the party will oppose fee deregulation. But previous PUP backflips on climate policy, financial planning laws and the mining tax have fuelled government hopes that the party could do a deal on higher education.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Senator Xenophon lectured Mr Pyne at the University of Adelaide 25 years ago. The lectures were in fact at what is now known as the University of South Australia.

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Hello again: Prince Edward leaves the Prince Edward Yacht Club in Point Piper, Sydney, on Monday afternoon after a luncheon. Photo: DIMEX
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Hello again: Prince Edward leaves the Prince Edward Yacht Club in Point Piper, Sydney, on Monday afternoon after a luncheon. Photo: DIMEX

Hello again: Prince Edward leaves the Prince Edward Yacht Club in Point Piper, Sydney, on Monday afternoon after a luncheon. Photo: DIMEX

He might not have the star clout of his nephew the Duke of Cambridge and his glamorous wife, Catherine, but His Royal Highness Prince Edward’s arrival in Sydney marks the beginning of a five-day tour during which  he will meet more than 1000 young people and 1200 volunteers  throughout the country.

The Earl of Wessex is in NSW to commemorate more than 50 years of the Duke of Edinburgh Award in Australia. Flying the flag for his 93-year-old father, Prince Philip, the earl met Premier Mike Baird on Monday, after visiting the Prince Edward Yacht Club at Point Piper. An afternoon reception at Parliament House was also attended by  Minister for Sport and Recreation Stuart Ayres.

On Tuesday, he will visit the Art Gallery of NSW before meeting Duke of Edinburgh Award participants from eight inner west schools at Ashfield Boys High School. About 22,000 young Australians are enrolled on the scheme, the largest youth development program in the world.

A trivia event at the Powerhouse Museum rounds off the Sydney leg of the prince’s tour, which takes him on to Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth.

The Queen’s youngest child is not accompanied on the trip, the second by the British royal household to Australia this year, by his wife Sophie the Countess of Wessex, or their children, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.

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Wizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all RacingFull coverage: Melbourne Cup 2014Melbourne Cup sweep
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Bookmakers across the country have vowed to take on Admire Rakti as punters rallied behind the Japanese star, which could still relinquish Melbourne Cup favouritism to Lloyd Williams’ Fawkner.

Tomoyuki Umeda’s Caulfield Cup hero brought to life an otherwise pedestrian call of the card at the traditional Cup eve bash on Monday after $6.50 was bet about the top pick.

Most odds-makers are expecting him to be a similar quote by jump time, while support for Cox Plate runner-up Fawkner is gathering momentum.

This year’s Melbourne Cup appears to be one of the most open in recent memory.

“Admire Rakti is our worst result, but there has been a massive move for Fawkner in the last 24 hours and the money is coming from the right places,” Ladbrokes’ Paul Di Cioccio said. “Fawkner is still $8, but if the money keeps coming he could be favourite.”

The Fawkner following had one big-time supporter at the call of the card, Sean Bartholomew knocking back a wager to win $1 million on the Australian-bred grey.

Bartholomew eventually accepted a smaller investment to win $250,000 at odds of $9.

While there was money for Willing Foe, suggesting some believe Godolphin can break its Cup curse, punters patiently waited for Admire Rakti to be the last of the 24 runners shopped.

Mark Sampieri was knocked off his stand after offering luxurious odds before he passed the baton to Warren Woodcock, who also could not keep pace writing tickets.

Robbie Waterhouse was next to hold the call, accepting the largest single bet of the day when one punter had $50,000 on Admire Rakti at $6.

Quizzed on whether he thought Admire Rakti would be so well backed, Waterhouse said: “No, I didn’t actually. I’m happy to bet against him and I was surprised he was so well supported.

“The other surprising thing about the call is it was nearly all cash. I would think [Admire Rakti’s] price will still be around $6 on race day.”

It is a similar quote to what other online bookmakers are prepared to offer, BetEasy’s Matt Tripp suggesting they will band together to take on Admire Rakti.

BetEasy took a wager of $40,000 on the seven-year-old, which is attempting to set a modern day weight-carrying record in the Cup and also become the first horse to complete the Caulfield-Melbourne cups double since 2001.

“I think I will bet around the $6 or $6.50 mark [until jump time] and I reckon the bookmakers will all want to take him on,” Tripp said. “I think the money will come for Fawkner and Signoff and there’s been good money for Protectionist so far.”

Sportingbet’s Andrew Brown said despite continued interest in Admire Rakti he would not be surprised if one of several horses started favourite by jump time.

“It will just depend which one the money comes for,” he said. “At the moment our losers are Fawkner, Admire Rakti, Lucia Valentina and Signoff, but it’s that sort of race.”

Added Glenn Munsie of Tab南京夜网.au: “For us overall Admire Rakti is a million-dollar loser, especially after the Caulfield Cup. The doubles are just killing us. There have been a couple of good pushes in the last couple of days, particularly Who Shot Thebarman and Fawkner.”

There were few other fireworks inside the Crown Palladium for the call of the card.

Tom Waterhouse snapped up the $31 about Willing Foe, asking bookmaker Anthony Doughty to risk a $500,000 payout. Doughty eventually stood to part with $250,000 to Waterhouse.

The best-supported outsider was Seismos, one wager a $2000 by $1500 each-way bet on Marco Botti’s import at $101. A couple of $1000 each-way bets were also taken before his price was wound into $81.

There were nibbles for some of Chris Waller’s long shots, including a single bet to win $151,000 on Opinion ($71) and another to win $100,000 on Who Shot Thebarman.

Darren Weir’s Lexus Stakes winner Signoff was friendless at $7.

The ultimate racing guide with the latest information on fields, form, tips, market fluctuations and odds, available on mobile, tablet and desktop.

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Stay away: Michelle Marks with Lara, her 11-year-old pet Stimson’s python, a native to Western Australia, but she warns people to stay away from snakes in the wild.WITH a Laverton man dead and another five people hospitalised due to snakebites, a Merredin reptile expert has warned residents to take care.
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Michelle Marks is chief executive officer of Western Reptile Rescue, a non-profit organisation dedicated to care and protection of Australia’s native reptiles.

She has 10 years experience working with all reptile species, including snakes and crocodiles.

“As the activity levels of reptiles rise with the warmer weather, it also means that there is a growing chance of encounters with snakes,” Ms Marks said.

“This does not mean we have to switch our brains to high alert and live in fear of them, but to simply be aware of their existence, appreciate their place in our environment and to utilise tips on avoiding negative encounters with potentially dangerous snakes.”

Ms Marks’ tips for avoiding snakes are:

At home:

Keep your grass short and gardens weeded. Snakes do not like to be in the open and will seek the cover of long grass. Keeping grass short and gardens weeded lessens the appeal for a snake.Get rid of rubbish. Rubbish may provide a snake with shelter so removing it reduces the chance of a resident snake.Keep potential food sources away. Rodents, birds and frogs can attract snakes as they provide prey opportunities.Keep your home and garden rodent free and bird aviaries and chicken coops as far from the house as possible.Wear gloves. It is important to wear protective gloves when gardening or removing rubbish and firewood. They will reduce the chance of skin being penetrated if a snake does strike.In the outdoors:

Wear protective clothing. When hiking, camping and bushwalking wear ankle-high boots, thick socks and long pants. Australian snakes have relatively short fangs less likely to penetrate skin through thick clothing.Keep bedding stored away. When not in use, fold up your camp bedding and keep it off the ground. Shake it before use.Awareness:

Give snakes a wide berth. If you see one, do not catch it, attempt to kill it or scare it away. Simply give it plenty of space and it will move away.Teach children. Children are less likely to be bitten if they are educated in snake safety. You do not have to teach them to be afraid of snakes, just teach them to never touch or pick up a snake.First aid. Become familiar with snake bite first aid. Snakes rarely bite or attack unprovoked and it is critically important to never attempt to catch or kill a snake. Not only is it illegal to do so, but it severely increases the risk of snake bite. Around 80 per cent of snake bites in Australia are a result of the victim attempting to catch or kill the snake.If a snake is sighted in your home or business, call a licensed snake removalist who is trained and equipped to capture and relocate the snake safely.

Western Reptile Rescue provides snake relocation as a community service and is based in Merredin.

This service is free however the organisation relies on community donations to survive.

For snake removal phone 0423 322 584 or for information email [email protected]

Wish you were here: Racegoers are likely to want to post pictures online for all to see. Photo: Graham Tidy Oversharing: Racegoers will be hungrier for data than ever before, but will the networks cope? Photo: Vince Caliguri
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Wizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all RacingFull coverage: Melbourne Cup 2014Melbourne Cup sweep

Mobile phone carriers are promising plenty of capacity for racegoers at Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup despite an expected 100,000 punters being hungrier for data than ever.

Telstra, Optus and Vodafone have all beefed up their networks at the event, with Telstra expecting more than five per cent of its total traffic for the day to occur in the 15 minutes immediately after the race at 3pm.

Australia’s largest carrier, Telstra, has “more than doubled” its 4G capacity at the venue, a spokesperson said.

It was expecting about 250,000 voice calls and 80,000 text messages at the track on race day, with traffic about 2.5 times higher than at last year’s event.

“We’ve basically put up enough to run a small city out of Flemington,” the spokesperson said.

“For the technically minded, this includes 21 3G cells, with 90 carriers or channels, and 17 4G cells, including a mix of larger sites microcells and in-building distributed antenna systems.”

Optus has also expanded capacity on its 3G and 4G networks in and around Flemington.

The telco was also tweaking its services to prioritise voice and SMS services, a spokeswoman said.

Vodafone, meanwhile, has switched on in-building infrastructure for the first time, to cope with higher network demand.

This is in addition to rolling in a mobile base station on the back of a truck – dubbed “COW” (Cell On Wheels) – to provide “comparable” 3G and 4G coverage to that being offered by Telstra at the event, a spokesperson said.

It should be business as usual for customers on race day even with a surge of usage, as similar infrastructure at previous major events like the AFL grand final had “gone off without a hitch”, the Vodafone spokeswoman said.

But Victorian Racing Club spokesman Marcus Williams said part of the reason mobile carriers were better coping with customer demand was the free Wi-Fi service the venue introduced last year.

Before that, telcos “didn’t seem to be keeping up” with racegoers’ demands for data, “probably due to the steep rise in use of data for social media and the internet”, Mr Williams said.

“Certainly the Wi-Fi has taken a bit of a load off. Just making calls and texts became difficult, so having the Wi-Fi for internet has relieved some of the burden.

“Last year we found improvements and this year the phone networks are working better for calls and messages.”

The Wi-Fi service, delivered by IBM and Cisco, is available in all indoor areas at the venue, including the three grandstands and the Breezeway.

Two outdoor areas – the betting ring and the Flemington railway platform – will also have Wi-Fi access, but parts of the front lawns and carparks won’t be covered.

Telstra, Optus and Vodafone said they hadn’t received any negative feedback from customers attending Derby Day at Flemington on Saturday, which attracted 90,244 racegoers.

The telcos continually monitor network demands during the racing carnival so they can increase capacity further if needed.

The ultimate racing guide with the latest information on fields, form, tips, market fluctuations and odds, available on mobile, tablet and desktop.

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The absence of the main protagonists in the last Australia Test series win in South Africa this year, Michael Clarke and Dale Steyn, from the teams’ imminent Twenty20 series will not guarantee a resumption of warm relations, Shane Watson predicts.
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Since the completion of that series in March all-rounder Watson has barely played for Australia, because of injury. While he has been training with the Australian Twenty20 squad in Adelaide since the weekend much of his evenings have been spent watching his usual Test teammates being pummelled in Abu Dhabi, a dual-team scenario he said “feels quite wrong, to be honest”.

“I’ve never experienced anything like this previously … to be able to be here with an Australian squad but still, on TV, watching the other Australian team plying its trade over in the UAE just seems very bizarre,” he said on Monday, before the start of Australia’s home international summer on Wednesday night at Adelaide Oval.

“Knowing there’s only a day or so between when the match finishes and we start here is interesting scheduling – but that’s the way the international schedule is now. Things are very jam-packed.”

Watson, 33, reckoned the result against Pakistan in the two-Test series could be an important lesson for the Australian team.

“After everything that we’ve done over the past 18 months to build it up [it is important to remember] things are never meant to go perfectly well,” he said.

“We had an incredible run in the Ashes here last summer and then South Africa as well … things pop up at times to give you a reality check when you need it. From afar, it certainly looks like it’s been a really big reality check for everyone.

“We’ve always grown out of situations that haven’t been ideal for us and we’ll certainly do that again.”

None of the Australian players in the UAE will return in time for Wednesday’s series opener, nor are they scheduled to play in any of the three matches. South Africa has chosen to rest arguably its six best players for the series – Steyn, captain Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander – for the subsequent one-day series and also its looming home summer. JP Duminy will be the Proteas’ acting T20 captain for the series.

Watson predicted there would be lingering animosity from the Test series, after which South Africa’s players were so aggrieved only Robin Peterson visited the Australian rooms to congratulate the visitors on their victory.

“The relations were a bit rocky, there’s no doubt. It was very hard-fought cricket from both sides,” he said of the three-Test series, which Australia unexpectedly won. “There’ll certainly be a lot of competition on the field, no question … and maybe a few scars floating around from that Test tour.

“South Africa don’t have a few of their really big Twenty20 stars but we’re missing a few of ours as well … but it’ll be a high-quality game of cricket, there’s no doubt.”

Wicketkeeper Ben Dunk will make his debut for Australia and batsman Nathan Reardon is also in contention to achieve that honour. For the Proteas Rilee Rossouw has only played one-dayers and Kagiso Rabada and Reeza Hendricks are yet to play in any format.

Watson, who was ruled out by selectors for the entire limited-overs and Test series against Pakistan because he was not able to bowl, returned to domestic cricket at the end of the recent Matador Cup. He said he was “the most [physically] well-prepared I have been for a long time” for a home summer.

“I’m very excited to be back playing again. It’s been my biggest break for a long time so I’m just very excited to be able to get back out there,” he said.

“It’s been five months of gradually building things up, with a few setbacks along the way.

“The past couple of weeks have come together really well, with getting back into playing and building up my bowling workloads as well.”

Watson said he was eager to return to Australia’s Test team, irrespective of where there was a vacancy in the batting line-up.

“Wherever Darren [Lehmann, coach] and Michael [Clarke, captain] want to me bat I just want an opportunity to be able to play again,” he said. “Hopefully I can score enough runs over the next month to give myself enough opportunity to be in the team.”

Watson also said he would be pleased to play alongside fellow all-rounder Mitch Marsh, whose batting has looked well suited to Tests.

SQUADS AUSTRALIA: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Doug Bollinger, Cameron Boyce, Pat Cummins, Ben Cutting, Ben Dunk, James Faulkner, Nic Maddinson, Nathan Reardon, Kane Richardson, Shane Watson, Cameron White.SOUTH AFRICA: JP Duminy (c), Kyle Abbott, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, Marchant de Lange, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, David Wiese.

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The AFL’s media strategy will undergo a facelift with the impending departure of the league’s most senior communications adviser, James Tonkin.
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The replacement for Tonkin, who has massaged the AFL’s message for the past three years, is expected to come from a soon-to-be launched nationwide search. His resignation comes as Gillon McLachlan sets about restructuring his corporate affairs department, in one of a series of gradual changes at the game’s head office.

Fairfax Media understands McLachlan is looking at reshaping the all-important game development portfolio, removing a significant portion to the AFL’s football operation headed by Mark Evans.

Grant Williams, who was seconded from the top job at AFL Victoria when McLachlan replaced Andrew Demetriou, was placed in a newly created senior role overlooking state leagues and lower-tier competitions across the country. He is expected to carry out that role with Evans under the football umbrella.

Until now, the entire game development portfolio has been overseen by Dorothy Hisgrove, the AFL executive in charge of customer, community and people. Hisgrove will still oversee a significant chunk of game development including indigenous and junior programs such as Auskick. She is also expected to oversee the AFL’s media team, adding corporate affairs to her portfolio.

While McLachlan is yet to unveil his predicted administrative restructure, the AFL’s austerity campaign has seen the departure of three-time Brisbane premiership player Chris Johnson.

The one-time Fitzroy defender had been the league’s diversity talent manager, helping remove the obstacles for young indigenous footballers in their bid to transition from junior grades to the TAC competition, state football and through to the AFL draft.

With the league choosing not to replace national indigenous manager Xavier Clarke earlier this year after his move into coaching, an AFL reshuffle of the game’s multicultural area looks imminent.

To date the only change to McLachlan’s executive has been the appointment of former Gold Coast boss Travis Auld to a newly created role dealing with stadiums and club relations. The prevailing view is that McLachlan’s 10-member executive team will be streamlined.

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Alex Burkard in action against the Sydney Blue Sox. Photo: SMP ImagesIt took two games of the new Australian Baseball League season for reigning champion Perth to find its stride.
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But when it did, it was awesome to watch.

After losing 4-9 to the Sydney Blue Sox on Friday night and 3-7 in the first game of Saturday’s double-header, the Heat kicked into gear.

It leveled the series 2-2 with a 5-0 shutout on Saturday night and then a blistering 20-9 victory on Sunday.

The strength of the Heat’s defence was at full force in game 4 as Tim Kennelly enjoyed five hits and batted in four runs, while Luke Hughes batted in five runs from his three hits and .

Jordan McDonald, the 22-year-old Perth boy returning home from a stint at college in the US, was the surprise packet though.

He batted at an impressive average of 0.553 for the opening series to lead all Heat hitters over the weekend. McDonald batted in two runs in each of Friday and Saturday’s losses and then another in Sunday’s slugfest.

He enjoyed eight hits from his 15 at bats over the four games.

The Blue Sox threatened to claim the series on Sunday, after taking a 5-0 lead at the top of the second innings courtesy of a Tyler Bortnick grand slam off Tom Bailey. Baily didn’t make it to the mound for the third inning.

However, Matt Kennelly and McDonald both also hit home runs for Perth in the second inning to keep the hosts in the contest. The contest that was blown apart by the champs when they piled on 12 runs between the sixth and seventh innings.

Alex Burkard, backing up from two innings pitched on Friday night, picked up the win on Sunday for the Heat after the Blue Sox failed to score from him in four innings pitched.

It wasn’t the greatest weekend for Perth’s starting pitchers though.

Shawn Sanford pitched for 4.0 innings on Friday night, giving up eight runs; Cameron Lamb had six runs scored off him in the the two innings to start the first game on Saturday; and Baily gave up six runs in 2.1 innings on Sunday.

Sanford also took to the mound in Sunday’s win and had another three runs scored from his 1.2 innings pitched.

In Saturday’s second game, Brian Baker gave up just two hits and no runs in the first three innings before being replaced on the mound by Scott Mitchinson, who picked up the win with 22 strikes from 30 pitches thrown.

Perth heads to Adelaide this week to tackle the Bite, which lost the last two games of its away series to the Brisbane Bandits, but still tied 2-2 over the season’s opening round.  Follow WAtoday on Twitter

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Competing at the Triathlon Australia National Duathlon Championships in Adelaide on October 19, two Sheldon Triathlon Club athletes were crowned national champions.
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Sheldon College year 11 student Joanne Miller dominated the field to win the National 16 to 19 Years Championship, while elite triathlete Annelise Jefferies claimed the Elite Under 23 Oceania Championship, in so doing clinching second place in the Elite Oceania Open Age Women’s category.

Both athletes are trained by internationally renowned coach Chris Lang at the Triathlon Australia State Performance Centre based at Sheldon College.

The Sheldon Triathlon Club caters for Sheldon College students through the only Triathlon Australia School of Excellence program in the country.

The club also caters for elite adult triathletes and for community age-group triathletes wishing to access first class coaching.

Anyone interested in joining the Sheldon Triathlon Club is encouraged to email [email protected]南京夜网.

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Tigers player Greg Moller clebrfates scoring 200 in the First grade match against Sangate/Redcliffe at the weekend. It has been a big week in the media for Redlands Cricket. With Ryan LeLoux and Marnus Labuschagne being selected to play in the Queensland Bulls Sheffield team to play against South Australia, the club received widespread coverage, along with Courier Mail and Redland City Bulletin articles on our UK import Adam Ball and other features.
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Add some further mentions on Fox Sports and everyone wants to know about Redlands.

Redlands’ 1st grade wicketkeeper James Peirson played in the Cricket Australia XI match against South Africa in Canberra on Sunday.

To add to the limelight, in the latest two-day games against Sandgate/Redcliffe, where all Redlands teams batted on day one, Redlands batsmen enjoyed their time at the crease.

1st grade players Greg Moller 233 not out and Sam Heazlett 110, put on a 257-run partnership. Greg and Sam batted the house down in hot and windy conditions at Sandgate and those who witnessed their batting display spoke highly of their achievements.

The Redlands showtime continued at Wellington Point with 2nd grade player Liam Hope-Shackley hitting a superb 124 not out, which included 16 off the first over with the second new ball.

The remaining grades were also among the runs on day one, particularly the 6th grade number 1 team who put on 8/344, with Ben Dwyer and Ethan MacNamara top scoring with 66 runs each.

Tigers player Greg Moller clebrfates scoring 200 in the First grade match against Sangate/Redcliffe at the weekend.

Then young gun Liam Smith scored a century in the Under 17 Taverners game on Sunday against Ipswich/Logan. Congratulations to Liam and team mate Zach Addison, who have been selected in the Under 17 Metro teams to play next Sunday in games against North Queensland and South Queensland.

The club’s new net complex will be officially opened on Saturday, November 8 at 10am.

Each weekend three grade teams play at the club’s grounds at Birkdale Road, Wellington. Spectators are welcome and full canteen facilities are available.

Scores from the latest round:

1st grade: Redlands 2/421 (G Moller 233*, S Hazlett 110, S Moss 66) vs Sandgate/Redcliffe 0/19.

2nd grade: Redlands 370 (L Hope-Shackley 124*, M Miers 60, C French 59, L Kelly 47) vs Sandgate/Redcliffe.

3rd grade: Redlands 141 (P Bonney 38, M Drennan 34) vs Sandgate/Redcliffe 2/79.

4th grade: Redlands 9/289 (K Stuart 61, B Lavender 58, B Weeks 43, D Grey 39) vs Sandgate/Redcliffe.

5th grade: Redlands 2/81 vs Sandgate/Redcliffe 119 (B James 3/26, A Ward 3/30, J Richards 3/24).

6th grade (1): Redlands 8/344 dec (B Dwyer 66, E MacNamara 66, S Butters 53, M Dwyer 51,D Cassell 39) vs Sandgate/Redcliffe 0/6.

6th grade (2): Redlands 158 (M Davis 53, J Lau 44) vs Uni 1/34.

Taverners: Redlands 5/165 (L Smith 100) vs Ipswich/Logan.

Shane Watson Cup: Redlands 10/192 def Wynnum 9/158.

Ray Weier Cup: Redlands 5/303 def Wynnum 4/296.

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MILDURA’S face of racing, Gemma Lehmann, is excited to be the official ambassador on the biggest day of racing at the Sandilong track.
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Ambassador: Gemma Lehmann relaxes this week ahead of her role as the face of racing at today’s Mildura Melbourne Cup Day meeting at Sandilong Park. Picture: John Anderson

Gemma, 18, who has been juggling her VCE final exams with her racing ambassador role, said she’s kept up with her studies and her photo shoots over the past few weeks “without any hassles”.

“It’s been an honour to be asked to take on the role of racing ambassador to promote the local racing industry,” Gemma said.

“I’ve always loved the fashions on the field, and the different style and colour that each year brings.

“This year I’m looking forward to seeing the floral designs and the pastel colours that have been so popular.”

The dictionary definition of “ambassador” is “an official messenger on a special mission”, and young Gemma is perfect for the role.

“I believe my mission is really to promote Mildura Melbourne Cup Day as the biggest social event on Mildura’s racing calendar,” Gemma said.

“On Cup day I’ll be greeting gold marquee racegoers as well as assisting with the fashions on the field judging before the big race.

“Being trackside at Sandilong Park on Melbourne Cup Day today is what my role is all about.

“I’ll be dressed by Q Central and my hair and make-up will be by Cascade.

“My fascinator has been designed by 21 year-old Kirsty Schilling, an up-and-coming milliner who has been designing and making her pieces since she was 14.”

Gemma describes herself as a “country girl”, having spent her early years in Birchip in north central Victoria, before her Mum Kylie, Dad, Owen and older brother Jordan moved to settle in Mildura in 2000.

Although she loves horses, the closest she’s been to the horse racing industry is having a great grandfather who was a racetrack bookmaker.

“My first experience with thoroughbred racing was when my Pop took me to the Wycheproof races and asked me to select a horse number for him to place a bet on.

“My favourite number is 11, and as it happened, it won the race and my piggy bank was a lot healthier.”

Gemma said she hasn’t ever had a bet on a horse race and thinks today may be the time to have her first “flutter”.

“I might test my luck on a race before the cup is run at 3pm, and then have a small wager on the big race.

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Rural Fire Service crews from Bishops Bridge and East Maitland working on scrub in the Hunter Economic Zone in Pelaw Main . Picture: Ryan OslandDETECTIVES have been called in to investigate the Swan Bay fire which burnt out more than 1000 hectares of bush after initial investigations suggested it was the work of an arsonist.
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On Saturday when the general public was warned of extreme temperatures and flame-fanning winds, fire crews were called to battle the blaze which continued to burn within containment lines on Tuesday.

Port Stephens police now believe they are hunting a firebug and have asked for the public’s help in identifying anyone who may have been in the vicinity of the fire.

However, fire crews believe they have an even bigger threat on their hands following the constant storms which have swept across parts of the Hunter in the past fortnight.

A lightning strike is suspected of having sparked the bushfire which threatened houses at Pelaw Main on Sunday after ripping through about 300 hectares of dry scrub.

And the weekend storms are also believed responsible for at least another 10 blazes which are burning in rugged terrain west of Cessnock.

Lower Hunter RFS zone manager Superintendent Jayson McKellar said fuel loads in parts of the region had dried out significantly and the prevalent of the ‘‘dry storms’’ had not played into firefighters hands.

‘‘We have had a lightning strikes reported and there has not been a lot of rain to go with them,’’ Superintendent McKellar said.

‘‘The place is definitely drying out, we need another good soaking.’’

There were more than 20 fires still burning across the greater Hunter on Monday, however none were out of control or threatening property.

Conditions were suiting firefighters as they contained and allowed the blazes to burn within the boundaries.

Teen injured by train ‘inspirational’ | Photos Brody Burgess attends the Spooktacular Halloween event held in his honour with family Kalia, Renee, Kimble and Mason Burgess. Photo: KATHRYN O’SULLIVAN
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Julia Hawkins and Tammy Williams-Greer. Photo: KATHRYN O’SULLIVAN

Mandy Lucus, Kelly Sellings, Fiona Dunning, Samual Hale, Brenton Gowman, Emma Bailey, Kim Burgess and Mason Burgess. Photo: KATHRYN O’SULLIVAN

Jack Bradford, Dallas Bradford, Tracey Piggott and Colin Cuffe. Photo: KATHRYN O’SULLIVAN

Ian and Donella Hall. Photo: KATHRYN O’SULLIVAN

Kalia Burgess, Julia Hawkins and Emily Greer. Photo: KATHRYN O’SULLIVAN

Jo Tyrer, Greg Tyrer, Kerrie Powell and Kim Burgess. Photo: KATHRYN O’SULLIVAN

Jane Burgess and Brian Taylor. Photo: KATHRYN O’SULLIVAN

Dallas Bradford and Brody Burgess. Photo: KATHRYN O’SULLIVAN

Brody Burgess and Mason Burgess. Photo: KATHRYN O’SULLIVAN

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