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    Harmey keen to get back on pace


    2018 - 08.15

    PREMIERSHIP-winning trainer Clayton Harmey is itching to drive trackwork again and is not ruling out a return to racesafter a better-than-expected recovery from back surgery.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Harmey, 37, who won his first Newcastle trainers’ premiership this month, hadan operation almost eight weeks agotoremovetwo damaged discs and replacethem withartificial versions.

    The Nulkaba trainer, a premiership-winning driver at Newcastle,said his back felt“a million dollars” and he was surprising doctors with the speed of his recovery.

    Heinjured his back in race falls, the latestin August 2014, but he was eyeing a return to the gig for trackwork in the coming weeks.

    “I’ve got scans aboutfour weeks away and hopefully after that I’ll beback open slather and Imight even be back race driving, but my missus probablywon’t agree to that,” Harmey laughed.“I’ll probably have a crack down the track. We’ll see.”

    Despite his stable winding back work in his absence, Harmey easily won the Newcastle and Hunter Valley trainers’ titles with 47 and 51 victories respectively.He has only Papas Advice and A Rocknroll Legacy in at Newcastle on Saturday night but plans to have top performers from his 20-horse team back racing soon. He saidA Rocknroll Legacy,awell-bred addition to his stable, was a chance in the eighth.

    Meanwhile, trainer-driver Josh Osborn has appealeda disqualification of two years and three months for illegal betting activities.

    Osbornfaced 77 charges of betting on races he was driving in.The Harness Racing NSWban,backdated to when hewas stood down in February, came from nine charges, each carrying three-month suspension, from bets placed on horses he was competing against. He was also fined $3900.

    The full HRNSW statement is below:

    ON August 24, 2017, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards concluded an inquiry that commenced on March 14, 2017, in relation to the betting activities of licensed trainer-driver Mr Josh Osborn.

    On February 10, 2017, HRNSW Stewards suspended the licences of trainer-driver, Mr Joshua Osborn, pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 183.

    Mr Osborn appeared at the inquiry represented by Mr Paul O’Sullivan and presented evidence on March 14, 2017, and again on August 17, 2017.

    Stewards issued seventy-seven (77) charges pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 173 as follows:

    AHRR 173.(1) A driver shall not bet in a race in which the driver participates.

    (2) A driver engaged to drive at a meeting shall not enter the betting area of the racecourse during the period commencing 60 minutes before the time fixed for the first race and finishing at the completion of the driver’s engagements at the meeting.

    (3) For the purposes of this rule, betting area means those areas of a racecourse where betting with an approved wagering operator is conducted.

    (4) A driver or the trainer of a horse shall not authorise, enable, permit or allow another person to place a bet on a betting account of the driver or the trainer.

    (5) A driver or trainer shall not place or have an interest in a bet on any betting account other than an account registered in their own name.

    (6) Any person who fails to comply with any provision of this rule is guilty of an offence.

    In determining penalty, Stewards considered that sixty-eight (68) of the total bets were placed by Mr Osborn on the horse that he drove in the respective races.

    In addition, Stewards considered that a further nine (9) of the total bets were placed by Mr Osborn on horses other than those driven by him in the respective races.

    Mr Osborn was also issued with a further charge pursuant to AHRR 173(4) in that he permitted his partner to operate his betting account in placing six (6) bets between June 2015 and March 2016.

    In relation to the nine (9) charges relating to Mr Osborn betting on horses other than those driven by him in the respective races, Mr Osborn was disqualified for a period of 3 months in respect of each charge to be served cumulatively.

    Consequently, Mr Osborn was disqualified for a period of 2 years and 3 months to commence from 10 February 2017, the date upon which he was stood down.

    In relation to the sixty-eight (68) charges relating to Mr Osborn betting on horses that he drove in the respective races, Mr Osborn was fined a total of $3400.

    In relation to the charge issued pursuant to AHRR 173(4), Mr Osborn was fined $500.

    Mr Osborn was advised of his right to appeal and has since lodged an Appeal.

    PREMIERSHIP-winning trainer Clayton Harmey is itching to drive trackwork again and is not ruling out a return to racesafter a better-than-expected recovery from back surgery.

    Harmey, who won his first Newcastle trainers’ premiership this month, is recovering well from an operation almost eight weeks ago to removetwo damaged discs and replacethem withartificial versions.

    The Nulkaba trainer hurt his back in race falls but

    up to a three-kilometre walk in rehabilitation

    MRI scans three months

    four weeks away be back open slather and Imight even be back race driving, but my missus probablywon’t agree to that

    i want to stop driving when I want to, not when i’m forced to. I’ll probably have a crack down the track, but I’ll see.

    You never know.

    i love winning

    10 days in Prince of Wales Hospital

    in recovery mode, saw specialist this week

    nearly ready to go

    back is 100 per cent, good as gold, feel a million dollars

    get sore and tired

    first Newcastle trainers’ title, won drivers before and the Hunter Valley in both

    November 2015

    won

    son Tanner born in January won premiership

    come out the side of it pretty well.

    pretty good season, anyway

    raced hard earlier in the season to get a lead

    held his team back but was ready to rock’n’roll again

    Riverleigh Dolly, linsa

    20 in work now, take pressure off workers

    hope to have best of his team back in 16

    well-bred

    Rocknroll Legacy

    I think he will go pretty well

    Papas Advice

    Meanwhile, trainer-driver Josh Osborn has appealeda disqualification of two years and three months for illegal betting activities.

    Osborn faced 77 charges of betting on races he was driving in.The Harness Racing NSW ban, backdated to when he was stood down in February, came from nine charges, each carrying three-month suspension, from bets placed on horses he was competing against. He was also fined $3900.

    The full HRNSW statement is below:

    ON August 24, 2017, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards concluded an inquiry that commenced on March 14, 2017, in relation to the betting activities of licensed trainer-driver Mr Josh Osborn.

    On February 10, 2017, HRNSW Stewards suspended the licences of trainer-driver, Mr Joshua Osborn, pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 183.

    Mr Osborn appeared at the inquiry represented by Mr Paul O’Sullivan and presented evidence on March 14, 2017, and again on August 17, 2017.

    Stewards issued seventy-seven (77) charges pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 173 as follows:

    AHRR 173.(1) A driver shall not bet in a race in which the driver participates.

    (2) A driver engaged to drive at a meeting shall not enter the betting area of the racecourse during the period commencing 60 minutes before the time fixed for the first race and finishing at the completion of the driver’s engagements at the meeting.

    (3) For the purposes of this rule, betting area means those areas of a racecourse where betting with an approved wagering operator is conducted.

    (4) A driver or the trainer of a horse shall not authorise, enable, permit or allow another person to place a bet on a betting account of the driver or the trainer.

    (5) A driver or trainer shall not place or have an interest in a bet on any betting account other than an account registered in their own name.

    (6) Any person who fails to comply with any provision of this rule is guilty of an offence.

    In determining penalty, Stewards considered that sixty-eight (68) of the total bets were placed by Mr Osborn on the horse that he drove in the respective races.

    In addition, Stewards considered that a further nine (9) of the total bets were placed by Mr Osborn on horses other than those driven by him in the respective races.

    Mr Osborn was also issued with a further charge pursuant to AHRR 173(4) in that he permitted his partner to operate his betting account in placing six (6) bets between June 2015 and March 2016.

    In relation to the nine (9) charges relating to Mr Osborn betting on horses other than those driven by him in the respective races, Mr Osborn was disqualified for a period of 3 months in respect of each charge to be served cumulatively.

    Consequently, Mr Osborn was disqualified for a period of 2 years and 3 months to commence from 10 February 2017, the date upon which he was stood down.

    In relation to the sixty-eight (68) charges relating to Mr Osborn betting on horses that he drove in the respective races, Mr Osborn was fined a total of $3400.

    In relation to the charge issued pursuant to AHRR 173(4), Mr Osborn was fined $500.

    Mr Osborn was advised of his right to appeal and has since lodged an Appeal.

    Last chance for Borneo’s proboscis monkeys


    2018 - 08.15

    On the Island of Borneo, there are rare and wild treasures. They are the herbivorous, proboscis ‘Old World’monkeys. The villagers gave them the name ‘Dutchman’or ‘Dutch monkey’because of their human-like appearance, but locally they are Bekantan.They are unique for their pot bellies, prominent noses to amplify mating calls, high diving into water, webbed feet for swimming (20 metres underwater), and blue babies.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Coalmining companies in South Kalimantan are collaborating with the University of Newcastle and Universitas Lambung Mankurat (Banjarmasin) to create a sanctuary on the island of Pulau Bakut (Barito River, Indonesia) a natural park where 60 individuals remain.The Kalimantan Bekantan populations are the largest, but unsustainable coal mining, logging, oil palm plantations, spread of human settlement, and roads crossing the once dense swamp and heath forests, are squeezing them out.State laws and international listings describe them as endangered because the population has halved in the past 40 years.

    With generous funding from the New Colombo Plan I will lead 20 UON students into the Bekantan habitat to conduct an ambitious expedition in 2018.This will allow us to share our understanding of primate conservation and coalmine rehabilitation and build relationships between universities.Students will have a unique opportunity to develop Indonesian contacts and to learn about the traditional culture and language of Borneo.Whereas the original Colombo Plan brought students to study in Australia, the New Colombo Plan is a signature initiative of the Australian Government which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region.

    Professor Tim Roberts is director of the Tom Farrell Institute, and Susan Effenberger is a Research Associate at TFI.

    Amazon won’t be the only Christmas Grinch


    2018 - 08.15

    Is the Amazon Grinch going to spoil this Christmas for Australian retailers?
    Nanjing Night Net

    A report this week from analysts at Citi has added to the mounting evidence that Amazon is close to hitting the start button on its Australian operations as early as next month – sending yet another shudder down the spines of already jittery retailers and their investors.

    Sure, Amazon should be a concern for retailers, but it doesn’t explain the current weakness in retail spending – the antidote to which is an end to our sluggish wage growth.

    The Citi report only added to the negative news on the sector this week from the Australian Bureau of Statistics – that the value of retail sales didn’t rise at all in July and year-on-year are now running at a meagre 3.6 per cent.

    “Overall, the underlying trend of nominal retail spending still appears to be relatively modest, averaging a ~3 per cent handle for year on year growth for most of the past year or so”, is how UBS economists summed it up.

    There is plenty of commentary on the effects of Amazon entering new markets, citing evidence that it will boost overall consumer spending rather than just eating into the market held by existing retailers.

    This may come to pass, but few believe it won’t also hit the market shares of the retailers whose products Amazon will also sell.

    Regardless of how much of the market Amazon will capture, it is an escapable fact that its cheaper product prices will force incumbents to reduce their prices (and therefore their margins) in order to compete.

    In the meantime, the constant drip-feed of well-sourced speculation on the imminent arrival of Amazon acts like a series of mini-jolts for investors. The Citi report was almost certainly the primary driver of shares in many retailers, including JB Hi-Fi and Myer, falling on Friday.

    Myer and Harvey Norman are two of the most heavily shorted stocks on the market – that is, investors are punting their share prices will fall rather than rise.

    But the retail sector and consumer spending generally have bigger challenges than the entry of Amazon.

    It’s that increasingly chronic problem of anaemic wages growth that is preventing people from opening their wallets – with the latest figures showing real household disposable incomes are rising by just 0.6 per cent a year.

    After a fact-finding trip to Europe a few months back, Westpac’s chief economist, Bill Evans, observed a disconnect between falling unemployment and wages growth.

    In other words, even though the labour market was getting tighter, wages growth was not responding – as it theoretically should. Indeed in some countries that boasted near full employment, wages growth was benign.

    Evans concluded there were a variety of explanations for this apparent global breakdown in the wages/employment relationship:

    “These include: a lack of pricing power precluding firms’ flexibility to raise wages; low productivity, which disallows the option of further rewarding unproductive workers; free movement of low-paid workers who are supporting growing industries such as tourism (New Zealand; Australia; UK); employees recall the pain of the GFC and they are concerned to move or demand wage increases; technology has enhanced the effectiveness of job search, causing a more efficient job-match process (rise of part-time jobs is part of this development); worker concern about automation and demographics.”

    One could add to that the reluctance of unions to push for higher wages.

    There are both structural and cyclical elements at work in this list. This suggests that in Australia, where we have some unemployment but more underemployment, the government’s prediction of stronger wages growth next year could be optimistic.

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

    The heartbreak driving this Brumbies star’s Wallabies motivation


    2018 - 08.15

    Henry Speight found his Wallabies motivation in heartbreak this year.
    Nanjing Night Net

    That’s why the ACT Brumbies player of the year is so determined for a breakout international performance against South Africa in Perth on Saturday night.

    Speight, the flying Fijian winger, made a promise to himself to leave no stone unturned this year after the death of close friend and former All Black Sione Lauaki and Christian Lealiifano’s cancer diagnosis.

    So before he even touched a ball in his Super Rugby comeback season, Speight had set his goal to repay the Brumbies and cement his place in Wallabies gold.

    “I know it sounds silly because I’m in my seventh Super Rugby season, but this year I wanted to make the most of it,” Speight said.

    “There are other factors. The battle Christian went through and the death of Sione put things in perspective for me before the season started.

    “It showed me how grateful I have to be in this position. I wanted to go out there and be the best I could for those who can’t do it.

    “Christian was dying to play from the start of the year and then [Lauaki] … I felt like it would be wrong of me to sit back and go through the motions and not take the opportunity that others don’t have, or have lost.

    “I didn’t lose the hunger. But this year has reignited the fire in me to do my best and make it to the top.”

    Lealiifano diagnosis rocked the rugby community last year and the heartache hit again when Lauaki, who Speight played with in New Zealand, died despite being just 35 years old.

    “I played [New Zealand provincial rugby] with Lauaki, he was a top man,” Speight said.

    “His death, Dan Vickerman’s death and Christian’s battle … it hit me how lucky I am. I wanted that to show in the way I played and give back as much as I can.

    “Now I just take that into every Test and I’m relishing every chance to wear this gold jersey.”

    Speight is a big-hearted speedster who dedicates every try to the Walk On Walk Strong charity in Fiji, which helps children through their battles with cancer.

    The 29-year-old put his immediate Super Rugby and Wallabies ambitions on hold last year to focus on a bid to play sevens at the Rio Olympic Games.

    His Olympic hopes were derailed by injury, but it helped spark his passion for the Brumbies and Wallabies.

    He scored seven tries in the Super Rugby season – his best scoring tally since 2013.

    But his international record is still waiting for the floodgates to open, having scored just three tires in 14 Tests since making his Wallabies debut four years ago.

    “I came back with a renewed focus and confidence. Missing a lot of games for the Brumbies last year reminded me how much I wanted to be a part of it,” Speight said.

    “I’m always searching for a way to go to that next level for the Wallabies.

    “You’ve got to find a balance in your game and in the first Bledisloe in Sydney, defence was a bit of an issue.

    “But I am feel comfortable and confident so hopefully that translates into good performances, as long as we are winning Tests.”

    Speight is keen to transfer his Brumbies form into the Test arena after winning the Brett Robinson Award as the club’s best player last weekend.

    “To be recognised by your peers is above and beyond everything else, it’s something I will cherish forever,” Speight said.

    Speight will be playing against South Africa for the first time as the Wallabies attempt to restore pride after losing the first two Tests of the Rugby Championship.

    The softly spoken flyer is well aware the Wallabies need to start winning to ease the pain in Australian rugby as Western Force fans plan a sea of blue protest at nib Stadium.

    The Wallabies will then land in Canberra next week for Australia’s first Test in the capital since 2010.

    “We’re all hurting together [after the Force were axed], the only way we can help is by putting in a performance hopefully the fans, supporters and country can be proud of in the next two weeks,” Speight said.

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

    CA puts Aussie women on ‘back foot’ at world champs


    2018 - 08.15

    Former Paris-Roubaix winner Mathew Hayman says Cycling Australia’s “baffling” decision will hurt the women’s team’s chances of winning the road race at the world championships.
    Nanjing Night Net

    With Australia’s female cyclists ranked three in the world, they earned a team of seven for the road race at the worlds in Norway in a fortnight.

    But Cycling Australia only picked five riders, with high performance director Simon Jones saying they were the only ones who deserved selection.

    In contrast, they named a full-strength men’s line-up prompting allegations of sexism.

    Canberra cyclist Chloe Hosking, Australia’s highest ranked female at eight in the world, has appealed her omission, which will be heard on Tuesday.

    Hayman said Australia had riders capable of doing “great things” and needed a full squad to achieve them.

    His fellow Canberran Kimberley Wells labelled the decision “highly sexist”, but Hayman said he was unsure what Cycling Australia’s motives were.

    He’s part of the Australian men’s team that will support Michael Matthews in his bid to win the world crown.

    “If you’re preparing for a world championships you’re trying to get there with a full roster and have the best opportunity to win,” Hayman said.

    “You just have more options and more fire power and are able to rectify situations. We have very good riders that are capable of doing a great race there so starting with [less riders] would be disappointing.

    “It was a surprise to me that they wouldn’t fill the full quota. I’m not sure [why], I can’t really comment, I wasn’t part of that.

    “If we were trying to win a world championships and I was there with limited teammates I’d be disappointed for sure.

    “Especially if I had the ability to have more and I was racing against other teams with a full squad. You’re already starting on the back foot.

    “They haven’t really expressed any reason. It sounds a bit baffling why they decided not to send a full squad.”

    Cycling Australia chief executive Nick Green said they would reveal their high performance strategy “in the coming weeks”, but said their goal was to make Australia the world’s best.

    He said their focus was on both the male and female riders.

    “Cycling Australia has a clear high performance strategy which includes support for elite athletes, coaches and support staff, and which aims to deliver against our expectations of being the world’s leading cycling nation,” Green said.

    “This strategy will be outlined in the coming weeks, but Cycling Australia can confirm it will continue to focus on developing both female and male cyclists.”

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

    Theatre ReviewHeathers: The Musical


    2018 - 08.03

    Theatre ReviewHeathers: The MusicalWEA Hunter Academy of Creative ArtsCivic Playhouse (September 7 to 9)THE cult movie Heathers, about the often violent relationships of 17-year-olds in their final year at a US high school, would seem to be an unlikely basis for a musical. But the cast of this production brought out the dark humour of the book and rock-style music and lyrics by Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe, and had audience members laughing at situations that no doubt brought back memories of their own school experiences.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Konstanze Koedam as Veronica, who has a fierce sense of right and wrong, increasingly brought out her determination to have her own way, while also trying to get fellow student J.D. (Conagh Punch) to stop trying to change the world through violence and live a normal life with her. The pair made the changing relationship of their characters very believable, with their duet, Dead Girl Walking, after Veronica seduces J.D., expressively bringing out their feelings.

    The manipulative three title characters were an interesting mix, with Zoe Walker’s Heather Chandler relishing power, Sarah Graham’s Heather McNamara unhesitatingly following Chandler’s orders, and Shelby Lincoln’s Heather Duke initially being the trio’s whipping girl. Their lively opening number, Candy Store, with them threatening Veronica as a newcomer, established their natures. Walker later had watchers in awe as she downed a drink with an unexpected result.

    Jack Twelvetree’s Kurt and Christopher Shanko’s Ram were a rude and insensitive football playing duo, but their occasionally seen fathers, played by Andrew Wu and Kane Sanders, showed what had helped make them that way. Wu and Sanders each impressively played three very different characters; Jessica Jarrett attracted audience sympathy as Martha Dunnstock, a plump girl who was bullied because of her size; and Jamahla Barron, as ageing hippy teacher Miss Fleming, brought out in Shine a Light her determination to prevent student suicides.

    There wasn’t a weakness in the large ensemble, with director Lia Bundy and her staging team ensuring that the performers offered a sensitive mix of the light and the dark in scenes such as a funeral service for two murdered students and the occasional visits by the ghosts of dead people to haunt those who had played a role in their decease. The team also made good use of effects such as lighting, with the actors holding bright white lights that looked like candles in Shine a Light, and the students amusingly handling trays in Candy Store. The costumes likewise colourfully brought out the late 1980s setting of the story.

    Shining spotlight on ability


    2018 - 08.03

    Team: Genevieve Clay Smith, with black hat, and the Kill Off cast. “People with disabilities can be robbed of their potential because they’re not given a chance to have a go.”A Hunter-raisedfilmmaker’s determination to break stigmaaround disability has been praised at several Oscars-qualifying film festivals across the globe.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Genevieve Clay-Smith, who grew up in Cardiff South, established Bus Stop Films to connect people with an intellectual disability and from marginalised communities to film-making workshops.

    A group of 11 worked onKill Off,which recently won first prize for direction at the Oscars-qualifying Rhode Island International Film Festival.

    It has also shown at other Oscars-qualifying festivals in Japan, St Kilda and Los Angeles.

    “It’s a massive deal for inclusion for these festivals to showcase that what we do is possible in the film industry and can get a great result,” she said.

    “If we can do this, why aren’t there more jobs for people with disabilities in the film industry and across the workforce?”

    Another group with mental health issues worked on Gratus, which won best experimental film at the Atlanta Underground Film Festival. Both have been selected for the South Dakota Film Festival.

    Ms Clay-Smith is also a judge in the Optus Connect5 short film competition, which gives filmmakers who submit a five minute entry the chance towin $10,000 cash and a trip to the regional finals in Singapore.

    “No-one can tell your story, or the same story,” she said.

    “This is an incredible platform to put your voice into the world.”

    Four top Sydney homes open for inspection this Saturday


    2018 - 08.03

    What do a cool concrete build, a c1850 terrace, a grand freestanding Victorian and an eastern suburbs entertainer have in common?
    Nanjing Night Net

    They’ve all been selected as four of the best homes with open viewings in Sydney this weekend, and if you’re in the market for a new property, we highly recommend you check them out. Rozelle

    Making a statement in cedar and architectural curves, this parkside home blends indoor-outdoor living adroitly.

    Concrete floors and ceilings define a simple and modern interior.

    A glass splashback over bricks in the kitchen is a highlight and there is potential for off-street parking, subject to council approval.

    Priced at around $3 million, the property will be auctioned on September 16 through BresicWhitney Balmain agents Adrian Oddi and Chris Nunn. The inner-west property has a sleek modern aesthetic. Photo: Supplied

    See more of 32 Burt Street hereSurry Hills5 McElhone Place, Surry Hills, New South Wales. Photo: Supplied

    This circa-1850 terrace is in the historical laneway known affectionately as cat alley, a pedestrian-only pocket filled with greenery that is home to about 50 people and more than a few roaming felines.

    A recent renovation of this former worker’s cottage includes a stone kitchen, glass-roofed deck and alfresco dining.

    Expect to pay $1.05 million at the September 16 auction, through LJ Hooker Newtown agent Bryan Mahlberg. The residential strip is affectionately known as ‘Cat Alley’. Photo: Supplied

    See more of 5 McElhone Place hereGlebe58 Toxteth Road, Glebe, New South Wales. Photo: Supplied

    Original features such as marble fireplaces and high ceilings complement the newer additions to this double-fronted freestanding Victorian.

    A combined butler’s pantry and laundry is off the kitchen and the skylights are remote-controlled.

    Soak up spring sunshine in the garden courtyard adjacent to the living space.

    Catch the auction on September 16 with Simon Pilcher of Pilcher Residential, where the guide is $3.1 million. High ceilings are an original feature at this Glebe property. Photo: Supplied

    See more of 58 Toxteth Road hereMaroubra255 Bunnerong Road, Maroubra, New South Wales. Photo: Supplied

    With a polished concrete island bench and with bifold doors opening to the courtyard, this kitchen of this $1.4 million renovated period house is made for entertaining.

    Behind the neat facade are bedrooms with mirrored built-in robes, limewashed timber flooring, pressed-metal ceilings and a bathroom with rainwater shower. In addition to the secure parking space, two more cars can fit on the driveway.

    Angus Gorrie of McGrath Coogee has set the auction date on September 16. The rear courtyard is excellent for hosting guests. Photo: Supplied

    See more of 255 Bunnerong Road here

    Download the Domain app to see more open viewings in Sydney this weekend

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

    Vlad blazes an old trail to extend career


    2018 - 08.03

    Vlad blazes an old trail to extend career Vlad Shatrov on his way to victory in the Six Foot Track 45km trail race in the Blue Mountains this year.
    Nanjing Night Net

    TweetFacebookVlad Shatrov fell in love with trail running as a teenager pounding the dirt tracks around his parents’ farm near Jindabyne.

    He moved to Sydney after school, went to uniand fell in love with a Merewether girl.

    His athletics career shifted to track and road running, which brought him within a few minutes of making the Olympic marathon last year.

    Now, more than 20 years after those first strideson the family property, he has returned to his first love.

    “I was never really good at the shorter stuff at all. It’s not my background,” he said.

    “As a 15- or 16-year-old I was running dirt trails on my parents’ farm and I was naturally just really good at it.

    “The first two trail runs I ever did I won them, out of nowhere.Now I’m back there I’m loving it.”

    Shatrov has reinvented himself over the past year as one of Australia’s elite long-distance trail runners.

    He won the prestigious Six Foot Track 45km race this year and Ultra-Trail Australia 22km event in the Blue Mountains in record time.

    He will race in the 60km Kepler Challenge mountain run in New Zealand in December and hopes to break the Six Foot Track record next year en route to the Ultra-Trail World Tour and the 100km world championshipin Croatia.

    His warm-up event is Saturday’s Great North Walk race over 100km of the “nasty” bush track from Teralba to the Central Coast. There is also a 100-mile (160km) GNW race, but Shatrov will do the shorter version.

    “It’s got a reputation for being a nasty, tough race. It’s quite hilly,” hesaid.

    “I got a couple of mates to take me on a few legs, and it was, ‘Oh my god. This walk is brutal. Why did they choose to go this way?’

    “There’s a lot of dirt road. Probably 50 per cent is single-file trail. The rest is fire trail.

    “It’s just the different terrains. You go up through Wakefield then you hit Heaton Forest. You climb an insane amount in a really short space of time. You can’t run. You’re walking.

    “Then you’ll go into a forest which is really mossy and technical and dark, and you can’t really see all the markers properly, so you’re second-guessing yourself.

    “A lot of good runners who have tried to do it haven’t done that well because they’ve all got lost. There’s minimal marking, and sometimes you don’t see them for ages.”

    The race starts at 6am, and the 100km version has a 4am cut-off time the following day. Shatrov expects the race to take him about 10 hours.

    “The course record’s 10 hours, and it’s long enough to get what I need for next year. If you did it fast for 100 miles, it would nail you for months.”

    Shatrov, 39, ran in this year’s fabled Comrades 89km road race in South Africa, where the winners were aged over 40.

    “It made me think I’ve still got a few years to do something good. It’s given me a new lease of life.”

    Shatrov said trail running was rising in popularity as a generation of road runners looked for a new challenge.

    “It’s definitely got a particular appeal,” he said.

    “Because there’s more people running generally, there’s a bigger proportion going, ‘There’s something about that that’s inspiring.’

    “So first of all you’ve got these gun athletes that people aspire to.

    “And to do one of these things it’s something you have to train for for at least six months, so you’re making a commitment.

    “You’ve got to spend money, you’ve got to train, so you’re committed to it, so when you do it, it’s such a sense of achievement.

    “You can do a shorter run and a few weeks later you’ve forgotten about it, but when you get to a hundred Ks your whole year’s targeted towards that.”

    The Runlab founder said the sport was already a big business in Europe and the US and would eventually become part of the Olympic program.

    “I reckon there’ll be 50 and 100 K events on the trail. Unfortunately I’ll probably be coaching people by then.”

    How the Swans engineered their remarkable turnaround


    2018 - 08.03

    When the tale of Sydney’s 2017 season is retold in the years to come, the day Callum Mills was set upon by several Carlton players will feature prominently.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The incident has already been referred to as a “line in the sand” moment so imagine the mystical meaning it will take should the Swans win a sixth flag.

    Every redemption story needs a turning point but there’s more to the red-and-white recovery than mere huffing and puffing over Mills’ rough treatment.

    At 0-6, the Swans were in strife. The club did not make excuses but behind the scenes it knew there were mitigating factors.

    Six consecutive finals campaigns were taking its toll. Playing deep into September eats into the pre-season so players are not as well-conditioned as their rivals come round one.

    Injuries had also hurt. At times the Swans had 13 from last year’s grand final side out. Jarrad McVeigh, Gary Rohan and Tom Papley missed the start of the season. Kieren Jack was hurt on the eve of their first practice match. Isaac Heeney was struck down by glandular fever. Dane Rampe tripped over a chain and broke his arm. Luke Parker and Dan Hannebery were off the pace after having summers compromised by knee injuries. All are playing on Saturday.

    The Swans were still competitive in all bar one of their six losses but could not get over the line. The health of their list had impacted their form, which hurt confidence.

    “I don’t think you could pinpoint it to one particular thing – there were a lot of things that made up the reasons why we were performing the way we were,” Jack said.

    “You can normally mask one or two little things with some other performance indicators but when it’s multiple things it can add up.”

    The club’s vaunted leaders were being tested like never before. All were either injured, below their best or out of form entirely.

    The lack of voice in the team was noted by Heeney upon his return from illness. Even if they were the comments of a young player caught out in the media spotlight, they were backed up by Hannebery, who said after round six that voice and effort were “basic areas where the Swans were now lacking”.

    “To be 0-6 they [the youngsters] probably didn’t know too much different,” veteran defender Heath Grundy said last week.

    “As a senior player with a lot of the other guys we knew that wasn’t acceptable, and not how we play our footy and we had to try and change that.”

    The hallmarks of the Swans’ game had disappeared. Their contested possession game was down (17th), so too their tackling pressure (16th) that not only impacted their scoring but ability to defend.

    The game plan was not working, though not because it was broken or past its use-by date, but because it was being poorly executed. Fix it and the wins will come. The past four months have reaffirmed this belief.

    Areas they ranked poorly across the first six rounds have turned. Since round seven, they sit first for points for and against, differentials for scores from turnovers and clearances and contested possessions, just to name a few.

    “We just got back to winning the hard-contested footy and defending well and it came from that,” Nic Newman, playing in his first season, said.

    “It was nothing too complicated or out of the box, we didn’t invent anything, we just got back to the basics.

    “That started with our leaders and our midfielders in terms of Parksy and Hanners and Joey. That got the ball rolling, we just got back to playing our brand of footy. We probably swayed away from that in the first six weeks.”

    For Jack, the return of All Australian backman Rampe was significant, so too getting some wins on the board. He was confident the old Swans were back after they dismantled the Western Bulldogs, even if the win-loss ledger still read an unflattering 4-7.

    “We felt like we were getting back to the footy we knew we could play,” Jack said. “We played some good footy before that. The St Kilda game [in round nine], Ramps’ first game back, we started to show some signs there.

    “The Western Bulldogs game probably solidified it against a really strong opponent that we were still capable and starting to play some really good footy again.”

    There were some narrow escapes as well: the come-from-behind victory over Richmond and the last-gasp win against Essendon.

    “If you do lose those close games you can miss finals, then you look at the what ifs,” Jack said. “It’s been fortunate we were able to win those close ones and good for our young group to experience those close wins and be a part of that on multiple occasions. That can give some real strong belief when you’re in those moments in the future you can get out of them.”

    The pain of last year’s grand final defeat still cuts deep for Jack, who is using it as motivation to go one better.

    “The memories don’t ever go away,” Jack said. “For the guys who have been there and experienced a win, it’s fantastic, it’s all rosy, there’s not much that gets better than that. But when you experience a loss it’s the complete other side of it.

    “We’ve been there a couple of times but haven’t been able to experience the joy side of it for a few players. We are close and know we are doing a lot of things right.

    “We just have to keep putting the foot down and make sure we give ourselves the opportunity to get there. There’s still a long way to go before the grand final, we certainly think we can compete with the best if we were to push forward again this year.”

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