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    Player ratings: which Aussies stood up in Bangladesh?

    2018 - 09.14

    Having gone 11 years without playing a Test against Bangladesh, Australia travelled to the subcontinent in the wake of the protracted pay dispute. Upset by the hosts in Dhaka, the tourists managed to secure a drawn series by winning the second Test in Chittagong. Daniel Cherny rates each of Australia’s players out of 10 for their contributions during the series.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Nathan Lyon 22 wickets at 14.31

    Close to the scrapheap late last year, Lyon has taken more wickets than any other player in Test cricket in 2017. The off-spinner completely bamboozled Bangladesh. He took advantage of the variable bounce in Dhaka before twice knocking over a Tigers top-order full of left-handers on a lifeless deck in Chittagong, breaking several records along the way and giving England’s lefties plenty to think about ahead of the Ashes. His woes in Asia are a thing of the past. Rating 10

    David Warner 251 runs at 62.75

    Had been among the biggest disappointments in India and Sri Lanka but may have turned the corner overseas after two centuries of vastly different style but both significant substance. His ton in the Dhaka run chase was exhilarating to watch, a brilliant display of footwork and aggressive shot selection, while his patient Chittagong effort came in debilitating heat and in the face of defensive fields from Bangladesh. Rating 9

    Pat Cummins Six wickets at 29, 62 runs at 31

    Remarkably the last man standing in Australia’s pace battery, the still inexperienced tearaway stood up in conditions not at all suited to his game. Cummins’ bounce was something to behold, as he ripped through Bangladesh’s top order on the first morning in Dhaka before causing damage on the final day of the series with a couple of ferocious spells. His batting shouldn’t be ignored either, with his lusty hitting almost catapulting the tourists over the line in the first Test. Rating 8

    Peter Handscomb 146 runs at 48.66

    The Victorian showed signs of his class in Dhaka before a superb 82 in the stifling heat of Chittagong, an effort made all the more meritorious because of the distress he’d been in late on day two as the conditions took their toll. Has the potential to be a mainstay of Australia’s batting lineup for a decade, but the question of whether he should be keeping as well is unlikely to go away after the selectors contemplated handing him the gloves for the second Test. Rating 7

    Ashton Agar 7 wickets at 23.14, 65 runs at 32.50

    There had been queries about whether he was ready for his return but the wonder boy of the 2013 Ashes silenced his doubters with accurate and disciplined bowling to regularly cause issues for the home batsmen. Was perhaps underused by captain Steve Smith throughout the series but Smith insists the experience Agar did get will be highly beneficial for future tours to the region. He also made handy runs too, showing more composure than several above him in the order, and the calls for him to head to No. 6 can’t be too far away. Rating 7

    Steve Smith 119 runs at 29.75

    Perhaps a victim of his incredibly high standards but the captain didn’t do enough with the bat despite the promise of big scores in both Tests. His first innings dismissal in Dhaka was ugly, and he looked in complete control in Chittagong before falling to a straight ball. One of him or Warner also needed to finish the job in the Dhaka run chase where the pair had built a strong platform for the tourists. His captaincy was sound, even if his limited use of Agar raised eyebrows. Rating 5

    Glenn Maxwell 100 runs at 33.33, one wicket at 52

    Somewhat of a case of what could have been for Maxwell, who made starts in both Tests but couldn’t go on with the job, leaving his hold on the No. 6 spot shaky. Smith had said pre-series that he didn’t plan on using Maxwell much with the ball, and while the all-rounder broke a crucial partnership on day one in Dhaka it remained his sole scalp for the series. His case isn’t helped either by some sloppy fielding. Rating 5

    Matthew Renshaw 76 runs at 19

    Didn’t look to be too troubled by the conditions, but save for a determined first innings knock in Dhaka the opener didn’t make a sizeable contribution. He was somewhat unlucky in the first innings in Chittagong after falling to a sensational legside catch from wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim. Generally steady in the slip cordon, the Queenslander still looks like a player worth persisting with even though the runs have dried up. Rating 4

    Matthew Wade 17 runs at 5.66, seven catches and three stumpings

    Was criticised for conceding too many byes in the first Test but overall kept well, especially in Chittagong where he pulled off several sharp stumpings in conditions where standing all day under a helmet would not have been pleasant. But while he remains chirpy behind the stumps, his record with the bat since returning to the team simply hasn’t been good enough, and given his spot in the team for the second Test wasn’t assured until very late, he seems no certainty to play in the Ashes. Rating 4

    Steve O’Keefe Two wickets at 64

    Given a lifeline for the Chittagong Test after missing out on the initial squad, he was outbowled by fellow left-arm spinner Agar in the first innings before complementing Lyon well on day four. Filled a gap when the conditions suited, but international opportunities from this point look limited given Lyon’s dominance and Agar’s rise. Rating 3

    Hilton Cartwright 18 runs at 18, 0 wickets

    Called upon for Chittagong to help with flexibility, he looked non-threatening with the ball and leaked runs early in his first spell. Only one innings with the bat so hard to judge but he was part of the Australian collapse on day three. Should be better for experience and looks a player of the future. Rating 2

    Josh Hazlewood 0 wickets

    Australia’s most reliable fast bowler of recent times was tidy in unhelpful conditions in Dhaka before having his series ended by a side strain. The injury wasn’t overly serious though and he should have a big role to play this summer. Rating 2

    Usman Khawaja Two runs at one

    The subcontinent continued to be a house of horrors for Khawaja, dropped after twin failures in the first Test including a staggering first innings run-out after not playing a shot. Still looks very likely to slot back into the No.3 spot for the start of the Ashes, but there must be doubt about whether Australia will ever be able to trust him in Asia. Rating 1

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

    ‘The best footballing moment in my career and I want it again’

    2018 - 09.14

    On the instruction of Paul Gallen there’s four little words scribbled on the noticeboard inside Sharks HQ. It poses a question to his teammates, a bunch of Edmund Hillarys who have already climbed their Everest – and are trying to do it again.
    Nanjing Night Net

    What is your motivation?

    “Gal’s says it was the best time of his life in his football career,” Sharks coach Shane Flanagan said, referring to last year’s history-making premiership. “There was nothing more than he’s enjoyed in his whole career in football and he’s achieved a lot.

    “He’s won Origins, Test matches and all that sort of stuff. He said, ‘my motivation is easy; it was the best footballing moment in my career and I want it again’.”

    But do the premiers really want it again?

    It is the question that has followed Cronulla all season, blindingly good at their best and perhaps the one team that still strikes fear into red-hot premiership favourites Melbourne, yet frustratingly bad to the point where the Bulldogs and Warriors had better home records this season.

    Yet, somehow they’re still in the mix. And Gallen’s poser on the wall scribbled down post-State of Origin – coupled with a few choice images dotted around the training centre – means Flanagan is not fretting about his side’s mental capacity before a do-or-die final against a battered Cowboys on Sunday.

    “When those blokes talk like that it’s pretty easy [to keep them motivated],” Flanagan said. “Some of the other blokes have seen photos in the gym, photos in the dressing room of when we won the grand final. Pictures are sometimes really powerful. That just evokes so much passion and memories and I think they do want it again.”

    Flanagan talks of his Origin posse – mainly made up of NSW players – returning to clubland with heads dropped and shoulders slumped. They had worn the Blues’ Origin collapse about as hard as any.

    Trading five players in and out of training for almost two months was problematic, the Sharks’ form was patchy at best and critics were preparing to put the red line through their title hopes. Yet they were a kick away from finishing in the top four when the regular season wound up.

    “Wade [Graham] didn’t handle post-Origin very well, he’s already said that,” Flanagan said. “He was shattered they lost and it took him two or three weeks to put it to bed. That’s something we need to deal with and individuals need to deal with.

    “Birdy [Jack Bird] was shattered. He came out of the emotional side of it … he probably didn’t play as much as he wanted or how he wanted. He came out of it damaged. Those blokes are back [now]. Origin is a distant memory, in their minds it is.”

    And the sense has been, like last year, the Sharks have just been waiting for the finals. Wheel the old hard-heads out when it matters and watch them go.

    There’s also a sense that even if the Sharks wake from a mid-season slumber and go all the way, it wouldn’t mean as much last year. To the players, administrators and to the fans.

    Tell that to Flanagan.

    “Definitely for myself, I probably want it more than the last one,” he said. “I think this year would be a bigger achievement than last year to be honest. We have overcome some hurdles. We haven’t played as well as last year, only in patches.”

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

    How Shari-Lea Hitchcock’s day went from bad to worse

    2018 - 09.14

    Socialite Shari-Lea Hitchcock was staggering home from a boozy lunch and clinging to the wrong side of a railing that separated pedestrians from the traffic when a good Samaritan on her way home from church intervened.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The one-time billionaire mistress’ descent from inebriation to ignominy from that point was swift.

    Half an hour later, she was lying face-down and handcuffed on the footpath of one of the busiest roads in the eastern suburbs, horse-kicking at two police officers until she finally found a tooth-hold in one of their legs.

    Ms Hitchcock, the long-term mistress of the late cardboard baron Dick Pratt, had been mistaken for a prostitute, rebuffed by a handsome police officer and would soon see the inside of a police cell.

    She is now defending charges of common assault, assaulting an officer and resisting an officer in the execution of duty.

    As she returned home from an evening service, Jan Haswell, 67, saw Ms Hitchcock teetering along Oxford Street in Woollahra, she told Waverley Local Court on Friday.

    Images of her late ex-husband at the morgue flashed into her mind, she said.

    “She kept on falling, kept on falling,” Ms Haswell said.

    “I thought to myself, ‘I can’t leave her there or she might get hit by a car.’ “

    Within seconds she had performed an illegal U-turn and parked her car, dismissing another woman who had stopped to help Ms Hitchcock in the meantime, with a promise to look after her.

    Ms Haswell, who describes herself as a counsellor, has helped a person in distress every week over the past 40 years, she claimed.

    Sometimes, she agreed under cross-examination, they did not want to be helped, so when Ms Hitchcock leaned towards her, Ms Haswell’s initial thought was that she might be about to get headbutted.

    “[But] she didn’t hurt me, just gently put her head on my head.”

    When Ms Hitchcock told Ms Haswell that she loved her, Ms Haswell replied, “I love you too darling.”

    But things were to turn nasty. When Ms Haswell bent down to pick up Ms Hitchcock’s hairbrush that had fallen from her bag, she noticed a foot coming towards her head and had to twist Ms Hitchcock’s leg to avoid being kicked, she said.

    When she asked Ms Hitchcock to open her bag so she could find an address and take her home, the socialite took off into the middle of the traffic.

    “I said to myself, ‘This is my last day. I’m running into the traffic trying to save this woman,’ ” Ms Haswell said.

    Cars swerved, youths pointed and laughed and Ms Hitchcock desperately waved at cars until one stopped to give her a ride.

    But Ms Haswell feared for Ms Hitchcock’s safety and would not let her take it.

    “I said, ‘Get the f— out and come with me,’ ” she said.

    Ms Hitchcock then flagged down a cab, but Ms Haswell again objected, and instead called the police, flagging that Ms Hitchcock might have been a prostitute from Kings Cross. Shortly afterwards, officers from the highway patrol arrived.

    They tendered evidence that Ms Hitchcock was “amorous” towards Senior Constable Szech Unlu and stroked his face as he spoke to one of her friends on the phone.

    Ms Haswell watched from her car and saw Ms Hitchcock kick the two police officers who came to relieve the highway patrol officers, she said.

    “She went really berserk. The kicks were coming higher, like almost to the stomach.

    “I thought, ‘She’s got sharp heels on, she’s going to kick someone badly,’ so I decided to get out of the car.”

    It was then that she saw Ms Hitchcock turn around and bite a policewoman on the leg.

    Under cross-examination from Ms Hitchcock’s barrister Greg James, QC, Ms Haswell denied that she wanted to know Ms Hitchcock’s address because she wanted to know where she lived, or that her intentions were any less pure than the desire to help a stranger.

    Mr James: “She ran away from you.”


    “You chased her.”


    “And you grabbed her.”


    “You dragged her back to the side of the road.”


    “You wanted her under your control.”

    Ms Haswell: “No I didn’t want her under my control. I was just trying to help, as a human being.”

    One of the officers, Constable Jason Eldridge, said Ms Hitchcock was unsteady on her feet and he could smell alcohol when he first approached her with his partner. His partner asked what had happened. “And the accused said, ‘What’s it got to do with you, you little f—ing bitch’,” Constable Eldridge said.

    Ms Hitchcock repeatedly attempted to break away from them while they tried to contact somebody who could look after her, at one point kicking his partner in the sternum before running away, Constable Eldridge said.

    He crash tackled her in a Woollahra garden bed, where she continued to kick her legs wildly and he heard his partner say: “Do not bite me.”

    The hearing continues.

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

    Pot calls the kettle black on grant aid

    2018 - 09.14

    Fight: Fiona Nash cries foul of Labor criticism of a $940 million Federal grants program.THE Federal Government has defended a grants program that showered the Central Coast with $12 million while the Hunter got just $305,000 by saying the Labor Party did the same thing first.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The two major parties attacked each other in speeches in Federal Parliament this week after the NewcastleHerald revealed a vast discrepancy in community development grants program allocations to the neighbouring regions since 2014.

    Labor regional spokesperson Stephen Jones called for Australian Auditor-General Grant Hehir to audit the program, while regional communications minister Fiona Nash responded with figures showing the previous Labor Government gave nearly five times as much money to Labor as Coalition seats.

    “Labor and Stephen Jones should call for an audit into their own grants programme,” Minister Nash said.

    An Australian National Audit Office audit of Labor’s regional development Australia fund found there was “little insight” into project funding decisions that were “largely at the expense of projects located in electorates held by the Coalition”.

    The audit office questioned whether Labor’s funding decisions were “consistent with the transparent, competitive, merit‐based selection process outlined in the published program guidelines”.

    In a speech to Federal Parliament on Thursday Mr Jones described the funding of a Central Coast Group Training centre at North Wyong under the community development grant program as a “scandal” which had done nothing to help Central Coast young unemployed. The Central Coast’s youth jobless rate is 17.3 per cent compared with a national average of 12.9 per cent.

    Mr Jones described the grant program as a “National Party slush fund”.

    “It’s a $1 billion program with few guidelines and no competitive funding processes. The minister’s own department has confirmed to a Senate estimates hearing that this program is there to fund coalition election commitments,” Mr Jones said.

    The Coalition spent $135 million on NSW Coalition seats since 2013and $1 million on Labor seats.

    Students are saddling up

    2018 - 09.14

    YEE HAH: After putting the finishing touches on the fabrication project, Roper Gulf Regional Council CDP participants watch Ngukurr School students try out their new horse yards. Picture: Roper Gulf.A group of men in Ngukurr have gone back to school to ensure future generations in the remote community can hone their horsemanship skills.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Through its Community Development Program, Roper Gulf Regional Council has partnered with the Ngukurr School to construct a set of steel yards that will used by the 16 Year 9 to Year 12 students who learn about riding and equine management when they are not in the classroom.

    The school supplied the materials for the ambitious build, with CDP participants providing the labour as they developed a new range of skills in metalwork, construction and project management under the watchful eye of the council’s CDP Builder Trainer.

    Witnessing the yards take shape had special meaning for several of the participants involved in the project who have a first-hand understanding of how important the horsemanship program is for fostering confidence and self-esteem in students.

    Participant Donald Hall explained that as a former student in the program, he had jumped at the chance to give something back to the school.

    “It makes me feel proud to have been in the horse program when I was at school, and now doing something to help the horse program,” he said.

    CDP regional manager Janelle Iszlaub said she was thrilled to see how committed participants had been to growing their skillsets as part of a project.

    FOND MEMORIES: Roper Gulf Regional Council CDP participant Donald Hall tells CDP Regional Manager Janelle Iszlaub what helping to build the yards means to him as a former student of the Ngukurr School horsemanship program. Picture: Roper Gulf.

    “Council has had anywhere from 12 to 20 CDP participants at a time working on this project, and they have put countless hours into finishing it and making sure it is something Ngukurr can be extremely proud of,” she said.

    “This was about showing the kids what the participants can do, which has been community involvement and teamwork, welding, machine operation, and preparing and managing the job from initial conception.”

    EQUINE EXCELLENCE: Students, CDP participants and staff celebrate the official opening of the Ngukurr School equestrian yards on September 7 after a collaboration between the school and Roper Gulf Regional Council delivered the much-needed infrastructure. Picture: Roper Gulf.

    The Council runs CDP projects in its Local Government Area on behalf of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

    The Federal Government initiative assists jobseekers in remote communities to find employment as they contribute to their communities and gain new skills in the process.

    Katherine Times