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Payne train builds steam

ALL TOGETHER NOW: From left, Francis Jeffers, Chris Payne, Labinot Haliti and Jobe Wheelhouse at Jets training at Ray Watt Oval yesterday. – Picture by Darren PatemanJETS coach Gary van Egmond has preferred young legs to experience by elevating Chris Payne into his squad for tomorrow’s showdown with Sydney FC ahead of English veteran Michael Bridges.
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Payne, who joined Newcastle this season from now-defunct North Queensland, is yet to make his A-League debut for the Jets but has been in impressive touch in youth league, scoring nine goals in six games, including seven in his past three.

The 21-year-old was named yesterday in a provisional 16-man line-up, which van Egmond will reduce by one today.

There was no place for Bridges, 33, the former Sunderland, Leeds, Newcastle United and Bolton striker who retired at the end of last season but has made a comeback.

Bridges was an 84th-minute substitute in Newcastle’s 3-1 win against Melbourne Victory 13 days ago but has not played since.

Van Egmond believes Bridges has to gain more match fitness and has named him as an over-age player in today’s youth-league match against Sydney at Adamstown Oval.

‘‘He’ll play with the youth team on Friday, so he’ll get some game time there,’’ the coach said yesterday.

‘‘As we stated before, he’s come back and he’s doing well at training, so … hopefully [he plays] a good 60 minutes with the youth and then we’ll go from there.’’

Asked how long it would be before Bridges was an A-League option, van Egmond replied: ‘‘That depends on how he goes with the youth, once we see his effectiveness in those games.’’

Payne’s best chance of involvement tomorrow would appear to be as a substitute, as van Egmond has been tipped to use a starting strike force of Francis Jeffers, Ryan Griffiths and Jeremy Brockie.

That could leave Payne and Labinot Haliti competing for the same spot on the bench.

‘‘As you can see, young Chris Payne has been rewarded, coming into the squad because he’s been scoring regularly,’’ van Egmond said.

‘‘It’s all about getting runs on the board. If you’re doing well with the younger ones, and you’re doing well at training, you deserve to be called in.

‘‘We’ve named 16 and if he’s in that 15, there’s every chance all three subs will get a guernsey.’’

Payne may have been biding his time in Newcastle but is no stranger to the A-League.

He made 19 appearances at Sydney FC, scoring three goals, and produced four in 21games for the Fury.

At the other end of the pitch, van Egmond said he would decide this morning whether to recall Ben Kennedy, who was concussed playing against Brisbane four weeks ago, allowing Matthew Nash to stake his claim for a regular berth.

‘‘We’ll leave it to the last training session,’’ he said.

‘‘Nashy was a little bit sore on Wednesday. He just twisted his knee a little bit.

‘‘We’ll just wait and see if he’s 100 per cent and make the determination on Friday.’’

Van Egmond said Kennedy’s form at training suggested he was eager to return.

‘‘He’s a lot better and has had a lot more training under his belt as well …’’

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Star duo have common ground

David WarnerSYDNEY – David Warner and Ed Cowan arrived in Test cricket from different walks of life, but the Australian openers both learnt their trade at the same junior cricket club.
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Just like Test opening bowlers Peter Siddle and James Pattinson came through Dandenong in Victoria, the No.1 and 2 bats Warner and Cowan, are products of Eastern Suburbs in Sydney.

The pair never played together as kids, with Cowan being four years older and moving on to the Sydney Uni club in his later teens, but their dreams of wearing the baggy green both started in Waverley Oval territory.

In many ways, Warner, from a housing commission estate in Matraville, and Cowan, a graduate of the elite Cranbrook private school, couldn’t be more different.

Cowan is a student of the game and has already written his own book, while Warner is arguably the world’s premier Twenty20 batsman and a pioneer of that style of batting in Test cricket.

But despite their individuality, the two left-handers share a common cricketing grounding at least, as they aim to get their fledgling opening partnership into gear after patchy starts against India in Melbourne and Sydney.

Bob Horsell was the president at Eastern Suburbs for more than 19 years and watched closely as Cowan and then Warner mastered their contrasting styles to the point where they were selected to wear the baggy green.

Horsell said it was an amazing circumstance that two local clubs were responsible for four of the current Australian XI and backed Cowan and Warner to eventually click as a combination.

“Ed Cowan’s a very switched on young man, very intelligent, very smart, and David has improved out of sight from a crazy beginning with the Twenty20 poster boy stuff to being a member of all three forms of the game,” Horsell said.

“It’s an incredible achievement by both players. “Their backgrounds are obviously extraordinarily different.

“It’s just something unheard of for us in our history, when you think the previous home-grown player (to play for Australia) was Bruce Francis (1972). And before that, I think you’d have to go back before World War I.”

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

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Dicing with bed-block

TWO related reports in the past few days have shown that overloaded public hospitals in NSW are falling further and further short of expectations in a number of key areas of performance.
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This week the NSW Bureau of Health Information revealed that the state’s sickest patients are waiting as long for emergency department treatment as they did at the height of the 2009 swine flu scare.

In the Hunter, only half the patients who present to emergency departments are being treated within the recommended times, with some waiting up to four times longer.

Equally troubling for Hunter people is the revelation that waiting times for urgent elective surgery are longer in the region than in the rest of the state, and the percentage of patients treated on time is lower than elsewhere in NSW.

Underscoring the problem statewide is the latest report from the state’s Auditor General, who has found an increase in the amount of time ambulance officers are being forced to wait to transfer patients into hospital care.

In 2010 ambulance officers wasted 77,200 hours waiting at emergency departments to hand over patients to hospital care. That was a big increase from 58,400 hours wasted the previous year.

Coupled with the related finding that only 66 per cent of patients were moved within eight hours from the emergency department to an inpatient bed (down on 73 per cent the year before and well below the 80 per cent target), the figures are symptomatic of the chronic “bed block” that plagues public hospitals.

Bed block is a simple problem that should have a simple solution.

When a hospital has too few beds available for use, its occupancy rate becomes excessive and there is no buffer to deal with emergencies.

Sick people in emergency rooms lie on stretchers waiting for patients in wards to be sent home to make room, forcing clinicians to make difficult decisions that can have far-reaching implications for care and recovery.

Full emergency rooms force ambulance officers to wait in queues with patients in their care, depriving the community of those vehicles and personnel in case of accidents or medical emergencies.

In effect, the government uses part of its ambulance fleet as a mobile hospital annexe. That’s a dangerous and foolhardy practice that can’t possibly produce good results.

Green light for Orica

TORN between the coal industry’s urgent demand for explosives and the Newcastle public’s concerns about safety, the government has given the green light to Orica to re-open its trouble-plagued Kooragang Island chemical plant.

Both Orica and the government insist that enough has been done to ensure the safety of nearby residents is not compromised by more of the mishaps and leaks that have kept Orica in the headlines for months.

Orica says it is committed to being “a responsible corporate neighbour”. The plant’s residential neighbours will be hoping that commitment is honoured.

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Where the old TVs go

WHY is Newcastle City Council continuing to collect old TVs and other electronic waste as part of household waste collections? Why does the council not better advertise the fact that it also runs e-waste and chemical drop-offs? Placing advertisements in the public announcements section of newspapers is not going to work. Not many will read them.
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People want to do the right thing but will not act if the information is not easily accessible. They need to know who to ask, where to go, when to go and what to take. Come on guys, you can do better.

Annette Gillies

The Junction

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Striker leaves Mariners as a hero

The Central Coast Mariners’ Matt Simon.GOSFORD – A brilliant brace from departing striker Matt Simon helped the Central Coast defeat Melbourne Victory 2-0 in an energetic A-League fixture at Bluetongue Stadium yesterday.
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The win sees the Mariners take their unbeaten streak to 11 matches and gives them a six-point buffer at the top of the table.

With a boisterous crowd of 12,284 at their backs, the home side got off to the best possible start with a goal after just 19 seconds of play.

Troy Hearfield took full advantage of a defensive slip by Petar Franjic to tee-up Simon, in his last game before joining Korean club Chunnam Dragons, for his 35th goal for the club.

It was a night of milestones all round with Central Coast midfielder John Hutchinson playing in his 300th Australian club game, and striker Troy Hearfield making his 100th A-League appearance.

In his starting debut for the home side, Hearfield was intent on demonstrating his credentials for the soon to be vacant striking spot – finishing without a goal, but forcing two great saves from Ante Covic.

The visitors were fortunate not to concede a penalty five minutes into the second half when a cross from Simon appeared to connect with the outstretched arm of Roridgo Vargas.

The star-studded Melbourne attack continued to press forward in the second half but was constantly thwarted by teenage defender Trent Sainsbury and keeper Mat Ryan. Fittingly Simon sealed the points with a stunning strike six minutes from time.

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

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Black Hawk safety talk, East Timor style

Peter and Kurt Moroney
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Newcastle Herald journalist Ben Smee is on an East Timor peacekeeping mission alongside Hunter members of the defence reserves.

EVER sat through one of those aeroplane safety displays, been given the full rundown of every disaster scenario possible, and spent the rest of the flight on edge?

Think yourself lucky Qantas don’t fly Black Hawks.

The 25-minute safety briefing for the helicopters includes everything from “what to do if we hit the water with the propellers still whirring” to “when to use the emergency axe to hack away at military equipment worth hundreds of millions of dollars”.

Fortunately, our Air Force blokes are cocky enough to add that we won’t need to use any of our newfound knowledge, because they know how to fly. Which is just as well, considering the roller coaster ride they attempted above Dili and rural East Timor yesterday.

From TLAG (another great military acronym that stands for Timor Leste Aviation Group) we headed west of Dili, dipped, dived and lurched over rugged country, and then flew back along the city’s coast.

I’m here with a group of bosses from the Hunter and Northern NSW, who are visiting their employees during a year-long deployment with peacekeeping forces in East Timor.

Peter Moroney runs Buildwise Construction and Inspections, and has two employees here: Anthony Gillian and his son, Kurt Moroney. The business employs several reservists and Peter says he is proud that Kurt and Anthony will come back with additional skills and experience.

“It’s their journey and it’s what they want to do, and as far as I’m concerned it’s great for these guys to come over and serve their country,” he said.

Kurt agreed.

“Our leadership and our self confidence has been boosted immensely,” he said.

Peter struggled on the bumpy Black Hawk, and was ribbed afterwards by Kurt. He had more success at the Liquica firing range, where the bosses chewed through ammunition with a selection of military firearms. Their employees must go through extensive training in the reserves before they’re even allowed on the range, so yesterday was a special treat.

The range isn’t fenced or secured with the military precision of other facilities in East Timor, and groups of local children are regular observers of firearms training.

Yesterday, they were given a special treat as infantrymen showed off their precision, staged a mock shootout, and then handed the weapons to some eager but mostly off-target amateurs.

We leave the country today. But stay tuned for a final instalment tomorrow morning.

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Kosmina inspires Adelaide United to thump the Heart

John KosminaMELBOURNE – He might not have the required A-League coaching qualification, but whatever John Kosmina has in his toolkit is working wonders for Adelaide United.
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The resurgent Reds outgunned the competition’s form side Melbourne Heart 3-1 at AAMI Park yesterday, snapping their five-match winning streak with a performance suggesting that Adelaide was a live finals chance.

Two goals to Sergio van Dijk and one to Dario Vidosic kept Kosmina unbeaten in his three matches in charge.

But his retooling of the dilapidated shell of a team he inherited from the sacked Rini Coolen last month suggests there is more than just the short-term bounce effect of a new coach at work – and Adelaide’s players agree.

“He’s simplified things, we’ve gone back to basics, we all know our roles and that’s key,” defender Nigel Boogaard said. “The boys all believe in the game plan and we’re willing to go out there and die for each other at the moment.”

Kosmina, only leading the Reds under special dispensation from Football Federation Australia as he completes his required coaching licence, admitted his side was doing “100 per cent” of what he asked of them and praised their “smart” football against the Heart.

Wellington Phoenix inflicted Sydney FC’s only second away loss of the A-League season when it triumphed 4-2 in a hectic clash in Wellington.

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

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Lobbyist turns off light rail

THE former director-general of Transport NSW wants the Newcastle rail line cut at Hamilton, with no light rail connection into Newcastle.
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John Lee, who now heads the Tourism and Transport Forum lobby group, has met with several of Newcastle’s civic and business leaders this week to discuss the rail line’s future.

Mr Lee advocated spending $30million creating a transport interchange at Woodville Junction while he oversaw the state’s transport system between 2003 and 2006.

He believes improving the bus service between Hamilton and Newcastle is a better option than light rail.

‘‘I don’t support light rail in Newcastle because you don’t have the density,’’ he said.

‘‘Light rail only works when it’s point-to-point, where there are two areas that can fill it both ways.’’

The Newcastle Herald reported last week that the business community believes the state government is poised to make a decision about the rail line early in the new year.

Woodville Junction at Hamilton is understood to be the preferred terminus, with a green corridor left, allowing for a future light rail service, into the CBD.

Mr Lee believes alternative land uses need to be found for the Newcastle rail corridor.

‘‘It is worldwide best practice now that integrated development, that is, a mixture of some retail, some commercial or some residential all within walking distance of each other is how you activate an area,’’ he said.

But before that could occur, the government needed to provide a clear direction for the CBD.

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Jets give Gold Coast a black day

Jet Ryan Griffiths is challenged by Golgol Mebrahtu, of Launceston-bound Gold Coast United, in yesterday’s match.NEWCASTLE – The Newcastle Jets broke their four-game A-League winless streak with a narrow 3-2 victory over Gold Coast United at home yesterday.
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A Jeremy Brockie brace and a late strike from substitute Labinot Haliti ensured the three points for the hosts who temporarily climb to sixth spot on the ladder while Ben Halloran and Adama Traore got a goal each for Gold Coast.

Gold Coast came bursting out of the blocks looking to get on the board early and it didn’t take long for the side to create their first chance when a Halloran header got the best of keeper Ben Kennedy but was denied by the woodwork with only a minute on the clock.

The Jets found their groove half-way through the opening stanza and began to create some chances.

Brockie had the hosts’ first real chance 25 minutes in when he found himself one-on-one with Gold Coast gloveman Jerrad Tyson, his shot lacking power and easily saved.

Brockie was again in the mix this time playing the ball back to stand-in skipper Ryan Griffiths, Kristian Rees saving the day for the visitors.

Brockie finally broke the deadlock in the dying minutes of the opening half when defender Nicolai Topor Stanley made a run forward, his cross finding Brockie in the box who headed home at the near post.

The Jets could have put the game beyond doubt only minutes into the second half, when Brockie cut the ball back to Griffiths right in front of goal, whose shot stung Tyson’s palms.

Halloran tried to equalise for Gold Coast minutes later, the keeper halting his effort. But it was Brockie who scored next in the 64th minute netting his sixth goal of the season.

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

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