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NSW Swifts star Sharni Layton thrilled to be Chinan Diamonds vice-captain

Posted on 05/12/2018 by

Opportunity: Sharni Layton. Photo: Brendan Esposito Ready: Sharni Layton is relishing the increased responsibility. Photo: Michele Mossop
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“It’s such a great experience for me and it’s a role I haven’t had to do before.” Photo: Michele Mossop

Sharni Layton is ready to step from the shadows of Laura Geitz and Julie Corletto and stamp her on-court commitment and vocal dominance in the n Diamonds’ upcoming Test series against England.

The NSW Swifts goal keeper was named as acting vice-captain alongside West Coast Fever’s Caitlin Bassett, with Queensland Firebirds defender Clare McMeniman acting captain in the absence of usual leader Geitz (rested) and vice-captain Renae Ingles (injury).

“It’s such a great experience for me and it’s a role I haven’t had to do before. I’ve always been the inexperienced one around Laura and Julie and Bianca Chatfield,” Layton said. “For me, being on the more mature end, having that role in the leadership group is really about teaching the young ones that are coming away with us what it’s all about and consolidating what we need to do as Diamonds for the next four years.”

The 28-year-old had a stellar 2015, winning the Netball World Cup and the Constellation Cup with the Diamonds, alongside being named the 2015 ANZ Championship Player of the Year and MVP of the finals series, which ultimately saw her Swifts lose at the death to the Firebirds.

Her biggest challenge this year will come on January 21 when the Diamonds will look to avenge a 3-0 series whitewash against England in 2013, a series Layton missed due to a shoulder injury. Layton is bullish about the Swifts’ chances this year, echoing coach Lisa Alexander’s “top of our game” approach.

“We have been working super hard but I’m sure England have as well and there will be challenges. But, in saying that, we love challenges and I believe we can put out our best performances on court,” she said. “It’ll be interesting to see how everything will pan out but we’re definitely not going over there for a friendly.”

Layton’s unapologetic playing style, coupled with her booming vocal cords, have been the hallmark of her playing career and she is not about to change that when she helps lead the Diamonds out in the next few weeks. Describing her leadership style as action-based, Layton is already working on her perceived leadership weaknesses, stemmed from a work ethic so prominent that she has been ranked No.1 in defensive rebounds, deflections and intercepts in the ANZ Championship.

Alexander will play Layton in her favoured position at goal keeper and is looking forward to the impact she will bring on and off the court. “Her level of play really has not reached its ceiling that’s for certain in international netball. We’ve seen what she can do on the ANZ Championship court, what a fantastic competitor she is and how she can really ignite a whole stadium of spectators,” Alexander said.

“She really puts maximum effort into all of her training sessions and she works damn hard off the court. She’s a great example. She’s enthusiastic, positive and encouraging and people want to follow that and follow her. I think she just can’t wait for that opportunity. “

‘s 2016 tour of England (all times AEDT)   Test 1 v England  Thursday, January 21 Echo Arena, Liverpool 6.30am    Test 2 v England Saturday, January 23 Copper Box Arena, London 6.30am   Test 3 v England  Monday, January 25 Copper Box Arena, London 5.30am 

Golden Globes 2016: Ricky Gervais as host is crude, rude and very nearly off the rails

Posted on 05/12/2018 by

The measure of any awards show host is revealed in the opening volley. It’s a love affair with the audience which is won or lost in a moment. That’s why Billy Crystal, and the pairing of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, are remembered with reverence. And why Seth McFarlane doesn’t get asked back any more.
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Ricky Gervais was returning to the Golden Globes this year after three winning turns as host, having set the bar impossibly high, and a three year absence during which the awards were hosted by the brilliant pairing of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

He recovered in the end, just, but for one perilous moment it nearly skidded off the rails.

Gervais’ first outings as host of film and television’s bridesmaid of awards shows were sharp, and took aim at Hollywood’s most exalted stars and most taboo subjects. This year, after much pre-hype, his opening monologue was filled with easy targets and crude humour which seemed to fall flat with the star-studded audience.

Early on in the show Gervais had posted on Facebook and Twitter “Can’t wait for people to start reporting that I offended some people at The Golden Globes. Of course I f—ing did.”

During the awards the 54-year-old British comedian took shots at NBC, the US network airing the Globes – “they have zero nominations … there is nothing in it for them tonight” – as well as the awards organising body, the eccentric and often-maligned Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

He poked fun at the HFPA’s decision to nominate The Martian as a comedy. “To be fair, The Martian was lot funnier than Pixels, but then so was Schindler’s List,” he said, adding – under his breath, when the joke fell flat – “it’s just a film.”

He also said: “The president of the HFPA just told me if I say anything offensive, or crass … he’s going to come out here personally and pull me off.” The joke took a moment to hit the audience. “Yes, that is the level [of the jokes],” Gervais added, “An old man pulling me off.”

Another easy target: former Olympian Bruce Jenner, now trans celebrity Caitlyn Jenner. “I’ve changed,” Gervais said, “Not as much as Bruce Jenner. She became a role model for trans people everywhere. She didn’t do a lot for women drivers.” (Jenner was involved in a car accident which resulted in a fatality.)

And another: the reputation of the HFPA as journalists whose vote can be swayed with gifts. “As if film companies would say away from the chance of winning a Golden Globe,” Gervais said, “Particularly if their film company has already paid for it.”

It made for an awkward handover to the organisation’s president, Lorenzo Soria, who writes for the Italian magazine L’Espresso, but it was Soria’s speech which brought a curious, and unexpected, dignity to an otherwise patchy opening.

“We can all use our influence to shine a spotlight on violence, injustice and intolerance,” Soria said, as the television cameras cut somewhat predictably to actor and activist Brad Pitt, “[and] in doing so we can make our world a more hopeful, and a better, place.”

In some respects Soria’s words were soft, but they offered a fascinating juxtaposition to the older, more serious Academy Awards where political statements and such issue-based spotlight-aiming has, at times, been frowned upon by organisers.

Overall, Gervais was sharp, though his kick-off was off-target and a little too crude for his audience, in the room, at home and even online. He clawed back some ground later in the show, fencing with n actor Mel Gibson who deserves a Golden Globe just for turning on the charm through gritted teeth.

In most respects the Golden Globes telecast was scripted down to the last detail, though the event – a sit-down-dinner as opposed to the more usual auditorium style – has a reputation for unpredictability and celebrity mischief, typically of the actress-caught-in-the-loo-as-their-name-is-announced variety.

And Gervais’ toilet humour proved persistent if not entirely persuasive, as he revealed the fate of the three Golden Globes he has, himself, won.

“One’s a doorstop, one I use to hit burglars with, and one I keep by the bed to … it doesn’t matter, it’s mine,” he said, adding: “To be clear, that was a joke about me shoving Golden Globes I have won up my ass.”

Western Sydney Wanderers may disagree, but Jarred Gillett was correct

Posted on 05/12/2018 by

Western Sydney Wanderers may disagree, but Jarred Gillett was right to disallow them a goal against Melbourne City. The referee at the centre of Western Sydney’s contentious overruled goal carelessly allowed the Wanderers to quickly take a free kick before a Melbourne City defender could drop back into position. That defender, Patrick Kisnorbo, was only pulled out of position by Gillett for a lecture after a foul. The ever-aware Wanderers quickly pounced on that opportunity once Gillett incorrectly blew for play on, scoring via a player unmarked where Kisnorbo was previously standing.
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Had it not been for an astute linesman, Gillett would not have been aware of this situation and would have allowed the goal to stand.

Brisbane too were let down by a linesman after being awarded a penalty against Wellington Phoenix, which was similarly overturned by a vigilant assistant who spotted the smallest of infringements by the attacking team. In a game where players of all ages are told to “play the whistle” it was cruel and seemingly unjust to order the Wanderers to retake it, but not as unfair as it would have been to allow that goal to stand.

2. Where there’s a will there’s a way

It was one of the most powerful moments of season – the split second after Ali Abbas scored in his first game after 13-month lay-off. He looked straight to the Sydney FC supporters, wanting to run towards them, but instead turned towards the coaching staff and jumped into the arms of the club physio and conditioning coach.

In early December 2014, doctors told Abbas his chances of playing again weren’t good after rupturing two ligaments in a horror tackle. Determined not to let that moment ruin his career, Abbas worked tirelessly to come back and made his impact minutes into his first professional game in more than a year.

3. Dollars over sense

Few games would have hurt more for the struggling Central Coast Mariners than their 3-3 draw with Melbourne Victory, and the question is, had they stayed in Gosford, instead of moving their home game to Geelong, would they have won? Central Coast was once a fortress for the side but, more eager to chase dollars than competition points, they moved that game to Geelong with a match fee understood to be attached. Naturally the crowd was mostly made up of Victory supporters who spurred their side on towards an unlikely comeback.

4. Jets in freefall

We’re now past the halfway stage of the most generous football competition in the world – where 60 per cent of teams make the finals – and Newcastle Jets don’t look like finishing in the top six for the sixth season in a row. Their 2-0 loss to Sydney FC made it seven weeks since they’ve scored and 11 weeks since they last won a match.

Worse still, the club looked bereft of confidence and simple marking and tracking would have prevented them from conceding. At the other end, the club looks rattled in the final third and although just four points from the finals zone, they don’t look close to bridging that gap.

5. World game v colonial game

It’s a battle that has been brewing for some time and will come to a head on Saturday night. No it’s not just Sydney FC against Western Sydney Wanderers but the world game against the colonial game. The A-League and Big Bash League cricket will further divide the city with two derby games and it is likely cricket will win the audience battle off the field.

Next year the A-League derbies appear set for ANZ Stadium, which could draw crowds in excess of 50,000 and if the FFA manages to seal a deal with a network, it will be broadcast nationally, truly challenging Big Bash cricket.

Islamic State threat lies with fighters returning home to South East Asia

Posted on 05/12/2018 by

A video reportedly showing an Islamic State training camp in the Philippines. Photo: YouTube Bali bomber Imam Samudra. Photo: AP/Charles Dharapak
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A video released by the Abu Sayyaf Islamists in 2012 showing former captive, n Warren Rodwell. Photo: Supplied

Terror groups form Islamic State powerhouse in Philippines

Violent pockets of rebellion are dotted across South East Asia. Alarm that Islamic State could find a toehold in the neighbourhood after more extremist groups pledge support is understandable, but not the most far-reaching security concern.

The bigger fear is the terrorist fighters from the region who have travelled to serve with Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, and what plans they might bring home on their eventual return.

This stems from the experience in Afghanistan in the 1990s, where the terrorists who went on to carry out the Bali bombings and other atrocities learned their deadly skills.

The eldest son of Bali bomber Imam Samudra was killed fighting for ­Islamic State in Syria in September, which may be one fewer terrorist to pose a threat but is an indication of the pedigree of fighters who have travelled from the region. Estimates range from anywhere up to 900 fighters from South East Asia fighting in Syria and Iraq, a comparatively small but deadly cohort.

The declaration of the allegiance and possible merger of terrorist groups in the Philippines gives Islamic State another a propaganda boost, but will make little immediate difference to the threat in the region.

The long-running insurgency in the nation’s rural south shows holding territory is fraught, let alone establishing an Islamic State-style fortress.

The local conflict has ebbed and surged, the heavy-handed police and military at times driving more supporters towards the insurgents, while the criminal zeal of the notorious Abu Sayyaf radicals alienates the local population.

A political peace process on the island of Mindanao has further driven Abu Sayyaf and other militants to extremes.

They may chirp up with fiery anti-Western denunciation but, just as occurred with their promise to attack the recent regional summit in Manila attended by leaders from the US, and other nations, their ability to back up threats with action is limited.

What this latest declaration may do is raise the profile of South East Asia in the eyes of Islamic State leaders as the boundaries of their so-called caliphate in the Middle East is pushed back.

Should an eventual collapse of Islamic State see its most fervent adherents scurry back home to pursue violence, the danger in the region will be far more acute.

University of NSW beats Sydney University in race for school-leavers’ preferences

Posted on 05/12/2018 by

The new $125 million Biological Sciences building at the University of New South Wales (UNSW)Kensington campus Photo: Woods Bagot Falling behind in school leaver preferences: The University of Sydney Photo: Victoria Baldwin
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UNSW graduates and Atlassian co founders Mike Cannon-Brookes (left, with scarf) and Scott Farquhar watch as shares open on the Nasdaq. Photo: Trevor Collens

The University of New South Wales has overtaken the University of Sydney as the number one university preference for NSW school leavers.

The result, based on data released by the University Admissions Centre last week, is the first time UNSW has taken the school leavers’ top spot from ‘s oldest university, which retained first place for all first preferences including mature age students in November.

UNSW’s Vice-Chancellor, Ian Jacobs, said that the result reflected the acceleration of UNSW’s multi-million dollar investment in its 2025 plan to crack the world’s top 50 universities and increasing demand for its science and engineering courses.

“This has been built on many, many years of hard work,” said Professor Jacobs, who just completed his first year as UNSW Vice-Chancellor. “The students come in for open day and they see a university infrastructure that is now second to none.”

This year the university also lured students through appealing to their sense of security. Students were guaranteed a place if they scored above a designated ATAR for each course, months before the main round of offers are made on January 20.

Professor Jacobs added that the recent focus on the success of Atlassian, a technology company started by two UNSW graduates that floated for $8 billion on the US stock exchange in December, had also increased the visibility of the university among high school graduates.

“There was a lot of talk about the university’s quantum computing and renewable energy programs and, at the end of the year, there was a lot of talk about Atlassian and they [students] say ‘I want a piece of that’.”

The university’s school-leaver applications were up 4.4 per cent on last year’s, taking it to a total of 7739 students after an aggressive recruitment drive saw administrators speak to 2800 high school students since ATARs were released in December.

High-achieving students have been offered up to $22,000 in scholarships and feted at university receptions.

Jonathon Strauss, from the UNSW Future Students Office, said that some science courses had seen a 200 per cent increase in demand this year amid a shift towards future-orientated courses.

“You can’t get away from some of the traditions and reputation of an institution but students are now also seeking far richer information, such as the likelihood of getting a job after graduation.”

According to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, stands to make a $57.4 billion increase in GDP by shifting 1 per cent of the workforce into science and technology focused roles.

UNSW was not the only university to report an increased interest from school leavers.

Western Sydney University saw a five per cent increase in school leaver preferences, particularly in the fields of psychology, physiotherapy, nursing and midwifery, said the university’s Vice-President of People and Advancement, Angelo Kourtis.

The university, headquartered in Parramatta, rebranded itself last year to target high school graduates, with a slick television advertising campaign as well as a name and logo change from the University of Western Sydney.

Mr Kourtis said there had been fewer mature-age and non-school leaver applicants this year.

“Usually with strong economies mature-age students don’t seeking out as many higher education opportunities, because the economy is buoyant reskilling is not as prominent,” he said.

He said that there had been a shortfall in the number of applicants for teaching courses following tough new regulations on teacher benchmarks, including a requirement for three band-five HSC results instituted by NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli.

“What we have seen is a downturn in teacher education in primary and to a lesser extent secondary and that is to about the national debate around teacher standards,” he said.

The University of Sydney would not comment on school leavers first preference data.

“The University focuses on attracting the preferences of and admitting the most academically meritorious students,” said Deputy Vice-Chancellor Tyrone Carlin. 

Adventures in airbnb land

Posted on 05/12/2018 by

His name was Sean. I was slightly upset and he was completely calm. I’m guessing it was incredibly late at night in Airbnb land – although, you know, accommodation providers never sleep.
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Airbnb, for whom Sean works, describes itself as a community marketplace for accommodation around the world. It was founded in 2008 and I started using it a year later to find a place in New York I could actually afford to stay in for a month. My friends were horrified. How could I possibly send money to strangers in the fond hope that it would all work out OK?

Good question.Before I’d even left , one host had decided not to go ahead. But instead of panicking, I emailed Airbnb, which responded straight away.

I’ve had many good luck stories with Airbnb but not everyone has had that kind of experience. Think of Jacquie Young and Dieter Winkler who rented a house on the Gold Coast and then found themselves subject to a police raid because the Airbnb host turned out to be hostinghydroponic cannabis in a locked room.

As reported late last week by the BBC, airbnb confirmed the Young-Winkler family was refunded $1800 and offered reimbursement for their new house.I don’t know whether Sean was the lucky bloke who handled the Gold Coast debacle – but he certainly handled mine. We arrived in Italy to a gorgeous apartment billed as accommodating six people.Nearly everything about the apartment was glorious. The water view. The main queen-sized bed with the perfect mattress. The kitchen perfect for a couple of cooks determined to try every permutation of artichoke available at the markets. Dishwasher. And a host just one floor up who could interpret various things for us.

But five ns with privacy issues really struggled with the whole annexed bedroom concept. And while Airbnb couldn’t make the bedrooms discrete, Sean found a nearby place to rent which cost us more but accommodated everyone’s modesty. I have four or five emails from him, all making sure that the arrangements were on track.It turns out that the annexed bedroom is quite a feature in some European homes: two bedrooms linked by a doorway, with access through only one room. Which isfine if you are the parents of small children and they can’t escape unless they pass you – but not so great if you are all adults who expect to be able to leave your bedroom without having to pass snoring friends.

In contrast, the only hotel we stayed at during our time away had real trouble even dealing with minor issues. It had our money for about a month beforehandwhereas Airbnb holds the payment until you’ve checked in and made sure everything is OK.

The rental service is definitely not perfect – there were serious concerns over the way in which it handled early complaints. Homes were trashed by renters and the service handled the issues poorly. At least two women were sexually assaulted by their Spanish host. Since then it has changed the way it deals with emergencies.

And it’s true that this kind of accommodation carries with it more risks – particularly if you travel alone. One host tried to increase our fee after we’d signed up and threatened to reject our booking unless we paid up. However, through airbnb, it turns out it’s possible to stay in the centre ofParis or in New York for less than it costs to rent an apartmentin New Acton.

ns, rent out your houses. Those cosy little bedrooms with just one door could prove a realearner.

@jennaprice or [email protected]杭州龙凤论坛m

Top city universities falling behind on indigenous enrolment

Posted on 05/12/2018 by

Indigenous high students try their hand in a pharmacy lab as part of the Wingara Mura – Bunga Barrabugu program at the University of Sydney. Photo: Ben Rushton Indigenous high students try their hand in a pharmacy lab as part of the Wingara Mura – Bunga Barrabugu program at the University of Sydney. Photo: Ben Rushton
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  Comment: Isolated Chinese students need a warmer welcome

NSW’s most prestigious universities are falling behind their regional counterparts in Indigenous enrolments, data from the federal Department of Education has revealed.

The University of Sydney and the University of NSW have some of the lowest indigenous enrolment rates in the state, with up to one-third that of regional universities.

UTS Associate Professor Dr Nina Burridge, who studies indigenous education, said some universities could be doing more to boost indigenous enrolment, particularly if young people were reluctant to move to the city to study.

“On the one hand I would say that unis are well meaning. But, sometimes, there’s a lot of rhetoric rather than reality – the publicity in some ways overshadows the success rates.”

Kyol Blakeney, an Aboriginal primary education student at Sydney University, agrees. In 2015, he was a keen advocate for indigenous engagement as president of the student representative council.

Mr Blakeney said the problem lies not in individual outreach programs, but in larger hurdles indigenous young people face with the prospect of moving to study in the city.

“The connection to land is very important. For a lot of young people in Aboriginal communities it’s quite a big step to move away from home.”

He said larger city universities could be doing more to help indigenous students make the move.

“The University of Sydney doesn’t have many opportunities for a simple thing like accommodation,” he said. “If you live in Broken Hill, no matter how much procedure the uni has to boost enrolments, they’re not going to get them to study there.

“A high population of Aboriginal people come from a regional, low socio-economic background. Being able to pay for your textbooks and general living, it’s a big ask for someone who has just left school.”

But one area of study stands out as lacking enrolments more than any other.

Among the 15,000 indigenous students at n universities in 2014, only one in 10 enlisted in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) degree, according to Federal Department of Education data.

As the Turnbull government rolls out its innovation agenda, including an announced $48 million towards improving STEM literacy, education institutions are scrambling to reorganise their priorities.

“There is an aspirational impediment that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids think they couldn’t get into the best universities in , but the reality is they can and they succeed,” said Sydney University deputy Vice-Chancellor Shane Houston, who is responsible for indigenous strategy.

An event held at Sydney University on Monday saw 226 indigenous high school students from around the nation given a taste of university life, with demonstrations across a variety of subject areas including a pharmacy lab where they were invited to make hand cream.

“Ultimately I want to be a GP or a surgeon, or maybe even a pediatrician. I’m just going into medical studies to open my eyes a bit more,” said André Ross, 18, who is beginning year 12 in Alice Springs this year.

The three-hour flight from the Red Centre didn’t deter Mr Ross, who said: “I’m used to the distance and I don’t mind it because they’ve got Skype and all that now.”

The high school program, which runs all week, is part of the university’s long-term strategy of outreach and financial assistance to encourage more indigenous young people to take up study, particularly in STEM degrees.

Charles Sturt University in Bathurst had the second-highest number of indigenous students nationwide, after the University of Newcastle, in 2014. “There’s a very large indigenous population in western NSW so it’s a core part of our mission,” said CSU’s vice-chancellor, Professor Andrew Vann.  “But proportionally, indigenous students are much less represented in STEM than in other area. That’s something we have to work on across the whole sector.”

Golden Globes 2016: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Jason Statham engaged

Posted on 05/12/2018 by

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley announced her engagement to Jason Statham when she flashed her engagement ring at the Golden Globes on Sunday. Photo: NBC
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Golden Globes 2016: Best and worst dressed

‘Deviant scum’: Ricky’s tactless night of nights

They’ve been a glamorous Hollywood pair for more than five years – a lifetime for some celebrity couples – and now Jason Statham and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley are finally ready to take their relationship to the next level.

The 28-year-old model flashed her eye-catching diamond ring from her 48-year-old beau on the red carpet at the 73rd annual Golden Globes in Los Angeles on Sunday night.

Posing for the media as she stood beside her muscular fiance, at times she slid her bejewelled hand onto his arm, while at others, she positioned one hand on her hip, in order to make the most of her new bling accessory.

The ring caused rumours to swirl on the red carpet that the pair were set to wed and her representatives soon confirmed the news.

The bride and groom-to-be were dressed to kill at the awards show held at the Hilton in Beverly Hills.

The Mad Max: Fury Road star commanded attention in a skin-tight, gold-sequinned dress with a low neckline and criss-cross spaghetti straps that made the most of her slim back.

The Atelier Versace piece left little to the imagination, skimming the former Victoria’s Secret angel’s hips and thighs, before falling to the ground in a trumpet skirt.

The pair have just returned from a beach holiday in Thailand. However, it was not known when the question was popped.

Statham is best known for his roles in various Guy Ritchie films, including Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch.

He was previously in a seven-year relationship with British model Kelly Brook until their 2004 split.

Major League star back to spread the gospel

Posted on 05/12/2018 by

RYAN Rowland-Smith may have played in some of the biggest ballparks in the world, but the fields of Newcastle still hold a special place in the 32-year-old’s heart.
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EXPERT TIPS: Ryan Rowland-Smith at Gateshead on Monday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

The Newcastle-bred pitcher was back in town on Monday for the start of a two-day coaching clinic at Windsor Park.

The NxtGen Baseball Camp is the brainchild of former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Trent Oeltjen and Rowland-Smith, who ensured his home town was among the six towns the n Major League Baseball stars would be visiting.

“Trent Oeltjen and myself, we’ve been talking about doing this for a couple of years and finally got the chance to put it together, so I’m really excited.” Rowland-Smith said.

“I’m having so much fun with these kids and this place holds a special place in my heart too. As I said to Trent I’m so excited about the camp in Newcastle because I’m from here.”

Rowland-Smith became the first Novocastrian to reach baseball’s highest level when he made his Major League debut for the Seattle Mariners in 2007.

The left-hander has thrown in 121 games across four seasons with Mariners and half a season with Arizona.

Rowland-Smith hasn’t been able to make it back to “The Show” since being cut by the Diamondbacks in 2014, but he hasn’t given up on his Major League dream just yet.

He had knee surgery to clean up his meniscus six weeks ago and is hoping to return to the diamond when take on New Zealand, South Africa and the Philippines at the World Baseball Classic Qualifier, in Sydney next month.

“As soon as the qualifiers are over I’m on a plane back to Arizona and I’ve got a bunch of [Major League] teams to throw for there during spring training.”

Rowland-Smith injured his knee while playing for the Gigantes del Cubao in the Dominican Winter League, a stint he had hoped would put back in the shop window for MLB franchises.

“That was going to be my showcase for teams, so I prepped for that and that’s where I hurt my knee,” he said.

“I pitched two games, the knee was strapped up but I was in pain so after two games I said sorry guys.

“You’ve got big leaguers all throughout that league, so it’s a great place to play, filled with scouts. That’s where you go if you want to get back.”

But for now Rowland-Smith’s main focus is inspiring Generation Next.

Government prepares to respond to life jacket recommendation

Posted on 05/12/2018 by

ON THE LINE: The state government is due to respond next month to a coroner’s recommendation of mandatory life jackets for rock fishermen. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.CALLS for stricterlawsforrock fishermenwon’t be answereduntil at least next month, when the state government is dueto respond to acoroner’srecommendationto make life jackets mandatory.
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Hunter SurfLife SavingpresidentHenry Scruton told the Newcastle Heraldthere were“too many people dying from rock fishing” following the death of a Sydney man at Catherine Hill Bay on Saturday.

Mr Scruton called for life jackets to be made compulsory for the activity, butEmergency Services Minister David Elliott doesn’texplicitly support the idea.

“The death of any rock fisher is a tragedy,” Mr Elliott said on Monday.

“The NSW government is finalising a strategy to improve the safety of rock fishers following the Deputy Coroner’s recommendations regarding life jackets. The response is due within six months of the Deputy Coroner’s findings.”

Last July,Deputy State Coroner Carmel Forbesrecommended mandatory life jackets for rock fishingand ‘‘shock signs’’ in dangerspotssuch asSnapper Point at Frazer Park after an inquest into the deaths of nine fishermen, including three atLake Munmorah State Conservation Area.

Therecommendationcame afterevidence that warning signs, fences and education about the dangers of rock fishing had not reduced the rate of drowning deaths in NSW from between seven and eight per year.

Deputy State Coroner Carmel Forbes was told the cost of each rescue attempt in whicha rock fisherman had died was between $450,000 and $600,000.

Opposition Swansea MP Yasmin Catley, whose electorate covers part of Catherine Hill Bay, said the government already had advice from Surf Life Saving and compelling reasons to make life jackets mandatory.

“It’s like seatbelts. Some people don’t like them, or life jackets, but if you go out to the Heads at Swansea everyone has to have a life jacket on,” Ms Catley said.

“Of course personal responsibility comes into it, butgovernments have to legislate to keep people safe.”

Malcolm Poole, oftheRecreational Fishing Alliance of NSW, backedthe development of hybrid life jackets for rock fishingbut stressed the need forsafety education.

“There are 100,000 rock fishers out there who’ll go fishing annually,” he said.

“They’ve got to be able to move around rocks and remain mobile.”