Natasha loses top ranking

SETBACK: Natasha Scott playing for Australia at the World Bowls Series last year in Christchurch, New Zealand. Picture: Getty ImagesRaymond Terrace’s Natasha Scott has lost her No.1 Australian women’s ranking after losing a thrilling match 21-20 to Sue Brady in round of 16 of the Australian Open on the Gold Coast.
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Scott, the defending Open champion and reigning national female Bowler of the Year, beat her closest rival inthis year’s ranking race, Victoria’s Carla Krizanic, 21-9 in the round of 32.But her loss to Queenslander Brady means she gained only a four-point advantage over Krizanic in the final event of the rankings season, not enough to keep her title.

Scott and Krizanic are playing together in the pairs and are into the quarter-finals. Maddison Fennell andMolly Wilton (Raymond Terrace) lost in the round of 16.

Shannon Gittoes (Nelson Bay) qualified for the quarter-finals of the blue-ribbon men’s singles with a nail biting 21-19 win against Glenn Scott (Victoria). He was due to meet Aaron Teyes (Warilla) on Tuesday evening.

Sam Laguzza (Kahibah) is in the men’s fours quarter-finals on Wednesday morning playing lead for Sean Baker (Queensland) against Aaron Wilson (NSW).

**Newcastle District State Senior Singles champion Michael Beesley (Beresfield) begins his title defence on Saturday with a tough first-tound match against Richard Garvey (Edgeworth) at Windale-Gateshead.

**Only two previous winners are contesting the Newcastle District State President’s Singles from Saturday. Titleholder Lance Jackson (Raymond Terrace) meets Danny Moore (Wangi) at Kotara and 2013 champion Paul Delforce (Kahibah) plays Harold Ellercamp (Swansea Workers) at Belmont.

**Newcastle travel to Gulgong this weekend for the annual representative fixtures against Western NSW, Central Coast and Illawarra.

Soldiers Point’s Alvin Gardiner will make his Newcastle debut as third for clubmate Terry Antram, with Warren Shipley (Beresfield) as lead and Jason Pietraszek (Soldiers Point) as second.

Bruce Bull (Windale-Gateshead) returns to the side after an absence of 10 years as third for Lennon Scott (Raymond Terrace), with Raymond Terrace’s Haydn Bojkowski and Jason Stokes as lead and second.

Richard Girvan (Nelson Bay) will skipper the rink of Brian Bateman (Soldiers Point), Jarrod Duncan (Alder Park) and Shannon Gittoes (Nelson Bay).AMatt Baus (Raymond Terrace) will be in charge of Shaun Richards (Raymond Terrace), Jakob Graham (Nelson Bay) and David Govan (Valentine).

**Entries close on Wednesday at the association office for the Newcastle District Major Singles and on Friday for all events in the 2017 Mattara carnival.

The Major Singles starts on July 8 and Mattara on August 14.

Knights to weigh up SKD offer

UNCERTAIN FUTURE: Shaun Kenny-Dowall (left) leaves Downing Centre Court complex on Tuesday. Picture: Daniel Munoz
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SHOULD the Newcastle Knights sign a player who has pleaded guilty to the possession of cocaine?

That is the dilemma the club is now pondering after Shaun Kenny-Dowall admitted to having 0.29 grams of the drug and was placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond but escaped a conviction at Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday.

Kenny-Dowall’s management werein talks with the Knights when the 29-year-old was busted by police with the drug at Ivy nightclub in May.The Kiwi international has since been released by the Roosters and is available to join Newcastlebefore the June 30 cut-off date.

Knights chief executiveMatt Gidley was non-committal when asked if they would reopen talks with the centre after reportedly withdrawing a four-year $1.2 million in the wake of his arrest.

“We are looking at a number of players who may be available prior to June 30,” Gidley said.

Football-wisea player of Kenny-Dowall’s pedigree and experience –he played 234 games for the Roosters, including the 2013 grand-final victory, and has 20 caps for New Zealand–would bolster a developing backline.

Coach Nathan Brown said the outcome of the court case was “favourable for Shaun as a player” and “good news for him”.However, he said a decision on the pursuitof Kenny-Dowall waslargely out of his control.

“I have always said that when something like this occurs it always heads to people above me,” Brown said.

Coach Nathan Brown says a decision on whether Shaun Kenny-Dowall joins @NRLKnights will be made by board. @newcastleheraldpic.twitter南京夜网/JISvH3RZar

— James Gardiner (@JamesGardiner42) June 20, 2017Heraldhas been told that the Knights board of directors have been instructed to discuss any big decisions with the Wests Group in the likelihood of a takeover later in theyear.Kenny-Dowall may beasked to appear before the Knights board.

Gidley said, as was the case with all significant signings,the Knights board would bekept“informed”of developments.

“They will certainly be aware of it, andthey will certainly be able to put their views forward, but at this stage we haven’t entered into any discussions,” he said.“We are purelyspeculating at this stage.”

Kenny-Dowall’ssolicitor Bryan Wrench told the court his client underwent urine and hair testing soonafter he was caught with a resealable bag of cocaineon May 5, provinghe did not take the drug, and had not used drugs in previous weeks.

“It still doesn’t excuse what he did, but this is a case where we can say it’s a one-off,” Wrench said.

Magistrate Greg Groginnoted Kenny-Dowall had lost his contract with the Roosters as a result of the charges, as well as his registration with the NRL.

“The collateral damage is huge,” Grogin said.”There’s no evidence of drug use by you either at the time of the incident … or in the many weeks prior.”

Grogin said he consideredKenny-Dowall’s early guilty plea, and the fact that it was his first offence when discharging him, and placing him on a year-long good behaviour bond.

It is not the first time the former centre has appeared in court.

The Kiwi national was last year acquitted of domestic violenceafter he was accused of headbutting, pushing and putting his former girlfriend Jessica Peris in a headlock.

TheHeraldunderstands that the Knights are also in talks withRoosters backline utility Connor Watson and Brisbane duo, centre Tatau Monga and propHerman Ese’ese.

It is unclear if any would be available this season.

“There are lots of players who may be available and things will probably heat up post Origin II (Wednesday),” Gidley said. “In the early stages of next week there will probably be various opportunities.As I have said all along, we are well positioned to bring players in and we will see what eventuates between now and next Friday (June 30).”

Gidley also confirmed that talks had begin with extending the contracts of captain Sione Mata’utia, fellow young guns Daniel and Jacob Saifiti and crowd favourite Nathan Ross.

“Thereare two aspects to our roster management –recruitment and retention,” Gidley said.“There are a number of the young players who are currently under contract that we are looking to extend.”

Meanwhile, the Knights have named an unchanged 17 to take on St George Illawarra at Jubilee Oval on Sunday.

Big spending NSW budget snubs the Hunter

At his press conference on Tuesday, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet was asked whether the days of asset recycling –read: privatisations – were over now the government had completed the sale of its electricity network businesses.
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The implication seemed to be; after raising some $29.8 billion through privatisation, there’s not much left to sell, and when it’s all gonewhat will the government prop up its revenue base with? Mr Perrottet’s answer wasthat they’re not done yet.

The government still plans to sell its $16.8 billion Westconnexmotorway project, and is in talks with the Commonwealth about the so-called Snowy Hydro 2.0 scheme.

Since coming to power in 2011 the government has used privatisation – like the $1.5 billion lease of the Newcastle Port – as a base on which to fund its ambitious infrastructure budget.

But how long can it keep it going?

With stamp duties expected to begin falling in coming years, debt from infrastructure rising, and GST receipts about to fall off a cliff, the governmenthas a looming revenue problem. Mr Perrottet says the government’sdealing with it by controlling expenditure growth through wage caps and efficiency dividends – read: budget cuts –in the public service.

In 2014 when the government was in the process of privatising the Port of Newcastle for $1.5 billion, the Hunter was briefly at the centre of the state’s politics.

Since then, following the commitment to build a 2.7 kilometre light rail track down Hunter Street, we’re often told how lucky we are that the government is investing half a billion dollars into the region. But what of Lake Macquarie? Of Maitland? Of Port Stephens, Cessnock and the Upper Hunter?

Sydney infrastructure projectswinbillions in this budget, with a bottom lineMr Perrottet boasted was the “envy of the western world”.The Hunter’s most significant newfunding announcement? A$1.7 million business case for a project that has been on the government’s radar for years.

This for a region which, as always, has donemore than it’s share of heavy lifting. Coal royalties will deliver $1.5 billion to the budget –up $300 million on what was expected.

Schools, hospitals, roads and, yes, art galleries for Sydney, Sydney and you guessed it, Sydney.

Envy? Some might call it greed.

Issue: 38,524

Young song and dance

CLASSIC: William Parker rehearsing the title song in Singin’ in the Rain JR. Photo by Jo Roberts.THE list of popular musicals adapted for performance by young entertainers is growing, with two of the latest, Singin’ in the Rain JR and Legally Blonde:The Musical JR, being staged by Newcastle theatre groups in the July school holidays.
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Singin’ in the Rain JR will be presented by Hunter Drama at St. Phillip’s Christian College Theatre and Legally Blonde: The Musical JR by Pantseat Productions at the Civic Playhouse.

The shortening of the musicals tests the performers, aged 18 and under, as they have to get the story across to audiences through acting, song and dance in running times of 60 to 70 minutes.

Singin’ in the Rain, adapted from a classic film musical, is set in Hollywood in the 1920s, when the success of the first film with recorded sound, The Jazz Singer, led studios to include dialogue in movies they were making. In the musical, officials at one studio decide to dub the squeaky voice of attractive Lina Lamont with that of would-be actor Kathy Selden. Kathy finds herself working with leading man, Don Lockwood, who had offended her in a street encounter.

Sophie Carmody, who plays Kathy, said she is a strong person, but one who also can show a soft spot. The musical’s Don, William Parker, said the character’s dancing delivery of the title number while using an umbrella to shelter Kathy from rain is challenging but fun.

Singin’ in the Rain JR, directed by Drew Holmes, has performances at St. Phillip’s Christian College Theatre, Waratah, nightly at 7.30pm from Wednesday, July 5, to Saturday, July 8, plus 2pm Friday and Saturday matinees. Tickets: $33, concession $25. Bookings: tickets.spcc.nsw.edu.au.

Legally Blonde shows the challenges faced by a young woman, Elle Woods, when she talks her way into a legal studies course at Harvard University after her boyfriend, who is enrolling in the course, leaves her, asserting she’s not “serious’ enough”. Elle befriends a fellow classmate, Emmett, who worked hard to get into the course, and in her final year amusingly demonstrates her legal skills as a lawyer’s assistant in a trial.

Jordan Warner, who plays Elle, said she believes in herself and gets ahead by doing the right things. And the numbers, including the amusing Bend and Snap, will have audiences with smiles on their faces. Theo Williams, the show’s Emmett, said he’s a loving and tender character who, like Elle, is very different to most of the other students.

Legally Blonde: The Musical JR, directed by Kimberley Dingle, has performances at the Civic Playhouse on Thursday and Friday, July 6 and 7, at 12pm and 7pm, and on Saturday, July 8, at 2pm and 7pm.

Tickets: $26.55. Bookings: 4929 1977.

Will North Melbourne relocate to Tasmania?

North Melbourne relocating to Tasmania has been put back on the football agenda thanks to Footy Classified co-host Craig Hutchison, with the AFL on Tuesday saying “everything is a possibility”.
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Hutchisonused the Channel Nine football program on Monday night to express his view on the Kangaroos calling Tasmania their permanent football home in the wake of the low crowd for their Friday night home game against St Kilda.

Kangaroo Jack Ziebell with the fans North Melbourne defeated the Adelaide Crows at Hobart’s Blundstone Arena on May 6, 2017. Photo: Quinn Rooney, Getty Images

Just26,107 people were at Etihad Stadium in what was also a celebration night for retired great Brent Harvey.

“It is time North Melbourne to have a deeper and serious look at Tasmania, because that for me is the greater opportunity for their footy club without actually compromising their supporter base,’’ Hutchinson said.

“I think they are in an unbelievable position if you leave emotion out to get the best of both worlds.”

Hutchison proposed that the club has a permanent training base in Hobart and playnine games in Tasmania [five at Blundstone Arena and four at UTas Stadium], nine in Melbourne andfour interstate.

He also believed the club’s women’s team should bepermanently basedin Tasmania.

Hutchisonsaid the current set-up in the state, which sees Hawthorn play four games in Launceston and North three in Hobart was “flawed”.

Those deals expire in 2021.

AFL general manager of football operations Simon Lethleanresponded to the calls on SEN Radio on Tuesday saying it wasn’t something that was on the immediate agenda for the league.

“[But] everything is a possibility,” he said.

“Our preferred model probably is one team in Tassie, but we’ve also been pretty clear too that there are two clubs there at the moment with five-year deals to play matches and that’s not changing any time soon.

“It’s one for three, four, five years time to discuss and see where clubs are situated.”

TASSIE HOME: North Melbourne and Adelaide clash at Bellerive Oval in round 7. Picture: Getty Images

AFL Tasmania chief executive Rob Auld said: “Craig Hutchison’s creativity and innovation is well known but my reaction to his recentthinking isthat we have a commitmentto the AFLclubs playing football in Tasmania, and the current deals that are inplaceuntil 2021.

“It isabsolutely not our place to comment on matters specific to AFL clubs.

“However, as demonstrated by the recent AFLW submissions we will continue to work to getting the best outcomes for Tasmania, bringingTasmania closer to the national competition.

“It is pleasing how Tasmaniacontinues to be a part of the national conversation.”

But the state government has knocked the idea on the head.

“The AFL will never be a truly national competition until Tasmania has its own team,’’ acting premier Jeremy Rockliff said.

“Tasmania is a proud football state and the government continues to believe that the AFL won’t be a truly national competition until we have our team.”

North Melbourne declined to comment on the matter.

The Advocate