Brownlow traditions? So pass?? in AFLW land

Shall we call it the postmodern Brownlow? So progressive it doesn’t yet have a name.
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Much will be familiar at a dinner event on the Tuesday after the first AFL women’s grand final: a black-tie dress code, a vote count and a guest list of top footy players.

But much more promises to be different: the count will be a sprint not a marathon, women will be award winners, and traditional plus-ones will have a progressive face. AFLW footballers in same-sex relationships will see to that.

Wives and girlfriends, husbands and boyfriends, come on down.

The AFL hoped the first AFLW awards night would be telecast but, as of Thursday, that appeared unlikely.

Planning, however, is under way for red carpet arrival-style coverage on the broadcasters of the first women’s season – Channel Seven and Fox Sports – with Fox looking to set up its nightly AFL 360 show at the awards night venue.

Announced on the night will be the first AFLW All-Australian team, the season’s best young player – a NAB Rising Star who wins $20,000 – the competition’s top goalkicker, which Carlton’s Darcy Vescio looks to have sealed, mark of the season, goal of the season and the main event: the best and fairest player.

“We hope it will have a different feel. Fresh and exciting. Not your traditional sit down for three hours-type situation,” AFL executive Simon Lethlean, who has taken AFLW across to his new football operations post, told Fairfax Media on Thursday.

“It’s being finalised, but I think it will be pre-dinner drinks, into a formal hour or so sitting down for the count and awards, before getting out and having some fun. It won’t be like a Brownlow marathon.”

Traditionalists, fear not. The AFL CEO will still have the honour of reading a roll call of three-, two- and one-vote-winners, round by round, as awarded by AFLW umpires through the inaugural seven-week season before the grand final on week eight.

Whether Gillon McLachlan can imprint himself on this event like his predecessor did at the AFL Brownlow, through pronunciation of player surnames and deft use of dramatic pause, remains to be seen.

“The vote count will be done in an official manner,” Lethlean said. “But it will be pretty quick given 28 games is like doing three rounds of men’s footy.”

As it is for the men’s Brownlow, the guest list for the AFLW awards night will be exclusive.

Best performers from the 27-woman lists at the eight clubs will be hand-picked and invited with a partner. The fourteen Rising Star nominees will also be invited, along with mark and goal of the season contenders, club presidents, CEOs, AFL bosses and commissioners.

Brownlow night has traditionally been a Monday night affair that kicks off AFL grand final week. A media hit and magnet for glossy magazine snappers, the occasion has featured any number of bells and whistles, ranging from multicoloured entrance carpets to revolving wheels for outfit parading and a diamante-studded G-string feature on one particularly memorable gown.

The first gathering to award the as-yet-unnamed highest individual prize in the AFLW is on a Tuesday. After the grand final is won and done. Writing a fresh script already.

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Mick Gatto claims he was approached by Bombers official

Ex-Bomber’s ‘late-night threats’ part of blackmail probe
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Underworld figure Mick Gatto claims he was approached by a senior Essendon official to help “sort out” the supplements scandal in 2014, contradicting his other assertions that he reached out to the football club.

Footage has emerged of a one-on-one interview between The Footy Show presenter Sam Newman and Gatto at the Villa Romana restaurant in Lygon Street, Carlton, on Thursday.

In the exchange Gatto claimed he was approached by Essendon in an official capacity over the supplements saga, but refused to name who he spoke to, saying “it wouldn’t be professional for me to divulge that”.

“With this one I did get embroiled in it. I was approached,” Gatto said.

“They just wanted me to find out what was going on with it all and what I could find out and have a feel around.”

However, Gatto also told Newman he did approach Essendon at one point, and met with club officials, to try to negotiate a deal on behalf of biochemist Shane Charter to supply information about supplements.

Newman told The Footy Show that Charter wanted $800,000 in exchange for information he believes could prove supplements taken by Essendon players were not illegal.

“Shane came and seen [sic] me and he said ‘Mate, I have been hard done by here’,” Gatto said.

“And he said ‘I can prove without a shadow of a doubt that the supplement that they brought over here, the [Thymosin Beta 4], I can prove it wasn’t that. It was something else.

“He had compelling evidence that it was legal. He’d done a deal with some members of Essendon, or tried to do a deal.

“He wanted to be paid for it, for his hardship and what he’s been dragged through. They wouldn’t hand it over so they would pay lawyers millions of dollars instead.”

The encounter began with Newman describing Gatto as ubiquitous.

“Ubiquitous means you’re everywhere Mick. It’s extraordinary. You are omnipotent. All powerful,” he said.

“Mick you are Mr Fix It. How are you embroiled in this Essendon Saga?”

In a statement, Essendon chairman Lindsay Tanner said the club did not have any dealings with Gatto.

“As previously stated, Essendon CEO Xavier Campbell has had no dealings with Mick Gatto and kept the AFL Integrity Department informed at all times,” Tanner said.

“I am advised by my predecessor Paul Little that he was approached by Mick Gatto offering his assistance and this offer was declined.”

Former Essendon team services manager John Elliott has alleged, in a signed statement as part of a WorkSafe compensation claim, that he was asked by a senior club official to set up a meeting with Gatto, who has earned a reputation as a dispute resolution specialist.

But prominent Bombers supporter Mario Salvo, who facilitated a meeting between the club and controversial biochemist Shane Charter in 2014, rebuffed the claims.

“I’ve heard that; that’s total bullshit,” Mr Salvo, a builder and property developer, said on Thursday.

“The club never tried to [meet Gatto]. I’ve had dealings with Mick Gatto because I’m in construction and I’m a property developer and Mick acts as a mediator.

“His job, his career, his profession is as a mediator, so it wouldn’t surprise me that he approaches people that may require his services.

“What I’ve been told from very reliable sources is that he did approach a very senior member from the Essendon Football Club offering his services and those services were not required.

“I’ve been approached over the years in my career as a property developer on several occasions where Mick’s services have been offered to mediate a dispute with different parties, whether it’s a builder or a contractor, and he’s done a very good job in mediating.”

Mr Salvo didn’t know which senior Essendon figure Gatto might have approached at the time.

Former assistant coach and dual premiership player Dean Wallis is also pursuing compensation from the club, alleging he was made the scapegoat during the supplement saga.

“I have been scapegoated in relation to the supplement program, while others at the club have been covering up the use of cocaine, sexual harassment and fraudulent behaviour,” he said in a statement first published by News Corp.

In the statement, Essendon said the matter was the subject of a blackmail investigation by Victoria Police.

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Busselton star netballer enroute to Canberra

South West Academy of Sport netball players Elycce Webb, Riley Culnane, Shantelle Tassone and Jessica Repacholi are preparing to play for WA in an Under-17 team at the upcoming national netball championships in Canberra. Busselton’s Riley Culnane is currently preparing to fly the flag for WA at the national netball championships held in Canberra in April.
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The 15-year-old talented athlete impressed at selection trials to beat other aspiring netball players from around WA to earn a spot in the state Under-17 team.

Culnane said the process of narrowing thesquad to 12 players from a pool of 60 was long and tedious but she’s proud of her efforts.

“It’s been a huge step-up from what I’m used to playing in the Under-15 team,” she said.

“I’ll be playing against girls who I expect are going to be tough competition and I imagine it’s going to be a massive learning curve.

“The Under-17 girls are much stronger competition so we will just have to wait and see how we match up against the other state teams.”

Culnane, who also swims, plays basketball and soccer, said the love of sport runs in her family with her mum a former professional netball player and dad a former rugby player.

Playing for her local clubsince 2013, she said she quickly fell in love with the game and she’s met most of her best friends through netball.

Exhibiting passion and skill in defence, she loves playing in the position of goal keeper and trains three times a week in Perth in the lead up to the event in Canberra.

“It’s been a little bit of a balancing act juggling school with training but it’s all worth it in the end,” she said.

“On Wednesday, we have a gym session and on Friday and Saturday we’re on court for match and agility sessions.

“It’s a huge responsibility and honour to be able to play and represent at this level.

“I’d like to thank my mum who is also my personal coach and physio and my dad too who has always been there for me.”

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The Charlestown man who took down a bad guyPHOTOS, VIDEO

The Charlestown man who took down a bad guy | PHOTOS, VIDEO James Pheils tackles the alleged offender on a Charlestown road.
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The alleged offender approaches a car.

James Pheils runs towards the alleged offender on a Charlestown road.

Protection: James Pheils used aikido to stop an attack in Charlestown.

TweetFacebookA video of the alleged attack at Charlestown. Footage: KOFM.He used aikido (amartial art) during the incident, which happened last week.

James attends Newcastle Aikido, which has its dojo (martial arts studio) at Hamilton.

Aikido is a martial art that teaches harmony, discipline and energy control. Participants learn to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury.

“I’m not just a guy coming off the street wanting to be a hero,” James, 38, of Charlestown said.

“It’s something you get trained to do.”

James, an ex-Army officer, said the decision to take out the alleged offender was a “calculated risk”.

“I had to explain this to my kids,” he said.

His kids said “I’m gonna be like you dad”.

“But you’ve got to have the training to do it,” he said.

“It’s a split-second decision. The guy could have had a weapon.”

The alleged offender was charged with common assault, assaulting police, affray, resisting arrest and using offensive language over several incidents that day.

This included alleged assaults on three people.

As for James, he learnt that doing an aikido flip onconcrete is much different than doing it on a mat.

“I’ve torn ligaments in my rib cage, bruised it and I might have cracked it,” he said.

He found aikido to be a rational form of defence.

“There’s so many other martial arts where you can destroy people, but that’s not going to help your cause,” he said.

“That gets you in more trouble than it’s worth. I wasn’t trying to kill this guy, just subdue him to stop him [allegedly] hurting other people.

“I didn’t need to run in and do a fly-kick and crack him over the head, I just needed to take him away from the problem.

“Aikido fits into that mindset really well.”

Negative Nelly Catherine Cusack sent an explosive nine-page email to the Premier.

Readers might remember that we wrote aboutCatherine Cusack in late January, after she replaced Scot MacDonaldas the Hunter’s new parliamentary secretary.

In our article, we noted that Catherine had said she wantedto end Novocastrian “negativity”.

We took issue with this. We asserted in a negative rantthat if people wanted to express themselves in a “negative” way, good luck to ‘em. After all, one person’s negativity is another person’s positivity. And who decides what’s negative?

Imagine our surprise when we read Herald journo Michael McGowan’s story on Friday about Catherine Cusackresigningas parliamentary secretary to the Hunter.

Catherine had sent an explosive emailto Premier Gladys Berejiklian, which was leaked to the media.

Michael reported that this wasa“nine-page email attack”, in which she took aim at Liberal MP Don Harwin, describing him as“dreadful”, “easily flustered” and being “wafer-thin skinned”.

Geez Catherine. That’s quite negative. Although we’re glad you got that off your chest. Better out than in, eh.

The only thing is, we were starting to like you. But now you’ve left us. Who will be ournew parliamentary secretary for the Hunter?Will Scot MacDonald make a comeback?

Jono Dean backs brother Blake on The Southpaw Project

Sport. Douglas Cup final at Kippax Oval between Weston Creek/Molonglo and Wests/UC. Weston Creek players, brothers Jono Dean, left and Blake Dean. March 22nd.The Canberra TimesPhotograph by Graham Tidy. Photo: Graham Tidy The Cricket ACT finals series is always an exciting time for Weston Creek Molonglo batsman Jono Dean, but this year there’s a bit of a hollow feeling.
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His brother Blake isn’t there alongside him.

Creek are “hurting” and looking to right the wrongs of last season’s Douglas Cup grand final defeat in a three-day semi-final against Ginninderra starting on Friday.

But they are without a former Cricket ACT player of the year with Blake Dean deciding to forego a year in first grade to experiment with “The Southpaw Project”.

Right-handed Blake Dean committed to playing the entire season as a left-hander, averaging over 30 in second grade with a top score of 85* from 58 balls.

The former Sydney Thunder all-rounder even cracked Creek’s first grade side as a left-hander for two games after working on his game since winter.

All the while his progress has been documented in The Southpaw Project, which is tracking the mental and physical change a player goes through to try and “make it” in cricket.

A 44-second Facebook video of him switching between left and right-handed in the nets has been viewed over 27,000 times.

The goal is to be able to take that skill – as well as bowling spin with both arms – and get back to the highest level.

Eventually Blake Dean wants to see players doing it regularly – his early success shows “anything is possible in cricket”.

There’s no doubt his input has been missed for Creek in first grade and the ACT Comets in the Futures League, but Jono Dean can’t wait to see how far his brother goes with it.

“I’m his brother, I’ve always supported him in whatever it is he wants to achieve and whatever he wants to do,” Jono Dean said.

“Initially I was quite disappointed because I wanted to have him playing cricket next to me, being not only my brother but being the class player and exciting player he is.

“He’s been a huge loss for us at club level and especially at the Comets level as well. I’m trying to back him in as best as I can as his brother.”

Adelaide Strikers batsman Jono Dean tested himself against his brother on a baseball field as they batted left and right-handed.

Jono felt “awkward” and says he “looked horrible and felt horrible” batting left-handed, but Blake looked at ease.

“I don’t think the comparison was about that, it was more about the fact that it was opening people’s eyes to Jono is a Big Bash player, he’s the best player in Canberra,” Blake Dean said.

“Then I’m trying to show something different. It’s not something that is easy that anyone can do. You’ve actually got to train hard for it.

“There’s not many players who get to play professional cricket, and it’s not like when you’re playing first grade or for the ACT Comets you’re looked after.

“I’m training this two times a week, imagine if I could do it five times a week.”

Meanwhile, minor premiers Tuggeranong host reigning champions Wests-UC at Chisholm Oval in the other semi-final.


Semi-finals: Three-day matches beginning Friday – Weston Creek Molonglo v Ginninderra at Stirling Oval. Tuggeranong Valley v Wests-UC at Chisholm Oval. Games start at 11am.

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Jets players welcome Jones’ passion

JETS midfielder Steven Ugarkovic says Newcastle’s playersappreciate the controversial show of support that has earned their coach a one-game suspension.
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FOCUSED: Jets midfielder Steve Ugarkovic remains confident Newcastle can qualify for the A-League play-offs. Picture: Getty Images

Newcastle mentor Mark Jones was ejected from the McDonald Jones Stadium pitch and banned for their next game after being found guilty of using offensive, insulting or abusive languagetowards a match official during Sunday’s 3-1 loss to Brisbane.

He will not be able to have any contact with the team from two hours before kick-off in their clash with Melbourne City on Saturday week.

Ugarkovic said it was “always good to see the coach stick up for the players”.

“Obviously that’s what you look for in a leader, on and off the field, players, captains and coaches,’’ he said.

“It was good to see.’’

Assistant coach Clayton Zane will take the reins against Melbourne City and Ugarkovic felt Jones’ absence on game day would have minimal impact.

“Obviously it’s a loss, not having him in the changing room, but the coaching staff, everyone involved they send the same message, so I don’t think it will be a massive loss,’’ he said.

“We’ve just got to focus on what he tells us during the week and take that onto the field.’’

Ugarkovic, voted Newcastle’s player of the month for February, said the Jets were still confident of making the finals.

They are currently eighth, three points behind sixth-placed Western Sydney, with five games to go.

Asked how many games Newcastle would need to win to reach the play-offs, Ugarkovic replied: “It doesn’t really matter we need to win.

“We’ve just got to go out there and try to win every game. That will get us into the top.’’

AAP reports: Adelaide United midfielder Riley McGree says he was in disbelief when told of his inclusion in the Socceroos squad.

The 18-year-old was chosen in coach Ange Postecoglou’s 30-man squad for looming World Cup qualifiers after just 12 A-League appearances.

“I was lost for words. I didn’t know what to say,” McGree told reporters on Thursday.

“I didn’t really think it was true, to be honest.”

McGree started the season merely trying to get some meaningful A-League minutes.

But last-placed Adelaide United’s woes have gifted the versatile midfielder opportunities.

“Coming into the season, I thought that I would get maybe some minutes here and there,” he said.

“But due to some unfortunate circumstances of injuries and players leaving, I was thrown in at an earlier stage than I expected.”

Second Brisbane case of measles in two days sparks warning

A Brisbane man with the measles – the second confirmed case of the disease in the city in two days – was infectious as he visited several locations including the Brisbane Airport, health officials warned on Thursday.
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A Metro North Public Health Unit spokesperson said the Chermside man was believed to have moved extensively through Brisbane, as well as been on international and domestic flights while unknowingly infectious.

The man, in his 40s, is also the second person to have passed through Sydney in March while infected with measles.

He was in these locations between March 1 and March 6: Brisbane International Airport on March 1 and Brisbane domestic airport on March 3Virgin Flight VA43 from Brisbane to Denpasar, which departed Brisbane about 3.40pm and arrived about 8.30pm local time on March 1Virgin Flight VA70 from Denpasar to Sydney, which departed about 10.30pm local time on March 1 and arrived about 7.30am local time on March 3 Sydney International Airport and Sydney Domestic Airport on March 3Virgin Flight VA932 Sydney to Brisbane, departing 9am local time and arriving 9.30am local time on March 3Tempest Seafood Restaurant at Scarborough Boat Harbour on March 3North Brisbane Landscape and Garden Centre, Zillmere, on March 5Junction Road Family Practice in Clayfield on March 6 between 10am and 10.45amAnd Accident and Emergency at Holy Spirit Northside Private Hospital, Chermside between 11am and 3.30pm on March 6.

Public Health physician Dr Mekala Srirajalingam said anyone who may have been at these locations about the same time and also developed measles-like symptoms in the next three weeks should stay home, and call their doctor for advice.

Dr Srirajalingam said it was important for anyone who needed to seek treatment for suspected measles to call the medical practice first and let them know so staff could ensure the infection was not spread.

“Measles is one of the most infectious of all communicable diseases and is spread by tiny droplets through coughing and sneezing,” Dr Srirajalingam said.

“Symptoms usually start around 10 days after contact, but can occur between seven and 18 days after contact with an infectious person.”

Initial symptoms include fever, runny nose, red eyes, a moist cough and lethargy, followed a few days later by a red blotchy rash that usually starts on the face before spreading to the rest of the body.

Dr Srirajalingam said Metro North was also working with the different places the man had visited while infectious.

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National mountain bike champion Blair hitting the road for Oceania Champs

Jenny Blair should be racing in the Oceania Mountain Bike Championships in Toowoomba this weekend, but decided a babysitter is cheaper than a flight to Queensland.
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Instead the Canberran will compete in her back yard on Friday at the Oceania Road Championships, to be raced on the Cotter Uriarra loop.

Blair hails from Ireland where she won a national mountain bike cross-country marathon title, a feat she matched in Australia, and is looking forward to racing on a familiar route on Friday.

“I’m trying to get back to that elite fitness and I ride the loop twice a week so it’s very familiar. It’s called extras to the locals because it’s the extra loop after brunch on Saturday,” Blair said.

“However it’s three laps on Friday which is about 100km, so that’s a lot different to training over it once, but there’s no expectation on me and I’m just happy to get to the start line.

“There are some really good riders in strong teams and I’m riding by myself, so I just need to be smart and sometimes it’s just luck, other times you need the fitness to follow the moves.”

After giving birth last year, Blair is getting back into the competitive swing of things and said she simply couldn’t pass up racing in such a prestigious event so close to home.

“I’m a mountain biker but I still ride most mornings with the Canberra Cycling Club. I’m racing on Friday because it’s on my doorstep, that and and a babysitter is cheaper than flying to Toowoomba,” Blair said.

“My fitness is good considering I haven’t raced over the summer and that my 10-month-old dictates my training, but he comes along in the back seat sometimes.”

Women’s favourite is Lucy Kennedy took out the individual time trial on Thursday after negotiating a difficult course at Tidbinbilla National Park.

The 28-year-old National Capital Tour yellow jersey winner admitted she was surprised when drug testers told her they needed a sample.

“The drug testers came along and said ‘you’ve won, now come and get tested’, I guess that was my prize,” Kennedy laughed.

“It was a big surprise because I didn’t think I’d gone that well. It’s a hard course and it’s never a good feeling coming off, but I descended really well and I climbed well so it all just came together,” Kennedy said.

Sean Lake took out the men’s time trial on Thursday with the teams event to be raced on Saturday.

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Manildra to close Cootamundra plant

In devastating news for the Cootamundra community, Manildra Meat Company has today told workers they will be out of a job by the end of this month.
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In a meeting with workers, they announced the closure of Cootamundra’s meat processingplant with thefinal day of processing to be Friday,February 24.

Manildra Meat Company General Manager Jason Graham, who is based in Cootamundra, said the decision was extremely difficultand that the group’s main concern was the welfare and future employment opportunities of the employees affected by this decision.

Currently the plant employs150permanent and 70 casual staff.

“We cannot continue to maintain a viable business in the current industry environment, particularlygiven the record high livestock prices and the inability of our customers to absorb these price increases,” Mr Graham said.

In a statement to the media he stipulated that allemployees will be paid their full entitlements as defined in their employment agreements.

“We will be organising on-going on-site assistance for our employees in financial advice, job searchskills, resume assistance and counselling services.” Mr Graham said.

Additionally, he assured suppliers and producers that any outstandingfinancial obligations would be met.

General Manager Jason Graham with Plant Manager Chris Irvine last year.

The plant will not be sold as Manildra Meat Company commits to monitoring the reasons which have forced their closure for any change.

“We acknowledge that this decision will have a wider impact on the Cootamundra district and we will continue to assess the industry dynamics with the intention of processing again,” MrGraham said.

A small team ofemployees will continue to be based at the plant to maintain the significant assets.

Manildra purchased the processing plant from GM Scott in 2014with the purchase official on July 1 that year.

At the time,Manildra Meat Company Director of Business DevelopmentPeter Millard committed to expanding the beef line.

“We will support the team here to be the best it can be as a world-class facility,” Mr Millard said in the Cootamundra Herald in 2014.

Last December, they parted ways with Woolworths;traditionally a major client of the Cootamundra abattoir as Woolworths gave their contract for the processing of lamb to the meatworks in Junee.

Member for Cootamundra Katrina Hodgkinson has commented on the closure describing it as “a great loss for the electorate and of course, for the some 220 full-time and casual staff at Cootamundra”.

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Hunter chair empty again with Cusack gone

FOR a government that had effectively cruised through its first term in office, the NSW Coalition government has made heavy weather of things in recent months. If the resignation of once popular premier Mike Baird was supposed to act as a circuit breaker to the Coalition’s fortunes, it has not proven to be the case.
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Gladys Berejiklian might have been the obvious replacement for Mr Baird, but she has had trouble marshaling her troops in the weeks since taking the top job. Under attack this week over a $550-million blowout in the Sydney light rail budget, Ms Berejiklian is now juggling another hand grenade, thanks to a vitriolic attack by experiencedupper house member Catherine Cusack, a Member of the Legislative Council since March 2003.

Unhappy with the makeup of Ms Berejiklian’s ministry, Ms Cusack let fly in a lengthyemail that seems to have quickly found its way to the media. How this happened is unclear, but Ms Cusack has now resigned her position as Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, stopping on the way out the door to “apologiseto all the people I have let down”.

Ms Cusack had only been in the Hunter job since February 1. So brief was her tenure that is practically impossible to appraise her performance in the role.But if Ms Cusack is concerned –as seems to be the case –about factional politics playing too great a role in the creation of the ministry –then maybe she should spare a thought for the person she replaced as the Hunter’s representative, Liberal Party MLC Scot MacDonald.

Mr MacDonald, who hails from Guyra, just north of Armidale, had been the Hunter’s parliamentary secretary since April 2015. Mr MacDonald had the Hunter bailiwick for one year and 9 months and in that time he showed himself to be a dedicated, hard-working and approachable representative for the region.

The dynamics of the situation make the job an important one. The Coalition may have lost the Hunter seats it gained in 2011, but the light rail project and the broader “Revitalising Newcastle” program amount to one of thebiggest government spending commitmentsthat Newcastle has ever seen. Labor – as an opposition will – is broadly opposed to everything the government does, even if there are benefits for the Hunter. In such a situation, the government needs acapable advocatein a region that is once again “tiger country” for the conservatives.

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