School plans to help get food on the table

GOOD CAUSE: St Liborius students Evan McClellan and Ella Hetherton with deputy principal Alistair Stewart. Picture: NONI HYETTST LIBORIUS Catholic Primary School is one of many Bendigo community groups helping to raise money for Bendigo Food Share.
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The Million Meals in March campaign is hoping to raise$63,000 in one month to helpprovide one million meals to people and families in need.

To help raise part of the funds, St Liborius is selling My Local Biz voucher books for $25. Each book contains vouchers for more than 60 businesses and offers more than $1300 in savings.

For each booklet sold $5 goes to Bendigo Foodshare and $5 goes to St Liborius.

If the school can sell 2000 books before the end of March it will mean $10,000 for Bendigo Foodshare.

St Liborius deputy principal Alistair Stewart said the school got involved with Bendigo Foodshare to help families in the Eaglehawk area.

“Foodshare told us there is a big need for this type of support in the Eaglehawk area and we wanted to help fill that need,” he said.

“A lot of our staff are involved in social justice projects in the local community as are the student leadership group.”

Mr Stewart said Bendigo Foodshare provided packages to the school that helped them support families.

“We’re able to get food packages from them on regular basis that help support our families at St Liborius and support our wider school community,” he said.

“Some families need that support but with that they come back to us and talk and we are able to give them more assistance.

“If we can connect with families on deeper level, they trust us and we have better relationship when working with their children.”

Mr Stewart said seeing children and families appreciate regular food on their table was like Christmas.

“Some families and students know they are doing it tough,” he said.

“In the first week, one family said it was like Christmas and wereable to plan their meals for a few days. It is good to be able to provide that service.”

To order a My Local Biz voucher booklet from St Liborius, get in touch with the school.

“We have beenputting the word out with the school newsletter and details will be on our social media soon,” Mr Stewart.

In Bendigo, onein 11 people have trouble getting regular food on the table while in poorer areas it is onein ninepeople who need help.

At the end of the first week of the Million Meals in March campaign, Bendigo Foodshare had raised $6256.

Visit梧桐夜网bendigofoodshare.org419论坛for more details on Bendigo Foodshare or the Million Meals in March campaign.

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Swans’ training wings clipped by light rail

Construction of Sydney’s new light rail has impacted the Swans’ pre-season for a second straight year, forcing the 2016 grand finalists to narrow their Moore Park training base.
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The Swans have been using a field just 101 metres wide at times this summer with the development of the $2.1 billion CBD and South East Light Rail encroaching on the western side of the multi-use Tramway Oval, which usually measures 114 metres across.

Works in the area began in 2014 and initially reduced the width of the oval to 108 metres, but the Swans have shrunk those boundaries further on occasion to allow players to run laps of the field while training is in progress.

SCG and Allianz Stadium patrons will be serviced by a Moore Park stop upon completion of the light rail project, which will transport passengers from Circular Quay to Randwick and Kensington.

Sydney will have access to their in-season training base, the Sydney Cricket Ground, late next week with the Sheffield Shield clash between NSW and South Australia being played this week, the venue’s last cricketing commitment this summer.

The SCG boasts a width of 136 metres, some 35 metres more than the light rail-impeded Moore Park, while the MCG is 141 metres wide.

Across town, the GWS Giants train on Tom Wills Oval, which is about 120 metres wide. That facility is solely used by the Giants, while the Tramway Oval in the Moore Park precinct is also used by Super Rugby’s NSW Waratahs and up to 450 members of the Swans Academy.

“It’s never been wide but they’ve brought it in because of the trams, and we don’t have anywhere else to train,” Swans coach John Longmire told Fairfax Media.

“Would we rather have a wider ground with not as much traffic on it? In an ideal world you would have a bigger, wider ground, an AFL standard ground with facilities.

“There’s nothing we can do about it so we don’t think it hinders us too much, we don’t think we miss out on anything.

“In the end, we’ve got some grass out there, we’re going to train. Chasing and tackling out there is as important as chasing and tackling at the MCG.

“There’s a gym down there that we’ll do our weights in, it’s not going to stop us from being competitive.”

A Transport for NSW spokesman said construction of the light rail was expected to be completed in 2019, while works in the Tramway Oval area were on track to be finished this year.

The Swans have long been searching for a patch of land in Sydney’s eastern suburbs where they could build a secondary training base, and host reserve-grade matches.

Swans home games in the NEAFL are usually played at the SCG, but matches are occasionally moved to Blacktown International Sportspark, about 40 kilometres away, if the weather is bad and there is a risk of churning up the ground before an AFL fixture.

A lack of training facilities also deterred the Swans from submitting an application for a women’s team in the new AFLW competition.

Most other clubs in the AFL boast sole-purpose training facilities, or will do so in the near future.

Essendon opened a state-of-the-art training base in 2013 near Melbourne Airport, Hawthorn is planning to build a world-class training centre, while Fremantle is committed to a $109 million facility in Cockburn, which will be big enough to replicate every AFL venue.

“If you look at Lakeside [Tramway Oval] versus the MCG, you’ve got the tram coming down there, it gets a high level of traffic, the Waratahs train out here,” Longmire said.

“That’s a challenge for us and it’s a challenge for the game.

“In schools they’re really excited about AFL football, but they’re still looking to get more grounds, more facilities. People are wanting their kids to play AFL footy and getting facilities and grounds is a real challenge.

“We’ve been here for 32 years. There’s so much interest in the game, it’s just a matter of capturing that now and putting it together and supporting it with the infrastructure.”

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Super Rugby mess costing the Australian game dearly

If you thought all this Super Rugby hand-wringing was about a couple of small, broke clubs and their whinging fans, you were wrong.
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Sorting out the format and make-up of the competition is about the future of the Wallabies as much as it is about the Orange Emus. It’s about that mythical trophy, the Bledisloe Cup, and whether Australian fans ever again see a Test captain thrust it aloft.

It’s about your local rugby clubhouse, whose door you probably haven’t darkened in a while but boy, weren’t you dismayed when you woke up and read its volunteer board was trying to sell the joint to finance a future. The longer the Australian Rugby Union accepts a competition that makes less and less money for its Super Rugby clubs, the less money it has to grow the game anywhere else.

Just how much money is the ARU ploughing into clubs with falling attendances and members? Try an extra $8 million last year. Its forthcoming annual report is expected to reveal a total spend of $33 million in direct cash funding across the five clubs in 2016, up $8million on 2015 figures and $13million since 2014 – the year the Waratahs won Super Rugby.

Not all of that is good money after bad. But head office spent at least $3 million bailing out the Western Force last year, and that is on top of the $3 million it spent on the Melbourne Rebels the year before while the club was between private equity deals. In 2010 the ARU threw a few million dollars at the failing QRU, which followed the $5 million it gave the NSWRU a decade earlier. Imagine what $3million could do in other parts of the game right now.

Try the Australian Under-20s, who will play in the world championships in Georgia in May. In the nine years the tournament has existed, Australia’s juniors have never won. They have played in a final once – the same year then-QRU chief Jim Carmichael went cap in hand to the ARU – and in the bronze medal match just twice. Since 2011 they have not finished better than fifth. Over the past two years, ARU strategists have quietly overhauled the national U20s program, setting up provincial squads attached to the five Super Rugby clubs and launching a Super U20s Championship to give the 60-odd squad members regular game time.

But this is a program that operates on a budget of less than $1million a year, paying its coach somewhere in the vicinity of $30,000, in an area that every other major rugby-playing nation recognises as an area of crucial strategic import.

It is no secret that England’s recent dominance at the U20s level – they have won three of the last four titles – is translating now into a golden era at Test level. That’s not all down to Eddie Jones. The last Test nation to beat the All Blacks? Ireland, whose U20s played in the final last year. The IRFU, like the RFU, employ full-time coaches, strength and conditioners.

In fact, the strides made by both those countries ruffled serious feathers across the ditch. New Zealand won the first four titles on offer when the world championships started in 2008 but didn’t win again until 2015 and finished fifth last year. It is no surprise then that almost 50 of New Zealand’s best young players are about to assemble for their second five-day camp in the lead-up to the tournament in Georgia. In contrast, the new Australian U20s coach Simon Cron, who coaches the team part-time in addition to his Shute Shield duties, will not have all his players in one room until the beginning of April. They will have three days together and then meet again at the end of the month for an eight-day Oceania tournament alongside New Zealand, Samoa and Fiji. Necessity will dictate Cron use the tournament for some serious trial-and-error, in the hope that by the end of May he will be able to take a competitive side to Europe.

Imagine what a small slice of that semi-regular bailout money could do for the next generation of Wallabies. As outspoken club rugby identity Brett Papworth is fond of saying, there are too many good causes in Australian rugby and nowhere near enough money to fund them all. Club rugby, sevens, the U20s. They should all be in the minds of the administrators at the SANZAAR meeting on Friday.

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Up to $440m needed for sewerage fix

Labor’s$250 million commitmentto replacing Launceston’s combined stormwater and sewerage pipework could fall short of the work neededto be done, according to a 2016independent report.
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A report, by consultants Beca on behalf of TasWater to investigate solutions for the system, found that full separation was likely to cost $440 million, though could beas low as $300 million or as high as $560 million.

The system is a sore point for Launceston businesses and residents as, during times of heavy flow, it depositsraw sewage into the Tamar estuary.

The report found that overflows occur frequently with 10 spills occurring on averageweek, and thatfull separation would not completely fix the problem but cut the spill volume by 65 per cent.

Other options to reduce spills include spending $121 million to build three retention tanks to hold up to 88 per cent of the spill volume, or direction ofoverflows for storage at the Ti Tree Bend sewerage treatment plant at a cost of $167 million.

The state government has slammed Labor’s plan to have this project and two others in the South –$160 million for Macquarie Point sewerage works and $50 million of works at Camerons Bay –funded by privatesuperannuation funds.

Treasurer Peter Gutwein said the interest and expected returns from investors could see bills rise up to 18 per cent.

Opposition Leader Bryan Green denied the figure, saying it would match the interest rate applied to the $1 billion the government would need to borrow from TasCorp to complete its accelerated five-year capital works plan from mid-next year.

“Institutional investors look for a rate of return of around the same figure as interest rates,” he said.

Mr Gutwein said the government would consider funding for the three projectsbut the five-year plan would be prioritised.

He said the plan included $270 million for sewerage upgrades in Launceston which were expected to take pressure off the combined system.

Launceston independent MLC Rosemary Armitage said she would move to form a select committee in the upper house next week to probe the government’s plan to takeover TasWater with eight members expressing interest in participating.

She said the committee would prevent delays in the legislation passing through the upper house in spring.

Meanwhile, local government head Doug Chipman has lashed out at the government for using slow movement on resolving boil-water alerts in Tasmanian towns as justification for launching a takeover of TasWater.

The government has announced that it would this year legislate to make TasWater a Government Business Enterprise, seizing the corporation from council ownership.

Councils will retain an estimated $30 million in dividends until 2024-25 and half thereafter.

Local Government Association of Tasmania president Doug Chipman on Thursdayaccused the government of being “fast and loose” with facts, politically opportunistic, and misleading in their approach to the takeover this week.

“This continued rhetoric downplaying the accomplishments and plans for TasWaterultimately hurts all Tasmanians – impacting on our reputation nationally and internationally,” he said.

Mr Gutwein said the councils had almost nine years to act on boil-water alerts and had waited too long.“Over the period that we’ve been in government, I’ve been raising the issue of water and sewerage will local government as the owners, pushing them to do more using both the strong balance sheet of the company and the strong sector balance sheet,” he said.

Mr Green said the government’s argument for seizing control of TasWater in July 2018 to fix boil-water alerts was false with TasWater’s current project program ensuring all remaining towns on alerts would have them removed bythat year.

Avoca, Lady Barron, Mole Creek, Pioneer and Mountain River are expected tobe removed from the alerts by July 1.Derby, Branxholm, Legerwood and Winnaleah will be removed in by the end of August

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Oil plunges as global glut persists

The price of oil plunged to its lowest in three months amid renewed concerns that efforts to bring global supply into balance with demand are failing.
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Brent oil shed 5 per cent to settle at $US53.11 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange. US oil slid 5.4 per cent, the biggest one-day drop in more than a year, to $US50.28 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the lowest closing price for both futures contracts since December 7.

The slide hit the shares of local energy companies on Thursday, with Santos falling 3.3 per cent and Woodside closing 1.1 per cent lower.

“The crude market is losing patience,” Mike Wittner, head of commodities research at Societe Generale in New York, said.

As a result, oil is edging closer to the level it traded at before the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed in November to cut output for six months, and it is unclear whether that accord will be extended. No assurances on OPEC quotas

Saudi Arabia Oil Minister Khalid Al-Falih this week said the world can’t rely on OPEC alone to balance the market and there was no assurance that OPEC would extend the current quotas beyond the six-month agreement.

He also said non-OPEC producing nations wouldn’t be allowed to take advantage of OPEC’s market retreat. Saudi Arabia has cut its output faster than it agreed but Mr Falih hinted there was a limit.

While compliance among OPEC members with their mostly lower monthly quotas has been better than expected, the lift in oil prices as well as tight cost controls among US producers has led to a steady increase in US oil production and stockpiles.

US crude stockpiles rose by 8.209 million barrels to 528,393 million barrels in the latest tally, a record high, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Oil services company Baker Hughes earlier this week said the average US rig count for February was 744, 8.9 per cent higher than counted in January, and up 40 per cent from February 2016.

“Whenever there is opportunity, you’ll get somebody down here in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania … and they’ll go back into the marketplace,” American Petroleum Institute president Jack Gerard said at an oil industry conference in Houston. “I believe our guys here in the US are well positioned … to take advantage of potential upside.” Global demand concerns

Mr Gerard said there had been a lot of talk about global demand rising at the conference, in particular in emerging markets over the next three to five years, and therefore there was a need to invest more to be ready for it.

What Mr Gerard called “thoughtful optimism” in the industry about the oil market isn’t being interpreted as such by traders and investors.

“Good news had certainly been out there in terms of production cuts,” Solaris Group chief investment officer Tim Ghriskey said.

“Now you see, especially on the US side, inventory builds and shale producers making some good money at these levels so production comes back on line.”

In its monthly report, the EIA is forecasting that Brent will average $US55 a barrel in 2017, rising to $US57 a barrel in 2018. US oil will trail Brent by about $US1 a barrel.

As for US production, the EIA is bullish. US crude oil production averaged an estimated 8.9 million barrels per day in 2016 and it is forecast to average 9.2 million barrels a day this year and 9.7 million next year.

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No quick fixes to energy supply challenges

The head of one of the country’s largest power utilities has warned there is no quick fix to the crisis that is enveloping the country’s energy supplies, as Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg warned that the country is producing too little gas, and exporting too much.
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Responding to the surge in both electricity and gas prices, amid the warning of gas shortages emerging as soon as the summer of 2018, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Thursday called for meetings to be held with gas producers to find a way of resolving the looming shortfalls.

Ms Catherine Tanna, who heads up EnergyAustralia, one of the country’s largest energy utilities, warned there is no quick fix to the present challenges.

“I’d be very wary of anybody suggesting there are quick fixes here,” Ms Tanna said at theThe Australian Financial Review Business Summit in Sydney.

“We’re in for a couple of years of challenging times. We need to prepare ourselves and do the best that we can do. Prices have gone up and we’re in for a couple of years of managing our way through that.”

Ms Tana said moratoriums on gas exploration should be lifted. “But that is no magic, silver bullet,” she said. “That’s not going to produce gas next week, but to bring gas prices down sustainably, over the long term, we need more supply.”

Ms Tanna also said there is no need to change the national electricity market, although it may make sense for it to be operated “a little more conservatively” while the present challenges are resolved.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg blamed a “confluence of factors”, building over a period of time, for the emerging crisis.

“Two thirds of what [gas] we produce now goes for export and the fact that we have [international] parity pricing, but also the [exploration] moratoriums and bans … not just on unconventional gas exploration but also on conventional offshore gas exploration,” he told the summit.

“We’re producing less than we should and we’re exporting more than we have. That is leading ot a tightness in the market and with gas increasingly setting the price for electricity as our major coal-fired power generators are being phased out, it is affecting all parts of our energy system and we do need to fix it.”

Mr Frydenberg reiterated the government’s opposition to establishing gas reservations although he did applaud a recent move by the Queensland government to give a new exploration licence in the Surat Basin to supply the domestic market.

“I thought that was quite creative since it avoided the issue of conflicting with existing contracts or sovereign risk arguments,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“We’ve got a ridiculous situation where some gas in Victoria for example, is making its way to Queensland for export and businesses in Victoria… are really facing punishing prices.”

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Foley cleared of serious head injury

The Waratahs can breathe a sigh of relief after scans cleared five-eighth Bernard Foley of any abnormalities relating to the serious concussion that ruled him out of football indefinitely.
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Foley suffered a head knock in the Waratahs trial against the Highlanders before the season and has missed the opening two rounds of Super Rugby. The 27-year-old was sent home from South Africa to see a neurologist, with coach Daryl Gibson having said his star playmaker could be out for up to year in the worst-case scenario.

It is understood Foley was a 50-50 chance to play on the weekend against the Sharks but the Waratahs decided to send him home to rest with player management in mind, given he has potentially 30 games ahead of him this year for NSW and Australia.

However, assistant coach Nathan Grey confirmed on Thursday Foley would be back on the footy field sooner than later after scans showed there was no season-threatening problem. “Everything seems to be OK. It’s just a matter of him resting and getting his head right around comfort levels and headaches,” Grey said. “When he’s right to go he’ll be right to go. It’s a bit of an open book.”

Meanwhile, the Waratahs are adamant there will not be a repeat of their poor defensive effort against the Lions when they take on the Sharks this weekend in Durban. The 55 points NSW conceded against last year’s Super Rugby finalists was the fourth most in the club’s history. “I don’t think a few of us showed up to the game on the defensive side,” said NSW back-rower Jack Dempsey. “Everyone was pretty down after the game. The mood has picked up and everyone is raring to go.”

On what will be the final game of their South African tour, the Waratahs are aiming to make amends and avoid recording back-to back losses for the first time in four years in Africa. NSW assistant coach Nathan Grey said his men would be better prepared than they were in Johannesburg.

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Magpies land home in Silverdome’s safe nest

EYES ON THE PRIZE: Goal shooter Zoe Claridge rehearses taking a shot at a Tasmanian Magpies training session in Launceston. Picture: Scott GelstonIt’sbeen just 21 days since the new Tasmanian Magpies startedon the road, but for goal shooter Zoe Claridge and her Tasmanian-based teammates, that’s just half the story.
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In netball reality, it’s been closer to two years.

That’s when the Tassie Spirit unceremoniously bid farewellto Launceston to never return to the Australian Netball League.

The Collingwood-feeder side has played four of its six games in Melbourne, but for Claridge it’s not the same.

“It’s really a big difference playing at home than it is playing away – having that support is a huge difference,” Claridge said.

After much hype in a three-year partnership with glamour Super Netball club, the debut on their ANL namesake’s home court on Saturday evening and Sunday morning could give the Tasmanians the vital edge.

It’s more than the extra supporters on the sideline, Claridge insists.

The Silverdome court is regarded as one of the best playing surfaces in Australia, a fact why national coach Lisa Alexander insisted on bringing a Test match to Launceston last year.

“It makes you more relaxed knowing you know the court, you know the ring, you know how bouncy they are, especially for me being a shooter,” Claridge said.

“Just to know how much bounce there is and how much it affects your shot.

“Just being able to know the court does make a huge difference.”

Not only for Claridge, but for Northern Hawks state league teammate Ashton Whiley and Cavalliers midcourter Shelby Miller that all call the Silverdome home six months of the year.

The Melbourne-based Magpies arrived on Friday afternoon for a light session later that night to adjust to their new weekend home.

The home court advantage could not come at a better time for the rookie ANL side that sit on a precarious 2-4 win/loss record after a shock first win over Victorian Fury.

Claridge said the side is not underestimating the urgency to collect winsagainst the Southern Force, six games into a short 14-game season.

“I don’t think though it matters where we’re playing at the moment –every game is important and wewant to win them all,” she said.

But a positive Claridge also fancies theTasmanians’ chances against the fourth-placed rivals, the partner to the Adelaide Thunderbirds.

“I think we’re like every team that we play: we take them not that they’re above us or below us (on the ladder), but we take every game as it comes and put 110 per cent in each game,” she said.

“But I like our chances if we can gel together throughout the course of it.

“Obviously, not being able to train together all the time does affect us a little bit, but I think we’re able to adapt and just play to whoever we’re on the court with.”

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Letters to the editor

LET’S TALK: Rebecca Mathie, Rebecca Wilcox, Sammy Doueihi, Amy Raveneau and Kylie Fogarty at the International Women’s Day event held on Wednesday.We shouldexamine the real cost of the LPI saleTHE Land Titles Office (now called LPI) is currently the subject of a NSW Government tender to the private sector for a period of 35 years.
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The LPI maintains and guarantees the register of all titles and mortgages in NSW. The tender closes in a few weeks when the successful private operator will take over the LPI functions.

With the change in place there is considerable doubt as to who will pay for the faults or errors which will undoubtedly occur as profit will be the main driver.

On anticipated turnover the state could generate a return of about $4 billion if the sale does notproceed over the period of the 35 years.

If the sale proceeds, it is expected to receive between $1 and $2 billion for the state.

Financially it is a no-brainer!

There will be considerable loss – in the hundreds – of jobs in Sydney and this could flow into Bathurst where, it is claimed, contracts have already been let to an Indian company for work which could be done in Bathurst and NSW.

When the sell-off takes place, it is highly likely that much of the work, jobs and information of a property and personal nature will be moved offshore.

This is a security risk from which there is no government guarantee. The Concessionaire is likely to offer insurance to cover such eventualities and this will increase the cost of housing in NSW.

None of the informed groups, the Law Society, Real Estate Institute, Surveyors Institution, Property Council and many others, support the sell-off.

In fact, it seems no one but the government favours the move.

Even within government there are many who feel keenly that the move is not in the interest of the state and the people of NSW. Economically, strategically and from an employment perspective, the sale cannot be justified.

Don GrantGlaring reporting omission demonstrates a deeper biasTHE reporting of the International Women’s Day event by the Western Advocate (“Being bold for change”, Thursday, March 9) demonstrates the continual bias towards men.

In a room full of high-achieving women, professional women offering services to women, high school students and a very talented group of women on the panel for the hypothetical, the Western Advocate article consisted of twoparagraphs about the event and 12 paragraphs quoting the speech by Andrew Gee, the federal MP.

Even if the reporter had limited time at the function, there was ample opportunity to speak to the many outstanding women giving their time to promote the successes of women and to encourage young women.

Later in the afternoon one of the attendeesgave an International Women’s Day keynote address to the women and men of US tech giant AT&T and took questions from appreciative men and women in Bangalore, India, Hong Kong, South Korea and Australia.

It is this continual overlooking of women in the media that has resulted in the lack of women in local government, on business boards and in the Australian honours system.

May I suggest that, as editor, you counsel your reporters to be more aware of gender bias in their reporting.

Monica Morse, BathurstFresh political faces give hope for the city’s futureCONGRATULATIONS to Bathurst Youth Council’s new deputy mayor, Lili Carter, and Youth Council mayor, Sarah Driver.

May you enjoy every success in your new roles, which give hope for the futureof a rich democracy in Bathurst.

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Fyfe, Dangerfield or The Bont for the 2017 Brownlow?

Rarely has an AFL season promised such a varied and enticing list of potential Brownlow Medal storylines. For starters, it’s not often that you get three first-time winners crowned within the previous six months. Two of those just before Christmas. Throw in potential full footy seasons from past winners Nat Fyfe and Gary Ablett, along with the intrigue about Patrick Dangerfield and whether he can go even close to backing up from last year’s 35-vote domination, and it creates a pretty compelling mix.
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Two of those first-time winners, of course, refer to Sam Mitchell and Trent Cotchin, retrospectively awarded the 2012 Brownlow Medal last December after Jobe Watson was stripped of his medallion for his participation in the Essendon drug scandal that season.

Reigning Brownlow medallist and first-time winner Dangerfield is understandably at the top of the markets to take Charlie home again. His remarkable tally of 35 votes last year narrowly eclipsed Dane Swan’s mark of 34 votes in 2011. Dangerfield and Fyfe in 2015 (31 votes) were the first winners (disregarding the ineligible Watson 30-vote return in 2012) to edge past the 30-vote mark since the tattooed former Magpie.

This year Dangerfield holds down favouritism ahead of Western Bulldogs young gun Marcus Bontempelli. Good finals form – and a premiership medallion – clearly counts for plenty. Many footy pundits are tipping the 21-year-old Dog to win at least one Brownlow during his career. Multiple winners aren’t commonplace with just four three-time winners and 10 two-time winners in VFL/AFL history. You need to look back 20 years to the last player to win back-to-back medals – that vote-winning machine from St Kilda, Robert Harvey, in the late 1990s.

Interestingly, only two former winners feature at the top of the 2017 Brownlow markets – Dangerfield and Fyfe. Sydney’s star trifecta of Luke Parker, Dan Hannebery and Josh Kennedy are understandably all highly rated. The next bracket boasts some proven vote winners and serious star quality, the bookies all taking the chances of Ablett, Mitchell and Matt Priddis pretty seriously.

How veteran Mitchell, a vote-winning magnet for umpires, fares this season with his new club West Coast is one of the more intriguing questions of the new AFL season. When was the last time such a credentialled player joined a new club at the age of 34 with little doubt about his capacity to have a big impact straight away? Mitchell, after all, has returned 0.777 votes per game over nearly 300 games. Footy nerds will note Mitchell and Ablett are in equal second place behind Gary Dempsey and ahead of Harvey with 220 Brownlow votes each over their careers. What will be most interesting about Mitchell, however, is how he gels on field with Priddis and Andrew Gaff, another Eagle worth keeping an eye on. And will Perth’s Domain Stadium be good for the four-time premiership Hawk?

If you fancy a speculative Brownlow tip and like a good fairytale story, you can’t go past former Essendon captain Watson. He’ll be raring to go after his season-long ban but no one realistically expects him to be anywhere near his best form of five years ago.



Deserves top billing. Combined beautifully with new teammate and Geelong captain Joel Selwood last year. Interestingly, Swan backed up wonderfully in 2012 after his Brownlow domination, finishing in fourth place, picking up at least 40 possessions in six games and polling more votes per game than anyone else in the top 10. A similar return from the Top Cat would not surprise.


Overall second favouritism might be expecting a little too much from a fourth-year player. Then again, he is The Bont. Remarkably, Bontempelli featured in 26 games for the premiers last year. One thing in his favour is the lack of an obvious contender to take votes off him. The Bulldogs have a wonderful spread of contributors.


Risky, risky, risky. The Dockers star played just five games last year after breaking his leg a second time. Fyfe admits he watched on “with a bit of jealousy” during Dangerfield’s season of dominance. A second Brownlow from Fyfe in 2017 would be nothing short of remarkable.



Rated alongside Ablett, Priddis and Mitchell in the bracket of players behind the top chances, Neale is one to watch. But the young Docker is hardly an unknown and polled 20 votes last year.


The gun youngster was Carlton’s top vote winner with 18 votes in 2016. Expect him to lead the way again at the Blues. Take it to the bank.


Definitely one to watch. The new Brisbane captain has the capacity to vote well and he’s well down the list with bookies. Has only played 18 games for the Lions in two seasons, including just two matches last year.

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