JON WHITE, one of Australia’s most celebrated front-rowers, believes Al Baxter has been treated unfairly by referees but admits the Wallabies prop must improve or be replaced by Ben Alexander.
White, who was yesterday named with the late Alec Ross and the late Tony Miller as the new inductees to the Wallabies Hall of Fame, will be presented to the crowd at the Bledisloe Cup Test at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
The renowned prop, who played 24 Tests between 1958-65, believes the Australian pack has the measure of the All Blacks, as long as referee Jonathan Kaplan gives the front row a fair go.
”In Cape Town, Australia scrummed better than I’ve seen them scrum for a long, long time, and I also thought they scrummed pretty well in Auckland,” White said yesterday.
”However, one of my abiding memories of that Auckland game is of the Australian forwards driving the All Blacks backwards, the All Blacks all collapsing and poor bloody Al Baxter getting penalised.
”He can’t do anything right. I just think they [the referees] pick on him for some obscure reason. Nobody seems to know why but he gets penalised more than most, and he doesn’t appear to do anything different to his opponents. The refs seem to think he is some sort of scoundrel.”
White said Baxter was ”very hard done by”.
”If he is pulling people down … well, I don’t think he is good enough to pull everybody down. If he’s not good enough to hold up a scrum, then they are pulling him down, so shouldn’t it be the other bloke being penalised and not him?”
White considers Alexander and Benn Robinson to be the Wallabies’ front-row future.
Robinson was ”a good technician”, he said, and Alexander was putting intense pressure on Baxter.
”It’s time that Ben got a few starts because experience is such a big thing. The World Cup is coming up, and I don’t think Al will improve any. I think he’s where he will be, and Ben has a lot of upside in him.”
White said the return of Rocky Elsom, who will play for the first time since late May after damaging his knee, would make an important difference to the Australian pack. ”We also do need a bit of mongrel up front. There’s stupid mongrel and smart mongrel. You must have the smart mongrels because you can’t run around being stupid.”
Smith also agrees with All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith, who has warned against expecting Dan Carter and Elsom to bedazzle in their long-awaited returns to Test rugby.
Too much will be expected from them too early, Smith said.
For the All Blacks five-eighth, it will be his first major match in six months after recovering from an Achilles tendon injury.
Carter’s presence should inject confidence and direction into the All Blacks, and his goal-kicking ability threatens to cruel the Wallabies should the penalty count mount.
The selection of midfield kicking centre Luke McAlister, who is in doubt with a sore back, indicates he and Carter will counter the kicking tactics of their opposites – Matt Giteau and Berrick Barnes.
Smith predicts the return of both marquee players will be more discreet than anticipated.
”I think both of them will be thinking: ‘just be a cog in the wheel and do my job well’. Neither of them will be expecting to be the massive difference makers everyone wants them to be,” Smith said. ”In your first game back you are just trying to do your job well at a high level and help the team.”
One player Smith expects a big game from is the Wallabies’ teenage fullback James O’Connor, whom the All Blacks once tried to recruit.
”He is a tough little customer, a lot tougher than what people think when they see him,” Smith said. ”That is what’s impressed me. I think he will have an impact on the game.”
INDIAN students will face greater screening as the Government cracks down on visa fraud and scrutinises the ability of students to finance life in Australia.The changes, announced yesterday by the Immigration Minister, Chris Evans, also apply to students from Mauritius, Nepal, Brazil, Zimbabwe and Pakistan. They will take effect immediately.Students from target countries face more stringent interviews and curbed access to visa applications online.Applications for student visas soared in the past year. They grew by 20 per cent to more than 362,000 in the year to June 30. Of those, 28,000were rejected.”The message is clear,” Senator Evans said. ”Genuine international students remain welcome in Australia but we will not tolerate fraud in the student visa program.”Applicants deemed at risk of cheating the system will also be hauled in for interviews to determine their legitimate intention to study.The one-off dumping of cash in a bank account or enrolment in lesser-known institutions are among the triggers understood to invite extra scrutiny by immigration officials.By contrast, a PhD student enrolled at a university would be less likely to raise alarm under the tougher rules.Senator Evans said the measures would help to combat fraud as it emerged. ”These measure are consistent with those used by other countries that receive large numbers of student visa applications, such as the United States.”Online visa applications would be restricted and migration agents shown to have abused the ”eVisa” system with false documents would be blocked.Those judged likely to defraud the system would be barred from applying online.The managing director of Australian Immigration Law Services, Karl Konrad, applauded the changes as a step in the right direction.Australia has attracted worldwide publicity over its treatment of foreign students. In Sydney and Melbourne students have complained of being subjected to violent attacks, living in poverty and being exploited by dodgy migration agents and shoddy institutions promising qualifications they cannot deliver.Government ministers and officials have moved to ease concerns and restore confidence in the $15.5 billion industry. The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, the Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and Trade Minister, Simon Crean, are planning trips to India this year.Prospective students must have $12,000 in the bank for living costs for every year of study, in addition to course fees. Tougher rules already apply to Australia’s largest student market, China.
At 19, James O’Connor is rugby’s bright young thing … but he could have been lost to the sport, reports Greg Growden.
The next Karmichael Hunt perhaps? Australian rugby’s young phenomenon, James O’Connor, may be AFL’s next code-switch target.
While O’Connor’s rugby league and rugby exploits have been widely chronicled, less well known is that he is a more-than-capable AFL footballer who has been picked to represent Queensland at junior level.
When asked if he could be the next Hunt, the Wallabies Test fullback, who lines up against the All Blacks in Sydney on Saturday, laughed: ”Well, you just never know.”
The high-flying game was the first football code he attempted, attending a training session on the Gold Coast when he was five. He didn’t linger long.
”I wasn’t a fan because there was no contact or anything, so I went to the local rugby league club instead,” O’Connor said.
League dominated for the next decade, including five years living in Auckland, but when he returned to the Gold Coast, AFL bobbed up again.
”When I was at primary school, I played AFL for three years and I ended up making the Queensland representative under-13 team,” O’Connor said. ”I loved playing rover and forward pocket, and that’s where I was able to perfect my kicking game, learning the torpedo and drop punt.
”But in the end, I couldn’t play representative AFL because at that time I had to choose between league and AFL, and I went with league. Still, I played in two district tournaments and enjoyed that.”
Rugby union came along three years ago and he grew serious about it when he became a boarder at Nudgee College. He soon earned representative honours, but there were also big setbacks, including at 16 when he became perilously ill.
”I was playing around in the dorms after training. We were involved in a bit of boarders’ rugby, which is pretty much hits on, where you run straight at people. I went to shoulder charge someone and got hit the wrong way. I got hit under the ribs and ended up rupturing my spleen, which became a pretty big ordeal for me.
”I didn’t leave hospital for two weeks. I thought I had just done my shoulder and cracked a few ribs, and decided to lie down for a little bit, and then see how I felt. But it was too painful and I ended up stumbling up to the house centre to see the nurse, and passed out up there.
”When I woke up I was in an ambulance on my way to hospital full of morphine.”
Unsurprisingly, O’Connor, a lively and self-assured teenager with a telling one-on-one eye contact, pulled through. Once more it showed his enormous will to achieve, to succeed, to be on top.
All those traits have been there from an early age.
”I’ve always been very competitive. When I was a little kid, the family would go to the local park and we’d have a fun kick-around.
”I’ve heard some stories about how if I lost I wouldn’t leave the park until I had kicked my 10 goals in a row.
”I had to always win every game with my brothers. After school every day, my elder brother Daniel and I would spend an hour in the backyard, just one-on-one rugby. We couldn’t stop playing until I had won. And he definitely toughened me up.”
Being tough has been crucial during a topsy-turvy season in which, despite his shining moments, there have been downsides, including struggling against the All Blacks in Auckland and hitting the headlines through his involvement in a team hotel food fight in Canberra.
Bombing at Eden Park woke O’Connor up.
”After that I had a good look at myself and realigned my focus. In that game, it was probably a case of trying to do too much. I wasn’t playing the moment and that caught me off guard. Then again, I might have needed that.”
As for the food-throwing incident, O’Connor said: ”It was stupid, a brain explosion and I’ve learnt my lesson.”
Thankfully, the bravado remains, as does the boyish exuberance, as evidenced by his ready explanation of how he charmed the Queen at Windsor Castle last year on the end-of-season Wallabies tour. O’Connor had to carry the team mascot, a stuffed ‘roo called Wally, around Europe. He showed Wally to the Queen.
”She took an interest. I told a little story of how the other players were trying to always steal it and had put a ransom on Wally, and I think she enjoyed that.”
Ever the charmer. All rugby has to do now is fight off the league and AFL scouts.
James O’Connor video Go to rugbyheaven出售老域名.au
IT SHOULD have been a good year for the high-flying Sydney real estate lawyer George Livanes.In 1991 the Emerald City was on the cusp of a steroidal property boom and he was a 39-year-old partner presiding over the real estate practice of Clayton Utz, one of Australia’s biggest firms.At home, his family of six was finally moving into a $1.3 million-dollar home in Balgowlah Heights after two years of renovations.In the decade that followed, he would represent the Bulldogs Rugby League Club and sit on the board of SCECGS Redlands, one of Sydney’s most expensive private schools.Clayton Utz would boast that in Mr Livanes and fellow partner Peter McMahon it had ”two of the leading real estate lawyers in the world” according to the British publication Who’s Who Legal.But now the 57-year-old is bankrupt and preparing to defend himself against 10 charges of fraud and two charges of obtaining a financial advantage by deception.The charges relate to more than $3 million in deductions he claimed over the Balgowlah home and another property from 1991 to 2002.”The very large majority” of claims were in relation to the home where his family lived, Mr Livanes’s bankruptcy trustee, John Melluish of Ferrier Hodgson, said.”Given that he’s a property lawyer it didn’t make sense … but he said he had advice that it was OK.”Mr Livanes said he would be ”strenuously defending” the charges but did not want to go into the details of his defence. His debts were close to $6 million when the Tax Office declared him bankrupt in 2006, four years after it began an investigation into his returns.Mr Livanes said the charges threatened to damage his professional reputation and he hoped clients would consider him innocent until proven guilty.David Fagan, the chief executive partner at Clayton Utz, said Mr Livanes’s tax issues were a private matter. Mr Livanes was a highly respected practitioner who left the firm in 2005, he said.
JUST more than five years ago, Greg Norman bequeathed his loyal caddie of 12 years, Tony Navarro, to the rising young superstar of Australian golf, Adam Scott, but Scott can expect no favours from the Shark when it comes to selection for October’s Presidents Cup.
There have been some stunning disappearing acts in golf through the years – British Open champions Ian Baker-Finch and David Duval spring to mind – but Scott’s tumble into virtual oblivion is almost inconceivable.
At last year’s US Open in June he was No.3 in the world; now he is No.50. Even as recently as late February, he was No.18 and fifth in the rankings of the players for the International team to play the US in the Presidents Cup at Harding Park Golf Course in San Francisco from October 6-11.
When the deadline came on Monday for the 10 automatic selections, Scott was 14th in the pecking order and now needs the grace and favour of Norman, who has two captain’s picks to complete his 12-man team, to play a fourth Presidents Cup. All will be revealed on September 8.
In the seven series since the Presidents Cup was created in 1994, Australia has had either four or five players each time. This time round, only Geoff Ogilvy and Robert Allenby are automatic selections.
Norman, during a joint media conference with US captain Fred Couples on Tuesday, gave no guarantees of picking Scott as a wildcard. How could he? Scott’s most recent rounds were 82-79 (17 over par) to miss the cut in the PGA Championship.
”Yes, it is a surprise. I’m sure it’s more of a surprise to Adam than it is to me,” Norman replied when asked whether he ever thought Scott would not be an automatic selection.
”To me it looks like Adam has just lost his confidence with his putting. If you don’t believe you’re going to make a putt, that’s going to trickle down to the rest of your game. It affects your iron play and it affects your driving.”
Scott, in a bid to turn things around, is playing this week’s $US6 million ($7.2m) Wyndham Championship in Greensboro but, after that, he is so far guaranteed just one more PGA Tour start before Norman makes his two captain’s picks next month.
That event is next week’s The Barclays, which is the first of four FedEx Cup play-off events. Scott is 111th on FedEx points with the top 125 playing The Barclays before the field is cut to 100 for the second play-off event, the Deutsche Bank Championship.
”I’m very, very happy that he has decided to play this week in Greensboro,” Norman said. ”I think that’s good for him. There is no better way of coming out of a slump than working your way out of that slump.
”I will be monitoring Adam, of course. He’s a super, phenomenal player. He’s a great team member. But, you know, there are a lot of other great players out there as well who very much deserve to be on the team. So, it’s going to be a tough pick. Adam just needs to go back to work and get his confidence back in his game.”
A COFFEE with his new boss has reaffirmed to Feleti Mateo that he will not be allowed to leave Parramatta at the end of the season, while another meeting with his coach is today expected to confirm whether his short-term future is back in first grade.
Eels coach Daniel Anderson is believed to have assured Mateo that he would tell him whether he would be returned to the high-flying NRL side today ahead of their much-anticipated clash with Wests Tigers at the SFS tomorrow night.
Mateo has been unable to break back into the NRL squad since suffering a biceps injury and is known to have been frustrated by his inability to do so – to the point where he has wondered whether he has a future at the club.
New Parramatta chief executive Paul Osborne, though, said he told the gifted 25-year-old this week that he would at least see out the final year of his contract with the club.
”[I] made it abundantly clear that he’s wanted and any ideas he has of leaving he should remove immediately from his mind,” Osborne said. ”We’ve won five in a row and conceded zero points and scored 4000, so it’s very difficult to break into a side like that.”
Anderson said yesterday Mateo was ”definitely in contention” but that Daniel Mortimer and Jeff Robson would be his halves pairing. ”He is definitely different to any other player we have,” Anderson said of Mateo. ”The challenge for Feleti from when he went out of the team injured and coming back in is he’s going to be a supporting, contributory member of the team.
”Jarryd [Hayne] is basically the franchise player, the go-to man, whereas maybe in the last 18 months it’s been Feleti who’s been the go-to man.”
A player who certainly cannot claim to be feeling unloved is Hayne, who is edging closer to a new deal. Osborne said he was optimistic of re-signing arguably the NRL’s form player after his contract expires at the end of next year.
”I spoke to his manager during the week and said to him, ‘Mate, hurry up, it’s just costing me a fortune every time he plays,”’ Osborne said. ”Hopefully we can get something done before the end of the season.”
Elsewhere, Melbourne forward Matt Cross has been ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering medial ligament damage to his knee in Monday night’s loss to Newcastle.
THE death of Rebekah Lawrence, who threw herself from the first floor of a city office building, was not an isolated incident and may not have been an act of suicide, the inquest into her death heard yesterday.Ms Lawrence, 34, died on December 20, 2005, after falling naked from a Macquarie Street building, two days after completing the four-day Turning Point course, run by a Cremorne company, People Knowhow.The inquest had previously heard that her death was the only such incident out of some 40,000 people who had participated in the course since 1981. But counsel assisting the inquest, Robert Bromwich, yesterday raised the case of a Korean student who, in 2006, had stripped naked and stabbed himself to death just days after attending a Turning Point course.The inquest, at the Coroner’s Court in Glebe, also heard from a forensic psychiatrist, Michael Diamond, who said that Ms Lawrence’s death could not be described as a suicide, since her mental state was such that ”she did not have the capacity to form sufficient intent to carry out a suicidal plan”.Dr Diamond described her as a ”measured and conservative woman” whose participation in the ”intrinsically unsafe” course had triggered a psychotic state, several days into the course, when she began giving her pet dog ”telepathic commands”.Dr Diamond, a psychiatrist since 1984, described the Sydney woman as having experienced a ”brief reactive psychosis” similar to that experienced by combat soldiers who undergo high stress, sleep deprivation and terror. He attributed her psychosis to “acute exposure” to regression therapy.”The petulance, the sing-song voice, the taking off her clothes, the coquettishness, the child-like voice … these are clear descriptions of regressive behaviour. It was something that was actually participated in during the course, so it’s difficult not to see a causal link.”While regression was a normal part of therapy, it must happen in a safe environment, he said. Techniques attempting to “short-cut” the process were risky and “really not encouraged”.He criticised the Turning Point course for not employing staff with sufficient training to deal with the emotional fallout that could be produced by the program, but said that screening by trained psychiatrists was not necessarily the answer.”It would be difficult finding people with appropriate experience who would place themselves in that position,” he said.Mr Bromwich said that those offering the course were “bluntly, way out of their depth” and the fact there were not more tragedies like the one involving Ms Lawrence was more “good luck” than anything else.The inquiry finishes today.Lifeline: 131 114Beyondblue: 1300 224 636
CANBERRA winger Adrian Purtell has been linked with a move to the Celtic Crusaders – and NRL clubs are bracing for more to go following the deportation of six Australians from the Welsh club after an investigation into their visas.
The Herald understands the Crusaders had lodged an offer for Purtell even before six Crusaders – including former NRL players Josh Hannay and Darren Mapp – were told they would be forced to leave Britain and banned from returning, even on holiday, for 10 years.
The Raiders will not stand in the way of Purtell, who has been out of favour under coach David Furner, leaving the club, although they may face a payout with the 24-year-old under contract with the club for the next two seasons.
The deportation of the Crusaders players – Hannay, Mapp, Damien Quinn, Mark Dalle-Court, Jace Van Dijk and Tony Duggan – came after a UK Border Agency investigation, which ruled that visas used to bring the players to the club were invalid. It is believed the players were employed while the Bridgend-based club was in the lower-tier competition, but when the club was admitted to the Super League this year and they effectively became professional rugby league players, none of them had played the required quota of NRL matches in their last seasons in Australia.
”We now expect these individuals to leave the country. If they refuse to do so voluntarily, we will enforce their removal,” a statement by the UK Border Agency read.
”The players are prohibited from working in the UK with immediate effect.”
The development comes at a time when NRL players have found it increasingly difficult to secure visas to Britain, with Michael Crocker, Greg Bird and Todd Carney prohibited from doing so. Crusaders chief executive Mike Turner said the club, which could face prosecution if found to have acted illegally, would ”abide by [the] findings”.
The six players have until September 7 to leave the country. One manager told the Herald the Crusaders were ”desperate” to secure more NRL players.
One player almost certainly off the market is fringe Bulldogs first-grader Daryl Millard, who is believed to be close to securing a deal with Wakefield.
But it isn’t all one-way traffic. Former premiership winner Daniel Fitzhenry is set to return to Wests Tigers from Hull KR, while Wigan forward Mark Flanagan may also be on his way to the club. Salford’s Ray Cashmere has also contacted club officials about a return to the NRL.
Meanwhile, Penrith’s Adam Woolnough has retired aged just 28 with a year to run on his contract. He said his enthusiasm had ”started to wane a little bit”.
Woolnough has had an injury-plagued time at the Panthers and is known to be frustrated by his inability to play consistent first-grade under coach Matthew Elliott. ”It came to a head about two-and-a-half weeks ago when I knew that my heart just wasn’t in it to continue on, even though I had next year to run on my contract,” Woolnough said.
"All I could think about was travelling the world and doing other things other than going to the game and trying to put 100 per cent in to get a victory for the team.”
In other news, Bronx Goodwin’s industrial relations appeal against his sacking was settled amicably yesterday. The hearing was discontinued at the end of its first day.
Goodwin had launched an unfair-dismissal case against the Raiders after being sacked by the club in October last year after being fined and placed on a good-behaviour bond following assault charges. The case had the potential to have wide-ranging ramifications for NRL players and clubs when it comes to punishment for off-field indiscretions.
"I think we have demonstrated … that our club has high standards and expectations in regards to off-field behaviour," Raiders chief executive Don Furner said.
"We take our responsibilities to the community and our sponsors seriously and we haven’t backtracked from our strong stance on what we think is acceptable behaviour by our players."
HOSPITAL patients’ lives could be put at risk from overdoses or wrong medication, experts warn, if the ambitious timetable for the Government’s e-Health plans mean computer-generated prescriptions are introduced without adequate training and support for staff.Their comments come after a Federal Government commission found electronic prescribing had doubled the rate of medication errors at a large hospital because of poorly designed software that automatically filled out scripts to the maximum dose and ordered unnecessary repeat courses.The findings fly in the face of the widely espoused benefits of electronic prescribing – that it would cut errors by alerting doctors to possible side-effects and allergies and reduce reliance on handwriting.”There’s no doubt that introducing electronic prescribing can introduce new errors,” said Ric Day, a clinical pharmacologist at St Vincent’s Hospital, which is one of two hospitals to have introduced electronic medicine management.”You can’t just buy the software and turn it on – training staff in how to use it appropriately is absolutely critical.”Yesterday the Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, told an e-Health conference in Canberra the Government was committed to overhauling a system where ”paper is still king”.She said the estimated $1.8 billion cost of introducing individual electronic health records may be funded from savings derived from the Government’s proposed cuts to private health insurance rebates.”After a decade of doing our banking – and almost everything else – online, we’re still carrying our X-rays under our arm, a script to the pharmacy, and the hospital can’t send a discharge summary to the family GP,” she said.But the review, undertaken for the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, found evidence that computer-generated scripts can actually increase harm to patients.A trial in a large Brisbane hospital found a much higher rate of errors in the computer prescriptions (11.6 per cent) compared with the handwritten ones (5 per cent) by the same group of staff.The review, published in the journal Australia and New Zealand Health Policy, also reported that the introduction of electronic medicine management in select acute wards in Queensland had been discontinued after six weeks in a rural hospital and eight weeks in a metropolitan hospital because it was dangerous.The commission’s chief executive, Chris Baggoley, said overseas experience showed electronic prescribing could be beneficial in reducing medication errors and adverse events.But he warned: ”There is a risk of introducing new errors if the systems are not correctly planned, implemented and integrated into all the other systems of information operating in a hospital.”The National E-Health Transition Authority has been given a mandate to create a uniform technology structure to redress urgently the years of under-investment and fragmentation as various hospitals, government departments, software vendors and businesses pursued their own programs.A deadline of July 2012 has been set for person-controlled electronic health records for all Australians.In May the NSW Health Minister, John Della Bosca, promised $100 million for all 250 public hospitals in the state to move from paper patient notes to electronic medical records that can be accessed by any health worker by the end of next year.
DOCTORS at one of Sydney's oldest hospitals are demanding the State Government urgently rebuild what they claim is ''a slum'', with possum urine on the walls and dangerous cabling snaking across the floors in the operating theatres.
More than 40 senior clinicians at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital have called for a meeting with the Health Minister, John Della Bosca, in a bid to have the hospital renovated before it becomes too unsafe for staff and patients.
Doctors say most of the operating theatres lack emergency arrest buttons, forcing nurses to yell for help; the theatres are too small for modern equipment, which blocks hallways; and wires hang from ceilings and cables run across the floors, putting staff at risk of electrocution.
Some ceilings had collapsed from rain damage and possum nests were found near wards.
''It is offensive and medieval,'' the hospital's clinical director of surgery and anaesthetics, Pip Middleton, said yesterday.
''This hospital serves a burgeoning population of young and old with new housing developments everywhere and is on the crossroads of major freeways, yet we have a significant issue with ageing infrastructure.''
Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital admits about 18,000 people a year and has more than 1500 staff, but its physical condition was ''one of the worst in the state'', the chairman of the medical staff council, Richard Harris, said.
''It is really 19th-century stuff. The only thing that keeps this place going is the goodwill and expertise of the staff.''
It was one of the few in NSW without a coronary care unit, despite research 60 years ago that mortality rates from cardiac arrest were halved if patients were treated in a specialist unit rather than a medical ward, Jason Sharp, a cardiologist, said.
The executive clinical director and head of rehabilitation and aged care, Sue Kurrle, said most of the hospital was ''slum-like and primitive with patients living cheek-by-jowl''. ''There is no privacy, there are holes in the floor, possum wee on the walls. Staff have to jostle to look at the one computer on each ward to get blood test and X-ray results. It is simply third-rate.''
The geriatric and rehabilitation wards survived on bequests from former patients, she said. ''We'd be living in a slum like the rest of the hospital if it wasn't for that money.''
A spokeswoman for Mr Della Bosca said staff had been given $1.3 million for maintenance last year and $21 million had gone towards a building to house a new emergency department and maternity ward.
The chief executive of the Northern Sydney Central Coast Area Health Service, Matthew Daly, will meet doctors today.