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J is for jihad

July 5th, 2018 / / categories: 南京夜网419 /

IN MARCH this year, a group of Islamic radicals were scoping out new targets in Bali, hoping to enact their own murderous 10th anniversary of the 2002 attacks.
Nanjing Night Net

They had surveyed the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Kuta and the Australian-run La Vida Loca bar in Seminyak. They had chosen a suicide bomber and planned to fund the operation by robbing a money changer and a gold store.

What is not widely known is that three of the five plotters for ”Bali III” – including their leader Hilman, aka Surya – were low-level drug pushers who were radicalised in Kerobokan prison when they were locked up with the original Bali bombers in the early 2000s.

According to research by the International Crisis Group, Hilman, who was serving a seven-year sentence for marijuana possession, was the prisoners’ mosque functionary who came under the influence of Bali bomber Imam Samudra. On leaving prison he became a full-time jihadist. Another plotter shared a cell with another Bali bomber, Amrozi.

The radicalisation of their cellmates was the Bali bombers’ slow-burn revenge. If an attack had overshadowed this week’s 10th anniversary commemoration, they would have their last, posthumous, laugh over their jailers. (Samudra and Amrozi were executed in 2008.)

Indonesia’s prisons are a breeding ground for terrorists, and so are some of the Islamic boarding schools. But despite the ever-present threat of terrorism, the Indonesian state shows little interest in tackling this issue.

After the authoritarian and secular regime of Suharto fell in 1998, many groups that were previously repressed thrived under ”Reformasi” – Indonesia’s flowering of freedom. Among them were those groups with a radical religious agenda who wanted to replace the state of Indonesia entirely with an Islamic caliphate under Islamic law.

Until the Bali bombings, whose death toll of 202 woke it from its torpor, the newly democratic Indonesia knew little or nothing of the growing number of deadly men in its midst.

Ten years on, Indonesian law enforcement, spearheaded by Detachment 88, the anti-terror police, has had great success in cracking down on religiously inspired radicalism. On his recent visit to Indonesia, Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith lavished praise, saying: ”There is no country in the world that is more successful in arresting and prosecuting terrorists.”

Since the first Bali attack, Indonesia has arrested 700 people for terrorism offences and prosecuted 500. For every 10 prosecuted, another one suspected terrorist – including some of Asia’s most dangerous men – has been killed by police on the streets.

That success story, though, contains the frightening truth that, in 10 years, Indonesia has produced 500 people with a proven link to terror, and many more who have gone unnoticed so far.

Every few months a new plot, with a new set of plotters, is uncovered. Some, such as a recent group calling itself ”al-Qaeda Indonesia”, have progressed far enough to start making bombs – albeit ones which blew up by accident in the kitchen.

Many now believe that law enforcement alone is not enough. They say the country’s jihad factories, which still pump out recruits, must be shut down and the radicals de-radicalised. The effort so far, though, has been piecemeal and anaemic, marred by poor funding and follow-through and an apparent lack of political will.

In Indonesian prisons, extremist preachers, terrorists and would-be jihadists are locked up with common criminals. Low-level terrorists – youngsters or those who have dabbled around the edges of a radical group – are housed with hardened jihadis, persuasive men with a seductive story to tell.

The most infamous of these men, Abu Bakar Bashir, is serving a 15-year sentence for helping set up a paramilitary training camp in Aceh in 2010. But inside he is still surrounded by acolytes and young prisoners, and boasts in a written interview with The Sunday Age that he is ”busy spreading the word of Allah to the people”.

His words remain unrepentantly full of violent jihad – ideas of noble martyrdom and the overthrow of the state of Indonesia so ”that people’s life may be managed by Allah’s law”. Bashir refers repeatedly to ”evil Indonesia” and offers up a contradictory mish-mash of arguments to explain and justify the Bali bombs.

First, he asserts that the massive bombs were set by three individuals, ”Mukhlas and his two friends”. He calls them ”mujahideen [holy warriors] who actively defended Islam” and were ”slaughtered by the Jews, the United States and their allies”.

In the very next paragraph he claims the bombs were part of a conspiracy, a ”micro-nuclear device” planted by the US to discredit Islam. ”So it was the US who essentially killed tens of Australians not the three mujahideens,” he writes. ”God willing, Islam will win due to Allah’s help of jihad,” he writes, before exhorting Australian journalists to ”convert to Islam so you will be saved”.

Ask most ordinary Indonesians about Bashir and his ilk and they shake their heads and pronounce him ”gila” – ”crazy”. But his carefully cultivated look of a gentle and wise old scholar has made his loony rhetoric surprisingly resilient, despite the patent failure of the populace of Indonesia to rise up in support of holy war after the Bali bombings.

Jemaah Islamiah, Bashir’s former terror vehicle, is now mistrusted in the radical community because a few of its high-profile members – notably Bali bomber Ali Imron, and former senior member Nasir Abbas – ”turned” and offered information to police. But a whole slew of new followers have emerged. Bashir’s new radical group, Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid, or JAT, has been involved in many of the latter-day plots that police have uncovered.

As disturbing is the fact that the Ngruki boarding school Bashir co-founded, and where his son (and leader of JAT) Abdul Rohim is a teacher, is still pumping out fresh-faced ”martyrs”. Bali bomber Idris, an old boy of Ngruki, said of his alma mater recently: ”That is where jihad was taught.” But suggest that the school in Ngruki, a suburb of Solo, might be closed down, and Indonesians simply laugh.

All schools look something alike, and, apart from the enormous mosque being built and the separate sections for boys and girls, the Al-Mukmin school in suburban Ngruki is no exception. The classrooms have whiteboards and teachers at the front, and rowdy students in rows. In science the boys are learning about microbes. Graffiti and motivational posters adorn the walls.

But in the girls’ section, along with exhortations to pious (veiled) womanhood, is a noticeboard. Pinned to it is a graphic photograph of a dead man, blood fanning out from the back of his head. The man is Farhan, a young jihadist shot dead by anti-terror police on a Solo street two weeks before our visit.

Farhan was an alumnus of the Ngruki school and the pictures and two separate stories describing his death were downloaded from radical Islamist websites, printed out and pinned up, presumably for their educational value. Depending on how it was spoken about, the story might have been placed there in mourning, or as an exhortation to righteous fury.

Asked about it, young English and Arabic teacher Abu Amar airily says the school teaches current events, just like any other. But this is not just any event. And there were no other posters on that board.

Abu Bakar Bashir’s son Aburahman Rohim is a senior teacher at the Ngruki school his father founded. He defends the teaching of jihad, saying: ”More than 60 verses of the teaching of jihad are in the Koran. Should we delete those verses?”

Not all the verses are about violence or war. Some are about the struggle to be a good Muslim; others about the desirability of an Islamic state. But alumni such as Idris recall a focus, particularly in extracurricular activities, on the warlike verses. Rohim bristles at any suggestion that this school is unusual, or its curriculum dangerous.

”Yes, some alumni of Ngruki are involved [in holy war], but you cannot put the blame on the school,” he says angrily. ”It’s so unfair. It’s so irresponsible. It’s a ridiculous way of thinking. For example, in your own country, if there’s a thief or a rapist, would you put the blame on their school?”

The fact is that not just one, but many terrorists have been to Ngruki, including some of the linchpins of the Bali bombings – Mukhlas, Idris, Mubarok. In a recent series of terror raids in Indonesia, a number of the jihadis arrested or killed were also Ngruki alumni. Rohim says when such cases come to light, the current students are taught that ”it’s such a wrong action”.

But his words are ambivalent at best. He refuses to call the Bali bombers terrorists, saying they were, at worst, misguided ”mujahid” (holy warriors). ”Mujahid can make mistakes. What they did will not reduce their status as mujahideen. They must be judged by what is their intention,” he says. ”I don’t want to even subtly claim that they were terrorists. It’s a word used by non-Muslims to corner Islam.”

Asked about the recent crop of alumni involved in terrorist activities, Rohim, like his father, claims a conspiracy. They were turned to terrorism by the police to discredit Islam, he says, even though a police officer was killed in one of their attacks. ”Well, it’s a conspiracy. Sometimes they are willing to sacrifice their own friends for the conspiracy … It’s a pretty normal thing for an intelligence officer to kill his own friends to cover up their own activities.”

Rohim boasts that the school has been continuously accredited by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Ministry of Education for more than a decade. He says demand for places grew fast in the wake of the Bali bombing, and the school is still expanding. Posters around the campus show plans for new dormitories in new locations.

Once radicals graduate from school or prison, the next stage is to be invited to join a training camp, or a plot. After the recent spate of arrests, there was a push for the government to establish a de-radicalisation program. Vice-President Boediono himself ordered an anti-terror plan to be in place by next year, and said that the fight against radical ideas had been too sporadic. ”This de-radicalisation blueprint will be comprehensive and will really serve the purpose,” Boediono said.

But Irfan Idris, the head of the de-radicalisation program at the National Agency for Counter-Terrorism, says the entire agency has a budget of only $9.5 million, of which only a part is set aside for the ”soft approach” of de-radicalisation (as distinct from hard law enforcement).

An existing program running in Indonesian prisons since 2010 applies three strategies, he says: culture (using traditional Wayang puppet shows); business (trying to establish an economic base for prisoners); and ideology (countering the radical brainwashing). But in the past two years, only 32 prisoners nationwide have completed the program and there has been no attempt to measure its success.

Professor Sarlito Wirawan, a psychologist working on this program and others, says it can take up to three years to convince someone not to act on their radical theology. At this rate it would take decades to even talk to one year’s supply of recruits from the radical boarding schools and the prisons. Asked about the radical boarding school in Ngruki, Irfan refers me to the Religious Affairs Ministry, which keeps accrediting the school.

There are also several private-sector de-radicalisation programs. Noor Ismail Huda, a journalist and former student at Ngruki, says Indonesian authorities ”have been doing extremely well after the milk has been spilled”.

He runs a program of ”disengagement”, which involves having former radicals run cafes. Here they are forced to serve customers of all cultures and religions, and they can also make money, making his program self-sustaining. ”We fight terrorism with doughnuts and coffee,” he says.

So far, though, he has only three cafes, and has helped perhaps a handful of radicals.

Another private program is the Afghan Alumni Forum, where former radicals, the hard core who trained in Afghanistan, try to use their kudos in the jihadi community to put people on the right path.

It is led by Abu Wildan, a former senior teacher at Ngruki who was asked to join the Bali plot but refused. Abdurahman Ayub, Jemaah Islamiah’s former deputy in Australia, is also a key member, as is one-time Bali plotter Maskur Abdul Kadir. It holds forums in suburban function rooms under a banner that reads: ”Indonesia, peace without violence, terrorism and radicalism in the name of religion”.

Psychologist Sarlito works with the forum and claims an 80 per cent success rate. He says attacking the ideology head-on simply did not work because the radical imams still hold such sway. ”I’m not replacing anything. I leave their beliefs, but I say don’t do this and this … don’t start hurting people,” he said.

”Then we bring in the wives, families, and say, ‘How about helping each other?’ … It’s step by step and it takes three years. It’s not an easy job.”

As these well-meaning efforts continue, though, schools and prisons keep churning out radicals. Australia has proscribed organisations and passed laws against hate speech. People have been jailed for preaching terror. Indonesia has nothing similar.

And, according to Nasir Abbas, the highest-profile reformed member of Jemaah Islamiah, it will not develop them. ”In Indonesia it’s different. They let you build whatever ideology you want, set up a school, as long as you don’t do the crime … this is what people here call Reformasi,” he says.

”We’ve got freedom of speech and expression. You can’t just shut down a school.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Islamist teaching … cleric Abdul Rahim, a son of Abdul Bashir, is a teacher at al-Mukmin school. Students laugh during a break in classes at al-Mukmin school.
Nanjing Night Net

Students in an English class at al-Mukmin school.

In March, a group of Islamist radicals were scoping out new targets in Bali, hoping to enact their own murderous 10th anniversary of the 2002 attacks.

They had surveyed the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Kuta and the Australian-run La Vida Loca bar in Seminyak. They had chosen a suicide bomber and planned to fund the operation by robbing a money changer and a gold store.

What is not widely known is that three of the five plotters for ”Bali III” – including their leader, Hilman, aka Surya – were low-level drug pushers who were radicalised in Kerobokan prison when they were locked up with the original Bali bombers in the early 2000s.

According to research by the International Crisis Group, Hilman – who was serving a seven-year sentence for marijuana possession – was the mosque functionary who came under the influence of the Bali bomber Imam Samudra. On leaving prison, he became a full-time jihadist. Another plotter shared a cell with Amrozi.

The radicalisation of their cellmates was the Bali bombers’ slow-burn revenge. If an attack had overshadowed this week’s 10th anniversary commemoration, they would have their last, posthumous, laugh over their jailers. (Samudra and Amrozi were executed in 2008.)

Indonesia’s prisons are a breeding ground for terrorists and so are some of the Islamic boarding schools. But, despite the ever-present threat of terrorism, the Indonesian state shows little interest in tackling the issue.

After the authoritarian and secular regime of Suharto fell in 1998, many groups that were previously repressed thrived under ”Reformasi”, Indonesia’s flowering of freedom. Among them were those groups with a radical religious agenda who wanted to replace the state of Indonesia with a caliphate under Islamist law.

Until the Bali bombing, whose death toll of 202 woke it from its torpor, the newly democratic Indonesia knew little or nothing of the growing number of deadly men in its midst.

Ten years on, Indonesian law enforcement, spearheaded by Detachment 88, the anti-terrorism police, has had great success cracking down on religiously inspired radicalism. On his recent visit to Indonesia, the Australian Defence Minister, Stephen Smith, lavished praise, saying: ”There is no country in the world that is more successful in arresting and prosecuting terrorists [than Indonesia is].”

Since the first Bali attack, Indonesia has arrested 700 people for terrorism offences and prosecuted 500.

For every 10 prosecuted, one suspected terrorist – including some of Asia’s most dangerous men – has been killed by police on the streets.

That success story, though, contains the frightening truth that, in 10 years, Indonesia has produced 500 people with a proven link to terrorism and many more who have so far gone unnoticed.

Every few months a new plot, with a new set of plotters, is uncovered. Some, such as a recent group calling itself ”al-Qaeda Indonesia”, have progressed far enough to start making bombs – albeit ones that blew up by accident in the kitchen. Many now believe that law enforcement alone is not enough. They say the country’s jihad factories, which still pump out recruits, must be shut down and the radicals de-radicalised.

The effort so far, though, has been piecemeal and anaemic, marred by poor funding, little follow-through and an apparent lack of political will.

In Indonesian prisons, extremist preachers, terrorists and would-be jihadists are locked up with common criminals. Low-level terrorists – youngsters or those who have dabbled around the edges of a radical group – are housed with hardened jihadis, persuasive men with a seductive story to tell.

The most infamous of these men, Abu Bakar Bashir, is serving a 15-year sentence for helping set up a paramilitary training camp in Aceh in 2010. But inside, he is still surrounded by acolytes and young prisoners, and boasts in a written interview with The Sun-Herald that he is ”busy spreading the word of Allah to the people”.

His words remain unrepentantly full of violent jihad – ideas of noble martyrdom and the overthrow of the state of Indonesia so ”that people’s life may be managed by Allah’s law”. Bashir refers repeatedly to ”evil Indonesia” and offers up a contradictory mish-mash of arguments to explain and justify the Bali bombs.

First, he asserts that the massive bombs were set by three individuals, ”Mukhlas and his two friends”. He calls them ”mujahideen [holy warriors] who actively defended Islam” and were ”slaughtered by the Jews, the US and their allies”.

In the very next paragraph, he claims the bombs were part of a conspiracy, a ”micro-nuclear device” planted by the US to discredit Islam. ”So it was the US who essentially killed tens of Australians, not the three mujahideen,” he writes.

”God willing, Islam will win due to Allah’s help of jihad,” he writes, before exhorting Australian journalists to ”convert to Islam so you will be saved”.

Ask most ordinary Indonesians about Bashir and his ilk and they shake their heads and pronounce him ”gila”(crazy). But his carefully cultivated look of a gentle old scholar has made his loony rhetoric surprisingly resilient, despite the patent failure of the populace of Indonesia to rise up in support of holy war after the Bali bombings.

Jemaah Islamiyah, Bashir’s former terrorism vehicle, is now mistrusted in the radical community because a few of its high-profile members – notably Bali bomber Ali Imron and former senior member Nasir Abbas – ”turned” and offered information to police. But a whole slew of new followers have since emerged. Bashir’s new radical group, Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid, or JAT, has been involved in many of the more recent plots which police have uncovered.

As disturbing is the fact that the boarding school Bashir co-founded, and where his son (and leader of JAT) Abdul Rahim is a teacher, is still pumping out fresh-faced ”martyrs”. Bali bomber Idris, an old boy of Ngruki, said of his alma mater recently: ”That is where jihad was taught.” But suggest that al-Mukmin school in Ngruki, a suburb of Solo, might be closed down and Indonesians simply laugh.

All schools look something alike, and, apart from the enormous mosque now under construction and the separate sections for boys and girls, al-Mukmin is no exception. The classrooms have whiteboards and teachers at the front, and rowdy students in rows. In science the boys are learning about ”mikroba” – microbes. Graffiti and motivational posters adorn the walls.

But in the girls’ section, along with exhortations to pious (veiled) womanhood, is a noticeboard. Pinned to it is a graphic photograph of a dead man, blood fanning out from the back of his head. The man is Farhan, a young jihadist shot dead by anti-terrorist police on a Solo street two weeks before our visit.

Farhan was an alumnus of the Ngruki school and the pictures and two separate stories describing his death were downloaded from radical Islamist websites, printed out and pinned up, presumably for their educational value. Depending on how it was spoken about, the story might have been placed there in mourning or as an exhortation to righteous fury.

Asked about it, a young English and Arabic teacher, Abu Amar, airily says that the school teaches current events, just like any other. But this is not just any event. And there were no other posters on that board.

Rohim is a senior teacher at the Ngruki school his father founded. He defends the teaching of jihad saying: ”More than 60 verses of the teaching of jihad are in the Koran. Should we delete those verses?”

Not all the verses are about violence or war. Some are about the struggle to be a good Muslim; others about the desirability of an Islamist state. But alumni such as Idris recall a focus, particularly in extracurricular activities, on the warlike verses. Rohim bristles at any suggestion that this school is unusual or that its curriculum is dangerous.

”Yes, some alumni of Ngruki are involved [in holy war], but you cannot put the blame on the school. It’s so unfair. It’s so irresponsible. It’s a ridiculous way of thinking,” Rohim says angrily. ”For example, in your own country, if there’s a thief or a rapist, would you put the blame on their school?”

However, not just one, but many terrorists have been to Ngruki, including some of the linchpins of the Bali bombings – Mukhlas, Idris, Mubarok. In a recent series of terrorism raids in Indonesia, a number of the jihadis arrested or killed were also Ngruki alumni. Rohim says when such cases come to light, the current students are taught that ”it’s such a wrong action”.

But his words are ambivalent at best. He refuses to call the Bali bombers terrorists, saying they were, at worst, misguided ”mujahid” (holy warriors). ”Mujahideen can make mistakes. What they did will not reduce their status as mujahideen. They must be judged by what is their intention,” he says. ”I don’t want to even subtly claim that they were terrorists. It’s a word used by non-Muslims to corner Islam.”

Asked about the recent crop of alumni involved in terrorist activities, Rohim, like his father, claims a conspiracy – they were turned to terrorism by the police to discredit Islam, he says, even though a police officer was killed in one of their attacks. ”Well, it’s a conspiracy. Sometimes they are willing to sacrifice their own friends for the conspiracy … It’s a pretty normal thing for an intelligence officer to kill his own friends to cover up their own activities.” Rohim boasts that the school has been continuously accredited, both by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Ministry of Education for more than a decade.

Depressingly, he says demand for places grew fast in the wake of the Bali bombing and the school is still expanding. Posters around the campus show plans for new dormitories in new locations.

Once radicals graduate from school or prison, the next stage is to be invited to join a training camp or a plot. After the recent spate of arrests, there was a push for the government to establish a deradicalisation program. The Vice President, Boediono, has ordered an anti-terrorist plan to be in place by next year, and says that the fight against radical ideas had been too sporadic. ”This de-radicalisation blueprint will be comprehensive and will really serve the purpose,” Boediono says.

However, the director of the de-radicalisation program at the National Agency for Counter Terrorism, Irfan Idris, says the entire agency only has a budget of $9.5 million, of which only a part is set aside for the ”soft approach” of deradicalisation (as distinct from hard law enforcement).

An existing program running in Indonesian prisons since 2010 applies three strategies, he says: culture (using traditional Wayang puppet shows); business (trying to establish an economic base for prisoners); and ideology (countering the radical brainwashing). But in the past two years, only 32 prisoners nationwide have completed the program and there has been no attempt to measure its success.

A psychologist working on this program and others, Professor Sarlito Wirawan, says it can take up to three years to convince someone not to act on their radical theology. At this rate, it would take decades to even talk to one year’s supply of recruits from the radical boarding schools and the prisons. Asked about the radical pesantren at Ngruki, and Irfan refers me to the Religious Affairs Ministry, which keeps accrediting the school.

There are also several private-sector deradicalisation programs. A journalist and former student at Ngruki, Noor Ismail Huda, says Indonesian authorities ”have been doing extremely well after the milk has been spilled”.

He runs a program of ”disengagement”, which involves having former radicals run cafes. Here they are forced to serve customers of all cultures and religions, and they can also make money, making his program self-sustaining. ”We fight terrorism with doughnuts and coffee,” he says.

So far, though, he has only three cafes and has helped perhaps a handful of radicals.

Another private program is the Afghan Alumni Forum, where former radicals, the hard-core who trained in Afghanistan, try to use their kudos in the jihadi community to put people on the right path.

It is led by Abu Wildan, a former senior teacher at Ngruki who was asked to join the Bali plot but refused. Abdul Rahman Ayub, Jemaah Islamiyah’s former deputy in Australia, is also a key member, as is one-time Bali plotter Maskur Abdul Kadir. It holds forums in suburban function rooms under a banner that reads: ”Indonesia, peace without violence, terrorism and radicalism in the name of religion”.

Psychologist Sarlito works with the forum and claims an 80 per cent success rate.

He says attacking the ideology head on simply did not work because the radical imams still hold such sway. ”I’m not replacing anything. I leave their beliefs, but I say don’t do this and this … don’t start hurting people,” he said. ”Then, we bring in the wives, families, and say, ‘How about helping each other?’ … It’s step by step and it takes three years. It’s not an easy job.”

As these well-meaning efforts continue, though, schools and prisons keep churning out radicals. Australia has proscribed organisations and passed laws against hate speech. People have been jailed for preaching terrorism. Indonesia has nothing similar.

And, according to Nasir Abbas, the highest-profile reformed member of Jemaah Islamiyah, it will not develop them. ”In Indonesia, it’s different. They let you build whatever ideology you want, set up a school, as long as you don’t do the crime … This is what people here call reformasi,” he says. ”We’ve got freedom of speech and expression. You can’t just shut down a school.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Running with scissors

July 5th, 2018 / / categories: 南京夜网419 /

Nicy try … Peter Morrissey, Megan Gale, Alex Perry and Claudia Navone.Looking back, model, actor, swimwear designer and host of Project Runway Australia, Megan Gale, has a clear memory about the moment when for her, clothes became ”fashion”.
Nanjing Night Net

Several waiters at the Southbank restaurant where we meet gaze at her from a discreet distance while an oblivious Gale stirs her coffee. ”It was the night of the school disco and mum wouldn’t let me go, but I just hassled her until she said, ‘All right, you can go, but you’ve got to go now.’ I was so happy I just went in the clothes I was in, which was a pair of jeans and tracksuit top.

”It was the ’80s so all my friends were wearing ra-ra skirts and their hair was crimped. That was the first time where I felt like I didn’t fit in because of what I was wearing.”

While you probably won’t see a ra-ra skirt on the fourth season of Project Runway Australia, Gale says some of its designers have produced remarkably original garments. ”Some of them interpret fashion in interesting ways,” she says. ”That’s what makes this show feel different each season. Everyone remembers Matcho from season three … he made you wonder where his head was creatively. This year we have Christina – she’s got this amazing vision and she really thinks outside the square. That’s exciting.”

Based on the long-running US version hosted by Heidi Klum, Project Runway Australia is a reality show about 12 fashion designers who must create a garment within the short time frame. Each week there’s an elimination – the last contestant standing wins.

The first challenge in episode one begins at midnight; pressure, exhaustion and creative temperaments are a compelling combination. Then there are the challenges. Gale says there are plenty of fresh tasks that force designers to use materials out of their comfort zones.

This year’s judges include Australian fashion designer Peter Morrissey and professional stylist and former fashion director of Harper’s Bazaar Australia, Claudia Navone. ”Peter’s very playful,” Gale says. ”He takes it all seriously, but sometimes he’s like a six-year-old on red cordial. But I’m the wrangler when it comes to the judges, designers and guest judges [including Miranda Kerr and Dannii Minogue], so that’s a lot of fun, too.”

As a judge herself, Gale doesn’t hold back and has developed an uncanny knack when it comes to spotting the designers’ attempts to hide wayward pins. ”It’s true. I have an evil eye when it comes to pins but constructive criticism is important – but not all the designers like to hear it. Some of them stand there and just give you excuses and that just brings out my ‘mum’ tone.”

Designer Alex Perry (if he had a more substantial moustache, he’d twirl it) returns as mentor, dishing out his signature advice, which ranges from supportive and astute to delightfully acerbic. ”A lot of people may not believe this,” Gale says, ”but Alex has one of the biggest hearts. He has this persona that works on the show but he’s very down to earth. He rarely goes out to functions – he’d prefer to be at home, in his jammies, having a cup of tea with his wife and his dog.”

At the suggestion that maybe the decision-making process featured on the show is the result of scripting, Gale stresses that every result is hard-won.

”We all have a different perspective. We don’t always agree – Claudia might focus on how the garment photographs, Peter’s looking at how it’s crafted, and I’m thinking, ‘Would I wear that on the red carpet and do I want my underwear hanging out the back?’ We nut it out until we have a result.”

Gale is reluctant to reveal any specifics about the new season, but says there was one challenge that almost ended in disaster.

”All I’ll say is that the designers were asked to make an entire outfit and someone decided they’d knock out a pair of jeans, but they ended up looking like something circa 1980 and not in a good way.”

It could be said, though, that the mishaps – say, the model teetering down the catwalk praying her ill-fitting garment doesn’t cause a wardrobe malfunction – are a large part of the show’s appeal.

”Coming up with new challenges that are good for both the designers and viewers at home is a challenge in itself,” Gale says with a laugh, ”but this year we’ve definitely managed to come up with some great ones.”

Project Runway Australia premieres on Monday, October 8, at 8.30pm on Arena.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

ROSARIO: On this night, at this venue, on this occasion, the Wallabies could easily have lost their way. A team with its fair share of novices and new combinations would not have been used to such a zoo-like atmosphere, with a baying crowd perched right on top of the tourists, urging on the confrontational home side and even using a laser beam to put the Australians off the task at hand.
Nanjing Night Net

So raucous was the crowd the players could barely hear each other. They were almost forced to resort to sign language to communicate. The high humidity made the ground slippery and the football was near impossible to hold. On top of that, the dimensions of the ground were such that the playing area was several metres too short. It was claustrophobic. Not a spot for anyone who is a bit sensitive, immature or paranoid.

However, a battered Wallabies line-up, nearly a second XV, stood up to this massive challenge and achieved one of Australian rugby’s most courageous triumphs in recent times by defeating the Pumas in a grim, gritty Test at Gigante de Arroyito stadium.

Apart from saving their coach Robbie Deans, the Wallabies again showed they are the masters of excelling when everything is seemingly against them. They are the ultimate backs-to-the-wall merchants.

Their task in Rosario was not easy. They were short of many key players, and had endured a demanding travel schedule just to get there after a week in South Africa, which ended with them being bashed by the Springboks in Pretoria.

A week on, they ran onto the field with raw combinations and a back line more or less thrown together. They were being asked to somehow stop a rampant Pumas outfit pursuing its first win in the Rugby Championship while being urged on by 40,000 screaming, excitable supporters.

To stay ahead took discipline, which the Wallabies showed in abundance. Mike Harris kept his head down, ignored all the distractions, and contributed 20 points with his accurate goal-kicking boot, taking advantage of an ever-pedantic South African referee Craig Joubert going through his usual tedious routine of endlessly whistling away. The only shot the fullback missed coincided with him being lasered by someone in the crowd as he ran in to kick the ball.

The Wallabies’ defence remained solid, holding the Pumas out until the 77th minute, while they earlier had finished off one of their few proper attacking chances when Digby Ioane scored a well-crafted try that involved attacking decoys and a delayed pass from his five-eighth Kurtley Beale. And so many inexperienced players were up to the challenge. Young flanker Michael Hooper was a standout, producing one of the few Test highlights when he scampered 60 metres down field after grabbing an opposition lineout throw on the Wallabies line in the second half.

The Pumas were hoping to score from that attacking lineout, but instead Hooper had them frantically back-pedalling.

Ben Tapuai and Nick Cummins were near mistake free, while Beale had his second accomplished Test performance in a row at five-eighth. Nick Phipps controlled proceedings well at halfback, while Harris was as assured in general play as he was lining up for kicks when the lasers were not aimed in his direction.

The Wallabies forwards also kept their opponents at bay, even taking them on in the mauling department. But most important, when under siege, they showed pride in the green and gold.

As their captain, Nathan Sharpe, explained: ”The character and the intensity was outstanding. That provided the platform for our victory. The field was a lot smaller than what we were used to, it was one of the wettest balls we had ever played with, and one of the most hostile crowds I had encountered in my career. And we got the job done.”

When a level head was required it came from the newcomers.

”It would have been very easy for us to lose our cool out there,” prop Ben Alexander said.

”The humid weather and the narrow pitch probably didn’t suit how we like to play. So tonight was a big step up for us, because for a change we started well and built pressure on the opposition, rather than the other way around.”

There was high drama in the final minutes as replacement Brett Sheehan was sent to the sinbin, and the Pumas were on the charge requiring a converted try to win. But the Wallabies again stuck solid, knocking over every Argentinian who came their way, for a victory of which every member of the touring party should be proud.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Hoopla: Gai Waterhouse has a strong relationship with her regular jockeys Nash Rawiller and Tommy Berry.GAI Waterhouse left Randwick racecourse on Saturday elated at her record-breaking day and confident she had an unprecedented grip on Melbourne’s spring carnival.
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In fact, no trainer, on the eve of Australia’s most celebrated five weeks of racing, has ever shaped to have so much influence.

Waterhouse has pre-post favourites in the Cox Plate and the Caulfield and Melbourne cups, and prepares the shortest-priced favourite in Caulfield Guineas history with Pierro at $1.30.

Waterhouse’s remarkable mare More Joyous will also be favourite for the group 1 Toorak Handicap at Caulfield on Saturday, as she has her last run before being one of three runners that the Sydney trainer intends to start in the Cox Plate.

While jockey managers across Australia have Waterhouse’s phone number prominently displayed, she yesterday spoke of her relationship with stable rider Nash Rawiller who will shoulder the bulk of her hopes this spring.

”I asked Robbie [Waterhouse’s husband] a few years ago to give me the name of the best heavyweight jockey and the best lightweight. He came back with Blake Shinn and Nash Rawiller,” she said.

”Shinn got straight on a plane to Sydney to speak to me, but Nash wanted time to discuss the proposition with his wife.”

While a relationship with Shinn was successful for several seasons before coming to an end, Rawiller’s continues to flourish and the pair remain one of racing’s most dominant and strongest partnerships.

But Waterhouse admitted she had doubts even until the end of the first 18 months. ”What most [jockeys] don’t understand is that I train differently to many other trainers. While they like to get them ready with a run or two, my horses are ready to go from the start.

”I like them to be dominant, I like them to be on the pace, and some jockeys don’t get it. But after a time Nash and I worked out a good relationship with the team.”

Waterhouse’s father, the late Tommy Smith, was one of Australia’s finest horse trainers and had, seemingly to the public, a strong relationship with former jockey George Moore. The duo won hundreds of major races.

”No, I didn’t follow on that style that dad did. Dad and Moore were pretty feisty customers. They had many arguments and I didn’t see the need for a trainer-jockey relationship to be as confrontational as theirs was.

”I’m not a yes person, but confrontations can be negative and if I find a person like that in my system, I weed them out.”

Rawiller was known to be a patient and old-style jockey who liked his horses to settle and come home late. Waterhouse says Rawiller has refined that and rides as she wants, but takes his input on board.

”He’s a deep thinker and I’m also a thinker, and it’s a good way to be as we’re always working towards the best for the horses. I know some of my jockeys think, ‘here she comes again with another idea’, but that’s the way it’s got to be; looking ahead and getting the best out of horses.

”Again, I’m a bit different from dad whose jockeys were worked hard as he believed they were extremely well paid, better than any horse trainer, so they had to do their share.

”I let Nash cut his cloth to suit himself. He probably rides three mornings a week and he’s a terrific worker, but I’ve always got to remember that a jockey’s lifestyle is not easy and they are wasting to get down in weight and it’s got to tell on them.”

Two years ago Waterhouse saw a jockey whose talents she believed could be moulded into the upper echelons of Australian riding ranks.

At the Magic Millions on the Gold Coast, Waterhouse approached local Sydney jockey Tommy Berry and offered him a position at Tulloch Lodge.

On Saturday, that belief materialised into Berry winning the Epsom Handicap and Metropolitan double.

”Tommy is another who has fitted in well. His instructions [on Saturday] were to be positive and what happens, he’s successful on both after he went whoosh at the top of the straight.”

In the next five weeks, Waterhouse could have upwards of 15 horses leave Sydney for Melbourne.

She said yesterday she wanted to let the dust settle on making premature plans for horses, but it would appear she will have a mixture of horses ranging from speedy two-year-olds to stayers this spring.

But Waterhouse maintains that her two jockeys will fly in and out of Melbourne on the one day during the spring carnival.

”They’re only an hour away, they can come in, ride and go home, sleep in their own bed, be with their families and their routine is unaltered. I worry that jockeys coming down to Melbourne for all that time will live in a fishbowl existence.

”They’ll eat too much, drink too much and party too much, and it’s like having a flower in a hothouse, it’s a pressure you don’t need.

”They’ve all got diets and they’ve all got set ways of going about things, so I’m happy for them to stay at Randwick.”

If, according to corporate bookmaking firm Centrebet, Waterhouse is a $61 chance to win the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup this spring, her efforts at grooming jockeys will well and truly be worth it.

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Artist’s digs show spring in markets

December 29th, 2018 / / categories: 南京夜网419 /

DEVELOPERS were absent at the auction of artist Murray Walker’s North Fitzroy industrial compound, at the weekend, as confident homebuyers put their hands up.
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The 480-square-metre property at 1 Hopetoun Place, squeezed behind St Georges Road and Brunswick Street, fetched $2.05 million after bidding from three parties, all potential home-owners.

There was a buoyancy to the weekend real estate market not seen for more than two years, pushed along by a 25-basis-point interest rate cut by the Reserve Bank of Australia and the prospect of more to come.

There is also some evidence the bottom might have passed, with research house RP Data-Rismark unveiling a 1.4 per cent increase in Melbourne’s median house price in September (4 per cent since May).

And the auction clearance rate hit a healthy high of 66 per cent from 497 auctions, according to the results collected by the Real Estate Institute of Victoria.

Agents and buyer’s advocates all reported increasing numbers at inspections as a wave of new stock hits the market in late October and November.

Mr Walker’s Hopetoun Place compound, formerly stables and a warehouse, passed in at $2 million but was bought afterwards by a family with plans to use it as a town base and home for their children.

The island site is surrounded by nearly 20 properties and locals were concerned they would be overshadowed by a future development. But Nelson Alexander auctioneer Arch Staver said it was too difficult and too expensive for developers.

”We put it to developers, but they thought there was too much overlooking into people’s backyards,” he said.

”It would be tough to get the density that would have made it worthwhile for the $2 million our vendor wanted.”

But developers were engaged in tough competition in St Kilda for a block of art deco flats at 7 Belford Street, auctioned by agents Gary Peer on Thursday for $2.45 million.

The flats are on a 472-square-metre parcel surrounded by modern multistorey developments and face demolition.

Advantage Property director Frank Valentic said two developers were ”punching out” bids of $5000 and $10,000. ”It was a massive result. It was on the market at $1.9 million and sold $550,000 over reserve,” he said.

”That’s positive for the market. There’s a sentiment swing in the air.”

RT Edgar agent Glen Coutinho, who auctioned the top house on Saturday at 29 Callantina Road, in the Scotch Hill precinct of Hawthorn, said there was a change in mood at the weekend. ”The market was showing signs of good confidence and everyone was talking about the interest rate cuts. Even though not all the banks have passed on the full cut, it gave the market an injection of confidence and people are expecting more,” he said.

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IT CAME down to the last ball, but Australia’s Southern Stars last night celebrated a monumental upset against England to claim back-to-back World Twenty20 crowns.
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Jess Cameron, a laconic and powerful 23-year-old from Melbourne, starred with the bat, lifting her team to an intimidating total of 142. The semi-professional English, raging favourites to win the tournament, fancied a chase and sent Australia in, but fell agonisingly short.

The match was tense until the very end, with 16 needed from the last over.

It was bowled by Erin Osborne, and her nerves showed. A full toss, a no ball, a squirt to third man, a misfield and a run-out followed. With six to get from the last ball, England’s Danielle Hazell failed to get hold of a full toss, handing Australia a four-run victory. It was England’s second loss in 26 matches.

Fast bowler Ellyse Perry, an expert in pressure situations at world cups, made the the all-important breakthrough when Sarah Taylor, widely regarded as the best female cricketer in the world, chased an outswinger and was caught behind for 19.

It was a match-turning moment, exceeded only when Alex Blackwell launched herself forwards at full stretch at cover to grasp a low catch to rival any in the tournament, men’s or women’s.

The Australians dropped three catches but Blackwell’s blinder to dismiss Danni Wyatt reduced England to  6-90 in the 15th over. Still, the English would not succumb.

Perry’s breakthrough came at the halfway mark of the innings, with captain and opener Charlotte Edwards already sent back to the dug-out by Lisa Sthalekar for an excellent 28 from 23 balls.  Edwards had put together an ominous opening stand with Laura Marsh, which was broken when Julie Hunter was brought into the attack and held onto a return catch smashed at her by Marsh.

The grin Cameron wore during her innings of 45 from 34 balls turned to a grimace when she was struck in the knee while fielding, and limped off after the first over.

She scooped, reverse-swept and smashed her way to the highest score of Australia’s campaign, sharing a 51-run partnership with Sthalekar, who turned over the strike while Cameron took on the English attack.

She was both audacious – a six heaved over mid-wicket would have cleared the men’s boundary rope – and inventive. One of her five fours was a delicate reverse paddle against the off-spin of Marsh, and another was ramped over the wicketkeeper’s head off the medium pace of Anya Shrubsole.

Cameron, who was part of Australia’s winning World Cup campaign in 2010, fell before she could finish the job, picking out a fielder a long-on in the 17th over, leaving Sthalekar and Blackwell to push on to a strong total.

Openers Meg Lanning and Alyssa Healy set a brisk early pace and Lanning, taking a liking to Emily Brunt’s seamers, carved 25 from 24 balls.

She made her runs with late cuts and cover drives, taking 16 off one Brunt over, but chipped a return catch to Holly Colvin before she could cash in her bright start. Healy was bowled in the 10th over for 26.

Not a single Australian batsman has made a half-century in the tournament and the Southern Stars had failed to defend 144 in their earlier group game against England. This time, the Australians overcame the superpower of women’s cricket.

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Georgina Robinson: It’s been a tough couple of months for Australian rugby – its players and its fans. Losses, injuries, controversy and now you’ve slipped to No.3 in the world. Tell us why there is still hope.
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James Horwill: Well, I think every cloud has a silver lining, you have to make sure you’re positive about things, and I think certainly there’s some guys that have been playing who probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity if everything had gone according to plan. I think a guy that’s a good example of that is a guy like Michael Hooper – obviously he’s been outstanding, and if Poey [Pocock] had have been fit you probably wouldn’t have imagined at the start of the year that he would have got as much football as he has. [Sitaleki Timani]’s another one [and] Dom Shipperley.

David Pocock: It has certainly given players an opportunity and this should add to the depth of the Wallabies in years to come. It has been a tough year. We had injuries in the June Tests but managed to win the series against a spirited Welsh team, but to beat the All Blacks and Springboks you have to be on top of your game and we have fallen short against them. I don’t think it is due to a lack of effort, we have just not been good enough on the night and it is a steep learning curve at that level.

GR: Can you get back to No.2 in the world?

JH: Definitely. There is no doubt we can. I think we all need to keep performing, keep focusing on things we do well. [The Springboks Test] wasn’t a great outing and we didn’t play as well as we could have and it’s always disappointing when that happens because you always want to play to the best of your ability and the guys are probably the first to admit that we didn’t do that. But we still have guys in the team who have great ability and we’ve got guys who are hopefully coming back soon to bolster the ranks.

DP: I think the short answer is yes, but I’d preface that by saying that it will take a lot of hard work and some very good player management during the Super Rugby season to ensure we have as many players available for selection as possible come the June Tests and then later in the year. New Zealand are clearly the best in the world at the moment and that has been evident in this tournament – that is the challenge – to close the gap and become more deserving.

GR: Is the No.1 ranking a pipe dream?

JH: I don’t think it’s a pipe dream at all. We know that we as a country, on our day, have the ability to beat any country in the world. Being No.1 in the world is a by-product of performing well all the time in every outing that you have.

GR: Which means it’s a by-product also of beating the All Blacks. Some people say there’s daylight between the teams. Is that true?

JH: We get an opportunity in [one] week’s time to prove that we can match it with them and I’m confident we can. While they’ve been playing excellent rugby with an exceptional amount of depth in all areas of their game, they’re not unbeatable. I talked about consistency, even when they have an off day they are still able to grind out a win. They are an amazing side but I still don’t think they’re that far ahead of everyone else. It’s not a bridge too far, so to speak.

GR: David, it seems a long while since the Wallabies beat the All Blacks. If you can cast your mind back to those victories, what did it take to beat them then and what will it take to do it again?

DP: Accuracy. Taking our opportunities, and a good team performance. We are certainly capable of it but playing against a team like New Zealand you have to take your opportunities. They haven’t scored many tries against us in the close games but we have not capitalised on opportunities that we’ve created. And that’s crucial.

GR: James, on Twitter a little while ago you posted a video clip for a song called Don’t You Worry Child under the ”Team Rehab” hashtag. I’m going to read you a few lines of that song: I was a king I had a golden throne / Those days are gone, now the memories are on the wall … Should we be worried about you, James?

JH: No, I don’t think so. I’m just a bit of a Swedish House Mafia fan, it was their last ever song and I just loved the video clip. I like my house/dance music and it’s a song that goes on quite loud in the gym.

GR: So journalists should lay off the psychoanalysis?

JH: Yeah, I think we’re looking too much into the words there. I just like the beat.

GR: David, do you have an anthem or anything helping you get through the post-op/rehabilitation period? I won’t go ferreting for lyrics.

DP: [Hip hop artist] Lupe Fiasco has been blaring out the speakers for the three boxing sessions I’ve done with [Brumbies winger] Joe Tomane this week. It’s been great. Boxing with Lupe and a whole heap of others – I’ll have to start sharing a few of my Spotify playlists.

GR: Does it take a certain measure of faith to come back from serious injury?

JH: You need to make sure you don’t leave anything to chance and you’ve got to have faith in the people around you and their expertise. The surgeons, the physios etc. But a lot of it does come down to your individual desire and commitment to it. It is not a nice place to be, it’s boring and never fun, especially early on, when you think, ‘How did I ever do that, that used to be me running around, running into people, and now I can hardly walk’. You have to have faith in your individual ability and then you have to set short-term goals to get you to the long-term goal.

DP: Yeah, that’s an interesting way to put it but it probably does. By the time you get back to playing you’ve done so much work with the medical team and strength and conditioning coaches that you just have to trust the program and that you have done the hard work and are good to go. There are always a lot more nerves than usual that first game back but you wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s so exciting getting back to training and playing with the group. You really miss it.

GR: Has it been frustrating watching your friends struggle and the game go through a tough period, without being able to contribute in the way you usually do?

JH: It’s extremely frustrating. Every time I’ve always wanted so badly for them to do well and it’s never nice to see things not go their way or them not play as well as they want to. You do your bit and try to help them and so forth but when things don’t go according to plan it’s tough, feeling helpless.

DP: It is always frustrating not playing. As for the game going through a hard period, I think it’s important we maintain some perspective. There are a lot of guys … getting their first real taste of rugby at this level – that is so important for us as a group going forward. The learnings, both individually and as a team, over the past few months are crucial if we are to build as a team.

GR: Will Genia told me that since he’s been injured he sometimes messages the assistant coaches a few tips at half-time, from the comfort of his couch at home – are you guys as hands-on?

JH: I text occasionally, but it’s a bit difficult to do that. I try and stay in contact but sometimes you have to give them their own space. Will’s been more involved than me unfortunately this season, I’ve missed much more. I often text the players though but you’ve got to give them their own space as well.

DP: No, that’s not my go. I think it’s important to support the team and stay in touch, but I haven’t tried to add my say in things while I have been injured – they have enough going on without that.

GR: What’s your game ritual been like at home – do you watch the matches live or record them, at home, with friends, etc?

JH: I watched the Springboks game live, certainly it’s very frustrating being so far away and I really struggled to get back to sleep after that one. I was a bit riled up and a little bit frustrated with the way things were going. You never like watching the guys suffer. I also try and watch it on my own. My girlfriend is sometimes brave enough to watch it with me. But I’m not really one for watching it in a group, I get a bit vocal and start yelling stuff and get a bit frustrated.

DP: I watch them live. The game against Argentina on the [Gold Coast] was a couple of days after Emma and I moved to Canberra, so we didn’t have a TV but figured most pubs would show it. Wrong – not when the Raiders are in the finals! We finally found a uni pub that had it on and watched quietly in the corner and then left straight after it finished. I get really nervous watching and stay very quiet. On a positive note, I have really enjoyed watching guys getting opportunities. I think Michael Hooper has been superb this tournament. He has had a huge work rate.

GR: You have both been mentioned as possibles on the end-of-year tour. What chance are you both in a percentage sense?

JH: I dunno, there’s still things I need to do. It’s hard to tell a percentage because I don’t really know. As I keep ticking the boxes it might get easier to say that with confidence. I’m certainly running and starting to do more rugby specific stuff, which is important. I guess I’m confident if it keeps going the way it is then I should be OK.

DP: My injury is a bit different to James because it isn’t muscular. I have got through a lot of work over the past month and a bit – it has been a bit of a mini pre-season, which is great. It’s improving slowly but at this stage it’s hard to put a definite time frame on it.

GR: If you both end up on tour, who will be captain?

JH: That’s probably not for me to decide, it’s a decision for the coaching staff. And you just concentrate on getting back. It’s too early for me anyway to worry about that.

DP: That doesn’t concern me at all. The priority is just to get on the trip and back to playing.

GR: What’s something you wish fans and supporters understood about life in the Wallabies?

JH: I think the main thing is that every player goes out there giving his all for his country and there’s never someone who goes out there and doesn’t put everything they’ve got on that field. We all make mistakes and things don’t always go our way but it’s not through a lack of effort or commitment. I’m not saying everyone does but there are times people say [players] don’t care about what they do or this and that. But knowing our group and knowing what it takes, playing for your country is a huge honour for everyone.

DP: For me, it’s important that fans know how much we appreciate their support. Twenty-two players get to pull on the jersey but they represent so many more – and it wasn’t long ago we were fans and shared that elation and disappointment watching at stadiums or on TV. Our time as players is short so we need to be doing everything we can to leave a legacy for the future players and living and playing in a way that brings pride to our fans and supporters.

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Victorian trio’s careers on line

November 29th, 2018 / / categories: 南京夜网419 /

DAVID Hussey, Cameron White and Glenn Maxwell have all departed Sri Lanka with their reputations dented.
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The three Victorians played a part in Australia’s suspect middle-order, though in Hussey’s case it was an inglorious last-minute cameo. He was entitled to feel disgruntled at being left out of the side despite his wealth of Twenty20 experience, but didn’t make the selectors regret their call with his performance in the semi-final against the West Indies.

Chris Gayle was on the lash when Hussey bowled, returning figures of 0-22 from two overs, but to be bounced on a slow pitch by Ravi Rampaul, no one’s idea of a menacing fast bowler, was not a good look. Nor did an awkward misfield off Brad Hogg’s bowling help his cause.

Hussey has been a dangerous and successful limited-overs batsman for Australia, and he’s come back from selection setbacks before, but at the age of 35 his international future looks uncertain, at best.

Maxwell was encouraged to bat with the audaciousness that is his trademark, and captain George Bailey defended the shot that hastened Australia’s unravelling against Pakistan’s spinners in the last Super Eight game.

Still, he finished the event out of the team after an awful game that included dropping the batsman who mounted the match-winning partnership. There is plenty of time for the 23-year-old to come back, and no one doubt’s Maxwell’s talent or his unwavering self-belief, but a campaign that yielded eight runs in two innings and 1-53 in seven overs amounts to a reality check for the emerging all-rounder.

There are mitigating factors; the middle-order was sheltered for the first four games by the broad bat of Shane Watson and the big winning margins in those games left them short of exposure in pressure moments.

White presents the most perplexing case of the three Victorians. He batted Australia to victory against Ireland and South Africa with 21 not out and 22 not out, but on both occasions the top three had set a formidable platform. Still, this was not a triumphant return to Australian colours for the ex-captain.

Dropped after a dismal season in January, White fought his way back into the team through the Indian Premier League, but he couldn’t transfer that explosive form onto the international stage.

When the pressure was on in Colombo, against Pakistan and the West Indies, he made 12 and five. The 29-year-old has some further rebuilding to do if he is to get there.

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Guineas next: Pierro is hot favourite.GAI Waterhouse celebrated a group 1 double as a farewell to Sydney for the spring at the weekend, and believes she will repeat the dose with her stars Pierro and More Joyous at Caulfield on Saturday.
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Three-year-old Pierro is already in Melbourne and, following his Bill Stutt Stakes romp at Moonee Valley, is at short odds to add the Caulfield Guineas and Cox Plate over the next three weeks.

Waterhouse added to a treble at Randwick by winning the Gilgai Stakes with Hallowell Belle at Flemington. And the cavalry arrived in Melbourne yesterday in the form of More Joyous and Kabayan.

More Joyous will be out for successive Toorak Handicaps on Saturday and Waterhouse is unconcerned about a possible topweight of 60 kilograms.

”She is the best horse in the field and will carry a good horse’s weight and win,” Waterhouse said.

”She was on the float with Kabayan, who will run in the Norman Robinson in a couple of weeks. He can wait a week because I have the winner of the Guineas, Pierro. I only need the one.”

More Joyous will use the Toorak as a final tune-up for the Cox Plate showdown, for which she is a $7.50 second elect behind Pierro at $2.70.

Proisir will take Waterhouse’s Cox Plate team to three despite being beaten in the Spring Champion Stakes.

”I have no doubt he will run the 2040 metres and that’s the right race for him,” she said.

”He was completely and utterly disadvantaged by the way the race was run on Saturday and you will see a different horse in the Cox Plate.”

It was Tommy Berry’s and Waterhouse’s day at Randwick, where they combined for a treble, including the group 1s of the Epsom and Metropolitan.

Fat Al gave her a seventh Epsom to match her father Tommy Smith’s record. The four-year-old will head to the Emirates Stakes on the last day of Melbourne Cup week.

Metropolitan winner Glencadam Gold rocketed to the top of betting for the Caulfield and Melbourne cups after his 3¾-length romp.

Glencadam Gold, unbeaten in four starts since coming to Australia, was given a 1.5 kilogram penalty for his win in the Newcastle Cup last month and is liable for another penalty for his dashing all-the-way win at the weekend.

Racing Victoria handicapper Greg Carpenter, who is in France for the Arc de Triomphe meeting (which was run overnight), will announce a penalty later in the week.

Glencadam Gold needs a penalty of at least 1 kilogram to be assured of a start in the Caulfield Cup on October 20, but he is likely to receive more than that.

”[But] I don’t think he is going to get Nash Rawiller’s [weight],” Waterhouse said.

”Tommy is going to get his chance to ride him again. He did a marvellous job on Saturday.” With ANDREW EDDY

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Williams shores up Plate ride on Pierro

November 29th, 2018 / / categories: 南京夜网419 /

JOCKEY Craig Williams has confirmed he will ride super colt Pierro in the Cox Plate if the unbeaten star continues on that path as expected after Saturday’s group 1 Caulfield Guineas.
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Regular rider Nash Rawiller partners Pierro this weekend, where he runs as the scorching-hot $1.35 favourite in the $1 million Guineas. But he must stand aside for the lighter Williams on Cox Plate day as the three-year-old carries just 49.5 kilograms when he tries to rewrite history.

It seemed a no-brainer for Williams to choose to ride Pierro in the $3 million Cox Plate, but he has to part ways with Green Moon to do so. He rode the import to a most impressive win on Saturday in the group 1 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington, where Green Moon confirmed he was a genuine Cox Plate contender.

While the jockey who rode last year’s winners of the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate was shoring up his Cox Plate ride yesterday, Williams plans to confirm his position in both the Caulfield and Melbourne cups later tomorrow.

He will re-acquaint himself with Dunaden when the pair gallop at the quarantine centre at Werribee.

Dunaden had a small setback when in quarantine with a foot abscess but Williams expects to see the same fit and healthy French horse as when he partnered him to wins in last spring’s Geelong Cup and Hong Kong Vase.

Williams has also reaped the benefit of suspensions to Damien Oliver and Vlad Duric at Moonee Valley last Friday night.

On Saturday, he takes over from Oliver on Awesome Bro for Leon Corstens in the Caulfield Guineas and on Elite Elle in the Thoroughbred Club Stakes, while he picks up Duric’s mount Strike The Stars in the group 1 Toorak Handicap.

Meanwhile, owner Lloyd Williams is looking to strengthen his already strong hand in the three spring majors when he tries to qualify Excluded for a Caulfield Cup run via the group 2 Herbert Power Stakes on Saturday.

Williams, fresh from a winning treble at Flemington – including the quinella in the Turnbull Stakes – as well as a feature race winner in Sydney, already has import Seville down as his Caulfield Cup horse, but Excluded can win an exemption from the ballot for the race if he can win the 2400-metre race on Saturday.

Williams told RSN yesterday that he fancied the chances of an Australian victory in the Melbourne Cup this year as the French winners of the past two years, Americain and Dunaden, would carry hefty weights (58 kilograms). He also said he wasn’t overly impressed with co-Melbourne Cup favourite Mount Athos, who he could have bought last year.

”I’m not keen on Mount Athos. I don’t think he’s a champion,” Williams said.

Tommy Berry, the rider of the new Caulfield and Melbourne cups favourite, Glencadam Gold, yesterday put paid to the theory that the import might be exposed over the tricky anti-clockwise course in Saturday week’s Caulfield Cup.

”He’ll get around as good as he does in Sydney,” Berry said of Saturday’s Metropolitan winner. ”His last piece of work the Melbourne way, he got around better than he does when on his Sydney leg.”

As for the galloper’s ability to handle the 3200 metres of the Melbourne Cup, Berry was just as upbeat. ”He’ll relish it.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Threat to TV racing rights

November 29th, 2018 / / categories: 南京夜网419 /

THE future of a multimillion-dollar deal for the TV racing rights in New South Wales is being stalled by infighting over who should sit on the board of broadcaster TVN.
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The TVN board has been in caretaker mode for more than three months and remains at a stalemate as powerbrokers in NSW and Victoria attempt to gain control of the pay-TV racing broadcaster.

The new board needs to be in place before a chief executive can be appointed to replace Peter Sweeney, who will leave this month. More importantly, the deal that will secure the broadcaster’s future, cannot be finalised until then.

TVN owns the rights to screen metropolitan racing in Sydney and all meetings in Victoria. It also has a heads of agreement with Racing NSW to broadcast NSW provincial and country racing from 2013, which is expected to add more than $100 million to the value of the company.

Attempts to appoint a new board have hit several obstacles. It is believed Victoria Racing Club chairman Michael Burn and Melbourne Racing Club counterpart Michael Symons have both been put forward by their clubs.

But The Age understands there is opposition to them in some quarters because they previously held consultancy contracts with the broadcaster.

It is understood Burn and Symons both charged TVN $15,000 a month for work on a failed attempt to take over Sky Channel and to secure the continuation of the television rights for Sydney metropolitan racing with the Australian Turf Club in 2011.

Supporters of Burn and Symons argue that they are among the most qualified investment bankers in the country, working for Macquarie Bank and Canterbury Partners respectively, and that the consultancy was done at less than market rates.

The consultancy contracts were identified while Racing NSW was carrying out due diligence on TVN.

Sources have told The Age that another contract delivered a monthly payment of $30,000 to a consultant involved in the network’s foundation, a payment that has stood since TVN was established in 2006.

That ongoing payment has been stopped. It was one of the reasons Sweeney lost the support of the stakeholders in TVN.

The new board will have eight members, two each from the ATC and Racing NSW and one each from Racing Victoria, the VRC, MRC and Moonee Valley Racing Club.

The ATC owns 50 per cent of TVN and has asked Racing NSW, as the state’s racing regulator, to join the board to represent provincial and country clubs in NSW. ATC chief executive Darren Pearce, ATC board member Laurie Macri and Racing NSW boss Peter V’landys are set to be three of the NSW representatives on the board.

The other half of the company is owned by the MRC, VRC, MVRC and Country Racing Victoria.

The three metropolitan clubs will each hold a seat on the board, while CRV interests will be looked after by another RVL representative as the regulatory authority in the state.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

SYDNEY will get its man but it has also raised the ire of rival clubs that have called for the ”archaic” salary cap concession for the Sydney clubs to be scrapped.
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Hawthorn president Andrew Newbold and Adelaide counterpart Rob Chapman both voiced their frustration at the concession they believe had helped enable the reigning premier afford to entice Kurt Tippett from Adelaide and away from Queensland.

Newbold called on the AFL to review the 9.8 per cent concession (an additional $862,000) in the salary cap that Sydney and Greater Western Sydney received to offset higher costs of living there.

Newbold said the league should review the Swans’ contracts to ascertain if the cost of living concession was spread evenly across all players’ contracts or was being hoarded to allow them to bid for a big-name player like Tippett.

”I think it is just an outdated policy and one that we as a league should have reviewed a long time ago,” he said.

”I don’t know that Melbourne and even Perth costs are that much lower than Sydney now. I think it is an archaic policy setting that needs to be reviewed.

”Don’t get me wrong, I think Sydney are an extremely well-run and organised business, and I am sure they have managed their cap very well.

”They have a very even list of players, but I think this proposed trade has highlighted something that should have been looked at.

”When the reigning premier can go out and have the money to get a player like Tippett when they have that extra money in their cap, I think it is something we need to look at.

”We are not crying over spilt milk [about losing the grand final], we are not saying you cannot do this deal, but what this deal does is show up an anomaly that should have been looked at before.

”I will speak with other presidents, but I think it is something the AFL needs to review and I think it is reasonable for the AFL to look at contracts and say, ‘Has the concession been spread across players or hoarded to find money for a player like this?’ ”

Adelaide president Chapman reportedly had similar concerns to Newbold.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou was not available for comment yesterday.

The Tippett deal will need to be brokered between the Swans and Adelaide today, but due to ”an understanding” with Adelaide when he signed his last contract, that deal should be completed for a second-round draft pick and or a third-round pick or player.

The trade period officially opens today when all clubs will meet at Etihad Stadium. The father-son bidding will also be done and it appears Melbourne will need to use its first pick – third overall – if it wants to secure Jack Viney as a father-son recruit, with the Gold Coast almost certain to bid for the highly talented inside midfielder with its first pick.

The loss by the Suns of Josh Caddy may have in part helped persuade them to bid for Viney as a replacement for the tough inside midfielder.

Clubs are also expecting Brisbane or Port Adelaide to bid for Joe Daniher, forcing the Bombers to use their first-round pick – number 10 – on the tall key-position player and son of former player Anthony. It is uncertain if any club intends to bid for Bulldog father-son nominee Lachie Hunter.

If Melbourne is forced to use its first pick on Viney, it is likely to scupper plans for the ambitious deal to trade pick four to Collingwood for Chris Dawes and Sharrod Wellingham.

Melbourne has indicated it would prefer to keep one live early pick in the draft.

That deal already looked unlikely to come to fruition after Wellingham nominated West Coast as the club he wanted to move to and flew out of the country, leaving the negotiations to his manager.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.