February, 2019

Deregister sacked players: Gould

Panthers boss and league pundit Phil Gould believes NRL stars should face immediate deregistration when they are sacked for bad behaviour by their clubs in the future.
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Gould’s strong stance comes with poor behaviour by NRL stars in the spotlight. This week, Canberra’s NSW winger Blake Ferguson was stood down from State of Origin II as well as club duties after being charged with indecent assault following a night out with St George Illawarra fullback Josh Dugan. South Sydney prop George Burgess was also stood down for two matches after causing damage to a car during a night out in Cairns.

The plight of Canberra, who sacked Dugan for repeated misdemeanours only to see him resurface at St George Illawarra and are now deciding Ferguson’s fate, was used by Gould to show that the NRL needed to get tougher on players who had been terminated by a club.

He said the NRL’s Integrity Unit needed to take decisions away from the clubs.

“The recurrence of these incidents, and very serious incidents, and the fact that the players just don’t seem to be getting the message . . . I think this Integrity Unit has got to stand up and start to make some real rules about these things, to take it out of the hands of the club,” the former Origin coach said on Fairfax Media’s The Phil Gould Show. “The club, Canberra Raiders, over the years have had to lose players like Todd Carney and more recently Josh Dugan . . . they’re in the spotlight to lose a bloke like Blake Ferguson if he goes again. They’re reluctant to lose him, because they want to compete, and they want to win, but it should be the game saying, ‘if you don’t respect being a professional footballer, you should be gone’.”

Gould, the Panthers executive general manager of rugby league, said it had reached the point where “the game just has to deregister them”

“And in the instance of Blake Ferguson – he’s due his day in court, and we can’t assume guilt until that’s proven in court – but if it comes down that serious charges like this, put them out of the game. I think that’s the only deterrent,” he said.

“You have a club that will sack a player for . . . behavioural issues, only to see that player reappear with another club down the track, if he’s talented, playing against them.

“Let’s use the Dugan case. Canberra Raiders sacked Dugan at the start of this year, and within a month, he’s playing with the Dragons, he’s on good money, and now he’s got a Blues jersey. How do you explain that? How, as a game, do we justify that, that a player can be sacked from a club, for breach of behaviour . . . then be rewarded with a Blues jersey?

“That’s not a deterrent, at all. I think the game really needs to be serious about this, and if a club sacks a player for breach of behaviour, then they need to be deregistered for a couple of years, as a real deterrent for what they’re doing.”

Gould added the Integrity Unit needed to consider the effect that instances like those of this week had on the clubs and the game, when players “continually thumb their nose at the system and authority, and think they’re bigger than the game”.

“In 35 years, I’ve seen it all,” Gould said. “I’ve supported players, and I’ve stuck up for them, and I’ve given them second chances. It’s wearing me out, to be honest.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Sex predators caught in country Victoria

Source: Wimmera Mail-Times
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Scene of the escape … The grounds of Corella Place, a sex offenders’ facility in Ararat. Photo: Pat Scala

Two men wanted for breaching serious sex offender supervision bonds have been taken into police custody in Ararat.

The city’s police station confirmed the arrests at 12.40pm.

The two men, who escaped from residential facility Corella Place about 11.30pm on Wednesday, are serious sex offenders on supervision orders.

They were wearing electronic monitoring bracelets which sent an alert to staff when they fled the facility.

One of the mensexually assaulted a five-year-old boy at a shopping centre in 2004.

Less information is known about the offending of the other escapee.

A Corrections Victoria spokesman confirmed the men had “breached their court-ordered curfews and left the facility unaccompanied late last night”.

Corrections was “supporting” police searching for the offenders.

The escape came just hours after Adrian Ernest Bayley was jailed for at least 35 years for the rape and murder of Jill Meagher. He was on parole when he raped and murdered the 29-year-old ABC employee in a Brunswick laneway last September.

There are 35 residents at Corella Place, including child sex offenders and rapists. They have finished their sentences but are considered unacceptable risks to community.

Corella Place is a residential facility that is next door to the Ararat prison, the Hopkins Correctional Centre.Corella Place is about 2 kilometres from the town centre.

Residents are housed in one, two and three-bedroom houses and have a strict curfew, but are taken on escorted trips to nearby towns and Melbourne.

Corrections Minister Edward O’Donohue announced in May that the residents would be the first to use GPS bracelets that could trace dangerous parolees or those on sex-offender supervision orders.

The existing bracelets use radio frequency technology that only flags when an offender is in a specific area and does not track them outside that zone.

The GPS bracelets that track the exact locations of people are scheduled to be introduced next month.

Corella Place … The escaped sex offenders were wearing electronic bracelets which tripped an alarm. Photo: Pat Scala

Don but not forgotten: the late, great Gandolfini

James Gandolfini’s qualities were rare, and his performance as Tony Soprano layered in so many complex ways. Photo: Anthony NesteJames Gandolfini dead at 51
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The don has died. But in a double blow, the death of actor James Gandolfini claims not one life but two: he takes with him the peerless, compelling mafia boss Tony Soprano.

Soprano, who stood front and centre on the small screen between 1999 and 2007, was one of television’s greatest, most definitive, characters. And Gandolfini one of those rare character actors with the presence of a leading man: powerful, resonant and yet still very, very vulnerable.

Gandolfini’s body of work encompasses the stage, and the small and big screens. His resume reads like the life story of every hardworking, jobbing New York actor: a stage turn in On the Waterfront, films such as True Romance and Get Shorty.

But the inescapable truth of this is: to many Gandolfini was known only for the 86 episodes of critically exalted HBO drama The Sop-ranos, in which he starred.

It is one of the peculiar ironies of television fame that sometimes a single role for one actor can eclipse a lifetime’s work for another. William Shatner’s Captain Kirk and Adam West’s Batman spring to mind here. Neither is perhaps Gandolfini’s equal as an actor, but the characters make curiously appropriate equals to Soprano in the annals of pop culture history.

Gandolfini, in less than a decade, made the mafia genre, previously defined by Francis Ford Coppola’s film, The Godfather, his own.

The Sopranos modernised the genre and installed Tony Soprano, husband, father and organised crime boss, as its centre-piece, and created around him a world both compelling and disturbingly real.

Due credit for that belongs to David Chase, The Sopranos’ creator and principal writer. But if Chase was the puppet-master, Gandolfini was his puppet, a dark, brooding Pinocchio to Chase’s master artisan Geppetto. That fusion between an actor and a writer is rare, but when it happens the results are invariably astonishing.

The mafia genre has given us many memorable characters and performances: Joe Pesci’s Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas, Stephen Graham’s Al Capone in Boardwalk Empire, even Johnny Depp’s John Dillinger in Public Enemies spring to mind.

Then there is The Godfather, based on the novel by Mario Puzo and the cinematic magnum opus of film demigod Francis Ford Coppola, which set the gold standard for crime movies.

From its pages we met James Caan’s Santino Corleone, Andy Garcia’s brilliant Vincent Mancini, Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone and, of course, Marlon Brando’s towering Don Vito Corleone.

Is Tony Soprano Corleone’s equal? Was Gandolfini better than Marlon Brando? Indeed does The Sopranos truly topple The Godfather from the top rung of the cinematic totem pole?

That’s a big call, and perhaps too bold a call to make in so subjective an arena, but Gandolfini’s qualities were rare, and his performance as Tony Soprano layered in so many complex ways.

Television allowed Gandolfini something that film denied Brando and the other titans of The Godfather franchise: time. In 86 hours, and without a ticking clock to fight, Gandolfini transformed Soprano from a mafia don to a complex, multi-dimensional character.

Significantly, he gave Soprano humanity such that even as we watched him kill – Febby Petrulio, Chucky Signore, Big Pussy, Tony Blundetto and more – the audience’s care for him seemed to never waver. His exchanges with his therapist, Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco), added even more layers.

We met his family: wife Carmela, children AJ and Meadow, mother Livia. And we saw how he struggled with his working life as a crime boss. He battled depression. He was unfaithful, and yet he demanded unequivocal loyalty. He was deeply, deeply flawed.

The Sopranos ended on June 10, 2007, with a conclusion that left viewers uncertain of Tony Soprano’s ultimate fate: stalked into a lingering, uncomfortable fade to black which provoked debate about whether indeed he had been killed. It seemed, at the time, a cruel finish for a man who commanded inexplicable affection.

Losing Gandolfini, with such certainly, seems in comparison a far crueller hammer blow.

It is soothed by one tiny consolation: the immortality of film. And the knowledge that long after Gandolfini is gone, his singular, luminous portrayal of Anthony John “Tony” Soprano is ours to cherish forever.

What were your favourite Tony Soprano moments? Comment below.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Flight test: Emirates business class

THE ROUTE
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Dubai to Melbourne via Kuala Lumpur

THE PLANE

Boeing 777-300ER

THE LOYALTY SCHEME

Skywards — passengers can earn and redeem Skywards Miles and Qantas Frequent Flyer points on both Emirates and Qantas.

UP THE BACK OR POINTY END?

The pointy end. Window seat 7K will set you back but Emirates has one of the best business-class sections going.

TIME IN THE AIR

Seven hours and 10 minutes to KL from Dubai and seven hours and 35 minutes from KL to Melbourne, with a two-hour stopover, giving a total flight time of 16 hours and 45 minutes.

THE SEAT STUFF

Business class has a seat pitch of 120 centimetres, which extends to form a two-metre-long, fully flat bed. Seat cushions are 47 centimetres wide. It’s a 2-3-2 layout in business.

BAGGAGE

Business-class customers are permitted two pieces of carry-on baggage with a total combined weight of 12 kilograms, plus checked luggage up to 40 kilograms.

COMFORT FACTOR

Only if Emirates could get your bedroom into the air would you be more comfortable. There are full-size beds, a food service that never seems to end, and more movies and TV shows than you could see in a week.

THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT

Emirates offers up to 1500 channels of on-demand entertainment featuring world movies, new releases, TV shows, games and kids’ channels. If you haven’t been to the cinema in years, you’re in for a treat.

THE SERVICE

Check-in is silky smooth with no wait involved at all, while the Business Class Lounge in Dubai could be the prototype for lounges across the world. Emirates’ flight crews are renowned for their friendliness and speak more than 120 languages, so they’ve got you covered no matter what you want to ask them — they’re an interesting blend of Europeans, South Africans, Brits and southern and northern Asians.

FEEDING TIME

Two main meals are served, with my favourite being dinner served not long out of KL. I start with an appetiser of hot smoked salmon with mango and cold roast lamb loin and tandoori chicken with mango chutney. For a main I choose garoupa fillet with a saffron dill sauce followed by a blueberry cheesecake and chocolate gateau. Light snacks include steak pies, sandwiches and pastries. I bypass the Moet in favour of the Leeuwin Prelude Chardonnay 2010 from Margaret River — I must be feeling patriotic.

ONE MORE THING

Emirates offers complimentary luxury chauffeur transfers from home to airport and back for business and first-class passengers. However, the service is not available for passengers on flights between Australia and New Zealand.

THE VERDICT

Return business-class fares to Dubai from Melbourne start from $8655, which is quite competitive in this market. It’s worth seeing whether you can get an upgrade to business class on points if you don’t fancy splashing out.

THE FREQUENCY

Emirates operates three flights daily from Dubai to Melbourne, one of which goes via KL and the other via Singapore. The third is a direct A380.

Tested by Craig Tansley, who flew courtesy of the Austrian National Tourist Office.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

DLP senator calls for referendum to enshrine traditional marriage

Democratic Labor Party senator John Madigan wants to outlaw gay marriage by enshrining in the constitution that marriage is between ”one man and one woman . . . to the exclusion of all others”.
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A social conservative, Senator Madigan, will introduce a bill on Thursday to call for a national referendum to alter the constitution in such a way.

”I’m saying let the people decide,” Senator Madigan told the senate on Thursday morning.

”We can’t legislate the conscience of the nation.”

Senator Madigan told the senate that marriage was a ”cornerstone of human society pre-dating any religious or political system”.

”If we can have referendums on things like local government . . . we deserve to have a referendum on officially defining this institution in our constitution.”

After Senator Madigan finished speaking, his view was condemned by senators on both sides of politics.

Liberal senator Sue Boyce said she was ”appalled” at the notion of the constitution being changed to enshrine marriage as between a man and a woman.

She suggested such an idea was wrong in the 21st century when  people have moved beyond thinking that gender is binary and that sexuality is a lifestyle choice.

Labor senator, Penny Wong, a lesbian, said she disagreed with the right of people such as Senator Madigan to impose their definition of marriage ”upon me and upon others in my situation . . . who wish to demonstrate through ceremony their love and commitment to their partner”.

She said the issue had never been whether or not people have different opinions, but ”whether the secular state should impose a particular set of opinions in order to exclude some Australians”.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.