Hawks eager to get back on court

Hawks centre Larry Davidson with students at Albion Park Rail Primary School. Picture: GREG TOTMAN.They are in the top six and coming off their first road win of the 2008-09 NBL season.But with 19 games to play, the Wollongong Hawks are the first to admit they have achieved nothing.”We were saying the other day that we really haven’t done anything good yet,” Wollongong centre Larry Davidson said.”Coming from last year where we won nine games for the whole season, we’re definitely playing better. But if we bomb out from here it’s all for nothing, so the mindset for us is that we still haven’t done much.”With that kind of attitude, complacency shouldn’t be an issue when the Hawks confront an improving Gold Coast Blaze on Friday night at WIN Entertainment Centre.”I wouldn’t think so,” Davidson said.”It’s pretty annoying to have such a long break (since beating Cairns on November 1) when you’re hitting some form, and that probably showed at training (on Monday) when things started getting a bit chirpy. “We’re probably getting sick of training against the same people.”Yesterday the Hawks were at Albion Park Rail Primary School, putting the students through their paces with a 90-minute clinic.Players and the coaching staff regularly visit the region’s primary and high schools, happily fulfilling the club’s commitment to gain a wider audience at grassroots level.McDonald’s sponsors the Hawks’ primary school program, while Arrive Alive is behind the club’s high school scheme.”The clinics focus on fun and healthy activity and by the end of term four we’ll have visited almost 2000 kids,” Hawks operations manager Jess Tory said. “Each child receives Hawks merchandise, which includes a free ticket to see a Hawks home game.”Today the Hawks will be shifting their attention to chalking up win number seven at the expense of the last-placed Blaze, who will be backing up from tonight’s road clash with the Sydney Spirit.”They played really well against Townsville, but defence has been pretty big for us in the last couple of games and we want to keep it going on Friday,” Davidson said.Tickets are available at ticketek南京夜网 or by phoning 132 849.Meantime, New Zealand Breakers guard Kirk Penney has earned his second NBL player of the week award for the season. The early frontrunner for league MVP honours, Penney averaged 24.5 points, seven rebounds and 3.5 assists as the Breakers went 1-1 last week.
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Gorrell set to fight for Broncos jersey

Broncos recruit Aaron Gorrell relaxes in Wollongong yesterday. Picture: KEN ROBERTSONFormer St George Illawarra hooker Aaron Gorrell is bracing himself for a battle royal with PJ Marsh for the Brisbane Broncos’ vacant No 9 jersey.Gorrell will return to the NRL in 2009 after a two-season stint with the Catalans Dragons in the English Super League.An optional year remained on the 27-year-old’s contract with the French club, but the Broncos called and he jumped at the chance to sign a one-year deal.”I last played in the NRL with St George Illawarra in 2006, when we ended up one game away from the grand final, so I’m really excited to be back and right now my main goal is to cement a spot in first grade,” Gorrell said.”I know a couple of blokes up there – (former St George Illawarra team-mate) Ashton Sims loves it up there. The other bonus is that I’m really looking forward to playing with guys like Darren Lockyer and Israel Folau.”A former Albion Park junior, Gorrell has been living in Wollongong for the past few weeks since returning to Australia and will move to Brisbane tomorrow.The re-tooled Broncos – Michael Ennis, Denan Kemp, Joel Moon, Darius Boyd and Greg Eastwood have all left – officially start pre-season training on Monday, and Gorrell has already left a good first impression by passing club fitness testing with flying colours.”They said if we got the right marks that we wouldn’t have to come back until the 17th of November, so I was glad I’d jumped in the gym and done a bit of work before we did the tests,” he said.Gorrell knows he is no certainty to grab a spot in the starting side, despite the departure of Ennis to the Bulldogs.Queensland Origin representative Marsh fell out of favour with former coach Wayne Bennett halfway through last season, but Marsh is expecting increased opportunities in the dummy-half role under new coach Ivan Henjak.Gorrell won’t be stepping aside for his team-mate, ensuring an intense pre-season duel.”It’s not going to be easy because PJ’s played Origin and I’m sure he won’t lay down, but it’s good to have competition for spots among players and I certainly won’t be lying down either,” he said.”The thing for me now is to train the house down over Christmas and try and put my best foot forward in the pre-season. Hopefully I’ll get over the top of him and get first crack at it in round one.”Last month the Broncos created headlines when the club unveiled its strict new policy regarding alcohol consumption.Gorrell endorsed the policy, claiming players had to be responsible for their actions.”You can still enjoy yourself, but we’ve got a job to do, and I’m sure no-one wants to be the first bloke dropped for having a beer,” he said.”The Broncos had a disappointing end to the season, and the bottom line is that the club has put guidelines in place and we’re just going to have to stick to them.”Gorrell didn’t rule out an eventual return to his junior club.”You never know what’s around the corner,” he said.”I’ve got a lot of mates at the Park and I’d like to play one or two years there … if the body holds up.”
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Obama carries the dream

I have a T-shirt with a quote across the front from one of the great men of our time – Martin Luther King. I’ve had it for two years and wear it regularly, especially when I feel I need to be inspired.But it’s only been in the past few weeks that people have stopped me in the street to comment on it.I have been a little embarrassed by people staring at my chest – and I know it’s not because it has got any more alluring over the past month – but relieved, and a little pleased when they tell me the message stretched across my boobs is one which they too find has touched a chord.You’ve probably read and heard enough about the US presidential elections over the past five days – or even the past year – to last you a lifetime.But it is this which I think has made people look past their own lives and take notice of what is happening in the world and as a consequence stop, stare and read my T-shirt.Great leaders can change the world. And although it now sounds a little cliched, the election last week of Barak Obama as the 44th president of the United States has inspired hope not just for Americans, but for the rest of the world.To be truthful, I think I have a bit of a crush on Mr Obama – as I am sure do millions of other women around the world. And it’s not just his sense of style or the sense of control that emanates from him, but more so his passion for what will certainly be one of the toughest jobs in world politics.And I admit when he came out to give his victory speech in front of hundreds of thousands of people, I shed a little tear – of relief and of admiration.Here was a man that stuck to his guns – not the moose shooting kind – and told it like it was. He wasn’t afraid to admit that the rest of the world had lost its respect for his nation and it was time to take notice of what the world was saying.Cybergirl was a little perplexed as to why I would care about the results of an election in a country on the other side of the world, but as she listened to him speak I could see the enchantment the new president seems to invoke, wash over even a 12-year-old Australian girl.There’s not many people in the world who can quiet a crowd of that magnitude with just a few words, but Obama certainly does.As a mother, the future of the world becomes so much more important than it was when I had only myself to look out for.In the lead up to elections, I felt anxious that the US may get it wrong yet again and the thought of the world’s most powerful nation being left in charge of a government that couldn’t really see beyond its own boundaries certainly left me thinking the future wasn’t looking as rosy as I had hoped.And maybe I am putting too much faith in one man to be able to pull the pieces together.Of course, Obama isn’t a superhero, and it will take the work of a world of nations, working together to bring about a change in thinking that has become ingrained after decades of self-absorption.But I now have faith that if millions of people are willing to make that first move, creating history by electing a man much more left of centre than other American presidents – and an African-American at that – then we could be on the road to realising the dream that Martin Luther King had nearly half a century ago. Keeli Cambourne is a South Coast journalist and mother trying to find the perfect life/work balance.
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Tourism bid to protect old forests

The move has raised concerns with the State Government, Tourism Council of Tasmania and the forestry industry, who said they were not consulted on the matter.
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The Tourism and Transport Forum represents 200 members, including Qantas, Commonwealth Bank, Hilton Hotels and has had an association with Tourism Tasmania.

TTF managing director Christopher Brown said both organisations saw the protection of Tasmania’s old-growth forests as vital to tourism and environment.

“This can no longer be considered an exclusively Tasmanian issue and it demands action by the Federal Government and national tourism industry to forge a compromise solution,” Mr Brown said.

“There are 14,649 tourism jobs in Tasmania compared to a maximum of 1500 jobs in old-growth logging.”

The TTF has written to the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader calling on them to intervene to end old-growth logging to protect the viability of tourism.

It has also soughtgreater protection for the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree World Heritage Area.

Resources Minister Bryan Green labelled the joint protocol a stunt in the lead-up to the Federal election and said an existing protocol between the Tasmanian forestry and tourism industry was sufficient. “We already have a protocol which ensures that two of Tasmania’s biggest employers – tourism and forestry – continue to co-exist and grow without placing unrealistic limits on each other,” Mr Green said.

Tourism Council of Tasmania chief executive Daniel Leesong said the organisation was disappointed it was not consulted.

“This is an extremely complex issue that must be resolved through the broad community,” he said. “The last thing that the tourism industry in Tasmania needs is to have the forestry debate become a political football in the coming Federal election campaign.”

He also said the council remained firmly committed to the Tourism Forestry Protocol.

Forest Industries Association of Tasmania chief executive Terry Edwards also expressed disappointment the local industry was not consulted. “They haven’t bothered to seek a balanced approach to this,” he said.

He also supported the Tourism Forestry Protocol as the appropriate forum for the two industries to cooperate.

“That’s the way to deal with issues like this,” he said. “Not for one industry to be calling for the abolition of another.”

He also said the tourism industry caused environmental damage, citing the large numbers of walkers on the Overland Track in the Cradle Mt-Lake St Clair National Park as an example.


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Soccer meeting outcome secret

A veil of secrecy hangs over yesterday’s meeting between Wollongong City Council and soccer clubs to discuss the status of a $2.5 million in government grants.The meeting was held to clear up questions over how the council had spent the grant money earmarked in 2002 and 2005 for the relocation of soccer clubs from Brandon Park to Lysaghts Oval at Figtree.The matter has been referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption by the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, which originally granted the money.Last Thursday, soccer club officials demanded to know exactly where the grant money had gone, amid fears it had been spent inappropriately.But after yesterday’s meeting, Wollongong Olympic’s Manny Mavridis said he did not want to go into details.”We have sighted invoices and the documents I have asked for,” he said. “We will have a look at that and go from there.”Requests by the Mercury to view the documentation, including records of incoming and outgoing funds, have been denied, and the council’s three state appointed administrators – Gabrielle Kibble, Col Gellatly and Robert McGregor – have also failed to answer questions on the issue.In a statement last Friday a council spokeswoman said all the money spent from the grant so far had been backed by supplier invoices and legal declarations that the work had been completed.However, the council has not released the documentation publicly or offered details of to whom the money had gone.In a contract between the council and the soccer clubs, the two parties agreed “to endeavour to ensure” Lysaght’s Oval was up to NSW Premier League standard for the 2005-06 season.Today the ground is yet to meet Illawarra Football Association or Football NSW competition standards and only a skeleton of the much anticipated grandstand exists.Mr Mavridis said yesterday details would be made available to members of Wollongong Olympic in the near future. “We are progressing the matter,” he said.
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