Cooks fears Bowen blaze

Wollongong coach Eric Cooks has named new Gold Coast import Justin Bowen as a danger man for tomorrow night’s showdown between the Hawks and Blaze at WIN Entertainment Centre.Bowen arrived in Australia as a replacement for Juaquin Hawkins less than two weeks ago, watching from the bench in civilian clothes as the Blaze notched their maiden win of the season last Wednesday against Townsville.The American forward made his debut against the league-leading South Dragons three nights later, showing why Blaze coach Brendan Joyce rates him so highly with 26 points, eight rebounds and three assists in 33 minutes.While Gold Coast guards Shane Heal and James Harvey will be primary defensive targets for the Hawks, the athletic Bowen looms as a major threat.”I saw the tape of Bowen’s game against the Dragons and he looks like a quality player who can put the ball in the basket,” Cooks said.”He can put it on the floor and create his own shot, he shoots the three fairly well. He’s definitely a guy we’re going to have to pay close attention to.”He kind of reminds me of a (former New Zealand Breakers import) Carlos Powell-type of player, although Bowen is more guard-orientated than Powell.”We hang our hat on our pressure defence, so obviously we’ll try and pressure him to see how his fitness is going, especially given the fact it’ll be Gold Coast’s second game in three days.”The Hawks (6-5) are fifth on the NBL ladder and have won their past two games.Their last win was on the road over Cairns on November 1, and Cooks believes his side is stinging to play again.”Training has certainly been testy over the last few days and the guys have been getting up each other because they’re probably a little tired of each other, but the signs I take from that are all positive,” he said.”It reminds me of the trainings we used to have when I played with Ballarat (in the ABA). It’d get real physical and guys would beat the hell out of each other, but everyone got along real well and had a lot of respect for each other. “That’s how it is with this (Hawks) team. Training has been very physical and competitive, but they’re all real good friends and it’s a very healthy and happy team environment.”We’ve had a fairly long break, and until you get out there and the lights come on in a game situation, you never know if you’re going to be rusty or ready to go. The positive signs are that our trainings has been very intense and our scrimmages have been of a high quality.”The Blaze will train in Wollongong today after taking on the Sydney Spirit last night at Homebush.
Nanjing Night Net

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

Manpower shortage hits Woonona club’s big plans

A radical plan for newly promoted Woonona Soccer Club to play in both the Illawarra Premier League and District League next year is expected to fall over due to lack of manpower. Woonona’s committee met last night to determine if it could muster the resources to host games at Ocean Park every weekend next season. The Illawarra Football Association (IFA) has rejected a Woonona proposal to field teams in both competitions and play all home games on the same day.A counter-offer for the Sharks’ Premier League and District League outfits to play at Ocean Park on alternate weekends was considered last night. The IFA expected an answer by tomorrow. Woonona Soccer Club president Frank Shaw said the plan hinged on his club’s ability to muster volunteers. “We wouldn’t have a problem fielding all those teams, but we would need to set up a subcommittee to man the ground,” he said.”If we were playing all four games on the same day we’d only need a couple more officials, but if they’re playing on alternate weekends we would need a new team for the gate, the barbeque and for the canteen.””The district gave us good reasons why we couldn’t play four games on one day.”The IFA rejected the Sharks’ original four-games-in-one-day proposal because of the lack of facilities at the park. “They wanted to play at staggered kick-off times using the second field at Ocean Park, but they only have one set of change rooms and don’t have the second ground fenced off,” said IFA competitions director Claude Cuda. Cuda also ruled out the possibility that two Woonona Sharks outfits could be playing against each other in the Illawarra Premier League. Meantime, Shell Cove FC and Shoalhaven FC have been admitted to the District League for 2009. Shell Cove will play at Barrack Heights Oval, while Shoalhaven’s home ground will be Ison Park. The last team to play at Barrack Heights Oval was the now-defunct Shellharbour Suns, which folded in 2006 due to player payment issues.The last Nowra-based team in the IFA was Shoalhaven City, which pulled out in 2004, suspended for fielding unregistered players.Cuda was adamant the faces behind the new Shellharbour club were not the same as those behind the Suns’ debacle, while the Shoalhaven District Football Association would back Shoalhaven FC. In other news, the optional league that will take over from reserve grade will be known as Division One. Twelve clubs will enter the new competition.
Nanjing Night Net

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

Mini-budget looks to future

This is a mini-budget defined and necessitated by the unprecedented economic times in which we live. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has said that this global financial crisis is a real threat to growth and jobs around the world. It’s a real threat to growth and jobs in Australia. We’re in this crisis together. And we’ll come through it together. No government likes bringing down a mini-budget. Traditionally, mini-budgets are bad news – symbols of tough times and difficult decisions. But I believe that yesterday’s mini-budget, framed during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, is both a safeguard and an opportunity.It will safeguard the fundamental strengths of the state’s economy and lay the foundations for a more secure and prosperous future when the present crisis is behind us.And let’s be clear why these drastic measures are needed. We find ourselves faced with a sudden, steep decline in revenue from stamp duty and the GST. With the Commonwealth Government revising down GST revenue, NSW can expect to receive $450 million less in general purpose grants this year and $272 million less next financial year. That’s $722 million less GST revenue in our budget. And whenever the nation’s economy is under pressure – whether from global factors or the Howard government’s legacy of skills shortages, stagnant productivity and long years of neglect of the nation’s infrastructure – the state with the biggest economy is always the first to suffer. NSW is the first victim of any downturn.Our mini-budget isn’t just about slashing and burning. It’s also about seizing the opportunity to build for the future.For a start, we will be maintaining the biggest infrastructure investment program in Australia over the next four years, especially with our improvements to public transport. We will invest about $750 million on the Port Botany expansion.The Sydney Harbour crossings will become the first motorways in Australia to switch to time-of-day tolling to combat congestion – and all the increased revenue will go to fund new buses.We’re providing at least 3000 extra commuter car spaces. We’re spending $370 million on new outer-suburban rail carriages and stabling, $170 million on 300 extra buses, and $115 million to bring forward the purchase of 150 articulated buses, rolling out at the end of next year. This mini-budget will deliver $150 million to fast track 500 extra school building projects, including installing security fencing, upgrading school toilets and replacing leaking roofs.We will also deliver 80 new special-needs teachers for our schools and a $209 million boost for community services.I offer no apologies for striving to maintain NSW’s AAA-credit rating. Sydney is Australia’s financial capital. Our financial institutions, markets and investors have taken a hammering. We are offering them security and protection. And we’re tightening our own belts in the process – cutting fat from the public service, abolishing overseas ministerial study tours, withdrawing free public transport for Members of Parliament, and cutting government advertising by 25 per cent.I believe our budget measures will put NSW in a stronger position and build a better future. Nathan Rees is Premier of NSW.
Nanjing Night Net

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

Dog brutal, pony owner warns

Shetland pony Rosie (inset) was attacked first but the pit bull dog then went for Zida after a man hit it with some wood. Rosie gave birth two days later. Beware: Susan Myers checks the injury a dog left after attacking quarter horse Zida around the throat. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI
Nanjing Night Net

Two ageing horses are lucky to be alive after a brutal dog attack in Kanahooka. The horses’ owner, Susan Myers, who witnessed the attack, is concerned the pit bull cross could still be on the loose.On Sunday, November 2, Ms Myers was at home, periodically checking on 25-year-old Shetland pony Rosie, when she saw the female pit bull attack the mare. “I’d been keeping an eye on her because she was pregnant and due to give birth,” she said.”I happened to look out and saw it while the attack was happening.”I yelled out to my mum to ring the vet immediately. I just raced over screaming like a mad person with a whip in my hand.” Ms Myers said no amount of yelling would make the dog unclasp its jaws from the terrified pony’s neck, but even when the dog did let go the rampage was not over.”A man came into the paddock and hit the dog with a lump of wood, then it took off and went for my other horse in the next paddock and just launched straight at her throat,” she said.”I’ve seen dogs attack animals before but they usually go for the legs or the belly, but this dog knew exactly where to go to make a kill.”After it did all of this it chased a man who was walking his dog and he just got in his door in the nick of time … and the dog still tried to savage the door.”Police and a Wollongong City Council ranger attended the scene where a second dog was caught, although they were not able to locate the female culprit.Despite their traumatic ordeal, both Rosie and Zida the quarter horse survived. Ms Myers is just thankful the outcome wasn’t worse.”The ponies are for little kids,” she said.”If they were here it could have been really, really bad.”Rosie’s foal arrived two days later.

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

Burnett has Lion cubs as top priority

New Wollongong Lions coach Trevor Burnett. Burnett says his goal is to maximise the potential of all players. Picture: DAVE TEASENew Wollongong Lions head coach Trevor Burnett says getting the best out of his young team will be a priority when he takes over the top job later this month.Burnett replaces Jason Philp, who told the club late last month he was unable to continue next season after accepting a work offer in Perth. Burnett initially knocked back the Lions job due to family reasons but had a rethink.”I spoke to a few people and got their views and did a bit of a list of pros and cons about the job and came to the conclusion now was as good a time as any,” Burnett said. “I’ve been interested in this kind of position for a while now and the chance to come back to the Lions, for whom I played nine seasons is something I’m really looking forward to.” Burnett takes on the Lions role with the club at the crossroads after four seasons in the Sydney AFL yielded only 12 wins from 72 games, including just two wins and the wooden spoon in 2008. The club don’t have the big recruiting budgets of the top Sydney teams, while Wollongong as a base is too far from Sydney to attract experienced, hardened Sydney AFL players the Lions desperately need. “We’ve got to look at our core group of players and get the very best out of them,” Burnett said.”We’ve got a talented group of young players coming through and they need to be developed. My goal’s to maximise the potential of every player we have, get them to play to their very best and if we do that then we’ll improve as a club. Burnett comes with an impressive playing and coaching resume. He joined the Lions in 1987, is a former club best and fairest, and won three Snow medals as the top player in Sydney AFL Division 2. He also played a decade with Campbelltown in the elite Sydney AFL Premier Division, winning three premierships, plus the top individual award, the Phelan medal, as the competition’s best and fairest.A school teacher by profession, Burnett comes to the Lions after coaching the NSW All Schools under 15 side for the past three years. His experience in mentoring young players will be especially valuable with the Lions’ seniors side loaded with teenagers in 2008. The Lions begin preseason for 2009 with an open training session at Stuart Park on Tuesday, November 25, at 6.15pm.
Nanjing Night Net

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