NSW Waratahs assistant coach says injured Super Rugby players like Israel Folau should have a say on when they’re fit to play

Ready to play: Israel Folau trains with the Waratahs on Tuesday. Photo: Tamara DeanThe voice of players recovering from injury should be heard before a decision is made on whether they should be allowed to play, says Waratahs assistant coach Nathan Grey.
Nanjing Night Net

On Tuesday. the Waratahs deferred naming their team for Saturday’s clash against the Bulls in Sydney, citing the case involving Israel Folau, who was ruled out by the ARU from NSW’s game against the Force last week due to concerns over a throat injury.

However, as the Waratahs wait for the ARU’s position on Folau this week, the team said on Tuesday that if he is given the green light, he will be named in the side for Saturday’s game at Allianz Stadium.

The star Wallabies fullback, who has maintained he is ready to play and was upset about his sidelining last week, trained for the full Waratahs session on Tuesday.

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika kept quiet on Tuesday. His mind was focused on preparing his team for Saturday’s game, as well as his SANZAR judicial hearing over a verbal clash with a TV cameraman in Durban which is due on Wednesday.

When asked about Folau, Grey said: “Hopefully he will be cleared to play”.

Grey agreed the view of an injured player should be taken on board before a decision is made on whether he can play.

Folau was angry the ARU made its decision on Friday without speaking to him first, especially after he passed a fitness test during the week and was named in the Waratahs side to play the Force.

Asked if a player’s desire to play should be observed in such circumstances, Grey said on Tuesday: “Without doubt. You would like to think that the most important person concerned in the whole situation would be consulted.

“You take that information on board. Lots of different players have that [situation] during their career – to make those decisions based on experts’ opinions, based on their feelings and whether they are happy to adopt a certain level of risk.

“The welfare of the players is always at the forefront of the decision making, and players are definitely informed on what the risks are.

“It’s a consultative matter. You just have to take the right information, as much information as you can, and make the best decision.”

Grey said he had never experienced a situation where a national body had overruled a selection at such a late time.

But he said the ARU had set a precedent for future cases.

“It’s crystal-balling a little bit, but a precedent has certainly been set on ensuring that the processes [are] set in place … they have just got to be followed,” Grey said.

Asked if he felt Folau would have been played by the Wallabies if last Saturday’s game had been a Test, Grey smiled and said: “It wasn’t so … again that’s crystal-balling. But who knows.”

While everyone agreed the Waratahs are stronger with Folau, Grey said his importance was not just in attack but defence as well.

“People forget that he is very, very good defensively as well,” Grey said.

“He is a very good organiser at the back and takes away a lot of play from his good positional sense.”

However, should Folau not be allowed to play, Grey said the Waratahs were ready to adapt.

“We don’t really know what’s happening there, but if he is out, we have plenty of options like playing Kurtley Beale at the back there,” Grey said.

“In terms of how we want to play the game, [it] doesn’t change very much at all in terms of having Israel at the back or not … but I’m not the only one who would be saying it would be pretty handy to have him there.”

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

Wycliff Palu in danger of missing Bulls clash as he mourns father’s passing

Waratahs prop Sekope Kepu and his teammates will understand if their in-form back-rower Wycliff Palu is not able to play following the death of his father last week.
Nanjing Night Net

But on Tuesday, Kepu did not play down the added value that the Wallabies No.8 would bring to the Waratahs for their must-win game against the Bulls in Sydney on Saturday should he muster the strength of will to play.

While the Waratahs last week said Palu’s unavailability for last week’s game against the Force was due to injury, team management revealed on Tuesday that it was because of the death of his father, Lua, in Sydney.

Palu is available for selection this week. Understandably, he did not train with the Waratahs on Tuesday, but whether the bruising ball-running back-rower does play is a question the Waratahs have left up to him to answer.

Kepu said on Tuesday that he has spoken to Palu, and that he and several of the Polynesian members of the Waratahs had planned to visit him and his family for a traditional homage.

“We are emotional people and he is very close to his father, hence why he spent the last few years living with his ‘olds’ [parents] … to help out,” Kepu said on Tuesday.

”He has felt the impact but he is holding himself together strong, and a few of us boys are going to head out tonight and do a traditional token of respect and show our love to him and his family.”

While doubt continues over Palu’s presence in Saturday’s game, Kepu said he hoped if his Tongan-heritaged mate plays he might find a way to “release those emotions and express himself and do what he loves doing outside of his family … and be the beast he can be”.

While he would understand if Palu did not play, he said that his absence in a game is always felt, so great is his impact when he is in top form and fitness.

“There are moments in the game that he can change, [with] big runs or [when he] flattens or turns the mental attitude, or weakens the opposition,” Kepu said. “He brings those attributes and [we] obviously miss that.

“But again, we have Will [Skelton], who has come in and he has done a really good job in the second row and allows ‘Potsy’ [Jacques Potgieter] to have a bit of a break on the side of the scrum from the pushing.”

“[Palu] is severely missed, but we have ability and depth, and if you can’t do that as a team you are not going to win the competition.”

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

Eels directors chase pay hike

New blue: Parramatta may be flying on the field but a fresh round of infighting has commenced off it.Directors at Parramatta are asking for their annual payments to be doubled in a move that has sparked a fresh round of tension behind the scenes at a club resurgent on the field but continuing to be riven by factionalism off it.
Nanjing Night Net

The Parramatta Leagues Club board on Tuesday released their resolutions to members ahead of next month’s annual general meeting and among a series of significant mooted changes at Pirtek Stadium is a pay hike for the seven directors.

Members will gather on May 5 and be asked to vote on a proposal to increase each director’s honorarium from $10,000 to $20,000 each year.

There are also two major constitutional changes that could be ticked off if approved by 75 per cent of the members.

Firstly, the board headed by premiership winner Steve Sharp wants elections to be held every three years rather than the present two in an effort to provide some stability to an organisation beset by internal wrangling and power struggles in recent years.

And there is also a bid to install an eighth ‘‘independent’’ director – to be appointed by the board.

However, it is the proposed spike in pay for chairman Sharp, deputy Tom Issa and other directors Peter Serrao, Robert Sassen, Lawrence Shepherd, Mario Libertini and Geoff Gerard that has raised eyebrows in some quarters.

Sharp’s rivals from the camp of Roy Spagnolo – the ex-chairman banned for two years from being a director and whose reign is the centre of a NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing investigation – have seized on the proposal to issue a scathing attack on the former second-rower.

In an email sent to Sharp by his ex-teammate and Spagnolo associate Terry Leabeater and since widely circulated around Parramatta it is alleged that the board originally intended to increase the chairman’s honorarium to $65,000 with a view to making the post a full-time job.

However, that claim was refuted on Tuesday by new Parramatta Leagues Club chief executive Bevan Paul, who drew up the pay rises after consulting Leagues Clubs Australia CEO Peter Turnbull on industry standards.

‘‘They came back with some numbers and I put those to the board and the board agreed with putting an increased honorarium (for all directors) to the members,’’ Paul said.

‘‘No one was really keen to increase the chairman’s honorarium. It was never going to go up to $65,000 and in fact the number wasn’t $65,000, it was $60,000. That’s what the benchmarking came back as. The directors never asked for any particular number.’’

The $20,000 honorarium that members will vote on would, for instance, be more than western Sydney rivals Canterbury pay their directors although their chairmen receive much higher fees. Bulldogs Leagues Club board members receive $12,000 a year but the chairman, George Peponis, gets $50,000 and vice-chairman Arthur Coorey receives $25,000. The Bulldogs football club pays directors a $4000 allowance and $8000 to those on the executive, while chairman Ray Dib gets $70,000 a year to conduct his duties.

By comparison South Sydney and Wests Tigers pay no allowance their board members.

The proposal, and then Sharp’s comments in a story published by Fairfax Media on Tuesday, set off the attack by Leabeater.

The Eels premiership-winning prop made a series of explosive allegations in the email sent to Sharp on Sunday and issued an expletive-ridden text message on Tuesday to the chairman that has also done the rounds at Parramatta.

Reacting to Sharp’s suggestion that ‘‘some background noises’’ remained at the Eels despite their strong start to the season Leabeater took aim at the perceived reference to Spagnolo, who he helped rise to power at Parramatta in 2009 before he was ousted by the Sharp-led ticket last year.

‘‘What you just said about Roy in the SMH article Sharpie means we part friendship permanently, ’’ Leabeater wrote in the text. ‘‘You are a f***ing disgrace denigrating the reputation of the greatest asset financially this club has ever had…I am now your worst enemy.’’

In his earlier email he wrote to Sharp: “Step back take a breath and have a look at the trail of destruction in your teams wake and the scenario that is about to unfold in front of you when you trot out these ludicrous proposed motions.”

Among the allegations raised by Leabeater in the email to Sharp included a claim that the chairman and deputy Issa had been banned from the dressing room by coach Brad Arthur over claims of non-payment of third-party sponsorship to players.

Eels chief executive Scott Seward said the claims about third-party payments were ‘‘factually incorrect’’ and that no one had been blocked from entering the dressing room. Instead, he said a new protocol had been put in place this year by Arthur to keep non-players out of the room until 15 minutes after full-time.

‘‘I don’t think it’s unreasonable. It’s a place of employment, it’s about being professional as a football club,’’ Seward said. ‘‘But no one is banned.’’

Sharp did not return calls.

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

Cameron White rewarded with four-year contract extension

Cameron White is to set to finish his Victorian career rivalling Brad Hodge and Darren Berry for most appearances after his robust form was rewarded with a four-year contract extension.
Nanjing Night Net

White has followed James Muirhead (four years) and Aaron Finch (three years) in signing a long-term deal with the Bushrangers.

The Bushrangers endured a miserable 2013-14 Sheffield Shield season but are poised to keep faith with a squad featuring no major changes. They did make a concerted bid to lure all-rounder Sean Abbott, a 22-year-old who bowls with good pace, from NSW but he elected to remain with the Blues.

Apart from the White deal, one of the most interesting aspects of the squad composition, after the first round of contracts, is that it features three spinners: Muirhead, Fawad Ahmed and Jon Holland. The latter, favoured during the Ryobi Cup, was off contract but was nevertheless retained.

The confirmed casualties of the re-contracting period are batsman Michael Hill, all-rounder WIll Sheridan and fast-bowler Jayde Herrick. Neither Sheridan nor Herrick played a shield match this season – both were hampered by injury – while Hill made only 21 runs in his three innings. Uncapped all-rounder Ian Holland has also been released.

Late-season debutant Jake Reed, a 23-year-old fast-bowler from Geelong, has been given a full contract, while rookie contracts have been awarded to swing-bowler Ben Askhenazi, 19, and batsman Seb Gotch, 20.

Gotch’s selection came after an ill-fated attempt to pursue an AFL career. Victoria coach Greg Shipperd said he was pleased at the commitment shown by the right-hander since his return to cricket.

“He did it the tough way and came back through the twos, but once he got to Premier Cricket firsts he was a real stand-out player for Melbourne,” Shipperd said.

Veteran David Hussey is poised to accept a player-coach deal that would involve him being captain-coach of the Bushrangers’ Futures League and 2nd XI teams, as well as a backup player for the Shield team. The 36-year-old was dropped during the season but selectors’ intent to move on to younger batsmen was complicated by the team’s poor form and the good form of Hussey, who finished the season with 573 runs at an average of 52.09.

The contract for White will run until mid-2018, shortly before his 35th birthday. It came after a season in which he was named Domestic Player of the Year at the Allan Border Medal, won the Ryobi Cup player of the year and returned to Australia’s Twenty20 team. Earlier this month he was also chosen to play for Australia A in a home quadrangular series in August-September.

White has played 98 shield matches for Victoria and within two years is likely to trail only Hodge (140) and Berry (129) for appearances. He has he was “very happy” to have sealed a long-term deal to remain at the Bushrangers.

“I was pretty happy with the way I played. From a red-ball point of view it could have been a lot better – I only made one hundred and probably could have made three or four – and left plenty of runs out there,” he said.

“I can sit back and say I’ve come  . . . and that over the past two years I’ve played as well as I’ve ever played.”

While White’s personal aim is to make Australia’s World Cup squad next year he also desperately hopes to for a return to team success with the Bushrangers.

“It’s an unusual position for Victorian cricket – we haven’t been down the bottom of the table for a long time – so I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing some of the young fellas step up and take the team back to the right end of the table,” he said. “It will be interesting to see how we bounce back in the next year or two, or however long it takes.”

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

Opportunity knocks for buyers

106/12 Macleay Street Potts Point, exterior. 106/12 Macleay Street, Potts Point, interior.
Nanjing Night Net

10/99 Marriott Street, Redfern.

7 Brisbane Street, Bondi Junction, is now listed for sale at $1.25 million.

3/45 Birriga Road, Bellevue Hill.

The full list of results from Monday night’s Cooley auctions

The advertisement billed it as a unique opportunity in the tightly held inner-city block the Macleay Regis, but at Monday night’s auctions no-one put their hand up.

The apartment at 106/12 Macleay Street, Potts Point, is just one of the properties left on the shelf in the lead up to Easter.

This and many others could be good buying opportunities, coming after the biggest auction day Sydney’s ever seen when 1100 properties were scheduled on Saturday.

Auctioneer Damien Cooley, who presided over Monday’s event at the Double Bay Auction Centre in which just half of the 30 properties sold – nine of those prior – reckons buyers are in the box seat to negotiate a deal before Easter.

‘‘Absolutely, no question,’’ Mr Cooley said.

‘‘There are a lot of vendors who want to sell.’’

Despite a solid 78.1 per cent clearance rate for Saturday, some agents and analysts were wondering whether Monday’s 50 per cent result might have signalled a turn in the market.

Yet Mr Cooley doesn’t think so.

‘‘I think last night was, just to be frank, the type of property we were selling,’’ he said. Most of it was in the upper price range.

Even the agent for the company-title Macleay Regis apartment, Harold Wolf of Belle Property Potts Point, had a logical explanation for the two-bedroom apartment passing in on a vendor bid of $1.35 million.

The reserve was $1.58 million.

‘‘I think the vendor expected a bit too much,’’ Mr Wolf said.

‘‘It was obvious during the campaign that people thought it was in a price range that most people thought was a bit over the top.’’

Australian Property Monitors data shows the vendor had previously tried to sell the apartment in 2011 for $1.85 million and then again last year for $1.65 million.

Mr Wolf said there was one interested candidate who turned up to the auction but didn’t bid. ‘‘They have made an offer which I now need to discuss with the vendor,’’ he said.

Other properties looking for buyers after Monday night included a renovated 115 sqm courtyard apartment with private entrance and north-easterly aspect at 3/45 Birriga Road, Bellevue Hill. That was passed in on a vendor bid for $950,000 through LJ Levi Real Estate.

Its advertisement now shows it as a ‘‘forthcoming auction’’.

A two-bedroom semi at 7 Brisbane Street, Bondi Junction, was also passed in on a vendor bid of $1.1 million. It’s now listed for sale at $1.25 million.

Ray White Bondi Junction/Coogee agent Sam Capra said a couple of people registered to bid but didn’t show their hand.

‘‘I was slightly surprised it didn’t sell,’’ Mr Capra said.

‘‘The last six weeks have been unbelievably busy and it doesn’t help that we’re very close to Easter.

‘‘Last night was also Passover for the Jewish people, so a lot of those people weren’t there and a lot have already gone on holidays.’’

He also isn’t seeing the result as an ominous sign.

‘‘It was just a bit of a flat night, it hasn’t been the tradition.

‘‘Probably within the week we will have it sold.

‘‘We had auctions the week before – in my office we had seven and we sold all seven.

‘‘We have auctions tomorrow night at Crown Plaza at Coogee and I think most of those will go reasonably well.’’

There are also opportunities for buyers in the wash-up from Saturday’s huge auction day, with many vendors who failed to find a buyer now prepared to talk turkey ahead of Easter.

In inner-city Redfern, which was the suburb with most auctions at 17, not all properties found a buyer. Bresic Whitney co-director Ivan Bresic said his vendors at sought-after block The Printery at 10/99 Marriott Street had dropped their price from $1,125,000 to $1,095,000 on Tuesday. It was passed in on a vendor bid of $1.05 million on Saturday.

Both bedrooms open to terraces and both bathrooms and the kitchen have been recently renovated. The pet-friendly apartment also has a courtyard and a garage.

It looks to be good value considering a smaller, less renovated apartment with just one balcony at 13/83 Marriott Street sold for $999,000 just 10 days ago.

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