Day: September 29, 2019

Gus a Blues long shot

“At this stage I have no plans to meet Gus” … NSWRL general manager Geoff Carr.NSW RUGBY LEAGUE directors privately concede they doubt Phil Gould will coach the Blues next season but have asked general manager Geoff Carr to request an answer.
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The NSWRL board met yesterday with the appointment of a replacement for Ricky Stuart the most pressing issue and Carr will now speak to potential candidates, including Gould.

Former NSW stars Trent Barrett, Laurie Daley and Brad Fittler are also in contention following Stuart’s decision to rule himself out to concentrate on his new role as Parramatta coach.

”It is going to be my brief to talk to as many people as I can,” Carr said. ”I have no plans to meet Gus but when you are trying to discuss candidates it is hard to do so if you don’t know whether they are in or out. It is my job to find out who is available and there is no doubt I will need to do that with Gus.” Barrett, Fittler and Daley have all publicly declared their interest.

Meanwhile, South Sydney forward Sam Burgess said he would not change his playing style because of a suspension hanging over his head in the finals if he is charged with any offence by the match review committee. Burgess can play against Manly on Friday but has 93 carryover points after pleading guilty to a grade-two careless high tackle on Gold Coast fullback William Zillman.

”I think I will be alright, obviously it’s not ideal to carry over points,” Burgess said. ”We’ll see what happens over the next few weeks and hopefully I will be playing.”

The 23-year-old England star expects to extend his contract with Souths beyond next season.

Manly prop Darcy Lussick has been suspended for two matches after pleading guilty to striking North Queensland forward Ashton Sims last Saturday.

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From farm to fortune: quiet Koroibete is flying fast

”DON’T come back unless you’ve got a contract”.
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They were the last words Marika Koroibete heard from his father before leaving his family home in the remote Fijian village of Navaiyawa to pursue his NRL dream.

It may not sound like a loving farewell, but it was in every sense.

When he waved goodbye to his son at the airport, he was hoping Marika would not have to come back to the life he once lived.

He wanted better for his son.

”His dad wanted him to come to play footy,” said Joel Greig, the man responsible for luring Koroibete to the Tigers.

”He knew it was his son’s big chance to make some money and make something of himself. His dad virtually said, when he goes, he’s not coming back unless he’s signed.”

Well, Koroibete did not let his father down – not that his father would have been able to get to a television to see his son’s four-try feat on Monday.

From the family farm in his home town, Koroibete travelled 20 kilometres a day by foot to get to school and back.

He is now learning how to drive a car, but still has to rely on public transport and lifts from teammates to get from his home in Yagoona to the Tigers headquarters in Concord.

The quietly spoken Koroibete, described by Tigers insiders as the fastest man in the NRL, could have made a career out of sprinting if he was not so shy.

”He clocked 10.75 in the 100 metres when he was 17, that was the school record,” Greig said.

”At the provincial schools carnival, he pulled out because he thought if he won … he’d have to make a speech.

”He’s really, really shy … but once he warms to you, he’s a really funny kid. From where he’s come from to now, it’s unbelievable. All the guys at footy are his family here.”

So how does a kid with a severe case of stage fright go from farming on a village in the Fijian hills to dancing on Campbelltown Sports Stadium?

Four tries in half an hour in your second NRL game certainly helps, but if it was not for the Australian Fijian Rugby League, Koroibete would not have left his parents.

The 20-year-old speedster was selected in the national under 20s team after an impressive performance for the Fijian residents against the Australian-born Fijians in 2009.

He then toured Australia under Greig, who is also the Tigers’ assistant coach for the Toyota Cup, before he was lured to the joint venture despite plenty of interest from rival clubs.

”I told the guys at the Tigers straight away about him, but there was already a bit of interest from Newcastle, Souths and the Roosters,” Greig said.

”Anybody who’d seen this kid knew what he was going to be one day.”

The Tigers’ Toyota Cup coach and former prop, Todd Payten, said Koroibete reminded him of his former Canberra teammate, the Fijian flyer Noa Nadruku.

”They have a lot of similarities; both pretty raw with exceptional speed, no fear at all and they know how to find the try line,” Payten said.

”The most exciting part with Marika is that we’re only really scratching the surface. He’s got a couple of little issues and once we iron them out, he’s certainly going to be a crowd pleaser.

”At Canberra they expected Noa to be able to do something every time he got the ball. Last night the crowd went up every time Marika got the ball, especially after his first two tries.”

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MasterChef recap: the heat is on

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Watch nowEvery episode of Masterchef All-Stars available on demand.

Revenge is a dish best served cold but, ironically, as our All Stars try to avenge their previous culinary sins, most choose to live up to Paris Hilton’s life motto and choose something “that’s hot”.

Tonight our contestants are going full circle and returning to the dish they first cooked in this most esteemed of kitchens. But first we must have establishing shots so reminiscent of a travel show – there’s a house, a sunrise, some boats – that I’m half expecting Catriona Rowntree to pop up and start gushing about luscious sunshine and excellent hospitality.

Before we head into the kitchen, we watch Justine and Julie gush over an “old” photo she of the more successful daytime cooking show (does anyone remember Julie’s Home Cooked! Didn’t think so) found. “We look so different,” says Justine of the 2009 cast.

Ms Everyday Gourmet then shares a “secret” with us. She would like to win MasterChef All Stars. No. Way. Chris of the Hats says he would also like to win. This is genuinely new information – it’s hard to imagine that these affable kitchen types would submit themselves to this process once more just for fun.

Upon entering the kitchen, the ovens are on, which raises the suspicions of our remaining ten contenders. Gary teases that this series is all about revisiting those “magical MasterChef moments”, which excites the excitable and makes them think they’ll be travelling. Silly, silly, this is a cheap filler series, and the budget’s been blown on Matt Preston’s cravats. No, this is a tease.

“Today, we say, where are you now?” announces Gary, which perplexes the lot of them, because obviously they are back in the MasterChef kitchen against their better judgment. Poh is aghast and Dani squeaks “oh no!” as the horror hits home. The horror of what the challenge is – not being stuck in the contest for an indeterminably long period of time. They must cook the first dish they created in the MasterChef kitchen.

To add to Poh’s pain, she and others are forced to watch that first recipe, chicken with cubic noodles. It affords a rare glimpse of that rare MasterChef feature, the former host Sarah Wilson, and a not-so-rare glimpse of Poh giggling at how “totally stuffed” her attempt was.

Chris says he blotted his “dog” of a dish out of his mind, mistaking MasterChef Australia for MasterChef Korea. Dani, in a rare appearance on screen tonight, described her dish as “peasant-y”. More pleasant than peasant, apparently, was Kate’s first dish, which was a 1980s style coffee cake.

We also look back at Callum, who made peaches and cream in memory of his dad, which makes him teary; he says he must give the challenge “a crack” and if someone cracked a bone tonight, it would be exciting in a Funniest Home Videos kind of way. That could come in handy lest the tedium continue.

Gary tells our enthusiastic mob that this challenge is not about replicating their original dish but about taking it to another level. Marion is excited by this and smiles, thus she wins and the challenge is over. Nope, that’s just if I made up the rules.

Poh looks menacing as it’s revealed that they have 75 minutes to cook. Upon entry into the pantry, Chris messily shoves the herbs around – that’s not respecting the food, Chris – and Marion wails that it appears someone has taken all the coriander. Poh, thus the villain, evilly says “I got every single one”. Oh, Poh.

Kate, who boasts that she has written a cookbook entirely about sweet things, says she will be making her coffee cake fudgier and putting cookbook techniques onto the plate. This is a relief, because sub-standard has been so in vogue lately.

Poh the coriander thief cannot remember the recipe for her cubic noodles, which will be of enormous help to her cooking cause today. Jonathan is trying to redeem his disastrous rhubarb crumble with ice cream from 2010, which originally did not have any ice cream. What a tease.

Callum realises that peaches are not in season so decides to deceive the judges by making a parfait shaped like a peach and a praline with a citrus salad. There appears to be a lot of fruit in this dish, which would usually be of disappointment to Preston, the Lord of Cravats and gaudy pants, but he is absent for an unexplained reason.

Meanwhile, Kate’s pan is on fire, Hayden is confident that using the same ingredients to create the same dish as his debut dish from 2011 will ensure he has a winning combination again. We’ll see. Hatty Chris grumbles about how hard things were back in his day – there were no ice cream makers or blast chillers then. They also had to walk uphill both ways in the snow to the MasterChef kitchen in bare feet.

Marion the Delightful is creating a prawn and paw paw salad, for which she originally forgot the prawns, thereby making it a paw paw salad (or is that a poor, poor salad?) Julie is making a dead chicken even more miserable in death by flattening it out like a butterfly and Dani is cooking something. It’s unclear what she’s doing but at least she’s cooking.

Poh is unsure about her cubic noodles, which then reveal to be less than satisfactory. “It’s just a horrible mess,” she says and the infectious grin is gone from her dial. This is déjà vu, she says of the noodles. She is embarrassed with her failure and plans to remake them. Strong in the face of failure – this is what our Olympic team needs.

Julie talks through her recipe and describes how she is much more relaxed now than in her season in the MasterChef kitchen. She’s so relaxed that a series of corn still in their husks catch on fire. She giggles that the flames will give the corn an “extra smoky flavour” but if I were the producers, or Julie’s husband for that matter, I’d be checking my insurance covered fire, accidental or not.

Jonathan is leaving things to the last minute again, showing that not everything has changed. His ice cream slush is not freezing or churning. Slush is underrated as a dessert anyway.

Kate is poaching a pear in vincotto and then spins cinnamon to attach as a fancy garnish. Show off. Dani is still cooking; apparently secrecy is best because we still don’t know what it is. She hasn’t spoken for a while either – a curse or a blessing in disguise? You tell me. Poh’s second lot of noodles, with tapioca flour, is OH-KAY.

Jonathan’s slush is remaining as slush, Callum makes something that looks like rhubarb sherbet and Hayden is frying fish for his “deconstructed” dish. Deconstructed is the new black, okay?!

The effervescent and always lovely Marion gives the viewer a reality check and reminds that only two of the contestants won their series, so for most of the others there’s “a lot of unfinished business”. Gary and George feel the same; there are real restaurants to run. It’s not all glamour in restauranteering, you know.

Jonathan has decided to serve his slush as slush, codenamed “custard” or “crème anglaise” in an attempt to make the judges eat his food. We see Dani again … but there’s no idea what’s going on at her bench at all.

Kate’s fudgy cake is tasted first – and it is a recipe that is in her cookbook, so everyone must go out and buy it, OK? Kate has a cookbook out and a family to feed.

Gary gets a bit weird with Kate’s cake. “Hello,” he says to the seemingly delicious dessert after his mouthful, “there’s an old friend, an old coffee friend.”  As he goes to take another bit, he squeaks “no Gawwy,” which is an imitation of a cake that is neither logical nor explainable. George says Kate’s dish is “honest cooking taken to another level.” What does this mean?!

The positivity continues through the tastings of each dish – and we do find out what Dani made, it was a Vietnamese Bun Cha, but after 15 seconds, she’s forgotten again.

Jonathan’s lack of ice cream is not seen as a problem because the runny slush cuts down the stodginess of his crumble, apparently.

Poh’s cubic noodles with Char Kway Teow are delicious, so her stress was in vain. Marion smiles impishly as her dish is tasted, and all is right with the world.

Callum is ripe for emotional draining, it seems, with Gary asking if the youngest contestant thought his dad would like his reinvented dish. By the way the two judges vacuum up his dish, it is a fair bet to say that it’s fairly tasty.

Four dishes, belonging to Justine, Chris, Kate and Calllum, are judged the best of the day, with Kate winning immunity from tomorrow’s poultry challenge and $5000 for her charity. How heartwarming.

Tomorrow, though, the MasterChef of old is back, with another vicious double elimination in. It’s billed as the “ultimate game of chicken” as the skills with chicken are tested. Marion, in amazing display of mathematics and logical reasoning, says that with the numbers getting smaller, the odds are not good. We forgive you of this stating the obvious sin, Marion, because you smiled before the end – and everything is now okay.

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Firms point to government schemes

VICTORIA’S electricity distributors do not deny that increased investment in poles and wires have contributed to large increases in electricity prices. However, they argue federal and state government interventions such as smart meters, energy efficiency schemes, and reliability targets, as well as the carbon tax, are equally to blame for driving up electricity bills.
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And Premier Ted Baillieu said the Prime Minister is ”kidding” if she thinks Victoria is to blame for rising energy prices here.

”If the Commonwealth were genuinely concerned about the bills increasing they’d be doing something about the impact of the carbon tax,” he said.

”Victoria has led the way on energy market reform from the Kennett government years. So 99 per cent of what she has to say has no application in Victoria.”

Andrew Dillon, general manager of corporate affairs at the Energy Supply Association of Australia, which represents energy distributors, generators and retailers said there was ”no doubt that investment in infrastructure is impacting on bills – but there’s also no question that programs like the renewable energy target, state solar feed-in-tariffs, and energy efficiency schemes have also added to power bills”.

His comments came as the Prime Minister yesterday called on the states to rein in rising electricity prices and singled out increasing network costs or investment in so-called ”poles and wires” as a major factor for driving up energy bills.

Mr Dillon also pointed out that poles and wires – also known as network costs – in Victoria were a substantially smaller proportion of bills than in many other states.

”In some states particularly in New South Wales and Queensland network costs make up about half of household electricity bills, in Victoria they are about 30 per cent,” he said.

Mr Dillon believes that because of the privatisation of Victoria’s electricity and the fact that suppliers have been upgrading old infrastructure over a longer period of time meant much of Prime Minister Gillard’s fingerpointing did not apply.

Nonetheless he said if Canberra was serious about keeping electricity prices down, all cost-drivers should be scrutinised.

”The Productivity Commission has done some work on how efficient these green schemes are, in particular, now that we have a carbon price. Are they complementary to a carbon price or are they duplicating that work? ”There’s no one villain here.”

A report released earlier this month by St Vincent de Paul Society showed the average Victorian household bill jumped by an average 12.5 per cent on July 1, compared with January this year, and by 11 per cent for gas – adding an additional $300 to household energy bills.

It estimates that 25-30 per cent of electricity bills are accounted for by electricity generation; 25-35 per cent by transmission and distribution, 20 to 30 per cent by retail costs and about 20 per cent by government programs.

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Riding on Deek’s experience

It’s the odd-couple relationship which started from one of Canberra’s most devastating disasters and now Robert de Castella is ready to help Caroline Buchanan take Olympic Games gold.
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Almost a decade after bushfires ripped through Canberra’s south, destroying more than 500 homes and killing four people, Buchanan and de Castella have formed an athlete-mentor relationship they hope will yield Olympic glory.

The pair hardly seem to have much in common – de Castella is a marathon legend with an expertise in endurance while Buchanan is a daredevil BMX star with a thirst for adrenaline. But both had to rebound after the fires tore through their lives and a meeting organised by Buchanan’s dad sparked a long-term relationship.

It’s de Castella’s advice that is helping Buchanan deal with the hype and expectation of being a medal favourite in London.

Buchanan will begin her Games campaign tomorrow morning when the seeding runs of the women’s BMX competition start at the Olympic precinct.

She’s ranked No.2 in the world and is the time trial world champion, but the chance to win gold has been the source of her motivation for the past four years.

”[De Castella] just told me to be the professional I am and that I’m the ‘complete yellow pages book’,” Buchanan said. ”He said anything that happens on the course I can handle it, and that’s great advice.

”I’m going to use that going into these races … it’s not about his bike knowledge, it’s about giving the support and I appreciate it.”

De Castella has been Buchanan’s official mentor since they teamed up through an Australian Sport Hall of Fame scholarship program initiative.

But their relationship runs much deeper than mentor and student.

The bushfires brought them together and they’ve remained close since. And even when she was nine years old, de Castella could recognise Buchanan’s talent.

But it’s not the technicalities of flying over jumps they share.

Instead, it’s the way to handle the pressure of performing on one of the biggest stages in world sport.

De Castella was a marathon world champion in 1983 but could only manage fifth in his Olympic campaign the following year because he put too much pressure on himself and trained too much.

Buchanan’s other high profile mentor – surfing great Layne Beachley – is also in London.

”I’m still getting used to talking about riding and not running,” de Castella laughed. ”When we first met she just had that quiet confidence and determination to do well, but attitude is just one piece of the puzzle. It’s just such a big deal to come to your first Olympics and have that expectation of winning … it’s really challenging and difficult to deal with it.

”I don’t know much about the event at all, but I know what you need to do to manage all the pressure.”

Buchanan was too young to compete when the sport was added to the Olympic schedule four years ago.

Since then she’s had a burning desire to reach her goal of racing for Australia in London.

”I like pressure,” Buchanan said. ”Diamonds are made under pressure and I definitely enjoy it.

”I think most of the pressure is going to be on the local girl, so I’m just going to enjoy it.

”Winning the time trial [world championship] was good for me, I know over the four international races we’ve had this year, I’ve been the fastest by the clock on every single trap.

”So I’m just focusing on consistency and that’s one of the big keys coming into an Olympics.”

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