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Mental health on the agenda

HIVE OF ACTIVITY: St Helens District High School students at Thursday’s mental health event at Break O’Day Community Stadium. Picture: Supplied St Helens got into the spirit of Mental Health Week on Thursday with a community event at Break O’Day Community Stadium.
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East Coast health organisations and service providers were on hand to discuss mental health withSt Helens District High School students throughout the morning and early afternoon,before community members arrived in the afternoon for a barbecue.

Students werealso keptbusy with a promise wall, where they wrote mental health pledges to themselves.

St Helens Neighbourhood House manager Trish O’Duffy said while the day incorporated entertainment including giant games and live music,there was aserious message behind the event.

“We all have times in our lives that we’re anxious or depressed so it’s important to be aware of what strategies you can put in place to prevent that and where you go to get help,” Ms O’Duffy said.

Wellways (formerly MI Fellowship) senior program worker David Wilkes,one of many health professionals to attend the event,said it was important to encourage people to be proactive about mental health.

“We’re about social participation and encouraging people to participate in their communities and connect with something that’s meaningful for them, whether it’s study or work or a personal interest,” Mr Wilkes said.

“Some of the kids said to me today they’re getting the message about talking to other people and not keeping things to themselves, which is a critical message to get across to young people.”

Students also received a visit from Break O’Day Council general manager John Brown, whowas only too pleased to help spread the message of mental health awareness.

“Events like this are really important no matter where they are because they’re building awareness of mental health and where assistance can be obtained,” Mr Brown said.

“Events like this are very much acknowledging that there is a need within any community and this is just one method of addressing the situation that does exist within communities.

“It’s great to see a number of local organisations like the school being part of it and the range of community organisations coming together to work on an event like this one, it’s great.”

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Police charge driver after high-speed pursuit

Drunk and drug-affected drivers caused havoc on Wagga roads at the weekend, with police saying one man led officers on a high-speed chase and another narrowly avoideda life-threatening head-on crash.
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At 11.10pm on Friday, a 34-year-old Mount Austin man – who blew close to three times the legal blood alcohol limit – careered out of control on a residential street into the path of an oncoming car.

Acting Inspector Darren Brand from Wagga Local Area Command said he was amazed nobody was killed or seriously injured in the incident.

Police said the man lost control of his Nissan Navara on Stanley Street, Kooringal, crossed over to the wrong side of the road, mounted a kerb, hit a tree on the nature strip and then slid for 50 metres.

The driver of an oncoming car had to violently swerve to avoid “severe impact”.

The ute was towed, the driver’s licence was suspended on the spot and he will face Wagga court in November.

Acting Inspector Ryan Sheaf said the risk of serious injury was “extreme” and condemned the driver for putting others’ lives at risk by driving drunk.

At 11.45pm on Saturday, a 26-year-old Glenfield Park man gave highway patrol the slip on dirt roads outside of Junee, after he pretended to stop for a random breath test.

The fleeing driver reportedly clocked 120km/h on unsealed roads, throwing up plumes of dust, which he used to his advantage to temporarily escape.

Highway patrol officers ended the pursuit and headed to the address where the car was registered, arriving just moments before the Glenfield Park man arrived home.

While the driver had not been drinking, he tested positive to drug tests on the roadside and back at the Wagga police station.

He had already been disqualified from driving until March 2017.

He has been charged with failing to stop and driving while disqualified and will face court in November.

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Extreme weather plans could pay dividends

Tasmaniahas copped the extremes this year when it comes to weather.
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A long dry period early in the year had the state wondering if its hydro electricity system would grind to a halt. From May, Tasmania has received its fair share of a record wet period for the country.

Floods arrived in June, claiming lives and damaging homes and businesses.

The expense from both the wet and the dry has been significant.

The state governmentsaid it would provide $8.7 million for the replacement of high priority, critical road and bridge infrastructure damaged by flooding.

During the drought period before the El Nino broke down, it brought incostly generators to supplement Tasmania’s hydro power.

The downpour has complicated life for farmers in recent months while the fires earlier this year similarly brought major challenges for producers.

The fingerprints of the wild weather can be found in many unexpected places.

Last week Tasmania received the alarming news that a 35-metre sinkhole threatened to open up at the Beaconsfield mine yard and destroy the iconic skyshaft, after a ground subsidence caused by the big wet.

It’s believed $1.2 million is needed to address the problem with the best option: A concrete plug to prevent any further movement.

This unexpected cost is likely to be carriedat least in part by the federal government. It’s another surpriseexpense brought on by the year’s tumultuous weather.

Looking back, future historians will see this year as a particularly trying one for the state. Hopefully it becomes the exception and not the norm.

Tasmania has seen its normal order of weather and climate upturned, bringing chaos at times to its way of life.

However it’s a credit to the state the way its communities united in response to flooding earlier this year.

How governments decide to deal with other problems, such as the Beaconsfield subsidence, remains to be seen.

Given the unpredictable nature of this year’s events, it may pay for governments and councils throughout the state to consider all the infrastructure that could be vulnerable to extreme weather events.

That way, it can plan responses to potential problems better, and head off any disasters with some preventative action.

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

Lees takes titles as a clown cops a hit

KICKING: Shaun Read takes a wild ride during Saturday night’s rodeo at the Orange showgrounds. Photos: JUDE KEOGH
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CROWDED HOUSE: Organisers were delighted with the response of Orange people to the rodeo which attracted 4300 people for a night of thrills and spills.

Ben Lees claimed the glory in a night of action before a big crowd at the Orange Rodeo on Saturday night.

Lees, 36, of Singleton,won the All-round Cowboy title as well as being the Australian bareback rider and East Coast saddlebronc champions.

HOLDING ON: Troy Burtenshaw clings to the back of a bucking bull.

President of the East Coast championships, Al Wilson said: “He’s a top gun in the rodeo industry. He’s won many East Coast championships and Australian national championships.”

Other winners included Josh Barnett in the open bull ride, Brendon Crawley in the novice bull ride andBianca Hurdle in the ladies barrel racing. There was a three-way tie in the steer riding with Clayton Miners, Jack Barnes and Brett Lewis-Jackson sharing the spoils.

Wilson said the biggest hit of the night was taken by bullfighting protection clown Matt Darmody who was hit by a bull in the last round and broke his arm.

“Most people wouldn’t have known it had happened as it was in the last round. He just got hit by a bull and broke his arm. He finished the event before going to hospital.”

Wilson said Darmody had already needed both kneesreconstructed and surgery to his shoulder after other hits during his career.

“He specialises in saving cowboys from charging bulls. It’s the world’s most dangerous job and bull-fighting is the world’s most dangerous sport,” he said.

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Title beckoning for Eagles in Tamworth

Flying Eagle: Angus Roberts and the NSW Country Eagles are headed back to Tamworth after securing hosting rights for the final with a 50-24 win over the Melbourne Rising on Saturday. Photo: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
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Tamworth will host the National Rugby Championship decider after the NSW Country Eagles defeated the Melbourne Rising 50-24 in Saturday’s semi-final in Newcastle.

The final will be held at Scully Park on Saturday night and will be the Eagles’ second in three seasons.

They’ll play the Perth Spirit, who in Sunday’s second semi-final, defeated the Sydney Rays 42-24.

It will be the second game the Eagles have played in Tamworth this season after they tackled the Rising at Tamworth Rugby Park back in the third round of the competition.

Eagles general managerPeter Playford said there were a few factors that contributed to Tamworth being awarded the final.

Among them was the reception they received the Rising game.

“The whole town was very accommodating,” he said.

“Tamworth has really embraced the Eagles.”

It will be their third game in Tamworth in the three years of the competition and Playford’s vision is to host at least a game in Tamworth annually.

With Fox Sports broadcasting the gameand, the only week turnaround, they also needed a venue ready and with the facilities to hostsuch a big game.

“The last two grand finals have been at Ballymore,” Playford said.

“We always said if we made the grand final we’d take it to the bush.”

Things were looking shaky for the Eagles early on Saturday with the Rising jumping up to a 16-nil lead inside the first 10 minutes.

“Then we put on six unanswered tries,” Playford said.

After scoring his first try of this years NRC the previous week,Eagles skipper, and Tamworth boy, Paddy Ryan had a memorable hand in one of those, producing an offload straight out of the top drawer to set Sam Figg up for his second try.

Backing up in support of half-back Jake Gordon, after he swooped on a loose ball from a Rising lineout, Ryan flicked a pass -one-handed –across his body.

The try put the Eagles ahead 28-16 at half-time and they were never headed from there.

“I’m very happy, but you don’t want to get ahead of yourself,” Ryan said after the win.

“Clichés in rugby come out for a reason, and that’s because a lot of them ring very true. If we start getting ahead ourselves, then we will fall at the last hurdle.”

The final program for Saturday is still being finalised but Playford is looking to bring in big screens so spectators can watch the Aussie womens test against the Kiwis and the third Bledisloe.

Tickets are available through West Tamworth Leagues Club at $10 for general admission and $20 for a seat in the stand.

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Creek out for six weeks

SHOOT: Mitch Creek shooting for a goal with the Adelaide 36ers. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
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HORSHAM basketballer Mitch Creek is out for six to eight weeks after fracturing his foot during Friday’s clash with his team, theAdelaide 36ers.

“I heard a massive snap and then popping sound in my foot, and each step it repeated itself. Ended up with a nice old line through the bone,” he said.

Creek will endure two weeks with crutches and no weight bearing and two weeks of movement and weight.

By week four he expects to be back in normal shoes and by week six, back on the court and the gym to start shooting and lifting.

Creek said the news was heartbreaking but he remained positive.

“Obviously it is not what you want to hear from the doctors, given everything that’s been going on and the way the team is going,” he said.

“In saying that, we have a long way to go.

“It is just one of those things. It feels as if I’ve almost wasted nine months of sacrifices and relationships and friendships.

“To miss all of that to prepare and have it taken away is tough.

“I am going to be finethough, at the end of the day.”

Creek said he is determined to come back bigger and better.

“There is no use sooking about it, it won’t speed up my recovery at all,” he said.

“Considering I won’t be at training I will be able to do other things and have the ability to help others.

“It is also a chance to focus on my ball handling and heaps of other things.

“I can devote my time to that and be a better basketballer for it.”

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Brown scores maiden century

Brown scores maiden century TweetFacebook NDCA round 3: Newcastle City v University at Learmonth ParkPictures by Jonathan CarrollCorey Brown has made the most of his late call up to first grade by making an unbeaten 154 as Toronto gained ascendancy of its third round match against Wallsend at Ron Hill Oval on Saturday.
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Batting at three Brown, who replaced Peter McCredie on Thursday, posted his maiden top flight century – facing262 deliveries and spending307 minutes out in the middle as Toronto reached 9(dec)-332.

“It was chanceless, very determined, he hit the ball well and put value on his wicket –everything you want from a top order batsman really,” Toronto skipper Paul Toole said of the club junior.

“He’s only 21 and was actually picked in second grade this week, but got his chance when someone pulled out on Thursday night and he’speeled off 154 not out.”

The university student went in at 1-8 and negotiated a difficult period at 6-92 before combining with Jeremy Ford (71) for a 123-run seventh-wicket partnership.

Brown and No.10 Corey Piccirillo (38) then took the score from 8-248 to 9-329.

With four overs left Torontoenforced a change of innngs and have Wallsend 1-14.

The outlook across at Cahill Oval is grim for Cardiff-Boolaroo with Belmont on the verge of an outright result having already secured a first-innings victory on day one.The hosts need just five second-innings wickets to complete the rout and claim maximum points after a dominant display with both bat and ball on Saturday.

After being asked to bat Belmontcaptain Mark Littlewood (103 not out) continued his early season form and guided his troopsto an almost run-a-ball 5-308 before declaring.

Jace Lawson (3-15, 2-2), Luke Muddle (3-14) and Ray Cooper (3-26, 3-13), who had earlier scored a quickfire 60, dismissed the visitors for 69 inside 27 overs before sending them back in and leaving Cardiff in disarray at 5-29.

Over at Learmonth Park it is more evenly poised approaching day two this weekend asNewcastle City eye the required 54 runs with six wickets in hand.They finished4-88 from 35 overs in reply to University’s 141.

The home side opted to bowl first with Jonty Major (4-33)and Ryan Van Kemenade (3-22) the main contributers.New University recruit Adam Taylor (36) and skipper Matt Gawthrop (33) put on 47 for the fifth wicket.

Meanwhile, washed out matches at Townson and Harker ovals will revert to 50-over fixtures this Saturday with five-time defending champions Merewether hosting Stockton-Raymond Terrace and competition leaders Hamilton-Wickham away to Wests.

Under 21s flex muscle with win over Italians

HE’S AWAY: Orange CYMS utility Ryan Griffin proved his class with a strong game at halfback for the Rams 21s on Saturday. Photo: PHIL BLATCHTHREE tries in six minutes saw the Western Rams under 21s come from behind to beat their Federation of Italia Rugby League Australia rivals 26-16 at Carrington Park on Saturday.
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Trailing 12-10 after the opening 35-minute half, the Rams found themselves under pressure early in the second stanza.

For 15 minutes FIRLA camped on the Rams’ line, but the visitorswere unable toget any reward.

Momentum then swung as the hosts quickly surged to a 14-point lead –a scoring blitz whichFIRLA was unable torecover from.

“They’re a really fast, mobile side. We didn’t know what to expect, but theyhad that speed and they sort of worried us a little bit when they got the ball wide with offloads,” Rams coach Kurt Hancock said.

“They came back into it, but the first part of the second half we were really good defensively I thought.

“They had a lot of ball early in that second half, but once we got it down their end we took our chances.”

After the opening whistle it was FIRLA who found itself under pressure, having let the kick-off go dead in goal.

For the next 10 minutes FIRLA scrambled well in defence, until finally a well-weighted kick set upwinger Matt Ranse. Nick Millar converted to make it 6-0.

The Rams continued to press in attack with FIRLA taking 15 minutes before they finally enjoyed possession in their rivals’ territory.

Yet for all that early attacking football, the Rams only managed one try.

It meant that when five-eighth Nick Lawrence crossed in the 20thminutefor FIRLA and Todd Sapienza converted, it was 6-all.

That try lifted FIRLA and four minutes later it had the lead as hooker Josh Natoli dived over from dummy half.Sapienza added the extras to make it 12-6.

It took some inspiration from Rams halfback Ryan Griffin shortly before the break to narrow the gap, the Orange CYMS product making a strong charge following a scrum.

The ball was then spread to the left and Ranse finished to make it 12-10 at the break.

When play resumed it was all FIRLA, and while the Rams pressured themselves with some handling errors, they held firm in defence.

It was Mudgee second rowerZac Adams –who was named best on field for the Rams –who turned momentum when he split FIRLA up the middle of the ruck 25 metres out and went on to score.

Off the next set St Pat’s hooker Hudson White benefited from a fortuitous bounce as he chipped ahead, regathered and slammed the ball down over the line.

Three minutes later the Rams were in again via Mudgee centre Camden Sutton, White adding the extras to make it 26-12.

FIRLA’s Kyle Lowe scored a consolation in the final minute.

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Meares rides off into the sunset

Announcing her retirement, Australian cycling great Anna Meares has revealed she needed six cortisone injections through her spine to compete at the Rio Olympics.
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Meares, 33, said on Sunday she had decided to end her stellar career, highlighted by two gold medals from four Olympic campaigns and 11 world championship titles.

LEGEND: Olympic cycling great Anna Meares announced her retirement on Sunday after an illustrious but injury-plagued career. Picture: Getty Images

“Obviously a lot of people will be wondering where I am going to post-Rio. With some time in reflection I have decided that I am actually going to retire,” Meares told the Nine Network.

“The reason I took some time to myself after Rio … I wanted to remove myself from that environment and get over some of the emotions attached with the Olympic Games.”

Meares admitted there had been a temptation to go on and finish her career on home soil at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games but the wear and tear of a punishing sport had taken its toll.

“Having looked back and seen all the things that I have achieved and assessed some of the injuries that I have had to manage going into Rio,” Meares said.”Most people were unaware just to get to Rio I had six cortisone injections through my spine.”

Her decision comes after she won bronze in the keirin at the Rio Games, her sixth Olympic medal making her the most decorated Australian cyclist in Games history.

“I feel satisfied and happy to step aside from the sport and try something new and different,” she said.

Meares’s11 world titles arethe most by a female cyclist. She also won 35 national titles and five gold medals at Commonwealth Games.

“I am really proud of my longevity, also proud of the level of high consistency in my performances and results during my career,” Meares said.”It is hard to close this chapter, because it is a bloody big one, but I am really excited about the doors opening in to the next chapter of my life.”

Meares’ achievements are even more incredible in light of the life-threatening injuries she suffered in a race crash, including a fractures in her neck, just months beforeBeijing 2008.

Meares said she would most like to be remembered for her “resilience and strength”.

“I am really proud I have stuck around for as long as I have and while some people think I have made it look easy, I had to work so hard to stay on top.

“And I have been challenged extensively throughout my career and I have thoroughly enjoyed all of those challenges.

“I feel that I have grown with each experience and they have left me a better athlete, a better person.”

Cycling Australia CEO, Nicholas Green OAM, paid tribute to Meares upon her announcement.

“Anna’s contribution to the sport of cycling is immeasurable, and whether on or off the bike, Anna exemplified the utmost professionalism and respect for the sport and her peers,” he said.

“Her results at the Olympic, world championship and Commonwealth level are second to none and is a tribute to her hard work, dedication and commitment to excellence.

“Also the resilience shown by Anna as she faced repeated challenges throughout her career epitomised her strength of character and truly inspired the nation.

“While the trademark Meares stare, speed, power and victories will be sorely missed in velodromes across Australia and throughout the world, Anna has left a legacy on the sport that will be felt for years to come.

“Quite simply, the world of cycling is stronger because of Anna Meares, not poorer because of her retirement.

“We wish Anna all the best and look forward to her remaining with the sport in Australia to nurture and mentor our next generation of cyclists.”

Australian champions defend titles in style

ALL CLASS: Australian champion Sarah Fitz-Gerald proved too strong for South Australian Corinne Yallup-Cross in the open final at Albury’s Commercial Club on Saturday. The top seed won in straight sets, 21-9, 21-8.
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The number one seeds have maintained their domination of the Australian Racquetball titles.

Cameron White remains unbeaten over 15 years after toppling second seed Jason Mudge, 21-17, 21-8.

“Cameron went into the competition underdone, and a lot of people thought he was suspect,” Australian Racquetball’s Paul Vear said.

“But he has the ability to lift a gear when the pressure really comes on.”

Work commitments had restricted White’s preparation, with Mudge’s only loss in the sport coming against the national starin 2014.

And it was a similar story in the Open women’s.

Sarah Fitz-Gerald continued her seven-year undefeated reign with a straight sets win over South Australian, Corinne Yallup-Cross, 21-9, 21-8.

“Sarah was a bit like that when she played squash, just a bit better than anybody else,” Vear said.

Fitz-Gerald was a five-time world Open winner in squash from 1996-2002, and is a member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

Both Fitz-Gerald and White actedas ambassadors for the titles.

Officials have beendelighted with the tournament, attracting its biggest field since the mid-1990s with 235 entries.

“The people here in Albury and Wodonga have been tremendous,” Vear said.

“We’ve used three venues, the Commercial Club, the Albury Club and in Wodonga, and that has workedwell.”

Vear says one of the reasons the Border was selected for the championships was due to its booming nature.

“Four years ago it was squash with 90 per centof the players, and racquetball with 10 per cent,” he said.

“Now it’s 50-50, and that doesn’t mean squash hasfallen away.

“We have 32 juniors at these titles, with the majority from this region.”

And those juniors playedstarring roles.

Boom youngster Alex Baines won A grade, while Daniel Chu claimed the C division.

Justin Chu won the under 13s, while Baines’ younger siblings Nicola and Gabby snared E grade and the junior girls under 13 respectively.

“It’s been great to watch the development of our juniors, and they really showed the way,”Commercial Club Squash and Racquetball’s Ross Falconer said.

“We’re delighted withthe event.

“The decision on next year’s titleswill be made in November, but at this stage if the local club looks to re-apply they would start favourite because it’s all gone off very well,” Vear said.

TheCommercial Club alsohosted a capacitypresentationfunction on Saturday night.

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