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Last week’s rankings in brackets plus their win-loss record. 1 BRISBANE (2) 6-1

They are hard to resist when Darren Lockyer, Karmichael Hunt and Justin Hodges start working their magic together in attack. Every other team knows those players must be stopped, but it’s a lot easier said than done. 2 BULLDOGS (3) 6-1

It’s fitting that Michael Ennis has a surname that rhymes with menace, because that is what he is to the opposition once he opens his bag of tricks. The Raiders prepared to deal with him, but still couldn’t reduce his influence. 3 ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA (4) 5-2

Keeping the Roosters to zero put them back on top when it comes to least points conceded in the NRL this season. They have given up just 77 points in seven games – an average of just 11 per game. 4 GOLD COAST (1) 5-2

They went in without forward leader Luke Bailey and dynamic five-eighth Mat Rogers against the Panthers and it contributed significantly to their loss. Player ins and outs are critical in such an even competition. 5 WARRIORS (6) 3-1-3

They should have beaten the Storm in Melbourne. The Warriors finished the stronger and it was there for them to win in extra time, but Stacey Jones hooked a field goal attempt from in front and it hit the post. 6 NEWCASTLE (5) 4-3

Their loss to the Tigers, after leading by 14 points well into the second half, could come back to haunt them. There were extenuating circumstances due to injuries on the day, but you’ve got to finish games like that off. 7 WESTS TIGERS (10) 4-3

They were in big trouble against the Knights until Benji Marshall extracted a blinding last 20 minutes from himself to turn the game around. He can’t do that all the time, but it’s nice to know that he can do it. 8 PENRITH (12) 3-4

The introduction of Luke Walsh at halfback not only served them well in that key spot – it helped some other pieces fall into place, too. Their win at home over the Titans was solid – and something they can build on. 9 SOUTH SYDNEY (11) 4-3

They didn’t have a lot to spare in their six-point win over the Sharks, but at least it was an improvement on their previous form at night – three losses from three games and a total of just 28 points scored. 10 MELBOURNE (9) 3-1-3

Began well enough against the Warriors, but were going up and down in the one spot by the time normal time ended and were lucky to escape the extra 10 minutes with a share of the points. They’ve still got problems to solve. 11 NORTH QUEENSLAND (13) 3-4

They finished off their win over the Sea Eagles with two spectacular tries that were vintage Cowboys efforts. They are heading in the right direction, but still have a way to go before they find their best form. 12 MANLY (7) 2-5

They tried hard against the Cowboys and got down the opposition’s end often enough to win the game, but came up short. It was a game that cried out for Brett Stewart’s involvement – had he played, they probably would have won. 13 CANBERRA (8) 2-5

Flew out of the boxes to lead 12-0 against the Bulldogs, but were overhauled before halftime. They have only won one out of three home games this season and need to start turning that around against Penrith this weekend. 14 SYDNEY ROOSTERS (14) 2-5

Have not scored a point in their last three halves of football. Imagine if they came up with zero against the Sharks this weekend they would fair dinkum have to call it quits and become spectators like the rest of us. 15 PARRAMATTA (15) 2-5

They were willing against the Broncos, but they wasted opportunities and you’re never going to get away with that against top opposition. They are just going to have to keep working hard and hope to get a result that way. 16 CRONULLA (16) 1-5

They came up with easily their biggest total of the season against the Rabbitohs, but at the same time they allowed the Rabbitohs to come up with their biggest total since round one. They just can’t find a way to win.

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CRONULLA coach Ricky Stuart played an extraordinary role before last night’s NRL judiciary hearing, re-enacting the suspect tackle made by Paul Gallen and claiming his repeat offender was “playing on eggshells and broken glass”. And the coach’s starring role worked.
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Gallen was found not guilty by the panel, leaving him free to play for the Sharks in Saturday’s match against the Roosters.

Earlier, the judiciary also cleared Bulldog Michael Ennis, ruling that his alleged chicken-wing tackle on Canberra fullback Josh Dugan was tender enough to escape a one-match ban.

The dual “not guilty” findings were both achieved by counsel Geoff Bellew, who created enough doubt in the minds of the judiciary panel of Mal Cochrane, Sean Garlick and Mark Coyne to hand down the surprise findings.

Gallen claimed he didn’t hit Wing with his shoulder or arm, instead saying he hit Wing with his chest. Wing was concussed and missed a large portion of the game. “It was the pec [pectoral muscle] that hit him,” Gallen said.

The Sharks lock claimed the tackle was “a good tackle” and denied that his upper arm or shoulder hit Wing on the jaw.

Stuart then acted out the tackle with Gallen in the middle of the room and passionately defended his player.

Stuart spoke about Gallen “playing on eggshells and broken glass” because of his bad record and noted that, while the tackle looked poor, his player made no reaction to suggest he may be “stuffed”.

Afterwards, Gallen said he was satisfied with the result – but when asked about Stuart’s unprecedented demonstration, said: “I don’t know if it helped me, the character thing wasn’t the best”.

Earlier in the day, at a NSW State of Origin squad gathering, Gallen had admitted he might have to tone down his aggressive style after the Sharks threatened to fine him over his latest brush with the judiciary.

“It shocked me a little bit,” Gallen said when asked about the prospect of being fined by his club. “If I have to tone things down in order not to get fined, maybe that has to happen.”

Gallen will now have the chance to press for an Australian Test jersey, with selectors to name the team on Sunday for the Anzac Test on Friday week.

Meanwhile, Ennis will now take part in this Sunday’s clash against Wests Tigers, installing the Bulldogs as favourites – and setting up a head-to-head clash with Blues State of Origin rival Robbie Farah.

Ennis argued that he had been trying to remove the “forceful” pressure applied on his throat by the ball carrier, that he had tackled Dugan without significant force and that the arm had never been extended beyond his back.

“I am very grateful for the hearing … my representation was really good and I am very pleased with the result,” Ennis said. “This is another week, there are a few to go yet and it is important to get the preparation right and important to get back to training”.

When asked about the importance of clearing his name of being associated with the chicken-wing slur, Ennis replied: “I would rather scrub the chicken wing [talk]. I will talk about the tackle.”

Ennis said he had tackled Dugan to shift him onto his back, but also to remove Dugan’s hand, which was against his throat.

“I moved his arm to get it out of my throat,” Ennis told the judiciary. “The degree of force applied was not a great deal.”

Ennis told the judiciary he had never used wrestling techniques and nor did the Bulldogs coaching staff teach any wrestling techniques.

Bulldogs coach Kevin Moore, who was at the hearing, said after the decision was handed down that he was happy with the result. “I didn’t think there was too much in it,” he said.

Moore said the Bulldogs team had spent the past few days in recovery because the next match was on Sunday.

“Because of that, we haven’t had to move players around, so it hasn’t had any impact on our preparation for the Wests Tigers match,” Moore said.

with Glenn Jackson

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WHEN he was 10 years old, James McManus’s family decided to swap the drizzle of Scotland’s highlands for the stifling heat of Katherine in the Northern Territory. "It’s a bit out in the sticks, but I loved it," McManus says.
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He went from balancing a round ball on his boot to learning how to pass a Steeden. "I’d never heard of rugby league," he says. "I didn’t understand any of it. When I came to Australia, I played a couple of games and I spent most of it offside, telling people to kick me the ball."

Today McManus has firmly established himself in the Newcastle side and yesterday was sized up for his suits and uniform as a member of the 40-man Blues Origin squad. The 23-year-old is a strong chance to make the final cut and run out for NSW on the wing this June.

"First and foremost, I want to play well for my club," he says. "It really means a lot to me this year. We’re looking to do big things at Newcastle and we don’t want to be sitting there watching TV in September. I want to play well for my club and anything comes off the back of that is just a bonus."

Knights teammate and fellow Blues squad member Kurt Gidley thinks McManus is a fair chance for an Origin jersey.

"Since his debut, he hasn’t a missed a game playing first grade, which is a great achievement," Gidley says. "His rise to where he is today, it’s a credit to the hard work he’s put in. He’s one of the most dedicated trainers. He stays behind, as most blokes do, to do extras. But Jimmy has been like that from the start."

Today, only a slight tinge of his Scottish accent can be heard in McManus’s voice. His accent was so thick when he touched down in Katherine that, aside from his family, people really didn’t know what he was trying to say. "No one could understand a word I saying," McManus remembers. "A lot of the time, I couldn’t understand a word that they were saying as well. With time, two years, I lost the accent."

After spending three years in Katherine, surviving a flood that tore through the town, he went to Palmerston High School in Darwin, studied the game of rugby league on television and was chosen by the Northern Territory Institute of Sport on their rugby league program.

"It took me a lot of watching," McManus says. "A lot of following it on TV. A lot of schoolyard stuff and finally after that I put my hand up to play the game."

At an Australian schoolboys championship, he was spied by Knights recruiter Warren Smiles. "He’s studied the game hard," Smiles says. "He knew what he wanted and he knew he wanted to play NRL. He was very intense and mature. He’s always worked hard to do everything right."

Before he lived in the heat of the Top End, before league, he lived in Fochabers – a village in the district of Moray. "It was a pretty obscure little place but it was good." His childhood memories of Scotland? The "blankets of snow" in the wintertime, "drizzle and soccer".

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NELSON MAMETSE has been waiting in autumn cold since the early hours of the morning to cast his vote for Jacob Zuma.
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“He is man who does not give up, he sees everything through,” says the security guard who believes the ruling ANC party has a god-given right to govern.

“It was the party that delivered us from apartheid. We would not be standing here, if it was not for the ANC, Nelson Mandela and Zuma,” he assures me.

I encounter Mametse at the front of an 800-metre queue winding its way through the shanties and shacks of Johannesburg's most deprived and violent suburb. It was here in “Alex” that Zimbabweans, who generally work for less pay, were hacked to death last year.

In the early morning there is no sign of the “xenophobic violence” that shocked the rainbow nation but drew scant comment from the then president, Thabo Mbeki. Small groups cluster around makeshift fires chatting excitedly about today and the next president.

It soon becomes apparent not all queuing so patiently share Memetse's enthusiasm for Zuma and the ANC. A young women peering from under a red cap says she is angry about the lack of housing and endless broken promises. Asked how she will vote, she declines to say. “This is a secret ballot, my vote will remain a secret,” she smiles, declining to give her name.

But voting intentions of the woman in the cap are obvious. She says South Africa needs a new government, that 15 years has been long enough for the ANC to deliver its promises. “We are tired of waiting,” she says.

People in Alex tell me they have been impressed by Zuma who visited the township promising a better deal, but also asking for patience. Feelings towards Mbeki are mostly negative. “He never came here. He did not understand us,” an unemployed man volunteers.

Voting began 7am and was due to end at 9pm. Some 25 million people are expected to vote and the result is expected in 48 hours.

Tamba Msibi, an observer from Swaziland, told the Herald there had been few irregularities. “These people have been very patient, very orderly. They have their IDs checked, their fingernails painted and they vote. Some have had difficulty filling out the papers for the first time.”

In Alex, the ANC is highly organised with cadres turning out the vote. But on the other side of town in Western, a predominantly “Coloured” area, people queuing are not so sure about the ANC's right to rule. Jane Miya, an unemployed mother of three, says the party has inflicted a form of reverse apartheid on her community.

“This was supposed to be a rainbow nation, but it's blacks only when it comes to jobs. The Coloured people are being left out. They say it is affirmative action, but it's discrimination. Twenty per cent of people cannot find work.”

Miya says she is voting for COPE. Outside the church hall, a young men in hip sneakers and jackets tell me they are voting for the Democratic Alliance. “Helen Zille, she is one. She is who I am voting for. No more corruption,” one of them says.

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CARBON nanotubes are as light as plastic and stronger than steel, unique properties which quickly earned them a reputation as the wonder materials of the nanotechnology revolution.
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Discovered 20 years ago and made from atom-thick sheets of graphite rolled into miniscule tubes, they are being developed for products ranging from energy-efficient batteries to stronger sports equipment and bullet proof vests.

But they are now also at the centre of safety fears about nano-sized materials. Research published last year suggests some nanotubes could be as deadly as asbestos if inhaled in sufficient quantities.

A British team found that long, thin, multi-walled carbon nanotubes had the same effects as asbestos fibres when injected into the abdominal cavity of mice. This is the established method of seeing whether materials have the potential to cause mesothelioma – a cancer of the lung lining that can take 30 to 40 years to appear following exposure.

Short and curly nanotubes did not behave like asbestos, researchers led by Professor Kenneth Donaldson of the University of Edinburgh reported in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. And questions remain, such as whether long nanotubes can become airborne, reach the lungs and work their way out to the sensitive outer lining, said the professor. “But if they do get there in sufficient quantity, there is a chance that some people will develop cancer.”

The study has galvanised calls for more research on the safety of nanotechnology and better regulation of this new science.

Assistant secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Geoff Fary, said regulations that take into account the unique properties of nano-sized materials were urgently needed to protect the health and safety of workers and consumers. “With animal tests showing some nano-materials share the same characteristics and reactions as asbestos fibres, governments and business must not repeat the painful lessons of the past and allow another tragedy to occur.”

Little was known about the use of nano-materials in Australia and a registry of all companies and organisations manufacturing, importing and supplying products containing them should be established, he said.

Issues of concern in workplaces included skin exposure and inhalation of droplets of nano-material. “Until we know more … we should regulate as if it is dangerous to human health. It is the only safe option.”

Britain's Royal Society recommended in 2004 that products containing nano-ingredients face rigorous safety testing and be labelled before sale. No country has yet introduced nano-specific regulations, but last month the European Parliament recommended stringent new rules for safety assessment and labelling of nano-ingredients in food although it will not become law until national governments agree to the directive.

Scientists say much more money needs to be spent on safety research. Not enough is known, for example, about how to detect and trace nanoparticles in the body, said Dr Maxine McCall of CSIRO. “Right now we don't have sufficient information to have sensible regulation,” she told a recent forum on the issue in Canberra.

An OECD project has been established to develop safety tests for 14 priority nanoparticles but will take several years to complete. And the issue is complicated by the fact that the many thousands of different nanoparticles can have different possible toxicities, depending on their size, shape and how they are bound to other materials.

Last October a NSW parliamentary inquiry recommended that nano-versions of existing chemicals be assessed as new chemicals and nanoparticles in the workplace and in foods, sunscreens and cosmetics be labelled, but said regulations would be most effective if applied nationally.

A review for the Federal Government concluded last year there was no need for major changes to existing regulatory frameworks to cover new nano-materials.

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THE global recession has taken its toll on Kevin Rudd's bold vision for the nation's future with the release yesterday of nine low-cost and modest ideas that will be formally adopted from last year's 2020 summit.
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The Government also appears to be going lukewarm on a pre-election promise to hold a referendum on the introduction of four-year, fixed terms for the federal Parliament.

The idea was recommended at the summit but did not make the final cut. The report promised only to consider the recommendation as part of “ongoing reform to our constitution”.

The 2020 report was delayed for four months because of the economy. Its most expensive commitment is $50.7 million over four years to help fund the research and development of a bionic eye.

A dedicated children's TV channel, to be screened by ABC3, made the cut. It will cost $25 million to $30 million a year, with funding to be contained in next month's federal budget.

The commercial-free digital channel is scheduled to be on air by the end of this year.

Detail and cost was scant on most of the initiatives, including a “Deployable Civilian Capability”. This would involve a small army of civilian experts and specialists that could assist the armed forces with international disaster relief, stabilisation and post-conflict reconstruction.

Another approved initiative is “golden gurus”, in which skilled, mature-aged people would act as vocational and community mentors.

In his foreword to the report, Mr Rudd acknowledges that ambitions had to be scaled back in the aftermath of the summit.

“None of us who gathered at Parliament House for the summit could have foreseen the severity of the global economic downturn that was even then beginning to develop,” he said.

“As a result of the crisis … the world of today looks very different from that of April 2008.”

One of the strongest recommendations from the summit was that Australia become a republic. This was given short shrift.

“The Government is committed to ongoing reform of our constitution, where appropriate, and will draw on the input of the summit in thinking about future possible proposals for future change,” the report says.

The same answer was given to the recommendation for fixed four-year terms.

The Government did commit $15 million for the Prime Ministers' Australia-Asia Endeavour Awards, a series of scholarships to deepen cultural understanding between Australian and Asian students.

There will be a feasibility study into an Indigenous Cultural Education and Knowledge Centre – a program to connect business with schools – and a Vocational Education Broadband Network, a single network linking tertiary training centres.

The last idea is called “Skills For The Carbon Challenge”, which will help to train workers for sustainable industry in the future.


* Civilian volunteers

* Indigenous knowledge centre

* Mentoring in the workplace

* $50 million for bionic eye

* Cultural scholarships

* ABC children's channel

* Business, school round table

* Promoting sustainability

* A post-secondary high speed broadband network

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THE estimated cost of the controversial CBD Metro has increased to $5.3 billion, the Herald has confirmed, a rise of more than 30 per cent since it was announced last October.
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Senior government and metro sources confirmed the figure to the Herald. Government sources said $500 million had recently been added to cover the risk of cost blowouts as well as construction and contract risks.

The Premier, Nathan Rees, was accused of policy on the run and drawing up the project “on the back on an envelope” when he announced the metro on October 25. He was not able to put a cost on the proposed line from Central Station to Rozelle at the press conference at which it was announced.

After the press conference, the Government told journalists it would cost $4 billion. That figure was subsequently inflated to $4.8 billion until last week. The much longer north-west metro that Mr Rees dumped, and the Opposition says it would reinstate, was costed at $12 billion.

The latest budget blowout comes as the Government begins only now to properly test the project's viability.

Last week the Herald revealed that a Sydney Metro Authority plan to terminate 26 trains an hour at Central Station, thereby bolstering passenger numbers on the metro, was withdrawn from Infrastructure Australia.

The federal infrastructure advisers said the proposal was physically impossible because the CityRail network could not turn that many trains around.

The Herald confirmed yesterday that no updated or replacement plan had been submitted to Infrastructure Australia.

The costs of the project have always been rubbery. In an email released to the NSW upper house after a call for papers, the NSW Treasury adviser on the state's infrastructure needs, David Thorp, revealed the Government was still in the dark about how the cost figure was established.

Alec Brown, a spokesman for the Metro Authority, said a range of cost estimates for the capital works were determined “through to” $5.3 billion.

“This range allows for different levels of contingency, escalation, risk and scope changes,” he said.

The cost raised eyebrows within the industry from the day it was announced. Bob Carr's promised second rail line from Redfern, through the CBD and under the harbour to Chatswood was last costed at $5.5 billion.

The CBD Metro not only has one more station than promised in that project which never saw the light of day, but also has one extra harbour crossing, travelling under both Darling Harbour and White Bay.

Geotechnical drilling has confirmed that expensive tube pressurisation will be required because the tunnel will have to be bored through mud above the level of sandstone.

Drilling began in Pyrmont yesterday on the project. Geotechnical surveys will be used to determine the tunnelling challenges which lie ahead.

The Opposition transport spokeswoman, Gladys Berejiklian, said yesterday it was clear the project had not been properly costed.

“If they haven't properly costed the project it means they haven't done the basic feasibility studies you would expect should occur before a project of this scale is even announced,” she said. “They have opted for the headline rather than putting the interests of the community first.”

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LIKE so many children in Dubbo, cousins Alyssa Ferguson, 12, and Kaitlyn Rose, 11, were having fun riding their bikes on the street about 11am on Sunday.
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Then they heard a baby cry. They rode towards the sound to a spot under a window of a nearby flat, where they found an abandoned newborn, who has since been named Sunday April.

Yesterday, as the baby was being cared for at Dubbo Base Hospital, police appealed for the mother to come forward.

Inspector Matt Goodwin of the Orana Local Area Command said the search had been extended to health and welfare agencies in a bid to identify the mother.

“It really is a concern for her safety and the ongoing welfare of the child,” he said.

A hospital spokeswoman said Sunday was a full-term baby, very healthy and feeding well. “The nurses said she was a bit cold [when she was found] but she was very healthy.” Police said doctors described Sunday as being of white or European appearance, and that she was born between 6am and 9am.

Alyssa's mother, Kerrianne Howarth, recounted what happened after her daughter and niece made their discovery. “They ran back as fast as they could, they just flew in the door and said 'there is a baby over there',” Ms Howarth said.

She and her eldest daughter “ran over there, and picked her up and put the blanket around her tighter, and brought her inside and rang triple-0”.

“She wasn't distressed when I found her. The hospital later told me that she did have a bit of hypothermia. Her body temp was low because the cement over there would have been really cold.

“I think the [biggest] shock was that she was a newborn,” Ms Howarth said. “On the way to hospital I nearly started crying. I just couldn't believe it. The little baby was gorgeous.”

Ms Howarth's eldest daughter, Alex, had heard the cries earlier that morning. “I heard the baby crying first. My nephew and

I were having breakfast and

I heard a baby crying and thought, 'Oh someone is obviously not attending to their baby',” Alex said.

Mrs Howarth said: “It wasn't until the kids got on their bikes that we discovered where the cries had come from. So she was over there for two hours before anyone noticed her.”

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THE Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic exorcised their biggest demon last night with a thrashing of the NSW Swifts.
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The thumping 18-goal win at Hamilton’s Mystery Creek Events Centre moves the Magic to the top of the table on goal difference over the only other unbeaten team, the Melbourne Vixens.

Magic captain Joline Henry was delighted with her team’s showing. "We knew this was a biggie for us, and we wanted to assert some dominance," she said.

And they did.

The Magic effectively won the game in the first quarter with their best 15 minutes of a season-and-a-quarter of ANZ Championship netball. Casey Williams showed why she is the world’s best netballer, Henry was spectacular and the Magic’s shooting brilliant.

On the back of perfect shooting from both Maria Tutaia and Irene van Dyk, and exceptional full-court defence, the home side led 19-7 at the first break.

Van Dyk had her second consecutive perfect shooting game and it has now been more than 120 minutes of netball since she missed her last shot.

Three stepping calls and dubious passing in the first quarter did not help the defending champions – the Swifts looked woeful compared to a completely dominant Magic side.

The Swifts’ depth was tested when Rebecca Bulley went off injured. Replacement Samantha May appeared out of her depth as Magic wing attack Frances Solia ran rings around her.

The home side had to work hard to keep a fired-up Swifts at bay in the second spell and despite the visitors going on a five-goal run in the middle of the quarter, the Magic extended by another goal to lead 32-19 at half-time.

Yet while the NSW team needed to come out flying in the second half to have any hope of saving the game, the Magic scored the first five goals of the third spell.

Swifts captain Catherine Cox (ankle) and Bulley (gash above eye) left the court late in the second quarter and while the team lost some edge with their departures, the game was well and truly lost by then.

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A ruptured Achilles tendon has cut short Daniel Braid’s stint with the Queensland Reds and will affect his starting date with Welsh club Llanelli Scarlets where he has signed a lucrative and lengthy deal.
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The former All Blacks flanker suffered the injury in the Reds’ shock loss to the Lions in Brisbane at the weekend.

He will be out of rugby for six months.

It’s a blow for Llanelli who confirmed on Monday that they had just signed Braid on a three-year deal.

"We know the value of an out and out openside and they live on the edge," said Scarlets boss Nigel Davies.

"That was a factor in our decision to sign Daniel. He is an out and out seven and that is one of the players we need at the moment. When I look at the side we are trying to put together next season, I am excited."

Braid has been in good form in another disappointing season for Queensland where he signed on as a ground-breaking marquee player as Australian Super 14 franchises opened their doors to overseas stars.

Braid had the option of another year on his Queensland deal but has decided to secure his future with a move north to Europe.

The Reds play the Blues at Albany on Saturday evening.

Braid’s injury means he won’t be lining out against his old New Zealand franchise.

The Reds are now 13th in the Super 14 and were facing a crisis meeting on Monday in the wake of their 20-31 loss to the Lions.

Reds coach Phil Mooney rated it "’the most deflating loss of his two-year reign".

He lashed otu at his side saying they "couldn’t expect to beat a suburban colts team" with the sort of play they produced against the Lions.

"(It was) completely unacceptable," Mooney said.

"If you play like that and expect to get selected then you’re living in a dreamworld."

The changes are expected to start with first five-eighths Quade Cooper who had a shocker.

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Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds used an autographed bat to lock in a seven-figure loan with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia that he then invested with the failed Storm Financial Services, a former Storm executive alleges.
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The Australian Financial Review reports that a Storm adviser offered the autographed cricket bat in 2007 in order to waive the cost of mortgage insurance for Symonds. The cricketer is believed to have lost about $1 million when the company collapsed in January.

The adviser was negotiating the loan with CBA’s Aitkenvale branch in Townsville, Queensland, the former senior executive alleges in a signed affidavit.

A CBA spokesman said a staff member did accept the cricket bat after it was offered by Storm but denied it was used to gain preferential treatment.

Symonds’s manager refused to comment on the allegations about the cricket bat or the star’s finances.

The affidavit will be provided to a federal parliamentary inquiry into financial services that was set up following the collapse of Storm Financial and Opes Prime, the AFR reports.

It reportedly states that CBA branch officials indicated they would give the cricketing star more favourable terms once they learned the loan was for him.

The Storm adviser negotiating the deal then reportedly offered to throw in a signed cricket bat if the bank waived the mortgage insurance payment.

This was agreed and the loan was approved, the unnamed official stated.

Symonds, who appeared in radio advertisements for the company, used a loan against two properties to take out a margin loan that was then invested in Storm-branded products.

CBA’s Aitkenvale branch is the subject of numerous allegations that large numbers of loans from around the country were channelled through its office, as well the Bank of Queensland’s North Ward branch in Townsville.

Storm’s founders Emmanuel and Julie Cassimatis put the company into voluntary administration in January after being unable to meet a repayment demand from CBA.

The company was liquidated in March, on the order of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, after the Cassimatises proposed a deed of company arrangement that would have let them regain control and escape legal action.


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Prep teacher Symone Anstis. 24, of Noble Park. Photo: Joe ArmaoMEET Symone Anstis, 24, a prep teacher and Noble Park local who took on the Tax Office and had a landmark win that could pave the way for hundreds of thousands of students to claim educational expenses as a tax deduction.
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Three years ago, Ms Anstis was studying teaching at Australian Catholic University, working part time at women’s clothing store Katies and receiving income support in the form of Youth Allowance.

Like many students, she struggled to make ends meet.

On her tax return that year Ms Anstis claimed $920 for educational expenses, including textbooks, student fees and travel expenses.

She reasoned that, because the Youth Allowance was part of her income, she should be able to claim deductions on relevant costs.

In the past, the Australian Taxation Office made it clear it would not allow educational expenses to be claimed against welfare payments.

Her father, Michael Anstis, who is a qualified solicitor but does not work as a lawyer, helped her with her return and told her the Government was likely to reject her claim. But they decided it seemed fair that students be able to claim educational costs, and pushed on regardless.

The Tax Office rejected the claim, so the pair fought the case all the way to the Federal Court. “It wasn’t a lot of money but it was important — it’s quite a hard life as a student,” Ms Anstis said yesterday.

Asked if she was known for stubbornness, she laughed.

“I thought we were in the right, so I didn’t want to just let it go. Why not take on the big guys?”

In court, Mr Anstis argued that because his daughter had to be enrolled in a full-time course of study to get her assessable income of Youth Allowance, any costs incurred in the course of studying should be deductible.

In a surprise judgement this month, the Federal Court agreed, ruling that in order to meet the requirements for Youth Allowance, a student was forced to make a range of expenses that the student should be entitled to claim as tax deductions.

Tax experts say this could set a precedent for students and other recipients of welfare payments who want to claim expenses against their pensions. About 440,000 students receive Youth Allowance or Austudy, according to Government figures.

KPMG tax partner Andy Hutt believes the decision may have ramifications for students on income support and they should consider which items — such as computers or textbooks — could be most obviously connected to their income.

During his preparations, Mr Anstis studied previous Federal Court tax cases.

He said that in the past two years only a handful had been won, and those had been led by teams of senior lawyers.

Mr Anstis said his daughter had taken on the issue to make a point about social justice, not for the modest financial gain.

“This should mean that students can claim the costs of their studies — it’ll be worth about $300 or $400 to the average student,” he said.

The Tax Office may appeal against the decision.

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"I ONLY needed half a run, he [Orca] would have done the rest," jockey Hugh Bowman told Racing NSW stewards after yesterday’s Frank Packer Plate at Randwick.
Nanjing Night Net

Orca was sent out a $2.90 favourite and was tragically beaten into second place by stablemate Yallingup, with both trained by Guy Walter.

Bowman settled at the rear on Orca and reckons "it just opened up" passing the 600m.

Orca was sent through the field but the run ended on straightening, with the leader Rollins compounding along with All American.

"My horse’s nostril is on their back," Bowman said. He was "coming back". Orca was being anchored. "I’m just pulling up, coming off heels," he said.

"You certainly look unlucky," said Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy, who wanted to know if Rollins had been "roughed up" when Orca shifted in.

Rollins’s jockey, Peter Robl, said: "I grab up for one stride and they were two strides in front after that."

Walter said Yallingup had come a long way in its first preparation and would be spelled.

Of Orca, he said: "Being a colt, we may think about taking him to Brisbane for the carnival." O’SHEA MARE ON SONG

Racing NSW stewards wanted an explanation about a perceived form reversal from Music Review, and trainer John O’Shea was to the fore. The imported mare has well and truly returned her $120,000 purchase price fee, cutting down favourite Joku in yesterday’s opening race for another win Down Under.

"She bogged down on the inside first-up," O’Shea told stewards.

"A drier track today – second-up last time in, she improved dramatically."

Chief steward Ray Murrihy then asked O’Shea about Music Review being fitted with racing plates instead of glue-on shoes.

"We’ve only used them [glue-on] through necessity – she has shocking feet," O’Shea said. "She pulled one off yesterday. I said [to the farrier] ‘put a decent set of shoes on’."

As for racing forward outside the leader, O’Shea said it had been Music Review’s racing style, but when she resumed at Rosehill she had not been able to muster pace on the bog track. O’Shea is aiming Music Review at the Brisbane Cup.

"I think her staying pedigree got her home today," Music Review’s jockey, Tim Clark, told connections.

The Gai Waterhouse-trained Joku battled on for second, with jockey Nash Rawiller saying the favourite, which dictated from the front, was responsible for "another honest effort". CLOSE CALL

International jockey Kerrin McEvoy gave favourite backers heart palpitations on Fravashi in the second race. But supporters of the untapped three-year-old got to cheer right on the post in the South Pacific Classic, with Fravashi collaring Over The Wicket to score by half a head.

Caught three wide early from barrier four in the seven-horse race, Fravashi was eased back and then caught up behind runners when Centennial Park whipped round on the home bend.

Up the straight Fravashi looked in a spot of bother but then roared along the inside.

"Today when he charged through the pack he really concentrated," McEvoy said.

Trainer Peter Snowden reckons Fravashi "is learning his trade now" and that it "was a professional effort".

"He probably wasn’t entitled to win, he found himself in a place where we didn’t want to be," Snowden said. "He had to pick up a couple of lengths over the last 200m and he did it."

Snowden has always had a healthy opinion of Fravashi and plans to give the colt a break and return for some of the big spring races.

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