JASON CULINA has defied Pim Verbeek, but the Socceroos star is confident his decision to join the A-League next season against the national coach’s wishes will not jeopardise his quest to play in the World Cup next year.
Nanjing Night Net

Culina spoke to Verbeek before signing with Gold Coast United. The reaction he received was consistent with Verbeek’s polarising view that players should compete in European leagues rather than play in Australia. Despite the advice, however, Culina, 28, elected to pass up a new contract with Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven – and an estimated $2 million in wages – and return to the A-League in the prime of his career. He is due to finish playing in Europe next month.

"Pim made it clear that he prefers us to stay in Europe," Culina said from The Netherlands. "But after speaking to him I feel my place in the national team is not in jeopardy. If I felt it was, I wouldn’t have decided to come back. Pim knows me well, knows that I’ll always work hard and the slight drop in level won’t effect me. That makes me think there won’t be a problem."

Culina feels he has achieved everything he wanted to in football and it’s the right time to help raise the standard of the young Australian league. He hopes other high-profile overseas-based players will follow his lead.

"The A-League needs some of us to come back," he said. "I don’t tell other players what they should do, but I’m coming back for the right reasons. Hopefully, in the future, maybe after the World Cup, [others will come back]. The decision wasn’t easy but I felt it was right.

"I’ve been in Europe for 10 years and been successful. When I was younger my goals were to play in big competitions. I’ve played in the World Cup, Champions League, UEFA Cup, the Olympics and I’ve won domestic championships. I’ve achieved my goals and I’m very satisfied. It’s a new chapter in my career and I think that going back now will allow me to be at my best and show everybody at home how good I really am."

Verbeek believes players’ development is better served in Europe. But Culina believes he will still be able to develop in Australia.

"No matter where you’re playing, improvement is up to the player," he said. "If your heart’s not in it, you won’t improve. I’m always looking to get better no matter where I am. Even though I’m going back to the A-League I think that as a 28-year-old I can still become a better player. I don’t expect it to be like European football, but Australian football is getting there. The A-League has got better and I think it will continue. Hopefully, we’ll be at the top level soon."

Culina’s father, Newcastle Jets technical director and former Sydney FC coach Branko Culina, hopes Football Federation Australia will back his son, thereby encouraging more elite players to return.

"He could have stayed in Europe and picked up another couple of million dollars, but he’s coming back because he genuinely wants to be part of the A-League – we should encourage and promote that," Branko Culina said.

"Other top players might come back when they’re a bit older. But Jason felt that to really help the game develop here he has to come back when he’s playing at a reasonable level. He thought it’s either now or never. Financially? Not a good move. But he wants to be a bit different. He’s making a statement and I’ve got no doubt that other Aussies will follow."

Branko Culina said he hoped "common sense would prevail" when it came to national team selection. "Jason respects Pim’s view and will continue to do the best he can [to be picked for the Socceroos]," he said. "I think he has enough runs on the board, he’s been one of the first picked … Pim might not like the idea of Jason playing in Australia, but he will still pick the best players."

Culina’s decision is heartening for those trying to lift the standard and profile of the A-League.

Mariners backer Peter Turnbull last week told The Sydney Morning Herald : "He’s bucking the trend, he’s backing himself, because he believes in the A-League."

Read More →

Within a month plans for the hydrotherapy pool at Lourdes Hospital could be at council for approval.
Nanjing Night Net

The redevelopment plans are well under way with the first draft finalised this week.

Lourdes expects the plans to go through council with a development application

Lourdes will be holding sessions for user groups to hear feedback from clinicians, staff and community representatives including Dubbo Health Council and the Lourdes Community Board of Advice tomorrow.

The review of the Project Definition Planning, Catholic Healthcare, Greater Western Area Health Service and NSW Health will last one month for amendments to be made to the final document.

“The aim is to call for tenders for the building construction towards the end of November 2008 and to commence building in late March or early April 2009.

“We anticipate that the redevelopment will be completed by mid 2010,” said Catholic Healthcare’s Operations Manager Jeannine Biviano.

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

TRAINER Anthony Cummings provided wife Bernadette with the perfect birthday present when Prima Nova prevailed in a three-way finish to the JRA Plate at Randwick yesterday.
Nanjing Night Net

"It is Bernadette’s birthday today, that will make it better for her," Cummings said after Prima Nova’s ($9) short- neck win over Lyncean Academy ($9), with Queen Of Queens ($11) a similar margin away in third.

Cummings also had Adelaide Cup winner Zavite in the JRA Plate and said his Sydney Cup plans were "still to be decided" after the gelding disappointed when finishing down the track.

"Prima Nova may back up next week in the Emancipation Stakes, though," Cummings said.

"Then we’ll look to Brisbane with her. The Hollindale Stakes up there will be the first port of call in Queensland."

Glen Boss was on board Prima Nova and said, while the winning margin was not big yesterday, he was confident.

"From the half-mile I felt I had the race won, she was just travelling that well," Boss said.

"I know she didn’t end up winning by a lot but I thought it was a soft win. I didn’t ask her to over-extend herself."

Chris Munce was aiming for a race-to-race double for trainer Guy Walter when partnering Lyncean Academy and was forced to make a sustained run around the field.

"He had to do things a little bit tough but he kept attacking the line," Munce said "He is honest."

Queen Of Queens loomed as the winner only to be overhauled by Prima Nova and Lyncean Academy, while the Paul Perry-trained Brisbane Cup and The Metropolitan winner Newport caught the eye when hitting the line well to finish fourth.

"It was a good Sydney Cup trial," said Newport’s jockey Hugh Bowman.

Read More →

Police arrested a driver after a high-speed chase through the streets of Dubbo on Sunday night.A Dubbo man has had his driver licence suspended after he allegedly led police on a drunken high-speed car pursuit through the CBD, driving at double the speed limit.
Nanjing Night Net

The man was allegedly under the influence of alcohol at the time.

After the pursuit the suspected drink-driver blew a high-range reading of alcohol in his blood, police said.

The man allegedly reached speeds of more than 120km/h in a 60 km/h zone, according to police, before it ended in North Dubbo when the car broke down and the driver was unable to continue.

The chase began when a highway patrol car allegedly detected a car speeding in East Dubbo about 9.30 on Sunday night, according to Inspector David Minehan.

The car refused to pull over, he said.

“It failed to stop and was pursued into the CBD and then into North Dubbo,” Inspector Minehan said.

“The vehicle ultimately had a mechanical problem and stopped. Police arrested the driver and he was found to have a high-range alcohol content.”

The chase started in East Dubbo, headed down Wheelers Lane, and into the CBD via Cobra and Brisbane streets. The pursuit then made its way up to North Dubbo via Darling Street.

The man’s licence was instantly suspended and he was charged with offences relating to his driving.

He received bail and will attend court on a date to be fixed.

Dubbo police and detectives were also called to investigate an incident in West Dubbo yesterday morning.

Police were seen on Linda Drive at about 11am interviewing possible witnesses.

Crime scene tape was spread across the street and one woman was taken to hospital.

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

Volunteers Rhys Dunn and Meg Fenton (10) with Ro and Howard Evans from the Salvation Army leaving headquarters to start collecting for the Red Shield Appeal.The Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal Doorknock was a great success in Dubbo over the weekend, with the local corps raising over $17,000.
Nanjing Night Net

Dubbo Salvation Army Captain, Chris Radburn said he was pleased with the amount of donations made and said he expected even more to come through in the post.

“We had a target to raise $42,000 here in Dubbo and we hope that with the money we have raised in the doorknock and the donations we receive in the post we will be able to reach that goal,” Mr Radburn said.

This year Dubbo had 65 volunteers helping to doorknock covering roughly 45 per cent of the Dubbo area.

“To be able to cover the whole of Dubbo we would need around 250 volunteers,” Mr Radburn said.

“Our volunteers did a great job,” he said.

Mr Radburn said fundraisers such as the Red Shield Appeal Doorknock do benefit the local community.

“We send at least six people to Sydney each year for rehabilitation, we have a telephone counselling service, a court support service and many more,” Mr Radburn said.

“These programs rely on fundraisers like the doorknock to continue operating,” he said.

The first Red Shield Appeal Doorknock was first held in 1965 in response to concern about the need for funds to meet the ever-increasing demand on Salvation Army social services.

While the appeal has been expanded and refined enormously since that time, demand upon Salvation Army services continues to increase.

Funds raised through the Red Shield Appeal each year are needed more than ever if the Salvos are to maintain their services in the local community.

In 2008 the Salvation Army will provide assistance to over one million Australians.

To donate to the Salvation Army you can phone 13 72 58 (credit card), visit any Westpac branch or visit their website www.salvos南京夜網.au.

[email protected]南京夜網

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

INTERNATIONALLY acclaimed sprinter Takeover Target and the baldy-faced assassin Apache Cat are thoroughbred cult heroes. The drawcards with a knack for creating headlines lock bridles today for only the third time in their stellar careers.
Nanjing Night Net

The event is the TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick, the race Apache Cat roared away with last year. The same race in which Takeover Target competed looking a little rotund because he had a third trip to Britain awaiting. His itinerary included a stop-over in Singapore, which proved lucrative, for the rising 10-year-old won the Kris Flyer.

It was another international credit for Takeover Target, which had already won at the Queen’s Royal Ascot meeting and in Japan. Apache Cat came up short in Hong Kong last year, which came after a thrilling two-horse war won in a photo by Takeover Target over in Perth.

So the scene is set for another intriguing clash but a couple of rivals are not about to concede defeat. Jockey Corey Brown, who won straight five group 1s on Apache Cat including the TJ Smith last year, is on Nicconi, which goes into today’s major having swamped rivals to win the group 1 The Galaxy last Saturday.

Then you have trainer John O’Shea and the Sydney champ Racing To Win.

"It is funny, Apache Cat beat Racing To Win a nostril as a three-year-old in the Phar Lap Stakes at Rosehill," O’Shea said this week. "Here they are three years down the track and still butting heads."

Having been dumped off Apache Cat last preparation, Brown has an understanding of what Jay Ford has been put through. Ford has been on Takeover Target in 36 of its 37 career starts for 19 wins, including five at the highest level.

Takeover Target’s trainer Joe Janiak dropped a grenade this week when announcing Nash Rawiller was to ride the gelding in the TJ Smith. Rawiller got a feel for Takeover Target at Randwick on Thursday. The jockey was lucky to stay on when Takeover Target stumbled while trotting on the cinders track.

"It is not going to be as easy a race as it was last year," Brown assured. "You’ve got my horse, there is Racing To Win, Northern Meteor and Bel Mer coming off a last-start group 1 win. The field has a lot more depth to it."

O’Shea’s galloper Reigning To Win finished a luckless second behind Apache Cat in the TJ Smith last year but Racing To Win is far superior to the stablemate. You only have to look at the records.

"Apache Cat and Takeover Target have great records," O’Shea said. "Both are great racehorses, and it is just going to be a fantastic day. It would appear Takeover Target is going significantly better this year. He is in a much better physical condition than he was going into the race last year. He is going there Saturday meaning business."

So to Racing To Win, whose career has been plagued by minor injuries, equine influenza and a couple of clashes with a great warrior in Desert War.

Racing To Win had gunned down Desert War before finishing second-last in the Cox Plate of 2006 in which Apache Cat finished seventh.

"It was later proved that to run past Desert War was quite an arduous task, and my horse did it twice in seven days," O’Shea said. "That ultimately took significantly more out of him than we cared to appreciate at the time."

But Racing To Win is back, with O’Shea pointing out his winner of $3,471,785 in prizemoney is unbeaten second-up from a spell, having won four from four. "This time he has come along good," he said. "He had a bit of a foot abscess but is good now. He is a five-time group 1 winner who has been out of a place only three times in his career. When you get him right it is worth it."

Read More →

TRUCKING magnate Ron Finemore has been elected chairman of the Australian Jockey Club. Well-known owner-breeder and property developer John Cornish is the new vice-chairman.
Nanjing Night Net

Both were unopposed by eight other board members.

The new-look board was elected on April 9 at an extraordinary general meeting of members which followed a bitter and faction-ridden campaign. Finemore was voted onto to the board in 2007 while Cornish was part of the "Save Our AJC" team and was one of three of its elected to the board.

Members ousted chairman Ross Smyth-Kirk and board member Bob Guth, who missed out by two votes. Smyth-Kirk and Guth asked for a recount of votes but the new board took legal advice and it was agreed there would be none. There was concern only nine board members should have been elected but this was also ruled out by the legal eagles.

"I am very humbled by this honour and believe we have a fantastic opportunity to bring the AJC together," Finemore said in a statement yesterday. "I will work tirelessly with the board to service our members and stakeholders and with unity of purpose we can move the club forward." Gai’s day with Theseo?

Gai Waterhouse’s bid for a record-equalling seventh Doncaster Mile is on target, if punters are correct.

The trainer’s galloper Theseo, which will carry topweight of 57 kilograms, has met support, while stablemate Gold Water is a firmer in today’s AJC Australian Oaks at Randwick.

"The best backed runner since the draw on Tuesday, no doubt, has been Theseo," TAB Sportsbet’s Glenn Munsie said yesterday. "Even today 20 per cent of all money invested has been for Theseo. We took one bet of $4000 a win, $3000 a place at $11."

Theseo was in to $10, with loads of small each-way money arriving for New Zealander Sir Slick.

"He was backed to win $200,000. He is in to $126 and will start a lot shorter," Munsie said.

"The punters have dropped off the real wet trackers, horses like Vision And Power, Neroli and Largo Lad."

Sportingbet’s chief Michael Sullivan reported a wager of $36,000 to $3000 about Theseo winning, while Caulfield Guineas winner Whobegotyou, which blew out to $10 after drawing barrier 19, had been backed to win $300,000.

"It [the draw] probably doesn’t affect him too badly as he was going to get well back anyway," Sullivan said.

All Silent heads Sportsbet’s Doncaster betting at $5 with Hot Danish at $9 just in front of Whobegotyou at $9.50.

Gold Water is on the fifth line of oaks betting at $10 with Miss Darcey the $5 favourite.

In the AJC Sires’ Produce, Munsie said, "The punters are only interested in the favourite Phelan Ready," with the juvenile in to $3.20 from $3.80. Gallica on a roll

Victorian raider and AJC Australian Oaks player Gallica certainly knows how to finish on top.

A winner of the group 1 Thousand Guineas last spring and the Schweppes Oaks in South Australia last month, Gallica is out to win for the seventh time this season.

Only three horse have won more since the season began back on August 1, and none are in action at Randwick today.

Doncaster Mile hopeful King Mufhasa has also won six times while rival Vision And Power, which is coming off a last-start win in the George Ryder at weight-for-age, has won five times since August 1.

A top-three finish in the Doncaster for Theseo will result in the Horse of the Year favourite jumping the Cox Plate winner Maldivian on the season prizemoney list. Not even first prize of $1.2 million will help Theseo pass Magic Millions and Golden Slipper winner Phelan Ready, which has snared $3,248,500 in stakes from just five starts.

The first prize of $300,000 in today’s AJC Sires’ Produce will not be enough for Phelan Ready to take top prizemoney honours from the Melbourne Cup winner Viewed ($3,613,000).

Read More →

Dubbo College South Campus students Alex Bonham, Dean Kardell, Adrienne Lee and Tim Robson with Department of Education road safety consultant Steve Evans and Senior Constable Marty Paice from Dubbo Police.The safety of students travelling to and from school on push bikes is the focus of a new campaign organised by Dubbo College South Campus and Dubbo police.
Nanjing Night Net

The new campaign will require students riding bikes to carry a bike pass issued by the school and the local police.

South Campus principal Mel Johnston said it had become apparent that some students were not abiding by the rules, particularly in the wearing of helmets.

“We were concerned about bike safety issues including helmets and bike maintenance so we decided to do something about it,” he said.

“We discussed our concerns with the local police and came up with a licensing program for students who agree to meet certain conditions. These conditions include wearing a helmet, maintaining the bike – particularly the brakes – abiding by road rules and not riding within school grounds.”

After gaining the support of parents, 19 South Campus students were awarded the bike passes last week during a visit to the school by Department of Education road safety consultant Steve Evans and Senior Constable Marty Paice from Orana Local Area Command.

Senior Constable Paice said there appeared to be more push bike riders at Dubbo College South Campus than at most other schools in Dubbo.

“We are tagging approved bikes so we can distinguish between students with the bike pass and those without,” he said.

“We will be rewarding those riders who stick to the rules and we will continue to encourage others to get involved in the program. We want to make the message positive in the hope that everyone will come on board.”

Senior Constable Paice said once the program had been in place for a reasonable time the Orana Local Area Command would start to target students in schools throughout the command who regularly broke the rules.

“If a student rides a bike without a helmet we will impose a $53 fine,” he said. “It’s important that students know these fines are for life. This means if they don’t pay the fine now, they will have to pay before they’re able to obtain a driver’s licence or register a car.”

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

When 21st and 19th century meet. Squatter’s wife Julianne Ross Allcorn (right) shows friend and fellow artist Barbie Hooper what life in 1861 was really like.Artists in need of inspiration and a disconnection from modern life travelled to Dubbo’s “Oxley Downs” on the weekend.
Nanjing Night Net

Stepping back into the 1860s proved a huge success for the group of twelve Sydney artists who immersed themselves in the squatter settlement under the guidance of Julianne Ross Allcorn, the squatter’s wife from the hit ABC series “Outback House”.

“Outback Revisited” is a concept created by Mrs Ross Allcorn and her good friend Barbie Hooper, to get artists to connect with the 19th century.

The artists immersed themselves in 1860s living, sleeping in the shearing quarters, eating traditional foods from the garden and paddock and cutting themselves off completely from all 21st century technology.

“When I was living out here for “Outback House” I experienced the challenges of painting and creating art in the 19th century,” Mrs Ross Allcorn said.

“Materials and paints were limited and without having access to a greater outside world I painted what was in front of me.

“All outside influences were removed. It made me see things I hadn’t noticed before.”

The art teacher was so inspired by her time at “Oxley Downs” she enlisted a friend and collaborative artist Ms Hooper to help organise and run the artist retreat.

The first batch of eager artists to travel to the isolated property were immediately entranced by the stark beauty of 19th century living.

“This weekend has given me an insight into what it was like for our predecessors,” artist Tessa Myee said.

“I grew up in the country and coming out here I felt like I was coming home. It’s been a real eye-opener.

“We’ve all relaxed over the last two days.

“It’s wonderful to wake-up to galahs calling and breathe fresh air.

“It’s a very inspirational environment to work in.”

The works created by the artists at “Oxley Downs” will travel around Australia on exhibition.

The exhibition opening will be held at The Greenway Gallery in Morpeth in the Hunter Valley on July 31 before travelling to Sydney and Perth.

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

THE boat that exploded off Ashmore Reef this week is likely to have left Indonesia from Java, taking an increasingly popular route whereby vessels track along the coast of Indonesia's most populous island before heading to Bali then Lombok and Ashmore Reef, just inside Australia's territorial waters.
Nanjing Night Net

The journey is longer and more convoluted than departing from the closest point in Indonesia to Australia – West Timor – and the nearby islands.

But a successful law enforcement operation in and around West Timor, and the fact that asylum seekers from the Middle East tend to be more noticeable in the sparsely populated province, has spurred the people smugglers' change of tactics.

Jakarta, where the Antara news agency reported that 68 Afghan asylum seekers were picked up yesterday planning to go to Australia, is becoming a more common point of embarkation and asylum seekers were detained in South Sulawesi in February, allegedly planning to cross to Australia.

But people-smuggling investigators say Indonesia's second largest city, Surabaya in East Java, is emerging as the new focus of human trafficking.

It is a densely populated city which has hundreds of ports, bays and beaches suitable for boats taking loads of 50 to 100 people, and asylum seekers are increasingly hiding out there awaiting the signal from people-smuggling syndicates to make the quick dash to the sea and meet the vessels designated.

“They move very quickly on the vessels, often at night,” one investigator said. “It's a challenge to keep up with them.”

The asylum seekers can hide relatively easily in the busy, multicultural neighbourhoods of Surabaya, and some have posed as tourists in resorts and hotels before being moved en masse, investigators say.

As they grow in sophistication, human-trafficking syndicates have been using the internet to monitor weather forecasts to time their journeys, which typically take about a week.

This explains why so many boats have arrived in Australia in the past few weeks. The seas are usually rough and treacherous for small boats in late March and early April, but this year the weather eased a few weeks early.

Read More →