Monthly Archives: October 2019

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Rabbitohs defeat Manly in NRL

BIG WIN: The Rabbitohs celebrate Chris McQueen’s try last night. Picture: Getty ImagesSTAR fullback Greg Inglis made a triumphant return from injury as South Sydney came from behind to beat Manly 22-10 at Gosford last night.
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Inglis scored under the posts with just over 10 minutes remaining in a tight contest between two of the NRL’s genuine contenders.

Dylan Farrell crossed out wide in the 78th minute to complete the scoring.

Tries from Jamie Lyon and Jorge Taufua helped Manly open up a 10-6 lead.

Lyon opened the scoring after just three minutes with Glenn Stewart orchestrating the move with a sweet pass to Daly Cherry-Evans, who outpaced Bryson Goodwin before passing inside for his skipper to finish.

It looked an ominous sign for the faltering Rabbitohs, who had lost their previous two matches to slip off the top of the ladder, but their giant forward pack cranked into gear after a slow start to create a try for Chris McQueen.

The Queensland back-rower used all his skills from his days as a winger to jump high and grab an Adam Reynolds kick with two hands and dive over from close range.

Reynolds levelled the scores with the kick, but it was Manly who went in at the break with the lead through Taufua.

A swift move from the Sea Eagles saw the ball spread wide to the left and the powerful winger barged over Reynolds and the onrushing Inglis to touch down.

The try left Inglis, who had only just returned from a knee injury suffered in the Origin decider, writhing in agony.

However, he was able to return to action and play a defining role.

Souths got their noses in front after the break with a converted try to winger Nathan Merritt.

Souths’ Jeff Lima was placed on report for a spiteful ankle twist on Anthony Watmough, who made a shock return to action after initially being ruled out with a knee injury.

In last night’s other match, Eels star Jarryd Hayne suffered a thigh injury as the Broncos kept their slim finals hopes alive with a 22-12 win at Suncorp Stadium.

Appeal leads to jail sentence

A MUSWELLBROOK man who stormed his former partner’s home and bashed her in pursuit of her new boyfriend has been jailed after the Court of Criminal Appeal ruled that a sentence he received earlier this year was inadequate.
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Anthony Eckerman, 27, escaped with a suspended jail term after he pleaded guilty to an aggravated break and enter, but the Director of Public Prosecutions appealed the leniency of that sentence.

The Court of Criminal Appeal ordered Eckerman to serve two years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 14 months.

The sentence started in March, but Eckerman only entered custody on Thursday.

Eckerman had threatened to “punch the s— out of” his former partner’s new boyfriend the day before he arrived on her doorstep at 3.30am on June 23 last year, Justice Derek Price said.

She and the boyfriend were woken by Eckerman tapping on their bedroom window before the woman went to the front door.

She refused to let Eckerman in before he tried to slide open a window. He then kicked in a window and walked through it, cutting himself and spilling blood over his hands and the window sill, the court heard.

Eckerman then went in search of the boyfriend who snuck out of the house and rang triple-0.

When Eckerman couldn’t find the boyfriend he grabbed the victim by the throat and punched her in the head while demanding that she tell him where the boyfriend was.

Police arrived minutes later, but Eckerman refused to let them in until his former partner unlocked the front door before she ran and hid.

Eckerman told police, “F— off, you dogs, this has nothing to do with you.” Eckerman was eventually arrested.

Justice Price said he did not understand how the sentencing judge could find that the offence was less frightening for the victims because it was being carried out by someone they knew.

“‘When women [and men] enter into a new domestic relationship they are entitled to do so without the threat of violence from a former partner, ” Justice Price said.

Eckerman will be eligible for parole next May.

Knights have always had a place in the Storm

IT is hard to imagine two more contrasting rugby league cultures.
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One is the big country town at the mouth of a coal-mining valley, which for decades has been a nursery of champions – where, in the glory days, players attracted so much hype and adulation that some felt they were living in a goldfish bowl.

The other is Australia’s second-largest city, where the 13-man game will probably always be an alien entity, no matter how many grand finals are won. Where players can wander the streets anonymously, knowing that they are small fish in a very large pond.

Yet there has been an affinity between Newcastle and Melbourne that dates back to 1998, the inaugural year of the NRL’s only Victorian franchise.

The Storm’s foundation squad included no fewer than seven players with Newcastle connections: former Knights Robbie Ross, Brett Kimmorley, Paul Marquet and Rodney Howe; and three others from the defunct Hunter Mariners in Scott Hill, Richard Swain and John Carlaw.

Ross, Kimmorley, Marquet and Howe were in the starting team 12 months later when the Storm scored a stunning grand final triumph against St George Illawarra.

In each of Melbourne’s three subsequent victories in title deciders (two of which were discredited because of salary cap breaches), there has been a Novocastrian influence.

Clint Newton made a mid-season transfer to Melbourne in 2007 and scored a try in their 34-8 win against Manly. His teammates included another ex-Knight, Anthony Quinn, who scored a double.

Likewise, Valentine-Eleebana junior Brett Finch returned to haunt Parramatta in the last game of 2009, which the Storm won 23-16.

And last year Knights discard Richie Fa’aoso described himself as ‘‘one of the luckiest blokes ever to play rugby league’’ after his sixth game with Melbourne was their 14-4 grand final win against Canterbury.

Scone product Todd Lowrie was also in that team.

Other ex-Knights to have made homes south of the border include Ben and Luke MacDougall and Adam Woolnough. This season, Junior Sa’u has played in four games for Melbourne, while former Newcastle under-20s prop Mitch Garbutt has made three appearances for the Storm.

And the traffic has not been one way. Among the big names who have travelled the reverse route are Kirk Reynoldson, Ben Cross and Jeremy Smith.

Then there are Marquet, Quinn and Robbie Rochow, who have all moved from the Knights to the Storm and back again.

Marquet holds the unique record of having been a foundation player, and premiership winner, with both clubs.

When the Knights host Melbourne in tomorrow’s blockbuster showdown at Hunter Stadium, he will be happily sitting on the fence.

‘‘I’m not real worried who wins, as long as it’s a good game,’’ Marquet told the Newcastle Herald.

‘‘They’re two great clubs and I’m an Old Boy of both, so I’m just happy to have been associated with them.’’

Marquet, the workhorse back-rower from Raymond Terrace, joked that Melburnians ‘‘couldn’t give a rat’s arse’’ about the Storm in his day.

‘‘But that was probably the best part about it, in some ways,’’ he recalled.

‘‘The boys don’t get pestered or harassed if they go out … plus it was a nice, tight-knit club because all the players were from out of town, so they had a lot of family functions and things.’’

Asked how he enjoyed life in Melbourne, Marquet replied: ‘‘I loved it.

‘‘Probably what helped me was there were so many Newcastle boys there.

‘‘There were seven of us there in that first year. I reckon that really helped us starting up a new club.’’

Paul Marquet.

Clint Newton.

Richie Fa’aoso.

Anthony Quinn.

OPINION: Costs are high for the unblinking eye

CCTV is always popular with politicians.
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WATCHING YOU: CCTV can be effective but it has significant drawbacks.

It’s a visible legacy of political patronage. Television news and popular culture depictions mean that we are all very familiar with CCTV.

Both major political parties support greater use of closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems in public places.

As part of the $40 million National Crime Prevention Fund, the Australian government recently allocated funding for CCTV across the country.

The Coalition has promised $50 million for safer streets, including funding for CCTV.

Given this investment and the ongoing costs of a CCTV system, it is timely to consider whether CCTV is effective.

The best-available evidence suggests that CCTV systems are not very good at preventing crime in public places, but can assist with police investigations.

Many assumptions are made about public-space CCTV systems that often are not reflected in reality.

These systems have to contend with a number of conditions that compromise their effectiveness in preventing crime.

Motivated offenders will conceal themselves or offend outside of the camera range. Intoxicated offenders care little about the presence of cameras.

Some offences, such as drug dealing, can be difficult to detect on camera.

Illegal activities conducted in view of unmonitored cameras do not result in police intervention and busy police cannot attend any more incidents detected by the cameras.

Given these and other factors, the best available international research suggests that public-space CCTV systems have a modest crime-prevention benefit.

Few comprehensive Australian studies have been undertaken.

The most significant evaluation in Australia (conducted by Bond University) concluded that CCTV detects rather than prevents crime in public places.

While more research is needed, the existing research evidence is not very positive in relation to crime-prevention outcomes.

Where results are more promising is in helping police investigations – after the offence has happened. CCTV footage can place an offender at a scene, show the movements of a victim prior to an offence and rule out particular lines of investigation.

CCTV footage can be very useful when witnesses are intoxicated or when there are conflicting stories about an incident. Offenders have been apprehended and have accepted guilt on the basis of good CCTV footage.

It is difficult to defend a claim that an offender was not in a particular location at a particular time behaving in a certain manner when good footage clearly places them at the scene and participating in a criminal act.

But to ensure that good footage is captured, a number of technical and operational requirements must be met.

Unlike systems that have fixed cameras that just watch a particular entry or exit point, public-space CCTV systems need to watch over large areas with high pedestrian traffic. They need to operate effectively in harsh sunlight and moonless nights. They need to be in locations of criminal activity but not to be blocked by trees, bus shelters, awnings or other structures. Surrounding lighting needs to be upgraded to make pictures clear.

They need to be monitored so that police or security personnel can be directed to an incident, allowing a quick response. Footage needs to be of a quality that can be used in court and stored long enough for police to be able to access it during their investigation.

A fully functioning public-space CCTV system is expensive. Not just expensive to install, but to maintain. While initial funds might come from the Australian government, it is often the local council that is then responsible for the ongoing management of the system. The biggest ongoing costs come from monitoring the cameras.

Having a person or people watching the cameras 24 hours a day, seven days a week is a costly exercise. Over the life of a system, these ongoing costs will add up.

Large councils will often spend more than a million dollars each year on running their CCTV system.

Once a system is installed, it is very difficult to remove. Even if there are substantial falls in crime in the area, local politicians will be unwilling to shelve the system.

There is always pressure to expand the system, with requests for more cameras to be added. Additional cameras mean allocating extra resources. When political parties throw money at these systems, it is rarely recurrent funding. Once the election is over, it will be ratepayers that cover the ongoing costs for decades to come. This should make us stop and think hard about the merits of CCTV in public places.

Garner Clancey is a lecturer in criminology at Sydney University.

OPINION: The science is in: we need to raise the bar

DOESN’T science just happen anyway? Can we leave science to the scientists who know it better? If you have no opinion or interest in how we live our lives and how our future will develop then maybe the answer to these questions is yes.
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But if ever you worry about genetically modified plants, global warming, nuclear and alternative energy, drug-resistant diseases, coal seam gas, mobile phone radiation or a raft of other issues that face society, then some appreciation of science and its impact on our lives is essential to evidence-based decisions rather than emotive and sometimes irrational outcomes.

This week has been Science Week, a great opportunity for the community to engage with science and to showcase the University of Newcastle’s outstanding research and teaching.

While there is broad community interest in science, there are few opportunities to get up close and personal to real science and its outcomes.

However, there is a basic question behind this – is Science Week run just as a publicity exercise to justify the existence of science funding or is there a real problem to be addressed?

The position paper titled Science, Technology, Engineering land Mathematics in the National Interest: A Strategic Approach launched last week by the Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, focused on the four main needs in Australian science – education, knowledge, innovation and influence.

Our students are losing their competitiveness against international benchmarks and international research benchmarks are forever rising to challenge our efforts.

The University of Newcastle has strived over its relatively short history to meet these challenges and has an outstanding record of achievement.

In research it has 14 areas of science that have been independently judged to be at or above world standard and the university as a whole is ranked very highly in the class of universities under 50 years of age.

These research standings attract high-performing researchers to Newcastle to inject valuable knowledge and skills into solving local problems, while also making discoveries that have both national and international impact.

The university’s webpage (http://www.newcastle.edu.au/newsroom/research-and-innovation/news/spotlight-science ) gives you a chance to discover more detail from 19 case studies where science in conjunction with medicine and engineering are making a real difference to our lives and those of the world around us.

The University of Newcastle has one of the most comprehensive and integrated outreach programs of any university in Australia and the world.

Activities have been developed that aim to not only interest students in science but also show them that they have a role to play in this exciting and challenging career opportunity.

These programs, which have been developed to promote interest and engagement in science and mathematics in primary and secondary students, have been so successful that some have expanded nationally and attracted both national and international prizes for their achievements.

If your children or grandchildren have been involved in the SMART program, the Science and Engineering Challenge, the Scientists in Schools, Mathematicians in Schools, Experimentfest or a range of other activities supported from the university, then they are the beneficiaries of a wealth of experience and research that provides them with better choice opportunities than students in other regions.

Another focus is the strategy developed by science, mathematics and education staff to create new educational methods used to train future mathematics and science teachers.

There are a number of research projects under way to develop new methods of instruction to build a more exciting and instructive school experience for students that will address the issue of declining participation in schools.

Science Week is not meant to be the only time the community engages with science but this showcase is designed to renew participation and engagement.

At any time of the year find out more about science – participate and even corner a scientist to ask them what they do and why they do it.

They are only human and would love to tell you more.

Professor John O’Connor is the head of the school of mathematical and physical sciences at the University of Newcastle.