Monthly Archives: November 2018

Profit expected after Leagues Club sale

Newcastle RL CEO Matt Harris says his organisation will be turning a profit in 2019 off the back of the sale of the Newcastle Leagues Club and are pushing ahead with plans to affiliate with the NSW Rugby League.
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The Leagues Club sale was finalisedjust prior to Christmas, fetching close to $2.5 million, in a massive boost to theNewcastle RL’s dwindling financial reserves which have been eaten into after several tough years without additional funding.

Harris said his board will meet next week to formalise a plan to re-invest the money from the sale.

He revealed the likely return on the investment coupled with their normal revenue streams will see the Newcastle RL in the black during the 2019 season.

“The Leagues Club settled on the Monday before Christmas and now we need to sit down and plan the best way to re-invest that money,”he said.

“It certainly puts us in a far stronger position financially and I’m confident we will be turning a profit in 2019 with the return on the investment.

“But there is a lot to be done obviously. We’llalso be having furtherdiscussions with the NSWRL about affiliating with them possibly as early as next week.

Harris said NSWRL agreed to the affiliation last month on the proviso the clubs and referees’ association were unanimous in agreement with the move to sever ties with the CRL.

The planalso had to have the backing of Wests Group and the Newcastle Knights.

“We have ticked all those boxes. All their requirements have been met so it is our expectation that it will be all systems go,”he said.

Harris said he doesn’t expect rumoured merger talks between the NSWRL and the CRLor any move by the CRL to block the move to delay the affiliation process.

“I don’t think it is any secret we support the model that his the single spine –the same model that the Queensland Rugby League has,”he said.

“The sooner the merger happens the better. But I don’t believe those talks will hold up our affiliation process.”

The Newcastle Heraldunderstands at least two other CRL-run competitions are also in talks with the NSWRL.

Boost: Newcastle RL CEO Matt Harris says his organisation is now in a much stronger financial position.

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Leading ladies back in business

HAPPY DAYS: Veruca Salt are where they want to be – together again and making music.Veruca Salt came out of nowhere with debut single Seether in 1993 and grabbed the music industry by the throat.
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Fronted by Louise Post and Nina Gordon, the Chicago four-piece injected angsty power pop into alt-rock with bittersweet harmonies that cut to the bone. They toured with the likes of Hole and PJ Harvey and their debut album, American Thighs, sold millions.

Within five years, though, Veruca Salt had split. Trouble had been brewing since the band went to Hawaii to recordtheir second full-length album, Eight Arms To Hold You, with producerBob Rock.

“I just think we were so overwhelmed,” Post tells Weekender. “We couldn’t appreciateeverything that was happening to us. We weren’t grounded.”

Jim Shapiro left in early 1997 and the band officially called it quits when Gordon left a year later.The split took a heavy emotional toll on Gordon and Post. Years went by without the two speaking. Then, in 2003, theybegan to slowly mend fences, emailing each other sporadically. By 2008, both had married andstarted families and they began to lean on one another as new mothers.

“After Nina and I split up I made albums I really cared about, and I toured on them, but there was something just so basically different about doing it without her. Ididn’t have the fight in me any more and I really just wanted to live a normal life. I just wanted out,” Postsays.

“I had hidden my guitars in my cupboard andhad literally stopped playing and yet I kept on writing songs in my head, despite myself. Icouldn’t make it go away, even though I tried.”

As painful as it was, the 14-year separation was ultimately necessary, says Post.

“Nina and I were so intertwined and joined at the hip that I think our identities were becoming intertwined. We needed to strike out on our own and establish our own lives as adults,” Post explains.

“We separated and became healthy and whole. We reunited over motherhood, and music was the icing on the cake.When Nina emailed me saying ‘Let’s get together, Mazzy Star is playing Coachella – why aren’t we?’, well, that was the clincher.All of a sudden it was like ‘Shit, let’s play music’.

“When I pick up the guitar a song comes out. It is always the way for me. They are there waiting to come out, you know?At the risk of sounding self-important and over dramatic, sometimes it feels like I am just a vessel to write and record and that’s why Ikeep doing it.”

Gordon and Post’s reunion eventually led to the pair reforming Veruca Salt with theiroriginal bandmates: Shapiroand bassist Steve Lack.

“It’s miraculous to have this brand-new, beautiful chapter,” Post says. “We never saw itcoming, and yethere we are. To be able to reconnect and play with these dear friends ofmine who are like my family–it’s such a gift.I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. Everything is whereit’s supposed to be.”

Post is matter of fact about Veruca Salt’s early success. She says the band“found a very receptive audience” and “didn’t have to fight too hard to be heard”.

“It starts with a song, and we had a song (Seether) that caught like wildfire. There was some magic there that made that song catchy enough that people wanted to hear it a lot. Combine that with the fact that we were young and pretty, that was unmistakably the one-two punch.

“We were treated very much like thenext big thing as soon as we stepped foot in the industry.

“Having said that, Nina and I spent a tonne of time sitting in our living room writing and honing our sound and recording four-track demos by ourselves.By the time we reached the music we were on a solid footing.”

Post also downplays Veruca Salt’s reputation as being trailblazers for other female rockers.

“Look, there were women who had paved the way before us. I grew up listening to Fleetwood Mac and Heart, Mamas andthe Papas, The Breeders, My Bloody Valentine, The Sundays, Sinead O’Connor, Chrissie Hynde –the list goes on,” she says.

“We stepped on the stage that they were just stepping off of, you know. They were also our peers, a lot of those artists. It felt very natural, it didn’t feel like a struggle. It felt like there were a lot of female-led bands around us.

“And yet we were still somewhat revolutionary in that it was still relatively new to have a female-fronted band. Not playinginto the hands of the patriarchy and doing things on our own terms –that was important to us.

“Only later did we become aware that we were being managed by men, being manipulated by men, all that time. It ultimately broke up the band.We weren’t necessarily as vigilant as we needed to be. There was a lot of whispering and side-taking, triangulating. We drank the Kool-Aid and ended up falling apart.

“We’d been walking around carrying the feminist flag and then we literally fell apart.We also proved we were just human though, andwhat we get to do now is our victory lap.”

Veruca Salt play A Day On The Green at Bimbadgen on February 24 with The Living End, Spiderbait, Lemonheads, The Fauves and Tumbleweed. Continue reading

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All aboard the Jets’ bandwagon

NIGEL Boogaard says he still gets goosebumps when he remembers playing an A-League semi-final in Newcastle.
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LOYAL: long-suffering Newcastle fans.

LEADER: Nigel Boogaard

On that occasion, in season three of the A-League, the rookie defender was wearing Central Coast Marinerscolours, and he will never forget the intimidating atmosphere and parochial support 22,960 Novocastrians provided as their team soared to a2-0 victory.

Ten years on, Boogaard wearsthe captain’sarmband forhis home-town team, and his dream is to leadthem back to the same stage, hopefully with a similar or even larger contingentof fans occupyingthe bandwagon.

“Although I was a Mariner at the time, for me to come back to Newcastle and see people supporting the local team like that was massive,” Boogaardtold theNewcastle Herald.

“Probably 70 or 80 per cent of them were against us that day, but the atmosphere in that stadium was amazing.

“There’s a rich football history here. There’s a lot of people around town who are very knowledgeable about football.

“To have a packed stadium, with 24 or 25,000 people, it would be amazing to get to that level again. Hopefully we’re on our way to that.”

Newcastle have attracted average crowds of 10,229 to their eight home games this season, an increase of more than 18 per cent on last season (8645).

That includes several attendances that were affected by unfavourable weather.

Boogaard said the support this season has been “outstanding” but was hopeful it would continue togrow in the countdown to the play-offs.

Newcastle are second on the ladder, and aim to move eight points clear of third-placed Melbourne City, and within five points on leaders Sydney FC, with a win at home against Brisbane Roar on Friday night.

Boogaard said fanpower had played a“massive” role in Newcastle’s dramatic revival this season.

“Just that noise, knowing that they’re there, they’re vocal, they’ve got your back regardless, especially later in games, when the boys are fatigued and their minds are starting to wander a bit, to have that support really pushes us on,” he said.

“Especially with the way [coach] Ernie [Merrick] wants us to play, attacking with front-foot football, having that crowd support eggs you on to do that.

“They’re a key ingredient for us to be successful this year.”

After failing to reach the A-League finals intheir past seven campaigns –and collecting the wooden spoon 12 months ago –Boogaard said the Jets were determined to make amends this season.

“We still have to stay focused and keep striving for that common goal, which is to make the top four,” he said.

“I think the difference this year is that we’ve got key individuals around the club who know how to be successful and make sure that people don’t get carried away and get ahead of themselves.

“There’s a good balance within the squad and the coaching staff.

“Hopefully we can keep it going and put ourselves in a position to challenge for a title. It would be great to bring that back to Newcastle, because this town deserves some success.”

After the 2-0 win against Central Coast midweek and Friday’s clash with Brisbane, Newcastle will host last-placed Wellington on Saturday week and coach Merrick said it was important to capitalise on their home-ground advantage.

“Three home games …there’s no doubt when times are tough on the field, that the crowd help to get you over the line,” Merrick said.

“Hopefully we get a bigger crowd on Friday and next week again.”

Merrick said after Tuesday night’s win that Argentine import Pato Rodriguez would“definitely” start against Brisbane, but after Thursday’s final ball-work session he said it would depend on how the 27-year-old“pulled up”.

Meanwhile, Jets defender Daniel Georgievski offered a forthright appraisal of strugglingBrisbane, saying they were“in all sorts of strife” and Newcastle were confident of adding to it on Friday.

“It probably hasn’t worked out for them,” Georgievski said.“That’s why they’ve changed their formation so many times.

“For us, we just look for the next game … history has shown we will overcome whatever they bring.”

Brisbane have won only three games all season.

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ASX extends losing streak as banks weigh market down

Australian shares declined on Thursday as banks weighed the market down, after worries about the future direction of bond markets unsettled Wall Street.
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The S&P/ASX 200 index lost 29 points, or 0.5 per cent, to trade at 6067 while the All Ordinaries lost the same amount of points to trade at 6176. The Australian dollar climbed to $78.72 after a strong retail sales print.

The 1.2 per cent jump in retail sales in November, up from a 0.5 per cent rise in October, and much higher than the 0.4 per cent increase economists had been expecting, helped several retailers to gain on Thursday.

Companies advancing after the release of the data included Super Retail Group, up 3.5 per cent at $8.77, Retail Food Group, up 3 per cent at $2.37 and Harvey Norman Holdings, up 1.4 per cent at $4.38.

Other consumer-focused companies gaining ground included supermarket giant Woolworths, up 0.4 per cent at $27.40, and Ansell, up 1.8 per cent at $8.77.

Banks were lower with Westpac trading down 0.5 per cent at $31.43, CBA down 0.4 per cent at $140.75, Macquarie Group down 0.8 per cent at $101.14, and ANZ trading lower by 0.2 per cent at $28.73.

Antipodes deputy portfolio manager Sunny Bangia said that growth is becoming elusive for the sector which has had a phenomenal run over the last seven years.

However, they are now under a bit of profit pressure, he said. “It’s become a mature cycle and they are fully priced. There could be some earnings downside,” he said.

Miners were also broadly lower, with BHP down 0.4 per cent at $30.84.

Lithium miners were notably weak, with Galaxy Resources down 10.8 per cent at $3.98 and Orocobre down 4.4 per cent at $6.78. Pilbara Minerals traded lower by 6.6 per cent at $1.14 and Mineral Resources lost 3.3 per cent to $20.51.

Other big decliners included A2 Milk, which slid 4.6 per cent to $7.01, and Blackmores, which traded down 5.4 per cent at $154.33.

Some miners gained, however, with iron ore producer South32 up 0.8 per cent at $3.72 and gold miner Newcrest Mining up 0.7 per cent at $22.81.

US markets ended lower on Wednesday, stalling the rally that marked the start of 2018, after a report that China is considering slowing its purchases of US government debt.

Stockwatch

JB Hi-Fi was a standout on Thursday, up 4.4 per cent at $27.99 after an upgrade to overweight by Morgan Stanley’s consumer team. It was also added to Morgan Stanley’s model portfolio by its strategy team who noted that the bank’s consumer team is expecting solid trading and upside to earnings post-interim results. “We back this conviction into earnings and add JBH to our model portfolio replacing Aconex, which is now under takeover offer,” the strategists said. “Our broader view is to still caution a wholesale rotation towards consumer-facing stocks at this juncture.”

Aussie dollar

The Australian dollar jumped to a three-month peak on Thursday after a surprisingly strong reading on retail sales boosted the outlook for consumer spending and economic growth, while narrowing the odds on a rate hike this year. The Australian dollar hopped to US78.73??, from 78.42??, but again shied away from stiff chart resistance at US78.84?? and US78.98?? – a double top hit in September. The rally came after official data showed retail sales climbed 1.2 per cent in November, three times the market forecast and the biggest gain since early 2013.

Gold

Gold prices rose for a second day on Thursday, extending the gains in the previous session when prices climbed to the highest since September, as dollar weakness and a flagging rally in equities enticed investors to buy the yellow metal. Spot gold was up 41 cents at $US1,317.33 an ounce. Prices rose to as high as $1,326.56 an ounce on Wednesday, the most since September 15. Gold prices on Wednesday rose over 1 per cent as the dollar swooned after a report that Chinese officials had recommended slowing or halting purchases of US Treasury securities

Bank of Japan

The Bank of Japan maintained the amount of its bond purchases on Thursday, helping to soothe a market rattled earlier this week by a cut in its buying of longer-dated debt that fanned worries the central bank may be moving to turn off its stimulus. The BOJ maintained the size of its buying in one- to three-, three- to five-, and five- to 10-year Japanese government bonds at 250 billion yen ($2.24 billion), 300 billion yen and 410 billion yen respectively. Most market players expected the BOJ to avoid causing another shock in the market, especially after US bond markets were shaken by a report that China, the biggest foreign holder of US Treasuries, could slow or stop buying government bonds.

Bitcoin

The US Senate’s financial services panel will hold a hearing next month with the country’s top markets regulators to discuss bitcoin amid rising concerns over the risks cryptocurrencies pose to the financial system, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. The Senate Banking Committee will take testimony from Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Christopher Giancarlo and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton in early February, the source said. Concerns about a bubble in the bitcoin market have heightened since the currency soared to record highs of more than $19,000 in December.

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Trio accused of trafficking thousands of pills for nightclubs

Ian Weightman (top), Peter Moore (bottom left) and Nathan Weightman (bottom right).
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Investigations into three men charged over a large drug operation in Ballarat where pills were manufactured and sold to nightclub patrons are continuing.

Peter Moore, 20, Nathan Weightman, 21, and Ian Weightman, 59, are accused of manufacturing and trafficking drugs in Ballarat and Melbourne during 2017.

Police allege drug paraphernalia, including a 30-gram block of methamphetamine, was found at Moore and Nathan Weightman’s Golden Point home onOctober 20.

A tablet press machine was allegedly found at Ian Weightman’s Redan home on the same day.

Ian Weightman.

Police allege powdered drugs were manufactured into thousands of pills and sold.

The trio fronted the Ballarat Magistrates Courton Thursdayfor a committal hearing.

The court was told police investigations were incomplete but should be finalised by the end of March.

Peter Moore.

Investigations include fingerprint and drug analysis.

Ian Weightman’s lawyer, Jon Irwin, said DNA and fingerprints were important in his client’s case.

He said Weightman denied the drug paraphernalia was linked to him.

Mr Irwin was acting for Nathan Weightman on behalf of lawyer Scott Belcher.

Nathan Weightman, 2014.

He said he understood Weightman was pleading not guilty to the drug charges.

Defence lawyer Mike Wardell requested an adjournment for his client, Moore, so the prosecution and defence could explore a resolution.

Magistrate Ron Saines adjourned the three cases toMarch 22for a further committal mention.

Moore and Nathan Weightman’s bail was extended, while Ian Weightman remains in custody.

The Courier, Ballarat

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