Monthly Archives: June 2019

Joel Griffiths keen as mustard for Jets encore effort

HUNGRY: The Jets celebrate Jeronimo Neumann’s goal.STAND-IN skipper Joel Griffiths is considering packing a satchel of mustard in his kit bag in an attempt to combat cramps.

But more wins is what the striker craves most after the Jets broke through for their maiden victory of the A-League campaign, upsetting Adelaide United 2-1 at Hunter Stadium on Friday.

‘‘We are even more hungry now,’’ Griffiths told the Herald on Sunday.

‘‘It hasn’t been the greatest start, but we now have the monkey off our back.

‘‘Hopefully we can get a couple more victories and creep into the top six. Every game there is pressure to get results and perform.’’

Griffiths was forced from the field due to cramps in his calf in the 78th minute with the Jets working feverishly to hold on to the lead.

But the veteran is confident both he and strike partner Edson Montano, who limped off with a suspected torn calf, will be fit for the road trip against Melbourne Victory on Saturday.

‘‘I have been doing research into why I am getting cramps,’’ Griffiths said. ‘‘I did the whole pre-season without any interruptions and think it might be linked to my diet.

‘‘I have read that mustard helps prevent cramps. NFL players eat satchels of mustard when they cramp up.

‘‘Most games I have been coming off after 70 minutes.

‘‘When you know you just can’t go any more, you may as well get some fresh legs on.

‘‘I’d love to play out the game, but you have to be smart. Edson didn’t look good when he was assisted off.

‘‘I asked him how it was at the recovery session on Saturday and he said, ‘No problem.’ He was walking on it fine.’’

The Jets switched from a back four to a back three with wing-backs providing extra defensive cover against Adelaide.

After conceding 10 goals in four games at home, the Jets were more organised and, although giving up possession in midfield, were harder to break down.

With regular captain Kew Jaliens (suspended) out for another week, Griffiths expects coach Phil Stubbins to adopt the same approach against the Victory.

‘‘Credit to Phil for having the courage to play with three at the back,’’ Griffiths said.

‘‘When you play that system, the left and right wingbacks are the key men.

‘‘If you don’t have players suited to playing there, the system doesn’t work.

‘‘James Virgili [right wingback] grabbed his opportunity with two hands, which was great to see.

‘‘Also Andrew Hoole, who probably didn’t have his best game, but athletically both can play those roles.’’

Griffiths was wary of a pacey Victory front three who would be ‘‘stinging’’ after a 1-0 loss to cross-town rivals Melbourne City.

‘‘They can hurt you from anywhere,’’ Griffiths said. ‘‘In particular [Kosta] Barbarouses is having his best season.

‘‘Hooley loves those challenges. You get in his ear early about who he is playing this week. You can tell he gets up for it. He and James are kids who always want to learn.

‘‘They listen no matter what bullshit I throw at them.’’

Although at opposite ends of the table this season, the Jets are one of a few teams to have a positive record against the Victory.

‘‘I don’t really buy into the statistics,’’ said Griffiths, who has scored six goals in six wins, four draws and two losses against the Victorians.

‘‘Every game is the same for me regardless of who we play.

‘‘This is the time to play them. They are coming off a loss and maybe there is a little bit of pressure on them.

‘‘They miss [suspended] Mark Milligan.

‘‘I love these challenges where you are the underdog.

‘‘With the grit we showed against Adelaide and having that monkey off the back, I’m really looking forward to these games where everyone writes us off.’’

Knights build character on sand

BEACH BOYS: New signing Tariq Sims charges over the dunes at Birubi on Sunday. Picture: Jonathan CarrollKNIGHTS coach Rick Stone hoped their weekend camp at Port Stephens was as much about his players becoming better people as it was about setting goals for the new NRL season.

Plagued by off-field incidents which tainted the club’s image in the past 12 months, the Knights are making an effort to do a better job of representing their region, and Stone believed they had taken significant steps over the weekend.

Gut-busting sandhill runs at Birubi on Sunday, and strenuous skills and weights sessions on the field and in the gym on Saturday, were the last taxing physical activities of the team’s seven-week pre-Christmas block of off-season training.

But Stone hoped the between-the-ears workouts and team-building exercises they completed throughout the weekend would prove equally beneficial to their overall development.

‘‘We had a couple of deep and meaningful sessions about where we want to go and what we want to do with ourselves, and some of the standards we want to put in place and who’s going to be the gatekeeper and hold the key to those, and that all went well,’’ Stone said.

‘‘On Saturday we trained at the rugby union ground there at Nelson Bay and did some skills and opposed sessions there, then some weights in the afternoon, with a couple more meetings around setting standards in the middle of those sessions.’’

After falling one game short of the 2013 grand final, the Knights finished 12th in 2014 and are determined to climb the ladder in Stone’s first season back after retaking the reins from Wayne Bennett.

Every club strives for the same outcome each season – to make the finals then go on to win a premiership – but Stone would not discuss the specific team goals he and his players set for themselves at their bonding camp.

‘‘I don’t want to go into much detail because it’s pretty much in-house,’’ he said.

‘‘But it’s definitely along those lines about who you want to represent and what do we really want to stand for, and what are the things that we want to consistently see in our game and in our lives and at training and away from training and games – just different things along those lines. The leading players drive that and run that a little bit for us, because it’s their footy team and they’ve got to be responsible for how they manage it.’’

The Knights return on Monday then take a break until January 5.

Apart from captain Kurt Gidley (calf) and seasoned campaigners Aku Uate and Clint Newton, who are progressing well after off-season knee surgery, Stone said the Knights had enjoyed a mostly injury-free pre-season. The coach said he was happy with the progress the team had made since kicking off their conditioning program and was particularly pleased with the efforts of off-season recruits Tariq Sims, Jack Stockwell and Carlos Tuimavave.

‘‘They’re happy and they’re enthusiastic and they’re working hard,’’ he said.

‘‘I think footy-wise we got a bit of a gauge about where we’re at at our first real decent opposed session on Saturday, and that was a little bit of a litmus test to see exactly where we’re at.

‘‘We took some video of that, cut up some clips, and that will give us a bit of a starting point again in the new year. We’ve had some decent participants, for sure – all those three new blokes have been really good.

‘‘Of the blokes coming out of the 20s and the NSW Cup system, I think Tyler Randell and James Taylor have been impressive, and Rossy [Nathan Ross] has been pretty good for us as well.’’

Abbott resets team

RINGING IN THE CHANGES: Prime Minister Tony Abbott announces his new line-up. Picture: Andrew MearesTONY Abbott has dumped Defence Minister David Johnston and named Kevin Andrews as a surprise replacement, in a major reshuffle to reset and refocus the government for the new year.

The Prime Minister on Sunday announced a much bigger frontbench overhaul than expected, which also moves immigration minister Scott Morrison into an expanded social services portfolio, and promotes Sussan Ley to the health ministry.

As health minister she becomes the second woman in cabinet, after Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

Her predecessor, Peter Dutton, has been given the immigration portfolio, while Josh Frydenberg will become assistant treasurer.

He replaces Arthur Sinodinos, whose resignation on Friday sparked the ministerial rejig.

The reshuffle just days before Christmas is an attempt to reboot the Coalition, who by the Prime Minister’s own admission had a ‘‘ragged’’ end to 2014.

The new frontbench team will be sworn in on Tuesday, and would ‘‘reset and refocus the government for the coming year’’, Mr Abbott said.

‘‘This is a good team. It is a strong team. It is a balanced team,’’ he told reporters.

‘‘It will put jobs and famiies at the heart of our political agenda for 2015.’’

As predicted, Mr Abbott used Senator Sinodinos’ resignation to axe his defence minister, who came under fire for saying he would not trust government-owned shipbuilder ASC to build a canoe.

He defended Senator Johnston, but said ‘‘no one goes on forever’’.

‘‘David has done a fine job as defence minister. He has copped a bit of flack, unfairly.’’ Mr Andrews would be a ‘‘very, very safe pair of hands’’, he said.

He heaped praise on outgoing immigration minister Scott Morrison, saying he was a master of difficult policy and administration who had all but stopped the boats.

As part of an expanded social services portfolio Mr Morrison will have responsibility for child care and Mr Abbott’s signature paid parental leave scheme, as well as the government’s unpopular welfare reforms.

‘‘He is a very tough and competent political operator but he is also an extremely decent human being,’’ the Prime Minister said.

‘‘We need good judgment in these areas and that is exactly what you will get from Scott Morrison.’’

The elevation of Ms Ley to cabinet has been accompanied by the promotion of Kelly O’Dwyer and Karen Andrews as parliamentary secretaries, addressing long-standing criticism of the lack of women in the ministry.

Mr Abbott was pleased the number of women on his frontbench had increased, but stressed all appointments were made on merit.

Acting Opposition Leader Penny Wong said no reshuffle could fix the government’s biggest problem, its unpopular budget.


■Kevin Andrews – Social Services to Defence

■Scott Morrison – Immigration to expanded Social Services portfolio

■Sussan Ley – Assistant education minister to Minister for Health and Sport

■Peter Dutton – Health to Immigration

■Josh Frydenberg – Assistant treasurer, from parliamentary secretary to the prime minister.

■Simon Birmingham – Assistant Minister for Education and Training, from parliamentary secretary for the environment

■Bob Baldwin – Parliamentary secretary for the environment

■Steve Ciobo – Parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs, parliamentary secretary for trade and investment

■Christian Porter – Parliamentary secretary to the prime minister

■Kelly O’Dwyer – Parliamentary secretary to the treasurer

■Karen Andrews – Parliamentary secretary for industry and science

■David Johnston has been dumped as Defence Minister

■Brett Mason has been dropped as parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs

Sydney siege gunman’s partner faces court for bail review

Martin Place, Sydney. Thousands continue to pay tribute to the victims of the Lindt Cafe seige. Photo: Michele MossopThe partner of the Sydney siege gunman is due in court on Monday to explain why she should remain free on bail while facing a murder charge.

In what is likely to be a contentious hearing, Amirah Droudis will face the Downing Centre Local Court where a magistrate will consider the status of her bail.

Papers were lodged with the court late on Friday, after NSW Attorney-General Brad Hazzard asked the Director of Public Prosecutions to review the decision to grant bail.

Ms Droudis, 35, was charged in November last year with murdering Noleen Hayson Pal, Monis’ ex-wife, who had been stabbed 18 times and then set alight in the stairwell of her Werrington home in April 2013.

When asked about the possibility of the court deciding to continue Ms Droudis’s bail, Premier Mike Baird said he understood community concerns.

“All of us share anger and dismay about what happened but … there is one person to blame for this, we know who he is and his intent was to divide this city,” Mr Baird said on Sunday.

“He didn’t divide it, what’s happened is we’ve united and come together.”

Monis was charged over Ms Pal’s death – with inciting, procuring, aiding and counselling Ms Droudis to murder Ms Pal and assisting and harbouring Ms Droudis after the killing. He was also facing several counts of sexual assault.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said an anonymous call to the National Security hotline about Monis, made before the siege, was followed up.

“The advice I have is that the call in question was followed up and that the information that was provided didn’t expose any threats of direct violence by the Martin Place murderer,” Mr Abbott said.

“It was followed up. It really was followed up, but it didn’t reveal any imminent attack by this individual.”

He said a joint Commonwealth-state investigation will look at all the circumstances surrounding the siege.

“The commitment I give to you is that I will do everything humanly possible to keep you safe, and that means learning the right lessons from this atrocity.”

Funerals for siege victims Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson will be held on Tuesday.

Ms Dawson’s memorial service will be held in The Great Hall at the University of Sydney.

Her family have requested that attendees wear a splash of aqua, which was her favourite colour, and asked that instead of bringing flowers, mourners donate to the Katrina Dawson Foundation.

The foundation was set up with the aim of focusing on the education of women.

A funeral for Mr Johnson will be held in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. His family has asked for any donations to be directed to beyondblue.

The organisation, which raises awareness of depression, had received nearly $90,000 in Mr Johnson’s name by Sunday afternoon.

The coroner was continuing a post-mortem examination on Monis’s body on Friday afternoon. The autopsy is understood to be particularly complex than that of his victims due to the nature of his injuries.

Once completed, a burial order will be completed and his body released to his next of kin.

But if no one claims his body, a “destitute funeral” will be arranged by NSW Health.

Canberra United’s teen debutant Grace Maher grabs W-League championship glory

Canberra’s Grace Maher challenges Perth Glory’s Alanna Kennedy.She only had 14 hours’ notice she would be starting in the grand final, but 15-year-old Canberra United midfielder Grace Maher showed why she’s being groomed as a star of the future.

The teenage sensation played beyond her years with an outstanding performance in United’s 3-1 triumph in the W-League decider against the Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Sunday.

Maher is United’s youngest-ever player and featured in only a handful of games off the bench this season because of commitments with the Australian under-16 team.

She more than justified the faith of coach Elisabeth Migchelsen, setting up striker Stephanie Ochs for the game’s opening goal before being replaced after 55 minutes.

“I couldn’t ask for more,” Maher said.

“I’m just so excited, not only to get a start but to win the W-League in my first season.

“It’s such a good season and there’s no way to top it off.”

Maher came into the side to replace American midfielder Kendall Fletcher, who played the final game of her seven-game guest stint in last weekend’s semi-final win against the Melbourne Victory.

Canberra was expected to go with 17-year-old Julia De Angelis, but instead she came on in the second half to take over from where Maher left off.

Maher was given the news she would be playing late on Saturday night.

“I didn’t find out until 10 o’clock last night, due to tactical reasons and fitness of other players, that they were going to put me in as the No. 10 had Julia and Caitlin Munoz not been able to play,” Maher said.

“I honestly was just speechless, nervous more than anything, but had a bit of time to think about it and as the day went on I was a lot more relaxed.

“I just thought, there’s nothing to lose, I might as well give it my all and I did.”

It was sweet reward for both Maher and De Angelis after they missed out on playing in the Capital Football Women’s Premier League grand final with ACTAS due to their commitments with Canberra United.

Maher showed plenty of poise as she found Ochs in plenty of space on the right, the American doing the rest to find the back of the net.

“It was definitely a lot quicker, more physical than what I’m used to, but I think I did well in avoiding one on ones or battles I didn’t need to,” Maher said.

“I stayed in between the lines and made sure the players had to go backwards and there were no goals conceded.”