Monthly Archives: March 2019

Young poets exhibit

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Shell Cove Public School student Thomas Acers features in The Red Room Poetry Object exhibition at the Big Fat Smile Gallery in Corimal. Picture: Robert Peet Thomas Acers isa talented rugby league player buthis parents‘’worried’’about his lack of interest in school work.
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TheAcers were surprised then tolearntheir eight-year-old son had entered a free national poetrycompetition.

Surprise turned to jubilation when the Shell Cove Public School student’spoem‘Totem Cup’ was highly commended and included in theRed Room Poetry Object exhibition.

Thomas and his parentswere at The Gallery @ Big Fat Smile in Corrimal on Thursday whenThe Red Room Company artistic director Tamryn Bennett officially launched the exhibition.

‘’We didn’t know Thomas had this creative side. We thought he was having us on. Today is a great day,’’ Ryan Acers said.

Dr Bennett added thatover 3000 students and teachers from around the country had entered the poetry competition.

All poems submitted to the Poetry Object competition are published in the Poetry Object Library.

An exhibition of winning and commended poems will be on display at the Big Fat Smile Gallery until December 12.

‘’People are invited to come in, interact, read the poems andcelebrate other Illawarra-based poets because there is a special branch of their poems. There is also interactive activities,’’ Dr Bennett said.

EXHIBITION: Big Fat Smile chief creative officer Jennine Primmer and The Red Room Company artistic director Dr Tamryn Bennett launch the exhibition at the Corrimal gallery on November 17. Picture: Rob Peet

‘’This [exhibition] is another way to engage people with literature and literacy, especially for young children.’’

Big Fat Smile chief creative officerJennine Primmer said it was pleasing The Red Room Company had chosen to have their exhibition atthe Corrimal gallery.

‘’We already have a partnership because our two organisations have a similar philosophy in terms of creative education for kids,’’Ms Primmer said.

‘’On their side it is professional writers and poets with children and on our side it is visual artists and musicians with children.’’

Now in its sixth year, Poetry Object has connected over 300 school communities and published more than 7000 student and teacher poems.

Excerpts of winning and highly commended works from the poetrycompetition will feature on trains throughout the Transport NSW network and regionally in REX in-flight magazines.

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Telstra leads ASX higher as Trump trade deflates

Out-of-favour shares such as Telstra rebounded to lead the sharemarket higher on Thursday. Photo: James DaviesShares lurched higher in a quiet trading session as the frantic “Trump trades” that shook up financial markets over the past week faded further.
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The S&P/ASX 200 index ended the day 0.2 per cent higher at 5338.5, after sliding as much as 0.8 per cent in early trade following losses on Wall Street.

Battered yield-sensitive bond proxies such as Telstra and Transurban, which had been sold off on speculation that ambitious stimulus plans by a Trump administration would lift inflation, were among the winners of the day as global bond markets continued to recover.

The yield on Australia’s benchmark 10-year bond fell further to 2.574 per cent, from the 10-month high of 2.737 per cent it had struck on Tuesday (bond yields and prices move in opposite direction), but traders doubted the bond recovery rally would last much longer.

“The momentum is clearly in favour of rising (bond) yields and a continued sell-off for bond proxies, so this is likely only a short-term reprieve for distressed investors in these stocks,” said Atlantic Pacific Securities advisor Gary Huxtable.

Still, on Thursday bond proxies enjoyed their moment in the spotlight, with Transurban rising 2.5 per cent, Duet Group up 2.3 per cent and Westfield gaining 1.4 per cent.

Telstra provided the biggest tailwind for the benchmark index, rising 2.5 per cent after the telco reaffirmed its earnings guidance and flagged $1 billion in cost cuts over the next four years.

The energy sector was the biggest loser after oil prices dropped, while banks were also sold off following drops in the sector on Wall Street. US banks had been among the biggest winners since the US election on rising yields as well as hopes President-elect Donald Trump will axe regulation.

There was still real uncertainty as to what a Trump administration and its plans meant for bonds, equities, interest rates, said Bell Potter’s director of institutional sales and trading, Richard Coppleson.

“Look plenty are bearish – I’m not. I still see markets a lot higher in six weeks,” Mr Coppleson said, noting that he expects a 5 per cent rally in the ASX before the year ends.

Mr Coppleson predicted the rally would be driven by the heavyweights of the market, which until a few months ago had been laggards.

“Not many have noticed, but the top 20 have been seeing flows” out of other ASX200 stocks and out of small caps, he said, adding that the blue chips had been quietly outperforming since September. Stock of the day: Isentia

Isentia shares slumped the most on record after the market intelligence company shocked investors with a profit warning due to weakness in its content marketing unit. The stock fell a whopping 26.8 per cent to $2.38 after Isentia said first-half pre-tax earnings (EBITDA) were expected to be lower than last year’s, but full-year revenue and EBITDA would likely grow in the “high single-digit” range. The company added that in part due to “decisions made in regards to strategy”, its content marketing unit would report an overall loss.

The stock, which listed two years ago, has plenty of fans, including well-known fund manager Roger Montgomery who said in July the business had “plenty for investors to get excited about”. Analysts have also been mostly upbeat about the stock, with five rating it a ‘buy’ and one a ‘hold’, as well as an average price target of $4.18, but expect some revisions over the following days. Market movers

Jobs shaky

The unemployment rate remained at 5.6 per cent in October, despite fewer jobs being created than expected. Economists said that despite surprisingly strong growth in full-time jobs, the Reserve Bank was unlikely to interpret the numbers as a sign of labour market strength as measures of spare capacity, such as the composition of employment, the employment to population ratio and hours worked, all remained soft. The Aussie dollar initially slipped slightly on the numbers but recovered in late trade to US74.80¢.

Gold recovers

The precious metal moved higher on Thursday as a rally in the US dollar showed signs of fatigue after the currency hit its highest in nearly 14 years against a basket of currencies. Spot gold was up 0.2 per cent at $US1227.25 an ounce in late Asian trade. Traders said that after last week’s sell-off the metal had found a bottom around $US1220, but that there were few impulses around to drive it higher, which should sideline investors.

Goodman’s strike

Industrial property giant Goodman Group received its first strike against its remuneration report, after investors followed advice by proxy advisers ISS and CGI. The $11.3 billion company had granted long-term performance rights as part of a move away from fixed pay and cash bonuses. Part of the dispute was about how the size of the performance rights are calculated and how the cost of these bonuses affected the value of the company. But shares rose 1.7 per cent to $6.43 after management reaffirmed guidance and flagged a further reduction to gearing.

Bull market doubts

Billionaire bond investor Bill Gross said “populist” President-elect Donald Trump will fail to deliver a bull market in equities and that the savage global sell off in bonds will now likely “plateau”. Gross argued that while lower taxes could result in increased spending in the economy, the higher budget deficits that are expected to result from the tax cuts will also push interest rates and prices higher, leading companies to pay more for their goods and investments. That in turn would cut into earnings and price-to-earnings ratios.

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Out of touch administrators must listen to calls for reform, says Andrew Symonds

Ex-Test all-rounder Andrew Symonds says Cricket Australia has lost touch with the state of the game and must listen to the chorus of former greats pushing for immediate action or the abyss will only deepen.
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The extended fall-out following the Hobart result has put renewed focus on not only the Test side but the roads that lead there, with Symonds one of many questioning the quality of modern grade and Sheffield Shield cricket.

That competition was once the envy of the cricketing world but has now been criticised as a warm-up act that fails to put prospects through the same prolonged wringer that forged stars such as the Waugh brothers and Mike Hussey.

The selection panel has been the first to see a shake-up in the wake of the demoralising defeat at the hands of South Africa, with Rod Marsh stepping down, Trevor Hohns stepping up as chairman and Greg Chappell returning to the fold alongside Mark Waugh.

It shouldn’t stop there, says Symonds, who played 26 Tests and 198 one-day internationals for Australia. He urged CA officials to do more than pay lip service to the flood of advice advocating a strengthening of the Shield format, which has historically hardened Test candidates before a baggy green debut.

“Cricket Australia need to start listening to some people that actually know the facts. They need to act … and act now. Otherwise, things are going to slide, things are going to get worse,” Symonds said.

“There is already a lot of mud being slung so things need to be rectified directly, for the sake of the game.”

This week has seen one of the most intense rounds of Shield cricket in recent memory, with genuine openings available for the Adelaide Test after CA forecast sweeping changes to a side that has now dropped five straight matches.

The Shield has come under increased scrutiny as selectors scour the landscape for fresh talent to fill the Australian batting order. Long gone are the days when candidates with back-to-back 1000-run seasons are screaming for a chance at the top level.

Symonds travels the country regions as part of his duties with the Bulls Masters program and has long been an advocate for finding and promoting country talent.

But he doesn’t believe the metropolitan club competitions are anywhere near as tough as they could be, with the flow-on effect a watered down Shield competition that demands much less from potential Test players.

“I don’t think club cricket is as competitive as it used to be. And Shield cricket isn’t as competitive as it used to be. In turn, that doesn’t breed as tough players, as resilient players. That’s what we’re seeing at the moment at the top level,” Symonds said.

Former captain Allan Border has been among those championing a return to a pathway system that few felt was broken, while others have blamed CA for poor scheduling that saw the Test team play just one four-day match before the first Test against the Proteas.

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New selector Greg Chappell tipped to push for youth in Test squad

“You free on Thursday?”: Interim Australian selector Greg Chappell at the Gabba on Thursday. Photo: Jason O’BrienThe re-appointment of Greg Chappell as an Australian selector could spell danger for older players in the Australian set-up and those vying for inclusion in it, according to Mike Hussey, who has warned against turning automatically to youth as an answer to the national team’s woes.
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Cricket Australia have gone back to the future with Chappell’s re-entry to the fold and the elevation of Trevor Hohns to the full-time selection chairman’s role after Rod Marsh’s resignation on Wednesday.

Both are on an interim basis but the presence of Chappell, CA’s national talent manager, on the panel again prompted bewilderment in cricket circles on Thursday, given he had lost the same position as a result of the Argus review five years ago.

The strong suspicion is that the former Test captain’s return as a selector, albeit temporarily, is another sign that Australia will look to the next generation of batsmen in a bid to turn their fortunes around after being thumped by an innings and 80 runs by South Africa in Hobart, their fifth straight Test defeat.

“His philosophies are certainly more aimed towards getting more younger players so I guess that spells a bit of danger for some of the older players in the Australian set-up,” Hussey said. “The other side is he’s only one voice in that selection party.

“But certainly, having been in the Australian set-up when Greg Chappell was a selector, he was certainly pushing harder for younger players.”

Chappell was largely responsible for age restrictions added to the national second XI competition, which was re-labelled the Futures League, and later panned as a “glorified juniors league” and discredited by the Argus report.

His re-appointment to the panel has furthered the belief that Chappell’s youth-oriented mantra will be translated into the Australian team turning to younger players for next week’s dead-rubber third Test against South Africa. If that is the case, then Chappell is the right man for the time. He at least knows the kids around the country better than anyone else.

Hussey, who made his Test debut at the age of 30 before enjoying a brilliant career that featured 19 hundreds in 79 matches, argues against an automatic shift towards players in their early to mid-twenties, however, despite the depths to which the Australian team has sunk.

“Certainly from a batting point I’m a little bit different to Greg,” he said.

“He likes to get them in there and see if they can handle it. I know I’ve heard him say it before ‘how are we going to find the next Ricky Ponting?’ But I’m sure Ricky Ponting would have come through anyway because he was just so good.

“To be ready, I just think you need to go through the process. I sort of believe that it takes a fair bit of time to learn about the game and become a hardened professional. You need to go through the ups and downs and learn how to score runs.

“I found personally that international cricket, part of the battle is knowing your game, but also it’s the external stuff. There are lots of people that want your time – fans, media, sponsors. I just feel for a young guy that doesn’t even know his own game yet and is trying to come into Test cricket and deal with all the external stuff as well, you’re on a hiding to nothing.”

Under Hussey’s ideal formula, batsmen in their late twenties were at the prime age to be thrust into the Test arena. He doesn’t name names but Glenn Maxwell, who averages north of 50 over the past three seasons in Shield cricket and has played loads of limited-overs international cricket, would at 28 appear exactly the kind of candidate for an Australian spot that he is talking about.

If the latest development in a tumultuous start to the summer could be bad news for the thirtysomethings of Australian cricket, then Hussey has implored them not to lose hope.

“They will certainly feel a bit more disheartened I’m sure,” he said. “But I guess all they can do is try and pile on the runs in Sheffield Shield cricket and try and make a case like Adam Voges (in the 2014/15 season) did so they had to pick him.”

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AFL draft 2016: Tim English says ‘growth spurt’ a tall story

Tim English says reports of his growth spurt have been exaggerated.
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Yes, the West Australian is much taller than he was three years ago. But not by 20 centimetres as has been claimed.

“I was probably high-180s in year 9. Just gradually over time I’ve got to [over] 200,” English said.

He measured 2.05 metres at the recent AFL draft combine. But that didn’t make him the tallest in his family. Older brother Daniel remains – though perhaps not for much longer – a bigger brother, at 2.06 metres. Daniel doesn’t play football. He’s a cricketer with his university club. You wouldn’t be shocked to learn that he’s a fast bowler.

The English brothers grew up (well, at least the start of their growing) on the family’s sheep and wheat farm in Pingelly, 250 kilometres south-east of Perth. Tim loved his sport as a child, playing football, cricket, tennis, hockey, soccer as well as swimming and cross-country running. Tim’s start in football came when the local under-13 team was short on numbers. He was nine. A few years later he moved to Perth to board at Christ Church Grammar. “I found it quite hard at the start,” he said.

“Sharing a room with six people, it’s quite a different experience .. you get used to it.”

Christ Church isn’t renowned as a strong football school, although it was the home of dual West Coast premiership players Chris Lewis and Tony Evans, current Eagle Eric Mackenzie and former Fremantle and Hawthorn defender Luke McPharlin. Its strength is academia, but as part of Perth’s hotly contested PSA schools group, its best footballers play for their school ahead of their club. When playing for Christ Church three years ago, English was a midfielder. Then he shot up, spending time as a key position player at end of the ground. Then he tipped over the two-metre mark, graduating into a ruckman, the position he played this year for South Fremantle, having finished school last year.

He said that playing in so many positions in a short period of time has helped his football education. But it’s his growth spurt that has tipped him into contention for selection in the top 10 at next week’s draft in Sydney. Quietly spoken, English said he is relishing his new football life.

“I enjoy that you’re pretty much a fourth midfielder,” he said.

“I like to be able to sit behind play and read the play, cut off opposition attacks.” His ruck role models are Todd Goldstein, Dean Cox and Max Gawn. And he’s a big fan of Greater Western Sydney big man Rory Lobb.

English has been living with his brother this year, working a variety of odd jobs, including as a courier and in a cafe. But in recent months he’s tried to get back as much as possible to Pingelly, visiting his mother Julie, and lending a hand on the farm to his father John. Tim was helping out on the farm before he’d entered his teens, even driving machinery. But he has no aspirations to one day return to the farm. “You have to rely too much on the weather.”

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