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NEWCASTLE winger Nathan Ross is desperate to take his final chance to become just the fourth Newcastle Knightto who have played for City Origin.
READY: Nathan Ross has made City selection, signified with the initials ‘CC’ written on his wrist, a goal in 2017.
And a source has told the Herald,the 28-year-old is in the mix to make the team for the May 7 match at Mudgee.
Canterbury have told the NRL their players will not be available for the game, which has been declared the last in the concept.
Ross, though, was determined to feature for City. Tony Butterfield, Jamie Ainscough and Adam Cuthbertsonare those who havegained City selection while playing for Newcastle.
“For me it would be a massive honour to be able to represent this club and represent City in the final showdown,” Ross said ahead of Newcastle’s away clash with Gold Coast on Saturday.
“From the beginning of pre-season it’s been one of my goals. My first goal was to play in the round one team, and I’ve accomplished that, and now it’s to play for City.
“I know back in the day it was more seen as a trial for Origin, but to play representative football at any chance, it should be a goal of everyplayer in the competition.
“I’ve just got to keep my work-rate up and finish off those tries and hopefully have another good showing this weekend, and I might get a call from Freddy [City coach Brad Fittler].”
Ross, who played juniors withBurleigh BearsandCoogee Randwick Wombats,has scored six tries in seven games this season to push his claims for a first representative appearance.
Helping his cause is the absence of incumbent City wingers Aaron Gray (Rabbitohs) and Josh Mansour (Panthers) because of injury.
While Canterbury have shunned the fixture in the interest of their players’ welfare, Ross said gaining selection would be a boost for him and his club.
“Apart from Dane [Gagai], we haven’t had too many players in the representative footballof late and it’s something I’d like to do,” he said.
“I think if you get picked in these representative teams, it shows that you are putting your team first. It shows you are playing good football week in, week out.It shows you are doing a good job for your club.”
Ross’ last chance to impress selectors will be against the only team Newcastle have beaten this year.
However, he was not expecting an easy time against the Titans, who upset Cronulla on Saturday night 16-12 and went down 24-22 to Brisbane a week earlier.
“The only thing I can take away from the round two win is how much respect I actually have for the Gold Coast Titans,” Ross said.
“They’ve been ravaged with injuries this year and they’ve got players like Jarrod Wallace and Anthony Don who keep leading them forward. Ryan James, their captain, has been phenomenal, so I think they are a team of unsung heroes.”
THURSDAYIF Nathan Brown ever grows tired of coaching the NRL cellar dwellers, he shouldn’t have any problem launching a new career as a restaurant critic.
BON APPETIT: Nathan Brown has a lot on his plate, trying to coach the Knights and sign players for next season.
Seems like Browny has dined atjust about every eatery in town entertaining potential recruits. Last night it was Shaun Kenny-Dowall in The Junction.
Hopefully these blokes are splitting the bill. I mean, the Knights are $1 million or more under the salary cap, but I’d hate to think they get bustedfor athird-party sponsorship rort (ie offering prospective signings free feeds).
I’m guessing Browny must be getting a bit sickof the sneaky iPhone photos that keeppopping up in the next day’s paper. Perhaps the answer is to play host at home.
As our archive picture reveals, he’s no Nigella Lawson in the kitchen, but he’s no mug.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Nathan Brown and Shaun Kenny-Dowall dine out in The Junction last week.
Meanwhile, on a slow news day, reports surface that star Tigers Aaron Woods and James Tedesco have signed with the Bulldogs and Chooks respectively.
Just when you’d think that makes them $1.05 favourites to collect the Dally M award for most dysfunctional club, it is revealed the Knights have arrived in Townsville minus skipper Trent Hodkinson, who has been punted. This is shaping as a deadset photo finish.
FRIDAYTHE weekly diatribe arrives from the Maitland Maniac, labelling the Newcastle media “dopey c—s” for not reportingthe Knights “are not fit and mentally tough enough to compete in the NRL”.
He then adds: “Nathan Brown has coached the Knights for 31 games for two wins, 28 losses and a draw. Winning percentage: 15.5. What a Joke! Much like you, Robert Dillon!”
I might be a dopey c— and I might be a joke, and maths was never my strongest suit. But at least I know how to work out a percentage, unlike the Maitland Maniac. (Two divided by 31, times 100, equals 6.45 per cent.)
Meanwhile, the Knights erroneously announce Sione Mata’utia will become the youngest skipper in the club’s history against the Cows tomorrow night.
They have apparently forgotten Jarrod Mullen was nine months younger than Sione is when he captained the Knights in round 11, 2007.
Mind you, Mullo would probably prefer to forget that too, given Newcastle copped a club-record 71-6 hammering from the Broncos.
SATURDAYBUNNIES prop George Burgess is in strife again after impersonating a sledgehammer squashing a grape with a shoulder charge last night on Broncos dynamo Anthony Milford.
Given his loading for previous offences, big George is looking at a lengthy stint on the sidelines.
It gets Seven Days to thinking. George’s identical twin brother Tom surely doesn’t have a track record as bad as his sibling’s.
Maybe they need to change jumpers before they run out, thenany mayhem George commits will go on Tom’s rap sheet and be viewed more leniently by the judiciary.
Meanwhile, up in Townsville, the Knights get dusted 24-12 but the Novocastrian faithful are celebrating nonetheless.
Two of the Cows’ tries are scored by future Newcastle Hall of Famer Kalyn Ponga.
It’s great to see the 19-year-old carving it up in the NRL, but I’m a bit worriedthat each try he scores for the Cows might be one less thathe scores for Newcastle.
Someone needs to tell him to start saving them for next year.
SUNDAYTIGERS skipper Aaron Woods emulates our Kalyn by helping towel up his future club, as the Tigers down the Doggies 18-12.
Canterbury look home and hosed until Tigers halfback Luke Brooks –the last 25 per cent remaining of the not-so-big four –produces a miracle play to create a try for winger Kevin Naqaima.
Replays of the match-winning “meaty” show Brooks wrong-footing Dogs five-eighth Josh Reynolds, who in trademark fashion then sticks out his leg. It’s a reflex action, but Reynolds –for some reason nicknamed “Grub” –is a serial offender.
Honestly, he’s been responsible for more bad trips than the Beatles in their Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds days.
All the talk at the post-match press conference is about Tigers fans booing big Woodsy.
I guess they need someone to boo, now that Jason Taylor is no longer coaching them.
MONDAYTIGERS chairwoman Marina Go and chief executive Justin Pascoe issue a statement, asking fans to stopbooing their own players.
It’s a fair point.
Back in the day, the time-honouredtheory was that fans pay their money at the gate and are entitled to voice their opinions.
But these are more enlightened times, and I fear it is inevitable that one day soon a player will sue spectators for bullying and harassment.
TUESDAYCOACH Brown politely shuts down questions about (former?) captain Hodkinson at his weekly press conference.
“Can we move on to the next topic please?” he asks.
Fair enough, but what is the next topic?
Maybe: “Does the prospect of a third consecutivewooden spooncause you insomnia?” Or: “Why do rivalplayerskeep giving Newcastle the Basil Brush?” Or: “What hope are you of re-signing Dane Gagai?” Or even: “What’s your favourite restaurant in town?”
It’s all a bit awkward for everyone, but hopefully Browny and Hodko are still on good terms.
If not, maybe it’s time for them to sit down and break bread. Browny’s shout.
WEDNESDAYTHE Tigers confirm the signing of Warriors prop Ben Matulino.
Matulino recently visited Newcastle for talks with Knights officials, who insist they did not make him a formal offer but are not denying they may have taken him out for a feed and picked up the tab.
Tarnya Davis: It seems the loudest voice of social media is critical and negative. For years, I have delivered this column in the old-fashioned way – written word on newspaper, delivered to your door.
At the recent invitation of the Herald I gave Facebook video messaging a try as another means of communication.
I had hoped to be able to share some ideas with more audience, but treading into social media was a new experience and the depth of insults and criticism thrown around on the net was well beyond that which one might experience in any realm of “real life”.
Journalist Jon Ronsan in his book So you’ve Been Publicly Shamed talks of the experience of the victims of bullying on the internet.The victims in his book may have made a small error, like a bad joke, or a silly comment and then were pursued by an angry mob who attacked them with fury and indignation.
The impact upon the victims was consistently devastating and the punishment was well beyond the mistake they had made.Some moved towns, had to leave their jobs and some didn’t work again.The punishment of public humiliation did not fit the crime.
Monica Lewinsky was perhaps the first ever person trolled by the internet when her affair with then US President Bill Clinton was discovered at the same time people were discovering the voice of global media. In her TED talk she explains how she feared she would die of shame.
It seems the loudest voice of social media is critical and negative and there are “trolls” who enjoy being cruel for the sake of it, with no boundary too low.
There are those who attempt to argue with the negativity, but there are many others who perhaps are frightened to comment should they too become victims.
And so the power of the undercurrent grows.
I am grateful I am able to choose to step away for the moment, but I am reminded of those who can’t step away from abuse and also of those whose experience of shame they are unable to escape, such as those who are victims of childhood abuse.
As Ronsan says, social media has moved from a place of curiosity to one of cold hard judgement, like an angry virtual lynch mob.
Social media isn’t going away and so we need to come up with a safer way for us all to live with it.
Tarnya Davis is a clinical and forensic psychologist and principal of NewPsych Psychologists. Her book of columns, All Things Considered, is sold at theherald广州桑拿网广州桑拿论坛
Breakaway senator Cory Bernardi says he will pursue mergers with other conservative parties and seek more defections from the Liberal Party after Family First folded its operations into his nascent Australian Conservatives party.
Family First, a socially and economically conservative party launched in 2001, will no longer exist from Wednesday and its two South Australian MPs will switch to serve under the Australian Conservatives banner.
The merger will give Senator Bernardi access to Family First’s party infrastructure – including mailing lists – but will not boost his party’s representation in the Senate.
While welcoming the merger, Family First senator-elect Lucy Gichuhi said she planned to serve as an independent rather than join forces with Senator Bernardi.
“While I respect the decision of Family First to join with Australian Conservatives, given the circumstances and the time frames, I have not been able to determine if joining this new entity is the best way for me to serve the people of South Australia,” Ms Gichuhi said in a statement.
“It is on that basis that I have decided to serve as an independent senator for the time being.”
Ms Gichuhi will be sworn into the Senate next month after the High Court decided Family First senator Bob Day’s election was invalid because he had an indirect pecuniary interest with the Commonwealth.
Mr Day, who has bankrolled Family First in recent years, gave a curt “no comment” when asked by Fairfax Media on Wednesday whether he supported the merger.
Speaking at a press conference in Adelaide, Senator Bernardi said: “I hope it’s not the last amalgamation.
“I welcome minor parties, I welcome former colleagues [and] existing colleagues, who want to be part of a team that really, genuinely wants to make politics different.”
Senator Bernardi said the two parties were a “natural fit” and the merger would strengthen the conservative movement across Australia.
He wished Ms Gichuhi well with her career.
South Australian Family First leader Dennis Hood said it was a “great day for Family First and we believe it is a great day for those on the conservative side of politics in Australia”.
“Finally, those on the conservative side of politics will have a united conservative voice in which to support and park their vote,” he said.
“We are excited about the prospect that holds.”
Mr Hood said all of Family First’s state branches and its federal executives agreed to join forces with the Australian Conservatives.
“This is a unanimous decision,” he said. “There has been no dissension within the Family First party at all.”
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said it was “not a good start” that Ms Gichuhi had declined to join forces with Senator Bernardi.
“They form a new party and the first response you get is the new senator-elect who says she doesn’t want to be a part of it,” he said.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the move was “inevitable” given Mr Day was the “father of Family First” and his financial support had been crucial to the party.
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Campbells Hill Cemetery at Telarah. Picture: SuppliedA Maitland woman has slammed maintenance at a Telarah cemetery after finding her mother’s grave overgrown in recent weeks.
Maureen Clements said she went to Campbell’s Hill Cemetery to visit her mother’s grave site for Easter and again last weekend for her mum’s birthday, but found the area severely overgrown with grass and weeds.
She vented her anger about the state of the Maitland Council-run cemetery on social media.
Ms Clements told Fairfax Mediathe apparent lack of care with the grounds was a mark of disrespect that she had not been subject to previously, since her mother passed away eight years ago.
“I had to fight my way to get to the grave and came home absolutely filthy,” she said.
“We literally had to walk across graves to get some water to put on the flowers.
“I went back [for her mother’s birthday] and it was just as horrendous. It was actually embarrassing to go there.
“It means total disrespect for our loved ones that are buried there. They built Maitland –there would be no Maitland without all these people that are in these cemeteries.
“I just find it very disrespectful of council to allow it to be like that.”
Maitland City infrastructure projects and building services manager Graeme Matthews said council understood that maintenance of cemeteries was important to residents.
“A recent period of extended rainfall, combined with warm weather, has meant the growth rate of grass at local cemeteries has increased,” he said.
“The extended wet conditions have also meant that the ground has often been too wet for ride on mowers and restricted mowing to hand mowers.
“Council contractors continue to work to keep up with maintenance under difficult conditions.”
If you’re feeling the urge for a burger, Largs couple Katerina and Chris Schafferius have opened the state’s first Burger Urge at Stockland Glendale.
And it has been a long time coming. They bought the franchise three years ago when the popular Queensland burger chain had just six stores.There are now 21, and counting.
“At the time they probably weren’t ready for me to be knocking at their door, given that we’re interstate,” MrSchafferius told Food & Wine.
“But the brand has matured and developed in that time. When I first knocked on the door Burger Urgeonly had bottled beer in the fridge, now we’ve got a full bar.”
Katerina will manage the store full-time. Chris, a keen triathlete, works for a US mining company as general manager of its Australian operations.
“We’vebeen very patient, trying to find the right location,” Mr Schafferius said.
“Afew people have mentioned that we’ve jumped on the burger bandwagonbut we bought this franchise three years ago, so we were ahead of the curve when it came to dude food or whatever they are calling it.
“At Glendale everything just added up. Not only is therethe cinema and thealfresco space, but there is a good gap in the market when it comes to licensed venues.”
STATE FIRST: Katerina and Chris Schafferius have opened Burger Urge at Stockland Glendale. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
The Burger Urge menu is divided into categories: American Style; House Specials; and Classics. There are vegetarian options, too, as well as salads and a variety of different sides to choose from.
There is even a burger called The Donald Trump with pulled beef, crispy maple bacon, melted American-style cheddar, pickles, hickory BBQ sauce, truffle mayonnaise, aioli and tomato.
Burger Urge founders – brothers Sean and Colby Carthew –are known for walking a fine line when it comes to marketing. The more offensive and attention-grabbing, the better.
As for the Big Momma’s Kentucky Fried Waffle, well, MrSchafferius refers to it as “R rated” and “a very serious burger”.
Head of property atBurgerUrge, Matt Manzie, said the Newcastle region and its “strong and diverse economy” was a “logical next step” from their Queensland base and “will be used as a stepping stone into the Sydney market”.
The second NSW store will open in Port Macquarie in June.
AFR and Deloitte Banking and Wealth Summit.Sofitel Wentwoth, Sydney. Conduct Risk & Risk Culture roundtable with Peter Kell, Deputy Chairman ASIC .April 5 2016. Photos Quentin Jones. Photo: Quentin JonesThe corporate watchdog is seeking greater powers to step in and change how some salespeople in the financial sector are paid, to prevent staff having an incentive to promote inappropriate products.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission deputy chair, Peter Kell, on Wednesday made the case for the regulator receiving beefed-up powers to intervene in the design and distribution of financial products.
The federal Treasury is consulting on a proposal to give ASIC these powers, which would allow it to veto higher-risk products.
But Mr Kell said the watchdog wants an extension of the Treasury’s proposal, and is also seeking the power to ban certain types of pay structures that are clearly against the interests of customers, such as certain types of commissions.
If it were given these powers, it would allow the watchdog to rule out the “most pernicious” aspects of how some financial products are sold to customers, Mr Kell said.
“We are keen to have the product intervention power not only in how the product has been designed, but also the associated way that people are remunerated for selling it,” he told a Senate committee inquiry into consumer protection in the banking, insurance and financial sector.
“You can imagine there may be instances where the product itself is not necessarily a problem, as long as it is sold to the right people. But if people are being paid very high commissions or other sorts of benefits for selling it, then the temptation will be to sell it to the wrong people.”
“That for us, I think is the key area where we think we would like to see an extension to what has been proposed.”
Mr Kell gave the example of “flex commissions” paid by lenders to car dealers – where a dealer receives a higher commission if a customer takes out a car loan with a higher rate of interest.
Current rules made it much more difficult for ASIC to address this “really unfortunate” practice, which had embedded itself in the industry.
“We have stepped in and done something about that, but it has taken us a lot longer, and it has been a lot more convoluted than would have been the case with a product intervention power.”
Customers who are vulnerable or have poor financial literacy were most likely to be victims of this type of commission, he said.
Perversely, incentives such as “flex commissions” tended to be adopted across the industry, because failing to do so would hurt sales of loans.
Mr Kell was also asked about recent reports by News Corporation of internal documents that showed ASIC staff before 2015 seeking feedback from banks on draft press releases about misconduct within banks. He said the regulator had since changed its approach, and the emails reflected “healthy debate” within ASIC.
ASIC’s push for greater intervention powers comes as the banking industry is pledging to overhaul how it pays frontline staff, by reducing sales targets linked to bonuses, and cutting commissions paid to mortgage brokers.
SMH News story by, Lucy Cormack. The end of the Government solar feed back tarrif. Photo shows, Solar user, Michael Kwan at his Killarney Heights home. He has decided on installing a smart meter, which will allow him to switch to a metering system on 31 December. It then allows him to use his solar energy to meet his household needs. Afterwards any excess electricity generated, and not used, is exported to the grid. Photo: Peter Rae Thursday 19 May 2016. Photo: Peter RaeYou probably don’t remember the exact time you last opened your refrigerator.
But an electricity smart meter will.
It will also remember the age and brand of your appliance and how it is being used in the home – and all conveniently in real-time.
But a University of Canberra cybercrime expert has questioned the cost of such convenience in a new report, arguing that current smart meter technology could place consumers’ privacy and security at risk.
“It is great to be connected and online, and we need to embrace what’s coming at us down the pipes,” said Nigel Phair, director of the Centre for Internet Safety at the University of Canberra.
“But we are not doing it in a measured or consumer-informed way. An insecure and accessible smart meter is a great way to tell when homeowners are away for extended periods of time.”
Smart meters are digital devices that electronically record water, electricity and gas usage and transmit the data to the utility operator in real-time.
Currently a smart meter is formatted to allow either a one-way or two-way transmission of data, with the latter the most commonly used in the Australian market.
One-way meters record the amount of water, electricity or gas at a pre-set interval, which is then transmitted to the provider, while in a two-way device, usage is not only sent to the energy provider but the provider can also push data and messages back to the meter.
To date smart meters have been rolled out on a voluntary basis in NSW, after a mandatory mass roll-out in Victoria was widely criticised.
But from July this year, any new meters installed in NSW homes must be a smart meter.
As well as being more costly, Mr Phair said a two-way device raises a number of security issues, as information transmitted is often unencrypted.
“I think smart metering is the future. But as we stand today we should only have one-way transmit meters until we sort out security,” he said, adding that providers could use push notifications in two-way meters to send advertising or turn off power to a home, if a bill has not been paid.
An Origin spokesperson would not confirm if information on its smart meters was encrypted, but said all devices and related systems featured “security measures” to protect all data.
“Origin’s digital meters comply with relevant privacy legislation and electricity market rules.”
In 2009 a criminal operation in Puerto Rico contacted the general public with an offer to covertly reprogram their smart meters for a fee, to falsely reduce their apparent usage, saving them up to 75 per cent off their monthly electricity bills.
An FBI investigation later found the Puerto Rican electrical and power authority lost nearly $400 million dollars in annual revenue.
Mr Phair said the case showed just how easily such technology could be compromised, and said it points to the need for public policy and “certainty in the marketplace about the security of devices”.
Energy Australia installed its first smart meters in Victorian customer homes in 2009. In the period since, an Energy Australia spokesman said there had not be “no known security breaches.”
“As well as adhering to national regulatory rules, we ensure our meter service providers routinely monitor their smart meter security systems so they are safe, secure and customers are protected.”
He said Energy Australia smart meters were not integrated with home technologies like wireless networks or telephones, adding that any smart meter data would continue to be shared “via independent and secure networks which do not overlap with the customer’s own wireless networks.”
An AGL spokesperson said its digital meter data was “confidential and encrypted,” and did not contain names or addresses.
“Data can be transmitted in two ways between the meter and the meter provider, which is important to enable meter software/firmware to be updated. We have not experienced customer data breaches ,” he said.
Those balancing household budgets will not like the latest economic data. Inflation figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday show the consumer price index, the key measure of inflation, rose 0.5 per cent in the March quarter – and driving that increase were essentials like petrol and housing.
Even though inflation was slightly weaker than expected, economists largely agreed the price growth was strong enough for the Reserve Bank of Australia to take interest rate cuts off the table. The annual rate of CPI growth lifted to 2.1 per cent, just above the lower end of the bank’s inflation target.
But commentators also noted that the price increases were not noted in areas that signalled economic growth, with the most significant price rises in the quarter being petrol (up 5.7 per cent) and electricity (up 2.5 per cent).
These are things households have to buy when at the same time their wages are barely lifting and their debts are high.
CBA economist Michael Blythe thinks that dynamic could impact on consumer spending, and thus affect the wider economy.
“Rising petrol prices, up 12.9 per cent over the past two quarters, are now having a negative impact on consumer spending power. In fact spending on areas that are largely outside consumer discretion, such as fuel, health, insurance, utilities etc., is on the rise, up 1.6 per cent in the quarter and 4.2 per cent over the past year,” he said.
“Trends in this ‘pain spend’ influence household’s perceptions of financial pressures, with a flow???on to sentiment and spending appetite.”
The pain was lessened slightly by a 6.7 per cent drop in fruit prices.
Underlying measures of inflation, which smooth out volatile price swings and are key to interest rate decisions, averaged just over 0.4 per cent growth in the quarter for an annual rate of 1.8 per cent.
In response, the Australian dollar lost a little ground, dropping from about 75.45 US cents prior to the release to around 75.2 US cents.
The RBA will hold its next monthly board meeting on Tuesday, but is expected to leave the cash rate at a record low of 1.5 per cent.
Hopes that March’s strong rise in employment was a turning point for the economy may prove premature as new figures show wilting demand for new workers.
Job advertisements on the internet declined 0.6 per cent in March after a revised 0.3 per cent fall in February in trend terms, Department of Employment data released on Wednesday shows.
This left annual growth at just 0.9 per cent.
Six of the eight occupational groups monitored by the department fell in the month, declining in three states and the ACT. Ending the rate cut talk
“Today’s CPI should bring to an end the debate about near-term rate cuts,” UBS economists said in a report.
“We expect core inflation to stay below the RBA’s target until [the first half of 2018], amid a housing correction that sees the RBA waiting to normalise rates until at least [the second half of 2018].”
Economists at Citi noted a lack of market-based inflation, with seasonal rises in areas such as healthcare, education, and insurance coming alongside higher petrol and housing costs
“We don’t expect much upside pressure in market determined prices in the future. Slow domestic demand growth and more competition from online and global retailers will constrain price growth in the non-food retail sector,” they said.
“More generally, low private sector wages growth and the increase in some mortgage interest rates at a time of record high household debt will prohibit many market-based CPI price lines from increasing at anything but a snail’s pace.”
Citi’s economists reckon the result is likely to stay the RBA’s hand for the rest of the year.
“For the RBA, its two main concerns are the subdued labour market and risks to financial stability. With these concerns pulling in different directions, we continue to expect no change in the cash rate this year. Any cash rate increase remains a distant possibility.
“We pencil in the first rate hike for [the December quarter of] 2018 as the RBA seeks to move away from historically low interest rates only when there is a likelihood of trend growth that removes the negative output gap.”
Capital Economics’ Paul Dales has abandoned his prediction of further rate cuts.
“The rise in underlying inflation in the first quarter, coupled with the RBA’s financial stability concerns, dramatically reduces the chances of any further interest rate cuts,” he said.
“When taken together with the RBA’s valid concerns that cutting interest rates further would threaten financial stability, today’s data suggest that underlying inflation is now at a level that the RBA will be willing to tolerate.
“As such, we are no longer expecting the RBA to cut interest rates further.”
He now expects the central bank to hold rates steady for at least the rest of the year.
Barclays’s Rahul Bajoria reckons rates wil be higher in a little over a year’s time.
With the Treasurer about to deliver his federal budget within two shakes of a burnt stick, it is time for your humble correspondent to deliver my annual advice on your sporting investment portfolio, as regards which shares to buy, sell, and hold.
John Coates. $7.02. Sell.
Tough call, but there is no way around it. His was a solid blue-chip stock until a couple of months ago when the challenge by Danni Roche for presidency of the AOC saw his price plunge from $12.57 to $8.22 practically overnight. Recent revelations have seen it fall further, and there are more to come.
Danni Roche. $3.58. Buy
Just 27?? three months ago, she is now rising by the week. If she gains the presidency, projections put her in the high $5-$6 range. (At that point, however, I’d sell. Remember Maxine McKew who did a staggering job defeating the sitting Prime Minister, John Howard, in Bennelong in 2007, and was rarely sighted thereafter. Ms McKew’s shares were never higher than on election night. I don’t necessarily say that will happen to Ms Roche as, after all, she will automatically take the top role should she win, and not be a mere back-bencher. I do say, however, that the fever of her accomplishment should push the shares to be well above their true value, in the short term.)
Rugby union. $2.46. Buy
A totally undervalued stock. There is no doubt whatsoever that the game is stinking up the joint in Australia. When I called the NSWRU the other day and asked what time the next home match starts, they said: “What time can you get here?” But all those wise-head brokers who are encouraging their clients to unload rugby portfolios at any price, forget that beyond Australian shores, rugby is booming as never before. Ultimately it is that value, those rivers of gold that continue to flow into the Australian Rugby Union’s coffers from overseas broadcasters ready to pay top dollar to see Australian teams that will sustain rugby through this distressing time of the “Depression Years”. (See, the last decade-and-a-half, since we held the Bledisloe Cup.)
Undervalued: A familiar Waratahs pose of late. Photo: Getty Images
A-League. $3.42. Hold
It is too hard to work out. I think it’s struggling. You think it’s struggling. But for some reason I don’t get, the insiders say it is as strong as ever, and getting stronger. On the other hand, soccer people always say that. It’s just in their blood. And so is falling to the ground screaming blue murder, even if you give them a light tap. Best thing is just to move on.
AFL. $19.52. Buy
It’s as blue-chip as they get, and is getting bluer. It is true that the AFL cheats somewhat by putting something in the water of the AFL follower that makes them mad for the game from the cradle to the grave, but it works for them. And the stunning success of the Women’s AFL this year highlights both how well run the game is, and how far ahead of everyone else they are in making their game grow.
NRL. $12.52. Sell
Something is going on this year, something like a change in the wind, whereby though all the media is still totally behind the game, the “buzzzzz”, is just not quite there. Plus, watch the concussion issue as it plays out in the courts. Todd Greenberg has done well this year to try to get on top of it, but I’ll bet it’s too late. Whatever happens in the current case, it is inevitable the game will face some serious pay-outs in the future which will push the share price down further. Finally, as more and more is known about concussion and the devastating long-term effects, it is equally inevitable that both players and spectators will veer away from what remains one of, if not the, highest-impact sports in the world.
Golden moment: Michael Gordon jumps on Mitchell Pearce in celebration after the Roosters field goal that sunk the Dragons on Tuesday. Photo: Getty Images
Australian Cricket. $25. Sell
Just before the Ashes. As that fascinating report in the SMH yesterday made clear – Channel Nine is thought to have lost up to $40 million by broadcasting the game last year – the professional game might be well past high noon in Australia, and just starting to wane. Sunset is no time soon, but the simple truth is it does not grip everyone the way it once did. Of course it will return to fever pitch just before this summer’s home Ashes campaign, it always does, but that fever hides the truth – with the loss of the West Indies as a serious competitive side, international cricket has lost one of its prime pistons and is lagging accordingly.
Raiders. $3.85. Buy
There’s something about that mob, under Ricky Stuart. About four years ago I got into the ear of their chair, telling him he had rocks in his head to take on Stuart, as he was just too intense and made his players wither, rather than grow. The chair ignored me, and was right to do so. Sticky has transformed them, and even though they’ve had a couple of unlucky losses, they will be dangerous come the finals.
Penrith. 62??. Sell
The Penny Panthers have become the Penny Dreadfuls in the space of just six weeks or so, and no team in the country has been more Ordinary on the All-Ordinaries Index than them – and there is no sign it is going to end any time soon. I can never work out where in Phil Gould’s “rebuilding phase” they are up to, but that roar in the distance ain’t more builders coming. It is Joe’s Bulldozers, on their way to knock over what’s up already and start again. It is going to be very expensive, won’t necessarily work, and that will push the share price down even further.
Come to think of it, an investment in Joe’s Bulldozers could be very useful. If the Waratahs, Swans and Collingwood don’t start winning soon, Joe will be very busy indeed and should make a fortune!