Only four suburbs left in Sydney with median house price under $500k

Government aiming to fix housing deposit problemBuyers to save more than $500 a month to overcome ‘deposit hurdle’Developers try to lure first-home buyers ahead of Budget

There are now only four Sydney suburbs where the median house price is below $500,000, new data shows. And they’re all more than 45 kilometres west of the CBD.

Five years ago, there were more than 150 suburbs out of 467 in Sydney that could make this claim. This included areas like Auburn, South Granville, Westmead and Campbelltown.

Now, the only areas with median house prices under half a million dollars are the City of Blacktown’s Willmot, Tregear, Lethbridge Park and Blackett.

This statistic is daunting for entry-level buyers and left them few options, said Joshua Manzanera, 27, who moved to the Central Coast where he rents with boarders to save for a first home.

Working as an IT consultant in Sydney CBD on a “decent” wage, he has managed to save just under $10,000 in about 12 months but has had to make a lot of sacrifices.

And when he thinks about being able to buy soon, simply, “it’s not going to happen”.

“This generation is struggling and crying out for help ??? and I’m one of them,” Mr Manzanera said.

But he doesn’t want access to his superannuation or even negative gearing cuts. Instead, he just thinks the government should be providing more incentives for first-home buyers to save.

Without any assistance, his options and the options of other first-home buyers are limited to the shrinking pool of low-priced suburbs.

And even for those willing to buy in these areas, a 10 per cent deposit and costs requires “at least $75,000”, First Home Buyers Australia co-founder Daniel Cohen said.

Despite this, the advice given to young people continues to be “go west, it’s affordable out there,” he said.

And prices are unlikely to remain this low in these areas for long, Raine & Horne St Marys sales agent Peter Diamantidis said.

“We are finding more owner occupiers [and] first-home buyers now moving into these areas compared to 12 months ago which is now getting close on exceeding $500,000,” he said.

He recently broke a suburb record in Sydney’s cheapest suburb, Willmot, with a $592,000 sale at the end of 2016. The same home last sold for $385,000 in 2014.

A five-bedroom house at 9 Wallis Place in Willmot sold for $592,000 in November 2016 – a suburb record that was smashed again three months later. Photo: Raine & Horne St Marys

Willmot’s record was broken again in February when a near-new five-bedroom house sold for $700,000.

In 2012, Right Property Group buyers’ agent Victor Kumar was buying properties in the area for investors in the $180,000 to $300,000 range with little competition.

At the time, many people saw the area as a “no go zone … it had very bad stigma”, Mr Kumar said.

But since prices have increased, it’s unattractive even to Sydney’s investor class; who are looking for better rental yields and lower prices in other states.

“[$500,000] would get you almost two houses in certain parts of Brisbane … several apartments in South Australia or a house very close to the city.”

Now, most of the buyers are owner occupiers due to the comparatively affordable price point next to a Sydney-wide $1.15 million median.

They’re increasingly making the compromise to live in far-flung poorly connected western Sydney suburbs, typically known for a historically high proportion of housing commission, Starr Partners chief executive Doug Driscoll said.

The alternative to this is moving to the Central Coast and South Coast.

“Considering the average commute in Sydney is currently 90 minutes, people will be prepared to spend a bit more time in the car or on the train,” Mr Driscoll said.

Some Sydney residents would choose to rent or take on a bigger mortgage, both of which can be “financially and emotionally stressful”, University of Sydney senior lecturer Dallas Rogers said.

“This area is western Sydney is the last [affordable] enclave and it won’t be there for very long. People are disheartened and they don’t know how they’ll get into the market.”

Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson said it was a “seismic change” that would put pressure on the rental market.

“It’s little wonder first-home buyers are deader than the dodo.”

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‘An abuse which needs to be stopped’: Judge slams developers’ powers

Victorian government floats smoking rules for owners corporationsOwners corporations: Sharing not always blissAndrews government pressured to stop ‘Airbnb hotels’

Property developers are running roughshod over owners corporations to benefit their own interests and for their own financial gain, a government law review has been told.

In some cases, developers have signed expensive contracts to extend decades and have strong armed themselves onto committees for life, one submission claims.

Supreme Court Justice Greg Garde ??? also president of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal ??? went as far as calling the appointment of related body corporate managers under long-term contracts at excessive fees “an abuse which needs to be stopped”.

It is understood many residents feel they are getting a raw deal, with developers handing contracts to mates rather than signing those that best serve their interests.

Justice Garde’s submission was one of dozens addressing the obligations of developers in the Consumer Property Law Review of the Owners Corporation Act.

Those who wrote to the inquiry were concerned developers exerted a disproportionate power in early stages of owners corporations, given off-the-plan developments could often comprise solely the developer, or just a few other owners, when first established.

Deakin University researcher Nicole Johnston, who wrote a PhD on the topic, said off-the-plan buyers needed to be warned of the dangers.

“Developers have an inordinate amount of control of the owners corporation in its early life,” Dr Johnston said. “Buyers are often unaware of this and have little say in the decisions that the developer makes on behalf of the owners corporation. They are buying blind.”

Among the challenges Dr Johnston’s research identified were developers’ inappropriate use of service agreements and proxy votes, problems rectifying building defects and underestimated budgets and levies. The latter included “low-balling” buyers on fees to secure a sale.

“This is a common practice across Australia whereby developers keep the initial budget low in order to market a scheme as a ‘low fee’ development,” Dr Johnston’s submission read. “The shortfall catches up with the owners corporation and owners are forced to pay higher than expected fees, sometimes for years.”

Presently, the act requires developers to act honestly and in good faith in the interests of the owners corporation for five years from the date of the registration. The majority of relevant submissions, including Justice Garde’s, suggested that period be should extended.

Many also suggested developers should not be appointed as managers for the first 10 years and should not be able to vote on matters relating to building defects, as in NSW.

“Developers who have been around for a while know how to play the system, and use the legal system,” read one submission by the Southbank Residents Association.

“Developers can use mechanisms to entrench their power and control … One of our member OCs’ has spent $650,000 on legal bills fighting a 55 year contract worth $20 million ??? [Another member] OC had the developer appoint himself as the OC chairperson of the OC committee for life.”

Zac Gillam, senior policy officer of Consumer Action Law Centre, said owners corporations should be there to serve residents.

“And obviously there is a danger if they are dominated by developers that decisions will be made and fees will be imposed upon people who are going to struggle to pay them,” he said.

The Consumer Action Law Centre is advocating for hardship programs for vulnerable owners, allowing payment plans for fees. Mr Gillam said though he was not aware of any specific cases, “hardballing” buyers with low fees would be deceptive and misleading conduct.

NSW legislation also only allows developers with more than two-thirds of voting power to appoint a non-related manager until the first annual general meeting, which several submissions expressed support for.

But a submission by the Property Council said the existence of competing interests between owners and developers did not justify these further restrictions.

“If a developer retains ownership of units in a owners corporation following the owners corporation’s first AGM, that developer should hold voting rights proportionate to its unit share,” the submission reads.

“The developer has a wealth of knowledge about the construction and structure of the building that is invaluable to the proper management of a owners corporation. We believe that the value of this knowledge should not be overlooked.”

Public consultation for the issues paper closed last month and will now be reviewed by Consumer Affairs Victoria.

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Roxane Gay chooses principles over sales

Roxane Gay caused a stir when she pulled her latest book, How to Be Heard, from Simon & Schuster, saying she could not in good conscience share a publisher with white nationalist provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. “I can afford to take this stand. Not everyone can. Remember that,” she tweeted.

Gay can afford it because she has a steady job teaching creative writing at Purdue University’s College of Liberal Arts in Indiana, in the United States, and is constantly in demand as a speaker. A short story collection, Difficult Women, came out earlier this year. A memoir, Hunger, is due in August.

The American novelist, critic and social media superstar rose to mainstream prominence in 2014 with her breakthrough collection of essays, Bad Feminist, which offered a fresh and provocative take on issues of gender and race, refracted through the lens of pop culture. Her debut novel, An Untamed State, was released the same summer, leading Time magazine to declare: “Let this be the year of Roxane Gay.”

Writers can be wary of revealing their current projects, but when I posed the question Gay, in an email, told me she was working on six books at once: “I’m writing a [young adult] novel entitled The Year I Learned Everything, an adult novel, Nice Man, a couple of non-fiction book projects, an anthology about rape culture entitled Not that Bad, and a secret project I cannot tell you about.”

Her range is extraordinary, her energy apparently limitless. Somehow, she also finds time to feed and maintain relationships with her legions of Twitter followers – 131,000 posts and counting – and play competitive Scrabble every day. Tricky balance

At the Sydney Writers’ Festival this month, Gay is scheduled to make three appearances: in conversation with writer Durga Chew-Bose; discussing humour in fiction with Paul Beatty, author of The Sellout; and on a panel of “Black Nerds” including Cleverman creator Ryan Griffen, author Nayuka Gorrie, actor Miranda Tapsell and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead.

Finding the right balance between being a writer and a public intellectual is proving tricky, she says: “There is much more of a demand for non-fiction than fiction, which is quite a shame. But that demand has not changed the kind of stories I want to write. I will always consider myself a fiction writer first.”

Most of the stories in Difficult Women were written as a postgraduate student at Michigan Technological University, across Lake Superior from Canada, where “winter is more a state of being than a season”.

The title story details some of the ways women are (unfairly) labelled loose, crazy, frigid and difficult. Throughout the book, sex and violence are intertwined. A woman calling herself “a knife” performs a Caesarean section with her bare hands. An appalling shared experience of abuse forms an inseparable bond between sisters. A grieving mother seeks out physical pain to dull the emotional agony of losing a child; she asks her husband to hit her, and when he refuses, finds a man who will.

Gay was a straight-A student, a child of driven, overachieving Haitian immigrant parents. When she was 12, she went for a bike ride into the woods with a boy she thought she loved, and found a gang of his friends waiting in a cabin. What happened next was “as bad as you might expect”, she writes in “What We Hunger For”, an essay in Bad Feminist.

“I will never get that body back, and I hate that, because it was a good body. But they took it; they ruined it,” she continues. Unable to tell her family or friends about the horrific experience, she ate and ate, for comfort, to escape the male gaze and as a form of self-protection. “When I ate, I got to make my body into what I wanted it to be, which is a fortress.” Weighty issue

Gay is a fan of shows like The Biggest Loser, in which contestants compete to shed the kilos. She has written about her experiences in fat camp, and about what women writing about weight loss get wrong. Her 2014novel, An Untamed State, describes a woman being gang-raped while on holiday in Haiti, but devoting a whole book to her obesity, born in trauma, proved harder than she expected.

“Hunger was so difficult to write because it is the most personal thing I’ve ever written. I was forced to confront myself about this body I live in and make myself vulnerable in ways I did not anticipate,” she says. “I hope the book will simply expand the cultural conversation about weight, and women’s bodies, and trauma.”

A year ago, Gay was approached by influential African-American critic and cultural theorist Ta-Nehisi Coates and offered the “thrilling opportunity” to write a comic book for Marvel. World of Wakanda is a prequel to the new Black Panther series: the love story of Aneka and Ayo, two of the Black Panther’s all-female bodyguards, the Dora Milaje.

The comic came out in the United States on November 9, the day after Donald Trump was elected president on a nakedly white nationalist platform. Although the timing could be considered auspicious for a book about black lesbians fighting for justice, Gay wasn’t in the mood to sign copies at her local bookshop, but she honoured the commitment and was moved to be greeted by a supportive crowd at Von’s in West Lafayette.

Gay has written that she feels out of place in the small, conservative, predominantly white city but stays there to fulfil a promise she made to her students. “I do feel a sense of responsibility, as a black woman, to remain in the academy because visibility matters and there are so few black professors not only at Purdue, where I teach, but nearly everywhere,” she says.

How to Be Heard will find a home – Gay says she’s had several offers. Yiannopoulos was dropped by Simon & Schuster for making comments condoning paedophilia, but it seems his memoir will be picked up, too, by conservative imprint Regnery Publishing.

“I received a range of feedback from enthusiastic support to people who felt I was limiting free speech. I was not,” Gay says.

At a time when crude racist and sexist provocation can make someone like Yiannopoulos a rock star, Gay feels a responsibility to join battle. “I write about fairly challenging issues so it’s rarely pleasant though I love writing, regardless of the genre I am working in,” she says.

Whether writing fiction or non-fiction, comics or novels, she is one of the essential dissenting voices of the Trump era.

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It’s bonds to the rescue as the needle points up for interest rates

With interest rates heading higher and the global economy resuming a growth trajectory, it’s clear the investment landscape is changing and your investment portfolio may also have to adapt to the new reality.

Younger investors may never have made decisions in the environment we are heading into, as it’s the first time in more than a decade that the needle has pointed up for interest rates.

And that raises the question, in a rising interest rate environment, whether there is any reason to buy bonds.

The answer is yes, and the reason is that bonds should always have a role in a diversified portfolio.

In general, bonds provide income, protect capital and provide diversification.

However, what may be adjusted is the type of bond exposure held. There are many types of bonds, including treasury bonds, investment grade corporate bonds, high-yield bonds and mortgage-backed bonds, just to name some of the common ones.

Finding out what bond suits your risk appetite requires some advice and homework, and it’s worth taking your time to make sure you get products that meet your portfolio needs.

But perhaps not as well known is that investors can also tilt bond exposures towards sectors that benefit from a rising interest rate environment. For example, the financial sector – banks, insurers, brokers – typically becomes more profitable as interest rates rise, so their bond issues often perform relatively well against this backdrop.

It is also worth noting that a rising interest environment is not necessarily bad for investment returns.

The chart above shows Australian investment returns during past US Federal Reserve tightening cycles. Over these cycles, Australian corporate bonds have delivered an average return of 7.8 per cent.

But bonds are just one of the investments in a portfolio that may need adjusting as we head into a new world.

It is the returning strength of the global economy as it pivots to growth that is pushing interest rates higher.

And it is the US that’s leading the charge with strong domestic demand and rising employment. While there is still some uncertainty surrounding President Donald Trump’s fiscal policies, the US economy is forecast to grow modestly above trend over the next two years.

And against a backdrop of solid growth and rising price pressures, the Federal Reserve has started to normalise interest rates.

It’s a different scenario in Australia, where there is still a lower-for-longer outlook on interest rates, being driven by constrained consumer spending and stubbornly high unemployment.

And this discrepancy between the Fed and the RBA on interest rates creates some interesting opportunities for Australian investors.

Rising US rates will send investment flows into the US and away from Australia if it stays on hold. That will place downward pressure on the Aussie dollar and strengthen the US dollar.

And so, if you agree with the scenario, it may make sense to increase exposure to US dollar investments.

Also, if growth and interest rates are higher in the US, then US dollar investments might offer a higher return than those in Australia for a comparable level of risk.

The key takeaway is it’s time to open your investment portfolio, and make sure its content suits the prevailing economic environment.

Danica Hampton is head of investment specialists at Citi Wealth

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Litbits May 6 2017

ACU Poetry Prize
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Entries for the 2017 Australian Catholic University Prize for Poetry are open until July 3, with a $10,000 first prize for poetry with the theme “Joy”. See: acu.edu419论坛/poetry-prize.

What’s on

May 6: Moving Beyond 1915 Remembrance – free public launch by Professor Joan Beaumont of 286-page printed book and e-book compiled by Peace Works! at National Archives of Australia, Queen Victoria Terrace. Book launch at 2pm; displays and events 10 am to 4 pm; complimentary refreshments all day.

May 6: Come for afternoon tea with Jenevieve Chang, author of The Good Girl of Chinatown: From suburban Sydney to Shanghai Show Girl at 2pm at Asia Bookroom, Lawry Place, Macquarie. RSVP to 62515191. Entry by gold coin donation to the Australian Childhood Foundation. See:AsiaBookroom南京夜网.

May 7: Join Roanna Gonsalves in conversation about her debut book of short stories The Permanent Resident with Feminartsy’s Zoya Patel at Muse Canberra. Tickets: $10 (includes a drink) or $30 (includes a drink and a copy of the book). musecanberra南京夜网419论坛.

May 8: At 6.30pm, Manning Clark Lecture Theatre 2, ANU, in an ANU/Canberra Times meet the author event, Co-founder and creative director of the Mama Mia Women’s Network, Mia Freedman, will be in conversation with Genevieve Jacobs on Freedman’s new book: Work, Strife, Balance. Free event. Bookings at anu.edu419论坛/events or 6125 4144. Book signings at 6pm.

May 8: At Smith’s Alternative Bookstore at 7pm, Owen Bullock will launch Eggshell Sky, a book of haiku by Hazel Hall in collaboration with Angela Hillier, Narelle Jones and Painting with Parkinson’s. Host: Josh Inman. All welcome.

May 10: The next Poetry at the House reading is at University House at 7.30 pm. It will feature Louise Nicholas (from Adelaide), Paul Cliff (from Canberra) and Victoria McGrath (from Yass). Admission: $10 waged, $5 unwaged. RSVP: [email protected]论坛.

May 11: Still touching hearts: an evening with May Gibbs for the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature. Includes a presentation of original artwork to the Centre by Jane Brummitt, co-author of May Gibbs More than a Fairy Tale. 5.30-7pm at ALIA House, 9-11 Napier Close Deakin. $15 ($12 for CBCA members). RSVP by May 9: [email protected]南京夜网.

May 11: In The Unknown Judith Wright Professor Tom Griffiths and Dr Georgina Arnott reflect on the writer’s status as a historian, exploring what can be learnt from her life’s work. National Library of Australia Theatre, Lower Ground 1, 5.30pm, admission free. Bookings: nla.gov419论坛.

May 11: Animal Rights Writing is a free panel event with authors Irma Gold, Karen Viggers and Sam Vincent at Tuggeranong Arts Centre at 6pm. tuggeranongarts南京夜网.

May 13: Plotting Your Novel with Ian McHugh is a writing workshop from 10am to 4pm in the E-Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre. Cost: $145 members, $210 non-members (includes 12-month membership). Concession rates available. Bookings:

May 17: John Blay will launch Paula Keogh’s memoir The Green Bell, a portrait of the last year of the poet Michael Dransfield, at Muse Canberra at 5.30 for 6pm. Free admission. RSVP to [email protected]南京夜网.

May 20: The Little Red Writing Workshop with Mark Tredinnick, a crash course in style, is on from 10am to 4pm in E-Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre. Cost: $145 members, $210 non-members (includes 12-month membership). Concession rates available.

May 29: At 6pm at the Copland Lecture Theatre, ANU in an ANU/ Canberra Times meet the author event, Robert Dessaix will be in conversation with Professor Nicholas Brown on Dessaix’s new book, The Pleasures of Leisure. Free event. Bookings at anu.edu419论坛/events or 6125 4144. Book signings at 5.30pm. .

May 30: At 6.30pm in the Copland Lecture Theatre, ANU in an ANU/Canberra Times meet the author event, Chloe Shorten will be in conversation with Anna-Maria Arabia on Shorten’s new book, Take Heart: A Story for Modern Stepfamilies. Free event. Bookings at anu.edu419论坛/events or 6125 4144. Book signings at 6pm.

* Contributions to Litbits are welcome. Please email [email protected]南京夜网419论坛 by COB on the Monday prior to publication. Publication is not guaranteed.

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What is the quintessential Canberran suburb?

NewsFranklin the dog with Barbara Howell of Bonner who has built trust with the homeless dog. 23 Jan 2015Photo: Rohan ThomsonThe Canberra Times Photo: Rohan ThomsonGungahlin region leads house price growth across CanberraCanberra’s light rail could drive up property values along tram lineCanberra’s median house price surpasses $700,000 for first time
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A four-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Franklin could be the quintessential Canberra home.

The Gungahlin suburb’s median price has climbed above the $700,000 mark, on par with the Canberra-wide median of $705,059.

Domain Group data shows that the median house price in Franklin, in the six months to March, was $707,500.

A four-bedroom house at 11 Aldous Street in Franklin sold for close to that amount in September.

The $709,000-home was set on a 495-square-metre block, had two living areas, an en suite to the master bedroom and a double garage. It last exchanged in 2009 for $530,000.

Watson and the suburb of Gungahlin also had a median price comparable with the Canberra-wide figure at $700,000 and $697,500, respectively.

Canberra’s suburban medians ranged from $435,000 in Charnwood to $1,637,500 in Yarralumla.

Domain chief economist Andrew Wilson said Canberra was a compressed market compared to other capital cities.

Sydney, for example, recorded suburban medians ranging from $468,500 in Wilmot to $4,975,000 in Longueville.

“Canberra is a market that does revolve around the centre,” Dr Wilson said.

“There’s not a lot of budget or prestige suburbs and the peak of demand is in the middle.”

Four in five Canberra suburbs had a median house price within $200,000 of the city median.

Domain Group data scientist Nicola Powell said the “average Canberra suburb” had shifted over the past five years.

“Because we’ve had such strong prices growth, what that has meant is perhaps your average, everyday Canberra house is starting to be pushed out onto the outer ring,” Dr Powell says.

“If you rewound to five years ago, it may have been located nearer to the city and maybe in the southern region.

“It reflects that a higher proportion of buyers are priced out of the inner north and inner south area.”

Franklin and Watson are among the suburbs that have experienced a spike in their median property price, in line with the progress of the light rail project.

Further growth is expected along the transport corridor as the project nears completion.

“Infrastructure becomes more important as Canberra spreads,” Dr Wilson said.

“[The light rail] an absolute positive for what is a city that is now not just broadening, but densifying as well.”

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Mum’s the word

File photo: iStockThe mother of a man accused of themurder of a Whorouly woman allegedly hired a hitman to kill the key witness in his trial.
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But her plan went south when police discovered her alleged plan and posed as the hitman willing to do the job for $25,000.

Michael Cardamone, 50, is due to stand trial in July for the alleged murder of Karen Chetcuti Verbunt in January 2016 – accused of drugging and assaultingher before setting her alight.

Both he and his mother MariaCardamone have been charged withperverting the course of justice and incitement to commit murder.

The 78-year-old applied for bail in Wangaratta Magistrates’ Court on Friday, but was refused on the grounds she was an unacceptable risk to witnesses in the community.

Homicide squad Detective Senior Constable Steven Eppingstall told the court in evidence that police intercepted phone calls between MariaCardamone and her son in jail in March, where they allegedly discussed the need to kill the witness.

An undercover operative posing as a hitman agreed to a price to be paid in two installments of $12,500 before and after the job.

“She was very guarded in the words she used, she often spoke in code and was the instigator of some of these codes,” DetectiveEppingstall said.

He said MariaCardamone hid the arrangement from the rest of the familythen, on March 23, she tried to rip off the “hitman” and paid just$9000.

79yo woman charged with incitement to commit murder has arrived at Wangaratta court with police. @bordermailpic.twitter南京夜网/d9ivo77YOV

— Shana Morgan (@shana_morgan) May 5, 2017Mrs Cardamone has been willing to go to great extremes to protect her son.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Maio Eliades

Barrister Gordon Chisholm said there was no evidenceMariaCardamone was a threat to any other witnesses and had been banned from calling or visiting her son in jail.

He argued a $25,000 surety from a family member and an order to engage with mental health services would reduce the risk of reoffending.

“The individual witness that Mrs Cardamone is fixated on would be in a different category to other witnesses,” he said. “There is no evidence to say she’s going to move her fixation.

MariaCardamone, a short woman dressed in a dark pink jumper, put her hand to her head and shut her eyes when magistrate David Faram announced he would refuse her bail application because she was an unacceptable risk of reoffending.

“The medical report indicates she has been suffering from depression and has been in an anxious state for sometime,” Mr Faram said.

“This case against her seems to suggest she planned this reasonably well (and she) was, and perhaps remains, fixated on making sure this particular witness is not available to give evidence in the trial.”

MariaCardamone was remanded for a committal mention on August 3. Her son’s trial is due to begin in Wangaratta on July 31.

The Border Mail

North Newcastle part of league history

TRIUMPH: North Newcastle trio Bec Young, Caitlin Moran and Simone Smith celebrate after the Jillaroos’ 16-4 victory over the Kiwi Ferns in Canberra on Friday. Picture: Getty Images.North Newcastle’s newly formed women’s squad will play part in two significant rugby league moments within the space of 24 hours.
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The squad will haveits first Sydney Women’s Metropolitan Rugby League game at home groundPassmore Oval on Saturday after startrio Bec Young, Caitlin Moran and Simone Smith helped Australia to a 16-4 Test win over New Zealand in Canberra on Friday.

“It is very special,” North Newcastle’s Margaret Watson said.

“The gentlemen who have come back and put in all the effort to re-establish the team have done a great job. And the men’s playershave been great as well. We do team runs against them on Friday night and it’s a shift where the women’s team is an equal part of the club.”

Watson is one of seven North Newcastle players in the NSW Country squad.

The former Australian rugby union representative will be joined by Phoebe Desmond, Jerry Burgmann, Kylie Hilder, Donna Sutton, Amy Broadhead and Alicia Martin in a fixture against City at North Sydney next Sunday (May 14).

North Newcastle, who lost round one 50-12 to the Greenacre Tigers last weekend,tackle theRedfern All Blacks at Passmore Oval on Saturday (3pm).

Young, Moran and Smith aren’t likely toback up for North Newcastle but will play an important role throughout the 2017 campaign.

It is the first time North Newcastle, one of the Hunter region’sfoundation clubs from 1910, have fielded a women’s team.

In recent seasons much of the squad played in the same state tackle competition under the Hunter Stars banner and prior to that with Maitland.

AAP reports: The Australian Jillaroos have avenged last year’s Test loss to the New Zealand Kiwi Ferns with a gritty 16-4 win in Canberra.

The Jillaroos continued their dominance of the Ferns from the Auckland Nines whitewashand turned the tables on last year’s 26-16 loss by winning a bruising Friday’s double header.

Home captain Ruan Sims was named best afield after leading her side’s pack through the middle in a tough encounter.

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Knights’ shining light in state junior decider

STARS: Newcastle Knights trio Jaron Purcell, Bradman Best and Max Buderus ahead of Saturday’s Harold Matthews Cup final. Picture: Simone De Peak
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It has been two decadessince the Newcastle Knights won their maiden first grade grand final.

None of the players in the club’s Harold Matthews Cup squadwere even born.

But at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday the Knights’ under-16 side will line upagainst the same opposition, the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, and try to emulate the feats from that famed September afternoon in 1997.

Newcastle coach Mark Morrissey has been providing the youngsters with a few history lessons, including images of Paul “Chief” Harragon’s run-in with John Hopoate and video of Darren Albert’s memorable match-winning try, but it will be the impact of two former champions that resonates with the current crop.

Matthew Johns, who played in both of the club’s premierships, and Danny Buderus, who was involved in just the later 2001 triumph, will present thesquad with their jerseys in the dressing sheds before the state juniordecider.

“All of these kids weren’t even born back then,” Morrissey said.

“There’s a bit of history there that we’re using as motivation to try and get them home.

“And to have both Matty [Johns] and Danny [Buderus] both there will be a special moment for the kids and something they will remember for a long time.”

And it comes at a time when the club’s NRL team are languishing at the bottom of the ladder, despite improved performances, following back-to-back wooden spoons.

“It’s a glimmer of hope and light out there for fansthat look at the future and development,” Morrissey said.

“We are developing future first graders and there is a future here at the Newcastle Knights, we just have to hold onto them.”

Three of the key elements to an undefeated 2017 campaign have been skipper Jaron Purcell, fullback Bradman Best and Max Buderus, nephew of former Australian hooker Danny.

Purcell and Best were also part of last year’s Newcastle squad that lost the grand final.

The NSW under-16 squad will be named after theshowdown.

Kick-off is 11am.

Cronulla and Parramatta meet in the SG Ball decider.

NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS: 1Bradman Best2Maile J Townsend3Darcy Heaney4Cooper Jenkins5Patrick Achurch6Max Buderus7Kobe Davies8Thomas Affleck9Mitch Black10Christian Ma’anaima11Riley Meyn12Harry Croker13 Jaron Purcell (c)14Ryan Potts 15 Tyler Doney16Ben Olsen17Sione Tuitupou Kutu18Trentham Petersen19Blake Layton20Harry Whitfield23Jack Jackson.

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Canberra export Marc Tokich trialing in Europe after winning NYL award

Canberra FC junior Marc Tokich is trialling in Germany after being named National Youth League Player of the Year following an outstanding campaign with the FFA Centre of Excellence.
Nanjing Night Net

Tokich, 17, has developed dramatically over the past two seasons under former Socceroo and Centre of Excellence coach Tony Vidmar who kept the rising star in his program for an additional year.

The attacking midfielder was spotted as a late blooming 14-year-old and came into the academy at 165cm and 47kgs, before graduating at 183cm and 72kgs, and Vidmar said the budding talent isn’t done yet.

“Marc missed a fair bit of football because we had to manage his training load and growth otherwise he would have got injured, and he’s still growing,” Vidmar said.

“He was a delayed developer but we saw the football potential in him and invited him to train with us in 2014 and then offered him a scholarship.

“Knowing his quality, the individual player was our priority, that’s why we kept him on for an extended period and I don’t think anyone else could have done that.”

Vidmar wasn’t surprised the young picked up the NYL award for the competition that ended in January and said Tokich remained training with the academy before earning his trial in Europe.

“Marc is an attacking midfielder who knows where’s the goals are, he has good drive and combination play and had a very good year so the award was very well deserved,” Vidmar said.

“He’s a quiet guy and doesn’t say too much, he likes to let his football to do the talking and I think he’s starting to grow as a person and becoming a leader.”

FFA player development manager Jackson Kupke said Tokich’s rise can be attributed to the world class facilities at the AIS where the Centre of Excellence is based.

“His success is down to the sports science at the AIS and that he was affectively managed,” Kupke said.

“His growth and load management has been so tightly monitored over the past two years that our physio would look at his daily data and speak with coaches on what his body could tolerate.

“He has been part of Australian under-20 side preparing for the 2019 World Cup and I expect him to make that team when the squad for qualifiers is announced later in the year.”

Tokich’s father Tony confirmed his son will remain in Germany for another month after the club extended his trial period last week.

“We’re very proud of him and it’s well deserved because he works very hard,” Tokich said.

“He has come a long way and long way to go but we’re just happy he’s following his dreams because this is all he has ever wanted to do.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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