Archive For 08/29/2019

Hunters’ hopes on the line

By |

ON THE BALL: Emily Keith and Joel Rauch modelling the one-off red Charity Night uniforms which the Hunters will wear on Saturday night. Picture: suppliedIT will be a case of all hands on deck for defending Waratah Basketball League women’s champions Newcastle in their must-win game against Sydney Comets at Broadmeadow on Saturday.
Nanjing Night Net

The sixth-placed Hunters (5-7) will be without triple Olympian Suzy Batkovic, who is attending a wedding in Townsville, and injured young guns Cassie Pentney and Bianca Green. Centre Sophie Parente is also in doubt, having been laid low with a virus all week.

Newcastle must beat seventh-placed Sydney (3-8) and hope for favourable results from games involving third-placed Manly (8-4), fourth-placed Bankstown (7-4) and fifth-placed Sutherland (6-5) in the final month of the regular season to have any hope of sneaking into the semi-finals at Maitland on August 12.

Hunters coach Mark Gledson hopes the anticipated biggest crowd of the season will help his team produce a special performance. Coinciding with the club’s third annual charity night, Newcastle’s championship women’s and men’s teams are playing their last home games of the season.

All five senior Hunters representative teams will be at home on Saturday and will wear one-off red uniforms in a show of support for charity night partners Variety, The Children’s Charity.

“This is a great challenge for us this week. We need a real team effort, and obviously a win to keep our play-off chances alive,” Newcastle coach Mark Gledson said.

“Defence is the key, then converting it into offence.

“We will be without Suzy and several other players, and we have a number of other minor injuries to deal with. I guess it’s that time of the year that these injuries surface, but the atmosphere from the crowd for charity night should be electric and hopefully that works to our advantage.”

Games start at 1pm (youth league women), followed by division one men and youth league men at 3pm, championship women at 5pm and championship men at 7pm.

Men’s coach Darren Nichols said the Hunters (2-12) were bracing for an onslaught from leaders Sydney (13-1), who won 94-54 when the teams met at Alexandria on March 25, but he was confident they would not take a backward step against the title favourites.

“It’s our last home game and it’s an extremely tough assignment against the league leaders. We can’t afford a slow start with Sydney because they are big and unforgiving and will punish any mistakes,” Nichols said.

“But I’ve been very happy with the consistent effort every week from the team, and that’s all I can ask from such a young and inexperienced group.

“We were all disappointed with the two-point loss to Illawarra last week, but that’s basketball.

“Unknown to us, our captain Ben Hawkesley was suffering from food poisoning and is still recovering, so we’re hoping he is able to play. We were very happy with the maturity shown by our three youth league players Jacob Foy, Joel Rauch and Jakob Dorricott, who contributed 71 of our 91 points last week, so that’s an encouraging sign for the future of the Newcastle Hunters.”

Read more »

Naughton set to be cleared for Maitland

By |

CLEARED: Knights signing Curtis Naughton is set to debut for Maitland on Saturday. Picture: Facebook via Hull FCNewcastleKnights officials are confident English Super League recruit Curtis Naughton will be cleared in time todebut for Maitland against Macquarie at Coronation Oval on Saturday.
Nanjing Night Net

The Knights recently signed the former Bradford, Hull FC and Leigh player on a part-time contract with their reserve grade squad and Naughton is keen to show his wares in the Newcastle Rugby League competition.

The 22-year-old, mainly a winger and fullback, hopes to make it with the NRL club and has been linked with Maitland to get some match practice.

However, after training with the Pickers on Thursday night there were concerns on game eve that Naughton wouldn’t join fellow English Super League pair Luke Dorn and Dane Tilse for the upcoming encounter becauseonline registration procedures would not be completed before kickoff.

The Herald understands Naughton will get the green light for the last-placed side as they look to keep their semi-final aspirations alive.

“It’s a boost we definitely need,” Maitland coach Trevor Ott said.

“We’ve just got no outside backs at the moment.”

Naughton is set to wear the No.1 jersey and Dorn will shift to the halves.

Macquarie coach Adam Bettridge said fullback Mitch Manson and prop Adam Swadling were among five players to pass fitness tests at training this week.

Over at Cahill Oval on Sunday and Lakes skipper Chris Adams makes his long-awaited return from a fractured radius in the Seagullsmeeting with Central.

TheButcher Boys may secure the services ofJace Delaney at hooker as he waits for work visa issues to be sorted ahead of an overseas trip.

The Creer Cup will also be up for grabs at Belmont.

The remaining round 10 fixtures featuring Souths, Cessnock, Wests and Kurri have been postponed until later in the season with Townson and Harker ovals still closed by Newcastle City Council.

Meanwhile North Newcastle quartet Caitlin Moran, Kylie Hilder, Bec Young and Simone Smith were on Friday named in the NSW women’s squad to defend the Blues interstate title against Queensland on July 23.

The 31-player team, coached by South Newcastle mentor Ben Cross, will gather in Wollongong on Saturday for training and fitness tests.

RE-SCHEDULED: Western Suburbs vKurri Kurri(July 15-16);South Newcastle v Cessnock (August 12-13).

SPORTING DECLARATION: Why Sunday’s game is so important for the Knights

SET OF SIX: Tony Butterfield tackles this week’s issues in rugby league

COMEBACK: Macquarie’s Nathan Hinton inspired by son

Read more »

Hunter’s a happy median

By |

Hunter hot spots.Where the million dollar houses areStockton joins pricey property clubNEWCASTLE real estate prices have been getting a lot of attention lately, and with good reason.
Nanjing Night Net

Data issued this week reveals that regional areas are the new lands of opportunity for buyers and theHunter is booming.

It has been one of the best performing non-capital city areasin Australiafor the year to May according to property information group CoreLogic, and predictionsare for continued steady growth.

Price rises were recorded across the Lower Hunter, with the best performing local government area being the Great Lakes, which had amedian house pricejumpof $55,296, or 13.1 per cent, to $477,404.

Great Lakes also recorded the largest percentageprice gains in median unit prices, jumping 9.7 per cent to $365,172.

Lake Macquarie and Newcastlelocal government areasboth had 10.1 per cent median house price increases.

Newcastle tops the price list with a jump of $52,577 to $573,146, followed by Lake Macquarie increasing$49,618 to$540,893.

CoreLogic senior research analyst Cameron Kusher said many Sydney residentswere using equity in their homes to purchase investment properties in lifestyle markets.

He said the Lower Hunter was ideally placed to benefit due to its proximity to Sydney and the coast.

“The data indicates that after a long period of soft housing market conditions following the financial crisis, housing demand is starting to pick up across many of the larger regional areas,” he said.

“Those areas that are continuing to see values fall are in many instances linked to the mining and resources sector.”

In a report last week, BIS Oxford Economics predictedcontinued growth for the region, as capital citypropertymarkets weaken.

Prices are tipped to continue growing in the Lower Hunter, butexperts warn the biggest price gains are behind us and the market is tipped to cool.

The Lower Hunter’s median house price was $560,000 at June 1, ajump of36 per cent in the past four years.

Median house prices in the regionwere expected to increase about11 per cent in the year to June.

Real Estate Institute Newcastle Hunter divisional chairman Wayne Stewart said the Lower Hunter could expect price gains of about 6 per cent this financial year.

Read more »

Blues cling to hope of matching Terrigal

By |

Newcastle City coach Mitchell Knight is confident the Blues have the firepower to challenge runaway Black Diamond AFL leaders Terrigal-Avoca.
Nanjing Night Net

The two sides meet at No.1 Sportsground on Saturday, 10 months after City smashed the Panthers 14.13 (97) to 5.6 (36) at the samevenue in last year’s grand final.

But while Terrigal have stormed to 10 straight wins this season to lead the BDAFL ladder on 40 points, City have limped to a 6-4 win-loss record and were almost run down by winless Warners Bay last weekend.

City say the league’s controversial recruitment restrictions have hurt them on the field this year, but Knight is hopeful that his side can match it with Terrigal if they are at full strength and play to their potential.

“They haven’t even looked like losing a game this year,” Knight said.

“They’ve pretty much got exactly the same side as last year, but they’ve got a few big inclusions.

“Mark Skuse is a Sydney representative player.

“Alastair Richardson, another Sydney representative player,has come back as well.

“Their team is a lot stronger than it was lastyear, that’s for sure.

“I have no doubt, if we had our best squad playing our best footy, we can definitely match them and cause an upset.”

The Panthers have beaten City twice comfortably this year, by 36 and 48 points, both times on the Central Coast, but Knights could see chinks in theirarmour.

“They’ve still got a fair few younger guys on their list, and they can play inconsistent footy, but they’vealso played pretty well this year,” he said.

“If you’re going through a season undefeated, it can do funny things to your mentality going towards finals.”

City will need to be better than they were last week, when they scraped home 9.10 (64) to8.9 (57) against the Bulldogsat Feighan Oval after leading by 30 points at three-quarter time.

“We didn’t really get out of second gear last week,” Knight said.

“Our intensity wasn’t really up to where it needs to be.

“But pleased to get the points there. We can still push for second place and have a second chance in the semi-finals.”

Key ruckmanAaron Seen returns this week, and Knight hopes to get key players Nick Gill and Hugh Kelleher back before the play-offs.

In other games, Warners Bay will look to finally break through for a win against second-last Killarney Vale at Feighan Oval, and second-placed Cardiff host inconsistent Nelson Bay at Hillsborough Oval.

The Bombers have been struggling with injuries this yearand have lostrepresentative midfielderAlex Bailey (overseas) for the rest of the season.

The Hawks’ only losses have been against Terrigal, but their two wins over the Marlins have been by a combined margin of only 14 points.

Last year’s BDAFL player of the year,Jayden Rymer, kicked five goals for Nelson Bay last week in a big win over Killarney Vale.

Read more »

In-form Dane plans to bring running game

By |

THINKING ON HIS FEET: South African product Dane Sherratt will make his run-on debut for NSW Country against Queensland Country at Ernie Calland Field at Gateshead on Saturday evening.
Nanjing Night Net

DANE Sherrattis at his best when running the footy.

It is as much about his state of mind as anything else.

Sherratt grew up in Cape Townwhere rugby was all aboutstructure and field position. His trusty right boot, more thananything, earnedthe fly-half a spot in theCheetahs under-21side.

However, since moving to Australia three years ago, the 24-year-old has rekindled his running game, with great rewards.

“When I am confident, I run the ball,” he said.“That is when Ifeel my game is at its best.You won’t see me kick it.”

Sherrattwill make his starting debut for NSW Country against Queensland Country at Gateshead’s Ernie Calland Field on Saturday.

“It was awesome be a part of it when we played down in Canberra,” Sherratt said of his first appearance off the bench for the Cockatoos in a50-34 triumph over Brumbies Provincial a fortnight ago.“I am feeling confident and can’t wait to get out there.Last weekend for the Tahs, we didn’t get the win overHamilton but I scored a try. I ran the ball quite a bit andfelt good. I want to carry that into Saturday.”

Sherratt was named player of the carnival after leading Newcastle to the Caldwell Cup at the Country Championships in April.Newcastle played a“tournament” style of rugby in Port Macqaurie based on field position and pressure.

“[Newcastle coach] StuPinkerton was heavy on not playing in our own half,” Sherratt said.“At Country they encourage us tohave a go from pretty much anywhere on the field. The backline has been given that freedom. Obviously, we know when to exit as well.”

Sherratt conducts a Cockatoos backline that includes fellow Newcastle and Hunter players in halfback Jono O’Toole, fullback Jack Arthur (Nelson Bay) and winger Sireli Bainivalu (Hamilton). Maitland No.8 Travis Brooke and Singleton lock Nathan Brennan are among the tall timber in the pack.

“We are aiming to play a bit more expansive;run it rather than kick it,” Country coach Matt Thomas said.“We want to showcase the players’strengths. The eight-nine-10 is the Newcastle combination. When they have combined it has been pretty good to watch.”

The battle, whichkicks off at 5.50pm and has an under-19 clash between the same two teams as a curtain raiser, is Queensland’s third in a week.

They went down 57-27 to a Brisbane Premier Rugby President’s XV on Sunday and edged out touring side North Canterbury 22-18 on Wednesday night.

“They beat us on the bell last year and we are expecting a tightly contested game,” Thomas said.“We have a very different squad, where they have the nucleus of the same squad.Their strength is probably the forwards, which is fine by us.”

A win would complete a rare clean sweep for the Cockatoos, and follow triumphs over Sydney Subbies and the Brumbies.

“We have 15 new players this year which has rekindled the Country spirit,” Thomas said.“Toget a country jersey is often the pinnacle of these players’ careers.”

Read more »