United facing a tough run-in

Wollongong United players Joel Taddeo, Rick Goodchild and Marcelo Guerrero train on Thursday night. Albion Park are looking to upset Wollongong’s top-five chances at Terry Reserve today. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI
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Beware the carefree Albion Park: that’s the message from Wollongong United skipper Ricky Goodchild as the White Eagles look to puncture the finals chances of their Bert Bampton Cup nemesis.

Out of contention for the Illawarra Premier League finals, a free-flowing Albion Park delivered a blow to Dapto Dandaloo’s title hopes in an entertaining 2-2 draw last weekend.

Now they have their sights set on wrecking Wollongong United’s post-season plans as the one-time competition leaders cling to a top five berth.

“They’ve got some quality players,” Goodchild said. “At the start of the season I definitely thought they would be top four or five easily.

“When they click they’re going to be very dangerous.

“I watched them against [Dapto] Dandaloo on the weekend and they could have won that game. We have to be on the top of our game to get the points there.”

The trip to Terry Reserve forms part of a testing run-in for Wollongong United, who will play last season’s grand finalists Dapto Dandaloo and Tarrawanna in the final two rounds.

Steve Micevski’s men currently occupy a finals spot – four points ahead of sixth-placed Wollongong Olympic whose finals chances have plummeted in recent weeks.

“We’ve got a little bit of a gap now, but we’ve got a very hard run in with Albion Park, [Dapto] Dandaloo and Tarrawanna,” Goodchild said.

“It’s definitely not sewn up and we just have to go into this weekend looking to get the three points against Albion Park at their home ground.”

Wollongong United snapped a four-match losing streak in the league with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Wollongong Olympic last weekend.

It was a match Goodchild hopes will set a trend defensively for the rest of the season.

“We’ve always scored goals, but as a team defensively we haven’t been at our best and have given away cheap goals,” he said.

“We’ve led games and then we’ve let it slip and lost. That’s probably been our downfall, so it was really good to keep a clean sheet.”

Title contenders Dapto Dandaloo, Bulli and Tarrawanna will also be in action today.

Cringila and Port Kembla kicked off round 20 last night.

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‘His first attack was fatal’: cyclist Robbie Williams dead

Died while training … Robbie Williams. Photo: CYCLING NSWThe cycling world and Shoalhaven sporting community has been shocked by the sudden death of local award winning and multiple race winning cyclist Robbie Williams.
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Mr Williams, 27, the son of well-known local doctor Bruce Williams and his wife Sue, died in Canberra on Tuesday morning during a bunch training ride, the South Coast Register reported.

An ambulance crew attended to the cyclist on the scene on Gungahlin Drive near Belconnen Way just after 6am.

He was then transported to Calvary Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

An autopsy revealed the star cyclist suffered sudden fatal cardiac arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat or abnormal heart rhythm).

Mr Williams, the 2007 Goulburn to Sydney winner, was a stalwart of the domestic cycling scene in the mid 2000s and a multiple champion of the Nowra Velo Club.

Starring as a junior triathlete, he won the Shoalhaven Sportstar of the Year award in 2000-2001 but made his name riding for the Drapac Cycling squad, in which he flourished as an all-rounder and included a win in Australia’s second longest race, the iconic Goulburn to Sydney.

Williams rode with the DFL-Cyclingnews南京夜网-Litespeed team in Belgium before joining the Melbourne-based Drapac Porsche squad in 2007.

His father Dr Williams said the sudden fatal cardiac arrhythmia was impossible to foresee.

“We are just devastated,” he said.

“Some people are lucky they get warnings and can have things investigated, unfortunately for Robbie his first attack was fatal.

“The heart stops beating normally and therefore stops pumping blood.”

While unsure of what his son would have actually felt Dr Williams said they have been told Robbie had just pulled a turn on the front of the training group ride.

“Apparently he pulled off a little bit earlier than normal and went to the back of the group,” he said.

“Whether he felt funny or not, perhaps dizzy, short of breath, we’ll never know.

“I would say he would have been unconscious on the bike and dead before he fell off.

“The group said and all they heard was a crash – there was no car involved, no obstacles, no black ice – they just heard a crash.”

Mr Williams said his son was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

“It is something totally unforseen and unpredictable.”

It is a condition that has struck down two elite level footballers in recent months.

Italian Piermario Morosini succumbed to it in April while weeks earlier Fabrice Muamba survived a similar episode in London while playing in the English Premier League.

“They are fit and well, it is an undiagnosable condition,” Dr Williams said.

“At least [Robbie] died doing what he enjoyed. Certainly, we would all like to go that way.”

He dismissed reports that his son had a pre-existing medical condition.

“He was a fit as a Mallee bull and always was,” he said.

“While he had not competitively raced since 2010, he always maintained his fitness and was riding regularly.”

Mr Williams had not long become engaged to his fiancee Claerewyn and the pair planned to be married on New Year’s Eve.

The couple were living in Yass, with Mr Williams working in Canberra for RBS Morgan after having completed a commerce degree at the University of Wollongong.

There was talk of him possibly relocating back to Nowra to further his financial career.

A service to celebrate his life will be staged this Saturday from noon at his grandparents’ property at 226B McMahons Road, North Nowra (right at the end of McMahons Road) to which all are welcome to attend.

The family plans to hold a private service later in the week.

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Attempted abduction at Albion Park

Police are appealing for public assistance following the attempted abduction of a girl at Albion Park yesterday.
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A group of students left Albion Park High School in Church Street about 1pm to walk to a nearby location for sport.

Two girls aged 13 and 14, who left a short time after the main group, were approached by a man as they walked through an alley leading onto Beveridge Street.

Police said the man grabbed the younger girl by the wrist and attempted to pull her away.

She managed to break free and both girls ran to the sporting grounds and told the teacher.

The man has been described as being 183 centimetres tall, aged in his 50s, of thin build with grey hair. He was wearing a black hooded top and black tracksuit pants.

Lake Illawarra Local Area Command is investigating.

Meanwhile, the incident has prompted police again to encourage parents to reinforce the ‘‘Safe people, safe places’’ messages with their children, including:

– Make sure your parents or another adult you know knows where you are at all times.

– Always walk straight home or to the place you are walking to. Walk near busier roads and streets, or use paths where there are lots of other people.

– Know where safe places are – a shop, service station, police station, library or school. If you are ever frightened, you should go to one of these places and ask them to call the police.

– Learn about safe adults you can look for and talk to if you need help – police officers, teachers at school, adults you know and trust.

– Don’t talk to people you don’t know and never get into a car with someone you don’t know. If a car stops on the side of the road and you don’t know the person inside, do not stop.

– If you are scared and can use a phone, call triple-0 and tell them you are scared.

– If someone tries to grab you, yell out, ‘‘Go away, I don’t know you.’’ This lets other people know you have been approached by someone you don’t know.

Anyone with information about this incident should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://www1.police.nsw.gov.au/. Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence. We remind people they should not report crime information via our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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Bede Murray toasts 50 years

… with wife Edie at Kembla Grange … … their son Paul Murray…
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and with his first group-class winner Hussar’s Command.

Bede Murray and his star galloper Universal Prince …

For a man who has been around horses almost his entire life, only once has Bede Murray felt completely out of place.

“I went to Melbourne with no hope,” he said of a 1983 expedition with Hussar’s Command.

“I’d never been to Melbourne before.

“When I drove over the top of Flemington and saw the size of the track I thought, ‘God, what am I doing here?’ We had to run fourth or better in the Hotham Handicap (now Lexus Stakes) to get a run in the Melbourne Cup.”

Considering Murray’s long and distinguished career, it was no surprise how Hussar’s Command fared.

“He was in front past the clock tower [200 metres pole] and just got nabbed on the post and ran second,” Murray said.

“He was automatically in the Melbourne Cup.”

History has Hussar’s Command leading the Melbourne Cup field into the straight that year.

He eventually wilted to finish eighth, providing Murray with a “great memory”, as Kiwi stormed from second-last on the turn to win the race that stops a nation.

Fast forward almost 30 years and Murray is again celebrating a remarkable milestone.

It’s taken a fair bit longer to achieve than his first Melbourne Cup runner, but it’s noteworthy nonetheless.

Today the Illawarra Turf Club will make a special presentation to Murray on the eve of the 50th anniversary of his first winner at Kembla Grange.

First winner

Murray remembers it like it was yesterday.

“You always remember your first,” he said.

The horse was Corn Vista, the day was August 29 and the man Murray is forever thankful to was Ted Latta. On the verge of taking out his trainer’s licence after riding as an amateur on the “number nine picnic circuit”, Murray was persuaded to head to the sales by Latta where they purchased Corn Vista.

“He came down and I said he’s very fat and out of nick,” Murray recalled.

“I worked him and he did well and he ran third at his first run and we went back to Kembla his next start and he won.”

The ill-fated Corn Vista won multiple times in the city before being involved in an ugly five-horse fall at Warwick Farm in Sydney.

Nevertheless, he had provided the springboard to the former dairy farmer’s career and Latta was keen to send more horses in his direction.

“I ended up having six to eight horses while trying to do the dairy so I ended up training horses full-time,” Murray said.

“Luckily it worked out.”

Top gallopers

Elkalyn, Hussar’s Command, Universal Prince, Victory Vein, Half Hennessy, Coniston Bluebird – all names synonymous with Murray’s success.

Hussar’s Command really put the South Coast horseman on the map, winning the 1982 Villiers before snaring the Doomben and Ipswich cups.

“Hussar’s Command in the ’80s was my first group winner,” Murray said.

“I was pretty lucky right throughout the years as I’ve usually had one horse that’s a city-class horse and kept me at the forefront a bit.”

And Murray was definitely front and centre at the turn of this century when Universal Prince, Victory Vein and Half Hennessy burst onto the scene.

A winner of almost $3 million in prizemoney, Universal Prince pinched the Spring Champion, Canterbury Guineas, Australian Derby and Ranvet at group 1 level.

Champion juvenile Victory Vein cut her opposition to shreds during a stellar two-year-old season which had her a head short of claiming the Triple Crown.

Half Hennessy was the second of three Murray-trained horses to win a derby after claiming the Queensland version in 2003.

Coniston Bluebird completed the trifecta in New Zealand six years later.

Country and

family influence

Despite all the horses who have come and gone, two things have never changed in Murray’s operation – the family and country always come first.

“The country lifestyle – that’s my style,” Murray said on why he had never taken up offers to train at a metropolitan track or overseas.

“Twenty years ago we bought stables at Kembla. We’ve run it with the farm and it’s been a very good combination.

“I was probably one of the very early ones and a lot of other trainers have followed suit with a property in conjunction with their training stables.”

Behind the scenes all along has been Murray’s wife, Edie, who has run the administration side of the business.

And then there are sons Graeme and Paul, thrust into the racing life much like Bede was when father Bill rode against his barely teenage son at a bush racing carnival.

“The pressure of training and handling good horses has been nothing new to him and Graeme.”

The future

Think Murray is ready to retire? Not quite yet.

Even considering that he’s closer to 80 than 70 now.

“I haven’t got any physical problems and I enjoy what I do. I think that makes a big difference – if you enjoy what you do.”

Regardless of whether he has a winner today, Murray will toast a victory just by being at the track.

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Bones unearthed in Southern Highlands backyard

Police are conducting tests to determine if bones unearthed in the backyard of a Southern Highlands home are human.
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Officers were called to the Aylmerton home about 10.30am yesterday after landscapers uncovered skeletal remains in a garden bed.

A crime scene was established and several bones were taken away to be tested.

Initial results from a number of small bones indicate they belong to an animal, but police are waiting on results from larger bones to determine if they are human.

Anyone with relevant information is asked to contact Bowral police on 4862 9299 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Pilbara offer welcomed

Thousands of Pilbara mining jobs will be promoted at an Illawarra jobs forum.The region’s union chief says he will take “at face value” a promise from Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill iron-ore project to seek expressions of interest from workers at an Illawarra jobs forum.
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South Coast Labour Council secretary Arthur Rorris was a vocal critic of the federal government’s decision in May to allow the project in remote Western Australia to use 1700 foreign construction workers.

This week he welcomed the planned jobs forum as a “positive first step”, but called for extra information about job numbers, skill requirements and where the positions would be based.

“If we’re serious about this, if this is an effort to get people into jobs as opposed to a PR exercise – and I’d like to think it’s the former – then let’s do this properly,” he said.

“Let’s get a breakdown of the types of jobs and occupations and the numbers that they’re after and let’s start working on this before they come over.”

Roy Hill Holdings agreed to attend a jobs forum in the Illawarra later this year – its first outside Western Australia – after an invitation from Gilmore MP Joanna Gash and Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.

It also launched a national campaign seeking expressions of interest, which has released details of some of the skills and experience required.

Positions include carpenters, concreters, crane operators, plant operators and others.

Most of the 8500 construction jobs won’t be required until next year and will be recruited by project contractors.

Flights to the Pilbara site will be provided from Perth, with no plan for an Illawarra connection.

Mr Rorris said the Illawarra had a large number of potential candidates, some of whom had previously applied for jobs in Western Australia, receiving no response.

“For me, and for the Labour Council more broadly, the trade union movement success here will be defined [by] seeing some of those people given those opportunities,” he said.

He wrote to Roy Hill this week about providing further details.

Labor MP Stephen Jones previously contacted the company and passed on resumes from several residents. Forum details are yet to be finalised.

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Butchers primed to spoil Dogs’ day

Thirroul’s Daniel Rauicava, Adam Goode, Joel Johnson, Daniel Perkins, Duncan Reilly and Bryce Forrest have already forgotten the dying seconds loss to Helensburgh last week and are set to tackle Collegians at WIN Stadium this afternoon. Picture: SYLVIA LIBERThirroul have refocused this week, after their gut-wrenching 20-18 loss to Helensburgh last Sunday, for a tilt at Collegians in the Illawarra Coal Cup minor semi-final at WIN Stadium today.
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The Butchers led the Burgh for all bar the last five seconds of the qualifying final, only to be sunk when Tigers centre Ben Haran scored the second of his two late tries to leave Thirroul in a sudden-death situation today rather than going on to play Wests in the major semi-final tomorrow.

Though Thirroul’s defence was rock solid across the park, they were exposed in the air because all of the Tigers’ tries came as a result of cross-field bombs or floating chip kicks to the corner, a tactic the Butchers will have to rectify against Collies today.

Collies just scraped into the minor semi-final after holding on for a 14-12 win over Shellharbour in the elimination final last Saturday.

Collies’ talented five-eighth Mitchell Wynn will miss the match because of a quad injury, and winger/fullback Ron Kissell is rated only a slim chance of overcoming a hamstring problem that prevented him from playing last Saturday.

However, the Dogs will be boosted by the return of fullback Henry Raiwalui.

The Butchers will be without second-rowers Jacob Ling, who has been selected in the Illawarra Cutters team to play Manly today, and Duncan Reilly, who has not recovered from a dislocated shoulder. Former Country Firsts representative Joel Ruskin, whose season has been interrupted by injuries, comes back into the side.

Thirroul pipped Collies 30-28 with a conversion after the full-time siren in the last round of the regular season and today’s eliminator is expected to be another close encounter.

“All the blokes were pretty shattered after the [Helensburgh] game. To lose like that was disappointing, but there’s a lot of positives to take out of the game,” Thirroul coach Phil Ostwald said.

“To hold them out across our line … they scored all their four tries from kicks.

“We had to make 100-plus more tackles in the second half than we did in the first half. To take it right to the wire like we did was a very positive outcome really.

“We need to put that aside and concentrate on this week now.”

Ostwald is all too aware that the Butchers have to be switched on for the full 80 minutes against Collies. The same could be said about the Dogs, who let the game out of the bag in the last eight seconds last time they met.

“There’s not much between the teams. Collies had a good end to the year, that’s why they’re there,” Ostwald said.

“They’re playing with a lot of enthusiasm and now they’re going about their business.”

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David Smith’s heart of gold

David Smith.Olympic gold medallist Dave Smith was over the moon when the Australian team touched down at Sydney Airport on Wednesday.
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Little did he know that his gold medal would soon have a few red faces for company.

Once all the formalities were over Smith jumped into a car with a friend, eager to get to his home in Warilla after many months overseas.

All was fine until a police officer noticed the vehicle, in which Smith was a passenger, was unregistered.

The registration had expired a week earlier, while Smith was winning his gold medal at the London Olympics as a member of the K4 men’s kayak crew.

When the driver was issued with a $700 infringement notice, gold medallist Smith did what he thought was the decent thing.

Rather than see his friend potentially cop some flak, he took responsibility for the misdemeanour himself when interviewed by the Mercury on Wednesday evening.

All was well until the next morning when Smith’s “admission” sparked a controversy online.

Yesterday, he couldn’t believe what all the fuss was about.

Now, Smith would like to make it clear that he was not the car driver.

So for all those readers hyperventilating over his alleged misdemeanour, it turns out that the Gong’s Olympic hero also deserves a gold medal in the noble and time-honoured tradition of taking the heat for his friend the driver.

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GOOD LIFE: Life matters

Knowing your values assists you in your decision-making regarding career, partners, friends and social activities.
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What do you value? Is it love, compassion, loyalty, excitement, money, freedom or stability? There are many values that may resonate for you. If you have never actually sat down and thought about what you value, it’s never too late to start!

Knowing what you value, and how you experience those values, allows for easier decision-making in life. If something goes against your values, don’t choose it. If it is aligned with your values, go in that direction.

Conflict with others often stems from differing values or living by different rules associated to those values. Two people may value love, however person A may prefer to receive love through receiving gifts, while person B may prefer to receive love via physical touch. These are each person’s unique “rules” around what they value.

When you understand your own values, you will in turn understand that others have their own set of values. You will be more accepting, accommodating and forgiving of others as you understand that we are all just journeying on our separate paths, to our separate goals, with our unique and individual luggage.

Your values will most likely change over time as you evolve and grow older. What you once valued as a child or a teenager may not be the same as what you value as an adult or a parent. Changing values is fine. Knowing and understanding your values needs to be consistent.

Knowing what you stand for and what you value makes decision-making easier and allows you to make choices based on certainty of self.

Bobbi Chegwyn is a self-empowerment coach, author and speaker who runs her business Ask Coach Bobbi. Check out www.askcoachbobbi南京夜网

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Campaigner fears cuts to school support staff

Public education advocate Jane Caro (left) and Russell Vale Public School administration officer Margaret Fallo discuss the possible effects of budget reforms on school support staff. Picture: MELANIE RUSSELLSchool support staff jobs could be at risk under NSW government education reforms, public education campaigner Jane Caro said yesterday.
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In Wollongong to speak to 500 administration and support staff from Illawarra schools, Ms Caro said reforms to give principals more power over their staffing budgets could result in fewer support workers being employed.

“I think one of the problems with [the reforms] may be that it very much depends on whether [the government is] going to give public schools the budgets they need,” she told a conference at the Novotel Northbeach.

MERCURY SAYS: Parents have reason to be angry

“Or are principals going to have to make decisions between employing an office and support administrator or another teacher?”

The social commentator, who is known for her appearances on ABC TV’s Gruen Transfer and Q&A programs, said office staff, teachers’ aides and maintenance staff were the unsung heroes of public schools working behind the scenes to do photocopying, collect money, run finance systems, and maintain rooms and playgrounds.

“They are incredibly important because without them, teachers would have to do all that work and that would take them away from teaching,” Ms Caro said.

She said many support and administration workers deserved to be paid more because their jobs had changed so much over the years.

“They are often the first people parents have contact with and they often have to turn their hands and do whatever is required,” she said.

“They are the sane centre of the school, quite often, and they are able to concentrate on the whole school, where teachers have to focus on one class or one subject area.”

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