TOPICS: Skinky sex or maybe a few mates hanging out

WEIRD: Topics wonders what reptiles get up to. Picture: Lily RayAre these lizards mating or fighting? Topics found a creepy surprise while having our morning coffee in the garden the other day.
Nanjing Night Net

We noticed a bit of a flurry going on near the basil and, looking closer, saw these little skinks having some sort of party.

There were two little critters with mouths clenched firmly on the belly of a third, not moving; just hanging out.

By the time we grabbed our camera, one biter had scampered away, but the cheeky one in the picture clung on for a good hour or so before wandering away. Do we have any reptile-experts reading? What is this bizarre phenomenon?

Are the lizards worried we don’t find them scuzzy enough as it is? The internet didn’t help us much, but did direct us towards an interesting account of a pet bluetongue biting its master’s pinky finger in two places.

STEFFI Graf had a crazy fan. So did Jodie Foster. Ominously Knights five-eighth Jarrod Mullen has one too, called Mullo Lover, who comments on the Herald website.

Whose is craziest? Time will tell. Here’s Mullo Lover’s take on a range of matters.

Selectors put Mullen up against Origin rival in City-Country game

‘‘This is an embarrassment, making Mullo play a waste of time game, he should be captain of Australia not running around in some park at Wagga. His time would be better spent shooting more Singo’s Meats ads.’’

Second sinkhole opens up in Swansea

‘‘That’s not a sinkhole, knights captain & all time legend the immortal Sir Jarrod Mullen put up a bomb in Newcastle last week & with the slight breezes it came down in Swansea just this morning & created a deep crater.’’

Mullen says ‘‘business as usual’’ for Knights after Tinkler departure

‘‘I can see it now, Legendary knights captain Sir Jarrod Mullen will purchase the club for $1, anoint himself captain coach & be the first man in history to own/captain/coach a team from cellar dwellers to the NRL premiership. All while filming an extensive range of Singo’s Meats commercials with Allan Robinson.’’

STALWART: David Hamilton of Kurri Kurri, who may be lost, in Newcastle hockey gear in Florida.

WE asked for readers in Newcastle gear abroad and David Hamilton, of Kurri Kurri, delivered.

‘‘A couple of years ago we went to see Tampa Bay Lightning play the Anaheim Ducks at Tampa Bay in Florida,’’ says David.

‘‘I’m pretty sure I was the only person wearing a Newcastle Northstars jersey.’’

In fact, we’re prepared to bet David was the first person to wear a Northstars jersey to a game of anything in Florida, ever.

Sumtimes its to much

WHAT are the most commonly misspelled words? We all dissapoint from time to time, and it’s not always easy to accomodate.

Truth is, mistakes happen to the best of us on occaision. You’ll even find them in Newspaper ads (pictured). Definately. Loosers.

Do you see a word constantly misspelled? Are you a serial misspeller? Is that even a word? Dob or confess at [email protected]南京夜网.au or tweet @TimConnell.

READER Mick, of Newcastle, agrees with Topics that a citywide party should follow a Blues victory (touch wood) in Origin two.

‘‘Any boss who sacks a bloke for not going to work the Thursday after NSW win Origin two is a bum!’’ says Mick, channelling a former prime minister.

We concur, and reckon that goes for female workers too.

AFL: Shannon Mangovski shines for Cardiff

JUMP TO IT: Shannon Mangovski, right, contests a mark with Singleton’s Johny Cornelius at No.1 Sportsground. Picture: Max Mason-HubersBDAFL: Newcastle City too strong for Warners Bay, photos
Nanjing Night Net

FORMER Northern NSW State League football premiership winner Shannon Mangovski continued his successful transition to AFL on Saturday by starring in Cardiff’s 84-point win over Singleton.

The Hawks won 18.20 (128) to 6.8 (44) at No.1 Sportsground to remain third in Black Diamond AFL.

In just his fourth AFL game, Mangovski kicked two goals and was among the Hawks’ best.

The former wing back is a good friend of long-time Hawk Quinton Davis and has quickly adapted to Aussie rules.

‘‘He’s been going quite well and he likes the physical side of the game,’’ Cardiff coach Adam Dugan said. ‘‘He’s very quick on his feet and his fitness levels are at the top end as well.’’

The Hawks were never troubled by Singleton after they opened up leads of 30 and 54 points at the end of the first and second quarters.

‘‘We should expect to get the win against Singleton given their position on the ladder, but probably the most pleasing thing is we’re starting to play some decent footy,’’ Dugan said.

At Feighan Oval, Newcastle City blew away Warners Bay with a six-goal opening term to win 21.16 (142) to 7.9 (51). Blues captain-coach Courtney Knight was again outstanding, kicking seven goals to take his tally to 41.

That is more than double the next best goal-kicker, Killarney Vale’s Scott Manuelle (20), and gave Knight the 700th of his Black Diamond career.

In the final match of round eight, the Bombers beat Nelson Bay 15.14 (104) to 10.12 (72) at Adelaide Street Oval.

THEATRE REVIEW: The Laramie Project

DOCUDRAMA: Nathan Villaverde, Sam Robinson and Eden Scott keep alive the story of Matthew Shepard’s violent death in Laramie. THE LARAMIE PROJECT
Nanjing Night Net

Presented by: Hunter TAFE’s Regional Institute of Performing Arts

Venue: Civic Playhouse, Newcastle

Season: Ended Saturday

THE brutal beating and subsequent death of a 21-year-old gay university student in the Wyoming town of Laramie in 1998 led to playwright Moises Kaufman and actors from a New York theatre group conducting 200 interviews with Laramie residents over 18months.

Kaufman drew on their comments, as well as media reports and court documents when the two men who killed Matthew Shepard were put on trial, in writing this play.

Though The Laramie Project is very much a docudrama, with the 13 student actors in this production playing 60 characters, the text and performances made it a down-to-earth and moving story about the reactions of ordinary people to unfortunate events.

The actors sat on chairs, rising and addressing the audience when their characters made an appearance.

The tale began with members of Kaufman’s team explaining why they had come to Laramie.

This was followed by members of the community saying what a relaxed lifestyle they had in the town of 26,687 people, with one saying that the family’s children were allowed to play outside until 10 at night. At story’s end, however, it was clear that people had become more vigilant and cautious.

Shepard is never seen, but the comments of friends and acquaintances allowed the audience to share their regrets about what happened to him. There also was a sense of outrage among the audience on the night that I saw the show when anti-gay protesters, led by religious zealot Fred Phelps, picket Shepard’s funeral, waving ‘‘God hates fags’’ signs.

Director David Brown used projections of photos taken at the funeral to underline the picketers’ appalling behaviour, with subsequent pictures of Laramie people dressed in white and wearing wings in a subsequent ‘‘angels’ protest’’ against Phelps’s inappropriate conduct, showing that hundreds of Laramie residents at least did not share his views.

Though some of the comments made about Shepard indicated ambivalence about his sexuality, people’s words for the most part showed concern at his violent death.

The hospital doctor, who spoke to the media about Shepard’s condition, and Reggie Fluty, the policewoman who found Shepard, couldn’t believe anyone would be treated the way he was.

And, in a moving address to a court, Shepard’s father appeals for one of his son’s killers not to be given a death penalty.

The actors in this Laramie Project were Thomas Gorton, Sam DeLyall, Astra-Lia England, Cara Pooles, Eden Scott, Brody Davidson, Ryan Burrett, Nathan Villaverde, Peter Drozdov, Sam Robinson, John Lopez, Precila Selui and Caitlin Allen. They made this a story to remember.

China lashes ‘provocative challenge’ from US, Japan at Shangri-La Dialogue

A senior Chinese general has hit back at a “provocative challenge” from the US and Japan, denouncing criticism of Beijing’s handling of a spate of escalating territorial disputes in the region.
Nanjing Night Net

The countries squared off in a war of words that at times overshadowed an Asian security forum at the weekend and also highlighted the potential for the Australian government’s close defence ties with Washington and Tokyo to anger its largest trading partner, China.

On Sunday, Lieutenant-General Wang Guanzhong, the People’s Liberation Army’s deputy chief of general staff, said his delegation at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue security summit in Singapore was surprised by what appeared to be a co-ordinated and staged “provocative challenge against China” by the Japanese Prime Minister and the US Defence Secretary.

“The Chinese delegation … have this feeling that the speeches of Mr [Shinzo] Abe and Mr [Chuck] Hagel are a provocative action against China,” General Wang said.

Earlier, he had told reporters Mr Hagel’s speech was full of “hegonism, threat and intimidation”.

Australia’s Defence Minister David Johnston reiterated shared concerns over “recent developments which have served to raise tensions in the region” at the forum.

Echoing similar comments made by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on Friday, Senator Johnston said the Australian government welcomed the US taking on a greater role in Asia, a statement unlikely to sit well with a Chinese leadership that views the US strategic “pivot” back into the region as an antagonistic move designed to contain its rise.

“It bears repeating … that the continue presence of the US has underpinned the region’s stability for the past 70 years,” Senator Johnston told the summit on Saturday.

“That’s why Australia welcomes the US rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region. We see it as an opportunity to foster further close co-operation in the region.”

Mr Abe and Mr Hagel used unusually strong language to describe what they saw as China’s “destabilising” and “unilateral” push to assert territorial claims in the East China Sea and South China Sea – a source of significant tension between China and its neighbours including Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Beijing has also accused Mr Abe’s nationalist administration of fear-mongering to “stealthily advance his dream for Japan to again be a militarist power” – while warning this would only result in a regional “arms race” that would set back economic development and co-operation

In their speeches, Mr Abe and Mr Hagel made direct references to close military co-operation with Australia – an unprecedented elevation of Japan-Australia security ties during Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s visit to Japan in April, and the rotation of US marines through Darwin respectively.

Diverting from prepared remarks, General Wang said that the speeches were “unacceptable”, accusing Mr Abe, who delivered the keynote address on Friday, and Mr Hagel, who spoke on Saturday, of co-ordinating and encouraging each other to attack China in their remarks.

Long-standing tensions in the South China Sea have been stoked to fresh highs in recent weeks as Chinese and Vietnamese vessels faced off over a Chinese state-owned oil rig drilling in disputed waters. Beijing and Hanoi have traded accusations over responsibility over the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing vessel near the rig.

There have also been reports of near misses between Chinese and Japanese aircraft in the airspace near disputed islands, as well.

Ms Bishop, who clashed with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi late last year after criticising China’s declaration of a air defence zone over the East China Sea, said China could choose one of two possible courses.

The first would have it integrate peacefully into the global community in line with President Xi Jinping’s “Chinese Dream”, while the alternate scenario would see a more nationalistic China wracked with domestic and external conflicts fuelled by historic territorial disputes and regional suspicion over its intentions.

“I certainly doubt that we will see a complete realisation of either scenario,” Ms Bishop said on Friday. “As its power grows, China will become integrated into the international system. It doesn’t mean addressing the challenges and risks will be easy.”

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

Warriors dash Knights’ finals hopes

Winners are grinners: Manu Vatuvei manages a smile through a pile of Knights bodies after crashing through for a try. Photo: Hannah PetersThe New Zealand Warriors all but snuffed out Newcastle’s already faint finals hopes with a 38-18 thumping of the Knights at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday.
Nanjing Night Net

In their first game since former owner Nathan Tinkler and his Hunter Sports Group management company severed ties, the Knights tried hard and hung in for long periods, but paid the price for unforced errors to slump to their fifth consecutive loss and ninth from 11 games this season.

Sitting equal last alongside Cronulla on six points, the Knights face the highly improbable task of having to win 10 of their last 13 games to return to the finals.

The immediate future looks much rosier for the Warriors, who have won four of their past five games to move into the logjam on the edge of the top eight.

It was the Warriors’ eighth win from their past nine games against the Knights at Mt Smart Stadium, and captain Simon Mannering celebrated the twin milestones of his 200th game for the club and 100th as skipper with two first-half tries including one from his own grubber kick.

Giant winger Manu Vatuvei also bagged a brace for the Warriors in their first appearance at their spiritual home ground this season, after three matches at Eden Park and another in Wellington, in front of an appreciative crowd of 19,068.

The Knights made an encouraging start, posting first points in the sixth minute when Tyrone Roberts caught Jarrod Mullen’s kick to the middle to touch down under the posts. Towering winger Josh Mantellato, in his second NRL start as a late replacement for the injured Aku Uate (knee), converted from in front for a 6-0 lead.

Newcastle suffered a blow in the 10th minute when prop Kade Snowden took an accidental knee to the head trying to tackle Ben Matulino and he was helped from the field on wobbly legs.

Finding room to move up the middle and on the fringes, the Warriors struck back with three tries in 13 minutes — all from kicks — to take a 16-6 lead by the 24th minute.

Captain Mannering was an unlikely first try-scorer for the home team, regathering his own grubber kick to score in the 11th minute, and the Warriors backed that up with two more from Shaun Johnson cross-field bombs.

Manu Vatuvei, making up for an earlier handling error that led to Newcastle’s first try, flew above Mantellato to bat Johnson’s kick back for fullback Sam Tomkins to score in the 18th minute, then Vatuvei combined with Johnson again six minutes later to out-leap Mantellato and score one for himself.

Warriors wrecking-ball Konrad Hurrell suffered an apparent arm injury after in the 23rd minute but returned 11 minutes later, seemingly none the worse for wear.

Just when it looked like the Warriors would run away with the game, the Knights hit back in the 30th minute when centre Joey Leilua recovered a Roberts grubber behind the Warriors’ defensive line to touch down.

Mantellato converted to cut the deficit to four points and the Knights would have been satisfied trailing by that margin at the break but playmaker Jarrod Mullen’s attempted trick shot 90 seconds from half-time back-fired.

Inside their own defensive red zone, Mullen tried to chip kick for winger James McManus but the ball went out on the full to hand the ball back to the Warriors in prime field position.

The Warriors needed just a couple of plays before Feleti Mateo flicked a pass to Mannering, who crashed over for his second try.

Newcastle refused to yield, clawing back within four points again when Roberts spun in a tackle and passed for Robbie Rochow to score in the 53rd minute, and Mantellato’s conversion made it 22-18.

But when Chris Houston spilled a pass under minimal pressure 25 metres from his own line, Ngani Laumape picked up the crumbs to send Chad Townsend over for his first try in Warriors colours and a 28-18 lead in the 63rd minute.

A restarted tackle count gave the Warriors another attacking set deep in Newcastle territory and Johnson and Tomkins combined to send Hurrell over in the corner in the 74th minute.

Vatuvei emerged from a pile of bodies on the Newcastle line to score his second try a minute before full-time, and Johnson converted from the sideline after the siren.

The Warriors made a clean sweep of the three grades, accounting for the Knights 34-12 in NSW Cup and 34-22 in the National Youth Cup (under-20s).

WARRIORS 38 (S Mannering 2, M Vatuvei 2, S Tomkins, C Townsend, K Hurrell tries; S Johnson 5 goals) d KNIGHTS 18 (T Roberts, J Leilua, R Rochow tries; J Mantellato 3 goals) at Mt Smart Stadium.

Half-time: Warriors 22-12

Crowd: 19,068

Referees: Gavin Badger, Gavin Reynolds

Report: 52min David Fusitua (Warriors) for striking

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

Chris Waller and Nash Rawiller target group 1 double figures on Stradbroke day

In form: Nash Rawiller guides Moriarty to victory in the Eagle Farm Cup on Saturday. Photo: Tertius PickardThe combination of the leading group 1 trainer and jockey in the country is set to dominate Saturday’s Stradbroke meeting at Eagle Farm, and with a bit of luck, Chris Waller and Nash Rawiller could move their top-level wins for the season to double figures.
Nanjing Night Net

The Waller-Rawiller combination will have the favourites in the J. J. Atkins Stakes in Brazen Beau and in the Queensland Derby with Vilanova, and Moriarty will top pick in the Brisbane Cup. On Stradbroke day last year Waller had a winning treble.

“I will be happy if we can win one race on a day like that,” Waller said. “We have a couple of good chances.”

Waller is coming off five winners at Rosehill on Saturday and the win of Moriarty in the Eagle Farm Cup, which took the stable beyond $20 million in stakes for the season.

Waller and Rawiller will be the group 1 leaders for the season but Saturday could prove a red-letter day. Both sit on eight group 1 wins but have combined for only a single success at that level when Red Tracer won the Myer Classic at Flemington in the spring.

After winning the Dane Ripper Stakes on this day for the past two years, Red Tracer will have a crack at the Stradbroke on Saturday.

“I think in group 1 open company that 1400 metres is her ideal trip without a doubt,” Rawiller said. “She will go into it fresh and ready to go.”

Waller has opted to split his two classy mares and Catkins will run in the Dane Ripper.

The premier trainer believes the time is right for Red Tracer’s third group 1 success.

“She has had such an illustrious career and at this point another group 1 is more important than winning another Dane Ripper,” Waller said.

“I don’t think it is an overly strong Stradbroke and she is well weighted. In particular against those at the bottom of the weights.

“There are a couple around her in the weights which she might struggle to beat, but I think she is a great hope.”

Waller will also start Velrosso, which he admits “would need to improve”. He also has an interest in QTC Cup winner  Sacred Star, which went from his stable to that of Tony Pike after winning a race as a three-year-old.

“It’s good to see Tony coming over here with good horses. [Sacred Star] is a gelding now and is racing very well,” Waller said.

Three-year-old filly Srikandi is the $4.50 Stradbroke favourite, ahead of Rebel Dane at $5.50 and Hucklebuck at $7. Red Tracer and Spirit Of Boom are on the fourth line of betting at $9.

Brazen Beau is a $2.20 favourite in the J. J. Atkins, despite his last-start defeat in the Sires Produce Stakes by Time For War.

“I thought he was very good last time and very strong on the line,” Rawiller said. “I will ride him to get the mile but I think he will, the way he relaxes.”

Vilanova became Queensland Derby favourite following his Grand Prix win a couple of weeks ago. Waller believes that win could be a turning point for a horse that has long been seen as a potential topliner.

“It was good for his confidence and when they do what he did, they can go on,” Waller said.

“He is finally maturing.” Rawiller said, “and put on the track what everyone thought he would.”

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

SPORTING SIDELINES: Tim Cahill supports his supporters

A PICTURE of Socceroos main man Tim Cahill giving his scarf to a fan as they left Sydney for Brazil brought back some World Cup memories for Herald sports hack Kevin Cranson.
Nanjing Night Net

Our man attended the 2006 cup in Germany with a few mates. During the warm-up for Australia’s first game against Japan in Kaiserstauten, the boys noticed a small knot of English supporters chanting: ‘‘Timmy, Timmy give us a wave.’’

Cahill duly obliged. In fact, he ran over to the side of the ground where the supporters were and gave them the thumbs-up.

Next morning the Newcastle crew were having a recovery session at the local pool and got talking with some England fans.

Turns out they were Everton supporters, and it was them who had attracted Cahill’s attention the night before.

They had tickets to England’s games and also Australia’s matches – just so they could support Cahill.

‘‘We love him, and he understands how important the fans are,’’ they said.

When they draw 2-2 with Croatia in their last group game to qualify for the second round, the Socceroos did a lap of honour, and you could see Cahill make a beeline for a section of the crowd and throw his shirt to a supporter.

Cahill revealed that it was the Everton fans who had been at every game who got the treasured souvenir.

POKOLBIN harness racing sensation Lauren Panella has the Midas touch.

Since returning from a long suspension last month, the Holmesville-raised driver has been on a remarkable run of victories.

The 20-year-old saluted on five pacers at Menangle over the past two Saturday nights, which followed sets of three and five wins at Newcastle.

As the No.1 driver for premier Hunter Valley trainer Shane Tritton, many of the wins have come on his pacers.

But Panella has also helped bring out the best in horses trained elsewhere.

The pint-sized reinswoman steered home Barry Matterson’s Mile High Anvil, which had not won in a year, and Roy Roots snr’s Inception, which had not saluted since February last year. It had seven drivers try to break the drought over 16 runs before Panella sat behind it for a first-time victory.

Despite missing more than two months suspended, Panella leads the NSW concession drivers’ premiership with 106 wins, 17 clear of her nearest rival, and the overall metropolitan standings with 35, 14 clear of next best.

Needless to say, Panella’s is one the punters should be following.

THE Marsden family of Mount Hutton are paying a high price for their success in the pool.

Father Dan Marsden is a former Australian Olympic team captain who has player-coached the Hunter Hurricanes National Water Polo League side for the past two seasons.

This year, Marsden played alongside his teenage sons, Mitch and Keenan, in the Hurricanes’ senior side.

It costs the Hurricanes men’s side about $40,000 a year to compete in the national league and expenses are largely player-funded, meaning the Marsdens have had to dig deep.

On top of that, both sons were picked last month in the Australian team for the world youth championships in Istanbul in August. The bill for each player to make the trip is $10,000.

Their parents, Dan and Vanessa, are bracing for an even higher impost in the future because of the talents of their other child, 12-year-old daughter Jolie.

Dan believes Jolie could be the best of the bunch and all three kids may represent Australia at youth level at the same time.

FOR surfing stalwart Roger Clements, Merewether Surfboard Club’s 50th anniversary celebrations are doubly special.

The Merewether club hall of fame member is also celebrating 50 years of competitive surfing.

Clements entered his first event, the local Mid North Coast surfing championship at his local break, Crescent Head, at just 13.

Up against 18-year-olds, he was a first-round casualty.

Two years later, Clements’s family moved to Merewether, where he has become one of the surf club’s favourite sons.

He returned to his first home last month and surfed in the Crescent Head Malibu Classic, where he finished third in the over-60s, 50 years after his first competitive event on the break.

Clements has been a regular at the malibu event since the mid-80s, missing the contest just once.

‘‘I’ve surfed for well over 50 years and for 50 in competitions, and I still love it,’’ Clements said.

The Hunter Region Sporting Hall of Fame member said the Merewether club had been a big part of his life since finishing third in a junior event there at age 15.

As well as competing, he has also mentored many juniors, including former world No.2 Luke Egan.

He introduced them to competitive surfing and kept them on ‘the straight and narrow’’ during regular road trips up and down the coast.

He is still heavily involved with the club and was looking forward to its 50th anniversary dinner on June 28 at Newcastle City Hall.

‘‘The 25-year dinner was amazing, so I think the 50-year one will be even better,’’ he said.

Early bird $99 tickets are available until June 9.

LAMBTON Jaffas supremo Chris Sneddon accompanied good mate Michael Bridges to the recent Hong Kong Sevens tournament, where Bridgey turned out for his junior club, Wallsend Boys Club.

As our picture shows, Sneddo got to rub shoulders with one of the greats of the game, Peter Beardsley, another Wallsend Boys Club graduate.

The former Newcastle, Liverpool and England star still goes OK by all reports, but rumours that Sneddo has signed him up for a guest stint at the Jaffas are wide of the mark.

A BRAZILIAN court has sentenced football legend Pele’s son Edinho to 33 years in prison for laundering money for drug traffickers.

Edson Cholbi Nascimento, nicknamed Edinho, denies the charges in the case, which dates from 2005, and will be allowed to remain free pending appeal.

The Praia Grande criminal court in Sao Paulo sentenced three other defendants to 33 years and ordered the confiscation of all property seized in the police operation against them, including about 100 cars.

Edinho, 43, is accused of ties with a drug cartel led by Ronaldo ‘‘Naldinho’’ Duarte Barsotti. He admits buying drugs from the cartel but denies working with them.

Edinho had a relatively low-key career in the 1990s playing for Santos, the same club where his father shot to fame.

Pele has seven children. Considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, he won three World Cups with Brazil, in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

Carl Manu signs off with match-winning show: NHRU

NHRU: Waratahs snatch win with late penalty, photos
Nanjing Night Net

TAKE THAT: Carl Manu, second Waratah from right, celebrates a try with his teammates. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

WARATAHS go-to man Carl Manu was desperate to leave an impression.

He did that and some.

The electrifying utility back scored two tries, one either side of half-time, to help haul the Tahs off the canvas and stretch the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union premiers’ winning streak to seven games with a 21-18 win over Merewether at Townson Oval on Saturday.

Manu flies to Belgium today to play for Dendermonde in the Flanders Open Rugby 10s, the biggest tournament of its kind in Europe.

The former fringe Super rugby centre, who spent several seasons playing professionally in Italy, will be gone for a fortnight and miss the grand final replay against Hamilton on June 14. There is a general bye next weekend.

That wasn’t the only motivation.

Hayden Pedersen’s wife, Lisa, gave birth to a son, Kyder, early Saturday morning and handed the coaching reins to close friend Manu.

‘‘I really wanted to go away with a win,’’ Manu said.

‘‘Hayden rang me with the good news about his little boy and gave me some instructions. I just wanted to make sure we got the win.’’

Adrian Curry may have landed a late penalty to secure the victory, but it was Manu who sparked the visitors to life.

Merewether were in control, leading 15-0 with two minutes until half-time.

They were the aggressor at the breakdown, had continually turned the Tahs around with a pin-point kicking game and then feasted on their lineout. At one point Shaun Rich picked off six straight against the throw.

Then, through two lapses, the game was transformed.

The Greens got lazy on a kick chase. Tahs Winger Alex Robson made a bust and linked with Jono Reynolds, who turned the ball inside for Manu to produce some neat footwork and touch down.

‘‘The effort was there and we executed everything perfectly bar the final two plays of the first half,’’ Merewether coach Michael Dan said.

Manu’s second try a minute after the break was just as easy. From the kick-off, fullback Tim Riley burst down the short side and found Manu, who outpaced the cover.

From there the premiers found a way to win.

Lifted by half-time replacements Loni Vikilani (hooker) and Aaron Doigne (prop) , they pressured a Greens outfit decimated by injury and forced them into error.

Already without Jayden Hetherington, Mac Rae, Adam Nolan, Pat Ireland and Lewie Dunn, they lost seven players including strike men Jay Strachan and Aiden Kelso.

‘‘The guys who came on did well, but any game where there is seven changes, you lose a bit of cohesion,’’ Dan said.

The Tahs’ issues were of their own making.

Manu and Riley were sent to the sin bin, leaving the visitors with 14 men for 20 of the final 23 minutes. Manu was given a yellow after he collared Gill from behind deep in the Tahs’ territory following an intercept.

After receiving treatment for the high shot, the hooker appeared OK before taking a couple of steps and collapsing.

Play was held up for 10 minutes before he was taken off on a stretcher. Gill was taken to hospital by ambulance and later cleared of serious injury.

Dan, who is a doctor and attended to Gill before the ambulance arrived, said he would study a replay of the incident before deciding whether to forward it to the citing commissioner.

Manu admitted that frustration had got the better of him but believed the matter had been dealt with on the field.

Ed Bacigalupo converted the ensuing penalty to stretch the lead to 18-10.

The Tahs, despite a man down, hit back through prop Alain Miriallakis, who burrowed over from close range after eight phases on the Greens tryline.

Curry missed the conversion but added a penalty to level. The Kiwi had a long-range penalty attempt fall short before producing the match winner at the death.

● NSW Country produced their best performance of the representative campaign to steamroll Australian Services 48-21 at Rugby Park, Singleton, on Saturday.

MOVIE REVIEW: Maleficent

FIERY PERFORMANCE: Hollywood star Angelina Jolie, as a vindictive witch, is the powerful piece of alchemy at the centre of Maleficent. MALEFICENT (M)
Nanjing Night Net

Stars: Angelina Jolie, Janet McTeer, Isobelle Molloy

Director: Robert Stromberg

Screening: General release

Rating: ★★★

IMAGE makeover is something Hollywood does very well – and in the case of Maleficent, it’s a rebranding of one of its own products.

Disney has taken the villain of one of its most successful animations, Sleeping Beauty (1959), and reimagined her – not in an animation but in a live-action spectacle bristling with CGI and special effects. The vindictive witch has been given a backstory that explains why she condemned a baby girl to perpetual slumber. She’s not a straightforward force of evil any more – she’s something more complicated and understandable but no less devastating in her impact.

As a revisionist witch story, Maleficent is much better than Oz the Great and Powerful, also made by Disney. And it has a powerful piece of alchemy at its centre: Angelina Jolie as the title character. She’s tricked out with prosthetics and make-up (courtesy of Rick Baker) and she’s transformed by special effects, but it’s still recognisably a Jolie performance – fierce, glamorous and emotional.

Maleficent is directed by Robert Stromberg, who has worked for years in visual effects and was production designer for Oz the Great and Powerful, Alice in Wonderland and Avatar (he won Oscars for art direction for the last two films).

It’s a splendid-looking film. The effects are striking, whether they are dramatic battle confrontations between humans and the forces of the natural world, or small moments of delicate detail. As set pieces, they are impressive: whether they always work in the best interests of the story and the characters is another matter.

When we first meet Maleficent (Isobelle Molloy), the delicate detail is to the fore: she’s a child, happily exploring the woods and open spaces.

The narrator (Janet McTeer), whose dialogue is as blandly straightforward as the most unimaginative of fairytales, explains that she lives in a fairy world adjacent to a kingdom ruled by humans and these coexist uneasily.

This tension is drawn on for dramatic purposes, although it is never really established with any sureness.

RENEE VALENTINE: Yoga to relieve stress

AT PEACE: Relax with restorative yoga – it’s too good to be true. Picture: Jim RiceWHEN I received an email from yogi Bronni Page inviting me to come try her restorative yoga at The Junction one Sunday afternoon, she had me at her subject header: Feelin’ Snoozy?
Nanjing Night Net

Her description, you see, of ‘‘On the surface, it’s all about lazing around on squishy bolsters and snoozing. But really, restorative yoga provides a nurturing environment for self-care and re-booting body and soul on a deep level’’ sounded absolutely delightful.

I felt like she knew me already – tired, depleted and in dire need of a good rest. My only concern was that I may indeed fall asleep on one of her bolsters.

So along I went with visions of one big slumber party upstairs at Go Vitality at The Junction and, I have to say, it was an absolutely delightful experience.

I have tried a handful of yoga classes, including hot power yoga, and until now, I have not particularly been a fan.

But this restorative yoga was more up my alley – slow-paced, lingering stretches, hugging pillows and lavender-scented eye pillows. Then, when Bronni asked if anyone would like a blanket, she would come around and ‘‘tuck us in’’ too. I thought it was too good to be true.

I denied the blanket and tuck in but on the inside, was dying for it – I can’t remember the last time I was ‘‘tucked in’’. Probably when I was sick as a child.

There was something comforting and soothing about the pillows and blankets in the class and I definitely left wanting more. It was a lovely experience on a Sunday afternoon – a really nice way to wind down, switch off for an hour and just focus on myself, something which rarely seems to happen these days, and I am sure there are plenty of you out there who feel the same.

It is definitely worth a try and you can find more information at bronnipageyoga南京夜网.au.

Pyramid training

IF you are gearing up for the Sun Herald City2Surf and are looking for some inspiration, then try this as a week-three guide in a 12-week preparation. You might this week do a strength/cardio session; interval session; a long run/walk of 30-40 minutes; and 1-2 shorter runs/walks of 20-25 minutes, all chat pace.

If you are looking to try something new, pyramid training is a good way to mix things up a bit.

Research has indicated that pyramid training not only adds variety to your workouts but also gives your muscles a new challenge.

Traditionally, pyramid training has involved starting with high repetitions and low weights then increasing your weights while decreasing your number of repetitions.

But you can also use bodyweight exercises this way for an effective workout. Give this a go and, as always, don’t forget to include an appropriate warm-up and cool-down, and modify for your specific needs and level of fitness.

❏10 squats-10 short shuttle runs/walks, 8 squats-8 shuttles, 6-6, 4-4; 2-2;

❏10 push-ups-100 skips, 8 push-ups-80 skips, 6-60; 4-40; 2-20;

❏10 pull-ups/rows-20 step-ups; 8 pull-ups/rows-18 step-ups; 6-16; 4-14; 2-12;

❏20 running arms with light dumbbells-20 star jumps; 18-18; 16-16; 14-14; 12-12;

Finish with some core work and a good stretch.

Renee Valentine is a qualified personal trainer and mother of two.

Email: [email protected]南京夜网

1 2 3 5