Monthly archives: January, 2019

Raiders cast coaching net wide

Advice … Wayne Bennett. Photo: Simone De Peak Wayne Bennett with the Raiders after their 1987 grand final loss against Manly. Photo: SMH
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Options … Tim Sheens, Ricky Stuart and Michael Maguire.

Coaching great Wayne Bennett has been sounded out to provide informal advice to the Canberra Raiders as the search for their next coach ramps up this week.

The Newcastle mentor and seven-time premiership winner holds a soft spot for the Raiders after co-coaching them to the 1987 grand final with Don Furner senior, the father of axed coach David.

Bennett’s input has been limited, given the Knights are finals-bound, but his involvement highlights Canberra’s determination to cast a wide net.

The Raiders sounded out South Sydney coach and Canberra junior Michael Maguire about leaving the Rabbitohs, but he will almost certainly stay at Redfern.

The Raiders have denied club great Ricky Stuart is one of the candidates but speculation continues to link the premiership-winning halfback to a return to Canberra.

Other potential leaders include: interim coach Andrew Dunemann, Warrington leader Tony Smith, Rabbitohs assistant Wayne Collins, Andrew McFadden, Kevin Walters and Rick Stone.

It is also understood the Raiders could appoint three-time Canberra premiership-winning mentor Tim Sheens as a coaching director if they opt for an inexperienced coach to take over next year.

Fairfax Media understands support for Stuart is divided within the four-man subcommittee appointed to find Canberra’s next head coach.

Former Raiders captain Alan Tongue said the choice between a rookie coach or an experienced mentor would shape the club’s future.

”You look at [Sydney Roosters] coach Trent Robinson, he’s one of the younger generation of players coming through and you have to look at getting a coach on that level [with Gen Y players] or going for more experience,” Tongue said.

”An experienced coach can stamp his authority, so you look at do you get a guy like Neil Henry back or Tony Smith from Warrington. I can’t say who’s the right fit for the job at the moment, but they need to look at a coach who will get the best out these young kids.”

The 12th-placed Raiders have one game left in one of the most disastrous seasons in their 32-year history. It has included the sacking of coach Furner, Josh Dugan’s departure, Sandor Earl’s peptide suspension and Blake Ferguson going AWOL.

Ferguson is due in court on Tuesday to answer sexual assault charges. He will face the Raiders’ board later this week to determine his future at the club.

The coaching subcommittee of Mal Meninga, Raiders chief executive Don Furner and board members David Thom and Allan Hawke met last Thursday and will reconvene this week.

Up to 16 aspiring coaches have applied to replace David Furner.

Axed North Queensland coach Neil Henry has some support, despite walking away from Canberra in 2008 with two years left on his deal to join the Cowboys. Souths coach Maguire has been informally approached, but he is likely to stay with the ladder-leading Rabbitohs.

Former Raiders assistant coach McFadden has applied after joining the Warriors coaching staff this year.

Melbourne assistant coach Walters remains one of the front-runners after informing the Storm he would be leaving at the end of the season.

His brother, Raiders great Steve, insists his sibling is ready to lead an NRL side after a 10-year apprenticeship.

”I’m 100 per cent sure he thinks he’s ready, and I’m 100 per cent sure he could do the job,” he said. ”I think he’ll end up coaching one of the teams which doesn’t have a coach, and he’s worked hard for 10 years to get into that position.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net….


Lategui sacked after cup win

Martin Lategui, left, was sacked as Tuggeranong United coach less than 24 hours after winning the Federation Cup with the club. Photo: Jay CronanTuggeranong United sensationally sacked coach Martin Lategui less than 24 hours after leading the club to its first trophy in 19 years.
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While Woden Valley warmed up for the finals with a 2-0 victory against Belconnen United on Sunday, Lategui was coming to terms with his dismissal last Thursday, the day after Tuggeranong won the Federation Cup for the first time since 1994.

Despite winning the knockout competition, United collected the wooden spoon in the league after a 4-2 loss to Canberra City and won just three games all season.

On Monday, United will announce a new coach, who will be on a two-year contract and charged with injecting sustained success into the traditional strugglers. Lategui was shocked by the news of his dismissal. ”Absolutely. Not just for that reason [winning the Federation Cup],” he said.

”I was expecting to receive a new offer and was already in the planning stages for next year with certain members of the committee and the technical director of the club.

”They told me they want to go with someone with a higher profile, someone who can attract new players to the club next year because they want quick results.”

Lategui was installed as interim coach when John Bull resigned halfway through the season.

Club president Jon Thiele said Tuggeranong was ”making big plans” for the future and needed success quickly. ”We’ve gone for a more senior coach for the next two years,” he said. ”The Fed Cup win was fantastic for the club, but the Fed Cup is four games and the season is 24 games, plus finals.

”Martin is a very good coach, but we want someone who has been there and done that before. We’ve offered Martin a chance to still come and work for the club.”

The Tuggeranong board chose a new coach before the Federation Cup final, but decided to wait to tell Lategui until Thursday – 24 hours after the game.

The club is also keen to announce new player signings in the coming weeks. ”We can’t afford to win only three games in a season again … we need success quickly,” Thiele said.

Meanwhile, the competition’s leading goal-scorer, Derek Oelmann, scored his 27th and 28th goals of the campaign as Woden beat the Blue Devils.

Woden will face Canberra Olympic in the elimination final on Saturday at McKellar Park, while the Blue Devils take on league champions Canberra FC at Deakin Stadium on Sunday, with a place in the grand final at stake.

Canberra FC celebrated its 21st league championship in style, thrashing the Monaro Panthers 9-0 and Olympic easily accounted for the Cooma Tigers 5-0.

In the under-20s Premier League, Canberra FC’s Josip Jadric scored an extraordinary 10 goals in his team’s 13-1 belting of the Panthers to capture the competition’s golden boot prize.

Needing nine goals to draw level with the leader, Jadric hit the front with 26 goals for the season with half an hour remaining before taking over goalkeeping duties.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net….


Macey the villain and hero

SPORT: First grade grand final at Seiffert oval, Queanbeyan. Queanbeyan Blues v Queanbeyan Kangaroos. Roos player centre- Matt Lewis celebrates with his team mates after their win. 1st SEPTEMBER 2013 .Photo by MELISSA ADAMS of The Canberra Times. Photo: Melissa Adams MLAHis extra-time field goal proved the difference, but Queanbeyan Kangaroos five-eighth Jordan Macey thought he’d thrown the grand final away.
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With two minutes of regulation time left in the Kangaroos’ thrilling one-point win over Queanbeyan Blues on Sunday, Macey threw a pass over the sideline with his side hot on attack.

No one was more relieved than the man of the match when his decisive kick early in extra time split the posts.

”I thought I blew it, but I was stoked to get the win in the end after throwing that terrible ball,” Macey said.

It was the Kangaroos’ third Canberra Raiders Cup premiership in four years, and atoned for last year’s loss to Belconnen United.

The Blues were raging favourites after losing just twice all season, but were left shattered after the Kangaroos repeated their 2011 grand final win over their cross-town rivals.

In the lead-up, Kangaroos coach Aaron Gorrell said if Macey won man of the match they’d probably win. His words proved prophetic.

”I wish I could have had a punt on that,” Gorrell laughed.

”He’s very important to us. He makes our decisions and he made a few poor ones, but in the end he made the right ones when we needed it.”

The Kangaroos burst out of the gates to take a 10-0 lead after seven minutes after tries to Daniel Watt and Jed Pearce.

But with the wind at their backs, the Blues hit back to lead 16-10 at half-time through tries to Levi Freeman, Aaron McInnes and Josh Chudleigh.

A brilliant individual try from Roos winger Fonua Tonga midway through the second half reduced the gap to 16-14, before a Troy Whiley penalty goal levelled proceedings with eight minutes left. The Kangaroos regained the lead through Macey’s field goal two minutes into extra time.

Blues hooker Chudleigh, expected to join the Canberra Raiders under-20s next year, nearly stole the match with a late try in the corner, but was bundled into touch.

The Blues had another chance to win it late through a penalty goal from Craig Wilkinson, but his attempt from 40 metres out fell short.

Kangaroos skipper Troy Whiley was surprised the Blues didn’t kick for touch and look for a match-winning try.

”Obviously they were out on their feet and looking for the easy option,” he said.

”If it was us, we would have kicked into touch, went for the try and, if not, the field goal.”

Blues coach Simon Woolford praised his side’s guts for repelling a rampant Roos side late in regulation time.

”The effort our boys displayed was unbelievable … but with the footy we were nowhere near good enough,” he said.

QUEANBEYAN KANGAROOS 17 (Daniel Watt, Jed Pearce, Fonua Tonga tries; Troy Whiley 2 goals, Jordan Macey field goal) bt QUEANBEYAN BLUES 16 (Josh Chudleigh, Aaron McInnes, Levi Freeman tries; Craig Wilkinson 2 goals) at Seiffert Oval on Sunday.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net….


Asexual, and looking for love

STD_hero2 Young woman looking out window while raining, rear view Photo: Anna Moller
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Low libido: Jo Qualmann describes herself as being in a “committed platonic relationship”.

Two years ago, Dan Ritter, 19, found himself spending most of the summer fighting off a girl’s sexual advances. There wasn’t anything wrong with the girl, he wants to clarify. He just wasn’t sexually attracted to her. In fact, Ritter started to realise he wasn’t attracted to anyone. “Slowly, I noticed that I was completely uninterested in sex,” he says. Then, in May 2012, Ritter came to an epiphany: “I’m asexual.”

It’s estimated that 1 per cent of all people have no sexual desire towards others whatsoever. One British study that queried 18,000 people about their sexual practices included the option, “I have never felt sexually attracted to anyone at all.” One in a hundred people ticked the box.

However, that doesn’t always mean a lack of sexual drive. In one study, US sexologist Lori Brotto estimated that half of all asexuals masturbate on a fairly regular basis; some have an aversion to all human contact, others need it as much as anyone else. Determining the root causes of asexuality is tricky, as few studies on the subject have been done. And asking asexual people why they think they’re asexual – is it the result of sexual abuse? Sexual confusion? A biological flaw? Not finding the right person yet? – becomes an exercise in asking the same horrible questions gays and lesbians have copped for years. Some feel they were born asexual; others identify as “acquired” asexuals. “And if we’re happy,” one asexual person told me, “why does it matter?”

In 2004, New Scientist said, “If asexuality is indeed a form of sexual orientation, perhaps it will not be long before the issue of ‘A’ pride starts attracting more attention.” By then, though, the asexuality movement was already well underway. In 2001, David Jay – a handsome, articulate American Gen-Y spokesperson – founded the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), selling shirts with slogans like, “Asexuality: it’s not just for amoebas any more.” And in the last few years, celebrities such as Janeane Garofalo, Morrissey and Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox have all publicly declared themselves as asexual. Asexuality has even been around long enough to have its own stereotypes (asexuals apparently all like Doctor Who and cake).

For asexual people, the fight against stigma and ridicule will be an ongoing struggle. In the meantime, many of them face a far more immediate and practical challenge: finding love. Non-asexuals might find that notion baffling: if you aren’t interested in sex, why would you be interested in romance? And while it’s true many asexuals aren’t interested in sex or romance (identifying as “aromantic” asexuals), others are looking for mates … without the actual mating.

Enter Acebook, an Australian-based international dating website for asexuals. Acebook’s Queensland-based founder and moderator, Lennie P, says it’s understandable why non-asexuals might be confused about the site’s existence. “It is a pretty common belief that sex is an inextricable part of romantic relationships, so it’s understandable that people might wonder why some of us seek partners.” But as Acebook’s home page patiently explains, “Even though we tend to like cake better than sex, many of us are still interested in romance. Just because we’re asexual doesn’t mean we should have to be lonely!” Unlike probably every other dating site in existence, new Acebook members are asked to agree to unique terms and conditions stipulating they are genuinely seeking a non-sexual relationship.

In its five-year history, Acebook has clocked more than 12,500 registered members – including Dan Ritter – and has seen members pair up and even marry. If it didn’t exist, Ritter says it’d be “way more difficult” to find people he could talk to. He confirms that the main reason he joined it is to find romance. “I’ve made it a point to stick to dating other asexuals from now on,” he says. “If one asexual dates another, things are easier.”

Robyn, a 49-year-old asexual woman in Ballarat, joined Acebook for similar reasons. She used mainstream online dating websites – something she found “a demoralising experience” – before discovering Acebook through AVEN’s recommendations. “I’m on Acebook for one thing only – the hope of meeting that forever partner. I view it in much the same way as a lottery ticket win – low probability, but you have to be in it to win it.” Robyn – who identifies as a bi-amorous femme lesbian with acquired asexuality – says that while she’s “not met anyone in person from Acebook”, she feels its existence is vital. “At times I’ve been near suicidal. I’ve felt so lonely and rejected, with so little hope of finding a partner again. I became like a leper […] in this sexually focused world.”

Other asexuals still find love offline. Brisbane-based Jo Qualmann, a 21-year-old ancient history, archaeology and classical languages student, identifies as an aromantic asexual, but wears a traditional heart-in-the-hand Claddagh ring with the heart’s tip pointing inwards, indicating she is taken. Her partner gave it to her. When suggested that outsiders might find her year-long relationship surprising, Qualmann smiles. “I still find it puzzling at times myself.”

Before meeting someone through her university department, Qualmann had been happily unattached. She doesn’t quite remember how it happened, “but I remember getting feelings … feelings I hadn’t had before. It started out as a ‘best friend’ feeling, but then it started being a bit more than that. Best friends generally don’t get very cuddly with each other. I started feeling things that weren’t attraction, but are generally seen as love, for this person. It is very hard to explain.”

Qualmann’s partner – who prefers not to be identified – doesn’t identify as asexual himself, but wanted someone he could love “without the sexual stuff”. “Neither of us wants any more,” Qualmann says. “Even among people who don’t identify as asexual, there’s a lot of variation between how sexual someone is.” Her partner mightn’t be asexual, but he isn’t that interested in sex, either. Qualmann says they see themselves in “a committed platonic relationship”.

Qualmann is one of the lucky ones. Lennie P says it can be notoriously hard for asexuals to find partners. “It absolutely can be difficult,” says Lennie. “The community is still relatively new. And although it seems to have grown in recent years, we are still a very small minority – a bit scattered across the globe.”

As a result, long-distance relationships are apparently common in the asexual community. After all, who could be more suitable for an enduring non-sexual relationship than a pen pal?

This article originally appeared in Good Weekend. 

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net….


Bill Granger’s Moroccan style lunch

Moroccan Lunch Bill Granger Photo: Photography: Kristin Perers Food Chicken, fennel and zucchini tagine. Photo: Kristin Perers
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I love a tagine. It’s comforting like a stew, but much lighter and fresher. This one is so quick and simple that we enjoy it often as a family dinner. When I want to elevate it to a meal for friends, I’ll serve it with a big platter of salads, nuts and herbs.

CHICKEN, FENNEL AND ZUCCHINI TAGINE

The trick to a great tagine is in having a really light, flavoursome broth.

SERVES 4

2 tbsp olive oil

8 chicken thighs

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 tsp ground cumin

large pinch of saffron

½ tbsp harissa

1 tbsp honey

1 fennel bulb, cut into thick wedges

3 cups chicken stock

400g can chickpeas, drained

2 zucchini, cut into chunks

juice of ½ lemon

small handful flat-leaf parsley leaves

Heat the oil in a wide, heavy-based pan over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook, skin-side down, for 6-8 minutes until golden, then turn chicken over.

Add onions and fry for another 6-8 minutes, until onions begin to soften. Stir in garlic, cumin, saffron, harissa and honey and cook, stirring, for a further minute.

Add fennel to pan, pour in stock and bring to boil. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Add chickpeas and zucchini, then cook for a further 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Add lemon juice and more salt and harissa, to taste, then stir in parsley. Serve with the Moroccan salad platter (see recipe below).

Bill’s tipI usually like my vegetables to have bite, but for the tagine you want to cook the fennel and zucchini until they become meltingly tender.

MOROCCAN SALAD PLATTER

There are no rules with these two salads: stir some pistachios into the quinoa, or use the zingy carrot and beetroot as a palate cleanser. Anything goes!

SERVES 4

for the quinoa salad

2 tbsp olive oil

juice of ½ orange

1 garlic clove, crushed

½ tsp ground cinnamon

100g sultanas

400g quinoa

small handful mint leaves, chopped

for the carrot and beetroot salad

½ tsp cumin seeds

3 tbsp pumpkin seeds

2 large carrots, coarsely grated

1 large beetroot, peeled and coarsely grated

1 tsp caster sugar

juice of ½ lemon

2 tbsp olive oil

to serve

5 spring onions

handful coriander leaves

handful mint leaves

lemon wedges

½ cup toasted pistachios

First, prepare the quinoa. Combine olive oil, orange juice, garlic, cinnamon and sultanas in a large bowl. Set aside. Cook quinoa in salted boiling water until just tender. Drain and toss into bowl with orange and sultana dressing. Stir in mint and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

For carrot and beetroot salad, toast cumin seeds and pumpkin seeds in a frying pan over a low heat for 1 minute. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix carrots and beetroot together. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, lemon juice and olive oil. Toss into salad with the seeds and season.

Place quinoa on a platter with carrot and beetroot salad, spring onions, herbs, lemon and pistachios. Serve with the chicken tagine (see recipe opposite).

Food preparation by Marina Filippelli. Props styling by Rachel Jukes.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net….