Rugby World Cup: How Macquarie’s data nerds see the finals playing out

Written by admin on 05/12/2018 Categories: 杭州桑拿

will face Wales in its quarter final on Monday morning. Photo: Mike HewittThe good news (assuming you’re n, and interested in sport): The Wallabies should make the Rugby World Cup final.

The bad news? They’ll probably lose it to arch rivals New Zealand.

At least that’s how the quantitative analysts at Macquarie see things playing out. On Wednesday morning, the investment bank released updated forecasts for the world’s most important rugby tournament which enters the knockout stages this weekend.

As you can see from the chart (above), on the balance of probabilities, the boffins from the bank see New Zealand as the most likely team to emerge victorious with the William Webb Ellis Cup. The model incorporates data such as historical scores, changes in world rankings and betting odds to measure variables that will be well known to investors, such as momentum, sentiment and value. In truth you probably didn’t need to do a rigouous quantative analysis to reach this conclusion.

In any case Macquarie’s quant model, did successfully predict the outcome of 32 of the 40 games played so far. And for what its worth, a similar analysis of the FIFA World Cup by Macquarie last year accurately predicted Germany as the winner of that gigantic event.

Macquarie might be known as the millionaire’s factory, and we assume a lot of its bankers enjoy rugby, but it’s predictions are by no means infallible. It’s earlier forecasts for the group stages of tournament failed to predict that Japan would defeat South Africa’s Springboks, in what has been described as one of the biggest upsets in sporting history. They also failed to predict that the host nation England would embarrassingly fail to qualify for the elimination stages. In fact Macquarie saw England as the second strongest team in the Cup.

will face Scotland in its quarter final on Monday morning (AEDT).

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Jameson Cell’s value questioned

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Professor Graeme Jameson, who was named scientist of the year in 2013, has had the effectiveness of his mining invention queried.A REPORT by ’s top coal research body claims a world-famous Newcastle mining invention is no more effective than other technology in its field.

The Jameson Cell, used to separate coal and valuable minerals from rock through a flotation technique, is widely promoted as having ‘‘revolutionised’’ the mining industry.

But the n Coal Association Research Program (ACARP) report found other coal-flotation technologies offered ‘‘similar technical performance’’.

University of Newcastle professor Graeme Jameson invented the cell in the late 1980s, and the patent is held by the university affiliate Newcastle Innovation.

Professor Jameson told the Newcastle Herald there was ‘‘no evidence’’ to justify the report’s findings, other than an opinion survey where the ‘‘response rate was very poor’’.

He said the ‘‘demonstrable advantages’’ of the Jameson Cell made it a ‘‘market leader’’ and he questioned the author of the report, Dr Bruce Firth.

‘‘The paper you refer to is an unrefereed project report from a contractor to an industry body,’’ he said.

Dr Firth declined to comment.

The Jameson Cell is owned and marketed worldwide by Glencore Technology, a subsidiary of mining giant Glencore Xstrata.

More than 330 Jameson Cells are in operation worldwide, with the majority used for coal preparation in .

Professor Jameson, after being named NSW Scientist of the Year in 2013, detailed an almost $30 billion ‘‘cumulative value of export coal recovered by the Jameson Cell’’.

NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Mary O’Kane, said the Jameson Cell ‘‘could well be the most financially successful n invention in the past three decades’’.

But the ACARP research, by retired CSIRO scientist Dr Firth, found little difference between the three leading coal-flotation technologies used in .

Dr Firth, who is a life member of the n Coal Preparation Society, said from the 1990s the Jameson Cell and a rival technology, known as column flotation, became ‘‘fashionable’’, while existing mechanical flotation machines were considered ‘‘old’’ technology.

His research challenges the previously held view that the Jameson Cell and column flotation devices are ‘‘more efficient’’.

‘‘All three flotation machine technologies can provide similar technical performance given optimal operation,’’ the report states.

The research was presented in July at an ACARP symposium in Pokolbin.

According to the University of Newcastle, the Jameson Cell contributes billions annually to the n economy.

But claims that the Jameson Cell is one of our biggest export earners have been met with cynicism by some in the coal industry who agree with Dr Firth that there are other technologies – including older technology – that does a similar job.

Former n Coal Preparation Society national chairman Wayne Barnett said he was ‘‘unsure’’ how the figures were calculated.

‘‘It’s hard to say exactly what the benefit of one piece of equipment is when there are several pieces of equipment that can be used. The Jameson Cell is just one of the tools we use,’’ he said.

Curragh Mine coal handling preparation plant process superintendent Stephen Zhang described determining how much any technology contributes in dollars as ‘‘problematic’’.

Mr Zhang’s Queensland mine has 12 Jameson Cells and is widely regarded as one of Glencore Technology’s flagship coal mines.

He said there were older technologies that in some cases could do a better job for a fraction of the initial outlay.

‘‘There are other cells and other technology out there and how they compare to the Jameson Cell should be looked at when making those calculations,’’ Mr Zhang said.

Professor Jameson heavily criticised the view of needing to factor in if competing technologies could do the same job when determining the value of the Jameson Cell.

He said the University of Newcastle had earlier this year asked an ‘‘independent auditor’’ to calculate the value of the Jameson Cell to the n economy and it was $36billion.

Ross Garling, a mine engineer who has spent 20 years recovering saleable coal from mine-tailings dams, rates the Jameson Cells as ‘‘very good in some applications’’.

Mr Garling said exact figures ‘‘would be hard to quantify’’ because if mines weren’t using a Jameson Cell they would be using something else.

‘‘If a certain technology is getting a better result than any other technique, that’s the benefit of it,’’ he said.

‘‘To make a claim that one particular device has contributed billions, I really don’t know how they’re doing it.’’

A spokeswoman for the university said the audit report, completed by coal technology consultant Manford, was commissioned to determine the impact of the Jameson Cell on the n economy.

It looked at rate of production of coal using Jameson Cells, value of coal and currency conversions. She said the university ‘‘does not believe there is a conflict of interest’’ because the report’s lead author, Dave Osborne, used to work for Xstrata Technology – now Glencore Technology – that markets and sells the Jameson Cell.

‘‘Independent consultants Manford were chosen to complete the report for their expert knowledge – which is necessary to evaluate the Jameson Cell due to its highly specialised nature – as well as their niche understanding of the industry and standing in the sector,’’ she said.

‘‘The University of Newcastle stands behind the report and does not believe there is a conflict of interest.’’

Dr Osborne did not respond to the Herald’s questions.

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Snow Sky the best of international invasion in Caulfield Cup

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Trackwork: Snow Sky gallops at Werribee Racecourse this week in preparation for the Caulfield Cup. Photo: Vince CaligiuriThe boasting all week down south has suggested this year’s Caulfield Cup has assembled the best field in history, no doubt echoed by the bleating in more northern climes.

How did Sydney stayers of the ilk of Magic Hurricane, a group 1 winner last time out, and the highly-rated Complacent come to be left stranded as emergencies in one of the great races of the n turf given their recent credentials?

Perhaps the increased international invasion on the traditional Melbourne Cup lead-up partly explains the answer. Certainly the four overseas-trained horses have kept Godolphin’s top duo blocked for a run when they most needed it.

And therein lies the complexity that is the Caulfield Cup this year, balancing the form of the European raiders against the band of hearty Australasians who have traditionally had the The Heath spectacular to themselves.

Winning first-up in is no mean feat for the Werribee lodgers. And the knocks have come out for most in the past few days.

Japan’s Fame Game ($10)? Needs Flemington and longer with barrier one his kryptonite. Compatriot Hokko Brave ($15)? Hasn’t won for a long time. Trip To Paris ($26)? Too dour for a Caulfield Cup.

Which leaves England’s Snow Sky ($11). It is hard to find too many detractors about the star from Juddmonte, who wouldn’t be sending the entire to the other side of the world without very good reason.

Crucially, the speed map has been made to order for Damien Oliver, perhaps without peer when the big-race pressure suffocates many.

Caulfield Cups aren’t run slowly, but it is hard to fathom too much pressure being applied on Snow Sky in the early stages from a perfect gate.

And in a rarity for Europeans, he loves the firmer tracks and Caulfield will be made to order if the uber-hard surface of last week is repeated.

Which is exactly where the concern about ruling favourite Mongolian Khan lies. As Caulfield Cup trials go, they don’t come much better than his. But backing up for the first time in his young career off a rock hard surface … he is under the odds at $4.80, albeit still an obvious winning chance.

Best roughie? Who Shot Thebarman ($31), flying at weight-for-age level and angling for ths trip, will do despite starting closer to the trackside marquees than running rail.

Much of the undercard interest will centre of whether Sydney’s darling Catkins can bounce back in the Tristarc Stakes, a worthy entree to the main course.

At her best, Chris Waller’s mare will win, but after a lethargic last-start effort the “diet” the stable promised to have her on will be best gauged in the mounting yard.

Hazard ($14), with a scalp over Catkins ($3.30) during the Brisbane winter, albeit 2kg worse off at the weights this Saturday, has finally found a gate. She has been crippled with the outside draw – 16, 14 and 14 – in three starts this spring. Double-figure odds, rather than barrier, will do this time.

Rock Sturdy ($8), more on the score of condition rather than marble gods, is another open to sharp improvement. He is a worthwhile each-way play in the Moonga Stakes.

* Odds supplied by Ladbrokes


Caulfield (Saturday)

Race 7: Rock Sturdy ($8)

Race 8: Hazard ($14)

Race 9: Snow Sky ($11)

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Marc Leishman tees up Jordan Spieth rematch in Chinan Open

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The Marc Leishman v Jordan Spieth showdown is officially on at this year’s n Open.

Golf confirmed on Thursday that the Victorian had come to an arrangement with tournament organisers to set-up the quasi-Presidents Cup rematch against world No.1 Spieth.

Fairfax Media outlined earlier this week why Leishman and the American superstar were primed to take centre stage at the 100th edition of the Open at The n Golf Club next month.

The 31-year-old from Warrnambool took down the reigning FedEx Cup champion in their singles matchplay contest on the final day of the recent Presidents Cup in South Korea.

Although the United States ended up winning by a narrow margin, Spieth was rocked by the surprise defeat.

He is the returning champion at the n Open this year, and the event provides an opportunity for the 22-year-old to defend his title against a field in which Leishman will be one of the top contenders.

Spieth, Leishman and Adam Scott loom as a likely marquee playing group for the first two days.

The Open field will again be the deepest of the summer, with another of ‘s Presidents Cup surprise packets, Steve Bowditch, also confirming his place on Thursday.

The 32-year-old Queenslander upstaged ultra-consistent American player Jimmy Walker in his Presidents Cup singles match, to tie the points at 12½ each midway through last Sunday’s gripping climax.

The two Presidents Cup aces will join fellow flag-bearer Scott, Spieth and European headliners Lee Westwood – a former world No.1 – and Darren Clarke – a former major winner – in a star-studded field.

While Leishman and Bowditch have returned home to play domestic “triple crown” events before, tournament director Trevor Herden pointed out the increased interest in both players this summer – and not just because of their Presidents Cup feats.

Bowditch won the lucrative Byron Nelson event on the PGA Tour this year, pocketing the $US1.3 million ($1.7 million) winner’s check, while Leishman came agonisingly close to his first major, losing this year’s British Open in a play-off.

“Both Marc and Steven have really made giant strides this year and it’s great to see them come back and not only support their national championship, but to both be back with legitimate shots at the title,” Herden said.

“Both showed the world they felt right at home at the elite level. It just seems like they’re both really ready to take the next step in their careers, and maybe the n Open is where they take it.”

Bowditch is also set to tee up at the n Masters in Melbourne, starting November 19 at Huntingdale Golf Club.

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Power of positive thinking: Carly and Tresne host workshop

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Hunter Sports High students Emily Davies and Aaron Cooper with Carly and Tresne Hart. Picture: Ryan OslandCARLY and Tresne Hart’s positive thinking was their trademark on television show My Kitchen Rules, and now the pair are teaching Hunter students how to embody their empowering attitude for Higher School Certificate success.

The Harts presented their first HSC Happiness workshop to a group of Hunter Sports High students at Newcastle Jockey Club on Thursday, giving the cohort tools and techniques to perform at their full potential as they prepare to sit their exams next year.

Former high school teacher of 11 years Carly both taught and marked the HSC and said she had seen a recent increase in the number of well-balanced students who lost focus, broke down or gave up as they approached the education milestone.

‘‘There’s a lot more pressure with the HSC than there is even at university, which is ridiculous,’’ Carly said.

‘‘At least at university you’re more mature and can make better choices, but in high school you’re just thrown into the hardest thing you’ve ever done at that point.

‘‘We want to help students get their mindset right.’’

During the 90 minute session, the pair taught students coping mechanisms to deal with stress and pressure throughout the year; time management tools to maximise output; how to stamp out inner self doubt; bounce back after setbacks and learn from failure; and increase motivation to complete tasks effectively.

‘‘We hope you dream big, set goals and take massive action,’’ Carly told the audience, who she advised should follow the O.P.A plan, which includes deciding what they want their outcome to be, their purpose or why they want that outcome and the action required.

Former real estate agent Tresne said she started mindset coaching to cope with the stresses of her previous career, which led the pair to spend seven years attending seminars, conferences and researching the science behind happiness.

The pair created The Happiness Mission this year to deliver wellbeing workshops to schools, businesses, community centres and events after they were inundated on social media with messages from fans wanting to know how they had stayed positive and lost weight.

Their workshops, tailored to specific audiences, helps attendees with goal setting, gratitude, growth mindset, healthy eating and limiting beliefs.

‘‘If you’re happy, you’re more likely to succeed, if you’re not happy, you’ll focus on what is not good about your situation,’’ Carly said.

‘‘It really feels like we’re doing what we set out to do, which is making a difference in people’s worlds.’’

Check the websitecarlyandtresne杭州龙凤论坛

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Winx stands out as Cox Plate contenders have a look at the Valley

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Nudge, nudge: Hugh Bowman wins the Epsom on Winx, which worked well at Moonee Valley on Thursday. Photo: bradleyphotos杭州龙凤论坛m.auEpsom winner Winx was the star of the morning as half a dozen Cox Plate hopefuls had a look around Moonee Valley on Thursday. Winx worked over 1000 metres and got home in her last 400m in 23.96 seconds, easily the quickest of the morning. Stablemates Kermadec and Preferment weren’t quite as dynamic. “She looked the best to my eye but that’s her – very athletic,” trainer Chris Waller said of Winx. “Kermadec raced on Saturday, so we just wanted him to have a look at this place and Preferment impressed Blake Shinn with the way he worked. It was a good piece of work for each of them ahead of next week.” Caulfield Stakes winner Criterion also worked as did Godolphin pair Hartnell and Contributer, which are expected to be in next week’s Cox Plate. “[Criterion] was here just to have a look around. He wasn’t here to break any records,” co-trainer David Hayes said.

Grand final warm-ups for Smerdon duo

Robert Smerdon reckons Lumosty and Fontiton will have their preliminary final day at Caulfield on Saturday. “I’m just hoping they don’t get eliminated,” he joked. Lumosty will have her first start since a Brisbane campaign in the Caulfield Sprint, where she has been put up favourite. “She is heading to the Darley Classic, that’s grand final day. I just wanted to take the easier option with her to start with, so came here instead of the Manikato [Stakes] and give her a blow out at 1000m,” Smerdon said. “She has a great record down the straight and this race will top her off to take on the topliners.” Fontiton is second-up in the Alinghi Stakes after fading to finish midfield in the Moir Stakes. “The 1100m on Saturday works better for her in the build towards the Coolmore Stud Stakes. That is her grand final but Saturday is vital part of getting there,” Smerdon said.

Lankan Rupee to undergo surgery

The spring of Lankan Rupee is over with the world-class sprinter to have an operation on his off-hind hock. The five-time group 1 winner flopped as an odds-on favourite in the Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday and trainer Mick Price immediately knew there was a problem. He sent Lankan Rupee for a scintigraphy​ and it revealed what Price had suspected. “We’ve narrowed it down to an area in the off-hind hock. That operation will be performed in the next few days,” Price told racing杭州龙凤论坛m. “The prognosis for a successful return to racing is good. This preparation is out and it remains to be seen what we do for the autumn.”

Hayes looking for more carnival success

David Hayes is having a wonderful Caulfield carnival, a group 1 double on Guineas day from Criterion and Stay With Me was backed up by a treble on Wednesday. He will have a strong hand on Saturday – Rising Romance carries his hopes in the Caulfield Cup. “She only got beaten on the line by Admire Rakti last year and we have drawn better this year,” Hayes said. The support card might carry a horse for the future in Velox. “He is a serious horse; we paid about 280,000 guineas for him at the Tattersalls Sale this time last year. He is starting to hit his straps and I think he is one for the autumn,” Hayes said. “Contributer won this race [the David Jones Cup] last year and I think our bloke could follow a similar path because he has got quality about him.”

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BOOK REVIEW: Close Your Eyes by Michael Robotham

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Michael Robotham has recently won the British Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger award. Picture: Michele MossopClose Your Eyes,

Michael Robotham, published by Hachette, $29.99.

MULTI-AWARD winning n author Michael Robotham returns to England to revive his reluctant clinical psychologist character Joe O’Loughlin in a multiple murder mystery case that will keep you guessing until the end.

On top of taking on his difficult assignment, Joe has problems of his own. He has just been diagnosed with Parkinson ‘s disease and he has split from his wife because of one stupid infidelity, leaving him separated from his two daughters.

But how can he resist the charm of Chief Superintendent Ronnie Cray after he receives that fateful phone call – “I know you are retired from profiling, I just want your opinion”. Yeah, of course.

The no-nonsense Ronnie is related to two of Britain’s most infamous and hardened criminals, the Kray brothers. She changed the spelling of her name to avoid being identified with the twins who terrorised London in the ’60s. But the blood runs deep and our Ronnie is just as tough.

Poor Ronnie is struggling to have success with the case of a woman murdered in her own home, killed with multiple stab wounds while her murdered daughter lies dead on her bed upstairs, laid out like Sleeping Beauty with no visible signs of death.

Joe, despite his misgivings and personal issues, takes on the case and thus the inquiry begins, followed by multiple red herrings, a number of possible killers with likely motives, crazy relatives and neighbours and the intervention of another psychologist, one of Joe’s former students, who calls himself Mindhunter as he tries to build a reputation for himself. All this is against a backdrop of “dogging” an activity that I will leave the reader to discover.

There’s a little bit of deja vu at the end as close family and friends are threatened but it still remains a satisfying read.

Robotham has a fine reputation as a writer and also a tenuous link to the Hunter Valley, where his father was the first principal of Rutherford Technology High. It was interesting to note the cameo role of the Reverend Abermain in this book.

Robotham recently won the prestigious British Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger for the best crime novel of the year – only the second n to win the award after Peter Temple in 2007 for The Broken Shore.

I had the honour of reviewing his award-winning book Life or Death some time ago. Robotham believes Life or Death , set in Texas about a prisoner who escapes from jail on the night before he was due to be released, is the best book he has ever written.

Close Your Eyes, Michael Robotham, published by Hachette, $29.99.

Now living in Avalon on Sydney’s northern beaches, Robotham grew up living in many country towns in NSW as his family moved around, but started his career as a journalist with the former Fairfax publication The Sydney Sun. He later became a ghost writer, working with politicians and pop stars before twice winning ‘s Ned Kelly Award for best crime novel. He was also shortlisted for the CWA Steel Dagger in 2007 and 2008 and shortlisted for the inaugural ITV3 Thriller Awards.

I had the privilege of hearing him speak when he held an open discussion with local and internationally successful Barry Maitland at Maitland Region Art Gallery about 18 months ago. Plenty of wit and humour.

In this latest novel, he not only brings us back into contact with Joe O’Loughlin but also with Vincent Ruiz, an ex-cop detective and main character in previous books.

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Why you’re working an extra 16 minutes a week

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New figures show the average n worker is putting in a longer working week than this time last year. Photo: Tanya LakeFeel like you’re working longer days? That’s because if you’re a typical n worker, you are.

The latest employment figures show that, on average, we are each putting in a quarter of an hour more per week than this time last year.

The working week has grown over a year in which the unemployment rate has stayed put, suggesting that had employers put on extra workers rather than work their existing workforce harder, unemployment would be a good deal lower.

‘s unemployment rate stayed steady at 6.2 per cent in September, the same rate that prevailed in September 2014.

But in September 2014 the average full-time worker put in 39 hours and 13 minutes per week. The total is now 39 hours and 29 minutes, a jump of 16 minutes.

The average part-time worker put in 16 hours and 42 minutes per week. The total is now 16 hours and 56 minutes, a jump of 14 minutes.

The extra hours are a sign of improving business conditions that aren’t yet matched by improved business confidence.

The National Bank’s measure of business conditions has climbed from near-neutral to positive over a year in which its measure of business confidence has failed to grow.

Without confidence that better conditions will continue, it makes sense to put on more hours rather than hire more workers who might be difficult to keep.

Rough estimates suggest that if employers had put on more workers instead of increasing the number of hours their existing employees worked, about 291,000 ns would have gained jobs over the past year instead of 230,100.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash described the trend as “very healthy”, saying that in the past nine months 160,300 jobs had been created, the highest number in a nine-month period for five years.

NSW has been responsible for the vast bulk of the jobs growth, boosting employment by 100,500. Queensland lifted employment by 28,000, Victoria by 15,600 and Western and the Northern Territory by 5200 and 4500 respectively.

Employment grew by just 1100 in the Northern Territory, by 800 in Tasmania and by 600 in the n Capital Territory.

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Ryan Harris wants Prime Minister’s XI to be ‘big, special occasion’

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PM’s XI assistant coach Ryan Harris doesn’t think many of his former n teammates will play against the Kiwis. Photo: Scott BarbourRyan Harris thinks the Prime Minister’s XI is an important game that should be a “big, special occasion” on the cricket calendar, but the recently retired n quick doubts many of his former teammates will be picked to play New Zealand at Manuka Oval next Friday.

But the big-hearted fast bowler does expect a strong Kiwi side – and he expects fellow quick Peter Siddle will look to rough up their batsmen ahead of the upcoming three-Test series if selected.

The PM’s XI is struggling to find its place on the cricketing landscape, having been moved from its usual spot in January after it was engulfed by the Big Bash League and struggled to find players.

Now it clashes with the one-day domestic competition’s elimination final and is just two days before the decider.

It means many of ‘s top players will again be unavailable – although Siddle hasn’t been playing for Victoria so looks an obvious selection.

Harris, who said he’d always wanted to play in a PM’s game but never got the chance, felt it was still an important fixture – although he wasn’t sure where it best fitted into the summer.

“It’s something that needs to be worked out … it’s an important game, it needs to be continued,” Harris said.

“Meeting your prime minister is a very special occasion – I’ve managed to meet up with all five of them in the last few years, in January for the Sydney Test we always go to Kirribilli House.

“Hopefully they can sort out the timing of it and make it a big special occasion on the calendar.”

With ‘s tour of Bangladesh cancelled, Siddle hasn’t had much cricket, especially since Victoria have omitted him from their ODD team.

The PM’s game offers the perfect chance for him to get some match fitness and try out the pink ball, which will be used in the day-night game.

But Harris wasn’t expecting many more of Siddle’s Test teammates to get the call-up.

He said selectors wouldn’t want to give the Kiwis a look at many of the n players ahead of the three-Test series and they would instead use the opening round of the Sheffield Shield – which will all be day-night games using a pink ball – to get ready for the historic first day-night Test at Adelaide Oval on November 27.

But the 36-year-old still hoped the Canberra public would support the game.

“I don’t think they’ll pick too many of the [Aussie] batters, I’ll think they’ll want to keep the two [teams] apart I guess,” Harris said.

“I don’t think they’ll pick too many of the Test team, maybe Siddle and guys who need an extra run.

“The Prime Minister might be able to make a phone call and ask, but I still don’t know if that will make any difference.”

Harris said Siddle, whether instructed to by him or head coach Greg Blewett or not, would look to ruffle the Kiwis’ feathers.

“Pete Siddle’s is a guy who everyone thinks doesn’t bowl fast any more, but I know he still bowls fast,” Harris said.

“If he gets the opportunity I’m sure he’ll try and do that, whether it’s orders from the coach, I’m sure he’ll try and do that.”

Harris said the PM’s team would be selected on “Sunday or Monday”.

He’ll also be the assistant coach for the Cricket XI two-day game against New Zealand at Manuka, which starts Saturday week.


October 23: PM’s XI v New Zealand at Manuka Oval, 2.20pm. Tickets available from Ticketek.

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TOPICS: Simone’s Insta-snaps draw plenty of praise

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TOPICS: Simone’s Insta-snaps draw plenty of praise The Ominous Drive: Simone De Peak

David Carney, right, locks flying, contests the ball against Wellington Phoenix on Sunday.

Simone De Peak

The riverbank at Maitland; Pictures: Simone De Peak

A lone shopping cart; Pictures: Simone De Pea

Birds fly across a Lake Macquarie street; Pictures: Simone De Peak

TweetFacebook The Ominous Drive: Simone De Peak The Ominous Drive: Simone De Peak

Instagram observations, clockwise from top left: photographic prize nominee Ominous Drive; a lone shopping cart; the riverbank at Maitland; whitegoods on display; birds fly across a Lake Macquarie street; reflections cast on a footpath. Pictures: Simone De Peak

AMONG the flotsam and jetsam on our social media feeds, there’s one thing in particular that always seem to stand out.

It’s the images of daily life posted by Newcastle Herald photographer extraordinaire Simone De Peak.

We don’t want to embarrass her, but we will anyway. Her photos grip and transfix us. We think she’s a high-level artist.

She posts her daily-life images on Instagram under the handle @simonedepeak.

Topics was told on the grapevine that Simone was part of a prestigious invitation-only Instagram group, which has 41,000 followers.

The group posts observations of daily life under the handle @everydayaustralia.

Prominent n photojournalist Andrew Quilty, who is based in Kabul, invited Simone to join the group.

On his website, Quilty said the group comprised ‘‘a small handful of ’s best Instagramers’’.

Simone said she was fascinated by ‘‘the everyday moments that people often miss’’.

‘‘I’ve always been a bit of a stare bear,’’ she said.

‘‘Even if I’m sitting down having coffee with someone, I’m aware and constantly observing all the time.’’

As this paper reported on Thursday, De Peak was selected as a finalist in the prestigious 2015 Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize for her stunning image ‘‘The Ominous Drive’’.

The photograph – which has cinematic, dream-like qualities – features a classic car on a winding road at Pelaw Main, with a bush fire in the background. It reminds us of a David Lynch movie.

TOPICS loved the story titled ‘‘Dictator vs Democracy’’ in the Newcastle Herald’s school newspaper competition on Thursday.

The Year 6 lads from Edgeworth Heights Public compared former Prime Minister Tony Abbott to the Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un.

The article’s gist was that we had it pretty good with Tone, compared to Kim’s brutal, murderous rule.

Tone may have upset almost everybody in when he made the captain’s call to give Prince Phillip a knighthood, but Kim’s mad actions include executing anyone who disobeys him.

Topics thinks the Edgeworth boys’ next article should be a comparison of Vladmir Putin and Bill Shorten.

David Carney, right, locks flying, contests the ball against Wellington Phoenix on Sunday.

NEWCASTLE Jets star David Carney is well known for his feet, but he’s also had a bit of attention on his hair.

We reckon his former team-mate Joel Griffiths must be missing the dressing-room banter.

He teased Carney after the game about his need for a haircut.

Griffo reckons we should keep an eye on Carney’s head, as well as those feet, in Saturday’s blockbuster against Sydney FC.

‘‘One hundred per cent he’ll get a haircut this week,’’ he told Fox Sports News.

Carney took the ribbing in good spirits, telling a-league杭州龙凤论坛 ‘‘I should’ve cut my hair, but it was very windy over there [in Wellington] and it killed me.’’

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