OUTDOORS: Northern sojourn on taste of foraging

Meg Ulman and Patrick Jones and their family awaiting the Stockton ferrySOMETIME last year I received an email from Meg Ulman, who, along with her partner Patrick Jones, toddler Woody, 11-year-old Zephyr and Zero their Jack Russell, were travelling 6000 kilometres of the east coast by bike, from Daylesford to Cape York and back, camping free, and hunting and gathering as much tucker as they could along the way.
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The project collaborators called themselves “Artist as Family”, and blogged their adventure as they travelled. I checked them out online. Four brown and broad smiles beamed out at me from aboard their tandems.

Meg emailed in the hope that we could meet during their Newcastle visit. I replied, genuinely disappointed to be away. In the months afterwards I found my mind drifting to the Artist as Family, wondering where and how they were faring as the weather warmed.

A few weeks ago I was delighted to hear again from Meg, this time inviting me to the launch of their book – The Art of Free Travel: A Frugal Family Adventure.

Heading home with my signed copy (an abstract line drawing of a dog by three-year-old Woody), I was excited to have the opportunity to have my wonderings answered, and vicariously live a bit of their adventure.

Early on it became clear that their trip was part of a much bigger picture.

Having turned their quarter-acre Victorian block into a permaculture farm and seeded edible community gardens in town, Meg and Patrick took their low carbon principles to another level when they made the decision to ditch their car, and rely on patchy public transport and bikes in a rainy country area.

Rather than just an adventure, the northern sojourn was a radical statement in sustainability – an example of how to feed and transport a family with very little cost.

It was also a guidebook, an appendix listing what they took with them, and 256 species of free food and medicine they sampled along the way from “naturalised, Indigenous, newcomer, weedy, autonomous and feral” sources.

Still, sustainability is only sustainable if enjoyable. Could pedalling a baby uphill, packing and unpacking every night really be a lifestyle of choice?

After a rest week at a friend’s house in Brunswick Heads, Meg’s desire to be back on the road convinced me otherwise.

“I missed the breeze on my face at night in the tent, I missed the clarity of the birdsong in the morning, I missed cooking on the coals, I missed living unselfconsciously without a mirror, and I missed watching Woody explore his surrounds, digging holes, collecting leaves of various shapes and textures, identifying animal scats. I wanted to keep travelling on our bikes forever.”

Already plotting the next adventure, I have a feeling they won’t be travelling alone.

The Art of Free Travel by Patrick Jones and Meg Ulman

Privilege and power in Chinan universities masks sexual harassment problem

Ellen Perriment and Sophie Vassallo campaigning aganist sexual harassment at Monash University. Photo: Joe ArmaoElite n universities are more concerned with protecting their reputation than dealing with sexual harassment and assault, a leading academic has warned.
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Professor of Media at Macquarie University, Catharine Lumby, said “a lockdown mentality” pervaded ‘s oldest universities and their residential colleges.

“Wherever you find privilege and power you will find people very concerned about reputation,” she said.

The often unspoken problem of harassment in universities was highlighted this week, after high-profile University of California Berkeley physicist Geoff Marcy was found to have repeatedly sexually harassed women in his department.

The internal investigation resulted in little more than a threat of suspension or dismissal if Professor Marcy’s behaviour didn’t change. He resigned on Wednesday, following pressure from the research community.

Professor Lumby, who consulted with Sydney University on a pro bono basis following a series of incidents at its campus colleges, said universities needed external educators and investigators to change their boys “culture of privilege”.

She pointed out that n surgeons accused of sexually harassing female trainees attended elite universities.

Students attending some of the country’s top universities have become so concerned about sexual harassment that they have launched sexual consent workshops and campaigns.

Posters bearing slogans such as “if someone’s passed out they can’t consent” have been distributed at Monash University as part of a new campaign by the student association’s Women’s Department.

Monash University women’s officer Ellen Perriment said the sexual conversation needed to shift from no means no, to mutual positive consent of yes means yes.

Fellow women’s officer Sophie Vassallo said universities were like any other place and the issue needed to be addressed.

“You do hear of assaults and rapes happening on campuses.”

The National Union of Students will launch a campaign against sexual harassment later this year. “The culture at universities is not changing,” union’s president Rose Steele said.

Deakin University microbiologist Melanie Thomson was propositioned in 2004 by a male superior while working late as a masters student on a four-month placement in a Melbourne laboratory.

“It really threw me quite a bit,” she said. “He propositioned me and then after I knocked him back offered to give me a lift home.”

She said a power imbalance, sense of entitlement and a system where juniors need references from their superiors, meant predatory behaviour was effectively tolerated and speaking out often carried professional penalties.

“The cost to a woman making a complaint outweighs the benefits, to which there are almost none.”

Harassment also occurs at conferences, according to Melbourne University physicist Katie Mack, who spoke out earlier this week about Geoff Marcy’s case.

Female researchers working in the field have also been targets of harassment. However for many scientific disciplines, such as social, life, and earth science, field trips are an integral part of undergraduate and postgraduate study.

A survey of scientists’ experience of sexual harassment and assault in the field found women trainees were the primary targets, while the perpetrators were predominantly professionally senior to them.

The Survey of Academic Field Experiences results, published in the journal PLOS ONE in July 2014, found women respondents were 3.5 times more likely to report having experienced sexual harassment than men.

MUSIC REVIEW: Elsewhere

Elsewhere festival, Maitland Gaol, October 10, 2015ELSEWHERE
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Maitland Gaol

October 10

THIS festival meant a few firsts for me. I’d never been to Maitland Gaol, and after three years in Newcastle, I’d yet to try Doughheads or Newy Burger Co.

Walking through the jail entrance, I briefly thought about how entering this place might have been for criminals in years past, but those thoughts were far too serious for a music festival. Instead I bought a delicious cider and met up with some friends where we spent the next 20 minutes enjoying The Soorleys and coming up with clever titles for this story, as music, merrymaking and captivity bring an eclectic assortment of words to play with. “Inmate land”, “Shaking in Shackles” and “Prison’s not so bad” all seemed like possibilities.

I came to the festival ready for anything. With an open mind, a limited knowledge on the bands, and a curiosity for the place, I was prepared.

We hunkered down in the grass and stuffed our faces with Newy Burger Co. (The vegie burger was juicy and delicious; it was evident they cared for their non-carnivore counterparts.)

Hayden Calnin filled our ears. He was melodic and mesmerising, and as the afternoon sun began to set, the feeling of freedom that comes with beer and rock’n’roll was overshadowed by the history of the place and stories that never had a chance to be told.

I briefly read about Thelma Plum before the show, but, like all things good, she was heaps more fascinating after experiencing her in person. I watched her groove on stage and recognised more than a few of her songs from Triple J. She was stunning, and I was captivated with this gorgeous, bodacious brown-eyed woman, whose music had me tapping my feet. She moved, clapped, danced and always maintained a steady, direct, hypnotising gaze.

The Basics, Elsewhere festival, Maitland Gaol, October 10, 2015

The Basics came on just as the sun was going down and I was getting my salted caramel doughnut sugar rush from Doughheads. The Basics were funny guys, cracking jokes and being self-deprecating, about the money they had poured into their latest music video. Their songs were perfect for the night, with strong themes of . They performed a song called Lucky Country, and one called Hey Rain about Queensland. As they wrapped up their set, they piqued the crowd’s curiosity by prefacing that the next song was a cover perfect for the location. My friends and I threw out guesses. Would it be Folsom Prison? Would it be Jailhouse Rock? Of course we should have guessed, as the metallic riff from ACDC’s Jailbreak blared out into the crowd. I was a bit starstruck when I learnt that Gotye plays as their drummer and also sings!

Evidently Josh Pyke was the big name of the night, and my friend Sophie grew up on his songs. I was eager to hear what the fuss was all about, as another friend had earlier described Pyke as “wuss rock, but not in a bad way”. I can’t say that Josh Pyke moved me the way he did almost every other swaying girl in a flowing dress, but nevertheless, he was a definitely a nice way to end the evening. Elsewhere was the place to be.

Regurgitator go back to The Bar On The Hill

Regurgitator (Quan Yeomans and Ben Ely) love acting juvenile.BEN Ely has lost count of the times Regurgitator have played at Newcastle University’s long-standing live music institution, the Bar On the Hill.
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“We’ve kind of lost track – but I can remember some pretty great gigs,” Ely says ahead of the band’s show at the venue as part of the uni’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

“We’ve played there so many times and, for a long time there, that venue was probably one of our wildest gigs – probably the wildest gig – on our n tour.

“We had a few riots and a few fights and I think one time a few things got broken, like the roof would get broken.

“I just remember things breaking and it always was a pretty wild show.”

The band headlines the first Back to the Bar alumni reunion concert.

Billed as a chance for all graduates to relive their glory days at the venue, the gig also features hip-hop artist Citizen Kay, New Zealand singer/guitarist Bernie Segedin, folk act the Soorleys and Newcastle jump jive, funk and soul band Fish Fry/Pow Wow.

The Newcastle date is one of a handful of shows Regurgitator are performing to celebrate the release of their first live album, Nothing Less Than Cheap Imitations.

Featuring 26 tracks, the album was recorded in 2012 at The HiFi in Melbourne during the band’s anniversary tour to celebrate the release of their career-defining albums Tu-Plang and Unit.

A scan of the tracklisting (I Sucked A Lot of C – – k To Get Where I Am, Pop Porn, I Will Lick Your A – – – hole) is a reminder that Ely and Regurgitator co-partner Quan Yeomans have never concerned themselves with offending audiences.

“I think it’s always been our thing – especially Quan who likes that idea of writing pretty out-there lyrics with pop songs – and we did offend people,” Ely says.

Broadcaster Alan Jones once tried to have the band’s music banned from radio and a right-wing Christian group called for major retail stores to cease stocking Regurgitator’s music.

“They said ‘this band is a symbol of the moral decay in the world and they must be stopped’ and they tried to stop us but, of course, what happens with kids is you try to ban something, they want it even more.

“They just gave us heaps of publicity and they made us more of a popular band than we probably needed to be due to the fact that they tried to ban us.

“It’s like a red rag to a bull so, yeah, I’m grateful for that.

“Alan Jones even wrote about us in a chapter in his biography [laughs] about how he tried to ban us! I thought it was hilarious.”

His relationship with Yeomans, who he met in 1991 before forming Regurgitator in 1993, is one that he likens to that of a couple of naughty schoolkids.

“I feel like every time I hang out with Quan, we just have this juvenile, naive way of communicating together with music and language.

“When we hang out, it does feel like we’re eight years old wagging school, smoking durries down the back of the oval.

“I guess that’s part of the way our band is – juvenile behaviour.”

Back to the Bar kicks off at 5pm on October 22 at the Bar On the Hill at the University of Newcastle. Tickets online at newcastle.edu.au/homecoming.

Mowerman not letting the grass growunder his feet during epic fundraiser

Claude Harvey has raised over $800,000 pushing his lawnmower. Picture: Marina NeilTHE first time Claude Harvey pushed his lawnmower for charity he walked 120 kilometres and raised 35¢.
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It was an inauspicious start for a man who had set himself the goal of raising $1million for child protection advocate Bravehearts.

But Mr Harvey, affectionately known as ‘‘the mowerman’’, wasn’t discouraged and refused to give up on two young girls in his neighbourhood who had been sexually assaulted. He set off again, this time bound for Sydney from the Gold Coast, and the campaign took off.

Since then the 70-year-old has clocked up 18,000km with his trusty lawnmower and raised more than $800,000 for Bravehearts.

Along the way he has been attacked by three bulls, two dogs and a woman. He was also tackled by five security guards while pushing his lawnmower across the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2008.

‘‘They thought I was pushing a bomb onto the bridge,’’ Mr Harvey said.

His crusade has brought him through the Hunter again, where on Thursday he set off on his latest ‘‘mowerthon’’ from Newcastle to Sydney. He has 200kilometres to travel and says he is $178,000 from reaching his goal of a million dollars.

‘‘I’m going to keep doing this as long as I can,’’ Mr Harvey told the Newcastle Herald as he pushed his mower through Jesmond.

‘‘The way I feel, I’ll still be doing it when I’m 80. When it comes to keeping our kids safe, I’m not going to leave any stone unturned.’’

All donations go towards Bravehearts’ support for children and families affected by child sexual assault.

Check the website bravehearts上海龙凤论坛.au

Claude Harvey has raised over $800,000 pushing his lawnmower. Picture: Marina Neil

Nick Kyrgios: Canberra’s Dimitri Morogiannis aiming to follow in his idol’s footsteps

Canberra junior tennis player Dimitri Morogiannis credits Nick Kyrgios as a mentor and inspiration. Photo: Rohan ThomsonHe is from Canberra, is not short on confidence and lets his emotions fly on the court.
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And no, it isn’t Nick Kyrgios.

Introducing rising star Dimitri Morogiannis, a 16-year-old who has worked closely with Kyrgios and has lofty ambitions to be the best in the world.

Morogiannis is coming off the biggest win of his young career after breaking through for his maiden victory in an ITF junior event at the Canberra International last weekend.

The Erindale College student has known Kyrgios for the past five years and was his hitting partner when he was home in the ACT after the US Open.

Kyrgios has polarised opinions for his on-court behaviour after he was fined at the Shanghai Masters and sledged by AFL star Taylor Walker on social media.

But Morogiannis says the Kyrgios he knows is completely different to the one who is portrayed in the media.

“If you know him really, he’s probably the most down to earth and humble guy you would ever meet,” Morogiannis said.

“He’s an outgoing, happy guy and respects everyone.

“I just say everyone just support him because he’s one of us. He’s from Canberra. Everyone in should support him.”

Kyrgios has spoken with Morogiannis about his experiences on the professional circuit, both good and bad.

“He’s someone to look up to in the stuff he’s done really well, and the stuff that is not the right thing, keep that quiet,” Morogiannis said.

“He’s kind of mentored me a bit through the questions I ask if I need some help.

“You see a lot of players in tennis swear and nothing happens after, but when Nick swears, they make a big deal out of it.”

Morogiannis made a statement in winning the Canberra Junior International, going through the tournament undefeated before beating Jeremy Taylor in the final 7-6, 6-2.

He showed plenty of emotion in the victory and said that was an essential part of his personality.

“I’m a bit like Nick, I show some fire on the court to my supporters to get me through my matches,” Morogiannis said.

“I’m Greek. Nick’s Greek as well, typical Greek guys are larrikins.

“There’s a point where you have to stop, but there’s a point where you can pump yourself up at the same time.”

Morogiannis isn’t shy about setting lofty goals for his career having seen the heights Kyrgios has scaled.

“I really want to be where Nick is right now, or even better,” he said.

“I have a dream to be No.1 in the world and I’m trying my best to get that.

“This is just a small drop in the ocean, this win on the tour, but there’s plenty more to come.”

Aaron Royle’s transition to triumph

Transition to triumph NCH SPORT. Pic shows Novocastrian triathlete Aaron Royle who will be competing at the upcoming Commonwealth Games. Pictured at Nobbys Beach, Newcastle Pic by MAX MASON-HUBERS MMH. 6th May 2014. Newcastle
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Sport Aaron Royle will be competing next month in the state cross country and state swimming championships 29th June 2004 NCH SPORT Picture by SIMONE DE PEAK SPECIALX 00031646

DIGICAM 00009877 sport – juniors – hunter region school sports star award winners – primary school winners angie bainbridge of redhead public and aaron royle of marylans public

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 02: Aaron Royle #21 of competes in the men’s triathlon during the Aquece Rio Triathlon at Copacabana beach on August 2, 2015 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

— Michael ParrisSports department, Newcastle [email protected] Like us [email protected]上海龙凤论坛m.au  | m  0477 347 462  |  t  02 4979 5970180780948.jpg

TweetFacebookKEN Royle can’t remember his youngest son Aaron shedding many tears as a kid.

Cop a knock playing footy and he’d bounce to his feet. Likewise if he had a stack on his bike.

“Game as anything,” Ken recalls proudly.

It’s a disposition that has helped Aaron establish himself as one of the top 10 triathletes in the world over the past three years. On a daily basis, whether training or competing, he and his rivals encounter a familiar foe, best known as the pain barrier.

The first to surrender usually runs last. Those who refuse to relinquish battle it out for the medals.

Suffice to say Aaron has an above-average capacity for gritting his teeth and carrying on regardless.

But for all his physical gifts, in particular a Rolls Royce cardio-vascular system, the 25-year-old from Maryland’s mental resilience has been his most valuable asset.

When the going gets tough, he keeps on going.

THE moment he walked through the arrivals gate at Sydney Airport, Aaron realised there was a problem.

Returning from the second event on this year’s International Triathlon Union world series circuit, in Auckland in March, he expected to find Ken waiting to collect him.

“My brother Nathan met me at the airport. Soon as I walked out, I knew something was up, because he wasn’t supposed to be there,” Aaron says.

There was no gentle way to deliver the news. Their father had throat cancer.

Treatment was to start almost immediately on the home-delivery fruiterer, who was secretary of Toronto Scorpions in 1991, the year the club won its only Newcastle Rugby League premiership.

Suddenly Aaron’s own issues, namely a dose of the swine flu and a foot injury that had flared in Auckland, were put in perspective.

After absorbing the initial shock of his father’s situation, Aaron was left agonising over an unenviable dilemma.

The next world series event was just two weeks away in Yokohama, before the international triathlon circus would roll on to Europe and, ultimately, the most important race of Aaron’s career – the test event at Rio de Janeiro, which offered a one-off chance to pre-qualify for next year’s Olympics.

Torn as he was by a desire to stay with his family during this hour of need, Aaron recognised that was the last thing his dad would have wanted.

With a heavy heart, he boarded the plane to Japan, but not before leaving his mother, Kim, with one last instruction: “Just as long as you tell me if there’s a need for me to be there.”

“I know how much joy my dad gets from triathlon, and not just because I’m involved,” he says.

“He just loves the sport. He follows my competitors, and the people I train with, and just loves watching the sport.

“So if I didn’t go and do what I did, it would have been a hell of a lot worse for him.

“I know that even during the middle of his chemo, he was getting up at 2am or 3am to watch my races, and that helped get him through.

“It was what he looked forward to.”

Royle says it was a “really hard time”, compounded by being so far removed.

“Being overseas, I definitely felt helpless all the time,” he says. “It wasn’t just me. We’ve got the family business and my brother was working extra hours, to take up Dad’s end of the business, and taking him to chemo in the afternoons.

“Mum was having to do the same thing, be there to support him.

“That was probably the hardest thing for me, that I could have been there to help but I wasn’t. But I knew that’s what he wanted.”

ALTHOUGH his dad maintained a brave face, Aaron has a fair idea how he was feeling, deep down inside.

Two years earlier, after a race in Spain, he coughed up blood and soon afterwards found himself in an isolation ward, surrounded by doctors and nurses who barely spoke English.

Despite the language barrier, Royle learned he had a 12-millimetre cyst on his lung and needed a biopsy.

“It was scary,” he said at the time.

“The doctors were saying it could be a tumour, it could be tuberculosis.

“Those sort of things don’t care if you’re a triathlete and you have to race in four weeks’ time.

“They can affect anyone … I just had to prepare to fight it and put triathlon in the background.”

Eventually it was diagnosed as a nasty bout of pneumonia and he was able to resume training.

“Somehow I managed to get through it all in quite a positive frame of mind,” he says. “After the tests came back and ruled out tumours or tuberculosis, everything after that seemed like a positive.

“Because at the start it did seem grim, everything after that seemed a step forward.”

As he lay in hospital, pondering the worst-case scenario, Royle could never have imagined that a season he had mentally declared a write-off would end in triumph.

Just four months later, he finished sixth in the WTS grand final event in London to guarantee himself selection for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, before finishing the year with back-to-back wins in ‘s most lucrative triathlons, at Nepean and Noosa.

Two years on, there is a sense of deja vu about Royle’s 2015 campaign.

Injury and illness overshadowed his first five races of the world series. Meanwhile his father’s health battle was always there, in the back of his mind. It was enough to test anyone’s self-belief. But then his fortunes improved dramatically. He finished fifth in Hamburg, claimed a bronze medal in Stockholm, fifth in Edmonton and ran seventh in the season finale in Chicago.

That was enough for him to climb to ninth rung on the international rankings, having slipped to the mid-30s halfway through the year.

Most importantly, during the test event at Rio, he needed a top-10 result to automatically qualify for next year’s Games.

By finishing sixth and as the first Aussie across the line, he removed himself from the dogfight for the other two positions in ‘s squad.

Barring an untimely injury, his Olympic dream will become a reality on August 18 next year.

“That’s all I really cared about for the year,” he says.

“The [world] series was a secondary thing to that … I took control of it, rather than the selectors having control of it.

“You never want that to happen. With [selection] discretion, there’s always going to be someone not happy.”

By securing his Olympic berth 12 months in advance, Royle can focus specifically on Rio next year, and he has no intention of merely making up the numbers.

“The nature of the course, it’s an unrelenting course, a hard course, and with the heat, it’s going to be a small group leading after the bike, and if I can put myself in the mix … the way my run is improving I should be really up at the pointy end,” he says.

“The biggest challenge for me is staying healthy – injury- and illness-free.

“That will mean putting the [world] series on the backburner a bit.

“Obviously you still need to race. You still need race fitness, but it’s about choosing the races a bit more wisely.

“Next year, we’ll do the races that don’t involve as much long-haul travel.”

GIVEN that fewer than one in 50,000 people qualify to represent at the Olympics, only those embodying a rare blend of athletic talent and dedication make the cut.

Royle was a natural in endurance sports from his formative years. By the age of nine, he was winning state swimming titles.

Soon after, he became a national cross-country champion.

At 14, his parents presented him with a quandary when they asked him to decide on one sport or the other.

“So I chose to keep the two and add a third in as well.”

Soon he was winning gold medals in triathlon at national All Schools carnivals and representing at the Youth Olympics.

After finishing school in 2007, he was invited to join the NSW Institute of Sport program, which meant basing himself in Wollongong and training full-time.

Triathlon became not just his sport, but his job.

As a top-10 regular and the 2012 world under-23 champion, Royle is one of ‘s more marketable triathletes. But there would be dozens of NRL players who are earning vastly higher salaries.

“If I continue the way I’m going, there’s good money to be made,” he says.

“But your next injury or illness could be just around the corner, and our sport is so heavily reliant on your performance.

“I do have sponsors but a lot of our income is prizemoney … hopefully now that I’ve made the Olympics, it will make it easier for me to do what I need to do.”

For Royle, his sport remains a labour of love. He plans to continue in triathlon until at least after the 2018 Commonwealth Games, before switching to the gruelling Ironman circuit, in which competitors swim 3.2 kilometres, cycle 180 kilometres and run a full marathon of 42 kilometres.

To maintain such standards of fitness requires 35 to 40 hours of training each week, along with gym sessions, stretching and massages. The Olympic triathlon event involves a 1.5-kilometre swim, 40-kilometre cycle ride and 10-kilometre run.

Asked if it ever becomes a grind, he replies: “There are times where I have to get up at 5am or 6am, and it might be pissing down and freezing cold.

“And I suppose the days where you’re just so tired.

“Some days I’ll be walking down the stairs, feeling like I’m 70 years old and been hit by a truck, and you’ve got to go out and punish your body again.

“But nobody needs to twist my arm to do what I do.”

Every ounce of sweat expended will be worth it when he is on the start line at Rio, with the Royle family watching from the stands.

When he qualified for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the first thing he did was buy air tickets for his parents.

Aaron says that after a seven-week course of chemotherapy and radiation, Ken was “looking pretty good”.

“If that’s the worst of it, then I think he’s got through OK,” he says.

“The next month will tell, but the doctors seem confident.”

He has no doubt that his Olympic qualification had been a beacon of hope for his father during some dark days.

“It’s something I’ve dreamed of all my life, to go to the Olympics,” he says.

“Mum and Dad, they’ve helped me get there. They wouldn’t miss it for the world, and I wouldn’t allow them to.

“I know the next day after I qualified, Dad was already looking for accommodation and emailing back and forth. Even when he was sick, he found the energy to search the internet six hours a day.”

W-League: Canberra United forward Emma Kete returns chasing second championship

Canberra United striker Emma Kete has returned after helping the club win its inaugural title in 2011-12. Photo: Melissa AdamsCanberra United forward Emma Kete hopes lightning strikes twice after returning to the club for her second time around chasing another piece of silverware.
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While Kete will travel with Canberra for Sunday’s season-opener against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium, Mexican international Veronica Perez is set to be given another week to overcome jet lag.

However, US midfielder Kendall Fletcher will join the squad on Friday and is a chance to be injected into the team straight away, having returned from last season.

Canberra will also be without defender Emma Checker, with the Melbourne Victory recruit still struggling with a hamstring injury.

Kete said she was excited at the opportunity to play a major role in Canberra’s title defence.

“There’s a few different faces, but it’s still as professional as when I last came,” Kete said.

“There is pressure, but there is also excitement at being the first team to win it back to back.

“I’ve played at professional clubs overseas and I’d have to say this is one of the most professional set-ups there is. The team cohesion is pretty rare.”

Kete joined Canberra as an injury replacement late in the 2011-12 season, playing three games as the club claimed its inaugural championship.

“I was pretty lucky and I feel like I was given such a great opportunity and I’ve always been grateful for that,” Kete said. “It was a little bit nerve racking coming into such a strong side.

“I knew I could add a little bit of something. I’m hoping I can deliver this season and repay the opportunities I’ve been given.”

She has since spent two seasons at Sydney FC before skipping the W-League last year to ply her trade in England.

Kete will fill the void up front left by the departure of classy American striker Stephanie Ochs.

The only issue for Canberra coach Rae Dower is the availability of two of her other star imports. Fletcher is the most likely to play while Dower said she is probably going to rest Perez up for round two.

“Kendall will arrive tomorrow and Veronica a short time later [on Saturday],” Dower said.

“We’re fairly confident Kendall will take her place in the squad for Sunday and it will be a bit of a wait-and-see approach to see how Veronica feels after the long flight.

“[Perez] is certainly keen to play, but the health and wellbeing of the player is the most important thing.”

English international Jodie Taylor has been training with Canberra, but won’t make her debut until at least round four.

Taylor can play a maximum of seven games non-consecutively as the club’s designated guest player.

“Her commitments are with the England national team, so they will probably fly out on the same flight as the Matildas next week,” Dower said.

“She’s looking sharp. She needed a little bit of a spell after the World Cup, but had a great World Cup herself and straight back into it with Portland.

“She’s mixing in really well with the girls.”

Gerry Harvey makes captain’s call on Royal Descent for Caulfield Cup

Strapper Glen Barnes with Royal Descent. Photo: SuppliedGerry Harvey made a captain’s call to have Royal Descent run in the Caulfield Cup.
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Royal Descent is the queen of the Chris Waller stable and has clocked up six group 1 seconds, the latest in the Turnbull Stakes, in a photo finish, at the beginning of the month, which led to Harvey’s decision.

“After the Turnbull, I rang Claire [Bird] my racing manager and said I would like to run her in the Caulfield Cup and we had a blue,” Harvey said.

“She told me ‘I am not doing that to this horse … she can’t run in a Caulfield Cup again’. I said it’s my horse and I want to run there. It was a robust discussion.

“She ran in it as a four-year-old and was beaten 1.9 lengths, she is six now and they all say she is better than ever, so why not have another go?

“She wins this I might have a Melbourne Cup runner.”

Harvey can dream big and he has the best trainer in the country and the very-confident Glen Boss in the saddle to help cause a shock at Caulfield on Saturday. But the outside stall of 22 makes things tough.

“[Claire] and Chris had the Myer [Classic] picked out for [Royal Descent] and wanted to go there. The Caulfield Cup is one of the top five races in the country and for someone like me who is addicted to racing it’s something I want to win,” Harvey said. “You don’t get too many chances to win it.

“The next day we were talking about something else and I asked her about Royal Descent and she said we had paid up. She had talked to the trainer and Bossy, she wasn’t happy but thought it was worth a crack.”

Royal Descent might not have the superstar record – her only group 1 was the n Oaks in 2013 – but she has a following because she turned up for every battle and is invariably in the finish.

She has been a runner-up in the George Main Stakes for the past three years as well as seconds in an Epsom and a Doncaster, a race she was third in this year. She has earned respect even though her record is only five wins from 29 starts, with 15 placings.

“People like her,” Harvey said. “They don’t feel sorry for me when she runs second but they feel sorry for the horse.

“I think a lot people would love to see her win a big race, because of what she’s done. Why not a Caulfield Cup?”

It is a question that Boss has a positive answer to, after being in the saddle in the Turnbull Stakes when Preferment just got the better of her.

“If Preferment was there on the weekend he would be favourite,” Boss said. “I can’t believe she is still 20-1. She beat them all home in the Turnbull.

“She is a fully mature mare now and there are no weaknesses. I’m not worried about the gate because I think we are going to end up in the same position in the run anyway.”

Waller will also saddle Grand Marshal and Who Shot Thebarman in the Caulfield Cup but there is something about Royal Descent for him and the stable.

“She is a different mare this time – you just have to look at her and the way she does things,” Waller said. “She never lets us down. Glen is confident, it is one of those things you want to hear from your jockey.”

Royal Descent is steady at $21 quote with Ladbrokes in a market that has not seen too much change since the barrier draw on Tuesday. Mongolian Khan remains the $4.80 top pick but the good draws for Rising Romance and English stayer Snow Sky have seen their prices trimmed to $10 and $11. They have joined Set Square, Fame Game and Hauraki at the $10 line.

Upper Hunter air quality review

THE state government will review air quality monitoring networks in the Upper Hunter and Newcastle amid concerns about pollution from coal mining.
Shanghai night field

On Thursday, member for Upper Hunter Michael Johnsen announced in Parliament the government would review the Environmental Protection Authority’s ambient air quality monitoring system, including industry-funded, government-operated air quality monitoring networks. The announcement came during a debate on a notice of motion calling for independent air monitoring in Lake Macquarie put forward by independent member Greg Piper.

Mr Piper said his electorate had five operational mines, as well as ‘‘fallout’’ from two coal-fired power stations and a coal preparation plant, meaning ‘‘air pollution and its potential health impacts are matters of legitimate and immediate concern to my constituents’’.

While there are more than 20 industry monitors in Lake Macquarie, Mr Piper said there was no ‘‘independent ambient air quality monitor operated by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA)’’.

‘‘This means there is no reliable baseline information on air quality in Lake Macquarie and residents cannot access the hourly information on pollutants and particulates available online to residents of neighbouring Newcastle.’’

The government did not support the bid. Instead it would review the ‘‘principles and requirements’’ of its current air quality monitoring systems to ‘‘test whether the current NSW government monitoring is meeting the priorities of the government and the objectives of the National Environment Protection Measure for ambient air quality’’, Environment Minister Mark Speakman said. ‘‘The review will also assess if government-operated networks are meeting the needs of the community.’’