Australian News

Jack Charlton, 1966 World Cup winner, Leeds United legend and football great, dies aged 85

Jack Charlton, an uncompromising central defender who played alongside his brother, Bobby, in England’s World Cup-winning side in 1966 before enjoying coaching success with Ireland, has died aged 85.

Nicknamed “Big Jack” and celebrated for his earthy “beer and cigarettes” image, Charlton was Footballer of the Year in England in 1967.

He spent all his club career at Leeds, from 1952-73, tying the club’s all-time record of 773 appearances. He won every domestic honour, including the league title in 1969.

Charlton’s family said he died at home on Friday (local time) in Northumberland.

“As well as a friend to many, he was a much-adored husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather,” the family said in a statement.

“We cannot express how proud we are of the extraordinary life he led and the pleasure he brought to so many people in different countries and from all walks of life.

“He was a thoroughly honest, kind, funny and genuine man who always had time for people. His loss will leave a huge hole in all our lives but we are thankful for a lifetime of happy memories.”

His biggest achievement came with the England national team that beat Germany 4-2 after extra time in the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley Stadium.

A black and white photo of Jack Charlton holding a trophy above his head at a packed Wembley
Jack Charlton after winning the 1966 World Cup with England.(AP)

Bobby, his younger brother, played in midfield. Jack celebrated the victory by partying in a random person’s house in north London, ending up sleeping on the floor.

That was typical of the man who kept the common touch despite his fame and remained an affable character, fond of life’s simple pleasures.

“I got a lift back the following morning and my mother was playing hell as I hadn’t been to bed all night,” Charlton recalled.

“I said, ‘Mother, we’ve just won the World Cup!'”

Charlton made 35 appearances for England between 1965-70, also playing in the 1968 European Championship and the 1970 World Cup. A very different player to Bobby, who was once all-time top scorer for both England and Manchester United, Jack was in the shadow of his brother during his playing career.


It was obvious from an early age that Bobby “was going to play for England and would be a great player”, Jack recalled in a 1997 BBC interview.

“He was strong, left- and right-footed, good balance, good skills. He had everything, our kid. I was over six foot. Leggy. A giraffe, as I finished up being called.”

Big Jack becomes the boss

Of all the England World Cup winners to go into management, Jack Charlton was easily the most successful.

He had brief but impressive spells at north-east clubs Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday and Newcastle before being hired by Ireland in 1986 as its first foreign coach.

Adopting a direct, physical and attack-minded style, Charlton got the best out of Ireland’s hard-working players and guided them to three major tournaments, including the 1990 World Cup where the Irish reached the quarterfinals. Ireland also played at Euro 1988 and the 1994 World Cup under Charlton.

A black and white photo of Jack Charlton, who is wearing a nice suit, smiling while holding a trophy
In 1967, Jack Charlton was named Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers’ Association.(AP)

“You get the ball forward, you compete, you close people down, you create excitement, you win balls when you shouldn’t win balls, commit yourself to the game,” Charlton said of Ireland’s style.

“A lot of the pundits didn’t like it but the teams we played against hated it. They’d never experienced anything like what we were dictating to them … We were a match for anybody in the world.”

Charlton said his best memory as Ireland coach was beating Brazil 1-0 in a friendly at Lansdowne Road in 1987. He resigned in 1995 after losing in a Euro 1996 playoff to the Netherlands.

He was awarded honorary Irish citizenship a year later. A life-size statue of him was erected at Cork Airport, depicting him wearing fishing gear and holding a salmon — recalling Charlton’s favourite pastime of fishing.

An old photo of Bobby Charlton, in his Manchester United kit, and Jack Charlton, in his Leeds kit, running after the ball
Jack (left) spent much of his career playing second fiddle to his brother Bobby (right).(AP)

“I am as much Irish as I am English,” Charlton, who was given the freedom of Dublin, said.

Born May 8, 1935, in a gritty area of northern England, Charlton worked down the mines as a teenager before going for a trial at Leeds. He grew up in a footballing family, cousin to Newcastle great Jackie Milburn while his uncles Jack, George, Jimmy and Stan all played professionally.

“It left me no choice but to be a footballer,” Charlton said.


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More Australians cook at home, using Dinner site

Ordering takeout has never been easier but an increasing number of Australians still prefer to cook at home.

Freshly cooked recipes rule the menu at dinner time with takeout and meal kits a last resort.

But Australians are pushed for time, on a typical weeknight, the home cook takes only 18 minutes to plan and 36 minutes to prepare and cook.

New data from Australia’s top food website delved into the state of Aussie dinners.

Taste’s Dinner Decoder survey of more than 6000 people found overall Australians enjoy cooking dinner with the majority of home cooks feeling satisfied (34 per cent), confident (32 per cent), motivated (27 per cent) and happy (27 per cent) planning what to cook for dinner.

In a typical week, most dinners are home-cooked, followed by takeout, eating out, leftovers or home delivery. Few Australians use meal kits.

And we’re also making healthier dinners.

Half of all Australian households cater for special dietary needs, with low calorie the most common (23 per cent), followed by vegetarian (18 per cent), gluten free (9 per cent) and diabetes friendly (10 per cent).

Other findings include more than half (52 per cent) of Australians want to cook more dinners from scratch.

But feeling tired (63 per cent) and lack of time (35 per cent) get in the way.

Australians also feel dinner requires more effort because expectations are higher with social media raising the bar, a greater sense of health awareness thrown in the mix and the “premiumisation of our lifestyle” which has extended to the ingredients we buy. has recently launched its Dinner Revolution section to help find recipes by typing in just three ingredients they have at home.

The section, which has clocked more than six million hits online, also offers recipe ideas they can prep in 10 minutes and cook in 20 minutes.

They can also choose one of the 10 most popular dinners of the day.

“I don’t know of another recipe site in the world that has made the dinner journey from planning to cooking so simple and streamlined,” Editor-in-Chief of Brodee Myers-Cooke said.

“All of us at Taste genuinely believe in the power of dinner. It’s not just a proven cornerstone for so many good things – like physical and mental health, and kids’ school results – it can actually be the best part of your day.”

Sydneysiders Cara Staniforth and her boyfriend William Potter love a home-cooked dinner.

Ms Staniforth said life in lockdown had pushed them to do a lot more home cooking which was “really nice to get into”.

She said they did not use meal kits and only ordered takeaway once every couple of weeks because they were often high in calories.

“I track my calories because we’re quite fitness-focused, and while a lot of the meals are delicious, they are high in calories”.

She said she was a gluten-free pescetarian, and while her boyfriend followed a regular diet, he was “very accommodating” and often cooked meals that met her dietary requirements.

Despite their love of cooking, she conceded that sometimes it was difficult to find motivation to whip up a meal at the end of the day.

“But the more you do, the more efficient you are at it because you know what goes together and you can get dinner together a bit quicker,” she said.

“And it helps to learn a few recipes that you can follow if you know you’re short on time.”

She said she used the Taste Dinner Revolutions site on her phone regularly and loved that there was now an easy way to find quick, easy and nutritious recipes based on what was already in the pantry or fridge.

“There’s a few things that I love to eat, and my boyfriend is the same. It’s great there’s a way to generate quick and healthy meals based on a few key ingredients.”

Clinical nutritionist Michaela Sparrow said home-cooked meals were “part of our culture and part of coming together as a family”.

She said that her clients often said the least enjoyable and stressful part of home cooking was trying to figure out what to prepare and eat. But the process didn’t have to be difficult.

“My number one tip for all my clients and for busy people is to meal prep some of your meals for the week when you have some time,” she said.

“Soups, stews, casseroles are all great for meal prep as they freeze well and most taste even more delicious the next day. You can make big batches of these and get many serves out of them.”

She said families were likely to be shying away from takeaway because of the expense.

“People are also becoming more aware of the detrimental effects of highly processed foods and want to support their family’s health with healthy whole foods.”

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Penrith Panthers beat Cronulla Sharks 56-24, Broncos beat Bulldogs in battle of cellar-dwellers

Penrith has unearthed another star of the future in Charlie Staines, with the debutant scoring four tries in the Panthers 56-24 NRL demolition of Cronulla.

Playing for injured Dean Whare, the 19-year-old also added a try assist for good measure to spark the Panthers to their biggest win of the season.

Ivan Cleary’s side temporarily jump over Parramatta to top spot, with the Eels a chance of reclaiming pole position on Sunday when they face Newcastle.

The Sharks’ lopsided defeat not only snaps a three-game winning streak, but is also the heaviest under second-year coach John Morris.

The Panthers ran in a mammoth 10 tries, including two to another rookie in centre Stephen Crichton, while Nathan Cleary kicked seven goals.


The signs were ominous for Cronulla the moment Penrith centre Brent Naden strolled over in just the fourth minute.

Liam Martin and Crichton crossed for soft tries soon after, before Staines flashed his potential on back-to-back possessions.

The Forbes’ product pointed straight at his home-town fans in the northwest corner of the ground when he claimed his maiden try in the 24th minute.

But that was just a preview of his next contribution, bursting down the right touchline on the return set and sending Dylan Edwards to score.

When Crichton crossed, the Panthers were racing the clock at 26-0, off the back of a dominant 76 per cent possession rate and a whopping 19-7 advantage in sets.

Cronulla eventually found its bearings late in the half, with Briton Nikora and Blayke Brailey reducing the deficit to 14 points at the break.

Staines ensured there was no second-half comeback when he scored off a Naden tapback, sending his mates, who had moved corners, into a frenzy.

Not even the sin-binning of James Tamou could halt the Panthers’ attack, with Billy Burns crossing despite being down to 12 men.

Jesse Ramien and Nene Macdonald, in his first match for the Sharks, added some respectability to the scoreline, before Staines completed his quadruple.

Compounding the loss for the Sharks is a suspected hamstring injury to Andrew Fifita, who failed to take the field in the second half.

Broncos beat Bulldogs in battle of the cellar-dwellers

A knee injury to captain Alex Glenn has soured Brisbane’s drought-breaking 26-8 NRL win over last-placed Canterbury.

It wasn’t pretty on Saturday evening but the Broncos finally snapped their six-game losing streak, notching their first win since March 20 and ending an agonising 113-day wait for long-suffering fans.

A number of Broncos players converge in celebration as a Bulldogs player looks disappointed in the foreground
The Broncos claimed a much-needed win over fellow strugglers in the Bulldogs.(AAP: Dan Peled)

Motivated by the thought that yet another loss would relegate them to last on the table, the Broncos did enough in a clanger-fuelled clash in front of 7,134 fans.

Glenn limped off in the 54th minute with a suspected medial ligament injury after an ugly tackle by Bulldogs centre Reimis Smith.

He was placed on report for a cannonball tackle after spearing into the former Kiwi international’s leg as the third man in.

In a match, billed as a battle for the wooden spoon, Brisbane — sitting 15th on the ladder — took on the bottom-placed Bulldogs and it showed in an error-riddled affair.

At times, the teams didn’t look like they knew how to play, let alone win, with the clash sometimes farcical due to the amount of dropped ball.

There were 24 errors with Brisbane committing 13.

In the end, inspirational prop Tevita Pangai and five-eighth Anthony Milford’s kicking game proved the difference as the Bulldogs suffered their fifth-straight loss.


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Sport, exercise rules for locked down residents

Millions of residents locked down in Victoria are being reminded they cannot leave the area to exercise including to play community sport being held elsewhere or for a trip to the ski fields.

Metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire, to the city’s north, returned to stage three restrictions for six weeks from 11.59pm last Wednesday.

The only reasons residents can leave home are to go to work or school, for care or care giving, daily exercise and to buy food or other essentials.

RELATED: Follow our live coronavirus coverage

“You have got to be in your home if you are in the metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire other than for the four reasons and only when you absolutely need to leave your home for one of those four reasons,” Premier Daniel Andrews said on Saturday, announcing 216 new coronavirus cases.

“I will just make the point again that the exercise reason, one of those four, obviously is to go and get some fresh air, take some daily exercise.

“You cannot leave the metropolitan area if you are in the metropolitan area, and you can’t leave Mitchell Shire beyond, as in going further into regional Victoria, if you are in Mitchell Shire.

“That is just about trying to do everything we can to limit this getting into regional areas.”

He said there have been low case numbers or no cases recorded in parts of regional Victoria.

“But we are being extraordinarily vigilant around that issue,” Mr Andrews said.

He acknowledged it was “very frustrating” and “inconvenient” but every single Victorian would “ultimately benefit” if the strategy proves a success.

“It is the simple stuff, the common sense, just doing the right thing, the smart thing, that’s how we will get to the other side of this,” he said.

“This is not an ordinary weekend. It is anything but that.”

RELATED: Cop shop shut after officer tests positive


The Department of Health and Human Services advises many facilities including indoor sporting centres and swimming pools will be closed in the locked down areas.

“If you live in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, you cannot travel outside of the area to exercise and for outdoor recreation,” the department advises.

“If you live in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, you are not permitted to use these facilities elsewhere.”

Residents can leave their home to exercise outdoors in a public space either on their own, with people they live with or with a friend or family member from another household.

“This includes walking, running, hiking, bike riding, surfing, kayaking and other types of exercise such as yoga in the park,” the DHHS states.

“While exercising with people outside your household, you should keep at least 1.5m between yourself and others.

“You should also stay close to home and use common sense and consideration when it comes to these activities.”

The DHHS states exercise between two people cannot be in a manner that “would mean you are less than 1.5m apart e.g. in a double kayak”.

Personal training outdoors is limited to the trainer and two participants and equipment must not be shared.

Outdoor facilities are capped at 10 “unless each group of two can maintain 100m distance from all other people”.

“Examples of outdoor facilities which may be able to open under these requirements include golf courses, footy ovals, tennis courts, or outdoor shooting ranges,” the restrictions state.

RELATED: Where to get a COVID-19 test in Melbourne


Earlier this week, Falls Creek and Mount Hotham announced their ski lift operations had been suspended for the next six weeks to coincide with the Melbourne lockdown until August 19.

Vail Resorts said the decision was made “after careful consideration” and is “consistent with the current stay at home directions”.

“We did not make this decision lightly as we know our employees, guests and the communities where we operate have already endured so much hardship this year,” Vail Resorts Australia senior vice president Pete Brulisauer said in a statement.

“However, we are focused first and foremost on health and safety, following local health guidelines and doing our part to support efforts across Victoria to address the recent rise in coronavirus cases.

“We recognise this is incredibly disappointing to our guests and pass holders, including those who have made reservations at Hotham and Falls Creek this season. We thank them for their patience and understanding as we continue to navigate this incredibly challenging time.”

RELATED: Thousands in online queue for ski season tickets

All reservations for lift tickets, ski and ride lessons, and rental bookings at the two resorts will be cancelled and fully refunded.

Customers are being asked to wait to be provided with information on processing refunds rather than contacting the centres at this time.

“Guests who purchased a 2020 Epic Australia Pass, who have not used the pass and who do not wish to proceed with their pass purchase, may obtain a refund by making a request here no later than Sunday 12 July,” Vail Resorts said.

“After the 12 July refund deadline, the 2020 Epic Australia Pass is non-refundable except as provided for under Epic Coverage and under Australian Consumer Law.”

Mt Buller has decided to stay open but the number of lift passes available each day is capped.

“Snowing on and off today. Here’s hoping for more white stuff for our regional Vicco friends because we’re staying open!” the alpine resort said on Facebook on Saturday.

“From a lockdown area? Stay safe, follow the guidelines, and we’ll see you on the flip side for some hopefully MEGA spring skiing.”

The post was peppered with comments from “devastated” Melburnians.

“Fingers crossed we can visit in six weeks,” one woman wrote.

Another said: “It pays off to be living in regional Vic.”

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West Coast Eagles thump Adelaide Crows as Nic Naitanui wins his battle with Reilly O’Brien — and gifts him a new phone

Nic Naitanui has had the last laugh with West Coast overpowering Adelaide in a 33-point AFL win in Brisbane to end their five-week Queensland hub stay on the up.

Crows ruckman Reilly O’Brien was forced into damage control after accidentally tweeting match notes which described Naitanui as “lazy and unfit” earlier this week — an error he put down to a broken phone.

Naitanui took the points during the game, but the highlight came after the final siren when the big Eagle produced a brand new phone as a gift to O’Brien.


“Everyone expected me to have a go at the big fella. They sent me up a phone from Sydney, so I gave the big fella a brand new one,” Naitanui told ABC Grandstand.

“It’s a better phone than I’ve got. He’s a good fella, he was over the moon.

“I knew it came from a motivational side, not from any malice, so it was good fun … but if someone talks smack at you, you want to take it out on them.”

The Crow started with promise but it quickly turned sour for Adelaide, as the Eagles claimed a 10.7 (67) to 5.4 (34) win ahead of a return to Perth for next week’s western derby.

O’Brien quickly apologised ahead of their Saturday afternoon meeting — admitting he had no choice but to walk the walk — and fared well individually with 19 disposals and nine marks in a losing team.

Nic Naitanui and Reilly O'Brien lock up and look up at a ball (out of picture)
Both players had good games, but Naitanui took the points in the ruck.(AAP: Darren England)

The Eagles’ big man won bragging rights, though, kicking a smart snapped goal from a stoppage before pointing to his direct opponent as the ball sailed into the near-empty Gabba stands.

And his ruck craft orchestrated his side’s 29-17 domination of clearances, Tim Kelly (25 touches) the benefactor in his most-industrious game as an Eagle.

Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling helped the Eagles to four-straight goals before Chayce Jones replied for the Crows after winning a suspect holding-the-ball call.

Nic Naitanui gets a ride above a large pack of players, including Adelaide's Reilly O'Brien
The contest between the two ruckmen was keenly anticipated.(AAP: Darren England)

But the Eagles were red hot in the third quarter, Jack Redden streaking free to goal from 45m, before Darling’s accurate snap was desperately assisted by Liam Ryan, who lunged to knock back in play what looked a certain behind.

That quickfire sequence broke the game open before Brayden Ainsworth kicked his first goal for the Eagles since 2018 to create a 34-point buffer.

The Eagles’ second-straight win took them to 3-3, ensuring a promising end to a Gold Coast hub stay which began ominously with three-successive losses.

Winless this season, Adelaide had spent the week in South Australia but will end a month-long absence from their home stadium next weekend when they host St Kilda.


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Fremantle mounts monumental comeback to clinch memorable AFL win over St Kilda

Fremantle’s Lachie Schultz has kicked a goal with just over a minute remaining to secure a stunning six-point AFL win over St Kilda at Carrara Stadium.

The Dockers trailed by 36 points at quarter-time on Saturday afternoon and lost Sean Darcy and Hayden Young to injury before half-time, but dug deep to kick eight-unanswered goals which set up the 12.7 (79) to 11.7 (73) win.

The Saints hit back with three goals in succession to tie the game up with just over two minutes left on the clock, but Schultz made no mistake from a set shot soon for a famous win.


The Dockers were two players down when Darcy (concussion) and Young (ankle) left the game.

Saints youngster Ben Long is set for a stint on the sidelines after being reported for a front-on bump on Darcy as he was bent over chasing a ground ball in the second quarter.

Michael Walters set the tone for a bad start for Fremantle when he kicked the ball the wrong way from the opening bounce.

Nathan Wilson gave away a 50m penalty soon after, gifting St Kilda the first goal of the match through Tim Membrey.

With their midfield well on top, the Saints’ forwards feasted on some poor defending to bang through seven majors to one to lead by six goals at the first break.

The Dockers were better early in the second term, but looked to have the job ahead of them when they lost Darcy.

But as their lead ruckman nursed a sore head, Matt Taberner kicked a goal with three minutes left in the quarter to begin the eight-goal run.

St Kilda’s lead was 13 points at half-time, but their first-quarter run and carry was nowhere in evidence as they failed to register a score in the third term.

The Dockers led by eight points at three-quarter time and by 19 when Nat Fyfe kicked his second goal with just under 10 minutes left.

Membrey booted his third to spark the Saints, but Fremantle held their nerve to improve to a 2-4 record in their last match before leaving the Queensland hub to return to Perth.


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Bureau of Meteorology warns of wild weather for east coast of Australia

Potentially severe storms are on track to hit the east coast of Australia, bringing damaging winds and rain over the next week.

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a low-pressures system to develop over the next couple of days, which is anticipated to hit the New South Wales south coast and the Victorian East Gippsland.

Rain and battering winds are predicted across Sydney for the next three days, with more than 20mm of rain expected on Monday.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Sydney is expected to be battered by southerly wind gusts of up to 40km/h, set to bring large coastal waves and swells.

The onslaught of wild weather will plunge the harbour city to temperatures as low as nine degrees celsius in the coming week.

BOM meteorologist Dr Adam Morgan said there was still an array of possible forecast scenarios, but the worst of the weather would be felt on Monday and Tuesday.

“These are weather systems that can impact communities through flash flooding, damage to trees and property and coastal erosion,” he said.

“Beach conditions will be dangerous right along the coast.”

Dr Morgan also noted the NSW south coast is likely to experience the brunt of the storm cell.

According to BOM, the NSW town of Eden is expected to dumped with up to 80mm of rain, with the possibility of a thunderstorm in the area.

Victoria’s East Gippsland area is expected to miss the full force of the storm, scheduled only to receive an estimated 10mm to 30mm of rain on both Monday and Tuesday.

“With south coast and Eastern Gippsland landscapes still recovering after the summer bushfires, next week’s weather could see some serious impacts,” Dr Morgan said.

Rain is expected to hit Melbourne on Sunday and Monday, with the Victorian capital expected to hit a top temperature of 13 degrees tomorrow.

Sydney will hit a maximum of 19 degrees on Sunday, while patchy showers and maximum of 24 degrees is expected for Brisbane.

Adelaide is tipped to experience a shower or two on Sunday, with a maximum temperature of 14 degrees celsius.

Perth will have a sunny Sunday with an top of 21 degrees, while Hobart is forecast for showers and a maximum of 12 degrees.

Showers and a maximum of 13 degrees are predicted for Canberra and Darwin will be mostly sunny with a top temperature of 33 degrees.

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Jim Chalmers urges Scott Morrison to extend scheme

Labor says JobKeeper needs to be extended so businesses don’t fall of a cliff come September.

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers called for the Morrison Government to release its review into the wage subsidy scheme, which is examining whether further support is needed after the September cut-off.

Dr Chalmers slammed Prime Minister Scott Morrison for not making the report public and denying businesses and workers clarity.

“It’s time for him to come clean about the future of JobKeeper,” Dr Chalmers told reporters in Logan, Queensland on Saturday.

“He’s had the JobKeeper review for weeks. It’s time that he released it.”

About 3.3 million Australian workers are receiving the $1500 per fortnight wage subsidy, which was initially implemented to cushion the negative economic effects induced by the pandemic.

Dr Chalmers said businesses and workers risked falling off a cliff as COVID-19 financial support measures are scheduled to end on September 27.

“It’s very clear that the economy won’t just snap back to life in September, or large parts of it won’t, as the Prime Minister has said that it will,” Dr Chalmers said.

Mr Morrison has promised income support will continue after the September cut-off, but has yet to provide specifics.

“The details of our decisions will be set out at the time of releasing the economic statement, as I have been saying for some weeks, and there is no change to that timetable. I do note today, regrettably, that the Labor Party has engaged in fear mongering during a pandemic and I think this is disgraceful,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Friday.

“I have made it very clear that there would be a further stage of income support and to make people feel more uncertain in this climate I think is disgraceful and I think it reflects badly on their leadership.”

Dr Chalmers hit back at the PM on Saturday, saying “now is not the time for the Prime Minister’s infamous glass jaw”.

“We released into the public domain some Treasury figures, which show the magnitude of the challenge here, and the size of that rapidly approaching cliff,” the shadow treasurer said.

“The Prime Minister says that that’s disgraceful. Well, let me tell him what’s disgraceful. Disgraceful is sitting on a secret report for weeks in a way that only adds to the uncertainty that businesses and workers feel. Disgraceful is focusing obsessively on the Labor Party, as he does, rather than on the national economic interest. Disgraceful is leaving businesses in the lurch and in the dark, and leaving workers behind.”

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Victorian A-League clubs land in Sydney for 14-day quarantine after receiving coronavirus exemptions from NSW Government

The A-League’s Victorian travel fiasco has come to an end, with players and staff from three clubs arriving in New South Wales from Melbourne on Saturday morning.

The approximately 120 players and staff from Melbourne Victory, Western United and Melbourne City will now head into a 14-day quarantine period before they are allowed to complete their remaining 2019-20 fixtures.

The three teams assembled at AAMI Park on Saturday before boarding a charter flight to Sydney as the border into NSW was shut down due to Victoria’s coronavirus outbreak.

The interstate trip comes after two aborted attempts to leave the state earlier this week, which drew heavy criticism from the players’ union and led to A-League boss Greg O’Rourke apologising and acknowledging his job may be under scrutiny.

After the botched attempts to depart coronavirus-hit Melbourne on Monday and Tuesday, the FFA received travel exemptions from the NSW Government late on Thursday.

The all-clear to fly out on Saturday was given after Western United’s most recent COVID-19 swabs were cleared on Friday, ensuring all those travelling had met the health protocols to head to NSW.

Victory chief executive Trent Jacobs said in a statement on Friday the failed attempts to exit the state on Monday and Tuesday had been tough for those involved.

Five Melbourne Victory A-League players gather outside AAMI Park before flying to Sydney.
Players and staff from all three teams had to return negative COVID-19 swabs before flying out of Melbourne.(AAP: David Crosling)

“The events of Monday and Tuesday night have been incredibly frustrating, and compromised our players and staff,” Jacobs said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank our players, coaches, staff and all their families for the exceptional way in which they’ve handled the challenges and unknowns of this extremely stressful week.

“While our club was disappointed with what transpired, we have remained focused on working together with FFA and the Victorian clubs to find a solution.”

During their quarantine period, the players will be allowed to train but cannot play any matches.

Thursday’s match between Victory and Western United will have to be rearranged due to the quarantine period now being in effect.

That will mean Friday’s match between leaders Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix at Jubilee Stadium will be the first fixture played since the league was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At least two other early games face rescheduling — Western United’s clash with City on July 20 and Western Sydney’s game against Victory on July 22.

United sit sixth with six games remaining and face a jam-packed schedule, while 10th-placed Victory have five matches to go. Second-placed City have just three regular-season games left.

With a competition window that can be extended until August 30, O’Rourke said he was confident the remaining 27 regular-season fixtures and finals can still be accommodated despite the quarantine period.

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Police will catch those not following rules

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has issued a blunt warning to those who planned on flouting restrictions as the state faced another spike in coronavirus cases overnight.

“The stakes are so high. The police will not issue warnings. The commissioner made it clear,” he said as he addressed media this morning about the state’s COVID-19 outbreak.

“That’s his call. I support the call he made. These rules are not new. We are frustratingly aware of what it takes to bring this under control and that’s what we must do and everyone has a part to play.

“I don’t think it’s too much to ask every Victorian, only go out for the four reasons. Not asking you to enjoy it, no-one will be enjoying it. It’s what has to be done and police are out there in force, well supported by the Australian Defence at checkpoints and other important functions that Victoria Police have stood up to have that hard border.

“Every Victorian has a part to play.”

RELATED: First Aussie treatment option for severe cases of COVID-19

While the Premier applauded the “vast majority” for adhering to the restrictions, he was quick to discourage rule breakers from thinking they won’t get caught.

“I would thank every Victorian doing the right thing. That’s the vast majority. That’s a deeply impressive thing. There will always be a small number who don’t do the right thing.

“Not only is it wrong, it’s not very smart. Victoria Place will catch you. Police will catch you.”

When asked if there had been any incidents of rule breaking so far, the Premier responded, “Not that I can speak to, no. The Chief Commissioner and the Police Minister may be able to provide you with further details of standouts, as it were.

“There’s no need for anyone to get fined. These rules are really clear. If you do the right thing, you won’t be at any risk of getting a fine, but if people do the wrong thing, then this is so serious.”

And police have not shied away from making examples of people.

A late-night trip to KFC in Melbourne yesterday cost a group of “selfish” revellers $26,000, with police ramping up lockdown enforcement.

Victoria Police Commissioner Shane Patton was noticeably frustrated as he gave an update yesterday, touching on the incident.

“We had ambos who were at a KFC at Dandenong and while they were getting something to eat they saw two people in there and they were ordering 20 meals at 1.30 this morning,” Commissioner Patton said.

Police were called and given the registration of the car, which was traced and led officers to a nearby townhouse, he said.

“When we went in, there was two people asleep but there were 16 others hiding out the back and they (had) just got the KFC meals at a birthday (party).

“That is ridiculous, that type of behaviour. It is an expensive night when you think apart from the KFC, we have issued 16 infringements.

“At that amount, that is $26,000 that birthday party is costing them. That is a heck of a birthday party to recall. They will remember that one for a long time.”

RELATED: Five virus cases lined to Sydney pub

The warnings come after Victoria confirmed another massive spike in virus cases, with 216 new infections recorded overnight.

Mr Andrews also revealed a man in his 90s died in hospital overnight from the virus.

He warned residents that if the virus isn’t brought under control then “it will spell tragedy for many more Victorian families”.

Yesterday the state recorded 288 new COVID-19 cases, the highest spike since the pandemic began.

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