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Programs encouraging more women, of all abilities, to play wheelchair sports


When wheelchair basketballer Jess Cronje played her first game for a national mixed team, one of her opponents warned if she got in his way again and stopped him from scoring, he was going to squash her like a bug.

Instead of taking her off the court, her coach decided to give the then 16-year-old the job of guarding the much bigger man.

“She said something to him, then scooted off somewhere and the look on his face, that whole quarter he was just out of sorts, he was really off his game,” recalled Cronje’s mum, Kris Riley.

After asking her daughter what she had told him, Cronje replied “I just went up to him and went ‘buzz buzz’.”

The 22-year-old, who’s part of the Australian Gliders national squad, admits she was daunted when she first had to line up against grown men.

Now she thrives on it.

“When you compete against them, it makes you feel really good and like ‘yes, I can do this’.”

But not all young girls, or even women, have that same confidence to stand up to smack talk, and back it up.

Why do so many girls drop out of sport?

A woman in a wheelchair on a basketball court smiles .
Many women worry about being judged on how they look while playing sport and agonise over whether they’re good enough.(ABC Sport: Amanda Shalala)

It’s estimated nearly 50 per cent of girls stop playing sport by the time they’re 17, and women have lower rates of participation in sport and physical activity than men.

Many worry about being judged on how they look while playing or exercising.

Some wonder whether they’re good enough, and others, particularly mothers, don’t want to be questioned over their priorities (aka mum guilt).

It can be even harder for those who want to participate in wheelchair sports, because they’re largely unisex at the junior and recreational/sub-elite levels.

And playing with and against boys and men brings a whole other set of issues.

“The men have this idea that they can only pass the ball to themselves, to the other men in the team,” said wheelchair basketballer Patricia Luff.

A woman in a wheelchair holds an Aussie Rules football.
Patricia Luff started playing wheelchair sports to keep up with her sons and now she plays wheelchair basketball and Aussie rules.(ABC Sport: Amanda Shalala)

Luff started playing 15 years ago for the sake of her kids.

The 54-year-old and her two sons are all wheelchair users, and she wanted them to experience being part of a team.

But being involved in sport has been just as beneficial for her.

And now that she plays for the Sydney Uni Flames in the Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball League, she knows the difference female-only teams can make.

“You get to have a chance at doing everything, with the women.

“They force you and tell you to dribble the ball down the court, even though you say ‘I don’t want to’. But they get you to and you realise you can do it.”

Tracey Carruthers was a keen netballer when she was young, but at 17 her knees deteriorated significantly, and she decided to try wheelchair basketball.

A woman in a wheelchair smiles for the camera.
Tracey Carruthers decided to try wheelchair basketball after her knees deteriorated.(ABC Sport: Amanda Shalala)

While she’s a self-admitted extrovert, she believes many girls and women are lost to wheelchair sport because they have to play in unisex teams.

“Men’s basketball is very different and I’m still a little bit intimidated playing against the men. They’re taller, they’re bigger, they push harder, they get up on one wheel, something I’m hopeless at doing,” the 42-year-old said.

“Some of the girls can absolutely match it, but not me and not at the level that I’m at.

What can be done to encourage more women to play?

Wheelchair Sports NSW/ACT has started running a series of “HER SPORTS” events, to give women and girls a chance to try different sports in a welcoming environment.

A group of women sit in wheelchairs and hold Aussie rules footballs.
A series of events is underway to give women and girls a chance to try different sports.(ABC Sport: Amanda Shalala)

“There are too many girls and women out there in New South Wales and the ACT who are missing out on the opportunity that sport provides.

“And it’s not just the physical aspect, it’s about belonging somewhere, it’s about the mental health benefits and the social benefits of participating.”

Wheelchair Aussie rules is a new offering for the organisation, and unlike most para-sports, there aren’t classification requirements.

That means anyone, of any ability can join in.

“What we know from girls is often they’ll want to bring other people along with them when they try something new,” Garnett added.

“So if you have the opportunity to bring your able-bodied girlfriends or mum or sisters or whomever, then that’s a reason why we think that girls will be particularly attracted to wheelchair Aussie rules.”

Why wheelchair Aussie rules is more accessible to women of all abilities

The sport’s rise in popularity has taken on extra significance for Carruthers, who’s a mad GWS Giants fan.

Even though she needs a double knee replacement, and has a genetic condition which prevents her from participating in able-bodied sport, recent changes to wheelchair basketball classification rules means she’s no longer eligible for international competitions.

Wheelchair Aussie rules is played on a basketball court, and a handball is actually a kick, while a throw is a handball.

A woman handballs a football from a wheelchair while on a basketball court.
Jess Cronje has made a name for herself in wheelchair basketball, but has recently started to play wheelchair Aussie rules too.(ABC Sport: Amanda Shalala)

There are goals and behinds and a mark is the same.

Carruthers believes the nature of the sport means it’s accessible to more women than wheelchair basketball — where the hoop is kept at the same height as the able-bodied game.

“Basketball is a little bit discriminatory when you first start, it’s really hard to hit that ring when you start off. So given that you can score anywhere from the ground to the roof means that you’ve got a lot more capacity.”

While Cronje wants to represent Australia at next year’s 2021 Tokyo Paralympics in basketball, she’s also proven to be just as good with a Sherrin in hand.

And she hopes it will open doors for many more women to get active.

“In basketball, I’m not exceptionally tall like most people are. So I think in AFL it doesn’t matter about your size or what you can and can’t do, because there’s always something for you.”



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Insurers play hardball on COVID-related claims of billions of dollars


Woodberry is one of more than 100,000 of struggling small businesses, including pubs, cafes, beauticians and gyms, that are being denied insurance claims for COVID-related business interruption losses by some of the country’s biggest insurers, regardless of the policy or wording.

Some of the claims are legitimate, but a number of brokers have been preaching the message that the claims should be knocked back. The brokers have been working in lockstep with the industry instead of their clients.

It has been the industry’s dirty little secret that is coming back to bite insurers after the industry lost a landmark test case it thought it would win.

Instead of following Britain’s lead, where the regulator stepped in and used a test case that looked at complete wordings across 21 different policies, the Australian regulator left it to the industry to sort out.

In coordination with the industry-funded Australian Financial Complaints Authority, it chose two insurance policies to test the one narrow issue.

That issue was whether the Quarantine Act as amended includes infectious diseases declared under the Biosecurity Act 2015 such as COVID-19.

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The sector banked on winning, but when it suffered a humiliating defeat in the NSW Court of Appeal, it was thrown into turmoil.

IAG went into a trading halt to raise $750 million in fresh capital after failing to properly provision for its exposure.

On Friday, IAG revealed it made a pre-tax provision of $1.2 billion, while Suncorp has set aside almost $200 million.

But some of the smaller players could topple.

Velocity Trade’s insurance analyst Brett Le Mesurier said the developments highlight the shortcomings of IAG’s policies and controls, and its tardiness in grasping the damage this does to customers and shareholders.

He said excluding reinsurance recovery, the loss to the industry could be more than $2 billion.

As one insurance industry insider explained it, “this is a monumental balls up by the industry”.

“They were so cocky this would go away that some of them didn’t adequately provision for a loss. Some didn’t have proper reinsurance policies in place, which has left them very vulnerable,” the insider said.

The narrowness of the test case has resulted in two new test cases ready to be brought before for the courts, likely to be IAG and QBE policies.

The sector is also weighing up whether to challenge the judgment made in the first test case in the High Court.

This is a monumental balls up by the industry.

Industry insider

In other words, clarification in the Australian market will be a long drawn-out affair, which is detrimental to the many small businesses that are hanging on by a thread.

Lawyer John Berrill at Berrill Watson said the court decision takes the hand-break off a lot of insurance claims for businesses affected by COVID-19.

But he said it wasn’t the end of the road, far from it. “Claimants will still have to prove they suffered loss under the terms of their policies and this will vary depending on the type of business, the effect of government orders, whether there was a COVID case in the vicinity of their business and what income loss they suffered because of the shutdown.”

He said insurers and brokers should be paying claims instead of delaying and trying to deter business from making claims.

But they won’t.

Hollard Insurance, which participated as a party to the industry test case, wrote an email to brokers after the judgment, saying it was disappointed by the decision “but our position remains unchanged”.

It said it believed these types of policies weren’t designed or priced to cover business interruption resulting from pandemic events. “Should the current judgement prevail, an industry-wide study … suggests the claims impact could drive up the cost and availability of business insurance cover for all small businesses,” it said.

None of this helps Woodberry and so many other small businesses.

Under her business interruption policy with AXA XL, the relevant clause states that “if loss results from the interruption/interference with the business in/directly arising from closure of the whole/part of the premises by order of a competent authority consequent upon the outbreak of a notifiable human infectious/contagious disease in humans occurring within the immediate vicinity of the premises…shall be deemed to be a loss resulting from damage to property used by you at the premises”.

The fine print includes the words “immediate vicinity” of the premises, which the policy fails to define. Woodberry’s business is located 280 metres from the Preston Market which suffered an outbreak, but that wasn’t close enough for the insurer.

“Accordingly, there is no cover available to the insured in respect of the COVID-19 losses under the policy,” the letter said.

Woodberry refuses to stop fighting.

“I’m not going away,” she said. “I won’t let them walk over me. The policy so clearly covers me.”

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AFL makes rule tweaks for 2021 season to combat defensive play and ‘open up the game’



The AFL will strongly consider mandating at least three players from each team be stationed inside both 50-metre arcs at all stoppages in a bid to combat defensive structures.

The rule will be trialled in the new VFL and East Coast second-tier competition next year, with an eye towards introducing it at the elite level for 2022.

The innovation comes as the AFL on Wednesday announced three rule tweaks for the 2021 season designed to facilitate more attacking play and lead to higher scoring.

As expected, there will be a further reduction in interchange rotations to a maximum of 75 per team, down from 90 last season.

Players standing the mark will only be allowed “minimal” lateral movement, and the location of the mark at kick-ins will be set at 15 metres from the centre of the kick-off line.

It was previously set at 10 metres.

“The evolution of the game has seen an increase in defensive structures and these changes combined are designed to provide a better balance between attack and defence while encouraging more open ball movement,” AFL football operations manager Steve Hocking said in a statement.

“We have some of the most skilful athletes in the world, and the three changes are designed to reduce the defensive capability of teams and open up the game, providing an opportunity for players to have more freedom to play on instinct and show off their natural flair.

Hocking said the AFL had not considered reducing the number of players on the field to create more space.

He said the rule being tested in the VFL and East Coast competition would have that effect by spreading players out across the ground.

It is also expected that fewer interchange rotations will lead to more player fatigue and result in fewer players being able to get to stoppages, thus limiting congestion.

The cap on rotations could come down even further in future seasons but was only reduced by 15 for next year so as not to put players under too much stress.

“We felt that was that right level and it’s incremental change, so we’ll remain open as to what the future looks like beyond 2021,” Hocking said.

AAP



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Queensland to make four changes for Origin III, with Xavier Coates ruled out but Cameron Munster set to play


Queensland is confident Cameron Munster will be ready to play in the State of Origin decider on Wednesday, but the Maroons will have to do without young gun Xavier Coates at Lang Park.

Munster has passed all of his concussion protocols after his game two head knock and, barring any setbacks, will line up in the number six jersey against New South Wales.

The Melbourne playmaker’s inclusion is a big plus for the Maroons, who felt his absence after he was taken off the field just three minutes into last week’s 34-10 loss to the Blues in Sydney.

“He’s one of the top three players in the team,” Queensland coach Wayne Bennett said.

“There’s no doubt about that.

“We missed him a lot and we’re pleased we’ve got him back.”

Munster’s big-game experience will be welcome, as Queensland potentially go into the match with four debutants.

South Sydney’s Corey Allan and Harry Grant had already been selected to make their Origin bows, with Bennett confirming on Tuesday that Brenko Lee would also make his first Maroons’ appearance.

Lee, who missed games one and two with a calf strain, will play centre, with Kurt Capewell shifting to the back row and Jaydn Su’A dropping to the interchange bench.

Game two debutant Dumanis Lui misses out after originally being named in Queensland’s 17.

Xavier Coates scores a Queensland try
Xavier Coates has made a spectacular start to his Origin career, but the young Queenslander has been ruled out of game three.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

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Bennett had rated winger Xavier Coates as a 50-50 chance to play as he battled a groin issue, but he has now been ruled out.

Another first-gamer — Newcastle’s Edrick Lee — will come in to the side.

Souths coach Bennett confirmed Allan would play at full-back, with Valentine Holmes to move to the wing in a bid to nullify the influence of Blues star Josh Addo-Carr, who has scored back-to-back doubles in this year’s series.

“It’s obviously a big test but he answered all those for the last two years at Souths with how he’s come and played on the wing,” Bennett said of Allan’s debut in the number one jersey.

“He wasn’t a winger. We made him play there and he handled it well.

“He came in at full-back after Latrell (Mitchell) got injured and did a great job for us there.

Queensland will have to defy history to win the series, with no Origin team rebounding from conceding 30 points in a match to claim the shield.

Bennett said his young team had shown in their game one performance they had the ability to beat NSW, it was just a matter of being mentally up to the task.

“That’s the key to it. We got it right in Adelaide in the second half there,” he said.

“We played the way we wanted to play and we went off the pace in Sydney. There’s no doubt about that, and they put us off the pace as well.

“They played a really good game of football, and they maximised their strengths and we found all our weaknesses.

“So tomorrow will be as much mental as it is physical.”

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Big Bash League makes three rule changes for 2020, including substitute option and split power play



The Big Bash League will allow a substitute player as part of three rule changes made to enliven the looming competition.

Teams will be able to sub in a so-called X-factor player after 10 overs of the first innings while the six-over power play has been split.

The initial power play will now be four overs, with the batting team to call on the last two overs of the power play from the 11th over.

The points system has also been altered.

Four competitions points will be on offer in each match.

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Three points will be for the overall win, with one bonus point on offer to the chasing team if they are ahead of their opponent’s 10-over score.

If the chasing team is behind after 10 overs, the fielding team will receive the bonus point.

“The … [changes] prioritise scoring, exciting cricket, introduce new strategic angles and ensure there’s always something to play for throughout the entire match,” Cricket Australia’s head of Big Bash Leagues Alistair Dobson said in a statement on Monday.

“We’re confident our fans will love what these innovations bring to the game.”

Trent Woodhill, the BBL’s player acquisition and cricket consultant, who was involved in developing the new Hundred competition in England, said the change was important for leagues.

“The best T20 leagues across the globe are the ones that continue to innovate, push the boundaries and challenge the status quo,” he said in the statement.

“The introduction of these new playing conditions firmly puts the Big Bash League in that category.”

The BBL starts on December 10 with a group of games in Tasmania and the ACT before moving to Queensland and South Australia later in the month.

Organisers have announced a schedule until December 31 for the initial 21 games of the 56-match season.

AAP/ABC



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The 2020 AFL trade period shows some teams are chasing Richmond, others play the long game and Collingwood takes step back


How do you catch the frontrunners?

In the second of the Greek philosopher Zeno’s paradoxes, a tortoise and Achilles are in a footrace. In the race, Achilles gives the tortoise a head start, because he runs at a faster rate and will presumably catch up sooner or later.

It’s a bit like the chase for the teams at the top of the ladder, being squeezed by the salary cap and the draft picks earned by lesser clubs.

The tortoise may be premiers, but there’s a bunch of Achilles chasing — with the jet pack of equalisation strapped to their respective backs.

Zeno thought that Achilles never actually caught the tortoise. In modern footy the elite always get caught sooner or later. Hawthorn, who won three straight flags from 2013-15 will be picking fourth this year.

Instead of all clubs meeting at Docklands to bash the deals out in person, clubs had to resort to Zoom to get players and picks across to new clubs.

As the 2020 trade period wound up, the dust has only barely settled on what went down.

What we know so far: seven free agents moved to new clubs, and 28 trades were made involving 26 players.

That’s one fewer player traded than last year — not a flurry, but not this dead.

It appears that some teams are sprinting to chase down back-to-back premiers Richmond, while other clubs are playing the long game.

Cheating Father Time

Another old saying in sporting parlance is that Father Time is undefeated. No player can keep doing what they do forever — Shaun Burgoyne aside — and eventually a star team will fall back to Earth.

By the end of the 2020 season, Geelong were naming some of the oldest teams in the history of the game.

In theory, the Cats are reaching the end of their window.

Their best two players, Patrick Dangerfield and Tom Hawkins, turn 31 and 32 years old respectively.

Their captain will also turn 32 during the season. They have a host of over 30s in their best 22.

Despite losing club (and league) legends Gary Ablett and Harry Taylor after the grand final, Geelong shapes to be even older in 2021. And perhaps even better.

The Cats have added former All Australians Shaun Higgins and Jeremy Cameron, and three-time Hawthorn premiership player Isaac Smith.

Cameron is the spring chicken at 28; Higgins and Smith are both older than 32 next year.

Each had concerns over their form in 2020, representing down years in otherwise stellar careers.

The arrival of Smith should free up Mark Blicavs to return to defence to cover the loss of Taylor.

Higgins will likely slot into the midfield-forward role of Ablett, with a bit more grunt and a tiny bit less polish.

Cameron next to Hawkins in a forward line is a fever dream for defences, with the dominant leading forwards dragging the gravity of zones and spare men away from the other, creating easy potential targets inside 50.

The goal for Geelong is to maximise the potential for this crop of Cats. No other team is as committed to the here and now, and the future doesn’t really matter at this stage.

The rebuild may get ugly, but if they win a flag (or two) in the meantime it will be worth it.

Flipping the switch to ‘win now’

After a long, slow rebuild and a change of coaches in 2019, Carlton appears to be following the lead of St Kilda last year and going all in.

The Saints were rewarded with their first finals birth since 2011; Carlton will be looking to break a seven-year drought — or nine if you exclude their year as a late September call up due to ASADA related-reasons.

The acquisition of Zac Williams and Adam Saad, and abandonment of this draft, means that the finals focus of the club has shifted firmly to next year.

Even after a big 2019 trade period, St Kilda decided that they weren’t quite done yet.

The Saints, with the acquisitions of Jack Higgins and Brad Crouch, have worked to address some of their remaining questions at a low cost — and improve further.

The Saints gave up very little for Higgins and Crouch, and both project as players providing both immediate and long term impact.

Cap shedding at Collingwood

Meanwhile, no club took a larger step backwards than Collingwood.

Fresh off a finals berth and only two years removed from losing a grand final by a mere kick, numerous Collingwood players were shopped to any club that could take in their contracts.

The AFL trade period is notoriously cruel, with players sometimes finding out they are being shopped via the media first.

Jaidyn Stephenson was lucky enough to find out via his manager, but was surprised nonetheless.

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All in all, Collingwood lost Adam Treloar, Stephenson, Tom Phillips and promising youngster Atu Bosenavulagi with no ready-made replacements in their wake.

The question for Collingwood is whether they have enough depth to cover their losses — especially up forward, where they have struggled in recent years.

Meanwhile, Hawthorn has shaped themselves as a welcome dumping ground for players that other clubs need to get out the door, after recently acquiring Jonathon Patton, Tom Scully and Jack Scrimshaw before adding Phillips this year.

It’s a potentially smart move for clubs moving forward, and one that the Bulldogs and Kangaroos were able to exploit with their cheap acquisitions of Treloar and Stephenson respectively.

Betting on the draft

Some sides have been scared off the 2020 draft due to the lack of in-person scouting for most games, and the lack of any games for much of the Victorian talent pool.

Coming into the year, the 2020 draft crop was generally considered to be a deep class — perhaps not of the 2018 level but stronger than last year across the board.

Complicating matters is the sheer number of players already tied to clubs through various forms of draft concessions — from various academies to the father-son rule.

As many as five of the best 25 talents have their homes largely determined before a single name is read out on draft night.

Despite this, GWS, Essendon and Melbourne have bucked the trend by accumulating a number of extra draft picks for this year.

Given the uncertainty of the draft, the loose order of the draft may be even harder to unravel than normal.

Clubs with multiple selections in the middle parts of the draft may have a better chance than normal at snagging a top talent who slips through the net.

By the same token, doubt around the process may produce a couple of high-profile busts.

The three clubs got their draft value in different ways.

For the Giants, much of their value came after matching the offer sheet on restricted free agent Jeremy Cameron — a first in the nine-year history of modern AFL Free Agency. Instead of accepting pick 11, the Giants ended up with picks 13, 15 and 20.

Essendon used free agency compensation for Joe Daniher and the trade of Adam Saad to acquire three consecutive picks inside the top 10 — an extremely attractive position for any club.

Finally, Melbourne traded away their future first round pick for the second year in a row for more shots in this year’s draft.

More significantly, the Demons do not have any of their own first four draft picks next year, instead three picks tied to other clubs.

Draft picks can still be traded until the players are selected, so these teams may change their holdings before any players are tabbed by list managers.

It’s really a draft for the gamblers, and these teams are more than willing to take a chance.



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Human Nature return to Australia to play Christmas show at Kings Park


Mark McGowan get out your pen and paper. Human Nature’s Andrew Tierney has a few special requests for when he quarantines for two weeks in a Perth hotel before the ARIA Hall of Famers play a Christmas concert to around 5000 fans at Kings Park on December 12.

“Just a window that you can open,” he said yesterday from Las Vegas, where the vocal quartet has lived and worked for the past 11 years.

“A personal trainer and a chef. And a keyboard,” Tierney added. “And a time machine so I can fast forward (the 14 days).”

Human Nature will permanently move home to Sydney after the Perth performance. While Phil Burton is already in NSW, the other three members — Tierney, his younger brother Michael and Toby Allen — will fly back to WA via Singapore in mid-November before starting quarantine.

Tierney said the “Naitch” jumped at the chance to play their first show since March 14, when they wrapped a seven-year residency at The Venetian.

But, of course, it wasn’t that simple. The 46-year-old singer revealed that flights out of the US were only confirmed on Monday and any more delays would have meant they had to pass on the concert, which is billed as Christmas in the Park.

The show will feature Human Nature’s hit Motown covers and songs from The Christmas Album, which has climbed back into the ARIA Top 10 every year since being released in 2013, plus latest pop single Nobody Just Like You.

“To come back to Perth, and Kings Park is just this beautiful venue, we’re thrilled that we could do that and make a start to the return of live entertainment in Australia,” Tierney said.

“Christmas is a joyful time but I think this year, more than ever, people are going to want to enjoy it and forget what’s been a fairly dark year. I heard a bit of Sinatra the other day, I can’t wait (for Christmas) this year. We can focus on something else, rather than what’s been such a struggle this year.”

The family-friendly singing sensations are now family men with six kids between them. Tierney said that spending every day for the past seven months with his wife Heather and daughter Violette, who turns four next month, had been the silver lining for a performer used to working five nights a week.

Tierney says this has been their longest break from the stage since they formed as the 4 Trax in Sydney more than 30 years ago.

“It’s been really bizarre, just crazy,” he said of Sin City’s shutdown. “The entertainment capital of the world just came to a complete standstill. The show we’ve been performing for 11 years ended. We’ve been holding our breath, really, trying to survive with our families and plan for what’s been an uncertain time and will be for a long time.

“Coming back to Australia to live permanently was not something we were thinking of as a group.”

Tierney doesn’t think they’re leaving Las Vegas forever. In Australia, acts have to travel long distances between capital city shows, while in the Nevada gambling and entertainment mecca, crowds come to you.

“Vegas has given us this amazing ability to perform as much as we did, and we still had the opportunity to come back and tour in Australia,” he said.

“As performers, it’s allowed us to become better at our craft every night. It’s almost like we’re trained athletes that could keep at our peak because we were doing it so often. There was no down season.”

Tierney points out that Human Nature arrived in Neon Capital during another societal rupture — the Global Financial Crisis.

“We got an opportunity because a lot of the shows moved out and there was an empty theatre in one of the casinos in the middle of the strip,” he explained, “and someone said ‘We’ll take a chance on these Aussies’.”

As Human Nature carved a career in the US, landing their residency at the Venetian in 2013, Las Vegas also became a destination for big-name residencies starring everyone from Britney Spears, Celine Dion and Elton John to Drake, Cardi B and Calvin Harris.

“Vegas has grown so much over the past 10 years,” Tierney reflected. “It’s changed from somewhere entertainers go to die to a place where you’d see J. Lo one week, then Sting and Backstreet Boys the next.

“It’s become this huge mecca of headliners. It’s been fun to be part of that.”

Currently, indoor venues in Nevada can host a maximum audiences of 250 people, socially distanced and 25m from the stage. With those restrictions, the show won’t go on and coming home to Oz seems the logical decision.

Even so, getting Human Nature to Kings Park has been a logistical nightmare for promoter Brad Mellen, who said organising the gig had taken him six months.

“In 30 years in the business, I’ve never experienced a process like it,” he said this week.

Mellen had to gain approvals from the Department of Home Affairs, WA Police and WA’s Chief Health Officer, plus a final sign-off from WA Health on the show and venue. Finding flights to Perth was even more tricky.

“The lengths that everyone has gone to, including and most importantly the act, who are prepared to fly here, quarantine for 14 days to play a show in Kings Park for their fans is enormous,” the promoter said.

“It’s a positive step for everyone here in WA,” Mellen added. “Let’s hope we can do many more.”

Nature is healing, it seems, and Tierney is happy to do “cold turkey” away from his family in a Perth hotel room — even if he does have a few special requests for the Premier.

“Maybe in this article you can say ‘Andrew is hoping the WA Government will really take care of the boys in quarantine’,” he laughed.

“That can be the headline maybe: Human Nature’s Christmas wishes are for a wonderful quarantine and concert at Kings Park.”

Human Nature play Kings Park on December 12, supported by 1927. Tickets go on sale on Monday October 26 from Ticketmaster.



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Brisbane Broncos to play Sydney Roosters in NRLW grand final



The Brisbane Broncos will look to claim a historic three-peat when they face the Sydney Roosters in the NRLW grand final, despite one round of the round-robin competition left to play next week.

After the Roosters made it back-to-back victories to open the season with a 22-12 defeat of the Warriors on Saturday, the Broncos also stayed undefeated with a dramatic 18-4 win over St George Illawarra at the Western Sydney Stadium.

The round-two results mean both teams — who will clash in a dead-rubber match at Sydney’s Olympic stadium next week — will meet each other again in the grand final on October 25.

But the Broncos’ win was soured by captain Ali Brigginshaw being put on report for attacking the legs of Dragons halfback Maddie Studdon while in mid-air in the second half.

The Dragons also lost star second rower Kezie Apps (knee) and reigning Dally M medallist Isabelle Kelly (ankle) to suspected serious injuries.

Broncos centre Jayme Fressard also failed to finish the match due to an ankle issue, forcing the Broncos to play the final seven minutes of the match with 12 players.

But winger Lauren Brown sealed their place in the grand final with a try from close range in the 57th minute.

St George Illawarra will face the Warriors next week in a battle of the wooden spoon.

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Earlier, the Roosters worked their way to a two-try lead over the Warriors at half-time on Saturday before continuing their dominance in the second term.

Halfback Zahara Tamara was arguably best on ground, highlighted by her entry for try-of-the-season when she beat four defenders on her way to a 50-metre individual effort in the second half.

Warriors pair Kirra Dibb and Evania Pelite, who raced 70 metres around high-profile signing Charlotte Caslick for a solo try, added some respectability to the scoreline, but by then the damage was done.

There was plenty of anticipation around Caslick switching to fullback for the Roosters, but the 2016 Olympic gold medallist was outshone by her in-form teammates in the frontline.

Lock Hannah Southwell was again a menace in defence, while second rower Kennedy Cherrington and hooker Quincy Dodd also were a handful when injected off the bench into the contest.

Caslick came from the field midway through the second period, minutes after she was hit awkwardly in a tackle by Warriors five-eighth Dib while bravely fielding a kick close to her line.

But she allayed any health concerns by returning for the final three minutes of the match and finished with 92 metres, four tackle busts and two offloads in another strong showing.

AAP



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Richmond’s Tom Lynch avoids AFL suspension, free to play Port Adelaide in preliminary final


Richmond forward Tom Lynch has avoided suspension for dropping his knee on St Kilda defender Dougal Howard and will be free to play in next Friday’s AFL preliminary final against Port Adelaide.

Lynch gave away a 50-metre penalty for throwing Howard to the ground, then dropped his left knee on the defender’s neck and shoulder area during the third quarter of Friday night’s match in Carrara.

Match review officer (MRO) Michael Christian assessed the incident as a second offence of “misconduct” and offered Lynch a $750 fine with an early plea.

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick had played down the “minuscule” incident post-match, while defending Lynch’s aggression.

Lynch has already attracted the attention of the MRO on several occasions this year.

Two AFL teammates move to high five after a goal for their side.
Lynch (centre) is set to take his place in the Tigers’ line-up against the Power.(AAP: Darren England)

He previously received a fine for misconduct on Brisbane’s Alex Witherden and two separate fines for striking Gold Coast’s Sam Collins and Jarrod Witts.

He was later sent to the AFL tribunal for a striking charge against Essendon’s Michael Hurley and was ultimately cleared.

Tigers skipper Trent Cotchin caught St Kilda’s Zak Jones around the neck with a tackle in the second quarter, but the incident ultimately was not recorded in the MRO’s findings.

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Australian Diamonds captain Caitlin Bassett quits Super Netball to play in New Zealand


Australian Diamonds captain Caitlin Bassett has been given an early release from her Giants’ Super Netball contract to move to New Zealand to play in its domestic competition next season.

Bassett had one year remaining on her Giants deal but decided to join Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic after enduring a frustrating Super Netball season in 2020.

The 32-year-old goal shooter was given limited time on court following the introduction of the two-point super shot and was often used off the bench in a campaign that saw the Giants finish sixth on the Super Netball standings.

The lack of court time had led to much speculation about Bassett’s future in Super Netball towards the end of the regular season.

Bassett said getting more court time was behind her decision to move to the Magic.

“My time with the Giants didn’t play out as anticipated and I guess that’s just sport sometimes,” she said in a Giants statement.

“I am grateful for the opportunity that the club provided me and the friendships that I’ve made, but I need to make the right decision for what’s best for me and my netball career moving forward.”

A Giants Super Netball player turns to the left to catch the ball with both hands against Collingwood.
Bassett had a year remaining on her Giants’ Super Netball contract.(AAP: Albert Perez)

Giants coach Julie Fitzgerald said Bassett was leaving the club with its blessing.

“Caitlin and I had some open and honest discussions at the back half of the season and we both agree that the time is right for her to explore other opportunities,” she said.

New Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich said Bassett’s move would not affect her position in the national squad.

“Caitlin is a valued member of the Diamonds squad and we look forward to working with her and the rest of the group as we prepare for the resumption of international competition in 2021,” she said.

Bassett, who was recently named Diamonds captain for the Constellation Cup series against New Zealand in early 2021, has signed a one-year contract with the Magic.

Her deal with the Magic includes the option of a second season with the club.

She won back-to-back Super Netball championships with Sunshine Coast Lightning in 2017 and 2018 before joining the Giants.

Bassett made her international debut for the Diamonds in 2008 and was a member of the World Cup-winning squads in 2011 and 2015.



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