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Australian News

Warmest weather since autumn forecast for Thursday


South eastern Australia is going into spring with a bang with the warmest weather for months set to hit.

But the drama won’t just be in the temperatures. Large areas of the country can expect wild winds, dust storms and thunderstorms too as a trough sweeps through New South Wales and Victoria.

“The heat is on and that will filter down into south eastern parts with Thursday in particular seeing the warmest weather since April for much of NSW and particularly along that coastal fringe,” said Sky News Weather Meteorologist Rob Sharpe.

Sydney’s CBD is forecast to top out at 29C on Thursday which is 9C above average and closer to high summer. Head into the western suburbs of the city and 30C is a real possibility.

That hot weather is being sucked down from north western Western Australia which has been seeing record breaking seasonal temperatures.

RELATED: ‘Polar opposite’ change to Australia’s weather due

With the sun come storms, said Mr Sharpe, who said lots of moisture is being blown towards the east.

“It’s been a while since we’ve had proper thunderstorm activity but it’s likely to get going on Thursday in southern NSW, the ACT and up into the central ranges as well.”

Look out for weather warnings across the entire region. Already the Bureau of Meteorology has said damaging winds of up to 70 km/h with 90 km/h gusts could barrel through the Snowy Mountains and up towards Canberra and the Southern Highlands on Wednesday.

Similar warnings are in place across much of Victoria on Wednesday morning including Melbourne, Ballarat and the Alps. There could also still be some gusts in South Australia first thing Wednesday.

AROUND THE CAPITALS

Beginning in Western Australia, rain will be a feature in Perth today. That will clear by the evening ushering in dry conditions until Sunday when the rain, heavy at times, returns.

There will be highs in the late teens in Perth but spiking to 24C on Saturday. Lows will be around 10C.

Adelaide should be clear today but expect showers for the rest of the week before a fine and sunny Sunday. The mercury will be around the 17C mark before reaching 23C on Sunday and then 26C on a warm Monday. Like Perth, lows will be in the 10C region.

Those fierce winds could make it messy in Melbourne on Wednesday. There will be some rain but it should be more settled from Friday. A high of 21C today will dip to 17C on Friday before rising again on Sunday.

Hobart won’t see the bumps in temperature with days in the mid to high teens heading into the weekend. A windy Wednesday with a possible shower on Friday.

The capital will see temperatures between 17 and 20C for the rest of the week and weekend but with some chilly lows – it will sink to just 1C early on Saturday morning, for instance. Windy on Wednesday in Canberra as the trough passes through.

Hot in the Harbour City. A high of 25C today will rise to almost 30C on Thursday before heading down towards the low-twenties again. A possible shower in Sydney on Friday.

The city’s western suburbs could get a degree or two hotter. But anywhere along the coast, from Bega to Ballina, could see hotter than average spring weather on Thursday and possibly into Friday before a big fall in the mercury as the weekend arrives.

Brisbane will stay out of the fray with a settled few days in the mid-twenties with plenty of sun peeking through the clouds and a possible shower on Sunday.

The temperature will reach the mid-thirties in Darwin during the day and 23C overnight. Blue skies throughout.



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Local News - Victoria

Victoria records 114 new cases and 11 deaths as sunny, warm weather draws people outside


“We will defeat this. We will make announcements soon about the path ahead,” Mr Andrews said.

“But we still have to see further days of these numbers dipping, and we want them to come down to a very low number – the lowest number we can get them to – because that will mean we can have much greater confidence that we can stay on top of this and open up.

“Please, please, don’t be doing anything … that would undermine this strategy, please … don’t make any choices that would contribute to the spread of this virus. We are so close to driving this down to very low numbers, and we have all just got to find a way to stay the course.”

Also on Saturday, Mr Andrews and Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the government was considering a “bubble” where people who live alone could visit another household.

Nearly 18,000 people have already signed a petition calling for Victoria’s lockdown measures to be amended to allow people living alone to have a nominated friend visit them.

But Mr Andrews said it was too early to make a decision.

“But we are looking very closely at that because we do know … that this is particularly challenging for those who live on their own and we want to try and support them,” he said on Saturday.



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Local News - Victoria

Water supply contaminated after night of wild weather


Water should be boiled as a precaution for drinking, brushing your teeth, food preparation, making baby formula, ice, or bathing infants in the 88 suburbs including Epping, Doncaster, Croydon, Coburg North, Craigieburn, Mernda and Ringwood.

Meanwhile, thousands of people are still without power on Friday, while residents in Belgrave woke up to crushed cars and fallen-in roofs.

Photo of house damage at Apsley Rd in Belgrave.

Photo of house damage at Apsley Rd in Belgrave.Credit:Luis Enrique Ascui

Power company AusNet, which services the east of the state, recorded more than 83,00 outages at 6.30pm. A total of 121,000 AusNet customers were impacted and around 50,000 people woke up without power on Friday morning.

The wild weather brought a tree down on the corner of Spencer and Hawke streets in Melbourne's north.

The wild weather brought a tree down on the corner of Spencer and Hawke streets in Melbourne’s north.

A spokeswoman said it could take days for some homes to get the power back on.

Meanwhile, United Energy, which provides electricity to Melbourne’s inner south-east and the Mornington Peninsula had more than 40,000 properties without power, more than 2000 of which were still without power early on Friday morning.

West of Melbourne, Powercor and CitiPower had more than 14,000 customers affected on Thursday night.

What Melbourne's east looked like on the VicEmergency app just before 10pm on Thursday night.

What Melbourne’s east looked like on the VicEmergency app just before 10pm on Thursday night.Credit:VicEmergency

The State Emergency Service received 1184 calls for help in the 12 hours to 6.30am, including 403 calls between 7.30pm and 8.30pm.

More than 1010 of the calls overnight were for trees down, mostly in Belgrave, Lilydale and Emerald, south-east of Melbourne.

On Friday, Premier Daniel Andrews said the Department of Health and Human Services will urgently update its advice to allow for affected residents to seek help during the power outage and storm damage.

“This is not an ordinary storm event because of course, it occurs in the midst of very strict coronavirus rules,” he said.

He said DHHS advice had been updated. ”That is not an invitation for people to do things that don’t need to be done but we do recognise that with the volume of work and even though the SES do an amazing job, there will be other needs that will need to be met by perhaps a family member,” he said.

“We know and understand this is unique and we don’t want those coronavirus rules to make it any harder, but we just have to find that balance point and I am confident that we can.”

Mr Andrews urged residents to in the 88 suburbs impacted by the now-fixed Yarra Valley Water issue to boil their water to avoid getting sick.

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Australian News

Sydney, Melbourne weather: Antarctic air mass leads to snow


Many Australians woke up to snow thick enough for snow men this weekend as New South Wales’ “coldest day of the year” grips the state and icy winds and hail sweep Victoria.

Scenes of flurries of snow and white-blanketed areas inundated social media this morning.

It comes as temperatures sink to 10C below average in parts of NSW as an Antarctic air mass blasts the country’s east. Goulburn, north of Canberra, may not see the mercury reach double digits until next week.

Meanwhile, Victorians woke to a freezing winter’s morning as the air mass blasts the state.

Dozens of towns and cities have experienced snow, with up to 20mm of the white stuff falling in some places. Hail has already fallen in Adelaide, while thunderstorms are set to lash the metropolitan areas of Victoria.

RELATED: Drivers warned against leaving cars to defrost

In Sydney, it is “the coldest day of the year” with windy conditions to boot.

“A series of strong cold fronts and troughs will bring a cold blast to the southeast, with temperatures 2 to 8 degrees below average,” Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Diana Eadie told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“Saturday will be particularly cold for NSW and the ACT, likely the coldest day of the year – with strong winds making it feel even colder.”

“Many Australians will be waking up to snow this weekend,” said Sky News Weather meteorologist Tom Saunders.

RELATED: Coldest day of year sweeps state

Forecasters have now said Sunday, too, could be notable for its cold conditions, snow, blizzards, heavy rain and damaging winds.

“Then the main polar blast moves in. It’s time to rug up,” Mr Saunders said.

“A very cold air mass will drop temperatures well below average even for winter. On Saturday temperatures could be below 5C in the middle of the afternoon,” he added.

The snow is forecast to reach as low as 500 metres meaning Orange, the Southern Highlands, the Blue Mountains and even Canberra could see a flurry or two.

Blue Mountains residents have been sharing their snow snaps all morning.

Hobart is set to see up to 35mm of rain across the weekend.

Temperatures may only get as high as 9C on Saturday and dip down to 3C. Kunanyi/Mount Wellington, above the city, will see -4C at dawn and barely break 1C on Saturday and Sunday with a high chance of snow.

It will be a wet weekend for Melbourne with up to 10mm on Saturday and similar for Sunday. A high of 12C on both days and lows of 6C. The Alps could see blizzards as could the Snowies across the border with Thredbo at -5C on Saturday afternoon.

Canberra will see 7C on Saturday and 0C minimums. There will be a possible storm in the evening.

It is warmer in Brisbane with highs of 23C, but windy today and Sunday. Overnight lows of 10-12C are expected.

Showers are possible for Perth but a relatively settled weekend with maximums of 20C and minimums of 9C. The north of WA could be unusually warm for winter.

There is a chance of rain in Adelaide, with hail having already fallen today. Highs of 13C with high single digits at daybreak.

Meanwhile, it will be hot in Darwin with every chance the mercury will breach 35C on Sunday.



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Australian News

Sydney news: Severe weather warning for ‘vigorous cold front’, Brad Hazzard slams Annastacia Palaszczuk’s hospital comments


Here’s what you need to know this morning.

Wild weather on the way

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has issued a severe weather warning for a vigorous cold front which is sweeping across western NSW and is set to reach the east coast this afternoon.

The BOM urged residents of the following places to be on high alert until Thursday morning: Newcastle, Wollongong, Nowra, Batemans Bay, Goulburn, Broken Hill and Thredbo Top.

For alpine areas above 1,900 metres around Thredbo, winds could exceed 120 kilometres per hour this morning, while areas on the coast are set to receive winds of up to 90 kph this afternoon.

NSW Health Minister slams Qld Government

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard says Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s comments that “in Queensland, we have Queensland hospitals for our people” were “astonishing”.

Mr Hazzard said patients in northern NSW who required renal transplants were being denied access to the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane and were being “forced to drive themselves 12 or more hours to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney”.

He said more than 6,000 Queensland citizens sought treatment last year at Tweed Hospital, near the border, representing 20 per cent of all in-patients.

He urged the Queensland Premier to review her border arrangements to “ensure patients receive the health care they need”.

Casino gambler arrested

A composite image of evidence in two plastic bags, one cash and one chips
Police will allege the man purchased chips with the proceeds of crime.(Supplied: NSW Police)

A 30-year-old man has been charged following a police investigation into suspicious transactions at Sydney’s The Star casino in July.

On July 21, a search of the man at the casino, and of his vehicle nearby, led to the seizure of more than $10,000 in cash, $50,000 in casino chips, two mobile phones and documentation.

A second search warrant at his Auburn home resulted in police seizing a further $70,000 in cash, a CCTV system and documentation.

Police will allege he purchased chips with money believed to be the proceeds of crime at least twice.

Pub patron guilty of assault after bottom slap

A woman smiling in sunlight.
Annabel Bassil says she hopes her message influences people’s behaviour.(ABC News: Mridula Amin)

A Sydney pub manager brought criminal proceedings against a patron after he slapped her bottom when she walked past him at work.

Annabel Bassil, 22, of south Sydney, said she wanted to send a message that the behaviour was unacceptable.

“I’m a female manager, I work with so many girls and I would hate for them to be in a position where something happened to them and they were like, ‘But Annabel didn’t press charges when it happened to her,'” Ms Bassil said.

The man faced court last week and pleaded guilty to common assault over the incident, which left Ms Bassil feeling “shaken” and “violated” when it took place last August.

Celebrated restaurateur ‘devastated’

Joseph Bekele was just about to open the doors for a busy night at his Ethiopian restaurant in Sydney’s inner west when the phone rang.

It was NSW Health telling him a positive COVID-19 case had dined in his restaurant four days before.

He says the call ended up costing him $35,000.

GPS winter sports suspended

Winter sports at several Sydney schools have been suspended following the tightening of coronavirus rules.

The Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of NSW on Tuesday said it was in the “best interest of the safety and welfare” of staff, students and its community that all winter sport competitions and fixtures be suspended immediately.

Schools affected include the Scots College, St Joseph’s College and Kings.

On August 14, NSW Health banned the mixing of students from different areas of Sydney, as well as movement between rural and metropolitan areas.



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NSW’s wild weather threatens Wamberal homes due to beach erosion


A number of beachfront homes in NSW are facing further collapse after suffering more damage from a weekend of battering rain and wild surf as residents brace for flash flooding in the state’s south.

“It’s pretty scary stuff,” Ron told news.com.au before the recent sotrms, as he walks his dog along Ocean View Drive.

“It’s all anyone talks about around here. That and COVID.

“My home is behind the surf club so if that goes, I’ll know I’ll be next.”

RELATED: ‘Evacuate now’: Wild weather lashes Sydney

Ocean View Drive, in the beachside suburb of Wamberal about 100 kilometres north of Sydney, is a pleasant, but not flashy, residential street the kind you might find in many parts of Australia.

A collection of tidy apartment blocks and stand-alone houses – some snazzy, others less so – line the road. A hairdresser and cafe hug the corner.

But the closer you get, cracks – many literal – appear. Some of the houses are barricaded behind fencing and stern keep out signs; SES warning tape draped over the gates like Christmas tinsel.

And then there’s the 72 metre high crane in the middle of the road. It’s nosily, yet delicately, hauling aloft wire bags, each one containing four tonnes of rocks.

A deep, thunderous rumble echoes down the street as the bags crash onto the beach below the stricken homes. It’s a desperate stop-gap attempt to stop the homes from falling into the sea.

But the next storm has already hit.

On Sunday, new pictures emerged showing further cracks and erosion to the houses due to the state’s wild weather over the weekend. Three NSW towns were evacuated due to flooding fears and a severe weather warning for damaging winds and damaging surf was issued for people in metropolitan Sydney, Illawarra and parts of mid north coast, Hunter, south coast and Central Tablelands regions.

Residents in low-lying areas of Sussex Inlet and those within Moruya’s CBD area, on the state’s far south coast, were being directed to leave by the SES as flooding was expected.

Some houses have already partially slid down towards the beach, victims of a relentless series of fierce low pressure systems that have pounded the New South Wales coast this year.

Three weeks ago as another storm hit, 18 households were given just hours to evacuate. Five homes remain sealed off.

Everyone agrees a decision needs to be made about Ocean View Drive. But what that decision is – and who pays for it – has caused tension for years, decades even.

‘THIS STORM WAS DIFFERENT’

Resident Gordon Cahill says Ron, like the other locals, have reason to be scared.

“On some blocks it’s just 30 metres from high tide to Ocean View Drive,” he tells news.com.au from the granny flat his teenage daughter Matilda now calls home after they had to evacuate their home last month. He is kipping in a caravan next door.

“If the dune goes, Ocean View Drive is gone. This is a main road; it has gas and NBN and on the other side of the road are 400 homes that are less than five metres above sea level.

“People say you should do nothing, that all these rich bastards on the beach deserve it. But that’s not the whole story.”

Mr Cahill’s family have lived here for 35 years. They moved in some years after a huge storm in 1978 that sent several houses into the Pacific.

“Everyone has a place that feels like home, for me it’s where I can smell the salt.”

The favourite room of his house, one of the oldest overlooking the sea, wasn’t a room at all but the deck.

“We would have coffee there, have friends for dinner on beautiful summers night and, if a storm rolled up, we’d wait for the big warm drops of rain to come crashing down.

“But the storm in July was a different to the last couple. In 2010 there were big waves, up to 13 metres.

“This time the biggest wave was seven metres, but they were more frequent,” said Mr Cahill.

RELATED: Beach homes partially collapse

“They were these huge white-water rolls, racing in and grabbing huge handfuls of sand and sucking it out. There was 20cms of sand going every time, two or three times per minute.”

Then he noticed his beloved deck was rising up to meet the house, see sawing and buckling as the ground beneath it shifted.

“That’s when I thought it was a bit of a problem. I was worried it would crack one of the cantilevers beneath the house. So, in 90 km/h winds, I hung out and with my chainsaw cut off the deck.

“My house is on top of the dune and used to have a slope at both sides, Now it’s a slope on one side and a cliff on the other. I’m luckier than some; two doors up their kitchen is now in the ocean”.

HOMES SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN BUILT

University of New South Wales coastal erosion researcher Dr Mitchell Harley said this year Wamberal has been pounded by a trio of storms, two of which were the fifth and sixth most severe the area had ever seen.

“It’s been a triple whammy of storms. The first stripped away a lot of the sand and that’s made it vulnerable to more recent storms.”

In a tweet from last month he said what was happening at Wamberal was “like watching a disaster movie in slow-mo”.

It wasn’t so much that the shore was receding, Dr Harley told news.com.au, but rather that the coastline was “dynamic” where large storms strip away the sand and carry it out to sea only to bring the sand back again in calmer conditions.

“You shouldn’t build houses on sand dunes. The problem in Wamberal is the dunes were zoned as residential 100 years ago when we knew a lot less about how beaches change so we now we’re dealing with the consequences of poor planning decisions.

“One option is a managed retreat, where you accept these legacy issues will only get worse. The council could buy the properties and turn it into parkland but that’s very expensive,” he said.

“A properly designed sea wall will protect these homes and everything behind it but it’s also very expensive.”

Dr Harley said he wasn’t convinced the entire street was at threat from the ocean. But if sea levels did rise, that was a possibility.

NOT A ROW OF MILLIONAIRES

A 2017 report prepared for the NSW Government similarly found that while Ocean View Drive was unlikely to be permanently flooded, it could become choked by sand if the dune was allowed to fail.

However, a rise in sea level could result “in the inundation of many, if not most properties surrounding Terrigal lagoon and the loss of Wamberal beach”.

The report looked at various sea defences, from rubble mounds to a full sea wall and sand replenishment, and costed them at between $5 and $14 million. A planned retreat was by far the cheapest option.

Mr Cahill bristled at the notion that all the homeowners were rich and should pay for the work themselves.

“There are some people with ludicrous amounts of money here. But this is not a string of multi-millionaires. I’ve been in a position I’ve had to sell stuff just to eat.

“There are people who moved into a family home or used every penny and worked off their arses to be here.”

He said a house had sold for $4 million once. “But now the properties are probably worthless until it’s all fixed,” he said.

“Would I put in a proportion of paying for a solution? Yes. Would I pay all of it? No. It should be proportional given people use the beach and there are houses and amenities down Ocean View Drive that we need to protect,” said Mr Cahill.

‘THIS WAS PREVENTABLE’

He’s most angry at Central Coast Council, and its predecessor councils, which he claimed have prevaricated and done little to find a solution for the entire strip leading to piecemeal shoring up jobs.

His house was built with boulders in front which Mr Cahill insists has left the property structurally sound despite its precarious position. But his neighbours were only able to bring in extra sand to protect their homes and the sheer number of recent storms swept that way.

“I watched 35 years of council incompetence and it’s just not fair. We have been denied the right to build a one in 100-year protection for our homes and this storm was not even that. This was preventable.

“Everyone feels like they are banging their hands against a large concrete wall – yet we’re not allowed to build one.”

Central Coast Council did not answer specific questions from news.com.au but pointed to press statements including one from last week detailing the placing of 1800 tonnes of basalt rocks on Wamberal Beach.

“The success of this response will hold us in good stead as we plan further recovery works and a longer-term solution at both locations,” Council CEO Gary Murphy said.

The NSW Government has also set up the Wamberal Taskforce to figure out a permanent resolution to the problem.

“The taskforce is the only hope we have,” said Mr Cahill.

He, his daughter and two dogs are waiting to be told when they can re-enter their home. But he wants back in at some point.

“I want to live her until the end of my days. The house has good bones, she hasn’t moved, she doesn’t want to fall over. You don’t knock down a place that’s determined to stay and I’m going to respect that.”

benedict.brook@news.com.au | @BenedictBrook





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Australian News

Evacuation warning issued for Sussex Inlet as wild weather lashes state


An evacuation warning has been issued for Sussex Inlet on NSW’s south coast as wild weather continues to lash the state.

The NSW SES issued the evacuation warning for a number of streets in the coastal town, advising anyone living there to “leave now and move to safety”.

“Additional impact may be seen with the influence of wave and wind action,” the SES advised.

“Residents in this area should remain alert. Residents should relocate personal possessions to a safe place.

“Leave now, leave the high danger area and move to safety.

“Once floodwater enters low lying areas of Sussex Inlet, properties will be flooded above floor level, road access will be lost, sewerage lines and power to the area may be lost. If you remain in the area you may be trapped, and it may be too dangerous for NSW SES to rescue you.”

The SES is advising anyone at the following addresses to evacuate now:

  • Wunda Ave – numbers 5, 8, 10, 11, and 13
  • Elmoos Avenue, numbers 52, 54 and 60
  • Jacobs Street, number 120
  • Poole Avenue, number 4
  • River Road, numbers 155, 266, 270
  • Cater Crescent, number 4
  • Banksia Street, number 9
  • Fairview Avenue, number 9

The Shoalhaven region, two hours south of Sydney, has been hit worst by the low pressure system.

The low pressure system had made its way down from Queensland, hammering the far north of NSW before smashing the Central Coast, the Hunter Region and Sydney.

The Illawarra region received the brunt of the storm last night before it moved south, cutting power and causing localised flooding.

By Tuesday afternoon, Ulladulla on NSW’s south coast had been lashed by wind gusts of 113km/h and 96km/h in Kiama and Sussex Inlet.

The Bureau of Meteorology warned on Tuesday night that while the heavy rain may be easing, it still forecast flooding to peak again tomorrow.

Moderate flood warnings have also been issued for Canowindra, in the central west of NSW.

However the rain was welcomed out west with parts of the state’s drought-ravaged regions receiving close to 25mm.

Tamworth recorded a reasonable 31mm of rain while Dubbo caught 20mm of the showers.

Wild weather also lashed parts of Sydney almost 100mm falling on Sydney overnight.

The severe storms caused thousands of homes to lose power with emergency Endeavour Energy crews making their way down to the Shoalhaven to safely restore power by Wednesday morning.



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NRL’s bunker must stop disgraceful errors. Bulldogs are wet weather specialists


Another weekend, another terrible mistake from the bunker.

You are going to get wrong calls in matches, but it was a disgraceful call on the weekend in the Sharks-Dragons match — and I still don’t understand how they got it wrong.

We thought it was a try first up in the commentary position at Kogarah, but the first view we had of the replay, we realised Matt Dufty got his hand to the ball and it should have been a line drop out.

When the referee gave the try, we were all gobsmacked.

Then the messages started piling in to us on ABC Grandstand saying the same thing.

We’re looking at a tiny screen in our box at Kogarah, the picture isn’t great, we have to squint at it because it’s so small — and we still got the call right.

Jack Williams and Matt Dufty dive towards a rugby ball with their eyes closed and arms out
Jack Williams was awarded a try by the bunker.(AAP: Craig Golding)

The bunker referees sit in a room with three big screens with all the angles, a high-definition picture and their entire job is to see whose hand gets to the ball first. How do you stuff that up?

I can understand that there are some decisions that you can’t rule on so you have to go with the on-field decision, but that was just a plain, outright crazy error — and everyone watching the game agrees.

It was a good call for the NRL to stand the pair down because it shows that there is some accountability.

I’m not saying the Dragons would have won had the try not been given, but if that try doesn’t get awarded, it could have been a different ball game — and I’m saying this as a Sharks supporter.

The Dragons players will today be thinking that they should have put themselves in better positions to still win the game.

But at the end of the day, the Dragons were still forced to hunt for four points that they shouldn’t have had to chase.

Bunker errors starting to mount

I know that everyone makes mistakes, but we seem to be getting it all the time at the moment, every week something leaves us thinking, “How is that possible?”.

There was another decision last week where there was a two-on-one steal and Waqa Blake took the ball out of Martin Taupau’s hands.

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The bunker said it was an attempted offload by Taupau, but there were clearly two people in the tackle, and it should have been judged a strip.

Blake ran 90 metres and scored for a try and Manly, quite rightly, blew up about it. It didn’t cost them the game in the end, but it was another poor decision.

On both occasions, the players were not allowed to challenge it, but even if they had, it’s only going to be sent to the exact same people that made the decision in the first place — and they’re going to stick with their call because they don’t want to look silly.

I don’t know what the answer is — perhaps there’s even different technology that can be used, but it frustrates me and I know that it frustrates fans too.

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It might be the case that they need some more ex-footballers in there, or even just more people watching.

I understand it will take time if they are all going to have a debate about every decision, but if there are three people in there, at least majority rules in those tight decisions.

The bunker should be getting the decision right 99 times out of 100.

If we get one call wrong in eight weeks, you can live with it, but one wrong bunker call every weekend? You just can’t have it, it’s outrageous.

You’re going to get wrong calls in matches, but technology is meant to eliminate the really bad ones and that is not happening at the moment.

You don’t have confidence that when the referees go to the bunker, they’ll get the decision right.

The referees are almost better off not going to the video because, at the moment, it’s a coin toss.

Awesome Bulldogs deliver wet-weather masterclass

I thought every game coming into this weekend — with the exception of the Canberra-Souths game — would be a blowout, but all the teams really stepped up.

The Bulldogs, in particular, delivered a perfect game of wet-weather football, particularly in the first 40 minutes.

They were fantastic at coming out of their own end, happy to work to a certain point on the field, at which point Lachlan Lewis and Kieran Foran’s kicking game took over.

An NRL player stands in the rain, looking down the field and shouting.
Kieran Foran’s leadership and kicking game were among the reasons behind the Bulldogs’ smart play in the wet in Newcastle.(AAP: Darren Pateman)

Whenever the Knights put the pressure on, Lewis would come up with a ridiculously long kick to get the ball down the other end, turn the Knights around and wait for them to make a mistake.

The most impressive thing was their completion rate, which was ridiculously high for a wet weather game — and it wasn’t just sprinkling, it was pouring down in Newcastle for the whole game.

In the first half, the Bulldogs completed 20 sets out of 22. Some teams don’t even complete at that rate on bone dry days, so they were really good, despite letting things slip a bit towards the end.

The Bulldogs were happy to just go through their process, the forward pack just ran hard and direct and Foran, who led the side brilliantly, kicked down that left edge.

Kalyn Ponga grimaces as two people wearing blue and white shirts hit him with their arms
The Bulldogs tackled brilliantly on Sunday in the rain.(AAP: Darren Pateman)

They put together five or six identical sets coming out of their own end of the field at one point, it was beautiful to watch.

Aiden Tolman was really good too, playing 80 minutes around the middle, running for 201 metres and making 48 tackles, all on heavy ground. It was just good wet-weather football.

If it rained every weekend and the Bulldogs played like that, they would be very hard to beat.

Watch out for the Gold Coast Titans

Gold Coast have definitely taken a couple of steps in the right direction this season.

On Sunday they competed really hard and came up just short against a real quality side in Penrith. They had their chances in the game too, but just didn’t take them.

Penrith didn’t play their best, but that’s because Gold Coast didn’t let them.

Things are only going to get better for the Titans as well, with David Fifita’s signing a huge bonus.

Another player prepares to pass the ball to David Fifita at Brisbane Broncos training.
David Fifita will play for the Titans next season.(AAP: Darren England)

They’ve also got big Tino Fa’asuamaleaui and Herman Ese’ese to come next year into that pack, which could be one of the best in the competition next year.

You’ve got to give Justin Holbrook a bit of a wrap for that.

He’s taken on a side that has been down on confidence, getting beaten week in week out, but he’s made some hard calls, bringing people in and out the side and now he’s building the team that he wants to get there.

With those players coming in, the players that are there at the moment will really want to put their best foot forward, because they’ll want to be part of something special.

Two Gold Coast Titans players embrace as they celebrate a try against the Warriors.
Gold Coast Titans are building into a strong team.(AAP: Darren England)

Signings like Fifita should help with recruitment too.

As a player, you might look up there now and think, “That’s a good forward pack, I could go up there and we could do something special”.

There’s no better feeling than going to a club and having a bit of a hand in winning their first premiership, so some that might sway some players in making a move north.

Plus, if you’re looking at the lifestyle and having the opportunity to do something that you love in playing NRL football, that’s probably the best place in the world to go.

Luke Lewis was talking to ABC News’s Simon Smale.



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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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Wet weather ruins cricket’s return as England and West Indies kneel for Black Lives Matter


So many things were different and yet so much remained the same as the English weather ruined day one of the first Test between England and West Indies, as international cricket returned after a four-month absence.

England and the West Indies managed just 82 minutes of play in the rain-hit opening day, that started with players taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

England was 1-35 at stumps having faced only 17.4 overs because of light and intermittent rain at Southampton’s Rose Bowl.

There were no spectators present for a match being played in an isolated, bio-secure environment because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rory Burns was 20 not out and Joe Denly was unbeaten on 14, with Dom Sibley the man out bowled by Shannon Gabriel off the 10th delivery of the day.

Moments before the first ball was bowled, West Indies’ fielding players knelt in the outfield while their England counterparts did the same around the boundary edge in support a movement that has grown since the killing of George Floyd in the United States in May.

Prior to the match, West Indian great Michael Holding and former England women’s international Ebony Rainford-Brent featured in a video in which they spoke about the racism that they had experienced during their careers.

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“Racism is taught. No one is born a racist,” Holding said. “The environment in which you grow, the society in which you live, encourages and teaches racism.”

A Black Lives Matter logo also was on the collar of the test shirts worn by players from both teams.

The kneeling gesture has been made before Premier League matches since the resumption of soccer in England last month.

“It was a great moment,” Gabriel said, “showing something we stand for and that racism has no part in cricket.”

England assistant coach Graham Thorpe said the team felt it was important to show solidarity with the West Indies players.

“We don’t want racism in our game and we want a fair and equal society for our children,” Thorpe said.

Players also stood for a minute’s silence in honour of those who died in the coronavirus pandemic and West Indies great Everton Weekes, who died last week.

Play started after a three-hour delay because of light rain and a wet outfield, and only lasted for three overs before the teams had to go back inside because of another shower.

Umpires stand with umbrellas up in front of a scoreboard that says "We are back"
After 117 days without international cricket, it was almost inevitable that rain would delay play.(Pool via AP: Mike Hewitt)

By then, Sibley had seen his off stump knocked back following a poorly judged leave of a ball that angled in.

After that, the players went off for rain three times, and there was no play possible after 4:28 pm local time.

“It’s been a bit tough, coming off and on,” said Gabriel, who had figures of 1-19 off five overs.

“We just have to keep switched on when we come back on. It’s been a tough day but we’ve been doing well so far.”

Ben Stokes, England’s stand-in captain because Joe Root was absent because of the birth of his second child, won the toss and opted to bat under overcast skies.

Captain for the first time, Stokes made a big call in leaving out veteran fast bowler Stuart Broad — a long-time regular in the team.

Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and James Anderson will make up England’s pace attack along with Stokes.

After the toss was made, Stokes briefly forget about social distancing when he went to shake the hand of Holder. Holder moved his hand away and both allrounders laughed.

AP/ABC



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