Time is right to retire, says St Kilda legend

HIS AFL debut in 1999 left him feeling embarrassed after being flattened by North Melbourne hard man Glenn Archer in front of his mates at the SCG.

But his last game in August could place Lenny Hayes on the same pedestal as his idol Robert Harvey, as a four-time St Kilda club champion.

Hayes admitted to choking back tears yesterday when he told his teammates he would be retiring at the end of the 2014 season.

The 34-year-old midfielder will be stranded three shy of the 300-game milestone if he plays all six remaining matches for the last-placed Saints.

St Kilda skipper Nick Riewoldt says Hayes’s form is so good that he’s probably the club’s leading player at the moment.

Judging by the way his teammates donned “I love Lenny” T-shirts yesterday, the departure of Hayes will also be keenly felt.

“I think I cried more when Robert Harvey retired [in 2008] than I did telling the boys that I was finishing up,” Hayes said.

“That was probably just a sign that I was really comfortable with the decision.

“I felt like I’d given it everything that I had.

“I’ve always liked to set the example both on the training track and on the field. I just feel I’m probably on the edge of the cliff in terms of my body.”

Hayes is St Kilda’s only Norm Smith Medallist, claiming the honour in the drawn grand final against Collingwood in 2010.

He doesn’t spend any time thinking about how the bounce of the ball went against the Saints in 2010.

“For a long period of time, I’m really proud of what we stood for as a football club,” the three- time club champion said.

“To play in some big games in front of big crowds and get the job done, there’s no better feeling in football.

“Unfortunately we didn’t get the ultimate prize. But I feel comfortable in knowing that we gave it absolutely everything we had.”

St Kilda coach Alan Richardson says Hayes has been a great mentor to his younger teammates and Hayes says he’s interested in a coaching career.

Hayes had asked the club to keep his media conference “low-key”, without success.

“I’ve had some pretty serious injuries and I feel like the club has always really supported me through those,” Hayes said.

“I did my knee when I was over 30 and had the open-heart surgery as well [in 2012].

“The club never mentioned retiring to me.”

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Season over for Giants midfielder

THE season of 2012 number one draft pick Lachie Whitfield is over, with the GWS Giants announcing yesterday that the silky midfielder had undergone shoulder surgery.

Whitfield has played 11 games this season, following on from the 19 he played during his maiden AFL campaign in 2013.

Whitfield has played 11 games this season, following on from the 19 he played during his maiden AFL campaign in 2013. Picture: Getty Images.

He had already been hampered by a foot injury, which caused him to miss five matches during April and May, and which will also be repaired now that his year has come to a premature end.

“Unfortunately Lachie has had an injury- interrupted season and it’s in his best interests to have this surgery now so he can be ready to start pre-season training,” GWS football manager Graeme Allen said via the club’s website.

Whitfield joins defender Aidan Corr as Giants out for the remainder of 2014. Corr’s year also ended after he too sustained a shoulder injury – during last month’s loss to Essendon.

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Coaches don’t want to win ugly

COACHES have told AFL chief Gillon McLachlan at an unprecedented dinner date that they don’t want to win ugly.

McLachlan hosted 11 of the 18 AFL senior coaches at his Melbourne home on Monday night and held wide-ranging discussions on issues including the aesthetics of the game.

COACHES have told AFL chief Gillon McLachlan at an unprecedented dinner date that they don’t want to win ugly. Picture: Getty Images.

“It was a chat to talk about the game and to talk about where it’s at and ideas and philosophies,” McLachlan said in Melbourne yesterday.

McLachlan, appointed AFL chief executive in late April, wants to repeat the informal dinner, which was praised by Geelong’s premiership coach Chris Scott.

“It was a little bit about the state of the game and the way it’s played,” Scott said in Geelong yesterday.

“And there were some really good suggestions thrown up as to how maybe we can improve the way the game looks aesthetically.”

Scott said contrary to perception, AFL coaches cared about the look of the game.

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Cook up a storm next month

COOKERY: Whyalla Show Society cookery convener Pat Donoghue is getting ready for the competitive sections this year.
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Novice pastry chefs and cake cookers are gearing up for the Whyalla Show competitive sections.

Covering a vast array of cooking, from cakes, buns, breads, marshmellows, biscuits, sausage rolls and pasties, cookery convener Pat Donoghue insists there is something for everyone.

With a total of 67 categories, Mrs Donoghue was incredibly busy last year, but said she would love to see even more entries for 2014.

Mrs Donoghue said the cookery section usually saw a lot of entries from schools around Whyalla.

“A lot of pre school, primary school and high school students enter both the sweets and savories,” Mrs Donoghue said.

“We did pretty well with the entries last year.”

Although the basketball stadium at Jubilee Park was bursting with entries, Mrs Donoghue said the cookery committee would love to see those who had not entered, give it a go.

For juniors, entering costs just 30 cents per item while to enter in open class costs 50 cents per item.

“We have many returning regulars each year, would be good to see new people cook something up and have a go,” she said.

Mrs Donoghue said entrants were judged on many different elements, from the uniform size, whether there were tray marks, whether or not it was raw inside, but the judges only ever eat a small amount if necessary.

This year the Country Women’s Association, alongside Lauke Scone Mix, is sponsoring a scone section competition.

The scones entered in this section must be savoury, and the winner will go on to compete at the Adelaide show.

The Whyalla Show Society will be in Westland Shopping Centre on Friday, August 8 to accept all registrations from 10am until 5pm.

All entries must be brought to Jubilee Park on Thursday, August 14 before out of town judges survey the items on Friday, August 15.

On Saturday, the cookery is displayed and on Sunday items are to be collected.

LIST OF OVERALL COMPETITIVESECTIONS:Arranged flowersArtCake decoratingChildren’s gardenCookeryCrafts and hobbiesCut flowersDecorative painting and folkartHandspinning and weavingHome brewHorses in actionJams, preserves and eggsJunior crafts and hobbiesNeedlework and dressmakingPhotographyPot plantsPoultryScrapbooking and papercraftShow pigeonsVegetables and fruitWoolcraftThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Late penalty floors Rams

The Yass Rams fell agonisingly short of claiming the Boots ‘N’ All Cup for the third year in succession. Photo: Tom Johnson.Saturday’s 16-15 loss to Cooma was a step in the right direction, according to Yass Rams captain Ben Patrick.
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Despite another loss, which makes so many in a row Patrick has “stopped counting”, the skipper was singing the team’s praises.

“It was the best we’ve played this year; I was really happy with how we went,” the scrum-half told the Tribune.

The injury crisis has been well documented but Patrick says their luck is turning around.

“It’s not all doom and gloom, we’ve finally got our whole back-line back and we should get a few forwards back in the next couple of weeks, which will help with our go-forward,” he said.

“We’re in equal fourth I think with Cooma now, so we need to beat RMC this weekend and then get some momentum.”

The Rams came within a couple of minutes of victory at Victoria Park but Cooma snatched the game away with a late penalty goal. It ends Yass’ recent success in the Boots ‘N’ All Cup between the two sides, with the Rams winning the previous two clashes.

As a result Yass now trails Cooma in the Gordon Litchfield Wool sponsored Boots ‘N’ All Cup by eight wins to four, since its inception in 2001.

“There’s a good rivalry there, we get on well with the Cooma blokes and have the same sort of culture,” Patrick explained.

“So yeah it’s great that we can do this and that Litchfield Wool gets behind it.”

The second-grade enjoyed a good win, with a number of their players returning from first-grade call-ups.

“They played really well; they had their strongest team for a few weeks thanks to that flow-on effect of our players coming back from injury,” Patrick said.

The two sides now take on the Royal Military College at Victoria Park on Saturday.

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Fundraiser for little Aria, battling Spinal Muscular Atrophy

SPECIAL GIRL: Aria Manderson.While most 13-month-old babies are happily crawling and learning to walk, every day is a battle for little Aria Manderson.
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Diagnosed in February with a rare, potentially terminal genetic disorder known as Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), the Cessnock girl has been in and out of hospital since she was three months old.

SMA is the biggest killer of children under two years old in Australia with nearly 700 deaths a year.

There is very little funding for the condition in Australia, but stem cell treatment is available in China, India, the USA, Switzerland and Germ­any.

The disorder affects the nerves that control muscle movement, resulting in messages not being sent from the spinal cord to the muscles.

The disease will progressively degrade the muscles and eventually begin to affect the heart and lungs.

Aria’s parents, Melanie Werdmuller and Michael Manderson, manage her care on their own with some family help, but her specialised treatment is becoming beyond their means.

Her medical fundraising is supervised by Lions Australia; and Aria’s grandmother, Michelle Bowen is coordinating a fundraising effort to support the family with her at-home care.

“We are seeking assistance for every day needs such as expenses for constant medical care and specialist treatment, travel, mobility equipment, breathing assistance equipment and we are currently in touch with specialists worldwide to find treatments that will help her and give her a good quality of life,” Michelle said.

A beautiful, loving, happy baby girl with a magical smile, Aria can smile, laugh, sing and talk – but she cannot move her legs, torso, shoulders, or body.

She has breathing difficulties, her temperature has to be constantly monitored and she has to be protected from germs and disease.

“Aria is really bright and although I’m sure she knows she is different, she is a very happy baby with a beautiful personality,” Michelle said.

As Aria has a very low immune system, the home must be kept hospital clean and at a constant temperature.

She has breathing assistance equipment, suction equipment, oxygen and a feeding tube, and must have constant physiotherapy, pulmonary percussion, massage and position changes to ensure liquid does not pool in her chest.

But she happily tolerates all this, her grandmother says.

“She loves games and funny sounds. She loves cartoons and adores music. She sings along to many songs,” Michelle said.

“She gets very excited when Kaida (her six-year-old sister) or her Daddy come home or if we visit.

“She communicates a great deal with her eyes. She will stare at what she wants and prattle away to tell you.”

In March, Aria was in John Hunter Hospital in a medically-induced coma after she suffered a collapsed lung, then cardiac arrest.

Much to the surprise of her medical team, she miraculously pulled through.

Aria recently celebrated her first birthday which Michelle said was a “profound joy” for the family.

Their next goal is to take Aria overseas for stem cell treatment.

“If we had a cord blood bank in Australia, SMA babies could be treated here and most could be saved,” she said.

A benefit day to support Aria’s family will be held at the Bellbird Hotel this Sunday from 2pm to 9pm, with live music, markets and raffles.

Local acts including Eye On You, Pam and LesGully, Tim Usher and Mick White will perform.

Donations can also be made online here.

Eye On You will play at the fundraiser for Aria at the Bellbird Hotel on Sunday, July 20.

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Triathlon protest threat

BIKES AT THE KEYS: The Challenge Forster Triathlon will be held in November. GREAT Lakes Council has confirmed the Challenge Forster triathlon will still go ahead in N​ovember despite Pacific Palms residents threatening to protest over planned road closures.
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A community consultation was held on Monday June 30 between council, Challenge Forster event organiser Elite Energy’s CEO Mark Emerton, NSW Police representatives and about 18 residents from the Pacific Palms area.

The meeting was held after last year’s Challenge copped widespread criticism from residents, particularly those in the Forster Keys and Pacific Palms areas, over road closures which resulted in increased traffic delays in the Forster CBD.

Council’s director of engineering Ron Hartley said council and Elite Energy decided to make some significant changes to this year’s event in the hope that it will run more smoothly.

Changes include the relocation of bike turnarounds. The bike leg will start at Forster Keys, with the first turnaround point now at Tarbuck Bay, the second at Blueys Beach and the leg finishing in the Forster township.

Mr Hartley said another change is having the two smaller events, the enticer and the sprint, on the Saturday morning and the main Challenge event on the Sunday morning.

He said the fastest finish time of the bike leg with the new turnarounds is predicted to be about 8.45am with the slowest time predicted to finish about 10.36am.

He said by spreading the event over two days it will enable organisers to get the bikes off the course much earlier in the morning and open the course up to residents in the Pacific Palms area.

“Most of the changes to the event happened before the meeting so the main thing was to let people know what the changes were and see if there were opportunities for change,” he said.

“Several alternatives were suggested involving the relocation of the triathlon to Tuncurry or central Forster, including the closure of the Wallis Lake bridge.

“But the suggestions would have a far greater impact on many more residents so the suggestions were discounted.

“The use of The Lakes Way between Forster and Pacific Palms is already approved and on that basis is firm.

“Substantial improvements have been made to the previously used route.

“We understand the frustrations of residents with last year’s event and council has tried to minimise the impact on residents.”

The event attracted just over 1,200 competitors last year, bringing in about 2,500 spectators and generated close to $750,000 in accommodation alone for the region.

David Shaw, who lives in Pacific Palms and operates Forster Pacific Palms Real Estate, was one of the 18 residents who attended the June 30 meeting.

He believes the new changes will not make a positive difference to businesses and residents in the Pacific Palms area.

“We’re (residents) not against the triathlon we’re against the road closures because it affects our business severely,” he said.

“I know the reality, 10.30am turns into 12.30pm. I will have to close my business for the day.

“Yes the event brings financial benefit but to a small amount of business in Forster and Tuncurry, no one else.

“At the end of the day there’s no business out here that benefits from having all their roads closed.”

Mr Shaw said he has since written to council with a suggestion to move the first bike turnaround to the Pacific Palms Recreational Club instead of Tarbuck Bay.

“It’s an easy solution and won’t affect anyone locally only people going back into Forster,” he said.

Mr Shaw says if the road closures remain the same then he and other residents in the Palms will be forced to take action on the day of the event.

“We’re going to protest because we’re sick of all the road closures. There’s no other option at the moment. I’d just like to see council actually consult with people about it.”

Mr Hartley, who was not at the meeting, says council will consider all suggestions raised on the night. He also said there was still an opportunity for people to write to council if they had any concerns about the changes to the event.

The Challenge Forster Triathlon will be held in November.

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No salt or sugar for centenarian

POPULAR CENTENARIAN: Ivy Ravell surrounded by gifts and cards at her home in Forster for her 100th birthday. She still lives at home where she cooks and gardens regularly. IVY Ravell is living proof that if you exercise daily, eat right and have a positive outlook, you will have a long and satisfying life.
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You would never guess it but the avid lawn bowler turned 100 last Monday.

Ivy may be legally blind but that hasn’t stopped her. She still lives in the same home her late husband George built, walks to the shops and potters in her garden on a regular basis.

The popular centenarian celebrated with close family – her son Denis and his wife and her daughter Pam on Monday. A party was also held on Saturday with extended family at the Tuncurry Beach Bowling Club.

As a much-loved member of the Forster Bowling Club, her friends also held a lunch for her on Thursday.

Ivy has lived in Forster for most of her life having only lived away for five years when she moved to Sydney and the Hunter region.

She credits her long life to “sheer luck,” staying active and not eating salt or sugar.

“I think it’s just been sheer good luck, I don’t feel 100 at all,” she said.

“I don’t eat salt or sugar. I occasionally have a glass of red wine and I like a glass of black beer in the summertime.

“I walk a lot and I used to play a lot of tennis but I had to give that up when my eye sight went so I took up bowls.”

Ivy has been a dedicated bowler ever since her husband persuaded her to give it a go.

She was still playing up until around Christmas but had to have a break after having an operation on her foot.

“But I’m going to have another try when the weather warms up,” she insists.

Ivy’s daughter Pam says she has never known her mum not to be an active person.

“She’s always been sporty. She was playing tennis well into her 70s and she’s still a member of a walking group.”

Pam describes her mother as a warm-hearted person who is always looking out for others.

“She’s been a fantastic mum,” she said.

“She’s a very caring woman. When I was sick she would race off and do my shopping for me and if any of the bowls ladies were in hospital she would always go and visit them.

“She has always been well liked by everyone.”

Ivy has seven grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren and two great great grandchildren.

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Hope for hospital near expressway

PLEASE RECONSIDER: Rod Doherty and Alan Gray at the Hunter Expressway’s Loxford interchange, which they say would provide ideal access for a new Lower Hunter hospital to be located nearby.Proximity to the Hunter Expressway should have been the key factor in deciding the site of the new Lower Hunter hospital, local business and community representatives say.

Kurri District Business Chamber president and Ward D councillor, Rod Doherty says the new hospital should be located near the Hunter Expressway, not at Metford, where the NSW Government plans to build the hospital.

And according to Cr. Doherty, the newly-available Hydro site at Loxford would be the ideal location.

Cr. Doherty has written to Premier Mike Baird and health minister Jillian Skinner to express the business chamber’s belief that the Metford site is a “poor decision and not based on sound geographic and population growth information”.

Despite the NSW Government announcing the Metford site in August last year, the chamber’s Kurri 2040 Steering Committee has not written off the idea of the new hospital being built along the expressway corridor.

“Many of the Lower Hunter and Upper Hunter hospitals are greater than 100 years old and cannot cope with the 21st century population growth, which is moving north-west to places such as Cessnock, Kurri Kurri, Lochinvar, Branxton and Singleton Shire,” Cr. Doherty said.

“With the completion of the Hunter Expressway and the recent announcement of the Hydro Aluminium Smelter closure freeing up some 2000 hectares of developable land, we believe the decision needs to be revisited.

“The location of the Hunter Hospital at Metford is right beside a major coal train transport route for the foreseeable future and would expose the hospital to coal dust contamination.”

Local Health Advisory Committee member, Alan Gray said the new hospital has been talked about for at least 10 years and that the GretaCamp was the preferred site before Hydro became available.

Mr. Gray said the former aluminium smelter site ticks all the boxes – it’s flood-free; not undermined; has power, water and gas and is close to the expressway, giving it good access to all Hunter, Port Stephens and Central Coast towns.

It would also be the ideal site to build an emergency services precinct – another of the Kurri 2040 committee’s 10 Big Ideas.

Cr. Doherty said he doesn’t expect anything to happen before the State election in March next year.

“Once the dust settles, all bets are off,” he said.

The government announced in August last year that it had chosen the former PGH Bricks site at Metford – a 40-hectare Crown land site – as the home of the new Lower Hunter hospital.

But while in Maitland last week, the Premier refused to commit on whether construction will begin on the new hospital before the state election in March.

Mr. Baird said during a visit to the site on Wednesday that he expected the hospital to be complete within five years.

However, he said there was still no date for construction to begin.

When asked whether ground would be broken before the election, Mr. Baird said the important point was that the government had committed to building the hospital.

“Let’s wait until we get to the final position of the planning,” he said.

“We want the work to be done but the truth and reality is that the hospital will be built, that’s the exciting thing.

“The timing and schedule will be announced once the [planning] work is done, but we need to finalise that work and then we will announce it.

“My expectation is the hospital will be delivered in a five-year time frame.”

Hunter New England Local Area Health CEO Michael DiRienzo said the master plan for the site would be completed by the end of 2014.

Member for Cessnock, Clayton Barr said the opposition has concerns about the site selection process and will be reassessing the process if they are re-elected in March.

“We’re concerned that the site was chosen for political convenience, as opposed to the needs of the area.

“It needs to be built properly and in the right space,” Mr. Barr said.

“They are making an error from day zero, just because the land was cheap.”

Mr. Barr said the Hunter Expressway is the “aorta of the Hunter” and that building the new hospital near it would be a logical decision.


Meanwhile, the increase in traffic on Frame Drive, Abermain since the expressway’s opening has led to a 10-tonne load limit being applied to the bridge.

Cessnock City Council installed signage last week advising of the bridge’s new load limit.

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Tributes pour in for Deadly Awards founder Gavin Jones

DEVASTATING: Gavin Jones will be remembered as an inspirational person, and a champion for Aboriginal Australia.

Source: Goulburn Post

Jake KeaneGavin Jones: 1966-2014THE community is reeling at the loss of Vibe Australia founder and Aboriginal rights advocate Gavin Jones, found dead at his Goulburn property on Saturday morning.

Described as a crazy genius, a visionary and shining light, Mr Jones was the founder and director of Deadly Vibe Magazine, a national publication whose staff operated predominately from Montague Street offices.

Tributes flow in for Gavin Jones – visionary and leader

He established the annual Deadly Awards – an Australiawide event dedicated to showcasing the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Mr Jones was 47.

Police would not comment on his death in detail, but confirmed a brief was being compiled for the coroner.

The news stunned both the Goulburn community and those further afield.

We’ve lost a great man & trailblazer in Gavin Jones. He gave voice to contemporary Aboriginal culture. Sorely missed http://t.co/QwmqtUZl9T

— Warren Mundine (@nyunggai) July 14, 2014″Indigenous Australia has lost a champion this week. Vale Gavin Jones, he will be sadly missed…”

Troy Cassar-Daley”Gavin was the most generous, humble, warm-hearted man I have ever had the privilege of calling my friend…”

Cr Alfie Walker

Member for Hume Angus Taylor said “Goulburn, Indigenous Australia, indeed all of Australia, will mourn him and miss him.”

“I got to know him as an incredibly decent, visionary, caring and passionate individual and leader,” he said.

“He was a gem, because he was able to lead and inspire others, as few can. His primary motivation was to make a difference to the world around him.”

Details of Mr Jones’ funeral were yet to be finalised at time of going to press.

Those suffering from depression or anxiety are encouraged to phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Mensline on 1300 789 978.

Herald Breakfast – July 16

MORNING SHOT: Herald photographer Peter Stoop caught this rural vista near Testers Hollow.Weather: Clearing morning rain in Newcastle (19 degrees) and Scone (17 degrees) with similar conditions in Maitland (18 degrees).

Traffic: No reported delays on Hunter roads.

Trains: Trackwork means buses replace trains between Scone and Muswellbrook, leaving Scone 10 minutes earlier than the timetabled trains to meet services at Muswellbrook. Trains run as normal from Muswellbrook to Newcastle.

Beachwatch:The wind willstart out from the north before turning to the west and freshening while the swell is from the east-south-east around half to one metre. Wave conditions will be a bit uneven in the morning but will clean up during the afternoon.

DICK McGUIGAN: BOWLING CLUB SHOOTING SURVIVOR:IT was in a cold and barren Sydney courtroom when shooting victim Dick McGuigan bravely stood in front of one of two men who tried to kill him and eyeballed his attacker.‘‘May I inform the court that the perpetrators of this crime may have ruined their own life, but I am determined that they will not ruin mine,’’ he said.

TOURIST ROUTE PLAN TO KEEP HUNTER TOWNS ALIVE:A new tourist route will be created for the towns the Hunter Expressway has left behind.Cessnock councillor Rod Doherty said concern had been raised about the expressway ‘‘bypassing the many small towns and villages on back roads between Freemans Waterhole and the Upper Hunter’’.

NEWCASTLE POOLS LIKELY TO GO PRIVATE: ALL five of Newcastle’s inland public pools appear certain to be leased out to private management with a final decision set for next Tuesday.

US EXPERT TO TESTIFY IN TODDLER GONORRHEA CASE:A SEXUAL health expert will be flown from the US next month to testify at the committal hearing of a Hunter man accused of sexually abusing his three-year-old daughter who contracted gonorrhea.

MAN TO FACE COURT OVER ALLEGED MURDER ATTEMPT WITHAXE, CROSSBOW:A MAN will face court on Wednesday after allegedly attempting to murder another man at Somersby with an axe and crossbow on Tuesday.

WYEE REHOMING CENTRE FOR GREYHOUNDS: GREYHOUND Racing NSW hope a Wyee facility will become a key resource in its fight to give dogs a post-racing future.The governing body yesterday unveiled the Playhouse Pet Motel as a rehoming centre for former race dogs as part of its Greyhounds as Pets (GAP) program.

KNIGHTS SEASON “HARDEST OF WAYNE BENNETT’SCAREER”:Knights coach Wayne Bennett does not feel let down by former owner Nathan Tinkler.

THURSTON TO WEAR ALEX McKINNON’S #16:CHAMPION Queensland and Australian playmaker Johnathan Thurston will wear No.16 for the Cowboys against Cronulla on Friday as a tribute to injured Knight Alex McKinnon.

REAL NRL WRAP: RD 13VIDEOCATCH up on Real NRL Round 13 with Josh Leeson and this week’s guest, Newcastle Rugby League chief executive Matt Harris.

Banning sniffer dogs at music festivals could be valuable: experts

Drug-taking festival-goers are more likely use ecstasy or methamphetamines rather than cannabis if sniffer dogs are present. Men in white coats: Art Vs Science don’t pretend to have a plan, but no one seems to mind. Photo: Erik Bergan

Drug-taking festival-goers are more likely use ecstasy or methamphetamines rather than cannabis if sniffer dogs are present. Photo: Viki Yemettas

Trialling a sniffer dog-free music festival could be a valuable experiment, according to drug safety and policy experts.

It follows the plea by Australian band Art Vs Science to abandon the use of drug-detection dogs at this month’s Splendour in the Grass event to reduce the number of “panic” overdoses.

“Automatically you will cut out the number of hospitalisations due to people panicking upon sight of the dogs and ingesting their whole weekend’s supply of drugs,” guitarist Dan McNamee wrote on the band’s Facebook page.

A study of 500 New South Wales festival-goers conducted by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre during summer 2014 examined how sniffer dogs influenced their behaviour.

Lead researcher Caitlin Hughes said 62 per cent of respondents said they would take drugs either way, but that the presence of sniffer dogs would prompt two key changes.

“There was a 13 per cent increase in the number of people who said they’d use at least some of their drugs outside the venue, rather than using them all inside,” she said.

“The other big change was a 40 per cent increase in the relative amount of consumption of ecstasy, methamphetamine and other drugs, as opposed to using cannabis.”

Dr Hughes said other studies had shown dogs found it easier to sniff out marijuana than other party drugs.

“So they’re switching from cannabis to ecstasy and methamphetamine for reasons we think are to do with reducing their potential risk of detection by the dog.”

Dr Hughes said sniffer dogs had become a default strategy for police around the country, and a trial could discover if there were better options.

“Given there are a lot of other police strategies that could be deployed at festivals, such as collaborative policing approaches, we suspect that the answer may be yes, and that they may offer a safer form of policing at high drug use settings,” she said.

“There’s certainly been a lot of consternation about this issue, so some sort of experiment might be a good idea…. but I’m not sure if police would be happy to participate.”

National policy manager for the Australian Drug Foundation Geoff Munro said the organisation was concerned about hospitalisations resulting from people swallowing their drugs to avoid being caught.

“We would support police and festival organisers using other measures to keep festival goers safe and healthy during the event,” he said.

“[The ADF] knows that the reality is that many people do take drugs at music festivals, so we need to all work together to make sure people come home safely.”

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Police seize guns, explosives, drugs at Belmont

LAKE Macquarie police have seized firearms, prohibited drugs and stolen property after a Belmont raid on Tuesday.

Special Operations Group investigators have been making inquiries into prohibited drug supply in Belmont and at 1pm on Tuesday, police searched a house in Evans Street.

Police will allege the search resulted in the seizure of amphetamine, cannabis and other drug paraphernalia as well as three unregistered rifles and an unregistered pistol.

They also allege four dismantled unregistered pistols, a loaded pen gun, firearm parts, ammunition, a taser, home-made explosives, fireworks and two stolen motorcycles were found.

It is further alleged they found the remnants of a clandestine drug lab.

No one was home during the search and investigations into the matter are continuing.

Police are urging anyone with information about this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.