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Prince may still reign at Broncos

Written on July 11, 2019 at 13:28, by

Rather than give Scott Prince a tap on the shoulder, Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin has provided the veteran pivot a pat on the back ahead of the 2014 NRL season.

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Prince appeared on borrowed time at Brisbane after reports claimed the 33-year-old was told he was not guaranteed NRL action next year and had contemplated retirement.

Once speculation emerged that unsettled star Anthony Milford could be slotted in as Broncos five-eighth next year if released by Canberra, Prince looked like a dead man walking.

But Griffin seemed bemused by the claims on Thursday, saying Prince would decide when his time was up after helping inspire Brisbane to a four-game unbeaten run that has kept their NRL finals hopes alive.

Asked if Prince had turned it around since being told he may not be in the NRL mix next year, Griffin said: “It would be a good motivator if they get told that.

“You guys are writing the stuff that you hear.

“Scott Prince is playing some good football.

“It’s a credit to him over the last month he has been able to lift.”

Asked if Prince could be wearing the No.6 jersey again next year, Griffin said: “He could be, yeah.

“He’s doing a good job. He’s obviously coming toward the end of his career, (but) when that is will be up to him.”

Rather than sweat on Milford’s availability, Griffin said he liked what he saw from Prince in a new-look halves pairing with Ben Hunt.

“It has been a challenge for him but his defensive game is getting better each week,” Griffin said of Prince.

“And when a guy like him gets confidence out of that the rest of his game gets better.

“That’s why we brought him here, in the important games to be at his best.”

And Friday night’s clash at Penrith doesn’t get much more important.

The 10th-placed Broncos have moved to within one point of the top eight with three rounds left but must keep winning to scrape in.

One slip-up would also spell the end for 12th-placed Penrith, who snapped a three-game losing run with a shock 28-24 last round win away to the Warriors.

Griffin said the battle of the halves would be crucial in the crunch clash but hinted the jury was still out on his young halfback Hunt.

“He’s been patchy,” he said.

“Over his four games he has has shown some real brilliance but also faded out of games at times, but he understands that.

“There’s another level he needs to find to really stamp himself as a top No.7.”

Migrants hard-hit by affordable housing shortage

Written on July 11, 2019 at 13:28, by

It’s long been regarded as the Australian dream to own your own home.

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But new research has found, despite interest rates being at historic lows, growing numbers of Australians are giving up on that dream and renting instead.

 

And that is particularly true for many newly-arrived migrants, international students and refugees.

 

Michael Kenny reports.

 

The National Housing Supply Council says it is growing increasingly concerned over a shortage of affordable housing in Australia.

 

A new report from the federal policy advisory body says this is being particularly felt by would-be property buyers with low or insecure incomes, including newly-arrived migrants, refugees and many Indigenous Australians.

 

The Supply Council believes high property prices are forcing growing numbers of Australians to give up on getting a loan and instead compete in an increasingly unaffordable rental market.

 

The housing lobby group National Shelter says the federal government has made some progress in addressing the problem by investing 20 billion dollars in affordable housing over the past five years.

 

However the group’s chairman, Adrian Pisarski, believes some disadvantaged groups, like refugees, are still struggling to access affordable housing.

 

“We are seeing increasing rates of homelessness amongst those communities and what happens then is that people might find themselves some crisis accommodation and there is really just nowhere to move to once they are in that circumstance. It is becoming increasingly difficult for anyone on a low income. But people who are recent arrivals, or if they’ve come from countries that don’t have similar legal situations to the one we do in terms of tenancy law, they will also struggle as well.”

 

The National Housing Supply Council says their data show many newly-arrived migrants and refugees are renting, rather than purchase a home.

 

A study released last year from the Australian National University’s Demographic and Social Research Institute, showed 85 per cent of recent arrivals were renters.

 

The institute’s senior research fellow, Professor Siew Ean Khoo, says many recent arrivals are living in over-crowded rented accommodation and this is particularly true for many international students.

 

However Professor Khoo says the institute’s research shows many migrants and refugees are shifting from renting to purchasing a home around five years after they arrive in Australia.

 

“There are quite a lot of differences across the different categories of migrants, depending upon when they arrive actually. Those who are more recent arrivals tend to be renting and those who come here as permanent migrants and who have been in Australia a few years, they tend to become home-owners.”

 

The Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia says high housing costs are forcing many newly-arrrived migrants and refugees to live in outlying suburbs in capital cities where land and house prices tend to be less expensive.

 

However FECCA chairman Pino Migliorino says many new migrants then see a lot of their incomes eroded in commuting costs as their jobs tend to be located more in the centre of the big cities.

 

Mr Migliorino says many refugees particularly struggle to access affordable accommodation because they are more likely to be on much lower incomes than other Australians.

 

“The amounts that they’re actually allowed to spend on accommodation are limited and therefore quite often they have to live in a group together. We have had a lot of recent refugees, particularly single men who are coming here as irregular maritime arrivals who have been granted refugee visas. They’re keen to get their families here – that’s why they came. And the situation is that they thn end up grouping themselves with others in the same situation in households.”

 

Mr Migliorino says many refugees are then forced to live in overcrowded accommodation.

 

He says they may have a poorer understanding of Australian tenancy laws which can leave them at greater risk of exploitation by unscrupulous landlords and real estate agents.

 

The housing lobby group, National Shelter, says this highlights the need for more public information on tenant’s rights in community languages.

 

National Shelter’s Adrian Pisarski says more effort is also needed to help many Indigenous Australians access affordable housing, both in remote and urban parts of the country.

 

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience the worse disadvantage in housing terms in Australia and very often live in over-crowded situations, particularly in remote communities, but also in urban areas.”

 

Mr Pisarski says he believes the federal government should use its upcoming budget in May to create a one-billion-dollar Affordable Housing Growth fund.

 

He also supports calls from the developers’ lobby group, the Urban Development Institute of Australia, for more effective local government approval processes to help speed up the process of building new homes.

 

The Institute has also raised concerns over the lack of available land set aside to construct new homes, especially in big cities like Sydney and Melbourne.

 

Mr Pisarski says unless all levels of government act now, there is a real danger of rising homelessness among low-income Australians.

 

“It’s not really a choice. It really needs to be done because if they don’t do it, those costs will appear somewhere else. We’re really at a point where increasing numbers of people will become homeless and once people become homeless, it is both far more expensive to address that and far more difficult for them to return to a normal way of living than if we prevented it in the first place.”

 

 

Buckman storms into 1500m final

Written on July 11, 2019 at 13:28, by

New Australian middle distance sensation Zoe Buckman is hungry for a 1500m medal at the world athletics championships.

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And having qualified fastest for Thursday night’s final, smashing her personal best along the way, she is suddenly in just the sort of form to satisfy that appetite.

Buckman, 24, got the tactics just right in the opening semi-final, sitting in second spot for much of the race and then sprinting down the inside to claim the win when an opportunity presented itself in the final straight.

By setting a PB of four minutes 4.82 seconds and becoming the first Australian woman to qualify for a 1500m final at a world championships, Buckman has already matched the two targets she set herself before arriving in Moscow.

Now it’s time to dream bigger.

“Honestly coming in I didn’t think I was capable of medals,” she said.

“My aim was just to get to the final and with what I have done the last few races I can see that I am capable of that.

“I have a fighting chance, and I have the kick down.

” … my expectations are the only thing that matter and they are quite high and I am hungry to medal.”

Buckman developed her racing skills while at university in Oregon before returning home to Melbourne to train under Nic Bideau.

“Nic teaches me how to be competitive and think big,” said Buckman, who has made steady improvements over the last couple of years before taking a giant leap forward in Moscow.

“I was a bit more tense in that race than in the heat because it just means so much to me to make the final and I was up against a harder bunch so I had to try and stay relaxed in the early stages of the race.

“Once I got through I told myself to just keep running hard right to the line and not just hang out for fourth place.”

Kenyan Faith Kipyegon was second, one hundredth of a second behind Buckman.

Abeba Aregawi of Sweden won the slower second semi in 4:05.66.

In other Australian action on day four, Julian Wruck threw well below his best to finish 11th in the men’s discus.

Wruck – who set his personal best of 68.16m in California in June – could do no better than 62.40m on Sunday to miss the halfway cut in the final.

Germany’s Robert Harting continued his modern-day domination of the event, claiming a third straight world title with a best throw of 69.11m to go with his London Olympics triumph.

Piotr Malachowski of Poland was second with 68.36m and Gerd Kanter of Estonia was third with 65.19m.

Australian duo Lauren Boden and Tristan Thomas were both eliminated in the semi-finals of the 400m hurdles.

Boden was second-last in her semi in 55.75 seconds, with Czech Zuzana Hejnova clocking the fastest qualifying time of 53.52 heading into Thursday night’s final.

Thomas didn’t fare any better in the men’s semis, where he was also seventh in his race in 49.91.

Ancelotti keeps mum on Bale move to Real Madrid

Written on July 11, 2019 at 13:28, by

Bale’s move to the Spanish capital has been widely flagged in Spanish and British media and is said to be worth 99 million euros ($133 million), eclipsing the price of around 95 million Real paid Manchester United for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009.

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Photographs of Bale in the Spanish holiday resort of Marbella appeared in local media on Sunday, prompting speculation he will be presented at Real’s Bernabeu stadium on Tuesday or Wednesday.

At a news conference on Sunday previewing Monday’s La Liga game at Granada, Ancelotti was asked where Bale might fit into his team.

The Italian laughed and said he had not thought about it as he had “other problems at the moment”.

“I understand it’s a very interesting issue for everyone but I can’t say anything because he is not a Real Madrid player right now,” he added. “I am sorry but I can’t reply.”

Quizzed later by British journalists, he said there were two reasons why he did not want to discuss the issue publicly.

“First of all because Gareth Bale is not a Real Madrid player at this moment,” Ancelotti said.

“The second because I need to have respect for my players and we are focused on our game tomorrow.”

He said he did not know if Bale would be the final addition to Real’s squad before the transfer window shuts.

“I need to have respect for the Spanish journalists who every day ask me this and I didn’t answer,” Ancelotti said. “So for you it’s the same I don’t want to answer.”

Ancelotti also responded to criticism from Barcelona’s new coach Gerardo Martino about Bale’s price tag.

Martino told a news conference on Saturday spending that amount of money on a soccer player would be “out of place in the current economic climate” and “a lack of respect to the world in general”.

“They were words I didn’t understand,” Ancelotti said.

“He (Martino) has not been here for long and he still doesn’t understand how European football works.

“He also doesn’t understand his own club because Barcelona has spent money on some very important players.

“I don’t want to talk about this but I think his words were a little strange.”

Champions Barca will be without the injured Lionel Messi when they play their second league match of the campaign at Malaga later on Sunday. ($1 = 0.7461 euros)

(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Force re-sign hooker Heath Tessmann

Written on July 11, 2019 at 13:28, by

Western Force hooker Heath Tessmann says he’s confident the franchise is heading in the right direction after re-signing for a further two Super Rugby seasons.

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Tessmann notched 10 caps off the bench for the Rebels before being axed at the end of last year.

The 29-year-old came over to Perth in the hope of snaring a deal with the Force, and went on to play 13 games last year in a breakout campaign for himself.

Tessmann finished in the top-five of the Force Player of the Year award, and hopes to build on his game next season as the franchise attempts to earn a maiden finals berth.

“A lot of the technical work I’ve been doing with Foles (coach Michael Foley) has been very beneficial for my game,” Tessmann said.

“And it’s been exciting to see us improving across a number of key areas as a team this season.

“It’s exciting to be a part of a team on the up.

“We definitely turned the corner this year and the recruitment for next season will only continue that development.

“With a number of guys like Benny McCalman, Hugh McMeniman and Wykesy also re-signing this year, we’ve got a core group of players that played together this season and will continue to develop together over the next few years.”

The Force, who finished 13th last season with just four wins and a draw, have bolstered their forward pack with the signings of South African pair Wilhelm Steenkamp and Chris Heiberg.

Foley said he had been pleased with the forward pack he has been able to assemble.

“We’re developing a forward pack that is not only skilled in the set piece but also has the ability to have an impact in the open – and Heath fits that bill,” Foley said.