Monthly Archives: November 2018

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Takara Truffle ready to go

Singleton trainer Aaron Goadsby hopes the decision to bypass the Queensland Oaks with Takara Truffle pays dividends at Menangle on Saturday night.
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Takara Truffle and Aaron Goadsby

Ellalong’s Michael Formosa will drive Takara Truffle from gate eight in the group 3 Go Girlfriend Series Final (1609m metres) after taking her to an easy heat win at Newcastle last Saturday.

Takara Truffle was set for the series afterone win from five starts in Queensland, including theProvincial Oaks andRedcliffe Oaks.After the luckless run, Goadsby decided to skip the Queensland Oaks and instead prepare for the Go Girlfriend series.

“We copped it well and truly up in Brisbane,” Goadsby said. “She was racing well but just having no luck with barriers or in running. Her sectionals were super.

“I picked it out while I was in Queensland and snuck home a week early, just to give her a week to get over the trip. The heat only just stood up, with six noms, so we were very lucky.

“She went well last week,ran 1.54.6 and did it pretty easy. She’s pulled up good andeverything is on track.

“Amanda Turnbull has five in it and her mum owns another one, so they’ve got six of the 12 in it, so we’ll have to stir the pot, so to speak.”

Formosa, meanwhile,sent stable star Ultimate Art to Queensland on Tuesday with hopes of replicating his campaign there with Shannon Price.Ultimate Art won 10 of 14 at Albion Park in a six-month spell last year.

At Newcastle on Saturday night, Darren Elder’s Shannonsablast returns in race four on the program.He has not raced since eighth in the Ross Gigg Mile on May 6.

Goadsby, meanwhile, hopes Takara Truffle can push to the lead early at Menangle.

“If she starts like she has before down there, we should end up in front,” he said.

“If she doesn’t lead, we know she can finish off her races as well.”

Junior Jets job dream come true for Cooper

TAKING CHARGE: Michael Cooper was “hand-picked” by Football Federation Australia to take up a national role before agreeing to join the Jets. The offer to take charge of an A-League club youth academy was too good to refuse for Englishman Michael Cooper, the Emerging Jets’ incoming technical director.
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The 34-year-old will leave his job as FFA national boys development manager this month before starting work in Newcastle in time for the A-League club’s takeover of the academy from Northern NSW Football on October 1.

On the surface it may seem like a backward step, froma national role to a club job, but it is a goal Cooper has chased for a decade.

“It sounds a bit corny, but it’s something I’ve dreamedof since I stopped playing,” he told the Herald.“I’m passionate about young people’s development.I think I can create an environment that’s going to help them.

“The opportunity to do that from the top down and in boys and girls in an area like Newcastle, where you’ve got one A-League club, the Jets have been there for a little bit, so there’s some structure there, I know a few people up there and they’re good people. It ticked a lot of boxes to bring to life a vision.”

He said he was happy in the FFA role, and the national body had wanted him to stay.

“This is just an opportunity, you don’t know when they’re going to come up again. The next person might stay there a long time.The opportunity is being able to head something up. The A-League clubs are young in terms of academies, so that’s exciting because you can affect it from the start.”

Cooper was at non-league and lower-league clubs Yeovil Town, Aylesbury United, Salisbury City, Exeter City and several others before injuries ended his career.

He worked as a PE teacher at a sports high school in Reading and was youth and first-team coach at Salisbury City. Hislast job in England, before he,his wife and their two infant girls movedto Australia in 2013, was as an academy coach at Premier League clubSouthampton.

He came to Australia to take up a role as technical director at Victorian club Surf Coast FC before moving on to North Geelong then coach education roles with Football Federation Victoria and FFA.

The move to Australia had been a lifestyle choice for his family.

“It’s been great for us. We won’t be going back. It was a big gamble, but we haven’t looked back.”

FFV and former Northern NSW technical director David Smith said signing Cooper was a coup forNewcastle.

“He’s quite smart, good teaching background,” he said. “We employed Mike in the coach education department and he did exceptionally well for us. FFA hand-picked him and took him away from us.

“He’s been very positive in driving advanced coach education in Australia.

“He keeps things fairly simple, but he brings the best out of a lot of people very quickly. He’s well organised. It’s all about improvement.

“He evolves people and gets a buy-in from them.He’s easy to get on with but quite firm in what he does.

“He doesn’t play favourites, doesn’t get involved in the politics.”

Eagles brace for toughest climb yet

IN DOUBT: Edgeworth defender Dom Bizzarri battles for a header against Kane Goodchild in Olympic’s 1-0 win last Sunday. Bizzarri has a slight hamstring injury and could be rested this weekend ahead of the FFA Cup round of 32 clash with South Melbourne. Picture: Max Mason-HubersEDGEWORTH coach Damian Zane has steered the Eagles to back-to-back Northern NSW NPL title doubles, but he believes a minor premiership this year will be his greatest achievement.
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“I’ve won coach of the year twice, but if we win this year, this has been my best year,” said Zane, whose Eagles take on the eighth-placed Charlestown at Lisle Carr Oval on Saturdayfrom 6pm.

“When I took over I wanted it to be like it used to be, where everyone came to Edgeworth and when you wonyou knew you’dearned it. That’s what we wanted, and now we’ve got it.This year, everyone has played out of their skin against us.”

And while the contenders for Edgeworth’s throne are coming thick and fast with four rounds to go, Zane is looking at a familiar foe as their biggest threat.

“Realistically, just the way teams are performing, for me it’s us and Hamilton again,” he said.“I’ve looked into the draws and I think one of us will take enough points to win it, because we’ve both got a game in hand on Lambton andValentine, and if we drop points, Hamilton won’t. That’s how I think it will be.”

Edgeworth lost 1-0 to fourth-placed Hamilton last week but retained the competition lead from Lambton Jaffas on goaldifference.

He saidDom Bizzarri and Dylan Holz were in doubt for the Charlestown game with minorinjuries ahead of the Eagles’ away FFA Cup clash with South Melbourne next Wednesday night.

“We don’t want to risk them but we will be going full strength to win,” he said.“Ihad hoped not to have to do that,but we needed to not lose last week.”

Also Saturday, an injury-hit Jaffas host Adamstown from 2.30pm at Edden Oval.On Sunday, Maitland’s finals hopes are on the line against Lake Macquarie, who have their Old Boys’ Day at Macquarie Field. The Bears host Hamilton at Weston Park.

Meanwhile, Maitland defender Shane Cansdell-Sherriff is a strong contender for the Adamstown coaching job following an interview this week and news outgoing Charlestown boss and Rosebud candidateShane Pryce will become an assistant at Jaffas next year.

The Herald understands Cansdell-Sherriff, who is set to retire from playing after this season, impressed the Adamstown committee, who were considering Pryce for the job.

Interim coach Nick Webb, who took over from the sacked Peter McGuinness on June 1, is also in the running for the gig past this year.

Broadmeadow, who have former skipper Peter Haynes retiring at year’s end, have the bye this weekend.

Boy trips over million-year-old fossil in desert hike

Jude Sparks was out on a family hike in the desert near Las Cruces, New Mexico, testing walkie-talkies, whenhe tripped over a rocky protrusion.
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When he got up, he examined what appeared to be two large, fossilised teeth jutting out from the ground. Further up, he spotted what looked like a tusk, he added.

Jude Sparks with the stegomastodon fossil he stumbled across near Las Cruces, New Mexico. Photo: Peter Houde-New Mexico State University

Jude, then 9, was intrigued. But his brother Hunter, who had been running behind him, didn’t seem too impressed.

“Hunter said it was just a big, fat rotten cow,” Jude told KVIA News, which first reported the story.

A skeleton of a stegomastodon found in Arizona on exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Photo: Supplied

“I didn’t know what it was. I just knew it wasn’t usual.”

The boys’ parents photographed the curious mass, then helped Jude look up experts online that night, he added.

They emailed Peter Houde, a biology professor at New Mexico State University who maintains a lab devoted to palaeontological studies.

“I immediately recognised the importance of what it was,” Houde told the news station. “We went out there the very next day to have a look at it.”

It turned out Jude’s instincts were correct. He had discovered the fossilised skull of a stegomastodon, believed to be more than 1 million years old.

The ancient relative of the elephant stood nearly three metres tall andhad two enormous tusks that curved upward.

This discovery was rare because both the animal’s mandible and a tusk were exposed to the surface, Houde said in apaper published on his websiteabout Jude’s discovery.

“Fossil bones from the same animal are rarely found together in our area,” Houde wrote.

What’s more, stegomastodon fossils are extremely fragile, despite the animal’s behemoth size.

“We’re really, really grateful that [the Sparks family]contacted us because, if they had not done that, if they had tried to do it themselves, it could have just destroyed the specimen,” Houde toldThe New York Times.

“It really has to be done with great care and know-how.”

After several months, Houde and his team finally got permission from the landowner to dig on the property – under the condition the site remain a secret, according to a university news release.

In May, Houde and a team began the week-long, painstaking work of digging up the fossil. The collagen in the bones had long since decomposed, so the fossils “can easily disintegrate under their own weight before your very eyes as soon as the sediments that cradle and support them are cleaned away”,Houde wrote.

Because of that, the excavation required exposing parts of the fossil, little by little, and allowing them to dry fully before applying a hardener.

Little by little, they unearthed a nearly complete skull, missing only a tusk.

“It’s just been very exciting,” his mother, Michelle Sparks, told the news station. “Especially for the boys because every child dreams of finding bones and them being actually old.”

Jude, now 10, told KVIA News that most of his friends still do not believe that he found a fossil more than a million years old.

However, though Houde is continuing to study and preserve the fossil, eventually he anticipates it will be available for public viewing at New Mexico State University’s Vertebrate Museum.

“I have every hope and expectation that this specimen will ultimately end up on exhibit and this little boy will be able to show his friends and even his own children, ‘Look what I found right here in Las Cruces,’ ” Houde said in a university statement.

It wasn’t the first time someone had made such a fortuitous fossil discovery. In 2014, a bachelor party camping at Elephant Butte State Park in southern New Mexico discovered a nearly complete fossilised skull of a stegomastodon. That fossil is now at the New Mexico Natural History Museum.

In 2015, Wylie Brys, then 4, happened upon the fossilised bones of a nodosaur while exploring land behind a Dallas-area shopping centre.

“He’s a little kid,” his father, Tim Brys, toldThe Washington Postthen.

“He likes playing in dirt as much as finding the fossils, I think.”

The Washington Post

200 spaces for park-deprived Honeysuckle

PLANS: An artist’s impression of Doma’s Little National Hotel proposal for Honeysuckle. The development will have 200 car spaces.
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THE Doma Group has announced it plans to add 200 public car parking spaces as part of its Honeysuckle hotel development –a move that puts the private sector at odds with the state government’s view that there is an “oversupply” of long stay parking in Newcastle.

The Canberra-based firm, which has emerged as one of Newcastle’s biggest developers in recent times, thanks to land releases in Honeysuckle, identified the demand for parking on the waterfront and responded.

Domageneral manager development Gavin Edgar said the 200 spaces are proposed as part of the $45 million Little National Hotel.

The car parks would be made available during the day when they are typically not used by guests.

“Whilst we are fully supportive of the light rail we do recognise the demand for parking in the area and have tried to cater for that by our public parking component in the Little National Hotel,” Mr Edgar said.

The Little National Hotelin Honeysuckle replicates a hotel of the same name built by Doma in Canberra.

At Little National Hotel Canberra, the car park is managed by Wilson Parking, which Mr Edgar said was a successful model.

In addition to adding 200 spaces in Honeysuckle, Doma is also in talks with Newcastle City Council about adding a basement car park to a future development on Merewether Street.

That car park would service the nearby law courts and museum.

While Doma is adding 200 spaces to Honeysuckle, about 800in the area are set to go by 2020, swallowed up by new development.

A state government parking strategy released earlier this year shows the majority of those spaces won’t be replenished.

And the report identified an“oversupply” of parking in the city centre –a finding which has been criticised.

The report recommended a range of strategies to manage parking, including more park and ride facilities, technology improvements and car sharing schemes. Park and ride facilities would be investigated “where possible” with a review of bus routes to be undertaken by Newcastle Transport.

The review is expected to be finished by next year.