Monthly Archives: February 2019

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‘Dons boss regrets self-reporting to AFL

Essendon chairman Paul Little has suggested the club got it wrong by self-reporting their supplements crisis to the AFL.


As ASADA continue their investigation of the Bombers’ 2011-12 supplements program, Little said the club gave away too much control of how the process unfolded.

The scandal went public in February last year, when then Essendon chairman David Evans, chief executive Ian Robson and coach James Hird fronted the media.

They announced the AFL and ASADA would start a joint investigation of the supplements program.

The AFL hit the club with massive penalties last August, but the ASADA probe is ongoing.

“I have this view that maybe self-reporting didn’t work all that well for us,” Little told Triple M on Friday.

“We gave away all of our leverage.

“We gave away all of our own rights to control a situation.”

Little acknowledged that self-reporting meant various authorities had unfettered access to people within the club.

“(But) I just think it perhaps could have overly-complicated a process that didn’t need to be quite that complicated,” he said.

Little took over as chairman in August last year after Evans’ sudden resignation because of health problems.

Robson resigned over the scandal and Hird is serving a 12-month suspension as part of the AFL penalties.

Little said the Bombers accepted the AFL punishment, where the club was kicked out of last year’s finals.

“We accept we were guilty of some of the lesser charges … and we’ve copped that penalty,” he said.

“But in any situation, you’ve got to retain some sort of control over your own destiny.”

Little also said the Bombers are hopeful interim coach Mark Thompson will stay once Hird returns at the end of this season.

He said the decision is entirely Thompson’s and they will discuss it when the time is right.

Essendon also hope to announce their new permanent chief executive by June 30.

Little said interim chief operating officer Xavier Campbell would be a very strong candidate for the job.

Ryan set for return against Penrith

Sidelined throughout Cronulla’s disastrous start to the season, Beau Ryan is set to finally make his 2014 debut in Saturday’s clash with Penrith at Remondis Stadium.


The 28-year-old winger hasn’t played this season due to a neck injury, but is poised to be rushed back into a Sharks side that sits at the bottom of the NRL ladder, with just one win from seven games.

Ryan was named on an extended bench by interim coach Peter Sharp, but if cleared will come into the starting side at the expense of Jonathan Wright, who has struggled on the flank this year.

Winger Sosaia Feki and centre Ricky Leutele will continue to combine on the Sharks’ left side.

Ryan’s inclusion will add some spice to what is sure to be a desperate battle, after Panthers playmaker Jamie Soward took umbrage at the part-time comedian’s depiction of him on Channel Nine’s Footy Show earlier this month.

Ryan has since apologised for the skit and has stopped airing it.

Meanwhile, Panthers prop Tim Grant says he is keen to put his contract dramas behind him and put in a big performance up front for Penrith.

Grant last week signed a four-year deal with South Sydney starting in 2015, but is keen to make an impact in his final season with his junior club.

“I have a lot of unfinished business here at Penrith,” Grant said.

“For me I’m really excited about moving onto South Sydney.

“(But) that contract is in the filing cabinet. I still feel lucky to be coming to training every day and to be pulling on a Panthers jersey.

“I’m just enjoying being here playing footy and looking to finish off with a big year here, starting with the Sharks this weekend.”

Prop Sam McKendry (ankle) remains sidelined with Grant to start in the front-row alongside Brent Kite, with Jeremy Latimore and Nigel Plum on the bench.

Cambridges join Aussies at dawn services

Australians and New Zealanders have shown they will not forget the Anzacs.


One year out from the centenary of the Gallipoli landings, at least 150,000 attended dawn services in Australian capital cities, with thousands more at services in suburbs and towns and in New Zealand.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made an unexpected appearance at the national dawn service at the Australian War Memorial and appeared touched by the Anzac tradition.

“I said to them it means a great deal to our nation that you should honour us by attending the dawn service,” AWM director Brendan Nelson told Sky News.

” … without hesitation they had an immense sense of pride in actually being here.

“But in the end … it’s not about the royals, it’s not about the governor-general … it’s about the men and women we honour.”

Prince William and Kate, who will return to the war memorial to attend the national service, were among the more than 35,000 who heard Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith urge Australians to remember those who have fought for their country.

“We are Australians, we are born of the Anzacs. We are the custodians and stewards of their spirit now and into the future. We must take good care of them,” Cpl Roberts-Smith said.”

Dr Nelson said it was a remarkable dawn service with an estimated 37,000 visitors.

“I am delighted with the number of people who came to the service. Anzac Day is Australia’s most significant national occasion, marking the 99th anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli,” he told reporters.

Dr Nelson said he would expect even more would attend the dawn service and national ceremony for next year’s 100th anniversary.

In Melbourne, an estimated 60,000 people gathered at the Shrine of Remembrance for the city’s dawn service.

Louise Percival went to the service for the first time wearing medals in honour of her grandfather, Gallipoli veteran Donald McKenzie.

“(It was) a very beautiful service,” she told AAP.

In Sydney, thousands of people crammed into Martin Place at dawn, with NSW Governor Marie Bashir pronouncing the Anzac Day Dedication.

In his address, retired lieutenant-general Ken Gillespie said the sacrifices made by diggers “will continue to influence our society and give us great courage for the future”.

At Adelaide’s war memorial, RSL spokesman Bill Denny told a crowd of more than 5000 that Anzac Day was about commemoration, not celebration.

“We must be very careful not to allow the oft-implied romance of war to overshadow the brutal reality, pain and loss that war delivers,” Mr Denny said.

In Brisbane, many in the crowd at Anzac Square attended for the first time, spurred by the coming 2015 centenary of the landing at Anzac Cove.

At Hobart’s dawn service, 6000 people were told Australia’s servicemen and women remained the heroes of a new generation.

“They provide today’s generation of people with heroes to look up to and inspire us to be selfless, honourable and to draw upon reserves of courage we never knew we had,” school student Jonah Lilley told the service.

Later on Friday, thousands more Australians and New Zealanders will attend the dawn service at Gallipoli, a prelude to major commemorations for next year’s centenary.

Smaller crowd falls silent at Gallipoli

This year’s Anzac Day at Gallipoli was billed as a dress rehearsal for the 2015 centenary, but a smaller-than-expected turnout made it a very intimate affair.


Some 4400 mostly Australian and New Zealand pilgrims attended the North Beach dawn service 12 months out from the 100th anniversary when 10,500 people will be crammed on to the site.

The crowd on Friday was reminded that reverential silence on the often eerily quiet Turkish peninsula is a tribute to the diggers who died in 1915.

Veterans’ Affairs Minister Michael Ronaldson said the soldiers who landed at Anzac Cove 99 years ago were, by their own admission, ordinary men.

“They did not seek glory, nor did they want their actions to be glorified – for it was they who quickly came to know the true horror of war,” the minister said as the sun rose over the Gallipoli cliffs.

“That these ordinary men, however, did extraordinary things is beyond doubt.”

Senator Ronaldson said the Anzacs left a vanquished fighting force but “were victorious in helping forge the identity of our two new nations”.

“As the dawn of this new day breaks over the peninsula our tribute to the spirit of Anzac is a reverential silence,” he said.

Some 8700 Australians died during the eight-month campaign alongside 2700 New Zealanders.

It’s estimated up to 87,000 Turks lost their lives.

Young Australian Erinn Cooper camped out overnight to represent her father and grandfather at the dawn service.

The 22-year-old comes from a military family – her father served in East Timor and Iraq while her grandfather fought in World War II.

“It’s really mind-blowing to be here,” she said.

“Anzac Day is our biggest day of the year. It’s a really big thing in our family.”

Ms Cooper considered applying to attend in 2015 but decided the ballot process was too risky.

“Coming this year was something we could actually make happen.”

After the joint Australian and New Zealand dawn service Aussie pilgrims climbed up to the Lone Pine cemetery and memorial where in August 1915 Australia suffered its greatest casualties.

At the start of the service students read out epitaphs from some of the nearby headstones.

“How much of love and life and joy is buried with our darling boy,” one reads.

Another states: “Could I clasp your hand once more just to say well done.”

Senator Ronaldson noted that Australians and Turks at Lone Pine “battled just metres from one another in a desperate bid to take and hold this high ground”.

Organisers saw this year’s Anzac Day as a dry run for 2015 – hence an additional 3000 grandstand seats installed at Lone Pine went unused.

While the crowd will be much bigger next year it’s possible it will actually be more manageable as the event is ticketed.

Further, the pilgrims will be older on average because 1600 passes were set aside for direct descendants and veterans.

Australian authorities think it’s likely Prince Charles will attend the centenary service in Gallipoli although his spokeswoman has told AAP it is “too early to say”.

Anzacs remembered fondly in France

Anzac Day pilgrims have again turned out in force in northern France in a further sign of the growing understanding and appreciation of Australia’s contribution on the Western Front.


Australians young and old stood side-by-side with French locals on Friday at a moving dawn service at the Australian National Memorial on the outskirts of Villers-Bretonneux.

Villers-Bretonneux is the site of one of Australia’s great victories of World War I, but the nation suffered heavy losses on the Western Front, with 46,000 of the 295,000 who served there never making it home.

The battle of Villers-Bretonneux marked a key turning point in the war when the Australians stopped the German forces advancing toward Paris.

But their success came at a heavy cost. More than 1,500 were killed or wounded in the battle, which began on the night of April 24, 1918, and ended on Anzac Day.

Many of those who died fighting on the Western Front have never been found and 10,764 names are etched on the Australian memorial’s stone walls honouring the lost.

Angie and Stephen Connelly, from Lennox Head in NSW, went to the service because Angie’s great uncle, Hubert O’Neill, is one of those listed.

“There was a fair investment here (the Western Front) in terms of lives it’s great that so many people are coming here to have a look and remember,” Mr Connelly said.

Katrina Moane’s grandfather, Frederick Marks, survived three years at Flanders in Belgium and at the Somme during World War II.

Along with her husband, Stuart, she was attending her first dawn service at Villers-Bretonneux. The Newcastle couple have visited many Western Front battlefields.

“That’s one of the major reasons we’re here, plus we go to an Anzac Day ceremony every year,” Mr Moane said.

The event has grown steadily in popularity since it was first held in 2008, with officials saying 4500 people attended this year’s service – believed to be a record turnout.

The head of the Villers-Bretonneux ceremony, Major-General David Chalmers, predicted earlier this week it would become Australia’s most significant national service beyond next year’s centenary commemorations in Gallipoli.

As dawn broke on Friday, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told those gathered the brave efforts of diggers on the Western Front helped make the country what it is today.

“The war was no less than the crucible that forged modern Australia,” she said.

Ms Bishop said the turnout in the remote French location showed a broadening of Australia’s WWI focus, particularly among young people.

“The crowds here today are clearly conscious of the sacrifices that were made here at Villers-Bretonneux and other places on the Western Front,” Ms Bishop said.

“It’s become somewhat of a pilgrimage for young people to go to Gallipoli but I think Villers-Bretonneux, Bullecourt and other places on the Western Front might likewise become those sacred places that attract young Australians.”