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Marquee signing David Klemmer says the Newcastle Knights will hit the ground running in 2019.

Marquee signing David Klemmer says the Newcastle Knights will hit the ground running in 2019.

MARQUEE signing David Klemmer sees no reason why the Newcastle Knights can’t jell from the outset next season, despite the influx of new recruits at the club.
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Klemmer is one of nine players Newcastle have recruited during a 2018 spending spree, at least six of whom are expected to debut for their new club in round one against Cronulla on Friday, March 15.

CONFIDENT: David Klemmer

SEASON OF GOODWILL: Newcastle Knights players bought some festive cheer for young fans, such as Peta Kerr, at John Hunter Children's Hospital on Thursday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Few clubs have experienced such a turnover in personnel, and many of the teams who featured in last season's play-offs have retained the bulk of their rosters.

Yet Klemmer believes the pre-season should provide Newcastle with enough opportunity to develop cohesion and said they intend to start their campaignstrongly and capitalise on a favourable early draw.

“We don’t want to use excuses,” Klemmer said at a team visit to John Hunter Children’s Hospital on Thursday.

“We’ve got two trials, we’ve got training. By round one, we should be ready to go.

“We should know our combinations. Obviously playing together, it might take a couple of weeks, but we want to start winning footy games.

“We don’t want to wait until halfway through the season and use it as an excuse for not winning games.

“I think five of our first seven games are at home, and we’re really looking forward to playing at a packed McDonald Jones Stadium and I’m really excited about that.”

Klemmer said it wasimportant for the Knights to start the year in positive fashion and use the confidence gained as a springboard to reach the finals for the first time since 2013.

“Our goal is to be around there,” he said.

“Your time in rugby league is only short, and you don’t want to be looking back on it saying I only played two or three years of semi-final football.You want to be there nearly every year.”

Knights skipper Mitchell Pearce was confident the understanding he has developedwith fellow ball-players Kalyn Ponga and Connor Watson would help alleviateany early-season teething problems.

“Our team’s been educated well in attack …attacking wise, our team is very tuned up,” he said.

“The boys are very educated about rugby league. Now we’ve got a bit more quality, I’ve got no doubt the footy stuff will take another step forward.”

After spending the first six years of his career at Canterbury, Klemmer is used to playing home games at cavenous ANZStadium, where often there aremore vacant seats than those that are occupied.

He was looking forward to embracing the big-game atmosphere at McDonald Jones Stadium.

“Alex McKinnon has tipped me already …he says there will be 30,000 or so people for round one against the Sharks,” he said.

“Obviously we only used to get packedcrowds at the Dogs when we were winning or it was a special occasion.

“To get that in round one would be pretty special.”

Bring on Perth’s pace and bounce: Kohli

Bring on Perth’s pace and bounce: Kohli

India captain Virat Kohli is unconcerned by the extra pace and bounce of the pitches in Perth.Virat Kohli is thrilled with the green-tinged pitch that has been produced for the maiden Test at Optus Stadium, backing a pace attack widely considered India's best ever to rattle .
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Kohli's team hold a 1-0 lead in the four-match series and will retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy if they defeat the hosts in the Perth Test that starts on Friday.

"I was pretty happy to see the pitch the way it is," Kohli told reporters.

"I hope no more grass is taken off the pitch. Because that will mean the first three days will be very lively and we as a team are pretty happy with that.

"This pitch is going to offer significantly more to the bowlers than Adelaide. That's something we're very excited about.

"It's fast ... we're not alien to pitches like this. We've played on these kind of wickets in the past, it's nothing new to us."

Kohli's wish is set to be granted with curator Brett Sipthorpe unlikely to trim the deck that he hopes will offer similar pace and bounce to what the WACA did in its glory days.

Tim Paine, asked about the green surface, suggested it may be a case where looks are deceiving.

"It feels pretty firm underneath. I think it'll actually play pretty well for the first couple of days," Paine said.

"I really don't think it'll play that badly. I've played an ODI here and a Twenty20, and both of those wickets looked really green .. and played really well.

"This wicket might play really well."

Paine also shot down the idea that any surface could help the touring fast bowlers more than 's quicks.

"We've got a really settled and experienced attack," he said.

"They know what works in Test cricket. They've done it before, played on all types of surfaces and adapted really quickly.

"With the heat that's around in the next few days it's probably going to break up and you'll see some cracks in it late in the game."

Sipthorpe hoped the surface would be "very much like the old WACA".

"That's what we want to see," Sipthorpe said.

"We've just been told make it fast, make it bouncy, if you can.

"We're just trying to produce the bounciest pitch we can."

Cricket suggested Sipthorpe had been given freedom to produce the best possible pitch, denying the idea that any form of request had been made.

Nathan Smith, Belinda Colbran sentenced for Aaron Monaco murder

Nathan Smith, Belinda Colbran sentenced for Aaron Monaco murder

‘Callous’ killers sentenced for Newnham stabbing murder TweetFacebook Murder investigationTwo murderers have each been sentenced to 24 years’ jail for killing Aaron Matthew Monaco at Parua Road, Newnham.
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Justice Gregory Geason described Nathan Thomas Smith and Belinda Leone Colbran’s actions as callous and having total disregard for another human being.

The victim’s sister Holly Mason-White was in court every day throughout Colbran’s trial and read a victim impact statement during sentencing submissions.

Outside of court on Thursday, Ms Mason-White and her family said they were relieved the case was over.

Mr Monaco was stabbed six times after getting into a verbal argument with the couple at unit owned by Smith.

Nathan Thomas Smith. Picture: The Examiner

ThroughoutColbran’s trial, the court heard the couple was angry at Mr Monaco for overstaying his welcome, having no regard for Smith’s property and not paying rent.

The couple had been drinking andsmoking marijuanaat Colbran’s Ravenswood house prior to catching a taxi to Smith’sNewnham unit.

An argument broke out between the couple and Mr Monaco shortly before the murderers stabbed him multiple times.

RELATED:Belinda Leone Colbran found guilty of murdering Aaron Matthew Monaco

Mr Monaco was found at a neighbour’s door “soaked in blood”on November 4, 2016.

As he sat on the door step bleeding, the 41-year-old told police that Nathan Thomas Smith was responsible for stabbing him.

Smith pleadguilty to murder on the day he was due to stand trial alongside Colbran. He will be eligible for parole after 14 years.

A jury found Colbran guilty of the murder and she will be eligible for parole after 13 years.

The Examiner

Nine dead, 47 hurt in Turkish train crash

Nine dead, 47 hurt in Turkish train crash

A high speed train has crashed in the Turkish capital Ankara, killing nine people.A high-speed train has hit a railway engine and crashed into a pedestrian overpass at a station in the Turkish capital Ankara, killing nine people and injuring 47 others, officials say.
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The 6.30am train from Ankara to the central Turkish city of Konya collided head-on with the inspection engine, which was checking the tracks at the capital's small Marsandiz station, Transport Minister Mehmet Cahit Turhan told reporters after inspecting the site.

The high-speed train transits that station without stopping.

At least two cars derailed, hitting the station's overpass which then collapsed onto the train.

Three engine drivers and six passengers were killed in the crash, Turhan said. One of the passengers died of injuries after being hospitalised while others were killed at the scene.

Television footage showed emergency services working to rescue passengers from mangled cars and debris. Hurriyet newspaper said sniffer dogs assisted efforts to find survivors.

Turhan said everyone had been removed from the debris and no one else was believed to be trapped.

It wasn't immediately clear if a signalling problem caused the crash. Ankara Governor Vasip Sahin said a technical inspection has begun while NTV television, quoting unnamed officials, said three prosecutors were assigned to investigate.

In July, 10 people were killed and more than 70 injured when most of a passenger train derailed in northwestern Turkey, after torrential rains caused part of the rail tracks to collapse.

Last month, 15 people were injured when a passenger train collided with a freight train in Turkey's central province of Sivas.

Konya, about 260km south of Ankara, is home to the tomb of the Sufi mystic and poet Jalaladdin Rumi, attracting thousands of pilgrims and tourists.

The crash occurred during an annual week of remembrance for Rumi when many travel to Konya to watch Whirling Dervishes perform.

Glory hopeful of swift Spiranovic return

Glory hopeful of swift Spiranovic return

Perth Glory hope defender Matthew Spiranovic will only be sidelined briefly with a hamstring injury.Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic is hopeful former Socceroos defender Matthew Spiranovic will only miss one week with a hamstring injury.
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Spiranovic was injured after just 31 minutes of last week's 1-0 A-League win over Melbourne City, but scans have cleared him of any tear.

The 30-year-old resumed running duties on Wednesday and could return to the senior side for next week's home clash with Sydney FC.

"(The scans showed) there was some fluid there, just a little bit, which we've seen previously with him," Popovic said.

"It's just about managing it now. He was running yesterday and was confident and felt no pain at all, so that's a really good sign.

"If he can do the full week's training next week, I'd say he'd be a really good chance."

Popovic acknowledged that Spiranovic's return wouldn't come without risks, given the central defender had only recently recovered from a year-long hip injury.

Spiranovic played just two youth games on limited minutes before making his senior return last week.

Popovic has the option of giving Spiranovic a longer stint in the youth team, but isn't sure if he'll go down that path.

"When you've been out for that long, the challenge will always be there when he comes back to the first time," Popovic said.

"We could wait two months, and still that first three or four games will be difficult for him.

"It's about us trying to make sure he can last longer."

Juande could return in Sunday's clash with the Jets in Newcastle after recovering from a knee injury, but Alex Grant (foot) and Scott Neville (ankle) are still sidelined.

Emerging star Jacob Italiano, who injured his knee during the pre-season, will return via the youth side.

Glory are undefeated and sit on top of the table following a stunning start to life under Popovic.

The player who has shone the brightest has been Chris Ikonomidis, whose five goals has put him in the frame for a Socceroos recall ahead of the Asian Cup.

With Aaron Mooy ruled out of the tournament, Ikonomidis has the chance to further press his claims over the coming weeks.

Popovic believes Ikonomidis has what it takes to become a Socceroos regular.

"I think his actual all-round game is improving," Popovic said.

"I believe he's improving parts of his game that weren't so good when he first arrived.

"We sometimes forget he's only 23. If he can have a good couple of seasons, the sky's the limit for the boy."

NRL puts competition expansion on agenda

NRL puts competition expansion on agenda

NRL boss Todd Greenberg says the organisation will consider expansion plans over the next 12 months.The NRL has taken up the fight to the A-League, putting expansion firmly on the agenda.
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On the same day Football Federation announced plans to add two side in 2020-21, NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said he expected to know by this time next year whether it was viable to add two franchises to the 16-team competition.

The NRL will undertake an analysis of whether such a move is feasible and to consider questions including whether the standard of the competition would be watered down, the impact on participation, financial costs and the will of broadcasters Fox Sports and Channel Nine.

"What we'll do is spend 12 months putting a lot of analysis together to consider whether we make a recommendation to the commission about what the future footprint looks like beyond the next broadcast cycle," Greenberg said.

"There's some very big questions for us to answer."

Greenberg said any possible expansion would not happen before the expiry of the current broadcast deal which runs until 2022.

"To be fair and honest it's going to take that long to even consider a future footprint - where you would invest and how you would do it?"

A second Brisbane side and Perth are widely considered the front-runners to receive franchises should the NRL expand while Queensland's western corridor, central Queensland and New Zealand's capital Wellington have also been touted as options.

During his first press conference in the job, ARLC chairman Peter Beattie famously said the game must "expand or die" however his rhetoric has since softened.

Another option is for sides to be relocated should they fall into financial hardship with the NRL stating they would not be bailing out any clubs which come begging with cap in hand.

The NRL has had to come to the rescue of the Wests Tigers, Gold Coast and St George Illawarra in recent years.

Greenberg said following the new club funding agreement - which gives each franchise 130 per cent of the value of the salary cap each year - they don't have the money to prop up failing sides.

"It's up to clubs to run their businesses effectively and sustainably and if not there will be consequences," Greenberg said.

"Those consequences used to be us coming in and helping them, that won't be the case in the next period."

Lockheed Martin announce partnership with Newcastle education institutions

Lockheed Martin announce partnership with Newcastle education institutions

TRY IN THE SKY: San Clemente High School student Kasey Cole tries out a F-35 flight simulator at the Lockheed Martin Technology Expo. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers A partnership between Newcastle education institutions and Lockheed Martin, the company delivering ’s new F-35 fighter jets, will see students undertake trainingspecifically suited to a futurecareer inthe company.
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The project involving Lockheed Martin, the University of Newcastle, TAFE NSW and Regional Development Hunter (RDA Hunter)was announced during a careers expo for high school studentsat Williamtown’s Fighter World on Thursday.

“Lockheed Martin’s future workforce requirements are a little bit niche compared to other defenceindustry players,” Rick Evans, RDA Hunter workforce manager said.

“So we’ve done partnerships with a vocational training institution and a university. It’s utilising existing courses and enhancing them.”

DREAMS: Lavendel Seguin, a Year 9 students at San Clemente High School, with an F-35 flight simulator in the background. She hopes to become a pilot. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Mr Evans said the TAFE NSW partnership“STEMstart”wouldtrain16 studentseach year for three years in “ICT and cyber security”,from nextApril.

“It’s an 18 month training program with as much integration with Lockheed Martin and other related companiesuntil the end of the project, coming out with a Diploma of Information and CommunicationTechnology,” hesaid.

Jobs are not guaranteed at the end of the program but the intakeof students wasbased on the company’s“projected needs”, anRDA Hunter spokespersonsaid.

Details of the university program “Altitude Accord”would be released next yearbutit would include a“number” of scholarships, Mr Evans said.

Vince Di Pietro,Lockheed Martin ’s chief executive,said it was in the company’s best interest to “raise the technology base in this region”.

Visit Regional Development Hunter for more information.

Related stories:

The moment the first F-35A jets touched down at Williamtown | Photos, videoHunter students top state in three Higher School Certificate subjects

SA budget in black despite falling revenue

SA budget in black despite falling revenue

SA Treasurer Rob Lucas has announced lower surpluses for the state budget in his mid-year review.Falling tax revenues will hit the South n budget over the coming years but the state's finances will stay in the black, Treasurer Rob Lucas has revealed.
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The government's mid-year budget review says tax revenues will be down by $79 million over the forward estimates, mostly from a slump in the housing market.

But the government says it is still on track to deliver a $40.1 million surplus in 2018/19, down from the $48 million forecast when the budget was delivered in September.

Surpluses over the coming years will also be lower than originally projected and are now expected to come in at $95 million in 2019/20, $96 million in 2020/21 and $189 million in 2021/2022.

"We're quite intent on delivering modest budget surpluses," Mr Lucas told reporters on Thursday.

"All we're seeking to do is to spend no more than we earn."

The budget review has forecast slightly lower economic growth in 2018/19, reflecting the impact of the drought.

But growth is expected to be correspondingly higher the following year.

And while property taxes will be down, treasury has tipped payroll taxes to be higher, and the government will get an extra $41 million in 2021/22 in GST returns.

It's also saved $37 million after a decision not to go ahead with the controversial right-hand-turn for the North Terrace tramline, funds it will reallocate in the 2019/20 budget.

Extra spending in the budget review includes $48 million for government schools from 2020/21, under the agreement with the federal government, $34 million over four years to meet the cost of children in state care and $102 million over two years for the plan to fix the problems within the public hospital and health network.

Despite the lower budget surplus, Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas said the government should scraps its cuts to government services and programs, given the result of the mid-year review.

"The Liberal government has no excuses for keeping their cruel cuts, closures and privatisations," Mr Malinauskas said.

Macarthur SWS stirring up Sydney rivals

Macarthur SWS stirring up Sydney rivals

Former Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak is expected to be a marquee target for Macarthur SWS.Macarthur South West Sydney haven't started their A-League life yet but they have already sparked rivalry within n football's biggest market.
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The unsuccessful Sydney candidate Southern Expansion expressed disappointment that Football Federation (FFA) voted against its own metrics and data by going with the Macarthur bid.

Macarthur SWS director Gino Barra said his club would have been ready to enter the A-League next season along with Western Melbourne, the other successful bidder, but they were happy to start in 2020-21.

Barra said his club would be massive on-field competitors with Western Sydney, but great mates off the field.

"That's the only real growth corridor within Sydney and it will continue to be that so I expect the western Sydney derby to be the biggest derby in town,' Barra said.

Sydney FC midfielder Brandon O'Neill doubted the status of the Sky Blues derbies with the Wanderers would be threatened by the emergence of another Western Sydney club.

"No matter what Sydney team came into it they would have a lot to uphold in terms of the matches being played, the intensity of the game, the atmosphere of the crowd," O'Neill said from ANZ Stadium, where Sydney and the Wanderers play on Saturday.

"We had a round one game here (in 2016), 61,880 people and it was incredible, so I think our derby will still be the main one."

Barra said a community forum would help determine the names and colours of his club and he hoped to announce the results within the next couple of weeks.

He confirmed former Socceroos captain and western Sydney product Mile Jedinak would be a potential target.

"Mile and me go back along way, so the chances of him coming back are strengthened by this (successful) bid," said Macarthur SWS director Sam Krslovic.

Krslovic was a former president of Sydney United, the NSL club Jedinak captained.

Barra said the club would look locally for their their inaugural coach.

'We'll be looking to appoint sooner rather than later as the coach needs to drive the recruitment and be the face of the club,'" Barra said.

Wanderers' players weren't concerned about having a nearby rival.

"It's going to create some divide between the two teams and fans, but that's football," Wanderers' midfielder Keanu Baccus said.

They weren't worried about possibly losing supporters to a neighbouring club.

"We've got a very passionate supporting base already, they've been very loyal to us and as long as we keep doing the right thing, doing well then, I think we'll have all the fans there," Wanderers' Jordan O'Doherty said.

Southern Expansion had $20 million cash up-front deposited in an n bank account for the licence fee and committed $3 million for marquee players.

"Unfortunately, it will now take at least a decade of projected growth elsewhere in Sydney to even come close to what Southern had put on the table," Expansion chief executive Chris Gardiner said.

"If FFA wanted immediate success for A-League expansion, it's surprising that they've voted against Southern Expansion.

Vic bus driver injured six, court told

Vic bus driver injured six, court told

Jack Aston has been convicted of injuring six people when driving his bus into a Melbourne overpass.A bus driver showed "flagrant inattention" when he negligently drove a bus into the Montague Street bridge, seriously injuring six of his passengers, a Melbourne court has heard.
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Jack Aston, 55, appeared in the County Court on Thursday for a plea hearing after being found guilty by a jury of negligently causing serious injury to six passengers when he drove into the bridge in 2016.

The court was told the Ballarat resident and Gold Bus driver was confused, new to the job and on a new route when he crashed into the "unexpectedly low bridge".

But Judge Bill Stuart said drivers must be alert to the "vagaries and the ever-changing risks" in the course of everyday driving.

"Possibly the most damning evidence against him was the observation of one of the witnesses ... of the imminent collision," he said.

"She saw it, he didn't and I don't get that.

"He had 14 passengers on board and of whom six were seriously injured. They were literally, in so far as he was the driver, in his care."

Judge Stuart said it was an unusual case in that Aston wasn't speeding, alcohol affected or distracted by his phone, but he had formed an almost "tunnel vision focus" and a "criminal lack of attention".

Defence barrister Richard Edney argued the bridge, built in the 19th century, was an ongoing problem for VicRoads and Melbourne drivers.

Character witness, Gold Bus company director Donald McKenzie, told the court Aston was a "good man" and should have been given better warning about the route and the bridge.

The hearing continues.