Greater Western Sydney midfielder Jacob Hopper has signed a two-year contract extension, spurning the advances of rival clubs.
Hopper will remain with the Giants at least until the end of 2019. He had attracted strong interest from several clubs, including Carlton and St Kilda.
The Giants continue to sweat over the signature of prime onballer Josh Kelly, who is weighing up massive offers from several clubs. This includes a nine-year, $10 million offer from North Melbourne.
Hopper, a product of the Giants academy who had played with North Ballarat in the TAC Cup, has played 20 matches in his first two years.
“I love the club and how they’ve embraced me and my family so it was an easy decision to recommit,” he said.
“This is my home and where I want to play football. I’m so excited for what’s to come with this group and I absolutely want to be a part of it.
“Heading into finals, there is a really good buzz around the place and we’re all excited for the challenge ahead.”
Hopper’s signature is a boost for the Giants ahead of their qualifying final against Adelaide on Thursday night.
Giants football-department chief Wayne Campbell said Hopper, pick No.7 in the 2015 national draft, was an important cog.
“Having Jacob extend his contract on the eve of the finals is a real boost for the club,” he said.
“He’s a great kid who has shown real leadership. He’s had some setbacks this season but we know it’s made him stronger and more resilient.
“We know what he’s capable of on the field and we are looking forward to seeing him go from strength to strength in the coming years.”
The Giants have a crucial selection to make this week, with struggling veteran Steve Johnson fighting to retain his spot in the side. Former Docker Matt de Boer, who has a modest finals record, could replace the three-time premiership Cat.
Senator Derryn Hinch will not refer himself to the High Court over a citizenship question. Photo: Andrew MearesCrossbench senator Derryn Hinch will not be referred to the High Court after advice from constitutional lawyers confirmed he was validly elected.
Senator Hinch attempted to refer himself to the court this week after concerns were raised he might be in breach of section 44 of the constitution, which would have rendered him the latest casualty of the citizenship fiasco engulfing Parliament.
According to the Victorian senator, Attorney-General George Brandis informed him he had been cleared of any breach by the government’s legal experts.
It was revealed this week that Senator Hinch held a social security card number in the United States from his time living in New York in the 1960s and 1970s. He is also eligible for a pension there.
On Saturday, he expressed relief and labelled the original revelations a “vindictive slur” from a “malevolent” person.
“I’m glad the government has accepted the same advice given to me this week by two august constitutional lawyers. I have never been entitled to the ‘rights and privileges’ of a foreign power,” Senator Hinch said in a statement.
“I offered to go to the High Court because, if I didn’t, critics would say ‘what are you hiding?’ It would have been a disgraceful waste of the High Court’s time and money – taxpayers’ and mine.”
The concern centred around whether the senator had fallen foul of the “entitlement” clause in section 44 of the constitution.
But his move to test his case before the High Court was dismissed by the government and opposition, who shared a view “that it was a waste of time”.
Senator Hinch has never held US citizenship and social security cards are issued as a matter of course without any citizenship benefits.
Seven MPs, including three Turnbull government ministers, have been found to be dual citizens. Five of the cases will face the High Court in October and the final two will be referred by the Parliament next week.
A competitive auction in Watson was among Canberra’s first springtime sales on Saturday.
The season is traditionally real estate’s busiest and comes off the back of an extraordinary winter market marked by strong sales and high clearance rates.
A three-bedroom house at 67 Piddington Street in Watson drew a large crowd, including eight registered bidders, on the sunny Saturday morning.
The house was on the market for the first time in more than 50 years and sits on more than 1000 square metres of land backing nature reserve.
An opening bid of $820,000 blossomed as lively bidding pushed the price past $900,000.
An investor snapped up the property for $921,000.
The sale contributed to a Canberra-wide clearance rate of 66 per cent off 41 reported auctions, according to Domain Group data.
Selling agent Andrew Grenfell of LJ Hooker Dickson said prospective buyers were drawn to the block’s location. Related: Canberra’s spring property boom beginsRelated: Willemsen Kambah home sells at auctionRelated: Bruce townhouse lures buyers to auction
“It’s just a good, flat, big block for people who want to renovate or rebuild – there are a lot of opportunities there for people,” he said.
“Not a lot of houses backing the reserve come up for sale. This [belonged to] the original owners from the 1960s.”
Mr Grenfell said he’d noticed more inquiries coming through and more people inspecting homes as the weather warmed up.
“The market is definitely picking up,” he said.
“The sun has come out, the flowers are blooming. It’s definitely a good time for people to revamp their interest in property.”
Inside the Watson house. Photo: Supplied
Mr Grenfell said there were limited houses in Watson and the surrounding area for sale.
“There are a lot of people looking for renovators, things they can do up themselves and put their stamp on,” he said.
“There are more young families who are upsizing and are coming up to that time in their life where they’re looking for somewhere to stay long term.”
For a full list of Canberra’s Saturday auction results, click here.
Wizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all Racing
Racing NSW has banned the use of vehicles to lead horses in training at racetracks throughout the state, leaving smaller country trainers looking for different ways to get their horses fit.
It has long been an option for trainers, in some cases holding the reins out the window while driving, to get their horses fit, particularly when no rider was available.
James Hatch famously prepared Stoneyrise to win a Country Championships heat leading him off his car on his property at the back of Bourke.
He will be able to continue the practice on private property for now as Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys said the ban was only on racecourses.
“We will not allow a practice that is so dangerous to participants, and the horse, to occur on racecourses in NSW. It is a welfare issue,” V’landys said. “It is just an accident that is waiting to happen and shouldn’t be a part of the industry in the 21st century.”
It is understood the NSW Trainers Association is compiling a list of more than 100 horses affected by the rule change as the outcry from bush trainers grows on social media. Upgrade finish at Albury
Albury Racing Club chief executive Mike Wighton is looking forward to finally getting back to consistent racing after more than year of track renovations at the border club.
The track has only held a handful of meetings in the past year as a $1.6 million upgrade took place and will hold its first meeting since Albury Cup day to coincide with the Everest and Caulfield Guineas meeting on October 14.
“We probably could have raced in September, but we just wanted to give the track time to consolidate in the growing period,” Wighton said. “We got the final section of the track finished after the cup meeting and we are using it for trackwork and jumpouts now.
“It has been a long period of work with the help of Racing NSW and the track is looking fantastic. It will be good to get back to racing regularly again.” Charman takes up as CEO
Tweed River Jockey Club secretary-manager Brian Charman will take over the chief executive of Country Racing in NSW.
Charman is set to take up his new role in October, but will be part of the annual country racing conference on September 29 before the country and provincial awards that night. Racing diary
Monday: Kempsey. Thursday: Ballina. Friday: Canberra, Tuncurry. Saturday: Armidale, Collarenebri, Griffith.
The ultimate racing form guide with free tips, live odds and alerts for all racing.
Four-year-old Georgia Ritter is the youngest person in NSW Ambulance’s 122 year history to receive the Commendation for Courage Community Award for her quick thinking to save her mum. Photo: Supplied”My mum’s in danger,” four-year-old Georgia Ritter told the triple-zero operator.
She had just witnessed her mum’s quad bike flip over, leaving her seriously injured and trapped beneath the vehicle on the family’s 200-hectare cattle farm at Bundook, near Taree, in May this year.
So Georgia scaled a 75-degree slope to check on her mum and her injuries, and then ran for nearly a kilometre to reach their home.
This week, she became the youngest person in NSW Ambulance’s 122-year history to receive the Commendation for Courage Community Award and Drop Ribbon Medal.
“Acts of bravery come in all shapes and sizes and so to do the very people who perform them,” NSW Ambulance Commissioner Dominic Morgan said, as he presented the four-year-old with the award.
“Despite her distress, Georgia managed to remain calm enough to tell our Triple Zero call taker what had happened, where she was and her name, effectively ensuring an emergency response to the property.”
Taking the young girl’s call that day was Triple Zero operator “Matt”. After discovering Georgia’s age, Matt softened his approach and promised to remain on the line until the paramedics arrived.
In the call, which has been publicly released, Georgia tells him she is alone and it is “a long way” to get back to her mum.
In a bid to calm her nerves, Matts gets her to talk about her cat, named Tiger, and the cows on the farm, before asking her for details of the accident.
Westpac Rescue Helicopter member Graham Nickisson said Georgia continued to help the first responders with information as they arrived at the farm.
“Georgia’s ability to provide critical information to our helicopter crew, ground paramedics and the clinicians on board when we arrived was nothing short of amazing,” he said.
“Her clear instructions, information and maturity in handling what was a very difficult and challenging incident, all contributed to ensuring her mum received the urgent care she needed.”
Mum, Natalie Ritter, was “very proud” of her daughter as she received her award on Friday.
“We’re incredibly thankful for how things turned out that day and it’s wonderful to see her actions acknowledged in this way,” she said.
Des Hasler, for the first time since taking over at Canterbury, took a sick day.
Which meant he dodged all the inevitable questions in what may have been his final Bulldogs pre-match press conference about whether Sunday would be the last time he coaches the blue and whites.
So it was left to his assistant, Jim Dymock, to front the media.
While the ink is still drying on the two-year contract extension Hasler recently signed, it appears increasingly likely he will be speared in the off-season. Which raised the question: would Dymock be keen to replace Hasler is such a scenario unfolded?
“Definitely,” Dymock said. “I have aspirations of being a head coach. To be head coach of a side that I’ve spilled blood for would be an honour for me. I’d definitely put my hand up.
“If that opportunity comes, I feel I’m ready. I’ve been coaching for 13 years so I think I’ve put the time in.
“I think we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves at the moment. I’m just worrying about the game tomorrow.”
Hasler’s future has been a talking point from the moment Canterbury legend Steve Mortimer told Fairfax Media the club was “losing our DNA” under the former Manly mentor. That happened last October. Since then the Bulldogs have missed the finals and blown the salary cap to such an extent that it’s likely skipper James Graham will have to be one of the players moved on to accommodate new buys Kieran Foran and Aaron Woods.
Adding further intrigue is the fact that Canterbury board elections are being held in February, where it is likely incumbent directors will be thrown out of Belmore if Hasler isn’t. If officials are looking for a coach that understands the intangible that is the culture of the “Family Club”, then Dymock fits the bill. The former NSW and n international made 71 appearances for the Bulldogs, including a grand final-winning one in which he earned Clive Churchill medal honours. His own future is yet to be decided given he is off contract and yet to be offered a new one.
Dymock had to answer the tough questions in Hasler’s absence. Perhaps not for the last time.
“Six years I’ve been working with Des and I can honestly say he’s had the sniffles every now and then but it’s the first time he hasn’t turned up for a training session,” Dymock said.
“I don’t think it’s strange, he’s had a few family commitments as well, someone has been sick in the family as well. I don’t think it’s strange, it is what it is.
“Definitely [he will be present to coach against the Dragons on Sunday], even if he has no voice he will be miming away, we’ll understand what he’s saying. All the work has been done and the boys know what we need to do tomorrow.”
The Canterbury board is scheduled to convene for a board meeting which could decide Hasler’s fate.
“That’s a tough thing for a lot of the staff and a few of the players, the uncertainty of next year, what’s going on,” Dymock said.
“I think the board has got a meeting next Tuesday or something like that. Hopefully they can sort something out and we can just get on with it.”
Hasler’s coaching record remains one of the best in the game. He has won two premierships with Manly, guided the Bulldogs to two grand finals and boasts a win rate of 58 per cent. However, the Bulldogs only just scraped into the finals last year and missed out altogether in 2017, with his side seemingly in decline. It is a transitional time for the club, which could soon have a new coach, CEO, skipper and board.
Asked if Hasler should be nervous about getting sacked, Dymock replied: “Mate, Des is never nervous about stuff like that. He’s very confident in what he does. The last six years he’s been here, he has a great win rate so he’s probably one of the best in the competition. If you take that into consideration and also the two grand finals we made, it makes for a pretty good six years.”
Serena Williams has given birth to a baby girl. Photo: APTennis championSerena Williamsand fiancéAlexis Ohanianhave welcomed their first child into the world.
The six-time US Open championgave birth to a baby girl at a hospital near her home in Palm Beach, prompting congratulatory messages to begin circulating on social media.
Williams announced her pregnancy with Reddit co-founder Alexis Olhanian in April by posting a selfie on Snapchat with the caption “20 weeks”.
The US Openwas among the first to tweet the news.
Reports claimed that an entire floor of the St Mary’s Medical Centre had been cleared to offer Williams maximum privacy.
“Obviously I’m super excited,” said the baby’s aunt, Venus Williams, as she took the court at the US Open. “Words can’t describe.”
Citing a source from StMary’s Medical Centrein West Palm Beach, where Williams reportedly checked in on Wednesday to be induced, WPBF editor Patricia Storm said the new addition weighed in at 3.09 kilograms and was delivered via Caesarean section. Both mother and baby are said to be healthy.
In the Septemberediton ofVogue, Williams revealed her “strong suspicion” she was having a girl.
“Alexis thinks we’re having a boy, but I have a strong suspicion that it’s a girl,” she said. “Two weeks after we found out, I played the n Open. I told Alexis it has to be a girl because there I was playing in 100-degree weather, and that baby never gave me any trouble. Ride or die. Women are tough that way.”
Beyonce congratulated the new mother on Instagram.
Williams has won a total of 23 Grand Slam singles titles during her career, placing hersecond on the all-timerecord list behindMargaret Court.
Williams has a slew of records to her name, including as the onlytennis player to have won 10 Grand Slam singles titles in two separate decades. She is also the only player to have wontwo of the four Grand Slams – Wimbeldon and the n Open -seven times each.
In the Vogue interview, the 35-year-old also revealed that she “definitely”plans to return to the court.
“It’s hard to figure out what the end of your tennis career should look like,” she says. “I used to think I’d want to retire when I have kids, but no. I’m definitely coming back. Walking out there and hearing the crowd, it may seem like nothing. But there’s no better feeling in the world.”
South Korean F-15 fighter jets. US stealth fighter jets on Thursday joined jets from South Korea and Japan in a live-fire drill over the Korean Peninsula. Photo: APRussianPresident Vladimir Putin has warned that the standoff between North Korea and the United States is close to spilling into a large-scale conflict, and said it was a mistake to try to pressure Pyongyang into halting its nuclear missile programme.
Mr Putin, due to attend a summit of the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa)in China next week, said the only way to de-escalate tensions was via talks, and Sergei Lavrov, his foreign minister, said Washington –not Pyongyang –should take the initiative.
“It is essential to resolve the region’s problems through direct dialogue involving all sides without advancing any preconditions (for such talks),” Mr Putin, whose country shares a border with North Korea, wrote on the Kremlin’s website.
“Provocations, pressure, and bellicose and offensive rhetoric is the road to nowhere.”
The Russian leader, whose nuclear-capable bombers recently flew over the Korean Peninsula in a show of force, said the situation had deteriorated so badly that it was now “balanced on the verge of a large-scale conflict.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a veiled critique of the United States and President Donald Trump’s rhetoric over North Korea. Photo: AP
Pyongyang has been working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States and recently threatened to land missiles near the USPacific territory of Guam.
US President Donald Trump issued a tweet on Thursday saying that “talking is not the answer” to the situation with North Korea.
The message was almost immediately contradicted by Mr Trump’s DefenceSecretary, Jim Mattis, who said diplomacy was never off the table.
“We are never out of diplomatic solutions,” he said before a meeting with his South Korean counterpart at the Pentagon.
“We continue to work together, and the minister and I share a responsibility to provide for the protection of our nations, our populations and our interests.”
A video broadcast by North Korean television last month shows Kim Jong-un receiving a military briefing in Pyongyang. Photo: AP
On Monday, North Korea, which sees joint war games between the United States and South Korea as preparations for invasion, raised the stakes by firing an intermediate-range missile over Japan.
“In Russia’s opinion the calculation that it is possible to halt North Korea’s nuclear missile programmes exclusively by putting pressure on Pyongyang is erroneous and futile,” Mr Putin wrote.
A road map formulated by Moscow and Beijing, which would involve North Korea halting its missile programme in exchange for the United States and South Korea stopping large-scale war games, was a way to reduce tensions, wrote Mr Putin.
Mr Lavrov, addressing students in Moscow, said he felt events were building towards a war which he said would cause large numbers of casualties in Japan and South Korea if it happened.
“If we want to avoid a war the first step must be taken by the side that is the more intelligent and stronger,” said MrLavrov, making clear he was referring to the United States.
He said Russia was working behind the scenes and that Moscow knew that Washington had a back channel to Pyongyang which he said he hoped would allow the two sides to de-escalate.
The week in pictures: September 18 to September 23 NEWCASTLE: Protection athlete Mitch Russell distracts a bull after a rider falls. Picture Supplied.
NEWCASTLE: Hebrew Congregation vice president David Gubbay Photo Simone de Peak
BALLARAT: Police line the streets in honour of Sergeant Barry Hills who was killed in a motorbike crash. Photo Kate Healy.
BALLARAT: Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer walks to a press conference to confirm a 16-year-old girls has been killed in a police chase. Photo: Kate Healy
DEVONPORT: Students from Don College showcasing a guest performance of Shrek at the Devonport Eisteddfod Showcase of Talent Concert. Picture Brodie Weeding
PINERY SA: Kelvin Tiller in his canola crop. Photo: Ali Kuchel
HENTY: Henty Machine of the Year runner-up with Coolamon Chaser Bins general manager Heath Hutcheon Coolamon at the Henty Machinery Field Days. Photo: Rachael Webb, The Land
HENTY: Luca Chaplin 5, Lochie Chaplin 6, and Georgia Shedden 6 from Willowvale Kergunyah Victoria at the Henty Machinery Field Days. Photo Rachael Webb The Land
HENTY: Emily White from Canberra, Matthew Roache, Alkira Woolsthorpe and Mikaela Meers, Netherway Coonamble at the Henty Machinery Field Days. Photo: Rachael Webb, The Land.
MOLONG: Ben Watts operating his DJI Inspire drone used for pasture mapping counting and checking stock. Photo Rachael Webb, The Land.
HENTY: Bourgault territory manager NSW and Qld Jonathon McKenzie Ettamogah at the Henty Machinery Field Days. Photo: Rachael Webb, The Land.
BALLARAT: Nithesh Babu 12, Vishnu Nerella 10, and Karthik Venkatesh 11 at the 2017 Ganesh Chaturthi festival. Photo Luka Kauzlaric.
HENTY: Bruce Tutty, checking out an Excel Stubble warrior air seeder at Henty Machinery Field Days. Photo: Rachael Webb, The Land.
HENTY: Ryan Taylor (right) trying on an Akubra with the assistance of Jarryd Gould sales assistant with Ozhatz Qld at Henty Machinery Field Days. Photo: Rachael Webb, The Land.
DEVONPORT: New Western District Police Commander Jonathan Higgins. Picture Cordell Richardson.
TASMANIA: Burnie High School_s musical of The Snow Queen. Picture Cordell Richardson.
BALLARAT: North Ballarat Roosters chairman John Nevett addresses the media after the Roosters had their VFL licence revoked. Photo: Luka Kauzlaric.
LAUNCESTON: Cataract Gorge’s First Basin. Picture Phillip Biggs.
STRATHALBYN: Willunga league players run through the banner onto the ground for the Great Southern Football League grand final. Photo, Ryan Finlay.
LAUNCESTON: The post office clock tower on the corner of Cameron and St John streets. Picture Phillip Biggs.
LAUNCESTON: Former prime minister Tony Abbott popped into Launceston during the week. We are yet to confirm whether he ate the onion. Picture Scott Gelston.
LAUCNESTON: North Launceston captain Taylor Whitford stands with his leadership group Brad Cox-Goodyer Zach Burt and Jack Avent. Picture Scott Gelston.
LAUNCESTON: Country Gold Netball competition at the Silverdome. Picture Neil Richardson.
STRATHALBYN: Tom Pinyon has a celebratory drink from the premiership cup after his side won the Great Southern Football League grand final. Photo_ Ryan Finlay
BALLARAT: Ballarat Wildlife Park’s Charlie Parker. Photo: Lachlan Bence.
TAREE: Mick Moylan, Holli Wheeler, Yvette Gillett, Emma Newell, Jayne Black and Hooker Bear ready for the Fit and Lean challenge Photo Scott Calvin.
PORT MACQUARIE: The 2017 Dance Eisteddfod Photo by Tracey Fairhurst.
NEWCASTLE: Sarah Skillen and Daniel Burgess outside the Icon Central apartment block site. They each bought a property in the development, which was cancelled in July. Picture Marina Neil.
NEWCASTLE : Rescue reported 12 homes sustained severe structural damage as a result of water rushing in. Photo Brodie Owen.
NEWCASTLE: Lynn Benn of Mulbring being led off by police after her arrest at Abbot Point coal port.
KEMPSEY: Crescent Head Public School students celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day Photo by Callum McGregor.
NEWCASTLE: Hunter’s Nick Stoddart at the 2016 NSW Interbranch Surf Life Saving Championships at The Lakes, Budgewoi. Picture Daniel Danuser
NEWCASTLE: George the orphan baby wombat who stole hearts across the country has been named ‘s most adorable animal.
NEWCASTLE: Sam Kerr’s flip an iconic moment for n women’s team sports Photo AAP.
NEWCASTLE: A turbine on the left in part of the ageing Liddell power station at Muswellbrook. Picture Janie Barrett.
The Royal National Park, reserved in April 1879, was the world’s second national park. Photo: Peter RaeThe NSW government has been accused by the state opposition of launching “the single biggest attack” on the National Parks and Wildlife service since it was set up half a century ago.
Penny Sharpe, Labor’s environment spokeswoman, used a NSW estimates hearing to press the government to confirm the loss of 49 park rangers – or 20 per cent of the total – since the coalition came to office in 2011.
The upper house member also asked the government to explain how the NPWS had seen its budget outlay slide from a projected $503.1 million in 2016-17 to a revised $448.1 million actually spent. That tally edged lower to $445 million in the current budget.
Anthony Lean, the chief executive of the Office of Environment and Heritage, told estimates the “bulk” of the reduction in spending was the result of a transfer of corporate services to other units.
“There’s been a significant change in the way the numbers have been represented,” Mr Lean said, adding he would take on notice a request to provide the proportion of the cuts.
A spokesman for OEH later told Fairfax Media that the removal of corporate costs accounted for the lower budget figures. Average staff numbers during 2011-17 were stable at about 1610 full-time staff equivalents, and these would rise to 1770 once the current restructure is complete.
Ms Sharpe, though, said the government continued to push through cuts, including so-called efficiency dividends of $5.6 million in the the 2016-17 and 2017-18 years.
“In its 50th year, the NPWS has never been so under attack because of cuts to staff, cuts to budget, and the sheer neglect of this government,” Ms Sharpe said.
One example was the NSW National Parks Establishment Plan, originally earmarked for a review and update by mid-2014 to cover the 2015-2020 period, had now been pushed at least into next year, she said.
The government is planning to reopen the strategy for consultation to take into account the plan to provide more money to conservation efforts on private land as part of its biodiversity conservation overhaul, Mr Lean said.
The focus on private conservation meant “national Parks have gone to the back of the line,” Ms Sharpe said.
The OEH spokesman, though, said the government remained committed to expanding the protected areas in NSW that now cover 7 million hectares.
Since 2011, the public reserve system had been expanded by than 70,000 hectares through the establishment of nine new reserves and 122 additions to existing reserves.
“It has also set aside $240 million [over five years] for the establishment of protected areas over private land as part of its biodiversity conservation reforms,” he said.
Those reforms, though, were also a subject of Friday’s estimates hearings, with opposition members questioning the reason for releasing new land-clearing codes for native vegetation before most of the maps had been finalised.
Those maps are intended to show which lands are considered to have high conservation value vegetation that will need approval from Local Land Services before it can be cleared.
Gabrielle Upton reiterated comments made last month to Fairfax Media that the maps were in addition to other codes and regulations already in place.
“There are strong penalties [for wrongful clearing] and a high level of monitoring of the reforms,” Ms Upton told estimates.
Ms Upton also said she had “considered the advocacy” of the family of Glen Turner, the OEH compliance officer murdered three years ago while investigating land clearing by the Turnbull family at Croppa Creek, north of Moree. The new laws “will not diminish [Mr Turner’s] work or his life”, she said.
Ms Upton took on notice a question as to whether the land being cleared by the Turnbull family would have been approved under the new codes released on August 25.