Brad SewellHawthorn is open to offers for premiership midfielder Brad Sewell, with the club exploring ways to create additional salary cap space and generate opportunities for its young onballers.
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The Hawks have put Sewell’s name forward as a cheap potential trade in recent weeks and put the feelers out again as the trade period opened on Monday, happy for the 29-year-old to stay at Waverley Park should no new home present.

Sewell is contracted for next season, has little interest in leaving the club that drafted him as a rookie in 2003, and is happy to back himself in again next year rather than play for a non-contending side.

The midfielder was briefly dropped from the Hawthorn side this year but worked his way back into form and played in 21 games for the season, including the last 10 in a row, and is unlikely to consider a move for less than a two-year contract.

He is due to leave for an overseas holiday this week, knowing the club is exploring his trade worth but intending to remain at Hawthorn, where he will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of next year.

The Hawks have a handful of young midfielders they are hoping to give more game time to next year, including Jed Anderson and Mitch Hallahan, who was recruited as a long-term replacement for Sewell in 2010. A handful of clubs including Carlton have expressed interest in contracted midfielder Shane Savage.

The club would likely have to pay a percentage of Sewell’s contract should it move him on.

Meanwhile, a deal sending Essendon forward Stewart Crameri to the Western Bulldogs is some time away. The Bulldogs’ second-round pick, No. 22, is on the table, but Essendon is pushing for a pick in the teens, given No. 22 will slip two or three picks by the time free agency compensation picks are factored in.

Collingwood defender Heath Shaw is overseas, and unlikely to settle on a preferred new club this week. His choice will likely be between Greater Western Sydney and Geelong, with the Giants offering the bigger contract.

The Cats’ first-round pick – No. 15 – would be enough to secure the trade, and also position the Magpies to land uncontracted Giants Taylor Adams. Geelong is also interested in Adams.

Essendon and Carlton remain interested in Shaw but would find a trade difficult. Essendon lacks suitable draft picks, and Carlton is limited because of Dale Thomas’ shift there as a free agent. The Blues’ first-round pick will not be traded and their second pick would be unsuitable for Collingwood.

Melbourne is interested in contracted midfielder David Myers, but Essendon list manager Adrian Dodoro declared him off limits on Monday. The Demons rummaged about seemingly fruitlessly in finding a satisfactory prospect worthy of a trade for pick two in the draft, with West Coast onballer Luke Shuey raised as a possible trade option but promptly ruled out by his manager.

The Brisbane Lions will trade wingman Jared Polec home to South Australia but is waiting to see which of Adelaide or Port Adelaide can offer the earliest second-round draft pick.

The Crows, banned from the first two rounds of the national draft, are working hard to find ways back in the order. Wingman David Mackay, who notched his 100th game this year, has been discussed with rival clubs, with Ricky Henderson another trade possibility and Shaun McKernan keen for a move back to Melbourne.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.Read More →

WATCH out world, Newcastle is coming.
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Hunter representatives make up almost half of the Australian team that leaves on Friday for the World Sport Aerobics and Fitness Championships at Belgrade in Serbia from October 15.

Juniors Taylah Savage, Isaac Leadbeatter, Zane Ellison, Tully Barton and Siennah Pirona, as well as defending open world champion and coach Allira Bull, qualified after winning medals at the Australian Sport Aerobic Championships in Melbourne in July.

The six are part of a 13-strong team of individual qualifiers from Australia.

Leadbeatter won the junior male division at nationals and is the defending world champion. He now trains under world aerobics champion Anthony Ikin, the younger brother of former NRL player Ben Ikin, on the Gold Coast.

Pirona, who trains under Bull, is in the cadet female category and is also a defending world champion.

Savage (third in junior female), Ellison (winner in cadet male) and Barton (third in cadet female) will be competing at worlds for the first time after their medals at nationals.

The region is also well represented in the teams component. Thirteen combinations are travelling to Serbia from Australia and five of those hail from the Hunter.

Savage is part of ‘‘Unleashed’’, from Nicole Maslowski’s The Ultimate Beat at Jewells, and will compete alongside Jessica Andrew, Emma Dixon, Sophie Duncan, Alayna Gay, Demi Gordon, Olivia Hodgson and Karla Verschelden in the junior fitness category after finishing second at nationals.

The Ultimate Beat ‘A Team’ side of Duncan, Gay and Gordon are also off to Serbia to perform in the junior sport teams division. They came fourth at nationals but have secured a berth after a higher-placed side withdrew.

‘‘Something New’’ from Bull’s Newcastle Sport Aerobics and Fitness also came fourth and benefited from a withdrawal. The team of Anika Butler, Breanna Ellison and Jade Sansom will compete in the senior teams section in Serbia.

Ellison and Barton, who train with Bull, qualified for the mixed pairs event in the cadet section with victory at nationals.

Newcastle Grammar School’s ‘‘Moulin Rouge’’ line-up of Sophie Bowman, Abby Bush, Lena Ingram, Bethany Lee, Dominique Murphy, Dominique Oakley, Mackenzie Smith and Verity Webb are in the junior step aerobics division.

Maslowski will travel with the squad, along with fellow coaches Bull, Newcastle Grammar School’s Corey Rowntree and Australian team coach Kristy de Lore, who is also a Novocastrian.

Maslowski said the sport had gone from strength to strength in the region over the past decade.

‘‘When I came into it about 10 years ago there was only one club in Newcastle. Now there’s three,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s become a lot stronger and it’s nice to see so many kids from the area going over to worlds.’’

Maslowski believed the sport appealed to many people because of its many elements.

Junior Fitness team ‘Unleashed’ who are competing at the World Sport Aerobics Championships in Serbia. Photo by PHIL HEARNE

Tully Barton and Zane Ellison flying high watched by Taylah Savage, Isaac Leadbeatter and Siennah Pirona who are all competing at the World Sport Aerobics Championships in Serbia. Photo by PHIL HEARNE

Tully Barton and Zane Ellison flying high are competing at the World Sport Aerobics Championships in Serbia. Photo by PHIL HEARNE

AEROBICS COMPETITORS: Siennah Pirona, Tully Barton, Taylah Savage, Zane Ellison and Isaac Leadbeatter. Picture: Phil Hearne

16 y.o. Breanna Ellison, 17 y.o. Anika Butler and 16 y.o. Jade Sansom who are in the Senior Trio ‘Something New’ who are competing at the World Sport Aerobics Championships in Serbia. Photo by PHIL HEARNE

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US duo James Rothman and Randy Schekman and German-born Thomas Suedhof won the Nobel prize in medicine on Monday for their groundbreaking work on how the cell organises its transport system, the jury said.
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The trio, who all work at US universities, were honoured for “their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells,” it said.

Their discoveries have had a major impact on understanding how cargo is delivered within and outside the cell and have implications for work on several diseases including neurological and immunological disorders, as well as diabetes, the Nobel committee said.

Each cell is a factory that produces and exports molecules.

“For instance, insulin is manufactured and released into the blood and chemical signals called neurotransmitters are sent from one nerve cell to another. These molecules are transported around the cell in small packages called vesicles,” it explained.

The three Nobel laureates “have discovered the molecular principles that govern how this cargo is delivered to the right place at the right time in the cell,” it said.

The winners will share equally the prize sum of 8 million Swedish kronor ($1.25 million), reduced because of the economic crisis last year from the 10 million kronor awarded since 2001.

Last year, the honour went to Shinya Yamanaka of Japan and John Gurdon of Britain for their work on cell programming, a frontier that has raised dreams of replacement tissue for people crippled by disease.

In line with tradition, the laureates will receive their prize at a formal ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896.


The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.Read More →

”I am pretty driven and I have a few tough decisions ahead, but I am just savouring the moment for a while:” Sonny Bill Williams. Photo: Jonathan CarrollPaul Cully: Why Sonny Bill Williams should turn his back on league
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Being once considered the NRL’s public enemy No.1 helped Sonny Bill Williams develop the mental toughness that enabled him to overcome a mistake-riddled first half and produce the match-turning plays for Sydney Roosters in Sunday’s grand final defeat of Manly.

Williams, who had helped the Bulldogs to a premiership win over the Roosters in 2004, was still in a euphoric state as he celebrated his latest triumph with a family barbecue on Monday afternoon. While the league and union worlds wait to learn where he will play next season, Williams is likely to be weighing up which code can offer him the greatest challenge as 2014 is like a ”gap year” before the Rugby World Cup in 2015 and 2016 Olympic Games for a player who has already won a Super Rugby title and a second NRL premiership.

”I am pretty driven and I have a few tough decisions ahead, but I am just savouring the moment for a while,” Williams said.

But no decision will be as tough as the one he made to quit the Bulldogs in 2008 without telling anyone and moving to France to play rugby union. What the then 22-year-old endured as he was pursued at airports in Singapore and London by reporters and subpoena servers engaged by Canterbury and the NRL en route to Toulon helped Williams develop a mental toughness only the best athletes possess.

Voted Australia’s most-hated man ahead of Osama bin Laden in a magazine poll, he had to learn a new code in a new country, while dealing with injuries and self-doubts that prompted him to tell then All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith in 2009 that he didn’t believe he’d be good enough to make the 2011 World Cup team.

A year later, Williams turned his back on a $6 million, three-year deal to stay at Toulon and represent France to return to New Zealand and pursue his goal of a place in the All Blacks team.

Williams told Fairfax Media he drew on his experiences since leaving the Bulldogs for the inspiration to help set up the two tries in Sunday’s grand final that put the Roosters in the lead and sealed their first premiership since 2002. ”The walk that I have walked, that is what I go back to when I am in tough situations,” Williams said. ”At half-time, I just thought of that. I am pretty confident in my own ability and what I can do now, and how I can contribute. I was pretty disappointed after that first half but that is when mental strength comes in.

”Winning the grand final was definitely a dream come true. This is just so much more sweeter than 2004 because after five years I had forgotten how tough this competition was. It’s just so sweet looking down on this [premiership] ring.”

After ending a self-imposed media ban, Williams opened up during interviews on Sunday night and was the last player to leave the Roosters’ dressing room before the whole team and staff walked to the centre of ANZ Stadium at about 11.30pm.

Now a devout Muslim, Williams told reporters he had benefited from a change of lifestyle after leaving the Bulldogs. ”I never touched alcohol until I made first grade,” he said. ”I lost my way for a couple of years there but I’m proud to say I’m proud of the man I see in the mirror.

”I guess, looking back, I went through embarrassing times. I’ve got to take accountability for my actions. But I feel confident as a man, as a person that I represent my family as I was brought up to.”

Whether Williams remains in the code next season remains to be seen, as each year since joining Toulon he has moved on and the only new challenge the NRL could offer him now would be the opportunity to play State of Origin for NSW.

Williams is keen to help the All Blacks secure their first world cup on foreign soil in 2015 and win an Olympic gold medal in rugby sevens at the Rio Games.

But rugby union offers nothing next season that he hasn’t done before, and Williams said he loved the ”brotherhood” at the Roosters as much as the environment at the Chiefs last year.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.Read More →

LAST year koalas from NSW, Queensland and the ACT were listed as ‘‘vulnerable’’ under the Commonwealth Government Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. This followed massive declines in the number and distribution of koala populations.
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The main threat to koalas is loss of habitat.

Koalas mostly live on private land – land used by us humans too. Hence there is an immediate conflict between human needs for living and work space and the koalas’ need for trees.

The loss of habitat is exacerbated by deaths from road traffic and attacks from dogs.

If this isn’t enough, the small, stressed populations of koalas are threatened by diseases such as chlamydia.

Surprisingly – against the odds – the koala figures did show some populations that appeared to have increased in number. One of these was from the Liverpool Plains, surrounding the town of Gunnedah.

This area had been subjected to a large-scale tree-planting campaign in the 1990s to combat rising salinity and soil erosion. Our team of researchers from the University of Sydney and the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (now the Office of Environment and Heritage), aided by the community-driven Liverpool Plains Land Management Inc and Foundation for National Parks, decided to investigate if the tree plantings were the reason for the increase in koalas.

We wanted to discover what lessons could be learnt from this landscape management.

We fitted 40 koalas with portable GPS units, attached to collars. These let us know where the koalas were every four hours. We could then follow the path of each koala to measure what tree they had been in.

Our results provided some new insights on how koalas use the landscape. The koalas used very different trees during day and night, and different trees as temperatures became hotter.

Koalas must balance their needs for food, water and shelter. Unfortunately these requirements often come from different trees.

Koalas eat only eucalyptus leaves, and only from certain species. The problem is that eucalyptus leaves are full of toxins and tannins, making it difficult for the koalas to extract their required nutrients. Hence koalas need to feed from a number of different trees to balance their nutrients and toxin levels.

Then koalas need a place to rest out of the heat. They don’t burrow or fly, so they need to find the appropriate trees to find respite from the sun.

This leads us to our findings.

Koalas during the day, and at warmer temperatures, used larger trees with more shelter and in gullies. These were often non-eucalyptus trees like belah and kurrajong. The koalas had to sacrifice feeding in their favourite trees in the area, such as river red gums and bimble box, to find trees to protect them from the heat.

The cost for those koalas not having access to these shelter trees was potentially enormous. In 2009, a week-long heatwave of temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius caused about a quarter of the population to perish.

So what are the lessons from this study for the conservation of koalas in the long term?

The focus of much planning for koalas has been on their food trees. Our study clearly shows that shelter trees are just as important for maintaining viable koala populations.

As many of these shelter trees were larger, and trees don’t grow overnight, it also demonstrates that we need to maintain larger older trees, as well as planting new trees, to conserve koala populations. This is particularly important as heatwaves like the one in 2009, are expected to increase in frequency and intensity into the future.

However it is not all doom and gloom. Our study shows how scientists, government agencies and farmers can all work together in the conservation of a species.

Koalas like trees on fertile soil, and hence they are often on private farming land. The farmers of the Liverpool Plains, aided by Liverpool Plains Land Management Inc, have enabled both the conservation of koalas on their land and have assisted the current research.

If we pay attention to this research, we can both plant and maintain trees, and therefore maintain koala populations way into the future.

We still need to know more about how koalas choose trees, particularly how they can balance nutrients and toxins, and that relies on continuing research.

There is a decline in biodiversity researchers and their funding, which will make conservation projects even more difficult in the future.

Conservation and research need to work hand in hand, or irreversible mistakes can be made. We are very grateful for the support of the funding bodies, and the support of the University of Sydney.

Dr Mathew Crowther is senior lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences at Sydney University.

NEEDING SUPPORT: While their numbers have increased, koalas are listed as vulnerable in two states and the ACT.

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