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Labor’s carbon backflip

Labor is expected to support axing the carbon tax, with senior figures – including leader Bill Shorten – now convinced that its case for action on climate change is more easily sold if the politically ”toxic” tax is abolished.
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The Opposition has been wrestling with the repeal of the tax, with some saying it must hold the line to show voters and demoralised supporters it still stands for something. But party leaders have progressed their thinking to consider what the party will put to voters in the lead-up to the next election.

They argue that Labor proposed to ”terminate” the tax at the election and to simply block its repeal would allow the government to continue to punish it politically.

Mr Shorten is also worried an endless focus on the carbon tax would distract from serious flaws in the government’s $3.2 billion Direct Action policy, which Labor will oppose.

Direct Action uses taxpayer funds to pay polluters to start reducing emissions and pay for other initiatives in forestry, carbon capture, and recycling.

A survey of economists by Fairfax Media found only two out of 35 supported Direct Action over an emissions trading scheme.

Labor will continue to back some form of carbon pricing but reserves the right to deliver its policy closer to the election. In the meantime, it will scrutinise Direct Action, independent analysis of which suggests it won’t be able to reduce emissions by 5 per cent in 2020, a bipartisan goal, without more funding, something expressly ruled out by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

A senior Labor source said the party would not countenance weakening the target, amid concern that the draft legislation to repeal the carbon tax changes the status of the 5 per cent reduction from a legally enforceable cap to merely an aspiration.

‘‘We are happy to get rid of the tax but we do think there should be a cap on pollution,’’ said a Labor insider.

The Climate Change Authority will release its recommendations for Australia’s emissions cuts target on Wednesday morning. The independent advisory body may recommend that the 5 per cent cut be revised upward to 10 or 15 per cent. It will also assess the nation’s progress towards its short and medium term emissions cuts.

Mr Abbott has made the repeal of the carbon tax his legislative priority when Parliament resumes in three weeks. He urged Labor to ‘‘repent’’ and support the government.Multiple Labor sources acknowledged there had been a shift since the election.

Even so, shadow cabinet is yet to finalise Labor’s position and the party also wants to see the final shape of the government’s legislation before finally committing to its position.

Labor’s climate change spokesman Mark Butler hinted strongly on the weekend that the option of allowing the repeal bills through was being actively considered, revealing the final policy ‘‘will be informed by the fact that we took to the last election a commitment ourselves to terminate the carbon tax’’.

John Scales from JWS Research said polling showed that the carbon tax had dominated the climate change debate in recent years and undermined support for action.

He said the tax was widely seen through the prism of former prime minister Julia Gillard’s broken promise when she introduced the impost, as well as its impact on electricity and other prices.

Mr Abbott has already begun calling Mr Shorten ‘‘Electricity Bill’’ as he goads him to support the repeal of the tax.

With it gone, Mr Scales  reckoned that Labor would have the clear air to make direct action the target and develop its alternative.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Time has arrived: Foreteller off to Cup

Leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller said he had given up looking for reasons not to run his import Foreteller in next week’s $6 million Melbourne Cup, maintaining the horse’s time to compete in Australia’s most important handicap had arrived.
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”It was a cracking run on Saturday in the Cox Plate. OK, will he run a genuine two miles is the question. Saintly went from a Cox Plate to winning a Melbourne Cup with a doubt on him staying.

”I know the horse was trained by a genius [Bart Cummings], but I am just hoping Foreteller could do exactly what Saintly did and win the Cup. We have been finding reasons not to start him, but his time has come.”

While Waller will not be the biggest player in this Melbourne Cup, as wealthy businessman Lloyd Williams could have up to a quarter of the field with six runners, the former New Zealand trainer has three hopefuls – Foreteller, Hawkspur and Kelinni.

”That’s how I’m looking at it,” Waller said. ”They are all in great order and I can’t fault them so the Cup is their mission. But Foreteller will not run on Saturday, he will go straight into the Cup.”

Local jockey Craig Newitt looks set to take the ride on Foreteller.

Cummings’ mission to get an incredible 88th runner in the Cup is still alive, although hanging by a thread, after Moonee Valley Cup winner Precedence was given a one-kilogram penalty .

Racing Victoria chief handicapper Greg Carpenter said the weight penalty for the group 2 win was in line with what the horse carried in last year’s race when a brave ninth to Green Moon, and was a penalty that took into consideration the horse’s age and the fact he has won a group 3 and a group 2 staying race in the past 12 months.

”The penalty takes Precedence back to the same weight he carried when running ninth to Green Moon in last year’s Emirates Melbourne Cup,” Carpenter said.

”The penalty is the same given to Vatuvei for winning the 2012 renewal at Moonee Valley and does not guarantee the horse a start in the race. After withdrawals at the third declarations stage Precedence has moved from 45th to 29th in the order of entry but is far from guaranteed a place in the final field of 24.”

To make the field Precedence must win either the Mackinnon Stakes or the Lexus Stakes on Saturday at Flemington or sit back and rely on attrition to improve his position in the order of entry.

Cummings’ grandson and training partner James said that if Precedence managed to sneak into the Melbourne Cup field his grandfather would be at Flemington to watch his 88th Cup runner.

The Melbourne Cup dream is still alive for the connections of 47 horses that were paid up at the third stage of declarations on Monday, with Saturday’s Derby day meeting at Flemington to play a significant hand in the final field.

Key Cup hopefuls that face a must-win scenario this Saturday include Caulfield Cup fourth Jet Away and English raider Forgotten Voice. Both must win the Mackinnon to get a start.

Saturday’s group 1 Mackinnon Stakes and group 3 Lexus provide the winner with ballot exempt passage into the field, meaning that horses on the borderline of a Cup start could be forced out.

And it would seem the Lexus will be a hard-fought affair considering there are 18 hopefuls attempting to force a way through to the Cup.

Key absentees from the list of nominations were the Gai Waterhouse-trained Glencadam Gold, Peter Moody’s Manighar, It’s A Dundeel, Royal Descent, and early Cup favourite Puissance De Lune, with tension building as the final field begins to take shape.

West Australian trainer Adam Durrant kept Mr Moet in the race after finishing sixth at Caulfield.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Berry tough training schedule has Cup pair on track

Winning combination: Tommy Berry and Gai Waterhouse. The pair will combine with Tres Blue in the Melbourne Cup. Photo: Dallas KilponenIf he didn’t know any better, Tommy Berry could have sworn that he’s the one Gai Waterhouse is training to run the two miles of the Melbourne Cup and not French three-year-old Tres Blue.
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But Berry knows Waterhouse too well to second-guess her methods as she prepares her latest European import for the Cup. He also understands that the champion trainer is in a strange way training the young jockey just as carefully for the rigours of the race as she is her horse.

While Tres Blue has been settling into the Werribee quarantine centre, Berry has been doing his own trackwork, pounding out the kilometres on the road and the race track in preparation for his second Melbourne Cup ride.

”Gai’s got me running the track, two laps of Flemington every day just so I can get used to it, she’s training me more than the horse, don’t worry,” he said.

”She’s got me going from Flemington trackwork to Werribee trackwork then back to Flemington for training every day, so I’ll be here (Werribee) every day until Cup day getting familiar with the horse – it’s what Gai wants.”

Waterhouse has made no secret of the fact that it is the Melbourne Cup trophy that she craves most, recently announcing a major public syndication group that will race horses specifically for the purpose of winning the Cup.

And along with her runners, race favourite Fiorente and recent French purchase Tres Blue, Berry has become a crucial part of her quest and is now regarded as Waterhouse’s No.1 rider following a separation from long-time stable jockey Nash Rawiller.

Berry was entrusted with the ride on Waterhouse’s Glencadam Gold in last year’s Cup, his first ride in the race, and has been handed the reins to Tres Blue along with the responsibility for helping the young stayer to acclimatise to Waterhouse’s methods in the week before the race, a challenge that excites the young rider.

”He’s got great form behind him, it is just as good as Fiorente’s when he came out last year. He can be a little quirky but we can’t fault him at the moment but we’ve got a little bit over a week to the Cup, so fingers crossed it all holds together,” he said.

”I think he’s a better chance than Glencadam Gold. This horse can adapt to races a little bit better than Glencadam and he has a lot better form coming into it.”

Tres Blue has emerged as a Cup player this season in France. The three-year-old (four by southern hemisphere season) was a narrow winner of a minor listed race at Lyon in May and then runner-up in what was considered to be an average edition of the German Derby. But from there the horse’s form improved significantly.

A dominant win against his own age group in the Prix De Reux over 2400 metres was followed by a grinding victory in the Prix De Deauville, leaving star galloper Cirrus Des Aigles behind at the line. The horse was then sold to Waterhouse’s former racing manager Bruce Slade and his Round Table Racing syndicate for a reported seven figure sum.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Globetrotters promise hoops of fun

ENTERTAINER: Herbert LangHERBERT “Flight Time” Lang has promised a mixed bag of new tricks and old-school favourites when he and the Harlem Globetrotters touch down at Newcastle Entertainment Centre tonight.
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The world-famous Globetrotters are midway through their first Australian tour since 2004 but this is Flight Time’s first visit Down Under, despite being in his 15th year with the team.

Flight Time and his teammates were enjoying some down time on a day off in Sydney yesterday after wowing crowds in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Townsville and Cairns last week. They will head to Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide and Hobart after playing in Newcastle tonight.

“We haven’t been here since 2004 and for myself, I’ve been with the team now for 15 years and I missed the last two times that they came here so for me, this is my first time, and it’s been pretty much everything that they’ve advertised,” Flight Time told the Newcastle Herald.

“I can’t believe it’s been so long since we’ve been here. The tour’s been going great, attendances have been great, so hopefully it won’t be that long again before we get a chance to come back.

“It seems like you’ve missed us, according to the way people have been turning out so far. It’s always nice to know that you’re liked, and to be a part of a team that’s been around for so long.

“Coming to places like Australia, places around the world that you wouldn’t get to come to with a normal job, for me it’s a blessing, and I enjoy every minute of it.”

A fan, and star, of reality television, the 37-year-old guard from Brinkley, Arkansas, has appeared on The Amazing Race, Hell’s Kitchen and The Bachelorette, but basketball is his passion and he has never tired of entertaining fans with his sublime skills.

“We get a chance to go out on the court and entertain every night. Once we start the crowd participation, it’s a different show every night because you never know how people are going to respond,” he said.

“With social media the way it is, we can go on Twitter and Instagram and see what people think about us, and for the most part, we always get positive feedback. It’s always nice to hear how good you are.”

The International Elite All-Stars have replaced long-time whipping boys the Washington Generals as the Globetrotters’ opponents on this tour.

“We’ve been breaking ankles, and almost breaking backboards as well,” he said.

“This is our 87th year of touring the world, and the thing about the Globetrotters is, everybody has a Globetrotters story. We do a lot of crowd participation and bringing people out on to the court.

“You might see some water thrown on somebody, kids out there spinning basketballs, a lot of dancing, high-flying slam dunks, and great family fun. We’re all about making memories that will last a life-time.

“We’re a great family show. I always tell people that even if you don’t like basketball, you can still come to a Harlem Globetrotters game and have a great time.”

Globetrotters stars “Cheese” Chisholm, “Moose” Weekes and 224cm Jermaine “Stretch” Middleton, the third-tallest player in team history, will be at Newcastle Basketball Stadium at Broadmeadow at 4pm today to showcase their skills to junior basketballers preparing for the Seaside Classic at Port Macquarie this weekend.

A limited number of tickets remain for the show tonight, starting at 7pm, and they are available through Ticketek on a two-for-one basis.

Lawyer buys $710,000 city unit to set up son, 5, on ground floor of property market

dion vertzayas and dean A birthday present: The view from the Potts Point pad. Photo: Supplied
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Dion

Helping your adult daughter to buy a million-dollar Surry Hills terrace is one thing, but spending $710,000 on an apartment for your five-year-old son is another.

Sydney property lawyer Dion Vertzayas has moved to secure his son’s future in the market by buying a bolt-hole in the inner city.

His son, Dean, probably won’t be moving in until sometime around 2025, but Mr Vertzayas said he had to act now to prevent his son being forever priced out of the market.

”There is only limited stock in Sydney,” he said. ”He’s turning six next month. It is going to be a surprise for his birthday. ”When he is at university he can have it as his place and he can commute from there to wherever he wants to study or work.”

The one-bedroom apartment with parking on Victoria Street, Potts Point, has views over the Domain to the Harbour Bridge.With the market on the rise, more first-timers are being forced to fall back on their parents for help.

The median house price in Sydney surged past $700,000 for the first time over the September quarter to $722,718. The median unit price also rose to $515,035, figures from Australian Property Monitors show.

Potts Point agent Nuri Shik from Laing+Simmons said parents had been showing up to inspections with their kids ever since the first home owner grant for established properties was scrapped in 2012.

”The government used to assist first home buyers, now it is parents who have stepped in to fill the gap,” he said. ”It’s the best way to get in to the market because if they [young people] wait until they’ve saved their money they could be priced out even further.”

The extent that parents will go to help their kids became apparent on Saturday when a Mosman couple helped their 23-year-old uni-student daughter buy a Surry Hills terrace for $1,094,000. The purchase price was $119,000 over the $975,000 reserve.

General manager at AFG mortgage brokers Mark Hewitt said more parents were acting as guarantor for their children’s purchases. ”The most popular tool is where parents provide a charge over the property they own to support the lack of deposit that their children have,” he said.

Television and radio personality Tim Webster thought up a low-risk way to help his two sons get into the property market: get them to pay his mortgage.

Mr Webster and his wife bought a property in Wahroonga and his sons, aged 22 and 24, make payments into the mortgage account.

”That way when we sell the house they’ll get whatever they put in back plus a percentage of whatever the increase in value of the home is,” he said. ”Hopefully, that will give them enough cash to put in to a place of their own.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Tremlett eyes Test recall

England’s tour match against Western Australia this week is more than a warm-up for the Ashes.
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With pace bowler Tim Bresnan unlikely to overcome a stress fracture in his back in time to play in Brisbane on November 21, it is an opportunity for contenders to make a final bid for a Test spot.

With James Anderson, Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad set to lead England’s attack, the battle appears to be between Chris Tremlett, Steven Finn and the inexperienced Boyd Rankin.

A betting man would back the 201-centimetre Tremlett to snare that place for the first Test.

The tour match, starting Thursday, is being played at the WACA Ground where Tremlett took eight wickets during England’s 2010 Ashes winning series.

He took Michael Clarke’s wicket in both innings, beating him for pace and bounce. Clarke was caught behind by Matt Prior for four then bowled for 20.

It’s the wicket of the now Australian captain Tremlett has his sights set on again.

”Yeah, it’s always important that you target the captain in any side and obviously he’s been their form player in the last few years,” Tremlett said after his first bowling session in the WACA nets.

Tremlett demolished Australia’s top order in Perth in 2010, with each of his eight wickets being recognised batsmen.

He then took 4-26 in the first innings of the Boxing Day Test as Australia was dismissed for just 98 runs. England won the MCG game by an innings and 157 runs inside four days.

But injury has taken its toll on Tremlett. He has played only five Tests since and didn’t play against Australia earlier this year.

At 32, he knows how important this series is for him.

”I have to concentrate on enjoying the times when I am fit,” he said. ”I am doing all I can here to do well and get back in to the team and I can try to do all I can to replicate what I did here last time.

”I came over to Australia not expecting to play in the first Test match [in 2010] and had to grab my place in the third Test.

”Personally I did well and contributed in the last two Tests to help to winning the Ashes. It’s great for me to get back into Test cricket. Unfortunately I have had a time away with injury, but it’s great to be back in Australia now and I have that experience from last time, so hopefully I can contribute if I do get back in the team …

”When you know how to bowl on these pitches and you’ve done well here, that’s obviously in my favour.”

The England team that will tackle WA has not been named yet.

While the battle for a bowling spot for the first Test is still alive, the batting line-up is set and coach Andy Flower is likely to give them a chance to spend some time on the bouncy WACA wicket.

England will be back in Perth for the Third Test starting on December 13.

Kevin Pietersen is expected to be available and played in the corresponding game in 2010 when he scored 58 in the first innings of England’s six-wicket victory.

Pietersen was a late arrival in to Perth this week. He was granted compassionate leave by the coaching staff to travel from England via South Africa after the recent death of a close friend.

He trained with the squad on Monday, which Tremlett said was a pleasing sign for the team.

”Yeah, it’s good to have him back. He’s been away for a couple of days but he’s in good spirits,” he said.

”We know he’s capable; he’s capable of taking any situation away from the opposition. We know how destructive he can be.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Marsh boys gear up for WA games

This week is an important one for WA’s Marsh brothers – Shaun and Mitch. They will represent Western Australia in separate games being played at the same time and both are desperate to perform – or at least get through unscathed.
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Shaun takes the helm of the Warriors in the Shield opener against Victoria at the MCG, with an aim of pushing for Test selection for this summer’s Ashes series. Mitch will play for a WA XI against the visiting England side in a Tour Match at the WACA Ground. Both are coming off serious hamstring injuries that have hampered their careers.

Mitch is hoping he can follow his brother’s recovery. Shaun was in hot form in the recent Ryobi Cup tournament his month, averaging 76. He will be keen to perform in the longer form against the Bushrangers to give himself a chance of adding to his seven Test appearances.

Mitch say he has it in him and if Australia’s top order doesn’t perform early, the selectors are likely to give him a chance.

”I have no doubt the selectors will probably be looking at him. If he scores enough runs, there’s no reason why he can’t play Test cricket for Australia again.”

Shaun was dropped from the Australian side after a disappointing tour of India where in 2011-12 when he averaged just 2.83.

But he has shown that he is capable at the level. He averages 41 in Test matches, thanks mainly to a 141 and 81 in his first two innings, against Sri Lanka.

Promising all-rounder Mitch will play only as a batsmen against England. ”Obviously after missing an extended period time, I’m happy to playing any cricket,” he said.

”I have started bowling in the nets off a short run and if all goes to plan I hope to be playing as an all-rounder in a few weeks.”

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Footy on Sunday nights set for Seven

Sunday night footy will be a first for Seven. Photo: Mick TsikasSunday night television is set for a football revolution with the AFL to trial up to three prime-time games on Channel Seven for the first time in that timeslot in 2014.
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The move means that next year’s home-and-away season will feature 7.40pm games on five of the seven week nights from Thursday night through until Monday night with the Sunday night fixture seen by the league as a long-term prospect – preferable and more practical than Monday night.

While the finishing touches are being administered to the 2014 schedule, Fairfax Media understands Collingwood should be involved in at least one of the Sunday night Channel Seven games with West Coast tentatively scheduled to play North Melbourne at Subiaco on Sunday night (Melbourne time), June 1, as part of Western Australia’s public holiday weekend.

Sunday night football has been regarded as an attractive proposition by the game’s governing body given the relative dearth of quality free-to-air programming on a night once regarded as a weekly ratings high point.

AFL clubs were warned in a recent meeting of the 18 chief executives to expect some experimental fixturing in 2014 with the introduction of two byes, the early start to the season and the need to combat rival football codes. Round one sees Carlton host Port Adelaide on the Sunday night of the Melbourne Grand Prix weekend although that game is expected to be shown on Fox Footy.

Both the Seven Network and the AFL remained tight-lipped on Monday about Sunday night football but it is believed at least two and potentially three of Seven’s 3.20pm Sunday games will be moved next season to 7.40pm. Neither Seven boss Lewis Martin nor AFL executive Simon Lethlean would comment on the new football timeslot, which will be unveiled on Thursday.

The AFL also looked at scheduling two Sunday twilight games at Geelong’s Simonds Stadium but at the Cats’ request reduced that to one – a round-16 clash between Geelong and the Western Bulldogs.

Seven had been unhappy in 2013 with the AFL’s move to feature blockbuster games on Fox Footy – notably the Collingwood-Richmond clash at the MCG in round-four and the Collingwood-Essendon game in round-19.

The two AFL broadcasters were still waiting for final confirmation of the breakdown of games on Monday, although Seven was understood to have been more satisfied with its allocation.

The free-to-air AFL broadcaster was also looking to expand its Friday night football telecast, bringing forward its pre-game coverage from 7.30 to 7pm, a move that will further encroach on the Friday radio audience.

While the Blues have again been handed a generous prime-time fixture of at least six Friday night games, along with two Thursdays and one Monday night clash, another big prime-time winner next season is North Melbourne, which is expected to feature in five Friday night games – two more than 2013 and four more than 2012.

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Grandma won the Cup, now it’s my turn

Cup dreams: Let’s Make Adeal with strapper Will Ford at Flemington. Photo: Joe ArmaoNigel Blackiston has got form when it comes to knowing what’s needed to prepare a Melbourne Cup winner: he was the man who led Let’s Elope off the float when she first arrived at Bart Cummings’ Melbourne stables in the winter of 1991 to be prepared for a Cups campaign by the master trainer.
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Back then Blackiston was working in Cummings’ Melbourne operation and Let’s Elope was a little-known New Zealand galloper who had been bought by Dennis Marks. By the end of the spring of 1991 the mare had completed the Caulfield and Melbourne cups double, and Blackiston was well and truly bitten by the cups bug.

Fast forward more than two decades and the English-born horseman is a Flemington-based trainer – and he would like nothing more than to emulate the man from whom he learnt so much when he arrived in Australia in the late 1980s.

He believes that Let’s Make Adeal, a lightly raced grand-daughter of Let’s Elope, can put his name in the spotlight if she gets the chance to show what she can do in Australia’s greatest race where 41 horses remain on the entry list and she is number 40. Blackiston trains the four-year-old for Marks, and he believes that if she can squeeze into the field she will be more than competitive, especially as she will have the services of Cox Plate-winning jockey Chad Schofield in the saddle.

To force her way into the race the daughter of Red Ransom will have to win the Lexus Stakes on Saturday.

Horses who win the 2500-metre handicap are catapulted directly into the field and, even though they are backing up three days later in the Cup, Lexus winners have a terrific record: three of the past four (Kellini 2012, Maluckyday 2010 and Shocking 2009) have finished in the first four on the first Tuesday in November, with Shocking winning.

Blackiston has only ever had one previous Cup runner in his own name – Littorio, a dual group 1 winner who has been his best horse. He finished 13th behind Cummings’ last winner, Viewed, in 2008.

”It would be fantastic to get her in the field. I have only had her a while but I have always felt she would be a really good stayer. She has a tremendous pedigree being a grand daughter of Let’s Elope and I have several of her near relations in the stable – horses like Outback Joe, who is her uncle, her aunt Karata and Let’s Make Adeal’s half-brother, Heez Notorious,” says Blackiston.

”She does remind me a lot of Let’s Elope when she first came here. She had only won a maiden race and a group 3 race but improved tremendously in the spring of her four-year-old career as the distances got longer. This horse won a maiden for me and then was only beaten a head in a group 3 race in Adelaide in the autumn.”

It was that race at Morphettville – the 2500-metre SA Classic – that fired Blackiston’s Cup dream.

Many people thought he was tilting at windmills in early September when he ran Let’s Make Adeal at Flemington in the group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes against the likes of Puissance De Lune, Foreteller and Sea Moon. She ran out of her skin to finish fourth that day.

”I knew then that she would run a long distance. We have had to work hard to try and get her rating up during the spring to try to get into the good races. I initially wanted to get her into the Caulfield Cup, but she didn’t make the field. I know it’s a dream, but if she does get there on Cup day she won’t be disgraced. And if she doesn’t, well we will try again next year.”

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The young and the restless

They wanted to move back home, get a game, stop waiting and start over. ”Watch this space,” one player manager told The Age, after six players quit their clubs after one, two or three years. ”Check back in five years. In five years, it could be an epidemic.”
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That was just 12 months ago. But by the end of the trade period, 12 players aged 21 or under had switched clubs, with the western Sydney-bound Jed Lamb to come. It seemed worth asking the question again: what’s going on with the kids?

Like last year, each player that wanted out had his own reasons. Some wanted to go home. Five were fleeing Brisbane. One, Dom Tyson, helped the Giants get their hands on the No.2 draft pick less than two years after they chose him at No.3. Sydney couldn’t match the offer put to Lamb.

Still, 13 is a lot. Are today’s young players, generally speaking, more impatient? Many managers think they are. ”It doesn’t matter where the player’s picked or which club they’ve been drafted to. When you sit down with them before the season and write down their goals, they all want to play senior footy. It’s no surprise that the biggest lure a club can offer is opportunity,” said Ned Guy.

”The other thing is, the kids all know each other. They’ve kept track of each other for years and they have a much bigger sense of how good they are, or where they fit in. If they’re seeing guys get games for GWS when they’re not, and their own form has been pretty good, they start wondering when their turn will come. A lot of them do want it to happen right now.”

There are other reasons. The savvy kids read all the pre-draft previews, said Tom Petroro, and start out with a far greater sense of their own value than they might have eight or nine years ago.

They’re growing up now in the world of free agency, watching older teammates take greater control of their own destinies and make decisions that money and success have a lot to do with.

”I think a lot of them are starting to look at the sport as a profession, from a young age,” said Petroro. ”They get more publicity, so they have a much stronger opinion on their own value and a much more commercial focus. They back themselves more. There’s a lot who are happier to sign a two-year deal because they’re confident, rather than take the security and get three years.

”They’re seeing other players move more easily and more frequently, as well. They’re more prepared to do it, whereas a player who’s 29 or 30 and born in an era when no one moved, finds it a really difficult thing to do.”

They have also become more sought after. Clubs have expressed their interest in getting some of his clients back, said Nick Gieschen, on the very night they have been drafted. He thinks clubs have started to chase young talent more aggressively, given how thoroughly Gold Coast and the Giants have dominated the last few drafts. And as Petroro points out, trading a good kid in at 20 means you could still get a lot of games from him.

”The value of a second-year player going into his third year has gone through the roof,” he said. ”You’re basically getting a whole career out of them. If you’re bringing in someone who could potentially play 10 more years, it’s a pretty good investment.”

Gieschen agrees. ”Interstate clubs have had a lot of the early picks in the last few years. More Victorian kids have gone interstate, so I think that’s one reason it seems like a lot of them are wanting to come home,” he said.

”I think the clubs are getting smarter, getting in contact earlier, and it works for a club like the Giants because they can trade these guys when their value is high and get some good picks back. It means a lot goes back onto the clubs that draft them – not to give them games they don’t deserve, but to pick the right ones, sell them the future and make them want to stay.”

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