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Bulldogs farewell Folkes at Belmore

Mourners have farewelled premiership-winning Canterbury coach Steve Folkes at Belmore.Most of Canterbury’s 2004 premiership-winning squad have been among about 1200 people who farewelled club legend Steve Folkes at Belmore Sportsground.
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Folkes, 59, died from a heart attack last Tuesday, departing as just one of two people to win a Bulldogs premiership as both a player and coach.

Premiership players Luke Patten, Hazem El Masri, Braith Anasta, Andrew Ryan, Willie Mason, Willie Tonga, Matt Utai and club captain Steve Price attended the service on Monday.

Also paying their tribute were former Bulldogs teammates Paul Langmack, Garry Hughes and Darryl Brohman as well as rugby league identities Steve Roach and Wayne Pearce.

NRL chief executive and former Bulldogs boss Todd Greenberg was present, as were recent ex-Bulldogs Josh Reynolds, Trent Hodkinson and Martin Taupau, and former chairman Ray Dib.

Former Bulldogs player Peter Mortimer spoke fondly of Folkes’ playing career at the club, which included four premierships in what was remembered as the “Dogs of War” era.

Price recalled Folkes’ time as coach, including one particular moment in 2002, just after the players were told the club was stripped of 37 competition points for salary cap breaches.

“When the CEO of the NRL at the time, David Gallop, rung us to let us know of the findings, we were here late. I got a call on the way home from Folkesy,” Price said.

“He said, ‘Pricey, you wouldn’t believe it. I got pulled up by the police on the way home. The police said, ‘You’re gonna lose three points, mate’.

“He goes, ‘Three points, we just lost 37. Another three isn’t going to make a lot of difference.”

Price said Folkes was one of the major keys to their 2004 triumph over the Sydney Roosters.

“He was the biggest supporter of all the players with what we were going through and the reason why that group of boys won the comp that year was because of him,” Price said.

“When you’ve got a coach who you think the world of and know he’s going to have your back, no matter what you’ll do anything for him.

“And that particular year, you look at how the year started and finished, there wouldn’t have been many teams that would’ve been able to achieve that.”

A video montage showed Folkes’ career as a player and coach at the club, as well as his time as coach of the n Jillaroos team.

Current Bulldogs players formed a guard of honour for Folkes’ casket before the service and current and former players repeated the gesture at the end.

Bulldogs coach Dean Pay, skipper Josh Jackson and chief executive Andrew Hill also presented a blue-and-white wreath.

Folkes’ wife, Karen, the daughter of Bulldogs patriarch Peter “Bullfrog” Moore, died almost five years ago to the day.

Comcare monitoring Nauru mould scandal

At least 20 former Naru detention centre staff have become seriously ill from mould exposure.The federal work health and safety watchdog has been criticised for dragging its heels on addressing a mould scandal at the Nauru immigration detention centre.
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At least 20 former detention centre staff have become seriously ill from mould exposure, including an n teacher who now has a cognitive disability.

Comcare started “monitoring compliance activity” at the Nauru detention centre on February 12 and is “examining a number of allegations concerning unsafe conditions caused by mould”, according to leaked emails obtained by AAP.

The move came days after AAP revealed mould and construction problems at Nauru and Manus Island detention centres.

n Lawyers Alliance spokesman Greg Barns said Comcare was late to the party.

His organisation had been pushing the agency to exercise its powers on Nauru since June 2016 after releasing a report raising concerns the Commonwealth was failing in its duty of care.

“It’s too little too late,” Mr Barns told AAP.

“If this was Parliament House, Canberra, with a mould problem, you wouldn’t have to rely on media stories to get it fixed.”

He said the agency should be investigating the matter formally and considering criminal and civil charges.

A top-secret report from December 2014 warned ‘s immigration department (now Home Affairs) and then-detention centre operator Transfield (now Broadspectrum) of mould health risks.

Comcare has previously admitted it received a complaint in 2016 from a worker employed by a contractor, who had been diagnosed with a respiratory condition after living at the Nauru detention centre.

However, the agency said last month it was satisfied that reasonably practicable steps were taken to address problems with mould at the centre, and that the most recent site inspection in August 2017 found no significant issues.

Further comment has been sought from Comcare.

Last week, it emerged the Home Affairs department wasted $50,000 of taxpayer money on an industrial steam cleaner, but the machine was too dangerous to use and not appropriate for cleaning tents.

Thorn slams lid shut after rare Reds win

Coach Brad Thorn is ensuring the Reds aren’t getting carried away with their Super Rugby win.If Queensland Reds players were still on a high after celebrating a rare Super Rugby win, they were brought straight back to earth with a Brad Thorn-led weights session.
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So determined was the new coach to keep the lid on after Friday night’s 18-10 victory over the Brumbies, Thorn took matters into his own hands when players reported for duty at the Ballymore gym on Monday morning.

The former All Blacks great has a fearsome reputation when it comes to lifting weights and often swaps the club polo for a training singlet and joins the players in their routines.

And despite Queensland’s set-piece superiority against the Brumbies, Thorn still went through the video to show there are many areas for improvement in his rebuilding side.

“We’re not going to yahoo and pump our own tyres up,” lock Kane Douglas told reporters.

“We know it’s a long season and it’s only one win.

“The forwards were still in there for an hour and a bit, going through every lineout and every scrum to see how we can improve.

“Thorny even ran the weights session this morning so he was pretty pumped to get the boys back into training routine for another week.

“He ran the abs and everything – it’s normally in your own time but it was in Brad’s time today.”

The Reds can’t afford to rest on their laurels given their opponents on Saturday night, the Bulls, boast one of Super Rugby’s most imposing forward packs and three Springbok regulars in Lood de Jager, Trevor Nyakane and Adriaan Strauss.

The Pretoria-based side was beaten 49-35 by the Lions last weekend but will present a stern challenge to the Reds.

“All the South African teams are pretty big and the Bulls especially,” Douglas said.

“You’ve got to be ready for them and pay them the respect they need.

“Pretty much every week we say to ourselves it’s going to be won or lost in the forwards.

“We know if we don’t do our job it’s probably going to be a hard night.”

Embedded customers left paying the price

Electricity monopolies are trapping people into long term power supply agreements.ns struggling with skyrocketing power bills are constantly told to shop around, but that’s not an option for 200,000 customers trapped in embedded networks.
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Apartment developers are increasingly signing up buyers to embedded networks, originally designed for caravan parks, locking residents into deals they can’t switch from unless they pay hundreds of dollars to get a new meter.

The networks involve one company controlling the power supply to a building, and residents have no option but to pay them for electricity.

Melbourne’s Ed Giles bought off the plan in Collingwood only to find the meter he paid for was now owned by an energy company he was required to buy power from.

“The developer of our building chose to have an embedded network installed so we are stuck on it,” he told AAP.

“These uncompetitive electricity monopolies are trapping regular people like us into power supply agreements that don’t give us access to the open market.”

n Energy Regulator chair Paula Conboy agreed it can be “difficult” for customers on embedded networks to get better deals as prices rise.

“There’s around 200,000 ns in embedded networks and that number is growing,” she told AAP.

“Customers in embedded networks have the same right to choose their energy retailer as any other n household or business.

“But we recognise that changing retailers when you are in an embedded network, like an apartment building or a caravan park, can be difficult.”

Rules were changed in December to make sure customers on the networks can get access to competitive energy markets, but residents say the process is unclear and expensive.

Melbourne’s Jason Bond was told it would cost as much as $500 to get a new meter installed, and he would still have to pay network charges to the original company he was forced to go with.

“I am being told that if I pursue this option, I will wear the extra additional cost to switch over,” he told AAP.

“We’re meant to be in a competitive market but this seems anything but.”

The regulator now requires power companies to employ a manager to help customers switch over, but it’s understood some retailers often consider the process more trouble than it’s worth.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg was asked what the government was doing to help customers stuck on the networks as prices shoot up, but his office directed questions to the regulator.

Your guide to what’s hot this week in Newcastle music, movies and theatre

BEAUTIFUL: English singer-songwriter James Blunt brings his tear-jerking ballads to Bimbadgen on Saturday night for a special A Day On The Green.MUSIC5 Sawyers Thursday, Shaun Kirk,Andie.Friday, Devultra.Saturday,DJ Alessandro.Sunday,Adrianna Mac Duo.
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Albion Hotel Singleton Friday, Mardmax.

Anna Bay TavernSaturday, The Bad And The Ugly.Sunday, Mick Jones.

Hotel CessnockSaturday, Allison Forbes.

Avon Valley InnSaturday, Xyz.

Bar Petite Saturday, Jake & Danny.

Battlesticks Bar Thursday, John Larder. Friday, LittleCents, Saturday,Elisa Kate. Sunday, Aqwa.

Beach Hotel Friday, Midnight Movers. Saturday, Club Esky.

Bellbird Hotel Friday, Kazzie.

Belmont 16s Friday, Matchbox, Ben Travis.Saturday, Ted Mulry Gang, Michael Rose,Loko,Pete Hibbert.Sunday, The Moon Dogs Duo.

Belmore HotelFriday, StateFX.Saturday, STP.

Beresfield Bowling Club Friday, Kick –INXS show. Saturday, Big Night Out. Sunday, Red Dirt Country Band.

Bimbadgen Saturday, James Blunt (UK), Pete Murray, Busby Marou, Alex Lloyd, Karise Eden.

Blackbutt HotelFriday, Chelsea Berman.

The BradfordFriday, The Search Party.Saturday,Duplexity.

Cambridge Hotel Thursday, Baraya ft. The Last Kinection, JayTeeHazard, Jacob Ridgeway & Band, David Leha, Chris Tamwoy, Waria. Friday, Red Fang, Drunk Mums (main room),Split Feed,dave, Moaning Lisa, Rum Jungle (side bar). Saturday, Abbe May. Sunday, Willow Beats, Saatsuma.

Cardiff RSL Club Friday, Jackson Halliday. Saturday, Relatched.

Catho PubSaturday, Lennie Live.Sunday, Smokin Rosie.

Caves Beachside Hotel Saturday, Paparazzi.

Central Charlestown Leagues ClubFriday, Megan Core.Saturday,Matt Semmens.

Central HotelStroudSaturday, Layth Gunn.

Cessnock Leagues ClubSaturday, 2GoodReasons.

Charlestown Bowling Club Friday, Redline.

Charlestown Golf Club Sunday, Joel Oakhill.

Clarendon Hotel Friday, Roxy. Saturday, Jake Davey.

Club Azzurri Saturday, Introvert, Speakeasy, Elk Locker, Blush, Mark The Barber.

Club CatalinaSunday, James Naldo.

Club KotaraSaturday, Soundabout.

Club LemonTree Friday, Dragon, Chad Shuttleworth, Matty G. Saturday, Jon Matthews.

Club Maitland City Friday, Pistol Pete.

Colliery Inn Friday, Brien McVernon.

Commercial HotelBoolarooFriday, Ben Woodham.

Commercial Hotel MorpethFriday, James Osborn.Saturday, Spank N The Monkey.Sunday,The Fruittrees.

Country Club Hotel Shoal BayFriday, AustinMackay, Saturday,Nicko,Ngariki & Friends. Sunday, BrienMcVernon,CaseyBellamy.

Criterion Hotel Carrington Saturday, Pete Gelzinnis. Sunday, Matt McLaren.

Criterion Hotel WestonSaturday, Four To The Floor.

Crown & Anchor HotelSaturday, KR Duo.

Customs House Friday, Glen Harrison. Saturday, Joel Oakhill. Sunday, Sunset Club.

Cypress LakesSaturday, Megan Core.

Denman HotelSunday, Michael Bryers.

Duke Of WellingtonFriday, Zane Penn.Saturday,Jackson Broadway.

East Cessnock Bowling Club Thursday, Snowy Robson. Saturday, Reg Lindsay Memorial Talent Quest. Sunday, Wayne Rogers.

East Maitland Bowling Club Friday, Alias. Saturday, Whiskey Business. Sunday, Karen O’Shea.

Edgeworth Bowling Club Friday, Misbehave. Sunday, Kaylens Rain.

Edgeworth TavernFriday, Ash Mountain.Saturday, James Naldo.

Exchange Hotel Saturday, Paperboy.

Family Hotel MaitlandFriday, Bob Allan.

Gallipoli Legion Club Sunday, Witchery.

Gateshead TavernFriday,Pat Vs Cat. Sunday,The Brown Bull.

George Tavern Friday, Pete McCredie. Saturday, Katie N Feff.

Grand Hotel Tuesday, Sean Harlor Trio, Tom Shepherd Trio.

Great Northern Hotel Teralba Friday, Phil McKnight.

Greta Workers ClubFriday, Rendezvous.

Gunyah Hotel Friday, Hayden Shepherd. Saturday, Project X.

​Hamilton Station Hotel Thursday, Erica Freas (US), Jamie Hay, Naif. Friday, Signals Midwest (US),Paper Thin,Zzzounds,Jen Buxton. Sunday,Jack RReilly,Grace Turner,Boots Porter.

Harrigan’s Pokolbin Friday, Crawfish Stew. Saturday, Brendan Murphy, The Smarts. Sunday, Grant Walmsley & Friends.

Hexham Bowling ClubFriday, V-Dubs.Saturday, The Blue Water Cowboys.Sunday, Klassic Blak.

Honeysuckle HotelFriday, Big Night Out.Saturday, Humingbirds.Sunday, Tim Harding.Sunday, CrocQ.

Hope Estate Hob Dub Wine Machine ft. Hot Dub Time Machine, Touch Sensitive, Sneaky Sound System, The Kite String Tangle, Owl Eyes.

Hotel CessnockFriday, Brett O’Malley.

Hotel Delany Friday, Sean Andrews. Saturday, Alias.

Hotel Jesmond Friday, Bandditts.

Imperial Hotel SingletonSaturday, All Access 80s.

Iron Horse InnSaturday, Lucille Two.

Jewells TavernSaturday, Snape & Son Duo.Sunday, Daniel Arvidson.

Kahibah Sports Club Friday, Loose Change.

Kent Hotel Friday, Relatched. Saturday, Beau Hatch Band. Sunday, Anyerin, Greg Bryce Band.

King Street Hotel Friday, Party Thieves. Saturday, Spenda C.

Lake Macquarie TavernFriday, Jake Folbigg.

Lake Macquarie Yacht Club Friday, Robbie Urquhart. Sunday, Murray Byfield.

Lambton Park Hotel Friday, Aqwa.

Lass O’GowrieThursday,The Illustrators,Salt & Steel,Entity.Friday,Hack the Mainframe,Ebola Goldfish,Fake News.Saturday,Good Thanks,The Desert Sea,Caveman.Sunday,The Dead Love,Smacked Youth,Pacific Void.

Lizotte’s Thursday,Burlesque Idol. Friday,Don’t Dream It’s Over – Tribute to Crowded House & Split Enz. Saturday, Damien Leith. Sunday, Rick & John Brewster.

Lochinvar Hotel Saturday, Daniel Arvidson.

Lucky Hotel Friday, Max Jackson. Saturday, Bandditts. Sunday, The People, US.

Mark HotelFriday, Bobby C.Saturday, Matt Gaudry.

Mary Ellen Friday, The Smarts. Saturday, Easy Daze. Sunday, Max Jackson.

Maryland TavernFriday, Tim Harding.Saturday, The Faves.

Mavericks On The Bay Friday, Mick Jones. Saturday, Kristy James. Sunday, Jason Bone.

Mavericks On Darby Friday, Dave Owen. Saturday, Chad Shuttleworth.

Mayfield Ex-Services Friday, Lithium. Saturday, Busta Thong.

Metropolitan Hotel Maitland Friday, Leroy & The Rats. Saturday, Short & Curly Trio. Sunday, Metro Muso’s Jam Session.

Mezz Bar at Wallsend DiggersFriday,Ron Knight &the Daze Band.Saturday,V Dubs.Sunday,Bonnie Rai.

Morriset Country ClubSunday, Kelly Hope.

Muree Golf ClubFriday, Mark Lee.

Murray’s Brewery Sunday, Pete Gelzinnis.

Nag’s Head Hotel Friday, Kristy James. Saturday, Mick Jones.

Neath Hotel Saturday, Frick N Orson.

Nelson Bay Bowling ClubFriday, Jamie Martens.

Nelson Bay DiggersFriday, Dr. Zoom Duo.Saturday, The Big Bang.Sunday, Megan Core.

Nelson Bay Golf ClubFriday, Matt Gaudry.Saturday,Just Jade.

Newcastle Cruising Yacht ClubFriday,CrocQ.Sunday, Bobby C.

Newcastle Jockey ClubFriday, Jordan Fleming.

Northern Star HotelFriday, LoganWolfgram. Saturday,Allon.

Oaks Pacific Blue ResortSaturday, Jake Folbigg.

Old Victoria HotelFriday, Murray Byfield.

Oriental Hotel Friday, The Emerald Ruby.

Pedens CessnockSaturday, Outlaw Avenue.

Pelican RSL Club Saturday, The Smarts. Sunday, Bernie.

Pippis At The Point Friday, Dean Kyrwood, Phonic. Saturday, Redline. Sunday, Jesse Fildes.

Plough InnFriday, Allan Freihaut.

Potters Brewery Friday, Bonny Rai. Saturday, Phil McKnight.

Premier Hotel Friday, Hummingbirds.Saturday, Sundays Record.Sunday, Loko.

Prince of Wales HotelFriday, Ryan Daley.

Potters BreweryFriday, Bonny Rai. Saturday, Phil McKnight.

Queens Wharf HotelThursday, Harbour Lounge.Friday, Holly Mae,The Rattle.Saturday,Bobby C,Lithium.Sunday, Fish Fry,Wharf Life.

Railway Hotel Cessnock Friday, Jesse Fildes.

Raymond Terrace Bowling Club Sunday, Roxy.

River Royal Inn MorpethFriday, Todd Schmoo.

Royal Federal HotelBranxtonFriday, Jade Holland Band.Saturday,Evergreen.

Royal Hotel SingletonSunday, The Bad And The Ugly.

Royal Motor Yacht Club TorontoFriday, Duncan Woods.Sunday, Shawn Lidster.

Rutherford Hotel Saturday, Matt Scullion.

Sacred Spaces Singleton Sunday,London KlezmerQuartet.

Seabreeze HotelFriday, Dos Eager. Saturday, Gen-X. Sunday, Darren Rolling Keys.

Seven Seas HotelSunday, Just Jade.

Shenanigans at the ImperialFriday, Anyerin.Saturday, Zac and Ben.

Shortland Hotel Friday, Reg Sinclair. Saturday, Robbie T.

Singleton DiggersSaturday, Cover 2 Cover.

Soldiers Point Bowling ClubFriday, Deborah Sinclair.Saturday,Blue Suede Boppers.

South Newcastle Leagues Club Saturday, Pete McCredie.

Spinning Wheel Hotel Friday, Kevin O’Hara.

Stag and Hunter Hotel Thursday,Mike Elrington. Friday,Eagle and The Wolf, Dearly Departed. Saturday,Time On Earth,Release the Hounds.

Star Hotel Saturday, The Levymen.Sunday, Bruce Mathiske’s Guitar Lounge.

Station HotelKurri Kurri Saturday, Extreme Mobile Entertainment.

Stockton RSLClub Friday, Jumpin’ Jukebox.

Swansea RSLClubSaturday, Slam Tango.

Swansea Workers ClubSaturday, Mardmax.

Tea Gardens Hotel Saturday, Kazzie.

Tilligerry RSLSaturday, Brett O’Malley.

Toronto Diggers Saturday, 40 Up Club.

Toronto HotelFriday, Troy Kemp.Sunday,TimPringle.

Toronto Workers Saturday, Rock Factor. Sunday, Todd Schmoo.

Victoria Hotel Hinton Saturday, Karen O’Shea. Sunday, Phil McKnight.

Wangi HotelSaturday, Darren Rolling Keys.Sunday,Ben Woodham.

Warners At The Bay Saturday, Bon Jovi Experience.

Warners Bay Hotel Friday, Jason Bone.

Warners Bay Foreshore Friday, Good Company.

Westfield Kotara Saturday, Beth Gleeson.

Wests CardiffFriday, Blood, Sweat & Beers.Saturday, Anthology.

Wests New Lambton Thursday, Angamus. Friday,Mark Wells Duo.Saturday,Rubber Bullet. Tuesday, Angamus.

Wickham Park Hotel Saturday, PlasticVoyage. Sunday, TimRossington,Compadre Diablo.

Windale Gateshead Bowling Club Friday, The Klassics.

Windsor Castle HotelSaturday, Tim Harding.

MOVIES12 Strong (MA)A team of CIA agents and special forces head into Afghanistan in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks in an attempt to dismantle the Taliban.

Black Panther(M)T’Challa who returns home to the isolated, technologically-advanced African nation of Wakanda to become king, but when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested.

Darkest Hour(PG)During the early days of World War II, the fate of Western Europe hangs on the newly-appointed British Prime MinisterWinston Churchill, who must decide whether to negotiate withAdolf Hitler, or fight on against incredible odds.

Death Wish(R)A family man becomes a vigilante killing machine when his family is violently attacked by robbers.

Fifty Shades Freed(MA)Anastasia and Christian get married, but Jack Hyde continues to threaten their relationship.

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool(M)A romance sparks between a young actor and a Hollywood leading lady.

Finding Your Feet(M)LadySandra Abbott finds the courage to reinvent herself after she flees a broken marriage to stay with her bohemian sister in London.

Game Night(MA)A group of friends who meet regularly for game nights find themselves trying to solve a murder mystery.

Going For Gold (G) Emma, 17, joins a high school cheerleading team when she moves to with her dad who is a former air force officer.

Grace Jones: Bloodlight & Bami (M) Larger than life, wild, scary and androgynous – Grace Jones plays all these parts. Yet here we also discover her as a lover, daughter, mother, sister and even grandmother, as she submits herself to our gaze and allows us to understand what constitutes her mask. (Tower)

I, Tonya(MA)Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding rises among the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the sport is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband intervenes.

Lady Bird(M)The adventures of a young woman living in Northern California for a year.

Monster Family (PG)Despite the title, the Wishbone family are far from happy. In an attempt to reconnect as a family, Mum and Emma plan a fun night out.

Red Sparrow(MA)Dominika Egorova is many things. A devoted daughter determined to protect her mother at all costs. A prima ballerina whose ferocity has pushed her body and mind to the absolute limit. A master of seductive and manipulative combat.

Sweet Country(MA) When Aboriginal stockman Sam kills white station owner Harry March in self-defence, Sam and his wife Lizzie go on the run. They are pursued across the outback, through glorious but harsh desert country. (Lake Cinema)

The Greatest Showman(PG)Celebrates the birth of show business, and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.

The Mercy (M)An amateur sailorcompetesin the 1968 Golden Globe Race in the hope of becoming the first person in history to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe without stopping. (Tower)

The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature (G)Surly and his friends must stop Oakton City’s mayor from destroying their home to make way for a dysfunctional amusement park.

The Post(M)A cover-up that spanned four USPresidents pushed the country’s first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between the press and the government. (Regal)

The Secret Scripture (M)The hidden memoir of an elderly woman confined to a mental hospital reveals the history of her passionate yet tortured life, and of the religious and political upheavals in Ireland during the 1920s and 30s. (Lake Cinema))

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri(MA)A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder when they fail to catch the culprit.

Winchester(M)Eccentric firearm heiress believes she is haunted by the souls of people killed by the Winchester repeating rifle.

THEATREA Murder is AnnouncedAmusing Agatha Christie mystery, with a town’s residentsmeeting to discuss a newspaper advertisement about a coming murder. Newcastle TheatreCompany, at the NTC Theatre, Lambton. Wednesday, Friday andSaturday, at 8pm, until March 17, plus Saturday shows on March 10 and 17 at 2pm.

Burlesque IdolAudience members get to participate in this mix of music and comedy, aswomen (and a man) compete to be chosen as the Newcastle region finalist in the nBurlesque Idol quest. Lizotte’s, Lambton. Thursday, meal and show from 6pm, show only at8.30pm.

Lano & Woodley – FlyComic team Lano (Colin Lane) and Woodley (Frank Woodley)return to the stage after a 12-year break, with an amusing tribute to pioneers of flight, theWright Brothers. Token, at the Civic Theatre, Newcastle. Friday, at 7.30pm, Saturday at 5pmand 7.30pm.

Penrith wanted others over me: Peachey

Tyrone Peachey says hePenrith utility Tyrone Peachey admits the club’s decision to prioritise their other off-contract players made the decision easy for him to move to Gold Coast next NRL season.
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The Titans last week confirmed signing Peachey on a three-year deal beginning in 2019 after he gained a release from the final year of his current deal with the Panthers.

His exit gives Penrith more funds to re-sign representative winger Josh Mansour, who is on the verge of a massive payday following his return to the Kangaroos squad last year.

However the bigger carrot is likely to be gun halfback Nathan Cleary, who has two more years remaining on his current deal but has signalled a desire to team up with father Ivan.

“If I could stay, I’d stay. But just the situation at the club – (there are) a few players off contract they want to keep,” Peachey said on Monday.

“The opportunity came at Gold Coast and (Penrith boss Phil Gould) gave me the all clear and made the decision a lot easier for me.”

The 26-year-old said the security of a three-year deal at the Titans, where he will re-unite with fellow ex-Panthers Bryce Cartwright and Leilani Latu, was too good to refuse.

The Titans will also be coached this year by former Panthers assistant Garth Brennan.

“I’ve been here for five years now and I’ve got a lot of family. My little girl just turned one so I’ve got a little family to look after. They just give me the security that I needed,” Peachey said.

“I spoke to Brenno and he thinks the club’s growing up there. The decision was tough. I’d love to stay but there’s a few players off contract that the club wants to keep over me.

“The decision had to be made.”

Peachey, who began his career at Cronulla and is the nephew of Sharks great David, said he was hopeful of leaving the Panthers on a positive note at the end of the season.

Penrith are widely considered a strong chance to play in the finals.

“The coaching staff, everyone in Penrith has been awesome for me. I can hopefully just leave on a good note and do better than what we did last year,” he said.

Storm’s Croft ready to replace Cronk

Melbourne Storm new recruit Brodie Croft says he is ready to make his mark at the NRL club.After being handed the keys to the Melbourne Storm – literally – by departing halfback Cooper Cronk, Brodie Croft says he’s ready to make the place his own.
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With Cronk shifting to the Sydney Roosters after 14 seasons with Melbourne, Croft has not only taken over his No.7 playing jersey but also his locker.

“It was pretty special the first day of pre-season when I came in and I got given his locker and that took a bit to get used to because I felt like I was sitting in his locker,” the 20-year-old said.

“The boys have been good about telling me that I have to make that locker my own and go from there.”

Croft, who was mentored by Cronk over the past two seasons, says the Test halfback has given him the tools for success, starting with their round one clash against the Bulldogs in Perth on Saturday night.

“I learnt a lot off him in those two years and I’m walking in his footsteps pretty much every day at training here,” said Croft, who has played six NRL games.

“It’s different not having him around here but I believe from what I’ve learnt from him I can now go out there and do it myself.”

Croft says his game differs to Cronk in that he likes to run the ball to open up his passing game to feed the Storm’s dangerous right edge which has Test stars Will Chambers, Suliasi Vunivalu and Felise Kaufusi.

Croft says the challenge will be for him to put his stamp on the game and not be intimidated by his own teammates like NRL legends Cameron Smith and Billy Slater.

“The coaches have told me that being the No.7 I have to have the confidence to call the shots,” the Queenslander said.

“I’ve been working to make sure I’m not over-awed and don’t worry about what they’ve done and just worry about doing my job and that’s to run the team around the best I can.”

Fullback Slater has been ruled out of round one with a sore shoulder but Croft felt they could cover for him.

“He’s a big loss but I don’t think it’s an extra load on me,” he said.

“We’ve got some options to come into the side and we’ve got such a high calibre of players in our team already that we will do everything we can to cover him.”

Six teens charged over Sydney robberies

Police have charged six teenagers over a spate of robberies across Sydney.Six teenagers have been charged following a spree of aggravated robberies across Sydney, with one of the “vicious” attacks leaving a man in his 60s fighting for life.
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The first attack took place just after midnight on February 24 when a 29-year-old man was grabbed from behind before being assaulted and robbed in Ashfield.

Three more men were attacked and robbed in nearby parts of the city that same day, the worst of which happened about 1pm when a 64-year-old man was attacked at Enmore.

He fell to the ground, injuring his head, with the attackers stealing his wallet before taking off in a dark hatchback, police allege.

The victim was transferred to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in a critical condition with bleeding on the brain.

“Although he’s now on the road to recovery, he has to undertake ongoing treatment,” Detective Acting Super Intendant Gary Hutchen told reporters in Sydney on Monday.

Detectives linked the group to a series of frauds with stolen credit cards at fast food outlets and a stolen Honda Civic seen near the sites of the robberies.

Police last week arrested three teenage boys – aged 15, 16 and 18 – over what Det Supt Hutchen described as “street level attacks on defenceless people”.

They have been charged with a litany of offences including grievous bodily harm, multiple counts of robbery and obtaining financial advantage by deception.

In another attack on February 28 two robbers walked into a service station in Padstow and threatened the cashier with a knife, police allege.

They fled with cash in a red Nissan which was stopped by highway patrol at Milperra a short time later.

Three teenagers – two boys and a girl – have been charged over the armed robbery. At least one of them is believed to be linked to the first group of teenagers, AAP understands.

Det Supt Hutchen praised the professionalism of officers and said law enforcement.

“All crime can have a devastating and lasting impact, particularly offences involving armed robbery,” he said.

“The psychological and physical harm can be ongoing for a long period of time.

“If greed drives you to commit this style of offence please think again – police will thoroughly investigate and you will be caught and brought before the courts.”

All six teens remain before the courts.

An ice addict’s warning: ‘It will take your house, your car, your kids, your job, your life.’

HE was a promising Huntersurfer with the world at his feet, but after an injury –and years of self-medicating for depression with recreational drugs – Mickfound ice.
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“I had a hit of it, I smoked it, and I thought – where has that been all of my life?’” he said.

Everything seemed clearer. He felt “10 foot tall and bulletproof.”

For the next 10 years,there was no looking back.

“A mate of mine warned me about ice. He said, ‘Be careful, it will take your house, your car, your kids, your job, your life.’ And it did. And it does. To everyone, eventually,” he said.

Mick, not his real name, was using crystal methamphetamine – also known as ice – while working on the coal loaders at Kooragang Island, and as a fly-in fly-out worker on a large gas power station interstate.

“When you know someone, they pull you in on the big jobs, and youjust go from job to job to big job,” he said.

“We’d take home three grand some weeks. I had a bit of a habit, and then I’dhavetwo spare grand in my pocket. We had money to burn.

READ MORE:Ice ‘rife’ in construction industry

“We were all dodging the drug tests, and having the time of our lives.”

Mick remembers arriving at workso high that he tried to “swipe in” with his bank card.

At the time, he wasbuilding scaffolding and working decks at the coal loaders.

He would “power through” the work because he couldn’t sit still.

He wouldnot sleep for up to a week at a time.

“We walk around with tinted safety glasses on all the time.

“No one is looking at your eyes.”

When the effects eventually wore off, he would sleep “for days.”

“At the coal loader, I used to swipe in and people were standing in lines for the drug tests at the Winnebagos,” he said.

“There were cars and people going everywhere.

“I thought someone was going to come and tap me on the shoulder because I hadswiped in, but no one did. It was like an honour system.

“People were like sheep.

“So for three years I never lined up, and I never got tested.”

READ MORE: Hamilton south program aims to reduce the use of ice

A spokesman for Port Waratah Coal Services at Kooragang Island said drug testing was“random” and“mandatory.”

“If you are on site, you are tested, and that has been our policy for a very long time,” he said.

Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group chief executiveAaron Johansen said testing wasmandatory for all people on site –employees, contractors and visitors.

Anaudit wasconducted each testing day to ensure all people entering the site’ssecurity gatecompleted a test before being allowed to work.

“While the nature of the investigation by the Newcastle Herald suggests that the employee could have been a former contractor on site, we believe our practices are rigorous enough to identify anyone who attempts to come to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” he said.

While working on the gas power station, Mick said he would smoke ice right up until about four days before a medical.

“I’d stop smoking ice, sleep for four days, self-test myself with a kit I’d buy at the chemist –know I was clean, then go and do my medical,” he said.

“After that I’d get high until my plane left.I wouldn’t sleep for a week.”

He had done things he wasn’t proud of, such as introducing other fly-in fly-out workers based at the Queensland camp to the drug.

“Some guys lost their home loans because I brought ice in to the camp,” he said.

“They had $20-$30 grand saved up for a deposit, but they loved it, and all of a sudden Imade it available.”

One of his best friendshad died within a year of starting to usethe drug.

Ice was widespreadin the building and construction industry, he said.

“It’s a double-edged sword. They don’t want guys to be on drugs while they are constructing –but they need them to be working efficiently, and fast, on night shift, and 12 hours a day,” Mick said.

For a while, he coped.

But eventually, the wheels started to fall off as his addiction took hold.

It began to affect his relationships with his friends and family.

Whenever the ice ran out,he would lose his job because he stopped showing up for work.

“When the ice is good, you cannot get any higher or clearer-headed,” he said.

“You think your life is on track for a little while, then things start happening. But you don’t blame the ice. It’s everybody else.

“I used it for 10 years, and for the last three years I was injecting because smoking it didn’t do anything after a while.”

He tried to quit, cold turkey.

He isolated himself at a friend’s house “up the coast,” smoking marijuana as a substitute.

“I had beenself-medicating, mainly for depression,for years. But I loved a good time as well,” he said.

Then a friend came to visit, armed with an “eight ball”of cocaine.

“I’m not going to blame my mate, I’m a big boy. Idid it because I wanted to do it,” he said.

“We came back down to Newcastle and I went back to where I had been staying, and before I knew it, I was back in the same place.

“Addictedand on the hunt for ice.”

Mick has been cleanfor aboutseven months, largely thanks to the Smart Recovery program offered at the Samaritans’ Recovery Point in Broadmeadow.

“I hit rock bottom. There was nowhere left to go,” he said.

“Ice addiction is a carousel. You can’t get off unless you jump. And most people have nothing to fall to.

“I was lucky I had thesupport of my family and friends –that some of them still had faith and trust in me.

“And the Samaritans helped me more than I could ever imagine.

“I’m doing clean urine tests every time I go down to the Samaritans.

“But I stillthink about ice every day. It’s hard, but it’s not hopeless.”

Support is available:SAMARITANS RECOVERY POINT: 4922 1553ALCOHOL AND DRUG INFORMATION SERVICE:1800 422 599LIFELINE: 13 11 14

JT to Cowboys: play for team, not for me

Johnathan Thurston wants the Cowboys to focus on beating Cronulla, not his 300th NRL match.It’s the beginning for the end for one of rugby league’s greatest players and a milestone he has waited nine long months to reach.
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But Johnathan Thurston wants his North Queensland teammates to forget about his 300th NRL match on Friday night and focus on the task at hand – beating Cronulla.

Thurston admits he was “looked after” by the NRL after the Cowboys’ season-opener was scheduled at 1300SMILES Stadium in Townsville instead of an away fixture.

That’s where he wants the special treatment to end.

“If I or the boys are thinking, ‘Let’s do it for JT’, we’ll be sadly mistaken and copping a hiding on Friday night,” Thurston told reporters on Monday.

“For us it’s about preparing the best that we can and making sure every individual turns up.”

Thurston was left stranded on 299 games when he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in June last year.

The 34-year-old managed to patch it together to play in Queensland’s miraculous State of Origin II win but was unable to return for the Cowboys and underwent a full shoulder reconstruction.

He has already retired from representative rugby league and will hang up the boots for good at the end of the 2018 season.

“Even though it’s a big week for myself, we can’t lose focus of what’s important and making sure everyone’s preparing as best as we can,” Thurston said.

“Hopefully we can kick-start our season with a win but I’m sure the Sharkies have other plans.”

Thurston said he has full confidence in his shoulder after putting it to the test in two pre-season hit-outs against Wests Tigers and Melbourne.

He expects it to be targeted by a Cronulla side that will be hell-bent on revenge after North Queensland knocked them out of last year’s NRL finals series in the first round.

“While I’ve still got a lot to work on, I thought I took a giant leap in the Melbourne game,” Thurston said.

“I got knocked over with the ball and trampled a few times.

“Certainly that’s given me confidence and no doubt I’m sure they’ll be throwing plenty of tackles at me.”

The Cowboys will reportedly be without fullback Lachlan Coote, who injured his hamstring against the Storm.