Canberra junior star Andrea Thompson bolsters national title hopes

Canberra junior Andrea Thompson will attempt to make the leap to senior glory at the athletics national championships in Sydney this weekend after claiming age-group gold medals.

The capital’s senior athletes will ride the wave of junior success when they start their national title campaigns at the Sydney Olympic Park athletic centre on Friday.

More than 40 Canberra competitors will chase glory, including 100 metre champion Melissa Breen and hurdler Lauren Wells, who is aiming for her 10th n title.

But youngster Thompson (long jump) is aiming to step up against older rivals to stamp themselves as stars of the future.

Thompson won the under-20s long jump event by almost 10 centimetres with a 6.12 metre leap.

Canberra finished the juniors with an impressive medal haul, including 10 gold medals, after under-20s 5000 metre runner Courtney Hopkins won her event after making a dash from the airport to the track after the cross country world championships in Uganda.

Eddie Osei-Nketia won the under-18s 100 metre sprint in 10.56 seconds and Athletics ACT executive officer Ben Offereins said the junior stars were ready to make the jump to the next level. </iframe

“Andrea’s a 6.30 metre jumper and if she can do that in a final, that’s medal contention,” Offereins said.

“She’s got some tough competition, but she’s really in from. We’ve had heaps of success at the junior level, which is awesome for Canberra. Our female jumpers are really coming through.”

Athletics ACT claimed its first senior gold medals on Thursday with Jayden Sawyer and Cameron Crombie winning gold and silver respectively in the ambulant javelin.

London Olympian Offereins has withdrawn from the 400 metre after suffering a lower-leg strain last week, but has set his sights on a career farewell at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next year.

“The injury isn’t great timing but it’s the nature of the game. At this age you tend to be a little more fragile,” Offereins, 31, said.

“I’m aiming for the Comm Games and that will be the end for me. I’ve never had a chance to run in front of a home crowd [in a major meet] and that would be a fitting finish for me.

“The biggest challenge is keeping the body on the track, but that’s the goal.”


Ten Fair Work offices retire months after qualifying for pension

Iain Ross, Fair Work President, during a Senate Committee hearing at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday 28 May 2012.Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Photo: Alex EllinghausenTen former Fair Work Commission members, including outspoken critic Graeme Watson, retired early within months of qualifying for a full pension at the age of 60, a parliamentary committee has heard.

Fair Work Commission president Iain Ross told the senate estimates hearing on Thursday night that the former vice-president Graeme Watson retired this year on a maximum pension of $272,544 per year.

When Mr Watson announced his resignation in January he declared the Fair Work Commission was “partisan, dysfunctional and divided”.

A former partner at law firm Freehills, Mr Watson was the last remaining Coalition appointee in a senior role at the commission and a strong dissenter in favour of business. The Coalition made three new appointments last week.

Mr Ross said 10 of 12 presidential members who had qualified for the maximum judicial officer’s pension had resigned before the retirement age of 65.

Those who retired early left within nine to 18 months of qualifying for the maximum judicial officer’s pension.

The recent resignations of vice-president Watson, senior deputy Peter Richards, senior deputy president Jenny Acton and senior deputy president Matthew O’Callaghan all occurred within three to six months of qualifying.

The estimates hearing on Thursday night heard Mr Watson, who will receive a full judicial officer’s pension of $272,544 per year, had made inquiries about the taxation of his pension.

Opposition spokesman for employment, Brendan O’Connor said the fact Mr Watson “wrote to the Government complaining about the tax treatment of his generous $272,544 per annum pension tells you everything you need to know about the former Commission member”.

“Mr Watson has long favoured cutting the rates of pay for workers, though it’s now clear he’ll do anything to ensure his pay packet remains untouched,” Mr O’Connor said.

Fairfax Media tried to contact Mr Watson for comment but the calls were not returned.

Mr Ross said that a maximum judicial officer’s pension was equivalent to 60 per cent of their former pay and received for the remainder of their life.

A former president would receive $291,162 per annum based on the most recent Remuneration Tribunal increase in January.

A former deputy president would receive $251,376 and a former senior deputy president, $264,606.

But it was not uncommon for presidential members, once having qualified for the maximum pension, “to comment that they are, in effect, ‘working for 40 per cent’ of their remuneration”.

“I also understand that former vice-president Watson wrote to the Minister in 2015 regarding concerns with taxation issues relating to the judicial officer’s pension payable to members, which could affect consideration as to the timing of their retirement,” Mr Ross said.

In recent weeks, Mr Watson has been arguing in favour of a cut to the national minimum pay for the lowest paid workers in the country saying this would help ease youth unemployment.

In his first public appearance since resigning last month, Mr Watson used a speech at the Centre for Independent Studies last week to criticise his former boss, Mr Ross.

Mr Watson suggested Mr Ross had presided over an administration that marginalised commissioners like himself with a business background in favour of others who, like Mr Ross, had a union background.

He said the entire safety net including minimum wages, allowances, leave entitlements and penalty rates needed review.

“We have a very high level of minimum wages. In addition to that we have higher minimums for skilled employees above the minimum rate, which is unusual by international standards,” he said.

“Then we have all sorts of add-ons, such as allowances and penalty rates, which are also unusual and leave entitlements.”

Mr Watson said the recent reduction in Sunday penalty rates were more “modest” than he and his former commissioner Michael Roberts had wanted.

‘Trying times’: daughter calls for Chongyi Feng’s return from China

Yunsi Feng’s, whose father, Congyi Feng, a UTS Professor, has been prevented from leaving China and returning home to Sydney. 30th March 2017 Photo: Janie Barrett Photo: Janie BarrettHer dad has been barred from leaving China and his future is uncertain but Yunsi Feng is determined to stay strong.

The 24-year-old Sydney lawyer got an unexpected call from her father, UTS associate professor Chongyi Feng, on Friday to let her know he had not been allowed to board a flight out of China.

The story has since made international headlines and there are growing fears for Professor Feng’s welfare.

“These are trying times,” Ms Feng told Fairfax Media.

“But I’m trying to stay calm about the situation and to be there for him. I’ve told him not to worry about anything here in and to just focus on trying to get back home.”

Professor Feng, who has been critical of the Chinese government’s growing influence in , is a permanent resident of but was travelling on a Chinese passport.

Lawyers who are in contact with Dr Feng say he has been questioned by state security officers as a suspected threat to national security.

The n government has raised the case with Chinese authorities and Ms Feng says her “biggest hope” is that keeps up diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue.

“I hope [the n government] recognises the role my father has played in the n community and that is an important issue because of that,” she said.

Ms Feng, who spoke out about the family’s ordeal for the first time on Thursday, said she is mystified why her father has been prevented from leaving China.

“That’s the million-dollar question,” she said.

“I just don’t know how the issue is supposed to be resolved in a circumstance like this ??? I’m just hoping for my dad to call and say “surprise, I’m allowed to go home” but right now it’s a feeling of waiting for something to happen.”

Ms Feng appealed for her father’s quick return to .

Professor Feng, a Chinese studies specialist, has tried to reassure his daughter about his situation during recent phone calls.

“He’s telling me not to worry but I don’t know for sure how things are going over there,” she said.

“The focus for me is to make sure that he knows I’m OK and I’m holding down the fort at home. I want him to be able to focus on his situation and not worry about my wellbeing.”

Professor Feng’s wife, Xiuping Chen, is an n citizen and has been with him in China throughout the ordeal. She will stay as long as possible.

“Right now we are trying to stay positive,” said Yunsi Feng. “We can maintain family communications at least. But there’s always the worry that this becomes drawn out.”

Ms Feng is an n citizen and has lived in suburban Sydney since she was two years old. She said her father had dedicated much of his professional life to building understanding between and China.

“I hope that people see this is a family man, this is someone that has engaged with the n community for two decades, this is someone who has contributed to lot to , especially its understanding of China.

“He’s not just important to me, he’s important to the n community, especially the academic community.”

FFA requests extension from FIFA after failing to meet congress deadline

Football Federation will seek an extension from FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation to a deadline for restructuring its membership after failing to reach an agreement with stakeholders to expand its congress.

Fairfax Media understands the FFA is set to miss the March 31 deadline to expand its membership tier, opening the door for possible intervention from the governing body of world football, FIFA, which is understood to be unhappy with the stalled developments in .

The FFA is under heavy scrutiny from FIFA to expand its congress – which elects and votes on board members – to become more democratic and representative of the game by including more stakeholders rather than the nine-member state federations who have a vote each and the A-League clubs that collectively hold just one seat.

After failing to receive a 75 per cent majority of the votes required from the existing 10 members to expand the congress on their terms, FIFA could decide to step in and take an active role in the transition and restructure of n football’s governance, not limited to removing the FFA board.

While that measure remains an extreme option, the FFA have risked further damaging their relationship with A-League clubs and two of the biggest state member federations as a result of their inability to expand the congress by FFA’s deadline approved by FIFA and the AFC.

The FFA did not receive the 75 per-cent majority of the votes required from the existing 10 members to expand the congress on their terms after two of the nine state member federations and the A-League clubs blocked their proposal. The two biggest state federations, Football NSW and Football Federation Victoria rejected the FFA’s suggested terms of a 14-member congress, which would have expanded the A-League club’s influence from one seat to three, while giving the n players union (PFA) one seat.

A-League clubs voted against the FFA’s proposal, seeking a larger membership that will also provide them with a representation of about 25 per cent.

There are no meetings between the FFA and relevant stakeholders scheduled for Friday March 31 to finalise the expanded congress, with an FFA spokesman confirming they will not be increasing the membership by the deadline approved by FIFA and the AFC.

The n Professional Football Clubs Association, representing the A-League clubs, suggested they will not be pleased with any delay in the reforms.

“The APFCA expects the FFA to comply with the March 31 deadline agreed with FIFA and the AFC,” the association’s president Greg Griffin said.

Sources suggest A-League clubs would only agree to a deadline extension under the provision the FFA produces a clear and detailed plan for the growth of the game. However, any extension comes with the risk of further straining the already fractured relationship between the clubs and the FFA, who are yet to inform owners of their share of the broadcast deal for next season despite finalising the primary deal in December.

The Associations of n Football Clubs, representing the majority of the semi-professional National Premier League clubs claim the support of FIFA in their request to have one seat at the FFA congress.

3D printing, cutting-edge surgery give Susie something to smile about

PHOTO SUPPLIED by Rania Spooner?? for story on 3D printed jaw shows Susie Robinson?? before the car accident in late 80s that left Susie with lifelong damage to her jaw and missing teeth.This photo taken?? end of January, just a couple of months before accident. THE AGE NEWS PUB DATE MARCH 2017 Photo: SuppliedHer body and face are wrapped in surgical blue fabric, leaving only her mouth exposed.

The car crash that smashed Susie Robinson’s jaw three decades ago has finally landed her here. On this operating table.

The surgeon is preparing for his experimental procedure for what is believed to be only the sixth time.

If all goes to plan, he says this technique might revolutionise dental implants and offer the hope of an intact smile for those with severely damaged jaws.

There’s still years of work to do establishing the benefits of this operation but Ms Robinson doesn’t mind.

She was the driver that night back in 1989, an inexperienced 20-year-old behind the wheel of an unfamiliar utility vehicle with three passengers, navigating winding country roads towards a party in Albury, three hours from home.

A policeman later told her she’d over-corrected on a bend and smashed into a tree. Nobody should have survived.

Most of those in the car were left with scars they would carry through life.

For Ms Robinson it was damage to her mouth. Her jaw was fractured in three places, requiring 30 pins along the gum and wiring from top to bottom to hold it in place.

Three teeth were knocked out of her top jaw and she later lost a fourth.

Over the next 28 years, she would spend more than $80,000 and undergo at least 15 operations to try to correct the damage.

“The car accident defined the rest of my life,” said Ms Robinson, a 48-year-old radio producer.

“Having physical scars, and not just scars that you can see but internal, it does have an impact on how much you think you can take on, or how resilient you are.

“It does chip away a little bit at your self-confidence.”

The injury has been a constant reminder of her role in changing the lives of four families.

Two of her passengers had both legs broken in the crash, one also had a punctured lung, while the other – a promising athlete – was left with an ankle shattered so badly that doctors had to knit the veins back together.

“I changed the future of friends and my own and I know that accidents happen but you can’t get away from that, you have to take responsibility for that,” she said.

Last year, Ms Robinson was back where she started.

The dental implants that held her fake teeth in place for 15 years had cracked and needed to be replaced.

To do this using conventional techniques, doctors would first have operated to harvest bone from her hip and used this to build up the missing jaw.

Up to six months later, they would have then screwed the dental implants into the bone. It would have been another few months before she’d have teeth again.

Even then, it would not have been a sure thing. The past surgeries had chipped away at the bone and created a web of scar tissue.

But Ms Robinson won’t have to go through this arduous process because, in September 2016, she met Dr George Dimitroulis.

The oral and maxillofacial surgeon was trialling his own invention on patients at the Epworth Freemasons in East Melbourne.

He was using new technology and an old idea – a metal frame to do the work of the missing jaw and anchor false teeth.

They’re called subperiosteal frames and they fell out of favour in the early 90s because the technology did not yet exist to custom fit them to an individual jaw, explains Associate Professor John Cosson, the president of the n and New Zealand Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

They were cumbersome, expensive and required multiple surgeries. Not now though.

Dr Dimitroulis is using titanium frames that can be 3D-printed to perfectly match each patient’s jaw.

Microscrews are used to hold the frame in place until the bone can grow around it and false teeth screw straight onto the frame’s prongs. Instead of two or three surgeries, this needs just one.

It has been about 16 months since the first patient was fitted with Dr Dimitroulis’ “Osseoframe”.

The greatest hurdle faced so far has been the gum peeling away, revealing the metal frame beneath.

Adjustments have been made with each patient, more and larger holes have been made in the frame to allow for better blood flow.

Dr Dimitroulis will present it to dentists and surgeons for the first time at the International Conference on Oral and Maxillofacial surgery in Hong Kong this weekend.

“The dental and medical professions are quite conservative and when you bring in a new technology that threatens existing practices they put up a wall,” he says.

“My biggest challenge is convincing surgeons and dentists that this is not a one-off 3D-printed gimmick for some rare disorder but in fact it’s something that may well be a game-changer as far as dental implants are concerned.”

Associate Professor Cosson said 3D-printed titanium was already being used to repair eye sockets and defects in the skull and cheekbones.

If using this approach to jaw defects proved successful, “it could make otherwise hopeless cases possible,” he said. iFrameResize({resizedCallback : function(messageData){}},’#pez_iframeTeeth’);

“The treatments provided should be considered ‘experimental’ at this stage and it will be essential to gather data for further study.

“I hope it works.”

The surgery had taken about an hour. Dr Dimitroulis cut around extensive scar tissue to lift what was left of Ms Robinson’s gum from the bone.

The frame was then secured with tiny screws before prosthodontist Simon Watson moved in to fit the teeth.

Five days later, Ms Robinson is smiling without the fear that something is going to fall out.

“It feels like I’ve forgotten to put my denture in,” she says with a grin.

Victoria completes ‘accidental’ Shield hat-trick

In 2014, Cricket Victoria reversed its emphasis. From time immemorial, it had set out to win Sheffield Shields, believing the bi-product would be a stream of n players. Three years ago, it decided that its No.1 KPI would be n caps, and the Shield could look after itself. One consequence, says CA cricket manager Shaun Graf, is that coaches and selectors became more adventurous, and also looked more favourably on youth.

Well, what do you know? Three years later, there are four Victorians in the Test squad now returning from India, and by next summer there should be a fifth, quickie James Pattinson, and even a sixth, left-arm spinner Jon Holland. And along the way, the Vics have won the Shield three times in a row for the first time in their storied history, formalising the third on a balmy afternoon in Alice Springs on Thursday.

Incidentally, this hat-trick has been won under three different coaches, which shows that the Shield, though an honest competition in itself, is also a stepping stone. Also incidentally, Victoria were the home team in two of the three finals, but they were played variously in Hobart, Glenelg and Alice Springs, which shows how far the cricket season has been shunted aside by footy.

This year’s final was characteristically anti-climactic. Victoria won the toss and took up occupation for 289 overs over two innings, more than any previous finalist except one. It left no time or at length inclination for South to make a match of it. Finals tend either to be gripping – last year’s was – or studies in inertia. The top team deserves an advantage, but for the draw to be a first resort rather than last is counter-ethical to the way modern cricket is played.

But Victoria could only work within the system as specified. Besides, each of the three wins was about the sum of their season, not one game. Each followed a remarkably similar course: a rampant pre-Christmas period, collapse after the long Big Bash League hiatus, then a gathering up at the end, just in time.

This season’s performance has been especially meritorious. National selection – hallelujah! – took a toll. So did injury. Veterans Peter Siddle and John Hastings were sidelined, also young, smoking guns Will Pucovski and Sam Harper. The BBL break was a hump, distracting players beforehand, dividing them for the duration and leaving minor personal strains to deal with afterwards; such is the lot of a two-team state. This season, there was also the mid-stream change of brand of ball to assimilate.

Successively Victoria lost by an innings to NSW on the MCG, then in two days to WA in Perth. But they had the points on the board, the runs, too. Crucially, rehabbed Pattinson turned down enquiries from the national selectors about replacing the fallen Mitchell Starc in India, preferring to make haste slowly, and with his whistling outswingers bowled Victoria into the final, and it was all over bar the shouting, an unlikely sound at a Shield game anyway.

Graf, a 40-year servant of Victorian cricket in various roles, up to and including 12th man once for , identifies several forces agreeably at work in Victoria’s hegemony. One is a classic blend: at one end the vast experience of Cameron White, Rob Quiney and Dan Christian, at the other the youthful insouciance of Seb Gotch and Travis Dean. Pattinson has been vital, as batsman as well as bowler, allowing Christian to play at No. 6 and Gotch at No. 7 and eliciting runs from all three (not to mention a bolter’s century from tailender Chris Tremain).

The youth system is producing, and players from elsewhere are knocking on what they see as an attractive door. Opener Marcus Harris came to Victoria, not Victoria to him, and his century on day one of the final effectively settled it. But Graf is not holier-than-thou. Where Victoria sees a need and a recruit, it goes for him: hence the much-travelled Christian.

Oddly enough, Alice Springs is a vice turned virtue. Vagrancy in Melbourne has forced the Vics to play out of there, with generous backing from the NT government, but Graf said it has bound the team into one. Living together, and with neither the distractions nor the obligations of home to interfere, they have become tight. Plainly, it suits the Bushrangers to be outlaws.

But if they get to another final next season, it will be at the expansively redeveloped Junction Oval, with its spanking new facilities, widened arena and 44 practice pitches, 12 on the ground and 32 off it. It will be home – but will it?

Three in a row is hard, four near to impossible: ask Hawthorn or the Brisbane Lions. Time does not stand still, no matter what impression you might have formed in Alice Springs. Only Quiney, Christian and Fawad Ahmed have played in all three wins. Next season, Matt Wade moves back to Tasmania, instantly taking Victoria down a peg on their made-for- metric. With any luck, and justice, Pattinson at least will be playing for , at once vindicating Victoria and filleting them. It is ever thus in state cricket.

NSW’s nine-in-a-row record is out of sight and by policy out of mind. Still, when you stop mentioning the war, sometimes it wins itself.

Mariners want government backing to return to capital next season

Central Coast Mariners are willing to move games from Canberra Stadium next season in a bid to make their visits to the capital financially viable.

The Mariners played two home games in Canberra this season at a significant loss after crowds of just 5497 and 5072 turned up.

Government funding is needed if the Mariners are to strike a deal that will keep the club playing in Canberra, however the parties have not met to discuss prospective games next season.

The Mariners are keen to return but the government is hesitant to enter into a long-term agreement after the poor crowds.

Mariners chief executive Shaun Mielekamp met with Capital Football boss Phil Brown in Sydney on Tuesday night to discuss possible solutions of keeping A-League action in the capital.

It is understood the Mariners’ future in Canberra now rests on negotiations between Capital Football and the ACT government.

Mielekamp has opened the door to playing at alternative venues such as Manuka Oval or Viking Park and the Mariners boss emphasised he’s keener to fix than flee.

“We’ve been going there for seven years, we’ve got 120 members and raft of relationships in Canberra which we want to maintain,” Mielekamp said.

“From a Central Coast perspective, one of the biggest challenges is finding the right venue that suits the market that wants to come.

“The logistical challenges with the size of Canberra Stadium poses a confronting task for any A-League club to come to town.”

ACT chief minister Andrew Barr declared Canberra now needs an A-League team if a proposed Civic Stadium is to be built, a project which has the Mariners support.

“We’re of the belief the more venue options available the more events Canberra will attract, so we’re very keen to hear what future options look like in Canberra in terms of other venues,” Mielekamp said.

“From what I’ve heard it sounds like it [Civic Stadium] would be something that is a lot more suited for football, so if it’s good for football will always have the support of the Central Coast.”

Mielekamp confirmed there has been no development in securing government funds and admitted the club was left frustrated with comments made by sport minister Yvette Berry in February.

“We’ve read and heard the comments from the minister which are unfortunate, she must have missed a lot of the community work we did leading into the games,” Mielekamp said.

“But we understand everyone has a role to play so we just have to progress forward and look at all the options.

“We’re hoping of a good discussion between the government and Capital Football around our Remembrance Day game especially, because we think it’s a core fixture for us and we hope they are doing everything they can to continue a long tradition in the city.”

The Mariners boss said there were plenty of positive to come out of Tuesday’s meeting, including discussions surrounding the Capital Draft pathways program.

“The capital draft is an important program which we need to continue to improve and make sure there it works for everyone. We think that’s a core ingredient to untapping the talent,” Mielekamp said.

“It was a positive catch up with Capital Football… we had to do a bit of a review as to what went right and wrong from our games in Canberra which were a financial struggle for us.

“To get things structured moving forward, it will start with conversations around preseason and the Capital Draft and keep peeling back the onions and see what the future looks like.”

Berry did not want to comment until she had spoken with Brown who did not return calls from Fairfax media on Thursday.

Hawks axe four, welcome back Hodge

Hawthorn have reacted savagely to their upset loss against Essendon last week, wielding the axe for round two as they confirmed the return of former captain Luke Hodge.

Taylor Duryea, Billy Hartung, James Sicily and Ryan Schoenmakers have all paid the price for the Hawks’ sluggish showing and have been dropped for what shapes as a big challenge against Adelaide at the MCG on Saturday.

Hodge was left out of the Hawks’ season opener due to a club-imposed one-match suspension for not notifying the club that he wouldn’t be attending a training session.

Joining the four-time premiership star as inclusions for Hawthorn are Ryan Burton, Kade Stewart and debutant Teia Miles who was taken at pick No.49 in the 2014 draft.

Fresh from smashing premiership favourites GWS by 56 points, the Crows will further bolster their team with the addition of captain Taylor Walker after he sat out Sunday’s match due to a hamstring injury.

Troy Menzel makes way for Walker after playing his first game for Adelaide last week.

Adelaide are also confident that star forward Eddie Betts will overcome an illness to face Hawthorn. The All-n goalsneak didn’t take part in the Crows’ main training session on Thursday.

Sydney have named three debutants for their grand final rematch with the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.

Robbie Fox, Nic Newman and Will Hayward will all play their first AFL games after Dane Rampe (arm), Daniel Robinson (collarbone) and the omitted Dean Towers were forced out of the side.

Marcus Adams will play his first game for the Dogs since Round 15 last year and looms as the obvious match-up for Lance Franklin with Dale Morris sidelined due to a broken leg. Ruckman Tom Campbell has also come in for premiership player Toby McLean.

Gold Coast’s former No.1 pick David Swallow is set to play his first premiership game in 631 days after he was included by the Suns to face Greater Western Sydney at Spotless Stadium on Saturday.

Swallow’s promising career has been stalled significantly by knee and hamstring issues. He has not played since Round 15, 2015.

Key Melbourne duo Jesse Hogan and Max Gawn will be available to face Carlton on Sunday after being cleared of serious injury.

The pair pulled up sore after the Demons’ impressive round one win over St Kilda, with Hogan on crutches.

But Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said Hogan and Gawn will play as the club guns for two wins to open the season for the first time since 2005.

Goodwin said Hogan would have a hit-out before the match.

“He rolled his ankle last week, so it was just a matter of staying off it for a few days,” Goodwin said.

“He won’t do a hell of a lot today but he’ll do a bit on Saturday and he’ll be right to go.”

Ruckman Gawn has had back soreness, and hurt his wrist in a training mishap on Thursday too, but Goodwin also gave him the green light.

“Both are obviously pretty important players for us but they’ll both get the all clear and both be ready to play,” he said.

The Dees have made two forced changes with Bernie Vince (suspension) and Joel Smith (shoulder) making way for Dom Tyson, Dean Kent, Jake Spencer, Ben Kennedy and James Harmes in an extended squad.

The Blues haven’t dropped anyone as yet, but highly-rated youngster Harry McKay has been named in their 25 and could make his debut after kicking four goals in a VFL practice match last week

St Kilda have included veteran Leigh Montagna for their daunting assignment against West Coast at Domain Stadium on Saturday night. Paddy McCartin and Blake Acres’ are the Saints’ other ins.

The trio comes in for Nick Riewoldt (knee), David Armitage (groin) and the omitted Nathan Wright.

West Coast’s Mr Fix It Jonathan Giles has been called on again to alleviate their ruck crisis after Drew Petrie (hand) joined Scott Lycett (shoulder) and Nic Naitanui (knee) on the sidelines.

Impressive young Eagles Tom Barrass and Dom Sheed have also been named to take on St Kilda with Lewis Jetta (glute) and Eric Mackenzie (soreness) also coming out of the side that beat North Melbourne last week.

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NSW Police embarks on new era with appointment of incoming commissioner Mick Fuller

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, and NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione at a press conference where he announced his retirement in April. 2nd February 2017 Photo: Janie Barrett Photo: Janie BarrettAfter years of infighting and protracted speculation, the NSW Police Force has moved into a new era, with promises of a fresh leadership style and no tolerance for past grievances.

Incoming commissioner Mick Fuller said his brief was different to that of his predecessor Andrew Scipione and in it was an aim to change the model of policing that has existed for 20 years.

“While that has served us well in some areas the downside of that is the community has changed over 20 years, the environment has changed over 20 years, crime has changed over 20 years,” he said after his appointment was announced on Thursday.

“So from our perspective it’s about how do we become more dynamic?

“How do we look at the resources we have – we are nearly a $3.5 billion organisation – and how do we better service the community?”

The 49-year-old’s hopes were confirmed in a late night phone call on Wednesday night.

His name would be taken to the following morning’s cabinet meeting as the preferred choice for new police commissioner.

By 10.30am on Thursday, Mr Fuller, a police officer of 29 years, was outlining his vision for the state’s 16,500-odd sworn officers, highlighting a focus on hot-ticket issues such as organised crime and terrorism.

Getting police numbers right across the state and focusing on lone-wolf style terrorist targets who could act in isolation would also be key areas, Mr Fuller flagged.

He jumped the rank of deputy commissioner and his superiors Catherine Burn and David Hudson – both of whom applied for the top job – to win the commissioner’s role.

The prospects of Ms Burn and former deputy commissioner Nick Kaldas making commissioner were always going to be shadowed by deep animosity between the pair, which stemmed from a controversial bugging operation in the early 2000s.

Infighting, which extended to supporters, had served as a distraction for the top brass and frustration for those wanting to get on with the job and advance their careers.

Mr Fuller’s appointment signalled generational change in the force, with Ms Burn and Mr Kaldas having long been touted as Mr Scipione’s most obvious successors.

He confirmed one of the first priorities would be gathering his management team to outline structural reform and gauge whether they were willing to “come on the journey or not”.

“Certainly the first thing is getting that management team in and really moving towards that, rather than being so tactical and worrying about what happened this morning on the street,” he told Fairfax Media on Thursday afternoon.

“Whilst that is important there is a lot of senior police to deal with that and we’ve got really strategic issues we have to focus on.”

Acknowledging the past disharmony between deputies would have been both a distraction and tiring for those involved, Mr Fuller was adamant it would not continue.

“I certainly can’t change the past and I will be clear with all assistant commissioners and superintendents up is that those days are over,” he said.

Ms Burn and Mr Hudson both congratulated Mr Fuller on his success on Thursday. Asked whether he thought the deputies would continue under his leadership, Mr Fuller said he wouldn’t know until he mapped out the vision and his feelings in terms of their strengths and weaknesses.

“We had a good working relationship while I was Assistant Commissioner and they were deputies so I can’t imagine they would be leaving because of Mick Fuller,” he said.

“It will be more that they are leaving because the organisation is going in a different direction.”

Asked whether she would stay on, Ms Burn said: “I accept and respect the decision made by cabinet and I look forward to working with the new commissioner.”

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the decision process for who would be the next commissioner was not an easy one.

“But certainly in terms of outcome… Assistant Commissioner Fuller is a successful applicant,” she said at Parliament House.

“He brings a wealth of experience, a wealth of commitment and great prioritisation and that is in sync with where the government wants to take policing.”

Since 2014, Mr Fuller, who is the force’s corporate spokesman for domestic violence, has served as the Central Metropolitan Region commander. He oversees major events in the CBD, such as New Year’s Eve, and played a leading role in the initial response to the 2014 Lindt Cafe siege.

One of the biggest challenges for Mr Fuller early on will be his handling of the Lindt Cafe siege inquest findings, due to be handed down in coming weeks.

Margaret River Pro surfers on high alert after salmon run triggers shark alert

Surfers at a high-profile surf competition in WA’s South West are on high alert after a shark warning has been issued, triggered by schools of salmon beginning their migration along the coast.

The warning comes after WA’s most prestigious surf event – the Margaret River Pro – kicked off on Wednesday, moving the first heat of the competition to North Point near Gracetown.

Surf breaks in the area off Gracetown have become notorious after three surfers lost their lives in fatal shark attacks along the stretch of coastline.

Surfer Chris Boyd, 35, was killed by a shark at Lefthanders Beach in 2013, the same break where Bradley Smith, 29, lost his life being mauled by a four-metre shark in 2014.

In 2010 father-of-two Nick Edwards was killed by a shark 300 metres from the South Point surf break.

There were three fatal shark attacks in surf breaks off Gracetown. Photo: wannasurf苏州夜网

World-class surfers, spearheaded by legendary 11-times World Surf League Champion Kelly Slater, have travelled to the region to take part in the competition.

Fisheries WA released drone footage of salmon schools along the South West Coast, which also shows a number of large sharks hunting them.

“Reported shark sightings are already on the rise around schooling fish. If you’re swimming or surfing, recognise the danger signs and keep away from large schools of fish,” the video warns.

“The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter patrols the South West on weekends and holidays. If the helicopter hovers and sounds the siren, stay out of the water for at least an hour and check your mobile for updates on shark activity before returning to the water.”

A shark spotted by the Westpac Helicopter. Photo: Fisheries WA

Last weekend, the SharkSmart website recorded six individual shark sightings down south between Bunker Bay and Wilyabrup.

And over the last month, there have been 33 reported sightings by the helicopter between Hamelin Bay and Peppermint Grove Beach.

The Salmon bleeding at Smiths Beach captured by drone. Photo: Ian Wiese

The warning follows an incident at Smiths Beach last Wednesday, when Yallingup locals criticised fishermen for putting swimmers at risk of a shark attack after catching and gutting a salmon catch without warning at the popular swimmers beach.

Electronic shark deterrent devices have been set up around the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro in order to repel sharks.