Monthly Archives:June 2019

DREW Bogdanovs and James ‘‘Frankie’’ Reid agree it may be the craziest thing they’ll ever do.

The friends will run more than 250kilometres in 50degree heat across the Sahara Desert, competing in what has been labelled ‘‘the toughest foot race on earth’’, the Marathon Des Sables.

The men, who met while playing rugby for Merewether Carlton, will climb sand dunes, scale mountains and hills and battle the elements while lugging 15-kilogram backpacks containing their food and supplies for the six-day trek.

Mr Reid and Mr Bogdanovs, who are taking the challenge in a bid to raise $100,000 for Newcastle’s Ronald McDonald House, will be among 900 adventure seekers from around the world who will race across southern Morocco between April 6 and 13.

Mr Bogdanovs said preparation was the key to mastering the gruelling ultra-marathon, which is the equivalent of six regular marathons.

‘‘I think the fact that it’s known as the world’s toughest foot race makes me want to do it even more,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s definitely the craziest thing I’ve ever done but I’m going in with that mentality that if I can do this then I can do anything.’’

He said the pair had been running more than 120kilometres a week on sand and road to prepare for the conditions.

‘‘The temperatures drop from in the 50s during the day to one or two at night and most people lost about 10kilograms of weight through water during the week,’’ he said.

Mr Reid said spots in the race were limited and surprisingly sought-after.

‘‘The distance isn’t the hardest thing, given the amount of time you’re allocated to complete it,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s the terrain and the temperature that will be the biggest challenge.’’

Mr Reid said the pair had raised more than $35,000 to date.

CHALLENGE: Drew Bogdanovs and James Reid in training for next month’s 250kilometre foot race across the Sahara Desert. Picture: Darren Pateman

Donations can be made at everydayhero杭州夜网

CHALLENGE: Drew Bogdanovs and James Reid in training for next month’s 250kilometre foot race across the Sahara Desert. Picture: Darren Pateman


100 volunteers

400 support staff

120,000 litres of mineral water

270 tents

100 all-terrain vehicles

two helicopters

one Cessna plane

three mountain bikes

six commercial planes

23 buses

four camels

four quad bikes

one incinerator lorry for burning waste

52 medical officers

6.5km of Elastoplast

19,000 compresses

6000 painkillers

150 litres of disinfectant

five cameras

one editing bus

one satellite image station

six satellite telephones

15 computers

SWISS defender Dominik Ritter has called a new one-year deal tabled by the Jets “not good enough” and is likely to return to Europe at the end of the A-League campaign.

NOT ENOUGH: Dominik Ritter is awaiting a new bid from the Jets. Picture: Getty Images

The 23-year-old left-sided defender is one of five Jets players whose future remains up in the air.

Reborn striker Michael Bridges is in talks about a dual role that includes working with the Emerging Jets Program.

Negotiations are also continuing with marquee striker Emile Heskey.

Brazilian Bernardo Ribeiro and striker Marko Jesic, who have featured sparingly, are unlikely to be offered new deals.

Ritter, 23, has made 16 appearances, the last four in the centre of defence, since joining the Jets from Swiss club Winterthur and is keen to stay.

“We had discussions and the club made an offer but it was not quite what I was looking for, especially with my situation as a foreign player and being from the other side of the world,” he said.

“I told the club I can’t and will not accept the offer.”

The Jets policy is not to discuss contract talks but sources have told the Herald that the offer was an upgrade on his current deal.

“If they come up with another offer in a couple of weeks we will see,” he said.

“All I know is that the offer they made was not good enough for me.

“Of course I am looking to further my career and keep playing football.

“If it is not here in Newcastle, if it is not in Australia, somewhere else in Europe. But everything is still open, there is no final decision yet.”

Ritter has two games, both must-win encounters, to convince coach Gary van Egmond that he is worth more money.

After starting the season at left back, he is now the preferred partner for Connor Chapman in the heart of defence.

“For me, it really doesn’t matter if I play left back or left stopper,” he said.

“I have played both positions all through my career.

“When you play centre back, you have the whole game in front of you.

“There is no line, you have to play both sides. As a fullback you can attack more and it is completely different.

“I have played both positions, so it’s no problem.”

Ritter said the Jets had bounced back well from the last-gasp 2-1 loss to the Glory.

“We have to stay focused,” he said. “We need two wins to make the finals.

“Of course, we have to look at the game and what went wrong. But we have to look forward and take confidence into the next game.”

Captain Ruben Zadkovich and Bridges did not train on Sunday and were on light duties on Monday.

However, they are not in doubt for Friday’s crunch match at Hindmarsh Stadium.

“It is a matter of making sure they are fresh,” Jets assistant coach Craig Deans said. “For Ruben, especially, it has been a long year. The amount of work he gets through week to week.”

Zenon Caravella continued his progress back from a hamstring injury and will resume full training tomorrow.

COACH Dan Beckett is confident he has the right balance of new and old faces to lead Newcastle to an unprecedented sixth straight Caldwell Cup – the holy grail of NSW Country Rugby.

On MondayBeckett named nine debutants and only 12 survivors from last year’s successful campaign in a 25-man squad for the Country Championships to be held in Tamworth in a fortnight.

Anderson Medal winner Mark Wade, Pete Bakarich, Bleddyn Gant, Joe Akkersdyk, Sireli Bainivalu, Dillon Rowney, Adam Nolan, Mark Donald and Tom Lamont will make their maiden appearance for Newcastle at the championships.

Hamilton premiership-winning captain and NSW Country hooker Steve Lamont will skipper the side, which is heavy on back-rowers.

“The balance looks pretty good,” Beckett said.

“Mixed in with those nine debutants are Anderson Medal winners, premiership winners and guys with plenty of first-grade experience.”

Newcastle enter the championships with one hit-out against Manly. A trial against Eastwood was washed out.

“We have two weeks to prepare for a grand final,” Beckett said. “There are no second chances. We need to get it right for the first game.”

Newcastle open the championship against hosts Central North on the Saturday.

Central Coast play Illawarra.

The winners meet in the final on Sunday.

NEWCASTLE: (forwards) Peter Bakarich, Steve Lamont, Bleddyn Gant, Joe Akkersdyk, Mark Wade, James Johnston, Chris Stratton, Steve Sione, Adam Nolan, Nick Palmer, Mark O’Brien, Mark Donald, Charl van Niekirk, Tom Lamont, Va Talaileva; (backs) Gareth Ernst, Brendan Holiday, Sireli Bainivalu, Luke Sherwood, Lewie Catt, Dillon Rowney, Ben Harriss, Paul Dan, Paul Mlotkowski, Michael Delore.

CONFIDENT: Coach Dan Beckett.

WE are three weeks out from the A-League finals series, and it’s getting harder and harder to pick which two sides will fill positions five and six.

So tight is the race that the ninth-placed Melbourne Heart would have jumped to fifth if they had beaten Adelaide United last night.

The Jets are currently clinging to a top-six berth and have played their round 26 clash with Wellington already, so have one less match than all their play-off rivals to accumulate points.

Friday night’s cruel loss to Perth Glory probably means the Jets will need to win their last two matches to make the play-offs. Thirty-four points – a win and a draw for the Jets – could be sufficient, but the Jets’ poor goal difference could count against them at that total.

The Jets certainly deserved to win quite convincingly on Friday night. They were good and their opponents were conservative and lacking in ambition for much of the contest, but Danny Vukovic in goal pulled off some astonishing saves.

It’s rumoured the driver of Perth’s coach was seen donning a balaclava and running to the vehicle to get it started for a quick getaway after Michael Thwaites’s late, late goal confirmed the heist was complete.

But some will say the result merely proves the old adage that luck evens itself out over the course of a season, harking back to a couple of early-season fixtures that brought victories against the flow of the games.

Whatever your take on that, the Jets have a difficult but by no means impossible task ahead of them.

First and foremost they cannot afford to lose in Adelaide. Defeat in Friday night’s match would mean their best possible points total would be 33, and you’d imagine at least two of the four other contenders could match that tally.

Can the Jets go to Hindmarsh Stadium and get the job done? I don’t see why not. They will have enjoyed three extra days recovery compared to their opponents, who played last night, and will enjoy the good pitch in Adelaide.

The Reds have not quite gone into free fall since the departure of John Kosmina as coach, but they’ve certainly stalled a little, and the confident, flexible side that we saw in the first two-thirds of the season has lost its way a little.

Still it’s not easy to get three points at Hindmarsh.

Sydney FC have given themselves a chance to qualify with a home game against the Victory followed by a derby clash with the Wanderers at Parramatta Stadium, and a trip to Brisbane in the final round.

Frank Farina’s men have won six in a row at home, and if they can extend that to seven this weekend, you’d fancy a certain ADP would find some magic in the final two games to get them over the line.

Having said that, Brisbane, Perth and the Heart all have very winnable home fixtures among their remaining games.

Just what Tony Popovic and Graham Arnold, coaches of Western Sydney Wanderers and the Mariners respectively, do with their squads in round 27 if they are in a situation where their position is already decided, may have a bearing.

With the top two enjoying a day off in the first week of the finals series, both would probably want to keep their first XIs in match routine, a three-week break between games being too much, but players carrying injuries or facing possible suspensions could be rested.

My pet project – getting all final-round games to start at the same time – is pushed fairly and squarely to centre stage at this point of the season.

Luckily for the governing body the Brisbane-Sydney clash is the first of the final round games. Imagine if they played last, and both needed a point each to make the semi-finals!

As it stands the Mariners, who play on the Sunday in the last round, may have a big say on who eventually plays in the semi-finals.

Let’s imagine for a second that Sydney FC or the Jets sit in sixth spot but the Heart can jump them if they get three points at Gosford.

If Arnold were to rest some of his tired players after their busy schedule, which he is quite entitled to do, and the Heart won and finished sixth, they would play Melbourne Victory – undoubtedly a danger team for the top two – and in my mind would have a better chance than anyone else to beat the Victory in Melbourne.

I love a conspiracy theory and that one would be even more plausible if the Mariners finished first, because the team that finishes second on the ladder will host the highest-ranked winner of the semi-finals, meaning second cannot play sixth in their week two semi-final.

It may still happen though, because the Wanderers have tough away trips to the Heart and Jets either side of the derby with Sydney FC.

That’s no snack, and to be honest I don’t see the Wanderers winning 14 games in a row to take the title.

There are a multitude of permutations and possibilities available, and one day soon a team is going to cry foul, when they are dependent on the result of a game, and one of the other coaches fields an understrength side.

What will actually happen is anybody’s guess. Perth were unconvincing at Hunter Stadium but could very well get six points from home clashes with Wellington this weekend and Adelaide in round 27.

Brisbane face a tough trip to Gosford on Sunday but home games against the Heart and Sydney FC in the final two rounds leaves their fate clearly in their own hands.

Sydney need a minimum of four points, probably five given their goal difference, to make the play-offs.

The Heart will need to have beaten Adelaide last night to have a genuine opportunity.

The Jets need a result in Adelaide, probably a win, to keep their hopes alive before their last-round home clash with the Wanderers.

Will the picture be any clearer next week? Today?

And do you share my gut feeling that a former Jets player may somehow decide Newcastle’s fate?

Nailbiting times.

Michael Bridges during Friday night’s game. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

SHOULD Newcastle build a new memorial to mark the centenary of the 1915 Anzac landings? If so, where should it be, what should it look like and who should pay for it?

Interesting questions, but time is running out to answer them.

If it’s going to happen in time for the big anniversary, we will need a good discussion and a good decision fairly soon.

Actually, people have already been giving the matter a lot of thought.

Like Pat Murphy, of the ‘‘Blue Orchid’’ RAAF group, who wants a memorial wall at Strzelecki Lookout, with the names of every fallen Hunter serviceman and woman in all wars.

Pat and his group have worn out a lot of shoe leather, talking to business people and politicians, all of whom apparently like his plans but none of whom are clear about where the money might come from.

Without wanting to undermine Pat’s plan, which is very good, I’ll fly a kite of my own.

Following Lord Mayor Jeff McCloy’s idea to shift the city library into the former post office building, I wonder if that project could be combined with a 2015Anzac memorial.

Three reasons occur to me.

One is that the post office is the home of the Gardner memorial, our famous soldier statue – the first of its kind in Australia – that was unveiled in 1916.

Another reason is that the library is now housed in the Laman Street building known as the Newcastle War Memorial Cultural Centre, a major project undertaken by the people of Newcastle after World War II to create a lasting practical memorial for their city.

It’s worth noting that, after World War I, Australia built memorials and shrines. But after World War II, many returned men and women took a different tack, building instead libraries, swimming pools and other practical community facilities.

They wanted to focus on one purpose of the sacrifice of our citizen soldiers – making the world better for future generations.

The cultural centre filled a gap in civic life, serving as a library and art gallery at a time when such facilities were limited.

There’s a potential symmetry in moving some contents of the post-World War II memorial to the building that hosts the World War I memorial, especially if that also lets the art gallery expand into the cultural centre space.

I wouldn’t mind seeing the old post office building reopened in 2015 as our new Anzac Centenary Library. I’d be glad to see Pat’s memorial of names built somehow into the plan, and I’d be glad to see some government funds chipped in to help make this practical memorial a reality.

The federal government, in particular, should be approached, since it was a disgraceful federal decision to sell the old post office building into private hands that is primarily responsible – in my opinion – for the mess the iconic civic treasure has fallen into.

I’m not opposed, in principle, to the idea of incorporating the old war memorial cultural centre into an art gallery upgrade, but the mighty statues of ‘‘Him and Her’’ that stand in the foyer must be treated with the utmost respect. They were controversial in their day, with many objecting to their elongated forms, but I find them inspiring.

They were created by sculptor, returned serviceman and official war artist Lieutenant Lyndon Dadswell to represent youth emerging from the wreckage of war and looking to the future.

Hardly less inspiring is the nearby inscription in the cultural centre, written by Cessnock woman Jessie Sheridan-McLoughlin in response to a competition, to encapsulate the purpose of the memorial. It reads: ‘‘In minds ennobled here, the noble dead shall live.’’

Anyway, those are my thoughts on a possible Anzac centennial project for Newcastle.

Other people may not agree.

Many will probably have much better ideas. I hope they make their voices heard.