The Late Mail: Remi Casty set for Roosters debut

14/11/2018 // by admin

French international Remi Casty will make his debut for the Sydney Roosters after an injury-riddled start to his career in Australia.
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Casty hasn’t played for the club since February’s World Club Challenge victory against Wigan after sustaining two separate injuries, but the former Catalans Dragons forward will start on the bench in Friday’s clash against the Bulldogs.

“I’m very happy I am going to play for Roosters in the NRL,” Casty said. “I’m very pumped and I want to bring some energy to the team. This time I stay quiet and I’m waiting for the game because the first two injuries were unlucky. Maybe because my family and friends are far away, there was a lot of frustration when I’m injured. But now I’m OK. I’m very happy.”

With Josh Reynolds and Trent Hodkinson with the Blues on Origin duty, Reni Maitua and Moses Mbye are the new halves pairing for the Bulldogs, while Krisnan Inu replaces Josh Morris, and Chase Stanley moves to the centres.

Beau Henry will join Albert Kelly in the halves for Gold Coast’s match against the Warriors on Saturday. Regular five-eighth Aidan Sezer is likely to miss the rest of the season with a pectoral injury.

In the absence of Matt Scott and Johnathan Thurston, prop Ashton Sims will captain the Cowboys for the first time when they travel to Canberra on Sunday.

Sims was chosen a fortnight ago as skipper of the Fiji Test team against Samoa.

“I was just saying before that in the last month two of the biggest things in my footy career have happened but captaining the Cowboys supersedes everything,” Sims said.

“This means everything to me. I’m really happy and humble that the coaching staff have chosen me to lead these men into battle.”

Curtis Rona, Ray Thompson and Jason Taumalolo are carrying injuries but all trained with the team on Thursday and are expected to play.

For the Raiders, Mitchell Cornish will make his debut on the bench.

The Rabbitohs welcome back Nathan Merritt from the NSW Cup, who will line up at fullback in the absence of Greg Inglis on Origin duty.

The Sharks are already without Paul Gallen and Luke Lewis on Origin duty but are also expecting to be missing Todd Carney, Beau Ryan, Anthony Tupou and Andrew Fifita through injury.

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Ferguson barred fromjuniors

14/11/2018 // by admin

Sydney Roosters have signed former NSW and Canberra three-quarter Blake Ferguson for next season. Photo: Brendan EspositoBlake Ferguson would have to undergo a risk assessment by the NSW Commission for Children and Young People if his new job as a community and development officer was to include working with junior footy teams.
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The Sydney Roosters on Thursday moved to clarify Ferguson’s position with the premiers in the face of a backlash about their employment of the former NSW State of Origin winger.

The 24-year-old, who remains deregistered by the NRL after being found guilty of indecently assaulting a woman at a Cronulla nightclub last year, is in his new role but not coaching or mentoring under-age players, the club says.

‘‘With regards to junior clubs, it’s the open-age players in the junior club system such as Bondi United A-grade team for example, that he’ll be doing coaching sessions with,’’ Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan said. ‘‘He will also be working with disadvantaged groups such as the NSW Wheelchair Rugby League and with the NRL and their welfare education department. He will do indigenous mentoring and those programs will be overseen by Dean Widders at the NRL.’’

The Roosters are aware of the hurdles to overcome should his position widen to coaching juniors.

Under the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 a conviction for indecent assault automatically bars a person from working with children.

For that to be lifted, Ferguson would have to clear a NSW Commission for Children and Young People risk assessment. Anyone in child-related work must pass a “Working with Children Check”.

‘‘We’ll investigate down the track the appropriate channels as to the Working with Children Check,’’ Canavan said. ‘‘I’ve already made contact with the PCYC about that … if he does work with the PCYC.’’

After starting the new job on Thursday, the Roosters hope to have the former Cronulla and Canberra back join their playing ranks next year and are vowing to support him.

Asked about the reaction to his role with the Roosters, Canavan said: ‘‘We carefully considered all this. We realise it’s a delicate situation.

‘‘Blake has already received his penalty and indeed that is still ongoing in terms of registration. What we’re trying to do is assist a young person with his own personal career and hopefully with his football career after that. We fully appreciate the fact that people have comment on it but he’s already been penalised. The other thing about Blake is he hasn’t had the advantage of a conventional upbringing and education.’’

Ferguson’s appeal against his conviction will be heard in court next month.

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Guy Walter, one of the turf’s gentlemen, dies

14/11/2018 // by admin

Guy Walter with jockey Blake Shinn after winning the Doomben Cup last weekend. Walter has died, aged 59. Photo: Tertius PickardThe racing family lost one of its spiritual fathers when trainer Guy Walter died of heart attack at his home on Thursday. He was 59.
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The devastating loss of Walter,hit the entire industry with jockeys and trainers closest to him leading the tributes.

“Guy Walter was nature’s kindest gentleman. To be called his stable jockey was an honour. He was like a father to me & I’ll miss him dearly,” tweeted Blake Shinn, who rode Walter’s 36th group 1 winner, Streama, in  the Doomben Cup last Saturday.

Hugh Bowman, another jockey who enjoyed success with Walter, tweeted from Hong Kong where he is now riding: “Guy Walter has been one of the most influential people in my career. A gentleman of the turf & we will miss him dearly. #RIP.”

It was clear the man, who was called “a horseman’s horseman” by New Zealand trainer Roger James, was loved and respected within the industry. Walter grew up in Mudgee and his first real taste of racing success was when he strapped Think Big in 1974 for  the first of his two Melbourne Cup  while working for Bart Cummings, but he was always destine to be a trainer.

He moved to Neville Begg’s stable before moving to the south coast where he started his training career under guidance of Kevin Robinson. He spent five years at Seven Mile Beach before moving to Warwick Farm.  “It is just devastating for our whole family,” Robinson’s son Terry said. “He is the same age as me and I don’t know what to say.

“He was like another brother to us and our thoughts are with [wife] Wendy and his family. He wasn’t just a good trainer, he was great man and you wouldn’t meet anyone better.”

Begg said he was left “numb” by the news. “It is unbelievable. He wasn’t just a wonderful trainer but a wonderful man.”

Walter trained his first winner, Irish Eve, at Canterbury in 1980 and it took until 1995 for his first group 1 winner to arrive – Sharscay in the Canterbury Guineas. He will always be remembered with the red colours and white cap  of the Tait family and, in particular,Tie The Knot, who won  13 group 1 races and $6 million in prizemoney.

“Devasted [sic] by the loss of Guy Walter. Our hearts go out to Wendy and the family,” Sandy Tait tweeted.

After Tie The Knot, the group 1 winners continued to flow with Spinning Hill, Defier and Republic Lass winning multiple races at the top level, but his crowning moment was the 2005 Doncaster when he trained the trifecta as Patezza beat Court’s In Session and Danni Martine.

In the past couple of years, Walter prepared Streama and Darley-owned Appearance to both win four group 1s.

Walter was one of a few trainers who  were trusted with Darley horses outside its main operation.

Darley managing director Henry Plumptre said racing had lost a skilled horseman and he had lost a dear friend.

“When I came out here [from England] in 1977, Guy was one of the first people I met and we have been close friends since,” Plumptre said. “He was a marvellous trainer but just a wonderful, wonderful man.

“It has been very special for Darley to have a horse like Appearance with him because we have usually sent  him the bent-legged things, hoping he can work some magic with them.

“Usually they have raced like bent-legged things do. In Appearance he had a mare that showed how great of a trainer he was.”

Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys said:  ”Guy was one of the most popular and humble trainers I have ever met. I guarantee you would not find one person with a bad word for Guy; he was a very genuine, kind and respectful person.

“Guy was a man of the highest integrity and professionalism, and a wonderful role model for the racing industry.

“As the mark of the man, when Guy mentored apprentices he would call Racing NSW and insist we do not credit him for the usual 25 per cent of the apprentice’s earnings. He wanted the fee to go back to the apprentice.”

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Beale in line for Wallabies five-eighth role

14/11/2018 // by admin

After a long and rocky road back to the top flight, Kurtley Beale is once again in the box seat to wear the coveted Wallabies No.10 jersey.
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Beale last started at five-eighth against Wales at the end of 2012, scoring a try in the corner to seal a thrilling victory at Millennium Stadium.

Injuries and a host of off-field issues for the then-Rebels playmaker threatened to derail his Test career and a botched kick for goal in the first Test against the British and Irish Lions last June was not the return to the gold jersey he was hoping for.

A shoulder reconstruction robbed him of further involvement under new coach Ewen McKenzie last year. But on Wednesday it was McKenzie – the coach who originally installed him in the chief playmaking role as a teenager at the Waratahs – who indicated he would return him there at Test level.

“He’s certainly embraced what the Waratahs are about and it suits him, he can make things happen and it’s good reward for him,” McKenzie said. “I’ve met with him recently but the last conversation I had with him before that was to say ‘get your shoulder fixed’.

“He’s come back well from that mentally and being able to be very influential week in, week out. He’s a very important player there and I know what he’s capable of, and I know the No.10 position is near and dear to him, so he’ll be very keen to stake a claim.”

After injury forced the withdrawal of Quade Cooper, Beale will battle it out for selection with NSW teammate Bernard Foley. McKenzie named the pair as his only options at No.10 – Brumbies five-eighth Matt Toomua pointedly marked as a centre option alongside Christian Leali’ifano and incumbent Test No.13 Tevita Kuridrani.

“I’ve deliberately nominated certain players for positions,” McKenzie said. “That will help the armchair selectors try and understand how we think. We invested in [Foley] last year and he was in and around the squad all the time. He’s got all the right characteristics. I remember in Argentina when he got his first cap, it was an emotional moment and you want to see that. That’s the attitudinal piece.

“He’s a very professional operator with lots of skills. Yeah, it’s been a reasonably quick climb for him, but not surprising. He got an opportunity last year, took it and he’s still there.”

Dual international Israel Folau was never in doubt for selection at fullback but Brumbies No.15 Jesse Mogg was notably absent. McKenzie scoffed at speculation Mogg and Toomua were victims of the Brumbies’ conservative game plan.

“It’s more about [Mogg’s] consistency in his game,” McKenzie said. “There were bits and pieces I spoke to him about, the game style doesn’t have much to do with it, it’s more about his individual contribution and consistency.”

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Day in the life of a Beatle

14/11/2018 // by admin

DEDICATED: The Bootleg Beatles have perfected the mannerisms of their namesakes. STEVE White can’t predict how he would react if he met Paul McCartney, the man he has been emulating for more than a decade.
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‘‘I would probably pass out,’’ he tells Weekender, laughing.

‘‘I would just like to thank him for his musical contribution, really – I’d love to shake his hand and say thank you very much for what you created both in and out of The Beatles.’’

But White is no run of the mill Fab Four fan.

As a member of one of the world’s premiere tribute bands The Bootleg Beatles, White and his three colleagues have spent thousands of hours perfecting their namesake’s mannerisms.

He has even switched from his right hand to his left to play bass– nuances, dialects, singing styles, playing original instruments and donning wigs and costumes created by Dougie and Gordon Millings, who tailored The Beatles’ clothing from 1963 to 1970.

It’s all in the name of recreating the greatest pop group in history. The band has clocked up more than 5000 shows from the Soviet Union to the United States and the Middle East over their 34-year career, including recreating The Beatles’ legendary rooftop performance at Savile Row.

The Bootleg Beatles were born in 1980 following West End musical Beatlemania and now includes founding member but soon-to-retire Andre Barreau as George Harrison, Adam Hastings as John Lennon and Hugo Degenhardt as Ringo Starr.

Their live show spans The Beatles’ entire career in chronological order and incorporates five costume and set transformations as the band moves from songs including Love Me Do to later material such as Get Back.

The Bootleg Beatles even perform some songs The Beatles never played live on stage including A Day In The Life, Eleanor Rigby, Penny Lane and All You Need Is Love.

White said it was still difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes the band so timeless.

‘‘The music speaks for itself.’’

The Bootleg Beatles perform at Wests Leagues Club on June 3.