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EAT OUT: Shuck’d, a pearl of an oyster bar

14/05/2019 // by admin

EAT OUT: Shuck’d, a pearl of an oyster bar TweetFacebookWHILE the laneway of Name The Lane is awaiting final approvals from the council, Shuck’d has permanently taken over the restaurant space, adding a unique touch to Newcastle East’s dining precinct.
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Touted as an oyster bar, Shuck’d lives up to its name, with local Cole Bros oysters from Karuah, shucked and prepared to order.

The namesake dish is offered four ways: natural, Kilpatrick, mornay, as well as with a smoked salmon, ginger, wasabi, soy and lemon dressing. The oysters are tasty and fresh, and the classics are good renditions. The ginger and wasabi packs quite a punch – up through the nose and clearing out the sinuses – pow pow! Plenty of flavour in each; grab a mixed dozen to enjoy the range.

It would be good to see one more variety to add more weight to the establishment’s name and also just to try them in another delicious way. Perhaps the breakfast menu’s Bloody Mary oyster shot would be a good addition to the evening menu too.

The rest of the food offerings circulate around this briny theme with a few extra options thrown in for good measure.

There are some bar bites to sit alongside the oysters: kumara chips, cheese arancini, pork and prawn balls with sweet chilli; perfect for snacking on if you’re just visiting for an after-work drink.

An entree special of three chicken spring rolls offers hearty chunks of chicken and grated carrot inside the crispiest, thinnest pastry.

A sour apricot sauce adds a nice counterbalance to the dish. But these aren’t your usual spring rolls – they are almost a meal on their own.

There are lighter dishes (but still with plenty of substance), like a warming seafood chowder, a hot and spicy gumbo or a pot of mussels in white wine, parsley and garlic.

A bowl of linguine with prawns, chilli, garlic, roast peppers and spinach has plenty of colour and a good handful of prawns.

A warm chat potato salad provides a rainbow wheel of taste: salty, sweet and starchy. Roasted potatoes are cut in half, baked on the outside, fluffy on the inside. Browned scallops are dotted around, as well as olives and spinach, drizzled with a sweet mustard dressing. It’s filling despite appearances.

To satiate the largest appetites, the one-kilogram braised beef steak with roasted root vegetables or twice-cooked chicken with apricot glaze and sweet potato mash are the go-to dishes.

There are some sweet options to finish off with: Cointreau-steeped oranges with vanilla ice-cream and almond biscuits; a warm hazelnut chocolate pudding with butterscotch sauce or a citrus creme brulee with fresh cream and biscotti.

Service is friendly, prompt and informative and on a cool Friday night, Shuck’d was full of post-work revellers and diners, more so perhaps than when it was operating as its previous incarnation.

A clever niche for a harbourside city.

‘Hybrid’ light rail route to go on train line & Hunter Street

14/05/2019 // by admin

The light rail route map. Art by Natalie Alcova ‘Hybrid’ light rail route to go on train line & Hunter Street Crown Street, looking west, in the 1890s, featuring a steam tram.
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An electric tram passing Newcastle post office in Hunter St on February 6, 1940, as a paper boy and conductor hang on the side.

Bank Corner, in Newcastle, as tram lines were repaired.

Merewether tram terminus on February 2, 1947.

A tram passing Newcastle Post Office on November 15, 1936, during a storm.

A tram on Nobbys.

The Wallsend tram.

A tram in Hunter Street, near the T&G building on the corner of Watt and Hunter Streets.

Tram at Hamilton, 1950.

Early 1920’s Hunter Street with a tram outside the old David Jones building.

Tram at the corner of Glebe Road and Unuion street the Junction Newcastle 1950’s.

TweetFacebook Archival Revival: Trams in the city Images from the Herald’s archives. Download map here

NEWCASTLE’S light rail system will run down the heavy rail corridor from Wickhamthen shift to Hunter Street and Scott Street to arrive near the beach at Pacific Park, under a ‘‘hybrid’’ route the state government has selected.

The infrastructure subcommittee of cabinet endorsed the route on Wednesday night. It was was one of three options put on public exhibition earlier this year.

“Newcastle residents and businesses said they want access to the waterfront, more public domain and the option to extend the light rail in the future,’’ Planning Minister Pru Goward said.

“By removing the barrier of the heavy rail line, and opening up significant areas of the rail corridor for public use, the city centre can be re-united.’’

The chosen route bypasses the Hunter Street Mall, unlike the most expensive of the three options that would have run through it and was initially favoured by the city’s lord mayor Jeff McCloy.

Artist’s impression: Natalie Alcova

The other and cheapest option was to run it down the rail corridor after the heavy rail is truncated at a new Wickham interchange.

The government hasn’t said what the project will cost, but puts it within the $460 million that was put on the table, including $340 million from the proceeds of the lease of the Port of Newcastle.

Minister for Transport and the Hunter Gladys Berejiklian said the route struck the ‘‘best balance’’ between ‘‘a quality transport outcome for Newcastle’’ and ‘‘allowing the city and its waterfront to be reconnected and revitalised’’.

“I am pleased for the Hunter community that this decision has now been made and we can get moving on the delivery of this important project,’’ Ms Berejiklian said.

A start date for work is yet to be given, but a timeline would be announced soon.

Work has previously been expected to start by December.

New Premier Mike Baird wants to see the project pick up pace, after the government announced late last month the port lease for $1.75 billion – more than double the initial $700 million estimate given publicly.

Newcastle MP Tim Owen said connecting the light rail at what is expected to be Worth Place from the rail corridor to Hunter Street would help encourage the city’s revitalisation.

‘‘We’ll truncate the heavy rail as quickly as we can and get that done by the end of the year and hopefully start work on the interchange,’’ Mr Owen said.

The government has previously promised any left over funds from the $460 million allocated to the project would be put into the Hunter Infrastructure Investment Fund.

Lake Coal wants to build underground conveyor

14/05/2019 // by admin

END GOAL: Both Mannering mines and Chain Valley colliery supply the Vales Point power station. COAL company Lake Coal has applied for permission to build an underground conveyor to link its Chain Valley colliery with the nearby Mannering mine it took control of last year.
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Both mines are mainly under Lake Macquarie and the conveyor joining them would run under the ground owned by Delta Electricity between the Vales Point power station and suburban Mannering Park.

Documents on display until June 10 show that Mannering’s owner, Centennial Coal, closed the mine for ‘‘care and maintenance’’ in November 2012.

In October last year, Lake Coal assumed the rights to operate Mannering until 2022, giving it access to the two mines, which both supply Vales Point power station.

Mannering’s coal goes to Vales Point by surface conveyor and Lake Coal says joining the two mines by underground conveyor would allow Chain Valley’s coal to go to the power station by that route rather than by truck.

Maps on display show that the Mannering colliery, especially, had historic workings under some houses on the western side of Mannering Park, and residents say they are still concerned about mine subsidence.

Mannering was formerly known as the Wyee State Mine and began operations in 1960.

Chain Valley Bay resident John Burrows said past history made residents wary but Lake Coal had been open with the residents about its proposals.

“The conveyor does not run under houses and it will take trucks off the road into the power station,’’ Mr Burrows said.

The documents show the underground mine roads to carry the conveyor and personnel would be dug through the Fassifern seam for about 1.6kilometres.

The work would take about 12months, and would result in new mine subsidence of no more than about 20millimetres.

Depending on the seams that had already been mined in that area, the total subsidence, including previous seam collapses, could be as much as 125millimetres.

Lake Coal has approval to extract up to 1.1million tonnes of raw or run-of-mine coal from the Mannering colliery, with another 1.5million tonnes of raw coal available from the Chain Valley mine.

Chain Valley also supplies export coal as well as domestic coal to Vales Point and a Lake Coal spokesman said this would continue.

Construction of the underground road would create work for about 40 mine workers and would increase employment at Mannering from five mine workers to about 20, but some truck driving jobs would be lost.

Birubi Beach Resort contractor ‘unlikely’ to get money owing

14/05/2019 // by admin

CREDITOR: Graeme Seers is owed money for work on Birubi Beach Resort at Anna Bay. Picture: Max Mason-HubersRelief at Birubi Beach Resort receivership
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THE receiver appointed to the Birubi Beach Resort says it is ‘‘unlikely’’ local contractor Graeme Seers will see the $80,000 owed to him.

Yesterday the Newcastle Herald reported the $50million resort development in Port Stephens had been forced into receivership after months sitting idle in which the site fell into disrepair.

According to ASIC documents the resort’s Chinese financier, China Security and Surveillance Technology – through another company, Anke Smart City – appointed a receiver over the local developer after a default on the terms of its security agreement.

Paul Billingham from firm Grant Thornton is the receiver and said the ‘‘only priority’’ was to sell the asset.

To that end it has appointed Sydney-based commercial real estate company Stonebridge to handle the sale.

‘‘We’re just working through a few of the details, and they’ll be taking the asset to market in the short term,’’ he said.

However it may not be good news for contractors like Graeme Seers, who is owed about $80,000 from his work as a site manager on the development.

‘‘At the end of the day we don’t deal with unsecured creditors, the money may fall down through the waterfall of priorities, it’s hard to tell, [but] I expect it’s unlikely,’’ Mr Billingham said.

Mr Seers was left ‘‘bitter’’ after his dealings with the Birubi Beach Resort, which was headed by local director Caroline Wright.

Earlier this month a court found in his favour that the developer owed him the money, but he said he ‘‘isn’t holding his breath’’ about seeing what’s owed to him.

Ryan relishing chance to take on RVP

14/05/2019 // by admin

The Socceroos’ No.1 goalkeeper Mat Ryan has promised not to be overawed by the prospect of denying the world’s best strikers at next month’s World Cup in Brazil.
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Ryan has just five senior caps but is widely viewed as Australia’s best young goalkeeper, and the heir apparent to fill the enormous vacancy left by Mark Schwarzer’s international retirement.

He will have to live up to that billing if the Socceroos are to have any chance of claiming points against Chile, the Netherlands or Spain, but the confident custodian is relishing the chance to test himself against the best.

“I don’t think you’d be human if you didn’t think about the types of names you’re coming up against,” he said. “In saying that, there’s no time to be in awe of them. If I’ve got the likes of [Robin] van Persie coming down on goal, I can’t really stop and go ‘Oh, who’s that?’

“I’ll be doing my best just to stay focused and, hopefully, not allow him or any of the other players I’ll be facing to put the ball past me when I’m out on the field.”

Ryan said that approach was very much in the minds of the players, driven by coach Ange Postecoglou, who has asked his team to have “no fear” in June.

“That’s the message the boss has been putting to us in the meetings we’ve had. He wants us to be courageous and brave,” Ryan said. “He’s filling us with confidence and saying there’s no reason why we can’t go out there and be competitive. Obviously our backs are against the wall a little bit but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we have to treat it like that. I’m sure every player is eager and keen to give it their best.”

Ryan has made a stunning transition to life in Europe with Club Bruges, being named the Belgium league’s top keeper.

At times, the 22-year-old still can’t comprehend his rise from the youth team at Central Coast to the elite of domestic and international football.

“Just before I left I started being in [international] contention and now I’ve gone over to Belgium, I’m enjoying my football and now there’s a really big possibility of playing at a World Cup,” he said. “It’s hard to imagine it going any better. If I hadn’t gone over, I’d be on more of a level playing field with the other guys. But being overseas has given me an extra advantage.”

Ryan said being tasked with the No.1 jersey for his club made him ready for the responsibilities that would come should, as expected, he be between the posts in Brazil.

“This year, there were a lot of young guys [at Club Bruges],” he said. “The Belgian league is notorious for giving a lot of young guys a go. I felt like I had to take a more senior role from the beginning with a young back line.”

So successful has Ryan been in Belgium, he’s been linked with a move to Real Madrid – as revealed by his one-time coach, Graham Arnold.

“I was cursing a little bit when I first saw it,” he said. “I was asleep, woken up, went to training and checked my phone at a traffic light. I quickly learnt that Arnie had mentioned it and I asked him about it and he said he’d been in contact with an agent in Europe that had said a Real Madrid scout had mentioned my name.

“But I’m not getting caught up in that. I’ll keep working hard. It’s business as usual.”

Ryan’s ex-Central Coast teammate Oliver Bozanic only joined in the squad activities after arriving on Tuesday and has a tougher job of forcing his way into the final 23.

Known in Australia as a left-sided midfielder, Bozanic has been playing in attacking and defensive midfield roles for his new Swiss club, FC Luzern.

“It just worked out perfectly that it happened in a World Cup year. I think it was very fortunate for my Socceroos career,” he said. “I’ve just come in, I have a few days to train and prepare for the first game, and that’s all I can do really; to prove myself for the World Cup with the remaining time before the games.”

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

Reynolds and Hodkinson take control

15/04/2019 // by admin

A more intense Blues coach Laurie Daley has taken the unusual step of demanding halves Josh Reynolds and Trent Hodkinson address the team before each training session.
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The trio meet each morning in NSW camp to watch video and then work out a plan for that training session before Reynolds or Hodkinson speak to the team about the direction the session is headed. It comes as prop James Tamou described the transformation of Daley from laid back to becoming much more direct and hands on as he embarks on his second Origin series.

Reynolds said he was unnerved by the initial delivery but indicated the experience had helped him take on a leadership position with the team. “It is a bit different but it’s good,” Reynolds said. “At the time me and Trent were like ‘wow, this is going to be something different’. We do the video with him before it but we have to deliver it. The first day it was a bit daunting. Now we’re confident. It brings out confidence in us. You can tell they’re listening to us. All their eyes are on us. It gives me Trent and some confidence.

“You have to talk to guys who have played how many Origins and done whatever they have done in their careers. Me and Trent are coming in as our first combinations and they’re telling us to take control. When you’re put into a situation like that it is going to be a bit daunting. We have got our heads around us and in the end it has been really good. We definitely speak about it before in the sense of who is going to say what. All in all I think the boys have really bought into it.”

While roommates Reynolds and Hodkinson take the major control over the meeting, the rest of the “spine” combination of Jarryd Hayne – who didn’t complete Thursday’s training session – and Robbie Farah also speak up,  as does captain Paul Gallen.

“We sort of said to ourselves that even though it might be a bit daunting, let’s go out there and say what we need to say,” Reynolds said. “We told the boys if there is any feedback you want to give us, even negative, just tell us. We have thick skins, we can take it. That’s really good that we have that bond already that they can tell us if we’re not leading them around the park and they can tell us if we need to fix something. I think you need that in a team. You can’t just tiptoe and step on eggshells all the time.”

Daley, long considered one of the nice men of rugby league, has taken a hard-nosed approach to this series. Tamou said Daley was far more hands-on this series. “The first thing that was different from last year is that he looked each and everyone of us in the eye and just said this is what he wants,” Tamou said. “He has come more with a hard-nosed approach. I wouldn’t say tense this year, but more focused. You can see it in his eye. Everyone feels that presence about him now. Last year we had Jim Dymock and Trent Barrett around to coach us and he was just talking where he needed. This year he has taken it on board and telling blokes what he wants from them and if we aren’t going well telling them to pull their head in.

“This time last year we have gone a step up. If we’re in the middle of play he’ll stop the play and tell you how it is. Whereas last year he was in the background a little bit.”

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

Melbourne film listings

15/04/2019 // by admin

New releases
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SUNSHINE ON LEITH ★★★★ (100 minutes) PG

A Hibernian ebullience descended upon me after watching a film that so lovingly adopts and adapts the tenets of the movie musical to celebrate Scottish culture. This one started as a theatre piece, but actor/director Dexter Fletcher crrt  does a fabulous job of transferring it to the open air. Edinburgh has rarely looked this good. The songs are by the Proclaimers, as two ex-squaddies return from an unhappy tour of Afghanistan in which their troop transport ran over an improvised explosive device. As in many great musicals, the story is flummery, expertly constructed to allow transitions between songs. The innovation comes from this buoyant sense of realism. Fletcher packs the film with a sense of street life. The flash mob finale is about the most fun I’ve had in a cinema this year. PBGeneral release

THE BABADOOK ★★★★ (95 minutes) M

Australian filmmaker Jennifer Kent’s clever, thoroughly satisfying and neatly unsettling debut feature is about a kind of haunting – but of who or what? It’s a question that simmers throughout the film. There’s also an intimate story that unfolds, the tale of a mother and child and the strong, sometimes tormented ties that bind them. It’s a situation that reflects the experience of loss and its quietly destructive force. Essie Davis, pale and frazzled, is the mother; Noah Wiseman plays her six-year-old, Samuel. He is volatile, imaginative and affectionate, but a bit of a handful. He appears to be convinced a monster is haunting the house and constructs weapons to use against it. Both give terrific performances, conveying a tangle of love, confusion and a growing sense of threat, as the monster begins to manifest in earnest. PH Selected release

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST ★★★☆(131 minutes) M

There’s a double narrative of near-future and recent past in this seventh X-Men movie, directed by Bryan Singer: things begin a few years hence, when mutant-sensing machines known as Sentinels are dispatched to eliminate all mutants. A plan is hatched to go back in time and change the course of history: Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) finds himself back in the 1970s, on what seems like an impossible mission. There’s the usual X-Men mixture of spectacle and character-driven narrative, deftly handled, interspersed with moments that only the initiated will understand. A highlight is a speedy yet laid-back mutant teen, Quicksilver (Evan Peters), who is many times faster than a speeding bullet. There is a terrific scene shot from his perspective in which he dashes around ‘‘rearranging’’  a potentially deadly moment of confrontation while everyone and everything else seems frozen in time; it’s the highlight of the film. PH General release

SON OF GOD★(138 minutes) M

Directed by historical documentary specialist Christopher Spencer, crrt the latest cinematic retelling of the life of Christ recycles parts of the American TV miniseries The Bible, noted mostly for the casting of a supposed Obama lookalike as Satan. Technically competent, it’s hard to imagine how the story could be rendered any more banal.

The Son of God is played by Portuguese hearthrob Diogo Morgado. Women go weak at the knees wherever he’s near – including his mother, played by the film’s co-producer Roma Downey, as well as Mary Magdalene (Amber Rose Revah). It’s bizarre that a film presumably conceived as an act of devotion should feel so lacklustre and impersonal.

Clearly Son of God was made with a young audience in mind, but even as an educational tool it falls short. JWSelected release

MY SWEET PEPPER LAND★★★☆(90 minutes) M

Returning Kurdish war hero Baran (Korkmaz Arslan) crrt flees his mother’s matchmaking by choosing to become the police chief in a remote mountain village on the border between Iran, Iraq and Turkey. There’s a local war lord (Tarik Akreyi) who runs everything, including a lucrative smuggling business: he’s not happy to see Baran, and he’s also unimpressed by the presence of Govend (Golshifteh Farahani), a young woman who has been teaching at the school. There is a good deal at stake as these two struggle to do their work; one of the notable achievements in writer-director Hiner Saleem’s quietly surprising film is a combination of offbeat comedy and a sense of menace and danger. PHSelected release

IDA ★★★ (80 minutes) M

The writer-director Pawel Pawlikowski crrt left Poland as a teenager in the 1970s and has spent most of his career as an exile of sorts; his new film, Ida, is the first he has made in his native land. Shot in black-and-white, with little background music and less camera movement, it’s a ghostly film – a throwback to a largely defunct tradition of art cinema.

The year is 1962, and the heroine, Anna, is a novice raised in a convent (she’s played by non-professional Agata Trzebuchowska). Before taking her vows, she’s sent off to meet to her one surviving relative, Wanda, a cynical aunt (Agata Kulesza). It turns out that the family is Jewish, and Anna – now going by her original name, Ida – heads out with Wanda on a road trip to learn how her parents died in World War II.

Most of the film is devoted to this journey: the tone is solemn but the editing is brisk. JWSelected releaseThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Pearce still in spotlight despite missing out

15/04/2019 // by admin

His axing from the NSW side for game one might not even be enough to prevent Mitchell Pearce from again being the most scrutinised player of the series.
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The Sydney Roosters halfback might not play a part in this year’s Origin campaign after his drunken escapade a fortnight ago, but given how bright the spotlight has shone on him for the past 11 consecutive Origin games, there’s no doubt he will continue to polarise opinion.

If NSW lose game one, the Pearce backers will come out in force and defend the 25-year-old to those who have for so long blamed him for the Blues’ misfortunes. If the Blues score an against-the-odds victory at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night, the talk might not all be about the selection masterstroke of Trent Hodkinson but rather the impact of Pearce’s omission.

Love him or hate him, it’s hard to turn your back on a success rate of three from 12 with Pearce in the No.7 jersey. But former Blues playmaker Trent Barrett, a much-maligned player during his time at St George Illawarra and NSW, believes Pearce hasn’t been to blame for the Blues’ inability to overcome the all-conquering Maroons.

“Being in that position at halfback, it’s a spot that comes under the most scrutiny,” Barrett said. “Given the situation we’re in with NSW having lost for so long, a lot of the blame comes back to the halfback, which I don’t necessarily agree with. My opinion of him hasn’t changed, I think he’s a great player.”

For the past few years it’s been Pearce, who will line up against the top-of-the-table Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Friday night, that has copped the full brunt of the frustration from a success-starved legion of NSW supporters.

The Blues aren’t expected to win game one at Suncorp Stadium without Andrew Fifita, Greg Bird and Boyd Cordner all missing, taking a lot of the pressure off the new-look halves combination of Josh Reynolds and Hodkinson. In a way it could prove a blessing in disguise for coach Laurie Daley, who will get an opportunity to see what life without Pearce could deliver for the Blues.

Pearce wasn’t dropped on form – even though he has been struggling for the Roosters – he was sacked because of his antics on the drink in town a fortnight ago.

That gives Daley a safety cushion of being able to reinstate Pearce for game two if it all goes horribly wrong north of the border on Wednesday night.

Pearce’s Roosters teammate Sam Moa admitted both Pearce and dumped five-eighth James Maloney haven’t been able to replicate the type of form that led the boys from Bondi to premiership glory last season but insists the rest of team hasn’t helped their cause.

“They’ve got our backing as a team and they’ve obviously been disappointed not making the Origin side as anyone would but they’ve responded really well,” the Kiwi international said. “We feed off them and they feed off us and we’re all trying to help each other find some form. We’ve all been lacking in certain areas. We’re hoping that they play their role and start to enjoy their footy over the next few weeks.”

Barrett insists Pearce will begin staking his claim for reinstatement at club level. “I felt for Mitchell, he’s a very good player Mitch, but given the circumstances Loz has made a decision and I fully support the halves he’s gone with to win game one,” Barrett said. “I hope people don’t compare him because we all need to get behind Trent Hodkinson and Joshy Reynolds and they will do a good job. The best thing Mitchell can do is go out and play well. I know Mitch’s attitude will be good because he’s a competitor. Mitch will bounce back, he’s certainly a terrific player in my eyes. It won’t affect him and if anything he’ll go even harder for the Roosters.”

While Pearce took the news of his axing to heart, Moa believes he’s overcome the ordeal of missing out on game one as well as being suspended for one game. “He’s back to his normal self and he’s starting to smile and crack a few jokes here and there,” Moa said. “It’s obviously been a really tough situation for him and everyone involved – his family especially. He’s got some good friends here at the club and he’s got a good family behind him, so he’s certainly turned the corner. We’re hoping for good things from Mitch and Jimmy and the rest of the team going forward. While it’s disappointing for him as an individual to not play in those big games, it’s certainly a bonus for us as the Roosters to have him and Jimmy back, they are two of our main players. It’s a really big bonus for us because they are two of our leaders and when they go well we go well.”

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

Mansour, Tedesco in Raiders’ sights

15/04/2019 // by admin

Josh Mansour, James Tedesco and their manager Sam Ayoub have met with the Canberra Raiders as the club prepares to launch a big overhaul of its roster for next year.
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However, Ayoub says he hasn’t discussed financial terms, or fielded an offer from the Raiders or any other club, for the services of his in-demand backs.

It is understood the Raiders would be willing to offer off-contract Panthers winger Mansour a lucrative deal to join them next season. The in-form 23-year-old was mentioned as a possible NSW Origin bolter this year and is keen to stay at Penrith, but it is understood they are battling to find the money that would likely be available at rival clubs.

Despite this, he remains a strong chance to remain loyal to the Panthers, but there’s no shortage of rivals ready to swoop, including Canberra.

“We’ve met with them [Canberra] and had a bit of a look at the joint, but we haven’t spoken a cent to the Raiders or anybody,” Ayoub said.

“With Josh or any other player, we need to talk to their own clubs and talk to others to see what’s out there, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Canberra is desperate to bolster its squad after registering just three wins from its first 10 matches.

Outside backs are a high priority following the sackings of Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson, and the decision from fullback Anthony Milford, another Ayoub client, to honour his deal with Brisbane. The situation was compounded when rookie centre Matt Allwood announced this week he had signed a three-year deal with New Zealand Warriors.

The Raiders have expressed strong interest in Tedesco. The Tigers’ negotiations with the fullback have dragged on for weeks and he has also been linked to Canterbury. .

North Queensland Cowboys youngster Curtis Rona, who will play in Canberra against the Raiders on Sunday, is also high on their wish list.

Melbourne forward Kevin Proctor is set to make a decision on his future soon, and Canberra, St George Illawarra and the Roosters head the race for his services.

Should Canberra miss out on Tedesco, the off-contract Reece Robinson, also managed by Ayoub, could be another fullback option. Regular winger Robinson was impressive in the No.1 jersey when Dugan was given his marching orders just one game into last season.

He admitted to media earlier this year he ”sometimes feels a bit lost” on the wing, despite already scoring eight tries in a struggling side this year.

“I’ve spoken to the Raiders about Reece and I know they’re certainly not ruling him out of the equation there, [but] I’m pushing Reece’s barrow elsewhere as well,” Ayoub said. “The Raiders are talking about him in the same breath as they’re talking to other players outside their environment.”

While they often didn’t see eye-to-eye through the Milford saga, Ayoub said critics should defer judgment on Ricky Stuart until he had had a chance to build his roster.

“At Parramatta he knew the roster was right and he targeted players, the ones he got there are performing,” he said. “I know ‘Sticky’ will do the same at Canberra, he’ll target players and all of the sudden the Raiders will turn it around.

“I’ve had my differences with Sticky over players as we did with Milford, but I can see what he’s doing. He shouldn’t be judged on some of the performances now because he inherited a roster.”

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BOOKS: Living With A Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search For The Truth About Everything

15/04/2019 // by admin

HOW IT IS: Barbara Ehrenreich’s tart, cynical, intelligent voice is intact in her memoir. Picture: Jay Paul/Washington PostLiving With a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search For The Truth About Everything, by Barbara Ehrenreich
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‘‘I WAS born to atheism and raised in it, by people who had derived their own atheism from a proud tradition of working-class rejection of authority in all its forms, whether vested in bosses or priests, gods or demons.’’ That sounds like the Barbara Ehrenreich we know – the political activist and author of Nickel and Dimed, the feisty champion of the working poor, the professional cynic who punctured the balloon of positive thinking in Bright-Sided.

So who, exactly, is this Barbara Ehrenreich with a new book out titled Living With a Wild God? When did a supreme deity enter the picture?

First off, don’t worry – the author’s tart, cynical, intelligent voice is intact. (A typical observation: ‘‘Sex was something that occasionally happened to women in novels, generally leading to poverty or death.’’) But where Ehrenreich has always been concerned with society and its ills, the new book is a memoir – and an unusual one, at that.

Drawing from a journal that she kept as a teenager in the 1950s and rediscovered while assembling her papers for a university library in 2001, Living With a Wild God tracks the serious young Ehrenreich’s attempts to understand what she calls ‘‘the situation’’: ‘‘What is the point of our brief existence? What are we doing here and to what end?’’

This epistemological quest takes on a greater urgency after she begins experiencing, briefly and sporadically, a kind of dissociative state during which ‘‘something peeled off the visible world, taking with it all meaning, inference, association, labels, and words’’. Later, on a road trip with friends, she has an even more ineffable experience on a predawn walk: the ‘‘world flamed into life,’’ a ‘‘blazing everywhere,’’ a ‘‘furious encounter with a living substance that was coming at me through all things at once’’.

For years Ehrenreich shared this experience with no one (‘‘If there are no words for it, then don’t say anything about it’’), but with the rediscovery of her journal, she begins an inquiry – philosophical, scientific, medical and, yes, spiritual – into this mysterious epiphany.

Suffice it to say that Ehrenreich has not joined the ranks of Sunday churchgoers, or otherwise fit herself neatly into organised religion. But this dyed-in-the-wool sceptic has allowed her thinking to evolve in ways that will surprise her readers, as much as it surprised her. Though Living With a Wild God occasionally descends into woolgathering, it is for the most part a revealing window onto a lively mind at work, always questioning, always seeking a better answer.

MCT