This 105-year-old beat COVID-19. She credits gin-soaked raisins

Her children and grandchildren recall the ritual as just one of DeClerck’s endearing lifelong habits, like drinking aloe juice straight from the container and brushing her teeth with baking soda. (That worked, too: She did not have a cavity until she was 99, relatives said.)

“We would just think, ‘Grandma, what are you doing? You’re crazy’,” said her 53-year-old granddaughter, Shawn Laws O’Neil, of Los Angeles. “Now the laugh is on us. She has beaten everything that’s come her way.”

It is a long list. Born in 1916 in Hawaii to parents who came from Guatemala and Spain, she lived through the Spanish flu, two world wars and the deaths of three husbands and a son.

She moved to Wyoming, California and back to Hawaii before finally arriving in New Jersey, where she lived with her oldest son. After turning 90, she moved to an adult community in Manahawkin, New Jersey, along the Jersey Shore, where she remained active until she injured herself in a fall about four years ago.

“She is just the epitome of perseverance,” O’Neil said. “Her mind is so sharp. She will remember things when I was a kid that I don’t even remember.”

DeClerck, the oldest resident of her South Jersey nursing home, learned that she had contracted the virus on her 105th birthday, January 25, the day after she had gotten her second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, according to Michael Neiman, the home’s administrator.

At first, she said she was scared. She did not like being isolated, and she missed the daily chatter from the parade of caregivers at Mystic Meadows Rehabilitation and Nursing, a 120-bed facility in Little Egg Harbour.

She showed few symptoms, Neiman said. And within two weeks she was back in her room, holding her rosary beads and wearing her trademark sunglasses and knit hat.

To her two surviving sons, five grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and 11 great-great grandchildren, who call her Grandma Lucia, she has a new moniker, O’Neil said: “The 105-year-old badass who kicked COVID.”

On Monday, she got a shout-out from Governor Phil Murphy, who described a phone call with her during a coronavirus news briefing.

“What an uplifting conversation,” the Governor said.

DeClerck’s family gathered in January 2020 at Mystic Meadows to celebrate her 104th birthday before the onset of the pandemic. When they learned that she had contracted the virus, they braced for the worst.

“We were very concerned,” her son, Phillip Laws, 78, said.

“But she’s got a tenacity that is unbelievable,” he added. “And she’s got that rosary – all the time.”

A devout Catholic, DeClerck led rosary prayers each week at the nursing home and, before the pandemic, was a fixture at weekly Mass.

She raised three sons and ran a corner store for decades with her first husband, Henry Laws jnr, in Los Angeles. She married twice more after returning to Hawaii, where she worked as a home health aide and welcomed grandchildren for summer-long visits.

DeClerck is one of 62 residents of Mystic Meadows to have contracted the virus; four patients died, including three who were receiving hospice care, Neiman said.

“We’re as careful as possible,” he said, “but this finds a way of sneaking in.”

In January, residents were being tested twice a week, and a rapid test in the last week of the month showed that DeClerck had contracted the virus.

“At first she was a little apprehensive, a little scared, but she said, ‘God will protect me’,” Neiman said.

She had also been vaccinated, which most likely contributed to her recovery. The first studies of Britain’s mass inoculation program showed strong evidence on Monday that even one dose of vaccine can help slash coronavirus-related hospitalisations.


DeClerck is not the oldest person to beat the virus.

Europe’s oldest-known resident, Sister André, contracted the virus at 116. She celebrated with a glass of champagne on her 117th birthday earlier this month at a nursing home in Toulon, a city in south-eastern France.

Like Sister André, DeClerck may be ready for a toast.

But it is likely to involve gin and a handful of golden raisins. Her family is following suit.

“Now all of us are rushing out and getting Mason jars and yellow raisins and trying to catch up,” O’Neil said.

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Creative Ways to Earn ACE Continuing Education Credits

Rather than looking at learning as something they “have” to do, successful people in every industry view it as an opportunity to learn something new and exciting that will either help them in their business or help their customers benefit more from their services (ideally, both). For health coaches and exercise professionals, this could mean anything from courses on sales and marketing to a specialty certificate in communication and behavior change. When chosen well, continuing education allows you to build on your current skill set or broaden your skills into entirely new areas. 

ACE offers a wide selection of continuing education opportunities. From ACE Specialty Programs and the ACE CEC Club to offerings from some of the most respected educators from around the globe, there’s something for everyone.

You may be surprised to learn that ACE also offers the opportunity to acquire continuing education credits (CECs) through some nontraditional channels. Here are creative ideas for earning CECs:

Up to 2.0 CECs

  • Pass another ACE certification exam: Earn 2.0 CECs for successfully passing an additional ACE certification exam.
  • Pass college courses from an accredited college/university with a grade ‘C’ or higher: Courses must be relevant to your ACE certification. University extension classes do not automatically qualify for CECs; however, you may petition for approval. Semester = 1.0 CEC per unit. Quarter = 0.8 CECs per unit.

Up to 0.5 CECs

  • Give professional presentations: You may earn up to 0.5 CECs for a fitness-related professional presentation or lecture at a convention or symposium.
  • Write a correspondence course: To qualify, you must be the sole author for all learning objectives, course content and the correspondence exam.
  • Obtain another fitness certification: ACE offers CECs for earning all current National Committee for Certifying Agencies (NCCA)–accredited fitness certifications.
  • Get published: You may earn 0.1 CEC for each published article in a fitness-related periodical, 0.2 CECs for each published chapter in a fitness-related book, and 0.5 CECs for any published fitness-related book or research paper in a peer-reviewed journal. The publication date must coincide with your renewal period.

Up to 0.2 CECs

  • Take part in a clinical observation: You may earn 0.2 CECs by observing clinical procedures or surgeries related to your certification.
  • Complete paid internships relevant to your ACE certification: You can up to 0.2 CECs for completing a paid internship. For internships completed to earn college credit, see the college course information in the “Up to 2.0 CECs” section above. If your internship is in conjunction with a college course, you cannot receive additional CECs for the internship if you’ve already received CECs for the course.

0.1 CEC

  • Participate in community outreach: You can earn 0.1 CEC per renewal cycle by participating in a fitness-related event in your community.

Take a look at How To Develop a Continuing Education Strategy for additional thoughts on your professional development.

ACE has created a course for Personal Trainers and Group Fitness Instructors to help navigate your next steps as an ACE Certified PRO. Check out these 1 credit hour courses to learn more about how to set up your career and clients for success.

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Anthony Albanese dumps Labor’s franking credits policy, attacks ‘fake’ PM ahead of federal election

Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has dumped Labor’s policy to overhaul franking credits while also launching an attack on Scott Morrison, in a renewed focus on the next election, which could be called later this year.

In a video conference address to Victorian Labor members this morning, Mr Albanese announced Labor would scrap the proposed changes to franking credits the party took to the 2019 election campaign.

The Opposition Leader said the policy had distracted voters from the party’s core messages.

He said that would not be the case at the next federal election, which could be called in late 2021 or early 2022.

The Coalition targeted the franking credits policy during that campaign, describing the measure as a “retiree tax”.

“I can confirm that Labor has heard that message clearly and that we will not be taking any changes to franking credits to the next election,” Mr Albanese said.

“I want the focus to be on Labor’s positive agenda for Australia’s future … a nation where people aspire to personal success, but also have aspirations for their family, their community and their nation.”

Bill Shorten (left) was widely tipped to win the 2019 election but lost to Scott Morrison (right).(AAP)

Labor’s 2019 election review identified former leader Bill Shorten’s unpopularity and a lack of political strategy as two of the causes of the party’s failure to take government.

The Coalition, which had changed its leader three times since coming to power in 2013, was widely tipped to lose the election, having fallen into minority government months out from the poll.

However, it regained majority government as Labor’s primary vote fell to 33 per cent, with sharp falls among blue-collar workers.

PM ‘lacks empathy, stands for nothing,’ Albanese says

Mr Albanese also used the video address to criticise the Prime Minister’s character, arguing Australians had judged Mr Morrison as a person who shifts blame and is a “showman who loves grand announcements, but never delivers”.

He also invoked the awkward interaction, in January 2020, between Mr Morrison and a bushfire survivor who refused to shake his hand, as evidence that Mr Morrison lacked empathy.

“As the nation burned and our cities were choked by smoke, Mr Morrison’s only focus was photo opportunities, where, understandably, many people saw straight through him and refused to shake his hand,” he said.

“That infamous visit said a lot about Scott Morrison and his lack of empathy with Australians who are doing it tough.

“When it comes to Scott Morrison, Australians have started to work him out anyway.

Albanese resorting to ‘personal attack’

Asked about Mr Albanese’s comments today, senior Liberal MP and Minister for Industry Karen Andrews said the Opposition Leader was resorting to personal attacks because he could not attack the Government’s policies.

“He can personalise his attacks as much as he wants,” Ms Andrews said.

“What that clearly demonstrates is our policies are sound [and] they are delivering for Australians.

“If you’re going to attack an individual, it’s because you can’t attack the policy.”

A woman with blonde hair and a blue business jacket in front of an electorate office.
Minister for Industry Karen Andrews said the Opposition Leader had resorted to a “personal attack”.(ABC News)

Mr Albanese also used the speech to criticise Mr Morrison’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis and his public criticisms of Labor premiers, including Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during that state’s major coronavirus outbreak in October and November.

He said Labor state premiers had taken the right decisions, while the Prime Minister “campaigned” against them.

“The Liberals’ essential belief is that government should just get out of the way of markets but we know that markets have no conscience,” Mr Albanese said.

“Just as conservative values were useless during the pandemic, they also offer us little in the rebuilding phase.

“We should use the recovery to address some of the deficiencies in our society.”

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Greens Leader, Adam Bandt, says the Government is right to reconsider its 2030 climate ambitions, but needs to do far more than just drop the Kyoto-credits loophole if Australia is to join the rest of the world on climate action.

“The government’s terrible 2030 targets leave Australia exposed. We’re in the critical decade and domestic political games will provide no cover for Australia’s climate-pariah status on the world stage,” Bandt said.

“Scott Morrison’s 2030 targets are consistent with Australia warming by over 4 degrees, which means civilisational collapse. The Liberals’ 2030 targets are not consistent with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees.

“With Europe and the United Kingdom looking to cut pollution by well over half by 2030, and the United States having already agreed to cuts of 26-28% on 2005 levels by 2025, five years earlier than Australia, we’re becoming increasingly isolated.

“President-Elect Biden has committed to hold a global climate summit in the first 100 days of his Presidency to increase national emissions pledges, and both the Liberal and Labor parties must align Australia’s 2030 targets with the science.

“The Liberals’ 2030 targets have Australia on track for over 4 degrees of heating and Labor is letting Scott Morrison off the hook by having no 2030 targets at all.”

The Greens adjusted their 2030 and net-zero targets in July to take into account recent science and the reversal of progress since the repeal of the price on carbon – see here.

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Scott Morrison flags backdown on Kyoto climate change carry-over credits

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has signalled he may reverse one of the most controversial aspects of the Federal Government’s climate change policy: using Kyoto “carry-over” credits to help meet Paris agreement emissions reduction targets.

In an address to a private dinner hosted the Business Council of Australia, Mr Morrison said it was his ambition to “not need them” and this was a “goal” for the Federal Government.

“I’ve … said we will only use that carryover … to the extent that it is required,” he said.

“Let me be very clear. My ambition, my Government’s ambition, is that we will not need them.

“And we are working to this as our goal, consistent with our record of over-delivering in these areas.”

Australia’s current 2030 target under the Paris Agreement is to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 per cent compared to 2005 levels.

On current projections, that will only be achieved by continuing to claim “carry-over” credits from over-achieving on previous emissions reduction targets under the Paris Agreement’s predecessor, the Kyoto Protocol.

Whilst using carry-over credits is not explicitly banned under the rules of the Paris Agreement, most nations have declared they do not consider it valid to count emission reduced under the Kyoto Protocol towards future targets.

The Federal Government has found no support diplomatically from allies for its continued use of carry-over credits, which is particularly controversial as Australia was allowed to increase its emissions under the Kyoto Protocol because of the nation’s reliance on the resources sector.

PM flags new emission reduction policies

The United Nations has encouraged all countries to present more ambitious emissions reduction plans at international climate change talks in Glasgow next year.

The Federal Government has so far resisted pressure to increase its 26 to 28 per cent target, instead announcing a “Technology Investment Roadmap” that focuses on backing a select few technologies and supporting heavy industry.

It has also declined to adopt a target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050, despite other major industrialised countries committing to the goal.

But Mr Morrison flagged his Government would have more to say on emissions reduction policies in the next few weeks.

“I hope to have more to say about this before the end of the year as we update our emissions projections that will take into account new policies and measures,” he said.

Greens leader Adam Bandt said dropping the use of the carry-over credit “loophole” would be a positive step, but still insufficient.

“The Government’s terrible 2030 targets leave Australia exposed,” Mr Bandt said.

“We’re in the critical decade and domestic political games will provide no cover for Australia’s climate-pariah status on the world stage.

“With Europe and the United Kingdom looking to cut pollution by well over half by 2030, and the United States having already agreed to cuts of 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2025, five years earlier than Australia, we’re becoming increasingly isolated.”

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Congresswoman-elect Stephanie Bice credits 2018 midterms for 2020 GOP women House wins

Republican Congresswoman-elect Stephanie Bice credited the 2018 midterm elections as a spark that inspired conservative women to run for office this year in record numbers.

“There were so many wakeup calls for conservative Republican women to really step up and put themselves out there,” she said on “Fox & Friends Weekend” Saturday. “We saw a record number of women filing for these seats across the country. Ninety-five of them made it through the primary, and we have an incredible class so far – 17 Republican conservative women that are gonna be part of the next incoming class.”

She said her primary focus when she reaches Capitol Hill will be another coronavirus relief package, “the economy and jobs.”


“We’re being hit on two fronts right now,” she said. “Not only with the COVID pandemic, but also with the downturn of the oil and gas industry in Oklahoma.”

Bice is among 13 Republican women who won election to the House this year – and six of the eight seats that flipped from blue to red were won by female candidates.

Bice, R-Okla., joined “Fox & Friends Weekend” alongside House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Congresswoman-elect Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla.

McCarthy called 2020 “the year of Republican women.”

Bice has served on Oklahoma’s state Senate since 2014 where she is praised for her economic development and worked to control state spending. Upon her election to Congress, she aims to fight for affordable health care and address immigration.


Salazar said it was the Democratic Party’s embrace of “socialism” that allowed her to flip incumbent Rep. Donna Shalala’s seat red.

“Anything that carries the word socialism is bad for our children,” she said.

Fox News’ Angelica Stabile contributed to this report.

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HSBC, Queensland government buy ‘credits’ to protect Great Barrier Reef

The investment required to meet water quality targets for the Great Barrier Reef is estimated at $4 billion according to James Schultz, the CEO of GreenCollar, which developed the Reef Credit Scheme in partnership with landholders, the Queensland government and natural resource management organisations.


Neither HSBC nor the Queensland government disclosed how much they would invest to buy “reef credits”.

GreenCollar estimates that the market could be worth over 6 million Reef Credits by 2030, opening the door for more businesses to invest in the future of the reef as part of their environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies.

For buyers, “Reef Credits” would provide a measurable, audited water quality outcome tracked against internationally recognised targets and based on actual reduction in pollutants entering the reef.

“The first water quality market of its kind in the world, Reef Credits will play a pivotal role in protecting the future of the Great Barrier Reef as both an Australian and international icon,” HSBC said in a statement.

The Great Barrier Reef was world heritage listed in 1981 by UNESCO as the most extensive and spectacular coral reef ecosystem on the planet.


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Canberra Raiders star Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad credits sodium, and study, as secrets of his success

If there is a gap between Nicoll-Klokstad and the game’s best custodians, it is closing. For proof, look no further than his most recent performance. Against the Roosters, he ran until he could run no more.

“CNK” clocked 245 metres from 22 carries, including one line break. Perhaps most importantly, he pulled off a cover tackle on a seemingly try-bound Josh Morris, bundling the famed finisher into touch. Come fulltime, it proved a match-winning play.

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad suffered cramp in the second half against the Roosters last week, but not before an inspirational performance.Credit:NRL Photos

The exertions took their toll. The Kiwi international was hamstrung by severe cramps that threatened to end his contribution prematurely.

“I was carrying on a little bit,” he chuckled. “It was sore – I haven’t seen much footage of it – but I definitely copped a lot of stick over it.”

According to GPS data, Nicoll-Klokstad ran nine kilometres against the premiers, well within his customary range of output.

“It was more the first 20 minutes that caught up with me personally in the back end of the game,” he said. “I take salt tablets before the game and at half-time. I add salt to my food all through the week. It would have just been adrenaline.”

Runaway success: Raiders fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.

Runaway success: Raiders fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.Credit:Getty

In a bid to prevent further cramps, the 25-year-old will be adding even more sodium to his diet.

“It’s what the game required of me from a physical point of view. It’s a finals series, it’s a different beast, it’s not an ordinary game,” he said. “It’s nice to look at it from an improvement point of view, to see what we can do this weekend.”

This weekend, against Melbourne, Nicoll-Klokstad will be required to do more of the same. The Auckland product studies footage of the game’s best fullbacks in a bid to improve his game.


“During the preseason I did a fair bit,” he said. “I look at Roger, Tedesco, Gutherson, off the top of my head. I try to picture what they are looking at. I talked to the coaches as well to see what I need to add to my game.”

Another No.1 he enjoys watching is this weekend’s opponent, Ryan Papenhuyzen. The Storm fullback has been in a rich vein of form himself, to the point where he has emerged as a genuine contender for Brad Fittler’s Blues squad.

“He’s a freak,” Nicoll-Klokstad said. “There are some things you can’t teach. He’s got some things you can work on, but where I will never get to where he is at is with speed.

“You can’t teach speed. Speed is power and he’s got a lot of it. I just take what I can from a skillset point of view, but your make-up, your DNA, I can’t get that.”

As soon as the season is over, Nicoll-Klokstad will be reunited with his family. He has two young children in New Zealand he hasn’t seen for two months. There are morning and evening Facetime sessions, but it’s not the same as seeing them in the flesh.


“I just let them know I love them and miss them,” he said. “There’s nothing past this week for me, I haven’t thought about dates or how it’s going to look or what’s going on with quarantine.

“Do I need to organise anything in quarantine? I don’t know, I haven’t looked into anything yet.

“I won’t do anything until my season is done. Hopefully that’s in two weeks.”

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Renewed calls to boycott Disney’s live-action Mulan over hat-tip in credits to Xinjiang authorities

There have been fresh calls to boycott the new live-action remake of Mulan after Disney included a thanks in the credits to Chinese Government authorities who have been linked to human rights violations.

The film, a remake of the much-loved 1998 animated movie, has previously been embroiled in controversy after one of the stars publicly supported police cracking down on independence protests in Hong Kong.

Mulan, which premiered in Australia on Disney’s online streaming service Disney+ on September 4, was filmed primarily in New Zealand and China, including desert scenes subtitled as “north-west China”.

In 2017, the New Zealand director of the $US200 million ($275 million) film, Niki Caro, posted on Instagram location scouting photos taken of sand dunes tagged at Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

The Chinese Government has been widely condemned for its detention and surveillance of Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang.

A shot from Mulan describes the setting as “Northwest China”.(Supplied)

There have been allegations of forced sterilisation of Uyghur women, forced labour in factories, and other measures amounting to what has been described as cultural genocide.

However, the Government has repeatedly denied its “vocational training centres” are concentration camps, and says the measures are necessary to counter what it calls extremism and terrorism.


In Mulan’s credits, Disney offers “China Special Thanks” to the Publicity Department of CPC Xinjiang Uygher Autonomous Region Committee as well as the Publicity Department and Bureau of Public Security for the city of Turpan, which is north-east of Urumqi in Xinjiang.


The United States Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security in October last year added the Turpan Municipality Public Security Bureau to a list of Chinese entities “acting contrary to the foreign policy interests of the United States”.

“Specifically, these entities have been implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups in the XUAR [Xinjiang Uygher Autonomous Region],” the Department of Commerce said in a notification of the listing.

Human Rights Watch’s China director Sophie Richardson told the ABC that Disney’s public thanks raised questions about whether and how the company engaged with authorities in Xinjiang.

Ms Richardson questioned whether Disney thought through how that relationship would be perceived “at a time when most of the global discussion about Xinjiang is about appalling mass detention of people outside of any legal process on the basis of their ethnic and religious identity, about forced labour, torture and unparalleled destruction of religious freedom”.

Princess Fa Mulan
The animated version of Mulan was released in 1998.(Supplied)

“For any company, critical to these kind of engagements is having done some sort of human rights due diligence, which is what the United Nations guiding principles on business and human rights requires,” she said.

“I think it’s incumbent on Disney to explain what human rights due diligence they did in advance of cooperating with these authorities.”


Last year, the hashtag #BoycottMulan started trending on Twitter after Chinese-American actress Liu Yifei, who plays the heroine in Mulan and has more than 66 million followers on Chinese social media platform Weibo, shared a post supporting police cracking down on independence protesters in Hong Kong.

She added an “IAlsoSupportTheHongKongPolice” hashtag with heart and arm-flexing symbols.

In February, Yifei was less strident in her opinion when interviewed by the Hollywood Reporter.

“I think it’s obviously a very complicated situation and I’m not an expert,” she said. “I just really hope this gets resolved soon.”

While Mulan is an online-only offering in the US and Australia, it has begun showing in theatres in Thailand, Taiwan, the Middle East, Singapore and Malaysia.

It will premiere in movie theatres in China next week.

Disney did not respond to questions from the ABC.

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Matt Dufty credits teammate and ‘life coach’ Adam Clune with new outlook on league

A central character has been Dragons halfback Clune, who has been constantly driving and pushing Dufty since they were teammates in the club’s under-20 side. Dufty has appreciated every shove in the right direction.

“As a kid, I always overlooked it a bit – I just thought I’d go out and play some footy,” Dufty said. “Last year was a roller-coaster season for me. I probably wasn’t training as well as I could have and came into [this] pre-season with a real focus to try and be more professional.

Matt Dufty's increased attention to his match preparation and recovery has shown on the field.

Matt Dufty’s increased attention to his match preparation and recovery has shown on the field.Credit:Getty Images

“After I broke my cheekbone at the nines, recovery was something to work on. It’s been a big step to me playing consistent footy. I’ve got more energy, I’m around the ball more, I’m a better support player. It’s just a better mindset knowing I’ve done everything possible during the week.

“Cluney has always been the ultimate professional: he watches a lot of video, he does all the recovery, he doesn’t miss anything. In 20s he always tried to pull me along to do that stuff so having him there in pre-season really brought the best out in me.

“He’s like a bit of a life coach for me; he doesn’t let me get away with anything, which is good. I respect him and appreciate him.”

Dufty’s game has also been elevated by a shift in the Dragons’ attacking structure. While it used to revolve around a big, running fullback, Dufty has been given added space and time to make key decisions in their back-line shifts.


That means the ability to not just run, but showcase his passing game, which came to the fore in Friday night’s win over the Broncos when he floated a supreme cut-out that hit winger Mika Ravalawa flush on the chest, before he stampeded over the line and scored in the corner.

“I love being in that situation, it brings out all three options [pass, kick, run],” Dufty said. “My evolution as a first-grader – everyone always did video of my running game, which can get shut down pretty quickly.

“The Dragons always had an attacking structure with a big fullback. When Flanno [Shane Flanagan] took over the attack halfway through the year when I got put back into the team, we kind of changed it around to footy that suits me. I’ve always been able to pass, it just hasn’t been in our attacking structure as much.”

The signs are getting better for the Dragons, even if the top eight looks a genuine Hail Mary given some of the difficult assignments on their run home, which include the Raiders, Knights and Storm. With their spine all contracted for next season, Dufty wants a front seat for any resurgence.

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