Melbourne housing estate engulfed by tumbleweeds


A Melbourne housing estate has been overrun with tumbleweeds, forcing residents to stay indoors as the bizarre phenomenon sweeps through suburban streets.

Dozens of homes have been swamped by the grass balls, brought in by heavy winds across the state.

Residents are unable to come and go from their homes. (Nine)
The weeds are so thick residents are afraid to open the doors to their homes. (Nine)

One resident told Nine News that her entire community had been swamped by the weeds.

“I can’t open my front door or it’ll fill my house,” resident Jane told Nine News.

In some places the weeds nearly block out all light coming into the house. (Nine)

Nine News has contacted the local council for comment.

See the full story tonight at 6pm on Channel 9.



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The big positional change Simon Goodwin should swing at Melbourne


David King would like to see Melbourne push Christian Salem further up the ground.

Salem has played 106 games for the Dees since being taken at pick nine in the 2013 National Draft, mostly across half back.

King believes the skilful ball user could help solve Melbourne’s woes going forward, given they’re one of the least efficient sides in the competition kicking inside 50.

“It’s a great call to get more out of him. How do you maximise your best talents? Where do you place them?” King told SEN Breakfast.

“How do you get the ball in his hands as often as possible? I think you want your best kicks kicking the ball inside 50 and that’s been Melbourne’s problem, capitalising on inside 50 opportunities.

“I think he has to be challenged to go to a wing or even half forward.

“He may not get as many disposals, but as Justin Leppitsch said yesterday, there’s only 360 disposals per team per game.

“So if Salem gets 30 at half back and they go into the fat part of the ground or the wings, do you really get a lot out of those disposals or would you rather him have it 15 times and hit five targets inside 50.

“I have no doubt Simon Goodwin would be thinking ‘how do I get the most out of this guy’.

“He’s a senior player now. The days of him being a nice to have skilful half back … and I do think that’s a good spot to bring in some fresh talent at half back. To see the game and use your skills, you can be a light body and a bit smaller Caleb Daniel style.

“We’re going to learn a lot about Melbourne and Simon Goodwin. It’s a big year for the Dees.”

The Demons will have a new-look forward line in 2021, trading for North Melbourne key forward Ben Brown.







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NRL news: Sandor Earl retires, Melbourne Storm, contracts, squad 2021, drugs ban, career


One of rugby league’s most controversial, and colourful, careers has come to an end with Sandor Earl announcing his retirement from the NRL.

The 31-year-old broke the news to SEN’s Jimmy Smith on radio on Friday afternoon.

Earl retires with only 56 first grade games to his name from a career that began way back in 2009 and promised so much.

“I haven’t announced it, so it’s a bit of a scoop, but I’ll be hanging up the boots,” Earl said.

Round 1

“I suppose a combination of things, but I guess the people who know me and are closest to me have a pretty good understanding… rugby league has been everything for me.



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Melbourne population to outstrip Sydney by 2026 despite coronavirus lockdowns


Melbourne will overtake Sydney as the nation’s biggest capital by 2026 despite grappling with a second wave of coronavirus outbreaks forcing the state back into lockdown but national population growth will take years to recover.

The Victorian capital is still on track to take the crown from the harbour city by 2026-27, a Centre for Population report released on Friday shows, with 6.2 million people to call Melbourne home compared to a forecast 6 million residents in Sydney.

Slow population growth will affect Australia’s economic fortunes.

The massive shock to international migration caused by the coronavirus pandemic will, however, drag on the long-term prospects for the national population, with 1.1 million fewer people expected to call Australia home by June 2031 than if the virus had not happened. Typically new migrants move to the country’s biggest capital cities, with Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane taking in 71 per cent of overseas arrivals in the 2018 financial year.

Both Sydney and Melbourne’s populations will be the worst affected by the pandemic, which will shave 390,000 and 340,000 people respectively from pre-COVID expected levels by 2031. In 2020-21, Sydney’s population declines 0.2 per cent followed by no change in the year after, while Melbourne will experience modest growth.



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Melbourne Victory beat FC Seoul to reach round of 16 for second time in club’s history


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Victory now face another South Korean club in Ulsan in Sunday night’s round-of-16 match.

“It’s a fantastic achievement to get out of the group stages … it was a tough ask, I am super proud of the players, super proud of the staff,” Brebner, who was appointed coach in August, said after the match.

“It’s massive for the club, for everybody connected with the club.

“It’s something we have always wanted to do, strive to achieve something in Asia.

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“We have been together 10 days, played four games in 10 days, and every game we have come up looking better.

“They [the players] are able, willing, they want to learn and get better.”

An early goal to Marco Rojas settled Victory nerves by putting them ahead of Seoul, and when Jake Brimmer doubled the lead from a 22nd-minute penalty they had the breathing space they needed.

Hwang Hyun-soo pulled a goal back with 25 minutes to go but Victory did enough to ensure they took the points.

“We had to fight really hard,” said Rojas.

“It was a really difficult game but because of our fantastic start we had the two-goal advantage and we were able to hold on.”

Japan’s FC Tokyo beat Perth Glory 1-0 to finish runners-up in group F ahead of Shanghai Shenhua and set up a last-16 clash against Beijing Guoan.

The games will take place on Sunday as teams from the east of Asia continue to play out the coronavirus-delayed continental championship in a biosecure environment in Qatar.

At stake is a spot in the final on December 19, when the leading team from east Asia will take on west Asian qualifiers Persepolis from Iran in Doha’s Al Janoub Stadium.

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AFL 2021 | Melbourne Cricket Club bullish about full houses for AFL MCG return


The AFL is now aiming to release a section of their fixture for the men’s 2021 competition before Christmas as the MCG becomes increasingly hopeful of lifting crowds from 30,000 spectators on Boxing Day to more than 50,000 people by the time the AFL season starts on March 18.

Both the AFL and the MCG are attempting to make haste slowly as Victoria emerges cautiously from the COVID-19 lockdown that saw the game relocate outside the state and the MCG virtually vacant since Melbourne played Richmond on July 5.

Hopefully by then we’re talking 75 per cent or who knows even a 100 per cent return of crowds.

Stuart Fox

However a league source confirmed the AFL was planning an initial release of matches pre-Christmas before expanding on the schedule in February in order to maintain flexibility in an environment that remains unpredictable.

The league has confirmed the season will begin with the traditional Richmond v Carlton clash on Thursday, March 18, and remain keen on exploring the idea of a footy frenzy with games each day over 20 consecutive days.



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Woman arrested after family of three including newborn baby killed in house fire Melbourne


A 46-year-old woman has been charged with murder and arson following a house fire in Melbourne’s south-west that left a family of three, including a newborn baby, dead.

Arson and Explosive Squad detectives this afternoon charged Jenny Hayes from Airport West with three counts of murder and arson causing death.

A family-of-three have been remembered as “beautiful souls”. (Supplied Nine)

Police believe Ms Hayes is known to either Ms Forrest or Mr Sohal.

She faced the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court tonight where she did not apply for bail. She is expected back in court next March.

“Police are not looking for anyone else in relation to the matter,” Victoria Police said in a statement.

Arson and Explosives Squad detectives are investigating after the double-storey home was left gutted by the blaze and two others were damaged.

Emily Forrest returned to the scene of the fatal blaze today, telling reporters her sister Abbey had only moved into the home a few weeks ago with her partner Inda, after the birth of their daughter.

Abbey Forrest (left) with her sister Emily (centre) and their parents.
Abbey Forrest (left) with her sister Emily (centre) and their parents. (Nine)

“I’m just trying to be really strong, and just trying to hold it together for them,” she said.

“Their daughter will be three weeks old tomorrow.

“Their lives had pretty much just started and should be like the perfect time of their life and now this awful tragedy has happened.”

Gurvinder Singh, a close friend of Mr Sohal, was too overcome with grief to speak for long about the tragedy.

“I just don’t have any words for… I just can’t describe the sadness that I’m having now,” he said.

The young family is believed to have only been living in the area a short time.

Distressed neighbours woke to the sound of their smoke alarm just before 4am to find the house next door engulfed in flames.

“All I can hear in my head right now is them screaming for help,” neighbour Jade Bartolo told 9News.

Yesterday Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Kennedy said the house fire was being treated as suspicious.

“We’ve confirmed tragically located the bodies of two adult deceased persons the premises upstairs,” he said before the baby was found.

Aerial view of the townhouse destroyed by fire. (Nine)

“It certainly is being treated as suspicious, prominently because of the intensity of the fire.”

Fire Rescue Victoria in a statement said the structural integrity of the townhouse in the middle, where it is believed the fire began, was compromised.

More than 40 firefighters battled the blaze at the scene, with eight firefighting appliances, including aerial and rescue units, bringing it under control in an hour.



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Soldiers complain that conditions, neglect during Melbourne coronavirus deployment took toll on mental health


Australian soldiers are accusing their hierarchy of not properly looking after their mental health during and after their deployment to Melbourne to help with the state’s COVID-19 response.

A soldier has told the ABC he and colleagues were virtually confined to Melbourne hotel rooms for months, in between carrying out duties including accompanying ambulance crews to car crashes.

He said many have been deeply affected by the confinement.

The soldier was among hundreds deployed to Melbourne between June and October from bases in Townsville, Darwin, Adelaide and Brisbane.

He said during deployments of up to three months they were only allowed to leave their hotel rooms while carrying out duties including home quarantine checks.

The ABC is not identifying the soldier because he is not allowed to speak to the media without approval.

The soldier said he and colleagues went weeks without rest days, lost weight, and many couldn’t pass physical fitness tests when they returned to barracks.

He said while off duty their only option for exercise, for the first month, was in the hotel’s underground car park, in a few spaces each.

Soldiers were supplied peas and rice for breakfast.(Supplied)

Later, they were allowed an hour of exercise in a small park, but often the allotted exercise times clashed with times on duty.

“There was a sense we couldn’t hack it,” he said.

“A lot of fellas were having a hell of a hard time. We were in borderline isolation all that time.”

The soldier said being supplied “second rate, minimal” food, including peas and rice for breakfast, and not being able to leave the hotels to buy alternative food, was morale-sapping.

He said the experience was worse than an overseas deployment, particularly for soldiers backing up ambulance crews.

“Then they were locked in their rooms for weeks on end.

“And now we’ve come back we didn’t do the Post Operational Psychological Screening.”

The moderator of an online veterans’ mental health forum told the ABC multiple soldiers have reported the same experience.

He doesn’t want to be identified because he receives information from serving personnel.

Department of Defence says soldiers were looked after

Asked to respond, the Defence Department provided a statement saying the personnel had access to mental health support including for critical incidents during the deployment.

Alfoil container with sausages and potato
Meals such as this one were not adequate for ADF staff but they were prevented from leaving their hotel to buy their own food.(Supplied)

“As with all Victorians during the lockdown … ADF members … were required to adhere to directives concerning exercise periods,” the Department said.

“A welfare system was established that included regular welfare checks and a buddy system.”

It said the soldiers would get mental health screening, and the Department would conduct an anonymous survey to determine “what they found stressful and how they coped”.

“A Post Operational Psychological Screening is conducted between three and six months following deployment … [or] earlier if a member requests it,” the Department said.

“Defence has designed a deployment experiences survey … to identify risks associated with Operation COVID Assist, which can then inform … longer-term, follow-up care responses.”

The soldier who spoke to the ABC said Defence Force members are reluctant to admit they need mental health support because they fear it will affect their careers.

Veteran community members have to look out for each other

The President of the independent Defence Welfare Association, Kel Ryan, said that was a common concern.

“It is a common factor in military life that individuals tend not to report injuries or particular mental health issues that they perceive would be detrimental to their future promotion, to their future positions,” he said.

“So what we have to do is to ensure there is a system by which individuals are not disadvantaged because they report these issues.”

Army soldiers watch an ambulance officer demonstrate how to use stretcher.
Soldiers who assisted with ambulance crews in Victoria were impacted greatly by what they experienced.(Supplied: ADF)

He said everyone in the Defence Force and veteran community should look carefully for signs of mental stress in friends and colleagues, and offer help.

“It is common that individuals try to hide these things, and it really behoves their mates, to really notice changes in the individual’s mental state,” he said.

The defence force veterans’ charity Mates4Mates has expanded its independent telehealth services during the pandemic and is about to open a Darwin centre.

Its CEO, Troy Watson, said it had recently experienced a surge in demand.

“Compared to this time last year, we are seeing about a 30 per cent increase in access to our services since that time,” he said.

“Obviously the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on individuals and the family unit, and people being dislocated from others, and being unable to access services, have had a significant impact this year.”



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Melbourne Stars vs Brisbane Heat Tips, Odds and Teams – BBL Big Bash 2020


Melbourne Stars host
Brisbane Heat
at Manuka Oval on Friday December 11, 2020. Melbourne Stars are favourites for the game which is scheduled to start at 7:16 pm. We preview the game and give you our tips and information on how you can watch the Melbourne Stars vs.
Brisbane Heat
game live.

When: Friday December 11, 2020 at 7:16 pm

Where: Manuka Oval

Bet: Bet On This Match HERE

Melbourne Stars vs Brisbane Heat Odds

Melbourne Stars vs Brisbane Heat Preview

Melbourne Stars kick off their 2020/21 campaign against the Brisbane Heat at Manuka Oval in Canberra.

The Stars fell short in the BBL Final last season and will be out to make amends this season.

They head into this game as favourites and they’re hard to back against given their form in past seasons.

Melbourne Stars vs Brisbane Heat Tip





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