Attorney General Christian Porter denies rape claim, message for accuser’s parents


Attorney-General Christian Porter has remembered the woman who he says falsely accused him of rape in 1988 as an “intelligent, bright and happy person” who he agreed did iron his shirt the night of a debating dinner – as she suggests in an unsworn affidavit.

Choking back tears, a distraught Mr Porter said there was “no truth” to the rape claims but he agreed there were some claims in the woman’s unsworn affidavit that were true.

There is a photo of the two of you sitting at the formal dinner that night. Do you remember that dinner?,’’ Mr Porter was asked.

“I am sure there was a formal dinner that night. I am sure that is the case. We were a group of people who were going out debating during the day, going out to functions and things at night. I am absolutely sure there would be such a photo,’’ he said.

RELATED: Porter in tears denying rape claim

Mr Porter was then asked if he remembered dancing with the woman at the Hard Rock Cafe in Kings Cross.

“That may well have been the case,’’ he said.

“It was 33 years ago. I remember two evenings that week. One was a night with – at one of the colleges with bowls of prawns which sticks in my mind. I do remember a formal dinner and going out dancing sounds about right.”

The Attorney-General was also asked if he remembered walking her back to her accommodation at Sydney University.

RELATED: Minister speaks out and denies rape claim

Mr Porter was then asked about a third claim in the woman’s unsworn affidavit that she had ironed his shirt earlier that night.

“It’s not impossible, I have never been in the person’s room. I did read that as part of the material, and I recall, it sparked a memory, there were four of us, three boys, and this person whose name I can’t even say because of the situation we are in,’’ he said.

“I don’t think any of us had ever ironed a shirt before, and I recall, she showed us how to do it, I remember that.”

“She ironed your shirt for you. She claims you said she would make a wonderful wife some day?,’’ a reporter asked.

“I don’t remember that specifically but it is not impossible that that was said.”

RELATED: Rape claim ‘nowhere near’ over: senator

The Attorney-General commenced his press conference with a personal appeal to the parents of the dead woman.

“I want to start by saying something to the parents who are grieving for the loss of their adult daughter,’’ he said.

“I only knew your daughter for the briefest periods at debating competitions when we were teenagers about 33 years ago. I was 17 years old and I think that she was 16 years old.

“In losing that person, your daughter, you have suffered a terrible loss and you did not deserve the frenzied politicisation of the circumstances of your daughter’s death in the past week.

“I have thought long and hard about the implications for you of what I feel that I need to say today.

“And I hope that whatever else happens from this point – that you will understand that in saying today – the things that are being claimed to have happened, did not happen – that I do not mean to impose anything more on your grief.

“But I hope that you will also understand that because what is being alleged did not happen – I must say so publicly.

“Likely the only thing that I’m ever going to be able to say – and it’s the truth – and that is that nothing in the allegations that have been printed ever happened.

“The allegations appear to be about a period in early 1988 during an end of school debating competition at Sydney University. I was 17 years old and the other person was 16. We were both selected with two others on the Australian Schools debating team and we went to Sydney University for an international competition. It was a long time ago – I always remembered it as a happy time – but I can say categorically what has been put in various forms and allegations simply did not happen.”

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Zia Dredge, 9, has a clear message for Hearing Awareness Week: Deafness doesn’t have to hold you back


Ahead of Hearing Awareness Week, the bubbly Brisbane girl’s mother, Heidi Dredge, wants families to know they need not despair if a child has hearing loss, that technology and support have outpaced perceptions of hearing loss.

It comes as new data from First Voice reveals 94 per cent of Australians are unaware it’s possible for children born deaf to learn to listen and speak as well as children with typical hearing.

Not-for-profit Hear and Say chief executive Chris McCarthy said it was sobering that most Australians did not realise potential outcomes if their children got the right diagnosis, technology and specialised speech therapy.

“We’re seeing amazing outcomes for children with hearing loss,” he said.

“Children that are going through our program have got clear, natural spoken language and I would challenge people that didn’t know they have a hearing loss to pick it up.”

Ms Dredge said there were no signs in her pregnancy and no family history of hearing loss, but Zia’s hearing loss was identified in the Healthy Hearing screening for all newborn babies in Queensland.

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Mars rover’s giant parachute carried secret message


The huge parachute used by NASA’s Perseverance rover to land on Mars contained a secret message, thanks to a puzzle lover on the spacecraft team.

Systems engineer Ian Clark used a binary code to spell out “Dare Mighty Things” in the orange and white strips of the 21-metre parachute. He also included the GPS coordinates for the mission”s headquarters at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Clark, a crossword hobbyist, came up with the idea two years ago. Engineers wanted an unusual pattern in the nylon fabric to know how the parachute was oriented during descent. Turning it into a secret message was “super fun,” he said Tuesday.

Only about six people knew about the encoded message before Thursday’s landing, according to Clark. They waited until the parachute images came back before putting out a teaser during a televised news conference Monday.

It took just a few hours for space fans to figure it out, Clark said. Next time, he noted, “I’ll have to be a little bit more creative.”

“Dare Mighty Things” — a line from President Theodore Roosevelt — is a mantra at JPL and adorns many of the centre’s walls. The trick was “trying to come up with a way of encoding it but not making it too obvious,” Clark said.

As for the GPS coordinates, the spot is 3 metres from the entrance to JPL’s visitor centre.

Another added touch not widely known until touchdown: Perseverance bears a plaque depicting all five of NASA’s Mars rovers in increasing size over the years — similar to the family car decals seen on Earth.

Deputy project manager Matt Wallace promises more so-called hidden Easter eggs. They should be visible once Perseverance’s 2-metre arm is deployed in a few days and starts photographing under the vehicle, and again when the rover is driving in a couple weeks.

“Definitely, definitely should keep a good lookout,” he urged.

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Mandy Moore Sends Cute Message to Wilmer Valderrama After Baby’s Birth – E! Online


However, things haven’t always been rosy between the exes. Back in 2006, four years after they broke up, Wilmer talked about his sex life with Mandy during an interview on Howard Stern‘s radio show.

“The sex with Mandy was good,” he crudely said, “but it wasn’t like warm apple pie.”

That same year, the Princess Diaries actress told Elle magazine his remarks were “utterly tacky, not even true and it hurt my feelings because I like him.”

“I dated him when I was 16 and 17,” she noted. “I love him and I still love him, and he’s a very good friend and that’s why I was so shocked by it because not only was it a fib, but it was so unlike him, it was so uncharacteristic.”

In 2018, Mandy discussed Wilmer’s past comments during an interview with Howard, telling the host, “He’s a very good friend and that’s why I was so shocked by it because not only was it a fib, but it was so unlike him, it was so uncharacteristic.”

Mandy recalled her conversation with Wilmer after his interview, saying, “I remember in the moment he tried to explain it away that sort of he did get caught up, he maybe insinuated more than outright said it. No, you outright said it.”

“Why would you ever talk about that to anybody and lie about it,” she added.



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Girlfriend references ‘struggles’ in touching message to Nick Kyrgios


Nick Kyrgios’ girlfriend has issued a sweet — albeit belated — Valentine’s Day message to the Aussie tennis star.

Chiara Passari, who jetted in to Melbourne for lockdown after Kyrgios’ Australian Open singles exit, took to Instagram as she publicly expressed her love for the 25-year-old.

“I have learnt a lot and am also learning a lot about myself since meeting you,” she wrote alongside a photo of the two together in a car.

“There will always be struggles but as long as that magic and those unforgettable experiences are there it’s all worth it.

“Happy belated Valentine’s. I love you.”

Passari flew to Victoria to see Kyrgios lose to Dominic Thiem in the third round at Melbourne Park, and the pair spent Valentine’s Day together before Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis lost their doubles match on Sunday night.

Kyrgios was spotted giving his girlfriend a peck on the cheek during a training session but later, Passari was filmed on the Australian Open broadcast awkwardly leaning away from one of his attempted kisses.

Kyrgios was philosophical after losing to Thiem in five sets — having coughed up a two-set lead — and it may have had something to do with the presence of Passari, who he admitted to missing badly in the early rounds of the tournament.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Nick Kyrgios (@k1ngkyrg1os)

Love is in the air.

Love is in the air.Source:Supplied

Kyrgios’ relationship appears rock solid after some eye-catching social media activity sparked rumours he’d broken up with Passari.

Kyrgios appeared to delete all but one image of Passari on his Instagram after she posted a cryptic message about “cheaters” before the Australian Open kicked off.

Passari didn’t mention any names or reference the Aussie tennis star in her post, which was uploaded to her Instagram story.

“Cheaters always want you to be loyal while they’re being unfaithful,” it read.

Passari added the caption “It keeps getting better y’all”, with several upside down smiling emojis.

But Kyrgios indicated they were on track by writing messages like “Miss u Chizzel” on the camera lens after his matches and dispelled any doubt about their relationship status when he referred to his “amazing girlfriend” when asked a question about his perspective on tennis after one match.

Passari cheered on from the stands.

Passari cheered on from the stands.Source:News Corp Australia



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Lovesick Kyrgios’ sweet message shows he’s missing home


Nick Kyrgios has shown off his boyfriend chops with a sweet message to his girlfriend Chiara Passari on Instagram.

Ahead of his second round match against French 29th seed Ugo Humbert tonight, Kyrgios showed he was missing home with a sweet post in tribute to his girlfriend.

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Kyrgios posted this sweet message to his missus around lunchtime after making it emphatically clear they were still together despite recent rumours and peculiar social media activity.

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But it comes after a seemingly turbulent week for the couple.

Passari sent tongues magging after posting a cryptic Instagram story on the eve of the Open.

“Cheaters always want you to be loyal while they’re being unfaithful,” it read.

While she didn’t mention names, Kyrgios then deleted all but one picture of her from his social media account

Kyrgios’ Instagram feed was full of photos and loving posts about his new flame, who he started dating in the middle of last year as he returned to his home city of Canberra during the pandemic.

But the latest post along with his on court actions appear to show a much rosier outlook for the pair.

After his 6-4 6-4 6-4 win over Portugal’s Frederico Ferreira Silva in round one, Kyrgios showed he was thinking of her when he signed the camera post match.

“Miss u Chizzel,” he wrote, with a smiley face.

Kyrgios dispelled any doubt about their relationship status when he referred to his “amazing girlfriend” when asked a question about his perspective on tennis during his post-match press conference.

S“I feel old. This sport has stressed me out. I feel like an old soul. At the end of the day it’s just a tennis match. Obviously I’m going to get angry as I’m playing because I’m a competitor, I always want to win. But I don’t beat myself up over losses,” he said.

“I’m extremely lucky to even be in my position. I’m healthy. I’ve got great friends, great family, an amazing girlfriend back home — I’m blessed. Look at me, I’m a wise man now.”

And to complete his night, he FaceTimed with Passari back in his hotel room — and shared a screenshot of them talking.

“Chiara Passari my recovery for the night,” Kyrgios wrote.

Before Passari, Kyrgios was dating Russian tennis player Anna Kalinskaya. But in May last year, the couple — who had been spotted together at an NBA game and watching each other’s tennis matches — confirmed they were no longer in a relationship.

“We just went our separate ways,” Kyrgios told fans during a video game live stream. “Unfortunately things didn’t work out. We had some fun memories.”

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Eddie McGuire quits, Collingwood president, racism report, press conference, reaction, parting message


Eddie McGuire has quit as president of Collingwood.

Late last year McGuire revealed his intention to step down at the end of 2021, but the backlash that erupted after his response to a damning report that accused Collingwood of fostering “systemic racism” has hastened that exit.

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McGuire fought back tears as he fronted a press conference on Tuesday afternoon to announce he was resigning.

“I tried my best and I don’t always get it right, but I don’t stop trying,” he said. “Today, effective immediately, I step down from the presidency of the Collingwood Football Club.

“From the moment I became the president of the Collingwood Football Club on my 34th birthday back in 1998, my sole motivation was to heal, unite, inspire and drive a new social conscience, not just into this club, but sport and the community in general and build an organisation that would be a place for opportunity for all people.”

McGuire issued a defiant parting message, touting the club’s commitment to social justice as he rattled off a string of programs implemented during his tenure to help those less fortunate.

He also spruiked the club’s efforts to provide support for Indigenous Australians, and once again reinforced why the recent report into racism should actually reflect positively on the club.

“This is why I say we are not a racist club. Far from it,” McGuire said.

“It is why I’m so proud of our club and the people every day of every week who benefit and who are inspired by the very purpose of the being of Collingwood and that is to be a beacon of hope for all people, particularly those at their lowest ebb or who have been socially isolated and left behind.

“In every endeavour my heart has been true.

“I remind people that our recent review, inspired by Black Lives Matter, is part of a six-year journey of our reconciliation action plan. It was done to look to what we need to do in the next 10 years, not the last.

“The report says, ‘That the Collingwood Football Club commissioned an independent review of its process of dealing with racism reflects the realisation within the club that something fundamental needs to change. It needs to be noted and underlined that in undertaking this review, the club was unflinching in holding a mirror to itself. It was a brave first step that few would have the courage to take and shows the seriousness with which the club takes this issue’.”

McGuire broke down as he finished off his statement in front of the cameras.

McGuire has been at the helm of Collingwood since 1998 and has long been one of the most influential powerbrokers in the AFL. While the club has soared to new heights under his stewardship, his career has been marked by many controversies, including suggesting in 2013 Indigenous footy icon Adam Goodes should promote the King Kong musical.

He has survived all of those public stuff-ups but could not survive the explosive Do Better report — which saw an open letter signed by Indigenous leaders demanding his resignation.

Speaking last week after the report was leaked to the media, McGuire said it was a “historic and proud” day for Collingwood.

Despite saying at the time he had no desire to quit before the end of next season, the pressure became too much and McGuire fell on his sword.

The investigation into Collingwood was sparked by allegations made by former premiership star Heritier Lumumba of a racist culture at the club. According to the findings, Collingwood’s responses to instances of alleged racism were “at best ineffective, or at worst exacerbated the impact of the racist incidents”.

The report also revealed “there is a gap between what Collingwood Football Club says it stands for and what it does”, while the Magpies were accused of addressing claims of racism through the prism of protecting the club’s brand and reputation, rather than addressing the issues directly and instigating meaningful change.

This is exactly what led to McGuire’s downfall.

Instead of acknowledging the distressing nature of the report, McGuire tried to spin the club out of trouble, saying last week Collingwood was taking on a leading role in the fight against racism.

“We have spent the last six years in a deep dive into how we can make ourselves better, provide leadership and conversation in the community as only Collingwood can,” he said at the time.

“We have decided as a club that this fight against racism and discrimination is where we want to be.

“We make mistakes. We learn, we strive to get better.

“We commissioned this report not to pay lip services to a worldwide tragedy, but to lay the foundations for our game, our people and our community.”

McGuire added the report “is not criticism, this is a review”, and was instigated because Collingwood wanted to “seize the moment” and “put ourselves in front of things”. He also denied any racist issues raised in the report were because of “intention”.

“I am extremely proud. I’ve been here a long time and we’ve done a lot of great things, and this is great,” he said.

“There have been issues throughout history. Not only at football clubs, but everywhere. We can argue semantics, but the tone of where we want to get to is how we go forward … rather than arguing the toss on individual issues.”

McGuire denied there was any “systemic racism” at the club, even though the report explicitly stated that was the case, and instead spruiked Collingwood’s achievements during his 23 years in charge.

“What’s happened on my watch is we’ve built a fantastic club, we’ve commissioned this report, we’ve built all sorts of mechanisms for getting involved in the community … of which we are very proud,” he said.

“It was not systemic racism, as such, we just didn’t have the processes to deal with it that we do now.

“I don’t think there’s any shame or disappointment here … this is a day of pride.”

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Australian of the Year’s powerful message


Australian of the Year Grace Tame has spoken about the powerful motto that helped her overcome her trauma and become an advocate for others.

Speaking on the 2021 return of Q&A tonight, Ms Tame explained the meaning behind her trademark tattoos, one of which bears the message, “Eat my fear”.

“I guess, it’s sort of about acknowledging, you know, fears and negativity that’s naturally out there in the world. But being prepared to swallow that and doing things anyway despite that and actually converting that negative energy into positivity that can fuel you throughout your life,” Ms Tame said.

The 26-year-old sexual assault survivor also spoke about her fight against Tasmania’s notorious “gag laws” – which she helped overturn – which previously prevented all survivors of sexual offence matters from self-identifying in the media, even with their consent.

RELATED: ‘Monster hiding in plain sight’: Grace Tame’s abuse ordeal revealed

“When I found out about that … myself and an incredible journalist were working on using my case as kind of a way to shed light on the issues of child grooming and the lasting impacts of child sexual abuse,” she said.

“And right before we were about to share the articles that we had been working on, we discovered there was this law that made it illegal to do so for survivors.

“And I saw that as another example of a structure in our society that further disempowered victims and gave more power to the predators.

“Because predators have a tendency to manipulate the narrative. That manipulation characterises a lot of the psychological manipulation of these crimes. And it just … didn’t seem right.”

Ms Tame said silencing victims compounded their trauma.

“It’s so important that we can speak because victims are silenced, the abuse itself is characterised by degradation, disempowerment and feeling like you have no voice, you have no say, and saying no doesn’t matter, it falls on deaf ears, because abusers, they don’t care,” she said.

RELATED: Grace Tame’s speech in full

Ms Tame was also asked by a member of the audience about the tools survivors need to move forward, and she said the most crucial this was “to continue the conversation”.

“That’s where it starts. It starts with opening up and connecting with each other. It’s as simple as that. And I think where I get stumped sometimes when I’m asked these questions is these are not explosive revelations, these are commonsense ideas,” she said.

“We need to be there for each other. It’s OK to not know how to respond. These are very serious heavy issues. And they’re very uncomfortable. But I always try to remind people that bystanders or people who are listening to a survivor who is disclosing, that there is nothing more uncomfortable than the abuse itself.

“And it is a great privilege to listen to a disclosure because … it is so hard to tell the story … So it’s about encouraging each other to create these safe conditions, these welcoming conditions in society, where people do feel like it’s OK, and it’s not shameful to talk about the things that they’ve been through. We’re all human beings. Did we forget that?”

Ms Tame also responded to a powerful anecdote about asking for help from NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons, telling the audience “there’s great strength in vulnerability, and admitting weakness at the right times.”

That struck a chord with Australians. with Twitter erupting with praise for her message.

‘CHANGE THE DATE’

Ms Tame was also asked for her opinion on the debate over whether to change the date of Australia Day, and she said in her view, it all came down to “common sense”.

“Honestly, though, my opinion on this shouldn’t really matter. I think this debate should be dominated by Indigenous Australians,” she said.

“It’s an important symbol. It costs us nothing to change the date. It costs us nothing. We can still celebrate Australia. We can celebrate Australia every day. I know I do.

“But to change the date would mean so much to our First Nations people, and I think that’s the least that we could do, to change the date.”

WHO IS GRACE TAME?

Grace Tame, a Tasmanian sexual assault survivor and advocate, was named 2021 Australian of the Year last month.

The 26-year-old was 15 when she was raped by her 58-year-old teacher, and she rose to prominence via News Corp’s #LetHerSpeak campaign which, in 2019, took her legal case to be able to publicly self-identify as a rape survivor to the Supreme Court of Tasmania, and won.

The campaign was created by Nina Funnell in partnership with Marque Lawyers, End Rape on Campus Australia and News Corp.

At the time, it was against the law for many sexual assault survivors in Tasmania to speak out under their own names due to an archaic victim gag law. The legal victory then helped pave the way for the campaign to overhaul oppressive victim gag laws across the country, and another 16 sexual assault survivors have received legal assistance via the campaign support since.

Over the years, the Hobart resident has spoken out about child sexual abuse, trauma impacts, and the warning signs of grooming, and she is the first Tasmanian to win the Australian of the Year honour in the awards’ 61-year history.

RELATED: Story that took two years to tell

As she accepted her award at a ceremony last month, Ms Tame said it was “for all survivors of child sexual abuse” and that she would now focus on “education as a means of prevention”.

“Discussion of child sexual abuse is uncomfortable. But nothing is as uncomfortable as abuse itself,” she said.

“I lost my virginity to a paedophile. I was 15, anorexic. He was 58, my teacher. For months he groomed me, then abused me every day: Before school, after school, in my uniform, on the floor. I didn’t know who I was.

“Publicly, he described his crimes as ‘awesome’. Publicly, I was silenced by law. Let Her Speak helped give me a voice. Campaign creator – Nina Funnell, campaign partners, the 16 other brave campaign survivors: thank you.

“Together, we can redefine what it means to be a survivor. Together, we can end child sexual abuse. Survivors, be proud. Our stories are changing history.”



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Navalny Rules Out Suicide in First Message From Jail


Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has said he does not plan to commit suicide and thanked his supporters in his first statement since being jailed in one of Moscow’s most notorious prisons upon his return to Russia.

Navalny was sentenced to a month in jail this week after returning from Germany, where he had been recovering from what Western scientists determined to be poisoning with the Novichok nerve agent. He is being held in Matrosskaya Tishina, the site where lawyer Sergei Magnitsky died in 2009 after investigating large-scale fraud involving Russian tax officials. 

“Just in case: I don’t plan to either hang myself on the window or cut my veins or throat open with a sharpened spoon,” Navalny wrote on his Instagram on Friday. “I use the staircase very carefully [and] they take my pressure every day so a sudden heart attack is ruled out […] I’m in a stable psychological and emotional state.” 

The anti-corruption campaigner also thanked his supporters, who plan to take to the streets across the country Saturday to call for his release despite threats from the authorities. 

“I know for a fact that there are many good people outside my prison and that help will come,” he wrote. 

Navalny pointed to the young Russians who launched viral TikTok trends in which they showed themselves preparing for Saturday’s protests and replacing President Vladimir Putin’s portraits in their classrooms with Navalny’s photo. The hashtags #freeNavalny and #23January had gained more than 200 million views on the popular video-sharing app by 11 a.m. on Friday, reports said. 

“Separate respect for the schoolchildren, who, according to my lawyer’s words, arranged ‘lawlessness on Tik Tok.’ I don’t know what that means, but it sounds cool,” Navalny wrote.

Navalny accuses Putin of orchestrating his poisoning and has said the latest attempts to jail him are politically motivated, while European leaders have called for the opposition leader’s release.



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James O’Connor’s blunt message for star Queensland Reds recruit Suliasi Vunivalu


For Vunivalu, returning to rugby after featuring in Melbourne’s 2017 and 2020 NRL premierships was a matter of attending to “unfinished business”.

“I’ve done my time in rugby league and I’ve achieved what I wanted to achieve. It’s something different, a new challenge and I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

When Vunivalu speaks about unfinished business, he’s referring to childhood dreams ignited by the England team which won the 2003 Rugby World Cup on Australian soil.

Despite being born and raised in Fiji before moving to New Zealand as a 16-year-old, it was fellow cross-code star Jason Robinson who Vunivalu wanted to emulate as a child.

Like Robinson, Vunivalu wants to dominate on the international stage. But before he can worry about Wallabies duties, he has a pre-season under Reds coach Brad Thorn to work through.

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That shouldn’t be too much of a mountain to climb, given Storm coach Craig Bellamy is notorious for running the hardest pre-seasons in the NRL.

“Storm’s [pre-seasons] are really tough but it’s a different sport. We focus more on ruck speed and all of that (at the Reds),” Vunivalu said. “You have stop-start. League is pretty much full on. Training wise, it’s hard but it’s a different sport.”

Vunivalu spent about one month with the Wallabies squad as they completed their Tri Nations campaign at the end of last year.

The 25-year-old was never a hope of making his Test debut at the end of last year. He was brought in simply to begin the process of transitioning from rugby league back to rugby – a sport he dominated as a star schoolboy for famous New Zealand nursery St Kentigern’s College.

The best player in recent years to have made the transition from rugby league winger to rugby winger is a fellow Fijian who followed the same path from the Storm to the national side – Marika Koroibete.

“That’s what I did when I went into Wallabies camp – I was just watching how he positioned himself,” Vunivalu said. “He’s everywhere around the field. He’s got a good engine. I need to work on mine.

“That was really good. My focus going into that camp was just trying to get rugby back into me so when I started here at the Reds, I knew a couple of things rather than coming here and starting all over again.

“That was helpful for me and I got a big focus on the work ons I need to improve.”

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