At 10pm today, expect an unpleasantly warm and humid day, with a dew point of 22.2. It is likely to feel like 24.9 with a relative humidity of 95 per cent.
The highest expected temperature today is 28, the same as yesterday’s max.
Today’s maximum is the highest the mercury will climb over the next seven days, according to the forecast.
The chance of rain today is 90 per cent.
Showers are less likely tomorrow with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting a high (80 per cent) chance of rain.
The UV index is predicted to be 10. There is a very high risk of harm from sun exposure. Skin can be damaged and burn quickly in today’s conditions. Experts suggest avoiding sun exposure around noon and keeping to the shade. General advice is to use eye protection, sunscreen and cover up.
Winds will be west-southwest around 13 km/h in the morning shifting to south-southwest around 24 km/h in the afternoon.
Details for the next six days:
Tuesday, February 23: Shower or two. Min – 19. Max – 22.
Wednesday, February 24: Shower or two. Min – 18. Max – 24.
Thursday, February 25: Shower or two. Min – 19. Max – 27.
Friday, February 26: Shower or two. Min – 19. Max – 28.
Saturday, February 27: Shower or two. Min – 19. Max – 26.
Sunday, February 28: Shower or two. Min – 19. Max – 25.
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His career trajectory should have been on an upward curve from that moment on: instead it nosedived through poor luck and the wrong moves as he looked to find the right environment in which to unlock once more that talent that had shone so brightly that day at Wembley Stadium.
Ask him about that incredible victory, and the memory lights up his eyes.
“That day was unbelievable. At that point I was flying – getting man of the match against City in the FA Cup final doesn’t get much bigger and I thought my career was going to keep going up from there, but it didn’t,” he said.
“No one gave us a chance against City. We were massive underdogs, but we deserved to win. It wasn’t a smash and grab, we were the better team on the day.
“That was brilliant, but then we got relegated on the Tuesday so we couldn’t really celebrate. I ended up moving to West Brom, and I didn’t play as much as I would have liked; it killed my confidence.”
Now he is here in Australia and playing for Melbourne Victory in the A-League as he tries to rehabilitate a career that promised so much but has largely been unfulfilled.
Helping to galvanise Victory’s season won’t rival the achievements of earlier in his career, but everything is relative.
McManaman turns 30 in April but feels that the talent is still there and that a form of redemption can be salvaged in a country and league that he would never have imagined being part of.
He made an impressive start, rolling back the years to score a brilliant solo goal in the first half of Victory’s opening game of the season against Brisbane but he picked up an injury in the subsequent match against Adelaide and has been absent ever since.
He is in the match-day squad for Sunday’s important clash with Newcastle, and hopes to rekindle the spark that once saw him dominate one of world soccer’s biggest occasions.
His story underscores just how brittle the self-belief of even the best players can be once things start to go awry – and how much they need support, even at the top of their game.
“It is fragile … it was tough mentally to get back and prove to everyone that I could,” McManaman said.
“It took time, it was a gradual thing, getting over it. I feel confident as ever, I feel hungry.
“Now I am starting to feel as though I am wanted and needed here at Victory.”
Meanwhile, the Socceroos will fly to Nepal to play their March World Cup qualifier, but the vast majority of the Asian qualifiers will now be played in June because of COVID-19 concerns.
The Socceroos’ game is one of only four qualifiers that will take place in March. On March 25 Saudi Arabia will host Yemen in Riyadh while Tajikistan and Mongolia will also play. Five days later, Mongolia will travel to Tokyo to take on Japan and Australia head to Nepal.
Australia have three remaining qualifiers – against Jordan, Kuwait and Chinese Taipei – and want to play them in a quarantined hub in this country in June. FA is negotiating with the Asian Football Confederation.
Michael Lynch is The Age’s chief soccer reporter and also reports on motor sport and horseracing
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Storm chief executive Justin Rodski said his club was disappointed but had to do all it could to prepare the side for its premiership defence.
Rodski also said the Knights’ decision will have no impact on the Storm hosting the opening game of the NRL season when South Sydney visit AAMI Park on March 11.
“It’s obviously disappointing the Knights have decided not to travel to Melbourne for this trial – for our fans and for our players,” Rodski said.
“Our members and fans haven’t had the chance to see their team play live in Victoria for over 12 months and we were looking forward to having another great crowd attend Casey Fields next weekend.
“While it is disappointing for our fans in Melbourne, it is important that our players get the chance to prepare as best they can for the season ahead which is why we will travel to Albury for the trial.
“We appreciate the support the Casey Council have provided over the last two years on trial matches and have agreement from the Knights that they will return for the trial in 2022.
“The change also gives us the opportunity to say thanks to the people of Albury after they supported us through the early part of the 2020 season.
“We hope as many members and fans as possible can make it to the game and support us once again.”
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Police are seeking public assistance to locate a man wanted on outstanding warrants in the Newcastle and Mid North Coast regions.
Clint Ivan Morris, aged 31, is wanted on four outstanding warrants for breach of Community Corrections Orders for traffic and assault offences.
He is known to frequent the Jesmond, Wallsend, Newcastle, Cameron Park and Kempsey areas.
He is described as being of Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander appearance, between 165cm to 170cm tall, with a medium build and black hair.
Anyone who has information about his whereabouts is urged not to approach him and to contact Triple Zero (000) or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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Newcastle will launch the Australian leg of the world pro surfing tour, with 52 of the best surfers from across the globe set to converge on the city in April.
City of Newcastle in partnership with the NSW Government through tourism and major events agency Destination NSW has secured the new event kicking off at Merewether Beach from the start of April as the first Australian stop on the World Surf League (WSL)’s revamped 2021 Championship Tour (CT).
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the WSL event was a massive coup for Newcastle, providing a major boost to the tourism sector by promoting the city and our coastline on the world stage.
“It’s been wonderful to work collaboratively with the NSW Government, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres to attract the premier international world surfing league event back to NSW and Newcastle,” Cr Nelmes said.
“Their support and advocacy were vital as we worked alongside the great team at Destination NSW to secure what is a massive coup for our state and our city, and we thank them for their expertise and assistance.
The WSL event will be fantastic, not only for the region’s sports lovers, but for its potential flow-on effects for our visitor economy.
“The event will bring a major influx of competitors, media representatives, event officials and fans to our city throughout April, delivering an estimated benefit of more than $15 million to Newcastle’s economy.
“It will also provide invaluable promotion for future tourism by showcasing Newcastle to a global audience of more than 10 million viewers, with the event to be livestreamed across various platforms and broadcast on Channel 7 and Fox Sports.”
Cr Nelmes said City of Newcastle has a long and proud history of supporting top level international surfing contests, having been heavily involved in the establishment of Surfest in 1985 (then known as the BHP Steel International), which was the world’s richest professional surfing event at the time.
In the last decade, Newcastle has cemented its reputation for hosting a variety of prominent Australian and international events across various sporting codes.
“Newcastle has become a destination of choice for major sporting events, including Surfest, the recent SAANZAR Rugby Championship, Supercars Newcastle 500, the 2015 Asian Cup Football tournament, the A-League Grand Final and various rugby union and league Test Matches,” Cr Nelmes said.
“Newcastle is highly regarded in international surf circles as the home of Surfest, the largest surfing festival in the southern hemisphere, which includes WSL qualifying series events.
“With a prize pool of over $1 million across the men’s and women’s contests, this new championship event will elevate Mereweather’s popular break even further, joining an international pro touring schedule stacked with the top surfing destinations across the globe in a sport that is new addition to the Olympics.”
“We’re pleased the WSL event will tap into the local expertise of Surfest organiser Warren Smith and look forward to welcoming athletes and surfing fans from across Australia to Newcastle for this COVID Safe event in April.”
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Newcastle full-back DeAndre Yedlin is set to join Turkish side Galatasaray in a deadline-day move.
The 27-year-old American is surplus to requirements at Newcastle as they have two other right-backs.
Yedlin, who recently overcame a work permit issue, joined the Magpies on a five-year deal in 2016.
They are also in talks over a loan for Arsenal midfielder Joe Willock and boss Steve Bruce has confirmed interest in Leicester midfielder Hamza Choudhury.
Yedlin has made six Premier League appearances this season.
Bruce said: “Quite simply we have had three right-backs at the club now and DeAndre is suited to wing-back. It’s been no secret that we have made changes to a back four.
“I want to wish him best of luck playing in Turkey for a huge club like Galatasaray. He’s a great professional, and a great lad.
“Sometimes you have to let one out to bring somebody in so it could be a busy day for us.”
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Dual international Lote Tuqiri is among several retired NRL players who want to see beach fives rugby thrive as a sport in Australia.
Beach rugby features five players on each side, with modified tackling rules
The game is also played overseas in countries such as Portugal, Spain and France
Former NRL players Lote Tuqiri, Willie Mason and Owen Craigie believe beach rugby has a future as a sport in Australia
The game, catering for both men and women, features five players on the beach at any one time for each side, with up to seven reserves on the sidelines. There is unlimited interchange.
The play focuses on fast handling and stamina, with no scrums or lineouts to slow the game down.
It is not full-tackle, or touch, but rather something in the middle — a two-handed “grab” is allowed, with players having to release the ball if they take control or are held for two seconds.
Newcastle’s Nobbys Beach was the venue for the Beach 5s Australia Day Festival on Tuesday, with teams made up of players from rugby league, rugby union and touch football.
Tuqiri knows what it is like to play both rugby codes, having represented the Kangaroos and Wallabies.
He is enthusiastic about the hybrid game’s ability to bring together people from both sports, as well as touch football.
“It’s another type or form of rugby, rugby league, to keep everyone stimulated [in summer],” Tuqiri said.
“I don’t know if it’s an alternative (to other codes), but it’s certainly something that’s catered well for us here in the Southern Hemisphere, in Australia.
“It’s a bit of a party atmosphere down there [on the beach] as well.
“Hopefully, in the next couple of years, it can get bigger and better.”
Tuqiri believes there is potential for international beach fives rugby competitions.
“There are a few associations in the Northern Hemisphere that we are affiliated with,” he said.
“At some point I reckon we will head up there and take a couple of teams. If you look online, you can see clips of people playing in Portugal, Spain, France and a couple of other countries.”
Retired rugby league international Willie Mason also took part in the Nobbys Beach tournament.
He gave beach fives rugby the tick of approval, although he admitted it took some time to get used to the rules.
“We had to adjust to the rules a bit quicker … it’s like union rules, there is no play-the-ball,” he said.
Another former NRL player to hit the beach in Newcastle was Knights 1997 premiership winner Owen Craigie.
He enjoyed the game, but noted that playing on sand was “10 times harder” than on a rugby league field.
“I played it today and I’m buggered,” Craigie laughed.
“It’s the first time I played it. It’s different. It’s hard and I was puffing in the first couple of minutes.”
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A challenger bank has created 30 jobs in Newcastle after opening an office in the city centre.
London headquartered Pockit, which provides bank accounts for people with poor credit scores, has opened a new base in Newcastle as part of its expansion plans.
The fintech firm has already recruited 30 to work in its North East office and is looking to double its headcount soon.
Pockit’s CEO and founder, Virraj Jatania, said the business decided to set up shop in Newcastle because of its access to a highly skilled talent pool and its growing reputation as a centre for tech firms.
He said: “Our decision to set up an office Newcastle and join their thriving and fast-growing fintech community was down to the collaborative nature of the business community, its ability to attract and retain talent and reputation as a place to grow a tech business.
“We were quickly able to set up our offices and hire a skilled high-performing team. We have a high number of customers from the north of the UK, which also added value and the talent pool of graduates from Newcastle’s two major universities and the city’s quality of life were decisive points when we compared the city with other locations.”
Pockit’s new office has been opened in one of HiveTree’s commercial properties. HiveTree has a number of locations around Newcastle and is aiming to create a cluster of community-drive, tech focused workspaces.
Pockit was able to carry out its expansion plans after securing £15m of investment during 2020. This included £15m raised through a Series B funding round from existing and new investors, as well as almost £1.4m which was raised through crowdfunding.
Mr Jatania said: “Launching a crowdfunding campaign has been an ambition of ours for some time and the time to accelerate is right now; the Covid recession and the end of furlough schemes will disproportionately affect the financially underserved. Some 12 million people in the UK need a solution urgently, and we believe Pockit is that solution. We look forward to growing and supporting people from our brand-new offices in Newcastle.”
The company’s move to the North East was supported by Invest Newcastle, which promotes inward investment to the city.
“Invest Newcastle have supported us on throughout our journey, assisting with our business case, signposting us to local funding opportunities, identifying strategic business opportunities and making vital introductions. The team have been helpful and are a great source of local knowledge and support,” added Mr Jatania.
Jennifer Hartley, director of Invest Newcastle and Dynamo Advisory Board member, said: “We are delighted that Pockit will be joining our forward-thinking and ambitious business community.
“We are home to a thriving digital and tech ecosystem and now more than ever we need to build our economy around our strengths – creating jobs, retaining talent, and positioning our city as a career destination. Our unique eco-system, talent and experienced and supportive business community is helping us to reimagine our new world.
“Over the last year we have had notable successes in attracting investment, despite the uncertainty of Brexit and the impact of coronavirus. This move from Pockit, further highlights our city’s digital strengths and that you do not need to be in London to have an exciting and ambitious tech career. “
The move has also been welcomed by Newcastle City Council.
Coun Ged Bell, cabinet member for employment and culture at Newcastle City Council, said: “This new investment in Newcastle is testament to the confidence businesses have in our city as a place to locate and grow their business and we cannot wait to watch Pockit grow and thrive here.
“Inward Investment plays a vital role in the creation of jobs and opportunities for those who live and work here. We are confident this will be the first of many businesses choosing Newcastle as we start the new year and work towards economic recovery.”
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The Newcastle Knights have unveiled a five-man leadership group as the club prepares for the 2021 season following Mitchell Pearce’s decision to step down as captain.
The Knights announced on Saturday that Mitch Barnett, Kalyn Ponga, Daniel Saifiti, Blake Green and Jayden Brailey will form part of the group.
The club said the players were chosen after an “extensive selection process” and that all five will lead “both on and off the field throughout 2021”.
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The Knights said that the decision to select a club captain and on-field captain would be made in the coming weeks.
It comes after Pearce signalled his intention to quit as Knights captain following an incident in his personal life.
Pearce’s 150-person wedding was called off after a text exchange with a female Knights employee was revealed.
Another potential Storm hooker?
The former NSW halfback said the wedding had been simply postponed, although a Daily Telegraph report suggested teammates at Newcastle were furious that Pearce had been sending inappropriate texts to a young female colleague.
The colleague’s partner is thought to be good friends with teammate Lachlan Fitzgibbon.
“For me it’s been a traumatic few weeks for my personal life and those I love,” Pearce said when he stood down earlier this month.
“Unfortunately my actions have impacted the team and more importantly the people I have closest to me, Kristin and my family.
Plenty of competition for spots at Eels
“I’m taking steps now to address these issues and I feel it would be in the best interests of the club for me to step down as captain this season.”
“I love this club and I love my family and I’m committed to working as hard as I can to be the best man I can be both on an off the field.
“I appreciate a bit of respect moving forward and some time to get back to training.”
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