‘I’m open to that’: Retired AFL great Ablett drops mid-year return bombshell

Geelong great Gary Ablett junior says he is open to coming out of retirement and rejoining the Cats through the mid-season draft, in order to play in the finals.

The 357-game superstar, who retired after the Cats’ Grand Final loss to Richmond last October, made the call in an interview with the Herald Sun.

The dual Brownlow medallist revealed he spoke to Cats list management official and former teammate Andrew Mackie during the pre-season.

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“I said ‘mate, if you had let me know you were recruiting those guys I would have stayed around for another year’,” Ablett said.

“He (Mackie) had a bit of a laugh and I said ‘if there is such a thing as a six or seven-game contract please let me know because I will be ready for the last three or four games of the season and finals football’.”

Asked whether he could be fit enough to play AFL footy by August, Ablett said: “I’m doing a lot of shoulder rehab at the moment to get it strong and I’ve started running and building on my fitness.

“Yes, I am retired and enjoying the time with my family but if Geelong put that to me, then I am open to that conversation. I would then have to weigh it up. I feel as if my shoulder is a couple of months away from being as good as it’s going to get.”

READ MORE: AFL stars sprung by changeroom vision

Ablett played at an All-Australian level in 2019 and then showed enough in 2020 that he would have clearly earned another contract if he had wanted to play on.

Western Bulldogs great Brad Johnson said the idea was tempting, but Hawthorn champion Jordan Lewis said it would be “wrong” for Ablett to take away a list spot for another player on such a short-term basis.

“It‘s a no from me, I think you take away an opportunity for a player that’s been there and done everything right up until that point, to get someone in with four or five games to go would be wrong,” Lewis said on Fox Footy.

Johnson added: “Off his injuries (would I consider it), probably not, but it‘s tempting isn’t it?

“When you hear Gary Ablett junior, and him putting his own hand up, it sort of would make you think a little bit.”

A Nine report said “sources close to (Ablett) said on Saturday that such a return was not likely” and pointing out Geelong does not have a spare spot on its list.

Ablett and Harry Taylor will be celebrated with a special farewell at GMHBA Stadium on Sunday, ahead of Geelong’s game against North Melbourne.

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Canberra GP clinics sitting on open COVID-19 vaccination appointments as others refuse calls

Matilda Smith is one of many people still waiting for a COVID-19 vaccination with no indication of when a jab might be offered — despite being part of priority phases 1a and 1b. 

The 29-year-old Canberra woman became immuno-compromised while battling a rare form of leukaemia when the pandemic first took hold in Australia. 

“But now I’m about to be one year in remission, which is really great,” Ms Smith said. 

Because she had recently fought off the blood cancer, the young woman became eligible to be vaccinated in the priority phases of the national vaccination program. 

She booked an appointment to receive the AstraZeneca shot at her local general practice as part of the Commonwealth rollout but said her appointment was cancelled and she was told to go elsewhere. 

“I was contacted by my GP and told that the original appointment that I had for my vaccine would have to be moved because they didn’t have the supply of AstraZeneca to give to me,” Ms Smith said. 

Changes to the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to the extremely small risk of blood clots have further stalled Australia’s already lagging rollout. 

“I feel like my GP has done a good job and they’re trying their best, but I don’t feel like I know what the answer is, and I think when you’ve been through what I’ve been through, you want answers,” Ms Smith said.

Clinics refusing calls as others wait with open appointments

Matilda Smith says, after having cancer and extensive treatment, the confusion around vaccines is especially frustrating.(

ABC News: Greg Nelson


In a statement, an ACT government spokeswoman said authorities were working on a plan to get priority people, including Ms Smith, vaccinated. 

“We are working closely with Capital Health Network and the Commonwealth Government to finalise plans on a referral process of how people who are eligible for a vaccination under phase 1a and 1b who are under 50 years of age can receive a Pfizer vaccine if they choose,” the ACT government spokeswoman said. 

“The Garran Surge Centre vaccination clinic is currently providing vaccinations for people who are eligible to receive their vaccination as part of the ACT government program for phase 1a and 1b.” 

The spokeswoman said these people would be contacted directly by the ACT government, and asked people not to call and attempt to make bookings at the centre.

In contrast, owner of YourGP@Crace John Deery said he had as many as 200 vaccination appointments available to be booked as early as this weekend. 

A man in blue scrubs smiles at the camera in front of medical fridges.
Dr John Deery said his clinic has as many as 200 available appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations.(

ABC News: Greg Nelson


“We’re very fortunate at this practice because we have a respiratory clinic and we’ve got funding through the [Commonwealth Government] … so we can secure almost 1,000 vaccines per week,” Dr Deery explained. 

The practice hired 20 additional staff members and started operating on weekends to administer its AstraZeneca supply.

“We have been doing 700 to 800 vaccines per weekend, and we’ve still got maybe 100 to 200 [appointments] left available, which is unusual,” Dr Deery said.

Dr Deery said patients aged under 50 were still able to access the AstraZeneca shot at his clinic. 

“We are helping patients to come to the decision on an individual basis, and for a lot of patients under 50, the risk-benefit is still towards having AstraZeneca,” he said.

Dr Deery said although he had had to make the odd, frantic phone call to chase up supply so that it arrived in time to complete the appointments, overall it was going well and he was proud of the 3,500 injections his team had administered so far.

“We’ve tried to communicate with patients very frequently through email about stock and appointments,” he said.

“We want them to be informed about their choices and so I think that our [rollout] has always been fairly smooth.” 

More broadly, making the vaccination rollout smoother has become the number one focus of National Cabinet, as the nation’s leaders agree to meet twice a week. 

Since being interviewed by the ABC for this story, Dr Deery has offered Ms Smith an appointment to discuss being vaccinated at his Crace practice. 

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Open Water Swimming Club

Monday, April 19, 2021, 6:30 – 7:30am

Open Water Swimming Club

The club was established to promote aquatic sports for the whole community. Everyone is welcome to be a part of the club regardless of age, gender, physical abilities, fitness levels or experience.

Our aim is to make the joy of open water swimming accessible to everyone, whether they are a complete beginner, have injuries or physical disabilities or compete internationally. We create memorable experiences that will last a lifetime.

Venue: Gold Coast Aquatic Centre
Address: Gold Coast Highway, Southport
Suburb: Southport
Category: Active kids, Active parents, Recreation, Sport and recreation, Water fitness, Water sport, Water-based recreation
Contact email: info@gcows.com.au
Contact name: Gold Coast Open Water Swimming Club
Contact phone: 0414 680 437
Cost: $8
More info: www.facebook.com…

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Community Green Achiever Awards open

Nominations are
now open for the City’s new Community Green Achiever Awards.

The City has
established the awards program to recognise community-led action that promotes environmental sustainability, supports biodiversity and protects our

Greater Geelong
Deputy Mayor Trent Sullivan said the initiative would recognise innovations
addressing climate change, waste, biodiversity and water conservation.

The awards
will celebrate the innovative contributions being made at a grassroots level
across Greater Geelong.

the great environmental sustainability work being done locally will hopefully
encourage further action in this space.

Nominations for
projects, initiatives, activities or campaigns are being accepted in the
following award categories:

  • Climate Action Award – recognising leadership, action or innovation in
    responding to the impacts of climate change in our region.
  • Waste Reduction Award – recognising leadership, action or innovation in
    reducing and eliminating waste.
  • Biodiversity Award – recognising leadership, action or innovation in protecting
    and enhancing the biodiversity values of our urban areas, rural and natural
    landscapes and coastlines.
  • Water Conservation Award – recognising leadership, action or innovation in the
    conservation of our region’s waterways and water resources.

Cr Jim Mason,
Chair, Environment portfolio, said the awards program built on the Council’s
work to lead the community transition to a green economy.

Sustainability Framework and Action Plan highlights the vital role the
community plays in helping us reduce our collective footprint.

The Community
Green Achiever Awards will showcase the clever and creative projects that are
having positive impacts on our local environment.

TheSustainability Framework is designed to create a culture of sustainable
practice that will help us address significant future challenges, such as
climate change.

The supporting
action plan outlines the 66 actions that will help us achieve the region’s key
sustainability priorities. 

To be eligible
for an award, the nominated project or campaign must have been delivered by
volunteers or not-for-profit community organisations within Greater Geelong
during the past 12 months.

Nominations are
open until 5pm on 30 April 2021.

Winners will be
announced on World Environment Day, 5 June.

information on the Community Green Achiever Awards can be found at www.geelongaustralia.com.au/greenachiever/

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SA to open two new COVID-19 vaccination hubs in Adelaide if Pfizer supplies arrive

The South Australian government will open two new COVID-19 vaccination hubs in Adelaide’s northern and southern suburbs, pending sufficient supply of the Pfizer vaccine.

The hubs are expected to be located in the Playford Civic Centre in Elizabeth and in the old Masters site at Noarlunga by early June. 

Premier Steven Marshall said both of the sites would be dedicated Pfizer facilities, pending supply of the vaccine from the federal government. 

“Following meetings with the Commonwealth yesterday, we now have more clarity on projected vaccine supplies for additional clinics in South Australia,” he said.

“This means that planning for clinics at the Playford Civic Centre and the old Masters site at Noarlunga can progress and we expect both these sites to be established and getting jabs in arms by early June. If supplies permit, they will be activated earlier.

“These two hubs will play a critical role in ensuring a safe and effective vaccine rollout across South Australia.” 

Earlier in the week, the state government announced it would be opening a vaccination hub at the Adelaide Showgrounds on April 30, to vaccinate healthcare staff and emergency workers, who are aged under 50. 

A community vaccination clinic will open in Port Lincoln on Monday at the Aboriginal Community Council before moving to a bigger site at the Port Lincoln Bowls Club from April 27. 

Health and Wellbeing Minister Stephen Wade said the Port Lincoln clinic would focus on vaccinating adults aged over 70 and Aboriginal adults aged over 55. 

“We also continue our work to establish a community clinic at Mount Gambier and are sending a vaccination team to Kangaroo Island,” he said. 

“Opening these two hubs, along with the other clinics being planned, shows the agility of our health teams in responding to the latest health advice and the needs of our community.

“The level of vaccination in South Australia is closely aligned to our share of the population and opening more clinics across the state will help us to further scale up this rollout.” 

According to the state government, more than 100,000 South Australians have been vaccinated through the rollout to date. 

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Cops open fire during dramatic arrest of two men in Woolworths carpark

Police were forced to open fire in a Sydney suburb’s Woolworths carpark during a dramatic arrest on Monday afternoon.

It’s believed a car was driven into officers who were conducting a police operation on the city’s North Shore at Neutral Bay about 4.20pm.

Police then opened fire on the car.

“The vehicle’s windscreen was damaged before the car hit a bollard and stopped,” NSW Police said in a statement.

Two men were arrested at the scene and taken to Chatswood Police Station.

Police told NCA NewsWire no charges had been laid at 6pm but investigations were ongoing.

Nine News reported the incident was part of a drug investigation but police said it was too early to confirm the nature of the operation.

Woolworths said the carpark attached to the Neutral Bay store was closed following the incident.

“None of our team members or customers were injured and the store remains open,” the company said in a statement provided to NCA NewsWire.

“We will re-open the carpark underneath the store once cleared to do so by police.

“We stand ready to assist police with their investigations in any way we can.”

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Grants open to reduce disaster risk across Victoria

Disaster risk reduction activities across Victoria will be bolstered with $6.5 million of joint Australian and Victorian Government funding now available. 

The Risk and Resilience Grants Program is part of a $33.4 million five-year commitment under the National Partnership Agreement on Disaster Risk Reduction to reduce the risk and impact of natural disasters in Victoria. 

Minister for Emergency Management David Littleproud said that the grants would be available to provide expert agencies with the resources they need to prepare and respond to natural disasters now and into the future. 

“This funding will support the Victorian emergency management sector to develop effective strategies to minimise the impact of floods, bushfires and other devastating disasters,” Minister Littleproud said. 

“We’ll never be able to eradicate disasters, but we can always ensure we are better prepared for when they strike.” 

Victorian Acting Minister for Police and Emergency Services Danny Pearson said the program was vital to reducing disaster risk and that local agencies informed by community are best placed to determine the most effective approaches. 

“The program will support initiatives to reduce disaster risks by strengthening the resilience of infrastructure and managing the local and regional risks of natural disasters,” Minister Pearson said. 

“Applications for the Risk and Resilience Grants Program are open to a wide range of government and non-government organisations, and I actively encourage them to take advantage of this funding opportunity made possible by the Commonwealth and Victorian governments.” 

Further information about the Risk and Resilience Grants Program, including eligibility criteria and co-contributions, can be found on the Emergency Management Victoria website at
www.emv.vic.gov.au​ The outcome of applications will be announced in June 2021. ​​

/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.

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City Support hubs to open

The City will this weekend open community support hubs – to assist residents dealing with issues associated with Covid-19 and social isolation.

“We have not beaten the challenges of Covid-19, but there is light at the end of the tunnel,’’ said Mayor Tom Tate.

“These hubs will give people a focal point to seek information, support and a friendly voice.’’

The City trialled three pop-up hubs late last year (Runaway Bay, Labrador and Kirra Hill).

“This was part of our City’s COVID-19 Community Support Package. Based on feedback from this trial, we have decided to undertake a city-wide roll-out of the program, from Saturday.’’

The plan is to again connect residents to City services and each other. Feedback will inform the City’s long-term recovery planning.

The Mayor said he expected around 3000 residents would access the hubs, seeking information about how to stay connected.

Saturday, 10 April


Pizzey Park, Miami

Saturday, 17 April


Tugun Skate Park, Tugun

Friday, 23 April


Broadwater Parklands, Southport

Tuesday, 27 April


Coomera Sports Park, Coomera

Saturday, 1 May


Damian Leeding Memorial Park, Oxenford

Monday, 3 May


Justins Park, Burleigh Heads

Wednesday, 5 May


Robina Common, Robina

Saturday, 8 May


Paradise Point Parklands, Paradise Point

Wednesday, 12 May


Cos Zantiotis Park, Labrador

Thursday, 20 May


Bim’bimba Park, Pimpama

Wednesday, 26 May


Pratten Park, Broadbeach

Wednesday, 2 June


Country Paradise Parklands Adventure Playground, Nerang

Wednesday, 9 June


Mudgeeraba Market Shopping Centre, Mudgeeraba

Monday, 28 June


Botanic Gardens, Benowa


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‘Monumental win’: Spieth ends drought with victory at Texas Open

Two-time Australian Open champion Jordan Spieth ended a slump that lasted nearly four years after closing with a six-under 66 to win the Valero Texas Open – his first victory since 2017.

The American, who won in Australia in 2014 and 2016, now heads to Augusta National as one of the favourites at the US Masters this weekend.

Jordan Spieth hadn’t tasted PGA Tour success for almost four years until Sunday.Credit:Getty

“This is a monumental win for me,” said Spieth, whose last win was the 2017 British Open at Royal Birkdale. “It’s been a long road. There were a lot of times that I didn’t know I would be here.”

Spieth sealed victory with a five-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole on Sunday, winning by two shots over Charley Hoffman.

Spieth went 82 starts on the PGA Tour without a victory since Royal Birkdale. He missed the Tour Championship the past two years and nearly fell out of the top 100 in the world at the start of this year.

Matt Wallace had been tied for the lead at the start of play in the final round.

Matt Wallace had been tied for the lead at the start of play in the final round.Credit:Getty

But the 27-year-old from Dallas showed signs of turning it around. He was tied for the 54-hole lead in Phoenix and led by two going into the final round at Pebble Beach. He was two behind going into the last day at Bay Hill.

Tied for the lead with Matt Wallace before Sunday at the TPC San Antonio, Spieth moved out in front and didn’t let anyone catch him. He built a three-shot lead with a birdie on the 12th hole, when Hoffman made him sweat.

Hoffman, needing a victory to get back to the Masters, chipped in for birdie on the par-three 13th and holed a 20-foot birdie putt from the fringe on the par-three 16th to get within one shot.

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Miami Open: Ashleigh Barty retains title after Bianca Andreescu injury

Barty was playing in only her fourth tournament since the WTA resumed after coronavirus

Top seed Ashleigh Barty retained her Miami Open title after her Canadian opponent Bianca Andreescu was forced to retire with an ankle injury.

The Australian world number one was leading 6-3 4-0 in the first meeting between the pair.

The 2019 US Open champion had treatment from the trainer after she fell in the third game of the second set but was unable to complete the match.

“It’s never the way you want to finish,” said Barty.

“I feel for Bianca because she has had a lot of injuries and I hope it doesn’t hamper her season too much.

“This is the first time I have defended a title and I’m excited we could kick-start a long season in the best possible way.”

Bianca Andreescu
Andreescu missed the first few months of the 2020 season with a knee injury before the pandemic struck

Barty had broken her opponent early in both sets and controlled the match after that, moving her opponent around the court.

She held serve in the opening game of the match and immediately broke before going 3-0 up.

Although the Canadian took advantage of an erratic service game from Barty to break back and close the deficit to 3-2, it was only a temporary reprieve as the Australian broke in the next game and continued to exert her dominance again to take the set.

Andreescu was soon under pressure in the second set, suffering an early break to go 2-0 down before the injury soon brought a disappointing end to her tournament.

Doubles disappointment for Evans and Skupski

Meanwhile, Dan Evans and Neal Skupski were beaten 6-4 6-4 in the men’s doubles final by Croatian second seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic.

Evans and Skupski, playing together for the first time, became the third all-British duo to reach an ATP Masters 1000 final.

They fought hard against the second seeds, who had not dropped a set on their way to the final.

But their opponents, who have been the in-form pairing this year, proved too strong as they secured their fifth title of 2021.

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