College a breeding ground for sporting, stage stars

FROM premiers to neuroscientists, musicians to sports stars, the state’s school have seen incredible people educated within their walls that have gone on to do amazing things.

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Dan Andrews announces Victoria snap lockdown for 5 days, stage 4 restrictions apply to Melbourne, Australian Open

Victoria has been plunged into a third lockdown after a cluster of cases linked to its hotel quarantine system grew to 13 overnight, with other states slamming their borders shut.

Anyone entering New South Wales from Victoria after midnight on Friday will also be required to stay home.

Anti-lockdown protests flared in Melbourne as hundreds gathered to protest against the rules on Friday night.

It came as chief medical officer Professor Paul Kelly revealed that two of the 13 cases have now been identified as “having worked in Tullamarine Airport whilst infectious”.

“Given the airport is a hub for travel to all jurisdictions within Australia, there is substantial risk of national spread of the virus,” he said.

“Due to the increased risk posed by the B117 variant of concern, the occurrence of cases in the community whilst infectious, and the risk of spread to other jurisdictions in Australia, Greater Melbourne meets the assessment of a hotspot for the provision of Commonwealth support.”

Prof Kelly will review the declaration on Monday, February 15.

Premier Daniel Andrews said Victoria’s lockdown would last five days from 11.59pm tonight until the same time on Wednesday.

Victorians will only be allowed to leave their homes for the following reasons: essential supplies, care and caregiving and exercise and essential work.

Exercise and shopping will be limited to 5km from Victorians’ homes.

Exercise is allowed for two hours a day with household members, your partner, or one other person who is not from your household.

Masks will need to be worn everywhere except in your own homes and no visitors are allowed in homes.

Public gatherings are not permitted.

Mr Andrews said that if you can work from home, then you must work from home.

Schools will close but will remain available over three days — Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday — for vulnerable children.

Child care and early childhood centres will remain open.

Places of worship are closed. Religious gatherings and ceremonies are not permitted. Funerals can involve no more than 10 people for both indoor or outdoor settings. Weddings are not permitted unless on compassionate grounds.

There will be no crowds at the Australian Open.


All non-essential retail must close, but supermarkets, bottle shops and pharmacies can stay open. One person in each household can go shopping per day.

Cafes and restaurants will be restricted to takeaway only, dine-in is not allowed. Pubs will have to close.

The following venues will also forced to shut: Gyms, pools, community centres, entertainment venues, play centres and libraries.


International arrivals into Victoria will cease from Saturday.

“As part of the circuit breaker action taken today, we have paused all international passenger flights from tomorrow – excluding those already in transit,” a spokeswoman for the Premier said.

“We know this will be difficult news for people who are overseas and want to get home but our focus right now has to be taking this short, sharp action in response to this outbreak.

“We will continue to assess the impact of the UK strain of the virus on our program and international arrivals, and will provide more information on the duration of this pause soon.”

Passengers on flights already in transit will be quarantined on arrival in Victoria.

The update comes after Mr Andrews earlier this week halted plans to increase the weekly arrivals cap from 1120 to 1310 starting February 15, when other states will lift their capacity.


Mr Andrews said he was left with no choice because of the speed with which cases were spreading.

“I know it’s not the place that we wanted to be in,” he said. “However, we’ve all given so much, we’ve all done so much. We’ve built something precious, and we have to make difficult decisions, and do difficult things, in order to defend what we’ve built.

“I am confident that this short, sharp circuit breaker will be effective.

“We will be able to smother this. We will be able to prevent it getting away from us.

“I want to be here on Wednesday next week announcing that these restrictions are coming off, but I can’t do it on my own. I need every single Victorian to work with me, and with our team, so that we can run this to ground and we can see this strategy work.”

He said the UK variant was posing huge problems to the contact tracing effort.

“We have talked about this (the UK strain) for a long time, because it is so hyper-infectious, and moves so fast, that it is presenting a very, very real challenge to our status, our stay-safe, stay-open, our precious thing that we’ve built — all of us — throughout 2020,” he said.

“Now, while we don’t have cases outside those that were notified as possible close contacts, those who had been, by virtue of who they’d been with or where they had been, while it’s not surprising that we’re seeing extra cases within those groups – and in some respects it’s pleasing that that’s where those cases are — the way in which they are presenting is a very significant concern to us.

“That makes it incredibly difficult, incredibly difficult — difficult to do contact tracing, because there is no gap, if you like, between when we have the first case and their close contacts and potentially others that they have spent time with.

“The whole process, because of the hyper-infectivity and the speed at which this moves, the whole process has been condensed down, and it is now, I am sad to have to report, it is the advice to me that we must assume that there are further cases in the community than we have positive results for, and that it is moving at a velocity that has not been seen anywhere in our country over the course of these last 12 months.”


Coles and Woolworths have introduced purchase limits on certain items online and in stores across Victoria.

Items capped at two packs across both supermarket giants include toilet paper, flour, pasta, rice, sugar, eggs, hand sanitiser and long-life milk.

There have also been instances of panic buying in Melbourne despite supermarkets staying open during the lockdown.


Mr Andrews said he has to assume the virus is spreading at “light speed”.

“We may find that, because of the contact tracing that we’ve already done, because of these sorts of charts and the thousands of hours of work that’s gone on these last 10 days or so, that we don’t have this problem,” he said.

“The challenge is I can’t wait a week to be proven right in that. We have to assume, based on advice, that there’s transmission out there that we don’t know about, and that it’s not moving quickly, it’s moving at light speed.

“And unless we –— unless we make these decisions and limit movement in a short, sharp circuit breaker event, then we may be here in a week, regretting that we didn’t follow that advice. “That’s not the way we’ve operated, and it won’t be the way that we ever operate.”

Authorities are not only concerned about the growing Holiday Inn cluster, but they are also understood to have worried about virus fragments detected in wastewater across Melbourne.

A source close to Emergency Management Victoria told the Herald Sun authorities feared they had lost control of the outbreak — describing scenes of “pandemonium” at the agency.

They told the newspaper there were deep concerns at the failure of contact tracers to match information they had been given by confirmed cases and their close contacts with what the results of sewage testing was showing about the virus’s spread.

Officials are working with the theory that all of the cases linked to the Holiday Inn outbreak are UK strain cases — meaning it could spread a lot more quickly than the strain that took hold of Victoria last year.

RELATED: Qld reveals Victoria border restriction

RELATED: South Australia closes border with Greater Melbourne


In response to the situation, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has signed a public health order concerning travellers arriving into the state from Victoria.

“Under the state-wide Order, anyone arriving in NSW from Victoria after 11.59pm on Friday 12 February 2021 must remain at their home or place of residence for the five-day period announced by the Victorian Government,” NSW Health said in a statement on Friday night.

“The date previously advised (January 29) has been updated following advice from the NSW Chief Health Officer.

“People arriving in NSW from Victoria by air, rail or road (with the exception of people living in the border area) will also be required to complete an online declaration form.”

The health department said NSW residents in border communities will have “different requirements” given their daily interaction with Victorian residents.

“For NSW residents living along the Victorian border, the five-day stay-at-home requirement will only apply to people who have visited Greater Melbourne after 11.59pm on Friday 12 February. It will not apply to NSW border residents who travel into regional Victoria,” it said.

“The border community is defined by the map which was used for the large border ‘bubble’ arrangements at the end of the NSW-Victorian border closure last year.”

The same four reasons to leave home apply to those impacted by the order – shopping for essential items, medical and other care and caregiving, exercise, and essential work.

“NSW strongly advises against all non-essential travel to Victoria at this time,” NSW Health said.

“People who do choose to travel will be required to follow the stay-at-home requirement on their return. People subject to the restrictions in Victoria should not be travelling to NSW unless they are permitted to do so.”

The health department is also scrambling to chase 7000 people who may have been exposed to COVID-19.

It is calling on anyone in NSW who was at Melbourne Airport, Terminal 4 (Jetstar) from 4:45am – 2pm on February 9 to immediately isolate, get tested and remain in isolation for 14 days since you were there, regardless of the test result.

Out of an abundance of caution, NSW Health is asking anyone who is a household contact of someone who visited Terminal 4 on 9 February at the above time to stay in isolation until that person receives a negative result.

In addition, anyone who attended any terminal at Melbourne Airport on February 7 and 8 must immediately get tested and isolate until a negative result is received.

NSW Health is currently contacting about 7000 people who have entered NSW from Victoria after attending these venues of concern, to ensure they are aware of the requirements.

In a statement issued on Friday afternoon, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the border between the two states “will remain open”.

“We wish the people of Victoria well during this difficult time,” she said.

“NSW acted immediately to screen returning travellers from Victoria as soon as the information was provided to us. NSW Health continues to monitor the situation closely.”

Here is the full list of state and territory borders shut to Victorians.


Tennis fans will be shut out of the Australian Open from tomorrow after Victoria announced a raft of new restrictions as part of a five-day lockdown.

As part of the lockdown, public gatherings are not permitted and as such, no fans will be allowed at Melbourne Park to watch the tennis for the next five days.

Professional athletes are deemed “essential workers” so the grand slam can continue, but behind closed doors.

Nick Kyrgios has benefited greatly from the support of the local crowd in his two matches at the tournament and was able to request tonight’s blockbuster against world number three Dominic Thiem be played on his favoured John Cain Arena where the fans adore him.

Kyrgios’ rabid base will still be on hand to cheer him over the line against Thiem but should he win, his next encounters will be very different.

However, it’s unclear what will happen if Kyrgios’ match stretches past midnight – as unlikely as that may sound.


Ahead of the announcement on Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison toured the CSL manufacturing plant in Victoria where local doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 will be produced.

Under the updated advice from NSW Health, he is not required to isolate as he arrived in Sydney before midnight. Mr Morrison will travel to to the ACT for the Parliamentary sitting fortnight from Monday.

After his tour, he told reporters the traumatising impact of the lockdowns on Victorians was very “real” and he understood why it was upsetting news that the option was on the table.

He said a third shutdown of the Melbourne is the last thing anyone wants to see.

“I know you don’t want to see Victoria go back into what you had to endure last year,” Mr Morrison said, speaking directly to Melburnians and referencing the two long periods of lockdown.

“I can assure you that everyone is doing everything to ensure that’s not replicated again on this occasion. There’s no reason it should, as other states have demonstrated. You can get on top of this pretty quickly.

“I have reason for confidence that they can do the same thing by following that same process.”

But asked if he had been briefed that a third lockdown was imminent, Mr Morrison said “No”, adding that Health Minister Greg Hunt was being briefed by his Victorian counterpart.

RELATED: New location alerts as cluster spread

RELATED: Airline to axe almost all flights to Australia


Clinical epidemiologist, Professor Nancy Baxter, appeared to back the idea of another lockdown in the city — after two more people linked to the Holiday Inn coronavirus outbreak in Melbourne tested positive for coronavirus overnight and more exposure sites were listed.

“What I am concerned about is as the sites of the, at- risk sites grow and grow, there is the potential there has been some kind of spread outside of that group of close contacts that is already in quarantine,” she told Today on Friday morning.

“It could be a week or more before we know it. And so then there is that opportunity for spread throughout the community, under our very noses.

“I think if there is a time to really get this under control the time probably is now. So it is a very tough decision and, you know, if there is not any further community spread it always looks like this was out of proportion, but I must say you can’t prove prevention.

“So I think this is something that the Victorian government needs to be thinking about very hard today in terms of whether the best thing for us is to go into lockdown so we don’t have a third wave in Victoria.”


Authorities in Victoria announced five new local cases on Friday morning, although all five were reported on Thursday and overnight, so the figures were expected.

Both of the latest COVID-19 cases linked to the Holiday Inn cluster are household primary close contacts of previously announced infections.

It brings the total outbreak to 13, with six of the cases already confirmed by genomic sequencing as having the UK’s highly contagious B117 strain.

Victoria Health also added Brunetti at Melbourne Airport’s Terminal 4 to the list of Tier 1 exposure sites overnight. Anyone who visited the cafe between 4.45am and 1.15pm on Tuesday 9 February must get tested and remain isolated for 14 days.

Earlier, a staff member at the Holiday Inn in Tullamarine became the latest infection linked to the cluster. Victoria’s Deputy Secretary of Community Engagement and Testing Commander Jeroen Weimar said at that point that it was a “working assumption” that all cases associated with the hotel cluster were of the UK variant.

“Clearly it is a very live outbreak, we are at this stage reassured by the fact that all of these positives emerged from a primary contact field, that is important to us.

“And although we are now seeing two cases of household transmission, again it’s in the household, that gives us some confidence, but that is early days.”

It comes as Australia’s chief medical officer said he will investigate claims that a man breached hotel quarantine requirements in the state and slipped through hotel staff to deliver a PlayStation 4 to a friend in quarantine.

The potential breach at the Park Royal hotel is the latest blow for Victoria as it grapples with its growing cluster near Melbourne airport.

At a press conference on Thursday, Professor Paul Kelly said he would “follow it up” and that the situation was “not ideal”.

“What you describe there is not ideal of course, we want quarantine to be exactly that, to separate people from the wider community to minimise the chances of the virus spreading.

“So that’s not an ideal situation and I’m sure the Victorian authorities are looking into that, but I’ll follow it up.”

RELATED: The Aussies least likely to get vaccine

– with Samantha Maiden and NCA NewsWire

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Tears and joy as SSO returns to the live stage

Were she to sum up her year living with COVID-19, conductor Simone Young says she would have to resort to “unseemly language”.

Young was in Barcelona after a whirlwind dash of dates between Japan, Minnesota, New York and Helsinki when, overnight, the pandemic emptied her packed calendar.

In the months since, through Europe’s hard lockdowns and re-openings, Young has submitted to 22 COVID-19 tests, performed for large concert hall audiences and live streamed in near empty rooms.

Simone Young will lead the Sydney Symphony Orchestra back to the Sydney Opera House in 2022.Credit:Nic Walker

Twice she has quarantined in Sydney, most recently at the Sofitel Wentworth entering with a bag containing a yoga mat, herbal teas, plates, cups and mugs, cutlery, a sharp knife and fruit peeler.

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Rule the Stage: How to Master the Art of Bodybuilding Contest Prep

The realities of prepping for a physique contest aren’t pretty like the bodies you see onstage. Everyone wants all the shreds until they realize the work it takes to get there is not a piece of cake (like the one that has haunted you and your taste buds day and night).

Two members of Team, Abel Albonetti and Brian DeCosta, both competed in shows recently, and in light of their success, they want to share a bit of truth with you: Years of training and experience doesn’t necessarily make the prep easier. You may think otherwise based on the drive and positivity they exhibit on social media, but that’s a whole other component of doing the prep.

You can’t be thinking it’s going to be easy. A lot of people think that, and they’re the people who never look the way they should have,” says Albonetti, who recently took place third in his men’s physique class at the NPC Adela Garcia Classic.

Let’s be clear. This is not to deter anyone from competing if they are considering it, but it can be helpful to know what’s on the horizon so you can prepare for the uncontrollable factors and accept what is inevitable as a bodybuilding competitor.

Here are Albonetti and DeCosta’s biggest tips and things to be aware of during contest prep:

1. Be OK with Feeling Like Crap

“The unavoidable reality is that you’re going to have to deal with low energy, low mood, brain fog, and feeling like a dumb, muted, 70-percent version of yourself,” says DeCosta, who recently competed at the INBF Natural Muscle Mayhem contest.

It can seem bearable until you reach that point a few weeks in, but with proper guidance you can combat it. Good coaches will help set these expectations so that one, you aren’t surprised when it happens, and two, they can be a reliable voice when you need to get talked off the ledge.

DeCosta says he sees people fall off the wagon all the time because they don’t see it coming and the hunger and low energy catch them by surprise. This goes for the gym and your workouts, too.

“You’re not going to be as strong and you’re not getting a pump every time,” he says. “Give it what you’ve got, but know that your performance isn’t going to be up to par.”

Abel Albonetti, one of the most gym-addicted guys around, admits that even he struggles with motivation to get in the gym during contest prep. It’s easy in the beginning, when the results come a little quicker and easier.

“I love working out—I love the feeling you get—and when you’re in contest prep, the first four weeks is not that bad. The last 4-6 weeks, though, you kinda suffer through all of the workouts, and, frankly, they suck,” he says. “You just have to make yourself get in there and start working out. Just know it’s normal.”

2. You’re Probably Not Going to Look the Way You Want

DeCosta has also noticed that individuals who diet down will often be convinced that they’re losing muscle and size when that’s not necessarily the case. There’s just not a lot of water and carbs in their system. Until the system is replenished, you have to accept the flat and even soft look of your muscles—and don’t let your warped mind get the best of you.

“There’s this rule of thumb that my coach shared with me, and I find it to be true: The worse you look in the middle of your contest prep and toward the end, the better you’re going to look onstage,” DeCosta says. “You may not look the way you want until the week of the show or even show day if you do it right.”

Albonetti has noticed the same thing, in both advanced competitors like himself and beginners alike, panicking over how they look. So they stray off plan and try to adjust things when they shouldn’t. If you have a good coach, you have to continue to stay on track with their protocol.

“You’re working super hard, doing a lot of cardio, and then you look in the mirror and you don’t look as good as you looked last week. You’re more deflated and flatter,” he says. “But you have to trust the process. It’s a mind game that you have to work past.”

3. Set Yourself Up to Win

Now we’re talking the little details. You want to win? You have to pay attention to the small things.

“I put all my Signature supplements in a pill container ahead of time or in my gym bag. I always know where they are and make a habit of taking them at the same time every day,” DeCosta says.

Looking at a bottle of supplements.

Sleep is another area where it’s easy to skimp, but when you do, it can set you back hard in terms of recovery and fat loss. DeCosta schedules sleep the same way he schedules everything else. When your life is in order, or at least the parts that are in your power, it’s easier to give the majority of your brain power to the contest prep.

“Keeping a calendar for life in general makes a huge difference,” he says. “I loosely schedule meals since my days can vary, but because I meal prep, they’re ready for me when I need them, and I have no excuse to skip.”

4. Keep Busy in Your Free Time

It’s easy to let your mind wander to what your next meal will be—or all the desserts and pasta you can’t have for the time being. When you’re at work or the gym, you’re preoccupied with things to do, so it’s important to keep yourself busy in your off hours, too.

“For me, it’s working on editing or doing anything out of the house, even if it’s just to go get coffee,” Albonetti says. “It’s still going to be hard, but that’s to be expected. Just keep your mind occupied where you can and focus on your workouts.”

As with life in the off-season, there is still such a thing as having a schedule that’s too packed. Rest is key to recovery, which you’re already going to be struggling with.

“You have to find a balance because being too busy can raise stress and cortisol,” DeCosta says. “This is where self-awareness comes in—know what ‘too much’ is on your own plate. Replace your sitting time, where thoughts about eating would come, and go for a walk. Have a creative outlet. Spend time with friends.”

5. Lean into Higher Rep Ranges

Albonetti points out that you want to lift as heavy as you can for as long as you can to preserve muscle, but in a cut, you are going to lose strength.

“I’m constantly trying to keep my size and going heavy, but when I’m a few weeks out, I will start to incorporate more circuit workouts with 15-20-rep sets in the mornings instead of cardio,” he says. “It doesn’t replace my normal workouts later, but it can help burn calories and still activate those muscles rather than just walking on the treadmill.”

DeCosta has also found mental reinforcement in playing with higher reps, prompting the feeling of a better workout when he can’t lift as heavy as he would normally like.

Performing crunches with a weighted plate.

“Doing 15-20 reps is better for muscular and cardiovascular endurance. It definitely helps me get a good sweat going. You also risk injury if you’re trying to lift the same amount of weight you do when you’ve got more body fat on your frame,” DeCosta says.

Sometimes DeCosta goes to the gym with the goal of just having a fun workout with tons of reps. This gives him a boost of confidence and lights that motivation again by stimulating his muscles in a new way. And speaking of new muscle stimulation…

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Mix Up Your Workouts

The end goal of a contest prep is fat loss, right? It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you’re doing what you need to build the body you need to win onstage. That’s why DeCosta recommends switching up your workouts when your brain is feeling burnt out.

“Regardless of how you do it, the fact that you’re working the muscles at all is the good thing. So, if you’re not enjoying your training, switch it up. But keep the intensity high and hit all the muscle groups,” he advises. “I think the fun you’re allowed to have on the training side and not being as regimented there makes it easier to be more regimented on the nutritional side, which ultimately is the most important.”

Albonetti points out that this doesn’t mean you should try a whole new style of training from what you’ve done in the past. Mixing in the higher reps, as mentioned above, is still weight training, but don’t toss out what has been working for you.

“You need to keep doing what you’ve been doing the past few months—you know, what has been helping you build size—and just let the cardio and the diet be what gets you leaner,” he says.

7. Peak Week Is Not the Time to Mess Around

Peak week can be one of the trickiest parts about the contest prep process. Sadly, the wrong moves can make or break your look onstage. If you’re new, it may take a few shows before you figure out exactly what works—and each show can be different, too.

“If I’m going to a show and I’m not as lean as I was a show before, I won’t eat as many carbs going into it,” Albonetti says. “If I go in not super shredded, my body absorbs anything I eat and spills over. But if I go in there with great conditioning, more food benefits me. Honestly, it’s only been maybe 3-4 times that I’ve actually been that sick lean that I’ve been able to eat a burger the night before and then look better.”

He explains that beginners should avoid carbing up, something you hear a lot of professionals recommend. When you’re that new to it, it’s likely you won’t get as lean as you should.

Drinking water.

“When I was younger, I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, I’m gonna follow this guy’s peak week protocol.’ So I’d go eat 500 grams of carbs, deplete for four days like what they said to do, and then I’d go Thursday and Friday before the show and eat 500 grams of carbs on both days and all of a sudden go into the show looking worse than I did a week ago,” Albonetti says.

8. Have a Bigger Why

You’ve heard the clichés before—”Do it for you” and “Find your why” are a couple of popular ones. It sounds like a bunch of BS, but it isn’t until you’re in the throes of show prep that you realize just how handy this mindset can be.

“I film every single workout and all of the sets,” DeCosta says. “When I show up at the gym and I’m lacking motivation, my thought is, ‘I’m going to be posting this workout for thousands of people to see. I’m going to give this my effort.'”

Holding yourself accountable is a huge component to this, as well. If it takes just having a date on the calendar to help you stick with something, so be it.

“You have to have a deadline and a date and a time of that day,” says DeCosta. “If you don’t, and you haven’t shared your goal with people, you will in a time of low discipline be like, ‘Eh, I’m not committed anyway.’ Don’t be that person.”

How do competitive bodybuilders train in and out of show prep? Hop on one of Abel Albonetti’s 30-Day workout programs to find out, available only on BodyFit Elite.

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The 2021 NAB AFLW stage is set!

The AFL has today launched the 2021 NAB AFL Women’s Competition, with representatives from all 14 AFLW clubs present at local community clubs across the nation.

Queensland came together at the Yeronga South Brisbane Football Club, which held special meaning for the day – home of the 2021 NAB AFL Premiership Cup Ambassador, Jamie Howell. see the story

Headlining the action was Brisbane Lions Captain Emma Zielke, Brisbane Lions AFLW Coach Craig Starcevich, Gold Coast SUNS Captains Sam Virgo & Hannah Dunn, and David Lake Gold Coast SUNS AFLW Coach.

Head of AFL Queensland, Trish Squires, who led today’s launch said she was proud and excited to see footy back, and thanked the Queensland community for supporting AFLW and the women’s game.

“The progress of women’s footbal remains a steadfast priority for the AFL, and even more so in Queensland where we are seeing remarkable growth in community football,” she said. 

“Today, 42% of participants in Queensland are female and I can’t wait to see that number continue to grow.”

“Good luck to the Lions and SUNS for the 2021 season!”

The 2021 NAB AFL Women’s Competition will kick off on Thursday, January 28 with a blockbuster match between Carlton and Collingwood at Ikon Park.

The Gold Coast SUNS will play the Melbourne Demons in Round 1 on Saturday at Metricon Stadium.

The Brisbane Lions team head to Melbourne to face Richmond on Sunday afternoon.

About the 2021 NAB AFL Women’s Competition

Season five of the NAB AFL Women’s Competition marks considerable progress for the women’s game, with many new additions to the fixture this year to boost community connection and engagement.

In a significant step towards being a more inclusive game, Round Two will host the first-ever AFLW Pride Round, championing diversity and ensuring the game is a place of welcome for everyone.

In Round Five, the community will welcome the Inaugural AFLW Indigenous Round, in celebration of the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander players and their contribution to our game, those involved in the women’s competition, and Indigenous communities across the country.

The celebration of Indigenous culture has been acknowledged previously through specially designed AFLW guernseys, and the AFL is now looking forward to the increasing significance of this celebration across a dedicated round in 2021.

Round Nine will host the Toyota ‘Good For Footy’ Round which marks the first joint themed-round across both the men’s and women’s competition, focused on providing support for grassroots clubs around Australia.

The AFL has also introduced ticketing for AFLW matches, which not only showcases the commitment of fans through their support of the game but also allows crowds to attend in a COVID-safe environment. AFLW fans have embraced this with many matches in the opening round achieving record sellouts.

While the progress of women’s football remains a steadfast priority for the AFL and industry, it’s not only for the elite game but at all levels.

In 2014, there were over 194,000 recorded women and girls playing football in Australia. Fast forward to today, there are now over 600,000 female football participants recorded, coming from all walks of life, united by the game they love.

The AFL acknowledges that without the dedication and contribution of thousands of community administrators, players, and volunteers across the country, this remarkable growth wouldn’t be possible.

About NAB
NAB has supported the footy community since 2002, providing boys and girls with a clear pathway from NAB AFL Auskick through to the NAB AFL Rising Stars Program all the way to the big time.

In its fifth year as principal partner of the AFLW, NAB is proud to once again be supporting the competition in 2021, providing many women the opportunity of playing at the elite level and many girls across the country with something to aspire to.

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the girls’ choir that has put Pilbara life on stage

Felix Riebl performing at Bluesfest with his band the Cat Empire.Credit:Jorge Branco

In 2015, Gondwana Choirs commissioned Riebl to create an original work, and Spinifex Gum – a Song Cycle had its premiere a year later, performed by the Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir and the Gondwana National Choirs. Marliya Choir was formed from the Indigenous Children’s Choir specifically to perform as part of the Spinifex Gum musical group.

Collaborator Emma Donovan caught the attention of Tom Waits by performing his song “Make it Rain”.

Collaborator Emma Donovan caught the attention of Tom Waits by performing his song “Make it Rain”.Credit:James Brickwood

“That [first] trip sparked a long and fascinating, once-in-a-lifetime project,” Riebl says. “I returned to the Pilbara seven times over seven years and have made lasting friendships with members of the Yindjibarndi community.”

These trips enabled him to learn the stories of the community, their ancestors and the land that would result in songs about racism, pervasive postcolonial attitudes and the corrosive capitalism that drives industrial projects at the expense of sacred land and plain justice. More than protest, though, the songs were serenades to language, the land, the everyday sounds of life for the youth in the Pilbara region: trains thundering over tracks, basketballs ricocheting off the dusty ground, the crackle of dry leaves in the wind.

The unforgettable, catchy melodies are not simplified or dumbed down for easy digestion. The song cycle was recorded for the first self-titled studio album in 2017. That album partnered Marliya with a who’s who of major Indigenous artists and activists, including Emma Donovan, Adam Briggs and Peter Garrett. They released a second studio album, Sisters, in 2019.

The release of their third album this week, a live recording of their Sydney Opera House performance in 2019, is likely to be – and should be – how more Australians discover the richness, the extraordinary storytelling and vocal power that emanates from such young women and their dedicated mentor, Riebl.

The show is no stranger to critical acclaim, receiving a nomination for a Helpmann award for best new Australian work in 2019 and rave media reviews. Spinifex Gum has played at Adelaide Festival, WOMADelaide, Sydney Festival, Perth Festival, the Garma Festival in north-east Arnhem Land, Red Earth Arts Festival in Karratha and Roebourne, the National Indigenous Music Awards in Darwin and Dreamtime at the ’G. But, for all the acclaim, it has not garnered broad, national attention from the public – yet.

Rapper Briggs on stage for Spinifex Gum at the Sydney Opera House.

Rapper Briggs on stage for Spinifex Gum at the Sydney Opera House.Credit:Jamie Williams

The Sydney Opera House performance is released as a full album, with accompanying video of the breathtaking performance. One of the highlights of that night was Emma Donovan’s performance of Tom Waits’ gothic lament Make It Rain.

In the video footage from that evening, Gumbainggir singer Emma Donovan’s determined face is lit, her curly hair framing her like a mane, a halo. Behind her is the choir, perfectly still, each member gripping a microphone. Their voices are both angelic and entrancing. As the lights fully capture the young faces, white paint smudged across their noses and cheeks makes a stark contrast with their non-descript black outfits. This is no ordinary cover version. Donovan transitions from a gospel-style, gothic ode to Waits’ lament to deliver the final verse in Yindjibarndi language.


Waits shared the video of that performance on his social media, immediately drawing international attention to Donovan’s performance and the Spinifex Gum song cycle. Could Waits have ever imagined his song would reference dams and mining in remote Western Australia? The legacy of iron ore magnate Lang Hancock? Perhaps not. Riebl’s choice of the song was astute and magical.

“Holy crap. I screamed,” recalls Emma Donovan of discovering Waits’ social media share. “I was shaking and texting Felix because Tom Waits had shared Make It Rain in the last seven hours. I probably rang every uncle and aunty, telling them about it. It’s a heavy song, Make It Rain, but there’s a meeting place in it that can help do justice, tell more of that story. Brothers like Felix, his vision … he knows how to bring mob together in a really respectful, mindful way. Seeing him at rehearsals and the way he is with the choir, it’s very special.”

‘Brothers like Felix, his vision … he knows how to bring mob together in a really respectful, mindful way.’

Singer Emma Donovan

Donovan’s relationship with the girls is also special.

The Marliya Choir has also performed at Parliament House in Canberra.

The Marliya Choir has also performed at Parliament House in Canberra.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“Seeing a sisterhood is a big thing for me,” she says. “There’s these young friendships, these sister-girl, solid relationships … I just saw what a beautiful space this was – so much love there. When I sing with them, I can get up and feature in a track with them, but half the time I just want to stand there and be one with all of their voices, and I just wanna hear them. It lifts me; it takes me somewhere.”

Some things stick like spinifex gum/ Like ants on honey/ Like money on scum. (Spinifex Gum)

“The Pilbara for me as a songwriter is a fascinating place,” Riebl says. “I was able to see an aspect of Australia that involved a landscape and industry that goes on around that … While Spinifex Gum found inspiration in the Pilbara, it speaks about a broader Australia as well, that’s what resonates.”

Riebl continues: “Spinifex Gum stands in the space where, if I write as a non-Indigenous songwriter about a death in custody or disproportionate rates of youth incarceration, I’m writing from my perspective. I believe this is a non-Indigenous issue where it’s our systems that are letting people down. That’s a difficult space to be in sometimes, but it’s only possible if collaborations are true and communication is good.”

“The bravery of these young women to sing, to co-write and to understand what they’re singing about … we’re speaking about a broader Australian story where Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia collides and sometimes celebrates and sometimes protests that space.”

They put our kids in the system/ Findings, reports, and royal commissions/ Numbers, statistics when they’re making decisions/ Assess the risks and build another prison. (Locked Up)

Riebl’s great accomplishment, among many, is to have created a contemporary musical work that represents Australia today: the stories from hundreds of years ago are still alive and the destruction of Juukan Gorge and the threat of damage to the Weelumurra Caves by mining in the Pilbara have fuelled new stories and passions.

“Ollie and I always set out to do something musically and visually brilliant with Spinifex Gum,” Riebl says. “We wanted to totally upturn the cliches of how a choir looks and sounds. We never put a ceiling on those young singers, and they have exceeded our expectations at every turn.”

Spinifex Gum Live at Sydney Opera House is out now.

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Sunderland second after Dakar stage win

British rider Sam Sunderland has won a gruelling stage to move up to second overall in the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia, two days after stopping to help injured Australian Toby Price.

Sunderland won the penultimate 11th stage on Thursday on his KTM bike and is four minutes and 12 seconds behind Honda’s Argentine leader Kevin Benavides with one stage left.

“I knew that today was one of my last chances to try to win and I gave my all,” said Sunderland.

“I didn’t quite manage to take enough time, but I’m happy with my effort. We still have one day to go and many things can happen on one stage.

“What a really tough day and a really difficult Dakar, but I’m super grateful for the team and everybody that put all the work in.”

Price’s bid for a third Dakar title ended on Tuesday when he crashed, breaking his collarbone.

Price had been in second place in the bike category, a minute behind the leader, Chile’s Jose Ignacio Cornejo.

Sunderland and American rider Ricky Brabec stopped to help Price, who was airlifted to hospital in Tubuk in the country’s north-west.

They lost several minutes while assisting Price, but later had their lost time restored by race organisers.

In the car category, French veteran Stephane Peterhansel is one stage away from a record-extending 14th Dakar Rally triumph after ending the day with a 15-minute lead over Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah.

Toyota’s Al-Attiyah won Thursday’s shortened 464km stage but Peterhansel kept him in check with the second-fastest time.

“There’s only one day to go. It’s time to cross fingers and hope that we will be in first place at the end,” said Peterhansel, whose record 13 previous wins came on both motorcycles and in cars.

Friday’s 12th and final stage to Jeddah will feature chains of dunes before reaching the shores of the Red Sea.

But it offers less scope for Al-Attiyah and Sunderland to close their respective gaps unless their rivals hit problems.

“It’s exactly like last year, we are really struggling with the tyres,” said the Qatari after clawing back a minute and 56 seconds from Peterhansel to secure his sixth stage win of the event.

“There’s still one day left, but this time we have really had a lot of punctures. I’ve had more than 16 tyres punctured.”

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Chester the fibreglass horse swaps the paint shop for a life on the stage

An icon of the streetscape in Moonah in Hobart’s north is destined for a new life on the stage.

Chester the horse had stood outside a paint shop on Main Road since the 1970s.

The 25-kilogram fibreglass horse was one of many around the country used to market Wattyl paint products.

Each day the horse was taken out of the shop and stood by the front door during opening hours.

When Hobart actor and theatre producer John Xintavelonis heard Chester was being retired from the shop, he jumped at the chance to provide the horse with a new life.

Mr Xintavelonis said Chester was available for bookings.(ABC News: Janek Frankowski)

“I was over the moon, it was like Christmas,” he said.

“It’s part of Tasmania, it’s an icon, it’s like having the Tasman Bridge at your house, or David Boon, instead I’ve got Chester the horse.

Chester being taken away from Wattyll Paint
Chester left his store in a horse float, of course.(ABC News: Luke Bowden)

In 2019 Mr Xintavelonis used the horse in the Bawdy Panto, a satirical, adult-themed pantomime performed annually at Hobart’s Theatre Royal.

Chester featured in a medley about Tasmania’s Parliamentary Speaker, Sue Hickey.

Chester at the races.
Painter Kevin Foot took Chester to the races.(Supplied)

Chester also made appearances at the Hobart Cup over many years, thanks to local painter Kevin Foot.

Craig Lawler, who worked at Wattyl Paints for 15 years, said customers loved to greet the horse.

“It became an institution,” he said. “They petted him and they talked to him, so he’s quite a sociable animal.

“Kevin went to a lot of trouble with his own little area of the Hobart Cup.

“And we’d dress Chester up with saddles, and Kevin’s advertising spiel as well. He was certainly a hit out there.”

The painter died about six years ago.

Wattyl Paints declined to say why it was getting rid of the horse.

Man with tin of paint.
Former Wattyl employee Craig Lawler says the horse became an institution at the Moonah paint shop.(ABC News: Selina Ross)

Many see Chester’s disappearance from Moonah as a loss to the local streetscape.

“As people drive by or walk by, he certainly draws quite a bit of attention and that part of it is going to go,” Mr Lawler said.

Local resident Joanne Green agreed.

“I’ve lived in this area for 22 years, and it’s always been there, I’ve never known it not to be there,” Ms Green said.

‘Everyone knows who he is’

Mr Xintavelonis said the horse had “street cred”.

“He got a massive reception from the audience because everyone knows who he is,” he said.

“I got to ride him around on a big revolving stage, and to have him now as part of the family and to be able to feature him every year on the stage, I’m really happy.”

Lutana resident Joanne Green.
Lutana resident Joanne Green described Chester as an icon of the area.(ABC News: Selina Ross)

Mr Xintavelonis hopes to lend Chester to other people who want to use him for events or festivals.

“He’ll be around, he’s certainly not going to disappear from view, that’s for sure,” he said.

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Australian Toby Price finishes Dakar Rally eighth stage using cable ties on tyres, places second

Australian Toby Price has stayed in the hunt for a third title despite needing to put his ‘bush mechanic’ skills to use to see him through a testing eighth stage of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia.

The two-time motorcycle champion used tape and plastic cable ties, also known as zip ties, on his badly damaged rear tyre to see him through the 375-kilometre route from Sakaka to Neom on Monday.

He had ridden about 300 kilometres the previous stage with the large cut in his tyre.

Where riders had previously been able to swap tyres with each other, new regulations required them to use one set of tyres across the ‘marathon’ stages or face a 30-minute time penalty.

“We’ve tried to repair it, patch it up as best we could,” Price said.

“We’ve taped it up so no more dirt can get inside and tried to blow the mousse out, and we’ve put some zip ties on there to try and hold the tyre together.”


Price said he only had one cable tie left by the 229km refuelling mark

Despite the setback, Price finished second in the stage and maintained his second placing overall, one minute and six seconds back from leader José Ignacio Cornejo Florimo.

On Twitter, Price said he did not think he would even complete the stage, let alone remain high in the standings.

“We just tried to keep momentum and not wear the tyre more than we needed to,” Price told

“I’m surprised it made it to the finish line, but it shows the quality and what the tyre can do. It’s done 800km as it is now, which is pretty remarkable.

“We lost another minute, but in the circumstances we’re quite happy. We’ll wait and see what the next few days bring. Hopefully we can draw it back in.”


Price, who won the race in 2016 and 2019, updated his Instagram profile to include ‘bush mechanic’ in his biography.

There are four more stages in the 2021 rally, which ends in Jeddah on Friday.

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Another lockdown possible as Brisbane enters new stage of restrictions

Greater Brisbane will remain “on heightened alert” until January 22, which will mark the end of the virus’s 14-day incubation period.

During the next 10 days, face masks will remain mandatory at indoor public spaces, capacity limits will be reduced and fewer people can gather inside homes.


Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said the virus variant, known as B.1.1.7 or 501Y.V1, would need to be detected in people who had been out in the community, rather than isolation, for the rules to continue past January 22.

“We are really at the start of understanding this new variant, that is why we have had to be so cautious,” she said.

“I am not sure we will have to be as cautious if we have a case in the future, but while we just don’t know a lot about it, we have to be very, very cautious.”

Dr Young said one new case of the UK strain could trigger another lockdown but it “depends where it is found” and stressed a positive case in quarantine would not prompt another stay-at-home order.

Brisbane emerged from a three-day lockdown on Monday night after authorities found no evidence that the mutant strain had spread widely in Queensland.

Residents were ordered to stay home after a hotel quarantine cleaner, infected with the new strain, tested positive and was mingling in the community while unknowingly infectious.

Health authorities tracked down 370 people who came into contact with the cleaner and 172 of those have returned a negative test result. There were still 198 tests outstanding.

The woman’s partner tested positive for the virus on Monday, but has been in quarantine since January 7. Health authorities were still determining the man’s potential infectious period.

Two investigations, one lead by health authorities and the other by police, are under way to determine how the cleaner became infected.

If there are no further cases of community transmission between now and January 22, restrictions will revert back to the way they were at Christmas time, Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said.

“If we get this right, if we do everything that we need to do then come 22 January we can move back to the way we have been operating since December 1.”

Dr Young welcomed the national cabinet’s decision to reduce overseas arrivals which was increasing the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak in Queensland.

“That will help us enormously because it was a strain on our system to take those up to 1400 people each week, that is now being reduced to 500,” she said. “I think that will help us to manage the risk.”

Both the ACT and Northern Territory revoked Brisbane’s hotspot status on Monday.

People heading from Brisbane to Tasmania still need to quarantine for 14 days, but those who arrived before January 8 no longer need to isolate.

Victoria’s border remained closed to Greater Brisbane and Western Australia has locked out all of Queensland.

South Australia is yet to reveal whether it will continue its 14-day quarantine requirement for Brisbane arrivals and there are no restrictions for Queenslanders travelling to New South Wales.

NSW was the only state in the country to have people test positive for the virus outside of quarantine on Monday.

Three new locally acquired cases were confirmed, but have been linked back to a cluster in western Sydney.

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