He broke out of the structure and it was refreshing to see. The last try, when he chipped and chased, was a rarity from him. More of that.
In many ways, he’s very close to being the complete halfback and the scary thing is he has so much more room for improvement.
The sweet spot of a playmaker’s career is usually between ages 26 and 30. Cleary is only 23. It’s incredible to think where he might be in five years time.
The Panthers simply need to keep going to the well with their left-side attack against the Broncos.
Jarome Luai, Viliame Kikau and Matt Burton, along with Stephen Crichton lurking in the background at fullback, are almost impossible to stop.
How the Broncos can win it
Coach Kevin Walters has made a big call in dropping five-eighth Anthony Milford – but it’s the right one.
Milford is not delivering in attack, and especially not in defence, and the question now is what’s next for the talented but desperately out-of-form playmaker.
It can go either way: he can throw the toys out of the cot or go back to Queensland Cup and reinvent himself. I hope he turns it around because he can be a quality player when he’s on.
The decision to pick Brodie Croft and Tom Dearden in the halves puzzles me, however.
So many questions …
How they play together, who’s the dominant player and how they combine with hooker Jake Turpin around the ruck remains to be seen. I’ve seen no attack out of dummy half from the Broncos so far.
How will they bring fullback Jamayne Isaako into play?
For me, Croft and Dearden are too similar in terms of style. Look at the best combinations in the comp – Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker, Cleary and Luai – one creates; the other organises.
Perhaps the biggest concern is their defence.
The Broncos have let in 85 points their past two matches, which is staggering because Souths were only in third gear last Thursday night.
Their defensive resolve is embarrassing for such a proud club.
I’ll say it again: they must bring back Wayne Bennett. If board members, or other people in the club, must stand down because of Bennett’s messy departure last time he was there, then so be it.
I’d also bring back Karmichael Hunt. He’s at the end of his career, but he’s a winner. He wouldn’t over-complicate his role. He’d be a running player and strong defensively, and his experience would be handy for such a young side.
My real fear, though, is I don’t know when the Broncos will come out of this current mess they find themselves in.
Player to watch
Burton’s try last week against Canberra, when he got that long ball from Luai, was something to see. He changed his angle before he got the ball. There’s only a handful of players who can do that.
To have the awareness to watch the ball coming from one angle, while also watching the defender straight ahead, is so skillful.
You need eyes like a hammerhead shark to do that – yet Burton did it with ease.
I knew Burton was a good player. I didn’t know he was this good.
It’s a little bit like Luai. At the start of last year, I couldn’t believe that Luai was the starting five-eighth for the Panthers.
Now they have Burton coming through. What a production line of young talent they have.
Watch the magical feet of Luai, skipping across the field, getting in and out of gaps.
It will make the Broncos’ back-rowers chase him and then Luai will then turn Kikau back in, underneath him.
The key here is that Luai does it at all at speed. That will pull the defence apart, creating space for his monstrous back-rower.
Good luck stopping the Kikausaurus, Broncos.
The Panthers by plenty. Write your own ticket.
JOEY’S TIP: Penrith by 28. FIRST TRY-SCORER: Viliame Kikau MAN OF THE MATCH: Nathan Cleary
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A police officer who shot and killed a driver during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, on Sunday afternoon meant to deploy her Taser instead of her gun, authorities said.
At a press conference Monday, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said he believes the female officer — identified by authorities as Kim Potter — intended to deploy her stun gun when she “accidentally” shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright.
A preliminary report issued by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner on Monday evening said that Wright’s death was a homicide, as he died from a gunshot wound to the chest.
The incident unfolded around 2 p.m. local time, when officers initiated a stop for an expired registration tag on a vehicle in the city in Minnesota’s Hennepin County, about 10 miles northwest of Minneapolis. During the traffic stop, the officers determined that the driver of the vehicle had an outstanding gross misdemeanor warrant, according to Gannon.
“At one point as officers were attempting to take the driver into custody, the driver re-entered the vehicle,” the police chief said in a statement Sunday. “One officer discharged their firearm, striking the driver.”
The car traveled several blocks before crashing into another vehicle. The passengers in the other car were not injured, according to Gannon.
Officers and medical personnel “attempted life saving measures” on Wright, the police chief said, but he died at the scene.
A female passenger who was also in the vehicle with Wright sustained non-life-threatening injuries during the crash, according to Gannon. She was transported to North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale, a few miles south of Brooklyn Center.
During Monday’s press conference, the Brooklyn Center Police Department released body camera footage of the fatal encounter. Gannon said Potter can be heard in the video warning Wright and her fellow officers that she will be deploying her Taser.
“However, the officer drew their handgun instead of their Taser,” the police chief told reporters. “It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet. This appears to me, from what I viewed and the officer’s reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright.”
Potter can be heard in the video yelling, “Holy s—, I just shot him!”
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the incident. The agency released a statement on Monday identifying Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, as the officer involved in the deadly shooting.
Potter has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, according to Gannon, who identified her as a “very senior officer.”
A source with knowledge of the investigation told ABC News that Potter was field training another officer at the time of the shooting.
Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, said she was on the phone with him before he was killed.
“I heard scuffling and I heard the police officers say, ‘Daunte, don’t run.’ And then the other officer said, ‘Put the phone down,’ and hung it up,” Katie Wright told reporters on Sunday. “And a minute later, I called and his girlfriend answered — that was the passenger — and said that he’d been shot, and she put [the phone] on the driver’s side and my son was laying there lifeless.”
In a statement to ABC News, Wright’s family described him as a young father who “had a whole life ahead of him.”
“We just want people to know Daunte was a good kid,” Wright’s family said in the statement. “He loved being a father to Daunte Jr.”
“Daunte had a smile to make anyone’s heart melt. He was definitely a jokester, he loved to joke with people, especially his brothers and sisters,” the family added. “He did not deserve this.”
Wright’s sister, Diamond Wright, told ABC News that she still doesn’t know how to grieve her brother. She said she saw him on Saturday, the day before he was killed.
“I wasn’t nice to him,” Diamond Wright said. “He didn’t get to know how much I loved him before they took his life.”
She said she doesn’t want to think about what happened to her brother, but she doesn’t believe the shooting was a mistake.
“You don’t accidentally grab something and point without knowing,” she told ABC News. “Not true.”
She added that she wants her brother to be remembered as “a great person, making a mark in history.”
“He wanted to be known, but not this way,” she added.
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump — who has represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and more — will represent Wright’s family.
At a press conference Monday, authorities would not say how or if the officer who shot Wright would be punished but that all Brooklyn Center employees are “entitled to due process.” Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott expressed his support for the removal of the police officer that killed Wright.
“We will get to the bottom of this,” Elliott said. “We will do all that is within our power to make sure that justice is done for Daunte Wright.”
Earlier, the mayor revealed on Twitter that he had a phone call with President Joe Biden, who he said offered “his administration’s support” in the wake of the officer-involved shooting.
Biden addressed the shooting on Monday afternoon, calling for an investigation into the “really tragic” incident.
“The question is: was it an accident? Was it intentional? That remains to be determined by a full-blown investigation,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office.
Vice President Kamala Harris tweeted Monday night that “Daunte’s family needs to know why their child is dead — they deserve answers.”
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz also held a press conference Monday to acknowledge the grieving that is taking place in his state amid the ongoing murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the May 2020 death of George Floyd, which sparked nationwide protests.
“We can either come together and fix this, or we can suffer together as fools, and we can continue to make this happen,” Walz told reporters. “Our time was made clear last May, in Minnesota, our time to get one shot at fixing that was there. And in the midst of this trial that the world’s watching the situation repeated itself yesterday.”
Moments after Wright was shot dead, dozens of protesters holding Black Lives Matter signs gathered at the scene.
John Harrington, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said there were around 100 people at the scene on Sunday who were “highly agitated” when investigators from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension responded. The crowd was asked to disperse and did so shortly thereafter, as more agencies arrived on scene to coordinate a response to the protesters.
Later, crowds of 100 to 200 people marched toward the Brooklyn Center Police Department headquarters, according to Harrington.
“We saw rocks and other objects thrown at the police department. There were reports of shots fired in the area of the police department,” Harrington said at a press conference late Sunday night. “Within hours of that, a secondary group we heard was at the Shingle Creek mall or business center and we have reports of approximately 20 businesses that were broken into during that period.”
Authorities declared the demonstration outside the police department an unlawful assembly and gave the crowds a 10-minute warning to clear out. Aerial footage obtained by ABC News shows police forming a perimeter around the building.
About 25 minutes later, officers started firing rubber bullets and flash bangs to disperse protesters remaining in the area.
Harrington said the crowd at the police department had largely dispersed as of late Sunday night, though there were still “some pockets of individuals.”
Shortly after midnight, the Brooklyn Center mayor issued a citywide curfew that remained in place until 6 a.m. local time on Monday. Elliott called for calm in the community and for authorities not to use force on peaceful protesters.
The Minnesota governor later declared a regional curfew for the counties of Hennepin, Ramsey and Anoka starting Monday at 7 p.m. local time and ending Tuesday at 6 a.m. local time.
Minnesota has mobilized its National Guard to Brooklyn Center at the request of local authorities, according to Harrington. The National Guard is already deployed in nearby Minneapolis for the Chauvin trial.
“At this time, we have essentially a full activation,” Harrington said at the press conference late Sunday night. “You will see a robust assortment of National Guard, state and local police departments working together over the next two or three days as we once again prepare for the trial and also are prepared for any other and any further civil unrest that may come from the Brooklyn Center officer-involved shooting today.”
Col. Matt Langer of the Minnesota State Patrol told reporters that the public can expect to see “a greater law enforcement presence, a greater National Guard presence” in and around Minneapolis.
The civil unrest continued for a second night Monday, despite the curfew and efforts by authorities to work with protest organizers.
“Before 7 o’clock and the curfew was imposed, I myself reached out and talked to an organizer, who was out at the scene, and asked for some help in figuring out how we could peacefully resolve the crowd and to start helping encourage people to go home under their own free will before there was any talk of enforcement action,” Langer said at a press conference early Tuesday. “Others within the Department of Public Safety were also engaged with folks that were out there organizing the group, and our mobile field force commander actually met with one of the individuals on the scene at about 7 o’clock and tried to talk about how we could do this peacefully tonight without the use of any chemical munitions, without the use of enforcement. Unfortunately, those efforts weren’t successful and those organizers weren’t able to influence the desires of the crowd to leave.”
Law enforcement officers set up a perimeter around the Brooklyn Center Police Department headquarters and “courageously” defended the building from rioters, Langer said. The officers were “shelled pretty significantly with objects by the crowd” and some suffered minor injuries, according to Langer. There were no reports of injuries among protesters.
“At one point, the crowd was pushing against the fence and the fence gates swung open. There was some fireworks, there were lasers and there was enough activity to certainly go well against what we’ve been saying all along that we would not tolerate,” Langer told reporters. “And so, decisions needed to be made to push that crowd back from the fence and to begin to disperse the crowd and make arrests for the criminal activity that was putting people in harm’s way and prohibiting those that were there to assemble peacefully and, on top of all of that, of course in violation of the curfew order that had started at 7 p.m.”
About 40 people were arrested in Brooklyn Center on Monday night into early Tuesday. Some were cited while others were booked in jail “for things all the way from curfew violations to riot,” according to Langer.
“Order was restored for the most part,” he said. “There were some occurrences of looting around the Brooklyn Center area and the city of Minneapolis — it was pretty limited and sporadic in nature.”
Another 13 people were arrested in Minneapolis, including four for burglary and six for curfew violations. There were burglaries at five businesses in the city, according to Amiela Huffman, deputy chief of professional standards at the Minneapolis Police Department.
Protests over Wright’s shooting also erupted in Portland, Oregon, where police declared the situation a riot on Monday night. The Portland Police Department said in a statement that its officers were “defending themselves against a violent crowd” of about 200 people who had gathered outside a government office. The group was “acting aggressively toward police” and “throwing objects” at officers.
Earlier Monday, the Brooklyn Center City Council voted 3-2 to approve a motion giving the mayor’s office command authority over the police department.
“At such a tough time, this will streamline things and establish a chain of command and leadership,” Elliott tweeted.
The mayor also announced that the city manager was relieved of his duties and that the deputy city manager will be assuming those duties from now on.
“I will continue to work my hardest to ensure good leadership at all levels of our city government,” Elliott tweeted.
The mayor said he has spoken to some peaceful protesters and assured them the city is working “collaboratively with all involved agencies” to wrap up the investigation into the deadly shooting.
Metro Transit, the main public transportation operator in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area, announced Sunday that it was shutting down public transit in Brooklyn Center at the request of law enforcement. Meanwhile, Brooklyn Center Schools held classes virtually on Monday.
The National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and the Major League Baseball all announced that games scheduled for Monday night in Minnesota would be postponed due to the shooting. All three leagues issued statements expressing condolences to Wright’s family.
ABC News’ Alexandra Faul, Will Gretsky, Will McDuffie, Stephanie Ramos and Matt Stone contributed to this report.
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Over 100 million Americans have now received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. If you are one of them, you might feel lucky, relieved and possibly a little guilty.
Vaccine guilt – a feeling associated with getting immunized before others – is a phenomenon that has been reported in both the U.S. and overseas.
With the vaccine rollout expanding to more and more people, those who are able to work from home, can safely socially distance, or don’t have underlying medical conditions increasing their COVID-19 risks might wonder: Isn’t there someone who needs this more than I do?
As a medical ethicist and social philosopher, I believe people have good reason to feel vaccine guilt. But at the same time, they have every reason to still get vaccinated.
Vaccine guilt began nearly as soon as COVID-19 vaccinations did. The first COVID-19 vaccines were authorized for emergency use in December 2020, and eligibility was narrowly restricted to front-line health care workers, other essential workers and those whose age or medical conditions placed them at greatest risk if they contracted COVID-19. But even among this first at-risk cohort, reports emerged of vaccine recipients feeling vaccine guilt.
With the U.S. now administering millions of doses a day and President Joe Biden vowing to expand eligibility to every adult by May 1, 2021, or possibly earlier – and some states reaching this target sooner – one might think vaccine guilt is going away. But it isn’t.
What vaccine guilt is – and isn’t
Vaccine guilt is different from the survivor’s guilt felt by some people who recognize that while they survived the pandemic to get vaccinated, others – perhaps including loved ones – did not.
It is also different from the guilt associated with lying about vaccine eligibility, or otherwise skipping the line – for which culpability, remorse or a guilty conscience would be the most appropriate response.
For some, vaccine guilt is the sense that other groups, such as those working in grocery, care-taking or public transportation jobs not initially included under “essential workers,” should have been prioritized before you. For others it is the wish that particular individuals – like specific family members – could be vaccinated in your place.
Vaccine guilt might be experienced as embarrassment over having the good fortune of a vaccine or shame over feeling undeserving of a coveted dose.
Fundamentally, vaccine allocation is about risk. Early or late vaccination eligibility is not, or at least should not be, an assessment of positive or negative personal worth or social value. Allocation should be about how best to mitigate COVID-19 risks and stem the spread of disease while working toward herd immunity.
Yet vaccine guilt reflects the reality that some risks have been unfairly assessed in vaccine allocation. For example, assessing risk based on age without accounting for disparities in life expectancy between white and Black Americans resulted in fewer Black Americans initially being eligible for vaccination – despite Black Americans experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 cases and fatalities.
Meanwhile some groups and individuals at increased risk for COVID-19 have been largely excluded from vaccine prioritization, such as incarcerated individuals or those with certain disabilities.
Reasons to feel guilty
Despite increased eligibility for vaccination, there remain significant barriers to access for some communities. Many of these barriers are structural and connect to social and economic inequities. Obtaining a vaccination appointment often requires time and access to resources, such as a phone or internet, to search for and book a slot. Speaking a language in which appointment information is available, having reliable transportation to and from the appointment, and being able to get the time off work or care-taking duties creates other barriers for some groups.
Data show that U.S. counties with the lowest share of people living in poverty and less COVID-19 community transmission have been vaccinated at higher rates. These counties also tend to have a higher share of residents with health insurance and fewer high-risk medical conditions than communities with more vulnerable populations. Similarly the rate of vaccination in whiter counties is higher than in counties with a higher proportion of racial and ethnic minority residents.
Additional data report significantly higher rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths among Black and Hispanic people in the U.S., yet in many states Black and Hispanic people have been vaccinated at lower rates than white people.
So even if someone follows the rules of vaccination eligibility, it doesn’t mean the rules are necessarily fair or do a good job ensuring those most vulnerable in society are being vaccinated.
What can we do about vaccine guilt?
My scholarship suggests that people have individual responsibilities as members of a society, including for the society’s health care practices. This is because we are interconnected in a shared society in which we rely on, benefit from, and can sometimes cause disadvantage to others.
As such, one good reason to feel vaccine guilt is it helps people recognize their participation in – and sometimes advantage because of – unjust and unfair systems. It can also spur a push for better accountability and equity within one’s social and political organizations in charge of health care systems in general and COVID-19 response specifically.
Although overall rates of vaccination are important and help protect those most medically vulnerable, the goal of herd immunity is not an excuse for unfairness in vaccine rollout. Plus data confirm that equitable vaccination is better for public health. Vaccinating highest-risk communities first reduces more cases, saves more lives and slows the pandemic faster.
So, where does this leave those feeling guilty about an upcoming vaccine appointment?
They should certainly keep the appointment. But perhaps they could consider ways to help others get vaccinated. Helping people who lack internet access to sign up and safely driving someone who lacks transportation to an appointment are two options.
Or people can donate to nonprofit organizations providing vaccination outreach in underserved communities or support community health centers.
People can also lobby political representatives for greater health equity in the first place.
In a country that can afford and produce vaccines in such a scale and timescale, perhaps there is good reason to feel some guilt. Although shots will soon be available to all, the burden of the virus has disproportionately fallen on low-income families and communities of color – the same communities that may face additional barriers to getting vaccinated.
Elizabeth Lanphier, Assistant Professor, Pediatrics and Ethics Center Faculty, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
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Two Virginia police officers have been sued for allegedly drawing their guns on a uniformed Army officer during a traffic stop and spraying him with a substance.
On Dec. 5, 2020, Windsor police officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker pulled over U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario, who is Black and Latino, while he was dressed in uniform, according to the lawsuit filed April 2.
They pulled him over in a newly purchased Chevrolet Tahoe SUV for not having a rear license plate, according to the lawsuit. Nazario was returning home from his duty station at the time, the lawsuit said.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Virginia in Norfolk, claims the officers violated Nazario’s constitutional rights and seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
Police body camera footage shows the moment officers pursued Nazario, who then pulled over at a well-lit gas station.
According to the report Officer Crocker submitted after the incident, Crocker said the driver was “eluding police” and he considered it to be a high-risk traffic stop.
Nazario wasn’t eluding police, he was trying to stop in a well-lit area for his safety and for the officers’ safety, according to the lawsuit.
Gutierrez acknowledged that Nazario’s decision to drive to a lighted area occurs “a lot … 80% of the time,” and that the maneuver informed him that Nazario was “at least 80% probability, a minority,” the lawsuit claims.
The vehicle was so new Nazario hadn’t yet gotten permanent plates, but had his cardboard temporary plates taped inside the rear window of the vehicle. When officers reached inside his car, that plate was visible in the rear, the lawsuit stated.
In the video footage, officers shout at Nazario to put his arms out of the window and approach him with their guns drawn.
“I’m honestly afraid to get out of the car,” Nazario is heard saying in the footage.
“Yeah you should be,” one officer replied.
The officers then threaten to arrest him for not listening to their orders to get out of the car and for “obstruction of justice,” the video shows.
“I’m actively serving this country and this is how you’re going to treat me?” Nazario says. Seconds later, an officer appears to spray him in his face with a substance in the video.
Nazario kept his hands up in the air as the officers yelled at him to get out and he shut his eyes, visibly reeling from the spray.
“I don’t even want to reach for my seatbelt, can you please? … My hands are out, can you please — look, this is really messed up,” Nazario says.
The officers are heard shouting conflicting orders at him, telling him to put his hands out of the window while telling him to open the door and get out.
At one point, Gutierrez told Nazario he was “fixin’ to ride the lightning,” according to the lawsuit. The phrase was a line from the movie “The Green Mile,” a film about a Black man facing execution, and references the electric chair, the lawsuit states.
When he finally got out of the car the video shows the officers repeatedly telling Nazario to get on the ground and then force him down, according to the lawsuit.
The officers struck Nazaro with their fists, knees and hands, forcing him onto his face and placed him in handcuffs, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims the officers used this force despite not having any probable cause to believe Nazario had committed a crime. Nazario was not charged in the incident.
“These cameras captured footage of behavior consistent with a disgusting nationwide trend of law enforcement officers, who, believing they can operate with complete impunity, engage in unprofessional, discourteous, racially biased, dangerous and sometimes deadly abuses of authority …” the lawsuit said.
Gutierrez wrote in his report that he felt he had to choose between charging Nazario with obstruction or releasing him without any charges.
“I made the decision to release him without any charges,” his report said according to The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk . “The reason for this decision is simple; the military is the only place where double jeopardy applies. Meaning that whatever happened in civil court, the military could still take action against him. Being a military veteran, I did not want to see his career ruined over one erroneous decision.”
Crocker said in his report he chose against filing charges because Nazario was active duty military and didn’t want to see his career ruined for “poor judgement.”
Crocker and Gutierrez still work for the department, according to The Virginian-Pilot. Windsor is located about 70 miles southeast of Richmond.
The Windsor Police Department did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
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That is what a research program at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is hoping to determine through a study aimed at enabling perpetrators to recognise and change their perspectives and reactions.
“What we realised over time is there have been a lot of programs running for men and the research would show that there’s inconsistency in their outcomes,” QUT’s Dave Misso told ABC Radio Brisbane.
“[Previous studies show] some men do improve and maintain those changes and a lot of them don’t.”
Mr Misso, who has developed the program, has worked with domestic violence perpetrators for 30 years as a counselling psychologist.
“I think what’s happened in the past is that a lot of programs have focused purely on getting men to change their attitudes and thinking about violence … and I think something in that has been encouraging more shame and blame.”
Instead, the QUT study will explore how psychologically and physically abusive men perceive the world, how they think and how they understand themselves in relation to others, and then determine what causes violent reactions.
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How will Sydney approach the Dustin Martin challenge this weekend?
It’s one of the key questions heading into the Easter round of football, with the Swans’ clash against Richmond at the MCG on Saturday looming as one of the highlights of Round 3.
Longmire outlined just how tough it is to curtail the Richmond star, conceding that he’s likely to have a significant impact on the game regardless of the plan that’s put in place to curtail him.
“You try and tag (Dustin Martin) and then he goes forward and pulls you out of shape and then he comes back into the midfield,” he said on Sportsday.
“You might get your perfect match up in one area of the ground, but you might not get the perfect match up in the other end of the ground.
“You can spend hours and hours debating what you do and the reality is he’s a very high quality player and you try and get it as good as can knowing that he’s still going to have a pretty good day.
“You’re not going to get everything perfectly.”
Coaching great Leigh Matthews flagged Dane Rampe as one likely matchup, but urged Longmire to look at someone other than Callum Mills if the side do decide to deploy a hard tag.
“Dane Rampe is the obvious match up,” he said.
“But with Tom Lynch and Jack Riewoldt, they already have problems. At the moment (Martin is) getting the third defender.
“I still think (John Longmire) would be trying to find someone other than Callum Mills if he opts to go for a hard tag.”
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News Corp Australia has notified a number of newsagents across regional Queensland that it will stop delivering its titles to them from late September, due to the “very high cost” of distribution.
News Corp wrote to select newsagents last Thursday, informing them it would no longer provide physical copies of eight mastheads, including The Courier-Mail, The Australian and The Daily Telegraph, after September 26.
The ABC understands distribution will cease to towns further west than Charters Towers in the north, Emerald in central Queensland and in some parts of the state’s south-west.
The move leaves a large swathe of Queenslanders without access to a daily newspaper covering state, national and international affairs.
In the letter seen by the ABC, News Corp Australia said its decision was based on “the very high cost to distribute to your region, in the context of how people access their news today, [which] makes its continuation unsustainable”.
Doug Winterbotham has owned his newsagency in Longreach for more than 37 years.
In that time, he’s seen smaller newspapers fold and titles stop printing in favour of a digital-only presence, but said News Corp’s latest decision came out of the blue.
“It’s another nail in the coffin in the west.
“They don’t care about us west of the [Great Dividing Range].”
Across the road, at Longreach’s second newsagency, Rob Luck said the move demonstrated News Corp’s focus on its bottom dollar at the expense of people’s wellbeing.
“We have a responsibility to service the public,” Mr Luck said.
“We work our businesses, obviously, to make profits, but also to meet the needs of our communities.
“That’s the thing I think News Corp is missing.
Peta MacRae, who owns a newsagency in Mount Isa, which has a population of 20,000 people, said News Corp’s decision felt like discrimination towards outback communities..
“It obviously does cost a lot of money to distribute papers and readership is down,” Mrs MacRae said.
“But really they are still printing them, and they’re printing them for people in urban areas, so it is like a little bit of discrimination as well.”
Mr Luck said the decision was ruthless.
“The hardest thing to accept [is] when you’ve been working with an organisation as part of your business for 26 years, you receive an email out of the blue, it’s never been discussed, it’s never had a comment in the wind about it.
In a statement to the ABC, News Corp said:
Ms MacRae said the suggestion that readers would simply switch to accessing news online wasn’t viable for less tech-savvy elderly residents.
“Not for the people that come into our shop, no,” Mrs MacRae said.
Mr Luck said not only would it impact on older people’s access to news, but their mental health too.
“I do worry about the older demographics in our areas where those people rely on the ability to get downtown, to talk, to meet, to come into your shop and enjoy that experience of getting their daily paper,” he said.
Younger locals are now worried the gap might lead older generations to less reputable online news sources.
“I’m worried maybe that people are going to turn to [Facebook] for their news and you can see how much rubbish is out there on those online groups,” Longreach resident Ben Galea said.
American expat Isabel Coppo said she was concerned it could lead to a spread of “fake news”.
“Being an American, I’ve seen firsthand how damaging it can be when people can get their news only online,” Ms Coppo said.
“When you take that away, it opens up a can of worms, and we’ve seen where that can lead.”
Federal Member for Maranoa David Littleproud accused News Corp of treating remote Queenslanders like “second-class citizens”.
“This just shows a level of discrimination just because of your postcode,” Mr Littleproud said.
“They’re valuing the livelihoods and the abilities and the amenities of a person living in a capital city above that of [someone] living in regional, rural and remote Queensland.”
Mr Littleproud said he would contact News Corp Australasia’s executive chairman Michael Miller about the issue.
He also said he would raise it with his Cabinet colleague, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, who declined to comment for this story.
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The Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has urged people to maintain physical distancing and stop shaking hands as the state recorded a case of COVID-19.
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Sally Sara is one of the ABC’s most distinguished journalists and currently the host of radio current affairs program The World Today.
The multi-award-winning journalist has reported from more than 40 countries, including some of the world’s most dangerous hotspots, and was the first female correspondent to be appointed to the ABC’s Johannesburg, New Delhi and Kabul bureaus.
But covering conflict and people’s suffering took a toll.
Sara sought professional counselling after returning from war-torn Afghanistan and now she’s written a semi-autobiographical play, Stop Girl, exploring the challenges faced by foreign correspondents adjusting to normal life at home.
How did your play Stop Girl come about?
I’ve had a love of theatre, since I was a kid.
Growing up in rural South Australia, going to the theatre was a 350-kilometre round trip.
It was a big deal, very exciting.
I was always captivated by the magic moment when the lights go down just before the start of a show, that moment is so full of possibility.
I’ve always wanted to write the story that comes next, I’ve always wanted to fill that space.
I did some radio and TV scriptwriting subjects at university, along with some drama.
I was very interested in becoming a scriptwriter, but I was also desperate to see the world.
So, I was drawn to journalism.
But I always thought that when the time was right, and I knew I had a story to tell, I would write.
It felt like the only way to tell the story.
It has taken five-and-a-half years to get the play to the stage.
I spent the first year trying to teach myself how to write plays.
I was unable to do a formal playwriting course, because I was travelling overseas frequently for the ABC.
So I read, watched and listened to everything I could get my hands on.
I also contacted several playwrights, who were kind enough to answer my questions.
I wrote the first draft at the end of 2016 and sent it to nine different theatre companies.
Some were interested, some weren’t.
Some answered my emails, some didn’t.
The play was selected for development by Playwriting Australia (PWA) at the end of 2017.
PWA teamed with up with playwright and actor Kate Mulvany, who provided feedback and encouragement as I continued to re-draft the script.
What impact did reporting in Afghanistan have on you?
I always found sad stories much more difficult than scary stories.
The scary stories seem to happen so quickly, but the sad stories have stayed with me for a long time.
Any stories involving children being injured or killed were the hardest of all.
How did you deal with the emotional impact?
I did my best as a correspondent to look after myself, talk to my friends and family and download any distressing experiences with counsellors.
I dealt fairly well while I was in the field, but it hit me later when I got home.
The assignments I did as a solo video-journalist seemed to have a much bigger emotional impact later on.
Being alone on the road can make stories much more difficult.
The assignments where I was working with a camera operator were easier to deal with because there was a chance to talk about what we’d witnessed.
How did the process of writing a play compare to journalism?
Being a journalist has certainly helped me write the play.
I interviewed all the real life people who inspired the characters — that gave a me a foundation for the script.
All of that has been invaluable in writing the play. The big difference as a playwright is that I can change the dialogue.
Some of the story structure discussions we’ve had with the play feel very similar to script meetings at Foreign Correspondent.
It’s all about being able to shift blocks of the story to where they need to go.
As a journo, I’m also used to meeting deadlines.
I can organise my time and do the best I can in the time available.
The play has been an absolute lifeline. It’s given me a new focus, a big challenge.
It takes a lot of thinking time to solve problems in the script, so it means I’m not ruminating about other things.
Only a handful of family and friends knew I was writing it, I did it quietly, in case it didn’t happen.
It was just something lovely to have in my mind and my life.
One of the other joys of the play, is the humour.
Given the nature of my journalism job, I’m not often able to use much humour in public.
But parts of the play are great fun.
It’s such a relief to be free with the dialogue and let the characters really talk. I’ve loved that.
The way journalists speak on-camera and off-camera are very different.
Has it been a cathartic experience?
The rehearsal process is quite demanding.
I don’t think it would be possible to come into that process with a lot of unfinished emotional business.
It would be too difficult.
I have worked really hard with a psychologist, to resolve any ongoing issues.
That has given me the stability and insight to be able to push forward with the play.
But I think it’s important to speak up and tell the story.
Many of my colleagues have also been affected by what they have witnessed.
I hope the play can give a voice to the unspoken side of journalism, the cost of what we do.
Belvoir St Theatre Company has been so respectful, supportive and committed to the play.
Every promise they have made, they have kept.
It is a dream come true to bring the story to the stage.
It’s really hard to break into theatre from the outside.
I’ve spent years going to every play I can.
I observe very carefully and take it all in. I love it.
I read and listen and watch everything I can get my hands on.
There is huge competition to get a play on stage, so many writers are working hard and taking risks. I don’t take it for granted.
I’ve given it everything I have.
I’m nervous as we move closer to opening night.
It’s all such an unknown experience for me.
As the writer, I hope I’ve written it well.
As the person who has lived some of the experiences of the story, I hope I can handle it.
Stop Girl is being performed at the Belvoir St Theatre in Sydney from March 20 to April 25
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