Tracey ready for No.1 spot at Sharks

Connor Tracey is looming as a shock contender to fill Cronulla’s No.1 NRL jersey after training at fullback in the pre-season.

Tracey has not played at the back since his early teens, but the play-making utility has impressed there alongside Will Kennedy this summer.

The Sharks will have an opening for at least the first eight rounds, with Shaun Johnson injured and Matt Moylan playing in the halves.

But Tracey want to make the role his long-term, with a gap likely to open up depending on Moylan’s future at the club.

“I have wanted to do it the past few years, but you have to get a full pre-season in if you want to switch positions,” Tracey told AAP.

“I came to Bomber (coach John Morris) before pre-season and he said he was already planning on putting me there in the pre-season.

“I really do see myself there in the future.

“It suits my abilities the best, probably better than five-eighth. I am really looking to get a career out of fullback.”

Tracey played 16 games last year, but the majority of those came as a utility off the bench.

He last played fullback 10 years ago as a 14-year-old before shifting to the halves when playing under-16s Harold Matthews Cup for Cronulla in 2012.

His chances to push for the spot are limited, with players who only played more than 12 NRL games last year restricted to just one trial match in 2021.

Tracey has however been regularly tested under the high ball at training, with the Sharks running opposed sessions each Friday during the pre-season.

Kennedy started at the back in 17 games last year, scoring just three tries but setting up 12.

However Tracey believed the faster gameplay in 2021 due to the expanded six-again rule would suit him at the back.

“The faster the game for me, the better,” Tracey said.

“I want them to speed it up as much as they can. Small guys it really suits and I am quite fit, so it works in my favour.”

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Miss Redoble, McCormack chances for trainer Tracey Bartley

Tracey Bartley shocked punters at Warwick Farm during the week and he believes he can do it again at Randwick today, not once but twice.

The astute Wyong trainer saddled up Moana Jewel to victory on Wednesday as punters sent her out at $20, perhaps forgetting she ran second behind Through The Cracks in last year’s Provincial Championships Final.

She ran away from them to win by more than two lengths.

“I think she’ll have to go to a Saturday race. There’s a nice mares race in three weeks’ time for her,” Bartley said.

But today he’s trying to win with Miss Redoble and McCormack and he’s in the mood to cause another upset with one of them.

“I think I can,” Bartley said.

“I think they’ll both be overs and I’m sure they’ll run very well.”

Punters could have got $17 about Miss Redoble yesterday after opening as a $15 chance for her Benchmark 78 Handicap (1800m) today.

The six-year-old hasn’t finished more than 2 ¾ lengths off the winner this time in as she’s slowly built up in distance in four runs.

She’s won six races to date from 33 attempts and Regan Bayliss will be able to give her the right run from barrier six after a top effort over 1550m last start at Canterbury.

“She’s crying out for 1800m and is on a quick back up which I think is ideal. I was always a plan to back her up and this is her chance to run in an 1800m race,” Bartley said.

“I was always going to get her out to a trip this preparation. She’s been a very good horse to me.”

“She’ll roll forward and I’d love to see her sitting up outside the leader.”

Miss Redoble had things against her last time when getting back at Canterbury which hasn’t been the right formula for a while, but she ran on to get within 1 ½ lengths of Strange Charm.

“I think she jumped all right the other day but it was just the pace of the race. I think the pace over 1800m will be much better for her,” Bartley said.

“She made good ground last start but she couldn’t win during the speed of the race.”

McCormack, earlier in the day, has to beat the likes of All Time Legend ($1.90) and Subedar ($4.60) if he’s to shock the punters as a $21 chance.

“They don’t give McCormack much of a chance. I don’t what sort of price he is but I know he needed the run the other day,” Bartley said.

“Kathy (O’Hara) was very happy with him and she wanted to ride him at his next start regardless of where he went so that was good enough for me.”

The Eurozone five-year-old has also won six races in his career, from 23 starts, and Bartley told punters not to worry much about his seventh placing first-up behind the flying Big Parade at Randwick.

O’Hara will be able to give McCormack the ideal run from barrier two and he excels on tracks that have been hit with rain leading up to a meeting.

“McCormack ran well the other day. He just needed the run and he’ll strip a lot fitter for this race,” Bartley said.

“He won second-up last preparation and I though his gallop during the week was very good.”

So which horse is the best chance on causing an upset today?

“She’s probably only giving me a little more confidence because she’s really fit, but McCormack is a winner. When he’s ready he’s really hard to beat,” Bartley said.

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Tracey Wickham and Lisa Curry united after tragedy

The tributes for the Curry-Kenny family have come flooding in following the shock and tragic death of Jaimi Kenny on Monday.

A joint statement from Lisa Curry and Grant Kenny revealed their beloved oldest daughter Jaimi had died in hospital that morning.

Jaimi, 33, had “lost her battle with a long-term illness and passed away peacefully in hospital this morning in the company of loving family”. understands the 33-year-old had been receiving treatment for an eating disorder for years at Sunshine Coast private clinic End ED.

As the tributes came rolling in, one from a long-time rival in the pool stood out on social media.

Tracey Wickham and Curry were stars of the pool throughout the 1980s, winning more than 20 international gold medals combined.

Despite the Aussie duo dominating between the lanes, out of the pool their relationship was far from friendly with the frostiest moment coming ahead of the 1982 Commonwealth Games when Curry slow clapped her rival as she walked out to the pool.

But after the tragic announcement of Jaimi’s death, Wickham put their rivalry aside and reached out to her long-time opponent.

“Lisa, my heart breaks for you and your family,’ Wickham wrote on Curry’s Instagram.

“It’s a tragic time when losing a child. I can’t believe we both have lost our beloved daughters.

“God bless you and hoping everyone holds you tight. Big hugs … much love. Tracey.”

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Wickham sadly lost her daughter Hannah Ciobo in 2009 after a five-year battle with the rare disease, synovial cancer.

Hannah, 19, was first diagnosed with synovial sarcoma — a rare and aggressive cancer — in 2004 but beat it after several operations and rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. Sadly it returned for the final time in early 2009.

She died three hours after achieving her final wish as she married Tom O’Driscoll in a hospital wedding. The pair met two years earlier in a cancer ward.

Wickham said her daughter was in a hospital gown and on oxygen, but was aware of the ceremony, attended by 20 family and friends including Hannah’s dad and brother Daniel.

“There was love in her eyes,” she said.

“Tom was alone with her, and he saw her slip away.

“She was too young to die. Hannah was a fighter until the end, just like her mother.

“She passed away peacefully with family and friends.”

Curry thanked the outpouring of love from all corners after making the heartbreaking announcement of her daughter’s passing, while issuing advice to fellow parents in an Instagram post.

“Right now, go and give your children the biggest hug and tell them how much you love them, and do that everyday because you’ll never know if it’s the last day,” she wrote.

Sadly Curry was forced to hit out on social media when a dodgy fundraiser was set up by internet scammers.

“SOME PEOPLE !!! Someone has started a go fund me page on Mark Andrew Tabone FB page … this is NOT US,” Ms Curry wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.

“It’s also sending friend requests. PLEASE DO NOT OPEN ANYTHING FROM THIS FAKE ACCOUNT.”

Thankfully evidence of the dodgy fundraiser appears to have been wiped from the Donor Box site.

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ANALYSIS: Ditching Tracey Cameron was about more than coal

TRACEY Cameron’s resignation as the Labor Party’s state election candidate for the key seat of Whitsunday sent the rumour mill into overdrive.

But to be fair, the writing was on the wall long before that.

As the gossip began swirling, all it took was a statement from Dawson MP George Christensen to cut through the noise.

Mr Christensen claimed Ms Cameron didn’t resign, but was unceremoniously “ditched” due to her stance on coal.

Ms Cameron agreed with his comments, but later said her stance on other issues, such as agriculture, could have played a part as well.

But if coal was such a major issue to the party, why would Labor endorse pro-coal Mike Brunker as a candidate for the seat of Burdekin?

It doesn’t really add up.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Attila Csaszar

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University of Queensland political expert Chris Salisbury doesn’t buy the coal story either.

“There was probably a mix of reasons,” Dr Salisbury said.

“Perhaps there has been some internal party polling done in Whitsunday and presumably other seats up north that indicated there wasn’t a great deal of candidate cut through.”

Dr Salisbury believes the crucial nature of the Whitsunday seat was likely the determining factor in the decision to replace Ms Cameron with Cannonvale State School principal Angie Kelly.

“Both the LNP, who had held this seat for some time now, but also Labor, will be gunning for that seat purely because the major parties know they have to hold or gain sets like this to have a chance at winning government,” he said.

“This kind of seat, held by a disenfranchised former LNP member, they will both be targeting to win.

“What makes Whitsunday of interest to the major parties is, it’s held on a very tight margin, so all players will be pulling out all stops to win this because so many marginal seats are going to be crucial to whoever ends up forming government.”

Views from the Honeyeater trail lookout at Airlie Beach stretch over the marina and Whitsundays. Picture: Rae Wilson

Views from the Honeyeater trail lookout at Airlie Beach stretch over the marina and Whitsundays. Picture: Rae Wilson

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As for “hand-picked” newcomer Ms Kelly, Dr Salisbury said there was a lot riding on her shoulders.

“The Premier will no doubt see this new candidate as critical to Labor’s chances,” he said.

“Parties make these calls from time to time, but they can fall either way depending on how that plays out with local branch members in the seat.”

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