One of regional Australia’s oldest newspapers that closed due to the pandemic-fuelled downturn has been rescued by a consortium of independent newspaper proprietors.
The Border Watch will be published again from next month
The 159-year-old newspaper was suddenly closed in August
MEAA SA regional director Angelique Ivanica says the community must support the paper
The Border Watch — which covers South Australia’s second largest city — closed suddenly late last month, throwing nearly 40 people out of work in Mount Gambier.
The first edition under new ownership is expected to hit newsagency stands next month.
Former The Border Watch editor Brett Kennedy will return as managing editor to lead the relaunch of the iconic masthead.
“I’m delighted a number of my former The Border Watch colleagues, who are among the finest journalists and media consultants in the industry, are also re-joining the team.
“We feel a great sense of pride and privilege to be restoring a community service that has served Mount Gambier and the Limestone Coast so well for almost 160 years.”
Saved by ‘passionate’ investors
The Border Watch has been purchased by a partnership of independent newspaper proprietors from South Australia and Victoria, and a media consultant from Queensland.
Andrew Manuel — owner of The Plains Producer in Balaklava and Clare, and a director of the newly founded TBW Today Pty Ltd which purchased The Border Watch mastheads, websites and digital records — has confirmed their commitment to restoring The Border Watch as the journal of record for the region.
“We have a small group of passionate second- and third-generation regional newspaper proprietors and a multimedia consultant as part of the ownership, and we’re delighted to be getting this rare opportunity to carry forward a newspaper with such a rich and respected legacy.”
Mr Manuel said having The Border Watch be part of a larger publishing network would provide a range of benefits, including an advertising service for local businesses.
The next edition of The Border Watch will be on sale in newsagents on Friday, October 16, and will initially be a weekly newspaper supported by a digital presence.
There are plans to add a second edition each week once the paper is re-established and to also resume printing The South Eastern Times, which is based in Millicent.
Media union says sale ‘inspirational’
Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance SA regional director Angelique Ivanica said today’s announcement was “amazing news”.
She said too many regional newspapers had been “left to die” during the pandemic.
“The Border Watch has a place in the Mount Gambier community and in South Australia,” Ms Ivanica said.
She commended the new owners for taking on the publication, which provided crucial information for the Limestone Coast community.
“The staff — some of whom worked for the newspaper — know what to do, and I hope the new owners let them do that,” Ms Ivanica said.
She said the regional community must now support the paper.
It is understood several media companies flagged their interest in purchasing the masthead, including the Taylor Group Newspapers based in South Australia.
The Apple Watch Series 6 debuted last week, along with a new, less expensive Watch, called the SE.
The Series 6 offers more new features than the SE, naturally, and it could be one of the sneakiest great new fitness devices for both home and outdoor workouts. Also, there’s a new, higher performance chip, promising 20 percent faster performance, 5G for the SIM version, and something called a U1 chip—about which, I’ll decode below, along with all the rest of the features.
What are the SIMs for? SIM-enabled versions enable you to talk and text from your wrist, without having an iPhone anywhere nearby or tethered. Prices: Series 6, $499 w/SIM, $399 without; SE, $329 w/SIM, $279 without.
Why We Like It:
The Series 6 offers a few upgrades from the Series 5 right out of the gate. While the prior Watch had an always-on screen, this one is 2.5 times brighter. I’ve tested a lot of these devices from several different brands and not being able to see a screen in the middle of an interval workout, running stairs, doing kettlebell swings, or riding a gnarly single-track when you’d really like to know if you’re on your fitness target is profoundly frustrating.
Thankfully, the new always-on screen on the Series 6 isn’t just on, but it’s more legible in bright light, so just a glance let me see my mid-workout metrics — or if I had a text I should respond to. They also added a small red dot that appears at the top of the screen to inform you of received messages that haven’t been read yet, which is a handy, silent reminder.
Speaking of sound, the onboard speaker is now 50 percent louder, which makes a real difference. During an outdoor gravel ride I was able to catch up on a call on my wrist; or at least until my buddy got sick of listening to my heavy breathing.
But there’s much more going on.
Overall Health Monitor
Apple added a blood oxygen sensor. But since it takes about 15 seconds to do manually, we’d guess you’re unlikely to bother too often. Luckily, it’s been set to operate passively, and especially when you’re asleep, which is like getting an extra health checkup nightly.
Why does this matter?
Blood oxygen has made a lot of headlines during COVID-19 as an indicator of very sick people who didn’t know they had the disease and weren’t admitted to the hospital until they were in dire need of medical assistance. So knowing if you’re roughly normal (above 90 percent) is important.
Beyond COVID-19, low blood oxygen levels are closely linked with sleep apnea, asthma, and other ailments that can cause health complications even in otherwise healthy people. During testing I luckily scored just fine, but getting this ancillary metric in a world where you could be a passive carrier of the coronavirus offers a bit of mental relief.
As for the rest of the sleep tracking experience, there’s an important aspect of the Watch Series 6 to note here: It charges about 20 percent faster. That’s important. It meant I could recharge the Watch each morning, wear it all day, use it for fitness, let it monitor my sleep all night, and plop it back on its charger the next morning while the coffee brewed and have it topped up by the time I was dressed and out the door.
Beyond blood oxygen, sleep tracking also means you set your own target schedule for when to sleep, when to rise, an alarm if you like, and each morning you’ll get a report on your phone that includes metrics like heart rate during the night, as well as the aforementioned blood ox, etc.
Another daily measure is VO2.
Newer Apple Watches already covered VO2 max, which is a strong metric for fitness and health, and something you can track over time in response to the efficacy of your workout routine; frequently it’s useful to check if it’s dropping due to over-training.
But now Apple’s measuring low VO2.
A 2016 American Heart Association urged clinicians to consider lower levels of cardiovascular fitness as a predictor of risk for death, even more than factors like smoking and hypertension. While the Apple Watch Series 6 measures V02 max, seeing and being warned about low VO2 is likely to save a lot of lives, hopefully spurring people to talk to their doctors about getting more exercise and at least walking or hiking.
Outdoor Fitness, Adventure, and HR Tracking
Speaking of the latter, presuming you’re already active, Apple added a few more features that you can use now, and one huge one that’s not available for a few months. First, there’s an always-on altimeter and compass. The compass is handy for backcountry wayfinding of course, but the altimeter is supposed to be accurate to within just a few feet, and when you combine the two features finding your location on a map is now a heck of a lot easier.
Apple also updated its entire OS for all versions of the Watch ecosystem, adding more sports, including bodyweight exercises, core training, and functional strength training as well as cool-down.
Heart rate reading seems very good, thanks to new sensors. Over the course of testing, from lifting to stability work, running and cycling, I tested the Watch against an ECG chest strap (which are known to be more accurate than wrist-worn devices). Yet the Apple was nearly always within just a beat or two. That’s very good.
Of course what’s coming around Thanksgiving is the biggest news of all.
It’s called Apple Fitness+ and it’s guided classes for $9.99 a month with elite level coaches customizing workouts for Apple. Apple’s talking about hundreds of classes that you can join on your phone, Apple TV, iPad, etc., or bounce from phone to smart TV. Workouts include strength, functional, HIIT, yoga, flexibility, spin, running, rowing, treadmill, etc., and a library that expands every week.
The nifty innovation here is beaming your workout metrics from your wrist directly to the screen, so you can see your calories, HR, etc. at eye level, rather than needing to monitor your progress on your wrist. If you’re doing some kind of interval, the countdown to the next phase is also displayed onscreen.
Apple promises to incorporate recommendations for what classes to do next based on the exercises you already do indoors and outside, as well as classes based on existing metrics captured via the Watch. You can also target your workouts based on time, from 5-45 minutes, and customize the backbeat/artist/genre that you like and have Apple DJ the songs for your sweat session. If you love that mix, download that playlist for listening later when you’re not lifting/running/stretching.…
Even more is coming, too. That U1 chip will allow using the Watch to unlock your car, depending on the model, and we’ll bet there are more functions Apple will add because this chip is designed as a proximity sensor that works like Find my Phone. So finding other objects is logical, as is reading your location in relation to other digital tools in your life, whether that’s illuminating the lights of your home the moment you enter your driveway, or firing up your Sonos sound system as your feet hit the doorstep—or killing it the moment you’re on your way out the door.
Apple’s updated OS for Watch includes a hand-washing detector that counts down for 20 seconds and is supposed to monitor the unique pattern of your mitts as you slop them with soap and water. But…so far it’s a little imprecise. It launched when I was doing the dishes and even when I was tightening a screw using a ratchet. It got busy when I was opening the gas valve for the barbecue grill.
I appreciate Apple’s serious focus on health. And Apple keeps adding more tech to its Watch ecosystem while retaining a dead-simple interface. This is in massive contrast to the bulk of the wearable landscape that’s littered with devices that do far less, yet take nearly constant manual consultation to understand. But my guess is that timing hand washing is one of those cute ideas that quietly dissolves down the drain a few OS updates from now.
Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy has reiterated that he won’t rush Cameron Smith into a decision on his playing future after escaping a fine for flipping the bird at his skipper.
Smith is 37, but has showed no signs of relenting in his quality as he bagged his 47th try on the weekend against the Wests Tigers.
That try saw Smith overtake Bellamy’s career tally of 46 which prompted a tongue-in-cheek one-fingered salute in the direction of his skipper.
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While it was all meant in good jest and he apologised afterwards, the Storm coach was nearly hit with a fine by the NRL.
Bellamy flips Smith the bird!
“I think I was pretty close to that (fine) actually,” Bellamy told SEN.
“I’ve had a little warning and I can understand that.
“There’s a lot of different ages watching that game.
“As soon as I saw the guys behaving the way they were I thought, here’s something back for you but a couple of minutes later I thought, ‘You stupid idiot’.
“Most people took it OK but I apologised after to the people who might have taken offence so I will learn from that mistake.”
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New milestones or not, Bellamy has faced repeated questions over the skipper’s future this season.
Foxx burns the Tigers
Off contract later this year, Smith has been linked with moves to the Titans and Broncos.
He could also stay at the Storm and play on, or retire amid growing calls from some sections of the media urging him to do so.
Rising hooker Harry Grant is now an established NRL player after a season on loan with the Tigers, while Brandon Smith has become New Zealand’s No. 9.
Bellamy maintained that the club were in no rush to know the skipper’s plans with the coach highlighting that they had prepared their salary cap for Smith leaving or staying.
“As I’ve said all along, I’ve been saying for a couple of years when people ask me about this situation, my point of view is for what he’s done for our game as a whole, but what he’s done for our club in Melbourne he deserves to make a decision when he’s ready to make a decision,” Bellamy added.
Tigers’ FREAK sideline skills
“We’d all like to know what the decision’s going to be, without a doubt, but at the end of the day, I believe he’s earnt the right.
“The club’s quite happy to go along that line.
“He’s earnt the right to make that decision when it suits him.
“Cameron, the way he’s still playing, he’d be an asset to any team at the moment.”
The task for list managers and recruiters in 2020 is unlike any others compared to past years.
Some clubs are already stocked with top picks, others need to be precise in their search for gold nuggets.
Foxfooty.com.au and Champion Data assess the chasms at every club – and which draftee they could target at the 2020 AFL draft.
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Finals Week 1
Higgins should leave Roos
Draft picks (after home and away season): 1, 8, 20, 31, 44, 48, 60
The type of player they should target: Clearance-winning midfielder
Ideal player: Will Phillips
Father-Son/Academy prospects: James Borlase, Luke Edwards, Tariek Newchurch
With Brad Crouch’s departure becoming more likely, the Crows will need to find another ball-winning midfielder. That could come in the form of Giant Jackson Hately, but a clearance-winning onballer is a priority area at the draft for the club, which has drafted Chayce Jones and Ned McHenry in recent years. With Rory Sloane over 30 and needing support, Oakleigh Charger Phillips the obvious best choice. The tough inside midfielder is one of the top draft prospects and has impressed when given the opportunity, playing in the Chargers’ NAB League premiership last season. He averaged 22 disposals for the club last year where he showed an ability to hit the scoreboard. Despite standing at 180cm, he will bash and crash his way through the middle of the ground.
Draft picks (after home and away season): 18, 19, 40, 64
The type of player they should target: Creative half-back flank
Ideal player: Lachlan Jones
Father-Son/Academy prospects: Blake Coleman, Saxon Crozier, Carter Michael
The Lions have a pressing need a both ends with some support for Eric Hipwood – but that could well come during trade period. Down back, the Lions are well led by Harris Andrews, but with veterans Daniel Rich and Grant Birchall running out of time it is an area to target. With a number of lockdown defenders in the mould of Brandon Starcevich and Noah Answerth, a creative player that can set up the ground would be ideal. Port Adelaide Academy prospect Lachie Jones is among the crop of half-back flank types who would suit. He is likely to receive a first-round bid after impressive showings in the SANFL League competition, including taking a huge screamer of a mark. He uses the ball very well and is willing to take the game on with ball in hand.
Draft picks (after home and away season): 7, 27, 45
The type of player they should target: Midfielders to replace Marc Murphy and Ed Curnow
Ideal player: Tanner Bruhn
Father-Son/Academy prospects: Tom Gleeson, Mackenzie Hogg, Charlie McKay, Tom Silvagni
The Blues might be certain to steal Zac Williams from GWS and have pushed hard to win Brad Crouch’s heart, indicating the club is strong on bringing in more midfielders into Ikon Park. With Patrick Cripps being supported mostly by Marc Murphy and Ed Curnow, who won’t be playing forever. Matt Kennedy impressed at times, Will Setterfield could step in, while Sam Walsh is a star. But a player in the calibre of Bruhn would be hard to pass off if the Blues were close enough to snare the Geelong Falcons product. A number of injuries have stopped him in the past, with the Vic Country player missing a chunk of 2019. However, he was able to train at Geelong in the pre-season, with all reports giving raving reviews. The 18-year-old is a good ball user and can play in and outside, giving him flexibility as he grows into his body.
Draft picks (after home and away season): 12, 35, 39
The type of player they should target: Front-half players who can address scoring issues
Ideal player: Elijah Hollands
Father-Son/Academy prospects: Reef McInnes
Collingwood’s forward line has looked like a dogs breakfast at times in 2020, but Nathan Buckley seems to have pretty much found his finals formula, even if Jaidyn Stephenson’s form has been underwhelming this year. With Brody Mihocek and Mason Cox used inside 50, there’s no doubting a player like Elijah Hollands would help the club pepper the scoreboard. The 188cm midfielder is a creative forward-half player who can play as a marking option inside 50, knowing how to hit the scoreboard. He hasn’t played for the entire season after an ACL rupture in February, but he would be a player with plenty of interest inside the first 10 selections.
Draft picks (after home and away season): 6, 42, 61, 69, 70
The type of player they should target: Outside midfielders with the Dons lacking wingers on their list
Ideal player: Brayden Cook
Father-Son/Academy prospects: Cody Brand, Josh Eyre, Maurice Rioli jnr
If there’s one spot Essendon drastically needs to improve, it’s the wing. With virtually not wingers on their list according to Champion Data, Adrian Dodoro and his team are likely to look for a number of outside types this year. A real bolter in recent months is South Australian Brayden Cook, who has had a number of outstanding efforts for South Adelaide. He has booted multiple bags this season, but likely has a future in somewhat of a similar role to Richmond’s Kamdyn McIntosh on the outside. He covers the ground well and could well bolt into first round thoughts by the time the draft rolls around later in the year.
Draft picks (after home and away season): 10, 29, 98
The type of player they should target: Front-half player who can evolve the club’s offensive work
Ideal player: Archie Perkins
Father-Son/Academy prospects: Maurice Rioli jnr, Brandon Walker, Chris Walker, Joel Western
Fremantle’s draft class in recent years has been mighty impressive with Adam Cerra, Andrew Brayshaw and Caleb Serong among the stars of the future, with the trio all stepping up and likely winning Brownlow votes throughout the year. There is still work to be done inside 50 alongside Matt Taberner and other talls, with another small or medium forward likely to help the club hit the scoreboard after a defence first approach in 2020. Victorian Archie Perkins hasn’t had an opportunity to press his case, but the early glimpses have been good. The medium forward marks well overhead and can push through the midfield, applying pressure and winning the contested ball. He has power and explosiveness in the forward half and is a dangerous opponent for opposition sides.
Draft picks (after home and away season): 11, 15, 16, 34
The type of player they should target: Key position players at either end of ground
There is no shortage of tall targets for Geelong, headlined by Western Bulldogs next-generation Academy member Ugle-Hagan. The left footed tall has been likened to Lance Franklin and glides around the forward line with ease. McDonald has been the best performing draft prospect in 2020 with the West Australian able to dominating in the WAFL League competition. At one stage, he was leading the competition for goals, pushing his case as a genuine top-five prospect. His contested marking is impressive and his pinpoint accuracy has caught the eye with the 18-year-old hardly putting a foot wrong this season. Thilthorpe is a pure utility given his ability to play as a tall and up in the midfield if required. With senior football experience at West Adelaide, he is a player who could be ready to roll when a number of older Cats talls hang up the boots. Grainger-Barrass could well be the first tall drafted given his strong intercept work for Swan Districts in the WAFL, with the 18-year-old defeating McDonald in a recent battle. His bottom-age work was superb in last year’s Under 18 championships.
GOLD COAST SUNS
Draft picks (after home and away season): 5, 24, 36, 72
The type of player they should target: A good ball user through the midfield
Ideal player: Finlay Macrae
Father-Son/Academy prospects: Alex Davies, Joel Jeffrey, Brodie Lake
The Suns have certainly selected well in recent years with a number of starring outings from their 2018 and 2019 draft picks this season helping the club rise up the ladder. But there is still more work to do. While Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson might be their midfielders for the future, along with Academy selection Alex Davies, there is room for class in the middle. The Suns have been in the bottom two of the AFL for six of the last 10 years in terms of kicking efficiency, ranked 18th in 2020. It’s why Victorian Finlay Macrae should be in their thoughts with an early pick. The 18-year-old averaged 16.9 disposals in the NAB League last season, showing his poise and class. The brother of Western Bulldogs gun Jack knows where to run to win the ball and has a strong footy IQ.
Draft picks (after home and away season): 28, 46, 66
The type of player they should target: Outside midfielder strength to complement inside power
Ideal player: Bailey Laurie
Father-Son/Academy prospects: Josh Green
GWS will be big players over the off-season with a number of players already requesting moves away from the club. But the Giants have plenty of depth and still have players to keep the club in the mix for finals in 2021. To support Tim Taranto, Jacob Hopper and Tom Green, they may look to target an outside player in the attacking half. Vic Metro’s Bailey Laurie could be close to a first round prospect, given his skills and poise in the attacking half. The 178cm prospect is far from the finished player but makes things happen, possessing good agility and stamps his authority on the game. In seven appearances last year in the NAB League, he averaged 15.3 disposals and booted six goals.
Draft picks (after home and away season): 4, 21, 41, 43, 59, 67
The type of player they should target: Midfielders, midfielders, midfielders
Ideal player: Zane Trew
Father-Son/Academy prospects: Connor Downie
Hawthorn might have Brownlow Medal winner Tom Mitchell at their disposal. But if there’s one area the club needs to draft hard, it’s in the midfield. The Hawks were ranked 18th for contested possessions, 17th for groundballs and 16th for clearances in 2020, indicating there is work to do in the middle of the ground. Alastair Clarkson’s side has hardly had a first-round pick in recent memory, with the signs already very promising from Will Day. Trew is one of the players who has pushed his case with WAFL performances with the inside midfielder impressing for Swan Districts. He is a big ball winner – grabbing over 20 touches on numerous occasions – winning the ball in the stoppages and dishing it out at speed. At 187cm and 78kg, Trew is far from the finished product given he battled injuries in the last two years. His decision making at the contest is good and he can get stuck in and lay strong tackles.
Draft picks (after home and away season): 23, 47, 62, 63
The type of player they should target: Medium/small forwards to help the club hit the scoreboard
Ideal player: Ollie Henry
Father-Son/Academy prospects: Deakyn Smith
Max Gawn certainly wasn’t joking at the start of the season when he predicted teammate Bayley Fritsch to take out the Coleman Medal, backing the medium forward for glory. And while Fritsch didn’t jump that high – booting 22 goals to be the club’s equal leading goalkicker – there is scope for Melbourne inside 50. One such player is Henry, who is the brother of Geelong’s Jack. The medium forward has plenty of tricks and is certainly in the first round mix. As a 188cm prospect, he marks well as an option close to goal, but applies pressure when the ball hits the ground. Henry is far from the finished product and with strong glimpses in the last two years, there might just be a plethora of clubs looking to touch base with the Vic Country prospect on Zoom in 2020.
Draft picks (after home and away season): 2, 9, 25, 57, 65
The type of player they should target: Classy ball user through the midfield
Ideal player: Braeden Campbell
Father-Son/Academy prospects: N/A
North Melbourne will have a major off-season list revamp with already 11 players cut and a number of others likely to test the trade and free agency waters. With two selections currently inside the top 10, the Roos will have plenty of options to address their needs which are right around the ground. However, classy ball users going forward is certainly an area that would help with Ben Cunnington, Luke Davies-Uniacke and Jy Simpkin in the middle of the ground. Sydney Swans Academy prospect Braeden Campbell fits the bill with the left footer able to hit pinpoint passes up the ground and can break the lines. The 18-year-old was named as best on ground in the Under 17 All Stars game on Grand Final day last year, with the midfielder able to hit the scoreboard and mark well around the ground.
Draft picks (after home and away season): 26, 30, 37, 50, 55
The type of player they should target: Classy ball user through the midfield and across half back
Ideal player: Jack Carroll
Father-Son/Academy prospects: Lachlan Jones, Taj Schofield
The Power are in a perfect position after ending the year as the minor premiers. Their strong drafting in recent years has culminated in an All-Australian nomination for Zak Butters, with the 20-year-old among the trio of future stars plucked by the club in 2018. Lachie Jones will join the club as an Academy selection at the end of the year, with the Power having banked plenty of points. If they were to end up with a top pick, Carroll could be one such player to look at with the East Fremantle midfielder/defender rising up the draft boards in recent months. Given he doesn’t turn 18 until December, there is strong scope for his developing heading into 2021. Carroll has moved into the midfield this year after playing mostly on the outside in the past, having a number of performances over 20 disposals. His agility in traffic is good and his composure means he could well be suited to a career in the defensive half of the ground going forward, but the signs this season have been very good.
Draft picks (after home and away season): 17, 32, 53, 71
The type of player they should target: An out and out ruck prospect
Ideal player: Max Heath
Father-Son/Academy prospects: Ethan Baxter, Maurice Rioli jnr
Given Richmond could well win premiership number three inside a four season period, Damien Hardwick’s side doesn’t exactly have too many pressing needs. However, with Ivan Soldo’s 12-month injury and Toby Nankervis having a few niggles in recent times, Richmond’s ruck departments is far from the best in the competition. Nankervis was linked with a move interstate, but Soldo’s injury may have changed that, while youngster Callum Coleman-Jones has been linked with Adelaide and GWS in the past. If the Tigers want another pure ruck to develop on their list, Victorian Max Heath is likely to be at the top of their thoughts. Clubs won’t have too much on the 17-year-old, given he had just one NAB League appearance after playing school football last year. But the pre-season performances were very promising with the 202cm tall one of the best rucks in the draft poll.
Draft picks (after home and away season): 14, 58, 73
The type of player they should target: Inside midfielder to help Jack Steele
Ideal player: Alex Davies
Father-Son/Academy prospects: N/A
Jack Steele has had to do it alone throughout the season with the former Giant rewarded with All-Australian squad of 40 selection. The Saints had a huge off-season in 2019, bringing in a number of mature players and drafting more midfielders. But a player like Gold Coast Academy prospect Alex Davies would be a mouth-watering selection for James Gallagher and his team, with the 191cm prospect one of the better big-bodied onballers in the draft pool. His contested work is very impressive and possesses a big right foot boot. He could see senior footy action in 2021, with the 18-year-old not scared of contact.
Draft picks (after home and away season): 3, 22, 54, 56
The type of player they should target: Big bodied midfielder to take pressure off veteran Kennedy
Ideal player: Nathan O’Driscoll
Father-Son/Academy prospects: Braeden Campbell, Errol Gulden, Marco Rossmann
The Swans appear likely to have a number of first round selections given Braeden Campbell and Errol Gulden’s strong feats over the last 24 hours. The pair could receive bids inside the top 25, meaning the Swans will need to bank late selections in order to match the pair. They will be likely to take an early pick, with Western Australia midfielder Nathan O’Driscoll a player who would help the club down the track. With the Swans drafting a number of hybrid players, the 18-year-old is a bigger frame that is made for the centre of the ground. He has a long kick and bashes his way through the contest, laying 6.7 tackles and collecting 16 disposals in the Under 18 Championships last year. His work at WAFL level this year has impressed a number of AFL recruiters.
WEST COAST EAGLES
Draft picks (after home and away season): 33, 51, 52
The type of player they should target: Creative rebounding defender
Ideal player: Brandon Walker
Father-Son/Academy prospects: N/A
In defensive 50, the Eagles have two strong intercept markers with Tom Barrass and Jeremy McGovern holding down key position posts. Shannon Hurn continues to star for the Eagles and isn’t slowing down, but the club could do with a creative classy users out of defensive 50. One such player they could put time into is Brandon Walker. The half back is a smooth mover and is linked to Fremantle as part of their next-generation Academy. He has pinpoint kicking skills and is able to break the lines with ease. Walker has been a consistent player for East Fremantle throughout 2020, averaging around 20 touches and five marks per game. His speed makes him catch the eye and he has the ability to leap high and intercept when required.
Draft picks (after home and away season): 13, 38, 49
The type of player they should target: Another small forward to help their groundball numbers inside 50
The Western Bulldogs are one of the luckiest teams in the competition, given tall Jamarra Ugle-Hagan will join the club as an Academy selection. On talent alone he could be in the conversation for Pick 1, but rival recruiters couldn’t see a team giving up the marketing tool of the first pick to the Bulldogs. Nevertheless, the Dogs will need to match a bid inside the top five, which is sure to be match. However, their forward half game still needs some work in terms of the smaller types. Cody Weightman was drafted last year, but given the Dogs have been linked to multi small forwards this year it indicates they want more in that position. Sydney Swans Academy prospect Errol Gulden will likely begin his career as a small forward, with the left-footer standing at 171cm. He is a smart midfielder, but given his size he is likely to split his time in the attacking half. Gulden is not afraid to fight to win the ball back and has class with ball in hand. His recent form in New South Wales has been stunning.
Annie Murphy wins best supporting actress for her turn as Alexis, the ditsy Schittsy daughter, and that means the show has won all four of the comedy acting awards, plus writing and directing. How good is that?
As I wrote last week, Schitt’s Creek is a show that grows on you. Outside of Canada it was virtually unknown until its third season, which is when Netflix picked it up. And in some ways that was a bit of a blessing, because it meant people could get past the first few episodes, which felt a little mean-spirited at times. That meant fans could grow along with the formerly wealthy, now-destitute Rose family as they found themselves forced to try to make a life in the rural backwater of Schitt’s Creek (a town bought by father Johnny, played by Eugene Levy, as a joke birthday present for his son David, played by Daniel Levy, and now the family’s only remaining asset).
By the time the show ended this year after six seasons – it wasn’t cancelled; Daniel Levy felt it was time, and wrapped it up perfectly – the Roses had grown, and so had the town. And so, of course, had the show.
“I’m so proud to be part of a show that stands for love and kindness and inclusivity and acceptance,” says Annie Murphy in her acceptance speech. “Because those four things are things that we need more than ever right now.”
They trailed 28-13 at one point before storming home to set up a thrilling finish but they could not come up with the clutch play late.
It was a different occasion for the Reds who only two years ago were starting a rebuild under coach Thorn.
There were question marks over the decision to part ways with Wallabies playmaker and favourite son Quade Cooper, who had helped lead the Reds to that title victory nine years ago.
Karmichael Hunt and James Slipper soon followed.
Thorn was not certain it would bring the results he wanted but he also knew that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.
So he got behind the player cleanout and embraced youth.
The Brumbies came into Saturday night’s decider boasting far more experience and it showed early as they handled the occasion better to take a 15-3 lead.
Petaia’s slick flick pass
It came off the back of fly half Noah Lolesio, who had not played since July 18.
But such is the raps on the youngster that he was brought right back in and he stepped up with seven runs, 185 kicking metres and two tackle busts as he stamped his claims for the Wallabies No. 10 jersey.
His biggest highlight came in the second try of the night as he engaged the line before turning it back for Andrew Muirhead who crashed through to score.
Lolesio gave the Brumbies the early lead prior to that, kicking a penalty goal after ill-discipline from Salakaia-Loto.
Tom Wright was later pinged for offside, giving James O’Connor the chance to put the ball through the sticks and lock it up at 3-all.
The Brumbies’ maul may not be their secret weapon but it is still effective and proved the starting point for the opening try of the night as Folau Fainga’a charged over.
There were also doubts around the health of Petaia but the youngster shook off a head knock and look anything but out of it as he broke through to set up Queensland’s bounce-back try for Andrew Muirhead.
“That shows how a good footballer this kid can be,” former Wallaby Phil Kearns said in commentary.
Brumbies legend George Gregan added: “That was just an incredible piece of play.”
Petaia finished the first half with 28 run metres, a try assist, line break and tackle bust before succumbing to injury and failing to return in a cruel blow.
He was hobbling around on one leg prior to coming off.
O’Connor then nailed a penalty goal after the siren to reduce the deficit to two points at the break.
The Brumbies came out with far more energy and intent in the second, taking the quick tap before Thomas Banks surged through to extend the lead to nine.
Lolesio then slotted the drop goal to push that difference out to 12 points.
O’Connor gamble pays off
If the occasion was not enough for the young Reds side to contend with, they also lost Salakaia-Loto and had Filipo Daugunu sent to the bin as the Brumbies controlled the second half beautifully.
Lolesio put over another penalty goal as ill-discipline and frustration crept in for Queensland who began to panic.
O’Connor went past Will Harrison to become the leading points scorer for the season as he slotted a penalty shot as time trickled down with Daugunu in the bin.
The Reds were desperate for some spark and it was Tate McDermott who provided it, stepping through with brilliant footwork to put Angus Blyth over.
Queensland had a massive shot at taking the lead when they opted for a line-out close to the Brumbies’ line but their achilles heel reared its ugly head again with the home side regaining possession.
The Reds had a chance to steal it late but could not come up with the result, just falling short.
For such a young side, Queensland kept on pushing and while it did not come through, there is little doubt this will be a learning experience that will only benefit them in the long-term.
For now though, it is all about the Brumbies, who snapped a 16-year drought to take out a well-deserved title.
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Former All Black Brad Thorn’s rebuild of the Queensland Reds will be put to the ultimate test in the Super Rugby AU final, with the Brumbies standing between his team and the title.
Many questioned the 2011 World Cup-winner’s wisdom when he ditched Wallabies playmaker Quade Cooper in 2018 and several other senior players as part of his grand plan.
But his young team are now in their first Super Rugby final – albeit a domestic version, after the coronavirus pandemic halted international rugby – since the Reds won the tournament in 2011.
While Dan McKellar’s Brumbies have been the standout during a coronavirus-impacted year, winning six of their eight regular season games to top the table and book a home final in Canberra, the Reds have taken giant strides.
They won five from eight then beat the Melbourne Rebels in last weekend’s playoff, and go into tonight’s crunch clash buoyed by convincingly upsetting the Brumbies 26-7 this month.
“Grand final week – this is what it’s all about,” said Thorn. “Many of our guys in this group have come through our pathway and club rugby – they’ve thrived and have grown as men during this year.”
Their emergence was recognised by Wallabies coach Dave Rennie, who named 11 Reds in his squad to play Bledisloe Cup Tests against New Zealand next month, then the Rugby Championship.
They include uncapped players Tate McDermott, Fraser McReight, Filipo Daugunu and Hunter Paisami, along with skipper Liam Wright, who is still only 22.
Queensland, however, haven’t won in Canberra since 2014 and will again be looking to the experience of playmaker James O’Connor to pull the strings.
Once the bad boy of Australian rugby, after a string of disciplinary problems, a more mature O’Connor has been a pivotal figure this year.
“We know what we have to do and we want to go down there and just finish it off,” said O’Connor, who was also in Rennie’s squad.
After being cleared of concussion, the dangerous Jordan Petaia will shift to the right wing for the Reds with Chris Feauai-Sautia ruled out with a groin injury.
It means Paisami will start at outside centre. In the forwards, JP Smith starts at loosehead prop with Harry Hoopert dropping to the bench.
McKellar, whose side made the Super Rugby semi-finals last year, sprung a surprise by picking Noah Lolesio in his starting line-up despite the 20-year-old not playing since July 18 due to injury.
Lolesio, another of Rennie’s uncapped call-ups, will form a halves pairing alongside recalled Wallaby Joe Powell, with experienced scrum-half Nic White coming off the bench.
“To be able to play a home final in front of our family and our supporters is something we set out to do at the start of this competition and we can’t wait for that opportunity,” said McKellar.
“We’ve prepared well over the last two weeks and we know the Reds are going to be a huge challenge on Saturday night but it’s one we’re looking forward to.”