Brumbies want Super Rugby crowd boost

The Brumbies have struggled on and off the Super Rugby field in 2018.The Brumbies are aiming to virtually triple slumping home crowd numbers for their next Super Rugby home game.
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Only 5283 fans were in attendance at GIO Stadium for the ACT team’s match against the Melbourne Rebels earlier this month.

It was the second lowest crowd in the franchise’s history, only a turn out of about 4000 in 1999 was worse.

Brumbies chief executive Michael Thomson says the disastrous figure can be put down to the team’s struggles on the field, troubles within Super Rugby and an ageing stadium in an inconvenient location.

The Brumbies, who have won just three games this season, are targeting a figure of 15,000 for the June 3 clash with fellow cellar-dwellars the Sunwolves.

It would easily top their biggest crowd for the year (13,515) which came against the NSW Waratahs.

Thomson is confident the club can bring fans back to the game and is drawing on three Canberra charities to help do it.

If the Brumbies reach their targeted crowd, they will donate $5000 to each organisation.

“Scheduling is a challenge but if we play the right football, we play entertaining and continue to connect with our community we’re confident people will come,” Thomson said.

“If you look at the history of sporting teams in Canberra, sometimes they turn quickly and we’re confident if we continue to do the right things people will come back.”

The Brumbies have long pushed for a new stadium to be built in Canberra and the ACT government has been investigating options for one to cater for rugby, rugby league and soccer.

Thomson says an indoor stadium in the middle of the city would automatically lift crowd numbers like it has done in Dunedin for the Highlanders.

“We’d rather it (happened) next week but the (ACT) government has to work through some of its priorities,” Thomson said.

“But we believe the government is supportive of a stadium in the city, it’s just a matter of when.”

The Brumbies are averaging crowds of 8,464 this season – the lowest of the four n Super Rugby teams – in their 25,000 capacity stadium.

BRUMBIES’ 2018 HOME CROWDS

8,122 v the Sharks, March 17

13,515 v NSW Waratahs, March 31

7,598 v Queensland Reds, April 7

8,053 v Jaguares, April 22

8,215 v Crusaders, April 28

5,283 v Melbourne Rebels, May 12

Bellambi man jailed after admitting he masturbated on northbound Illawarra train on Boxing Day

Guilty: John Smith surrendered to police after seeing this photo of himself on the NSW Police Facebook page. Source: NSW Police
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A Bellambiperve caught masturbating on a train on Boxing Day last year has been sentenced to full time jail.

John Anthony Smith, 24, was charged with obscene exposure and committing an act ofindecency after female passengers on the 6.24am train from Dapto to Bondi reported seeingSmith repeatedly pleasuring himself as he stared at them.

Court documents said Smith, dressed in a long, baggy blue t-shirt, black tracksuit pants, a black cap and white shoes,moved from seat to seat, masturbating his penis to erection in front of a number of women over a 16 minute period.

Smith admitted his guilt during a court appearance in March,entering pleas to both charges.

Police documents tendered to the court in Smith’s case reveal he did not speak to any of the women during the bizarre display but stared at them while performing the acts.

One of the women contacted police, who metthe train at Waterfall Railway Station a short time later.

The women provided details to officers at the time then gave them a writtenstatement the following day.

Police obtained CCTV footage of the incident, however, when unable to identify Smith from their records,they putput out a plea for help via Facebook.

The post included still photos of Smith walking along the platform.

The court heard Smith surrendered to police the following day.

“Smithacknowledged it was him in the footage but stated he could not remember the incident at all,” court documents said.

Investigating police

However Smith did agree toletofficers photographthe shoes and the hat he had been wearing.

He was taken to Wollongong Police Station by declined to be formally interviewed.

In court on Tuesday, Magistrate Cate Follent sentenced Smith to seven months’ jail, with a non-parole period of four months.

She acknowledged that he had been under the influence of drugs at the time of the incident, and while did explain his actions, said it did not excuse them.

“He needs to receive drug and alcohol counselling upon his release to parole,” she said.

With time served, Smith will be paroled on July 8.

Illawarra Mercury

Acclaimed artist Wendy Sharpe leaves her mark on Maitland gallery

LIFE FRAGMENTS: Wendy Sharpe watching dozens of her works on paper being arranged and displayed on a wall for her exhibition, “Secrets”. Pictures: Simone De PeakIN her long and celebratedcareer as an artist, Wendy Sharpe has gone to the farthest corners of the world and even deep into a conflict zoneto paint. Now she is reaching new heights in the name of her art.
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Sharpe is suspended in space above Maitland Regional Art Gallery’s ground floor, as she paintsdirectly onto a wall.The artist is standing on a scissor lift, which has been raised about six metres. She is staring intently ahead, guiding the brush across the wall. Sharpe may be fearless in pursuing painting subjects, but she’s not that keen on looking below.

“It’s a little bit scary,” Sharpe says later. “But I get to paint huge whacking things on these walls.

“And I don’t look straight down.”

Workingon a scissor lift brings other challenges. There’s no stepping back to check the image, and the artist has to prepare great dollops of paint on a palette before hopping onto the lift. What’s more, she has had to “relinquish” control of the lift to gallery assistant Edward Milan.

HIGH CULTURE: Wendy Sharpe, right, with assistant Edward Milan, on a lift. Picture: Simone De Peak

More than painting on the gallery wall, Sharpe is paintingthe gallery on the wall. She is depictingthe majestic century-old building that houses the gallery. As the building takes shape in paint, Sharpe lifts her brush off the wall and turns.

“Starting to recognise it?,” she asks.

Sharpe is addressing a cluster of onlookers standing on the first floor. Just like anyone performing at heights, she has drawn a crowd. But it’s not just the thrill of the high-flying creative act that keeps the spectators, it is the rare opportunity to watch afamousartist at work.

“She’s a goddess in the art world,” says Megan Barrass, herself an artist. She has travelled from Port Stephens to meet Sharpe and observe her painting.

“The opportunity here, it just doesn’t happen usually. We’re very lucky to have her here.”

Wendy Sharpe paints the gallery building on the gallery’s wall, as spectators watch on. Picture: Scott Bevan

Wendy Sharpe is one of ’s best-knownpainters. The art “goddess”won ’s highest-profileartaward, the Archibald Prize, for her Self Portrait –as Diana of Erskineville. It is one of a string of awards Sharpe has won.

In 1999, she was appointed an official artist by the n War Memorial to depict the n troops’ efforts to restore peace in East Timor. She has set up temporary studiosand painted in places ancient and remote, from Egypt and India toAntarctica.

These days, she and her artistpartner Bernard Ollis also spend a lot of time working in Paris. So more than the world being her oyster, it has been Wendy Sharpe’s muse.

The plan to have Sharpe as an artist-in-residence at Maitland was hatched a couple of years ago, when the gallery’s director, Brigette Uren, met with the painter.

While Sharpe has created murals and painted inside galleries before, what has beenforming on the walls, and the interest it has been creating, pushes beyond what Uren imagined.

“It’s so exciting to see the gallery like this,” Uren says, as she looks out at the spectators.

“I love the performative aspect of it, and to experience a leading n artist first-hand would have an immeasurable impact on the audience.”

Wendy Sharpe working on her Maitland version of “Red Dress”. Picture: Simone De Peak

In her three days as artist-in-residence in Maitland, Sharpe has painted a string of large images on the gallery’s walls.One painting is a version of her self-portrait,Red Dress.Only in this image, which is almost five metres high and more than three metres wide, Sharpe acknowledges the Hunter with a pattern of grapes on the dress, and, in the background, she has paintedthe Maitland railway signal box. She photographed the building when she arrived by train from Sydney on Sunday.

“It’s such a distinctive building,” Sharpe says. The artist shows me a historic photo she was given. The photowas taken during the1955 flood that ravaged the city, and it depicts asignal box sittinglike an island amid surgingwaters. That signal boxwas washed away, replaced by the building Sharpe has depictedon the gallery wall.

On another wall, high above the ground floor, she has painted three figures carrying a building. It is her tribute to what she has seen around Maitland, with its grand heritagestructures.

“I was so shocked by how stunning the architecture is here,” Sharpe says.

Wendy Sharpe working on the scissor lift in Maitland Regional Art Gallery. Picture: Simone De Peak

Yet perhaps her favourite building is the gallery itself, not just for the architecture but for what is happening inside it. She calls the gallery “such a special place”. It is why she accepted the artist-in-residency.

“Coming to a place like this, I can do whatever I want, and I’m supported,” Sharpe explains. “And this gallery is helping create an art precinct. As I’m walking along this main street, I see other shops starting as art galleries. So it’s becoming more of a special place.”

Director Brigette Uren says Sharpe’s presence in the gallery displaysa strongconnection between a city-based artist who works at the highest levels anda region that loves exploring new ideas.

“I consider Maitland people very generous in how inquisitive they are, in wanting to find out more,” Uren says. “And it’s in that spirit Wendy works;she is very generous. So I think that makes it amatch fromheaven.”

Dozens of Wendy Sharpe works on paper form part of the Secrets exhibition at Maitland Regional Art Gallery. Picture: Simone De Peak

Wendy Sharpe has descended from the artistic heavens near the gallery’s ceiling to inspect aninstallation. For the paintings she’s doing on the walls are part of a larger exhibition of her work in the gallery, titledSecrets. The exhibition reflects the diversityof her career, from the places she has visitedto her residency with Circus Oz.

Dozens of Sharpe’sworks on paper are being arranged and fastened onto one wall by three gallery volunteers. The images range from quickly drawn sketches, capturing a thought or a moment before it driftsaway, through to fine watercolour paintings.

The images depict fragments of exotic scenes,love in all its connotations, burlesqueperformers bathed in light,and silhouettes under a night sky. There are sketchesof strangers, and self-portraits.

Each image stuck on the wall is brimmingwith life of some sort. But the sum of these parts is a lung-tearing cheer for the beauty of humanity, and for the joy of life itself.

“It’s a fun thing to do,” Sharpe says, smiling, as she watches the volunteers sift through her images strewn acrossthe floor. “It’s like a jigsaw puzzle.”

Dozens of Wendy Sharpe works on paper form part of the Secrets exhibition at Maitland Regional Art Gallery. Picture: Simone De Peak

I notice a few images have been drawn on bar coasters, collected on her travels. “Yes,” she responds.“The publicans of Maitland should lockaway their coasters!”

“This is about things you don’t normally get to see,” Sharpesays of the wall of images.“There are dreams or ideas you don’t pursue, and there are works you could frame.

“I’m often asked about a painting, ‘Where didyou get the idea from?’. Well, this is a bit of a clue to that.”

So this exhibition, as the title suggests, is letting the viewer in on a secret. We learn howan artist thinks and works.

“It’s very rare to see this,” says the exhibition’s curator, Kim Blunt.“You see an artist in situ, making decisions, making art, and feeling comfortable about it.

“It says a lot about Wendy that we get to see her practice in its entirety. It’s the result of many parts.”

When the exhibition is over, Sharpe’s wall imageswill be painted over, a thought that makes Kim Blunt wince: “It’s going to be a weird sensation, painting over the work.”

POPULAR: Wendy Sharpe signs a catalogue for fan and art teacher Alita Knaggs. Picture: Simone De Peak

When she’s not painting on the walls or inspecting works being hung, Sharpe is talking to spectators.

She is wearing a spattered apron, and her arms are blotched with a burgundy paint.But that hardly dissuades onlookers, who line up for selfies oranautograph.

“She’s got a big fan club, actually,” says Alita Knaggs, an art teacher from Fingal Bay, who has just secured an autograph on a catalogue.

“I’ve been teaching Wendy to my students this year.”

The artist herself is preparing to climb back onto the scissor lift. There is a wall image to be painted. She turns back to the onlookers, smiles and hollers, “Come to the opening on Sunday!”

Wendy Sharpe at Maitland Regional Art Gallery. Picture: Simone De Peak

Alita Knaggs nods and watches Wendy prepare to ascend once more. Not that Sharpe can climb any higher in her eyes.

“This is the first time I’ve met her,” Knaggs says. “And she stands up to her reputation.”

Secrets.Maitland Regional Art Gallery until August 19. Official opening with Wendy Sharpe, from11am, Sunday.

No longer Wayne’s World at Broncos

Will Wayne Bennett receive the dreaded tap on the shoulder from his beloved Broncos?For 24 years, the Brisbane Broncos have been Wayne’s World.
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No longer.

In what would have been unheard of just three years ago when Wayne Bennett made his triumphant Broncos return, the seven-time premiership coach may receive the dreaded tap on the shoulder from his beloved club.

Broncos CEO Paul White says Bennett will be Brisbane coach in 2019.

However he gave no further guarantees after confirming on Wednesday he had spoken to off contract Melbourne mentor Craig Bellamy about a 2020 deal amid reports of a four year, $5 million-plus offer.

Bennett was Brisbane’s foundation coach in 1988.

His future was so secure at the club he never signed a contract during his 21-season stay before departing for St George Illawarra.

And when Bennett returned in 2015, the master mentor reckoned he would “never leave again”.

Suddenly it is not up to Bennett anymore.

Bennett’s record still speaks for itself as he approaches a record 800th game – Thursday night’s NRL clash with Parramatta.

Six titles for Brisbane and an overall winning percentage of 62 with 490 wins from 799 matches.

Only the man Brisbane are pursuing – Bellamy – has a better record.

But Brisbane are a club that craves success.

And as they endure their longest title drought in history – 12 years – it seems their patience with Bennett has worn out.

“We know we have a coach until the end of 2019 but we are not a club that will sit on our hands and hope the future plans itself,” White said.

“Craig may accept the Melbourne offer. If he does, so be it but we will also look to the future.”

If the Bellamy deal falls through, Bennett admitted he would have to do something early next year Broncos fans would never have predicted – go to the Brisbane board with cap in hand and ask for another season.

“Craig will make a decision whether he will stay or not. If he doesn’t then you could say the ball is in the air,” Bennett said of his future.

“I have to make a decision on whether I go to the board (early next year) and say ‘I want to go another year, will you consider me?’

“They are all things to be played out later on. Time will sort it out.”

But time may be running out at the Broncos for Bennett.

For years at the Broncos, Bennett had to make the difficult decision as to whether a club champion would remain at the club or be moved on.

Now he admits he will have to direct that same sobering assessment on himself.

“I let players go over the years because I thought their careers were coming towards an end – I have to make that decision about me,” Bennett said.

“No one is more honest about me than me. I won’t lie to myself, never have and won’t do it now because I could jeapordise careers here – that is not happening on my watch.

“I have always put the club first and nothing is going to change with me.”

Bennett hasn’t done much wrong since returning to Brisbane in 2015.

He took them to the grand final in his first year and steered them to top five finishes since.

Yet there is only one gauge to success for Brisbane, a point made clear when entering their new-look clubhouse – the $27 million state of art Clive Berghofer Centre.

In the foyer Brisbane’s six premiership trophies are on display next to an empty stand – where the Broncos aim to put their next bit of silverware.

“Regardless of how many premierships we may win at this club there will always be an extra plinth in that foyer, because we are always striving for something more,” White said at the centre’s opening this year.

“This club has been established on success.

“We want to win the premiership.”

China can produce cars again: Gupta

British industrialist Sanjeev Gupta says can produce cars again – but on a smaller scale.Producing cheaper, lighter electric cars means can again be a competitive vehicle manufacturer, a leading British industrialist says.
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Sanjeev Gupta, whose company, GFG Alliance, recently bought South ‘s Whyalla’s steelworks, has committed to small-scale local production of electric cars.

“We will definitely in the next two or three years have a car in production in ,” Mr Gupta told the n Energy Storage Conference in Adelaide on Wednesday.

He said traditional car manufacturing could be disrupted by small-scale operations using technology inspired by Formula One racing.

The company aims to produce around 30,000 units annually, using lightweight composite panels, to be sold for around $20,000 to $30,000

“It’s a very different way of thinking about cars, it’s a much cheaper way of making cars, and you can make them in a much smaller volume,” he said.

The billionaire did not elaborate where the plant would be located but has previously earmarked South or Victoria as options.

“Whether it’s here or in another part of the country is something to work through, as to what conditions are best for that production,” he said.

Mr Gupta said he was also committed to increasing his company’s renewable energy production in to 10 gigawatts to support his local ventures.

He said batteries and solar combined had great potential to take pressure off the grid for both industry and households.

“These two solutions together will change the energy mix for sure for our generation and the next,” Mr Gupta told the conference.

The British industrialist purchased the former struggling Arrium business in 2017 pledging to invest $1 billion in modernising the plant.

His company also plans to build major battery storage facilities in Port Augusta and Whyalla.

NSW man denies organising witness murder

Luke John Sparos, 37, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Gemahl Maika.A prisoner accused of organising the execution-style murder of a crown witness in a drug case had no involvement in the Sydney shooting whatsoever, his barrister has told a jury.
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Craig Smith SC also warned the NSW Supreme Court jurors that criminals giving evidence against his client Luke John Sparos did not deserve their trust and, as a group, “are the epitome of unreliability”.

Rather than Sparos being behind the execution, Mr Smith said the actual organiser was another man, known as Witness E, who was “doing 27 years” after being found guilty of importing cocaine.

The barrister was giving the defence opening address on Wednesday at the trial of Sparos who has pleaded not guilty to murdering Gemahl Maika by arranging another man, known as Witness F, to shoot him for payment on April 6, 2011.

The 38-year-old was shot four times in the body and once in the head outside his Glen Alpine home.

Prosecutor Craig Patrick SC has told the jury Sparos, 37, was in custody awaiting trial for cocaine-related offences when he began planning the killing.

Mr Maika had become an “essential witness” against a group of people, including Sparos – who was motivated to kill him by “retribution” and the desire to send a message, Mr Patrick alleged.

But Mr Smith told the jury his client did not organise the killing and had no involvement in it.

“The accused pleaded guilty to charges related to the importation of drugs, he did not go to trial,” he said.

“Indeed, he offered to plead guilty to those charges about 10 months before (Mr Maika) was killed.”

Jurors may not like Sparos because of his involvement in importing drugs, but any such feelings were not relevant to his murder trial, he said.

The prosecution would rely “very heavily” on evidence given by criminals, including the convicted shooter, but Mr Smith said their testimony would be “very unreliable”.

The “ruthless” shooter, Witness F, had pleaded not guilty in 2016 to committing the murder.

“He gave evidence on oath in a trial where he denied, many, many times having been involved in the murder.

“He lied and lied to a jury just like you.

“The prosecution now calls Witness F in this trial – his words are not worthy of your trust.”

The only exception to him lying was when he told an undercover police officer that “he was sent to do the killing by the boys that went down for conspiracy” one of whom “is doing 27 years”.

Mr Smith said the defence contended the conspiracy reference related to the cocaine importation leaders, including Witness E, who received that sentence.

The trial continues before Justice Ian Harrison.

A-League: Jets lodge appeal against severity of O’Donovan banphotos

OVER THE TOP: The Newcastle Jets have appealed against the severity of the 10-match ban issued to Roy O’Donovan for his high-foot challenge on Melbourne Victory goal-keeper Lawrence Thomas in the grand final. Picture: Max Mason-HubersNEWCASTLE Jets have formally appealed against the severity of the 10-game suspension handed to Roy O’Donovan but have asked for the hearing to be delayed until the striker returns from Ireland late next month.
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As it stands, O’Donovan will sit out a third of the 2018-19 campaign after Football Federation ‘s Disciplinary-and-Ethics Committee (DEC) took a hard-line stance over what they labelled a”flying kick” on Victory keeper Lawrence Thomas in the 93rd minute of the Jets’ 1-0 loss in the title decider on May 6.

The sanction is the second-longest in the competition’s history, behind only the nine months Danny Vukovic copped for striking a referee when playing for Central Coast against the Jets in the 2008 grand final.

Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna said the club and the Professional Footballers (players’ union) believed the ban was “over the top”.

“It was definitely dangerous play, and no-one is disputing the fact that it was wrong,” said McKinna. “If you compare it tosuspensions that have been handed out in the past, we think it is over the top. Roywas very professional in the way he took news of the suspension, but he certainly feels he same as the club in that it was over the top.”

The PFA,who will again supply a barrister to represent O’Donovan, filed the appeal on Wednesday, which costs the Jets $2000.

“We have asked for the appeal to be heard after Roygets back from holidays on June 26,” McKinna said.

A-League: Jets lodge appeal against severity of O’Donovan ban TweetFacebook Roy O’Donovan challengePictures: Max Mason’Hubers The appeal will be adjudicated by an independent three-person panel including a President, which is usually a Queen’s Counsel, and an ex-player.

The panel has thejurisdiction to reduce or increase the suspension and or come up with its own sanction.

In handing down the DEC’s finding last Friday, chairman John Marshall SC stated:”It is possibly the most dangerous play ever made in the A-League.”

Thomas was not seriously injured in O’Donovan’s challenge and played out the final moments before being awarded the Joe Marston medal for player of the match.

FFA Cup matches count towards the suspensionand O’Donovan could serve as many as four, depending how far the Jets progress, before the A-League starts.

It was the Irishman’s fourth red card in three seasons and second in his first campaign for Newcastle.However, McKinna said the ban would not come at a financial cost for the player.

However, the length of the suspension has altered the Jets’ recruitment strategy.

“It is not just the fact that we are missing Roy, there are other ramifications,” McKinna said. “It changes our recruitment targets and effects the salary cap as well.We have re-signed a lot of boys on upgrades. Now we have to go into the market fora striker who can cover Roy and maybe play wide as well.”

McKinna said he had been contacted by a number of agents but it was still only early days.

“It most likely to be an overseas player but we haven’t drawn up a short list or anything,” he said. “Ernie Merrick is away [on holidays] but myself and Joel have been emailing him and speaking every other day.”

The Jets return for pre-season training on June 28.

Bellamy says Storm decision comes first

Staying with the Melbourne Storm or off to the Brisbane Broncos and a year-long scouting mission – Craig Bellamy is tossing up all options as he contemplates his NRL future.
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The in-demand coach admitted on Wednesday to having talks with the Broncos with a three-year offer from the Storm also on the table.

Bellamy said before he could think about Brisbane, which could involve spending a year out of the game with Wayne Bennett locked in at the Broncos in 2019, he needed to decide on the Melbourne offer.

He said he planned to use next week’s bye to make a call and declined to hint at where his future lay.

“Because our program has been really hectic with a short turnaround and a fair bit of travel, I haven’t had the time to sit down and give it the time I need to make some sort of decision,” Bellamy said.

“There’s a whole heap of things to go through – it’s not just the dollar signs. I need to make sure I’m very clear in what I’m going to do.”

Bellamy is off contract at the end of this season but the Broncos have guaranteed Bennett’s future there next season.

The pair have a long history with Bellamy an assistant to Bennett before joining Melbourne in 2003 and Bellamy said he spoke to his fellow coach before sitting down with Broncos boss Paul White.

“The last thing that I wanted to be was disrespectful to Wayne, especially this week when he coaches his 800th game,” he said.

Melbourne chief executive Dave Donaghy told SEN radio the club wouldn’t consider giving Bellamy a one-year deal to fit in with the Broncos.

“There’s lot of confidence in our football club in terms of what we offer and we’re not in the business of being someone else’s feeder team,” Donaghy said.

Bellamy didn’t rule out sitting out a year and said he’d already contemplated spending extra time with other sporting organisations to further hone his craft.

“I’ve never had a year off,” he said.

“You could look at it in two ways. It could be refreshing and you can go and have a look at other organisations and pick up some things.

“We usually do that for two weeks at the end of the year but having said that, having a year off sometimes the game evolves very quickly and you could lose some touch.”

With a grand final rematch against North Queensland on Friday night Bellamy said he hadn’t spoken to his players but believed they understood his situation.

With no deadline accompanying the Storm deal, he said he wouldn’t be pressured into a decision.

“When I sit down and go through some thought processes it will be what’s best for me and my family and the footy club because I’ve been here a long time and it’s like a family itself.”

If he did decide to leave after 16 years at the helm, he nominated his assistant Adam O’Brien as the man to take his job.

Shocking video of shark stomach filled with plastic bags brings call for ban

Shocking video of shark stomach filled with plastic bags brings call for ban Shocking images of plastic bags being removed from the stomach of a juvenile tiger shark off the Far South Coast in march. Picture: Trapman Bermagui
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Shocking images of plastic bags being removed from the stomach of a juvenile tiger shark off the Far South Coast in march. Picture: Trapman Bermagui

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I recorded it to document this kind of thing. The word needs to get out.

Commercial fisherman Jason ‘Trapman’ Moyce

“Those bags in the shark would make it weaker and weaker because it’s not getting any energy,” he said.

“I’ve seen the same in sea birds. The microplastics are an increasing problem, because before it was only the obvious larger pieces, which we now know become smaller and smaller.”

The video was captured by Bermagui commercial fisherman Jason “Trapman” Moyce, who said he noticed the “very sickly” looking shark, with its stomach bloated, while fishing forbronze whalers in March this year.

“I’ve never seen anything like it before.The plastic bags had been in there a while,” the 45-year-old said.

“I recorded it to document this kind of thing. Theword needs to get out.

“This region is supposed to be pristine and non-polluted. If this is happening, what chance has the ocean got?

Independent marine biologist Dr Murray MacDonald said sharks can often confuse floating plastic bags for squid. Picture: Alasdair McDonald

“There’s not many things that aren’t made out of plastic these days.”

His video has gathered almost 300,000 views, with many people sharing their shock at the confronting images.

“We’re killingour planet.I can remember as a childgetting shopping in brown paper bags,” Jean Stirling posted.

Dr MacDonald said the issue of ingested plastic is quickly needing to be addressed, and is “unfortunately becoming more frequent”.

In April, nearly 30 kilograms of plastic was discovered in the stomach of a beached juvenile sperm whale in Spain, and in 2017Norwegian scientists found over 30 plastic bags inside the stomach of aCuvier’s beaked whale.

“Soon there will be a greater mass of plastic than life in the ocean,” Dr MacDonald said.

“It shows we have to get rid of single-use plastic bags.”

Alternatives to plastic are growing in popularity, as consumers look to lessen their impact on the environment around them.

Driven to change consumer habits, 33-year-old Anneliese Hallam recently quit her job at theMethodist Ladies’ College Marshmead Campus in Mallacoota to sell her MiBoo bamboo alternative to plastic straws.

“The key is getting people to think about as many alternativesto plastic as possible,” she said.

Anneliese Hallam is hoping her MiBoo reusable straws will help reduce the amount of plastic entering the ocean each year. Picture: Alasdair McDonald

“All of us well-meaning humans are part of the problem, and we’re all accountable.

“It’s the little actions we take that will soon become normal, and people change behaviours because of what other people do.”

In 2015 a disturbing eight minute video of a plastic straw being painfully removed from the nose of a turtle by American marine biologist Christine Figgener went viral.

Plastic straws can become entangled in marine animals and are also eaten by fish, and Ms Hallam said many consumers and retailers are now looking to make an anti-plastic statement.

“The best alternative is no straw, but people like using them,” she said.

“It’s about creating a culture of reusing, which is my dream.”

Dr MacDonald said the NSW government is behind other states and territories, and should ban single-use plastic bags outright, and not rely on the private sector to regulate their use.

“There are various industries that use plastic who won’t ban it until everyone is required to, as competitive advantages are involved,” he said.

“Beyond that we have to start thinking about plastic products as not being replaceable, they must be durable and used for a long time.

“We’re only just finding out the extent of the problem, and seafood is basic subsistence food all around the world.”

Bega District News

Newcastle Knights take on Cronulla Sharks in Round 12 of the 2018 NRL season

Feeding frenzy: Red-hot Sharks thrash Knights | PHOTOS, VIDEOS The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP
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The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

The Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. Pictures: Darren Pateman/AAP

TweetFacebook. @cronulla_sharks coach Shane Flanagan with high praise for @NRLKnights’ fullback Kalyn Ponga. #NRLKnightsSharkspic.twitter苏州楼凤/lnOIcuXYp3

— Newcastle Herald (@newcastleherald) May 27, 2018“I suppose the kid at right centre has signed with us for next year.”@NRLKnights coach Nathan Brown was asked if he could find any positives out of today’s 48-10 hammering. pic.twitter苏州楼凤/Lm3bkJkCev

— Newcastle Herald (@newcastleherald) May 27, 2018

A Jayden Brailey try in the 31st minute made it 16-0, but then Knights back-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon responded with his sixth try of the season to give the home team a flicker of hope.

Any prospect of a revival was short-lived.

KNIGHTS NEED TO AVOID VALENTINE’S DAYBENNY, BELLY-ACHE AND BRINGING BACK THE BIFFGRIFFIN CASHING IN AT KNIGHTS AFTER HARD YARDSA minute before the break, fullback Josh Dugan scored to reassert Cronulla’s superiority, then an Edrick Lee try four minutes after the resumption left the Knights facing a blowout scoreline.

Two further tries by Holmes – taking him to 12 in six games against Newcastle – Luke Lewis and Ramien inflated the margin.

After a promising start to the season that delivered five wins in the first eight rounds, the Knights have now slipped to four successive losses, including three on home turf.

They are now 11th, two wins behind eighth position.

Newcastle’s cause was not helped by head knocks to fullback Kalyn Ponga and hooker Slade Griffin, who were both assessed before returning to the field.

Centre Nathan Ross was also replaced at half-time after struggling with a groin injury.

It capped an unhappy day for Ross, who was also put on report for an attempted trip.

The Knights play last-placed Parramatta at ANZ Stadium on Saturday and both sides desperately need to stop the rot.

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