Archive for October, 2019

Newcastle property demand sky high

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

SO-CALLED ‘‘silent’’ or off-market sales and private treaty methods of marketing have dominated the Newcastle property market over the past 12 months.

But the perfect storm of low interest rates, a shortage of stock and pent-up demand has also seen sheer buyer numbers regularly outstripping properties available for sale.

Yesterday, Australian Property Monitors reported 10 properties across The Hunter that were scheduled to go under the hammer last weekend.

Of those 10, seven were sold – four prior to auction and three on auction day.

That’s a very healthy clearance rate of 70per cent, and on par with booming Sydney.

With such a high auction success rate should Newcastle vendors be selling via private treaty or even prior to auction?

Recently awarded 2013 Auctioneer of the Year at the Australian Real Estate Awards, Damien Cooley said that despite popular opinion to the contrary, he believes auctions are not just for properties at the top end of the market.

He said the real benefit of auction is that it creates urgency for everyone involved in the transaction to make a decision by a certain date.

‘‘Owners often fear they are going to undersell their house. ‘‘What auctions do is gives a pool of buyers an opportunity to inspect the property, make a decision of whether they want to buy it and [through the buyer] feedback provide vendors with an opportunity to understand what their home is worth.’’

He said particularly in the top end of the market where real estate is often an emotional purchase, the buyer may pay even more for a property they love, than someone who is not an emotional purchaser.

He said auctions give the vendor an opportunity to create a competitive environment where buyers will pay a premium for their home.

‘‘For the buyer, the benefit is the vendor has four weeks to understand what the home is worth; they may find a vendor who needs to sell and they can pick up a good buy.’’

He said more importantly at auction as opposed to EOI campaigns or express sales, the buyer can see who they are competing against and knows the vendor is genuinely on the market to sell.

Auctioneer Damien Cooley sees advantages in auctions over private treaty sales.

Wests raise the bar

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

AFTER what was the closest Newcastle Rugby League season in a decade, the Herald is pleased to present The Reals – our awards for the best and worst of the year.

Club of the year

Wests: The Rosellas’ many detractors will argue they have a ‘‘casino’’ behind them, but one cannot deny the club’s professionalism and record. The Rosellas won back-to-back premierships in first grade, made the grand final in reserves and finished third in under-23s and under-18s.

Coach of the year

Craig Miller (Wests)

Macquarie’s Noel Dent was awarded the honour at the Newcastle Rugby League presentation night and deservedly so. However, the way ‘‘Barney’’ Miller designed a game plan for the grand final to stifle Kurri livewire Nathan Ross gets him over the line. The premiership defence was not easy for Miller as constant injuries to his initial halves pairing Jade Porter and Zac Walsh caused a rethink and he also had to overcome rumble of discontent from his reserve grade about a lack of opportunities.

Player of the year

Riley Brown (Cessnock): The Goannas five-eighth won the Bert Agland Best and Fairest award and rightly so given his personal dominance during a disjointed season for Cessnock. The Goannas scored frequently from long range due to Brown and teammate Terence Seu Seu’s ability to expose weaknesses in the opposition’s defence. Little wonder Brown was fiercely sought after from rival clubs before Cessnock re-signed the ex-NRL star.

Import of the year

Mark Khierallah (Kurri): The ‘‘Killer’s’’ stint at the Bulldogs was only brief but he transformed the side from under-performers and instigated their dramatic run to the grand final. Kurri’s attack had been the side’s Achilles heel but with Khierallah and fullback Nathan Ross in the side, they became the entertainers of the competition.

Biggest disappointment

Lakes: Seagulls coach Rip Taylor always faced an uphill battle turning the cash-strapped and inexperienced Lakes into a force. But no one would have predicted the Belmont boys would go through the season winless. Macquarie also deserve a mention given they were on track to win their first minor premiership before losing six of their last seven matches to make a straight-sets exit from the play-offs.

Biggest controversy

There were several black eyes for the competition in regards to violence on the field. Cessnock halfback Joel Brown broke Souths No.7 Jake Hawkins’s eye socket with a punch but only faced sanction due to Lions citing the incident. That led the league to introducing video referrals for next season. Maitland lock Zac Solman’s king-hit from behind on Port Stephens’s Joel Osborn was certainly the ugliest moment of the season.

Game of the year

Minor semi-final – Kurri v Macquarie: There were better contests, but for sheer drama the Bulldogs’ 48-30 victory on September 7 was the highlight. After being down 30-6, the Bulldogs dragged themselves off the canvas to crush the Scorpions 48-30 with some magical tries. Kurri fullback Nathan Ross was electrifying and supporters created an intimidating atmosphere.

Story of the season

Kurri’s semi-final surge: Just to make the play-offs, the Bulldogs required a win of more than 22 points against a strong Maitland side in the final round. After leading 6-0 at the break they stormed to a 36-4 victory. To further complicate matters they then lost key playmaker Mark Khierallah back to Toulouse and captain-coach George Ndaira to a dislocated shoulder. However, their march continued beating the Goannas 23-16 at Cessnock, Macquarie 48-30 and finally Souths 36-14 at Townson Oval to qualify for their first grand final since 1995.

Team of the year

1. Nathan Ross (Kurri) Once Ross recovered from a broken leg that ruined the opening half of his season, he became arguably the best player in the competition. During the finals his speed, strength, and sidestep cut opponents to shreds. Higher honours are certainly possible.

2. Justin Smith (Wests) Sporting a hideous moustache for part of the year did not slow down Smith on the Rosellas wing. He scored 14 tries and proved himself to be an adequate replacement at fullback when Joel Penny was missing. With Penny retiring, the Wests No.1 jersey is Smith’s for the taking.

3. Royce Geoffrey (Macquarie) The Morisset-based personal trainer was probably the most improved player in the competition this season. In 17 matches Geoffrey scored 19 tries to comfortably be the competition’s most lethal.

4. Simon Williams (Wests) Late in the season Williams’s form ebbed away, but during the first half of the year the former Knights lower-grader was deadly. Deceptively quick and nimble on his feet Williams was one of the Rebels best during their rep campaign.

5. Liam Faughlin (Maitland) The rookie of the year filled a variety of roles in the Pickers backline with aplomb. The former Illawarra Steelers SG Ball recruit also proved an effective try-scorer with 13.

6. Riley Brown (Cessnock) Without a doubt Brown was one of the premier players in the competition. Brown scored 11 tries for the season and probably assisted in another 20. He was central to the Goannas cause.

7. Mick Moran (Macquarie) The former South Sydney recruit was certainly unlucky not to receive a call-up this season for the Rebels. Playing behind an aggressive forward pack, Moran had plenty of room to shine and provided real class for the Scorpions backline.

8. Jesse Royal (Kurri) In what could be his final season of rugby league Royal was enormous. His yardage and off-loads in the centre of the park provided the nucleus of many of Mark Khierallah and Nathan Ross’s try-scoring feats.

9. Terence Seu Seu (Cessnock) While not as dominant as his first year in the Real NRL, the former Knights, Manly and Cronulla rake is undoubtedly the classiest dummy-half in the competition. His trickery close to the line was a feature.

10. Danny Vaughan (Macquarie) The Scorpions skipper has a heart the size of a humpback whale. Not a week goes by that Vaughan plays without pain, but that never prevents him from trucking the ball endlessly forward. He only missed a third best and fairest award by a point.

11. Josh Desmond (Maitland) The former Singleton forward was one of the finds of the season for Pickers captain-coach PJ Ellis. Despite his size, Desmond was highly mobile and scored 13 tries for the season. A horror leg injury ended his stellar season on a sour note.

12. Matt Shipway (Souths) Free from the burden of captain-coaching, Shipway took his game to a new level. He earned his first Rebels jumper and impressed enough to book a spot on the NSW Country tour to South Africa next month.

13. Todd Hurrell (Souths) Lions coach Adam Bettridge made an astute purchase by signing Hurrell from Wests. Mid-way through the season he struggled with the burden of playing five-eighth, but once Hurrell returned to lock he excelled. His work-rate in attack and defence played a major role in Souths’ successful season.

Western Suburbs players celebrate their grand final win over Kurri Kurri. Picture: Peter Stoop

Parkin hails Lyon and warns Hawthorn to expect toughest test all season

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

Fremantle are clearly the most difficult opponents Hawthorn will face this season and Ross Lyon is a mastermind, according to legendary coach David Parkin.

”’I’m not saying Hawthorn can’t win … but it will probably be the most difficult task they’ve faced at least for this season,” he said. ”I just think it’s a manic pressure we’ve never seen applied, with and without the ball, by any team in the history of the game.”

Parkin, a four-time premiership coach, disputed the theory the Dockers’ effectiveness could be undermined by playing at the wide MCG, a venue they have played at only twice this year, which includes a 27-point loss to Richmond.

”I don’t think it matters. I think they’ve shown, Fremantle, whether it’s long and narrow as Geelong, or Subiaco, or whether it’s the MCG or wherever they play, they have the capacity, because it’s so well drilled, to make the right decisions … all the time,” he said.

”They’re just exceptionally well coached. I’ve never seen another coach be able to get a team so completely committed to the method of play. They’ve probably got one player only who doesn’t win his own ball and one very tall player who probably can’t pressure like the small blokes do, but the rest of them are totally and utterly committed to that method.”

Lyon, 46, ranks 34th for games coached, 27th for finals coached and is not among the 50 coaches to have led their team to a premiership. Nevertheless he has already done enough at the helm of St Kilda and, now, Fremantle to be rated by Parkin as one of the leaders in all three categories.

While Lyon has only once snared the AFL Coaches’ Association’s top award in his seven seasons as a senior coach, in 2009, association president Parkin said it was ”indisputable” Lyon was already a great, at least among recent coaches.

While Parkin said his praise of Lyon was not a slight on Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson – ”he’s been able to change and go with the game like few others have” – he said Lyon’s stocks were helped by him having ”taught another group to play the same method within a short [period], two years, and [have them be] absolutely committed to it”.

Hawks president Andrew Newbold, joined by Parkin in addressing the club’s grand final lunch on Wednesday, said he was not perturbed that Parkin and many others had been lauding the Dockers rather than the ladder-leading Hawks.

”Human nature remembers the last event and … Fremantle on Saturday were very impressive. It was hard not to be impressed with that. I watched that and thought, ‘Gee, they’re a good side’, but it’s not really about accolades … we’re about putting our best foot forward on Saturday,” Newbold said.

”We know that they’re a fantastic defensive-pressure side and we’re looking forward to actually challenging ourselves and asking a few questions of Freo as well. I think we’ve got the best forward line in the competition so let them worry about a few of our blokes as well.”

Twitter – @Jesse_Hogan

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MCG will undo Dockers, says Brereton

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

Tough ask: Dermott Brereton said Hawthorn should have too much for Nathan Fyfe and the Dockers in Saturday’s grand final. Photo: Pat ScalaHawthorn great Dermott Brereton is supremely confident the Hawks will not only atone for last year’s grand final defeat but do so by a ”comfortable margin” against Fremantle on Saturday.

The five-time Hawthorn premiership forward’s bullishness is built on his belief the Dockers’ defensive strategy, which is based upon a ”grid formation”, is not as well-suited to the MCG as it is at Patersons Stadium.

The MCG is about 19 metres wider than the Perth venue, which Brereton believes will make it harder for Ross Lyon’s men to repeat their strangulation of Sydney. Simonds Stadium, the scene of Fremantle’s upset over Geelong in week one of the finals, is even narrower than the Dockers’ home ground.

The extra space at the MCG, Brereton says, will enable Hawthorn’s elite kicking team to pick enough holes to find their way through Lyon’s system. ”Across the board there’s probably better kicks in history, Darren Jarman, Nathan Buckley, Doug Hawkins, but when you talk about a team of players and their capabilities to kick a footy, Hawthorn’s probably the best kicking team we’ve seen,” Brereton said at Greater Western Sydney’s grand final lunch.

”On the MCG you spread that press-up zone that bit wider, there’s more gaps in it, Hawthorn will be able to kick through it. Once you’re on the far side of it, it’s pretty dangerous because they’re up so far with Fremantle. You’ve got to have foot pace to go back, their backs will have to run fairly quick.

”If Hawthorn were playing Fremantle at Patersons Stadium, that shaped ground, I’d go Fremantle.”

The Dockers have not played Hawthorn at the MCG since Lyon took over last year but have played twice at Aurora Stadium, which is almost equal in width, and the Hawks won easily both times.

The Dockers, however, have since become more accustomed to Lyon’s strategy.

The Hawks could not overcome Sydney’s tackling pressure last year but Brereton, a respected analyst, said the Swans’ defence was built more on winning one-on-one contests rather than the grid formation applied by Fremantle.

”Fremantle are awesome at locking the ball in at Patersons Stadium,” Brereton said.

”I think Hawthorn will win fairly comfortably. They’re on the MCG, I don’t think they’ll be able to lock it in as well.

”If Fremantle want to turn it into a scrap, Hawthorn are used to that as well. I think after a dour struggle Hawthorn will win.

”I think if Hawthorn win they’ll win by a comfortable margin, I think they could win by four goals.”

But former North Melbourne great Wayne Carey says the defensive juggernaut of Fremantle can overcome the best attacking team in the league. ”If you look at what Fremantle did to Sydney last week in the preliminary final, that first quarter and that pressure they put Sydney under, they beat Sydney at their own game, they were unbelievable,” Carey said.

”I wonder how Hawthorn are going to get out. I wonder if they’re going to get time to use those exquisite skills … For me, Hawthorn get choked and it’s going to be very difficult. I’m jumping on the Fremantle bandwagon.

”I think they’re very well placed.”

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Bertrand laments dominance of cash in today’s America’s Cup

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

Cash is king: John Bertrand said the America’s Cup has become a battle of the chequebooks. Photo: Anthony JohnsonAs John Bertrand and his former crewmates of Australia II assembled in Sydney to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their America’s Cup victory, they shared a lament about this year’s cliffhanger battle for the Auld Mug in San Francisco.

Skipper Bertrand regretted the Australian presence this year was only as part of foreign crews, rather than in a united Australian campaign. He was not alone in this thought on the eve of a gala lunch to commemorate Australia II’s come-from-behind 4-3 win against Dennis Conner’s Liberty on September 26, 1983.

The 2013 America’s Cup has come down to a decider after the defenders, Oracle Team USA, beat the Team New Zealand challengers in the 17th and 18th races on San Francisco Bay on Wednesday to level the series 8-8 after being 8-1 down a week ago. The 19th and deciding race was scheduled for Thursday morning (Sydney time).

The campaigns of Oracle Team USA and Team New Zealand have included plenty of Australians. Helmsman James Spithill, strategist Tom Slingsby, wing trimmer Kyle Langford, grinders Will McCarthy and Sam Newton and coach Darren Bundock are on Oracle Team USA; on Team New Zealand there have been bowman Adam Beashel and wing trimmer Glenn Ashby. And that does not include shore crews and technical teams.

Asked about the prospect of Australia returning to the America’s Cup competition, Bertrand smiled and said: ”We have more Australians in these international foreign teams than any other nation in the world.

”So it’s not a problem about the number of people involved, or the technology. It’s really the cash. [Cup campaigns] are a hundred-million-dollar program. That’s too expensive. They need to get that back.”

However, whether it is through sheer passion or belief in the Cup and that Australia should have a place in it, Bertrand is optimistic the money needed to fund an Australian campaign may still emerge. Such money is not likely to come from government – as much of it did for Team New Zealand’s campaign. But Bertrand believes the developments in this year’s America’s Cup format and its dramatic finale could entice a rich Australian businessman, as it has with American Larry Ellison who has bankrolled the Oracle campaign

”I think there are multi-billionaires, entrepreneurs in this country who want to move from being a regional trader to a global trader,” Bertrand said. ”And the America’s Cup can be the vehicle. It’s the most prestigious sporting event in the world in this space, particularly in Europe. Larry Ellison, Mr America’s Cup … he’s been launched globally.”

Former Australia II tactician Hugh Treharne believes much Australian sailing talent is going to waste without an Australian Cup campaign.

”We have to scoop them up. We have to make sure that they are all nationals on each boat,” Treharne said on Wednesday. ”That’s the way it always should’ve been. When they went away from that it was very sad.”

Twitter- @rupertguinness

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