Patsan on executive of new NPL group

THIS WEEK: Wed: Lakes v C’Town (7.30), Valentine v Jets (6.30). Sat: Weston v Maitland. Sun: Edgeworth v Jets, C’Town v Hamilton, Lakes v Adamstown, Magic v Jaffas.Hamilton chairman Christo Patsan is representing Northern NSW clubs as well as servingas treasurer on theAssociation of Australian Football Clubs.
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The AAFC board was formed on Monday night in an annual general meeting held via a nationwide teleconference. The boardis made up of representatives from NPL clubs from the eight state federations.

Patsan, who was in Perth for the meeting, said the AAFC wouldrepresent NPL clubs and work toredefinetheir roles and createa more sustainable model with less burden on volunteers.

** LakeMacquarie take on Charlestown in a vital catch-up game on Wednesday night still not knowing who will coach them in 2018.

Current coach Anthony Richards said he willmeet with the Lake Macquarie committee on Thursday night and “see if our visions align and, if they do, we can make a decision then”.

The Roosters welcome backJustin Broadley (suspension) butwill be missingBrad York (knee) for the game at Macquarie Field.Outgoing Charlestown coach Shane Pryce, a potential replacement for Richards, saidDaniel Casciaroli (thigh) was in doubt and Jarryd Johnson (hamstring) was out.

** Valentine will try to put their Jekyll and Hyde performance against Adamstown behind them when they face the Jets Youth at Cahill Oval on Wednesday night.

Phoenix led Rosebud 2-0 at half-time but lost 4-2 on Saturday to put a dent in their title hopes.

Valentine coach Darren Sills said their first-half display was their best of the season and “I still can’t believe we lost that game. It was incredible.”

“We held the ball for 30 consecutive passes at one point, which is unheard of in the league, and we played so well,” Sill said. “In the first 10 minutes of the second half we hit the side-netting twice and then they got a nice goal off a set piece and that was it.”

Sills said his side needed to bebetter under pressure with possession after strugglingagainst Rosebud in the second half.

He said the Jets Youth “will be a tough ride” on Wednesday night in their first game undernew coaches Lawrie McKinna and Labinot Haliti.

Third-placed Phoenix also have a poor midweek record heading into the game.

“If we lose, itopens the door,” Sills said. “We have thebye this weekend, then Maitland and anotherweekend off, so that’s not ideal.We’ve got to get this one tomorrow night.”

Read the full AAFC statement following their AGM:

The AAFC last night held its inaugural Annual General Meeting where members unanimouslyadopted their new constitution and appointed 8 national directors together withPricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as auditors.

The directors are drawn from National Premier League (NPL) clubs in each of the eight statesor regional federations and will guide the organisation through its next phase.

“This is a key step for the Association in achieving the objectives we set for ourselves in ourinaugural national meeting in March,” said Tom Kalas, Interim Chairman of the steeringcommittee formed to manage the establishment of the Association.

“We now have a fit for purpose Constitution, along with directors from every federation.

“The AAFC represents the NPL which is a critical development and performance pathway forfootball in Australia, in which more than 30,000 players take part,” Kalas said.

Those elected to the four statutory board positions are:

• Chairman: Rabieh Krayem, Townsville

• Deputy Chairman: Victoria Morton, Hobart

• Secretary: Gino Marra, Sydney

• Treasurer: Christo Patsan, Newcastle

The four other directors will be responsible for specific activities, including former Soccerooand national soccer league coach, Gary Marocchi, as director of football.

Krayem said that the new Board now has a number of priorities to pursue as agreed at thenational meeting in March and enshrined in its new Constitution.

Among these is pursuing the concept of a second-tier competition and linked to the A-League. This is of critical importance to the development of the game.

“We want to work with FFA, the state federations, the A-League, PFA and, importantly, our member clubs and players to get the best possible model within the resources available.

“The experienced football people on our board, such as Gary Marocchi and Dean Hennessey,know that having more young men and women playing football more often is a vital factor inimproving our football standards and quality.”

Collectively, the NPL clubs have more than 30,000 registered junior and senior players (men& woman) including the semi-professional sector of the game.

They are responsible for management of significant community assets through boutiquefootball facilities and sporting infrastructure and crucially their collective members andsupporters, which number in the hundreds of thousands, not only attend matches per weekbut provide thousands of knowledgeable football volunteers.

The Board members are:

ACT : John Thiele

NSW : Gino Marra

NNSW : Christo Patsan

QLD : Rabieh Krayem (Chairman)

SA : Amin Ayoubi

TAS : Victoria Morton (Deputy Chairman)

VIC : Dean Hennessey

WA : Gary Marocchi

Krayem thanked the founding directors who established the AAFC, the Steering Committee,National Delegates and the Interim Chairman who managed the transition from theinaugural meeting to this point.

“Many people and clubs assisted the AAFC in various critical areas but we would like tocommend Tom Kalas and Nick Galatas in working so diligently to guide the AAFC in becomingone of the most significant football stakeholders in Australia.

“Their energy and dedication in getting this going in the first place is an importantcontribution to the growth of the game. It’s a fantastic shot-in-the-arm for football.

“The new board intends to continue in the same way, to ensure that we have a viable andsustainable second tier competition, which will grow to become a key plank in the Australianfootball landscape for years to come.”

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Not a ‘bumper year’ for flu

Pass the tissues: Flu season has arrived.THE number of recordedcases of influenza in the Hunter Region has increased by almost 70 per cent from this time last year, data shows. But while Hunter New England Healthphysicians have confirmed fluseason has arrived, the rise in cases was likely down to increased testing, not a bumper year.
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There have been328 cases of influenza in the Hunter New England area to date, up from 196 cases at the same time last year.

Those include 156 confirmed cases in the past three weeks, heralding the arrival of flu season.

Dr David Durrheim,of Hunter New England Health, said the latest flu tracking results had shown a“definite gap” between those who had received the flu vaccine, and those who had not.

Locally, 1.9 per centof vaccinated participants reported fever and cough symptoms, compared to the 2.5 per cent not vaccinated.

“That suggests the vaccine is protecting people,” Dr Durrheim said.

“Flu is definitely around, and it really should act as a warning to people who haven’t yet had their fluvaccine that this is their last chance to make an appointment with their GP to get it.”

The NSW Shadow Minister for Health, Walt Secord, said flu season was“smashing” state emergency departments,putting extra pressure on an already over-stretched health and hospital system.

He said there had been6548notifications of influenza in NSW,including 2576 notifications in June– almost double the number of cases at the same time last year.

Mr Secord said influenza-like illnesses were “significantly elevated” at Calvary Mater Newcastle.

But Hunter New England Health physician Craig Dalton said those numbers could be deceiving.

“Sometimes people just look at the laboratory counts alone, forgetting that they often go up every year because of more testing anyway,” Dr Dalton said.

“You can get the false impression that flu has taken off. But it hasbeen a pretty average yearso far.”

Dr Dalton said cases of influenza would rise between now and August, as peak flu season hit.

“But there is no way of knowing whether it’s going to be worse than last year yet,there is no crystal ball.”

Dr Dalton recommended anyone with a chronic underlying condition, aged over 65, pregnant or indigenous to get the flu vaccine. He said people with flu-like symptoms shouldavoid contact with everyone, but particularly thosewith an underlying illness, people living inaged care residences, and those in hospital.

“Pay particular attention to hand washing. Flu can spread from contaminated hands and surfaces, as well as from person to person throughcoughing and sneezing,” he said.

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Kate Middleton is an exercise in nailing Wimbledon style

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, at Wimbledon on day 1. Pic: @kensingtonroyal via TwitterSomeone sound the klaxons, for it appears that Kate Middleton, AKA the Duchess of Cambridge, has new hair.
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As Hillary Clinton once noted, a haircut for a woman of influence, no matter how minor, is an awfully big deal.

“If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle,” the former US secretary of state once wisely noted.

So the Duchess’ hair, debuted on the first day of the Wimbledon Championships(a look that is, one must note, not too much of a change from her usual masses of perfectly blow-dried, bouncy chestnut hair) is something. Worthy of dozens of hits on Google something.

It’s a little shorter, a little “lob (long bob) ish”and the sophisticated look is befitting of her fancy new gig as thenewly mintedroyal patronof the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, a job she’s taken over from the Queen.

But the really pressing matter at the end of the first day of play (other than wondering whether the strawberries and cream are tip-top this year) is that the Duchess is really nailing Wimbledon dressing. Not an easy task. For one thing, as Ellie Pithersnotesin UKVogue, it can be awfully tempting to take the tennis theme a little too literally.

Best leave the tennis whites (unless you’re literally about to serve a tennis ball) and anything that’s a little too Fred Perry circa 1972 (though this is a perfectly fine aesthetic when not actually courtside) behind.

Instead, as ably demonstrated by the Duchess, it’s an opportunity to weara very pretty, summery dress (the Duchess’ deceptively simple, sweetly polka-dotted number is Dolce & Gabbana). Opt for natural fabrics and crisp shirting – Pixie Geldof in her candy stripered and white shirt-dress is another excellent example of nailing the dress code – not just for Wimbledon but for any day time event where the dress code is a variation on “garden party”. Tricky. But definitely doable.

And as demonstrated by Geldof, the tennis isn’t the time to wear your most towering stilettos (unless that is your thing then, by all means, stride on),instead opt for espadrilles, sandals, loafersor a kitten heel (did you hear? They’ve made a resounding comeback this year).

It being London, a cover-up of some kind is recommended. Keep it smart with a trenchand, if dresses aren’t your thing, this season’s plethora of wide-legged, billowing trousers are really a perfect alternative.

Ultimately,anycombination of the above (with or without a dress from Dolce & Gabbana)is likely a deuce when it comes to style and comfort:the ultimate end game when partaking in spectator sports of any kind.

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Crash Bandicoot’s return is a modern spin on an old marsupial

Two decades on, Crash Bandicoot isn’t the industry icon he once was. But a new collection that resurrects his three original adventures with beautiful new visuals and animations is a reminder that these games deserve to be remembered and preserved.
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Crash Bandicoot,Cortex Strikes BackandWarpedwere fascinating games on the original PlayStation. While Sega and Nintendo worked to translate their biggest platforming games from 2D to full 3D, Crash stuck with a middle ground that kept the marsupial on a linear path while also allowing for branching stages and circular set-pieces.

The original Crash Bandicoot has never looked so good, but it plays the same for better and worse.

What makes theN. Sane Trilogyextra special is the love and care that developer Vicarious Visions (most recently known for its contributions to Skylanders) has dedicated to bringing these games into 2017 without breaking the original magic.

Taking the most basic blueprints that original developer Naughty Dog (which went on to createUnchartedandThe Last of Us) used to plan the stages, Vicarious has built on that with shiny recreations of the graphics and subtle improvements. In a way, you can think of this as being the bones of the original games, but with brand new flesh, skin and organs applied.

Enemies are now much clearer and easier to read.

The result is a trio of games that feel familiar enough to please nostalgic gamers — every crate, wumpa fruit and secret is exactly where you remember it — but are also modern and polished enough for a new audience to enjoy. It doesn’t hurt that this kind of game — where discrete stages can be played over and over again in pursuit of collectibles, unlockables and fast times — is very much back in vogue right now.

In all three games the blocky, indistinct look of early 3D PlayStation games is replaced by the bubbly, smoothly animated look of a Saturday morning cartoon (and is rendered in 4K, if you have the equipment for it). The sound and music has been overhauled too, bringing the catchy tribal earworms of the series beyond the shallow stereo sound of the PS1.

While they’re all equally gorgeous though, the first Crash game is clearly the least special of the bunch. The kernel of greatness was there, but many of Naughty Dog’s design decisions made for frustrating deaths and a heap of repetition. It’s enough to warm the cockles of a nostalgic Crash fan’s heart, but it’s not a great way to introduce newcomers to the series.

Thankfully all three games are available from the start, so there’s nothing stopping players from dabbling in Crash 1 and then getting absorbed in the greatness ofCortex Strikes Back. The perfect middle point between the first game’s ruthlessness and the series later turn toward longer and more exploratory levels,Cortexis a set of fantastic platforming challenges surrounded by just enough variation to keep things fun.

As the series went on the difficulty went down, but more vehicles and gimmicks also made an appearance.

The third game,Warped, is no slouch either. The difficulty eases off but in its place are even more secrets, even more vehicles and even more level variation. The introduction of new skills for Crash also makes this feel like the most modern game of the set, so it might be the one to go to for young gamers looking to discover an old classic.

Throughout, there are smart little tweaks to make the experience better without breaking what made the original games so good. This includes a universal save system, extended cinematics, and the ability to play as Coco Bandicoot in each of the games (she’s functionally identical to Crash, but the choice is still nice).

Polar the bear is super cute now.

There have also been some quality of life changes and some aspects of later games applied retroactively to the more spartan original. Time trials are present across the trilogy now as opposed to only appearingWarpedand, in a fun touch, you can use the controller’s directional pad to control Crash exactly how you used to in the original games, or you can use the stick for more granular, freshly tuned control.

While so many retro revivals either just give the original game a coat of paint or completely remake it from the ground up, this is a return that feels like a perfect middle ground. On the one hand it does allow for some of the less good parts of the classic design to shine through (especially in the original game), but on the other hand the commitment to accuracyworks to preserve a series that remains incredibly influential and often overlooked. Combined with smart touch-ups and a beautiful modern presentation, this is a blast for old Crash pros and newcomers alike.

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogyis out now for PlayStation 4.

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Louis Vuitton, Hillsong lure Bieber back to Australia

Justin Bieber spotted in Bondi on Tuesday morning. Photo: Instagram/@brigggiesmallsJustin Bieber is back in town.
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The singer could have been mistaken for any number of the shirtless men performing chin-ups on Bondi’s waterfront on Tuesday morning, however hawk-eyed fansspotted his trademark tattoos as he strolled along the sunny promenade, smiling and shirtless.

The 23-year-oldWhat Do You Meanstar is reportedly back in Australia to attend the annual Hillsong Conference – a religious Coachella – out at Homebush in Sydney’s inner west.

The theme of the event, which also takes place in London and the United States later this year,is “Closer”.

“This conference gathers the greater church, inspires fresh vision and hope for the future, and equips every individual to walk out the call of God on their life,” a mission statement published on the church’s official website stated.

“It inspires leaders and believers alike to make a difference in their sphere of influence for Kingdom’s cause. It equips the church with God-breathed sessions, practical tools, and connection.”

Bieberbegan his dayin Bondi by wandering up the aisle of Hall Street to the altar of capitalism,the new Louis Vuitton pop-up store, to view the new Supreme capsule. Despite already owning a number of pieces ofthe skate-inspired collection, Bieber and his small entourage were given a private shopping experience.

He then popped into popular eatery Billsand was spotted outside Doughnut Time.

rior to touching downdown under, Bieber performed at theBritish Summer Time Festival in London’sHyde Park at the weekendwearing a baseball shirt from the aforementionedLVxSupremecollection.

Appearing on the bill alongside Phil Collins – whoneeded to take thestage with awalking stick -and Blondie, Bieber, who was suffering a cold,disappointed fans by miming most of his set list.

“Backstage I have a Vicks inhaler and I’m using Olbas inhalers, they’re the greatest of all time are they not? I used a Vicks one and all that medicine stuff is stuck in my nose right now, and I’m having a rough night. Don’t judge me,” he told the crowd.

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