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Archive for October, 2018

Davison behind the wheel for Phillip Island 500

Saturday, 13 October, 2018

Bathurst champion Will Davison is ready to race again following a horror crash that wrecked his car and put him in hospital just two weeks ago.
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Davison has been cleared to return for the twin-race Phillip Island 500 this weekend after a quick recovery matched by the remarkable repair of his destroyed Holden Commodore racer.

He was the main victim of a 12-car pile-up in the opening race of the previous Supercars event at Symmons Plains, near Launceston, on April 8, suffering a painful fracture in his spine.

His Tekno Autosports Commodore slammed into the side of Rick Kelly’s Nissan Altima during the melee, registering a colossal 46 g on impact.

The force of the collision left Davison with mild concussion, severe bruising and a broken right-side transverse process, which is a small bony projection attached to each vertebra.

He was kept in hospital for 24 hours and not allowed to fly home to the Gold Coast until the Monday morning after the Saturday race.

Davison, 34, who won last year’s Bathurst 1000 with Tekno team owner/co-driver Jonathan Webb, was fit enough to recuperate sufficiently by last Tuesday to pass the full medical examination required to resume racing at Phillip Island.

The final obstacle was a mandatory safety test at the track before the opening practice session on Friday, when he had to show officials he could perform an emergency exit from his car within the seven seconds limit.

Although still sore from the crash, he was able to extricate himself quickly and gain official approval to compete.

Davison’s recovery from one of the biggest wrecks in Supercars history might have been in vain if the small family-run Tekno team hadn’t been able to rebuild his car.

It was on its way back to the team’s Gold Coast factory the day after the crash and after working through Easter, the crew repaired the extensive damage in time for the Phillip Island 500, which is being decided in 250-kilometre races on Saturday and Sunday.

Both Davison and his car were in good shape on their return at Phillip Island, with the Melbourne-born driver setting the fourth-quickest time in the opening practice session on Friday.

V8 veteran Craig Lowndes’ Triple Eight Holden Commodore suffered heavy damage in a high-speed crash caused by the failure of its right front tyre.

Lowndes was uninjured, but his car required extensive repairs after it flew off the track into a safety barrier on the fast back section of the 4.45-kilometre oceanside Phillip Island circuit.

It was another setback for the popular driver, who was earlier docked 15 championship points following a review of an incident with Ford’s Cam Waters in the second race at Symmons Plains.

Officials ruled that Lowndes was guilty of careless driving for bumping Waters out of the way on his way to fourth place.

Davison’s Commodore was one of four cars crippled or written off in the 12-car crash that caused the opening leg of the Tasmania SuperSprint to be controversially completed with just four of the scheduled 50 laps completed.

While recorded as an official race, it was subsequently decided that no championship points would be awarded.

While Davison’s car was able to be salvaged – and had to be because the team has no spare car and couldn’t get a replacement in time – Kelly’s Nissan was written off.

It had already been pummelled by hits from other cars as it pin-balled across the track as a result of the initial multi-car contact, with Davison’s brakeless machine – which had lost its right rear wheel in an earlier contact – delivering the coup de grace.

Kelly is racing the Nissan’s team’s ageing spare car, which has been refettled and upgraded until a new machine can be completed in time for the Townsville 400 in early July.

Holden hero James Courtney is also racing a revived spare car after his HSV Racing Commodore was totalled amid the chaos at Symmons Plains.

Kelly suffered minor leg injuries in the T-bone collision with Davison, hastening Supercars officials’ plan to improve driver leg protection.

Seat extensions that provide extra shielding for drivers legs to reduce side impact injuries will be mandatory for all cars from the Sandown 500 in September.

DJR Team Penske and Prodrive Racing have already adopted NASCAR-style extended safety pans that surround the drivers’ legs in their Ford Falcons.

Using the experience of Team Penske in American stock car racing, DJRTP developed a local version after PRA’s Chaz Mostert broke his left leg in an impact with the gear lever in his big crash in qualifying for the Bathurst 1000 in 2015.

VIRGIN AUSTRALIA

SUPERCARS CHAMPIONSHIP

WD-40 Phillip Island 500

Format: Super500 (2 x 250km races)

CHAMPIONSHIP TOP 5

Shane van Gisbergen (Commodore) 384

Fabian Coulthard (Falcon) 364

Jamie Whincup (Commodore) 333

Scott McLaughlin (Falcon) 330

Cam Waters (Falcon) 312

THE PROGRAM

Saturday

12.45pm-1.05pm: qualifying

3.45-5.25pm: Race 5 (57 laps/250km)

Sunday

10.50-11.10am: qualifying

1.50-3.30pm: Race 6 (57 laps/250km)

TV

Saturday

Live: Fox Sports 506/506 HD

9.45am-5.45pm

Highlights: One 8-9pm

Ten/Ten HD 11.30pm-12.30am

Sunday

Live: Fox Sports 506/506 HD

9am-4.30pm

Highlights: Ten/Ten HD 4-5pm

One 8-9pm

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

The life of an Australian coach is not for the faint-hearted

Saturday, 13 October, 2018

Normal service resumed. Mark Jones didn’t even make it to his Sunday lunch. Sacked by Newcastle Jets less than 24 hours after “delivering” the wooden spoon. Last season the A-League set a world record by not sacking a single coach. This season five coaches have moved on. That’s more like it.
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We know coaching is a fraught profession. But in Australia, especially so. There are about 3000 coaches certified every year. A nice earner for the FFA, which pockets about $750,000 annually from the process. Trouble is, there are virtually no jobs. Maybe 80 that can pay the mortgage. Jones has just lost one of them.

So if you’re one of the 24,000 coaches already qualified, or intend to become one of the extra 75,000 the FFA want to come through the system over the next 20 years, hang on for the ride. The life of an Australian coach is not for the faint-hearted.

Exhibit A: Gary Phillips. Survivor. Indeed the 53-year-old wouldn’t look out of place rubbing two sticks together in the mangroves of the Cook Islands. A lean, mean, fighting machine.

One day’s notice. That’s all he got to catch a flight from Coffs Harbour to Davao, a hotbed of crime and terrorism in southern Philippines, as he jumped back on the roller-coaster that has been his coaching career for the past 18 years. Yet to crack it in the A-League, despite coaching Sydney Olympic to a championship in the NSL, Phillips learnt long ago that he had to stay on the move if he hoped to stay employed. And he has.

Davao Aguilas are one of eight teams in the inaugural Filipino pro league, which kicks off on April 29. Backed by Western Sydney Wanderers part-owner Jefferson Chang, the club enjoys the patronage of Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte, the former mayor of Davao who “fine-tuned” his infamous vigilante “justice” in his hometown. Dangerous? “I feel safe there,” says Phillips.

Riding around town in Chang’s bullet-proof SUV helps, not that Phillips has ever shied away from third-world challenges. “Coaching hasn’t made me rich, but it’s given me rich experiences.” The moral to the story.

Phillips’s odyssey includes Malaysia, Vietnam, Tonga and Papua New Guinea. In Tonga, his love of surfing helped soften blow of trying to coach a national team which wasn’t motivated. “On the day I arrived the general manager told me not to expect anything, which was just as well,” he says. “I’d be lucky if the staff would turn up once a week, and that was usually to get out the push mowers to cut the grass for the weekend.”

Malaysia – where he’s worked as an instructor for the Asian Football Confederation and in the second division with Sabah and Negeri Sembilan – was more professionally rewarding, as was his time with Da Nang FC in Vietnam. PNG, where he coached the national women’s team? Home was a miner’s compound in Lae, the room was spartan but clean. There was a 2.5-metre perimeter fence topped with barbed wire, guard dogs, officers with machine guns. Phillips might jog the kilometre to the training ground during the day, but in the evening he’d be escorted home.

Home is still Sawtell, the beachside village near Coffs Harbour where he grew up. His longest stretch without employment has been 18 months, but it’s never been easy. Phillips has had to sell two houses to get through, and has worked as a lifeguard, surf shop assistant, baggage handler and gas deliverer to help put food on the table.

So why does he do it? “Because it’s in my blood, it’s what I do best, and if you want to do your best you have to love what you do.”

Phillips does that, although it’s always been a toss-up between football and surfing. He almost turned pro as a surfer before heading down south to join Sydney Olympic as a teenager. Only last year he won the Australian over-50s surfing title. It’s why he’s still so conditioned. “Out in the water, that’s where I clear my head.”

For all his vast and broad experience – he played 356 games in the NSL and won a championship with Brisbane Strikers – Phillips is still waiting for his A-League breakthrough. Twelve months ago he gave Jones a job as his assistant at Negeri Sembilan. But when Jones took over the Jets, he didn’t return the favour. Sliding doors.

“I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t play in Europe, or I’m considered old school, but I haven’t given up on the A-League,” he says. “I believe in myself, I’ve had success wherever I’ve gone, so you just have to think your time will come.” Regrets? “Nope. I’d do it all over again.”

That’s what counts. Despite the FFA’s grand plan to triple the number of coaches, there’s no sign there’ll be more opportunities. Thus Phillips epitomises the most important quality of all. Perserverance.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Hodkinson axing was based on form: Brown

Saturday, 13 October, 2018

ON THE OUTER: Newcastle skipper Trent Hodkinson has been dropped for Saturday’s clash with North Queensland. Picture: Getty ImagesKNIGHTS coach Nathan Brown has admitted Trent Hodkinson has been dropped for form, not injury, saying the skipper was omitted from Saturday’s team to play the Cowboys in Townsville because he was lacking confidence.
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Brown said he also wanted to experiment with new combinations –in particular rookie halves Brock Lamb and Jaelen Feeney –to get a gauge for recruitment and retention next season.

“Hodko’s having a bit of a tough time at the minute.He’s a touch down on confidence and we’ve got some other options we want to have a look at,” Brown told Sky Sports Radio on Friday.

“We’ve got a lot of big recruitment decisions we’re in the midst to trying to make, and atthe end of the day, roster management and getting the balance of your squad right is very important.

“Whilewe certainly want to win games and are trying very hard to win games, and we’re picking the team I supposeyou could say certainly based on form, we’re certainly looking at combinations that are going to help with ourrecruitment.’’

It will be only the second game that Hodkinson has missed since he arrived from Canterbury at the start of last season. Despite a much-publicised knee injury that restricted his pre-season training and requires constant management, the 28-year-old has been remarkablyresilient.

It is considered unlikely that he will play in Newcastle’s reserve-grade team against the Bulldogs at Cessnock on Saturday.

It remains to be seen if Hodkinson’s sacking is a wake-up call or a long-term measure. If Lamb and Feeney perform well against the Cowboys, Brown might have no option other than to retain them.

That would create an awkward situation for Hodkinson, given that the former NSW Origin playmaker is not only Newcastle’s club captain but also their highest-paid player.

He has one more season to run on his contract.

In Hodkinson’s absence, Queensland centre Dane Gagai is the most experienced player in Newcastle’s starting side, but 20-year-old back-rower Sione Mata’utia willinherit the captaincy.

Mata’utia will be Newcastle’s youngest captain since Jarrod Mullen in an unfortunate outing against Brisbane in 2007, when the Knights suffered a club-record 71-6 hammering.

North Queensland coach Paul Green saidNewcastle’s shock decision to drop Hodkinson wouldnot change their plans.

“He [Hodkinson]has won State of Origins, I am sure he will be working hard to get back into the team,” Green said.

Green said Jaelen Feeney, a five-game NRL rookie,would be tested.

“Our back-rowers will test any halves that we play against,” he said. “But we would like to be testing them right across the park.”

The Cowboys will be without champion skipper Johnathan Thurston but showed in last week’s 28-22 loss to the Dragons in Wollongong that they will a daunting proposition for the last-placed Knights.

Chinese TV version of Monkey King seen by six billion worldwide

Saturday, 13 October, 2018

Scenes from Episode 1, The Birth of Monkey King – Chinese version. Photo: Screengrab/YouTubeBeijing: A wave of 1980s nostalgia for the Monkey TV series wasn’t confined to Australia this week.
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In China, there has been an outpouring of grief at the news that pioneering TV director Yang Jie has died at the age of 88 in Beijing.

While it was a Japanese TV show that brought Monkey Magic to Australian screens, the Chinese version has been seen by billions of people worldwide since it first went to air in 1986.

The year was 1981, China’s television was changing under Communist Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang, and state television station CCTV had one instruction to the young female director Yang Jie, tasked with bringing a Chinese literary classic to the screen: Make it better than the Japanese series.

Journey to the West (Xi You Ji) took the same name as the classic 16th-century Chinese novel written by Wu Cheng’en. It is based on the real story of monk Xuanzang’s journey to India to fetch Buddhist scriptures in the Tang Dynasty.

On Friday, Beijing’s city newspaper devoted three pages to the history of the epic series, to coincide with Yang Jie’s funeral. It was attended by some of China’s most famous actors, who made their names on the TV show.

Monkey, Pigsy, Sandy, Horse and Tripitaka are household names for generations of Chinese families.

Lead actor Zhang Jinlai, who played Monkey (known as Sun Wukong in China), said on social media this week it was Yang Jie’s TV series, that had brought Monkey King into so many people’s lives.

The Beijing News interviewed former production staff who recalled the spectacular action series was filmed with only one camera, with a tricycle used for tracking shots. A table was placed on it to balance the camera, with a chair for the cameraman to sit on. To shoot underwater scenes, a fish tank was placed in front of the camera.

Most of the supporting actors were dancers, not martial arts experts, and so had to be trained to perform the many fighting sequences.

For flying scenes, athletes were hired to jump on trampolines with the camera pointing up. The cast and crew travelled across China because Yang Jie wanted “real” scenery.

On Chinese social media, tens of thousands of people shed tears at her passing, and recalled the joy the TV show had brought to their childhood.

The 25 episodes took six years to make, but have been re-screened 3000 times in China. The series continues to be shown every year, and was dubbed into Nepali in 2016.

Zhang Jinlai travelled to Nepal for the launch last year, telling the Himalayan Times his Monkey King had been seen by 6 billion people worldwide over the past 30 years.

Those are big shoes to fill for the Australian and New Zealand co-productionTheLegend of Monkey, now being shot in Auckland.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Dutton signals room to move on work visas for universities

Saturday, 13 October, 2018

SMH News story by, Michael Koziol. Photo shows, Michael Biercuk quantum physicist angry about changes to 457 visas. Pictured at the Sydney Nanoscience Building research atrium, Sydney Uni. Photo by, Peter Rae Wednesday 19 April, 2017. Photo: Peter RaeImmigration Minister Peter Dutton has signalled he is willing to compromise on the Turnbull government’s tough foreign labour regime, assuring universities they won’t be hamstrung by new work experience requirements.
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Vice-chancellors, academics and the powerful Group of Eight universities were alarmed the Turnbull government’s abolition of the 457 visa may prevent them hiring overseas researchers straight out of a PhD program.

In a letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Go8 chairman Peter Hoj warned the changes could be “extremely damaging” to Australia’s reputation for welcoming international academics.

Particular concern surrounded the introduction of a two-year work experience prerequisite for temporary work visas, which universities feared would stop them hiring researchers who had spent their adulthood studying.

A spokeswoman for Mr Dutton told Fairfax Media it was not the government’s intention to stop universities bringing talent into the country, and the new rules would be flexible.

“Universities will continue to be able to attract the best and brightest minds from Australia and the world,” she said.

“The government recognises that work experience may take different forms for different occupations, such as research and teaching experience accumulated by PhDs.

“The government will work with the university sector to define what constitutes work for this cohort.”

Belinda Robinson, chief executive of peak body Universities Australia, welcomed the development and said high-level talks with the government indicated it was prepared to compromise.

The election of Donald Trump as US President, and the fallout from Brexit, have prompted scores of overseas academics to express interest in moving to Australian universities.

Ms Robinson said it was “absolutely crucial” Australia stood ready to exploit “the window of opportunity that we have” to attract new talent.

“We want to encourage them, not deter them,” she said.

Sydney University quantum physicist Michael Biercuk, who came to Australia on a 457 visa and has been a vocal critic of the changes, said the newfound flexibility was “a great first step in alleviating our concerns”.

The other major sticking point with universities is the government’s intention to exclude the job of university lecturer from a rebadged Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List.

That means from March next year academics would be ineligible for a four-year temporary work visa and the popular Employer Nomination Scheme, which grants successful applicants permanent residency in Australia.

The lure of permanent residency was a vital incentive for senior academics who were interested in working at Australian universities, the sector has told the government.

Vicki Thomson, chief executive of the Go8, said this needed to be fixed quickly “so as not to send the wrong signals into the global market place”.

Earlier in the week Mr Dutton said temporary work visas, including for university lecturers, must target areas where there was a genuine skill shortage in Australia.

“Hopefully that lecturer then provides a passage of those skills to people under the lecturer and we train up and provide more support around training a local workforce,” he told ABC Radio.

“So that when the position is next advertised or when we need to expand that business or that employment arrangement at the university, we can have those people that have been locally trained.”

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.