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Will Pucovski won’t be ready for opening Ashes Test after being ruled out of Victoria’s clash with NSW



David Warner will have a new opening partner for the Ashes after Will Pucovski’s concussion comeback hit another hurdle.

Batting star Will Pucovski hasn’t yet returned to the nets a month after his 10th concussion and may not be available for Australia until the middle of the Ashes.

Pucovski won’t play for Victoria against NSW at the MCG in a Sheffield Shield clash starting this Friday, which is a “touch too soon” as he continues to recover from the effects of the concussion suffered on October 5 at training.

Victorian coach Chris Rogers said there was a “strong desire” to get the 23-year-old into the Test team, but everyone was taking a long-term view of Pucovski’s cricket future.

Rogers said Pucovski, who was the frontrunner to open with David Warner during the Ashes, could be ready for one of the later Tests in a “best-case scenario” as he returns to full fitness.

“He hasn’t quite recovered as well as hoped. In discussions with the medical team and the national selectors it was felt we would give him a bit more time to select him to play for Victoria,” Rogers said.

“He hasn’t started hitting the nets, I think that was the main concern. It’s really difficult just to walk into one of these games unprepared. All the people who are in these conversations understand we have an immense talent on our hands and we want him to be playing for five to 10 years, so these are the decisions we are going to make in his best interests to set him up to have a long career.

“There’s some symptoms which are just a little too close to the game.”

Pucovski trained on Wednesday and was “positive” about how his recovery was tracking.

But his playing return may not come until a yet-to-be-confirmed third Sheffield Shield game in mid-November or even a Victorian second XI game.

Rogers said that would delay any chance of him playing in the Ashes until mid-series.

“No doubt it’s a setback. I’d say now it’s unlikely he’d play in the first Test,” he said.

“Hopefully, if we play a third Shield game in mid-November and there may be a second XI game for Victoria as well, that might prepare him for one of the matches in the middle of the Ashes series. That’s the best-case scenario.

“He was very positive about how it was all tracking and pretty hopeful of playing soon, but he felt this match was a touch too early.”

Rogers said Pucovski, who hasn’t played a game since injuring his shoulder in his Test debut last January, was “frustrated” by this latest concussion and its lingering effects.

But the young star also knows he has to be fully ready when he makes a playing return.

“He hasn’t played for seven months. You have to walk straight back in the cauldron and perform against very good opposition. That would have been playing on his mind,” Rogers said.

“Of course he wants to play for Australia for a long time to come. There’s a strong desire to get him into that Australian side, he’s such a talented player.

“I think the decision is to look after him and allow him a bit more time to prepare in the right time rather than rush him to matches which are going to have a lot of intensity and scrutiny.”

Originally published as Batting gun Will Pucovski won’t be ready to play for Australia until the middle of the Ashes as he recovers from another concussion




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Vixens hit hard in pocket for refusing to fly to Perth



The Melbourne Vixens have accepted a costly punishment for refusing to travel to Perth last season to play the Fever.

The Melbourne Vixens have called for Super Netball’s “protocols” to be reviewed after begrudgingly accepting sanctions of more than $80,000 in fines and match costs for their failure to travel to Perth last season to play West Coast Fever.

The punishment comes after the completion of a Netball Australia investigation into why June’s round eight game between the teams had to be rescheduled.

The Vixens refused to travel to Perth after three of their players were denied entry to Western Australia after having visited Byron Bay, a Covid-19 “red zone”.

The Fever claimed the Vixens could have replaced the three “compromised” players but decided not to.

“This is not in the best interests of the competition and devastating for our club, members, sponsors and fans,” the Fever said in a statement at the time.

The investigation – completed by the competition’s compliance manager – found that the Vixens had breached Super Netball’s team participation agreement by not travelling to Perth to play the match.

The Vixens have been fined $50,000 – half of which is suspended for two years – and ordered to pay $31,702.92 for the costs to replay the match at Brisbane’s Nissan Arena on July 22.

Netball Victoria, who own and operate the Vixens, have accepted the fine despite their unhappiness with the investigation.

“We are disappointed with the outcome considering the evidence we supplied throughout the review,” Vixens and Netball Victoria CEO Rosie King said.

“We are also disappointed that other options initially presented by the league – such as to delay the game for 24 hours to enable the entire team to travel, or to relocate the game to South Australia or Queensland – were not explored or supported, nor was the league’s ‘Covid-19 decision making process’ enacted which would have provided a framework for teams to follow in such circumstances.

“We understand, however, that the environment in which everyone was working in was extraordinarily difficult with the clock ticking and decisions being made under pressure-cooker conditions.

“The wellbeing and safety of our athletes and staff will always be our priority.

“We hope that the league’s protocols are likewise reviewed as part of a continual improvement exercise.”

Netball Australia CEO Kelly Ryan said while Covid-19 had presented “unique challenges” for the Super Netball competition and that the Vixens had not deliberately attempted to “disrupt the competition”, rule breaches would not be tolerated.

“Netball Australia recognises that clearer processes and protocols are required for the 2022 Super Netball season,” Ryan added.

Originally published as Vixens punished for their refusal to travel to Perth to play the Fever




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Anthony Mundine faces court over Bunnings mask breach allegations: Covid-19 restrictions



Retired boxer Anthony Mundine was back in court on Wednesday over allegations he entered a Bunnings store without a mask.

Retired boxer Anthony Mundine has appeared in court over allegations he breached public health orders by flouting mask rules at a Sydney hardware store.

“The Man” was in July fined for allegedly entering a Bunnings store in southwestern Sydney without wearing a mask and refusing to scan a QR code at the store’s entrance.

Mr Mundine claimed that he had an exemption to not wear a mask and made a purchase before leaving.

Detectives attached to Campsie Police Area Command launched an investigation after they were called to the Bunnings Kingsgrove store on July 20.

Officers then visited a home in South Hurstville where they spoke to Mr Mundine and issued him a $1000 fine for breaking Covid rules.

He was charged with not complying with a noticed direction and his matter was briefly mentioned in Bankstown Local Court on Wednesday.

Mr Mundine did not appear in court and his lawyer John Giang appeared via videolink and was granted a six-week adjournment.

No plea was entered on Mr Mundine’s behalf.

Mr Mundine was fined three times by police during July for allegedly breaching public health orders.

The high-profile and outspoken former athlete was first slapped with a $1000 fine for allegedly flying from Sydney to Ballina on July 9 during the citywide lockdown.

“Officers from Richmond Police District issued a 46-year-old man with a $1000 penalty infringement notice after inquiries revealed he travelled from metropolitan Sydney to Ballina without a reasonable excuse on Wednesday, 7 July, 2021,” NSW Police said in a statement at the time.

The same month Mr Mundine appeared at a Sydney anti-lockdown rally and was issued with a court attendance notice for allegedly breaching the public health order.

Mr Mundine has been outspoken on social media about his anti-vaccination views and has in the past posted links to so-called “freedom” rallies.

“My people don’t get conned in getting the shot,” he wrote on Facebook earlier this year.

“Do your research it’s a death wish.

“F–k the travel for now we fight that sh-t in court it’s all fear mongering.”

Originally published as Anthony Mundine faces court over Bunnings mask breach allegations




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Former Sydney Roosters NRL player and Geordie Shore TV star Daniel Conn in court for breaching AVO with Sydney gym owner



A former NRL player and reality TV star is back in court after breaching an AVO with a Sydney gym owner for the second time.

Ex-NRL and reality TV star Daniel Conn is back in court after he was caught breaching an AVO with a Sydney gym owner for the second time.

Conn was recorded walking across the road from his former workplace Hustle Boxing Gym in Potts Point – a venue he is now not allowed within 100m of – in May this year.

The 35-year-old model last month pleaded guilty to one count of contravening a restriction of an AVO and is set to be sentenced next week.

In late 2019, the former Sydney Roosters backrower scratched up the gym’s front window with a rock and intimidated co-owner Simon Maree after quitting his job at Hustle amid a pay dispute.

Police took out an apprehended personal violence order on December 16, 2019 after Conn admitted to calling his old boss Mr Maree a “dog” and saying “wait until you see what will happen next” during a confrontation at the gym three days earlier.

He went on to breach the order, just days later on December 19, when he rode a black Vespa onto the footpath outside the gym and waved at a staff member before being told “you can’t be here”.

Last year he was given a conditional release order without conviction after pleading guilty in court to property damage, intimidating Mr Maree and contravening the AVO.

The ex-footballer was also known for his appearances on UK reality smash hits Geordie Shore and Ex On the Beach as a love interest of original cast member Vicky Pattison.

He played for the Roosters, the Gold Coast Titans and the Canterbury Bulldogs between 2005 and 2011.

Following his retirement from rugby league at age 25 due to a spinal injury, Conn became the face and global athletic director of the wildly popular fitness franchise F45.

Court documents tendered to Downing Centre Local Court state Conn was seen on Victoria St, Potts Point on May 17, 2021 by a staff member of Hustle gym.

Conn, of Vaucluse, was waiting outside the Holm Cafe before walking directly past the boxing gym on the opposite side of the street.

“In doing so, the accused has breached the place restriction relating to being within one hundred metres of (the gym),” the court documents state.

“At this time the accused was clearly seen by the witness, who recorded the accused on his mobile phone.”

The documents stated police had unsuccessfully tried to contact Conn on several occasions and “suspect he is actively avoiding police”.

He has since been charged and appeared before the court.

Conn’s lawyer Michael Coroneos on Tuesday asked the court to adjourn his client’s sentencing for one week in order to obtain further reports.

Conn has in recent years opened up about his struggles with mental health due to his football career being unexpectedly cut short, causing a loss of identity.

He will be sentenced on November 9.

Originally published as Ex-NRL, reality TV star Daniel Conn in court for breaching AVO with Sydney gym owner




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Bureau of Meteorology forecast intense rain, storms and showers for NSW



NSW is set for a soggy coming week as storms move across the state, bringing a month’s worth of rainfall to some parts in just 24 hours.

NSW is set for a very wet eight days with heavy rainfall and flash flooding forecast across much of the state.

The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting Wednesday could be the wettest day since September last year for some western parts of the state, which could see more than a month’s worth of rainfall in 24 hours.

There will be the potential for severe thunderstorms through the state’s west on Wednesday and Thursday.

Frequent but patchy showers and thunderstorms are expected to make their way east and drench some regions more than others.

The rain should reach Sydney on Thursday and continue well into next week.

“Due to the showery nature of the rain, totals are likely to be rather variable and some areas may see much larger accumulations than others if showers continue to fall in the same location,” weather forecaster Hugh McDowell said.

The heavy rainfall could also lead to flash flooding in parts of NSW.

“Due to high levels of moisture in the atmosphere, there is an increased risk of heavy rainfall that will result in flash flooding and may result in some roads to become blocked and inaccessible,” Mr McDowell said.

The showers are expected to be more widespread on Thursday, particularly over much of the inland and the southeast, with the possibility of severe thunderstorms.

The weather bureau expects the showers to concentrate on the eastern half of the state on Friday.

More rain is forecast for Sunday and Monday, particularly over the southeast.

Originally published as Month of rain in one day tipped for parts of NSW, with showers and storms forecast




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Man charged with Sydney toddler murder after 2009 Ingleburn infant’s death



A man who was allegedly looking after a Sydney toddler when she died has been charged with her murder after more than a decade of investigations.

A man has been charged with murdering a toddler more than 12 years ago after multiple police investigations and a coronial inquest.

The 38-year-old man was arrested at Silverwater Correctional Centre on Tuesday morning and charged with the murder of a 21-month-old girl.

Police will allege in court the child sustained her injuries, which were caused by non-accidental trauma, while she was under the sole care of the man.

On the morning of September 25, 2009, emergency services were called to a medical centre on Nardoo Street, Ingleburn in Sydney’s southwest following reports a child was unresponsive.

Paramedics treated her at the scene for suspected head injuries, before she was flown to the Westmead Children’s hospital in a critical condition.

Her condition continued to deteriorate and she died five days later, police said.

A 2013 coronial inquest found she likely died of a blunt force head injury, but no one was charged after the findings were handed down.

NSW Police said they had conducted numerous inquiries into the incident before they ultimately arrested the man on Tuesday.

Detectives from the State Crime Command’s Unsolved Homicide Unit in August 2020 set up a strike force to further investigate the circumstances surrounding her death, which led them to the man who allegedly killed her.

He was refused bail to appear via audiovisual link at Campbelltown Local Court on Tuesday.

He is due to face court again on December 22.

Originally published as Man charged with murder 12 years after toddler’s death in Sydney




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Siege in Gladesville in Sydney after police officer stabbed in head



A dramatic siege unfolded in a Sydney suburb this morning after an officer was stabbed while responding to a domestic violence incident.

A man has been arrested after a dramatic siege unfolded in a normally tranquil Sydney suburb late this morning.

The siege began at a unit on Punt Road in the leafy suburb of Gladesville this morning at around 11.20am, when a police officer who was responding to a nearby domestic violence incident was stabbed.

According to NSW Police, the officer received lacerations to the back of his head from a knife.

He was rushed to hospital for treatment, and police swarmed on the scene, including police negotiators, with one person believed to have remained inside the unit.

In an update this afternoon, NSW Police confirmed that a 38-year-old man — armed with two knives — had allegedly attacked a 26-year-old male probationary constable.

The injured officer – attached to Ryde Police Area Command – suffered lacerations to the back of his head and a dislocated shoulder.

He was taken to Royal North Shore Hospital for treatment to non-life-threatening injuries.

Officers attached to Ryde Police Area Command attended and, with the assistance of the Tactical Operations Unit, Police Negotiators and other specialist commands, arrested a 38-year-old man without incident a short time later.

He has been taken to Ryde Police Station where he is assisting police with inquiries.

Investigations into the incident continue, and anyone with any information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or online.

Earlier this afternoon, dozens of police officers were spotted in the area, including the dog squad, with a police helicopter also flying overhead.

Traffic diversions were in place on Punt Road earlier, and motorists are urged to avoid the area.

More to come

Originally published as Man arrested after dramatic Gladesville siege following police stabbing




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People board Qantas flight to London at Sydney Airport as Australia’s international borders reopen



New pictures have captured heartwarming moments as passengers boarded the first international flights since borders reopened.

There were tears of joy and relief – and some of sadness – at Sydney Airport on Monday as the first flights left Australia.

The country’s international borders had reopened after 582 days of Covid-19 restrictions and travellers were eager to reunite with loved ones overseas following months of painful separation and missed milestones.

Emotions were running high as Carolyn Chambers and her five-year-old son Ephraim prepared to check-in for the 5.55pm QF1 – the first plane to London.

“It’s a bit of both happy and sad,” she said of their trip to her hometown of Pontefract, West Yorkshire.

“I’m expecting everyone to be very emotional after not being able to do normal family events. My parents haven’t seen their grandchild in more than two years.”

Mrs Chambers lives with her British husband on the NSW Central Coast and couldn’t be in the UK in person for her sister’s wedding or her father’s cancer diagnosis.

She said daily FaceTime calls couldn’t compare to being able to hug her mum.

Ephraim, who was given a teddy bear dressed as a UK police officer at the check-in desk, was excited about playing with his cousins and his grandparents.

Fully vaccinated Australians, permanent residents and their families can now come and go without having to apply for permission to leave the country.

With quarantine scrapped in NSW and Victoria, Mrs Chambers said it was a “massive relief” not to have to navigate a fortnight in a hotel room with a young child.

Elle Robertson was embraced by her mother and father before she stepped through the departure gates for the first time in 10 months.

The 24-year-old fashion management student will be swapping her days on the tractor with her dad on the family farm for a shared flat with friends and nights out in London.

Ms Robertson, who has been studying her masters online from Taralga, in the NSW southern tablelands, said she had been rejected four times for an exemption to leave Australia to return to the UK.

“I’ve only been there for nine months out of two years. Online (classes) have been tough. It’s been from 6pm to 3am. Then dad wakes me up at 6am every morning to go out and do some farm work,” she said.

“So when ScoMo announced it was time to go, I was like, ‘Get me out of here’.”

Her mother Fiona Robertson said she and her husband Bruce were “teary, but excited” about their daughter’s big move back overseas.

“This is what we brought them up to be, independent young people. It’s just so far away,” she said.

“I can’t just pop over for a cup of tea. But, you know, she’ll be fine.”

Qantas chief executive officer Alan Joyce said some of the stories of people being kept apart by the border closures were heartbreaking.

He compared the emotional day to the famous scenes from Love Actuallyin which overjoyed Londoners step into each other’s arms at the Heathrow Airport arrivals terminal.

“I’m feeling relieved and excited at the same time – relieved that we’re getting all of our people back to work, relieved that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he told NCA NewsWire at Sydney Airport.

“And excited that we’re seeing all of our passengers being able to catch up with loved ones and friends.”

Originally published as Emotions run high at Sydney Airport as Australia’s international borders reopen




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Halloween: Child in home quarantine ‘in tears’ after pre-teens steal candy



A five-year-old girl had a horror Halloween experience after a group of pre-teens stole candy that was left for her while she was stuck inside self-quarantining.

A Sydney mother has told of the “disrespectful” actions of a group of pre-teens that left her daughter “in tears” after they stole her candy while she was stuck inside self-isolating.

The woman began explaining on social media how her family needed to complete 14 days of home quarantine because they were close contacts of a confirmed Covid-19 case.

But the family still wanted to be involved in the Halloween festivities, so they decorated their house, put a bowl of treats outside their home for other children to take as well as a trick-or-treat collection bucket that had a note.

It read: “Our five-year-old daughter is very sad not to be able to trick or treat this year.

“We have left her treat bucket on the seat, just in case you would like to leave one of your treats for her.

“Happy trick or treating.”

While it seemed like a great idea at the time, the woman was horrified and helplessly watched her daughter “burst into tears” when the group of about 10 unsupervised boys “ruined” their night.

“Not only did these boys take our entire bowl full of treats, they also stole every item from the bucket we had put out to collect treats for our daughter, all while she watched through the window” her post read.

“When I tried to stop them — without being able to open the door — they ran off laughing and my sweet little girl burst into tears.

“If you are the parents of these boys, please let them know that they stole from an innocent little girl that just wanted to be part of the fun and they made a tough situation much worse.”

The mother did thank the many other “kind and lovely” people who waved at the young child through the window and left her treats.

Originally published as Child quarantining at home ‘left in tears’ after watching thieves steal candy through the window




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Residential property prices keep climbing as investors push out would-be first home buyers



Australian housing prices keep creeping higher, pushing more would-be first home buyers off the property ladder and fuelling rate hike talk.

Australian residential property prices keep creeping higher, but experts believe the peak of the current cycle is not far off, with the Reserve Bank tipped to increase interest rates sooner than flagged.

CoreLogic data released on Monday showed national dwelling values inched up 1.5 per cent in October, down from a peak monthly growth rate of 2.8 per cent in March.

That’s a touch higher than predicted by CommSec (about 1.3 per cent) and AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver (1.4 per cent).

The rise brings the national price growth rate over the past 12 months to a whopping 21.6 per cent.

But CoreLogic reiterated what it had been saying for months – the red-hot property market is slowly losing momentum.

That may be cold comfort for already priced out, would-be first home buyers.

“Housing prices continue to outpace wages by a ratio of about 12:1,” CoreLogic research director Tim Lawless said.

“This is one of the reasons why first home buyers are becoming a progressively smaller component of housing demand.”

Other reasons are the end of stimulus measures such as HomeBuilder, more supply on the market – with new listings surging by 47 per cent since hitting a low in September – and, from Monday, the tightening of mortgage assessments in a bid to slow new lending at high debt-to-income ratios.

Inflation data last week was higher than expected, with the most significant price rise being for new homes bought by owner-occupiers.

Economists say pressure is accordingly building on the RBA to up the cash rate from its historic low of 0.1 per cent.

The central bank holds its monthly meeting on Tuesday and every word in the statement that follows will be combed for even the slightest shift in its thinking.

“We now expect the first rate hike in a year’s time,” Mr Oliver said in his latest market update.

“The RBA won’t rush into a rate hike because it wants to see that ‘inflation is sustainably within the target range’.”

The RBA has repeatedly said a hike was unlikely before 2024.

“However, with the economy recovering, we believe that the conditions for the start of rate hikes will now be in place by late 2022, so we expect the first hike to be in November 2022, taking the cash rate to 0.25 per cent, followed by a 0.25 per cent hike in December 2022, taking the cash rate to 0.5 per cent by the end of next year,” Mr Oliver said.

Many other economists are tipping an RBA move in early 2023.

Meanwhile, as housing continues to become less and less affordable, CoreLogic expects demand will skew towards higher density sectors of the market, especially in Sydney, where the gap between the median house and unit value is now close to $500,000.

“With investors becoming a larger component of new housing finance, we may see more demand flowing into medium to high density properties,” Mr Lawless said.

“Investor demand across the unit sector could be bolstered as overseas borders open, which is likely to have a positive impact on rental demand, especially across inner city unit precincts.”

Australia’s apartment markets have generally recorded a lower rate of growth compared to houses, CoreLogic says.

Also on Monday, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showed the continuation of a trend seen over recent months – investor mortgage commitments rising as owner-occupier new loan commitments fell.

MEDIAN VALUES AROUND AUSTRALIA:

Sydney: $1.071m (up 25.3 per cent over 12 months)

Canberra: $864,909 (up 25.5 per cent)

Melbourne: $780,303 (up 16.37 per cent)

Hobart: $678,170 (up 28.06 per cent)

Brisbane: $642,097 (up 22.3 per cent)

Adelaide: $543,265 (up 20.07 per cent)

Perth: $526,625 (up 16.37 per cent)

Darwin: $490,236 (up 19.28 per cent)

Originally published as Residential property prices keep climbing as investors push out would-be first home buyers




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